All I wanted for the New Year was a break. Just a brief pause between the calamities that now keep my teeth clenched all day, and keep me awake at night…
- Feb. 4 – COVID-19 deaths in the US reach 901,388. Cases in Washington State are declining, but deaths continue trending upward. NPR reports that 2,400 people are still dying every day in this country. The US remains #1 in COVID-19 deaths globally.
- Feb. 9 – An antivax truck blockade enters its second week, blocking a bridge between Windsor Ontario and Detroit, and is the next day, auto plants in Detroit start shutting down for lack of parts. The antivax event morphs into an anti-government protest. 400 truckers blockade downtown Ottawa, stalling the very economy they say the mandates have shut down. Ironically, they are protesting in Ottawa against vax policy in the U.S.
- Feb. 12 – Police start to clear the truck convoy from the bridge near Detroit. The truck crossing at Blaine, WA closes preemptively and diverts trucks to the Sumas crossing which would be less disruptive to non-commercial traffic.
- Feb. 17 – U.S. deaths: 931,741 / U.S. cases: 78,269,443. Global deaths: 5,862,451 / global cases: 419,659,783. No one is counting the deaths resulting from people not being able to get care for lack of hospital beds.
- Feb. 21 – studies point to cardiovascular issues with people infected with COVID-19. The medical community suggests it may be our next health crisis tidal wave.
CRIME IN SEATTLE
- Feb. 4 – Gun violence in Seattle increased 40% between 2020-2021.
- Feb. 5 – A strong arm robbery at 4th & University at 10:24 AM
- Feb. 6 – A gun fight at 2:30 AM on Capital Hill, 40 shots fired. One assault and 10 reports of trespass in my ‘hood (between 2nd-4th Avenues and Union-Pike) between 9-11AM. The day would end with 23 incidents reported near my office.
- An armed robbery at 117th & Aurora this afternoon preempts me from walking from my apartment to the grocery store. KOMO reports that aggravated assaults are up 24% from last year, and homeless-related shootings are up 122%.
- Feb. 8 – I left work with a coworker at 4:30. There was a report of a person with a weapon (not a gun) on my office block at 4:28. I arrived home to find chipped paint on my front door frame, where someone tried to jimmy the deadbolt with a screwdriver. Sleep was somewhat elusive that night.
- Feb. 9 – Assaults at 4th & Pike at 10:19 AM and 2:46 PM; armed robbery at 5th & Pike at 3:42 PM. There were 20 calls for this 6-block ‘hood today according to SPD Twitter. Also multiple shots fired into 1 victim at 2nd & James (near Pioneer Square) at 1:30 PM. I was in Chinatown and missed that shooting by about an hour…
- Feb. 10 – Strong arm robberies at 5th & Pine at 2 PM (near where I work), and at 116th & Aurora at 7:25 PM (near where I live).
- Feb. 11 – WA State Senate votes to ban high capacity magazines, it now moves to the House. There are 21 SPD calls today, including an OD casualty at 4th & Pike at 2:44 PM; reckless burning at 4th & Pike at 5:19 PM; a crisis complaint at 3rd & Pike at 6 PM; assaults at 3rd & Pike at 7:22 PM; a strong arm robbery at 15xx block of Third Ave at 11:15 PM.
- A man collapses at the other end of my apartment building just before midnight, he appeared to be an assault victim. Three cop cars and an ambulance arrive in flashing red lights that fill my living room and make me step outside to see if there’s a fire. Nothing in this area ever shows up on SPD Twitter or the 911 website in spite of frequent 3-8 aid car responses to incidents at the homeless camp at the end of Stone Ave, 2 blocks from where I live. It’s unnerving.
- Feb. 14 – Drug use on city buses makes headlines in several Seattle news sources.
- Feb. 17 – There were 15 SPD calls in my downtown ‘hood today, mostly for trespass and drug loitering. Rolling coolers seem to signal when a drug shipment has hit the streets. There were a lot of them today. Five calls near my apartment, 116th and Aurora calls are a daily occurrence now, mostly for shoplifting and armed robberies near Home Depot or the homeless camp that borders Home Depot on Stone Ave.
- Feb. 19 – Seattle mayor clears crime from 12th & Jackson, a.k.a. “Little Saigon.” Businesses are thrilled but wonder how long it will last. A strong arm robbery at 3rd & Pike at 3:19 PM and another theft at 2nd & Pike at 5:21 PM. Two police officers are injured in a fight at 3xx block of 2nd Ave, and 2 more in Belltown, both incidents at 2 AM.
- Feb. 25 – Person with a weapon (not a gun) at 3rd & Pike at 4:04 PM.
- Feb. 27 – Another fatality shooting at 3rd & Pike at 1 PM. McDonald’s is now referred to as McShooty’s by commenters on Reddit.
RUSSIA AND UKRAINE
- Feb. 3 – I turn my attention to big picture stuff going on in Russia/Ukraine, and Afghanistan, and China. Long range missile testing in Korea. It’s hard to absorb it all.
- Feb. 5 – Russia builds up troop presence at the Crimean border. China and Russia strengthen their relationship with each other. Chatter about imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine picks up on Twitter.
- Feb. 6 – The Guardian reports that Russia has enough man/fire power to take Kyiv by mid-February. The U.S. deploys 3,000 troops to Ukraine. Russia now has 130,000 at the border.
- Feb. 10 – Russia begins military training exercises in Belarus and the Black Sea.
- Feb. 12 – WaPo reports chatter of Russia filming a false invasion by Ukraine as their “false flag” pretext for invading. Several countries including the U.S. tell their citizens to evacuate immediately. The U.S. is shutting down embassies and moving military personnel to other locations in Europe. Holland cancels all KLM flights to Ukraine.
- Russia accuses the U.S. of inflating hysteria in the region. Reports on the ground in Ukraine say that Ukrainians are not concerned and are not preparing for an invasion, citing they are more concerned about cyber-war than a physical one. Ukraine’s president Zelensky says his intel does not match the WH, and says: “Russia’s best friend is U.S. panic.”
- Feb. 16 – Putin announces he is pulling troops back, but intel shows he’s doing the opposite, and has moved 7,000 more troops into position along the borders.
- Feb. 21 – Putin sends “peacekeepers” into the two pro-Russian territories on Ukraine’s Eastern border that he has granted independence to, in spite of them being part of Ukraine. WWIII trends on Twitter. Biden announces that the U.S. will impose sanctions starting tomorrow. Trump and the GOP voice their support for Putin the following day.
- Feb. 24 – U.S. sanctions begin, economics aimed at oligarchs. Biden vows that U.S. troops will not fight in Ukraine but will defend NATO partners. Russia threatens nuclear strikes and invasions into other countries (Finland, Bulgaria, Poland, Moldova, Sweden). He now has 190,000 troops in Belarus, Ukraine and the pro-Russian territories of Donetsk and Luhansk. His forces took control of Chernobyle nuclear plant today.
- Feb. 26 – Khazakhstan refuses to join Russian troops in Ukraine. Hungary abandons support for Putin. Berlin reverses its long-standing policy of non-involvement, and sends armaments to Ukraine. Zelensky remains in Kyiv. I.News in the UK reports 198 Ukrainian casualties and 3500 Russian soldiers killed. Street fighting starts in Kyiv. Putin is reportedly frustrated that its taking so long. Russian soldiers are surprised to be met with molotov cocktails instead of the flowers that Putin had promised. Internet is severed on the ground in Ukraine but Elon Musk sends Starlink terminals a few hours after he is asked. Ukraine enlists its citizens to join the cyber warfare army, and both the government and citizens start removing road signs to confuse Russian convoys.
- Ukraine is the world’s 4th largest exporter of grain and seed oils. The war is disrupting harvest of winter wheat and the next planting. Analysts suggest we are headed into a 2 year global food shortage as a result. Russia is also one of the largest exporters of the fertilizers that American farmers use to grow corn and other animal feed, which will result in meat shortages later on.
- North Korea resumes ballistic missile testing.
- Feb. 27 – Putin orders his nuclear arsenal to be put into a “state of readiness.” Elderly Ukrainian women hand out sunflower seeds to Russian soldiers “so flowers will grow at the spot where you die.” They really have this psychological warfare down to an art… The invasion is not going well for Putin as logistics fail to keep his tanks gassed up and his soldiers fed. Seven nations cut Russia from the SWIFT banking system today.
- Feb. 28 – U.S. expels Russian diplomats today from NYC. UPS and FedEx stop deliveries to Russia.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Feb. 3 – Critical Race Theory is banned by state law in New Hampshire. Books are being banned in some states “if they make white people feel bad.” The Holocaust is now being taught with the caveat of “opposing view points.” American conservatism is leaning towards something far more insidious.
- Feb. 4 – Pence announces publicly that Trump was wrong in saying that Pence had the right to overturn the election, saying “No single man should have that power in U.S. democracy.” Three GOP senators – Barroasso, Rubio and Murkouski – support Pence publicly two days later.
- The GOP censure Cheney and Kirzinger for their roles in the Jan6 Committee, and introduce “legitimate political discourse” to the U.S. narrative when describing the Jan6 insurrection.
- Feb. 14 – Mazar, Trump’s long-time accounting firm, shows him zero love today as they cut their ties and rescind the financial statements they prepared for him between 2011-2020 as being ‘unreliable” (i.e. based on inaccurate information.) The New York Attorney General continues her court cases of “obscene overvaluation of Trump properties for the purposes of securing loans.” I’m now waiting to see what those same properties were valued at for tax purposes. Trump now has 19 civil lawsuits against him.
- Microsoft and Expedia announce a back-to-work hybrid plan to start March 1, with their employees expected to spend 50% of their work week in the office. Only about a third of our staff have returned to the office, and most are only here 1-2 days a week.
- Feb. 17 – The Trumps lose their efforts in court and will be called to sit for depositions with the NY Attorney General. They are expected to plead the Fifth, as is their right. Eric Trump exercised that right 500 times during his deposition.
- Feb. 19 – Trump loses his effort to have the Jan6 lawsuits tossed on the premise that they impinged on his right to free speech. The judge ruled that his rights did not shield him from the liability of his words and the events they put into motion (the “yelling fire in a crowded theater rule). Protesters in the antivax truck convoy in Canada also claim their First Amendment rights are being violated. U.S. law doesn’t apply in Canada…
- Feb. 27 – Bill Barr joins the ranks of those publishing memoirs detailing how bad the Trump Administration was. It’s the “first hardbound book to be published without a spine.”
- Feb. 3 – I return to the office nearly full time, one of only 4 out of staff of 14 to do so.
- Feb. 6 – Puttering becomes the new procrastination as I spend the day arranging paperclips and books instead of attending to things like bills and taxes. I feel like I’m on auto-pilot, the way one feels while waiting for the next major event to begin.
- Feb. 12 – The art gallery my hats are in on Orcas Island is closing March 1. I’m down to 2 active galleries from the 5 I had pre-pandemic. Toledo gets a bath today after losing his ability to self-groom. I lose all steam by 8 PM.
- Feb. 14 – I start sleeping on the floor with Toledo. Granada joins us between his bouts of midnight playtime.
- Feb. 17 – Toledo eats what I offer him and gets up to drink, but crawls back under the covers of the bed I have set up for us on the floor. Granada is staying pretty close to him this evening.
- Feb. 19 – Toledo still walks out to the kitchen and eats enthusiastically, but his brief rally has ended, and I now carry him back to bed where he spends his day. He cuddles closer at night now.
- Feb. 20 – I start my “photo and file cleanup” project on my laptop, and spend the entire day trashing about 5,000 duplicate photos. It’s a rough day for Toledo, who I finally coax into sleeping with his brother on my desk.