There's been no sweep yet at Cal Anderson Park, as of publishing this post. A last-minute telephone conference for a civil rights lawsuit attempting to stop the Cal Anderson sweep is currently underway. More to come. The court is in recess until 4:55 PM.
The court will issue a ruling tomorrow, probably in the morning.— nathalie graham (@gramsofgnats) December 17, 2020
The Pierce County Republicans' push to dissolve their public health department during a pandemic has failed after hours of testimony, a tie vote, and a governor's intervention.
Congress is close to finalizing a year-end $900 billion stimulus deal: It looks like the compromise "is expected provide a new round of [~$600] direct payments to millions of Americans as well as additional unemployment benefits [~$300/week], food assistance and rental aid. It would prop up sputtering businesses with federally backed loans and provide funding for schools, hospitals and the distribution of a just-approved vaccine," reports the New York Times.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has noted that Georgia incumbent senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are "getting hammered" in their runoff elections for not providing another round of stimulus checks. The PR of Trump signing new checks could help their reelection chances. (That said, early voting in GA has already kicked off.) Seattle's Rep. Pramila Jayapal, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, has made her stance on a potential stimulus package clear:
The Progressive Caucus is united in our position: any COVID relief package MUST include survival checks and enhanced unemployment assistance — the two most effective ways to put money directly in people's pockets.
RT if you're with us.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) December 16, 2020
Washington state Rep. Robert Sutherland (R-Granite Falls) told his Facebook followers to "prepare for war" on Monday: The elected official then wrote that "Joe Biden is not now, nor will ever be my President." Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat—a self-proclaimed "fan, for the most part, of the Republican leadership we have in this state right now"—pointed out these comments in a column today. He wrote that Sutherland's call for "Patriots" to "raise the banner" and "join" him in protecting America against "evildoers" (voters, apparently) has not received enough pushback from GOP leadership. "The worst of Trumpism is thriving in their ranks," wrote Westneat. "They need to do more to call it out before it consumes them, again." Here's what Sutherland had to say about the column, again on Facebook:
I believe there is an active coup attempt against the POTUS happening right now. I believe there are many bad actors...
Posted by Robert J Sutherland on Wednesday, December 16, 2020
VP Mike Pence says he'll take the COVID-19 vaccine live on TV this week, according to a scoop from Axios' Jonathan Swan. It's supposed to happen Friday morning. Biden will probably get it next week:
President-elect Biden is expected to receive the covid vaccine as soon as next week, a transition official says. He’s said, as recently as earlier today, that he’ll do so in public.
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) December 16, 2020
A helpful reminder, courtesy King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay:
Individuals will not be considered fully protected until 1 to 2 weeks after they receive the second dose. The clinical trials revealed no major unanticipated adverse events. As soon as I get updates for future vaccine phases, I’ll share out immediately. Stay safe, everyone.
— Girmay Zahilay (@GirmayZahilay) December 14, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden formally announced Pete Buttigieg as his pick for transportation secretary: If approved, Buttigieg would become the first openly gay person to serve in a presidential Cabinet. During his speech this afternoon, Buttigieg described a "personal love of transportation," thanked his husband Chasten, and revisited his support for an auto bailout. While the liberal representation of having a gay in the Cabinet is fine and dandy, why the fuck was Buttigieg picked for this position again? My wild shit-theory is that the Senate is poised to pass a big infrastructure package next year, Buttigieg will oversee it and get to claim the credit. This will buoy his support, something the Biden administration will judge when testing Buttigieg out as a theoretical Kamala VP in 2024.
Discussion fodder: "The recent or forthcoming resignations of Mayor Jenny Durkan, Police Chief Carmen Best and Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau are a moment of reckoning for our notions of representation, power and accountability," starts feminist scholar and professor Sonora Jha in an op-ed on the limit of representation, published in Crosscut today. A pull-quote:
"If we are to sharpen the focus of our lens on representation, we must go beyond cheering for BIPOC/women/LGBTQ contenders because they managed to claw their way up in a racist and misogynist system not built for their success. Are you celebrating because things might get better now that they’re here? Hold that applause, because it feels more like a slap in the face to those BIPOC and women appointees who are expected to change a system from within while often being told to play by its rules, which were meant to buy their silence, their complicity and, eventually, their erasure."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in quarantine. He came into contact with COVID-19 but has tested negative. "For reasons of privacy," the State Department said it can't identify the individual that was 'rona-positive.
The majority of countries are vaccinating their most vulnerable populations first, but Indonesia is taking the opposite approach: Indonesia will first vaccinate its younger working population, in hopes of achieving herd immunity more quickly by targeting the population that's more likely to be out and about. One expert noted that "with a limited vaccine supply, the difference between age-based strategies is not great," so why not protect the people most at-risk first?
Seattle has extended its eviction moratorium for residential and small businesses until March 31. Gov. Inslee is still considering extending the statewide moratorium, which expires at the end of this year.
How full are the hospital ICUs in Seattle? The New York Times' new interactive map shows, last I checked, Harborview at 90% capacity, Seattle Children's Hospital at 79% capacity, Swedish Medical Center at 74% capacity, and University of Washington Medical Center at 70%. A good warning: "The data should not discourage sick people from seeking care."
Today, Inslee announced new standards for school districts on bringing back students for in-person instruction: The new standards encourage districts to bring back the youngest students for in-person learning, even in counties with high COVID-19 transmission rates. The new benchmarks:
Reopen school for all students if COVID-19 cases are below 50 cases per 100,000 residents. Open elementary and middle schools if cases are between 50 and 350 per 100,000 residents. If there are more than 350 cases per 100,000 residents, then reopen elementary schools with classes in groups of 15 or fewer.
King County currently has around 409 cases per 100,000 residents.
Bellevue School District said earlier this week that they intend to bring back their youngest students in January: Dahlia Bazzaz at the Seattle Times reports that kindergartners through second graders will return at least part-time next month. You can read the "Back to Buildings" update here.