Here's your daily evening round-up of the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider making a recurring contribution to The Stranger to keep it comin'!)
It's officially Phase 2 in King County: Nevermind that we just passed the pandemic's deadliest month in the United States, restaurants are now allowed to open indoor service to 25% capacity through 11 PM. Indoor fitness centers can also open to 25% capacity, among other bad ideas.
Rapid at-home coronavirus tests are on their way: They're just probably coming to you near the end of 2021. Or maybe you'll get lucky and be one of the few who have access in the next couple months: "Under the new contract, Ellume is expecting to ship 100,000 tests to the United States per month from February to July."
Maskless zombies invaded a Target and Craft Warehouse in Kennewick: The group of freaks, described as "maskless protesters" by KOMO, subjected staff members to a heightened COVID risk by entering the craft store without masks on Sunday. The staff told the group that curbside pick-up was an option, but they entered the store anyways, "saying they should be able to exercise their right not to wear a mask amid the pandemic." The store asked them to leave. They wouldn't. The police were called and stated no one was arrested or injured, although it will really take a few weeks to determine that.
This was me a handful of Wednesdays ago:
"A woman conducted her aerobics class in Myanmar without realizing a coup was taking place. Behind her, a military convoy arrives at parliament." https://t.co/vNt5rJY0fi
— Vincent Bevins (@Vinncent) February 1, 2021
Biden is threatening to sanction the country of Myanmar after members of their military staged a coup and arrested its civilian leadership, because... (*checks notes*)... they didn't like the outcome of their election. Huh, that sounds familiar.
A group of ten moderate (read: conniving) Republicans met with Busy Bee Biden today to pitch a significantly reduced, half-ass COVID relief package: It would take the place of Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus bill—you know, the one that smart economists say is necessary to get the nation back on track. But yes, by all means, moderate Republicans! Continue to waste our fucking time when there's no time to waste.
I am fascinated by how this question is never asked in the reverse. 10 Senate Republicans made a counteroffer that’s less than a third of the size of Biden’s plan and have made no commitment to supporting a final bill. Are *they* serious about bipartisanship? https://t.co/IX0EBZnh89
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) February 1, 2021
Senator Susan Collins at the WH standing alongside other GOP senators says the senators had a “productive” two hour meeting with President Biden. She said it was a “good exchange of views” and they agreed to follow up on how they can continue to work together. pic.twitter.com/8tBzmGeFap
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) February 2, 2021
Because Republicans are doing absolutely NOTHING, Democrats are moving quickly to strip QAnon crackpot/GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her two committee seats following her endorsement of murdering Nancy Pelosi, questioning the truth of the 9/11 attacks, various theories about lizard people and pedophiles, and... ohhhh, lots more absolutely insane stuff. Sorry, but her ignorance runs deep!
Actor Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld) has revealed in an Instagram post that she was "horrifically" abused by her former partner: That partner was musician Marilyn Manson, who is alleged to have started "grooming" her as a teenager.
Seattle City Council unanimously voted to approve a ban on natural gas space and water heating from new commercial and large multi-family residential buildings this afternoon: The citywide ban will apply to qualifying new buildings starting June 1 of this year.
Today Seattle took a first step towards a built environment free of fossil fuels, prohibiting the use of gas for space & water heating in new office & apartment buildings. @350_Seattle @ShiftZeroWA https://t.co/qROdWbGqbO
— Caleb Heeringa (@CalebHeeringa) February 2, 2021
Dustin Diamond—best known for his iconic role as Screech in TV's Saved By the Bell—has died of lung cancer: He was 44.
Nintendo made a lot of money from April through December of last year: The company made 376.6 billion yen ($3.6 billion), compared to 196 billion yen the previous year. They have Animal Crossing to thank for that. And the pandemic, I guess.
The Southern Poverty Law Center released its annual report on hate groups in the US: The number of hate groups has technically declined, the report says, but "decline in groups should not be interpreted as a reduction in bigoted beliefs and actions motivated by hate." Groups have splintered into different online factions, making them harder to track. Let's just ask Facebook how many white supremacist groups they're hosting; that'll probably give us a good idea of the problem's scale.
The job market will take until at least 2024 to return to pre-pandemic levels: That's according to a new report published by the Congressional Budget Office today. The report predicts the US unemployment rate will hit 4.2% in 2024-25. It was 3.5% in February 2020.
Speaking of the unemployed: "The personal unemployment claims data of at least 1.4 million Washingtonians may have been stolen in a hack of software used by the state auditor’s office, Auditor Pat McCarthy said Monday." Yikes. The state auditor's site has set up a FAQ page on the breach here.
Lauren Halsey is the 2021 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize recipient: The Seattle Art Museum presents the award bi-annually to early-career Black artists, with past winners including artists Brenna Youngblood and Aaron Fowler. The winners receive a $10,000 prize and solo exhibition at SAM. Halsey is based in LA, and her work includes installations, sculpture, architecture, and site-specific projects. Afrofuturism, funk, and LA often inspire her iconography, says SAM. Check some of it out: