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GOOD AFTERNOON, PORTLAND! Hey lovers! Valentine's Day is only EIGHT DAYS away! Better submit your FREE Mercury Reader Valentine so the love of your life will read it, and not think you're an insufferable, unromantic prick. (Individual results may vary.) And now I submit to you... some NEWS.


• Employees of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (along with top managers and the executive director) have been caught keeping some of the most sought-after bottles of liquor for themselves, which is a violation of state liquor laws... and in my opinion... certainly A DICK MOVE. The Oregonian is breathlessly labeling their investigation as "blockbuster findings," but... really? While it does constitute a minor "dick move," it also sounds like something I would do, honestly. (Guess that's why I shouldn't work for government booze monopoly! 😬)

• Oregon lawmakers are seriously considering legislation that would really crack down on paramilitary activity and violent extremism, enacting some of the strongest laws in the country. Republicans are against the idea because it will make it too difficult to show up to work if they're always in jail.

• While some Oregon officials have been underplaying the concern about the recent spate of dead whales washing up on state beaches, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—which tracks alllll the dead whales—is saying that the beachings indicate a larger a larger, and more concerning trend: The grey whale population on the West Coast and Alaska has plummeted 38% since 2016.

• Oh boy! Comedian, Search Party star, and "song & dance man" John Early is bringing his vaudeville-style comedy show to Portland, and we've got the interview in which he discusses his coming super-fun performance, slow dancing with his mom (?), and getting really emotionally invested in the old TV show Columbo. (??)


• The massive quakes in Syria and Turkey have so far claimed the lives of more than 12,000 people, making it the deadliest earthquake in a decade. While relief efforts are ongoing, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is admitting that help isn't getting to his people fast enough.

• Today in "No Shit, Sherlock!"

• In case you missed it, President Biden played the Republicans for fools last night during his State of the Union address, luring them into heckling him over their plans to end Social Security and Medicare, and then flipping the script, telling them he's thrilled they won't be ending Social Security. And the Republicans looked at each other with their mouths hanging open, like, "Duh... wait. What just happened?" (Maybe it's time for the GOP to switch game plans when they start getting duped by Grandpa?)

• Welp, it took a lot longer than I certainly expected, but Twitter shit the bed today for the first time since Elon Musk stepped in to fuck it up. Thousands of users are getting a “You are over the daily limit for sending tweets" notification while others are finding it impossible to follow other accounts. And wait a second... the photos on our new Mercury tweets aren't showing up! I'M GOING TO TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS!!

• The Disney corporation has announced its intention to lay off a whopping 7,000 people, roughly 3 percent of its workforce. But... what's this? They're doing it in order to put money in the pockets of their shareholders.

• And finally... A TWITTER UPDATE: