HUMPDAY NEWS ROUNDUP: Lawmakers Going Wild

The latest recap of the news you may have missed… we’re assuming by accident.   

Basically Helping Students  

Imagine trying to go to college while homeless. There are several students in this position. Jackson Street Youth Services says one in ten young adults – aged 18 to 25 – will experience homelessness. A lot of these kids have been kicked out or left to fend for themselves coming out of unstable home environments. OSU’s Human Services Resource Center has developed the Basic Needs Navigator to help students who are facing issues with providing themselves the “basic needs” of living. The Barometer’s Cara Nixon has detailed several stories about this service and the people who have found help through it.  

UO Students Fail  

In response to the state placing Lane County back into the Extreme Risk category, a large group of students from UO decided to have a party with nary a mask in sight. The event was outdoors, although from the photo taken and dispersed, none of the people attending seem to have six feet of empty space around them. The University has expressed its disappointment. In other Eugene news, the majority of new COVID cases in Lane County are in people aged 20-29… not surprisingly it seems.  

And Teams Play Sports  

The Trail Blazers won a couple of games. An Oregon Duck will become a Detroit Lion. Soccer fans don’t want to miss the big game. Yadda, yadda, yadda… However, if you want to see some football live and in person, don’t go to Eugene! Their Extreme Risk categorization has left the Ducks scrimmage a no-people-allowed kind of event. But, if Benton County can keep things at an even keel, you can maybe find yourself watching their scrimmage at Reser Stadium… just remember your masks, please.  

Remember Water?  

Over 75% of Oregon is in some stage of drought as of the beginning of May. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better, because we are heading into summer, folks. Currently, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is calling it on Southern, Central, and Eastern Oregon, as well as the Willamette Valley. Part of the issue is below-normal snowpack as measured at the end of April – the Malheur Basin came in at 12% of normal, while the Klamath Basin is several years into a drought which is bringing them into the driest year in a century. With 97% of Oregon drier than it should be, we all need to watch our water use and hold onto our swimming flippers, ‘cause it’s gonna be another interesting year.  

Oregon Cars Got the Good Stuff  

Some people from Florida, led by 27-year-old Damian B. Fletcher, have been coming to Portland for the specific purpose of breaking into women’s cars and stealing their stuff – generally purses, wallets, check books. They were then enlisting locals to pass forged checks around town, again quite specially through drive-up tellers where they were less likely to see physical differences from licenses and so they could get away quicker. Fletcher and crew were caught, and he has been sentenced to three years in prison. He’ll also have to pay back $98,733 in restitution. I wonder where he’ll go to steal that money.  

No Food Sharing Allowed Here  

Oregon State lawmakers flubbed again. The Right to Rest Act, which would have allowed people to stay on public property without penalty – you know, in case those people were homeless and had literally nowhere else to go – died in committee for the third time since 2015. House Bill 2367 would have allowed people to sit, stand, share food, pray, and sleep on public land. (At The Advocate we think it was the sharing food part that really killed it this time, but that’s just because Toby keeps stealing our yogurt.) Sponsors of the bill say it will be back.  

In Other Oregon Lawmaker News… 

Former House Speaker, current Clackamas Community College board member, and once-upon-a-time defender of human trafficked individuals Dave Hunt has been arrested for… you guessed it, human trafficking. Lured in by Portland Police, eight men were arrested in total through an operation conducted in April – the usual decoy ads on known websites, etc, etc, etc. The Portland Tribune put together the name and details and outed Hunt as one of the eight. Hunt declined to comment prior to his “day in court.”  

Some People Just Can’t Take a Joke?  

Kansas Republican State Rep. Mark Samsel was substitute teaching at a high school near Kansas City when students began recording his unusual behavior. He had begun speaking to the teens about suicide, religion, sex, and masturbation – we’re not sure if those subjects were actually on the syllabus.  Samsel then “put hands” on a young man in class and “allegedly” kneed the kid in the groin. It seems he then made fun of the boy for being in tears from the incident. According to NBC News, Samsel said, “The kids and I planned ALL this to SEND A MESSAGE about art, mental health, teenage suicide, how we treat our educators and one another.” Samsel was also recorded saying that he considers resigning every day and that Topeka (the state capitol) sucks… although those last two issues might no longer be issues soon.   

The Bidens Go A’Visitin’  

“Dr. & Mr. President” Biden visited a fifth grade classroom in Yorktown, and learned that kids are basically kids. Several of the 11-year-olds regaled the First Couple with truths that included taking naps, eating, and faking technical glitches during their online school days. Overall, everyone seemed to be better behaved in person.  

Your Local Pharmacy Might be a COVID Bottleneck  

The Feds have been supplying CVS and Walgreens with COVID vaccines that have been getting dumped. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have noted 128,500 doses wasted by these two companies as of late March. Nationwide, there have been less than 183,000 doses lost, so these two providers account for over 70% of the discarded doses. The CDC isn’t sure why so many were lost specifically from these two businesses, although there is speculation that it’s due to the ultra-cold requirements from some vaccines. It also seems that at least eight states have trashed more vaccines than they originally reported. When all’s said and done, wouldn’t it be better for everyone to just get out into the world and get the darned shot? I mean, come on!  

Happy Birthday, NPR!  

May 3 marked the 50th birthday of National Public Radio. Meaning they have been here for us as we transitioned from three networks reporting the news (ABC, CBS, & NBC) to so many news outlets that we’d be stupid to try to list them all (not to mention there would be new ones by the time we’d finished typing). Congrats on such a good run, and we feel lucky to share the space with you.  

Another Reason Walls are Bad  

Four people died and 25 were injured on May 2 when a boat crashed and broke apart in San Diego. Authorities think the folks were smugglers bringing migrants into the U.S. due primarily to the fact there were dozens of people of varying ages squished into the 40 foot cruiser – possibly used in an attempt to blend in with other maritime traffic. The captain, who was counted among the survivors, has been arrested.  

Hear Every Single Word… If You Can Remember Them  

The former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, after hounding others to take their oath to America seriously, to really think about the words they said, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance with him, forgot the words. I mean, he got the first line right, but sort of faded out around “And to the Republic.”   

Trump Has ‘Never Actually Been Wrong’  

In a new style of loyalty test, Trump supporters are continuing down the road of insanity for saying the 2020 Presidential Election was stolen from their guy. Republicans Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney have both faced mob-like consequences for accurately noting that the election was not corrupt – Romney actually getting booed at during a speech due to his support of impeaching Trump. Now, Michigan Republican Debra Ell has said “I think I speak for many people in that Trump has never actually been wrong and so we’ve learned to trust when he says something.” I think that Ell might have been dropped as a baby in that there is significant evidence that Former  President Trump has in fact lied. Also, WTF!  

In Other Trump News…  

Former Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, said of Mr. Trump, “If inciting insurrection isn’t impeachable, I don’t know what is.” He went on to appear on Fox News and give Trump an ‘A’ grade for his time in office. In other news, Christie may have also been dropped head first as a child.  

Weren’t We Promised Zombies?  

If there is such a thing as an apocalypse, then the situation in India might just be it. Hospitals are too full to accept new patients. It can take days to get to the machines for chest scans. They are running out of oxygen. Ambulances are being crammed full with corpses. Funeral pyres are burning day and night. India is averaging 350,000 new cases of COVID-19 and 3,000 deaths due to COVID-19 each day. After early success in flattening the curve, too many people believed that herd immunity was setting in and they went back to their daily lives. Add to that, there was a huge celebration of Hindu people – 2.5 million – who all went into the Ganges River without safety protocols. The world is coming to India’s rescue, as much as it can.  

And Part of that World is Portland…  

Volunteers from Portland are coming to India’s aid. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and the Portland chapter of Sewa International USA are sending medical supplies, oxygen, and volunteers to India. They are also making plans to help Indian children who have lost parents to COVID-19. Given the enormous population in India – coming up on 1.4 billion people – every bit helps. These organizations are also assisting Indian people in the U.S.  

‘Let the Bodies Pile High…’  

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has embedded himself in scandals as the newest election closes in on the United Kingdom. Johnson began with the comment that he would rather “let the bodies pile high in their thousands” than impose another lockdown. It then was disclosed that Johnson did some serious reno work at Number 10 Downing St. – the official UK version of the White House – and can’t quite remember how that was paid for. Now, there’s a better than good chance that Scotland will want to exit the united part of the kingdom – not a cute look for a man who has called himself ‘Minister for the Union.’ And there’s talk of the UK rejoining the European Union, which would be a big upset for Johnson who ran on Brexit coattails. It is nice to know that American politics aren’t the worst in the world… at the moment.  

Get Your Phone at the Ready  

Wanna call a world leader? You might have just missed your chance, because PM Boris Johnson just realized that his phone number has been publicly available… for the last 15 years… on the internet, so, you know, it’s probably still out there somewhere… jussayin’.  

By Sally K Lehman