Friday, February 16, 2018

Good morning! I don’t know how…but we have made it to a Friday. February 16, 2018, and never has a three-day weekend looked so good! Wait…check that…the weather may hit the downhill, as the gnomes of winter arise from slumber and try work some mischief. Today and tomorrow are both rainy with 50 degrees high, but then we get hit by a breakaway slab of the Polar Vortex on Sunday that brings possible snow down to 1000 feet and maybe all the way down to sea level. The timing is uncertain, and amounts may be light to nonexistent, but we need to be on the weather watch. Sunrise today is at 7:10 AM, and sunset at 5:39 PM.

It’s Lunar New Year. Happy Year of the Dog! We’re panting for a fresh start.

Last year’s Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia Gorge is back on the front burner today as the 15-year old accused of tossing the firecracker that enraged the populace goes to court in Hood River. It’s open to all (but not your electronic devices) at 9 AM in Courtroom 1 of the Hood River County Courthouse. There’s likely to be a plea agreement, and if so, we’ll finally learn the boy’s consequences. My prediction: probation, community service, and restitution, to be paid at a rate that will never come close to the damage he caused. I hope he or his family have something to say to the public, today.

We’re in the candlelight vigil stage of the latest mass shooting, as the various sides have retreated to their talking points. Talk radio is blaming the FBI probe of Russian meddling in the election for the fact that the local Florida bureau has no record of the killer despite red flags being raised. But he bought the murder weapon legally about a year ago; he was 18, passed an FBI criminal background check, and had not been adjudicated as mentally ill. That gun, by the way, was illegal between 1994 and 2004, and then the federal ban on assault weapons was allowed by Congress to expire. Calls for action on that front are coming surprisingly from Ruper Murdoch’s New York Post (today’s headline: “Mr. President, please act. We need sensible gun control to stop the next shooter”) to students at the Florida high school itself (“We’re children. You guys are adults. Play a role. Come over your politics and get something done”).

With gun violence raw on the minds of many, the Oregon House has passed and sent to the Senate a bill outlawing gun ownership by people convicted of domestic violence or stalking, and those who have a restraining order against them. Most but all Democrats voted yes, and most but not all Republicans voted no, under heavy lobbying from the NRA. One who voted yes was Knute Buehler–the Republican frontrunner to oppose Gov. Kate Brown in November. Bipartisan support is needed for the bill to pass the Senate.

Efforts to help the Dreamers are in trouble. A bipartisan compromise collapsed in the Senate under heavy headwinds from 1600. So it comes down to the courts: two federal judges have blocked the president from ending the program, and the White House is asking the Supreme Court directly for a review, and we may learn something today.

The state is thinking of banning alcohol on the Sauvie Island beaches–including the one where people sun themselves in the suit that the good Lord gave them. When it gets hot in the summer, the crowds are cheek to jowl; add in a bunch of Bud Light and boxed Chardonnay, and that’s a good time. I mean, trouble.

Portland is getting ready to require the seismic retrofitting of more than a thousand unreinforced masonry buildings, which an earthquake can turn into a mountain of spilled bricks.

Some people and businesses on the Portland subReddit report being menaced by a group of about 20 teenagers in the Gateway area.

There’s been a rash of car break-ins in Happy Valley, involving mostly unlocked cars with valuables in plain sight. Somebody oughta leave a package on a passenger seat and set a small mousetrap in it.

“Adrenaline Peak” is the name just announced for Portland’s new roller coaster at Oaks Park. Sounds promising! You first. Takes you upside down three times.

Tonight is the 70th anniversary of the evening network news. It was this night in 1948 that NBC launched “The Camel Newsreel Theatre,” which consisted of Fox Movietone newsreels, hosted by Bill O’Reilly (not o’really).

Headlines for a heavy heart!

–“An experimental treatment completely reversed Alzheimer’s disease in mice by reducing the levels of a single enzyme in the animals’ brains.” (Details in Newsweek. If you copy and paste that headline in a search window, the story will pop up).

–“Canadian couple who lost everything in last year’s Alberta wildfire wins $1 million lottery”

–“Italy’s country doctor makes house calls on horseback.”

–“Lonely Library Dog Now Has Many Wanting To Read Him A Story”

–“‘Butt Lady Of Auburn’ Picks Up 1 Million Cigarette Butts”

–“Zebra stands guard at Oregon goat ranch.” Oh, wait that’s the security cop in the K103 parking lot.

Long week. Things got chippy on the Daily Drip comment thread yesterday, and it didn’t help that I sleepily and accidentally deleted the entire DD from yesterday, so a few people thought they’d been booted. Glad to say that didn’t happen because I hate having to do that. Meantime I think my little rear-ender on 213 (on 2/13!) made a sore knee sorer, because I’m limping around. I hereby award us all a three-day weekend so we can celebrate the President.

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