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We will soon know the city's course of action on the West Seattle Bridge: Today at 9 a.m. Mayor Jenny Durkan will announce her decision either to replace the faulty bridge now, or to repair it now and replace it later. Next Monday will mark eight months since the bridge closed due to growing cracks. We'll update this blurb once her announcement goes live.
UPDATE: Mayor Jenny Durkan has decided to repair the West Seattle Bridge now and then replace it at a later date. We'll have more about the decision on Slog later.
Lawsuit alleges that managers at a Tyson pork plant in Iowa made bets on how many workers would get COVID-19: The managerial staff ignored pleas to temporarily shut down the plant and incentivized sick employees to come into work, reports Buzzfeed News. The lawsuit—filed on behalf of Isidro Fernandez, a worker who died of coronavirus—said that as workers were being infected, "a plant manager organized a 'cash buy-in, winner-take-all' betting pool to see how many workers would end up testing positive for the virus." Five employees at the the plant have died so far as a result.
As of Wednesday, 250,000 Americans have died from COVID-19: What's fucked up is that this isn't even the worst of it. We are only at the beginning of the what Rick Bright termed "the darkest winter in modern history," with coronavirus case and death numbers expected to keep climbing. According to the New York Times, experts predict that the U.S. could soon be reporting "2,000 deaths a day or more, matching or exceeding the spring peak, and that 100,000 to 200,000 more Americans could die in the coming months." There's no end in sight.
More than a quarter-million people in the United States have died of Covid-19, but we are on track to record many, many more.
Look at these death charts at the state level. 35 states are showing a recent rise in deaths.
— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) November 19, 2020
Physics spares us yet again: An asteroid the size of a pickup truck brushed Earth's atmosphere on Friday, setting a record for the closest space rock in history to skim our planet but not strike it. The asteroid passed within 240 miles of Earth's surface and measured between 16 and 32 feet. There's always next time.
Apple to pay $113 million in second "batterygate" settlement: In 2017, customers realized the company throttled the speed of older iPhones, leading to a $500 million class action lawsuit that settled earlier this year. Now, Apple agreed to a second settlement with 34 U.S. states to the tune of $113 million. The settlement also means that the court won't have to decide any wrongdoing on Apple's behalf.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes historic visit to Israeli settlement in Palestine: Pompeo's tour of an archaeological dig and a grape farm on land Palestinians say was stolen from them marks the first time a U.S. secretary of state has officially visited such settlements. It's a provocative move that previous administrations avoided as a majority of world powers consider this Israeli military occupation on Palestinian land illegal under international law. During his time there, Pompeo also called the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement "antisemitic" and "a cancer," saying that the U.S. could deny funding to any organization that supports it.
The amount of people filing jobless claims rises for the first time in five weeks: 742,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, an increase of 31,000 from the week before. Another 320,0000 people applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program for the self-employed or people who don't qualify for regular benefits. In total 20.5 million people are receiving unemployment benefits, a number which will go up once pandemic unemployment assistance programs expire at the end of next month. And Congress still has yet to pull together any kind of relief bill.
Context: Unemployment claims are going up, as we expect 12M+ Americans will be losing their unemployment benefits the day after Christmas. That means a lame-duck Congress needs to determine if they'll act on stimulus as millions struggle to pay the bills. https://t.co/m7r3XMbXRr
— Matthew Smith (@MattSmithKIRO7) November 19, 2020
Give up your dreams of more Canadian pastures: The U.S.-Canada border is unlikely to reopen anytime soon. "The pandemic seems to be escalating in both of our countries," said Canadian ambassador to the U.S. Kirsten Hillman earlier this week about the border closure. "That would seem to suggest that these measures are with us for a while." Guess I won't be seeing Jimbo for a long while.
If you don't have symptoms and haven't been exposed, hold off on getting testing for COVID right now: The City of Seattle's coronavirus testing sites have been swamped with people getting tested this past week. 5,465 people were swabbed between the city's four testing sites on Tuesday, a dramatic increase from two weeks ago, reports the Seattle Times. “People who don’t have symptoms and haven’t been exposed shouldn’t be socializing at Thanksgiving and they shouldn’t need to get tested,” said Brian Wallace, an acting captain with the Seattle Fire Department, which is involved in the city's testing efforts. Stay home and eat dry-ass turkey with your household!
CDC says not to travel for Thanksgiving: Finally.
Biden's final vote tally is approaching a record-setting 80 million: 155 million votes have been counted so far as tallies are still going in California and New York. The official turnout in this election is estimated to be at 65% of eligible voters, the highest since 1908 reports The Hill. Trump so far has received 73.6 million votes, holding the record for the most votes for a LOSER in a presidential race. You hear that? LOOOOSER.
Did anyone else see that pig couch Craigslist ad circulating on Twitter on the other day? Well, it's a hoax. Kate Conger at the New York Times did a deep dive on the couch which has been popping up in fake ads for years. The story ends up at the intersection of art and technology because of course it would.
A shooting in Fife: Two suspects are in custody after a man was shot and killed yesterday evening. The police say that the two suspects followed the victim home from work, robbing him as he got out of his car. The victim and suspects then exchanged gunfire, leaving the victim with fatal injuries as the two fled. The name of the victim has yet to be released.
Michigan Republicans don't understand "no takebacks": Two GOP members of the Board of Canvassers in Wayne County, MI want to rescind their certification votes, reports The Hill. Monica Palmer and William Hartmann signed affidavits saying they only voted for certification because they were promised a full audit of the county's votes. This reversal comes a day after both Palmer and Hartmann tried to delay the heavily Democratic county's certification in a contentious Zoom meeting. In one instance, they moved to certify results in all parts of the county except Detroit which provoked outrage from Detroit residents on the call. This effort to rescind their votes will likely have no effect on Wayne County's election certification.
Search suspended for Tulalip Tribal Police Department officer missing in Puget Sound: Charlie Cortez was reported missing and presumed dead after the boat he was in capsized during the rescue of another boat on Tuesday night. According to KOMO, Cortez is said to be the first Tulalip Police Department officer to die in the line of duty.
CenturyLink Field gets a new name: The Seahawks will now play on Lumen Field, a reflection of CenturyLink's rebranding as Lumen Technology in September.
For your listening pleasure: I sang Mitski's "Nobody" at (virtual) karaoke last night and it was killer but also made me want to cry.