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Good Afternoon, Portland! It's looking like it might be a snowy Thursday! And then a freezing rain Friday! And then a Regular Rain Christmas! Let's hit the news!
IN LOCAL NEWS:
• Speaking of that potential snow—PANIC EVERYBODY PANIC—Multnomah County has declared a state of emergency will begin tonight—the status grants the county flexibility to respond quickly to needs. The county will open four severe weather shelters tomorrow at 8 pm, and have directed people to the county's "When It’s Cold" page for more information.
• We haven't seen the last of outgoing City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, but as she is preparing to pass the PBOT torch to another, Mercury reporter Isabella Garcia sat down to discuss what transportation projects she is most proud of, ongoing revenue struggles, and her hopes for the next PBOT commissioner.
• In May, a former FTX director of engineering gave $500,000 to Democratic newcomer Carrick Flynn. Secretary of State Shemia Fagan asked the Elections Division to find out why:
During the May primary, Sam Bankman-Fried was especially generous to political newcomer Carrick Flynn who ran in the Democratic primary for Oregon’s new 6th Congressional District. https://t.co/rQXbOpLUga— OPB (@OPB) December 21, 2022
• If you are one of the few, the brave, the people feeling a little mid about whether devoting three hours of their precious lives to watching cats boogie board in Avatar: The Way of Water, the brilliant Jas Kemig has written a lovely think piece on what's great about it ("cutting-edge visuals, original intellectual property"), what's meh about it ("If only the inner worlds of these characters were as rich as the worlds they inhabit"), and what other film would make an "excellent-yet-weird double feature," in the event that you decide to spend one of these impending snowy afternoons in a movie house.
IN NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL NEWS:
• A 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked a rural area in Northern California this morning. The Associated Press reports that most of the damage took place in the small communities of Rio Dell, Ferndale, and Fortuna—located about 100 miles south of the Oregon border. 11 people were reported injured, and 70,000 were without power.
• The Taliban government in Afghanistan (which conquered the area last year, after the Western-backed government collapsed) announced today that it will bar women from attending universities. While initially, the religious fundamentalist group gave assurances it would not roll back the relative opportunities available to women and girls under its new rule, this move is yet another sign that those promises were lies.
• Over the past few weeks, the US Capital and14 states have banned TikTok on government-issued devices. The New York Times reports a bill to ban the social media app nationwide that, frankly, looks like the acronym of a Savage Love reader—the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act, which stands for the Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship, and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party—has been gaining bipartisan momentum. The reason? Officials argue that the app is owned by the Chinese-based ByteDance and can / might share all its collected data with the Chinese government, who ACTUALLY DO frequently and shamelessly misuse data collected in good faith. TikTok denies that it shares data with government officials. There are actually two bills currently being considered—the other would issue a nationwide ban only on specifically government-issued devices. Honestly, just bring back Vine.
• If you follow me on Twitter or Mastodon you know that I generally share interesting articles I read on the weekend. Not only is this New Yorker piece about recently auctioned government goods hilarious and bizarre, it might imply a few things about general wastefulness (five MacBook Airs?):
Surplus at the gov auction (local pickup only):— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) December 17, 2022
Six orange traffic cones ($5 for the lot)
One decorative silver crown from Neiman Marcus.
A school bus without seats or working brakes.
A vacant lot in Queens.
One abandoned two-story barge.
via @iscoe https://t.co/4Yf19JuNqh
• Another Installment of Elon Schadenfreude Corner: Over the weekend, Twitter owner Elon Musk instituted and then deleted a bizarre new policy where users would not be able to link to certain social media, including Mastodon, Facebook, Instagram, and Truth Social. In the aftershocks of yet another poor judgement quake, Musk offered a poll that asked the general Twitter audience if he should step down as the company's CEO—to a resounding affirmative. CNN reports "now, he appears to think the problem isn’t him, but who gets to vote in the polls."
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