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Slant - 2017-11-02

• The welcome news this week is that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump Administration’s corrupt ties to Russia has borne its first fruit with three indictments. The headlines were all about money-laundering charges against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, but the real news was the secret guilty plea by former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who made a deal to rat out Trump and his cronies. The deal is “on the condition that your client continues to respond and provide information regarding any and all matters as to which the Government deems relevant,” says the prosecution’s letter to Papadopoulos’ lawyers. We like the sound of that.


Former Eugene Weekly news intern Kenny Jacoby scored a journalistic coup last week when Sports Illustrated published his lengthy and well-researched account of how the University of Oregon and its head basketball coach, Dana Altman, allowed Kavell Bigby-Williams to play an entire hoops season for the Ducks while under investigation for forcible rape in another state. Jacoby, who interned here last spring, is still an undergraduate in journalism. That guy will go far.


• Speaking of UO in the news, the school’s president, Michael Schill, penned an Oct. 24 op-ed in The New York Times entitled “The Misguided Student Crusade Against ‘Fascism’” in which he decries the “tactic of silencing, which has been deployed repeatedly at universities around the country,” saying it “only hurts these activists’ cause.” Schill told The Register-Guard that he “had known the protest was likely so he recorded a video of his planned speech Thursday and released it Friday online.” So wait, rather than devise a plan in which the students might get heard and he could deliver his own remarks, Schill planned to be pushed off the stage? That’s not being silenced, that’s using his position, a strategy the protesting students couldn’t employ.


• Jefferson Smith has just won a wild contest for one of the coveted jobs in Oregon politics and public life. Starting in January, he’ll be the director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy, the think tank based in Portland that grinds out the research behind progressive policy. Steve Novick, former Portland commissioner, also wanted the job, along with other candidates — and some funders weren’t happy with either. Smith started the Oregon Bus Project in 2001, served in the Legislature, lost a race for mayor of Portland and then helped found the nonprofit radio station XRAY.FM. Quite a record. Now he will be a big player in the battle to keep Oregon blue.


• Big news in Manhattan is the sale of the iconic Lord & Taylor building to WeWork, an office rental company started seven years ago and now valued at $20 billion, according to The New York Times. Big news in Eugene is that one of the founders of WeWork is Miguel McKelvey, who grew up and went to school here before seeking his fortunes in the Big Apple. He’s the son of Lucia McKelvey, one of the founders of Eugene Weekly, then called What’s Happening.