As the State Turns

By Johnny Beaver

stateturnssymbolNeedlepoint and Politics

It’s that time of year again – media outlets start saying “heating up” a lot and using the phrase to tie into the weather, because what’s more exciting than state politics and the temperature? Watching toenails grow on a corpse, of course!

The long and short of what’s going on is nothing new. Prominent figures from out of state are heading our way to help raise funds for their campaigns. A TON of money is being dumped onto either side of the seesaw devoted to the GMO labeling issue and it looks like most of Oregon’s delegation in the House of Representatives threw their support behind President Obama’s Gulf region military aid proposal.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks and maybe we’ll catch some news about a politician’s mistress or something. Until then, I suggest taking up needlepoint to pass the time.

Willamette: Safe or Not to Safe?

If you’ve been keeping up with As the State Turns (or any of those inferior state news sources), you’ve likely read some back and forth about toxins and swimming approval in the Willamette river. It went something like this:

Oregon Health Officials: “It’s safe to swim!”

Data: “1.3 million pounds of toxic chemicals were dumped in Oregon waterways in 2012 alone. That year the Willamette got 62,907 pounds of formic acid, ammonia, lead, and more from just one mill.”
Me: “My sarcasm senses are tingling.”

Folks, today I’m vindicated. Last week, the Portland Triathlon was forced to change its plans because of “toxic scum” ferrying itself around on the top of the river. Described by Portland health officials as a massive bloom of harmful green and blue algae. All of those poor relay team bastards who had been training to swim will now find themselves running the first mile of the race. This isn’t even to mention any of the dozens of recreational river-ers that are going to have to find something else to do while this miles-long bogie dies out.

Though it’s doubtful that there’s any specific direct link between pollution and algae, any seventh grader can tell you that a poisoned, abused waterway is not going to be a healthy one. But don’t fret, there is good news. The symptoms one is likely to experience after coming in direct contact with toxic algae include headache, cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and more. In other words, nothing a little Pepto Bismal couldn’t handle.

Note: Pepto will not save you.

Loud Parents Try to Silence Own Children

I’m aware that some parents reading this might want to slap me upside the head. That’s okay, but it’s not going to change the fact that, throughout history, censorship has done nothing but impede progress, especially in education. Some parents in a Grants Pass school district apparently never experienced that lesson, as they attended a board meeting last week with the intention of adding mandatory parental consent to readings of Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. The meeting became quite heated as teachers and a school board members faced off against parents.

The graphic novel itself is often cited for “coarse language” and images of torture, as it tells a humanizing autobiographical tale of Satrapi’s life as a young girl, where she experiences the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Since its release, it has been heaped with praise from TIME to the University of Oxford and beyond.

This is not the first time Persepolis has come under fire. In 2013, the Chicago Public Schools removed the book from their seventh grade classrooms.

Actual Oregon Health Insurance Successes

According to a recent study by the Oregon Health and Science University, the number of uninsured Oregonians has dropped by 63 percent in just the last year. I’m not one of them, but hell yeah, right?

In summer 2013, over half a million Oregonians were lacking insurance . With the Affordable Care Act in play, that now looks more like 200,000.