Today is the first day of my Christmas vacation, everybody. And I'm up before dawn scanning the headlines for you.

If you haven't already, check out the Oregonian's super-interesting take on how east Portland became east Portland—filled with cheap housing, but without the basic infrastructure or services to back it up. Charlie Hales was involved. (But now he's blaming ODOT).

As we reported this week, all the effort aimed at quashing the city's gang violence hasn't had much appreciable effect. The other night, for instance, two guys fired 30 rounds into a North Portland home.

It's getting embarrassing, Oregon. Even conservative, religious Utah is set to allow same-sex marriages, after a federal judge ruled the state's ban violates the Constitution. State officials are furious, of course (Utah), harrumphing about "activist judges" and asking for an emergency stay of the ruling while they appeal.

I've not seen Gravity, but I assume it's sort of like what's happening outside the International Space Station today. Astronauts making repairs are using makeshift snorkels to ensure they don't drown in their space suits?

The Affordable Care Act is a good deal for the poor, and inconsequential to the well-off who can afford whatever insurance they want. It's the middle where things get tricky.

President Obama has been clear this year drone strikes are only carried out against dangerous militants, and in situations where it's almost certain no civilians will be killed. The attack on a Yemeni wedding party last week suggests he's either lying or wrong.

The president, you may have heard, held a news conference yesterday. The Washington Post says he signaled he may rein in NSA surveillance in the new year. The New York Times says he offered no ideas or agenda at all.

No one's sure, yet, what's been blocking Seattle's enormous tunneling machine for weeks. I maintain that it's the horrified, subterranean visage of Mother Nature.

The latest folks it turns out American and British intelligence agencies were targeting: United Nations children's aid workers.

You guys doing any serious holiday traveling? I'm flying to Michigan tomorrow, and am likely screwed.

Not that things are going to be all that pleasant here.


Pretty sure I posted this some months ago. BUT IT BEARS REPEATING.