Surprise! Vote on Terrible ACA Replacement Delayed Because No One Likes it

This is the future liberals want.
This is the future liberals want. GETTY / FATCAMERA

So much for the "president's" "promise" to get this done on Day 1. Looks like the GOP's proposed plan to take out the parts of Obamacare that actually work and defund Planned Parenthood while they're at it won't be getting a vote today after all.

Here is Slate. Please click through to see a special photograph I bet the "president" HATES:


The House will not vote on the American Health Care Act on Thursday as planned, Republican leaders have decided. The Republicans' Obamacare replacement bill, depending on whose tally you're using, is still somewhere between four and 15 votes short of being able to pass. (It's not expected to get any Democratic votes.)

Donald Trump met Thursday with the hard-line Freedom Caucus but was apparently not able to persuade enough of its members to get on board—or offer them enough concessions on issues like "essential benefits" and spending—to salvage the bill in anything like its current state.

At the time that the vote was being scuttled—I am not making this up—Trump was playing around and pretending to drive a semitruck in the White House driveway.

Your "commander in chief," everybody!

Meanwhile, the NY Times reports that little boy in a too-big suit Paul Ryan was SUPPOSED to appear before reporters today, but that's also been delayed.

And thus, the GOP lives out the moral I heard trotted out a lot in postmortems of Hillary Clinton's failed—and increasingly, it looks like, sabotaged—campaign: It's not enough to say something is bad. You need to offer an alternative.

The AHCA isn't an alternative. It's a joke in policy form. And not a very funny one either.


TV

Lookit! New Pics from Showtime's Twin Peaks


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Historically, Who Was Worse for Weed Than Jeff Sessions? This Guy Was.

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Mark Wilson

Dear Pot Lawyer,

Jeff Sessions is pretty bad, but who was the worst person EVER for US pot laws?

That’s a tough one. American history has been rife with pot villains for the past 100 years. The latter half of the 20th century saw a series of terrible presidents, like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and awful local actors like Rudy Giuliani and our current attorney general, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. Even presidents you may have liked, such as Bill Clinton, were terrible for weed. For the greatest villain of all, though, we harken back to the year 1930. The man you are looking for is named Harry Jacob Anslinger.

Leading up to 1930, many states had outlawed cannabis, mostly to persecute Blacks and Latinos (a shameful enforcement tradition that continues today). In those days, however, federal policy on weed was incoherent. This was also the era of alcohol prohibition, of course, which is where Anslinger comes in. He cut his teeth at the Bureau of Prohibition, and took up that cause with remarkable zeal. When Herbert Hoover created the Bureau of Narcotics in 1930, he (and Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon) made Anslinger its first commissioner.

Anslinger’s tenure continued for more than 30 years, into the Kennedy administration. He took a special interest in weed, and toured the country giving speeches on the scourge of cannabis to law enforcement, civic organizations, and pretty much everyone. Anslinger manipulated data to create damning statistics and harrowing anecdotes. In a 1937 essay, for example, he wrote, “No one knows, when he places a marijuana cigarette to his lips, whether he will become a philosopher, a joyous reveler in a musical heaven, a mad insensate, a calm philosopher, or a murderer.” No one knows!

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On My Favorite Murder, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark Reclaim True Crime for Women

By centering victims, telling women’s stories, and acknowledging the everyday specter of violence that women deal with, My Favorite Murder gives me hope for a less horrifying, misogynistic world.
By centering victims, telling women’s stories, and acknowledging the everyday specter of violence that women deal with, My Favorite Murder gives me hope for a less horrifying, misogynistic world. Mandee Johnson

When faced with a too-charming stranger, an overly inquisitive Lyft driver, or another potential creep, “Fuck politeness!” is my guiding principle, and I have Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff to thank for it. Each week Hardstark and Kilgariff talk about murder on their comedic true crime podcast, My Favorite Murder, and each week I tell myself I’ll hold off on listening right away, so as to truly savor the new episode, and then I invariably press play anyway. I can’t help it. I’m a Murderino.

Since it launched on the Feral Audio network in January 2016, My Favorite Murder has developed a sizeable fanbase of self-described Murderinos, drawn more than 117,000 to a closed Facebook fan group, and climbed to number one on the iTunes comedy chart. “Fuck politeness” is one of Hardstark and Kilgariff’s many charming, off-the-cuff safety mantras, a jokey yet serious invocation to self-preservation derived from the cruel fact that bad people often take advantage of the way women are socialized to be deferential and polite. Other murder truisms include “Stay out of the forest,” “Toxic masculinity ruins the party again” (DOESN’T IT THOUGH), “Pepper spray first, apologize later,” “You’re in a cult, call your dad,” and each episode’s signoff: “Stay sexy; don’t get murdered!”

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After Outbursts and Insults, Nick Fish Won't Let his Employees Attend City Council Meetings

Demonstrators at Wednesdays City Council meeting. This was in the morning, before things devolved in the afternoon session.
Demonstrators at Wednesday's City Council meeting. This was in the morning, before things devolved in the afternoon session. Dirk VanderHart

This post has been updated with remarks from Commissioner Nick Fish.

Even in the context of increasing protest we've seen in Portland City Council meetings since late in Charlie Hales' term, yesterday was striking.

Inspired by news a Portland police officer won't face criminal charges for killing a Black 17-year-old, demonstrators laid into council—and particularly Mayor Ted Wheeler—with ongoing streams of profanity, even as Wheeler urged people to continue their testimony.


That hands-off approach appears to have rubbed one commissioner the wrong way. Sonia Schmanski, chief of staff to Commissioner Nick Fish, sent a terse but meaningful email to other council members and city officials in Fish's sphere of influence this morning. It read simply:

Until further notice, Commissioner Fish has directed that his bureaus, bureau staff, and our office employees do not attend any future Council meetings held in the Portland Building.

That means that until Fish gives the high sign, employees of the Portland Water Bureau, Bureau of Environmental Services, and staffers in Fish's own office won't be allowed to attend council meetings (which are slated to be held in the Portland Building through mid-April). That matters a lot if, say, council needs to hear about the background of a major Water Bureau acquisition before voting on an ordinance.

"Yesterday was the worst council hearing I’ve attended since I was elected," Fish tells the Mercury. "I thought the behavior of a small number of people at the hearing was disgraceful."

He notes that the matter council was considering, a largely symbolic resolution to announce Portland's status as a sanctuary city, had attracted "peace and justice advocates from around our community."

"Many of them left or, if they testified, could barely be heard," Fish says. He declined to lay out steps that need to be taken before he'll rescind his order, but said he was hopeful the matter will be resolved before next week's Wednesday council hearing. Fish hasn't begun making plans to push off scheduled Water Bureau or BES hearings, he says.

"The mayor is working to find the right solution and I applaud him," Fish says. Wheeler's office hasn't returned our inquiry.

Fish's move is the strongest we've seen from any commissioner's office, but perhaps not a surprise. Fish more than most has voiced concern for the insults his employees have been subjected to amid the outbursts (which is not the same as saying other commissioners don't have those concerns). One of Fish's employees also recently obtained a restraining order against one frequent City Hall attendee, David Davis, after he said Davis challenged him to a fight.

Still, Fish's decision is similar to at least one recent decree. Following an outburst at a meeting of the Independent Police Review's Citizen Review Committee last year, then-Police Chief Larry O'Dea told his officers not to show up to the meetings.

After yesterday's meeting, Fish told the Mercury that council meetings would need stricter rules going forward.

Of course, Wheeler has said he'd like that as well. That's part of the reason the mayor pushed a new ordinance allowing him to exclude repeatedly disruptive audience members from meetings for a month or more. But that ordinance, before it goes into effect, will need the sign off of a federal judge.

In the mean time, Wheeler has said he will more liberally eject disruptive attendees from meetings on a day-by-day basis. He didn't do so yesterday.

For a sense of how things got, skip to the 1:22:50 mark of this video (NSFW, weirdly).



Allison Crutchfield's Solo Debut Plays Like a Dark and Weary Travelogue

ALLISON CRUTCHFIELD AND THE FIZZ Fruit smoothies for all!
ALLISON CRUTCHFIELD AND THE FIZZ Fruit smoothies for all! Jesse Riggins

Allison Crutchfield’s debut solo LP Tourist in This Town plays like a dark and weary travelogue. The new record finds her processing personal tectonic shifts against the backdrop of far-flung locales while touring as a member of her twin sister Katie’s band Waxahatchee.

Originally from Alabama, Crutchfield has spent much of the past decade on the road—first traveling the DIY circuit with Katie in their cultishly beloved feminist punk duo P.S. Eliot before realizing her bitingly catchy and blisteringly economical songwriting voice with mid-fi pop-punk legends Swearin’. But Swearin’ dissolved, Crutchfield broke up with one of its members, and the fallout from these major life changes catalyzed with her solo project. If you’re exhausted reading that whirlwind summary of a young musical life, imagine how Crutchfield feels.

“Because of my lifestyle the last couple of years, it’s kind of impossible for me to just sit down and write a song,” she explains. “Since I was traveling so much, I was just keeping these really diligent notes.” This journaling habit allowed her to preserve her emotions for a time when she’d be able to process them: “I was just tabling those feelings for later.”

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Dems Are Going To Filibuster Gorsuch But We're All Going to Die Anyway Because of the AHCA

No to Gorsuch
No to Gorsuch Getty Images

New York Senator Chuck Schumer announced that the Democrats will (sort of) filibuster the Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who, though dashing and handsome, is actually to the right of the dead and terrible Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch has no business even being nominated, since Trump is under investigation by the FBI for possibly working with Russia to destroy American democracy, and because the Republicans refused to even give Obama nominee, Merrick Garland, a far more moderate justice, the floor.

There's a caveat, though, writes the WaPo: "Schumer’s vow to help block Gorsuch with a filibuster did not include calls for the rest of his chamber to join him in opposition — a sign that he is leaving political space for more moderate Democrats, especially those facing reelection next year, to potentially side with Republicans under political pressure sparked by a multimillion-dollar ad campaign bankrolled by conservative groups in hopes of securing Gorsuch a filibuster-proof vote tally."

The Democrats may have finally become the party of no. Unfortunately, it's too late.

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TV

Detroiters Is the Funniest Show on TV Right Now

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On Monday, it was announced that Detroiters has been renewed for a second season. This is fantastic news, because the series, not yet through its terrific first season on Comedy Central, deserves to have many, many more eyes on it. Tuesday night’s installment, “Smilin’ Jack,” may have been the budding show's highest-profile episode yet, featuring a significant supporting role from guest star Keegan-Michael Key and garnering the show’s highest ratings since its February 7 premiere. But all seven Detroiters episodes aired thus far are shameless delights, spinning cotton-candy happiness out of very dumb comedy and a heartwarming bromance. If you’re looking for crackling wit, Detroiters is not the place.

That’s Sam Richardson, who you remember from Veep (the other funniest show on TV), and that’s Tim Robinson, who you don’t remember from SNL—he was a “featured player” during the 2012-2013 season, although I feel like I’d never seen his face before. If Robinson didn’t make much of an impression on me over on NBC, I absolutely love him in Detroiters, where he plays one-half of a duo that makes low-budget television commercials for small Detroit businesses.

The twosome's other half, Richardson, is memorably hilarious on Veep as unflappably cheerful campaign aide Richard Splett, earning just as many laughs as that show’s heavy-hitters (no small feat). Richardson is no less hysterical here, playing the good-natured, slightly smarter half of Cramblin-Duvet Advertising. “Slightly smarter” is a relative term—neither of these guys is exactly MENSA material, but there’s something charming about these best pals being so transparently co-dependent.

The first episode of Detroiters was a perfect half-hour of comedic television, and the recurring “Let’s Hustle!” gag in Episode Five just kept getting better and better, but Episode Six, “3rd Floor,” might be the best encapsulation of all the things I’ve fallen in love with in Detroiters. The episode starts with a very simple, and stupid, conceit: Sam and Tim use the bathroom in their office building's empty third floor to do their number twos. That is, until Detroit’s slow but steady economic resurgence has a surprise in store for them.

I guess I can’t really offer more compelling evidence than that. Either you find this floor-rollingly hilarious or you think it’s, like, kinda dumb. I’m definitely in the former camp, and the way that Detroiters has locked its sights on the laugh-making, cynicism-erasing parts of my cerebral cortex is something I can’t take for granted. The over-the-top bromance between Sam and Tim feels surprisingly genuine for television; these guys are lifelong friends IRL, and the fun they’re having with each other on camera is amply evident, and their obvious love for the Motor City gives the show a subtle but undeniable emotional currency. If Detroiters’ formula is easily mappable—Atlanta x Mad Men ÷ Dumb and Dumber, all to the square root of Detroit—that doesn’t make the show’s world feel any less complete.

Maybe you’ve keeping an eye on the news; it’s been a harrowing week. You probably need something stupendously silly to giggle at this weekend—and I have no better recommendation than binging on the first seven episodes of the goofy, giddy, grin-making Detroiters. And if you’re all caught up, you and I will be watching Season One’s final three episodes when they air on Tuesdays at 10:30 pm on Comedy Central.


TV

Check Out the First Full-Length Trailer for the New Season of Fargo

Have you caught up on your Fargo binging yet? YOU HAVEN'T? Then by all means spend your near future checking out seasons one and two (on Hulu, Amazon, or the FX app) of this terrific series from FX based on the film by the Cohen brothers. Both seasons are supposedly based on true crimes that went down in Minnesota, which are connected by a mob organization run out of Fargo, North Dakota. This new third season coming up on April 19 (hurry, hurry!) apparently takes place in 2010, a few years after the events of season one, and while this trailer doesn't provide much detail about the crime, it shows you can expect lots of the same: icy dark humor, drama, violence, and some top notch performances. Check out Ewan McGregor in two roles, Emmit “The Parking Lot King of Minnesota” Stussy, and Ray “The Ugly One” Stussy. Ohhh, it's gonna be good, ya betcha!


Good Morning, News: the Oregon Freedom Rally, Capitalistic Teens, and the Oregon/Michigan game

Good morning, Portland. It's game day, and if you see someone wearing a Michigan basketball jersey around town today, that may be me. Sorry.

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Jahn Teetsov

Out in print as of yesterday (you should pick up a copy) is this feature by Santi Elijah Holley on his trip to the Oregon Freedom Rally, a conservative gathering at the Oregon Convention Center:

...This was the most common refrain I heard at the rally—the belief that Trump is doing what he said he was going to do. Leaving aside that Trump has not yet successfully accomplished anything he’d promised—and rather than “draining the swamp” he’s fortified the swamp with billionaires like himself—the idea of doing “everything he said he wanted to do” as being a virtue is suspect when Trump, during his campaign, said wildly contradictory and combative things.

Also out in print yesterday, another deep-dive into the shooting death of a homeless man Jason Peterson by a Southeast Portland business owner: "Now dozens of pages of police reports obtained by the Mercury offer the most detailed picture yet of the event that took Petersen’s life. And they give some credence to the belief, voiced by Susan Petersen and others, that a highly charged altercation on February 20 didn’t need to turn fatal."

Civil rights groups are advocating for the Portland Police Bureau to tone down its crowd control weapons, like teargas, pepper spray, and stinger grenades.

The officer who killed 17-year-old Quanice Hayes last month was cleared by a grand jury on Tuesday afternoon. His mother, Venus, spoke out yesterday.

Kenneth Barrett—the 71-year-old mayor of Winston, Oregon, who was busted on accusations of soliciting sex from a 14-year-old on Facebook (it was actually an undercover cop)—talks to the Oregonian. It's... interesting.

Here's another reminder that you shouldn't conduct expensive financial transactions with children. The Oregonian:

Bend police have arrested a pair of 17-year-old boys and accused them of selling artificial gold bars as the real thing to unsuspecting customers.
The suspects received over $50,000 in cash and other goods for the artificial gold, according to a Bend Police Department news release. Bend police recovered some of the money used to purchase the artificial gold bars.

"It's a problem that nobody wants to touch. Literally," the Idaho Statesman reports. "There are 10 to 15 cattle carcasses floating in Owyhee Reservoir in Malheur County, Ore. — the result of heavy snow burying their winter forage and ranchers’ inability to reach the livestock with food, according to the Malheur County sheriff."

CNN dropped a big story yesterday: "The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign, US officials told CNN."

And, finally, there's a big basketball game this afternoon. Oregon vs. Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA basketball tournament at 4:09 p.m. on CBS.


Disjecta Has a New Executive Director, the Art Gym's Blake Shell

Blake Shell
Blake Shell Courtesy of Disjecta

Take a break from panicking at your Twitter timeline, I've got art news: Disjecta has a new executive director, Blake Shell, most recently of Marylhurst University's wonderful Art Gym, where she curated a number of shows, including this Heidi Schwegler show, which is singed into my brain forever.

Salient details from Disjecta's official release, sent today:

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NewsCopsCity Hall

A Complaint About a "Police Official" Spurred Amanda Fritz's Opposition to Experimental All-User Restrooms

Portlands lone remaining multi-stall, gender-neutral bathroom is on the second floor of the Portland Building
Portland's lone remaining multi-stall, gender-neutral bathroom is on the second floor of the Portland Building

Earlier this month, City Commissioner Amanda Fritz caught hell for her opposition to Portland's experimental multi-user, gender-neutral restrooms.

While Fritz last June supported converting two multiple-stall restrooms on the second floor of the Portland Building to allow users of any gender, she'd come to see them as unsafe and threatening, according to an email obtained by Willamette Week.

It turns out Fritz's change of heart (which she's since changed again) wasn't due to any local instances involving the types of leering perverts opponents of gender-neutral restrooms sometimes conjure.

Instead, they were inspired by the bathroom etiquette of a Portland "police official," according to one complaint.

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HUMP! 2017 Call For Submissions!

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HUMP! 2017 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Amateur filmmakers, actual filmmakers, sex-positive singles/couples/throuples/quads, wannabe porn stars, kinksters and other creative types are hereby invited to submit short porn films—five minutes max—for the HUMP! 2017 film festival! Your film can be hardcore, softcore, live action, stop action, animated, musical, kinky, vanilla, straight, gay, lez, bi, trans, genderqueer. Your film can be anything because everyone and everything is welcome at HUMP! (Well, not everything is welcome at HUMP! No poop, no animals, no minors.) HUMP! films are not released online or in any other form. Filmmakers retain all rights. HUMP! is the dirty little film festival that allows you and your friends and lovers to be porn stars for a weekend in a movie theater without having to be porn stars for the rest of your life on the Internet!

Be a part of the porn festival Variety called "an exhibitionist extravaganza—incredibly creative!", Maxim called "a new genre—porn as entertainment!", Think Progress called "charmingly taboo!", and Huffington Post dubbed the "DIY porn festival helping us all come together!" Make a film for HUMP! 2017!

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Quanice Hayes' Mom Criticizes Police, Prosecutors After Officer Who Killed Her son Isn't Indicted

Venus Hayes talks to reporters
Venus Hayes talks to reporters Doug Brown

A grand jury declined yesterday to indict Portland Police Officer Andrew Hearst, who shot and killed 17-year-old Quanice Hayes last month. The teen's mother gathered with supporters and the media outside the Portland Building this morning to criticize the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) and the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office (MCDA).

"My son, Quanice Hayes, is the real victim in this situation," Venus Hayes said. "The Portland police, in cahoots with DA Don Rees and will try to paint my son—my 17-year-old child—as a robber or a car prowler, all of which is not a reason to be executed in the United States of America or in the State of Oregon."

The PPB reported that Quanice matched the description of an armed robbery suspect they were looking for in the area of NE 82nd and Hancock. A press release from the PPB yesterday after the grand jury decision said Quanice had possession of some of the stuff the robbery victim told police was stolen from him—including an Oregon Trail EBT card. Officers, the bureau says, discovered Quanice "crouching" in a nearby alcove of a house after reports of a potential break-in. He was shoot three times, twice in the chest and once in the head.

Here's the PPB's description of what happened:

Officers ordered Hayes to crawl out of the alcove, which he started to do, but then stopped and got upright on his knees. Hayes was ordered multiple times by officers to keep his hands up, but made repeated and deliberate motions with his hands to the area of his waistband and pockets. During this encounter, Officer Hearst fired three shots from his patrol rifle at Hayes, striking and killing him. After the shooting, officers approached Hayes to take him into custody and render immediate medical aid. Medical personnel arrived and determined that Hayes was deceased.
A desert tan-colored handgun was found next to Hayes on the ground. It was later determined that the handgun was a realistic-looking replica firearm.

Hearst, and others officers, did not have a body camera.

Venus Hayes, this morning, said "Quanice did not, in fact, produce a replica gun and point it at the officers.... Quanice was on his knees when he was shot in the head and chest."

She criticized the bureau's communication with her and said they lied and provided "misinformation" to her. She asked for a federal investigation.

Here's the video:

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Inside the Oregon Conservatives' "Freedom Rally"

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CAROLINE CAMPBELL

As I near the entrance to the Oregon Convention Center, a white security guard is in the process of ordering a homeless African American man, lying inside a sleeping bag, to vacate the premises. When I reach the front doors, I’m confronted by a phalanx of roughly 150 protesters: older people, younger people, whites, Latinos. They sing: “Hey hey, ho ho / Bigotry has got to go,” and “No hate, no wall / We are here to welcome all.” The chanting soon tapers off, and the crowd looks around, wondering what to do next. Some drivers honk their horns, either in support of the protest or because traffic is backed up along MLK, but the crowd responds with a few half-hearted cheers regardless. I watch three young white men, faces obscured by black bandanas and black hoodies, in hopeful anticipation. But even they look bored. I turn and head inside the convention center, where the real action is scheduled to take place.

The day before the 2017 Oregon Freedom Rally, while speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, President Trump repeated his assertion that the media was the “enemy of the American people.” Later that day, his press secretary barred several news organizations—including the New York Times and CNN—from the White House briefing room. Little wonder, then, that attendees at this rally of conservatives eyed me with suspicion when I approached them with my notebook and tape recorder. If I was concerned my Portland Mercury press badge would single me out as the liberal opposition—like a rainbow-colored bullseye pinned over my heart—my concerns were allayed upon discovering that hardly anyone here had even heard of the Mercury. But they had other reasons to be suspicious, since I was a brown-skinned man at a conservative rally in Portland. I was conspicuously out of my element.

This was the fourth Oregon Freedom Rally, sponsored by Oregon Liberty Alliance. Scheduled to speak were freshman Republican congressman from Virginia, Scott Taylor; columnist, author, and conservative political activist Star Parker; Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson; and the keynote speaker, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. I’d come to this rally not only for the speeches, but to speak with Oregon’s conservative residents—those born and raised in Portland, and others who had driven many hours to be here—to try to learn what it’s like to be a self-identifying conservative in a blue state, and to hear their impressions, so far, of the new administration.

They also promised a free lunch.

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