Ceasefire at the Space Needle: Hundreds of protesters calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war blocked off access to Seattle's biggest, pointiest tourist attraction yesterday. The demonstration, organized by the advocacy group Jewish Voice for Peace, surrounded the main ticket booth and entrance. The goal was to "stop business as usual... while our tax dollars are going to fund the murders of innocent Palestinians," according to organizer Michael Grant. So far, over 11,000 Gazans have been killed by Israel since Hamas killed 1,200 and kidnapped around 240 on Oct 7.
Today, a multicultural coalition of @JVPSeattle and allies put their bodies on the line to block the main entrance of the iconic Space Needle saying #CeasefireNOW! Senator Patty Murray and our other elected officials are allowing genocide to unfold by remaining complicit. pic.twitter.com/3ChpQL7lPx— Jewish Voice for Peace (@jvplive) November 20, 2023
A potential pause in fighting: Israel and Hamas are working on negotiations to free 50 or more Israeli hostages—all women and children—from Hamas and 50 Palestinian prisoners from Israel. If this exchange happens, then both sides will stop fighting for approximately five days. However, a lot still needs to be figured out. Israel, for instance, needs a government vote to approve any agreement, and right-wing Israeli politicians indicated they'll oppose any agreement with Hamas. The United States, thanks to domestic pressure to do something that isn't facilitating a war effort, has backed the five-day ceasefire.
Meanwhile, horrors: Israel continues to attack Gaza's hospitals. Israel is now bombing Gaza's Indonesian Hospital. A recent strike killed 12 people at the hospital. According to a spokesperson for the Health Ministry, "600 patients, 200 health care workers and 2,000 displaced people are sheltering there." Speaking of bombarding hospitals, on Monday, the World Health Organization evacuated 31 premature babies from Al-Shifa. Israel claims to have uncovered a secret base and tunnel system under that hospital. The claims are unverified.
Rosalyn Carter is dead: The former first lady and wife of President Jimmy Carter died Sunday. She was 96. Carter was a pioneer when it came to mental health; she fought to reduce the stigma associated with those pesky brain disorders and advocated for better treatment access. Her husband, Jimmy, 99, has been in hospice since Feb. The two were married 77 years.
Oops, wrong broad: Bill Clinton's staff seemed to have plugged in the wrong pre-written obituary in the wake of Rosalyn Carter's death.
holy shit pic.twitter.com/odM2SBPR51— francis wolf (@francisxwolf) November 19, 2023
The weather: Partly cloudy and chilly today.
Get your free COVID tests from the government: You can get another round of four at-home COVID tests per household.
Cholera in Zimbabwe: An outbreak of cholera has infected a suspected 8,000 people and killed a suspected 250 people in Zimbabwe.
Happy birthday to Joe Biden: This Sagittarius is 81 years old today. Yay?
Stop the Aurora horror: A group of safe street advocates known as the Aurora Reimangined Coalition took to, well, the streets (where else?) to protest the dangers of Aurora Avenue. According to the Seattle Times, traffic deaths increased post-pandemic. In Washington, as of last year, 750 people died in traffic-related incidents. That's the most since 1990. Washington pedestrian deaths alone "nearly tripled on a yearly basis" in the last 10 years. Since 2015, more than 200 pedestrians have died in Seattle, and an average of 30 pedestrians die per year.
What the fuck is happening with OpenAI? Let's see if I can parse all of this drama. First off, OpenAI is the creator of revolutionary artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT. Sam Altman, the CEO, helmed this pioneering, future-making ship. On Friday, the OpenAI board fired Altman, removing him because “he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.” Investors didn't like that. The board considered waffling and allowing Altman back. Then the board said, essentially, "Nah, he's still fired." Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced Sunday night that Altman would be joining Microsoft to head AI research over there. Now, more than 500 employees at OpenAI signed a letter saying they'll quit and go to Microsoft unless the board resigns and reinstates Altman as CEO. Juicy!
Shakira, Shakira: The Latin pop sensation reached a deal with Spanish prosecutors in her ongoing tax fraud trial. Shakira was accused of not paying taxes in Spain between 2012 and 2014. She said she didn't pay because she didn't live in the country for more than 60 days a year and thus wasn't obligated to pay. However, instead of risking an eight-year prison sentence if she lost the trial, Shakira agreed to a deal with prosecutor to receive a suspended three-year sentence and to pay a fine of $8 million. She paid another $472,000 to have her sentence waived, however her legal record will show she was found guilty of tax fraud. That may impact a different active tax fraud case Shakira has with Spain. Those hips may not lie, but they sure know how to evade a tax.
Snoop Dogg not actually quitting weed: It turns out, when Snoop said he was "done with smoke," he was selling us a smokeless fire pit.
Mystery dog disease: There's some mystery illness that's making dogs develop respiratory issues and pneumonia that doesn't respond to antibiotics. This respiratory illness is hitting dogs in several US states including Oregon, Colorado, and New Hampshire. The symptoms include: coughing, sneezing, nasal or eye discharge and lethargy. Veterinarians don't know what's causing it. In Oregon, there have been more than 200 documented cases since mid-August. Officials are telling dog-owners not to panic. Make sure your dog is up to date on its shots.
Claymation is running out of clay: The claymation studio behind Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run is running out of clay. Since 1970, Aardman Animations has used a specific clay that is both malleable and can withstand hot studio lights called “Lewis Newplast." However, the only factory that makes the clay shut down in March. The studio bought up every last bit of clay, but they only have enough for one last Wallace and Gromit movie.