Humpday News Roundup: Uncamped Homeless, Unroyaling King Alexander, Unroyaled Royals, Undying Blockbuster, and an Unlikely Stash of More

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

Homeless Camp 

The managed camping facility near the BMX park being built to aid the homeless won’t be happening. The funding is there since the City Council agreed to appropriate about $360,000 in federal funds – earlier $125,000 was appropriated to build the fence, platforms, and warming area – but Unity Shelter, which planned the area, cannot obtain the insurance needed to ensure the city would not be held liable for anything that might happen. There were also questions about how it would fit into federal housing rules.  

King Alexander Takes Another Hit

Parents of a student at Louisiana State University are not happy with Oregon State’s current president. Their daughter, a student at LSU during F. King Alexander’s time as Prez there, was strangled twice and had a rib broken by a football player. David and Rosario Lewis wrote in their statement: Ultimate responsibility lies with F. King Alexander. The toxic culture that he oversaw at LSU illustrates an abject failure of leadership by him. He should never be allowed the privilege of leading any college again.” At The Advocate, we found those three lines more damning than the third-party report’s which called the LSU system under Alexander “systemic failure,” but we will, as always, leave that determination to our fair-minded readers. 

OSU Faculty in the Dark, Not Happy About it 

In a letter to the Oregon State University Board of Trustees, the United Academics of Oregon State University were critical of President F. King Alexander’s handling of LSU football coach Les Miles and the sexual assault issues that permeated their organization. The UAOSU had questions for the board, among them: “How did you come to hire F. King Alexander? Did you know of his past problems and choose to ignore them and hide them from the public? Were you misled by the expensive headhunters you employed to manage the search? Were you misled by Alexander himself?” The faculty of OSU also asked about the board’s silence to date – which should end today with a Board of Trustees meeting. We will await the results of that meeting with bated breath. 

Portland Police Could’ve Got Slugged 

Portland Police found several weapons left behind by protestors on a Friday night. The department found the protestors were not complying with the laws surrounding the act of protest after windows were broken, and called out for observers, press, and anyone with medical issues to leave in case the tear gas had to fly. Those who remained locked arms and were escorted away, some were arrested. Items left behind by the crowd included a crowbar, hammers, bear spray, knives, and what the police are calling a “slugging weapon with rocks.”  

Trans Rights on the Field 

There are 35 bills out in 20 states which are trying to limit access to sports for transgender women. In Mississippi, the governor just signed one of them into law. The American Civil Liberties Union is working to protect these women from being prejudged or even harmed by laws that they say are “really just another culture war bugaboo of the right.” Dr. Eric Vilain of Children’s National Hospital did an interview about this with Michel Martin. You can hear it or read it here 

Blockbuster is Back… at Netflix 

A documentary about the fall of the video store business comes to us from Oregon filmmakers Taylor Morden and Zeke Kamm. The film titled “The Last Blockbuster” looks at Bend and how the store there – you know, the last Blockbuster – manages its fight to stay alive. Of note here is that Blockbuster was running strong in the year 2000 when it turned down the offer to buy Netflix, which eventually came back stronger and took over the movie rental industry, turning it in time to streaming. Ironically, this film is available via Netflix. 

Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise 

All over Portland, people are slipping under cars and stealing their converters… you know the catalytic kind that are supposed to make the air cleaner. It only takes about half a minute to steal one, and the part is sold for scrap metal… which doesn’t really do anything for the air. Seems they’re doing it to get to the juicy morsels of rhodium which is used to clean air… and which sells for up to $24,000 per ounce. Senate Bill 803 would prohibit scrap metal businesses from buying catalytic converters from anyone except commercial sellers.  

Still Raised. Still Ugly. 

Ammon Bundy was arrested again after failing to attend his own trial on trespassing charges during an Idaho legislative session last fall. Perhaps he couldn’t find the door, so he simply began protesting outside of the courtroom – ostensibly over a mask mandate imposed on those entering the courthouse. Bundy and his new cohort called “People’s Rights” have spent much of the pandemic yelling at others as a means of getting us all free from masks and other COVID-safe behaviors. They have forced their way into a House gallery, shattered a glass door, and shouted down lawmakers trying to shield businesses from COVID-based lawsuits – and that’s just in Idaho. Bundy is representing himself in this matter. 

Relief for Some Women, Period. 

There are several bills under consideration in Oregon this year concerning menstruation assistance. You see, tampons and pads are expensive, meaning if you can’t afford them then you can’t really leave the house for several days a month. Senate Bills 717 would provide an extra $10 per month for people on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Senate Bill 521 would exempt businesses from having to pay “commercial activity tax” on menstrual products, diapers, baby formula, and prescription drugs. House Bill 3294 would require Oregon public schools to provide pads and tampons to students for free. In 2019, this issue was addressed when period products were made available for free to prison inmates, although it didn’t include youth facilities. For those who are uncomfortable with this story, think how uncomfortable it must be for women missing school or work because these laws haven’t yet been put in place yet. 

Oregon Woman Embarrasses Self and State 

Some people in Texas are being reasonable, although not this Oregon woman.  In short, lady walks into a place of business, lady refuses business personnel’s request to mask-up or leave, lady gets arrested for trespassing, cops have body cams that show whole thing. It’s good to know my middle finger still works. I was worried it wouldn’t get its regular workout with Trump out of the White House and off TV. 

George Floyd’s Life Worth $27 Million 

While Minneapolis looks for 12 people who can remain unbiased to make up a jury of murderer Derek Chauvin’s peers, the city has settled with George Floyd’s family for his wrongful death. And the lucky number is $27 million. The Floyd family’s lawyer Ben Crump said, “This makes a statement that George Floyd deserved better than what we witnessed.” The settlement includes $500,000 for the south Minneapolis neighborhood which has been blocked since his death, although how that money will be spent is still unclear.  

1,000,000,000 down… 

This week saw the one millionth COVID-19 vaccine administered in the U.S. Considering that we have over 300 million people and many will need two doses, we’ve got a long haul to go still. Everyone hold onto your masks and keep six feet away, we’ll get through this. 

Twinless Twin 

OPB published a story this week about a set of twins who ended their living bond in Clackamas. They came to Oregon to spend their 29th birthday together in March of 2020. Neither of them had any preexisting conditions, both were actually quite healthy, when one of the twins fell very ill. At first diagnosed with pneumonia – this was the beginning of the pandemic and we didn’t know as much, the sick sister was eventually brought to the emergency room where she underwent all of the treatments we have watched, hopefully, through the lens of news cameras, until she passed away. I encourage everyone to read the well written and moving story of these two young women. It will remind us why we’re still seeing the world behind face masks and shields. 

AstraZeneca Vaccine Might Cause Clots 

On March 14, Ireland was the latest country to halt the use of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine. They joined Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and the nations of the European Union in setting down the needles after blood clots formed in adults given this vaccine variant. This brand of vaccine has not been approved for use in the U.S.  

Way to go, Chile! 

Chile was one of the hardest hit nations when the pandemic began, and now is near the top of countries getting its population vaccinated. Of the 19 million people in our South American neighbor, over 25% have gotten at least one shot. In fact, they have administered 100,000 shots almost daily since February. Their trick? Health officials negotiated early with vaccine providers and have been serious about getting everyone safe. This was also aided by three Chilean biochemists going to China to talk immunology in late 2019.  

Where has Gotinha Gone? 

Brazilian mascot Zé Gotinha is missing. The mascot, whose name roughly translates to “Joe Droplet,” was created in the 80’s to assist the health ministry promote vaccination for children – against polio at the time. He comes up again and again to remind kids that they have to be vaccinated against whooping cough, tuberculosis, diphtheria, measles, and, of late, COVID-19. The people of Brazil have made a meme of it, wondering if perhaps Gotinha is also sick, and wishing him well. To date, although 79% of Brazilians want to be vaccinated, only 4% have been as their small supply is given to the elderly and people in priority groups.  

UK Royals Save Face? 

To take a little pressure off the Royals, England is staying focused on the murder of commoner Sarah Everard, who was presumed to have been killed by a police officer. Amid protests for the rights of women to not be murdered by anyone, the Duchess of Cambridge aka Kate Middleton aka the next Queen came to a memorial to the young woman and laid flowers on top of the others. Why our cynicism? Because the press were there to capture the future queen – maskless! – bringing her flowers up. Because America is the land of “commoners” who hate to see a good protest used for royal gain. Because this all came to bear right on the heels of the Oprah interview with Kate’s sister-in-law, Meghan – former American actor and POC whose side we’re taking on this one. Well, some of us are taking sides, apparently, there are Advocateers that couldn’t care a whit what any Royal does, like, ever. 

By Sally K Lehman