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Friends and Lovers: Prineville welcomes Facebook with open arms and pockets, a Supreme reversal and more! 

The author has been sent on the road to discover a lost country formerly known as America. He is reporting from President Obama's State of the Union Address, offering hope in the form of hankies to Democrats - on assignment for and The Source Weekly.

This Isn't Fake News

Governor Ted Kulongoski didn't bother to show up as Facebook announced last Thursday that it will build its latest data center in Prineville. Seriously, we aren't making this up: The 124-acre site (which Facebook reportedly settled on because of local climate conditions and generous tax breaks from Prineville and the state of Oregon) will soon harvest and house all of our data for resale to compassionate corporations (err, "all Americans" - see below story), and cost an estimated $188 million, with company site spokesman Tom Furlong saying, "We are very excited to be able to put it in Prineville." Again, this is actually happening - in Prineville! Creating 200 jobs during its year-long construction and employing 35 full-time workers and "dozens more part-time and contract employees" (quoting the press release) afterward, the data center will surely confuse local cowboys and livestock rustlers, yet diversify Prineville's exports/imports from manufacturing then recycling rubber tires. Until Facebook is replaced by another impossibly unprofitable Internet company, and then the data center will be abandoned, much like Bend's big plans for similar business booms, like Juniper Ridge (remember that mess?), La Pine's efforts to corner the Meth market, and Redmond's claim as having the most used car lots on a single road.

"All Americans" Now Have a Voice

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Activist Judges unite! Finally the true nature of American capitalism was revealed last week when the Supreme Court single-handedly (albeit in a 5-4 decision) ruled that corporations have the same rights as actual citizens and will have no restrictions on "independent spending." Hurray! Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority, "The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves." Essentially, this means that corporations (who have no vested interest in environmental and economic policies whatsoever) and labor unions (who haven't helped labor in decades) can now spend freely for and against candidates right up to Election Day. In response, President Obama scowled and said, "It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans." While debate rages over the long-term consequences - will Republicans and Democrats be outspent and replaced by Independents (The Horror!) sending Ronald McDonald and that creepy greeter guy from Wal-Mart to the Senate - Theodore Olson, who sold his soul to represent the conservative (and creatively named) group Citizens United to successfully argue the case before the Supreme Court, framed it perfectly, "The Supreme Court's decision today is a victory for the First Amendment and the right of all Americans to participate in the political process." You heard him right: "all Americans" - take your ticket and stand in line, vote Exxon-Mobil and get a free corndog... In related news, an Exxon-Mobil tanker ran into a barge in Houston this week, spilling nearly 500,000 gallons of oil and endangering nearby wildlife refuges. Don't tell anyone, though, Exxon-Mobil is just another American and, hey, we all goof.

Other Stuff Sure to Constipate

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More than a dozen donor countries met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.N., I.M.F., World Bank, EU and other cannibalistic organizations to discuss the rebuilding of Haiti; of course no one bothered to invite any Haitians because, well, just look at that place - even before the earthquake. Late Saddam Hussein's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majeed (AKA "Chemical Ali"), was hung on Monday, becoming yet another person not named Cheney or Bush sentenced to death for war crimes after we invaded Iraq by using fabricated evidence. Hoping to replace disgraced yet sexy Governor Mark Sanford, South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer compared people on government assistance to "stray animals" that breed and "don't know any better." - Much like Republicans who talk and can't help but offend.

Almost Celebrity News

Andy Dick (sometimes known as a "comedian") was arrested this weekend for sexual abuse in West Virginia (where else?), adding two felony counts to his current probation for pleading guilty to battery (originally sexual assault, after pulling down a teenager's top in California) in 2008. Portland's most famous skater and knee-basher, Tonya Harding, has competition in the news from her former nemesis - Nancy Kerrigan (the victim) now has her brother Mark charged with assault and battery for beating her father, Daniel Kerrigan (who later died), because dad wouldn't let son use the phone. Oh, and some guy named Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the underwear bomber on Christmas and promised more attacks on the U.S. - We don't know who this Osama guy is because our current and former president stopped mentioning him.

Ticketmaster Always Wins

Corporate lawyers and anti-trust regulators call the merger between concert ticketing juggernaut Ticketmaster and concert promoter Live Nation a vertical integration. Another word for it is monopoly, but that's exactly what federal regulators signed off on this week when they O.K.'d the Ticketmaster Live Nation marriage. Not to worry though, say federal regulators who assured us that everyone is going to play by the rules and that we'll all come out winners. So when you're shelling out $250 for your Springsteen ticket and another $35 in "convenience" fees next summer you can rest assured, it's all the up and up. Next week, federal regulators will decide if Halliburton gets your kid's school lunch contract - though McDonald's has filed an objection in that case.


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