MLK march reflected the depth of King's messages: Capitol Hill Seattle blog reports on Monday's big march from Garfield High School to City Hall, with stops at Kroger and the youth jail. The organizers, Seattle MLK Jr. Coalition, "focused on truth and education in the face of the debate over critical race theory and rallied for voter rights." Mayor Bruce Harrell and former King County Councilmember Larry Gossett spoke. Members of Harrell's administration, Seattle City Councilmember Sara Nelson, and a bunch of labor locals were spotted in the crowd. A lit road sign read, “SPD STANDS WITH YOU."
Speaking of SPD: On Friday evening, the SPD posted on its blog a letter from interim Chief Adrian Diaz to Office of Inspector General Lisa Judge announcing that cops won't stop people only for committing any one of the following traffic offenses: Driving with expired tabs, driving without a front license plate, driving with stuff "hanging from rearview mirrors or cracked windshields" (didn't know they could stop you for that!!!), or cycling without a helmet.
SPD's announcement was responsive to recommendations Judge and other public officials submitted to the department, though, as Diaz mentioned in the letter, that group also recommended "ceasing primary enforcement for all equipment violations," such as driving with broken taillights, but SPD didn't want to abide by that rec due to "pedestrian and driver safety" concerns.
Speaking of safety concerns and traffic stops: The Seattle Times offers a brief on a Pierce County Sheriff's deputy shooting and killing a man at a traffic stop on Sunday. The details so far are pretty scant: A dispatcher told the cop that one of the passengers was "armed," the man who the cop killed was in the back seat, and neither the cop, nor the driver, nor another passenger sustained any injuries.
If you want to help solve the housing crisis: Then today is a good day to tell your state representative how you feel: Follow the instructions in this tweet before 9 am, and you'll have done your local politics duty for the day.
Today’s the day! It’s critical that you sign up in favor of these bills. It only takes 30 seconds to support statewide housing and zoning reform. Don’t delay as the sign up time closes 1 hour before the hearing (10am). #Homes4WA #waleg https://t.co/5aCRmqDqmE
— The Urbanist (@UrbanistOrg) January 18, 2022
It's election time again, baby! Seattle-area voters need to decide whether to renew TWO (count 'em) TWO school levy renewals on the Feb 8 special election ballot. The Stranger Election Control Board totally knew about these school levy renewals and will — as we've been planning to for months now — weigh in later this week with sound, considered guidance on whether or not to give the children money to have school nurses. In the meantime, West Seattle Blog published brief rundowns on Props 1 & 2, in case you want a little primer. King County Elections will mail ballots to registered voters starting Wednesday, so expect them to hit mailboxes by Friday or Monday.
Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard for nearly $69 billion: Nice. Geekwire has the story about the Redmond tech giant scooping up "some of the most iconic franchises in modern gaming, 10,000 employees, and a recent spate of revelations of sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct."
Staffing issues hobble drained blood bank: Bloodbank Northwest is offering $2,500 signing bonuses for
vampires "blood collection specialists" due to a staffing shortage of nearly 30 workers, KING 5 reports. The job requires no degree — just a strong stomach, a steady hand, and the ability to complete paperwork.
There was a little tsunami on Saturday: An underwater volcano near Tonga went kablooey and sent big waves out across the Pacific. The National Tsunami Warning Center issued an advisory for much of the U.S.'s northwest coast and reported three-foot waves hitting the cliffs and beaches, according to FOX 13.
You could see the explosion from space:
The tsunami waves didn't really fuck with the Puget Sound area, though the shockwave from the volcano eruption hit us hard enough to clear that thicc-ass fog from Saturday evening's skies for a little bit, KIRO reports. To quote the National Weather Service: “Fascinating stuff."
Also: Wasn't that fog nuts??? So spooky, so pretty, and such a weird little entrée to a three-day weekend.
Tonga got fucked, though: A thick layer of ash covering the runway in Nuku’alofa prevented Australia and New Zealand from landing planes full of supplies; the explosion ruptured "Tonga’s only undersea communication cable," which fucked up comms; military officials report heavy damage on many of the country's 30 islands; and at least one person was confirmed dead, Al Jazeera reports.
Don't give up on sensible COVID health protections: The Omicron surge brought with it a doomer sense of inevitability. "At this point, we're all gonna get it, it's just a matter of time." "Not see my family for Christmas TWO years in a row? I'd die!" "I have to LIVE my LIFE!!!" The Washington Post is here with a reality check: "Scientists are quick to point out that they don’t know how long omicron-induced immunity lasts. The virus keeps mutating. Slippery variants packing a more powerful punch could yet emerge, and virologists say that, contrary to what has sometimes been conjectured, viruses do not inexorably evolve toward milder strains."
Justice Gorsuch won't mask up, so Justice Sotomayor, who has diabetes, must work remotely. These fucking people.
Nina Totenberg reports that (1) the Chief Justice asked his colleagues to mask up out of respect for Sotomayor’s health concerns, (2) only Gorsuch refused, and (3) his refusal forced Sotomayor to participate in arguments and conference remotely. https://t.co/DmsQV8j7Wz pic.twitter.com/7JG5hMN0q7
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) January 18, 2022
Texas rabbi explains how he helped hostages escape: After an 11-hour standoff, Rabbi Cytron-Walker slowly directed everyone to within 20 feet of the exit. When the gunman, Malik Faisal Akram, told them to get on their knees, the rabbi bolted up and then threw a chair at the gunman, which created a distraction that gave him and the three remaining hostages a chance to escape, the New York Times reports. The rabbi said he let the guy into the temple in the first place because he looked cold.
Akram, a 44-year-old man from Blackburn, England, had "a criminal record and an extensive history of mental health issues," reports The Guardian. Akram’s brother asked a good question: “He’s known to police. Got a criminal record. How was he allowed to get a visa and acquire a gun?” Biden said he purchased the gun "on the street."
The Brits send some anti-tank missiles to Ukraine: Russia continues to saber-rattle over something that's not going to happen (NATO banning Ukraine from joining the alliance), the U.S. keeps threatening sanctions that would ultimately piss off Europe due to their reliance on Russian oil, and now the UK is tossing some weapons into the fray, the BBC reports.
Leftist policies that create health care, a clean climate, and fair working conditions for all: Out of fashion, the Washington Post reports.
Batshit right-wing nutjobs: Ascendent. Politico reports on Donald Trump's first rally of 2022. In front of a big ("thousands"), Q-heavy Arizona crowd, the next President of the United States of America repeated his Big Lie and falsely suggested the FBI did the insurrection. The crowd chanted a meme about Biden and expressed a desire to "lock up" the country's chief medical advisor.
Bills to expand voting rights: Likely DOA. Senate Dems plan to put the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act on the floor today, though staunch opposition from Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema will doom the bill, the New York Times reports. Schumer apparently hoped MLK Day celebrations would guilt the politicians into supporting the changes to Senate rules necessary to get the bills through a GOP blockade, but lol. Now he'll take the L on the floor, and then hobble into the midterms pointing to two big public losses as evidence of the Dems' ability to govern. Good lucks dudes.
No choice but to end with the mad villain: