Your Weekend Reader for Dec. 17-18

by | Dec 17, 2022 | Weekend Reader | 0 comments

We’re just about a week out from Christmas, so let me start this edition with a quick note to all of my holiday correspondents: Looks like the Christmas cards will be late again this year. As always, I blame the cats.

Traffic deaths in Oregon so far this year are down overall by about 5.5%, but there’s a big catch, The Oregonian/OregonLive reports: Deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists are up. Crashes thus far this year have claimed 111 pedestrians and 13 bicyclists, the Oregon Department of Transportation says. (In 2021, 90 pedestrians were killed during the same time frame.) ODOT says it’s studying the numbers, but advocates for pedestrians say it’s a symptom of a deeper issue.

The Oregonian also is doing outstanding work with its series “The Safest Place,” in which reporter Noelle Crombie and photographer Beth Nakamura spent most of a year at Portland’s Rosemary Anderson High School. The year began with the fatal shooting of Dante McFallo, a student at the school. Crombie attended McFallo’s memorial service and followed up by sitting in classes, walking the halls, attending assemblies and talking to students, teachers and staff members at the alternative school. The series is part of the paper’s exploration of the violence that has left 200 people dead during the past two years in Portland and Gresham.

The New York Times has a similar project, “The Lives They Lived,” which takes a deep dive into the lives of 12 children who were killed by gun violence this year. The series includes this startling fact: Gun violence now is No. 1 cause of death among U.S. children. In 2020, the Times reports, gun violence supplanted auto crashes as the leading killer of U.S. children. In 2021, 3,597 children died by gunfire, according to provisional statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts say the increased availability of guns, especially handguns, is a factor. (The Times story is available to subscribers, but I can send you a gift link that allows access — just leave a comment below, and I’ll email you a link. That’s true for any Times story I mention in the Weekend Reader.)

The Elliott State Research Forest near Coos Bay is now officially the largest research forest in the nation, in the wake of a Wednesday vote by the State Land Board. The forest will be managed by Oregon State University in partnership with a new state agency. As Alex Baumhardt explains in this story for the Oregon Capital Chronicle, the 91,000-acre forest was Oregon’s first state forest.

Speaking of the Capital Chronicle, it’s now featuring a story by yours truly about so-called “supermajorities” in the Oregon Legislature. The state constitution includes a provision requiring that bills that “raise revenue” pass by a three-fifths majority in both chambers; that provision, proposed by the Legislature in the 1990s and approved by voters, was part of the tax revolution in Oregon that decade that includes measures 5 and 47. When Republicans in this past election broke the Democratic supermajority of the past four years, they said it would make it harder for the Legislature to raise taxes — and that’s true. But the supermajority clause only comes into play a few times each session.

As I write this on Saturday morning, the Beavers are playing against Florida in what is officially called the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl. If you’re wondering what “SRS Distribution” is, I can tell you: It’s a Texas-based roofing and builder supplier, which bought the naming rights to this bowl game because — well, because it thinks the name recognition is worth the price. If you’re curious about the sometimes-odd origins of bowl names, The Athletic has a fun story on its website. (The story is available only to subscribers. The Athletic is owned by The New York Times, but I cannot “gift” links to stories, the way I can with Times stories — I can, however, share up to five “guest passes” good for a 30-day trial to The Athletic for the first five Weekend Reader readers who respond. Just post a comment below if you’re interested. I can tell you that I’ve been impressed thus far with The Athletic, and if you’re interested in in-depth reporting about sports, you might be as well.)

While my younger daughter was attending Washington State University, the Cougars hired Mike Leach as the school’s football coach — and, like many of you, I’ve followed Leach’s career with considerable interest since then. Love him or hate him — and there were good reasons for both — Leach was one of a kind in college football, and so I was shocked at the news of his death this past week at age 61. Bruce Feldman, an accomplished football writer who helped write Leach’s book “Swing Your Sword,” had a moving tribute to the idiosyncratic coach this week in The Athletic.

The Nieman Lab at Harvard University is running its annual year-end series of stories in which various experts offer predictions about the state of journalism. One of the pieces that caught my eye was this one by Gina Chua, the executive editor of Semafor, in which she argues that the time has come to deconstruct the traditional journalistic story form.

The New York Times had a story this week exploring how a network of conservative groups (often, well-funded conservative groups) is behind a surge of attempts to ban books in school libraries across the United States.

If that makes you mad, you’re not alone: Consider this new story, also from the Times, about how 2022 was the “year of rage.” The moment that might come have closest to capturing the national mood came in March, of course, when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars. “I just lost it,” Smith later said. Well, sure, of course. If you’re wondering about your personal trigger for rage, the Times is offering this handy quiz. Go ahead and take it — but maybe let’s not share the results.

Want your art event listed?

Read more published work

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Recent Blog Posts

Your Weekend Reader for May 18-19

Your Weekend Reader for May 18-19

Election Day looms. Vote-by-mail opponents — and supporters. The war against democracy. Divesture is tougher than it seems. New population numbers. NPR reforms. Maureen Dowd on Bill Maher. Cass Elliott reconsidered. And a new “Jeopardy!” It’s all in the new edition of Your Weekend Reader.

read more
Your Weekend Reader for May 11-12

Your Weekend Reader for May 11-12

More details about the new owners of The Corvallis Clinic. Northern lights. Candidates challenge voting by mail. Gannett. The transfer portal. Doomscrolling. Drake vs. Lamar. And a eulogy to a cat. It’s all in the new edition of Your Weekend Reader.

read more
Your Weekend Reader for May 4-5

Your Weekend Reader for May 4-5

Blobby still wants you to vote. The House District 16 race. Kotek’s unforced error. Burgerville on the move. The OSU women’s basketball team. Cuts at the Corvallis School District. 2 Towns wins big. And “Star Wars” fans say Han shot first. It’s all in the new edition of Your Weekend Reader.

read more

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.

Comments on this website are the sole responsiblity of their writers and the writers will take full responsiblity, liability and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment.

We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason whatsoever.

More Blog Posts

Your Weekend Reader for May 18-19

Election Day looms. Vote-by-mail opponents — and supporters. The war against democracy. Divesture is tougher than it seems. New population numbers. NPR reforms. Maureen Dowd on Bill Maher. Cass Elliott reconsidered. And a new “Jeopardy!” It’s all in the new edition of Your Weekend Reader.

read more