The Biden administration is looking for a way to cancel federal student loan debt.
The Biden administration is looking for a way to cancel federal student loan debt. Lucian3D / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Here's your daily roundup of all the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider making a recurring contribution to the Mercury to keep it comin'!)


• Today in Oregon vaccination news: Following a judge's order, and starting next week, inmates will begin receiving their COVID vaccinations. This follows multiple reports documenting the abysmal and unsafe state of affairs in jails and prisons. Also starting next week: Certain pharmacies across the state will begin receiving vaccine doses according to a new Biden plan—though the shots will still only go to those first in line. SPEAKING OF STAYING IN LINE: The Providence hospital systems admitted to showing preferential treatment to hospital administrators and donors, giving them the vaccine back in December and January. Well, that's some bullshit right there, isn't it?

• The local, sobering COVID headline of the day: "Deaths in Oregon now outnumber births for the first time in recorded history."

• At a press conference today with Portland Police Chief Lovell, our Alex Zielinski asked why he believes the police bureau has seen a whopping 37 officers resign since July 2020.
"I think this summer was really tough on officers," Lovell responded, referring to Portland's racial justice protests. "It took its toll on people and maybe made them want to rethink next steps in their career. People are human, and they want to do their work and be appreciated and be supported. So that’s definitely a factor." Or maybe they might not want to be associated with an organization who has zero interest in confronting its own systemic racism and brutality? (Ugh. I'm giving them too much credit again, aren't I?)

• While everyone may be in a flutter over a certain ex-mayor that recently joined Mayor Ted Wheeler's team, there was a far more interesting and impactful hire that has gone almost unnoticed: The super smart and capable Dr. Markisha Smith has been added as the mayor's office Racial Justice Advisor. Our Alex Zielinski has a very interesting Q&A with Smith about what that entails!

• Movie lovers will not want to miss the upcoming Cascade Festival of African Films—featuring a cornucopia of terrific cinema which shows "Africa through the eyes of Africans." Our Blair Stenvick points you toward some great selections.


• House impeachment managers have called on Trump to testify IN PERSON and under oath at his upcoming Senate trial—though he immediately refused. This makes me sad/happy, because on one hand, I really wanted to see him ruthlessly grilled by the Dems! On the other, I'd prefer to never hear his weird, lying voice ever again.

• Meanwhile Democrats are forcing a vote on whether or not to remove the committee assignments from QAnon crackpot and lizard people-and-space-laser believer Marjorie Taylor Greene, which in turn will reveal which Republicans also support Greene, space lasers, and lizard people. (Just for the record, I fucking hate lizard people.)

• In very promising Busy Bee Biden news: The White House is reviewing whether it can take unilateral action to CANCEL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN DEBT which would go a very long way in putting our economy back on track. In other news, if you are against this because you had to repay student loans, get away from me, you're a monster.

• The Biden administration is considering sending masks to every American... which is a nice symbolic gesture, I guess? But all I'm saying is that the $2,000 we were all promised pre-election would buy a lot of masks, or... you know... food?

• Wisconsin prosecutors are asking for an arrest warrant and bond increase for accused teenage Kenosha protest murderer Kyle Rittenhouse (unbelievably released from jail pending trial), who refused to notify authorities of his change in address, and was seen partying with Proud Boys in a bar wearing a shirt that read "Free as Fuck." Let's make him wear a different T-shirt... I'm thinking of something with horizontal stripes.

• Voting tech company Smartmatic has slapped FOX News (and co-conspirator/pants-tugger Rudy Ghouliani) with a $2.7 billion lawsuit for their intentional election "disinformation campaign" that they say put their company in danger.

• Let the bells ring and the confetti fall! The HUMP! 2021 Film Festival is NOW STREAMING ONLINE, featuring an array of hot 'n' horny amateur dirty flicks submitted by hot people like YOU. Get your tickets pronto!

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• THE WEATHER REPORT: A chance of showers tomorrow with a high of 49!

• And finally, this cat may indeed be an idiot.. but it's also a good metaphor for my state of mind after nearly a year of being in lock down.