Textgate: On Friday, the Seattle Times revealed that not only had Mayor Jenny Durkan's texts from last June gone missing but so had the texts of Seattle Fire Department Chief Harold Scoggins and former Seattle Police Department Chief Carmen Best. Durkan chalked her missing messages up to "retention setting" issues, while Scoggins said his messages disappeared after password and "device management" problems. The City Attorney's office is still "ascertaining" what went wrong with Best's phone. The city has spent "hundreds of thousands of dollars" trying to find these messages, the Times reports. Has anyone heard of iCloud?
A solution? Council President Lorena Gonzalez announced today that she and City Attorney Pete Holmes are working on a proposal to create an independent public disclosure entity to deal with the mayor's office. The basic idea is that an independent entity wouldn't be accountable to the mayor and could more freely investigate mayoral records. Critics wonder what changes an independent entity would actually make since the problem here seems to lie with how the mayor's office complies with records requests. Workers within the records department blew the whistle on textgate, after all.
Council President Gonzalez and City Attorney Holmes just announced a new effort to change the way that public records requests are handled by the Mayor's Office pic.twitter.com/EA0AyGDo62
— SCC Insight (@SCC_Insight) May 10, 2021
Nothing soothes the nerves like "triple-mutant COVID variant": The World Health Organization reclassified the triple-mutant variant of COVID-19 surging through India as a global health risk. The variant, B.1.617, spreads more easily than the original strain and it may evade some vaccine protections. India is currently reporting an average of 3,879 COVID-19 deaths per day and 391,000 new cases per day. That's a 4% increase in cases from last week.
China will draw a "separation line" on top of Mount Everest: Everest climbers will have to stick to the side of the mountain they ascended from to stop COVID-19 from spreading into China. That's the strategy China is going with to keep COVID-19 infections on the Nepal side of Everest. Tibetan mountaineering guides will have to set up the separation line on the mountain's peak, but it's unclear what the line will be made of.
No Golden Globes: I cannot tell you why the Golden Globes exist. It is an award show that isn't the Emmys (TV) and the Oscars (movies), but it gives awards for both movies and TV. No one seems to care too much about the Golden Globes. Anyway, since the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which runs the Globes, sucks, NBC announced it won't host the awards show in 2022.
In very niche celebrity news: Comedian John Mulaney is divorcing Anna Marie Tendler, his wife of six years. The announcement comes after Mulaney checked himself into rehab last year for alcohol and cocaine use. Last week, he announced his return to the comedy world with some small shows scheduled in New York.
Also Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are apparently dating again. The actors were previously engaged in 2002 before calling off their wedding just days before tying the knot in 2004. The people love this Bennifer renaissance.
Federal Drug Administration approves Pfizer vax for the kids: Kids aged 12 to 15 will now be able to receive the Pfizer vaccine. This will be an important development when schools reopen in the fall.
Seattle's child care nightmare: King County doesn't have enough child care spots. Seattle adults are signing up for child care facility waitlists before they even conceive their child and they're still not guaranteed a space. Even when people do find child care, it's expensive. The Seattle Times reported that a Seattle household making the median income of $89,142 annually (!!!) will end up paying 20% of that in child care fees. This is batshit. How are people supposed to work—let alone apply for a job—if they have no one to watch their child?
Missing Oregon hiker found alive: Hey, that's some good news. Joe Dean, 71, went missing this weekend while hiking Horsetail Falls trail system in Oregon. He sent his wife a text on Saturday saying he was lost. Search and rescue teams combed the area Saturday night and through Sunday. They found Dean alive on Monday morning.
Trainer says Kentucky Derby winner is a victim of cancel culture: Medina Spirit, the triple crown contender, failed its drug test after testing positive for the steroid Betamethasone. Trainer Bob Baffert denied that the horse ever used the steroid and is blaming cancel culture for the positive test results. He also pinned the blame on tainted urine-soaked hay and said the horse might have licked a contaminated wall. Maybe the horse will enjoy several guest spots on some counter-culture podcasts.
Speaking of horses: Here's a video my mom sent me.
Attorneys general try to stop Instagram for kids: Attorneys general from 44 states signed a letter to Mark Zuckerberg trying to tell him that making an Instagram for kids under the age of 13 is a bad idea. Facebook, which owns Instagram, believes that an app for children will give parents better control over their children's online behavior. The attorneys general disagree, stating in their letter to Zuck that social media is detrimental to children's development and that Facebook is bad at protecting kids on its platforms.
Tensions come to a head Jerusalem: Monday was a bloody day in Jerusalem. Israeli police raided the Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites. The raid injured hundreds of Palestinians and multiple police officers. In the evening, Gaza fired rockets at Israel, which returned that fire with airstrikes. The Gaza rockets damaged homes but resulted in no casualties. According to the New York Times, "nine residents of Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza, including three children, were killed in an Israeli airstrike." Hamas claimed responsibility for the Gaza rockets.
Chipotle is raising its pay: To attract workers, Chipotle Mexican Grill is implementing a $15 minimum wage nationally by the end of June. The chain is trying to hire 20,000 workers to keep up with seasonal demand and new store openings.
Pipeline hacked by cybercriminal group: DarkSide is responsible for the ransomware attack that hobbled the U.S.'s Colonial Pipeline last week. The group said on its website that it didn't mean to create problems for society, but that its goal was to make money. The Colonial Pipeline ground to a halt after that attack last week. The pipeline supplies 45% of the East Coast's fuel.