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What's up, y'all? It's set to be a rainy and windy one in Portland here today. If you're depressed by the weather and want something to look forward to, consider buying tickets to the HUMP! film festival, which starts THIS WEEKEND.

Also, it's leap day tomorrow. What do you think of February 29? Is it a scam (an extra day of work without an extra day of pay 🙄) or a beautiful opportunity to have more time on this wonderful journey we call life? My take: If you happen to have a $50,000 Benihana gift card that expires at the end of February 2024, fear not— while you'd normally be SOL, you have another day to use it this year. It's a leap day miracle! (If you know, you know.) 

Okay, my niche leap day jokes aside, let's get to the news.


• It's official: Sam Adams, the TV guest star, failed political candidate, and... oh yeah, former Portland mayor, will run for a seat on Multnomah County's board of commissioners. The announcement marks his first major step back into public life after Mayor Ted Wheeler ousted him from his position as possible "shadow mayor" last January, and people are wondering how successful/humiliating this next political endeavor will be for him. In a campaign press release, Adams said he's running to end the "current dysfunction in Multnomah County," and will succeed due to his "track record of tackling big bureaucratic problems.” Ah, Portland. Nobody could ever say the politics here are boring. 

• Oregon House Bill 4002, which rolls back key components of the voter-approved drug decriminalization law Measure 110, passed out of committee with flying colors and is headed for a House vote. If the bill becomes a law— and some version of it very likely will, considering Governor Kotek's own support for recriminalizing drug possession — it will make low-level drug possession punishable by up to six months in jail. It earned bipartisan support: Republicans because they never liked Measure 110 in the first place (and are highly immoral people), and Democrats because, well, they're cowards. And, apparently, because they think this is the best version of a recriminalization bill we'll get. The bill is facing pushback from progressive groups, who say recriminalizing drugs will only harm marginalized people and people of color, keeping people in the endless criminal justice cycle forever. Which is exactly what it will do. Too bad everybody thinks overturning Measure 110 is the easy solution that's going to fix everything immediately! What will they blame when it doesn't? Only time will tell, and in the meantime, people at the margins of society will suffer.

• A man named David Bentley was on his bike near a homeless encampment on Southeast Belmont Street and Grand Avenue in inner SE Portland when he was hit and killed by a driver early Sunday morning  The driver, 22-year-old Shane McKeever, was charged with first-degree manslaughter and reckless driving. Now, documents filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court allege McKeever intentionally drove into a homeless camp using a stolen car. This is a very sad instance of what happens when hatred and disregard for unhoused people festers and combines with the traffic violence epidemic— a tragically common combination here in Portland. Rest in peace, David, and may we as a city and society change our ways.

• It's the moment many have been waiting for. After pushing back its release date by a few months, causing agony amongst sci-fi heads and Timothée Chalamet stans, "Dune: Part Two" comes out on Friday. And guess what? We have a sneak peek for you. So check it out, and buy your tickets quick, because they're selling like hotcakes. 

In news you didn't know you probably didn't really need to know: A Portland woman has secured the Guinness World Record for, uh, largest female tongue circumference, with her tongue measuring 5.21 inches all the way around. Wow! Everybody deserves to have their moment in the sun for something, I guess. 


Pro-Palestinian activists in Michigan urged voters to check the "uncommitted" category on their ballots in the state's primary election last night, in an act of protest against President Joe Biden and his handling of Israel's war in Gaza. While Biden ended up winning the state's Democratic primary in a landslide (as was expected, seeing as he has no viable opposition), "uncommitted" earned about 13 percent of the vote on the Democratic ballot, signaling a weakness in Michigan's support for the president. Biden, tick-tock! Do something other than eating ice cream cones and making vague remarks! For many in Michigan and elsewhere, however, it might be too late for the president to win back their votes. Read The Stranger's editorial recommending Washingtonians also vote for uncommitted delegates in next week's Washington primary. I concur. 

• Oh, BROTHER...Wendy's (yes, the fast food restaurant) is apparently embarking on a strategy to implement "surge pricing" on its menu items starting in 2025. Surge, or dynamic pricing, has been seen mostly with ride-sharing companies and ticket sellers, and it means the price of a product will fluctuate throughout the day based on demand. So, while it might cost $4 for a burger during the slow hours, it could cost you more during lunchtime, when everyone wants Wendy's.

But the thing is...everybody DOESN'T want Wendy's. I hesitate to dip my toes into the waters of microeconomics, but it seems to me like this makes no sense for an establishment like Wendy's, which is not usually (to my knowledge) selling out of its square-shaped burgers and (admittedly delicious) vanilla Frosties. I disagree with the methods of predatory ticket sellers and rideshare companies, but they're selling a product that people either REALLY want or REALLY need, and are therefore willing to pay more for. If I was trying to go to Wendy's for lunch and found out I was going to have to pay double for a burger, I'd just go across the street to Carls, Jr. or Burger King or whatever.

This tirade ended up a lot longer than I wanted it to. I hope not to receive emails from economists correcting me about what I've said here, but if you must, please at least be nice and also give me one compliment for every complaint. Thank you.

• Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right nut job/former president of Brazil, is under federal investigation for harassing a humpback whale off the São Paulo coast last year. Apparently, Bolsonaro drove his boat too close to the whale, defying the country's laws to stay at least 100 meters from whales and dolphins. If you break the rule, you could end up in prison for two to five years. Imagine if this is what finally does Bolsonaro in! Among other atrocities, the guy plotted a coup to put himself back in power. Obviously, I stand with the whale. 

• People who turned up to a so-called "immersive Wonka experience" in Glasgow, with tickets selling for about $45 U.S. dollars, were so disappointed with the "awful" event they called the police to the venue. The event advertisers used AI to create otherworldly images reminiscent of the famous fictional chocolate factory, so customers understandably thought they were in for a treat. Instead of giant chocolate fountains or candy mushrooms, though, guests were greeted by few plastic props, some pathetic decorations taped to the wall, and a reallyyyy sad looking Oompa-Loompa impersonator. Kids were crying, adults slammed the event as a "farce" organized by "cowboys", etc.

I've gotta say, sometimes I love the internet for the stories it can bring us. 

Anyway, happy Wednesday! Avoid any Wonka-themed events until further notice.