This is the last Slog AM of the week: Stranger staff get tomorrow and Monday, December 26 off (four-day weekend!), so let's see what news I can scrounge up before we all collectively log out of Slog, take massive bong rips, then hang out with our families...

The weather, the weather, the weather: A really scary-sounding ice storm looms over western Washington. Meteorologists are saying that tonight through Friday there's a possibility that freezing rain "could coat power lines, tree limbs, and roadways, leading to multiple impacts to travelers and also power outages and tree damage," reports KIRO. Though the storm is expected to be relatively brief, amend your travel plans now!

Also important: Here is a list of some cold weather shelters in Snohomish, King, Thurston, Kitsap, and Pierce counties. Share with people who you think might need it. 

Sen. Cantwell said she secured over $583 million for Sound Transit to finish certain projects: The transit agency will put $328.14 million towards the Federal Way light rail extension and $254 million towards the Lynnwood light rail extension, reports KIRO. The money comes from the Federal Transit Administration's Capitol Investment Grants and means that the Federal Way extension is fully funded. 

And in Arizona: Outgoing Gov. Doug Ducey (Republican, duh) has agreed to take down the fucking stupid Mexico border wall made of shipping containers and razor wire after the Biden administration sued him for it earlier this month. According to Yahoo!, the suit argued that the wall "was illegally built on federal land and was causing damage to vegetation and seasonal streams." It is—more importantly—an extremely inhumane thing to do. Ducey spent $82 million in taxpayer money to build the wall...

Gamers say "fuck monopolies!": Ten gamers are suing Microsoft to block its merger with Activision Blizzard, reports BBC. The suit claims that the $69 billion deal for Microsoft to purchase its rival will "create a monopoly in the video game industry." This comes after the Federal Trade Commission also voiced concerns over the merger, with the deal also facing legal scrutiny in the EU and UK. 

OK, I have another random movie recommendation: Joyce Chopra's Smooth Talk. The film stars Laura Dern in one of her first major roles as a 15-year-old who has a tense encounter with a dangerous stranger. It's a beautifully told coming-of-age tale adapted from a Joyce Carol Oates short story and streaming on Criterion Channel. I also just so happen to be hosting a virtual talk with Chopra on Thursday, January 5 about her new memoir Lady Director. The book is a hoot and I can't wait to chat with her about it—reserve your tickets here!!!!!!

Like I said yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to Congress last night: He basically thanked the US government for all the weapons we gave to Ukraine's army and asked for more money and weapons to continue fighting Russian forces. "Your money is not charity," he said. "It's an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way." Let's hope this war ends soon. 

The IRS didn't want to tax Trump, but they DO wanna tax your Venmo, Paypal, and CashApp transactions... Can't say I'm surprised, just disappointed! Before the American Rescue Plan was passed, users selling goods or getting paid for side gigs on services like Venmo only got a 1099-K form if they received over $20,000 and had more than 200 transactions, says the New York Times. Now, that threshold has been lowered to $600 for the entire year in attempt to make sure small businesses are paying everything they owe, but it will also affect a broader swath of people. Read more about the rule change over on CNBC

US life expectancy in free fall: In 2021, an American could expect to live 76.4 years at birth, a drop from 77 in 2020, reports the Washington Post. We have COVID-19 and drug use to thank for that. 

The Taliban was serious about not allowing women to get an education: Five women were arrested in Kabul for protesting the new government's policy banning women from universities after already banning girls from secondary schools, reports the BBC. Men are also taking place in protests, with around 50 male university professors resigning and there are reports of some male students refusing to sit their exams. The Taliban says the ban will remain in place until they can evaluate university curriculum and  provide a "suitable environment" for women. 

A Bellingham woman mourned: Sixty-year-old Kristine Allen disappeared while snorkeling in south Maui with her husband and is to believed to have died in a shark attack, reports AP-via-Seattle Times. Her husband and several witnesses reported a tiger shark sighting around the time Allen disappeared, though her remains have still not been found. Allen's family says they intend to hold a memorial for her in the near future. 

New food over at Wildrose: The lesbian bar updated their kitchen and has brought in "The Pickled Chef," Mahogany Williams, to get their food game going again. CHS Blog has all the deets

Move over egg, there's a new most-liked picture on Instagram: And it's Lionel Messi celebrating his World Cup victory. 

For your listening pleasure: Dorothy Ashby's "Games."