As the State Turns

By Johnny Beaver

stateturnssymbolTriMet Driver Allegedly Outs Himself as Asshat

If you’re an Oregonian and haven’t driven through Salem in a while (the billboards… my lord…), you may have forgotten about the seedy underbelly of ignorance that our great, largely progressive state harbors. Unfortunately Ibn Mika’il of Sherwood is here to remind us, with a sickly experience he had via TriMet last week. When on one of the buses, a TriMet driver took a look at his traditional headscarf and made the remark, “How’s the jihad going for you?” This was the first incidence of its kind that Mika’il said he had experienced in 25 years of riding the TriMet.

Whether or not the complaint Mika’il subsequently filed will ever get anywhere is anybody’s guess, but the important lesson for many of us is that the fight against this sort of stupidity is far from over, even in a state that is in many ways ahead of the pack.

Portland Police vs. Portland…. Police

The PDX police department has released a “request for proposal” that would seek to form a new protocol for adding body and car cameras. No, not to look into your underwear… I mean cameras attached to the police officers and their cars. To say the least, the union is not happy.

The department cites the fact that many things occur that current camera technology and placement just can’t capture, and that these devices would work toward protecting the community and the police alike. For example, police in Rialto, California have had such a system for a few years, and they’ve reported an 80% drop in citizen complaints as well as a 60% drop in the use of force.

And on the other hand… well, people don’t like having cameras strapped on them. There are psychological implications that butt heads directly with the common “If you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide” mantra.

Either way, this is a battle that’s sure to go on for some time before a solution is put in place. I suppose in the meantime the citizens can just foot the bill.

E. coli Not Yet a Concern in Oregon

All poop jokes aside, the E. coli situation on good old planet Earth right now is looking pretty grim—perhaps moreso for those directly affected, yeah? People have been getting pretty serious, some of our “looser” citizens tiptoeing right into a mild panic, but what’s the current situation for those of us in Oregon? Recently the deaths of some children have been in the news, and so far investigators have been unable to find the source of infection.

Thankfully, not all of the news is bad. According to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), despite some high-profile cases as of late, our current numbers aren’t really too far out of the ordinary. With 103 E. coli-related illnesses reported so far this year, the death toll is 20 since 1992.

An OHA chart with all kinds of lines and colors, obviously sent here from an advanced alien race, does show an uptick in cases over the last six years. However, officials say this is because they’ve started documenting less harmful strains of the bacteria. The O-157 cases, the strain most associated with deadly illness, have not seen any significant change from year to year in some time.

For the sake of those suffering from the bacterial infections, we can only hope that those fighting against it start to gain ground. In the meantime, Oregonians can do their part by washing the hell out of their hands after handing their toilets or swimming, God forbid, in the Willamette River. For more information, visit http://public.health.oregon.gov/diseasesconditions/diseasesaz/ecoli/pages/facts.aspx.

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