The State of the Union happened: President Joe Biden, eyeing a 2024 reelection run and facing two years of a Republican-controlled House, spoke to the nation last night. I didn't watch it live because I was at an improv class. Don't make fun of me. Improv is fun, okay? You should try it. Anyway, politics is like improv. I mean look at what Joe Biden got up to in the middle of his speech. He called out a select few members of the Republican party who allegedly "want Medicare and social security to sunset." He dished out a few zingers and ignored a bevy of angry blonde women, including Marjorie Taylor Greene in her Cruella de Vil coat yelling, "Liar!"
Possibly the single best moment of any State of the Union ever. Absolutely masterful. pic.twitter.com/AFoeY73NzS— MeidasTouch (@MeidasTouch) February 8, 2023
Seems like a lack of decorum, no? Yeah, I'm not used to this level of heckling. When Biden mentioned the fentanyl crisis, Republicans shouted, "The border! The border! The border!" I guess once your constituents violently storm the House chambers, then place loses the awe it once inspired.
The meat of the speech hit on bipartisanship and unity. While he celebrated the job growth under his administration—12 million new jobs, aka "more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years," Biden said—he called on Republicans to "finish the job" on strengthening the economy. Finishing the job means voting for Biden's programs to "raise taxes on the wealthy and extend social aid to the needy." I imagine these Republicans would rather rot than actually help a poor person.
President Biden in his State of the Union address: "To my Republican friends... The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere." https://t.co/Q4Vs8gIt39 pic.twitter.com/K6E9z4Qqlu— CNN (@CNN) February 8, 2023
On abortion: Biden said he and Vice President Kamala Harris were doing all they can "to protect access to reproductive health care and safeguard patient privacy." He said if Republicans attempt to pass a federal abortion ban he would veto it. The fact that there's even a sliver of a chance of a national abortion ban makes me want to vomit.
Wily Joe on the infrastructure bill: Biden took credit for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure overhaul that aims to spruce up bridges (Alex Pedersen can breathe a sigh of relief), replace lead pipes, and add electric vehicle charging stations. He knocked Republicans: "And to my Republican friends who voted against it but still ask to fund projects in their districts, don’t worry. I promised to be the president for all Americans. We’ll fund your projects. And I’ll see you at the ground-breaking."
Some populism for the masses: Biden's gunning for a second term. In his speech, he made promises "to curb credit card late fees, airline price gouging, overdraft service fees," and "to boost domestic manufacturing, cap insulin at $35, add a minimum tax on billionaires, quadruple the tax on stock buybacks and pass a bill to prevent 'junk fees' and hidden surcharges, like surprise hotel resort fees."
Turkey, Syria quake death toll surpasses 11,000: This quake quickly became the deadliest worldwide in more than a decade, the most deadly since Japan's 2011 quake, which killed 20,000. Despite fading hope, rescue crews keep searching for survivors in the rubble of thousands of toppled buildings. Some victims may have frozen to death as temperatures dropped to 21 Fahrenheit.
And yet... hope! Rescuers found and saved a boy trapped in the rubble today in Turkey.
After 52 hours trapped in rubble, a boy is reunited with his mom in Turkey. https://t.co/86nLKLTtKG— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 8, 2023
📷 Burak Kara / Getty pic.twitter.com/71TFjJ8H3Q
Redmond first-responders no longer need the jab: Redmond firefighters and paramedics who don't believe in science aren't vaccinated against COVID-19 can work in the city again. Redmond Mayor Angela Birney repealed executive orders requiring vaccinations for first-responders, following in the footsteps of King County.
LeBron makes history: LeBron James surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's historic NBA scoring record last night. For more than 38 years, Abdul-Jabbar's 38,387 career-point record stayed untouched. James entered last night's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder (née Seattle Super Sonics) with 38,352 points. He scored the 36 points needed to overtake the record by the third quarter.
A picture of the moment: Peep every fan in the stand with their phone out.
thomas bryant (31 on the lakers) calling for the ball here on lebron’s record-breaking shot attempt is like the real life version of in space jam when jordan is dunking it from half court and bill murray shouts “i’m open” lol i respect him so much for this pic.twitter.com/IDWMqjhJQm— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) February 8, 2023
This is kinda fun: I love a good graphic.
All The King’s Buckets. pic.twitter.com/lzIultYSee— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) February 8, 2023
Washington psychologists face delays: In the midst of a mental health staffing crisis, the Department of Health keeps potential psychologists waiting for months and sometimes years for their licenses. According to the Seattle Times, last year while 3,444 people held psychology licenses, 400 waited in license-approval limbo. "If all are approved, they’d boost the existing workforce by about 11%."
Forklift crashes into car on Aurora Avenue: Yesterday, an allegedly intoxicated forklift driver crashed a forklift into an SUV while driving on Aurora Avenue. The 25-year-old female passenger in the SUV died. Police arrested the forklift driver for a suspected DUI. Don't drink and forklift.
It's hot in Chile: Rising temperatures contribute to the fires already sweeping across Chile's south-central region. Currently, about 82 active fires have burned 724,000 acres and killed 24 people. With high temperatures sticking around until Friday, the fires could get worse.
Bad time for California trees: Last year, due to heat, drought, insects, and disease, "36.3 million trees across 2.6 million acres" died in California. That's nearly four times as many dead trees than 2021.
In Seattle food news: You can now order dumplings at Corvus and Co. bar on Capitol Hill.
More on the monkey-snatcher: Police arrested a 24-year-old Texas man last week for allegedly stealing two emperor tamarin monkeys from the Dallas Zoo. According to court records, Davion Irvin took the monkeys from the zoo, put them on the light rail, and transported them to a vacant home. Irvin faces burglary and animal cruelty charges for the monkey business. He faces another burglary charge for allegedly slashing the enclosure of a clouded leopard named Nova, who went missing on Jan. 13. Irvin said he loves animals and would do all of this again if released from jail.
Ecuadorian town elects dead guy as mayor: To be fair, Omar Menéndez, 41, who won the election for mayor of Puerto López, was murdered hours before polls opened on election day, so voters probably didn't know about his death when they elected him, a dead man. A gunman burst into a room where Menéndez was with his campaign and shot and killed him. A teenager also died in the attack. Surprisingly, this is not the only mayoral candidate to die in Ecuador this year. Two weeks earlier, someone shot dead a candidate for the mayor of Salinas, an Ecuadorian coastal town.