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Slog AM: Gonzaga Loses, Biden’s Big Package Can Bypass Filibuster, No Vaccine for Haiti – Slog


This is not the elephant seal caught swimming near West Seattle, but I love him anyway. Chase Dekker Wild-Life Images / GETTY IMAGES

Baylor won the NCAA championship, breaking Gonzaga’s winning streak: The baptist bears pummeled the catholic bulldogs, crushing the latter holy quadruped’s chances of securing an undefeated season and something something—I’m sorry, I haven’t watched college basketball since I was actually in college, and even then I really could only get interested in the last couple minutes of any given close game. The memories I associate with college basketball include spilling hot chocolate on my wrist at Allen Fieldhouse, a lot of people telling me I looked like Kirk Hinrich, and Tim Duncan being very good. At any rate, you’ll get ’em next year, you tenacious little Gonzagas!

An elephant-seal sighting in West Seattle: Kersti Muul of Salish Wildlife Watch saw the seal on Saturday, a “rare sighting,” says West Seattle Blog.

Apple exports plunged: The Washington Apple Commission says the state’s apple exports from the 2020-2021 crop were down 20.5% from the same time last year. The total, if you’re wondering, was 18.8 million 40-pound boxes as of last week. Blame the pandemic and tariffs, the AP reports.

Body camera video shows response after Pierce County sheriff called cops on newspaper carrier: “I am working. I am driving a bucket and I’m in a nice neighborhood. I’m working. I’m over here every night. I see you guys every night. Nobody messes with me,” newspaper carrier Sedrick Altheimer told police. The Pierce County Council today will consider whether to hire a former U.S. attorney to investigate the incident, King 5 reports.

Is Peace Arch Park a COVID risk? The park at the U.S.-Canada border in Blaine, Washington, has become a destination for Americans and Canadians to gather, including cross-border couples on rumored “conjugal visits.” Now, some neighbors on the Canadian side are objecting, claiming people aren’t always following public health guidelines. “There’s a big stigma in Canada that you guys aren’t the best,” one Canadian told Kaiser Health News. Still, “in the absence of clear information about spread, the fight over the park remains a political one,” Kaiser Health News reports.

Port Townsend woman turns 104: This woman has survived two pandemics. Members of the public honored Lorraine Hansen with a drive-by parade, reports the Peninsula Daily news.

Biden bumps up national vaccine eligibility date: According to the AP, the president will announce that states must make everyone over 16 eligible for the vaccine by April 19. Washington will hit that deadline a few days earlier on April 15. At 11:59 p.m. on April 14, you can find me over at vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov.

Saturday marked a vaccine record: More than 4 million people in the United States received the coronavirus vaccine on Saturday, the highest daily total so far, the Washington Post reports.

Haiti has yet to see a drop of vaccine: Vaccine nationalism here and in India will mean the country of 11 million won’t be able to start inoculating its population against the deadly respiratory virus until after the end of May, the Associated Press reports. The country apparently failed to fill out some necessary paperwork with the UN, which makes sense given the widespread violence and protests against President Jovenel Moise, who refuses to step down from power despite his term ending this year. The U.S. of course supports Moise, but state department officials have asked him to hold elections.

Where the variants are strong, the cases numbers are rising: The spread of the UK variant, in concert with governors deciding to relax restrictions under pressure from business interests, has led to a rise in cases “in most states” across the country, the New York Times reports. The current vaccines work well against the UK variant, but the new variants identified in New York and California need more study. Meanwhile, younger, healthier people are getting sick in Michigan’s coronavirus surge.

After work today, I aim to become this cow:

The Senate parliamentarian taketh away, and the Senate parliamentarian giveth: Can you push a $15 per hour minimum wage through the reconciliation process? No, sayeth the Senate parliamentarian. Can you push a $2 trillion infrastructure bill through the reconciliation process after having already pushed through a $1.9 trillion aid package, even though that’s never been done before? Yes, sayeth the Senate parliamentarian, according to Politico. “If Democrats choose to reuse that budget measure, they’ll have at least three — and possibly more — opportunities to use reconciliation to pass a host of their priorities before the midterm elections,” Caitlin Emma writes for the magazine.

The implications? Huge if Manchin and Sinema are blue.

How will Democrats pay for Biden’s big package? According to the New York Times, Congressional Democrats released a plan to “add teeth” to the tax American companies pay on income earned abroad, and Biden wants to raise the corporate tax rate “to 28 percent from 21 percent” (why not back up to 35, like in the old days?), plus make “a variety of changes to international tax law.”

A little context for why the package needs to be so big in the first place: Republicans have starved all but the richest among us:

Putin could stay in office until 2036: The Russian president signed a law allowing him to run for president two more times, according to the AP. There but for the grace of god…

Cops lie about the darnedest things: The Intercept picked up an old story from The Olympian about Thurston County cops capitalizing on a police dog named Arlo, who was shot by his own colleagues on the force. Back in January, however, our local ambulance-chasers repeated a claim from police about a suspect shooting the K9 cop during a traffic stop where Washington State Patrol officers shot at a suspect “for seven seconds, hitting him multiple times.” Cop booster groups organized a GoFundMe to pay the dog’s medical expenses, but “no such efforts were made to support the recovery of the suspect, who was hospitalized after being shot at least three times by police and later told a nurse he was contemplating suicide.” As the Olympian later reported, those initial reports turned out to be the opposite of true.

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