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Friday, May 30, 2014

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Good morning, measles! The dolts afraid of vaccinating their children against terrible and pernicious diseases once feared and rued as tragic reapers of souls are helping bring about a revival of terrible and pernicious diseases once feared and rued as tragic reapers of souls. Measles cases are at a 20-year high, just a few years after the disease was nearly eradicated in the United States.

The National Security Agency is shading the truth about the whistleblower emails Edward Snowden sent to his bosses before he gave up hope and began leaking sensitive documents detailing dubious domestic spying programs. So says Snowden, at least—and he may have a point. Up until this week, when they finally produced one of those emails, the NSA had claimed he'd never sent any at all.

Guantánamo Bay is America's "good" seemingly extralegal terrorist prison. The "bad" one, holding 50 people known as nothing more than "non-Afghans," sits outside an airbase in Bagram, Afghanistan. The decision to keep US soldiers in the country for two more years also keeps the Bagram prison alive that much longer.

For just $2 billion, you too could own a historically awful, but recently excellent, professional basketball team. Steve Ballmer, formerly of Microsoft, has agreed to pay a record sum for the Los Angeles Clippers—part of a deal so rich that moving the team someplace else (like, um, Seattle?) could never pencil out.

Thousands of Russian soldiers remain massed along the Ukraine border. But thousands have also been pulled back, two-thirds of the original total, in fact—a somewhat encouraging sign that Vladimir Putin is easing his finger off his trigger.

An internal report has confirmed a systemic coverup of hospital backlogs all through the Veterans Affairs Administration, and not just at the one VA hospital in Phoenix that's got everyone indignant.

Maybe it's not just the winter. A day after snow got the blame for the first quarter with an economic contraction in three years, the thing everyone pointed to as a reason for calm and hope—consumer spending—was equally disappointing in the very not-wintry month of April.

DOCTOR Monica Wehby makes the national political press again, part of a look at how Republican candidates are slightly softening their attacks on the Affordable Health Care Act. Closer to home, two polls came out showing Wehby trailing US Senator Jeff Merkley by double digits.

Texas' Republican Party turned away two gay GOP groups looking to set up tables at the state party's convention next month. Party leaders said they were bound by their bigoted platform:

The practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country's founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.

Sometimes you feel like you don't have enough skin in the game. Not this guy! He's accused of stealing bunches of it, from a Philadelphia hospital, over a two-year period.

A "no-knock" drug raid in Atlanta sent a toddler to a hospital in incredibly serious condition—he's burned so badly he was placed in a medical coma—after a flash-bang grenade thrown through a window without warning landed in his portable crib and exploded near his head.

Cocaine trafficking is moving from America's increasingly fortified Mexican border—and through the far more porous junior state of Puerto Rico instead.

Portland's street fee! The deeply divisive "transportation user fee" put forward by Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick starred in a nearly six-hour public hearing yesterday. Catch up with our exhaustive live blog. And catch some of the backstory behind the contretemps in a very interesting Oregonian writeup posted soon after the meeting finished.

HE TOTALLY DIDN'T KNOW IT. I WOULD BE WEEPING IN A HEAP OF MYSELF. (THE SPELLING BEE ENDED, INCIDENTALLY, WITH A TIE.)

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