We need your help. The economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis is threatening our ability to keep producing the quality reporting you've come to love. If you’re able, please consider making a monthly contribution to the Mercury.

NY International Wine Competition Oregon Winery of the Year
Try 3 award-winners for $84 w/ free delivery or shipping in U.S.! To order click and select special offer #1 or #2
Our new president, Katy Perry.
Our new president, Katy Perry. screenshot

Good morning, Portland! And welcome to the first full day of the Biden-Harris administration. Biden's America apparently looks like... fireworks, so many fireworks, and a bizarrely commanding Katy Perry. In case you missed last night's inauguration concert, here's what I'm talking about:

And here are the headlines.

• The right-wing extremist rallies that were feared across the nation yesterday largely failed to materialize. However, that isn't to say yesterday was without protest. Our own Alex Zielinski was at a Portland protest against police brutality yesterday afternoon that was decidedly not pro-Biden—and, surprise surprise, the Portland Police Bureau was very quick to intervene.

• And the protests continued last night, this time in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Southwest Portland, where officers were quick to respond with impact munitions on the crowd of over 100 people. KGW has the full story here.

• Speaking of immigration—as part of his first-day agenda, President Joe Biden hit "pause" on all immigrant deportations for the next 100 days. The move is intended to give his administration time to purge the Trump administration's especially heinous deportation practices, and make sure "we have a fair and effective enforcement system." Biden also hopes to pass immigration reform within his first 100 days in office, including creating a path to citizenship for DREAMers.

• Biden issued a flurry of executive orders yesterday, most of them aiming to undo some of the damage the Trump regime inflicted over the last four years. That included rejoining the Paris climate agreement—a sign his administration is treating climate change as a serious problem. But the Paris agreement calls for countries to set and meet ambitious goals, meaning Congress will have some catch-up to do if the US wants to be in step with other countries. It seems like some members of Congress are more up to the challenge than others!

• On Day 2 of his presidency, Biden is focusing on creating the national COVID-19 pandemic response that we've been lacking over the last year. He's passing 10 executive orders today related to the pandemic, including requiring masks on planes and buses and in airports; providing more guidance on school reopenings and workplaces; and ordering more trials of COVID-19 treatments. He's also using the Defense Production Act to spur manufacturing of masks, gloves, and other critical protective gear.

• Biden also hopes to see the US administer 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days, which would go a long way toward building immunity in the country. But unsurprisingly, he's inherited basically no vaccine distribution plan or guidance from the last administration, so he'll have to start from scratch on that goal.

• The Senate is currently holding confirmation hearings for Biden's cabinet picks—this morning, it's for Pete Buttigieg, whom Biden has tapped to be his secretary of transportation. You can listen along here if you'd like.

• For the followers of QAnon, yesterday was supposed to be "the storm," during which all their beliefs were confirmed and Trump stayed in power while arresting Biden and a slate of other evil Democrats. That didn't happen, and Q devotees are now trying to work out why. While some are starting to express doubt in the mass delusion, plenty of others are doubling down and diving deeper into conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, straight-up Neo Nazis and other extremist groups will be more than happy to offer those disappointed QAnon followers a new outlet for their fury. If you know someone in QAnon, today might be the day to reach out—here's how to do so effectively and compassionately.

Support The Portland Mercury

• Meanwhile: Remember the Olympics? After last summer's Tokyo games were postponed due to the coronavirus, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rescheduled the event for summer of 2021. Now we're six months out from summer, and the pandemic is far from over. But IOC officials are insistent they can hold the games safely, and say there's "no plan B" this time around.

• Finally, if you watched the inauguration yesterday, there's a good chance you were brought to tears or chills when Amanda Gorman read her poem, "The Hill We Climb." Here's the backstory of how the poem came together after the January 6 attack on the Capitol.