Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hello there, Dripsters, visitors, and those who’ve found the secret beta site! It’s Tuesday, October 10, 2017. You can tell it’s fall when you turn the porch light on for the kids coming home from practice. The weather is taking a bend toward the dark times as well, with rain arriving around lunch, maybe, and highs of 60. We didn’t get anywhere close to 70 yesterday, as they were promising on TV. Just 66. Soon that will seem the epitome of balm. We’ll get snow on the passes tomorrow. Sunrise 7:20 AM, sunset 6:33 PM

Some findings from KGW’s excellent “Tent City USA” investigative report, and props to The Ocho for doing the work: A near-unanimous majority of people living in tents–89%, in fact–say that if they had a choice between a tent and a shelter, a tent is where they want to be. And: most of the tent people are not new to Portland, as we imagine. And: tent-dwelling is a fairly new phenomenon: 37% of the 100 campers who filled out KGW’s questionnaire had been sheltering that way for a year or less. Seems like Mayor Charlie Hales’ tent amnesty backfired. Also, and this breaks my heart, a lot of the campers are mature adults whose grown kids have no idea that’s how they’re living.

Out of the blue we learn that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will drop into McMinnville High School on Wednesday. She’s not coming to give a speech, but is here specifically to check out the school’s Engineering and Aerospace Science Academy. McMinnville HS Principal Tony Vicknair, as a professional public educator, owns up to mixed feelings, and protests are quickly organizing, but Vicknair made this point on the school’s Facebook page: When our students walk across the stage, they must be able to have a civil discussion with those they disagree with, “honor and evaluate multiple perspectives,” and in the end, let “evidence and logic” rule the day. Keep an open mind. Let it all hang out.

The Diablo winds are blowing an apocalyptic firestorm across hundreds of thousands of acres in the California wine country. So far ten people have been killed and 100 injured, but we’re finding out that in these suddenly frequent extreme events, early numbers are unreliable. Thousands of homes and commercial buildings are gone. A large chunk of Santa Rosa is evacuated, and the fire’s hit the Hilton, the Trader Joes, the Luther Bank concert hall. The town of Redwood Valley was caught off-guard, with no time to evacuate; the number of people trapped in their homes is unknown. Hundreds of people in the wine country are in hospitals with burns and smoke inhalation. Some hospitals have been evacuated, with patients being rolled out on gurneys against a hellish background of smoke and flame. Explosions are heard few five minutes; those are gas lines blowing up. Sometimes ammunition. The fate of the animals in a small zoo is unknown. Employees at hilltop wineries were plucked from the vineyards by helicopter. Cannabis growers will see their crop go up in smoke.

San Francisco, in the meantime, is checking the same EPA air quality web site that you and I consulted during the worst of the fire in the Columbia Gorge. It’s ranged from yellow to purple; moderate to very unhealthy. And Bay Area folks, as we did a month ago, are waking up to find ash on their cars.

To the south, the Santa Ana’s are whipping wildfires in the Anaheim Hills as well, casting the southern California skies an ominous orange.

The head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt from the oil-and-gas state of Oklahoma, and a nonbeliever in the science of climate change, today will nullify the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which imposed strict limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Pruitt says “The war on coal is over.”

Meantime, from the Trump twitter account this morning: “Since Congress can’t get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people – FAST.”

Late yesterday the Attorney General of Washington filed suit against the administration’s rollback of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that health insurance plans cover birth control. The Trump travel ban hits the Supreme Court today. Oregon and Washington are among the states hoping to shoot it down.

Portland’s pristinish Bull Run water just had another sample test positive for Cryptosporidium. Until early this year, we’d gone years without a trace. The microorganism can cause disease, which is why the city is planning to spend half a billion for a filtration plant. The Water Bureau is confident that Bull Run water is safe to drink, but if someone in the family has a badly compromised immune system, they really should check with the doc.

Vancouver police are initiating a crackdown on the common practice of licensing cars in Oregon, because it’s cheaper. They say that as many as one in ten do it. The strategy begins with volunteers patrolling neighborhoods and planting helpful leaflets on windshields of cars with suspicious tags–and subsequent followup by the PD.

A wrong-way collision on I-5 near Salmon Creek took a life last night.

A dump truck, rumbling the streets of Cornelius with the bed sticking up in the air, took out five utility poles.

What kind of a college football program parts ways with a coach before the World Series even begins? One that’s hit bottom; it can only get better for Oregon State.

American Jazz pianist Thelonious Monk was born 100 years ago today. Highly original and hugely influential talent (idolized by John Coltrane, for one) with weird gifts–like playing different dynamics with each finger–forte with one, pianissimo with another; and he’d intentionally drop notes out of chords, like the third and the fifth from a major seventh…so what remained was a chord that sounded dissonant and yet exactly right at the same time. That, plus his strange behavior, like getting up from the piano and dancing in the middle of a song, or wandering away altogether, were chalked up to drugs; but not the illegal kind. Biographers learned they were medications crudely prescribed for a condition not yet understood–probably bipolarism.

Today is Leif Erikson Day, commemorating the Norse explorer’s landing on the northern tip of Newfoundland in about 1000 AD, perhaps the first European to arrive in the New World, though some other guys who were blown off course may have beaten him to the punch, or mead, in their case. Whatever those guys did over here didn’t stick the way Columbus did. There is a statue of Erikson in Reykjavik. There’s another Erickson who’s similarly motionless right now, but I’d better get it in gear and roll into the radio station for another morning’s merriment on the mighty 103, with half an eye on what’s happening right here on the DD!

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