The Trump campaign will pay for a partial recount in Wisconsin: But only the Black counties. What Mudede said:
This is all about exciting the old and deep racist passions. There is nothing left to say but blacks don't count. This is the final meaning of illegal votes. https://t.co/4ziudeSd8Z
— Charles Mudede (@mudede) November 18, 2020
Meanwhile, the Georgia hand recount is almost complete: It must be finished by midnight tonight, and "so far, officials found discrepancies in just four counties that made a difference in the vote margin, decreasing Biden’s lead to 12,781 votes from 14,156, according to the secretary of state’s office," reports the Washington Post. The next steps are a quality-control on the results, then certification by Friday. Then the Trump campaign has two business days (until Tuesday evening, at the latest) to request a recount.
Tri-Cities mayors "strongly disagree" with Gov. Inslee's new restrictions, despite rising coronavirus cases in their cities: Pasco, Kennewick, Richland, and West Richland's mayors wrote a joint letter to Gov. Inslee, arguing that "our businesses need to be open now and they cannot afford to wait." These mayors know they can't override Inslee's executive orders and are just virtue signaling to their conservative base. Look at the numbers, sickos: "New Tri-Cities COVID cases quadruple in less than a month. 2 more deaths reported."
The FDA has authorized an at-home coronavirus test: "The test, which requires a prescription, works in about 30 minutes," writes NBC News. "People swab themselves and swirl it in a vial that is then placed in a test unit. The kit is authorized for home use for patients 14 or older. It can also be used in places like hospitals for patients of any age."
Over 900 Mayo Clinic employees caught COVID-19 in two weeks: The Guardian reports that "the hundreds of employees who have contracted the virus over the last two weeks make up over a third of all employees who were infected since the start of the pandemic. The hospital is experiencing a shortage of 1,000 employees at its headquarters in Rochester." The bug is everywhere in the midwest.
New York City will close all public schools tomorrow: They probably shouldn't have been open to begin with.
If you get Covid, you want a smaller viral load: A big load is bad, according to a new analysis from the University of Washington. A higher viral load indicates that a person is more likely to die from coronavirus. Right now, our tests focus on whether a person is negative or positive, but researchers believe that measuring the difference between viral loads in patients is "the difference between a drop or an ocean." Seattle Times notes that "knowing a patient’s viral load could be helpful in managing patients even though treatment options are limited."
Washington Congressman Dan Newhouse has the bug: The Republican U.S. Rep, who represents Washington's 4th congressional district, voted on the House floor Monday evening with other lawmakers. Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn also announced today that he tested positive for COVID-19. I smell a super-spreader event.
I began to feel a little run down yesterday, so I took a COVID-19 test. Last night, the results came back positive for the virus. My symptoms remain mild, and I am following CDC guidelines. I am quarantining and will continue to serve the people of Central Washington from home.
— Rep. Dan Newhouse (@RepNewhouse) November 18, 2020
With Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse announcing he's positive for COVID-19, that brings total to at least six new cases on Capitol Hill h/t @alanhe Others include Sen. Grassley, Reps Bustos, Perlmutter, Walberg and Young. @CBSDenver also reports Rep. Lamborn tested positive
— Natalie Brand (@NatalieABrand) November 18, 2020
Hold up! Nathalie Graham has a few City Council updates. Take it away, Nat:
Budget season is almost over: I know, I know, what will you do without Seattle budget news for the next year? The Seattle City Council chugged through rebalancing the 2020 budget to fill COVID-19 gaps over the summer and finished that process (after overriding a mayoral veto) just in time to start the 2021 budget process. We have less than a week until the final vote. We're patiently waiting for the day we can forget numbers exist.
Before that final vote, the council is voting on amendments: The process is mostly boring, but sometimes interesting things happen, like when Councilmember Alex Pedersen tried to remove the legislation that would provide $1.2 million for "drug user health services." The legislation is pretty much the same idea as a safe consumption site, a safe place for people to use drugs in order to reduce overdoses. It even uses money the council secured years ago to make a safe consumption before controversy stalled the plan. However, this version won't establish a brick and mortar safe consumption site. Instead, it will give Public Health Seattle & King County resources to establish supervised consumption in programs that already serve drug users. Pedersen said he didn't think the strategy was effective at getting drug users into treatment. The bill's sponsor, Lisa Herbold, rebutted by saying the strategy to prevent people from dying from overdoses. Pedersen was the only council member who voted to remove the legislation.
But, Pedersen wasn't done: He voted to remove Seattle Police Department-related items from the budget. The council included legislation in the budget to reappropriate $6.1 million in spare money from SPD's budget and add it to the city's general fund. Pedersen worried that the council was moving too quickly with cuts to SPD. "I think Councilmember Pedersen continues to misunderstand or not clearly understand what this budget action is doing," Council President Lorena Gonzalez said. She explained that this money is leftover from the natural attrition of 43 SPD officers, and SPD won't refill those roles. In other words, it's "literally dollars that SPD has said it will not use," Gonzalez said. Pedersen was the only council member to vote to remove the item.
Pedersen also tried to remove the legislation abrogate, or to do away, with 93 positions from SPD: Durkan reduced funding of 97 positions in her 2021 budget proposal, but she only abrogated 43 positions. "The council is moving to abrogate 50 unfunded positions and 43 positions that SPD won't fill in 2021," according to the council memo on the item. "These are positions that are just sitting there," Gonzalez said. "I think it is a responsible move at this point to eliminate these 93 positions." Pedersen's attempt failed here as well.
Okay, sorry to harp on Pedersen, but his bridge maintenance plan also failed: Pedersen sponsored a bill to boost the car-tab fees Seattle will collect for the Seattle Transit Benefit District (STBD) to $40. The city currently has an existing $20 car-tab fee. The legislation voters approved for the STBD doesn't include car-tab fees because it was created before the Washington State Supreme Court overturned Tim Eyman's car-tab capping initiative. Pedersen, with support from Herbold and Andrew Lewis, wants these new fees—around $3.6 million of them—to go only to bridge maintenance in 2021. Gonzalez opposed this plan since the new STBD will still be $10 million smaller than the version expiring this year, which will significantly impact transit service throughout the city. She proposed an alternative plan to pass the new fee (a $20 increase) and wait to determine how it's spent until the council creates a spending plan in the spring. Her substitute passed narrowly in a 5-4 vote.
Before Gonzalez's substitute passed: Kshama Sawant proposed another substitute to abandon increasing the "regressive" fees altogether and increase the corporate payroll tax. This proposal failed 8-1.
All of Seattle's Democratic City Councilmembers shamefully just voted to increase car tab fees - one of the most deeply regressive taxes - on working-class & poor people instead of increasing the Amazon Tax by about two one-hundredths of one percent to fund transportation needs.
— Kshama Sawant (@cmkshama) November 19, 2020
We still don't know who ordered the abandonment of the East Precinct this summer: As Capitol Hill Seattle blog writes today: "The wait for the truth will take more time."
It feels like everyone's a streamer now: Twitch set an all-time audience record in October, "spiking to more than 1.6 billion hours watched across the entirety of the site," reports GeekWire. If you're looking for a good Twitch read, I recommend Taylor Lorenz's recent profile on Hasan Piker and his insane popularity on the platform.
"Explosives and pepper spray were being used simply to move people," argued an attorney with the ACLU during a 2½-hour hearing today as a part of an ongoing legal dispute between Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and the Seattle Police Department. BLMSKC hopes to hold the Seattle Police Department in contempt of an injunction issued in June banning officers from using force against peaceful protesters. "It is not necessary, reasonable, proportional, or targeted to deploy a blast ball into a group because one person threw a bottle." The judge did not issue an immediate ruling, and Mike Baker has more on the hearing here.
ICYMI: Seattle Aquarium's oldest sea otter, Lootas, is dead. She was 23. In an Instagram post, Seattle Aquarium described Lootas as tenacious and full of energy. She lived to be an ancient age for a sea otter and successfully raised three pups. The Seattle Times reports that she was the oldest living sea otter in a North American aquarium or zoo. Pour one out for old Lootas.