What Biden says: "We should all be concerned about omicron, but not panic." "I got my booster shot as soon as they were available." "This is not March of 2020. Two hundred million people are fully vaccinated. We're prepared. We know more."
NPR has more about his speech to the nation this afternoon: He announced access to free tests (the guy bought 500 million; better late than never) and more aid to hospitals, and then strongly urged vaccinations, told vaccinated people to "enjoy the holiday season," and said some nice things about Trump. Wheee.
What health officials say: Prepare for a "very difficult winter."
Some less difficult news: The days are just getting longer. Today's 4:20 PM sunset (nice 🍁) might not feel merry, but it's about to be brighter from here on out. By the end of January, we'll see sunsets after 5 PM. Wowow.
I moved to Seattle right before the summer solstice and now today is the winter solstice. It’s been a beautiful place to explore what can I say pic.twitter.com/8QcuudbtSj
— Amanda Zhou (@AmondoZhou) December 21, 2021
The University of Washington is taking most classes back online for the beginning of winter quarter: "To foster a successful start to the winter quarter, during the first week of the quarter — Jan. 3 to 9 — most classes will be held online," the university president wrote in an announcement today. I expect more universities will follow suit.
I saw at least four local nightlife events get canceled this afternoon due to performers coming into contact with COVID-19 or getting infected. Tis the season for self-imposed shutdowns.
It's a good time to stay at home: "Drought-denting rains, feet of mountain snow to plaster West Coast"
You guys are always talking about “seasonal depression” we’re literally supposed to be asleep
— Mimi “Bosco Stan Account” Michete (@Michete) December 22, 2021
Cool beans: Workers at a Capitol Hill Starbucks filed a petition to hold a union election on January 10, reports Heidi Groover at Seattle Times. The move comes after a successful unionizing effort at a Starbucks in New York state. During that campaign, Starbucks founder and Capitol Hill billionaire Howard Schultz (a man we, regrettably, are still writing about) wrote in a letter that he was "saddened and concerned" to hear that employees were seeking to unionize.
And over at Kellogg plants: The 11-week Kellogg strike is over. Around 1,400 members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union have protested since October 5 in response to an uneven benefit system and potential plant closures. Today workers voted to approve a new contract, and NPR spoke with labor reporter Dave Jamieson about the news here.
Some of the victories in the new contract, per CNN:
The new five-year deal includes prohibition on any plant closings during the life of the contract. It also allows more recent hires who had a less attractive pay scale and benefit offering, to graduate to "legacy" status. All employees with four or more years of service will get that bump in status immediately, and other employees will move into legacy status annually after this.
There is also a cost-of-living increase in pay to protect workers from rising prices.
Update: I finished a Lego wreath.
Disgraced twice-impeached former president Donald Trump announced a new press conference today: It'll be on January 6, 2022. Excuse me while I vom:
Trump said he will discuss the events of that day, in which rioters marched to the Capitol after hearing him speak outside the White House. Trump told the crowd of supporters he would never concede the Nov. 3 election and urged them to "fight like hell" before they went to the Capitol, where lawmakers were preparing to certify Democrat Joe Biden's victory.
In a mic-drop-esque move, Utah billionaire Jeff Greene resigned from the Mormon church and donated $600,000 to Equality Utah, an LGBTQ advocacy group. The Mormon church opposes same-sex marriage in addition to the recent Equality Act, a federal bill that would prevent LGBTQ people from housing and employment discrimination.
Not to be overlooked: Real Housewives of Salt Lake City's Heather Gay is moving mountains for the ex-Mormon community.
Chris Noth is out at The Equalizer. The Sex and the City actor will no longer act on one of Charles Mudede's favorite shows, reports CNN, after two women accused Noth of sexually assaulting them. Noth denies the allegations.
Anniversaries: Capitol Hill Seattle blog is celebrating Montana Bar's 10-year. Congrats! We love a Moscow mule on tap.
And why is the internet talking about Beavis and Butt-Head? Because 25 years ago this week, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America was born.
The Portland Mercury's Isabella Garcia contributed to this round-up.