OREGON GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
The Bend Bulletin
Even before House Democrats pulled their support for Nathan Boddie, the Bend city councilor seeking a seat in Salem, Oregon Republicans were planning an aggressive effort to hold onto the 54th House District in the 2018 election. The district is at the heart of the GOP drive across the state to fend off a Democratic supermajority in the state Legislature. “We are confident we can find success,” said Preston Mann, spokesman for RestorePAC, the political arm of the House Republicans.
Since Trump said his short list includes at least two women, speculation has focused on Barrett, a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who serves on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Conservative groups rallied around Barrett after her confirmation hearing last year featured questioning from Democrats over how her Roman Catholic faith would affect her decisions.
BUSINESS & LABOR
The La Grande Observer
“One million new jobs have been added since the tax cuts took effect,” said Walden, speaking at the Barreto Manufacturing plant at the La Grande Airport Industrial Park during and unannounced visit. Walden was referring to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which overall is the largest one-time reduction in the corporate tax rate in U.S. history, from 35 percent down to 21 percent. The bill has also lowered taxes for the vast majority of Americans as well as small-business owners — at least until some of the cuts expire in eight years.
OregonSaves now has enrolled more than 32,000 private-sector employees who previously didn’t have access to a retirement savings option at work. They’ve so far set aside a combined $4.6 million of their own money through automatic payroll deductions, with an average withholding of 5.14 percent of salary.
The U.S. labor market is hot. Unemployment is at 3.8 percent, a level it’s hit only once since the 1960s, and many industries report deep labor shortages. Old theories of what’s wrong with the labor market – such as a lack of people with necessary skills – are dying fast. Earnings are beginning to pick up, and the Federal Reserve envisions a steady regimen of rate hikes. So why does a large subset of workers continue to feel left behind?
The Bend Bulletin
In recent years, data companies have harnessed new technology to immediately identify what people are watching on internet-connected TVs, then using that information to send targeted advertisements to other devices in their homes. Marketers, forever hungry to get their products in front of the people most likely to buy them, have eagerly embraced such practices. But the companies watching what people watch have also faced scrutiny from regulators and privacy advocates over how transparent they are being with users.
Perdue said he is more optimistic about passing a new Farm Bill before the current package expires Oct. 1. Both the House and Senate have passed their own versions of the bill, and though there are differences between the two, Perdue said he believes they can be resolved.
The grass arrived here uninvited, after crossing the Snake River from old seed fields in Idaho. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which vets most new genetically engineered products, had not approved the plant’s release. But in 2010, landowners discovered it growing in great mats throughout the irrigation system that stretches like a spider web across Malheur County. Creeping bentgrass has not created a catastrophe, as some anti-GMO groups warned it would. But it thrives in canals and ditches, where it collects sediment and impedes water flow, and it has proved difficult to control. That makes it a headache for Frahm and other growers — like the heavy snows that crushed their onion sheds last year, and the host of other weeds they already battle.
This is actually one of the few things on which both Republicans and Democrats can agree: A similar number of Americans from both parties expressed concern that we’re headed for a sequel to the 1861-65 conflict that took the lives of more than 600,000 soldiers. Thirty-seven percent of Democrats believe a civil war is coming, and 32 percent of Republicans think it could happen. Only 29 percent of Americans polled say it’s “not at all likely” there will be a second civil war in the near future.