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Good morning, Portland! And a special good morning to the fly who landed on Mike Pence's head last night, who at this point will probably end up on a postage stamp someday.
Okay, here are the headlines.
• Between May 28 and October 5, Portland police referred 974 cases to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s (MCDA) office related to alleged criminal activity at protests. The MCDA’s office has so far rejected 666 of those cases, on the grounds that they are either not severe enough to warrant prosecution, or there is insufficient evidence to prosecute them. That means that the office, headed up by District Attorney Mike Schmidt, has declined to prosecute 68 percent of protest-related cases brought to them by the police.
• Last week, the US Department of Justice refused to rescind the federal deputation of 56 Portland police officers, despite requests from Mayor Ted Wheeler and others. Now, Congressman Earl Blumenauer has introduced legislation in Congress that would prevent the same thing from happening again.
• A new coalition of organizations (most of them business interests) is now campaigning for Wheeler's re-election next month, and their first move was to release an attack ad on Wheeler's opponent, Sarah Iannarone, for... tweeting too much. Naturally, they posted the ad on Twitter:
• The vice presidential debate was last night, and while it wasn't quite as raucous as last week's presidential debate, it still featured a lot of absolute bullshit from the Republican on the stage. Pence failed to answer most of the moderator's questions, while trying to dictate the terms of Sen. Kamala Harris' responses—but Harris kept her cool. Early polling shows that most Americans think Harris won.
• One issue that came up during the debate: The Trump administration wants to end the Obamacare policy that people can't be turned away by insurers because of preexisting conditions. It turns out that position is deeply, deeply unpopular—but many Americans have a had time even believing it's true.
• Donald Trump is now back
working spreading his germs around in the Oval Office, despite continuing to have COVID-19. In yet another bizarre and infuriating video Trump released last night, he said it was "a blessing from God" that he got the coronavirus, and touted a treatment that still hasn't been fully studied as a miracle cure. To be honest, I see it as a blessing that he got COVID-19 as well, but probably not for the same reason!
• In an attempt to meet the basic threshold of responsibility and decency, the Commission on Presidential Debates has decided that next week's presidential debate will be held virtually, so as not to enable Trump in spreading the coronavirus. But Trump has said he won't participate in a virtual debate, calling it a "waste of time." I also believe a debate involving Trump is a waste of time—but, again, probably not for the same reason!
• The University of Oregon is seeing a worrying surge in COVID-19 cases. In the last two weeks alone, 175 students have tested positive.
• Students at Portland Public Schools will continue to do remote learning until at least February. Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero announced the news at a Tuesday school board meeting, saying coronavirus conditions just haven't improved enough to begin in-person classes any sooner.
• We'll wrap up today with some excellent news: Jenni Moore is once again writing about music for the Mercury!
Check out the newest music from Portland artists (and soothe your mind in the process) with @JenniferKayMo's new weekly "Refresh Playlist" column!https://t.co/ja4fSlit5U
— Portland Mercury 🗞 (@portlandmercury) October 7, 2020