February Link Salad

Many things have happened that I would like to write about/draw attention to/recoil from in horror, so it’s time for a Link Salad! Will this silly name stick? I don’t know! Maybe!

  • The situation in Texas is still grim and will be for a while. Here is a good list of charities that can help, if you have funds to give. As for whether or not Texas deserves to be “shamed” for the tragically predictable failures of their power grid, I like to go by the old ‘punch up not down’ rule. I don’t think the citizens of Texas deserve to freeze to death, regardless of their voting habits. But I have no qualms about shaming Senator Cruz and other Texas lawmakers for their overwhelming hypocrisy when it comes to federal aid after a natural disaster.
  • Oregon Republicans are at it again– I guess this is just what they do now? I realize that remote learning has not been working out great for many students and teachers. However, simply refusing to come to work is not really an option that most working Oregonians have, so I think I’m justified in mocking these public servants (snicker) just a little a bit. My personal opinion is that modern Republicans in Oregon (like elsewhere) have simply backed themselves into a corner with their constituents by promising to improve their lives through deregulation and government inaction. This is convenient for them, because they can collect lots of campaign cash for doing literally nothing. Making policy that creates real, positive change is hard. Ignoring responsibility and waging silly culture wars between urban and rural constituents is much easier.
  • Some encouraging climate news, assuming this change in policy goes through. Elections matter folks.
  • Earlier this month, Amber Ruffin had some thoughts about Black History Month that I think every American should hear. Remember everyone, real history will make you uncomfortable now and then. If you feel warm and fuzzy every time you learn about the past, dig deeper.
  • On a lighter note, Seattle Opera has been streaming some delightful recitals and clips free of charge. If you need a distraction, or just want to hear some lovely singing, check it out!

That concludes the link salad for now. Stay as safe and as sane as you can. Feed your brain good things.

Please don’t tell your West Coast friends to just “drive somewhere else….”

Because if you look at a map, it’s pretty clear that there’s nowhere else to go.

I had hoped to write some more uplifting things, but as a resident of Oregon I have an obligation to signal boost about just how bad the destruction is. After all, these fires would be getting waaaaaay more headlines were it not for the nasty killer virus and a President who makes most toddlers look mature and reasonable.

But onto the fires that make most disaster movies look tame:

If you have income and are living comfortably, the Portland Mercury has assembled a pretty good list of organizations taking donations. This list also includes suggestions for volunteer work, if you are able bodied and have a mask or respirator that will help you breathe in this air. I’m serious about that last bit- right now, our air is basically a damp campfire times a billion and you cannot safely breathe it without some assistance.

If you need a laugh, this story is an absurd reminder of why funding public education matters. You might prefer to home school your kids or ship them off to a private institution, but it really is within your best interest to make sure your neighbors aren’t susceptible to disinformation campaigns. Seriously.

That’s all for now, as I can finally see across the street from my apartment and this is a very exciting development.