Your Weekend Reader for March 29-30

by | Mar 30, 2024 | Weekend Reader | 0 comments

Comes in like a (wet) lion, goes out like a (windy) lamb: That’s what they say about March. Of course, they also say that April is the cruelest month, but that’s not exactly what T.S. Eliot meant. (Or, more precisely, perhaps we are the ones who have misinterpreted what T.S. Eliot meant.)

As we escort March out the door and await April, let’s scan the news for signs of other things to come:

Eugene’s Oregon Medical Group — which was purchased in 2020 by the controversial Optum Inc. — is telling an unknown number of its patients that it will no longer treat them. Optum, as you may recall, is the company (it’s owned by UnitedHealth Group) that recently closed a deal, approved as an emergency measure by state regulators, to purchase The Corvallis Clinic. In the case of the Oregon Medical Group, Optum is telling patients that their physicians have left the practice and it doesn’t have enough additional doctors to offer a replacement. Jeff Manning and Kristine de Leon had the story for The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Gov. Tina Kotek’s office is exploring the possibility of creating a state-funded Office of the First Spouse for her spouse, Aimee Kotek Wilson. As Dirk VanderHart explains in this story for OPB, Oregon’s first spouse typically takes on a low-key role — and the major recent exception to that, former first lady Cylvia Hayes, engaged in conduct that ultimately led then-Gov. John Kitzhaber to resign. That’s part of the reason why Kotek may face some pushback on this effort.

Only about seven weeks remain until the May 21 primary election in Oregon, so Julia Shumway of the Oregon Capital Chronicle assessed the state of the races for the Oregon House, where all 60 seats are open for election every two years. Shumway reports that only nine of the districts appear to be what you’d consider a swing seat. Some 15 incumbents face no opponents at all in either the primary or general election. Another 22 incumbents face only token opposition, according to Shumway’s analysis. Among the races she says is worth watching is the Democratic primary for Rep. Dan Rayfield’s seat, which features a pair of Corvallis School Board members, Sami Al-Abdrabbuh and Sarah Finger McDonald. No Republican has filed for the seat. Rayfield is running for state attorney general and is favored to win, but may face a surprisingly strong challenge from a well-funded Republican, Will Lathrop.  

There’s troubling news out of Pullman for those of us looking for signs about the future of the Pac-12 Conference, which will be down to just two members — Oregon State University and Washington State University — at the end of the academic year. Pat Chun, the well-regarded athletic director at WSU, has departed Pullman for the same job at the University of Washington, soon to be a member of the Big Ten Conference. Jon Wilner, the dean of Pac-12 reporters, explains why this is a particularly painful gut punch for WSC — especially coming a few days after the Cougars lost their men’s basketball coach, who led his team into the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Meanwhile, here’s another recent story by Wilner, tracing a wild eight-day stretch for OSU and WSU athletics — a stretch that started with some crushing financial news from the College Football Playoffs but ended with an unexpected cash boost for the Beavers and the Cougs.

What’s driven the Oregon State University women’s basketball team into the fourth round of the NCAA tournament? In a word: defense. Nick Daschel of The Oregonian/OregonLive has the details in this well-done story.

Jon Stewart’s return to “The Daily Show,” where he hosts Monday’s episodes, has garnered considerable attention — and Stewart is doing sharp work again from behind the desk. ) Here’s a piece from Dannagal G. Young, a professor at the University of Delaware, taking a deeper look at Stewart’s return and the role of satire in our political conversations.

The model and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss and her husband, tech billionaire Joshua Kushner, announced plans this week to bring Life, the weekly photography magazine, back as a print and digital publication. Although Life continues to produce special publications from time to time that pop up, mysteriously, at the checkout stand at your local grocery store, it hasn’t published regular editions since 2000. (And, yes, Joshua Kushner is Jared’s brother.)

Finally this week, here’s something that seemed sadly inevitable: People who take in foster dogs often post videos or photos of the animal they’re fostering, and for good reason — they’re hoping to attract the attention of someone who will adopt the animal permanently. But now, as The Atlantic’s Caroline Mimbs Nyce reports, even those good-hearted people are drawing the ire of internet trolls.

That’s it for this weekend. Let’s gather again next weekend to welcome cruel April.

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