Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Morning, friends! It’s time we shake off the rain like a big wet dog, and plunge into Wednesday, September 11, 2019. Say, it looks like we get a two-day break from the rain! The National Weather Service reports that “Wednesday and Thursday will be dry with slight warming. Rain is expected to return on Friday, with cooler and moister weather into next week.” High today 75, and high tomorrow 80. That ‘ll feel good! Sunrise 6:44 AM, and sunset tonight is at 7:29 PM. Mama’s working late? Flip on the porch light!

September 11 comments at the close.

Salem, you doing okay? Stayton, Lyons, Sublimity? Radar was ferocious over your towns during the afternoon commute, the Statesman-Journal web site was talking about high water and flash flooding, and Mark Nelsen says there were 44 lightning strikes there, while I was out walking and listening to PDX air traffic control steering jets around your bouncy skies. Portland and the suburbs got it too, for sure, earlier in the day as all the comments in the various Drip threads attest. Water got into through the roof of my kids’ old elementary school, River Grove, and some ceiling tiles came raining down. No kids were in the room. The deluge flooded out the box office at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall just hours before an appearance by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. So ticket sales were moved a few blocks away to the higher and drier Keller Auditorium, where Deep Purple was sound-checking for a show. Hey, they’ve seen water. It even had smoke on it.

Those amber waves of Northwest grain are going nowhere fast as a damaged downstream lock-in Bonneville Dam has halted river traffic, bottling up barges loaded with soft white wheat bound for markets in Asia. The Army Corps of Engineers is working hard to fix it–they have to demolish and replace a concrete sill–but their latest update does not include an ETA.

In the poker game of contract bargaining, the grocery workers’ UFCW Local 555 has upped the ante. Earlier, the union had canceled Freddy Meyer checker contracts. And now, “Due to Fred Meyer’s member intimidation, corporate overreaching, and unfair labor practices, the Union has determined that it is now necessary to cancel all remaining contracts for Kroger companies (including Fred Meyer and QFC)…Further information on Union actions and requests for public support will be forthcoming on September 22nd after the remaining cancellations take effect.” Meantime, Freddy and Co. is holding job fairs and advertising for temporary employees at $15/ hr (but not including benefits) in the event of a walkout. Both sides say a strike is a last resort, which they’d all like to avoid.

Speaking of job openings! With Christmas coming, Target is hiring more than 130,000 people ahead of the holiday season, up 8% from last year.

And! Ever dreamed of being a snowplow driver? ODOT’s putting out a call for “Highway Heroes to “join our team & make a difference for travelers this winter.”

The Pendleton Round-Up gets underway today. Let ‘er buck! Him too!

A trio of famous Oregon birthdays today: former Sen. Bob Packwood, a self-inflicted early recipient of the #metoo treatment, turns 87; OSU baseball great Jacoby Ellsbury is 36; he’s on the 60-day injured list as a Yankees center fielder but I don’t think he’s played in two years; and the late Jack Ely was born this day in 1943. As a Portland teenager, he warbled out “Louie Louie” with his garage band the Kingsmen, the most famous vocal performance in Portland history.

****
Something good, no? Yes! Links here.

–“These two toddlers’ heartwarming reaction to spotting each other on the street will make your day.”

–“Sleeping with your dog in the room can improve your health, new study finds”

–“Astronauts mix cement on ISS, pave way for future space colonies”

–“ICU Nurse Donates Part of Her Liver to 8-Year-Old Wisconsin Boy: ‘She Saved His Life,’ Says Dad”

–“New research provides hope for people living with chronic pain”

*****

OK, some September 11 thoughts, and you’re invited to share yours.

The bell is tolling for the reading of names at Ground Zero, as it always does when this date rolls around, but it tolls as well in firehouses and town halls from coast to coast. The moments of silence and sounding of chimes are timed to coincide with most terrible blows of that profoundly awful day. Local example: at Cowlitz Fire and Rescue in Kelso, the instants when each jet, packed with humanity, roared into the side of a skyscraper, also packed with humanity, and then the moments when those towers crashed to the ground, are honored in a ceremony that was initiated by local high school fire cadets. And the centerpiece of that Kelso ceremony is a steel artifact from the World Trade Center itself, released by the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, one of 1,000 such precious relics that are part of memorials today throughout the United States.

What’s different this year is a recognition of the price being paid even now by the selfless first responders who survived the ordeal–unlike so many others–but whose exposure to that toxic hell wrecked their health. More police officers have died of 9/11-related cancers since that day than died in on September 11th itself. Good work by social commentator Jon Stewart, who shamed Congress into taking action that will help these men and women, for whom we give thanks.

September 11. Our generation’s date of infamy. Nobody younger than a high school senior was even alive on that catastrophic morning; all they have are YouTube videos, conspiracy suspicions–and no memory of all at how absolutely united this country was for one brief, scary, shining moment, with the whole civilized world behind us. We keep intoning “Never Forget”–but judging by how ripped asunder this country is now, with political violence coming from the extremes, it feels like we already have. My fervent prayer is that we can get it back someday–without going through the hell we endured together eighteen years ago today.

Let’s live for September 11, 2019, and make it the best day ever!

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