Trump shits on Mitch: In a statement, former SAG member Donald Trump lashed back at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Mitch dared to say a few kinda mean things about Trump after voting to acquit him of charges of high crimes and misdemeanors over the weekend. Here's some of what Trump had to say:
"Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again. He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership."
"We can have on-site education in a safe and effective way," said Gov. Inslee today during a presser where he announced about 48 more K-12 school districts would participate in a COVID-19 testing program: The program is voluntary, and the move is intended to assist schools in reopening in-person education. Thirteen school districts already participate in the program, and the 48 new school districts will join this month.
While Inslee hopes more districts will participate in the program, increased coronavirus testing likely won't be enough to smooth over clashes between teachers and districts on the best pathway back to in-person learning. Today Inslee emphasized that remote options will continue to be available as alternatives to families who feel uncomfortable with in-person instruction. "Different schools may have different viewpoints on this," said Inslee, who then restated that school districts will determine their best paths forward.
Inslee's presser was full of Dad-isms: In addition to comparing teachers to "Lewis and Clark" during this remote learning expedition, Inslee took time to praise the Enumclaw School District's mascot, the Hornet, after a presentation from the district's superintendent. The Stranger was surprised to learn that the Enumclaw mascot is not a horse.
Back to the nitty-gritty: Here's the full 50-page "Learn to Return Playbook" if you want to know more about Washington's strategy for returning to in-person education, reducing transmission, and implementing COVID-19 testing in schools.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced expanded vaccine supply for states: "We’re increasing the vaccine supply to 13.5 million doses per week," Psaki said this afternoon. "This is a 57 percent increase from the amount states received when the President was inaugurated." At his press conference today, Gov. Inslee confirmed that the Biden administration's move would mean a "significant increase" of vaccines for Washington. The state has currently administered over 1 million vaccine doses. It crossed the 1 million mark last Friday. The state wants to give around 45,000 shots a day and is currently doing just shy of 27,000, according to the state's dashboard.
Biden says we're on track to meet this milestone:
Before I took office, I set a big goal of administering 100 million shots in the first 100 days. With the progress we’re making I believe we’ll not only reach that, we’ll break it.
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 16, 2021
Sayonara, Country Market: QFC will close their 15th Ave E location in Capitol Hill and the 35th Ave NE store in Wedgwood, reports Capitol Hill Seattle Blog and the Seattle Times. (Amongst just us gals, we call the QFC on 15th the Country Market because we consider anything north of John the suburbs, and anything north of Harrison the country.)
The Kroger-owned company blames Seattle's recent emergency $4 hazard pay requirement for some grocery stores as the reason behind the closure announcements: The company did not mention that Kroger's sales "are way up, and they'll stay up." The company plans to keep the 15th Ave location open until April 24. In a statement, UCFW 21 said "Kroger’s intent seems perfectly clear: They are announcing these closings to try and intimidate any other local communities here in our state or around the nation from passing hazard pay."
Meanwhile: Amazon continues to expand its grocery footprint.
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson is suing Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers: Unfortunately, a 19th-century Ku Klux Klan Act appears to be relevant. From NPR:
The lawsuit, filed on Thompson's behalf by the NAACP and the civil rights law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, accuses Trump and the other defendants of violating the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act by trying to interfere in Congress' certification of the Electoral College count. The legislation was part of a series of Enforcement Acts at the time intended to protect the enfranchisement of Black citizens from violence and intimidation.
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will probably get an airport named after him: The commission for Clark County, Nevada unanimously voted to rename the McCarran International Airport the Harry Reid International Airport. Now the proposal goes to the FAA for approval. As a personal aside, I have aerophobia, and I'd like to put it on record that no one should ever name an airport after me. Ew. Gross.
Commissioners have unanimously approved a resolution requesting the name of @LASairport be changed to Harry Reid Int'l Airport. The request will go to the @FAANews. Private contributions would cover costs associated with the name change, if the FAA approves.#Vegas #ClarkCounty pic.twitter.com/XLCI01cysh
— Clark County Nevada (@ClarkCountyNV) February 16, 2021
No more "illegal aliens," says Biden administration: The Department of Homeland Security will stop using the words "aliens" or "illegal aliens" when referring to people who aren't U.S. citizens, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed News. The Biden admin prefers the term "noncitizen," a move celebrated by many immigration activists. Tucker Carlson, I'm sure, will stick with illegal aliens.
The Biden administration also directed federal housing regulators to extend mortgage forbearance programs for six more months: Senators applauded the move, including Colorado's Michael Bennet and Georgia's Raphael Warnock. Specifically, the actions will:
Extend the foreclosure moratorium for homeowners through June 30, 2021; Extend the mortgage payment forbearance enrollment window until June 30, 2021 for borrowers who wish to request forbearance; Provide up to six months of additional mortgage payment forbearance, in three-month increments, for borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30, 2020.
As Georgians continue to navigate a difficult, painful year, @POTUS’s extension of the foreclosure moratorium provides much-needed relief. Next: a $1.9 trillion relief package to help our state’s hardworking families get beyond this pandemic.https://t.co/vjJJdfc3Fe
— Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (@SenatorWarnock) February 16, 2021
For an update on the Hugo House controversy: Check out Rich's latest post.
America's most famous Karen, Amy Cooper, went to therapy and got her court charge dropped: Cooper launched herself into the Hall of Infamy when she called 911 on a Black birdwatcher last summer, falsely claiming he was threatening her. You remember the moment. Cooper was charged with filing a false police report, but the court threw out her case today after Cooper completed a diversionary counseling program.
Christian Cooper, the birdwatcher who recorded the interaction (and who is very unrelated to Amy, despite having the same last name), told the Associated Press "he was 'far more outraged' by the U.S. Congress denying statehood to the mostly non-white District of Columbia 'than by anything Amy Cooper did.' ... 'That gross racial injustice could be fixed by Congress now, today, and that’s what people should be focused on—not last year’s events in Central Park.'"
That news seems like a good reason to revisit SassyBlack's song "Karen Don't Care."