Happy mask mandate day! It's time to mask up everywhere indoors regardless of your vaccination status except for at "small, indoor gatherings where everyone is vaccinated and offices that aren't open to the public." Might want to toss the ol' mask on if you're around big crowds outside, too.
This could be the worst year on record for fentanyl overdoses in Washington: According to Public Health-Seattle and King County, the 200 fatal overdoses in King County this year have already surpassed last year's 172, KING 5 reports.
Gunfire at protests in Portland: At an event right-wingers called the "Summer of Love," a bunch of Proud Boys clashed with Antifa and other counter-protesters in Portland in a parking lot near Parkrose on Sunday. As promised, the cops did not intervene. They did show up to a shooting a couple blocks away from the antifascist counter-protest downtown, where a man fired "half a dozen shots" but injured no one. Witnesses claimed a right-winger fired the shots, but the cops said the shooter's affiliation with the protest remains unclear, the Portland Mercury reports.
Proud Boys just flipped over a van over. Some people in their group were claiming this van turned into their parking lot event and nearly hit someone. Whatever happened, that was the first event that seemed to set off all the clashes. pic.twitter.com/ai0BuoFUGV
— Ryan Haas (@ryanjhaas) August 22, 2021
Cats abandoned then rescued in West Seattle: West Seattle Blog reader Sharon writes that she found two cats in a box Sunday, and her neighbor later decided to adopt the cats, "so, if you dropped off these cats, don‘t worry, they already have found a forever home!" These lil babes are so cute.
Encampment sweeps ramp back up: In cities across the country, "the tolerance by housed neighbors and business owners for homeless people remaining in place is over," the Seattle Times reports. After very few removals in 2020, Seattle has conducted at least 33 sweeps since March. That's despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the ways displacing people who live outside can contribute to the spread of the coronavirus.
Lower Queen Anne's Uptown Espresso closes after 40 years: Fonté owner Paul Odom blamed King County's purchase of a nearby hotel to house homeless people as the "nail in the coffin for Uptown Espresso," reports the Seattle P.I. Odom, a Republican donor who gave Tim Burgess's People for Seattle PAC $2,5000 in 2019, plans to open another spot in Seattle and one more in Bellevue next year.
Tim's Tavern is also closing: The landlord declined to renew the Greenwood venue's lease, and the owners "have come to the conclusion that it is no longer safe to operate in our current form" due to COVID-19, a Tim’s Tavern spokesperson said in a press release. "Rest assured we are currently searching for a new outdoor, safer and more covid friendly space and WE WILL BE BACK stronger than ever. The shows must go on."
We are sad to announce the current Tim's location is closing. Here is a link to our official statement:https://t.co/qUfxkOQ610— Tim's Tavern (@timslivemusic) August 23, 2021
Big fire at a cold storage facility in downtown Puyallup "still smoldering" as of last night: No one yet knows what caused the blaze that prompted officials to evacuate several residents in the area over the weekend, but firefighters know they didn't want to douse the flames with water, KING 5 reports. The building contained "1,000 pounds of a refrigerant called anhydrous ammonia...which is lighter than air, so crews allowed the chemical to burn and rise into the atmosphere rather than weigh it down with water, which would then 'coat the community.'" Puyallup lifted the shelter-in-place advisory, though.
A reverse 911 call will be going to all businesses and residences within 1.1 miles of the fire location telling residents to evacuate now. This is not a drill. pic.twitter.com/2Xrt85L2CZ
— Puyallup Police (@PuyallupPD) August 21, 2021
Speaking of Pierce County: Somewhere between 25 and 35 people contracted COVID-19 at the county jail. Corrections officers quarantined 31% of the population and will only accept bookings for violent crime charges while this outbreak plays out, reports The News Tribune. Since the start of the pandemic, The Marshall Project reports that "at least 398,627 people in prisons have tested positive for COVID-19," including 6,254 in Washington.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer vaccine: The company will now market the vaccine as "Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older," which sounds like a drunk anti-vaxxer trying to pronounce the word "community" on the other side of an antifascist protest in Portland. In any event, the authorization gives anti-vaxxers one fewer bullshit reason not to get the life-saving vaccine. Moderna's brand name is "Spikevax" and AstraZeneca’s brand name is Vaxzevria, and I feel like we don't talk about this enough.
Tropical Storm Henri dumps on the east coast: The region didn't get rolled as hard as predicted, but the storm knocked out power in Rhode Island, forced Connecticut officials to evacuate some coastal areas, flooded parts of New Jersey, and rained all over New York City. In NYC, rainfall pushed Barry Manilow off the stage just before he launched into “Can’t Smile Without You," the New York Times reports.
Flash floods kill 22, leave 20 missing in Tennessee: After 17 inches of rain fell on central Tennessee Saturday, flood waters ripped through towns, drowning infants and the elderly, the Tennessean reports. Officials expect recovery to take weeks if not months.
Countries where the Children’s Climate Risk Index is extremely high "collectively emit just 9 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions," according to an analysis of a new UNICEF report by climate activists from Sweden, Mexico, Bangladesh, and Kenya. "We will not allow industrialized countries to duck responsibility for the suffering of children in other parts of the world," they write.
A few parts of Afghanistan continue to resist the Taliban: The Taliban vowed to send "hundreds" of its soldiers to fight a group of resisters in the north country, but that group has seen no sign of such an operation beginning, according to Al Jazeera. The group's leader, Ahmad Massoud, said he'd prefer to talk to Taliban forces but will fight if necessary.
Biden gave the country an update on Afghanistan: In a press conference Sunday, Biden laid out the plan (that was thin on details) for how the U.S. will deal with a backlog of refugees attempting to flee Kabul. That plan involved expanding the safe zone around the airport and paying commercial airlines to run people from Kabul to surrounding areas for processing. Officials evacuated about 11,000 people over the weekend, though that's "still short of the 5,000 to 9,000 people per day that senior military officials have said they have the capability to evacuate themselves," the Washington Post reports. Biden said the evacuation would have been "painful" no matter when we pulled out.
The G7 will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to talk about Afghanistan: The BBC reports that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who somehow chairs the group of the world's largest and wealthiest democracies, will press Biden to keep troops in Afghanistan past August 31 "in order to allow evacuation flights to continue." Though the UK still has 1,000 troops in the country, they obviously don't think we'll get everybody out by the middle of next week, and they don't think they'll have the numbers to hold the area if the US packs out.
Biden's approval rating slips: In a trend that began with the resurgence of coronavirus infections due to the delta variant, new polls show the President with his head barely above water in general. A majority (53%) approves of the way he's handling the virus (though that's down from 69% a few months ago), and the same number disapproves of the way he has handled the withdrawal from Afghanistan. That said, a large majority of people (63%) still think we should get the fuck out and stay the fuck out of that country.