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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! Hope you got your vitamin D up over the last few days, 'cause it's back to clouds for now. Good! It's not time for summer yet. But you know what it IS time for...your daily news digest.  Read on if you want to be informed and possibly even entertained. (I haven't started writing this yet, so I don't want to promise too much.) 


• Have you read the Mercury's 2024 Spring Arts Preview?? If not, it's worth checking out. And if you have, go ahead and re-read. Included in the lineup: Everything you need to know about the two Portland-area listening bars (bars oriented around listening to music), the scoop on an upcoming Portland Art Museum exhibition about the future of sneakers, a dispatch from a night with queen of Portland drag bingo (and crowd-pleasing insults) Peachy Springs, and more. 

• ‼️ On the topic of Portland spring arts stuff: 

• According to a new Duke University study, very few (116) of the 7,400 state legislators across the country come from working-class backgrounds. In Oregon, that number is even more abysmal, at least according to Duke's parameters: Zero. The researchers defined "working class" as having "currently or last worked in manual labor, service industry, clerical or labor union jobs," which describes about 50 percent of workers in the United States, but only 1.6 percent of state lawmakers. Now, I think there are some issues with this study. The article in Oregon Capital Chronicle points out several lawmakers from working class backgrounds, like Rep. Paul Holvey, who was a union carpenter before he was elected to state Congress, and Rep. Dacia Grayber, who is a full-time firefighter. I can think of others who would probably object to the accusation, as well. But the point still stands that overall, U.S. and Oregon lawmakers are much wealthier than the average American, and this undoubtedly has impacts on the way they lead. 

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had to kill about 160,000 rainbow trout to stop the spread of a seemingly-untreatable, rapidly-spreading pathogen. The pathogen was found in fish at three Oregon hatcheries, and experts attribute it to climate change and warming rivers giving micro-organisms a more hospitable habitat.  :( 


• This morning, the Biden administration issued a MAJOR climate regulation: A new ruling that by 2032, the majority of new passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. must be electric or plug-in hybrid. (Oregon is trying to phase out gas car sales by 2035, so this federal regulation beats it.) The ruling will be overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency, and it's technically not a BAN on gas car sales, but it does require automakers to meet emissions limits— in essence, restricting them from selling combustion engine vehicles. Since transportation (largely combustion engine passenger vehicles) is the source of the largest chunk of American carbon emissions, this will be a big change. However, since the Republicans don't care if we live or die in a flaming inferno in 15 years, the ruling has already become a highly politicized issue and will likely face legal challenges. 

YouTube and Reddit are facing a lawsuit that alleges the companies helped radicalize the mass shooter who killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo, NY grocery store in 2022. Survivors of the shooting filed the lawsuit last year, and on Monday, a judge rejected the tech companies' requests to get it dismissed. The lawsuit claims the shooter became radicalized to the racist alt-right after consuming content on YouTube and Reddit, and that both platforms enabled him to get a weapon and body armor to carry out the mass shooting. It's a new approach to justice for victims of these horrific events, and may also put a strain on Section 230, which protects internet platforms from liability for what their users post or do with the site. (Section 230 is really interesting, but also too complicated to explain in a short blurb, so you should listen to this episode of Radiolab if you want to know more.) 

• We talked about out-of-touch state lawmakers earlier, now let's hear from some that are really doing their best to help people. Democratic Arizona state Senator Eva Burch told her legislative colleagues during a floor speech Monday that she planned to get an abortion because her pregnancy is no longer viable. Burch said she wanted to share the real-world impacts of abortion restrictions in Arizona, which have made getting the procedure more difficult for her. In an interview, Burch said she took the opportunity to "highlight what we’re experiencing here in Arizona and how the laws that we pass...actually do impact people in practice and not just in theory." 

• MacKenzie Scott, the billionaire ex-wife of Jeff Bezos and a co-founder of Amazon, is giving away $640 million to small nonprofits (including to three in Oregon.) In Portland, Raphael House and Families en Acción will receive $2 million each. Scott has spoken publicly about wanting to give away her money, and has seemingly stuck to her word, giving away $16 billion since 2019. The fact that it's seemingly as difficult for Scott to give away her money as it is for the rest of us to keep ours means we need REAL wealth redistribution, not just philanthropy, but I guess it's more than most billionaires are doing.

• Ok everyone, happy Wednesday. Hope it's as nice as this: