Your Weekend Reader for Oct. 28-29

by | Oct 28, 2023 | Miscellaneous, Weekend Reader | 1 comment

Oregon State University professor William Ripple has long been on the leading edge of scientists warning about climate change. Ripple and former OSU postdoctoral researcher Christopher Wolf offered an update last week: They were the lead authors of a new State of the Climate report. The news isn’t good: The Earth is racing toward “uncharted climate territory,” the report said, and could become uninhabitable for anywhere from 3 to 6 billion people by the end of the century. Let me do the math for you: That covers about half of us. But things should be OK for the other half, right? Grant Stringer, writing for the Oregon Capital Chronicle, had the story about the report.

You probably already have noticed the story about Joseph David Emerson, the off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot who made national news this week when he attempted to try to shut off the engines of a Horizon Air plane while it was in flight over Oregon. Now, The Oregonian/OregonLive has a follow-up story featuring flight audio. The good news here is that it sounds as if the flight crew (including the flight attendants who used flex cuffs on Emerson and then stopped him from opening an emergency exit door) did terrific work under considerable pressure to resolve the situation. The flight, from Everett, Washington to San Francisco, made an emergency landing in Portland — and Emerson, who may well be dealing with mental-health issues, faces 83 charges of attempted murder and reckless endangerment, in addition to a federal charge of interfering with a flight crew.

Globe-trotting New York Times columnist and former Oregon gubernatorial candidate Nicholas Kristof is in the Middle East this week, reporting on the war between Israel and Hamas. His latest column about the war offers an interesting perspective.

Here’s a Times story about Mike Johnson, the little-known Louisiana Republican who now is speaker of the House of Representatives, and how his Christian evangelical faith is at the center of his political views. In an interview this week, Johnson told Sean Hannity of Fox News that to understand his politics, “pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it. That’s my worldview.” OK, but the question remains: Which precise parts of the Bible?

This is the Halloween edition of Your Weekend Reader, with the big night coming up on Tuesday, and I’m pleased to report that our friends at The Associated Press are up to the challenge, with this hard-hitting report on candy corn, the Halloween candy that has divided America. I will say this about Leanne Italie’s story: It’s comprehensive.

The AP, which is all over Halloween this year, also reports that the price of candy and gum is up an average of 13% this October when compared to last year — and last year, candy prices were up 14%. Weather apparently in the main culprit. Why, it’s enough to make you want to stock up on store-brand candy corn!

Halloween also is a good time to stock up on fun-size Snickers bars: In my opinion, the fun size is the perfect size for Snickers — the full bars are too much Snickers and the little prewrapped squares not nearly enough.

The Pac-12 Conference already has produced memorable football games this season, its final season in its current configuration. But the real conference action continues to be in the courtroom. This past week, Oregon State University and Washington State University submitted a court filing arguing that they alone should be in control of the assets of the conference since they’re the only two schools that have not announced plans to leave the conference. “The future of the Pac-12 should be decided by the schools that stay, not those that leave,” the schools said in a joint statement. The argument seems to have some common-sense appeal, and it’s one that has been bolstered by sworn statements and text messages from Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff, who repeatedly has said that schools lose their seat on the Pac-12 board as soon as they announce plans to leave the conference. All of this likely will hinge on how judges interpret the Pac-12 bylaws.

Meanwhile, the University of Washington has asked to intervene in the case (right now, the only defendants are the conference and Kliavkoff) and also has asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Nov. 14. In the meantime, you can be sure that accountants are hard at work tallying the assets and liabilities of the Pac-12; those assets might prove essential to OSU and WSU’s attempts to rebuild the conference — assuming there are any left after the liabilities are tallied.

Last week’s Weekend Reader made note of a club performance in Manhattan by The Rolling Stones to promote the band’s new album, “Hackney Diamonds.” This week comes news that the last “new” Beatles song, a tune called “Now And Then,” will be released on Nov. 2. Artificial intelligence helped make this possible, the AP’s David Bauder reports, so I suppose we can be grateful for that even after AI enslaves humanity. This apparently is the very last track available from the band’s vault. I don’t want to seem cynical, but does anybody here want to take that bet?

Meanwhile, a new Gallup poll says that trust in how the mass media reports the news matches a record low set back in 2016. And the Pew Research Center is reporting that Americans follow the news less than they used to. I’m not sure I understand why that’s the case: The news these days always is so uplifting.

That’s it for this weekend’s edition. I’m going to see if this pile of fun-size Snickers bars I have right in front of me will help to cheer me up, and we’ll connect again next weekend.

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