As the State Turns

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Trump… That’s It. Just Trump.
You may have seen this by now, but Trump’s bungled excuse for a 2018 budget has some dire consequences. Included in the package o’ fun is the forced sh*t-canning of Albany’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, or as we affectionately know it, NETL. Something like 150 or so jobs will go poof, along with tens of millions of dollars in cash flow for our great state. The awesome plan is to slowly close it over three years, prolonging a painful death and contributing to illegal underground gambling over “Who’s gonna be next?” If James Franco shows up wearing oddly time-specific clothing and drops a ton of money on a 35 to 1 bet, just let him do it. He’s a time traveler, and will be attempting to thwart an assassination. It won’t work out for him well, anyway. A good friend of mine that runs a diner once told me, “You fudge with the past, and the past fudges with you.” More or less.

That aside, NETL has been around for about seven decades, and nobody wants to see it go. Many accredit NETL as the key factor in other area landmark businesses coming about, such as Selmet and ATI.

But hey, let’s just take a breath
and calm down. Trump has the working class in his heart, right? Somewhere in there.

Step Forward for Oregon’s Mentally Ill
Governor Kate Brown will be signing two bills to lend a helping hand to those struggling with mental illness. The first, HB3090, requires ER staff to put together discharge plans for mentally ill patients whether they’ve been admitted or not. HB 3091 strong-arms health insurers into covering mental/behavioral health checks.

Being someone with a mental illness (or three), I can tell you that both of these bills should put a stop to some severely damaging practices. While the latter is fairly self-explanatory, let me explain my own experience with psych visits to the emergency room:

1. Show up, sign a lot of papers.

2. Talk to someone who gives you a suicide test.

3. Depending on how #2 goes, you’ll be talking to a counselor for a while to make sure you’re not a risk.

4. See a doctor, eat some Ativan, spend a few hours “calming down.” (I put that in quotes because it’s basically just sitting in a bad chair with a gown on while shuffling your pee back and forth between the bathroom and a nurse.)

5. After hours have passed they’re like, “You don’t have to go, but if you’re good you can.”

6. You’re off to the races.

And then the next time, you’re back for another round. Why? Because you’re sick, dude. And there’s very little help that’s more in-depth than this kind of patch job. No continuing care. Want to see a psychiatrist? Better have insurance that’ll cover it, and extra cash for the copay… and better hope that after you finally get off a six-month waiting list to see one, they don’t show a total disinterest in rooting out your diagnosis, instead just checking off one medication attempt after another.

Don’t get me wrong, I like pills. Pills have saved my life. But this is the reality for many, many people. And this is why you need to support bills like these, those that write them, vote for them, and sign them into law. I don’t often break the fourth wall in As the State Turns, but occasionally it seems necessary.

Commission Reverses Decision to Deny Tuition Increases
PSU and UO students, I’m so sorry. Both schools created a second round of proposals and won over the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission almost unanimously. UO gets an 11.5% increase, and PSU gets one at 8.4%.

In the end, what’s another 10% per year if you’re already going to be in debt for life anyway, right? Though this will be a special challenge for those of us whose maximum federal loan amounts were already tapped at the previous rate.

Everybody is citing rising costs, which are a thing, but when is this bubble going to burst? Our culture asks us to better ourselves in order to have a fulfilling life and give back to the community, but last I checked the community isn’t where the cash is going. Nope, it’s the banks.

By Johnny Beaver