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Good morning, Portland! Grab your morning beverage of choice and settle in for some nutritious news—part of a complete breakfast!
Here are the headlines.
• The board of commissioners in Benton County—where Oregon State University (OSU) is located—passed a new rule yesterday requiring folks to mask-up outside when it's not possible to maintain six feet of distance from others. The requirement aims to keep OSU football games safer amid COVID-19 and the Delta variant. Benton County is the first Oregon county to pass such a rule, so we'll see if the Portland area follows suit.
• Dozens of Oregon State Legislature members—from both parties—are urging Gov. Kate Brown to offer Oregon as a new home for Afghan refugees. The effort is led by two Portland-area members: Sen. Kayse Jama and Rep. Khanh Pham. Brown is receptive to the idea, and said in a statement that she hopes the Biden administration "will lift refugee admission caps and take other emergency humanitarian actions to save lives.”
• We've got a few more Afghanistan-related headlines today: Afghan protests against the new Taliban regime are ongoing in Kabul. The Taliban is responding by trying to violently suppress the protests, but they continue.
• Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is now saying that some United States troops will likely need to stay in Afghanistan past the US' initial withdrawal deadline of August 31. Biden is also defending the messy exist, saying that "The idea that somehow there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don't know how that happens."
• Anyway, I'm just glad it was all worth it:
The war in Afghanistan cost an estimated $2.26 trillion. By comparison:— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) August 19, 2021
•Paying off all outstanding US student loans: $1.7 trillion
•10 years of universal early care and education for all US children: $1.4 trillion
•Jeff Bezos's net worth: $190 billion https://t.co/NuslRGQVqs
• It's one week into the new school year for one Florida school district, and so far 12,000 students and staff have had to isolate or quarantine, meaning they've tested positive for or have been exposed to COVID. This prompted the district to adopt a monthlong mask requirement, so maybe there is hope for folks changing their minds after all.
• Meanwhile, Oregon school districts are dealing with their own sticky, infuriating issue: critical race theory, and the conservative anxiety that simply teaching kids the truth about race in US history (and the US present) will ruin the fabric of our society, or something. Take this as a reminder to research candidates and vote in your next school board election!
• In case you missed this report yesterday:
A new county report points to Oregonians’ lack of experience with extreme heat and communication failings as reasons for the June heatwave’s high death toll. The county is currently developing ways to improve its future extreme heat responses. https://t.co/YsMAV9kxMT— Portland Mercury 🗞 (@portlandmercury) August 18, 2021
• Medical experts believe that a third booster shot will help strengthen our immunity to COVID—but that doesn't mean it won't come with its own problems. Many of those experts also believe it's morally unconscionable for people in the US to get a third shot, when most of the world's population haven't received their first dose yet. "We're planning to hand out extra life jackets to people who already have life jackets, while we're leaving other people to drown without a single life jacket," says one member of the World Health Organization.
• And finally, we'll end with... this?