HUMPDAY NEWS ROUNDUP: New Risks, Old Risks, and Risky Beverages

Correction: We said that Oracle created the Java programming language, however, it was created by Sun Microsystems. The Java code used by Google was written by Oracle. If we were up on our programming languages, we would repeat this correction in Java. Our apologies.

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

New Risk Levels Announced  

Benton County still tops the list of Oregon counties in the High Risk category – primarily because the list is compiled alphabetically Joining us on the High list this time around are six counties which were considered Moderate – Clackamas, Deschutes, Klamath, Linn, Multnomah, and Tillamook – and two counties which were Extreme – Coos and Curry. Incidentally, Josephine, Klamath, and Tillamook counties qualified for Extreme risk, but the state as a whole hasn’t reached the trigger for Extreme yet. Basically, it’s all about metrics and percentages and large dartboards of the map of Oregon. The point is that Benton County has continued to do the right things to keep the course and be safe. Good job!  

Let’s Get the Heck Outta Here  

In 2019, fewer than half of U.S. citizens had passports. In 2021, more than all of the people in America wanted to leave the states and go somewhere – anywhere, really. So, now that the world is slowly reopening its doors, how do you get a passport? In Benton County, you start by getting the right forms at the U.S. Department of State. You go to your local passport photo place – Walgreen’s, the UPS Store, and Wise Photo Printing are all able to do this – then find your birth certificate and photo ID. Now, call 541-766-6756 to make an appointment. For more details, check out the Benton County website. Then sing Happy Trails as you skedaddle off to countries other than ours.  

In Other Passport News…  

There is that other little reason we’ve all been stuck in the good ole U.S. of A. – the pandemic. Many are asking about the possibility of issuing “vaccine passports” to prove that you are safe to meet new people and influence strangers. Many others are asking about how their privacy will be protected if their vaccination status is broadcast all over some new verifiable method. The Biden administration has assured us that the feds will not create a universal vaccination database, although the CDC says that something like a vaccine passport will eventually become a necessity. The private sector and state governments will set policies on the matter – like the New York Excelsior Pass to prove you got the shot, or the executive order signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis which prohibits businesses from requiring proof of vaccine, or any other state which falls in the middle of these two extremes.  

Singing Those Beach Wedding Blues  

So, you’ve delayed your big wedding long enough and the flowers really didn’t hold up for an entire pandemic. What to do? Don’t plan on bringing 300 of your best friends and closest family members over for an Oregon beach ceremony anytime soon. Oregon will not be issuing beach wedding permits until after July 1. You can get married on the beach without a permit if you keep it small – 50 people or less – and there are no chairs, tables, etc. being used.   

Oregon Parks Join the Old Millennium  

Oregon Parks and Rec will be bringing our trails up to Americans with Disabilities Act compliance a mere 30+ years after the legislation passed. Over the next 25 years, signs will be improved, ramps added, bathroom stalls enhanced, and outside barriers removed to open the great outdoors to everyone at last. Seems they have found 4,872 ADA barriers at 273 parks throughout Oregon – and the parking and bathrooms make up only about 52% of those issues. The whole thing starts in July – you know, barring anything completely ridiculous like a pandemic. You can read the entire ADA Transition Plan here, because we know you’ve run out of options on Netflix.  

Littering Masks  

If you’re old like many of us (especially our Publisher, I mean that guy…), you’ll remember the anti-littering, “Crying Indian” commercial which starred a man who was later revealed as not an Indigenous Person crying about litter bugs. Racist history aside, we’re facing a continuing litter crisis, and now masks are a big part of it. And coastal cleanup crews in Oregon are routinely finding Personal Protective Equipment – aka PPE – as they clean. Plastic waste in general is up, and our state legislators are looking to address it with two proposed bills that would phase out single-use plastic and polystyrene for food use. And at the federal level, Senator Jeff Merkley reintroduced the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act a few weeks ago.  

And If You Must…  

toss that disposable mask in the garbage, please remember to cut the straps. Birds and small animals can get caught in the strings that hold that mask to your face, killing them. And please, we beg of you, don’t just throw your dirty mask on the ground… but you’re all adults, so you already know this, right?  

Reporters Have Been Doing It Wrong  

A letter from a group of over 80 people who care deeply about animal welfare – including Jane Goodall BTW – are taking the Associated Press Stylebook to task. For those who are not “in the know,” AP Style is a set of grammar rules used in journalism to keep things readable. And in AP Style, the rule is that animals are neither he nor she but it. Don’t know about you, but my cats have genders despite the operation our vet put them through, and Jane Goodall et. al. believe that if you know the gender of your turtle or rabbit or pit bull, then you should use it… even in reporting.   

Bundy’s Head Rises Again…yep, Still Ugly  

Ammon Bundy is headed for mediation… probably. On April 2, a judge ordered that Bundy and another defendant named Aaron Schmidt begin mediation in late April to resolve their legal issues in a peaceful and adult way. The prosecutor made note that he doesn’t believe either man will comply. The Idaho Supreme Court ordered this course of action, adding “the parties must make reasonable efforts and exercise good faith during the mediation.”   

And in Other Bundy-Related News…  

In protest of his being held to account for his latest transgressions and maskless ways, friends of Ammon Bundy took to a street… well, a house really. Carrying signs and various flags, 50 people came to Magistrate Judge Davis Manweiller’s home on April 3 to protest Bundy’s charges of failure to appear and trespassing – you know, after he chose not to appear in court and then trespassed. Several Boise police officers guarded the judge’s house… in masks.  

Gaetz-Gate Coming Your Way  

Florida Representative Matt Gaetz is all up in the news these days for sex trafficking. It seems that Gaetz may have been in a relationship with a 17-year-old and took her across state lines, which is technically a federal offense  due to her age. All of that was made “worse” by the fact that federal campaign money might have paid for the girl’s expenses. To pile matters on, Gaetz has been known to brag about his sexual conquests… with photos to boot.   

In More “Republican” News…  

The New York Times recently published a story about how the Trump campaign managed their fund raising in the months leading up to the last presidential election. A duplicitous scheme to get donors to make their donations default to an every week kind of deal. By making the “repeat my donation” checkbox a minor add-on to the “ain’t Trump grand” message, the Republican Party and Trump’s campaign were able to bring in more than 530,000 online donations valued at approximately $65.3 million over the last two-and-a-half months of 2020. Several donors asked their banks and credit card companies for injunctions to stop the donations, others asked for refunds – which is apparently common. Refunds were issued by both presidential campaigns. Biden refunding $21 million. Trump refunding $122 million which was funded by donations made in assistance of the call for recounts in several states.  

Google Wins Again  

On April 5, the Supreme Court sided with Google in their copyright dispute with Oracle. Oracle began life as a database provider, and eventually created the programming language Java. Google began life as a search engine, and eventually took over the world with their Android smartphones which required a whole lot of code – 11,330 lines of which came directly from Oracle. The argument on Oracle’s side was all about being plagiarized. The argument on Google’s side noted that using purely functional code to build something new is a common practice in the technology industry. Six of the justices agreed with Google.  

Woman Power Comes to Indian News  

A new film about a remarkable group of reporters in India just won the audience award in World Cinema Documentary at Sundance. Writing With Fire profiles India’s only major news outlet run by marginalized women – Khabar Lahariya or, in English, Waves of News. Indian society is still mostly set up in a Caste System with the Dalit being at the bottom – once known as “untouchables.” Waves of News aims to not only include the Dalit voices through interviews and honest reporting, but through the fact that many of their reporters are Dalit. NPR interviewed one of this paper’s most well-known reporters, and you can read it all here.  

Leave My Legos Alone  

Lately, the lively love of Legos has led legions to larceny. Okay, maybe not “legions,” but lots of people are stealing Lego sets so they can resell them worldwide. A man in Tigard, Oregon stole 25 sets from a Washington Square Mall Lego store – a haul that the store would sell for about $7,500. Why steal them? The black market bricks binge has bolstered the buying price of a Star Wars Millennium Falcon set to over $3,500. Yet, your children are still leaving that one block hidden away in the carpet for you to step on.  

They Weren’t Disgusting Enough on Their Own  

Each year, the world tries to find new ways to outdo last year to find more people to buy their products. This year brought us Peeps flavored Pepsi… read that again, folks, I said Peeps flavored Pepsi. It is, apparently, “the taste of Pepsi cola with the soft and sweet Peeps marshmallow flavor” and is called Pepsi X Peeps. Sadly, you could only get this limited-time-only concoction through the #HangingWithMyPeeps sweepstake – which ended March 31. Our “sincere” apologies for not getting this news out to you sooner.   

By Sally K Lehman