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 you’re able, please consider making a monthly contribution to The Stranger.
Michigan goes blue for Biden: Michigan’s statewide electoral board certified the votes, and now Michigan's refresh back to blue is certain. Biden won the state by 154,000 votes. The certification caused Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander to call on Trump to begin the Biden administration transition.
Aaaaaand the presidential transition of power finally begins: The head of the General Services Administration, Emily Murphy, wrote in a letter to Biden this afternoon that her office is ready to start the formal presidential transition. This means the Biden-Harris team can now receive classified information, meet with government officials on the coronavirus response, access taxpayer-funded transition funds, and get access to office space, among many things.
The Washington Post noted that Murphy "used unusually personal language to describe the predicament she faced as Trump has failed to concede the election and declared fraud in the results in battleground states, writing that she has 'always strived to do what is right.'" Last week, U.S. Reps Carolyn B. Maloney and Nita M. Lowey demanded Emily Murphy brief them on why she was delaying the transition process by no later than today.
Seattle City Council is finished with the 2021 budget: And whoooooowheeeeee what a budget season it's been. The council passed next year's budget 8-1, with Councilmember Sawant voting the sole "no" vote. (Sawant votes "no" on the budget every year.) We'll have more on the budget on Slog in just a second. In a press release this evening, Mayor Durkan announced she intends to sign the council's 2021 budget next week.
The coronavirus can't stop Thanksgiving travel: "About 1 million Americans a day" coughed their way through America's airports over the weekend, reports AP. That's down by more than half compared to the usual Thanksgiving holiday travel season, but it's still "the biggest crowds" U.S. airports have seen since mid-March. I'm so worried about our hospitals in December.
Washington state health officials report 6,277 new COVID-19 cases and 36 deaths. The data is from more than the weekend—the state didn't release any data on Sunday, blaming a technical issue, and "as of Saturday, DOH officials cited a backlog of at least 53,000 results, including positive and negative COVID-19 tests and some for other diseases," writes Elise Takahama for the Seattle Times. "The backlog is largely due to a spike in COVID-19 testing leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, officials said."
Let's check in on our COVID-19-positive U.S. Senators: Three GOP Senators recently received positive tests. Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA), 87, tweeted this morning that he's "still feeling good" and is "keeping up" by reading from home. Sen. Rick Scott (FL), 67, appears to be doing fine, at least enough to retweet a video where he claims that "states should not allow same-day voter registration—which is a recipe for fraud." Gross. (We have same-day voter registration in Washington, and claims of voting fraud in our state remain "wild accusations.") Sen. Kelly Loeffler (GA), 49, has received conflicting COVID-19 results, and Jasmyne Keimig has more on Loeffler and Georgia here.
What she said:
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) expects his state of Virginia will "be the first [state] in the South" to legalize cannabis: The governor made the claim last Friday on the radio, and it follows his public push to get Virginia state lawmakers to pursue pot legalization in their next legislative session. "We tend to be leaders," Northam said of his state's residents, "and now that’s what we’re going to do this year. And we’re going to do it the right way."
A regional health strike to kick off the week: Seattle Times reports that about 120 doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners who work within the MultiCare health system went on strike today, protesting that "they sometimes work excessive hours, care for too many patients, aren’t allowed the protective equipment they want, and are concerned over the clinics’ infection control practices."
Jeopardy! has not committed to a new quizmaster yet: BUT the game show will test out a series of short-term hosts, starting with Seattle's Ken Jennings.
Alex wasn’t just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man, and I’m grateful for every minute I got to spend with him. pic.twitter.com/CdHCcbqmp2
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) November 8, 2020
The Cosmic Crisps are coming: In today's Washington apple news, the buzzy Cosmic Crisp apple is now shipping new crops to stores across the country. “There’s never been an apple that’s been planted at scale so quickly,” a professor of horticulture told Geekwire last year.
With the holidays just around the corner and a flurry of shipping about to take place as the #CosmicCrisp goes nationwide on the 23rd, here's a soothing, sunny look at our Mother Tree to remind us all to stay grounded and enjoy the sweet (and juicy and crunchy) things in life 🍎 pic.twitter.com/A2IfhBfZ8l
— Cosmic Crisp® Apple (@thecosmiccrisp) November 21, 2020
COVID has been good to Seattle's condo market: "The Seattle condominium median home price was up 31% year over year to $632,500."
Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is Joe Biden's pick for Treasury secretary: If the Senate confirms her, Yellen will become the first woman to lead the Treasury Department. Hopes for a more progressive secretary, like Elizabeth Warren, were dashed after Dems didn't pick up a majority in the Senate. Yellen recently made headlines when she said she believes enough Republicans and Democrats support a carbon tax that enacting one would not be "politically impossible" under a Biden presidency. Marianne's on board with the pick.
I agree entirely. Would have preferred @SenWarren but we knew that wasn’t going to happen. Treasury Secretary is a hugely important role and Janet Yellen is a good choice. https://t.co/tcXvoEzfc5
— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) November 23, 2020
Warren is, too:
For the past four years, Secretary Mnuchin has catered to the wealthy and well-connected, while struggling families and small businesses were left behind. I’d look forward to working with Secretary Yellen to strengthen our economy, tackle inequality, and protect consumers.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) November 23, 2020
Biden also officially announced some of his national security and foreign policy team picks: If Biden gets his way... Antony Blinken will be Secretary of State, Alejandro Mayorkas will be Secretary of Homeland Security, Avril Haines will be Director of National Intelligence, Linda Thomas-Greenfield will be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Jake Sullivan will be National Security Advisor, and Fmr. Secretary John Kerry will be a Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. Click on the names to learn more about each of them.
Today, I’m announcing the first members of my national security and foreign policy team. They will rally the world to take on our challenges like no other—challenges that no one nation can face alone.
It’s time to restore American leadership. I trust this group to do just that. pic.twitter.com/uKE5JG45Ts
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 23, 2020
America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is. I'm proud to partner with the President-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis as the President's Climate Envoy.
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) November 23, 2020
The Associated Press got ahold of documents that suggest the government plans to give coronavirus vaccines to federal prison staff potentially within weeks: "Initial allotments of the vaccine will be given to staff and not to inmates, even though sickened prisoners vastly outnumber sickened staff," reports AP. The federal government expects initial vaccine supplies to be "scarce." Dr. Fauci has said the general U.S. population could expect first doses starting in April.
Someone(s) broke into Scarecrow! Fortunately, the robber(s) saw no value in the videos. If you have a gently used laptop, please donate it!
We suffered a break-in last week. Thankfully, the damage was minimal, but lots of equipment was stolen, including a laptop that we’ve been using to edit videos and podcasts. If you have a gently used laptop that you’re able to donate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/mlQ5qbPtDp
— ScarecrowVideo (@ScarecrowVideo) November 23, 2020