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At least 500,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. This is a grim, shameful milestone. (CNN)

The United States accounts for at least 19% of total global coronavirus deaths, but we are just 4% of the world's population. That's pathetic. (US News and World Report)

President Joe Biden will order all flags on federal properties lowered to half-staff for the next five days. (Reuters)

On a more insulting note, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered flags lowered to half-staff in honor of dead bigot Rush Limbaugh, who spewed his hatred from Palm Beach. Florida Agriculture Commissioner and local hero Nikki Fried has belayed this order because Limbaugh doesn't deserve it. (WFLA)

Lowering to half-staff the flag of the United States of America is a sacred honor that pays respect to fallen heroes and patriots. It is not a partisan political tool. Therefore, I will notify all state offices under my direction to disregard the Governor's forthcoming order to lower flags for Mr. Limbaugh – because we will not celebrate hate speech, bigotry, and division. Lowering the flag should always reflect unity, not division, and raising our standards, not lowering them. Our flags will remain flying high to celebrate the American values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all.

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An independent inquiry determined that Aurora, Colorado, police had no legal right to stop or frisk Elijah McClain, who they later killed. The officers involved will never see a day in jail. This is why we march ... and apparently offend “moderate" white voters so much they vote for coup-friendly Republicans. It's like we can't win. (Buzzfeed News)

Virginia is set to become the first Southern state that has abolished the barbaric death penalty. Your vote counts. (Associated Press)

A bust of York, the enslaved Black man who traveled with Lewis and Clark, was placed in a Portland city park where a statue of some dead conservative white guy once stood before it was toppled. City officials have no idea how it got there but they agree it looks good. (The New York Times)

I'm still laughing at John McCain's secret daughter, who wants Dr. Fauci fired because she hasn't gotten her oompa loompa Covid-19 vaccine. Lady, I lived in NYC for 15 years and trust me, "I, Meghan McCain, COHOST OF THE VIEW" wouldn't have moved you to the front of the line at that trendy Tribeca brunch spot let alone the one for a life-saving vaccine. New York has real celebrities. You ain't on WandaVision. (The Daily Beast)

Despite what Princess Senator McCain says, Biden's vaccine rollout is going well. (NPR)

Gilbert Achcar wonders if we'll ever achieve herd immunity against fascism. I'm afraid it's too contagious and the virus keeps mutating with each generation. (The Nation)

Seattle City Council President Lorena González is running for mayor and has big plans for helping the city's restaurant industry. Her food service background is both personal and inspiring. Her migrant farmworker family picked cherries in the fields of central Washington, and she joined them starting at the age of eight.

Because we were migrant farmworkers, we didn't have access to water [González's family had to bring their own jugs of water while living at the worker camps]. We didn't have the right to rest breaks, or lunches. We didn't have the right to stop work because it was over 100 degrees in the summer," she says. "It fueled my interest in wanting to represent workers who are taken advantage of because of the lack of positional power.

Gonzalez worked at a law firm that "represented plaintiffs in wage theft and anti-discrimination cases, as well as victims of police misconduct.” She’s amazing. (Eater)

Kevin Michael Richardson, who’s Black, will take over the role of longtime Simpsons character Dr. Hibbert, who’s also Black, from Harry Shearer, who is not Black. Alex Désert replaced Hank Azaria as Black character Carl Carlson for the same reason. Don’t weep for Shearer and Azaria, who both voice far more prominent characters on the show. This is good all around. Dr. Hibbert was a parody of sort of scumbag Bill Cosby’s Dr. Cliff Huxtable character from The Cosby Show, but I’m not sure anyone under 35 would know that. (Variety)

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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