………………………………………………god damn it
A day after vowing not to change the reopening metrics, Governor Inslee changes the reopening metrics: Now counties need to fail to meet both state-approved hospitalization rate and case rate thresholds to automatically fall back a phase in Inslee’s reopening plan, the Governor announced in an email Friday afternoon. The news comes after “more than a dozen” counties appeared at risk of failing to contain the virus to an acceptable degree ahead of the statewide check-in scheduled for Monday, and only a day after Inslee said during a press conference that changes to the metrics were not “a discretionary call by the governor.”
Counties that are failing to meet both metrics include: “Adams, Asotin, Cowlitz, Douglas, Pend Oreille, Pierce*, Yakima,” according to a tally from MyNorthwest. That asterisk next to Pierce County acknowledges a small difference between state and county data on case rates. King County currently meets both metrics, so we’ll probably remain in Phase 3, but the trends are not looking great.
The Duch is not anxious about the Governor’s move: On his weekly press call, Public Health Seattle & King County chief Dr. Jeff Duchin said “the metrics are a little bit arbitrary,” and added that he “didn’t have a lot of anxiety” about requiring counties to fail both metrics before moving back because “the two track together.”
That said, it’s uhhhhhh not looking great: Though King County currently hits both metrics, the trends are looking dicey. The county’s hospitalization and case rates have plateaued after doubling since mid-March, likely due to the combination of increasing activities and more variant strains, Duchin said. Whether those rates increase or decrease from the plateau depends on whether you can chill the fuck out for like A COUPLE MORE WEEKS so that more people can get vaccinated.
Speaking of which: Next week, over 650,000 King County residents (including me!) will be newly eligible for the vaccine, and we will not have enough vaccine available for everyone who wants one by then. If you live in Seattle, sign onto the city’s notification list, or use the vaccine locator when it’s your time. And then, as a treat…
Get ready to go to the MALL, people. Sound Transit
Oct 2: That’s when the University District, Roosevelt and Northgate light rail stations will open up to commuters and joyriders, King 5 reports. A trip from the indoor mall to the outdoor mall will only take you 14 minutes. Let us all marvel at the journey:
Embrace the fuck out of spring’s weird, nervy darknesses with Mozart Concerto 20: Eric Lu, who took won the fancy-pants Leeds International Piano Competition in his 20th year on the planet, leads the Seattle Symphony in an interpretation of one of Mozart’s stormier jams. You can buy your start your free trial with the symphony’s streaming service here, or else just set up a $12.99/month streaming account with them. The concert will be streamable all week.
Carmelo’s now open on 12th and Cherry: According to CHS Blog, the best taco place on Capitol Hill opened up a new shop over by Seattle University and is now serving up birria, an old Guadalajaran preparation that has been having an extended moment in the food vid world.
Watch Nathalie on Week in Review: The Stranger‘s City Hall and bird murder reporter joined KIRO’s Essex Porter and Q13’s Brandi Kruse to cross swords on a number of topics, including Melissa Santos’s report on the state’s lying-ass cops, Durkan’s reinstatement of the dreaded 72-hour parking rule, Burgess’s charter proposal, and whether or not there’s much of a distinction between Seattle cops attending a rally to root for overturning the will of the people and actually busting into the Capitol to lift a lectern. I would like to commend my colleague for questioning Kruse’s use of false equivalencies and bad comparisons to support arguments. I’d say such a habit was “unjournalistic,” but unfortunately it’s commonplace in the industry, especially in the “both-sides” commentariat racket.
The Seattle Chamber will endorse no more: In a guest editorial for PubliCola, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Rachel Smith (no relation) announced that the powerful business group will stop endorsing candidates and stop funding them through their political arm, CASE. Instead, they’ll focus on “informing and educating the business community and the public about the issues, the candidates, and their plans.” Sounds like the Chamber wants to hide its corporatist ideology behind “grassroots lobbying” efforts in an effort to scrub its toxic local brand after its monumental failure to buy the city council in 2019. Not sure if it’ll work for them. Instead of “Chamber-backed” candidates vs “progressive” candidates, we’ll have candidates who support “Chamber-backed” policies or progressive policies. And of course, we’ll always have the Seattle Times Editorial Board.
Washington Senate passes cap and trade + clean fuel standard for the first time ever: As part of a “grand bargain” that includes a massive, earth-killing transportation package, Democrats in the Washington state Senate passed two massive, “historic” proposals that aim to clean up fuels and put a price on carbon. I wrote about the carbon pricing bill (and the devils in its details) here. Nathalie wrote about the clean fuels bill here. See my coverage of the floor “debate” between climate deniers and Democrats in the thread below. The bills now head to the House, which will have two weeks to strengthen them. In interviews, House Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and House Speaker Laurie Jinkins have cast doubt on the chamber’s ability to pass the cap and trade bill before the session ends.
One-and-dones will be thin on the ground: The Johnson & Johnson vax will be scarce until we figure out what’s going on here, the New York Times reports. “Mr. Zients initially suggested that the firm would be able step up deliveries by the end of this month, then backed off, saying he did not know and could not speculate about what federal regulators might do.”
Labor lost the battle in Bessemer, but it may yet win the war against the e-commerce giant (at some point), labor leaders tell the Seattle Times. The preliminary count showed nearly 1,800 employees voting against the union and 738 employees voting in favor of the union, with 505 challenged ballots. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union president claimed he “won’t let Amazon’s lies, deception, and illegal activities go unchallenged.”
What ever could that union leader be talking about? According to the Times:
Amazon forced employees to attend mandatory lectures about the perils of unionization, launched a website warning workers that paying union dues could make it harder to feed their families, and changed the timing of traffic lights outside the warehouse to make it harder for union organizers to canvass workers. The company also pressed the U.S. Postal Service to install a mailbox to collect ballots at the warehouse just before the start of the mail-in voting period, a move union officials said was intended to intimidate workers. Amazon has said the mailbox’s placement was intended to make voting easier for workers.
Biden’s looking at whether to expand the Supreme Court: But the commission he ordered to review the topic “is not set to issue specific recommendations at the end of its study — an outcome that is likely to disappoint activists,” the New York Times reports. This afternoon I plan to apply for a seat on the commission, and I promise to use my time to scream, “PACK THE COURT. OR ‘ENHANCE’ THE COURT. OR ‘INNOVATE’ THE COURT. PUT MORE PEOPLE ON IT WHO DON’T WANT TO FORCE IMMIGRANT TEENS TO HAVE BABIES IN PRISON AGAINST THEIR WILL, IS WHAT I’M SAYING.”
Speaking of psychopaths: Today Congress launched an investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz following reports that he “may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gift, in violation of House Rules, laws, or other standards of conduct,” according to the Washington Post.
Got a big smoking volcano going on down in St. Vincent: 16,000 have been ordered to evacuate “red zones” near La Soufrière, a volcano that “has been dormant for decades,” the BBC reports.
RIP DMX: The alpha of the Ruff Ryders died young at 50 after suffering a “catastrophic” heart attack, the AP reports. Nas called Dark Man X “God’s poet.”