Amazon's self-driving taxi company Zoox will unveil its vehicle next Monday: Twitter spies already snagged a peek. Geekwire observes that "passengers face each other, and there’s no driver’s seat, because there’s no driver." Uber and Lyft are also developing autonomous vehicles, I assume so they can dump their drivers before something forces them to classify drivers as employees.
Durkan published a letter in the Seattle Times reiterating a lot of what she said in that video: She presented a false dilemma between running in 2021 and properly leading the city's coronavirus response. "I can spend the next year campaigning to keep this job or I can focus all my energy on doing the job—a job that will face all the similar difficulties of 2020," wrote Durkan. "There was only one right choice for our city: doing the job. Next year will be consequential to our recovery and the trajectory of our city." (Plenty of people ran for reelection this year while simultaneously addressing the pandemic, Jenny???)
But don't forget: She'd totally win if she ran for reelection, she says.
"I could run again - and I would win." - Mayor Jenny Durkan just now on @KUOW's The Record. Durkan announced this morning she is not running for re-election.
— Casey Martin (@caseyworks) December 7, 2020
Meanwhile, PubliCola asked Durkan campaign spokesperson Stephanie Formas if Durkan is about to announce a potential federal appointment in the Biden administration. Formas replied, "Nope!"
Republicans invited an anti-vaxxer doctor to testify at a Senate hearing on Tuesday: Dr. Jane Orient will be the lead witness at tomorrow's US Senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee hearing. Orient is "skeptical of coronavirus vaccines and promotes the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment," reports the New York Times. On the Senate floor this afternoon, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer criticized the GOP's invitation of Dr. Orient and said the doctor has "a benign-sounding name that obscures some dangerous policies," which I thought was kinda funny because Edward Said said basically the same thing about the Orient.
Many Americans distrust the potential COVID-19 vaccines: And this Dr. Orient nonsense isn't helping. "New polls suggest that 40% of Americans would not take a coronavirus vaccine. Many of them cited concerns about how quickly the vaccines were developed and did not want to be among the first to receive an experiment inoculation," writes KOMO.
The Trump campaign requested another recount of Georgia's votes, and we learned... what we already learned: Joe Biden won Georgia. "We have now counted legally cast ballots three times, and the results remain unchanged," said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger today during a news conference at the state Capitol.
NEW: Georgia elections chief Brad Raffensperger says the state will re-certify its election results today.
"We have now counted legally cast ballots three times, and the results remain unchanged." https://t.co/1ZkDPhPnMB pic.twitter.com/D3KtBi9hos
— ABC News (@ABC) December 7, 2020
No amount of counting will persuade the President:
The Republican Governor of Georgia refuses to do signature verification, which would give us an easy win. What’s wrong with this guy? What is he hiding?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2020
Other countries have rushed to buy Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine: The rush could mean Pfizer can't provide additional doses of its vaccine until June or July 2021, according to new reporting in the Washington Post. More:
That means the US government will have 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine that it purchased earlier this year—far fewer than it initially planned—raising questions about whether it can keep to its aggressive schedule to vaccinate most Americans by late spring or early summer.
Pfizer officials had urged Operation Warp Speed, the government’s initiative to expedite vaccine development, to initially purchase 200 million doses, or enough for the two-shot regimen for 100 million people last summer, according to people knowledgeable about the issue who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the situation. But the Warp Speed officials declined, opting instead for 100 million doses, or enough for 50 million people, they said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services told the New York Times that they "are confident that we will have 100 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine as agreed to in our contract, and beyond that, we have five other vaccine candidates."
Velocity Dance Center will sashay away from Capitol Hill: The center said "its rent in the 1621 12th Ave building totaled $11,000 a month," reports Capitol Hill Seattle blog. Velocity had trouble paying its bills before the pandemic, citing the neighborhood's "influx of new residents and skyrocketing rents," but the pandemic certainly didn't help.
There's a COVID-19 outbreak happening at King County Jail: The county's statement says "the new outbreak came to light" after a King County Correctional Facility inmate reported "flulike symptoms" on Sunday. The facility says it tested "everybody" housed within the same part of the jail "as soon as this case was reported," finding that "of 69 people, 15 additional individuals tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19."
Former Florida Department of Health data scientist's home and all of her "hardware and tech" were raided by police this morning: The scientist, Rebekah Jones, built the state's COVID-19 dashboard but said the department fired her after she refused to "manipulate data." Jones has run her own COVID-19 dashboard since leaving the department. A state spokesperson confirmed the seizure of the computer equipment, saying agents are investigating it, reports the Tallahassee Democrat. They allege that "FDLE began an investigation November 10, 2020, after receiving a complaint from the Department of Health regarding unauthorized access to a Department of Health messaging system which is part of an emergency alert system, to be used for emergencies only."
Tokyo 2021 is sprinting forward, COVID be damned, and sports coverage is kicking into gear: "What if we athletes approached our mental health the same way we approach our physical health?" That's the question Olympic long-distance runner, filmmaker, and actress Alexi Pappas asks in her new video for the New York Times Opinion section. I've been a fan of Pappas since her film with Nick Kroll, Olympic Dreams, which is currently on Hulu if you've got the Showtime add-on. Pappas is a fantastic actress (and runner!), and I was excited to see this vulnerable video essay from her in the Times today: