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Good Morning, Portland!  I am writing this news in COMPLETE DARKNESS, and I will probably post it in COMPLETE DARKNESS because the dawn isn't coming up until 7:48 am. It's the winter solstice today, so we're only due about 8 hours and 42 minutes of sun, but from now on, sunset will gradually occur later in the afternoon—and by the end of that month, we can expect some daylight after work, starting around the Jan 20. Full disclosure, the dawn won't start to pop-up any earlier until mid-January. DO YOU CARE ABOUT THIS? I THINK ABOUT IT OFTEN. I MADE A GRAPH. Okay, let's hit the news.

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• As a partial result of the aforementioned darkness, Portland-area temps are expected to drop down to 👀18 degrees 👀 tonight, and continue to hover around 20 degrees on Thursday. Multnomah County will open four severe weather shelters, starting at 8 pm (as yet we do not know where), and have directed people to the county's "When It’s Cold" page for more information.

• While I support the National Weather Service using visual aids to help people understand what to expect from incoming weather... I disagree with this use of lavender.

• KPTV has a story that doesn't seem to get much traction these days: A Portland man says he feels less safe now that the people living in front of his building were forced to move. While I recognize that this isn't everyone's experience, this has certainly been mine. I come from a pretty dangerous city, and the main thing I learned to be wary of there is empty streets.

• In this week's Savage Love, it's a little surprising that Dan Savage doesn't immediately lecture this reader for failing to broach the subject of his cuckolding kink BEFORE becoming engaged. Instead, Savage tracks down a minor online cuckolding celeb and learns how he got to the level of FLR / cuckold (FLR = “female-led relationship”) that now he shares with his fans.

• Did you get a chance to check on the Mercury's Free Ticket Tuesday this week? There's a "Tuesday" in the name, but you actually have until Thursday to enter! This week we're giving away tickets to see powerhouse vocalist and songwriter Brandi Carlile—oh, and the Mercury's January showcase of live comedy!

• So about January. Short days, cold nights—it's like what's happening now, but half your friends will be staying sober for a month. Well, tell your seasonal depression to "fuck off 'til Feb" because we've programmed a live, local comedy showcase night—Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy—for you to enjoy. 

IN NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL NEWS:

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy travels to the US today—his first time leaving his country since the Russian invasion began in February. The New York Times reports he will meet with President Biden and deliver a prime-time address to a joint session of Congress.

Donald Trump Tax Return Schadenfreude Corner: After YEARS of harrumphing about whether the tax returns of a US president should be a matter of record, the the House Ways and Means Committee released two reports about former president Donald Trump’s taxes late Tuesday. It will perhaps surprise very few that, while he took in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, Trump employed aggressive losses to avoid paying taxes on his wealth. NYT reports that Trump's raw tax returns are expected to be released in coming days. Let's get ready to read about deductions!

• If there were prizes for "Most Gaslight-y Statements of the Year," Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent comment during a televised address has to be a major contender. "What's happening now is a tragedy, but it's not our fault," he said, adding that both countries are "sharing a tragedy." This OUTSTANDING EXAMPLE of DEEPLY FRAGRANT HORSE SHIT is likely related to Zelenskiy's DC visit, the BBC reports.
 
• RELATED: The Associated Press released new exclusive reports today about Russian forces "systematically targeting influential Ukrainians to neutralize resistance through detention, torture and executions:"

Migrants along the US border await a Supreme Court ruling on restrictions that currently prevent many from seeking asylum. Limits on border crossings—set during the pandemic, by the Trump administration—were set to expire today, but the Title 42 restrictions were extended, due to arguments from conservative-led states. CNN reports that initially, the DC Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled against the last minute stay, saying that those with concerns waited an “inordinate” amount of time before trying to get involved in the case. Chief Justice John Roberts waded in, issuing a temporary order to keep the pandemic-era restrictions in place. AP reports that the Biden administration has asked the court to remove the restrictions, but not before Christmas.

Please do not forget "the true meaning of the season / is the druidic solstice ritual / Before it got nicked up by the Christians / we were ho ho ho-ing around Stonehenge."

@thejazzemu Don’t forget the True Meaning Of The Season #christmas #religion #meaning #festive #xmas #celebration ♬ True Meaning of the Season - Jazz Emu