Alan Pittman's blog

So who's behind all those mysterious attack ads against local Congressman Peter DeFazio?

The answer is a reclusive, conservative Wall Street mega-millionaire who installed a $2.7-million toy train set in his mansion and spent $28-million to buy up adjoining Manhattan apartments for his daughter and would get hit by taxes on large Wall Street speculators proposed by DeFazio, according to reports in the Oregonian, Washington Post and Willamette Week.

Just who was behind "Concerned Taxpayers of America," the group funding the attack ads, was a secret until Friday when the group was legally required to report its donors. The report listed just two "concerned taxpayers"— a Maryland concrete baron who has bankrolled opposition to a Maryland congressman and $200,000 in contributions from secretive hedge fund manager Robert Mercer, a major contributor to DeFazio's right-wing opponent Art Robinson.

The ads have helped Robinson—an irascible, fringe chemist who has called for the elimination of public schools, the EPA and social security and claimed global warming is a hoax and radioactive waste has health benefits—pull within six points of DeFazio in a recent Republican poll. The revelation of who funded the ads now comes after many may have already returned their ballots in Oregon's vote-by-mail election.

Here's a video from the Washington Post of local Congressman Peter DeFazio unsuccessfully trying to track down who's funding TV ads against him:

The Post story quotes DeFazio:

"Is this a corporation? Is it one very wealthy, right-wing individual? Is it a foreign interest? Is it a drug gang?" DeFazio said. "We don't know."

Sam Bond's has made Esquire's list of best bars in America again.

Here's the magazine's write up:

"As you stretch out on the split-timber benches under the old barn's bare rafters, you slowly realize you're in the family room of one of the weirdest neighborhoods in America -- a shady, overgrown co-op of artists, ecoanarchists, spirit healers, drug dealers, and permanently circling vagabonds. And the living couldn't be better: Couples play cribbage on the rough-hewn communal tables, kids loll on the modest stage until the sun goes down, and the strong-limbed waitresses circulate the beers in mason jars and smile, but only if they really mean it. It's like a frontier dance hall in a mining town where the vein's gone dry. The dreams are alive, but appealingly bruised."

Hmmm. Could be a new motto: "Eugene, the Word's Greatest City for the Appealingly Bruised"

Why does the weather suck? Eugene is at the nozzle end of a 6,000-mile long plume of wetness jetting all the way across the Pacific. We're hosed.

The department that brought you "officer blow job" is now testing a new police "muscle car" made famous by a Superbowl ad criticized as misogynist:

Here's the ad:

Here's "Officer Blow Job," aka Roger Magaña, the Eugene cop convicted of raping or sexually abusing more than a dozen women over six years while other EPD officers ignored their complaints:

Here's a spoof of the ad:

Rather than "a man's last stand," maybe the EPD should test a car that emphasizes use of a smarter muscle:

Or maybe Eugene's cops need a new ride that goes Dutch:

The New York Times writes today on how a city — "usually seen as an enclave of hippies, marijuana dispensaries and rock climbers — has become a hotbed of capitalism."

No, unfortunately, it's not Eugene, it's Boulder that's become a hot place for high-tech start ups. Could Eugene follow the model?

The NYT notes some key ingredients to success:

• Author Richard Florida's recipe for "talented people and a high quality of life that keeps them around, technological expertise, and an open-mindedness about new ways of doing things, which often comes from a strong counterculture."

• "the mix of money, universities, a high-tech talent pool and appealing lifestyle needed to hatch tech start-ups."

• "allows for lunch-break hikes"

• A University of Colorado "center makes sure that those veterans cross paths with young entrepreneurs. It hosts meet-ups, a campuswide business plan competition and a law clinic, where entrepreneurs get free legal help on things like intellectual property protection."

• "a three-month mentorship program that has taken place in an old gym in Boulder since 2007, has spurred the start-up community’s growth."

• "Several of them share space — tiny offices and a big common room, kitchen and deck — above Aji, a Latin American restaurant downtown."

Interesting. There's nothing about the big corporate tax breaks, chain stores, urban sprawl, big box retail, call centers, filling wetlands, bulldozing riverfront natural areas, reducing regulations, freeways or groveling for exportable factory jobs that has been and remains the focus of Eugene's failed economic development strategy. Maybe Eugene needs a stronger counterculture.

After Kip Kinkel shot up Thurston High School a dozen years ago, Springfield never got ongoing funding for more school counselors or better gun laws. But this week, the city got a big new gun store.

Here's a sampling of what you can buy at Cabela's:

"Each model is chambered in 5.56mm NATO/.223 Remington and has a six-position collapsible stock, chrome-lined 4140 steel barrel, 7075 T6 aluminum receiver, hard-coat black anodized finish and comes with a 30-round magazine," according to Cabella's website. A reviewer said he's shot "well over 1,000 rounds" with the assault rifle. "This gun shoots very smooth and is very accurate."

If you're looking for the latest in "home defense" ammunition, Cabella's offers a wide selection, including:

"Extreme Shock" ammo "was engineered for applications where greater penetration is a must. The EPR has greater terminal success when fired through glass or wood. This round has the ability to penetrate heavy skin and dense bone and then fragment once inside the softer tissue of the target." The big box store offers the "advanced" ammunition's "increased terminal success" for as little as $1.45 a pop.

One of the biggest arguments the UO has used for its lavish athletic funding is all the positive national publicity big time sports bring to the university.

Yeah right. In a major story last week headlined "Off-Field Turmoil Causes Soul Searching at Oregon," the New York Times reported on an athletic "program run amok."

The story rehashes a litany of UO amokness for a national audience. Here's some lowlights:

• "six players who were arrested during a span of several weeks"

• "The state attorney general launched an investigation into the $2.3
million buyout of Athletic Director Mike Bellotti, the former football
coach whose 'contract' turned out to be a handshake agreement."

• "The hiring of a basketball coach was no more smooth...the job
search had taken six weeks, or long enough that three players had asked
for their releases."

• The UO "will have to figure out how to make the bond payments on the new $227 million basketball arena."

• "...said Nathan Tublitz, a biology professor and the president of the
university senate. 'The athletic department is out of control here.'"

• "Before Bellotti, the department had been run by its No. 2 benefactor, the booster turned athletic director Pat Kilkenny."

• "Phil Knight, the Nike co-founder — began pouring hundreds of millions
of dollars into its athletic facilities, which are among the most
opulent in the country" and include a "wood-paneled locker room with 60-inch flat-screen televisions"

• UO guard Mark Asper told the Times: "People say, ‘Oh, you guys are a bunch of hooligans,’ and it’s tough because you don’t have any evidence to the contrary.”

• "Coach Chip Kelly...affirmed at a news conference that he had not lost control of the
program. Less than 24 hours later, linebacker Kiko Alonso was arrested
for driving under the influence. The next day, receiver Jamere Holland,
believing Alonso had been kicked off the team, unleashed an
expletive-laced rant against Kelly..."

• "rather than distancing themselves from the behavior of LeGarrette Blount,
whose nationally televised sucker punch of a Boise State player was one
of college football’s enduring images last season, the Ducks
demonstrated in the early days of the off-season that birds of a
feather do indeed flock together."

• "Masoli and James had been arrested before arriving in Eugene. Masoli
spent three months in juvenile hall in 2005 for his role in a series of
robberies at a Bay Area shopping mall. James was arrested in 2008 and
charged with battery and disorderly conduct after being involved in a
fight, but the charges were dropped a year later."

• "The moves appear to highlight an acknowledgment of the gap between how
the university and the athletic department have been run — one beholden
to state lawmakers, the other a seemingly freestanding corporation."

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