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Seen as a progressive and a civil libertarian, Sen. Ron Wyden has become the “Golden Boy” of the Democrats and risen to a position of great power within the Senate.

As the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee — think taxes — Wyden is the most powerful Senate member outside of Majority Leader. To illustrate the importance, he has raised $1.7 million in campaign funds so far during this election cycle, a record for him, and did this during a non-campaign year.

In Afghanistan

• 2,334 U.S. troops killed (2,329 last month)

• 19,882 U.S. troops wounded in action (19,798)

• 1,530 U.S. contractors killed (1,510)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $732.8 billion cost of war ($724.7 billion)

• $303 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($299.6 million)

 

In Iraq

• 4,425 U.S. troops killed, 31,947 wounded

• 1,611 U.S. contractors killed (1,607)

• 140,903 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (138,882)

Vince Staples, who recently signed to Def Jam Records, released Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2 in March 2014 —the fourth mixtape he’s dropped since 2011. 

Music News & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

Like something from your grandma’s collection of 45s, “10-gallon funnyman” Sourdough Slim harkens back to the days of the singin’, yodelin’, joke-tellin’ cowboy. You might be asking yourself: Is the world really waiting for a revival of the Burl Ives, Will Rogers and Gene Autry sound?

Time changes things, and Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac knows this as well as anyone. After all, before he and Johnny Rzeznik became one of the more notable pop rock acts of the last two decades, they preferred to be noisy rather than pop savvy.

If all you know of Soul Asylum is a touching little torch song called “Runaway Train,” listen up: Long before that unexpected hit was released in 1992, Soul Asylum had achieved a rare kind of cult status among fans of guitar-heavy alt-rock — a status founded largely on the soulful songwriting and indubitable white-boy groove of frontman Dave Pirner. 

A Copa das surpresas (“the [World] Cup of surprises”) was a phrase I remember hearing several times during the first weeks of the 2014 World Cup.

VIOLATION OF POLICY

Throughout the opening night performance of Grease at Actors Cabaret of Eugene, I noted that my 8-year-old companion, and the elderly gentleman next to him, were both alternately laughing, clapping or simply enthralled.

Two questions, Dan.

1. Recently, I went to a bar with my brother and encountered a friend from high school. My brother told me that, toward the end of the night, my friend followed him into the bathroom and made a drunken pass at him (which apparently involved a clumsy grab at his penis). My brother has no reason to lie about the incident. My inclination is to ignore the issue. If my friend is closeted or bi-curious, I feel like it isn’t my place to force the issue and I should respect his privacy. Advice?

Two dudes standing behind a service counter, slinging cheesecake for the masses and, during down times, brainstorming a tangle of ideas about music, movies and the end of the world: This is the genesis of Tectonic Jelly, a deliciously bizarre short film and companion comic book series that gets its first public airing Thursday, July 17, at Bijou Art Cinemas.

Fans of scary monsters and super creeps will have a lot to feast on in coming days, as the Bijou Classic Series unleashes its “Monster Blockbuster” tribute, featuring screenings of a handful of legendary films moderated by local film buffs.

The daughter of a military man, Amy Red Feather was born in California and “moved all over” prior to her high school years in Slidell, La. “I got interested in permaculture and gardening,” says Red Feather, who completed a degree in animal science and conservation at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla., then worked in ecotourism with conservation groups in Maui. “We showed them hidden waterfalls and talked environmental education.” On Maui, she met people from Eugene. “It’s like our sister city,” they told her.

I was a virgin at the 2013 Oregon Country Fair. It felt good to be a virgin, and my cherry status seemed to please a lot of fairgoers as well. I received innumerable high-fives, endless sweaty hugs and was told repeatedly, and in no uncertain terms, that being a Fair virgin was a blessing and a miracle on a par with earthly nirvana or winning the lottery. This proved true, sort of.

As a child, Yona Appletree spent his summers at the Oregon Country Fair, helping his mother sell tie-dyed clothes — and he continued to do so as he matured, manning his mother’s booth until 2010. Appletree grew up at the Fair, watching it slowly change. Now, as a computer programmer specializing in interactive art, he wants to help the OCF evolve.

Since 1969, the Oregon Country Fair has provided attendees a temporary, zany escape from reality. It has changed over the decades, but its original values and pastimes are still key to the experience. One of those constants — unbeknownst to most — is the Rich family, and for them, the Fair is not an escape from reality, but an integral part of it.

Explicit consent, according to the University of Oregon student code, “means voluntary, non-coerced and clear communication indicating a willingness to engage in a particular act.” It “includes an affirmative verbal response or voluntary acts unmistakable in their meaning.”

Making sure students understand consent and what constitutes sexual assault (or as it says in the student code, sexual misconduct) is easier said than done with nearly 25,000 students and a focus that critics say has become more about sports than about educating students. 

We expect July to deliver a month of warm soil in the garden. There is a certain sensual pleasure gotten from dragging fingers through moist soil when weeding or planting. Bare hands, no gloves. As sensual pleasures go, this is both beneficial and acceptable in public.

Some Oregon Country Fair mischief is part of innocent tradition, some practices are heavily frowned upon and others warrant police intervention.

Unwelcomed activity at the Fair is deterred conventionally, with law enforcement, and creatively, with a volunteer security team numbering in the hundreds.

Crashing branches, trees snapped in half, debris-littered roads — the ice storm that swept across Lane County in February left the streets a twiggy mess that took weeks, even months, to address. 

Just when the pollen haze clears out and right before the smoke from Central Oregon forest fires rolls in, the southern Willamette Valley is inundated with a different kind of summer haze: a fleet of Vanagons, Subarus and buses (VW and LTD) converging just west of Eugene in Veneta for the annual Oregon Country Fair.

Fiscal year 2014 went out with a bang in Eugene July 1 and took park bathrooms, irrigation, trash service and jobs with it. Restrooms at three parks — Hendricks, Sheldon and Sladden — will close and neighborhood parks will see less watering and garbage pick-up, as $300,000 in reductions to park maintenance set in.

Eugene’s City Council approved the cuts June 9 as part of a balancing act to fill a $1.9 million deficit in the city’s general fund.

With banners reading “Buy the Elliott State Forest, Expect Resistance” and “Stop this ecocide,” protesters organized by Earth First! and Cascadia Forest Defenders descended upon Seneca Sustainable Energy on the morning of July 7 to call attention to what they say is the company’s pollution in a low-income area and clearcut logging in the Elliott State Forest.