No good news from the Middle East. It’s been a terrible couple of days, with no relief in sight. Israel's IDF destroyed a building that housed various news agencies, claiming — without providing any evidence — that the building was a secret base for Hamas. An Al-Jazeera analysis suggests the missiles used were likely American-made. Israeli missiles have killed hundreds of Palestinians in the last few days, many of them children; among the dead are some of Gaza's top doctors. Hamas rockets have killed about a dozen Israelis, with support from Iran. The New York Times has a good summary of how the violence has escalated to this point. Earlier this month, Biden approved a $735 million arms deal with Israel.
“I’m only 10! I can’t deal with this anymore. I just want to be a doctor or anything to help my people, but I can’t! I’m just a kid! I don’t know what to do! I’m just 10!” pic.twitter.com/9m8bwKfUvA
— Ghazala Irshad (@ghazalairshad) May 15, 2021
Has anyone seen Matt Gaetz’s career lately? Better check up his nose. New allegations from The Daily Beast describe cocaine parties and giving a “no-show” job to an Instagram model, according to unnamed witnesses. Those claiming to be present at a “Trump Defender Gala” describe Gaetz and a companion retiring to a hotel room party where the model pulled out a dollar bill and the two of them snorted cocaine. (The model’s lawyer says it’s not true; Matt Gaetz’s spokesperson was busy doing something else, presumably working on his LinkedIn.)
City council’s doing the bare minimum to save outdoor cafes. One of the few things that Seattle did right during the pandemic — long after they should have — was allowing businesses to reclaim all the wasted space of curbside parking and turn it into usable seating. City council will consider legislation today to extend those permits for another year, and possibly make them permanent. That’s nice, but it’s not enough; not every business that’s floundering due to the pandemic can afford to build a new patio right now. The city should provide grants to businesses to encourage them to expand into the street. And while that’s in the works, there’s no reason we can’t talk about getting rid of cars altogether.
The Amazon unionization vote may not be over after all. Amazon security guards had keys to the ballot boxes, according to testimony from one worker during an investigation into employer coercion. Amazon says that only postal workers had access to the box. Workers at the Alabama plant voted overwhelmingly against joining a union last month; but if a labor board rules that the company exerted undue influence, the vote could be overturned. Sadly, there is little likelihood that the election will result in a room full of people chanting the word “boner” over and over, as in this classic episode of Growing Pains.
Only two Seattle shootings this weekend. One was near Rainier Beach, the other was near Pioneer Square, and in each incident one person was injured. Elsewhere in the country, there were 4 injured in a mass shooting in Atlanta; 1 killed and 4 injured in Birmingham, Alabama; one killed and four injured in the Bronx; 1 killed and 3 injured in DC; 1 killed and 1 injured in Portland; 3 killed and 1 injured in San Francisco; 6 injured in Minneapolis; and 2 killed and 3 injured in Chicago.
CHOP is coming back. Just for one weekend, though, or at least that’s the plan. The CHOP Block Party is scheduled for June 11-13 (one week before Juneteenth) in Cal Anderson Park. Among the organizers is Mark Anthony, who’s been active in CHOP planning since last year — and who is also part of a dispute over ownership of CHOP artwork.
Seattle has a housing crisis. Thirteen more units ought to do the trick. I’m trying not to be cynical about this, but come on. Habitat for Humanity is constructing a new 13-condo building for people who make under $65,000 a year, with another 17-unit project a few blocks away. Another nonprofit has 59 more planned in Phinney Ridge. Okay, sure, these are great; but the city estimates that for just people making 50% to 80% of area’s median income, we’ll need thousands more units over the next two decades — and that’s on top of housing for people making under 50% and over 80%. A handful of six-story residential-over-retail buildings are not going to relieve this pressure. We need to end the city’s ridiculous racist downzoning now, and start building skyscrapers like a real city.
No cops at Pride. Not in New York, at least. Police groups will not be allowed to march in New York’s main Pride parade (individual officers can still march in uniform) and the parade will hire private security. A gay cop group called the move "dehumanizing" to gay cops, and said that they want to honor "the shared legacy of the Stonewall Riots." Pride began as a riot in response to decades of police violence directed at the queer community, particularly queer people of color, so honestly it’s always seemed ahistorical to see cops smiling and waving at these events. If cops have a large, visible presence, what does that communicate about who is welcome — and who is unwelcome at Pride? If they want a parade so badly, they can always start their own.
I can’t wait for Knives Out 2. I’m already planning my watch party now, with the announcement that Kathryn Hahn and Janelle Monáe have been cast. Also involved are Dave Bautista and Edward Norton, which is fine, I suppose, if we have to have men in the movie. God that first movie is good, I’m terrified that they won’t be able to do it again.
You can sit down in the hot tub. An Animal Crossing glitch makes it possible to enter the hot tub (and various other items of furniture). Do it wrong, though, and you’ll fall through the world. Such is the price one pays for luxury.
Would you pay $2.99 a month for Twitter? Frankly I’d pay ten times that to not have to use it. Rumors are circulating that they’re planning to test a paid subscription service called Twitter Blue that will allow you to undo tweets and bookmark things. This is supposed to improve the experience somehow?
Twitter is calling their upcoming Subscription Service “Twitter Blue”, priced at $2.99/month for now, including paid features like:
Undo Tweets: https://t.co/CrqnzIPcOH
Collections: https://t.co/qfFfAXHp1o pic.twitter.com/yyMStpCkpr
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) May 15, 2021
Someone smashed the windows at a coffee stand in West Seattle. Appears to be a burglary — the last thing any small business needs right now. West Bay Coffee and Smoothies could probably use a little support this week if you’re in the neighborhood and feeling thirsty.
The Houston tiger is safe. The tiger seen prowling around a Houston suburb has been located and sent to an animal sanctuary, but there are still lots of questions about exactly how it wound up wandering around a major city. Videos that that circulated last week show a man, Victor Hugo Cuevas, playing with the giant cat and walking it into a house before loading it into a minivan. Cuevas’ lawyer complained that everyone’s leaping to conclusions: “They assumed that the tiger is his," he said at a press conference. "It of course is not." Later, the lawyer admitted, Cuevas “cared for” the tiger.
What the hell is this fox doing with its tongue