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March 11, 2014 10:59 AM

Well, President Obama made an appearance on Zach Galifianakis' irreverant talk show Between Two Ferns to plug healthcare.gov, and he nailed it. Some of the highlights:

ZF: You know what I would do if I were president, Mr. President? I would make same-sex divorce illegal. Then see how bad they want it.

POTUS: I think that's why you're not President, and that's a good thing.

...

POTUS: Do you think a woman like Michelle would marry a nerd? Why don’t you ask her whether she thinks I’m a nerd.

ZF: Could I?

POTUS: No, I'm not going to let her near you.

Watch it in full below:

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama from President Barack Obama

March 10, 2014 02:40 PM

Lane County horse owners have been worrying ever since the news began to filter out on social media over the weekend that a horse in Pleasant Hill had died of equine herpes virus. The state veterinarian has issued a press release saying there is no indication the virus has spread beyond the stable where the EHV-1 cases were first confirmed. EHV-1 does not yet have a fully effective vaccine and can be fatal to horses; it is not transmissable to humans. A 2011 outbreak at a cutting horse competition in Utah spread to 88 horses in six Western states.

 

Lane County horses test positive for Equine Herpes Virus

March 10, 2014... One Lane County horse has died and four others from the same stable have tested positive for a neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1). All horses on the property have been quarantined and those showing symptoms of the disease are being treated. There is no indication that the virus has spread to other horses beyond those being quarantined. The State Veterinarian is praising quick work by local veterinarians and Oregon State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (OSU-VDL) in detecting the virus quickly and taking steps to limit any spread.

“At this point in time, the investigation shows that this is an isolated incident confined to the animals now under quarantine,” says State Veterinarian Dr. Brad LeaMaster of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “Equine veterinarians in the state are well aware of this virus and are trained to take the proper steps when a horse is showing symptoms.”

LeaMaster says the horses in Lane County exposed to the virus have not been moved from the property in more than two months, well before EHV-1 was detected.

EHV-1 is not transmissible to people. The virus is naturally occurring and widespread in the equine population. It is a common virus that may lie dormant for long periods of time and then re-activate during a period of stress, which can result in clinical disease. EHV-1 can cause respiratory disease, abortions in pregnant mares, neurologic disease, and, in severe cases, death.   The most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact. The virus can also spread through contaminated equipment, clothing, and hands. Symptoms include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy, and the inability to rise. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable.

There are 10 horses at the Lane County stable, with four of them confirmed as having the virus. The horse that died had originally been purchased from an owner in Benton County. The previous owner has been contacted and reports no signs of illness in any of their horses. 

“The Lane County stable owner and all horse owners have been very cooperative and supportive of the disease control actions taken” says LeaMaster. “A neurologic EHV-1 diagnosis certainly gets the attention of equine veterinarians and horse owners. We have had occurrences of the disease in Oregon in the past. I’ve noticed what seems to be a higher degree of awareness of the EHV-1 disease with horse owners than there was just a couple a years ago.”

Concerned horse owners are strongly advised to contact their veterinarian if they have questions and to develop an appropriate prevention plan, including vaccination. Vaccination must go hand-in-hand with the use of best management practices. Horse owners should practice basic everyday biosecurity to protect their horse(s) from being exposed to this virus as well as other highly contagious pathogens.

Veterinarians are asked to call the State Veterinarian’s Office with any suspected cases of EHV-1.

For more information, contact Dr. Brad LeaMaster at (503) 986-4680.

March 10, 2014 05:55 PM

Only in Portlandia would a large fluffy cat attack a family and hold them at bay in a bedroom, leading  them to call the police for help.

Listen to the 911 call. 

My favorite part starts about 2:30 minutes in."He's kind of a violent cat already … He's charging us; he's at our bedroom door." Meanwhile the shrieks of the 22-pound Himalayan cat are audible in the background.

The Oregonian, which broke the cat-attack news, reports that the fur started to fly after the cat scratched the couple's seven-month old baby and "I kicked the cat in the rear, and it has gone over the edge. He's trying to attack us — he's very hostile. He's at our door; he's charging us," the caller tells 911.

The 911 operator checks with her supervisor to make sure it's OK to send the cops out on this call and stays on the phone while law enforcement is dispatched. She periodically sounds like she is trying hard not to crack up.

The O continues:

When officers arrived, they entered the residence equipped with a dog snare and watched as the large Himalayan cat darted into the kitchen where it jumped on top of the refrigerator.

Using the snare, officers were able to wrangle the ferocious feline (perhaps jealous of said baby?) into a pet carrier. No one was injured in the fracas, including the baby.

According to a cat breeder website Himalayans, or "Himmies," are "perfect indoor companions but they possess a playful side."

March 7, 2014 02:39 PM

March 7, 2014 03:19 PM

This is a lovely ad campaign for PDX, but we imagine such a video promoting Eugene might look a little different.

February 27, 2014 06:08 PM

In a press release that kicks off with sentences like " Religious freedom upholds stability in a diverse society,"  the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative has kicked off its petition campaign to get a measure on the Oregon ballot that would  "exempt a person from supporting same-sex ceremonies in violation of deeply held religious beliefs."

The release says:

Friends of Religious Freedom filed the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative today in order to safeguard religious freedom in Oregon and to allow conscientious objectors or persons with deeply held religious beliefs to decline to participate in same-sex ceremonies. Oregonians will have the opportunity in 2014 to protect religious freedom and individual conscience rights now and for future generations of Oregonians. We are confident that Oregonians will rally behind this cause to protect religious freedom and individual conscience rights.

The measure is supported by the Oregon Family Council, which proudly discusses its role in enacting Oregon's 2004 gay marriage ban (the same one the Oregon DOJ recently announced it will not defend in court).

In March of 2004 Oregon Family Council, Inc. founded the Defense of Marriage Coalition to orchestrate the YES on 36 Campaign. With support from numerous organizations, pastors, churches and individuals, 57% of Oregonians amended the Oregon Constitution to define marriage as only between one man and one woman. Oregon Family Council, Inc. realizes Measure 36 was simply one battle in a much larger culture war. That’s why Defense of Marriage Coalition will continue its mission to secure, maintain and strengthen traditional marriage in Oregon.

The Oregon United for Marriage campaign immediately put out a statement from campaign manager Mike Marshall:

 "Like Arizona, Oregon is facing a discrimination initiative that would allow businesses to deny commercial services to people because of who they are and who they love. Treating people differently based on who they are is discrimination."

"At a moment when Oregonians should be celebrating the imminent end of discrimination against loving, committed couples, we’re gearing up to fight this effort to write discrimination back into our laws. This hurtful measure weakens our current anti-discrimination laws so that corporations and commercial businesses can discriminate against gay and lesbian couples by denying them services on their wedding day. Freedom means freedom for everyone, and it is wrong to treat people differently because of who they are and who they love."

The full measure proposal for the Novermber ballot is here. In order to be on the ballot the group would need to collect 87,213 signature by July 3, and cannot begin collecting signatures until the measure has a ballot title. The Oregonian reports the title AG Ellen Rosenblum proposed was "Exempts religious opposition to same sex marriage/civil union/domestic partnership from penalties for discrimination" while Friends of Religious Freedome prefers "Protects persons choosing non-participation in same-sex ceremonies based on conscience or religious belief from penalization."

February 25, 2014 10:40 AM

Phone calls aren't always from who the caller says they are — keep that in mind if you get calls from EPD or the IRS and they seem fishy. According to EPD:

Eugene Police recently received a call from a man and his twin in another state who have received two calls from someone claiming to be from the Eugene Police Department advising that they have warrants for both their arrest and that they need to return the call immediately to ‘get this taken care of.’ This is not a practice EPD would use for a warrant.

There was another reported scam from a UO student within the last week, who sent $1,000 to “the IRS” using a pre-paid money card. He was told his bank account would be frozen and he would be arrested if he didn’t pay.

The police remind you not to feel weird about refusing to speak with a caller until calling back at an established number, like EPD's non-emergency number, 682-5111. They add a few recommendations:

  • Don’t give out personal or financial information to someone who calls you.  If you are unsure, hang up and independently find the phone number of the alleged represented agency and call yourself.  A law enforcement agency will not ask you for this type of information or request that money be sent by way of money order for any reason.

  • Beware of high pressure techniques, such as the need to give information or make a decision on the spot.

  • If it sounds quirky or weird, it probably is.

Yep, watch out for those quirky ones.

February 24, 2014 05:22 PM

February 24, 2014 05:38 PM

February 20, 2014 03:10 PM

Below is a statement from Oregon's AG on why Oregon won't defend it's gay marriage ban (yay!)

My favorite part is this quote "The law in this area is developing and it is now clear that there is no rational basis for Oregon to refuse to honor the commitments made by same-sex couples in the same way it honors the commitments of opposite-sex couples. Marriage is the way that loving couples become family to each other and to their extended families, and there is no good reason to exclude same-sex couples from marriage in Oregon, or from having their marriages recognized here.

Because we cannot identify a valid reason for the state to prevent the couples who have filed these lawsuits from marrying in Oregon, we find ourselves unable to stand before federal Judge McShane to defend the state’s prohibition against marriages between two men or two women."

 

STATEMENT OF OREGON ATTORNEY GENERAL ELLEN ROSENBLUM ON THE SUBJECT OF PENDING LITIGATION CHALLENGING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BAN

Good morning. As many Oregonians are aware, four couples have brought suit against the state, asking a federal court to find that Oregon’s ban on marriage by couples of the same sex violates the right of equality enshrined in the United States Constitution. I am named as a defendant in the lawsuits, along with the Governor, and it falls on my office to appear on behalf of the state before the court and answer the couples’ claims.

Usually — though not always — my office defends the state in litigation. As Attorney General, I have sworn an oath to uphold our state’s constitution. The lawyers in my office have sworn the same oath. The oath we took also requires us to uphold the Constitution of the United States – which is the supreme law of our land. Of course, we all take these oaths very seriously.

So it is after much careful study and consideration that I stand before you today to announce that the Oregon Department of Justice will not defend the prohibition in our state's constitution against marriages between people of the same sex. A document called an “answer” filed with the court earlier this morning informed Judge McShane of our decision. Copies are available for you.

Because our office also represents the people of Oregon, a brief explanation is in order.

The Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution gives people the right to be treated equally by their government, unless there is a good reason for unequal treatment. That is, any time the government establishes different sets of rules or laws for different sets of people, there must at least be what the law calls a “rational basis” for those differences.

The law in this area is developing and it is now clear that there is no rational basis for Oregon to refuse to honor the commitments made by same-sex couples in the same way it honors the commitments of opposite-sex couples. Marriage is the way that loving couples become family to each other and to their extended families, and there is no good reason to exclude same-sex couples from marriage in Oregon, or from having their marriages recognized here.

Because we cannot identify a valid reason for the state to prevent the couples who have filed these lawsuits from marrying in Oregon, we find ourselves unable to stand before federal Judge McShane to defend the state’s prohibition against marriages between two men or two women.

We will be explaining our legal reasoning to Judge McShane as this case proceeds. Those of you who are interested will be more than welcome to review our pleadings as they are filed. Legal papers that are due by April will fully address our analysis and that of the other parties in the two cases that are now consolidated.

Thank you.

 

Oregon Department of Justice