Tom Dwyer Automotive http://tomdwyer.com Portland's Best Auto Repair - Now Servicing 1998+ Vehicles Wed, 20 May 2015 00:33:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Tom’s Tidbits- Trans-Pacific Tidbits http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/toms-tidbits-trans-pacific-tidbits/ http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/toms-tidbits-trans-pacific-tidbits/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 19:20:01 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=17887 Greetings! Here’s a rule that’s served me well over the years… whenever someone tries to rush me into signing something, I don’t sign.  Even if it seems like a great deal I do not, on principle, sign anything in a … Continue reading

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aaaTidbitsButtonGreetings!

Here’s a rule that’s served me well over the years… whenever someone tries to rush me into signing something, I don’t sign.  Even if it seems like a great deal I do not, on principle, sign anything in a hurry.  Being told to sign quickly without any real details is even worse; it leaps beyond common sense into the realm of insult.  No one rushes you to sign anything because they’re in a hurry to make your life better; they do it because they know if you have time to consider carefully you wouldn’t sign at all.  It’s a very old sales trick, and apparently it’s fine for the folks pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  If I knew nothing else about the deal (and I don’t; no one does because it’s still secret) this one fact alone would be enough to know it’s a dangerously bad deal for everyone involved…RestOfNewsletter

Most people still don’t know about the TPP because our mainstream media has been almost completely silent on it, but very briefly… The TPP would join 12 Pacific-rim nations in a trade agreement that would govern 40% of the global gross domestic product.  The deal has been negotiated in secret over a period of years, and it’s still secret… the only things we know about it so far have come from WikiLeaks.

Of course, we do know who’s lining up to sell the TPP.  On the Right, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are on board as is the rest of the Republican leadership, along with ALEC, the Chamber of Commerce, and hundreds of corporate behemoths including Monsanto, Exxon, ADM, Boeing, Phillip Morris, Citigroup, Conoco, Kraft, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Pfizer, and Nike.  On the Left, President Obama seems almost proud to lead the Corporatist wing of the Democratic party down the TPP path and Hillary seems content to quietly follow.  Even within our own Oregon Congressional delegation, Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer were instrumental in moving the Fast Track authority out of committee and on to the Senate.

You know who’s NOT supporting TPP?  The groups in “Progressive Coalition for American Jobs”, an Orwellian sock-puppet website.  There are no groups listed on the site, and their “Get the Facts” link was still dead at last check.  People that actually exist and oppose TPP include just about every labor, environmental, or civil liberties group on the planet.  Two individuals of note fighting TPP include Senator Elizabeth Warren and newly announced Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders.

The TPP is being pushed by the corporate lobbyists and shills that wrote it, but that doesn’t prove it’s bad.  What little we know of the content so far does.  Only 5 of the agreements 29 provisions have anything to do with what is traditionally known as “trade” at all, but TPP would mean drastic changes in labor laws, human rights, environmental standards, financial regulation, internet freedom, food safety, and more.  There’s far too much to go into in this column, but Elizabeth Warren described one of the most egregious points we know about so far in a recent Washington Post Op-Ed

“The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court. Here’s how it would work. Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline because of its health and environmental consequences. If a foreign company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge it in a U.S. court. But with ISDS, the company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions — and even billions — of dollars in damages.”

Free trade is one thing, but NAFTA and CAFTA style agreements aren’t free trade.  They’re dangerous power grabs by corporations that will affect, eventually, every phase of our lives.  Looking for reasons behind the immolation of Baltimore?  Look no further than the destruction of the middle class.  And if you’re looking for the reasons behind that, look no further than these cynical and poisonous trade deals.  Please, educate yourself and your friends about the TPP, let your Congressional Representatives know how you feel, and take a stand for the type of world YOU want to create.

Take Care and Make a Great Day!aaazTomSignature

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Keith Tucker’s Toon for May 2015 http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/keith-tuckers-toon-for-may-2015/ http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/keith-tuckers-toon-for-may-2015/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 19:19:35 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=17888 The post Keith Tucker’s Toon for May 2015 appeared first on Tom Dwyer Automotive.

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Welcoming New Clients http://tomdwyer.com/2015/home/welcoming-new-clients/ http://tomdwyer.com/2015/home/welcoming-new-clients/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 19:19:04 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=17889 You can’t build lasting relationships on crumbling foundations Would you get upset at Ruth’s Chris if you couldn’t order a Hamburger?  Would you be angry if a pediatrician wouldn’t make an appointment for Grandma?  Why not?  Because you understand that … Continue reading

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You can’t build lasting relationships on crumbling foundations

Feature- New clients old carsWould you get upset at Ruth’s Chris if you couldn’t order a Hamburger?  Would you be angry if a pediatrician wouldn’t make an appointment for Grandma?  Why not?  Because you understand that both of these businesses have chosen a business model. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Hamburgers or Grandmas, it’s just that those businesses chose to provide other services.  For our shop, nothing causes more angst and confusion than our policy of declining to start new service relationships with people with older, often challenged vehicles. Sadly some of our existing clients think (incorrectly) that we won’t continue to work on their vehicles as they age past maturity. Here’s why we decline new service relationships with people with potentially used-up vehicles, why WE DO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT AGING VEHICLES FOR EXISTING CLIENTS, and why we think this policy is in YOUR interest as well as ours…RestOfNewsletter

Long-term relationships are our goal     

“Auto repair” covers everything from the cars people most commonly drive to antique specialty cars, exotic speed beasts, or heavy diesel trucks.  No one company can do it all, so the choice of services is one of the first decisions any auto repair company must make.  We chose to provide ongoing maintenance and repair services to people with major-manufacturer vehicles to help them get the most from their automotive investment.  Tom refers to this as “delivering impeccable serve for average people’s average cars”. This initial choice had implications for the facilities, equipment, software, employees, training, and process we currently use to deliver that service.

As important as those things are, a feature that sets us apart from so many other shops is that we have built our business around developing and maintaining full-service long-term, trusting relationships.  We consider people who use our services to be clients, not customers.  “Customers” are buyers who want specific goods or services based primarily on convenience or price with less emphasis on value or long-term outcome. There’s certainly nothing wrong with customers, but “client” implies all those things and more… a long-term arrangement in which professionals work to provide ongoing services and advice.  Client relationships depend on mutual respect, communication, and trust, none of which exist on a person’s first visit to any shop.  Nor should they… why should you trust anyone the first time you meet them?

It’s hard to develop new relationships with owners of challenged vehicles.

We encourage new clients to have our Comprehensive Inspection (or Inspection For Repair; IFR), an in-depth vehicle evaluation. The IFR gives us the full-view baseline condition required to develop a sensible plan of action and a list of specific needs prioritized by safety, breakdown-prevention, and maintenance.  For well-seasoned vehicles not receiving ongoing maintenance, this list is likely to be long and it can be difficult to decide which repairs, if any, should get priority. We don’t like to be put in the position of providing triage; we are not psychic and we can’t guarantee patch jobs.  Aside from any issues of service neglect, time takes its toll as well; sensitive electronics age, wire harnesses and connectors corrode, seals dry and harden, gaskets fail, moisture intrudes, rubber decays, and plastic gets brittle.  At the same time these deferred maintenance costs are raising, the resale value of the vehicle is falling. At some point the cost of catching up backlogged service to ensure continued safe operation exceeds the value of a vehicle.  We call vehicles in this situation “economically totaled”.

Consider the new prospective client with a challenged vehicle, standing at our counter as we present them a list of issues and estimates for repair.  With older, often neglected vehicles, just the top-priority tasks can economically total the vehicle!  We prefer people not play catch-up in some cases when vehicles have reached the tipping point of the return on repair investment.  Just drawing straws and fixing a few things rarely ends well. A new client may be understandably hesitant, but if our existing clients ever reach this point they trust our judgment if we encourage them to move on to a different vehicle.

Trust works both ways.

People often fail to take responsibility for their aging vehicles needs and conditions, and new clients can be more likely to attribute failures to a shop when they have little track record together.  No one likes to pay repair bills and no likes paying for multiple repairs, but if a person brings in a vehicle for a repair and another system fails either immediately or days after, it is not always the technicians’ fault!  We have numerous examples of people expecting us to pay for failures or repairs or their vehicles just because we touched it last… “You worked on my car last week and now the driver’s window does not work! Your mechanic must have slammed the door!”  Possible, but it’s more likely the client’s 178,000-mile, 14-year-old vehicle needed a window motor!  Nevertheless, we would now be expected to fix it for free. Certainly there are cases in which a shop could be responsible for problems associated with a specific repair, and any honest shop will step up and take responsibility and make it right.  However, there should be trust and equity in the resolution. Not only does a vehicle owner need to trust the service provider, the provider needs to trust the owner.

These types of responsibility issues don’t usually occur on newer vehicles and we can talk comfortably about unexpected problems with our existing clients.  Generally after a few visits clients realize we are looking out for them and their best long-term outcomes; but on a first visit?  It is much easier to blame a shop than pay for unexpected repairs. In short, it’s too damn difficult to start a new, trusting service relationship based on a vehicle that’s falling apart.

Keep the client, lose the vehicle.

We absolutely care about our clients, so we understand that it’s not always possible to buy a new vehicle just because your existing one starts to fail.  Clients appreciate being told when it’s time to move on if a vehicle has reached a point that it has lost its value a needs major work. We feel it is our responsibility to offer the information and not just keep taking the money for more repairs that don’t make sense. We often hear clients say “I can’t afford a new car!”, but our answer to that is “you can’t afford this one!” Pouring money into a used-up vehicle never ends well and can keep you from affording a newer one that reliably meets your needs.  When people who are not existing clients call us with challenged vehicles and no option but to patching things together, we try to refer them to honest, competent shops that will take on the challenge.

We continue to support older vehicles for EXISTING clients!

While systematic, scheduled maintenance can extend your vehicle’s lifetime for many years, eventually entropy will make it too expensive to make the vehicle safe and reliable.   If that’s true, then why do we continue working on older vehicles for our existing clients?  Because keeping up on vehicle maintenance is what puts off the day your vehicle gets retired. Many of our longtime clients have vehicles with high mileage or are much older than 15 years, but we’ve been maintaining them for many years.  We’ve addressed problems as they happened, keeping minor issues from becoming major ones.  We know the vehicle, and we know the client.  When problems do inevitably arise, we know the condition of the vehicle and the client’s goals so we know if it makes sense to do the repair.  And most importantly, when the vehicle does reach the point of unviability, our clients will trust our motives when we recommend they move on.  In short, we work on existing clients’ older vehicles because we built a relationship that allows it. These clients know us, we know them, and we know they will take responsibility for their vehicles.

Because most people are rightly suspicious when they try a new shop, we do everything we can to earn their trust and provide peace of mind service. However, years of experience has shown us how difficult it is to build new trusting relationships centered on older, often challenged, vehicles.  Our business is not designed to just to fix stuff when it breaks and send you on your way, even though we do that part very well.  We’re here to be your driving resource, your automotive concierge, building a relationship you can rely on for many years to come.  Our new client policy might feel unfair or inconvenient sometimes, but we think it’s the best way for us to ensure we will be here for all of our established clients in the future.

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Charity Begins At Home… But Wise Giving Begins With Research http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/feature-2/ http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/feature-2/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 19:18:20 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=17891 We proudly announced 2015’s First Quarterly Award winner from our Referral Reward Program this month, a group which coincidentally has ties to the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal.  It brought to mind a story we did couple years ago that’s … Continue reading

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WiseCharityRestOfNewsletterWe proudly announced 2015’s First Quarterly Award winner from our Referral Reward Program this month, a group which coincidentally has ties to the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal.  It brought to mind a story we did couple years ago that’s painfully relevant once again, a story about the effectiveness of charitable giving and how to avoid getting conned.   And ironically, it started with an email that was sort of a scam in itself…

We received a fascinating email a couple weeks ago.  You may think people working for charities are underpaid martyrs working selflessly for the causes they believe in, but “Think Before You Donate” tells a different story.  It describes five “bad” national charities and the salaries of their CEOs, which range from $375,000 to $2.3 million annually.  It then describes ten “good” national charities and the amount of donations that go to support their programs.  This is typically the kind of story we are all over… corruption, abuse, cynicism, all wrapped up in a tidy little package.  But things flowing through the InterTubes aren’t always what they seem, and a little investigation led to a slightly different story…

CharitiesAs it turns out, “Think Before You Donate” has been making the rounds of the Net for several years.  It is popular enough that it was examined by Snopes.com, the internet debunking site, as well as several other sources.  All the details are there if you want them, but here are the high points…

  • The overall evaluation was that the info was “mostly outdated and inaccurate”
  • The errors didn’t seem designed to falsely make a case one way or another.  Here’s a few to give you an idea…
    • UNICEF’s CEO’s yearly compensation was $472,891, not $1,200,000.  UNICEF’s efficiency is 91%, not the 14% cited in the email.  (More on efficiency ratings below)
    • Red Cross’ CEO compensation was $1,037,000, not the reported $561,000.
    • United Way’s CEO is compensated at $717,076, not $375,000.
    • The National Commander of the American legion receives around $50,000, considerably more than the $0 reported.
    • The Disabled American Veterans’ CEO received $323,252, again more than $0

They listed many more inconsistencies along those lines, but the gist of the email was to encourage people to support charities that put donations toward their basic cause and not to lavish compensation.  So how do you tell if the charity you want to support is spending your money responsibly?  Snopes went on to tell us about charitable efficiency ratings, which is the percentage of donations used to support program activities rather than organizational overhead.  There are several groups that make it their business to evaluate charitable efficiency…

And of course, there is someone out there watching the watchers.  If you want to know about the methodologies and effectiveness of the charitable ratings agencies themselves, click here or here.

The takeaway from all these rating agencies is that you should try to give to the groups that stretch your money the farthest, and these agencies can give you some guidance about which ones they are.  But we have a little more to add.  Instead of giving to big charitable groups, we recommend finding the small non-profit groups active in your community.  We try to seek some out in our annual Charitable Giving Calendar and Willamette Week has their annual Give Guide issue, but your friends and family may be even better sources.  Most of these small groups are too small to be rated by the charity watchdogs but you’ll have a good chance at seeing how the group works up-close, and won’t need to rely on a third party evaluation.  Also, most community groups operate on a shoestring budget with many of their personnel working free or cheap, so they may appreciate your donation more than the big guys.

The absolute best way to ensure your donation is used to its fullest potential is to donate your time, not your money, to causes you believe in.  Many groups actually need people more than cash, and if you work with a group you not only help them then, but you become an ambassador for the group in the larger community.  And in the end, this is the only way to be absolutely assured that 100% of your donation actually gets to the cause!

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Congratulations to Anne! http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/feature-3/ http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/feature-3/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 19:17:51 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=17892 A Longtime Client passes as amazing mileage milestone One of our longtime clients, Anne W., dropped in to see us a couple weeks ago. The reason? Her Toyota truck had just turned over an amazing 333,333 miles, and did it … Continue reading

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A Longtime Client passes as amazing mileage milestone

RestOfNewsletterOne of our longtime clients, Anne W., dropped in to see us a couple weeks ago. The reason? Her Toyota truck had just turned over an amazing 333,333 miles, and did it right in front of our shop! She bought the truck at 16,000 miles and we’ve been servicing it for the remaining 317,333 miles.  Anne said, “Thanks so much for the great service and care you’ve been providing for so many years.” Our pleasure, Anne, and congratulations!  We look forward to 444,444 with you!

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Drew’s Kitchen- Lemon Butter Dill Tilapia http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/17890/ http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/17890/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 19:16:58 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=17890 Last month Drew gave you an excellent burger recipe, so this month’s a little different.  When your neighbors are slaving away over hot grills to ingest red meat that will clog their arteries and kill them, you can laugh while … Continue reading

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Last month Drew gave you an excellent burger recipe, so this month’s a little different.  When your neighbors are slaving away over hot grills to ingest red meat that will clog their arteries and kill them, you can laugh while you cook inside in the air conditioning and eat healthy fish that only take 6 minutes…

Lemon Butter Dill Tilapia

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup Golden Dipt Lemon Butter Dill Sauce
  • 1 lb tilapia fillets

Preparation:

  • Melt butter in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Dip fish into flour; shake off excess
  • Cook 6 minutes or until golden brown and until fish flakes easily with a fork, turning once.
  • Remove to serving plate; keep warm. Reduce heat to low.
  • Stir sauce into skillet. Cook and stir until heated through.  Pour over fish.
  • Prep time 5 min, Cook time 6 min, serves 4.

The McCormick’s Lemon Butter Dill Sauce is available at just about any grocery store.

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Shop Talk- FREE Carwash Season and 2015’s First Quarterly Referral Reward Winner http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/17893/ http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/17893/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 19:16:08 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=17893 Car Wash Coupon Season is back! You’ve waited since fall for this… May in Portland doesn’t just mean the beginning of beautiful weather, it’s also the beginning of Car Wash Coupon Season at Tom Dwyer Automotive! The summer heat will soon … Continue reading

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Car Wash Coupon Season is back!

You’ve waited since fall for this… May in Portland doesn’t just mean the beginning of beautiful weather, it’s also the beginning of Car Wash Coupon Season at Tom Dwyer Automotive! The summer heat will soon turn our parking lot into a dust factory, so we offer free car washes to make up for it. Car Wash Coupon Season runs from May 15 until September 15. Sorry, but we only give out coupons for services exceeding $100 and not for oil changes or other minor services.  So why don’t we just wash your car here?  It’s one of the most common questions we get, so we’ll let Tom himself tell you why…

“Because we’re so close to the river, we (and the city) closely monitor our discharges.  If we washed more than 7 cars a week we’d have to install capture systems for every drop or risk damaging the environment.  We offer free coupons for WashMan because they’ve already made the investment to do the cleaning right without environmental damage.  Even just vacuuming cars presents problems.  Although we used to vacuum, we stopped out of respect for our client’s privacy.  You wouldn’t believe the things people leave in their cars, from fragile breakables to money to weapons.  There are also liability and damage issues that outweigh the benefits of a clean carpet.”

So that’s the story.  You can forget about washing your car for the summer, but only if you stop by to take advantage of our yearly blowout… CAR WASH COUPON SEASON!

Looking for our special offers?

Current Offer BannerWe publish our special offers or discounts in this Shop Talk column, but you don’t have to wait for our newsletter.   We created a page on our website with all our current offers in one spot so you’ll always know where to find them, and we’ll update the page whenever the offers change. Bookmark this page now, and you’ll always be a click away from savings! In the meantime, here’s one discount we have right now…

Have your A/C repaired and we’ll waive the A/C diagnostic charges!

You shouldn’t wait for summer to get your vehicle in shape! If you’re experiencing any issues with your vehicle’s air conditioning then bring it in NOW for diagnosis. Have the repair done and we’ll WAIVE the diagnostic charges (up to $100).

Schedule your vehicle for service before June 8, 2015

Maximum discount $100.  Not combinable with other offers.  YOU MUST MENTION THIS OFFER WHEN YOU SCHEDULE YOUR VEHICLE FOR SERVICE!

 

Referral Reward Program- 2015’s First Quarterly Award!

Year two of our Referral Reward program is off to a great start.  As a quick reminder, Referral Reward is our way to say thanks for the generous referrals our clients give to their families, friends, and co-workers.  Every time a new client gives your name as a referral source, we make a donation in your name to the non-profit group or charity of your choice.  It’s a win-win for everyone involved, and so far in 2015 we’ve made donations to 37 groups for a total of just under $1,100.  Here are the groups our clients chose in April…

Mercy Corps          The Breast Cancer Society          Make a Wish          Red Cross

Northwest Pilot Project          Oregon Cultural Trust          Medical Teams International

Oregon Food Bank (2)          Protect Our Winters          Planned Parenthood

Not only did each of these groups receive a donation, each became eligible for quarterly and yearly awards as well.  Coincidently, May is when we give our first quarterly award of the year so without further ado we’d like to announce the winner of 2015’s first quarterly award, and winner of $200 is

Medical Teams International

We tend to prefer smaller, local charities for our quarterly and yearly awards, but with the devastating earthquake in Nepal still unfolding, groups like Medical Teams International need every dime of help they can get.  And the group does have an Oregon connection… not only is it currently based in Tigard, OR, but it was founded in 1979 by Ron Post, an Oregon businessman with no medical background.  Inspired by refugees fleeing the Khmer Rough into Thailand, Ron put together 2 dozen medical volunteers to bring supplies and medical care.  Less than a month later, he and his volunteers were doing the same in Cambodia’s killing fields, and they’ve never looked back.  Today MTI is active in over 30 countries including the US, and has programs in disaster response, mobile dentistry, community health, emergency medical services, medical supply distribution, and medical services and training.  And we bet they can still use YOUR help! Please contact MTI at 14150 SW Milton Court, Tigard, OR, 97224, call them at 503-624-1000 or 800-959-4325, or go by their website at www.MedicalTeams.org for detailed information on all their programs.

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Your reviews and referrals matter

AskForReviewButtonWe are constantly grateful for the supportive and loyal clients we have developed over the years.  Your comments and appreciation keep us on the right road to providing the superior automotive service you deserve.  Your reviews and referrals are not only the highest compliments we can receive, but they’re the lifeblood of our new business.  If you like what you’ve found at Tom Dwyer Automotive Services, please tell a friend or take a minute to write a review on YelpAngieslistGoogle, or the review site of your choice. Thank you!

Latest Automotive Recalls 

RecallListButtonAutomobiles are just like any other product; occasional flaws in manufacture or design can cause problems once they leave the factory.  When an issue is identified the manufacturers and government work hard to bring the vehicles back in for refit or repair, but not all recalls make the front pages.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a constantly updated list of recalls from every manufacturer.  The last month’s recalls are below, but clicking the button at right will take you to the full list at the NHTSA website.

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Health Notes- How to recharge your gut http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/17894/ http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/17894/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 19:15:45 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=17894 By Sarah Heidler Probiotics seem to be all the rage. In 2001, the World Health Organization defined of probiotics as “live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. Food companies are now putting … Continue reading

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By Sarah Heidler

Probiotics seem to be all the rage. In 2001, the World Health Organization defined of probiotics as “live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. Food companies are now putting them in everything from granola bars to juice and claiming wonderful health benefits ranging from maintaining psychological wellbeing to treating the common cold and everything in between. There are not always the peer reviewed rigorous studies to substantiate these claims, but that does not mitigate the fact that we need the micro-organisms that live in us, especially in our gut. Without them or with an insufficient amount of them, we become sick. My Aunt Lillian use to be one of those sick people.

Milk kefir is a great way to put these probiotics back where they belong.  Three years ago I posted on my Facebook page that I had to split my SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) that I had been making milk kefir with and wanted to know if anybody wanted any. My Aunt Lillian took me up on the offer, received her SCOBY in the mail, did a little research about how to treat it and was off making her own kefir in no time flat.

A long time sufferer from IBS and diverticulitis, my Aunt Lillian realized results in a very short period of time. She use to suffer from abdominal pain and bowel irregularities that could be so severe that it interfered with life, prevented her from going places and caused her much embarrassment. Since she started eating her kefir, she hasn’t struggled with either of her conditions. She no longer has pain in her gut and she can always make it to the bathroom in time.

I started making milk kefir because it’s very easy and inexpensive. I only had to purchase one starter (the SCOBY) that continues to grow, I don’t have to cook anything or keep it at a particular temperature. I basically add the SCOBY to milk and let it sit on the counter. That’s the scary part for many people because we are taught that leaving food out of the refrigerator is a health hazard. But, refrigeration slows fermentation. Additionally, kefir has more probiotics than yogurt. Kefir has10-20 different bacteria and yeasts and about 40 billion organisms per half cup, where as a typical yogurt will have 6 different bacteria with just 60 million organisms per half cup. (These statistics are for commercially produced products. Home made products typically have more.)

Milk kefir isn’t the only way to add a little needed life back into our food. Other fermented foods can deliver probiotics to your gut naturally, including miso, sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha, kimchi and even pickles (the old fashioned deli kind that are fermented).

Here are more resources if you’d like to dig deeper…

Cultures for Health sells SCOBYs for milk kefir and other fermentation products

Sandor Katz is the guru of fermentation. Check out his web site or pick up one of his books.

We have the movie “Mircrowarriors” available in our free lending library in the Tom Dwyer lobby.

 

 

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News To Make You Furious- Nothing makes us Furious. And you’ll agree! http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/news-to-make-you-furious-nothing-makes-us-furious-and-youll-agree/ http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/news-to-make-you-furious-nothing-makes-us-furious-and-youll-agree/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 19:15:36 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=18003 Most Americans have barely heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the gargantuan trade deal involving 12 Pacific-Rim nations and 40% of the world’s GDP.  That’s no accident… the treaty was negotiated in secret and the quislings in the Fourth Estate … Continue reading

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aaaFuriousNewsButtonMay 2015 NL Furious HeaderMost Americans have barely heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the gargantuan trade deal involving 12 Pacific-Rim nations and 40% of the world’s GDP.  That’s no accident… the treaty was negotiated in secret and the quislings in the Fourth Estate have given it almost no coverage.  The little we know about the deal so far comes from WikiLeaks, and it isn’t pretty.

Commonly called “NAFTA on steroids”, the TPP is being pushed by Corporations and Corporatists of every stripe and opposed by virtually every labor, environmental, and civil liberties group in existence. The 24 of its 29 sections that don’t deal with trade cover labor laws, human rights, environmental standards, financial regulation, internet freedom, food safety, and much, much more.  RestOfNewsletterThe TPP is an abomination that could keep this Furious column stocked for years to come, but even in this target-rich environment of disgust, there’s one thing that seemed to stand out to us.  We, and our representatives, know nothing about this massive societal restructuring first-hand.  Absolutely nothing.  And that makes us absolutely Furious…

As you listen to the debates over the next few weeks and months, pay attention to one major point… no one, NO ONE knows what they’re talking about!  As we said, the TPP has been negotiated in secret and that secrecy is still in place.  According to the USTR (US Trade Representative), “…the draft text of the TPP, circulated among TPP negotiating parties is classified per Executive Order 13,526”, an order relating primarily to national security information.

If you want to hear the details of the TPP, your only option is to be at a classified briefing for Congressional members, and you can’t bring your staff or cellphone.  If you actually want to read the text, it’s even worse.  For some inexplicable reason, the TPP text lives in the basement (yes, the actual damn basement) of the Capitol Visitor Center.  You must be a member of a relevant Congressional committee to see it (classified and secret clearances don’t count), and although you can’t have your staff present you will be accompanied by an escort who will watch over you while you read.  You will be handed the dense chunks of legalese one section at a time.  You still can’t have cellphones, and you will be forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving.  And again, because the deal is classified, you’ll prohibited by law from discussing the details of what you’ve read.

This is apparently fits in well with President Obama’s idea of the most transparent administration in US history.   “Every single one of the critics who I hear saying, ‘this is a secret deal,’ or send out emails to their fundraising base saying they’re working to prevent this secret deal, can walk over today and read the text of the agreement. There’s nothing secret about it.”

Elizabeth Warren, one of the many critics Obama was backhandedly referring to in that quote, has a different view of informed consent

“As a result of your administration’s decision, it is currently illegal for the press, experts, advocates, or the general public to review the text of this agreement. And while you noted that members of Congress may “walk over…and read the text of the agreement”—as we have done—you neglected to mention that we are prohibited by law from discussing the specifics of that text in public.

While experts, the public, and the press are not allowed to review the latest draft of the TPP, executives of the country’s biggest corporations and their lobbyists already have had significant opportunities not only to read it, but to shape its terms. The Administration’s 28 trade advisory committees on different aspects of the TPP have a combined 566 members, and 480 of those members, or 85%, are senior corporate executives or industry lobbyists. Many of the advisory committees—including those on chemicals and pharmaceuticals, textiles and clothing, and services and finance—are made up entirely of industry representatives.

The American people should be allowed to weigh in on the facts of the TPP before Members of Congress are asked to voluntarily reduce our ability to amend, shape, or block any trade deal.”

So that’s it.  Nothing.  When it comes to the TPP we know absolutely nothing.  Nothing, diddly, scratch, zero, zilch, zip, nada.  Doesn’t matter; our putative representatives are being strong-armed to pass it sight unseen.  And that makes us Furious.

Despite the pressure from the puppet masters behind our politicians, neither Fast Track nor the TPP it would enable are done deals.  There is backlash among the Democrats on the whole mess, and some critical votes may be wavering.  Please contact your representatives (Ron Wyden is particularly pivotal) and make YOUR opinion known!  Your voice could make a difference.  If you’re in Oregon, we have contact information for all our Federal and State representatives here.   Outside of Oregon you’re on your own, but this link is a good place to start. Don’t let your representatives hear “nothing” from you!

If direct contact isn’t for you, here’s a petition you may want to sign… “We demand the immediate release of the full text of the latest draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to members of Congress, their staff, and the American public, before Congress votes to Fast Track the TPP.”  Or maybe this one is better… “Vote no on “fast-track” authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. American jobs are too important to rush through another bad trade agreement.

Finally, if your fury has driven you to learn more, here are several sources for information on the TPP, the secrecy surrounding it, Fast Track authority, and more.  Dive in!

StopFastTrack.com is an excellent site with links to the hundreds of organizations opposing Fast Track.  If Facebook is more your speed, then check out ExposeTheTPP.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose, Elizabeth Warren in the Washington Post, Feb 2015

‘Incomprehensible’ Secrecy: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders Demands Release of Corporate-Friendly Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement Text, Global Research, Jan 2015

Oregon: Wyden Trying to Pull a Fast One on Fast Track, AFL-CIO NOW, May 2015

Two Senate Dems Challenge Obama: Release the TPP Text, George Zornick in The Nation, Apr 2015

How TPP Increases Corporate Power vs. Government — And Us, Dave Johnson on Common Dreams, Apr 2015

Obama’s Pacific Trade Deal Is No Deal At All, David Brodwin in US News and World Report, Apr 2013

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Sellwood Bridge Update- When will the Bridge be finished? http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/17895/ http://tomdwyer.com/2015/newsletters/17895/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 19:15:26 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=17895 The Sellwood Bridge Construction has been a fascinating project to watch from our front-row seat, but we’re like everyone else… the only real question we have on it is WHEN WILL IT END?  While no one can give an exact … Continue reading

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The Sellwood Bridge Construction has been a fascinating project to watch from our front-row seat, but we’re like everyone else… the only real question we have on it is WHEN WILL IT END?  While no one can give an exact date, traffic is expected to be flowing on the NEW bridge in January 2016 and the last guy with a hardhat should be leaving by Thanksgiving.  Of course, the reason no one can be exact on the date is that like any construction project, the bridge rebuild works on completed tasks and not calendar milestones.  This article from the Oregonian will tell you the County’s to-do list before the Bridge is ready for use.-783193e63d0e6dfe

There may be a long way to go to the finish line, but the design of the new Sellwood Bridge is beginning to come into focus.  The steel arches are up now, and this article from the Sellwood Bee will give you a little more detail on them.

As always, Multnomah County maintains the definitive website on everything related to the Sellwood Bridge Replacement project, www.sellwoodbridge.org.  Construction and closure alerts, archived information, and other resources are all available 24/7 for your convenience.  If you’re looking for something that’s not on the website, you can contact Mike Pullen (mike.j.pullen@multco.us503-209-4111) or visit www.sellwoodbridge.org.

 

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