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Good Afternoon. January IS HERE, Portland. Short days, cold nights—half your friends are doing that unfortunate and desperate thing where they stay sober for a month. Well, tell your seasonal depression to fuck off til February because the Mercury's live, local comedy showcase night— Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy—has returned. Tickets are on sale now and going fast!

• Mayor Ted Wheeler kicked off 2023 with an extensive reassigning of the city bureau assignments among city commissioners. Due to the new charter, commissioners will cease to be in charge of city bureaus by 2025, but FOR NOW Mercury Alex Zielinski has a quick and dirty breakdown of the most significant changes

• Slow your roll. Although, as of Jan 1, Oregon became the first US state to legalize use of psilocybin, there's a ton of paperwork to do first. Even this New York Times article about it has an ultra SLOWWWW open.

• On New Years Eve, the family of drummer Jeremiah Green (Modest Mouse, Red Star Theory) released a statement, to let fans know that Green had died of cancer. He was 45. The Stranger's Culture Editor Megan Seling wrote a thoughtful piece about Green's presence in the Seattle music scene and his particular style of drumming. Quoting the paper's former Music Editor Erin Franzman: "He hits so hard, and yet with the most puzzling fluidity; his visible motions and the audible beats are not quite in sync, as if you've stepped into a poorly dubbed kung fu movie." Read the whole thing here.

Seems like a good use for an entire day, paid for by the taxpayer, NBD. The new session of a now Republican-led House convened today, and then promptly stalled, as the body of 434 elected officials failed to elect a House speaker. The office is typically filled by a leader from the majority party—and that seemed like it would be Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California (and also that guy former President Donald Trump used to call "Our Kevin"), but 20 ultraconservative Republican lawmakers have thus far blocked his attempts to win a majority of votes. Until the House elects a speaker, it cannot begin any work, making the entire day essentially a wash—with the New York Times describing it as "devolving into a pitched floor fight, with a mutiny among hard-right lawmakers creating political chaos not seen in the chamber in a century."

At least somebody got some work done today.  The Food and Drug Administration approved Mifepristone—the first drug in a two-part abortion pill dose—to be carried in drugstores and pharmacies. Until now, the US had only allowed the drug to be dispensed from a clinic or via a telemedicine appointment.

• And now the duet that convinced me 2023 stood a chance at being good: