900,000 people filed new claims for unemployment: This is slightly less than the estimated 925,000 and below last week's total of 926,000. Continuing claims also dropped by 127,000, down to 5.05 million. There are still 16 million Americans receiving unemployment benefits, a number which we are likely to see rise as the latest fiscal package extends benefits for displaced workers, says CNBC.
Avril Haines is Biden's first confirmed Cabinet member: The Senate approved Haines for director of national intelligence by 84 to 10, making her the first woman to lead the US intelligence community, reports CNN. Due to discussions around party power sharing in the Senate, Biden might struggle to get his nominees confirmed as quickly as his predecessors. If you'd like to watch Pete Buttigieg annoyingly smirk under Senate questioning, watch his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Transportation:
City Councilmember Kshama Sawant asks for investigation after receiving threatening emails from Seattle Fire Department email address: According to the Seattle Times, Sawant said she received the emails between December 17 and January 18, which attempt to intimidate her into resigning and tell her to "try jumping head first off the top floor of your building." In a letter, the council member has asked Mayor Jenny Durkan, Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, SPD Chief Adrian Diaz, and local firefighters union leadership to seriously investigate these emails after being initially rebuffed by SFD in December.
Last night's Celebrating America Inauguration Special was a dad-fest: Hosted by America's White Dad Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Demi Lovato, and other celebrities from the Bush and Obama eras closed out Biden's Inauguration Day. It was fine. Katy Perry gave the night's most notable performance, doing a spot on rendition of "Firework" as a genuinely alarming number of fireworks went off near the Washington Monument behind her. Joe and Dr. Biden looked on (masked, from a distance)—finally the work begins.
President Biden will sign 10 more executive orders today: All are related to fighting COVID-19, reports Politico. The orders focus on ramping up testing and vaccinations, tightening enforcement of workplace safety rules, and giving more federal fund$ to struggling states. At the top of Biden's list is to invoke the Defense Production Act to "increase the supply of all the materials needed to get the vaccines into arms and ramp up testing." It would cover N95 and other PPE, testing machines, rapid test kits, and vaccine-maximizing syringes.
Washington State Patrol spent $1.5 million on protecting the Capitol in Olympia over the past two weeks: But a WSP spokesperson says they plan to drawdown the heightened security as soon as armed threats against the Capitol fade away.
This TIME cover: I don't like it. Still thinking about why, but I'm annoyed.
Three protesters arrested during Inauguration Day demonstrations in downtown Seattle: Around 150 protesters criticizing both Trump and Biden marched through downtown, calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, reports Heidi Groover for the Seattle Times. Protesters vandalized an AmazonGo store, shattered windows at the William Kenzo Nakamura Courthouse and Pike Place Starbucks, and burned an American flag in the middle of the street. “Calling for unity with people who actively want to harm people is disgusting,” said one protester, referencing Biden's message during inauguration day festivities. SPD says they made three arrests for property damage, burglary, and assault. The Stranger's Rich Smith has more on last night's protest here.
Meanwhile in Portland: Federal law enforcement—now working with the Biden administration—used tear gas and pepper balls on protesters last night as they demonstrated outside the ICE building in the city's downtown, decrying both Trump and Biden alike. Earlier in the day, a group of around 200 people smashed the windows at the local Democratic Party headquarters and set a garbage can on fire, reports the New York Times. At the evening protest in front of the ICE building, someone burned a Biden flag in the street.
China bans former Trump administration officials: As Biden was being inaugurated, Beijing sanctioned former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former National Security Advisers Robert O'Brien and John Bolton, Steve Bannon, as well as several other Trump officials, barring them from entering China, Hong Kong or Macau or doing business with China. The Biden administration has called these sanctions "unproductive."
Throwbacks Northwest is moving into an empty 11th Ave retail space that once housed Rove: The vintage spot is moving just down the street to their new location, putting them solidly within the Pike/Pine corridor, reports CHS Blog. Owner Rialto "Rio" Estolas says business has been steady through the pandemic for the long running store, and plans to open the new expanded space sometime in February.
Can you imagine if Trump pardoned Joe Exotic????????? Joe Exotic was so sure that the president would pardon his ass that his lawyer, Eric Love, had a limo waiting outside the prison. Love also had a makeup and wardrobe unit in the wings for Exotic, who "hasn't had his hair done in 2 1/2 years," with plans to get "some pizzas, steak, maybe a McRib." Trump's pardon never came. Maybe Biden will pity the Tiger King.
Prepare for some light rain: Sorry, did someone say something about James Turrell?
Seattle Public Library expands curbside and return services: Magnolia and Northgate branches of SPL are now open for curbside pickup of held items three days a week. The Ballard, Broadview, Douglass-Truth, Lake City, Rainier Beach, and Southwest branches also expanded their curbside service from three to five days a week.
This is not too much of a surprise: But Biden and his advisers have inherited no coronavirus vaccine distribution plan whatsoever from the Trump administration. Nothing to even rework or retool; his administration must make a plan from scratch sources tells CNN. The news was apparently "one of the biggest shocks that Biden team had to digest during the transition period" as they face the growing mountain of COVID cases and deaths.
For your listening pleasure: "Shirley Temple Tidal Wave" by Airiel. Mmmmmmm fuzz.