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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Sat, Jul 20, 2013 at 8:13 AM

Detroit's abject destitution isn't in question, but nearly everything else about the city's bankruptcy filing earlier this week is. A Michigan judge says the governor is violating state law by engaging in proceedings that will almost certainly slash pension benefits for retirees. But the city snuck its petition into federal bankruptcy court while a pack of attorneys were trying to halt the process.

I worked, for a time, in the Washington, DC, bureau of Hearst Newspapers—a collection of reporters for papers all over the country, huddled on half a floor of a nondescript Farragut North office building, giving Congress hell. Somewhere on the other side of the room, long-time DC journalist Helen Thomas was still turning out columns at 86. I've often regretted that I didn't better avail myself of her knowledge. I'd run into her at the coffee maker or just walking through the warren of desks, but never had the temerity to strike up a real conversation. I'm an idiot. Thomas is a (not wholly uncontroversial) legend, who's rightly being lionized after her death earlier today.

There's much to criticize President Obama about this year—from ongoing drone warfare to his administration's handling of the Snowden case and other leaks to the press. But do yourself a favor, if you haven't already, and watch, listen to or read the president's remarks yesterday on the Trayvon Martin case. It's a stirring, cogent take on the black experience in the country and as fine an example of Obama's strengths as a leader as I can remember.

Speaking of the Trayvon Martin case, rallies are scheduled in cities across the country today. Portland had a spirited event last Sunday, but there's another planned this afternoon. Two o'clock, outside the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse. Be there. (If you want).

There are more-terrifying things than freak deaths and dismemberments on amusement park rides, but they are few. A woman in Texas is dead after being ejected off of the "tallest steel-hybrid coaster in the world."

In other Texas terribleness, Houston police are investigating the case of four men who claimed they were imprisoned in a dungeon-like garage—one of them for up to a decade?

If you've read this week's film section, you know I'm no fan of pimps. But Multnomah County's been throwing some really outsized sentences at what prosecutors have called the city's increasing sex trafficking issues. The latest example? A 26-year-old pimp was given 100 years yesterday. He faced up to 300 years. The excellently named Sirgiorgio Clardy is clearly out of control and a problem, but isn't this just maybe a little stiff?

DISCUSS:

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It was overcast and misty on my walk to the coffee shop, and I have to say it made me a touch wistful. But enough of my weak sentimentalities! The sun god returns later today.

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For real, though. Watch this.

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