U.S. clones endangered species: For the first time, the U.S. cloned an endangered species. Move over Dolly the Sheep, scientists just made Elizabeth Ann, the black-footed ferret. Elizabeth Ann was created using the cells from a black-footed ferret that died 30 years ago. So, I guess cloning can help conservation efforts now? This is basically the plot to Jurassic Park, right?
Nine Oath Keepers charged in insurrection: Federal prosecutors charged nine members of the extremist militia known as the Oath Keepers for playing a leading role in conspiring to stop the certification of the presidential election votes. Text messages from the group show evidence that they were acting on Trump's orders. I can't believe that guy was acquitted. From Politico:
"Trump said It's gonna be wild!!!!!!! It's gonna be wild!!!!!!!” Kelly Meggs, 52, a leader of Florida’s Oath Keepers, told a Facebook contact in a private message, according to the indictment. “He wants us to make it WILD that's what he's saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!! Sir Yes Sir!!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your shit!!"
The group also had a cache of weapons stowed 10 minutes away from the insurrection: This Quick Reaction Force, or QRF, was just outside D.C., waiting for the call in case the group needed "to get heavy."
More charges could be coming: Three of the people charged today were arrested a month ago, but the other six were arrested this week. On top of that, some people still aren't named in court records. Politico assessed that this could mean more arrests may be on the way. Plus, the FBI and Department of Justice officials stated they'd be bringing sedition charges "very soon."
Others charged in the insurrection are blaming the police as their defense: At least 29 people arrested for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 are saying the police let them into the building, or that no one told them not to go in. That's their main defense.
Here comes the wet:
More wet weather is headed our way. Five-day totals show most areas seeing 1-2" of rain with higher amounts along the coast. Rainiest period will be Sun-Mon #wawx pic.twitter.com/EtDDMcWDuX
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) February 19, 2021
Durkan's hot mic: I missed the hot mic moment at Mayor Jenny Durkan's state of the city address this week where she took a little dig at Council President Lorena Gonzalez, but Publicola caught it. Here was the moment, from Publicola:
"Slow down a little bit, please,” Durkan says to someone off-camera, apparently referring to her remarks on the screen in front of her. “There’s, like, all sorts of shit gone now,” she continues, laughing. “We’ll just go to the top and I’m going to, like, do the best I can.”
“If it was easy,” Durkan continues, “it’d be Lorena’s rebuttal.”
Durkan was referring to Gonzalez's rebuttal to Durkan's address that she released after the speech was over.
A $1.9 trillion economic rescue plan: Biden's new aid package would provide funds for state and local governments, small businesses, and give many people $1,400 stimulus checks. Republicans are doing their darndest to try to kill the bill by attacking it as something that only benefits liberals even though the policies are popular with 7 in 10 Americans. Yes, that includes Republicans. The House could approve the package as early as next week.
Checking in on Texas: Whew, it's a mess. Let's see if I can get this all in. Around 13 million people statewide are still under boil-water advisories because water may not be clean to drink. Austin is expecting a delivery of more than one million gallons of water in the next two days. Pipes are bursting across Houston as they thaw and, as the temperatures warm, that number could rise. Currently, at least 4,900 pipes burst across Houston. The National Guard is helping dole out food at food banks.
Biden will sign a disaster declaration: To provide more aid to Texas. He also might visit Texas next week if his presence doesn't hamper relief efforts, Biden said.
That winter storm is responsible: For at least 58 deaths across the country.
If Texas' leadership gave a shit it could take notes from Canada: Back in 1998, a Montreal suburb faced a particularly bad ice storm that overwhelmed power grids. To deal with that, the mayor of Boucherville, Quebec took a diesel-electric train—literally took it off the tracks by placing makeshift train tracks on the streets—and used its engine as an emergency generator for the town.
They derailed a fucking train. In Boucherville. They laid tracks down in the middle of the street and drove it a kilometer. Deisel electric locomotives are just big generators. They rigged it to provide emergency power to keep people warm and alive. pic.twitter.com/XC08364RE6
— futtigue (@futtigue) February 18, 2021
Instead, Ted Cruz is facing ramifications for his escape to Cancun: The parents at Ted Cruz's daughters' elite Houston private school don't want Cruz's kids in class after their international travel. A couple of months ago, the school released new rules that stated students who travel internationally would have to quarantine for 7 to 10 days upon their return without the option to learn online during that time. In the wake of Cruz's family Cancun trip, parents are asking the school to enforce those rules for Cruz's daughters.
Immigrants detained by ICE in Texas and Louisiana are cold: That's an understatement. At an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility near San Antonio that didn't lose power, detainees said that the heat was insufficient. When detainees complained, reports say, ICE officers turned fans on to make it colder and threw blankets away. In a Louisiana facility, the solitary confinement unit doesn't have heat. A prisoner detailed having to wear three pairs of pants to stay warm, and that he wasn't offered an extra blanket until days into the winter storm. The cold could impact the spread of COVID-19 within these facilities, which have already dealt with big outbreaks due to the close quarters. This story somehow gets worse.
Kim Kardashian West is dropping Yeezy: After over a month of speculation about a split and half a year of eagle-eyed social media sleuths noting Kanye's absence from Kim's posts, it's official. Kim filed for divorce. Kimye is over. This is how I found out about the news:
Liza Minnelli has outlived the marriage Kim Kardashian and Kanye West who have filed for divorce
— LizaMinnelliOutlives (@LiZaOutlives) February 19, 2021
Driver kills two in Bothell, flees: Two pedestrians are dead after a car hit them this morning on Highway 524 in Bothell. The car, a silver Chevrolet Malibu, fled the scene after striking the pedestrians. Washington State Trooper located the driver and took the person into custody.
The snowpack is good: Washington is reporting higher-than-normal snowpacks statewide. Snoqualmie Pass is seeing more snowpack than it has in the last decade.
Two Florida women tried to dupe their way into getting vaccinated: These women, aged 34 and 44, dressed up as old women—gloves, bonnets, probably a shuffling little walk—to receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida. They presented valid proof of a first dose which means their ruse may have worked before since Florida is only vaccinating people 65 and older, health care workers, and some people with underlying conditions. A scrutinous worker noticed the women's birthdays didn't line up with the birthdays they'd used to register themselves for the vaccine. They received a warning, but no vaccine.
Some belated birds: Only one of you delivered when I asked you to send me bird pictures last week. But, some procrastinating birders sent some pictures my way this week. Please enjoy:
In this last picture, I misidentified Julie's bird as a "hummer," but she let me know it is a Kinglet. Do not come after Julie for this error, come after me.
Except you'll have to wait to come after me for a little while: Reader, I am finally taking a break. A snooze. A pause. For the first time since December 2019, I am going on vacation (!!!). I am so tired. Do not tell me that you've noticed. But for two weeks, I will try to be gloriously unplugged. I'm going to sleep in a trailer in the woods for a little bit of the time. Other than that, well, I have no plans. Maybe I'll go to the dentist? Let me know if you have any hike suggestions or pandemic-safe things to do. I'm not sure how you'll reach me since I'm going to be away from the ol' work email, but maybe tell Rich or Chase and they can text me your ideas. That seems like a good use of our limited resources and bandwidths. Anyway, I'll miss you dearly, Sloggers, even if your comments sometimes make me feel sad.