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Good Morning, Portland! AND ALL HAIL MIGHTY AND TERRIBLE QUEEN OREGON. It is her birthday, and she is 164 fucking years old.
IN LOCAL NEWS:
• IT SNOWED. IT MELTED. LET'S GET ON WITH OUR LIVES. Unless you're dealing with a school late start or you live at the top of an icy hill. WHERE IS YOUR HUBRIS NOW—view-haver? Enjoy your gorgeous morning.
• The OLCC's director, Steve Marks, tendered his resignation Monday morning, after an internal investigation revealed that the commission's staff created a racket where they could buy rare bottles of bourbon. Although that may seem innocuous and like something anyone would do, government is for numbers-loving wonks and not charismatic favor-doers with lots of friends. The practice was allegedly widespread and even state lawmakers may have engaged in the dirty deals. If you are like "WTF is Pappy Van Winkle," here's an episode of Criminal that explains the widespread obsession with a perfectly fine bourbon.
• While Oregon currently restores voting rights to people who have been convicted of felonies, after they are released from prison, a new bill from a coalition of progressive legislators will, once again, aim to restore voting rights to those incarcerated for felonies. If they succeed, Oregon will be the first state in the nation to do so. Abe Asher reports.
• Colin Meloy of the Decemberists asked ChatGPT to write a Decemberists song, and then he played it. It's AWFUL. (And a must-listen, you're welcome.)
• Looking for something to do tonight? The Mercury's Everout team has you covered:
This week, we've got a sleek schedule of events to put on your radar, from the 2023 Biamp Portland Jazz Festival to Eagles: Hotel California Tour and from FAN EXPO Portland to Portland Mardi Gras Ball. https://t.co/HP35EMjHOU— EverOut Portland (@EverOutPortland) February 13, 2023
IN NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL NEWS:
• Monday evening, a gunman stalked the grounds of Michigan State University, killing three people and critically injuring five others. All the victims were students. He then appears to have shot himself. There is not yet any known connection between the 43-year-old shooter and the university. The New York Times has a new horrible but necessary tally of this year's mass shootings in the US—it's the 45th day of the year and we appear to be at an estimated 67 mass shootings.
• One person was killed and at least eight injured Monday morning, by a U-Haul truck driver in Brooklyn's Bay Ridge neighborhood who tore through the city's streets and onto sidewalks, hitting cyclists, scootists, and pedestrians. The rampage lasted 48 minutes, before police pinned the truck against a building.
Video surveillance footage caught a man driving a U-Haul truck speeding on a sidewalk through a neighborhood in Brooklyn on Monday.— The Associated Press (@AP) February 13, 2023
At least eight people were hurt, including two people who were in critical condition, the New York City Fire Department said in an email. pic.twitter.com/bHhW5Fx7VC
• Former South Carolina Governor and Trump administration era US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley declared her candidacy for the GOP’s 2024 nomination this morning. I have no material prepared on Nikki Haley at this time, but I'll probably have to read her books now [stares into the distance].
• But about that spy balloon. The Hill reports that China is pulling a total mean girls act—implying the US is crazy for being really stressed (or excited to be distracted from inflation and mass murder) about the big weird balloon they floated over to us. US defense noted they had been monitoring the balloon since January, when it lifted off and left Hainan Island in southern China. The other UFOs from the weekend have not yet been identified. Just to ensure we're fighting ourselves, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is talking a ton of shit on President Biden, denying that he or any member of the Trump administration was aware of spy balloons entering US airspace—which is... potentially worse than knowing and not saying anything?
• Can't get enough balloon? There's something very charming about Australians comparing the balloon's size to Australian landmarks.
• Okay, but the moment we stop talking about spy shit you know we're right back at inflation. The New York Times says good. The Hill says bad.
• I honestly LOVED that Rihanna halftime show. Sure, maybe I was laying in bed chanting "Umbrella" repeatedly, like a spell. Me do me. But I also loved this informed review of the performance from my culture world hero and NYT Popcast host Jon Caramanica. Where I saw the tacit removal of Ye from "All of the Lights" as commentary on how the song is great without him, Caramanica saw it as "an implicit statement of support for an embattled peer." Where I saw a focused and elegant show unhindered by chaotic attempts to jam more stars onto a worldwide stage—"she kept all that money," I whispered—Caramanica thought it was slow. This is how we delight in the reads of others.
• Now get out there and celebrate the birth of our great and terrible Oregon—or Valentines Day, if you must. He's not your valentine, he's a Chinook salmon.
If he:— Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources (@waDNR) February 13, 2023
-Changes his entire look for you
-Travels 1,900 miles upstream to chase you
-Procreates and dies
-Replenishes an entire ecosystem with his carcass
He's not your valentine, he's a Chinook salmon