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Good Afternoon, Portland! The State of the Union is strong! If the state of YOUR UNION is strong, submit a reader Valentine!

• Prior to 2017, rider exclusions from TriMet were part of an offender's parole, meaning the transit agency relied on prosecutors and judges to include a rider ban as part of the convicted person’s legal punishment. However, within recent years, Trimet has become much more independent in its rider ban process. News Editor Isabella Garcia sought a better rubric for how Trimet determines the length of their bans.

• A long and illuminating Twitter thread about the small Oregon communities Benjamin Obadiah Foster hid out in (and terrorized) while on the run:

• Nonprofit, collaborative reporting team Underscore shared this profile of longtime Portlander Black Belt Eagle Scout who moved back home to the Swinomish reservation in 2020, and how that act of coming home led to their new album: The Land, the Water, the Sky

• When journalist problems become legislator problems—in all cases these are Oregon resident problems.

• President Biden's State of the Union address is tonight—hitting live at 6 pm. The airwaves are full of things people expect, from calls to Republicans to work together to... IDK for some reason Bono is there? Almost all US news outlets will cover the speech, but here's a link to the Associated Press' live broadcast. The mother and stepfather of Tyre Nichols, RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, were invited by Jill Biden to attend, as were a number of others. CNN has a list of all the First Lady's guests, and what their presence may mean for the President's speech.

• For fans of reading about the emotional frailty of the United States Supreme Court, the New York Times reports that Justice Clarence Thomas has not attended the State of the Union for more than a decade, saying he could not abide “the catcalls, the whooping and hollering and under-the-breath comments." Why are the most sensitive justices the conservative ones? But I digress. 

• GEAT, THIS IS GREAT. Graphika, a disinformation research firm, discovered videos from pro-China bot accounts that used computer-generated avatars to promote the Chinese Communist Party via a made-up news outlet called Wolf News. They don't look entirely convincing, but for sure my mom would send me something called "wolf news." Sigh. The New York Times breaks down the—as yet unconvincing, but certianly worrying— situation.

• An instant classic, in so many ways: tacos on Tuesday, "Whatcha Say" cover, college acapella group

@fsacappella i dont wanna taco bout it 😔🌮 #tacotuesday #fsacappella #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #acappella #beatbox #uwmadison #uw #madison #wisconsin #pitchperfect #icca #sing #singing #music ♬ Whatcha Say (Sped Up Beat) - Mr Kleb Balasa