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Good Morning, Portland! What a week. It looks like we've mostly cleared the atmospheric river, but we have officially entered rainy season now. So no matter what a forecaster tells you, it could rain AT ANY TIME. Weather reports? Those are for big rain. But a little, powerful rainstorm? Could happen at any time. Portlanders please join me in zipping up and zipping into rainwear and THE NEWS.
IN LOCAL NEWS:
• What a week of fierce Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) discussions. On Wednesday, New Editor Courtney Vaughn wrote about a study by the CDC, released Wednesday, that found no correlation between Oregon’s drug decriminalization law and rising overdose deaths. She recently updated the story to note that newer provisional data exists, but has yet to be finalized. "Health researchers say they'll continue to look at the latest available data, and update their analysis, but caution the rates of change alone aren't enough to tell what impact, if any, Measure 110 had on those overdoses."
• But just because the data suggests Measure 110 isn't to blame, doesn't mean Portland isn't reeling from the fentanyl crisis, along with the rest of the nation. Associated Press reports that the Portland Police Bureau are investigating a number of recent overdose patients who were children. Since June, police say that they're aware of 10 children who have required care for suspected overdose—and fentanyl was a suspected drug in nine of those cases. The exact drugs involved haven't been confirmed by the Medical Examiner's Office at this time, but police say they're concerned.
• Soon to be traded Blazers point guard Damian Lillard wrote a sweet note to the city about his impending move to the Milwaukee Bucks:
RipCity Forever ❤️… Dame Time has run out pic.twitter.com/Rnm8oT5qF7— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) September 28, 2023
• In your local music news this week: The postponed PDX Pop Now! is ready for fall, NYC rap duo Armand Hammer tour through Polaris Hall, and Dame D.O.L.L.A features in yet another soft focus music video shot in a Portland rose garden.
• It's Friday, so tickets are about to go on sale. Make sure to grip Dinosaur Jr. at Revolution Hall and / or Y La Bamba at Wonder Ballroom before they sell out. Oh, and... a THIRD Tina Fey & Amy Poehler was just added for the Portland stop on their Restless Leg tour.
IN NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL NEWS:
• The nation's longest serving woman Senator Dianne Feinstein has died at age 90. In the past year, Feinstein had been increasingly criticized for her reluctance to retire from her position as California's senior senator—in February, she announced she wouldn't run for reelection in 2024. Feinstein had an incredibly long career in public service and holds a number of titles related to the advancement of women in politics, among them: first woman mayor of San Francisco, first woman senator of California, first woman to chair the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee. It has always struck me as particularly galvanizing and / or tragic that Feinstein was the person who found Harvey Milk at his desk, after he was assassinated by Dan White. She announced the news of the killings. Feinstein was a complicated political figure who notoriously carried a gun in her purse, but also fought for gun control. Known for her quips and quick remarks, she was a master at deflecting the rampant sexism she faced. In '95, the Los Angeles Times related a story which became a famous instance of Feinstein:
Though Feinstein was known to carry a handgun in her purse, she afterwards became a proponent of gun control. In 1994, Feinstein exchanged words with National Rifle Association member and Idaho senator Larry Craig, who suggested during a debate on banning assault weapons that "the gentlelady from California" should be "a little bit more familiar with firearms and their deadly characteristics." She reminded Craig that she indeed had experience with the results of firearms when she put her finger in a bullet hole in Milk's neck while searching for a pulse.
• Today's big national story should honestly be GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN, although we also mentioned it yesterday. Just because we've had shutdowns before doesn't mean they don't suck for government employees (many won't be paid), military service people (nothing currently set up to paid them during the shutdown, but we usually do), and the parts of national parks that don't enjoy being covered with garbage (goats are fine with it). This bit of recurring political theater is expected to kick off on Saturday. We salute the journalists bravely fighting to describe our nation's latest shutdown in ways that feel fresh, because it's important, they're actually pretty disruptive, and end up costing taxpayers more money.
• The Supreme Court is set to look at whether US states can individually demand social media companies (Facebook, TikTok etc.) regulate content found on their platforms. This is the one about can you kick off hate speech, not the one about can the governor have TikTok on her government phone—although they're thinking about looking at the latter soon.
• There were a few bright points that got me through this week, and one was the slow permeation through popular culture of comedian Brian Jordan Alvarez's "Sitting Is the Opposite of Standing." I've been a fan of Alvarez since 2016's The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo, and this generous little ditty is another gift Alverez has given the world. Here's the original and some of my favorite riffs on it so far:
🎶 sitting 🎶🗣️🗣️🗣️ pic.twitter.com/k2R0RTX95N— Brian Jordan Alvarez (@brianjoralvarez) September 10, 2023