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'!)
Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Wright of Texas is dead: He was 67. Two weeks ago, he contracted COVID-19. Wright will go down as the first sitting U.S. Congress member to die after falling ill to the coronavirus. Pour one out for Ron, a man who recently asked "What are we waiting for?" when it comes to reopening schools. (We're waiting because we want to prevent death, Ron.)
Democrats are choosing teachers unions and special interests over the well-being of our students.
The CDC says schools can safely re-open if proper precautions are taken.
What are we waiting for? pic.twitter.com/1dqLlxzZMU
— Ron Wright (@RepRonWright) February 5, 2021
Gov. Inslee signed Senate Bill 5061 this morning: The bill "slashes" a pre-scheduled increase in unemployment taxes for businesses. It also increases the minimum unemployment benefit in Washington from $201 to $270. Importantly, SB 5061 now allows employees who quit their job due to a high COVID-19-related health risk to receive unemployment benefits.
It's impeachment week in the Senate: The New York Times has a good overview here of what the week will look like, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed details of how the week will go down this afternoon. Here's what we know:
Before we can even begin, the Senate has to fight over whether this trial is constitutional. On Tuesday, four hours will be equally divided between the president's legal team and the impeachment managers to debate whether the trial is legitimate under the Constitution. After that, there will be a vote on whether or not the Senate should try the president. If a simple majority votes to try him (which will likely happen), the trial begins. Starting Wednesday at noon ET, each side has up to 16 hours to present their arguments. Each side must take no longer than two days. And each day's presentation cannot exceed eight hours. After the presentations, senators will have four hours total to question the president's team and the impeachment managers. After that, there will be two hours to hear arguments on whether the Senate should subpoena witnesses and documents. Then we get into closing arguments. Something to consider: Smartypants reporters don't expect either side to take up their entire time slot, and Trump's lawyers successfully requested a pause in the trial on Friday at sundown to acknowledge the Jewish Sabbath. That means the trial could resume on Sunday, and it's unclear if everything will wrap up before or by Sunday. UPDATE: Just kidding! That Trump lawyer now says the trial can proceed without him on the Sabbath. Here's the lawyer's letter.
This news sucks:
They've got a bunch of CDs for sale if you're trying to start your own post-pandemic record shop. Everyday Music said it plans on keeping its shop in Bellingham and two shops in Oregon open for as long as possible.
A tiny overlooked detail in our jump to Phase 2 last week: Music venues can reopen to 25% capacity. But many—correctly—are not. "It’s just not really realistic for us, for the bands," said Tractor Tavern's owner to the Seattle Times' Michael Rietmulder. "We can’t really make any money. Nobody’s jumping on board. … We were very surprised that venues such as ours were included in that." Many local music venues are going by the motto "first to close, last to reopen," writes Rietmulder.
Black Brilliance Research Project broke up with King County Equity Now: The Black Brilliance Research Project, one of the proposed budgeting processes the city is considering as part of an effort to invest tens of millions of dollars into marginalized communities, will part ways with King County Equity Now, the coalition of Black-led Seattle groups that came out of last summer's Black Lives Matter protests and organizing. The Black Brilliance Research Project made the announcement in a Medium post this afternoon, citing King County Equity Now's move to incorporate as a non-profit as a main reason for separating:
As Fall 2020 began, KCEN chose to incorporate as a non-profit and began to move away from the coalition model. When KCEN represented a collective of Black community organizations, having KCEN facilitate the research made sense. However, once KCEN chose to incorporate, the community partnership dynamic changed, and this created obstacles and barriers to the research. At heart, this is what has led us away from having KCEN be charged with facilitating the research to the finish line.
The Black Brilliance Research Project will now contract under the Freedom Project: Stranger Nathalie Graham has more here. Shaun Glaze, the co-lead researcher for Black Brilliance Research Project, told Graham that "very little has changed in terms of research and how it's facilitated other than that the organizations that were previously subcontracted under KCEN are now subcontracted under the Freedom Project."
It's time to submit your valentines, Sloggers: Look at all the cute ones we've gotten already.
Facebook is expanding the type of misinformation it will now ban on its platform: Oh wow, it only took a year to get the ban hammer to come down on these COVID claims, which have spread wildly across Facebook groups and pages:
COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured Vaccines are not effective at preventing the disease they are meant to protect against It’s safer to get the disease than to get the vaccine Vaccines are toxic, dangerous or cause autism
We've asked for changes regarding vaccine misinformation for many years.
BREAKING: Roughly 2 million fraudulent N95 respirators were distributed to hospitals statewide, according to the Washington State Hospital Association.@evanbush: https://t.co/GFq77Yg1nf
— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) February 9, 2021
Another Republican is retiring: Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama announced that he will not seek reelection. He joins Republican Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania in not seeking reelection in Trump's Old Party.
A close-reading on Real Housewives of Salt Lake City: I'm a fan of Doreen St. Félix's TV criticism for The New Yorker, and I'm also a fan of the Real Housewives franchise (it's single-handedly saved my sanity during this pandemmy), so of course I'm a fan of Doreen on RHSLC. Read the piece here, and here's a snippet:
I needed the mess of “Salt Lake City,” a frolic that frequently nails a difficult art: incorporating cultural politics into the sketchy morality of a guilty pleasure. It is the rare début that benefits from being judged primarily by its early episodes, which are jammed with bitchery, excess, and surprise. The show kinks expectation by notionally revolving around the characters’ relationships to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In all the “Housewives” series, the culture of the geographical place is integral to the study of the cast; religion is as essential to “S.L.C.” as respectability politics is to “Potomac,” which follows a group of Black women in colorism-obsessed Maryland society. Every housewife introduces herself, in the opening credits, with a summary of her personal brand. “Just like my pioneer ancestors, I’m trying to blaze a new trail,” Heather Gay says, in “S.L.C.,” without sarcasm. Was the gaucheness of her tagline a harbinger of classic “Housewives” cluelessness? The cast is mostly white, but, in “S.L.C.,” the whiteness is an ethnicity, rather than a catchall for wealth and status, as it is in “Beverly Hills” and “New York City.”
Gorilla Glue speaks: If you missed this drama, you should treat yourself and catch up. That poor woman's scalp.
We are very sorry to hear about the unfortunate incident that Miss Brown experienced using our Spray Adhesive on her hair. We are glad to see in her recent video that Miss Brown has received medical treatment from her local medical facility and wish her the best. pic.twitter.com/SoCvwxdrGc
— Gorilla Glue (@GorillaGlue) February 8, 2021