As the State Turns

By Johnny Beaver

Yet Another Election Update

stateturnssymbolOh, where to start… where to start. Let’s see, Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby recently called a news conference to moan about the politicizationof Ebola. Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon, has accused Democrats of using Ebola as a political issue—all while her Republican contemporaries have been using the fear factor to tap doofy Americans’ votes. I’d imagine that as a woman of science she’d have used her time to speak out against the media and political fear-mongering alike, but I guess this is an election season.

In other news, Oregon’s Senate Republication leader, Ted Ferrioli, has threatened to end all references to tax-increase measure voting in campaign materials. But why?! Let’s start at the beginning… In a land called Oregonia, long, long ago (last year), a deal was struck between High Overlord John Kitzhaber and other legislative warlords—this was to leave the “grand bargain” voting record out of campaign attacks. The “grand bargain,” if you remember, was the big piece of law that cut pensions for public workers and hiked taxes on the wealthy. I mean, uh, it cut the pay rate for horse cleaners and blacksmiths, while raising taxes for the nobs.

Anyway, present day: despite the agreement, Republican Senator Betsy Close went after state Representative Sara Gelser specifically on her vote (presumably because she couldn’t come up with anything else). A national Republican group spit this up all over Democratic Senate President Peter Courtney as well. And that, my friends, is the tale of why Ted Ferrioli is all pissed off.

And as for the last bit of election news: the Libertarian candidate for Oregon’s High Overlord—I mean, governor’s seat, goes by the name of Paul Grad. And let me tell you, this guy has one hell of a beard. He’s also one of those nutters that wants to outlaw pit bulls and legalize medical heroin (despite, you know, morphine and a handful of other powerful opioids). Still, though, one hell of a beard.

Oregon Sucks at Vaccination

Speaking of nutters, Oregon again leads the nation in the highest rate of unvaccinated kindergartners for the second year in a row. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 7.1% of Oregon children in kindergarten were exempt from vaccinations due to religious or philosophical protections. Washington’s numbers are a bit different, at only 4.7% exempt, however this likely has to do with a 2011 law that required parents to get a health care providers signature on a Certificate of Exemption.

I can imagine that some cases went like this: You can’t take my religious freedom! Oh, I have to get up and go get something signed where I might feel exposed as a fraud? Sorry, Billy, you’re sh*t out of luck. Take a needle for momma.

Washington had the highest rate of exemptions just a few years ago, before the law went into effect.

Portland, Oregon: International Crime Fighter

Or crime destination, rather. Federal authorities located an Austrian man who was wanted for murdering his mother in a hostel near Portland. What’s with Europeans and hostels? Anyway, 22-year-old Stefan Eduard Wiebogen fled amidst accusations that he stabbed his mother 30 times in the neck back in August or early September. He snuck into the U.S. under a visa waiver program, which is going to undoubtedly embarrass any involved officials. As my father would say, Somebody just got fired.

Since his Aw, damn, ya got me!moment, Wiebogen has been shipped to a federal detention center in Tacoma, Washington. Extradition proceedings are underway.

Weather Woes

The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (breathes) Prediction Center has some bad news for those of us that spent this blistering summer hiding under the bed, encased in ice packs: the winter is not going to be all that cold. Adjacent droughts in eastern Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and California will continue as higher than normal annual temperatures are on their way, along with less than average precipitation.

What does that translate to? Nobody knows. I just hope it means that it’s going to be cold, but not bury us under snow for weeks. Not that watching people spin out on 9th Street wasn’t fun.