Pfizer and BioNTech say preliminary data shows that the first two doses of their COVID vaccine plus a booster grants strong protection against the omicron variant, reports The Hill. While just two doses protection against severe disease, the study found a "40-fold reduction in neutralizing antibodies against the new variant." The pharma companies say they are working on an omicron-specific vaccine.
Chile's Congress votes to legalize same-sex marriage, despite the right-wing President Sebastian Piñera running the country. He said he supports gay marriage, and politicians expect him to sign the bill into law, reports CNN. In Latin America, Chile will now join Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay, and parts of Mexico in letting the gayz get hitched.
There's a new chancellor in town: Germany swore in Olaf Scholz as its new chancellor, ending Angela Merkel's 16-year run in the position, reports the BBC. He'll oversee a three-party coalition between his party—the center-left Social Democrats—the Greens, and "business-friendly" Free Democrats.
And the Lynn Shelton "Of a Certain Age" award goes to...Erica Tremblay! She is a Seneca-Cayuga Nation director based in New York, who will put the $25,000 unrestricted cash award towards her first narrative feature film FANCY DANCE. Of the film, Tremblay said it "offers a spotlight on the matriarchal bonds that hold my community together." Northwest Film Forum and Duplass Brothers Productions co-founded the award following the death of Seattle director Lynn Shelton last year. The prize is awarded to one U.S.-based "female, non-binary, intersex, and/or transgender" director over the age of 39 every year. Congrats, Erica!
Today in the War on Christmas: The New York Police Department has arrested a 49-year-old man after they say they saw him climbing a tree outside the Fox News building in Manhattan that caught fire, reports NBC News. The burning bush injured no one, only the spirit of Christmas.
No more tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge? Not if Sen. Emily Randall has anything to do with it. The state senator from Bremerton is sponsoring legislation that would remove the bridge's toll in the next two years and pay off its remaining debt, reports KING 5. She proposes taking $772 million from the general fund to eliminate the rest of the debt. Drivers entirely finance the bridge's construction, and Randall thinks that burden can be shared "more equitably." We'll see how this fares once the state legislative session kicks off on January 10.
Charlottesville's bronze Robert E. Lee statue to be given to a local heritage center: The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center will then melt down the statute to make "a new work of public art that expresses the City's values of inclusivity and racial justice," reports CBS News. All of this comes after the city removed Lee from his pedestal back in July, along with other monuments dedicated to Stonewall Jackson and Lewis and Clark alongside Sacagawea. Let's do guns next!
Updates on that supply chain: According to West Seattle Blog, the city's port commissioners were told yesterday that "rail-cargo backups have cleared," and there aren't as many ships waiting to anchor in Elliott Bay. However, the problem remains "getting trucks to transport containers off the docks." They are looking into other solutions—like short-distance rail—to get the cargo away from the docks and avoid fees.
Today is as good a day as any to remember we live on a subduction zone: Officials recorded 10 earthquakes off the coast of Oregon yesterday, including one that had a magnitude of 5.8. But the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network and the National Weather Service said this is nothing to worry about as the 'quakes occurred "more than six miles below the surface of the water" and could not be felt on land, reports the Seattle Times. Seismophobes, you live to see yet another day.
The activity off the coast of Oregon is certainly eye-catching, but nothing to be extra concerned about! This area, called the Blanco Fracture Zone, is very active. There have been 49 earthquakes above magnitude 4.5 in the last 5 years alone! pic.twitter.com/davZ9qEGBy
— PNSN (@PNSN1) December 8, 2021
Kellogg has decided to permanently replace 1,400 striking union members after they reject contract: On Tuesday, the cereal company said a majority of their U.S. cereal plant workforce didn't vote for a new five-year contract, "forcing" them to hire permanent replacements, reports CNBC. The strike has been going on since October 5, when the union workers' contracts expired and talks about payment and benefits made no progress. Kellogg says they have no plans to continue negotiations with the union.
More shit getting thrown off Seattle overpasses and onto the highway: Yesterday, the Washington State Patrol confirmed they are looking into reports of people throwing debris onto cars traveling down I-5 between Seneca and Mercer streets, reports KOMO. This time around, drivers reported someone heaving a toaster onto the highway.
Mark Meadows won't cooperate with the House subcommittee on January 6: The former White House chief of staff reversed his position on talking with the investigation, reports The Guardian. His lawyer said the committee "has no intention of respecting boundaries" regarding executive privilege. Boundaries are kind of a hard thing to maintain if you're suspected of knowing about an, uhhhh, assault on the U.S. Capitol, dontcha think? The House will start contempt proceedings against Meadows.
Wanna see something cool? Researchers have found a hidden sketch behind Rembrandt's 1642 painting, "The Night Watch," reavling many of the changes the Dutch master made to the work before its completion.
For your listening pleasure: Saucy Santana's "Material Girl (Bass Boosted)." The way this song has been stuck in my head....