The pandemic was SO yesterday: The national COVID-19 emergency declaration ends today. Locally, that means the few mass testing sites left standing will close as federally funded programs end. The vaccine is headed to the private market once the current supply of freebies runs out, likely after summer. In Washington, the vaccine will remain free for children. While COVID-19 levels have dropped and stabilized tremendously, people still get seriously ill, see long-term health concerns, and about 25 people in Washington die every week from COVID-19.
King Inslee loosens up on his subjects: Governor Jay Inslee announced he will no longer require State employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The requirement pissed off a lot of his political enemies and led to more than 2,100 workers losing or leaving their state jobs. Inslee is not reinstating the employees who refused to comply–they’ll have to apply and compete for open positions like anyone else. Twitter Republican pundits and the Washington Federation of State Employees did not love that. Here’s what the union president has to say:
“We are hoping to bargain otherwise and negotiate return rights and possibly re-establish seniority, leave, etc., but the feasibility of that is still unclear. Many of these workers loyally served Washingtonians for decades. It’s interesting that this announcement came during Public Service Recognition Week. We understand that hiring decisions rest with the employer, but we think these workers’ service to the public should be recognized," the Washington Federation of State Employees wrote.
Title 42: Pandemic-era U.S. border policy Title 42 will end tonight as the public health emergency declaration sunsets. The policy allowed authorities to very quickly reject and expel migrants without giving them the chance to seek asylum, supposedly to stop the spread of COVID-19. Very on brand of the U.S. to use COVID-19 as a reason to fuck over migrants while the current president still held rallies, schools reopened before teachers felt safe, and even the longest-held local hazard pay measures for frontline workers ended more than a year ago. Yes, you took "stop the spread" VERY seriously.
We joined 240 orgs in a letter urging the #Biden admin to not utilize immigrant detention on post-Title 42 migrants. Detention not only places the US at odds against int'l norms & treaty obligations but it leads to mental & physical harm & endangers lives. https://t.co/TmkHBgI4XK— Human Rights First (@humanrights1st) May 8, 2023
Anyway: Under Title 42, border patrol agents have pushed migrants away more than 2.8 million times. Advocacy group Human Rights First reported 13,000 violent incidents among people blocked or expelled under Title 42 since President Joe Biden took office. These incidents include assault, torture, kidnapping, and rape.
Biden and the border: When Title 42 ends, the Biden administration will enact its most restrictive immigration policy yet, which would make it much harder to seek asylum. So even though Title 42 has turned millions away, thousands are attempting to cross the border this week before the new anti-migrant policy takes effect.
One more thing: As Biden replaces horrendous immigration policy for more horrendous immigration policy, ICE will also start a new program that will subject migrant families to “credible fear” interviews earlier in the process, curfews, and new tracking measures.
Another beautiful day: I promise today I will go outside and enjoy my life. I promise today I will go outside and enjoy my life. I PROMISE TODAY I WILL GO OUTSIDE AND ENJOY MY LIFE! And there’s not a bad moment to do it! According to the forecast, temperatures will rise from mid 50s to mid 60s throughout the morning. Eventually, we’ll hit a peak in the low 70s.
Limited edition: Enjoy the nice weather while you can, it's going to get HOT HOT HOT this weekend. Seattle can expect temperatures in the mid to upper 80s on Saturday and Sunday. According to KING5, that’s about 15 to 20 degrees higher than the average temperature for this time of year.
🌡️🥵 Heat? May? Yeah....— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) May 10, 2023
An unusually hot period of weather for May is expected across western Washington Saturday through at least Monday (potentially even longer). Temperatures are likely to peak in the upper 80s to low 90s Sunday and Monday. #wawx pic.twitter.com/ToqK1b0QpB
Pie in the sky: The Seattle Times reports that Pagliacci Pizza will launch a drone delivery system to bring pizzas, drinks, and sides to customers without a driver. This move comes after Pagliacci paid $3.75 million to settle a 2021 class-action lawsuit accusing the pizza company of stealing tips and delivery fees from its workers. While the drone method would be a creative way to avoid future labor disputes, the co-owner of Pagliacci said the company does not plan to fire any drivers.
#37 NOTICE: All drone pizzas passing through Brunner airspace shall be subject to a two-slice tariff https://t.co/wSTOuWfpXZ— Jim Brunner (@Jim_Brunner) May 11, 2023
Bus cuts coming to a route near you: King County Metro plans to cut 4% of its bus routes this fall due to staff shortages among drivers and mechanics, according to the Seattle Times. "The cuts mainly affect peak-only lines where other buses travel the same roads or a few blocks away," writes Mike Lindblom.
An optimistic super villain: A jury found former president Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming former Elle columnist E. Jean Carroll. But that’s not getting him down! In fact, he thinks his deplorable behavior is helping his 2024 campaign. During a CNN town hall, a reporter asked Trump to respond to voters who feel his sexual abuse made him unfit to lead. He said, “Well, there aren’t too many of them because my poll numbers just came out [and] they went up.” As NBC News reported, no one knows what polls he’s talking about. However, the first statement seems somewhat based in reality. Voters already put him office once knowing he’s a fucking creep.
Speaking of: During that town hall, Trump revisited a lot of his usual lies: This woman is lying about me raping her, the 2020 election was rigged, yada yada yada. But CNN fact-checked more than 20 false or misleading statements Trump made last night, from gas prices to abortion to those classified documents he kept at Mar-a-Lago.
Your honor, you weren’t there, though: U.S. Rep. George Santos’s lies caught up with him. As Vivian wrote yesterday, Santos got charged with seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, two counts of lying to the House of Representatives, and one count for stealing public funds. Say it out loud. It kind of sounds like the partridge in a pear tree song. Anyway, the latest is that he pleaded not guilty and said he won’t resign from his office, according to the AP last night. He’s looking at up to 20 years in prison, but Santos seems in good spirits. He told reporters, “This is the beginning of the ability for me to address and defend myself.” Okay!
She’s back: U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein returned to her job at the U.S. capitol after taking a three-month absence to recover from shingles. Now that she’s back, the Democrats hold a majority in the Senate again.
Call your mom: Not for Mother's Day. To see if she's alright after losing a legend.
RIP Jackie Zeman, a vivacious, magical actress who was sunshine personified and always a kick in the pants as General Hospital’s Nurse Bobbie Spencer. I will miss her fabulous giggle, her loving heart, her ability to make every single moment MATTER. Farewell, dear one. 💙 pic.twitter.com/MdysZC8nVC— Michael Logan (@TVGMLogan) May 11, 2023
Y’all like Joji, right?