It's called "Sputnik V:" Because it's still basically the late 1950s in Russia, and they're still running in the space race. In any event, according to the Washington Post, Putin plans to dole out their new coronavirus vaccine from Russia's Gamaleya Institute "before even finishing clinical trials." He said his own daughter has taken the vaccine, though he didn't specify which, and claimed that millions of "willing front-line medical workers and teachers" will take the initial shots. Global health officials are alarmed, and they're raising that alarm in their own quiet but deeply concerned global health professional kind of way.
New Zealand is back in lockdown: After discovering, emphasis mine, "four new cases in the same household in Auckland," all non-essential businesses and public facilitates in the country will close until the end of the week, according to the BBC. These four cases represent the first local transmission of the virus in the country in 100 days. Meanwhile, I've got a brunch planned with four cases of COVID this weekend. We'll be socially distancing, of course. And honestly I'm thinking about workin' in a teensy tiny lil trip to Florida next week. I had to cancel my long vacation in March, and I've just been feeling so UGH under the quar, you know? And I've been good. I've been so good. I got tested last month and was negative, and actually I think I already had it last spring, so I might even be immune.
Biden could pick his VP "as soon as today:" according to the New York Times. He's completed his vetting, and he's planning an announcement for "the middle of the week." The "strongest contenders" include "Senator Kamala Harris of California; Susan Rice, the former national security adviser; Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who met with Mr. Biden on Aug. 2."
Challenger to Belarusian dictator flees country: Svetlana Tikhanovskaya posed the greatest political threat to Alexander Lukashenko, "Europe's last dictator," in the country's last election. Lukashenko "won" with 80% of the vote, "but there have been numerous claims of fraud," the BBC reports. She and her children have now fled the country and remain safe in Lithuania, where, in a heartbreaking video to supporters, she said, "I thought that this campaign had really steeled me and given me so much strength that I could cope with anything," she said. "But I guess I'm still the same weak woman that I was."
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best says she's "retiring:" Effective Sept. 2, according to the Seattle Times. Assistant Chief of "Collaborative Policing," Adrian Diaz, will serve as interim chief.
In a letter to the department: Best only described her decision as "difficult," and said "when it’s time, it’s time.” One source told KIRO that Best had "been considering retiring for some time."
In her own letter to SPD: Mayor Jenny Durkan, who once referred to "Thelma and Louise" when describing her close relationship with Best, elaborated on the chief's reasons for resigning after 28 years with the department, including 1.5 years as its top cop: "She concluded that the best way to serve the city and help the department was a change in leadership, in the hope that would change the dynamics to move forward with the City Council."
Right-wing radio and TV news picked up the story first: Because, newsflash:
they're cops they often have extremely close working relationships with police. Behold these objective takes from objective reporters whose job it is to question people in power.
Commentary from conservatives, who have long supported paying large salaries to public employees with taxpayer dollars, and who have long been some of the loudest voices in the fight for equitable representation in the workplace, largely took two forms: fake offense and gleeful dunking on the libs for apparently owning themselves.
Those voices decrying supposed "hypocrisy" apparently included disgraced former Seattle mayor Ed Murray, who resigned after five people, including his own cousin, accused him of sexually abusing them as children:
Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, who have been working with the Mayor on their own demands, is calling the Council racist. By way of the Times:
It does nothing to further our fight for authentic police accountability and the safety of Black lives, that the first Black woman to hold the position of Chief of Police of the Seattle Police Department has been forced out of her job by the Seattle City Council. Racism is racism,” the group’s statement said. “We demand the Seattle City Council stop prioritizing performative action that solely suggests the appearance of change. We demand transparency and accountability for the series of actions and inactions that led to Chief Best’s resignation. And we demand a successor that serves Black Lives.
I'd argue this is a great PR move by Best: "Tear gas Jenny" took the brunt of the blame for the SPD gassing Capitol Hill for 10 days in June. According to that
commercial embedded report KING 5 shot with the department, Best's officers cheered her when she led the charge back into the East Precinct, which ~someone~ abandoned after cops lifted the western barricade at 11th and Pine, ultimately giving rise to the CHOP. And heavily armed neighbors only once drove away from Best's Snohomish neighborhood peaceful Every Day Marchers, who'd visited Seattle Council members' homes multiple times. Ducking out before a pay cut, starting to draw on a generous pension, and doing a solid for an unlikely ally in the forever-war between the Council and the Mayor on the way out just seems like good politics on Best's part.
On a less cynical note, from the movement:
This has never been about an individual figurehead of the police. This is about how the entire institution of policing is racist & continues to fail at what it purports to be it’s #1 priority—public safety. This is about real public safety & health 4 Black & brown communities.
— Nikkita Oliver (@NikkitaOliver) August 11, 2020
Also: Erica C. Barnett reports the council will only reduce SPD's budget by "about 7 percent this year," but Brett Hamil's Progressive Legislation Waterdown Rate still generally applies here, at least for this year:
Last thing about SPD, before Nathalie actually does some real reporting later today: They didn't clear that Jesus concert in Cal Anderson because they wrongly believe they can't enforce the Governor's COVID-19 orders, or they're at least choosing not to, according to a Seattle Times write-up of the event. Whether or not it's a good thing to have cops arresting people who don't wear masks is another issue, but only because of the reasons people are protesting the cops right now anyway.
Meanwhile, though the Feds left Portland...the cops are still there: And they're threatening to arrest journalists for "interfering," which appears to mean walking on public sidewalks and doing their jobs:
Sur La Table sold for "almost $90 million," Bloomberg reports. The outlet accurately but disrespectfully described one of the city's culinary gadget temples as, "The bankrupt upscale cookware chain." :( The company promises to keep at least 50 stores open.
The state hasn't published daily tallies of negative test results since Aug. 1: The Washington State Department of Health says it's having trouble with its data, the Seattle Times reports. The lack of negative results makes it "impossible to calculate the state's positivity rate... which is a key metric.”
Stolen e-bike in West Seattle: "It's a $1,700 bike, still in the box," reports a West Seattle Blog reader.
The Flower World saga continues: The owner of the nursery, who ordered his employees not to wear masks, is now refusing to pay a $4,200 fine and has instead delivered a 99-page rebuttal, according to KIRO. In the words of L&I spokesman Tim Church: "I think it's important for people to know the word 'requirement.'"
Olympia man arrested for suspected arson: The first fire started at an apartment building. Police say there is no clear motive, KING 5 reports.
Will this stop the cops from just declaring every protest a riot so they can unload flash-bangs on everyone? In an agreement filed by the City of Seattle and lawyers representing protesters, the two sides agreed the order should "bar police from using the declaration of a riot as justification for indiscriminate force at protests,” the Seattle Times reports. They also agreed police should be barred from targeting journalists, medics and legal observers.
Trump considers blocking American citizens from returning to the United States: If they could be infected with coronavirus. A draft rule would allow authorities to stop citizens and legal residents from re-entering the United States if an official "reasonably believes that the individual either may have been exposed to or is infected with the communicable disease," the New York Times reports.
Oh good: TSA says the rate of people illegally transporting firearms in carry-on bags was three times as high in July than last year, according to the New York Times.
Still making money in the pandemic: tractor supplies, cloud-computing, laundry detergent. Not doing so great: Trojan-brand condoms, reports the Washington Post.