Time to mask up at gatherings of over 500 people and wherever you cant maintain six feet of distance outdoors.
Time to mask up at gatherings of over 500 people and wherever you can't maintain six feet of distance outdoors.

Fans flock to Beth's: By Monday afternoon, the beloved diner had seen a rush of customers and was "turning customers away after running low on food," KING 5 reports. The cafe said it would be closing temporarily after Labor Day, though it's not clear if or when it will reopen. This is the second closure after an earlier shut down due to the pandemic.

King County and Pierce County outdoor mask mandates start today: The rules require masks at outdoor events of 500 people or more. On Monday, fans streamed into T-Mobile Park for a Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer concert (KIRO spelled it "Wheezer;" no shame, we all make mistakes) where masks were required in some instances but not for vaccinated fans at their seats, KIRO notes. That shit shouldn't fly anymore. In King County over the past month, unvaccinated people were seven times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 and 32 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated people, according to Public Health Seattle and King County.

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200,000 Washingtonians to lose expanded unemployment: The federal programs providing $300 extra per week and unemployment benefits for contractors and the self-employed have now ended, affecting 200,000 people in Washington, the local Fox affiliate reports.

Why has Biden been quiet about cutting these benefits? The president and his advisors are "now banking on other federal help and an autumn pickup in hiring to keep vulnerable families from foreclosure and food lines," according to the New York Times. Biden's advisors believe the economy is "in the process of completing a hand off between federal assistance and the labor market," and that more people are heading back to work. Biden is also busy pushing Congress to pass the ~bipartisan~ infrastructure bill and his big budget.

Biden's advisors could be full of shit: As Matt Bruenig at the People's Policy Project argued last week, kicking contractors off benefits and scrapping the boost will not increase the speed of job growth; it will only further immiserate the poor. That "hand off" the President's advisors are talking about won't be complete for another five months. In the meantime, people will need to choose between paying for food and paying for back rent.

After suing, the largest state employee union reaches a deal on vax requirement: The Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) reached a tentative agreement with the governor's office on the state's new vaccine mandate. Under the agreement, the executive will still require workers to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 with no testing offered as an alternative. But the union forced the state to provide leave to get the vaccine, plus one personal leave day as a "vaccine incentive." Workers eligible for retirement and those who don't want the vaccine can use accrued leave for the rest of the year and retire by Dec. 31 without being fired. The deal also creates a process for employees trying to get a religious or medical exemption, giving them extra time to get the vaccine if needed. Austin Jenkins at the NW News Network has the details.

Meanwhile: The union representing Department of Corrections workers still hasn't reached a deal, Jenkins reports: "In a bargaining update Friday, the union said the Inslee administration was unwavering that 'you must be vaccinated to maintain a position at DOC.' 'We continue to be at odds over the State’s ability to accommodate employees after being approved for medical and religious exemptions,' the update said."

Fall is right.
"Fall" is right. Screenshot from Seattle Police United

Meanwhile: Some cops at the Seattle Police Department launched a movement and website to resist the city's vaccine mandate, though one cop tells me the movement likely will not pick up any steam. The site aims to "inform all members of SPOG and even other City unions" about ways to avoid the mandate, but it also claims SPOG doesn't endorse the site. I've got an email out to SPD and to SPOG president Mike Solan, but the site's liberal use of the phrase "HOLD THE LINE" and "SPD family" point to Solan as an organizer, and I don't know who else would center-justify text on a website in 2021. Though we've come to expect this kind of unhinged behavior from SPD, the movement's slogan seems a bit too on the nose: "We will rise and fall together." Bruce Harrell better get in there and start handing out some high-fives before the cops give everybody COVID-19.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the SPD said Chief Adrian Diaz "continues to encourage SPD personnel, as he has for months, to obtain their vaccination" and added that the flyer and website "are in direct conflict with SPD’s goal of full vaccination for employees, and we have forwarded this information to the Office of Police Accountability for review."

Meanwhile: A rumored ferry worker sickout protesting the vaccine mandate failed to materialize over the weekend, Mike Lindblom reports. Maritime unions didn't sanction the sickout and vehicle volumes were lower than usual. The sickout threatened to exacerbate an already fragile ferry system plagued by pre-existing worker shortages.

Meanwhile: City officials say some Seattle City Light workers may be planning a sickout Tuesday in opposition to the city's vaccine mandate. Employees who participate "will be recommended for discipline, up to and including termination," City Light Executive Michelle Vargo wrote to employees, according to the Seattle Times. The mayor's office does not believe the sickout is being "driven or supported by union leadership."

They're probably all hopped up on horse paste: People have filed eight complaints against Washington doctors for prescribing ivermectin for "off-label treatments," though the Seattle Times report doesn't say whether the doctors are prescribing veterinary ivermectin or some other kind. Whatever the case, despite what a bunch of rubes on Reddit say, no evidence shows the drug treats COVID-19 effectively, and the drug presents "serious risks" to consumers. Ivermectin poison control calls in Washington have "tripled," though "most calls were from people asking about ivermectin safety," according to the Times.

New pic of Seattle dropped:

Big crowd came out for Rep. Matt Gaetz in Southwest Washington: Trump endorsed some freak running against Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, and the guy accused of sex trafficking a 17-year-old came out to rally the troops in Clark County for him ahead of a "VIP" fundraiser in Battle Ground. What is the smallest unit of troops? A platoon? A squad? A coffee klatch? Anyhow, a klatch of bigots showed up, and it looks like no one wanted to stand next to the one guy wearing a mask.

Justice Department vows to do... something... about Texas banning abortion: Attorney General Merrick Garland committed to "discuss our enforcement authorities" regarding abortion clinics "under attack" in Texas, where the Supreme Court let stand an obviously unconstitutional law that bans nearly all abortions in the state using a countrywide private right of action and a $10,000 bounty as its enforcement/reward mechanisms. Seems like more inadequate pablum from an administration (and a Democratic party) that had no strategy for how to respond to the end of Roe, which everyone could see coming from a mile away. People should be marching in the streets.

Michael K. Williams is dead at 54: The actor who played the best character in the best television show of the 21st century was found dead in his Williamsburg home at 2 pm on Monday. Cops are investigating the death of Williams, who played Omar Little in The Wire, "as a possible drug overdose," the New York Times reports.

Jean-Paul Belmondo is dead at 88: French New Wave's leading man died in his home in Paris on Monday. According to the Agence France-Presse, a statement from the family via his lawyer read, "He had been very tired for some time. He died peacefully." He was never any good for Jean Seberg, anyway.

The Taliban claims the last of its enemies in the north have fallen: A group of hardcore, longtime Taliban resistance fighters in Panjshir claim to remain present "in 'all strategic positions' and "continue to fight'" despite Taliban soldiers raising the group's flag over Panjshir's governor's office. A representative for the resistance called for "a 'national uprising' against the Taliban," the BBC reports.

The Taliban cracks down on protests: "Dozens" of women marched against the Taliban and Pakistan on the streets of Kabul this morning until some "special forces troops in camouflage fired their weapons into the air" to end the demonstration, the Associated Press reports. Protesters held signs mourning the dead in Panjshir. “I am a mother when you kill my son you kill a part of me," one sign read.

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Myanmar freedom fighters gear up for war against the junta: Bands of people protesting the Feb 1 coup and "ethnic armed groups" jointed together to form the National Unity Government (NUG) and the People’s Defence Forces (PDF). In a video published on social media, acting NUG president Duwa Lashi La said, “We will remove [senior general] Min Aung Hlaing and uproot dictatorship from Myanmar for good and be able to establish a peaceful federal democratic union that fully safeguards equality and is long-aspired by all the citizens.” Over 1,000 people have been killed, and "tens of thousands have been displaced in the violence," Al Jazeera reports.

Schrödinger's coup: Guinean president Alpha Condé, who changed the constitution so he could retain power for a third term, may or may not have evaded a coup attempt carried out by a group of soldiers called the National Committee for Reconciliation and Development. The group disseminated an unverified video of soldiers asking questions to a mum but visibly uninjured Condé, who was "sitting barefoot on a sofa wearing jeans and a printed shirt," but the country's defense department said they repelled the usurpers, the BBC reports.

Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks: Never forget by reading Spencer Ackerman's Reign Of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump, listening to Slow Burn: The Road to the Iraq War, and watching Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror on Netflix.

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