We need your help. The economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis is threatening our ability to keep producing the stories you've come to love. If youโ€™re able, please consider making a monthly contribution to The Stranger.

Tis the season. Budget season.
'Tis the season. Budget season. Lester Black

The FBI held a surprise press conference this evening to let the people know that "Iran and Russia have taken specific actions to influence public opinion related to our elections," said Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. Iran is reportedly sending "spoof emails designed to intimidate voters, incite unrest and damage President" Trump. Russia has also "obtained" American voter information, which is a little vague. Some of those "spoof emails" relate to the "Vote for Trump or else!" emails that first appeared to be sent by the Proud Boys. The Department of Homeland Security has now concluded those emails were a deceptive campaign sent by the Iranian government. Tehran impersonating Proud Boys is not the move I was expecting this month, but then again, I have no idea what I was expecting. This story is developing.

I guess I have to watch the new Borat movie: Sacha Baron Cohenโ€™s humor has curdled for me, but I'm probably in the minority with that opinion. His Borat sequel, available on Prime Video, is making headlines for many reasons, but especially for this reason, via The Guardian:

In the film, released on Friday, [Rudy Giuliani] is seen reaching into his trousers and apparently touching his genitals while reclining on a bed in the presence of the actor playing Boratโ€™s daughter, who is posing as a TV journalist.

Following an obsequious interview for a fake conservative news programme, the pair retreat at her suggestion for a drink to the bedroom of a hotel suite, which is rigged with concealed cameras.

After she removes his microphone, Giuliani, 76, can be seen lying back on the bed, fiddling with his untucked shirt and reaching into his trousers. They are then interrupted by Borat who runs in and says: โ€œSheโ€™s 15. Sheโ€™s too old for you.โ€


Amy Coney Barrett could be seated on the Supreme Court as soon as Monday: Senators are planning "a rare weekend session" so they can push ACB through to the court by the beginning of next week, reports AP. Democratic Senators will boycott voting on ACB tomorrow. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer announced the move in a speech on the Senate floor late today.

Even with a boycott, the Republican's rushed nomination is pretty much secured: "With Republicans holding a 53-47 majority in the Senate, Trumpโ€™s pick for the court is almost certain to be confirmed," writes AP. "Boycotting Thursdayโ€™s committee hearing wonโ€™t stop the process, but could potentially force Republicans on the panel to alter the rules to keep the confirmation on track."

And here's Nathalie Graham with some updates on the 2021 Seattle budgeting process, everyone's most favorite time of the year over at Seattle City Council:

Whew, it was a big day in budget meeting hell for the Seattle City Council: The issue identification phase of budget season, where council members flag funding priorities they'd like to include in the 2021 budget, is ongoing. Today, council members went over proposals related to community safety and violence prevention, the Human Services Department (HSD), and homelessness response. Let's dive in!

Lots of love for Health One: Multiple council members expressed interest in scaling up Seattle's newish Health One program, the Seattle Fire Department's mobile integrated health response unit that is all the rage in conversations about "reimagining policing" in the city. Essentially, Health One responds to individuals in need with firefighters and case managers. Currently, there's only one Health One vehicle, and it only serves downtown. Councilmembers Andrew Lewis and Teresa Mosqueda want to scale that by adding more firefighters, case managers, social workers, and vehicles to the program. Both submitted their own proposals but will likely collaborate on one piece of legislation in the future.

Tiny house villages galore: Councilmembers Tammy Morales, Kshama Sawant, Alex Pedersen, and Lewis each submitted separate proposals for increasing tiny house villages in the Seattle area. That kind of buy-in at this stage almost ensures that tiny house villages will increase in capacity in some way. It remains to be seen whether that's by bed capacity (300 new beds proposed by Lewis), three self-managed tiny house villages (Morales), a temporary University District village (Pedersen), or a combination of Lewis' and Morales' proposal (Sawant). The idea here is to expand a housing solution that's proven to get people off the street and eventually into permanent supportive housing. Lewis pointed out that tiny house villages are "conspicuously absent" from Mayor Jenny Durkan's proposed budget.

Lewis and Sawant both propose buying a hotel: With either $2.5 million of city funds or $2.5 million in federal Emergency Solutions Grant dollars, Lewis and Sawant both submitted plans to buy at least 100 additional hotel rooms as emergency shelter options for the homeless. Durkan already proposed funding for 300 rooms, but Sawant and Lewis believe those rooms could cost less if the city bought a hotel instead of leasing all those units. Ultimately, Sawant said, the city could convert this shelter into affordable housing.

Street sinks: Morales received praise when she brought forward her $58,000 proposal to fund 63 street sinks across the city, which I wrote about last week. The city only provides 15 sinks through the hygiene centers it has propped up city-wide.

Morales proposed an alternate Navigation Team: It's called Homelessness Outreach and Provider Ecosystem, or HOPE. The idea is that the city would take more of a backseat role in homelessness encampment outreach, focusing on providing "coordination" with providers.

You can read the rest of the proposed items related to homelessness: Right here.

Pour one out for Quibi, the "short-form entertainment service" that, uh, pioneered (?) offering streaming subscribers "Quibis," a.k.a. "Quick Bites," which were 10-minute-or-less videos. Like a YouTube video! But not? The platform raised $1.75 billion ahead of its launch in April, but now it's dead. The company announced today that "itโ€™s making a proactive decision to preserve shareholder equity, and will return the remaining funds to investors," according to CNBC. TL;DR: Very few people subscribed. If you missed the Quibi drama, you didn't miss much. It was a quick disaster. Lots of these jokes going around the internet today:

The Seattle Storm endorse Joe Biden and Kamala Harris: Professional sports teams don't usually make endorsements, but look at who's in the fucking White House.

Mitt Romney says he didn't vote for Trump: I only care about this because conservatives are pissed about it.

'I did not vote for President Trump.'
Posted by The Western Journal onย Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Overall crime is DOWN across Capitol Hill, but burglaries are UP: "With more than 1,300 reported break-ins across the East Precinct, the area has already reported more burglaries in 2020 than it did in all of 2019. One of the latest targets was Pike/Pine bar Life on Mars which suffered a costly break-in early Tuesday morning," reports Capitol Hill Seattle blog in an overview of recent crime in the area.

Was that Big Book of All The Things Trump Has Done for Healthcare... blank? I'm gonna need you to click on and zoom into that last pic, thank you.

Fact Check: No, someone can't go in and "cancel" or change your mail-in ballot online. Crosscut's Melissa Santos has more on the 4chan-inspired misinformation here.

Support The Stranger

Tonight's* Psychotronic Movie Challenge is "MURDER SHE ROACH": Watch a film "about pesky varmints, pests, or creepy crawlies." Should I watch Ticks? To be honest, I'm scared.

*Full transparency: Last night, I said I'd watch Basket Case (1982), but I ended up watching Candyman (1992). Sadly, the new Candyman won't be released until 2021.

One more plug: Make a plan to watch The Future Is O with me after the presidential debate tomorrow night.