I am every one of these weed lumberjacks.
I am every one of these weed lumberjacks. MIKE FORCE

Wake and bank: Yesterday afternoon Congress yet again passed the SAFE Banking Act, which would allow cannabis businesses to open accounts with regular banks instead of having to rely on cash. Republicans and Democrats backed the bill 321-101, and "Democrats are optimistic" about its chances in the Senate, Bloomberg reports.

If Sens. Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema or whoever else need some encouragement, they'll find it in the exhortations from Washington's new State Treasurer, Mike Pellicciotti. "I will continue to partner with other State Treasurers around the country to now push the U.S. Senate to pass this critical legislation, so that it can get to President Biden to be signed into law," he said in a press release.

Speaking of burning trees, an area near Auburn is preparing to evacuate. The Green Valley Fire is estimated at 50 acres and is threatening homes, King 5 reports. "Level 2 evacuations are in effect, which means the fire risk is significant and residents should consider evacuating or be ready to leave at a moment's notice."

Another reason to welcome the rain this weekend: All this fire this early is not great!

Brunner's got a good post on the state Legislature finally funding a tax rebate for poor people: In 2023, the state will dole out tax rebates ranging between $300 and $1,200 to around 420,000 Washingtonians, which is a very chill number of Washingtonians, if you catch my drift.............................(my drift is weed). The rebate will make our regressive tax code the teensiest bit fairer for the people driving the state's current economic recovery.

Exotic cat bites Vancouver firefighter: As firefighters were responding to a house fire and sweeping the house for pets or people, "One firefighter came upon a large cat, which bit right through his thick working gloves and injured his finger," according to KIRO. The cat's owner said it was a serval. The firefighter was treated for the bite to his finger.

Who to call if you see a swarm of bees: West Seattle Blog has the list from Puget Sound Beekeepers Association. When bee swarms are removed, they are "relocated to a place where they can continue to provide their valuable contribution to our environment," the association says. Some news you can use, folks.

Auburn votes to criminalize homelessness: The Auburn City Council voted to create a criminal penalty for camping on city property when shelter space is open. People convicted of criminal trespass under the new legislation would face a $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail, the Seattle Times reports. The report from the Times is silent on whether the Council majority has worms or poo poo for brains, but I'll see if Nathalie has room in her schedule for a follow.

Los Angeles was going to appoint a celebrity doctor to a local homeless commission?? The Los Angeles county supervisor backtracked Monday evening and withdrew the nomination for Dr. Drew, a celebrity doctor who has over-reported the number of homeless people who have mental illness or substance use disorder, argued homelessness is "primarily driven by a significant need for mental health and addiction treatment" rather than a lack of housing, and tweeted that "'housing first' is a HOAX," the LA Times reported.

I am happy to report a new meme form: Couldn't have happened to a better discourse.

If you had literally anything better to do yesterday than check Twitter every hour, I'll try to sum up the context for that tweet in two sentences. Driven by some conspiratorial delusions and amped way-the-fuck up by the algorithm, longtime blogger Andrew Sullivan used undergrad-level reasoning to defend the idea that some genetic difference accounted for an IQ gap between Black people and white people, a racist and obviously politically motivated theory propagated by a maligned but still incredibly successful conservative political scientist whose "work" on the subject of race and IQ has been debunked more than once, as many Twitter users pointed out. Sully then spent the rest of the day on the microblogging site variously doubling down, casting himself as an embattled knight in the fight against cancel culture, and moving goalposts here and there. Like the rest of these self-described "contrarians," who actually do nothing but defend the status quo, he makes his coin rehashing inane Culture War bullshit from the 1990s that doesn't matter, so I'm sorry for bringing this up at all, I just really like that new meme format.

Climate "abyss": Last year was one of the three hottest years on record, and the world is "on the verge of the abyss," according to a United Nations report and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The Bernie energy here: Progressives are "not going to wait for an indefinite period of time" for Republicans to get on board with Biden's infrastructure bill, Sen. Bernie Sanders says. “We’re gonna move forward rapidly. They have something to say? Now is the time to say it.”

Great, now do Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands:

The Feds are thinking about banning menthols: A court order driven by a citizen petition will force the Food and Drug Administration to take a position on whether to ban the cigarettes, the Washington Post reports. Public health officials say menthols are "easier to start smoking, harder to quit and cause outsize harm to African Americans," but a ban faces opposition from Big Tobacco (for obvious reasons) but also civil rights leaders, "who have said that banning menthol would risk police targeting Black Americans for selling illegal cigarettes." Ahhh, America, where promoting healthy habits risks the lives of Black people and people of color because, to borrow a phrase from Claudia Rankine, white people in our "public safety system" cannot police their own imaginations.

The COVID wave is overwhelming India: "Gas and firewood furnaces at a crematorium in the western Indian state of Gujarat have been running so long without a break during the COVID-19 pandemic that metal parts have begun to melt," Reuters reports. Hospitals are full, oxygen is limited, and the country registered nearly 274,000 new daily infections Monday.

European regulators approve Johnson & Johnson vaccine with a warning: The European Medicines Agency determined a "possible link" between extremely rare blood clots and the one-and-done vaccine, but concluded that the benefits of widespread distribution outweigh the risk, Axios reports. Officials expect the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to weigh in on the question later this week.

As the world approaches "the highest rate of infection" so far in the course of the pandemic, the U.S. State Department will advise against its residents traveling to 80% of countries around the world, the BBC reports. The travel restrictions reveal one of the many consequences of vaccine nationalism.

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The President of Chad is dead: President Idriss Déby was killed in a battle between government soldiers and insurgents, though questions still remain about the exact circumstances of his death, according to the New York Times. Déby, who the country recently reelected to his sixth term, "ruled with an iron fist for three decades" with military assistance from France, and was "considered by the West a linchpin in the fight against Islamist extremism in central Africa."

RIP Mondale: Coulda had him instead of Reagan.