Here’s some stuff you might like.
Business: Nationally, housing construction has slowed considerably, and that’s bad news for what remains of Central Oregon’s timber industry. It’s also bad news for forest fire prevention, as low lumber prices have led to fewer thinning projects on federal land. The upside is that the lower lumber prices ought to help keep construction costs in check.
Law: The Internet make it easy for lawyers to send silly weekly newsletters to lots of people, but it also makes it easy for customers to publish reviews of the businesses they buy from. Business owners often feel the negative reviews are unfair, and are tempted to do something about it. Generally speaking, a customer’s truthful speech about her views on a service or product are protected by the First Amendment, and a court won’t assess damages or enjoin someone from such speech. Businesses also run the risk of further disseminating the negative review by taking legal action. That appears to be what’s happened when Adair Homes has sued a guy for writing negative things about the company on facebook. I wouldn’t have heard about the guy’s views but for the lawsuit, and I bet you wouldn’t have either.
Politics: Andrew Yang is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. He’s not going to win, but he says some interesting things from time to time. This week, he tweeted, “Ideally we would pay as much or more attention to our communities as we do to Washington, D.C.”
He’s right, and it would be better if more federal politicians exercised the (haha) humility to suggest we might want to take our eyes off them every once in a while. Our focus on the federal government, and more specifically the, how shall I say it, sometimes-less-than-optimal folks whom we elect to pretend to run it, is making us mad, in both meanings of the word. In the meantime, many important community institutions are withering for want of attention.
While Yang’s observation is correct, however, two of his favored policies, a federal universal basic income and Medicare for All, would shift considerably more power and wealth from our communities to Washington, D.C. It’s no coincidence that our growing obsession with federal politics has coincided with the proliferation of tasks we’ve asked the federal government to perform. Giving it more tasks will only make the problem worse.
Et cetera: When I was in law school in Eugene in the early 2000s, I thought it was hilarious that there were people playing didgeridoos all over the place – street corners, campus sit-ins, inside the law school itself during the annual environmental law/patchouli immersion conference. I saw the didgeridoo as a symbol of Eugene’s, uh, bohemian culture, contrasted with the didgeridoo-less culture of my hometown of Bend. Well, now dudes are coming to Bend to drop didgeridoo albums, so the joke’s on me.
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Have a great weekend!