Friday, January 4, 2019

Howdy all, and welcome to the first Friday of the new year! Today is January 4, 2019, and your sure-fire, can’t-miss Daily Drip Forecast for Portland is rain, and highs of 50. Same for the weekend. There’s a Winter Weather Advisory posted for the Cascades, where up to a foot may fluff the terrain above 3500 feet by this morning. And gale warnings are just now expiring for the Coast, but waves have been peaking at 20 feet or more, just as the crab boats head out to haul up their pots fully of buttery Dungeness goodness. Sunrise 7:50 AM, sunset 4:40 PM. Daylight gain today: 1:04.

The Oregon State Capitol is branded a “hostile workplace” in a scorching state investigation into sexual harassment of female staff members, interns, lobbyists, and lawmakers themselves. The report by the Bureau of Labor and Industries says leaders haven’t done anywhere near enough to curb such behavior, and although the most prominent alleged offender, Sen. Jeff Kruse, is long gone, hard feelings endure over the dismissive treatment accorded by leadership to his main accuser, Sen. Sara Gelser.

Portland was pretty much stunned by the resignation of Fire Chief Mike Myers, just a day after he posed for photos with his new boss, City Council member Jo An Hardesty, wearing a fire hat because she’s Fire Commissioner. Nobody here knew his plans, but he’s moving to the coast, to join his wife who’s already there, and has already lined up a job as Emergency Manager for Cannon Beach, where you can bet their tsunami plan is in for an overhaul. He’s well thought of for running a first-rate fire department, and for the compassionate touch he brought to making sure that firefighters are trained to handle people experiencing mental health emergencies and drug overdoses, as well as battling fires.

It’s Day 14 of the federal shutdown over the border wall that President Trump insists on in order to satisfy his increasingly restless supporters. They elected him on the wall promise, and they know he hasn’t delivered. Last night the newly-blue House passed a bill to re-open the government that pointedly omits any border wall, but that bill’s going nowhere in the Senate. Observers say the solution lies in something where the president saves face, and whoever can figure out how to do that will be the one who ends the shutdown. Maybe create a Wall Force like the Space Force that he can point to. Meantime, it seems like we’ve been nonchalant about the shutdown’s impacts, but they’ll grow more obvious as tax season approaches–with many new wrinkles in the tax law that the IRS won’t be staffed to answer. And as hundreds of thousands of Americans go without paychecks.

We get the December job numbers this morning, as unemployment remains at a five-decade low. But the stock market is struggling, Apple stock is in a deep swoon, and there’s fear of a coming worldwide slowdown.

****
No idea what this guy’s problem was, but a strong 38-year old in a black T-shirt walked into traffic I-5 in Woodburn and started pounding on car windows demanding to be let in. He was soon arrested by Oregon State Police (with help from ‘the public,” and we need to thank whoever pitched in and helped the egregiously undermanned OSP), and identified as Vyacheslav Burlachenko of Salem.

Governor Kate Brown has signed on to the push to lower Oregon’s blood alcohol DUI standard to .05%, from the current .08. Which itself was lowered from .08 in 1983. There’ll be a fight over this, with the restaurant industry saying that it’s overkill, criminalizing light drinkers while ignoring the much heavier consumers who cause the most crashes. But the CDC says a 160-pound man needs three beers in an hour to reach .05. Let’s hear out the facts, and err on the side of caution.

Oregon pot growers harvested a bumper crop of over a million pounds in 2018. That’s way more than demand. It’s pushing prices down, and encouraging black market sales out of state–exactly what legalizing marijuana was supposed to prevent.

The networks are picking up the story of the Portland man–ABC calls him “a fast food connoisseur”– who’s suing Burger King for not giving him the free-burgers-for-life he claims to have been promised, as compensation for being locked in the Wood Village BK bathroom for an hour.

****

NFL playoffs begin with the wildcards this weekend, and plenty of watch parties in our corner of the country tomorrow night. Here’s the sked:

Saturday: Indianapolis at Houston, 1:30 PM ABC
Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys, 5:15 Saturday. FOX

Sunday: LA Chargers at Baltimore, 10 AM CBS
Philadelphia at Chicago, 1:30, NBC

The Blazers host Oklahoma City tonight, and the Houston Rockets tomorrow night, at the Moda Center.

Big loss for the Oregon Ducks men’s basketball team as freshman phenom Bol Bol…son of NBA giant Manute Bol…has had surgery for a broken foot, and has declared his Ducks basketball career over after just 9 games. He’ll spend the year rehabbing and go out for the NBA.

********

And good morning to the folks who skip right to the good stuff! Here are some headlines, attached to the full stories linked in the Coffee Cup logo dealie at the top of the comments, below.

–“Little library concept transformed into mini food pantries for local families”

–“Minnesota woman donates kidney to ex-husband twenty years after divorce”

–“Cat missing for five years reunited with ‘elated’ family”

–“Cruise Ship Reroutes Due To Weather And Rescues Two Sailors Stranded At Sea For 20 Days”

–“As Light Pollution Spreads, U.S. National Parks Become Stargazing Sanctuaries”

*********

Time to splash out into this Friday! Big weekend plans? Tree takedown party? Football watching? Enjoy and be safe!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s