He may look vanilla, but you just know this guy is kinky.
He may look many shades of vanilla, but you just know this guy is kinky. JOSHUA BLANCHARD/GETTY IMAGES

Trump has commuted the sentence of friend and Batman villain Roger Stone: Stone was convicted of seven felony crimes, including witness tampering and lying to investigators. He was days away from reporting to a federal prison to serve a 40-month term. The White House statement announcing the Executive Grant of Clemency, which reads like Trump's Twitter feed, ends with an exclamation point: "Roger Stone is now a free man!" Dems aren't happy about it!

As you head out and about this weekend, remember: Washington's COVID cases are rising. The state confirmed 637 new coronavirus cases today, including 15 more deaths.

"If we don’t deal with [COVID-19], it will deal with us": Those are the bleak words from King County’s top health official today. I think we need to stop obsessing over the state's phased reopening and get back to hunkering down. Watch and listen to the local expert here:

Some clarity on Washington's Safe Start plan regarding live entertainment at restaurants and bars: "New guidelines say live performances at restaurants and bars aren’t allowed under Phases 2 and 3." Things like drag and comedy will have to wait until Phase 4, basically. Which I'm guessing will come sometime... next year?

Ugh: 34-year-old Vancouver man with no underlying conditions dies of coronavirus

The Sun Belt is getting wrecked by COVID-19: And governors aren't doing shit. From Bloomberg:

On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis offered no new restrictions as Florida joined Texas and California in reporting record deaths. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey promised more testing and limited restaurant capacity after the state announced the most cases in six days. In Mississippi, where many lawmakers had resisted wearing masks in the Capitol, 26 of them tested positive, including the leaders of both legislative chambers.

New U.S. virus cases topped 60,000 in a day for the first time Thursday, with the national total above 3.1 million. And in states where the disease rages, a nightmarish paralysis hit institutions filling with the sick and dying. Quinn Snyder, an emergency physician in Mesa, near Phoenix, said patients were flooding in from other parts of Arizona and as far as New Mexico as smaller hospitals near the saturation point.

Florida is still down with hosting the GOP convention in August: Gov. DeSantis says next month in Jacksonville will be "a safe environment." Sure, sure, send all the Republicans to Florida.

In regards to the convention, Trump says: "Look, we're very flexible. We can do a lot of things. But we're very flexible.”

It's too late to get out: The Victoria Clipper has suspended services until April, 2021 due to the American Virus. There goes my Plan B.

Washington AG Bob Ferguson is suing Trump again: This time it's over the new fed rules that would ban international students who have fully online course loads from the United States. Ferguson is trying to get a temporary restraining order that would block the order from taking effect on July 15.

Facebook is considering a political ads blackout in advance of the 2020 election: "The potential ban is still only being discussed and hasn’t yet been finalized," writes Bloomberg.

I think there's a snowball's chance in hell they actually do this effectively: Stranger Associate Editor Eli Sanders (who is on leave until August) has reported for years about how "Facebook went right on selling local political ads in Washington state despite its supposed ban on such ads." Facebook will have to make major structural changes to make this happen—both in its product design and its workforce. The company has failed to demonstrate that it is putting resources into solving this massive, complex problem, even when required by law. Another voluntary ban won't work.

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An update on my life: As Nicolas Jaar once said, space is only noise if you can see.

Amazon has banned TikTok from employees' phones: The megasupercorporation cites security concerns. If Bezos and Trump are going after TikTok, that can't be good for TikTok. Even with a former top Disney exec as their CEO.

And I oop— "Almost five hours later, Amazon reversed course, saying the email to workers was sent in error." Now they say there's no change to their policy. Hm.