States say Biden's May 1 vaccination goal is....ambitious: After the President called on all states to open up vaccine eligibly to all residents in less than two months, governors across the country sound "hopeful" about meeting that goal but "cautious of overpromising," reports Politico. Some states, like Oklahoma, are still working through "logistical issues" related to deploying the vaccine, some worry about expanding eligibility when "many high-risk people still haven’t had a chance to make appointments," and others still need more information about how much vaccine is coming to them over the next several weeks.
ICYMI: The US is sitting on "tens of millions" of doses of a vaccine we can't use: According to the New York Times, Biden's administration and federal public health officials have been engaged in an "intense debate" over what to do with the piles and piles of AstraZeneca vaccine we have stored around the country awaiting authorization from the FDA. The EU, Brazil, the UK, and 67 other countries who have already authorized use of the vaccine would very much like us to ship our vials to them, but so far the Biden administration has rebuffed them. AstraZeneca hasn't even applied for emergency authorization here yet, so it would be weeks before we'd even use it.
Gunmen kidnap 39 students in Nigeria: The country's army "was able to rescue 180 people after a battle with the gunman," the Guardian reports.
High school basketball announcer blames racist comments on his diabetes: TMZ talked to an announcer from Oklahoma named Matt Rowan who was caught on a hot mic calling a team of girls basketball players "fucking n*****s" for kneeling during the national anthem before a game this week." The 44-year-old man apologized and said, "I do not believe that I would have made such horrible statements absent my sugar spiking." You're not going to Wilford Brimley your way out of that one, Matt.
Minneapolis to pay $27 million settlement to estate of George Floyd: The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to settle the lawsuit with Floyd's family as jury selection is underway in the trial of Derek Chauvin, CNN reports.
Cuomo says he won’t resign: The New York governor blamed "cancel culture" for the growing number of Democrats calling on him to resign amid accusations of sexual harassment, reports the New York Times. Those Democrats now include New York's U.S. Senators, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
Biden looks likely to keep troops in Afghanistan beyond May 1: The administration says no decision has been made, but experts tell the Washington Post the administration looks likely to postpone a full troop withdrawal. Postponing the withdrawal could "buy more time to advance a power-sharing proposal they hope can break an impasse in talks between the militants and the Afghan government," according to the Post.
Nebraska's Governor says legalizing pot will kill kids: This is...not true. Weed has been legal in Washington since 2012 or something (can't remember for obvious reasons—I moved here in 2011), and pot deaths don't even make the list in the state's calculations of drug deaths. That said...
It’s true. I’m a survivor of a near-fatal marijuana overdose. I’ll never forget how it starts: first coughing, then my eyes got bloodshot, then suddenly the whole world started moving in slow motion. I 100% thought I was going to die until one of my friends made me a hot pocket. https://t.co/xz4s6zgdnE
— Sarah McGonagall (@gothspiderbitch) March 12, 2021
Johnson & Johnson gets emergency authorization: The World Health Organization granted emergency authorization for J & J coronavirus vaccine, clearing the way for the vaccine to be distributed to low- and middle-income countries, the New York Times reports. The single-shot vaccine, which requires only refrigerator temperatures, will expand access in countries without widespread access to ultra-cold storage.
Can you drink between your vaccine doses? NPR says an occasional drink won't hurt you.
Washington Department of Health still "very concerned" about a potential 4th wave: In a press conference today, Washington state epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist said, "We're at a higher rate post-3rd wave, we're starting to see these variants—including the rarer one, P.1., and I'm really concerned about where this sets us up for the future." Our surveillance of variants is still vanishingly small, but across the U.S. variants compose about 25% of isolates. The Centers for Disease Control predicted one of the new variants, B.1.1.7., would become the dominant strain by around this time this month. Washington Health chief Dr. Umair Shah said the state has seen an increase in cases among people aged between 20 and 39, which is an indicator that has prefigured surges in the past. I know some of you can't wait to hop into the next half-packed restaurant come March 22, but you might want to keep your expectations low, keep your masks on, and continue to limit your social activities until you get the jab.
Families of Black men killed by police call on Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht to resign: Today the group described Johanknecht's "failure to treat racism with the seriousness it requires," and called for Capt. Todd Miller to be fired, reports the Seattle Times. Johanknecht recently gave Miller a one-day suspension for describing a group of Black teens as "animals" on social media. Miller led a botched sting operation in 2017, in which sheriff's detectives killed 17-year-old MiChance Dunlap Gittens.
Washington students must get option for in-person school by April 19: King 5 reports that a pending emergency proclamation by the governor requires school districts to offer in-person learning at least two days a week by April 19. A spokesperson for the teachers union said some districts are not prepared to "safely welcome students back to buildings" and said all but a few districts already offer hybrid instruction. King 5 reports that about 41% of students are receiving in-person instruction weekly, according to the state.
FYI, this is a good bill:
This year WA has a bill - HB 1157 - that would incentivize cities to legalize smallplexes but it's hanging by a thread.
Your support could make a difference, see this Sightline article for info:https://t.co/8aKe2FNeUu
— Dan Bertolet (@danbertolet) March 13, 2021
Bob Ferguson wants more money from Tim Eyman: Attorney General Bob Ferguson is seeking an additional $2.8 million in legal fees from Tim Eyman after a judge found that Eyman violated state campaign finance law and fined him $2.6 million, according to the Seattle Times. Ferguson wants the money because, he claims, Eyman dragged out the case for so long. Eyman is already trying to fundraise off the news.
Anyone in the mood to sing sea chanties? Then log on to Zoom at 8 p.m. this evening and get ready to row, row, row your boat, you nautical motherfuckers!!!!!! Lowlands away, my John!! (Or rather, for us hopeless Joanna Newsom fans, "highlands away, my John." Okay, that's certainly enough sea shanty material for one news roundup.)
People of the 43rd Legislative District: Your representatives in the State Legislature plan to hold a virtual town hall tomorrow at 1 p.m. That means the people of Capitol Hill, First Hill, South Lake Union, Eastlake, Downtown, Madison Park, Portage Bay, Wallingford, Fremont, the U District, and Green Lake have the opportunity to learn about what Sen. Jamie Petersen and Reps. Nicole Macri and Frank Chopp have been doing down in Olympia over the last couple months, and of course to pressure them to continue supporting important bills.