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'!)
THE BIG STORY:
• The CDC announced today that those who have been double-vaxxed can go maskless inside and out (with caveats, of course). More on that in our National News section... BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR OREGON, who is still under mask mandates? Gov. Brown is expected to issue a decision about that later this afternoon, so stand by.
IN LOCAL NEWS:
• KOIN News recently wrote another super tiresome and wrong-headed "Portland is Dying" story that is somehow worse than the ones that've come before. Our Wm. Steven Humphrey (hey, that's me!) takes it apart in his usual surgical, smart-assy style.
Presenting the "7 Most Terrible Lines" from KOIN News' absolutely ridiculous "Is Portland Over?" article—courtesy of our own @WmSteveHumphrey.https://t.co/jCHkOsHXJx
— Portland Mercury 🗞 (@portlandmercury) May 13, 2021
• Following on the heels of the FDA and CDC's recommendation, both Oregon and Washington state have approved the safety of the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12- to 15-years-of age.
• Spicy City Hall Goss: Suk Rhee, the director of the Office of Community & Civic Life, abruptly announced today she was stepping down from the beleaguered bureau which has had multiple complaints from employees about its "culture of fear." Rhee leaves on the heels of an announcement from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office that the bureau must release an outside consultant's report that looked into the bureau’s very dicey workplace culture.
Portland City Council will be discussing and voting on amendments on Mayor Wheeler's proposed budget this afternoon, including an amendment to fully fund Portland Street Response (instead of waiting for a council check-in before approving all funds, which Wheeler has proposed).
— Alex Zielinski (@alex_zee) May 13, 2021
• Bad news, homophobes: Oregon lawmakers have voted to ban the bullshit "LGBTQ+ panic defense" (AKA the gay panic defense) from being used in Oregon courts, and it will now head to the governor's desk. As our Blair Stenvick explains, the defense strategy entails "the shock of learning about a person’s real or perceived queer or trans identity... could temporarily diminish someone’s capacity to make rational decisions, or cause them to reasonably fear they are at risk of sexual assault from the LGBTQ+ person." Ugh! GET RID OF THIS NOW.
• Our Blair Stenvick profiles Portland slam poet Jordan Wolmut, whose award-winning poem Trigger Warning dissects the concept of a slam poetry competition while taking part in one. Super interesting stuff!
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
• Big news: The CDC announced today that Americans who have been fully vaccinated can stop wearing masks inside and out, and no longer have to stay socially distanced in most situations. The caveats?
Even vaccinated individuals must cover their faces and physically distance when going to doctors, hospitals or long-term care facilities like nursing homes; when traveling by bus, plane, train or other modes of public transportation, or while in transportation hubs like airports and bus stations; and when in prisons, jails or homeless shelters.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: For now, Oregon's mask mandates are still in effect, so be prepared to protect your fellow Portlandians (especially service workers!) by wearing your mask in grocery stores, restaurants, bars, and places where mask rules are still in place!
The rule is now simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do.
The choice is yours.
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 13, 2021
• Today in "Wow... Republicans are truly pieces of shit": "More than 1.9 million people could see severe cuts in unemployment aid as Republicans seek to curb assistance."
• Batshit nutty (and racist!) Trumper Rep. Marjorie Green verbally assaulted beloved Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Capitol building last night because Ocasio-Cortez refused to debate the batshit nutty (and racist!) Trumper. Ocasio-Cortez responded that she refuses to be intimidated by anyone who aligns with white supremacists. (Man, Republicans really know how to pick 'em, don't they?)
SCOOP from me & @NickSurgey: In new leaked video dark money group Heritage Action brags to top donors about writing “model legislation” making it harder to vote in GA TX IA FL AZ. This is proof of massive coordinated right-wing voter suppression campaign https://t.co/BeBhav73un
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) May 13, 2021
• Potential BIG trouble for creepy-creep Rep. Matt Gaetz: His deeply corrupt pal, Joel Greenberg, is expected to plead guilty to several charges, including sex trafficking of a minor, and could possibly pull Gaetz down with him.
• Colonial Pipeline, which provides 45 percent of fuel on the East Coast and was shut down in a cyberattack, has paid the hackers a cool $5 million in ransom. Following gas hikes, long lines, and panic buying, the company says the pipeline started flowing again today. (I knew I should've listened to my mom who told me "the future is in cyberattacks.")
• You want to look GOOD, true or false? If "true," you'll want to purchase a new, wicked awesome Mercury T-shirt... just in time for tee season!
• HUMP! HUMP! HUMP! If you enjoy sexy stuff (and I know you do), get your tickets NOW for HUMP's Greatest Hits, Volume 3—THIS WEEKEND—featuring some of the best short sex flicks from 15 years of HUMP! HUMP! HUMP!
• And now... THE WEATHER REPORT: Another mostly sunny, gorgeous day tomorrow with a high of 79!
• And finally, I think modeling skills are pretty gre—ummm... I'll just see myself out.