Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Well, we’re certainly reeling in the year, aren’t we? It’s already the 20th of February, Wednesday of the week, and day fifty-one of the year 20-hey-19! It snowed like crazy in the Cascades last night, and winter weather advisories are flying until 4 PM today above 1500 feet. Down here in Soggytown, we’ll dash in and out between showers, which should taper off late in the day, with highs of 45. Sunrise 7:04 AM Sunset 5:44 PM We’re gaining 15 minutes of daylight this week, compared to 12 last week. Come on, Spring!

Two former interns at the Oregon Capitol are suing for 6.7 million dollars after they were subjected to ex-Sen. Jeff Kruse’s creepy hovering and hugging and suggestive talk that everyone seemed to know was happening, yet did nothing. Kruse’s habit of lighting up cigarettes indoors whenever he pleased got him kicked off committees, and had his door stripped off; that was an apparently bigger problem to Senate President Courtney than Kruse’s habit of draping himself around every young and/or attractive woman in the building. Kruse continues to deny it all to the Roseburg News-Review: “Once again in a world where it’s he said against she said, she always wins.” He said. But she is being heard. Plaintiff Annie Montgomery is a tough young woman, a licensed Alaska fishing boat captain and, at the time, a U of O law student, who landed an internship that put her in the office of Kruse, who got huggy right away. She said it happened all the time, even in front of elected officials. She told KGW’s Laurel Porter that she felt like a live chicken being thrown into an alligator swamp. There are bills to bring change in a culture that blinks at behavior, and everybody from Courtney on down swears that things will be different.

The blowback continues over the chatty texts between a Portland police commander and a right-wing agitator: now the police commanding officers union has filed a grievance against the city, pointing to a contract provision that says any reprimand should be handled in a way “least likely to embarrass” the officer in public. Mayor Ted Wheeler and other commissioners have been outspoken in his public condemnation of the texts.

Today the Portland City Council could streamline the process for foreclosing on abandoned properties–making it easier to address “zombie homes” that plague local neighborhoods with squatters, crime, and fire danger.

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It’s Exclusion Day in Oregon. If you haven’t had your shots, go home! (Really, under state law, by today “all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified child care facilities must have up-to-date documentation on their immunizations, or have an exemption”).

Cities from Omaha and Des Moines to DC and Baltimore are under a winter storm warning, and this is unusual: winds at jet stream level have been among the highest on record. A Virgin Atlantic flight from Los Angeles to London Monday night was hastened by a tailwind that carried it over central Pennsylvania at speeds as high as 801 mph–apparently the fastest a Boeing 787 Dreamliner has ever flown.

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Governor Victor Atiyeh was born this day in 1923. The fiscally-conservative son of Syrian immigrants who came through Ellis Island in 1898, he was Oregon’s last Republican governor to date, serving two terms from 1979 to 1987. And a very kind gentleman.

This was the day in 1962, students at the time all assembled in the gym to watch the black and white TV coverage of a space launch that would catch us up with the Russians, with John Glenn blasting off from Cape Canaveral and aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft on the first orbital flight by an American astronaut. It was a relief; Russia had been beating us for years with Sputnik and then with Yuri Gagarin, and threats of nuclear annihilation. But with Glenn in space and a new young president in the White House, the nation, for the moment, was in a pretty good mood.

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Something good.

–“He wanted to make sure no one was left out on Valentine’s Day, so California teen makes chocolate roses for every girl in school.”

–“Brilliant idea saves mom and daughter from crashing into a river”

–“Found: Two of the Quarries Responsible for the Megaliths of Stonehenge”

–“Burrowing owls and other rare species have found a home near LAX and are thriving”

–“An Italian Town Fell Silent So The Sounds Of A Stradivarius Could Be Preserved”

Details in the Coffee Cup!

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Today would have been Walter Becker’s 69th birthday. Some critics hate Steely Dan; it makes me love them more. One guy in Billboard characterized their music as “antiseptic, whitewashed, downright creepy,” designed for “balding-ponytailed midlife-crisis guys.” But what is it, exactly, turns you off? Anyway, happy birthday to one of the Dan’s smartass genius founders; thanks for the music, and Donald Fagan, I hope you keep taking the same medicine as Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

And today would have been Kurt Cobain’s 52nd birthday. One of the many wonderful things about having teens in the 1990s is that they insisted on listening to their radio stations in the car, not mine, and so I heard a lot of Nirvana, and G&R. And it grew on me. I still sing along whenever an instrumental version of “Teen Spirit” plays on the overhead speakers at Safeway. “With the lights out, it’s less dangerous / Here we are now, entertain us / I feel stupid and contagious / Here we are now, entertain us.” My kids still roll their eyes.

We have a few days off, all of us on the K103 morning show, and I’m happy for the chance to recharge. But I’ll start something here to find out what everyone’s up to, and we’ll be back officially on Tuesday.

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