Here's your daily morning roundup of the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider making a recurring contribution to The Stranger to keep it comin'!)
House Democrats dropped a "meticulously detailed" 80-page Impeachment brief today: According to the New York Times, the House's
Russia's vaccine works really well: Sputnik V, which Dr. Fauci threw some shade on a few months ago, "showed a good safety profile" and had a 91% effectiveness rate, according to a review of test results from The Lancet. That's good news, because the country rolled out the vaccine kinda early and because their vaccine is a two-doser that doesn't require extreme refrigeration.
The US isn't getting enough vaccines to Black and Latinx people: Though only half of the states have released data on race, a Politico analysis of the available data shows that only 5% of the country's COVID-19 vaccine doses have gone to Black people and only 11% have gone to Latinx people. Michigan State University public health expert Debra Furr-Holden told the magazine, “In the absence of a mandate, our natural drift is to inequity."
The groundhog saw his shadow: Punxsutawney Phil predicts another six weeks of winter, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Amazon has to cough up $61.7 million to settle a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission accusing the trillion-dollar company of failing to "pay drivers in the Amazon Flex delivery service their full share of tips over a two and a half year period," Axios reports.
Hell yeah: The New York Times published its "extremely detailed" precinct-level map of the 2020 election, which you can compare with its 2016 map. In my precinct, a little over 400 people voted for Biden and 17 people voted for Donald Trump, which seems shockingly high.
Brexit threatens the UK fashion industry: As if fashion in that country could survive another blow, "more than 400 figures" from the industry signed an open letter to British prime minister Boris Johnson claiming new and strange trade restrictions will cause them to haul off to the EU unless they get what they want, BBC reports.
"WHERE IS SHE? WHERE IS SHE?" In response to Republican lawmakers telling her to "move on" from the failed insurrection attempt and to "apologize" for dismissing Ted Cruz's clout-chasing, gas-lighting ass, last night AOC went live on Insta to tell the story of the attack on the Capitol from her perspective. In the process, she came out as a sexual assault survivor, and flagged this GOP hectoring as a tactic abusers use.
When shit started going down on Jan 6, AOC said the sound of loud pounding at her door prompted an aide to tell her to hide. While crouched in the bathroom, she heard a man yelling, "Where is she? Where is she?" After a little while, a "white man with a black beanie"—who ended up being a Capitol Police officer—walked into the room without introducing himself as an officer, looked at her with a "tremendous amount of anger and hostility," and proceeded to give her nonspecific directions to a safe room at the Capitol building.
She and a staffer then ran over to the building, but when they got there they realized the cop hadn't told them exactly where to go. As the yells of the protesters began to echo down the hallway, the Congresswoman and her staffer banged on doors in the building until they found a sympathetic colleague. Eventually they found Rep. Katie Porter, who took them in and helped AOC find a pair of sneakers (in case she had to run) and helped calm her down.
The discourse that followed was predictably annoying: Liberals expressed solidarity and sadness, conservatives dismissed her pain, some doofus named Michael Tracey downplayed the Congresswoman's trauma as a "loopy delusion," some leftists attacked him for saying that, other leftists defended him for saying that, and Marianne Williamson reasserted her existence.
This is the only good public art:
Washington State House passes relief bill to spend $2.2 billion in federal money: After an hours-long session on the virtual House floor, lawmakers passed a joint bill to allocate a bunch of federal dollars, plus a little over $400 million from the state's rainy day fund. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it will likely pass. The Seattle Times reports that lawmakers expect the money to be out the door early this month.
The details: $688 million to schools; a little over $600 million for vaccine distribution, contact tracing, and testing; $365 million to landlords for rental assistance; $240 million in small business grants, $70 million for long term care and developmental disabilities programs; $65 million to immigrant communities; and $6 million for underinsured and uninsured people.
House Republicans demonstrate need for more arts funding: The lack of any real acting or writing training among conservatives revealed itself yet again as members of the House GOP caucus launched into boring speeches loaded with bullshit and criminal offenses against language. In speech after speech they expressed their regret for voting against the bill that spends a bunch of money they don't even think we should have in the first place. They also grieved over the failure of their one idea, which was to immediately draw down the "rainy day fund" to put more money in the hands of Washingtonians now so that they could justify voting against any state government spending in the future due to a suddenly urgent need to refill the rainy day fund. In the service of this obvious grift, they (or their comms staff) just absolutely shredded the "rainy day fund" metaphor to pieces. Is it raining hard enough right now in Washington? For Rep. Southerland, we're in "a CAT-5 hurricane." Meanwhile, Rep. Stokesbary asks, "It's raining, it's pouring, is the Legislature snoring?" While listening to all this nonsense last night I had to pass a ban on jumping out of windows in my studio apartment in order to save my own life.
Re: that major data breach at the WA State Auditor's office:
If you believe your personal information was exposed, and you want to know what steps you should take to protect yourself, visit https://t.co/JWxdEqM8GR. https://t.co/7EMm352wF2
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) February 2, 2021
Pathway to state-based single-payer bill drops: Single-payer can happen right here in Washington by 2026 if the Governor signs SB 5399. The group lobbying for the bill wants to hear your health care nightmares, so feel free to vent here.
Anybody got a four-story building in the middle of a gayborhood lying around? R Place has lost its lease and is looking for a new location, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog reports. Though R Place is next door to Suika (RIP), Suika and R Place had different landlords, according to CHS. The R Place property is not listed for sale, and jseattle reports “no indications” of permitting activity. We'll get other voices on this on the blog soon, but as a straight guy from a small town in the midwest, the sheer immensity and pulse and number of go-go-silhouettes in the windows of that place reminded me every day of how much turf the city already dedicates to heteronormative dopes like me, and how dreadfully boring it would be to live in a city without such a temple.
Sara Nelson filed to run for a citywide Seattle City Council seat: The Fremont Brewing co-owner and former aide to former Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin is eying Seattle City Council President Lorena Gonzalez's seat. The Seattle Chamber of Commerce's political arm backed Nelson when she ran for a citywide seat in 2017, presumably in part because of her stated "concerns about the $15 minimum wage and paid family leave, particularly its effect on small businesses."
Retirees help others access vaccine appointments: A group of "tech savvy" retirees is helping people who struggle to find an open vaccine appointment, King 5 reports. "People see no appointments available and move on. They don’t realize that can change by the moment and how to navigate various websites to jump on openings," one of the retirees told the TV news station.
Court of Appeals reinstates Renee Davis lawsuit: King County Sheriff's deputies fatally shot Davis during a welfare check in 2016. After initially rejecting an appeal on behalf of Davis, the court reversed itself and remanded the case to King County Superior Court, the local Fox affiliate reports.
Whenever you finally get vaccinated: Do not post a photo of yourself holding your vaccination card, ffs. You don't have to give them everything.
The unfunded tax break: In 2008, Washington state lawmakers passed a tax exemption for low-income working people but never funded it because of course they didn't, the Seattle Times reports. The new legislative session means another try at funding the program, though lawmakers disagree on how to fund it. House Speaker Laurie Jinkins says, "We're still looking at what it is we can do.”
Mass vaccination site appointments filled through February: Appointments have filled up for the two sites in Auburn and Kent. In Snohomish County, three of four mass vaccination sites closed because of lack of supply, according to the Seattle Times.