COVID patients are filling local hospitals at an "alarming" rate: About a week ago, the Washington State Hospital Association hoped coronavirus infections were beginning to level off, but on Monday CEO Cassie Sauer "confirmed the news has only worsened," the Seattle Times reports. About 31.4% of the state's ICUs are filled with COVID-19 patients and the state is seeing an uptick in COVID deaths. Cases remain primarily among those who aren't vaccinated. Among COVID-19 cases since February, people 12 and older who weren't vaccinated made up 93% of cases, 94% of hospitalizations and 92% of deaths in Washington, the Times reports.
Seattle's expensive rents make it harder to house Afghan refugees: Local refugee resettlement groups say that while they're grateful for offers of hotel rooms and spare bedrooms, what they really need is affordable rental housing with space for refugees and their families. But in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, where some landlords are hesitant to rent to refugees without rental histories, the aid groups have trouble finding housing. “It’s a welcoming environment and has been for more than 40 years. Yet the housing market does not support all these other aspects of welcome,” said Nicky Smith, executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Seattle, told the Times.
Conservatives fail in their effort to stop Washington's conversion therapy ban: A federal judge on Monday rejected an attempt to block a 2018 state law banning "therapists" from trying to change a minor's sexual orientation, KING 5 reports. Attorney General Bob Ferguson called the decision a "win for LGBTQ+ civil rights." The Alliance Defending Freedom said they plan to appeal in defense of "the right to private conversations, free from government censorship." Lol.
Experts warn against attending the Washington State Fair: During the Washington State Hospital Association Briefing Monday, several health officials issued warnings about the upcoming state fair in Puyallup, The News Tribune reports. Dr. David Carlson, chief physician officer for MultiCare in Tacoma, said he is "very, very concerned about the stress that will put on our emergency room" due to routine injuries. WSHA CEO Cassie Sauer called events like the fair “a bad idea,” and warned against "any kind of mass gathering right now." The fair had no comment.
Get ready for a new bathroom at Alki: The big question, though, is just when the new restrooms will open, West Seattle Blog reports. The city is hoping for next week, but WSB notes the new building has been "under construction for seven months, with delays along the way including material availability."
Washington's utility shut-off moratorium lifts on Sept. 30: If you're behind on utilities, then the state advises you to "call your utility" and "make a plan" to "keep your service." Find more resources here.
750,000: That's how many renters landlords will boot by the end of this year, barring quicker deployments of rental assistance or a Congressional reinstatement of the eviction moratorium, CNN reports. Matt Egan at CNN pointed out that Goldman Sachs, the firm who gave the estimate, "predicted evictions could be 'particularly pronounced in the cities hardest hit by the coronavirus' because those areas have stronger apartment rental markets.'"
Here's an idea:
At eviction courts you in theory have an accounting of every overdue renter. You could settle every arrears out of the approx. $40 billion left in the rental assistance fund, until it runs out. By Goldman Sachs' estimate you'd have $20 billion+ left over.https://t.co/DSW1ju00iF
— David Dayen (@ddayen) August 31, 2021
No lights in New Orleans for at least a week: Nearly one million people will live without power after Hurricane Ida damaged "all eight of the transmission lines" that carry electricity to the city and its surrounding areas, the Times-Picayune reports. The transmission lines suffered similar damage from a hurricane back in 2008, and "only about 41 percent of the customers who lost power during Gustav had power back within 10 days."
The levees held, but some suburbs flooded: Tulane University history professor Andy Horowitz said the fact that the levees held out this time was “unequivocally great news," but he warned the Associated Press that climate change could alter that picture in the future. "As the system is challenged by stronger and more frequent hurricanes, I think many experts are very concerned about the rather low level of protection that New Orleans has," he said.
Classic: From NOPD Chief Shaun Ferguson:
Ferguson: We have received numerous calls of looting. And as such, we have made several arrests. This will not be tolerated. This is a state felony, and we will be booking you accordingly. #hurricaneida #nola
— Jessica Williams (@jwilliamsNOLA) August 30, 2021
The US drone strike killed seven kids and three adults, one of whom worked at "an American aid group," the New York Times reports. An Afghan family told the Times that story, which was partially confirmed by a hospital, and a spokesperson for the Pentagon "acknowledged the possibility that Afghan civilians had been killed in the drone strike." Those ten bodies join the nearly 50,000 other civilians killed in America's invasion and occupation of that country.
Though we're out of Afghanistan, we're not done with our meddling: The Washington Post offers a list of issues facing President Biden, including a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the challenge of compelling the Taliban to adhere to promises, a "counterterrorism effort," and a massive resettlement effort in the US (including over 120,000 Afghans so far). These are the concerns of the Blob, the web of national security think tanks and journalists who need the US to wage war.
Blob critic Robert Wright shares these concerns, but highlights different ones: Read his "Three Unlearned Lessons" from the war over at his Nonzero Newsletter.
Biden will deliver remarks on the end of the war today: Tune in at 11:45 am PDT.
UN passes resolution to hold the Taliban to their promise of letting people leave the country if they want: The text of the UN resolution also "calls for the Taliban to allow 'full, safe, and unhindered access' for the UN and other agencies to provide humanitarian assistance" but stops short of providing a UN-controlled "safe zone" in Kabul, Al Jazeera reports.
Trump and Republicans beat the anti-refugee drum: Trump, various GOP members of Congress, and right-wing hosts such as Tucker Carlson are trying to scare people using standard American dog-whistles, but Jennifer Sime, senior vice president of resettlement at the International Rescue Committee, told Politico that the behavior of mayors and communities doesn't reflect that trend.
GOP Congressman threatens Civil War if our "election systems continue to be rigged": Oddly enough, Rep. Madison Cawthorn wasn't arguing that the Electoral College and the Senate unfairly and massively disadvantage Democrats in federal elections, he was merely repeating the Big Lie about Biden losing the 2020 elections and spiking it with a little bloodlust. So weird not to see the civility police on the right coming after this guy. I wonder if they only blame certain kinds of people for inciting violence? Hm.
At a county GOP event, Rep. Madison Cawthorn lied that it's a lie Biden was "dutifully elected," said we know the election was "stolen"…then warned of "bloodshed," and suggested he might regretfully have to take up arms, if election systems "continue to be rigged" (they aren't): pic.twitter.com/3K9DoYh6Fe
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 30, 2021
This is how easy it is to become inured to mass death:
The last country has "eradicated" leaded gasoline: Algeria's ban of the highly toxic fuel last month means that "there is now no country in the world that uses leaded petrol for cars and lorries," reports the BBC. Though I'm loathe to repeat a tired riposte born from discourse on social media, the melting planet compels me: "Okay now do all fossil fuels."
Look, I gotta confess that I've been watching a hunting show on YouTube: Hunter and writer Steven Rinella is an interesting study in contemporary masculinity. Exhibit A: