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Slant 8-11-2016

• It’s Oregon summer. That means juicy blackberries, SLUG queen coronations and outdoor parties. The Eugene Celebration and its hokey but awesome parade have disappeared, the Festival of Eugene lasted only two years before falling apart in a storm of racism allegations, but the Whiteaker Block Party thrives. Can Eugene bring its downtown festival back? Last weekend marked the 10-year success of the Whit Block Party with its free entry, and that might have some lessons for party planners. Come party with the SLUG queens 6 pm, Friday, Aug. 12, at 8th and Oak and think about what a new Eugene Celebration could look like. 

• So what does corporate Oregon, including mainstream media, want to do about education in this state? Every day they fire away at ballot measure 97 (formerly IP 28), the proposed value-added tax on sales exceeding $25 million for some corporations that would help fund Oregon’s struggling schools. The historic neglect and current attack is ironic given that the quality of a state’s education system is such a draw for businesses and young professionals. Governor Kate Brown endorsed 97 last week — good news considering how cautious her campaign has been. Next, how about all the eager Sanders supporters in Oregon going to work on the grassroots campaign for 97? The Berners could make a huge difference.

• Oregon has a direct line into the Hillary Clinton campaign through Dwight Holton, brother-in-law of Tim Kaine, her choice for vice president. Former U.S. attorney for Oregon and candidate for Oregon attorney general, Holton runs the Portland nonprofit Lines for Life dedicated to preventing substance abuse and suicide. His sister Anne Holton, Kaine’s wife, is one of a foursome we’ll see constantly until November and, hopefully, beyond. That’s Hillary, Bill, Tim and Anne. The Holtons’ father was governor of Virginia where they grew up. Maybe this all means Dwight Holton will become a bigger player in Oregon politics.

• What we’re watching this week (aside from the Olympics)? John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and its brilliant skewering of the lack of support for print media. He lampoons digital first initiatives, points out that TV news needs print, as does social media —“Without newspapers around to cite, TV news would just be Wolf Blitzer batting a ball of yarn around” — and cites The Wire creator and former Baltimore Sun reporter David Simon as saying that thanks to newspaper cutbacks: “The next 10 or 15 years will be a halcyon era for state and local political corruption, and it is going to be one of the great times to be a corrupt politician.” Catch the clip at youtube.com/watch?v=bq2_wSsDwkQ.