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What do you leave unsaid?: Today So Far

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  • Mónica Guzmán navigates Seattle's social scene in the first episode of KUOW's "Subtext" podcast.
  • Local mom searches for special baby formula amid shortage.
  • Are you using the WA Notify app during the current surge.

This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for May 23, 2022.

What are you not saying? There's always something, as you navigate social circles, tense topics, and everyday conversations. KUOW's next podcast endeavor attempts to open up the subtext of our lives.

Bill Radke hosts "Subtext: What goes unsaid." Surface answers are easy. Subtext is complex and nuanced, just like people. That’s where most of us live — where not everything is said, but is deeply felt. And that is where Bill takes us with his new podcast.

Take Donald Trump for example (sorry, but there's no way around this). I think a lot of folks have a pretty stereotypical idea of what a Trump supporter looks like. And to be honest, there is some evidence to support the perception. But as a reporter, I also know that there are a lot of these other supporters who don't fall into that stereotype and get overlooked. And I feel this sort of oversight leads to a lack of full understanding of the issues. But for Mónica Guzmán, this goes beyond her role as a journalist. It's very personal, as she explained on the first episode of "Subtext" about navigating tense conversations in close social circles.

“I would find a way to say that my parents are Mexican immigrants who voted for Donald Trump,” Guzmán told Radke. “And that is the way that I could stop conversation at any Seattle networking event, get-together, dinner party … my heart would sort of start pounding a little bit when I heard these things spoken about folks who supported Trump, because I knew that I loved people who voted for Trump, and I understood them, and I felt an obligation to speak that. And so then I would just see: Would people change the subject, or would they walk away?”

RELATED: Bridging divides by getting curious

So what did happen? Take a listen to "Subtext" to find out and read more here.

It begs the question: What do you often leave unsaid? Why? Radke will dive deeper into this premise in the weeks ahead. And ya never know, a certain KUOW newsletter writer might show up in an upcoming episode ... just throwing that out there.

Nationally, steps are being taken to address the baby formula shortage. The Biden administration has kicked in the Defense Production Act, for example. Locally, parents are being told to use whatever formula they can get their hands on. That's the advice that Alisha Harris got for her baby Mahaliyah. When Harris is not working at a Mill Creek nail salon, she's hunting down formula, and not just any brand. Mahaliyah was born two months early and needs a special kind of formula. As Eilis O'Neill reports, experts are telling parents like Harris to use whatever formula they can locate. "We just want to make sure [Mahaliyah]’s fed," is the advice Harris received.

Read more here.

One last note: Covid is spreading far and wide around Washington state. Cases are spiking. Hospitalizations are not too severe right now, but they are starting to tick up as well. If you haven't activated the WA Notify app on your smartphone, now is a good time to turn that on. If you test positive, you can easily notify anyone you may have been around.

I got a notification the other day about an exposure I had. It's pretty basic. The notification just states that you were around someone who tested positive for Covid for more than a few minutes. Unfortunately, it doesn't say exactly where or when. It could have been in the store. It could have been on a trail. But it's enough to prompt me to watch for my potential exposures and to take a test or two. Read more here.


caption: Wendy Gibble shows KUOW around the Miller Seed Vault in Seattle on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
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Wendy Gibble shows KUOW around the Miller Seed Vault in Seattle on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
KUOW photo/Juan Pablo Chiquiza

KUOW's Ruby de Luna interviews Wendy Gibble at the Miller Seed Vault on the edge of the University of Washington. Seattle is home to the largest seed collection in the Pacific Northwest. “It’s kind of a Noah’s Ark,” Gibble said. (Juan Pablo Chiquiza / KUOW)


In the 1980s, there was a small movement to make “Louie Louie” Washington's official state song (I previously wrote about Washington’s actual state song). The effort didn’t get far, but it showed how connected the region feels to this song.

The fervent support for “Louie Louie” around here is part of a bigger story about Richard Berry. Berry was a songwriter out of Los Angeles. As far as I can tell, he didn’t have any connections with the Northwest. But his work took root around here. His 1957 song “Louie Louie” (which itself was based on “El Loco Cha Cha”) was covered by Tacoma's Rockin Robin Roberts in 1961. That popular version inspired recordings by Portland's Paul Revere and the Raiders and The Kingsmen in 1963. Both bands actually recorded their separate versions in the same studio, a day apart. You most likely know The Kingsmens’ version with the keyboard intro. Despite this song being one of the most recorded in history, Berry received little credit and compensation for writing it until a court settlement in the 1980s.

That’s not the only Berry song that flourished in the Northwest. He also wrote and recorded “Have Love, Will Travel” in 1959. You may know it by the version that The Sonics (of Tacoma) recorded in 1965.


caption: A sign on a Moscow Starbucks informs visitors that the coffee chain had suspended its work in Russia.
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A sign on a Moscow Starbucks informs visitors that the coffee chain had suspended its work in Russia.
Charles Maynes/NPR

Starbucks is exiting Russia, shutting 130 stores

Starbucks is leaving Russia after 15 years in business. The coffee chain had temporarily shut down its stores in March over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This is the second major exit of a global American brand from Russia, after McDonald's last week began "de-arching" its entire chain after 32 years.


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