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Here are the headlines!
• Exciting news for anyone who wants to see criminal legal system reform: Oregon lawmakers are working on legislation that would vacate convictions reached by a non-unanimous jury. Until recently, Oregon was one of just two states to allow people to be convicted of a felony, even if two members of a 12-person jury dissented. (If you want a deep-dive on this issue, you can read my previous reporting from earlier this year.)
• Healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente and an alliance of unions representing tens of thousands of its workers tentatively agreed to a new four-year contract over the weekend, averting what would have been one of the largest healthcare worker strikes in American history.“We’re still disappointed that they pushed us to that point, but happy and proud that we said ‘Okay, this is what we’re willing to do,’ and stuck behind it," one union member told the Mercury.
• And in other important local union news:
Oregon film & TV set workers were split in voting on a new IATSE labor contract, saying they still have concerns about workplace safety, long hours, and fair wages. One bright spot: More IATSE members are active in union issues than ever before.https://t.co/JWDMlmyQZe
— Portland Mercury 🗞 (@portlandmercury) November 16, 2021
• The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says they're currently experiencing a staffing shortage—including for snow plow drivers. That means that our already-perilous winter road conditions could get even worse this winter, so you better buckle up, both literally and figuratively.
• Pfizer is licensing its groundbreaking pill that treats COVID-19, meaning the medication can be made available in a lower-cost, generic form around the world. Kind of wild that affordable medication depends on the benevolence of corporations!
• After a looooong day of closing arguments, jury deliberations have started in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. Rittenhouse is claiming self-defense—the kind of self-defense where you drive to another town with a gun, provoke people you don't know by waiving it around, and then kill a couple people when they want you to put your gun away.
• Meanwhile, in Dallas:
It's been over 2 weeks since the QAnon group in Dallas first gathered to see JFK reappear. They're still there.
Last night, a large crowd gathered hoping to JFK reappear because they're now using a new calendar to calculate their predictions...https://t.co/0d4DETY1y1
— David Gilbert (@daithaigilbert) November 16, 2021
• President Joe Biden had a three-house video call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping yesterday. The call reportedly didn't result in any major diplomatic breakthroughs, but it did seem to ease the tension between the two world leaders.
• "Diego y yo," one of Frida Kahlo's famous self-portraits, will be auctioned for the first time in more than 30 years today. The starting price is $30 million, and the end price could break records for both Latin American artists and women artists. Personally, I'm gonna hang back and wait for the NFT version.
• And finally, read this absolutely lovely, Portland-centric book review, and then read the damn book!
Book review: Casey Plett continues to be at the leading edge of trans storytelling, but her new story collection DREAM OF A WOMAN is also one of the deepest and most insightful works to date crafting trans stories rooted in Portland and Oregon. https://t.co/Ha9xqViD6M
— Portland Mercury 🗞 (@portlandmercury) November 15, 2021