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.
GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! It's hard to believe that you are at home, by yourself, when I just heard the voice—heard the voice of someone else. LET'S GO TO PRESS.
• Terrible weather nationwide has led to the delay of 67,000 doses of COVID vaccines that were supposed to be delivered to Oregon. It's currently unclear when the doses will arrive.
• While it's certainly better than it was, 63,000 people in the Portland metro area (and 105,000 across the state) are still without power following last weekend's winter storm—though officials are hoping to have all the lights back on by Friday.
• 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.
• The great Damian Lillard provided his magic again scoring 43 points to help the Blazers beat the Pelicans, 126-124.
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
• While the number of Texans without power has dropped below 1 million, power crews are frantically working to restore electricity before a new snow and ice system moves into the state this week. In some areas, Texans are being asked to boil water to make it drinkable—which is a pretty difficult feat to accomplish without power.
• Meanwhile the nation's bloviating conservatives and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are blaming the state's woes on renewable energy and the "green new deal"—a terrible and obvious lie meant to cover up the many failures of the state's government when they tried to go it alone with their ill-prepared energy grid.
• But don't worry, Texas Senator (and probable Zodiac Killer) Ted Cruz was on the case, and helping his suffering constituents by allegedly... *checks notes*... taking an impromptu vacation to sunny Cancun. (Yep, right on brand!)
AP confirms with a single source: Ted Cruz has traveled to Mexico for a family vacation as his home state struggles with a weather crisis that has left much of Texas without power. https://t.co/ZNRiJJ12xm— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 18, 2021
• Thanks to Trump's utter bungling of the COVID pandemic, the life expectancy of Americans has dropped an entire year, according to the CDC.
“Between 2019 and the first half of 2020, life expectancy decreased 2.7 years for Black people, to 72. It dropped 1.9 years for Hispanics, to 79.9, and 0.8 years for white people, to 78. “ https://t.co/BujAYYgcin— John Bresnahan (@bresreports) February 18, 2021
• The US Attorney and FBI are now investigating New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's handling of the state's COVID data after it was revealed that nursing home deaths were wildly undercounted. While they originally projected that 8,500 residents had died, the actual number was closer to 15,000.
Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened to move a state-run coronavirus vaccination event out of one county after facing criticism from local officials that the site favored wealthy neighborhoods over underserved communities. https://t.co/Zq5Vh0UjNA— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) February 18, 2021
• Busy Bee Biden is busily rolling out his massive immigration bill today, one that could create a pathway for citizenship for 11 million people. Naturally it will be an uphill climb, thanks once again to racist Trumpublicans. (Did I just coin that word? I haven't heard it before, but it sounds kind of obvious, right?)
• 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.)
• After Australia demanded that Facebook pay news organizations for the content they run for free on their site, the tech giant pitched a hissy fit and blocked all news stories in the country. HELLO, it looks like someone's been given a bit too much power!
• COOL SPACE NEWS! NASA'S attempting a risky landing of a six-wheeled rover on the surface of Mars today in an attempt to explore the surface and determine whether there was ever life on the planet.
If you don’t, wyd?! Set a reminder here: https://t.co/pLQhZTjTUP— NASA (@NASA) February 18, 2021
• TONIGHT! 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 today with a high around 45.
• And finally, I know what this morning needs... an unnecessary sax solo!
as a person raised on 80s sax solos i'll be thinking about this all night pic.twitter.com/wAxD2clw1N— 𝚍𝚘𝚍𝚊𝚒 𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚠𝚊𝚛𝚝🍕🐀🥨🪳 (@dodaistewart) February 17, 2021