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'!)
• Around 150,000 people are still without power in Oregon—a crisis now going into its sixth day following the snowy/icy weather that hit last weekend. Things are also not great for those needing the internet as Comcast says it could take up to a week or more (!!) to get services back to the 76,000 Oregonians who need it.
• Today in fuck-ups that really didn't need to happen: After an ice storm-caused power loss, the Hollywood Fred Meyer threw away a LOT of perishable food in outdoor dumpsters, but wouldn't allow people (including activists intending to help the homeless) retrieve any of the items. NOW THAT'S BAD ENOUGH, but it got exponentially worse when they called in the Portland Police to guard the dumpsters. Let me repeat that: The police guarding dumpsters... in the middle of a historic weather emergency... and pandemic... in which food insecurity for Americans is at its highest in decades.
PPB has clarified: The bureau sent 6 officers, 1 sergeant, 1 lieutenant, and 3 officers in training to respond to a group of people dumpster diving in the middle of a pandemic and mass power outage yesterday.— Alex Zielinski (@alex_zee) February 17, 2021
• In other "grocery stores being shitty" news: "QFC to close two Seattle stores, blames city’s new $4 hazard pay law."
• In a new WW report, it turns out that lots of money intended for Portland's "Clean and Safe" program—designed to collect trash in heavily populated homeless areas, and paid for by local businesses—is actually going into the pockets of the Portland Business Alliance, and according to our Alex Zielinski, pays 45 percent of the PBA president's paycheck.
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
• The granddaddy of right-wing, conspiracy-shouting radio hosts, Rush Limbaugh, whose bigoted, misogynistic screeds directly contributed to radicalizing the GOP into a party of dangerous racists, is dead at the age of 70. (That tapping sound you hear is most likely the millions who are dancing on his grave.)
If Rush Limbaugh deserves credit for anything, it his pioneering work in spreading disinformation and directly enabling our nation's current state of vast distrust of experts and spurning of good faith in the public discourse. He will not be missed by rational adults.— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) February 17, 2021
• Very much related: "State anti-transgender bills represent coordinated attack, advocates say."
• Also very much related: South Carolina lawmakers are close to passing a bill that would outlaw nearly all abortions, following in the footsteps of other states with similar measures they're ready to launch if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. (Another great reason for the Democratically controlled congress to kill the filibuster and legalize a woman's right to choose forever.)
• More icy news: The devastating winter storm that knocked out power for millions in Texas could have been avoided if the operators had taken the multiple warnings of climate change into account. And surprise, surprise, historically underserved minority groups in Texas were hit first and hardest by power outages. In additional sour news, not only is there no end in sight for the massive outages, another big snow/ice storm is scheduled to hit Texas and large parts of the South.
Former Texas governor Rick Perry suggests that going days without power is a sacrifice Texans should be willing to make if it means keeping federal regulators out of the state’s power grid.https://t.co/yffZkFIeq9— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) February 17, 2021
• GOOD/GOOD/BAD NEWS: According to the World Health Organization, coronavirus cases around the world are in decline. (That's good!) A new study suggests that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines can protect people from the emerging variants, including the highly contagious one from South Africa. (Also good!) Unfortunately, these variants are picking up steam and could bring on a dreaded fourth wave of COVID infections. (In case you didn't realize, that was the "bad" news.)
• Busy Bee Biden says he supports a study into possible reparations (that could include money) for Black Americans due to the discriminatory policies that have affected the financial well-being of Black people since slavery.
• This Thursday, do not miss the second installment of the Mercury Music Series with a special performance filmed live at Polaris Hall by Yawa (AKA Amenta Abioto)! Get your sliding scale tickets here!
• 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!
• And now... THE WEATHER REPORT: Rain (but not snow!) returns tomorrow with a high around 45.
• And finally, for all those out there who like to go to restaurants and order "the usual."
"I'll take the usual"😭 pic.twitter.com/WnW6dOD5GA— The God Tongue (@aprettyPR) February 17, 2021