As the State Turns

By Johnny Beaver

stateturnssymbolOregon Scores Low on Corruption

According to data from the Justice Department, Oregon is less corrupt than all other states. Even the red states! *gasp* In fact, in a 32-year period, Oregon state officials have been tossed in the paddy wagon and later convicted at a rate of only 1.28 per 100,000. Either it’s because we’re awesome at not getting caught, or as the Justice Department would have you believe, we’re just the victims of really strong audit and oversight rules. I’m sure it’s the latter.

At the top of the list were Louisiana, Tennessee, and Mississippi, with literally four times as many convictions as Oregon—just confirming the fact that you can’t trust all those extra letters. It just ain’t right, all those extra letters.

Not everyone is pleased by the situation, however. One online commenter offered up this bit of wisdom to explain Oregon’s high marks: “There are plenty of Crooks in Oregon Who the liberal press protects…“

I shall now rub my hands together fiendishly and cackle.

Gay Marriage Opponents Trip Over Shoelaces

They say there’s no rest for the wicked, and that very well may be true. Opposing the Oregon court ruling that allowed gay marriage in the state, the National Organization for Marriage recently danced a very securely heterosexual jig all over a federal appeals court. Apparently the judge was more of a fan of breakdancing, or maybe tap, because the effort was kicked dutifully to the curb. I also choose to believe that their representatives were pooped on by angry pigeons as they left the courthouse.

For a little history, when several same-sex couples sued the state last year (stating that the ban was unconstitutional), Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sidestepped any sort of defense and stood with them, asking a U.S. District Judge to toss it out. Since then, Oregon couples of all kinds have had the freedom to marry out of love, free from the sort of restrictions that some people use as ideological security blankets.

Before all was said and done, the National Organization for Marriage got involved, attempting to mount a defense of the ban themselves based on the interests of their Oregon state members. The judge raised a solitary eyebrow, cited their lack of standing in rejecting their request for intervention, and sent them on their way—leading to the appeal that tripped and fell down the stairs last week.

They are, of course, likely to stand back up. They’ll just have to try their hand in someone else’s state.

Portland, Feds Shake Hands on Mental Health

Being the genetic victim of a host of mental, shall we say, “disturbances,” I was glad to see the federal government step up in 2012 and hit Portland with a lawsuit over the police department’s treatment of those with mental illnesses (whether actual or perceived, they note). The fact is, no one already suffering from an illness should be further victimized by excessive force, and the settlement that was finally reached this last Friday seems poised to decrease these instances by a large percentage.

It’s loaded with reforms (and deadlines for those reforms, believe it or not) which rewrite stun-gun policy, as well as speed up police misconduct investigations and better assess their use of force. Additionally it creates a new behavioral unit within the bureau.

The U.S. District Judge behind the settlement, Michael Simon, is also requiring involved parties to meet for annual reviews so that everyone involved can be sure progress is being made.

With any luck, Portland may turn into a model for other cities in need of similar changes.

Miley, the Media, and West Salem High

A former West Salem High School student by the name of Jesse Helt turned himself in to the Polk County jail last week in regards to a probation violation, all stemming from criminal mischief and criminal trespassing charges. As some of you may know, this was the same young man that met Miley Cyrus in a California homeless shelter and was given the opportunity to speak for her at the MTV Video Music Awards in response to a win for the crime against eardrums known as “Wrecking Ball.”

The fact that the media is covering minor crimes by what seems to be a transient youth that needs help simply because he was cleaned up and tossed on stage as Cyrus’ first real spectacle in a year that didn’t involve someone’s crotch… it’s pretty sad. But there’s a deeper issue here.

As American citizens, it’s our duty to be upset that he wasn’t charged with at least one additional felony count of Associating with a Cabbage Patch Kid. I am hereby starting the Poop Bucket challenge. As a country, we will come together by dumping buckets of feces over ourselves to help bring awareness to Miley Cyrus’ attempts at co-opting our culture to erase the memory of her grinding on Robin Thicke.