Biden names the members of his West Wing staff: Surprise! They're all former advisors/part of his campaign team, except for Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, who will leave the hallowed halls of Congress to become director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, according to the Washington Post. It's probably worth noting that Steve Ricchetti, Biden's former chief of staff as VP and his campaign's chairman, used to be a pharmaceutical lobbyist.
NEW: @JoeBiden announces senior staff:
*@jomalleydillon deputy COS
*Mike Donilon sr adviser
*Steve Ricchetti counselor
*@CedricRichmond sr adviser/dir public engagement
*Dana Remus, counsel
*@JulieR2019 Intergov't Affairs
*Annie Tomasini, Oval Office Ops
— Ken Thomas (@KThomasDC) November 17, 2020
Last night, SpaceX's Crew Dragon docked with the International Space Station over Idaho skies: The four astronauts inside the capsule, who flew in the first "privately owned and operated spacecraft certified by NASA to fly humans" to the space station, emerged a couple hours later to start working on some science, reports the Washington Post. In a particularly cute moment, astronaut Soichi Noguchi entered the space station carrying a stuffed Baby Yoda, which should excite fans of The Mandalorian. Check out this post-docking bliss:
The @SpaceX #CrewDragon hatch opened at 1:02am ET and astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi entered the station moments later joining the Exp 64 crew. https://t.co/yuOTrYN8CV pic.twitter.com/gbmPpibTXc
— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) November 17, 2020
About 13% of the Amazon's indigenous people contracted COVID-19: The virus is "ripping through indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest," according to the BBC. Leaders blame the federal government, run by Trump-like doofus Jair Bolsonaro, for failing to distribute masks and sanitation resources.
Belarus marks 100 days of protest: In August "Europe's last dictator," Alexander Lukashenko, allegedly rigged his election, prompting thousands to protest every Sunday in the country's capital, Minsk. They're still hitting the streets, according to the BBC, and they're still facing brutal police violence every time they do it: "Police in helmets and body armour throw women holding flowers and balloons into police vans. Officers tear-gas elderly people on a pensioners' march. Men in balaclavas chase musicians for singing songs from popular cartoons in courtyards."
Georgia's GOP Senators bank on rallying their base to win: But Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue sounded nervous about the prospect on a post-election week phone call with America's arch nemesis, Karl Rove, who is the moneyman behind the runoff that will decide the balance of power in Congress and, more or less, the fate of the world. In a summary of the call published by the Washington Post on Monday evening, both candidates "privately described President Trump... as a political burden" who they can't piss off despite his increasing irrelevance.
Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush says Republicans mistook her for Breonna Taylor: Bush says several Republicans called her "Breonna" when they saw her wearing a mask that said "Breonna Taylor," reports CNN.
Jack says Twitter flagged 300,000 tweets "over election disinformation," according to the Associated Press. And yet somehow didn't see fit to ban one presidential account! That's one of the takeaways so far from this morning's Senate hearing with Dorsey and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. Watch these ancient politicians who somehow have power over peoples' lives attempt to understand social media and its impacts on the electorate here:
Conservatives yearn for disinformation: The week after the election two million people downloaded Parler, a microblog for right-wing blowhards who need a safe place to whine and "whose creator has said that content on the Twitter-like site will not be fact-checked," according to Al Jazeera. The surge amounts to "more than 31 times the downloads it saw in the week before." Wait 'til they find out that Parler's "free speech" ethos contains a few exceptions..
A right-wing media guy with a book to sell blames Facebook: Matthew Sheffield, the guy who helped found NewsBusters and the Washington Examiner, blames the cult of Donald Trump and Facebook for fostering this bone-deep desire among conservatives for alternative facts. "Facebook is the primary protector and enabler of the far right in the United States, without question. The company has sheltered and promoted this content for years," he told the New York Times in an interview.
Amazon enters the pharmacy game: Amazon will now deliver your prescribed "creams, pills, as well as medications that need to stay refrigerated, like insulin" if you sign up for their new pharmacy service, reports the Associated Press. After hearing the news this morning, "shares of CVS Health Corp. fell almost 9%. Walgreens and Rite Aid both tumbled more than 10%." That's because investors fear the trillion-dollar online retailer will kill their business model, which relies on people to buy gum and stuff when they come in for their medicine.
Seattle doesn't have enough crossing signals for the blind and the deaf: "More than three quarters of Seattle’s signals do not have such devices," reports the Seattle Times. As a result, we've got blind people out here trying to cross the street like Frogger. Jessica Thompson, one of the blind people quoted in this story, said the lack of signals on NE 95th Street and Fifth Avenue NE forces her to listen to "traffic patterns to determine when drivers are slowing and stopping." “I have people honking at me and yelling at me all the time,” she told the Times. “They assume I’d be paying attention to the cross[ing] light.”
A couple in Ritzville, WA ignored restrictions on large gatherings: And now their 300-person wedding has become a superspreader event, according to the Seattle Times. "Grant County said Monday that, so far, 17 cases and two outbreaks have been connected with the event, with more cases being added daily."
More restaurant layoffs, reports King 5. We could be paying people to stay home but instead service workers will face layoffs again.
Boxing gym owner plans to defy COVID-19 restrictions because he's "out of money already," reports KOMO. The guy opened his place three weeks ago, which is certainly a choice. But regardless, again, we could be paying people to stay home.
I wish more people would listen to this guy: And if you're mad at Governor Inslee because he's the guy who has to sign the proclamations, kindly redirect that anger to the current occupant of the White House and every single Republican in the Senate—especially Mitch McConnell—who refused to pass another stimulus package.
Restaurant owner here 🙋♂️
Just so everyone understands, it isn't the shutdowns that are killing us.
It's the virus
Even at 50% capacity, we're never full
Lifting restrictions won't help at all. Getting the virus under control is our only hope
— James Whittaker (@docjamesw) November 16, 2020
North Seattle soccer star alleges her coach sexually abused her as a young teen: She also claims she wasn't the only one he groomed, according to the Seattle Times. The accused, Michael Koslosky, "admits he had an 'inappropriate relationship' with Carnell but says it started when she was 16. He denies other accusations in the lawsuit."
Durkan won't support a police hiring freeze: As the city council finishes its budget process, advocates are calling on the council to pass a hiring freeze for new cops. Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda's proposed budget package would eliminate several dozen officer positions the department doesn't expect to fill, and would request 35 layoffs, reports the Seattle Times. Those and other council cuts would amount to about 17% of the SPD budget.
ESD tells people to pay back their unemployment benefits: Thousands of Washingtonians have been notified by the Employment Security Department that their benefits have been changed and in some cases have to be repaid, the Seattle Times reports. The good news is the agency says many of the affected workers can avoid having to pay back their benefits by filing a new claim with ESD, but some people will have to pay back some benefits.
Should Ken Jennings host Jeopardy? People are talking about it. In a Slack message, the Stranger's resident Jeopardy stan, Nathalie, said, "Oh yeah it’s gotta be Ken. We can’t have a weird celebrity cameo helming jeopardy, and Ken is the next most famous Jeopardy guy after Alex (RIP) and is a nice mix of nerdy and socially awkward to carry on the legacy. Either it’s Ken or we get Watson, the IBM computer, to host."
Christmas trees in West Seattle: West Seattle Blog reports on a fresh haul of festive evergreens at the Junction True Value. Anyone else planning to go absolutely wild decorating for Christmas this year? I'm taking all the money I normally spend on overpriced cocktails with casual acquaintances and spending it on sick fucking wreaths.