King County hits 1 million vaccine doses administered: KC executive Dow Constantine announced the milestone yesterday afternoon, on the same day that about 20% of the county became fully immunized against COVID. There are still racial disparities in vaccine administration; a higher percentage of white people have gotten jabs than Black, Latinx, and AAPI county residents. And this fight ain't over, as Dr. Jeff Duchin reminded us yesterday—wear a mask! Don't hang out with unvaccinated people outside your household! Clean out your belly button (this has nothing to do with COVID, but you probably should)!
And two million more people become eligible for the vaccine in Washington state tomorrow:
Anyone age 16 and older with two or more diseases or medical conditions Anyone age 60 and older Anyone living or working in certain congregate settings (correctional facilities, group homes for those with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness, etc.) Additional high-risk critical workers in congregate settings (restaurants, manufacturing, construction)
Do any of the above bullet points describe you? If yes, go get a vaccine! Onward to herd immunity!
An Everett man just scored a seat on a private SpaceX flight: Chris Sembroski, a data engineer, will join billionaire flight sponsor, Jared Isaacman, and two other passengers for a three-day orbit of Earth this fall. He got the spot after his friend won the ticket lottery and decided to pass on the experience, giving his ticket to Sembroski instead. Fingers crossed it goes well.
A march to cancel the mothereffin' rent: Tomorrow, the Cancel the Rent Coalition will rally and march upon the Seattle City Hall, to ask "the public to stand up for a massive housing program that gives immediate shelter to those most in need by taxing the mega wealthy." In a press release, the coalition notes that the pandemic has "drastically accelerated the already urgent housing crisis in the U.S.," which disproportionately affects BIPOC communities. The rally begins on March 31 at 5:30 pm at City Hall.
Ok, so that's where all her money came from: Today, Jen Shah of the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City was arrested at her SLC home on charges of "conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering," reports NBC News York. The crime? A "long-running telemarketing scam" that Shah's "first assistant" Stuart Smith was in on as well. According to the New York Police Department, the scam ran for "at least" nine years and included "hundreds" of victims. RHOSLC has purportedly already started filming their second season, so we'll definitely get all the tea in a couple of months!!
jen shah is going to give you an arc whether you (or she) likes it or not
— doreen st. félix (@dstfelix) March 30, 2021
Put those bird feeders back up: The deadly bird salmonellosis outbreak is over! The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife gave ornithophiles the all-clear to start putting out bird feeders again starting April, after reports of sick and dead birds declined. But officials urge people to remain cautious and not get too crazy with multiple feeders as the disease is going around. If those birds can make it through their pandemic so can we.
The Biden administration is putting a pause on student loan interest and collections for the "more than a million borrowers who are in default on loans made by private lenders," reports CNN. This pause does not apply to any student loans that are not in default. Cool, now cancel student loans PEROID, bitch!
A new class-action lawsuit demands immediate COVID-19 vaccinations for every incarcerated person in Washington state: According to Jim Brunner at the Seattle Times, Columbia Legal Services—the legal aid group behind the lawsuit—alleges that "the state’s refusal to promptly vaccinate the approximately 15,000 people living in prisons—where the infection rate is more than eight times higher than in the general population—violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishment.'" The Department of Corrections, Department of Health, and the DOH secretary, Umair Shah, are all named in the suit.
Le monde est à
vnous: For the first time, the Louvre has uploaded 75% of their storied collection to a recently launched website where anyone can view digitized, high-resolution images of the more than 482,000 artworks. The site is a little buggy and you'll definitely manage it better if you know French, but I will ALWAYS take an excuse to ruminate on a Van Eyck.
Arkansas says no more mask mandate: Today, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that he would not renew the state's mask mandate which is set to expire at the end of tomorrow at midnight, reports 4029 News. Though cities could "write their own mask ordinances if desired," his announcement comes as Biden is asking states to chill the fuck out on easing restrictions. It's hard not to see this as some sort of dangerous death wish on Arkansas's part.
In more horrific Arkansan public health news: The Arkansas state Senate passed a bill on Monday that will ban trans minors from accessing gender-affirming healthcare, including puberty blockers and hormones, reports NBC News. Chase Strangio of the ACLU called the bill "the single most extreme anti-trans law to ever pass through state legislature." The bill—literally called the Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act— just needs a signature from Gov. Hutchinson to be signed into law. Alabama and Tennessee's state legs are also looking to pass similar anti-trans bills that have trans people living in those states fearing for their life.
In anticipation of the sadness that comes from these votes on trans lives this week I am raising money for @intransitiveAR - a trans-led group in Arkansas fighting anti-trans bills and caring for trans lives. I just donated $55.00. Will anyone match me? Info on slide. pic.twitter.com/sOfKZlJVhg
— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) March 28, 2021
And the final one-two punch of the day: Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida—a close Trump associate—is reportedly thinking about retiring from his gig as a politician and instead becoming a media personality, potentially taking a job at the venerated news site Newsmax. Gaetz is also said to be under investigation by the Justice Department over "whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him." I imagine he'll take some time off either way.
Washington state House passed an open-carry ban on Sunday: The measure that would ban people from openly carrying guns and other weapons at the Capitol or on the surrounding grounds. It'd also ban open carry "at or near permitted public demonstrations statewide." The bill passed 57-40 with Democrats voting to approve the measure. It heads to the Senate, where they will vote on the changes made in the lower chamber before it lands on Inslee's desk.
Ducks aren't meant to swim in those ponds in Volunteer Park! CHS Blog did some digging after locals got upset about the new "anti-duckling" mesh fencing surrounding the two small lily ponds in the Olmstead-designed park. According to Seattle Parks, not only were the ponds never designed to host those little duckies, but they've been DYING because they can't escape from their pond-prison!! Here's part of city's response to CHS Blog which is sad af:
In previous years, ducklings have often been unable to exit the water—the pond walls are too steep—with the result that many of the ducklings have died. Subsequently, crows and other wildlife have fed on the dead ducklings in the ponds. (We’ve heard from many park users disturbed by that sight.) The large number of ducks using the ponds has also damaged the ponds’ filtration systems.
Reminder to get your SPLIFF tickets!!!! SPECIFICALLY the viewing party with me and editor Chase Burns. You can virtually hang out with us as we get stoned, watch the cannabis-themed short films together, and give away a bunch of prizes. I haven't talked with Chase at all about this, but these red pandas playing in the snow will definitely be the vibe of our pot-laden hang. Come join!