Suspect in Atlanta-area terror attack charged: Robert Aaron Long—who shot and killed eight people on Monday, six of them women of Asian descent—has been charged with eight counts of murder. We now know the names of some of the victims found at Young's Asian Massage in Cherokee County: Delaina Yaun, 33, of Acworth; Paul Andre Michels, 54, of Atlanta; Xiaojie Tan, 49, of Kennesaw; and Daoyou Feng, 44. Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz was the only person to survive the shooting, though he remains in the ICU having suffered a gunshot to the forehead.
President Biden and VP Harris plan to visit Atlanta tomorrow: Meeting with prominent Asian-American leaders to "offer support to the community." Members of the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community have been aggressively targeted with racist rhetoric and violence since the pandemic began, with nearly 3,800 hate incidents being reported since March of last year. This latest attack that saw brutal slaying of six Asian women leaves Asian-American communities across the country on even more on edge.
And just yesterday: An elderly Asian woman was attacked in broad daylight in San Francisco, leaving her with a bruised eye. Xiao Zhen Xie said she was "waiting at a traffic light when the suspect suddenly punched her by her left eye." She fought back against the attacker, finding stick and beating him with it, sending him to the hospital. Xie is still recovering from the attack, and her family says she is "extremely terrified. She's terrified to even step out." They have set up a GoFundMe to help cover medical expenses.
All of this comes as a U.S. intelligence report says domestic terrorism poses an "elevated threat": No duh. The findings predict that the pandemic, social and political factors, and the "emboldening impact of the violent breach of the U.S. Capitol" will encourage "domestic violent extremists" to carry out more violent acts. And almost certainly, Black people, Asian people, Latinos, queer people, immigrants, disabled people, sex workers, and women will bear the brunt of this extremism.
If you're an adult in Oregon, you'll be eligible for a vaccine by May 1: Governor Kate Brown confirmed that a COVID vaccine will be available for every adult Oregonians by the deadline set by President Biden.
Disneyland is reopening, baby!! But only to California residents: On April 30, people living in the Golden State will be the only ones allowed onto the theme parks' hallowed grounds. Both Disneyland Park and Disneyland California Adventure Park will reopen at limited capacity with a reservation system "designed to enforce capacity limits and promote physical distancing."
Super Nintendo World is also open: And it looks sick. The $550 million theme park in Osaka, Japan opened today as the company attempts to expand outside of the virtual world into the real one. Visitors enter the park via giant warp pipe (!!!!) and find themselves inside a life-sized Mushroom Kingdom, replete with punchable coin blocks and piranha plants.The park was meant to open last summer but got delayed because of the pandemic. The idea of mass gathering spaces still makes me queasy, but I now have a post-vaccination travel goal.
Oh god, Amazon Care is really here: The Seattle-based bookseller announced yesterday that they plan to expand their pilot health care program across the U.S. this summer, offering it to their employees and companies of all sizes, reports TechCrunch. The service is a combination of "on-demand and in-person care," connecting patients with nurses and doctors through live chats, with in-person services offered via house call. It looks like Big Algorithm will end up taking care of all of us in the end.
Washington company behind Aplets & Cotlets candy to close after 100 years: The Cashmere, Washington-based Liberty Orchards announced they would close all operations by June 2021 after three years of unsuccessfully trying to sell the business. Modeled on the Turkish delight, the candy came from surplus apples and apricots combined with walnuts. If you've never had one of these candies (like me), you can still order some online until June.
The spread of COVID might be slowing across the country, but shit is still bad: Especially in the Northeast where "new cases per capita are at least double the national average." A new variant first found in New York City makes a growing proportion of the cases as seven-day average of positive tests remains at 6% despite vaccination efforts. On the Today show this morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he didn't "want to just be a worrywart" but the U.S. is in "a race between the vaccine and the potential surge." Please! Be a worrywart!
770,000 Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week: That's 70,000 more than expected, reports Yahoo. Continuing claims for week ending on March 6 were at 4.124 million. Though the numbers are slightly higher than predicted, the generally downward trend of unemployment claims hints at an economy that's starting to rev its engine again.
Man killed in shooting at a Rainier Ave church: According to police, a man was killed at the Emerald City Bible Fellowship church during a meeting, when a male suspect walked inside and "the two began a 'discussion,' which ended when a suspect pulled out a gun and the shot the man." The suspect remains at large as detectives search for video footage of the incident.
I hope you've enjoyed the balmy past couple of days: Because rain is on its way.
Rain enters the forecast again beginning today and marks the return to a more unsettled weather pattern all the way into next week. A weak front will move across the area, bringing periods of rain (and mountain snow) to most locations through the day. #wawx pic.twitter.com/KccjPFYKUO
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) March 18, 2021
A real headline from Artnet News: "Marina Abramović Has Partnered With WeTransfer to Teach People Her Mindfulness Method While They Wait for Files to Upload."
A women's college bites the dust: Mills College in Oakland says that it will no longer accept first-year undergrad students and will instead turn into "an institute promoting women's leadership," reports SFGATE. The 169-year-old institution was already facing budget shortfalls before the pandemic and couldn't hack the continued financial fallout from COVID-19. As a graduate of another women's college, I salute Mills.
Everett City Council passed the "no sit, no lie" ordinance last night: Which prohibits people from sitting or lying down in an industrial area of the city, reports KING 5. People violating the ordinance could face 90 days in jail or a $500 fine. Community members rightfully called the ordinance "cruel" during a public comment, saying that it will increase "public discrimination towards the homeless."
For your listening pleasure: "Keep On Keepin' On" by MC Lyte feat. Xscape.