Before we do any news: I want to wish a happy 50th anniversary to the time Oregon chose to dispose of a whale caracass by blowing it up with dynamite:
A mysterious mask surplus: The Washington state government has a stockpile of 30 million N95 masks sitting in a warehouse somewhere, reports the Seattle Times. But, apparently, no one really knows how to access the stockpile. Also, the masks might not be too big for women and they're a type of N95 hospitals haven't used. Still, state officials say the masks are an "emergency backstop" and organizations can qualify to receive some if their own personal protective equipment supply runs too low.
Oregon hospitals prepare for a COVID surge: Some major hospitals in the Beaver State are postponing elective surgeries to help manage capacity as they prepare for a wave of new COVID-19 hospitalizations to crash down on them. This step is voluntary and allows the hospitals to pick and choose what procedures to do. COVID-19 cases reached new highs in Oregon, averaging 817 cases in the last week. Hospitalizations are up. The worst is yet to come.
UPDATE: At around 8:50 a.m. this morning, Gov. Jay Inslee's office sent out a press release about a 5:30 p.m. address he and his wife Trudi will deliver this evening. I don't mean to sound the alarm bell, but my "we're headed to restriction pound town" senses are tingling. New York just put in new restrictions for restaurants and gyms to close by 10 p.m., and we've followed that state's lead in the past. Inslee also made an address like this when he announced the stay-home order in March. He made another one in April when he laid out Washington's phased recovery plan. Prepare yourselves for more COVID-19 restrictions, Washington. Also, prepare yourselves for a 4:36 p.m. sunset, which is irrelevant but will really impact how we deal with another stay-home order. You can watch Inslee's address on TVW.
Inslee to deliver, not a news conference, but an "address" tonight with his wife Trudi. No questions to follow. Get ready, Washington. pic.twitter.com/px3lM2Ltkp
— David Kroman (@KromanDavid) November 12, 2020
Meanwhile, a Nebraska State Senator's dreams come true: State Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte, Nebraska wrote an email to his colleagues that said "As you know, I finally got my wish and contracted the COVID-19 virus as I suspected it would happen." No, no, Groene is not a psychic. He just doesn't wear a mask and believes in herd immunity.
These cases are climbing and Sea-Tac Airport is prepping for holiday travel: Sea-Tac Airport is expecting more than 60,000 people to filter in and out over the week of Thanksgiving. What! Stay home. The airport put 8,000 stickers on its floors to remind people about social distancing. I don't think floor stickers will be enough to stop these virus cases from hopping in your carry-ons, folks.
To punctuate this point: Here are the U.S. deaths from COVID-19 during November. Shit is so bad that workers from Doctors without Borders are trying to help the U.S. handle the pandemic.
US coronavirus deaths for each day in November:
Nov. 1: 402
Nov. 2: 567
Nov. 3: 1,004
Nov. 4: 1,571
Nov. 5: 1,369
Nov. 6: 1,185
Nov. 7: 878
Nov. 8: 683
Nov. 9: 789
Nov. 10: 1,305
Nov. 11: 1,534
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 12, 2020
California snowplow driver finds some murder victims: The plow driver was doing his job, clearing some snow on a remote road in the Sierra Nevada when he spotted two bodies, a dead man and woman. He called the authorities. Police determined they were murdered.
A spot of rain: Is this the end of our mild fall?
Good morning! Mountain snow & low elevation rain is arriving through the weekend. Drive safely if your travel plans include the Passes! The wind forecast is still tricky, but the highest speeds will likely be focused along the coast & in areas south of Olympia. #wawx pic.twitter.com/nh7KUhIyM9
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) November 12, 2020
Inslee is still saying he's not going to abandon us for Biden: A spokesperson for the governor told the Seattle Times that Inslee “has not been contacted by the Biden transition team.” Well, maybe not yet. If Inslee leaves us with Lt. Gov. Denny Heck in charge then I'm developing abandonment issues, I've already decided.
Trump says these Arizona military families are frauds: I mean, he basically called all servicemen a bunch of cucks and pussies a few months ago, I dunno why we're surprised about Trump claiming Arizona military votes are fake.
The Trump campaign is accusing military families who are legal residents of Nevada — including deployed service members — of voter fraud and has sent a list of their votes to the DOJ. https://t.co/2xzDrZXBH8
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) November 11, 2020
While we're on the subject: For the first time in 24 years, Arizona is officially a blue state, baby. Around 24,000 votes still need to be counted, but analysts called Arizona for Biden last night since they don't see any way for Trump to close his 11,600 vote gap with the president-elect.
Bellevue parents call for schools to reopen: Shut up, Bellevue.
Some fishy third-party candidates in Florida: A local Florida news station is reporting that at least three third-party state Senate candidates in Florida were plants funded by dark money. The District 37 candidate, Alex Rodriguez, received over 6,300 votes in a race where the difference between the Republican and Democratic candidates was 31 votes. The Democrat in that race's name was José Rodriguez. Coincidence...? Another third-party candidate, District 39's Celso Alfonso, shares similarities with Rodriguez's campaign. Both filed as no-party candidates but were recently registered Republicans, both filed on June 12 with exactly $2,000 in self-loan contributions, both have the same email address pattern (first initial, last name, district, 2020, Gmail), and both received support from a Political Action Committee called "Our Florida."
Wisconsin brewery names a beer after Biden: It's a kõlsch and the brewery describes it as "inoffensive and not too bitter."
Have a bear problem? Why not try buying a Monster Wolf? Those are the wolf robots the Japanese town of Takikawa bought a pair of to deter bears. Bear attacks are up this year in Japan. The robots each have "a shaggy body on four legs, a blond mane, and fierce, glowing-red eyes." When they detect motion the Monster Wolves flash lights, move around, and emit up to 60 different sounds, which CNN describes as "ranging from wolfish howling to machinery noises." Talk about variety!
Big gator wants to play the back nine real quick:
HUGE FLORIDA GATOR! 🐊👀 Yep, this monster is real. Caught on camera during Hurricane #Eta in Naples. Credit: Jeff Jones @WINKNews pic.twitter.com/LGn0Hb19Rd
— Matt Devitt (@MattDevittWINK) November 12, 2020
Washington considers narrowing the eviction moratorium: A new Crosscut report says the state is contemplating whether to re-tool the statewide eviction moratorium to only cover people who can prove their finances have been impacted by the coronavirus.
Another twist from the USPS worker who made a ballot-tampering claim: This Pennsylvanian U.S. Postal Service worker originally claimed he'd overheard a plot by a postmaster to backdate mail-in ballots to meet the Election Day cut-off. The story became the center of conservative voter fraud allegations. Earlier this week, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General said the whistleblower admitted to lying about it. He was grilled by federal investigators and admitted that Project Veritas, the far-right group, wrote "the affidavit laying out his claims," according to the Daily Beast.
Oh, so this is why we continue to suffer: As this tweet puts it, here's a picture that really encapsulates America's response to COVID-19.
America's coronavirus response, summed up in a photo https://t.co/OrJ7eHYkov
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) November 12, 2020
Beam music straight into your skull: The SoundBeamer 1.0 from Israeli company Noveto Systems lets you listen to music privately, but without headphones. Somehow the sound is just... in your head? I'm confused. The Associated Press described "the 3-D sound" as "so close it feels like it’s inside your ears while also in front, above and behind them."
A crossword for your Thursday: Here you go.