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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! It's set to be another wet and chilly day today, with highs of about 44 degrees. But it's only going to get colder throughout the week. 🥶 RAIN! WIND! SNOW! ICE! We could see it all this week, so stay alert and safe. 

IN LOCAL NEWS

• Who's Michael Rapaport, and why are people in Portland talking about him? To quickly summarize, Rapaport is (kinda?) a comedian known for his political social media presence, which has recently been completely focused on the war between Israel and Hamas. To many, his commentary about Gaza and Palestinians has been truly offensive. Rapaport has called for continued violence in Gaza, where Israeli forces have already killed tens of thousands of civilians and are subjecting millions more to inhumane conditions. Andddd...he's scheduled to headline at Portland's Helium Comedy Club this weekend, prompting protests. The Mercury's Suzette Smith has everything else you need to know in this story.

• A Multnomah County audit report says former county commissioner and current Congressional candidate Susheela Jayapal pressured the Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS) to find loopholes in their contracting rules so an unqualified housing services nonprofit in Seattle could benefit. The auditor's office said the incident wasn't technically an "abuse of position," but it still raises eyebrows. Read Courtney Vaughn's story to learn more

An OPB report digging into Governor Tina Kotek's first year in office looks at how Kotek, known (for better or worse) as a progressive juggernaut, kinda moved to Salem and became a centrist. Some of her major policy calls this year have included: More lax land-use policies, more police in Portland, tighter drug laws, subsidies for businesses, and a tax freeze. (When you put it that way, she sounds downright Betsy Johnsonian!) These decisions have made her somewhat more popular with Oregon conservatives, who are really gaining political ground across the state. But the progressives who helped put her in office are obviously less enthusiastic. She has at least three more years to define her legacy, so maybe (hopefully) things will change. 

• I'm so sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I just received word that heroic efforts from the Oregon Coast Aquarium to save a stranded green sea turtle (dubbed "Squirt" due to her small size 🥺) who washed ashore on Manzanita Beach ended in tragedy, as the turtle died earlier this week. I'm including this story here not to bum everyone out, but to spread the word about what you should do if you see a stranded sea turtle during a rainy, chilly day at the coast. The experts at the Oregon Coast Aquarium say turtles wash ashore more during the winter, when the ocean is cold and tumultuous, and that you should NOT attempt to move a turtle on the beach, but you SHOULD remain nearby to observe the animal and contact the Oregon State Police tip line or Oregon's Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Rest in peace, Squirt, and godspeed to our turtle rescuers. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. 

• Y'all...we're getting some SNOW.  With blizzard warnings in effect for the Cascades, Oregon's mountains could see several feet of snow this week. Another weather system will bring even more powder to the mountains this weekend, and potentially to lower elevations (ahem, the Willamette Valley), too. My advice is to stay home if you can. (The Mercury will be tracking resources for people who don't have that option and need a safe, warm place to sleep. Stay tuned.)  

• After a piece of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 747 Max airplane leaving PDX flew off in mid-flight last week, people have understandably been calling on Boeing and Alaska Airlines to rectify the situation and ensure their planes are safe for travel. Boeing held an all-hands meeting at their factory in Washington yesterday, with CEO David Calhoun saying the company would approach the situation with "100% and complete transparency every step of the way." What will this mean for the company, which has been under fire in recent years for other safety issues? Well, that's unclear. But there's a lot of amount of negative— and likely costly— attention on Boeing and Alaska right now, which may prompt them to make a significant change. Or, and hear me out here, these major American corporations might just allowed to get away with gaping safety issues and face no consequences as higher-ups continue to pad their pockets. Nah...that would never happen. The things my mind comes up with! I know the billionaire CEOs always have our best interests in mind. 😃  

IN NATIONAL/WORLD NEWS:

The crazy weather this week isn't limited to the Pacific Northwest. High winds and hail in the South have killed at least three people, and many parts of the Midwest and Northeast have been buried in snow, with more on the way. Frigid weather is forecasted for most parts of the country this weekend and early next week. On the plus side, the snow forced Donald Trump to cancel some campaign events in Iowa leading up to next week's caucus. 

• Speaking of the devil...D.C. appeals court judges have indicated they're not buying Trump's claims of immunity for charges of plotting to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Trump has tried to argue that because he was president at the time, he ought to be let off the hook for, uh, mounting a coup in 2021. If you're having trouble keeping track, I'm talking about one of several ongoing criminal cases for the former president. This is the one involving the U.S. Justice Department and Special Counsel Jack Smith, who have indicted him for a criminal conspiracy related to the January 6, 2021 capital insurrection. Anyway, I guess it's good news that the judges are skeptical of his extremely shaky defense here? I feel like optimism is unwarranted when it comes to anything related to this man, so IDK. 

The American Red Cross says it's facing an emergency blood shortage due to low donor turnout at the blood bank— the lowest in 20 years. So, if you can donate, get thee to a blood bank! If you aren't motivated by altruism (you could literally save someone's life!), perhaps you'll be swayed by the array of snacks available once the deed has been done. Whatever your motives, just do it, okay? 

There's another Republican primary debate tonight. Yippee. That's all I have to say about that. 

• Finally, sticking to a theme of aquatic animals in need of help, did you know this is how fish get CT scans? To me, this image says my mom lied when she told me there was nothing a doctor could do to save my beloved childhood Angelfish when she stopped swimming energetically. RIP, Heidi. 😡