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 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.


Sponsored

Oregon's First Major Gaming Expo!

BetaCon announced their first list of presenters and participants, which include Insomniac Games, Sony, Intel, Nike, Wacom, Kinjo, Polycount, Liquid Development and more. Exhibitors from across the Northwest and beyond include developers from the Portland Indie Game Squad, who will provide opportunities to demo new and unreleased games. Additional information about tournaments, betaLIVE and the Breakthrough Awards can be found at Click for Tickets!

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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The World's Best Pop Songs

TEENAGE FANCLUB Fannies on the rocks.
TEENAGE FANCLUB Fannies on the rocks. Donald Milne

Here’s Teenage Fanclub’s formula: Three Scots write their own songs, bring them to the group, and weave them together into a winsome whole. Since 1997, they’ve followed a particularly egalitarian model, splitting up writing duties equally on five consecutive albums—12 tracks per album, four each for band founders Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley, and Gerard Love.

It’s hard to say which is more impressive, that three songwriters have coexisted seemingly peacefully for so long, or that Blake, McGinley, and Love have maintained such a high level of quality over the years.

2016’s Here is just the latest addition to one of the finest musical catalogs ever assembled. It’s achingly beautiful, packed with acoustic jangle, enlightened tales of life and love, and memorable melodies that echo the influence of classic bands like the Byrds, the Beatles, and Big Star. It’s also incredibly cohesive, considering the group’s shared leadership. In an interview, though, McGinley is quick to point out the flecks of individuality in Teenage Fanclub’s songs.

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A Private-Sector Group Wants to Pay to Move Right 2 Dream Too Into the Pearl

Centennial Mills, the drab white property on the right, is being floated by some as a temporary home for Right 2 Dream Too.
Centennial Mills, the drab white property on the right, is being floated by some as a temporary home for Right 2 Dream Too.

As a deadline for the removal of homeless rest area Right 2 Dream Too approaches, a group of developers-turned-homeless advocates is floating an intriguing idea: Moving the camp to Centennial Mills.

Oregon Harbor of Hope—the same crew that unsuccessfully pushed for a massive homeless shelter at Terminal 1 last year—has offered Mayor Ted Wheeler to pay for improvements to a horse paddock on the long dormant mill site on the Pearl District's eastern edge. The paddock had been used by the Portland Police Bureau's Mounted Patrol Unit before a recent spate of demolitions on the property moved the horses elsewhere.

But it's still standing, owned by the Portland Development Commission (PDC), and—in Harbor of Hope's mind—a fine temporary possibility as R2DToo casts about for a new permanent home.

"Harbor of Hope would be willing assist in the redevelopment of that facility as a temporary facility for 100 people," says Don Mazziotti, a former PDC director who founded the organization along with prominent developer Homer Williams. "If it doesn't happen, those 100 people are going to be on the street."

There's a bit of irony in the proposal: Williams and his development partner, Dike Dame, were the chief voices opposing a proposal to move R2DToo to the Pearl in 2014. Now they want to help it move into the neighborhood.

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Portland Brown Berets to Lead Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Guatemalan Shelter Fire

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Courtesy YouTube

Earlier this month, 40 teenage girls died in a fire set ablaze at Guatemalan shelter, Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asución, following a riot in response to the institute’s ongoing abuse allegations and poor living conditions. Located on the outskirts of Guatemala City, the uprisings began on the evening of March 7 and after girls began to flee the center, 52 were rounded up by police and locked into a small room as punishment. When one of the captive youth continued to protest and set a mattress on fire in the early hours of March 8, the room was quickly engulfed in flames. The Guatemalan government is leading an investigation on the devastating incident as it remains unclear why the girls weren’t let out of the room immediately or who possessed the key.

Despite having been created with the intention of serving as a sanctuary for children who were orphaned or given up by parents without the financial means to support them, the institute has continually been the subject of abuse allegations with two of the shelter’s teachers pleading guilty to raping girls in 2013 and 2014. The structure where the girls were house is said to safely accommodate 500 residents yet 750 youth were crammed into the space. Nationwide protests and outrage broke out following the tragedy and on Sunday, March 26, the Portland Brown Berets will lead a peaceful vigil in remembrance of the victims starting at 6 pm at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Members of The All African People’s Revolutionary Party and the All African Women’s Revolutionary Union are confirmed to speak.

On the event page, the group writes “Join us for prayer and a candlelight vigil so that we can have their voices be heard, even in death. We cannot stand for such injustices […] An attack on women anywhere is an attack on women everywhere.” Bring flowers and candles to share.

Sunday, March 26, Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th, 6–8 pm, free

For more activism events, see the Mercury's RESISTANCE & SOLIDARITY calendar.


Blazers Recap: Fear the Deer

The Blazers arrived back in Portland riding high on an impressive 4-1 road trip. This season had nearly been written off, but with the arrival of "Nurkic Fever" things changed and our home team was dubbed the hottest NBA team in March by ESPN. On Tuesday they met up with the Milwaukee Bucks, another hot team fighting for playoff consideration. A win for the Blazers would have left them tied for the 8th and final playoff spot with the Denver Nuggets. But, alas, it was not to be. The Blazers were a little too sloppy and the Bucks were a little too strong. The Bucks won it 93-90 in a game that went down to the wire.

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Courtesy Trail Blazers - Bruce Ely

Things started off hot for the Blazers, but cooled down considerably when big man Jusuf Nurkic got into early foul trouble and had to sit halfway through the first quarter. The second quarter was a disaster as the Bucks outscored the Blazers 30-14 and took and 13 point lead at the half. The Bucks are a likable team, a sort of Midwest version of the Trailblazers. They're young and scrappy and occupy a "small-market" town, just like us. They also feature a charismatic all-star by the name of Giannis Antetokounmpo, known as "The Greek Freak" on account of the fact that he's from Greece and is freakishly graceful and quick for a guy nearly 7 feet tall. Antetokounmpo gave the Blazers trouble all night long, especially when our smaller guards were forced to match up against him. The Greek Freak has even won fans in Portland, like this guy, also from Greece, and proud of it:

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Open Mike Eagle Says He’s Ready to Make “Big Boy Records”

OPEN MIKE EAGLE A much better rapper than his cousin, Open Faced Sandwich.
OPEN MIKE EAGLE A much better rapper than his cousin, Open Faced Sandwich. Andy J Scott

At this point in his career, Open Mike Eagle (born Michael W. Eagle II in Chicago) regularly books festivals like Pickathon, and is currently touring the US with his buddies WHY? He’s a well-known rapper, but still under-the-radar enough that he has to accept some awkward bookings, like a recent stint at a film festival.

“Imagine performing for a 1,000-seat theater that’s completely empty,” Eagle says over the phone from his home in Los Angeles. “By the time you’re three or four songs in, the place is filled. Some people are super into it, some can’t be bothered. I did it, like, three times and every time there was this feeling that I could only call ‘the awkward raw.’ So much of my career has put me in those positions that don’t make for a necessarily enjoyable experience.”

Such is the curse of someone who once dared to self-describe his genre as “art rap.” Eagle says he feels more comfortable in the company of middle-aged stand-up comics than his hip-hop peers. His appeal is immediate. Since emerging from the Project Blowed collective in the late ’90s, he’s maintained a calm, measured flow that allows his verbal roundelays (“So I take five, Dave Brubeck/I make jazz jokes so I’m flat broke/Mad at Lost and that black smoke”) and razor-wire wit to slice you to ribbons before you realize what hit you.

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Weed Tales from the Road: Texas Two-Step

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GETTY / EU TOUCH

I’ve written about how my work in the music and cannabis industries have been complementary—how cannabis saved my sanity during the numerous tours I managed, and how offering cannabis products to those touring bands has saved theirs. But there was one time when a band saved me from a potential stretch of jail time.

I was out with a “baby band,” comprised of millennials who had never taken on a tour of this degree: back-to-back three-week-plus tours opening for larger and more established acts, driving nearly 4,200 miles in the classic Ford E-350 Econoline van and trailer.

We set out one morning from Arizona, with a good dozen hours ahead of us along I-10, stretching across New Mexico and into Texas. Knowing that the only food we’d find when we pulled into town would be a Sonic, we loaded up groceries from a health food store.

After several hours, we found ourselves at the notorious Texas border checkpoint known as Sierra Blanca. It’s 30 miles from Mexico (and 85 miles east of El Paso), but the town’s US Customs and Border Protection stop has busted numerous notables such as Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and Fiona Apple.

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