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It goes without saying: Mainstream media are hardly without blame when it comes to the passionate partisan distrust now swamping the so-called news, and the “truths” it reports, in slippery muck of moral relativism. As the world burns, Good Morning America pimps the latest fad diet as though such ethereal concerns stood equal footing with weapons of mass destruction.

For decades now, our major news sources have been drifting away from earnestness and investigative wherewithal and into the über-commercialized realm of sensationalism, crowd-pleasing and ratings cowardice, while on the flip side the general population, perhaps lacking superior critical faculties, is seized by a kind of sensory overload that somehow puts facts and fiction toe to toe.

House Bill 2921 would repeal Oregon’s sanctuary state law and mandate that Oregon law enforcement agencies assist in federal immigration enforcement. The bill would also prohibit cities and counties from establishing sanctuary protections. 

But Rep. Mike Nearman, a Republican from Independence, who is one of the bill’s chief sponsors, says he doesn’t expect HB 2921 to receive a hearing, instead Nearing is working on a petition to make the repeal a ballot measure to put before the voters in 2018.

EW talked to Samantha Swindler, a columnist for The Oregonian and president of the Oregon Territory chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, to get her take on the media chaos.

Did you absolutely love that article you read about Bernie Sanders on Occupy Democrats and agree with every word? Did you hate that story on NPR because the public radio network reported on the timber industry as if it had valid points on cutting down trees?

Before you pull a Trump and scream “fake news!” and before you post “media blackout!” on your Facebook feed and accuse the media of not covering a specific news topic, take a minute to think about what fake news actually is. 

Indivisible Eugene is playing defense against the Trump administration. The local chapter of a grassroots effort of politically active individuals looks to pressure Oregon’s political representatives in Congress to continue their opposition against the new president. 

For the past six months or so, some animal has been digging holes next to the path along the ponds on the east side of Delta Highway. Tracks left in mud on the path after a winter rain finally gave us a clue: nutria. Their distinctive tracks include a tail streak between footprints. Nutria are well known to dig up roots, worms and bugs. They seem to have been eating lots of roots of poison hemlock since its leaves have appeared. Considering how deadly it is to humans, I wondered how nutria could survive.

Late last year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency tried adding an obscure herbal leaf with narcotic effects called kratom to its list of banned substances. Public outcry in support of the mysterious painkiller, as well as a September 2016 letter penned by a small handful of U.S. senators — including Oregon’s Ron Wyden — convinced the DEA to back down for the time being.

Oregon State Sen. Jeff Kruse updates his email newsletter weekly. On Feb. 3, the Roseburg Republican wrote that he wanted to focus on the executive order issued by President Donald Trump on immigration. “The reaction to the order by the media, special interest groups and many politicians is a perfect example of the campaign of misinformation and lies being waged against this administration,” he writes.

Kruse is not alone in his rhetoric, Trump has lambasted the media ad nauseam at a national level. On Feb. 17, the president tweeted, “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @NYTimes @CNN @NBCNews) and many more is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people. SICK!” He later deleted the tweet, according to The New York Times

When the president of your country talks violently about women, what message does that send? That was one of the niggling questions that came out of the March 10 City Club of Eugene program on “Cruelty to Women, Here and Now.” Rachel Collins of Womenspace and Dr. Don Davies from the McKenzie River Men’s Center rolled out the cruel data: One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes; more than nine percent of our homeless are there because of domestic violence; globally, more deaths result from domestic violence than from wars. What to do about it?

The Lane Community College Dance Department’s annual Collaborations concert earlier this month offered three performances by LCC students and faculty as well as Eugene Ballet Academy’s company, Eugene Youth Ballet. 

The March 2 concert opened with Happening, by choreographer Sarah Ebert, set on dancers from Eugene Youth Ballet.

Join 350 Eugene Thursday, March 16, for a spring membership potluck and meet-up at First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street. Bring food to share at 6 pm. At 7 pm the meet-up will include “campaign updates, work group news, action break outs, music and more,” according to organizer Betzi Hitz, as well as recruit people to help plan the April 29  “March for a Climate of Safety” in Eugene. Go to world.350.org/eugene for more info.

Take a drive out Highway 99 to Clear Lake Road and turn west. As soon as you leave the busy industrial highway you are in another world, instantly surrounded by green, open farmland. You experience a vista that stretches all the way to the Coast Range to the west. 

That’s what I see, and maybe that’s what you see, but that’s not what the city of Eugene sees. Instead of prime farmland and green open space, Eugene envisions a 924-acre industrial park. 

One way the news media demonstrate bias is by what they report and what they leave out.

Another is the negative or positive content of articles that do make it to print. A vital role of the media is to be a watchdog and a check on power, but not enough attention is given to monitoring the fairness of our local media’s narrative.

Planning is one of the most important elements of gardening. It is also one of the easiest steps to overlook, especially for the beginner. Knowing a few months ahead of time when you’re going to need to plant and harvest your vegetables can save you serious heartache in the long run. Having your seeds, starts and preservation methods prepped and ready will ensure you the longest growing seasons, the most fruitful crops and the longest lasting life from your produce.

Old school California punk band Social Distortion, together since the late-`70s, has, over time, and not unlike The Clash, adopted the patina of classic rock from their era. But stopping at terms “punk” or “classic rock” sells Social D a little short.

Isaiah Rashad has honed the flows across hip hop’s many eras and has put a contemporary twist on his craft. The established yet fresh face has collaborated with some of the genre’s mainstream innovative names like Kendrick Lamar and SZA; his sound, however, rests in a league of its own.

In Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love, some sisters could use a little prayer. The convent’s out of cash — no one’s tithing anymore! — and Mother Superior (a resplendent Cindy Kenny) declares the situation dire.

Enter Chelyce Chambers as Deloris, a nightclub chanteuse with a heart of gold. Deloris witnesses some bad doings by her bad boyfriend, and — you guessed it — has to don a nun’s habit to keep from getting whacked.

LOGGING SCHEME

Standing in front of Fall Creek, a watercolor painting by David McCosh (1902–1981), I was aware there was someone else looking, too. Viewing the same artwork as someone else in a gallery or a museum can be awkward. Often one person will walk away to give the other their time with the piece. But not at the Karin Clarke Gallery on the day of curator Roger Saydack’s talk about the Eugene artist.

The atmosphere in the gallery was social. 

It’s been more than a year since the Jacobs Gallery closed its doors in downtown Eugene, another victim of — of what, exactly? The sluggish economy? City Hall’s indifference to the visual arts? Poor management by the nonprofit organization that ran the Jacobs, created in 1987, on the lower floor of the Hult Center?

I went to Dark Odyssey Winter Fire, the big kink hotel takeover event in Washington, DC, in February. There was one thing I saw there that is messing with my head, and I hope you can set me straight. There was this lovely little six-person orgy going on with two cute-as-could-be hippie girls and four older dudes. Then these four people came along. They sat and watched—a guy and three women in hijabs and dresses that went wrist to ankle, fully covered.

I am so utterly sick to death of human beings and their selfish, greedy, murderous ways that — when the latest incarnation of everyone’s favorite big ape finally shows up in Kong: Skull Island, swatting Vietnam-era whirlybirds out of the sky and otherwise tearing the invading army to shreds — I was rooting tooth-and-nail for Kong to finish the job and put a merciful stop to the next 90 minutes of misanthropic torment.

Despite signs of spring in Oregon, the risk of frostbite is still prevalent with freezing nights and cold rain. It is still what Occupy Medical volunteers call “amputation season.” 

“It begins in December,” clinic manager Sue Sierralupe says. It only takes one night of exposure to get frostbite, she adds.

Rumors are flying in the immigrant community: What is going to happen to undocumented members of the Lane County community under Donald Trump’s presidency? In the Portland area, the Immigration and Customs Service (ICE) has stepped up raids and arrests since January.