Slog PM: Trump Pardons Flynn, Fauci Issues His “Final Plea,” Don’t Pass COVID with the Gravy

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A convicted Trump henchman walks free, lads.

A convicted Trump henchman walks free, lads. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Thanksgiving is tomorrow: And we over here at The Stranger are taking the day off to get stuffed and listen to ABBA. Enjoy your non-superspreader Turkey Day (if you celebrate), and we’ll be back again on Friday.

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Speaking of Thanksgiving: Ahead of what is likely to be one giant, germy Thursday, Joe Biden delivered a somber address to the nation, urging Americans to recommit to fighting the virus this holiday season. In the 18-minute speech, Biden acknowledged that we’ve “grown weary of the fight,” but that this is the moment to “steel our spines, redouble our efforts and recommit to the fight.” He pushed us to remember that “we’re all in this together.” Watch the full speech here: [embedded content]

Anthony Fauci also issued his “final plea,” begging people to limit their Thanksgiving festivities this year: “Keep the indoor gatherings as small as you possibly can,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America in an interview. “We all know how difficult that is because this is such a beautiful, traditional holiday. But by making that sacrifice, you are going to prevent infections.” All we can do now is wait and watch the infection rate skyrocket in two weeks.

OK if you REALLY need convincing: The Seattle P.I. used an Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology to calculate the chances of someone at your Thanksgiving dinner having COVID for every county in the state. Here’s King County:

Chance of one person having COVID-19 in a gathering of 10: 26%
Chance of one person having COVID-19 in a gathering of 15: 36%
Chance of one person having COVID-19 in a gathering of 20: 44%

The Stranger‘s Rich Smith has some analysis on Public Health–Seattle & King County’s new report about COVID-19 exposure: Take it away Rich:

To sum up a long thing briefly: The exposure report tells us what we’ve been telling everyone for a while now—household transmission, social activities and essential worker status were the most common COVID-19 exposure settings reported. Household infections are the highest because white Seattleites are brunching, and black/brown people in the south end are working essential jobs and then bringing the virus back to their homes.

Another couple things to keep in mind: Of the health care settings, long-term care facilities accounted for the lion’s share of the cases. Outside of health care settings, manufacturing worksites and food-service establishments topped the list of outbreak settings. About 1/3 of the people they interviewed had no idea where they caught the bug, which shows you how real asymptomatic spread is. Public health officials also stress the limitations of this data. They couldn’t track down everybody, not everyone can remember everywhere they went when they were contagious, and SOME industries report outbreaks more reliably than others.

When asked why we’re so bad at controlling the virus, health officer at Public Health —Seattle & King County Dr. Jeff Duchin said this: “It’s hard to understand, but I think one way to think about it is that our society in many ways values individual liberty over societal good. This is a cultural and social tradition in the US and in many places, and I think we haven’t had to come together as a community to the degree that we really need to do so now. It’s something a lot of people aren’t used to and comfortable with.”

A Snohomish County deputy was charged with raping a 14-year-old girl: Anthony Zayas apparently met the girl on Tinder, where she used a fake name and claimed to be 19, reports the Seattle Times. Since being charged with third-degree rape, Zayas has been placed on administrative leave by the sheriff’s office.

Seattle’s “street czar” Andre Taylor will take a step back from activism after a tough battle with COVID: Taylor told Crosscut’s David Kroman that the past month fighting the coronavirus left him feeling “close to death.” Though he’s on the mend, he said he plans to turn over much of his public-facing work to his sister Devitta Briscoe.

In a widely expected move, President Trump pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn: In case you forgot, Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian operatives during and after the 2016 presidential election, reminds The Guardian. Flynn was the only White House official charged during the Mueller Investigation. Trump initially distanced himself from his former adviser, firing him after only 24 days in his role. Now, the president has changed his fucking tune:

Flynn’s pardon kicks off what is likely to be a packed pardoning season: Axios says that as Trump approaches his final weeks in office, he “has the potential to expunge his friends and supporters of all federal criminal convictions on his way out the door.” Businessmen love doing favors, huh! Let’s see if Trump tries to self-pardon.

I see no utility in lists like these, but I’m sucked in regardless: The New York Times ranked the greatest 25 actors of the 21st century. Spoiler alert: Meryl Streep is nowhere on it. Lowkey, thank God.

King County hit record voter turnout in the 2020 election: Of the 1.4 million people registered in the county, 86.67% participated in this year’s general election, breaking the record of 85% voter turnout in 2012. Nearly 74% of voters used ballot drop boxes—I love those sexy things. Though a record number of people voted statewide, the overall 2020 Washington voter turnout of 84.1% just fell shy of the record 84.6% set in 2008.

Trump administration denied a permit for a gold and copper mine near the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery in Alaska: The permit to build Pebble Mine was denied by the Army Corps of Engineers under both the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act. The move comes as somewhat of a surprise, but in a statement, the corps said it determined that discharges at the mine site would cause “unavoidable adverse impacts to aquatic resources.” Bullet dodged.

Barack Obama says that Drake has his stamp of approval to play him in a future biopic: No thank you!

Bundle up for Thanksgiving: It’s gonna be kinda cold.

Renton City Council is considering evicting over 200 homeless people from a Red Lion Hotel-turned-shelter: This comes after disagreements between the city and the hotel over the hotel’s operation and number of homeless occupants, reports KING 5. City officials claim they aren’t trying to kick the homeless people out, but trying to clarify guidelines for use of the space as a shelter. In either case, the occupants would not be evicted until next year.

What is the state of COVID relief funds directed towards artists after this second shutdown? While the first shutdown saw a rush to support artist relief funds, the second shutdown looks a lot more grim moneywise. The Seattle Artist Relief Fund, co-founded by Ebony Arunga, Ijeoma Oluo, and Gabriel Teodros in tandem with LANGSTON, is still trying to raise funds for the 100+ people on their waiting list from the spring and summer.

In an email, LANGSTON Executive Director Tim Lennon called for a more sustainable model of relief to meet artists’ needs: “Two things that were clear before COVID and only got clearer as the pandemic revealed the failures of so many of our systems: Black artists and culture workers have long been significantly under-supported by existing programs, and we need to come up with new ways of supporting one another if we’re going to survive in this city.”

Meanwhile: Artist Trust Acting Executive Director Kristina Goetz says this second lockdown likely won’t change the conditions artists are facing, as “these conditions had improved only marginally during the phased reopening.”

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Since the pandemic started back in March, Artist Trust has distributed almost $700,000 to 450 artists: Last week, Artist Trust raised an additional $30,000 for 34 more artists in light of the new shutdown restrictions. Goetz says that this is the final round from “this iteration” of their Relief Fund, but they are currently working on ways to “continue to support rapid relief funding for artists in the future.”

King County’s cultural funding agency 4Culture is distributing COVID-19 Cultural Relief funds: The organization is working on getting all $4.35 million of CARES Act funding they received from King County directly into the hands of cultural workers by the end of December. 4Culture says they have given out around $507,500 in grants to 291 artists so far from their first round of applications, with more expected soon.

Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions? I don’t really, but I like tucking into a cheesy film. I’m definitely watching this silly gay Christmas movie. [embedded content]

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