Get ready for... a Pike Place Market drive-thru Flower Festival:
How will it work? Place a preorder here to lineup your own bouquet selections ranging from $16-$41 through May 6. For $15, shoppers can also take home a taste of the market with a Pike Box packed with seasonal produce. Families with children will also receive free activity packs with handmade Mother’s Day cards to color, designed by market artists.
Most experts and academics agree that COVID-19 evolved naturally, moving in another mammal before being transmitted to humans. But the Trump administration is reportedly pushing spies and intelligence officials to link the disease to a government lab in China. "Intelligence officials have repeatedly pointed out to the White House that determining the origins of the outbreak is fundamentally a scientific question that cannot be solved easily by spycraft," reports the New York Times.
Another protest at the Michigan statehouse grew volatile when armed protestors pushed inside the building today. The Legislature was debating an extension of the governor's stay-home order.
Protest moves inside Michigan Capitol. Crowd attempts to get onto Hoise floor. Lots of Michigan State Police and House sergeants at arms blocking door. pic.twitter.com/4FNQpimP4W
— Rod Meloni (@RodMeloni) April 30, 2020
Sawant and other organizers are rallying renters to withhold their rent in order to pressure lawmakers to pass certain kinds of legislation, which is a direct demand but one that relies on well-oiled local, state, and federal governments, all of which are looking pretty rusty at the moment.
While the state legislature could convene a special session and lift the statewide ban on rent control or impose a statewide ban on rent increases, neither lawmakers nor the Governor can cancel rent or mortgage payments without amending federal and state constitutions. Passing such legislation anyway would lead to court battles states are likely to lose.
May 1 is also May Day: Seattle police are still preparing for May Day protests despite Seattle's lockdown. May Day events have largely been canceled and moved online. Are digital protests effective? A May Day Rent Strike Car Parade is being organized in Olympia. Turns out anarchists also drive cars.
"Future updates about the renegade will go out on https://t.co/V2tMsyfxn9 and through the usual whisper channels. We cant wait to party with you all but until then let's get busy making sure this May Day is a successful one while keeping our community healthy! 2/2"
— May Day Seattle (@MayDaySea2020) April 29, 2020
There are still ways to be socially distant while protesting: Here's a shot from yesterday's Seattle Transit Riders Union protest.
This morning at City Hall, Seattle Transit Riders Union staged a socially-distanced demonstration calling on City Council to Step Up for progressive revenue because #SeattleNeeds relief!
Thank you, @SeattleTRU!#TaxAmazon pic.twitter.com/0yeZmVYPpc
— Kshama Sawant (@cmkshama) April 29, 2020
Pence toured an Indiana ventilator production facility today and miraculously wore a mask. Karen, Pence's wife, defended Pence's controversial decision not to wear a mask at the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday by telling Fox News it “was actually after he left Mayo Clinic that he found out that they had a policy of asking everyone to wear a mask."
A live-action Hercules is in the works over at Disney: We're a long way away from knowing who is cast in it, but there are rumors about Ariana Grande being included in the cast.
A line from a press release from Gov. Inslee: "The White House and senior officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have communicated to us that they will immediately begin shipping large quantities of sample collection supplies to states and will be making weekly distributions for at least the months of May and June."
Those "sample collection supplies" will "help health care providers with testing," writes Stranger's Rich Smith. "We have the machines to run over 22,000 tests in the state, but we're short on swabs, 'transportation media' for the swabs, and biohazard bags to transport the stored swabs to labs. With our current supplies, we're doing about 4,500 tests a day and 1,500 per day on the weekend."
"That said," Rich continued, "even if we do get all the swabs and transportation fluids, shortages of other testing materials still exist depending on the lab. Sweet, sweet capitalism."
Regal Cinemas is also feuding with studios pivoting to VOD: They aren't boycotting Universal like AMC is, but they're pretty close to a boycott.
Regal is not boycotting Universal nor any other studio. We will continue our normal policy and play movies that respect the theatrical window, allowing movies to be released first in theatres prior to streaming or VOD platforms. pic.twitter.com/xQBX4uUHfG
— Regal (@RegalMovies) April 30, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of Orange County beaches this afternoon: Orange County officials pushed back. One county supervisor called Newsom's order an "overreaction" and predicted that it "will undermine... our collective efforts to fight the disease."
Mail-in voting has become an extremely partisan issue: But it's untrue that mail-in voting always helps Democrats. In 2014, mail-in voting helped Colorado Republicans sweep across the state. "What’s clear is that the research is still limited," writes Wired in a good feature published today on mail-in voting, "and that what’s true in the handful of vote-by-mail states doesn’t necessarily predict what would happen elsewhere."
Can we even conduct vote-by-mail without USPS? “The USPS is integral in our success as a country and ensuring everyone has access to our elections in arguably the most anticipated election in over 100 years,” Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman (R) said yesterday. Wyman wants the federal government to step in. Samantha Bee wants that, too:
ICYMI: Sweden is attempting to fight the coronavirus by using a strategy of "herd immunity" through exposure. The country is not conducting broad lockdowns and is relying on voluntary self-distancing. A Swedish official predicted this week that Sweden might be a few weeks away from herd immunity—but that idea is seen as dangerous. We are still not sure how people get immunity after recovering from coronavirus. From CNN:
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the World Health Organization (WHO), said it's not known whether people who have been exposed to the virus become completely immune to it and if so, for how long. That's why governments should wait for a vaccine, she said.
And, as Rich noted in our Slog PM a few days ago, cool your jets on all this talk of antibody tests:
As a flood of low-quality antibody tests hit the market, [WA State Department of Health officer] Dr. Lofy urged politicians and members of the general public to chill the fuck out about the test's use as an immunity indicator. “We don’t understand what an antibody response means,” she said. Because the virus is new, and because there are different types of antibody tests, epidemiologists don’t know whether the presence of antibodies protects people, nor for how long they may be protected. “If I had a test I thought was accurate,” Dr. Lofy said, "I would still want to be taking precautions if I were a health care worker, in terms of wearing full PPE and doing social distancing in my normal life.”
That hasn't stopped a lot of people from using Sweden as a model for America. From the New York Times's Thomas L. Friedman:
As for experts who warn that it has not been conclusively proven that individuals who have had COVID-19 are immune, by the presence of antibodies, from getting the virus again, Tegnell told USA Today that such thinking undermines the argument for looking for a vaccine: “If you can’t get population immunity, how can we then think a vaccine will protect us?”
He concluded: “What’s happening now is that many countries are starting to come around to the Swedish way. They are opening schools, trying to find an exit strategy. It comes back to sustainability. We need to have measures in place that we can keep on doing over the longer term, not just for a few months or several weeks.”
MSNBC reporter Chris Hayes covered the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden: Then #FireChrisHayes started trending on Twitter.
Same! Just blocked him and will never watch him again. He’s now actively doing Putin’s bidding by smearing Biden with Russian propaganda and proving once again that there’s no difference between BernieBros and magats, same thing, all made in Russia
— Where’s my America?! (@MatheysFiles) April 30, 2020
I am consistently impressed with @chrislhayes' willingness to do what is right and buck the undoubtably weighty influence of network television.
It’s not close — he is *the* best host working within a system that doesn’t necessarily incentivize his instinctive truth telling. https://t.co/EPRZkRIko4
— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) April 30, 2020
If you're wondering why Slog was a little slow today: It's because we only have four staffers working. BUT they're working on features and we've got some meaty stuff scheduled for the AM 😉
Washington's most recent update from its Department of Health lists 814 deaths and 14,327 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington state.
This comment from Nancy Pelosi caused "Joe Biden Is Joe Biden" to trend today: Joe Biden intends to finally address Tara Reade's allegation tomorrow morning on "Morning Joe." Nathalie will loop back around and cover it in AM tomorrow.
Speaker Pelosi: "I have complete respect for the whole #MeToo movement...there's also due process...Joe Biden is Joe Biden...There was never any record...I am so proud, the happiest day for me this week was to support Joe Biden for president of the United States." pic.twitter.com/CFfUMZTeYs
— CSPAN (@cspan) April 30, 2020