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Here’s your daily roundup of all the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider making a recurring contribution to the Mercury to keep it comin’!)
In local news:
• The person behind the brutal intentional hit-and-run spree that left one dead and many more injured this week has been identified as 65-year-old Paul Rivas of Oregon City. Meanwhile, neighbors have created a memorial to the victim in Southeast Portland:
I took an afternoon walk to the street where, on Monday, a man killed 77-year-old Jean Gerich with his car. He injured 9 others during what appeared to be an intentional attack on pedestrians and cyclists. There are still tire tracks from his vehicle in the nearby grass. pic.twitter.com/kG5ve3VRpR
— Alex Zielinski (@alex_zee) January 27, 2021
• Last week, the official Republican party of Oregon put out a statement advancing the false conspiracy theory that the attack on the US Capitol was actually a “false flag” attack, and condemning the ten GOP congresspeople who voted in favor of impeaching Trump. Now, actual elected Oregon Republicans are trying to distance themselves from the extremism. Oregon House Republicans put out their own statement today, saying “there is no credible evidence to support false flag claims.”
• After Multnomah County announced yesterday that it was running out of vaccine doses, Gov. Kate Brown has agreed to send 17,000 additional doses to the Metro region to help vaccinate Phase 1A recipients.
And in national news…
• After a group of Redditors exploited the absurdity of the stock market by screwing over some hedge fund bros who’d bet on Game Stop’s demise, the stock market is on a wildly speculative ride. Other big-name stocks, like AMC and Bed Bath and Beyond, are now seeing sudden surges, and those same Wall Street types who fight for financial de-regulation are apparently hoping for a bail-out. It’s 2008, 2021-style.
• Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Q-anon congresswoman, is under fire for newly discovered comments, including one from a few years ago in which she says that Hillary Clinton ought to be hanged. (Which, hey, her emails, I get it!) Unsurprisingly, many of her colleagues in the House have been slow to condemn those comments. Recently resurfaced video also shows Greene heckling a Parkland shooting survivor. She seems like a nice lady!
.@mtgreenee, is this you harassing @davidhogg111 weeks after the Parkland shooting, that my daughter was killed in & he was in? Calling him a coward for ignoring your insanity. I will answer all of your questions in person. Get ready to record again.pic.twitter.com/aQjL74x7kh
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) January 27, 2021
• President Joe Biden has been on an executive order signing spree—both to help un-do the atrocities of the Trump administration, and push his own agenda forward. If you’ve got whiplash watching him switch between so many different ceremonial pens, we’re here to help with this round-up of what he’s signed so far.
• In addition to dropping all those executive orders, Biden’s team has also been quietly purging federal agencies of incompetent (or straight-up evil) Trump hires.
• Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of a small Indiana town and your aunt’s favorite gay guy, is sailing through his Senate confirmation process to become secretary of transportation.
• Andrew Birge, one of the six men charged with planning to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year, has plead guilty to a single count of kidnapping conspiracy. Birge made a deal to cooperate with investigators in exchange for no harsher penalties, meaning he’ll likely be giving up the dirt on his co-conspirators.
• In a sign that plant-based is becoming even more mainstream, Beyond Meat announced it is teaming up with Pepsi to “develop, produce and market snacks and beverages made from plant-based protein.” (Wait, isn’t Pepsi soda already vegetarian???)
And finally, just for fun:
• Have you been keeping up with the Mercury’s new cannabis guide? Here are a few recent pieces to enjoy—one about a local edible chef extraordinaire, and one about the cozy, chill world of CBD teas and hot chocolate.
• If you’ve been missing the live concert-going experience, then you’re going to love the new Mercury Music Series, featuring livestream performances from Portland’s fave musical artists recorded live onstage at Polaris Hall. And the debut installation of the Mercury Music Series kicks off TOMORROW NIGHT (Thurs, Jan 28) with an amazing performance by local soul singer/songwriter/chanteuse, BLOSSOM! Here’s how you can win free tickets.
• Finally, we just got the sad news that legendary, Oscar-winning comedic actress Cloris Leachman died this afternoon. Here are a few moments from her career to remember: