Seattle artist Anthony White gets an unrestricted cash award of $15,000 and a solo show at SAM next year.
Seattle artist Anthony White gets an unrestricted cash award of $15,000 and a solo show at SAM next year. Courtesy of the SAM

The King County Water Taxi will keep its summer hours to serve the people of West Seattle: The city and county made a deal yesterday that will "allow increased water taxi services for residents as long as the West Seattle Bridge is closed," reports KING 5. Instead of summertime service ending on October 15, Seattleites can now ride the water taxi from 6 am to 7 pm seven days a week.

U.S. gymnasts harshly criticize the F.B.I. for its mishandling of the Larry Nassar investigation: Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and collegiate gymnast Maggie Nichols all testified yesterday about the failures of the government agency's handling of sexual harassment and assault claims in the U.S. gymnastics program, reports The Hill. “To not indict these agents is a disservice to me and my teammates, a disservice to the system which is built to protect all of us from abuse,” said Maroney. F.B.I. director Christopher Wray apologized to the women for the bureau's role in the abuse.

Spotted: Endangered North Pacific right whales in the Gulf of Alaska. Sightings of these sea beasts are relatively rare—their population stands at around 30—and this summer, scientists got close enough to make acoustic recordings of two right whales. The Seattle Times has that and more here.

President Biden will given a speech this afternoon: This time Ol' Joe will layout the structure of his administration's plan to tax the rich (you think he saw AOC's dress?), strengthen the middle class, and kick the economy in high gear. A White House official told NBC News that the president will "argue that the U.S. can’t return to the way things were for the middle class before the coronavirus pandemic." Biden also plans to empower the IRS to "crack down on the wealthiest Americans who have evaded paying taxes." You hear that Bezos?

I honestly can't get enough of this Nicki Minaj story: Earlier this week the unvaccinated rapper said she did not attend the Met Gala because of its vaccine requirement. As supporting evidence for her vaccine hesitancy, she tweeted that her cousin's friend in Trinidad got swollen balls and "became impotent" after getting vaxxed. That viral (and untrue) tweet caused such a stir that the fucking health minister of the island country investigated the claim and found it to be false. Even Fauci weighed in. Now, the White House is ringing Nicki, offering to connect her "with one of the Biden administration's doctors to address her questions about the COVID-19 vaccine." Government resources are being used on this!

Jesus would be proud: The Northwest Carpenters Union is on strike after a 56% to 44% weekend vote rejected a contract deal and authorized the move, reports Heidi Groover over at the Seattle Times. The carpenters are looking for "bigger pay increases in their next contract to keep up with the cost of living." The strike's effects are far-reaching, stopping work at "hundreds of construction projects across the region, ranging from sites with a few carpenters to large projects."

After weeks of consistently falling, the number of people filing unemployment claims goes back up: 332,000 Americans applied for benefits last week, up from 312,000 the week previous, reports AP. The news agency observes that it is "a sign that worsening COVID infections may slightly increase layoffs."

Stranger cover star Anthony White is a winner, baby: The Seattle Art Museum announced yesterday that the Seattle-based painter won their 2021 Betty Bowen Award. White nabs an unrestricted cash award of $15,000 and a solo exhibition at the SAM next year. “I have dreamt of one day exhibiting my work at the Seattle Art Museum, and it's exciting that the opportunity is now in sight,” White said in a press release announcing the news. Scooping up special recognition prizes are Humaira Abid and Tariqa Waters, which both come with $2,500 awards. If you're unfamiliar with White's "paintings" made with plastic and stuffed with pop culture references/millennial ennui, might I suggest a show to rectify that problem?

Also in case you missed it: Decolonize SAM, a collective of workers at the museum, have updated their call to boycott the museum over their policies towards the houseless community after management fired an outside security agency earlier this month.

Brief weather update: The calm before the (rain)storm!

Meet your new light rail ambassadors: Sound Transit has officially launched a pilot program deploying "fare ambassadors" who will politely check you for proof of payment as well as provide "help and information about the transit service," reports CHS Blog. The experiment will last for eight months and these ambassadors won't issue citations during the initial pilot. The new ambassador positions were formed in response to the "discomfort with fare enforcement officers who resemble law enforcement," says Sound Transit, especially in light of Black riders receiving a disproportionate amount of punishment on the service.

Washington state will take in 1,679 Afghan refugees, says the State Department: And of that, 575 Afghans will make a home here in Seattle, reports KOMO. Let's welcome them with open arms.

U.S. Capitol girds itself for what could be Insurrection Redux: This Saturday, Washington, D.C. authorities are preparing themselves for a far-right rally called "Justice for J6,"—referencing the day thousands of idiots stormed the Capitol building—organized to protest "the ongoing criminal cases tied to individuals charged after the siege," reports NPR. In response, a fence around the Capitol's perimeter has gone back up and the National Guard will be on standby.

There is someone from Everett hurtling hundreds of miles above the Earth's surface right now: Chris Sembroski, a data engineer from Everett, is currently orbiting our big blue planet along with three other civilians as part of SpaceX's first private, all-amateur flight. For three whole days, the crew—which includes billionaire Jared Isaacman—will circle earth at a distance "100 miles (160 kilometers) higher than the International Space Station" in the so-called Dragon capsule. It'll then come down in the waters off Florida, reports AP. I would be shitting my pants at the thought!

For your listening pleasure: Mark Morrison's "Return of the Mack." I heard someone blasting this out their car window last weekend and remembered how much I love this song.... a classic.