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Slant 7-18-2013

• Those of us who are skeptical of biomass burning plants such as Seneca’s wood incinerator in west Eugene can celebrate, just a little, even as Seneca applies for a permit from LRAPA to emit a couple tons more of particulate matter. A U.S. Court of Appeals panel for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a 2011 Environmental Protection Agency effort to postpone a greenhouse gas rule for biomass and other “biogenic” sources; of carbon dioxide — emissions that come not from fossil fuels but from other natural sources; this includes landfills and other CO2-emitting facilities. But the court didn’t specify a timetable for the EPA to act. You still have time to comment on the Seneca permit though, so weigh in at wkly.ws/1id.

• Sax player Paul Biondi is a Eugene blues and jazz icon who has donated his time and talents to many local nonprofit groups. He is the founder and president of Musicians Emergency Medical Association (MEMA), which helps provide financial help to musicians in need of medical care. Now he needs help himself. Biondi was recently diagnosed with small lymphocytic lymphoma and, like many self-employed artists, he is uninsured, too young for Medicare and too sick to wait for Obamacare. Direct contributions can be mailed to MEMA, P.O. Box 12168, Eugene 97440 or at memafund.org. A fundraising concert with a wealth of local musical talent begins at 2 pm Saturday, July 20, at LaVelle Vineyards, 89697 Sheffler Road in Elmira. For further information please contact Earl Hugill at 736-6726 or Ida Kneux at 868-4417. 

• Everybody loves Upworthy.com (or loves to share its videos on Facebook) and now some love from Upworthy for Occupy Medical (OM) has led to much-needed donations for the volunteer group that provides free medical treatment to anyone who needs it, no matter who they are or how much money they have, from noon til 4 pm Sundays at the downtown Park Blocks. Three UO students — Kevin Bull, Shannon Hartley and Natalie Richter — made a video about Occupy Medical in the style of a Kickstarter campaign for a class and told the group they could do whatever they wanted with it. Thanks to the recent huge increase in patient load, the volunteers never got around to doing anything, but the video and its request for $2,500 in donations to pay for much-needed lab fees got picked up by Upworthy anyway. The OM blog reports that local artist Dianne Story Cunningham has donated the full amount. As the blog says, “I have seen this generosity before at Occupy Medical. Our little clinic seems to bring out the best in people.” You can see the video at wkly.ws/1ih as part of a special Upworthy series about work and the economy funded by the AFL-CIO.

• From the blog of David Simon, creator of HBO’s The Wire and Treme:

You can stand your ground if you’re white, and you can use a gun to do it. But if you stand your ground with your fists and you’re black, you’re dead.

In the state of Florida, the season on African-Americans now runs year round. Come one, come all. And bring a handgun. The legislators are fine with this blood on their hands. The governor, too. One man accosted another and when it became a fist fight, one man — and one man only — had a firearm. The rest is racial rationalization and dishonorable commentary. ...

Behold, the lewd, pornographic embrace of two great American pathologies: race and guns, both of which have conspired not only to take the life of a teenager, but to make that killing entirely permissible. I can’t look an African-American parent in the eye for thinking about what they must tell their sons about what can happen to them on the streets of their country. Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American. 

• Is the Supreme Court going to pot? Perhaps the biggest tangle in reforming marijuana laws is the idiotic federal classification of pot as a Schedule I drug with no medical value, right up there with heroin and LSD, and more “dangerous” than Schedule II’s cocaine and morphine. But this week the group Americans for Safe Access filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal a Washington, D.C., Circuit Court ruling in support of pot’s classification. It’s a complex legal battle and we hope the high court takes the case and resolves this absurd dilemma as a step toward reclassifying and decriminalizing many of the drugs on the list. But the uptight Supremes are unpredictable these days.