Live from the mind of West Seattle.
Live from the mind of West Seattle. Getty Images

Yikes: At around 11:46 this morning, a train carrying crude oil derailed near Custer, Whatcom County, for "unknown reasons," reports the Seattle Times. Everyone within a half-mile was encouraged to evacuate. Seven tanks derailed and two caught fire, which the local fire department extinguished by around 3 PM. No one was injured, but the cause of the incident is under investigation. The public is encouraged to stay the fuck away while the impacts of the spill are measured.

Here's a smoke cam from KING 5:

West Seattle has HAD it: They're ready to build a gondola to the mainland.

Biden intends on nominating Miguel Cardona as education secretary: Cardona is currently the head of Connecticut's public schools. He couldn't be more different from Betsy DeVos. Here's Vox on Cardona's background:

If confirmed by the Senate, Cardona won’t be the first Latino Secretary of Education. That distinction belongs to Lauro Cavasos, who served under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and was the only secretary of education to serve under two presidents. But Cardona’s background makes him a departure from recent education department heads. According to an interview with the Connecticut Mirror, Cardona was born in a Connecticut housing project, speaking only Spanish when he first attended school, giving him the perspective of the 5 million students across the US who are identified as “English language learners.” Cardona also attended two public universities: Central Connecticut State University for his bachelor’s degree in education and the University of Connecticut for his master’s in bilingual/bicultural education and a doctorate in education.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom picked Secretary of State of California Alex Padilla to replace Kamala Harris' U.S. Senate seat: Padilla has served as California's secretary of state for five years and oversaw record turnout during this, uh, tricky election year. He will be the state's first Latino U.S. Senator.

White House virus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx plans on retiring soon: The news comes after a holiday travel scandal:

The day after Thanksgiving, [Birx] traveled to one of her vacation properties on Fenwick Island in Delaware. She was accompanied by three generations of her family from two households. Birx, her husband Paige Reffe, a daughter, son-in-law and two young grandchildren were present.

Housekeeping! This is your final Slog PM for the week. Slog will still be active tomorrow morning and afternoon, but Wednesday's Slog PM will get replaced by our annual Regrets feature. Then we're taking Thursday and Friday off so we can do a socially distant four-day nog crawl, which we'll inevitably regret.

Can the UK travel bans even do anything to mitigate the new strain's spread? Some experts, including Dr. Fauci, are skeptical. "I don’t think that that kind of a draconian approach is necessary," Fauci said on PBS Newshour Monday night. "I think we should seriously consider the possibility of requiring testing of people before they come from the UK here."

The European Union is encouraging countries to lift their UK travel ban: "The EU's executive branch, the European Commission, recommended its members allow people to travel to their country of residence providing they take a Covid-19 test or self-isolate. But it said non-essential travel should be discouraged," reports the BBC. The commission specifically mentioned that "cargo flows need to continue uninterrupted." None of the 27 member states are forced to listen to the EU, and, as of this afternoon, almost all of them are currently blocking travel to and from the UK. (UPDATE: France will allow a "limited reopening" of the border.)

Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby is worried about the increasingly violent protests at the state's capitol: "These aren’t folks coming to patronize our stores or restaurants, and so why are we putting our residents at risk, and the Olympia Police Department at risk?" she told the Seattle Times. The city—one of my favorites! I love that all-black goth bar with the Satan table!—is seeing more heated clashes, typically led by gun-clad right-wing militias who often face off against armed left-wing counterprotesters. Also, this:

2021 will be another wild one.

Biden's pissed at Trump for apparently doing jack shit about cybersecurity: "The truth is, the Trump administration failed to prioritize cybersecurity," Biden said today during a speech that criticized the Trump administration's inability to prevent one of the most significant breaches of US cybersecurity in history. "This assault happened on Donald Trump’s watch, while he wasn’t watching."

Meanwhile: Trump's on an "audacious" pardoning spree. Today he granted clemency to "two people convicted in the special counsel’s Russia inquiry, four Blackwater guards convicted in connection with the killing of Iraqi civilians, and three corrupt former Republican members of Congress." Merry Christmas!

Bill Gates thinks 2021 will be better: "A year from now, I do think we’ll be able to look back and say that 2021 was an improvement on 2020," Bill wrote on his blog this morning. “The improvement may not be enormous, but it will be a noticeable, measurable step forward for people around the world."

A burglar broke into Ballard's Wild at Heart (not Lynch's) again: Someone broke into the adult entertainment shop earlier this month. My Ballard has the story:

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Owner Lisa Szilagyi wrote about the burglary in the My Ballard Group, saying they were closed for three days cleaning up the mess from the Dec. 12 burglary, which caused $8,000 in damage. She says her insurance deductible is $10,000, meaning it’s a total loss.

The first break-in was Dec. 6; the damage from that incident exceeded $6,000 according to the charging documents.

In today's pokes: Dr. Fauci got the poke.