We've been doing a lot of...
"Is that a fourth wave?"
"This definitely looks like a fourth wave!"
"The so-called fourth wave..."-ing lately, but I think we can call it what it is, Washington: "This is the beginning of a fourth wave, and we are starting unfortunately at a higher level than the other waves have started from," said Gov. Inslee during a news conference this afternoon.
The state has averaged over 1,200 new COVID-19 cases per day the past seven days, according to the state's dashboard. In mid-March, we were averaging around 700/day. Hospitalizations are up, as are cases in young people. Many counties in Washington state are at risk of rolling back to an earlier stage in Washington's reopening phases in early May, including King County.
"The situation is we'd like to be done with the virus," said the governor, "but the virus is not done with us." What can you do? You know what to do by now. Stay home as advised, wear a mask, practice social distancing, get vaccinated as soon as you can!
Have you walked past those sketchy-looking tables that advertise a FREE COVID TESTING SITE popping up around the city? They look like this:
If you raised an eyebrow at them, you're not the only one wiggling your brows. From Public Health Seattle and King County:
In Seattle, testing tables have been seen at Green Lake Park, Gas Works Park, in Ballard and on Capitol Hill. The following concerning practices were observed by Public Health staff:
Testing staff are not using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect customers. At a testing operation following public health recommendations, you will see staff wearing masks, face shields and gloves. People will be in line at least six feet apart. Inappropriate PPE use can cause potential contamination in the testing process and inaccurate results. Personal information collected from individuals is held insecurely. Testing staff falsely claimed to be “with public health.” Tests are promoted as free (on signs in large red letters), but paperwork fine print indicates that people could potentially be billed.
The tables, operated by California-based Community Wellness America (CWA), have "sent no positive results to either Public Health – Seattle & King County or the Washington State Department of Health after several weeks of operation in King County, raising concerns that CWA may not be properly processing test specimens." Well then!
Find reputable testing here.
Happy Earth Day! Here's a list of things to do around Seattle. And here's a friendly reminder to apply to garden in your neighborhood planting strips and roundabouts. You can grow potatoes in those city circles!
Happy Earth Day! Reminder: You can apply for a free permit to plant in your planting strip or traffic circle.
From SDOT: https://t.co/Gn3GDHl3Hg pic.twitter.com/rnqRrsqRMz
— The Stranger 🗞 (@TheStranger) April 22, 2021
You could also choose anarchy: "Don't apply, just do it, who cares." I side with this approach.
Of course: Traffic circle potatoes won't calm down our hot planet.
Two people were shot at a homeless encampment in South Park this morning: Seattle Times reports that police are looking for a suspect in his mid- to late-20s, who they believe walked into the encampment and started shooting, hitting a 20-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman.
The man is in critical condition and the woman is in serious condition. (The man and woman are now in satisfactory conditions, as of this afternoon.) The suspect may be in a white Dodge sedan, and the story is still developing.
Some moves in Olympia: We're busy watching the state Legislature as they wrap up their weird and short session this week. (April 25 is the last day allowed for regular session under state constitution.) We'll have more on Slog in the coming days and week, but a lil' update:
The WA Senate will not approve the House changes to the capital gains tax. The bill will now run thru a conference committee, which I'm told will meet today or tomorrow. Sticking point remains language insulating the tax from referendum. Background: https://t.co/nRo1D7qTsd
— Rich Smith (@richsssmith) April 22, 2021
It's John Waters' 75th birthday today: Waters celebrated by dropping a Sub Pop release, which is distinctly cool on its own, and made even cooler by the fact that the release is a tribute to legendary shit-stirrer/filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini. "The digital release, available now at all digital music services, includes John’s 'Prayer to Pasolini,' John speaking in tongues, and 12 additional audio clips of John sharing his thoughts on Pasolini’s work," writes Abbie Gobeli over at Sub Pop's blog. I've run into the Pope of Trash a few times, but my favorite was this interview when he told me that antifa should get sexier and said Melania's Christmas decorations were like a "very goth Las Vegas."
Listen to this shit:
The Trump administration delayed over $20 billion in aid to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: That's according to a new 46-page report out yesterday from the U.S. Department of Housing's Office of Inspector General. It's a wonky report, but the findings reveal how the Trump admin "unnecessarily delayed" the release of funds through "bureaucratic obstacles." I'll never forget this scene:
Who needs $20 billion when you've got paper towels?
The U.S. Senate passed an anti-Asian hate crimes bill with bipartisan support: The bill will create a new position at the Justice Department that will "expedite reviews of potential Covid-19-related hate crimes," reports CNN. The vote was 94-1 (!!!), with the sole vote against it being from insurrectionist Josh Hawley.
Josh Hawley is the Marjorie Taylor Greene of Tucker Carlsons.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) April 22, 2021
More on the bill:
The bill would also direct the departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to issue guidance raising awareness of hate crimes during the pandemic, and work with agencies to establish online reporting of them. It now goes to the House before being signed into law by President Joe Biden.
The House passed a bill to make Washington D.C. a state, again: The House passed a similar bill last year. The bill heads to the Senate, but it will need a 60-vote majority to send it to Biden.
Check out the new art from Hank Willis Thomas honoring Jimi Hendrix at the Judkins Park light rail station: If you're not familiar with that station, it's because it's not open yet. As Sound Transit wrote: "I hear my train a comin’ – because East Link opens in two years! All 10 stations along the 14-mile extension are really coming together." The East Link is expected to open up in 2023. Here's a look at the Judkins Park station:
And here's some more Hank Willis Thomas-related art news: Today in a press release, Seattle gallery Wa Na Wari announced a new partnership with the Seattle Art Museum. The two art hubs are presenting Intertwined, a temporary public art project of nine banners, each four feet tall, featuring text and created by Hank Willis Thomas and Portland-based artist Intisar Abioto. The banners are viewable in the Central District—along 23rd Avenue, Jackson Street, Union Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way—through April 15, 2022. Send us a pic if you spot them. Abioto started this public installation project in Portland in 2019, and Wa Na Wari said they "seized the opportunity to present this powerful public art in Seattle."
Here's what the project looked like in Portland:
And in Seattle:
INBOX: "Intertwined," a temporary public art installation by Hank Willis Thomas and Portland artist Intisar Abioto, comes to the Central District along 23rd Ave, Jackson St, Union St, and MLK Way. It's courtesy of a collab between #WaNaWari and @iheartSAM.
📷 Inye Wokoma pic.twitter.com/FbrjxvyofU
— jasmyne rae keimig (@jasmynekeimig) April 22, 2021
Biden will address a joint session of Congress next Wednesday: It's not a State of the Union address because a president's first speech before Congress is not considered a State of the Union—but it's basically a State of the Union. Republican Sen. Tim Scott will give the GOP's rebuttal afterward. Scott, the only Black GOP Senator, is leading the GOP's police reform bill.
Honored to have this opportunity. I’m as confident as I’ve ever been in the promise and potential of America and look forward to sharing my vision for our nation with all of you. https://t.co/M6Pt8kQEuB
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) April 22, 2021
SPLIFF! You've seen the ads. You've heard us talk about it. Now's your last chance to see this year's fest: I'm hosting a virtual screening with The Stranger's Jasmyne Keimig on Saturday night. Get a ticket. Come hang out. One lucky viewer will win $100 to spend on Special K bongs.