To what end?
To what end? Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

The Taliban controls Afghanistan. This weekend the Taliban pushed into Kabul and overtook the presidential palace, with the president fleeing and other officials welcoming Taliban fighters. Civilians have flooded the airport, desperate to escape and even clinging to taxiing planes. US soldiers are coordinating evacuations. Since 2001, we’ve spent $83 billion (or maybe $133 billion) on the war in Afghanistan. Over 6,000 Americans have been killed in our twenty-year war, including 444 aid workers, and over 100,000 Afghan soldiers and civilians. “Operation Enduring Freedom,” we called it.

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Twice as many people moved to Seattle as we built homes for. That’s one of the insights in an analysis of new census data. We got 128,000 new residents in the last decade, but only 60,000 new homes. Overall, the city’s population grew more diverse, but historically Black neighborhoods lost Black residents.

More food stamps, less hunger. The Biden administration has significantly increased the amount of food available to people who use food stamps — benefits have increased from $121 per person per month on average to $157. That still seems like an absurdly low amount of money to feed yourself for an entire month. The amount of money is based on a model of how Americans eat that was created in 1962 and has never been updated. Republicans have expressed opposition, which I suppose is their idea of helping.

It’s looking grim in Haiti. This weekend an earthquake killed at least a thousand people in Haiti, and a storm is expected to hit the island today. The US has sent a disaster response team, but the damage from the quake has made it difficult to reach some parts of the country.

COVID-19 cases are trending toward the worst we’ve seen. Infections have increased 700% since the start of July, and they are expected to climb, including here in King County. Seattle music venues are moving towards requiring proof of vaccine or a recent negative test as a condition for entry, and starting in September, Washington State University will no longer allow students to opt-out of the vaccine for “philosophical” reasons (though staff may still be able to). So far, only about half of the country is vaccinated. Oh my God, what are you people waiting for???

Who gets a booster shot? People who are immunocompromised should get a third vaccination shot, the CDC says, and this weekend UW started administering dose #3 for people who need it. UW hospitals have also started rescheduling non-urgent surgeries, as unvaccinated people continue to strain resources.

Texas is underwater. A storm has flooded the Texas State Capitol, with water pouring in through a skylight and filling a basement with several inches of water. If anyone’s driving by the airport, stick your head out the window and see if you can spot Ted Cruz.

Lots of people were shot this weekend, including kids. A fifteen-year-old boy was shot near Judkins Park Friday night, with police claiming he was hit in the leg. A man was shot near Gas Works Park Monday morning. In Chicago, a seven-year-old girl was shot and killed. When it comes to mass shootings this weekend: Three killed, two injured in Texas; four injured in Chicago; four injured in Brooklyn; one dead and three injured in Indiana, then another four injured and one dead in a separate shooting; five injured in Ohio; four injured in New Jersey. Grand total for American shootings this weekend was 64 wounded, 12 dead.

Finally, some good news … for fish. The federal government is investing over $2.8 billion in salmon recovery efforts, which includes improving water quality in Puget Sound, as well as habitat restoration. It’s okay for you to enjoy the benefits of improved water quality, even if you’re not a fish.

No end in sight to this hateful heat. Temperatures will loiter in the 70s all week with no hope of rain. Smoke will clear a bit over Seattle this week, though it may remain at higher elevations, providing more pretty sunsets for your IG feed. In the last few days, I’ve had two different west-coast friends hospitalized for blood clots — which may be exacerbated by exposure to air pollution — so even if you aren’t aware of any personal risk factors, please do keep your eye on air quality and avoid breathing smoky air as much as you can.

So THAT’S what Venus looks like. Two separate spacecraft buzzed Venus last week, and now we’re getting a glimpse at their vacation photos. What a dump! Just kidding, I’m sure it’s lovely, definitely in my top ten planets.

The new Neon Genesis Evangelion movie is pretty good. I have a lot of thoughts about this weekend’s release of Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, which I’m sure is of interest to virtually nobody reading this blog, but here are my top three takeaways: 1) The first half is basically a Ghibli film about clinical depression; 2) The second half is like My So-Called Life in that I once identified with the kid characters but I now feel closer to the parent characters; 3) My heart truly goes out to every therapist in the world who thought their patients had finally moved past comparing themselves to the main character of this series. If you would like to hear me discuss anime in more excruciating detail, message me on Slack.

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New threat to the Hobbits of the Shire: Venomous sea snakes. Yellow-bellied sea snakes are washing up on the shores of New Zealand and nobody’s quite sure why, but it’s probably a climate change thing. New Zealand was previously snake-free. Oh well, it was a good run.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go see Carousel. Not you, Tawny.

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Washington Ensemble Theatre presents amber, a sensory installation set in the disco era
In this 30-minute multimedia experience, lights & sounds guide groups as they explore a series of immersive spaces.