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Arctic ice shrinks to second-lowest level in 40 years: Mark Serreze, director of the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center, said, "We are headed towards a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean, and this year is another nail in the coffin," according to Al Jazeera.
UN Chief thinks China and US are headed towards a new Cold War: At a remote installment of this year's UN general assembly, Secretary-General António Guterres said the world must stop the two biggest economies from splitting "the globe in a great fracture—each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities," reports the BBC.
They've got the votes: Though the President has not yet nominated some deranged psychopath to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's obedient little foot soldiers already know they'll vote to confirm that person. Today Utah Senator Mitt Romney became the 51st vote to commit to approving the nominee sight unseen, according to the BBC.
Not that it's a badge of honor or anything, but this outcome surprises exactly no one except for a few Very Respected D.C. journalists who reprinted some early postmortem bullshit from Republican aides outlining McConnell's struggle to weigh public opinion in his efforts to balance his short-term goal of maintaining control of the Senate with his long-term goal of eliminating the Jedi and bringing the Galactic Empire to heel.
Goes without saying, but worth saying:
It feels naive & even stupid to say this, but the constitution says the presidential nominations are made with the Senate providing "advice & consent." To say you're just going to rubber-stamp whoever Trump nominates means you're abdicating your sworn duty. https://t.co/1fmvayAjnz
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) September 22, 2020
Republicans are 100% right: Winning the presidency and a senate majority with a minority of the votes and using that power to fill court vacancies is unquestionably within the rules of the game.
So is statehood for USVI, Guam, DC, and Puerto Rico and court expansion.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) September 22, 2020
Face it: Democrats can't do anything to keep Trump's pick off the SC and *won't* do anything to retaliate even if they win the Senate.
Won't admit new states. Won't pack the court. Might not even end the filibuster.
They're Democrats, for chrissakes. What did you expect?
— Alice 🍃🐿️ 🪓🌹 (@AliceFromQueens) September 22, 2020
ICYMI: Trump's Health Secretary seized power over the FDA: The New York Times got ahold of a memo from U.S. health secretary Alex M. Azar II that prohibits "the nation’s health agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, from signing any new rules regarding the nation’s foods, medicines, medical devices and other products, including vaccines." The power grab "could lead to delays in the regulatory process."
NEW POLL: Last week Strategies 360 conducted a poll of 501 registered voters in Washington for KOMO. Some of the highlights:
• If the Presidential election were tomorrow, then 58% would vote Biden and 36% would vote Trump
• If the Gubernatorial election were tomorrow, then 53% of Washington would vote Inslee and 37% would vote Culp.
• Somewhat interestingly, 31% of people who know someone with COVID-19 would vote for Culp, the guy who's been more or less throwing virus parties for the last couple weeks.
• 81% love voting by mail.
• The Black Lives Matter Movement's favorables: 59% favorable and 32% unfavorable
• And, lol, when asked if "the recent demonstrations in downtown Seattle" have been more peaceful or more violent, 50% say "more violent than peaceful" and 39% say "more peaceful than violent." However, that result flips when you poll the people who actually live in the county where those protests have taken place. In King County, 59% say the protests have been "more peaceful," while only 34% say "more violent."
• The defund movement is 15 points above water. Fifty-five percent of people support and only forty percent oppose shifting "some responsibilities and funding from police departments to other social services or agencies." The idea has 51% approval among independents.
• That said, the Seattle City Council's trims to SPD's budget are 30 points underwater in the state and 10 points under in the county; 61 to 31 and 52 to 42, respectively. THAT said, the question doesn't mention the council's re-investments in community-based programs, so it's a little loaded.
Guess what interim police chief Adrian Diaz "really thinks" about defunding the police: According to an interview with the local Fox affiliate, Diaz thinks the defund movement is really about....adding police officers to the force. "I think really it's about making sure our department is right-sized for the challenges we face...a lot of that requires a certain amount of officers," he said. "If you're talking about defunding the police by 50%," he later added, "We would find ourselves to be unable to provide any level of public safety." Of course, the movement seeks in part to demonstrate that SPD already doesn't provide "any level" of public safety to everyone, and in fact provides quite the opposite for Black people!
But it doesn't matter: Over the course of the last few months the municipal conversation about police reform has devolved into a mere PR battle, and today we finally arrive at the point where key members of the city council will cave to the executive's demands for fear of some headline-driven political retribution from corporations and single-family homeowners despite pretty consistent public polling showing support for defunding. The last episode of this show was called the Head Tax Debacle. Stay tuned to Slog for more updates on this story from the Stranger's intrepid City Hall reporter, Nathalie Graham.
As council prepares to vote on Durkan's veto, lobbying on police budget ramps up: A group called Move Seattle Forward ran more than $5,000 worth of ads on Facebook last week opposing changes to the police department's budget backed by the city council. The group doesn't need to register with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission because it's a "grassroots lobbying campaign," though the Downtown Seattle Association is "an active participant" in the group, a spokesman tells the Seattle Times.
You can also become a "grassroots lobbying campaign":
Here’s their contact info. You don’t have to live in their districts to contact them, but it helps if you do:
Most white politicians aren’t motivated primarily by anti-racist principle, but by political self-preservation.
They need to know there’s a consequence for inaction. pic.twitter.com/mTSbnrhSWH
— Shaun Scott 🌹🤝 (@eyesonthestorm) September 22, 2020
Columbia Sportswear to leave downtown: The store is permanently closed, according to the Seattle Times, driven by COVID losses and "the hardships of working downtown," an employee says. I assume this employee is referring to businesses installing ear-piercing noise machines designed to shoo homeless people from the block.
Pete Carroll's got his nose out: The NFL fined Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll $100,000 for violating face mask rules. The NLF also fined the Seahawks $250,000, reports King 5.
Who organized the Portland Trump rally that ended in a shooting? A 33-year-old architect who lives in Idaho and has a YouTube channel, according to the Washington Post.
TREES IN PERIL: Five trees outside the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center were not supposed to be removed during a city paving project, according to West Seattle Blog. Then, a contractor "discovered that the roots and bases of these trees conflicted with the new curb line.” The trees' fate appeared sealed. But now neighbors are pushing back. SDOT is trying to figure out an alternative.
Plus: Winds are coming Wednesday and "tree damage is possible," says the National Weather Service in Seattle.
Strong southerly winds forecast WED AM thru WED PM for W WA, with strongest (25-40 mph with gusts to 50 possible) expected on the Coast. With leaves still on many trees, tree damage is possible along with local power outages. #BePrepared! #wawx pic.twitter.com/GxL8N4yChj
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) September 22, 2020
Puppies stolen: Someone stole two purebred American Bullies from a family in Federal Way, according to KIRO.
Patrons save the College Inn: According to the PI, "former patrons Jen Gonyer-Donohue and Al Donohue" bought the bar, along with "friend and local restaurateur Seth Howard—who also owns Collin's Pub, Last Drop Bottle Shop and Draft Punk."