"Nothing Much Happened Today"

When I was a much younger man, I was a reporter for an afternoon daily newspaper in New Jersey. Just about everybody who worked there was a character, but the tales that were told of the paper's olden days were even more colorful.

They used to recite the story of a prior managing editor who was in charge of getting the front page of the first edition ready early every morning. On one particularly slow news day, they said, he ran six or eight different stories side by side down the front page, one column each. And across the top he ran the banner headline: "Nothing Much Happened Today."

I never saw it with my own eyes, but it was probaby true. New Jersey is a wild place, and the journalists of those days were straight-talking, hard-drinking cynics with senses of humor that were lethally sharp.

I was reminded of that headline yesterday as I scanned my usual Portland news sources. There were only two stories that stood out, and both were rehashes of stories from days before.

First, Willamette Weed ran some important interviews with innocent bystanders who were terrorized by the riot that the Portland police stood by and watched happening in the Parkrose district on Sunday. Bear mace sprayed through the Wendy's door, jackasses shooting off big fireworks next to gas station pumps, businesses shutting down out of fear – it's a miracle that somebody didn't die just trying to live life.

Unfortunately, the Weed makes it sound like the main reason the scene was to be deplored was that the Proud Boys started it. Sorry, no. I don't care who it was. It could have been Blazer fans fighting with Laker fans, or people fighting over Voodoo Donuts. When dozens of armed crazies start street brawling, it is the police's job to break it up. If the Portland cops don't like that, they need new jobs.

Yes, it's obvious that most of the local police sympathize with the right-wing white supremacists. But that's not new, and it's not what's most important about what happened on Sunday.

The other followup story that raised my eyebrow was Blazers star Damian Lillard saying that he's not leaving Portland, "not right now at least." Goodbye, Dame. You deserve better. But you landed in Paul Allen Land, where they rotate through dud after dud but never know what to do when they have real talent in house. A couple of months of the Chauncey Billups Learning Curve is all that's left for you here. Good luck back east. Read the papers back there; they're good.