Australia's fires aren't getting better: Thousands of people are stranded on beaches "like soldiers…at Dunkirk," waiting to be rescued by sea. The fires will only get worse in the next few days, with the transport minister of New South Wales saying "it's going to be a blast furnace." I'm not exactly sure what a blast furnace is, but perhaps it looks like this:
Meanwhile, the climate fight in the Amazon dot com is heating up: Today, Amazon made headlines for warning two workers that "they could be fired if they continue to violate Amazon’s 'external communications policy,'" after employees pushed Amazon to decrease its carbon footprint, among other environmental initiatives. The story was first reported by the Washington Post, which is also owned by Bezos. A handful of Amazon employees released a statement in response to their employer's threat.
Tell @Amazon and @JeffBezos: the world is on fire. Climate leaders don't silence employees who are sounding the alarm. This is sick behavior—please RT this at Amazon. https://t.co/wvAaY505db
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) January 2, 2020
The Cuff joins Queer/Bar: Two of Capitol Hill's gay/queer bars are going steady. Joey Burgess, the owner of Queer/Bar, purchased the "neighborhood institution" The Cuff shortly before the new year, reports Capitol Hill Seattle Blog (CHSB). Burgess told CHSB the move puts The Cuff “back in queer ownership.” The Cuff, which started as a "'Leather/Uniform/Fetish' tavern," has gone through a few owners this century. Burgess described the purchase as being "about preserving queer spaces. And spaces for everyone.” CHSB has more here.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson is suing Johnson & Johnson: The complaint, filed today in King County Superior Court, "asks that Johnson & Johnson pay the state the amount of money the company has made from selling opioids in Washington, in addition to civil penalties and damages," reports the Seattle Times. Ferguson believes that the amount is in the millions. He would put "any money the state receives…toward opioid addiction prevention and treatment."
Marianne Williamson lays off campaign staff nationwide: Remember when people warned that Democrats would fall for Williamson just like Republicans fell for Trump? Lol. Pour one out for Williamson—although never forget, as she said, that "love will win."
Freshly unredacted emails further incriminate the president: But will it matter? One of the emails includes a budget official telling a Pentagon staffer: “Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold.” Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are both pressuring Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to call White House officials to testify in the Senate for the ITMFA trial, but it remains unlikely. The House has still not given the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
The newly-revealed unredacted emails are a devastating blow to Senator McConnell’s push to have a trial without the documents and witnesses we’ve requested.
The American people deserve a fair trial that gets to the truth, not a rigged process that enables a cover-up. pic.twitter.com/z851ch0mjE
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 2, 2020
Trump engaged in unprecedented, total obstruction of Congress, hiding these emails, all other documents, and his top aides from the American people.
His excuse was a phony complaint about the House process.
What’s the excuse now? Why won’t Trump & McConnell allow a fair trial? https://t.co/S3ZlEJMMDB
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 2, 2020
Tomorrow is going to be "unseasonably warm": "A front will temporarily bring warm, dry air and temperatures that could reach the mid- to upper-50s," reports the Seattle Times, but then it's back to our regularly scheduled rain. One meteorologist told the Times that the rain will "come in fast and furious" this weekend and going into next week.
Here comes the flavor ban: Trump and the FDA have announced a ban on most flavored vapor products. "Companies that do not stop the distribution of fruit and mint flavors within 30 days are at risk of regulatory action by the FDA," writes CNBC. More from The Stranger's Katie Herzog:
The federal ban comes after a nation-wide vape scare in which over 2,500 people were hospitalized and at least 55 died from vaping-related illnesses. According to the CDC, the illnesses were connected to black-market THC vape products that contained vitamin E acetate, not legally purchased flavored vape products, but some states, including Washington, took the scare as an opportunity to ban flavors in the hopes that this will cut down on youth vaping. Now, the Trump administration has decided, the country will follow suit.
If you smoke, maybe skip applying to work for U-Haul: "U-Haul to decline job applicants in Washington who use nicotine"
HOLD UP!!!! Maybe love will win. Who needs a campaign staff when you have crystals?
Is Williamson dropping out? "To the contrary," Hodes told me, adding his understanding is that she plans to continue on, just sans staff.
— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) January 2, 2020
Bernie Sanders had a big fundraising year: Sanders's presidential campaign announced that they raised $96 million last year, with a massive fourth-quarter haul of over $34.5 million from 1.8 million individual donors. "With 40,000 new donors, an average donation of $18.50, and practically zero donors maxing out, Sanders will likely maintain his extremely high and extremely steady numbers as 2020 continues apace," The Stranger's Rich Smith wrote earlier today on Slog. I guess people don't find socialism so scary???
Next up in our tour of Golden Globe nominees: Rocketman star Taron Egerton. The 30-year-old Welsh actor is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for portraying rock diva Elton John.
I resisted seeing Rocketman due to Bohemian Rhapsody fatigue: I didn't want to be disappointed by another sexless, snoozy biopic performance of a queer rock icon. To my surprise, Rocketman is much better than its toothy counterpart. It's quite horny and Egerton's Elton John is dazzling, nothing like Rami Malek's schlocky Freddie Mercury. I assume it's because Elton John had an actual hand in making his biopic. Sadly, I anticipate that Rocketman won't receive nearly as many awards as Bohemian Rhapsody, which picked up awards at both the Golden Globes and Oscars—although the New York Times's carpetbagger, Kyle Buchanan, thinks Egerton will deliver an upset win. Most critics are leaning toward Eddie Murphy winning for Dolemite Is My Name. The Golden Globes are this Sunday.