As the State Turns

By Johnny Beaver

stateturnssymbolFast Times at Religious Freedom High
The greater business establishments of Oregon have drawn a line in the sand against the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative, which is being aggressively pushed by conservative Christians from around the state in hopes of getting the measure on next November’s ballot. Led by the Oregon Family Council and affiliated groups, this initiative seeks to grant religious exemptions to those that provide service-based businesses (such as bakers, florists, and so on) that would allow them to refuse said service to same-sex couples holding “commitment ceremonies.” Many, including the State of Oregon, have made it clear that they feel this is a grievous violation of civil rights laws, especially those designed for anti-discrimination.

Many of the voices behind the initiative are the same yokels that tried to ban same-sex marriage in Oregon back in 2004. Among the over 160 businesses throwing their weight behind the effort to squash it, the top of the list includes the Oregon Business Association, Columbia Sportswear, Nike, and the Portland Business Association.

Perhaps someone should get a ballot going to support an initiative that lets people refuse service to bigots.

E. coli Happens
I scream, you scream, we all scream for… Escerichia coli, or E. coli. Well, at least Portland does. As many of you are undoubtedly already aware, 670,000 people in the Portland area are under the largest boil-water advisory in the history of the city on behalf of the Portland Water Bureau. The reservoir system tested positive for the bacteria on May 21, 22, and 23, resulting in the immediate shutdown of Mt. Tabor reservoirs 1 and 5.

Although it has now been confirmed that the strain of E. coli bacteria found is not virulent, and the health officer for Multnomah and Clackamas counties said that, and I paraphrase here, people didn’t have to worry about an increase in violent, explosive diarrhea, well… those in the area are still just going to have to wait it out under the advisory until the all-clear is given.

And Oregon’s Favorite STD Is…. Oh, My God, It’s a Tie!
Both syphilis and gonorrhea are on the rise in Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Last year saw the highest syphilis rates since 1989, and gonorrhea grew by about 18 percent as well. Most cases for both illnesses have involved men, and OHA has said that homosexual men are in the highest risk group.

While both diseases are curable with antibiotics, they are not always immediately identified. Both can be passed from mother to child, and one baby has already died this year from congenital syphilis. Screening regularly, as it always has been, is of the utmost importance.

TIMET Was Sure No One Would Look in the Landfill
One of Oregon-based Precision Castparts’ subsidiaries just took it in the eye when slapped with a $13.75 million fine by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice. The subsidiary, Titanium Metals (TIMET) of Nevada, was caught disposing of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), a highly toxic and very illegal (for the last three decades, even) manufacturing byproduct. And what was their master plan? Dumping it in a landfill, and again in a trench at a plant in the Black Mountain Industrial Complex. Because nobody would ever notice THAT. Oh, lordy.

Part of the ruling was that TIMET would be responsible for the cleanup as well, but even in the light of the dollar amount attached to said ruling… is this punishment enough? TIMET supplies about 20 percent of the world’s titanium, and when it was purchased by Oregon’s Precision Castparts in 2012, the sticker price was about $3 billion. One might imagine that $13.75 million is about what you’d find in their couch.

Eugene Woman Gives J.C. Penney the Finger
A Eugene woman by the name of Diane Carrion recently filed a nearly $500,000 lawsuit against J.C. Penney Co. over a botched manicure. Yeah, you heard that right. Apparently during the visit something went wrong and Carrion’s right index fingernail was punctured, causing it to bleed. Her money was refunded, and she was also advised to wait a few months for the nail to grow back, as it takes longer than skin.

Something dark was brewing, however. The woman’s nail… it did not heal. She claimed to have experienced everything from inflammation to infection, cellulitis, an abscess and tenosynotivitis. Three terrible surgeries later, the “major injury” (according to her attorney, Tina Stupasky) had resulted in $77,200 in medical bills. According to the wording of the lawsuit, Carrion will permanently suffer pain, limited range of motion, emotional distress, and more.

Now, I won’t say that nail injuries can’t be incredibly awful. They can, seriously. Google it… just do it on an empty stomach. However, what I will say is this: when I finally run out of money in my savings this summer, I might have to go and get injured at the salon.