Climate crusader hires coal guy
Gov. Jay Inslee, he of the climate crusade and a book on clean energy, has hired a coal lobbyist for his staff, Sightline's Eric de Place reported this morning. Not just any staff position: Matt Steuerwalt will be the director of Inslee's policy office. The story notes that Steuerwalt had also advocated for the Western Climate Initiative to reduce greenhouse gases in Washington and other states and Canadian provinces. In an email, an Inslee spokesperson told Sightline that the hiring won't change Inslee's longstanding commitment to addressing climate issues or the state Department of Ecology's review of coal-port proposals.
Book banning backlash
Volunteers have raised the money to give 350 copies of the Sherman Alexie book to students in Idaho's Meridian School District, which recently banned "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian." Seattlepi.com reports that University of Washington student Sara Baker and a Spokane friend, Jennifer Lott, have reached their fundraising goal and just have to work out details of the distribution. Why 350 copies? One book for each of the 350 Meridian students who protested their school board's inanity.
Elevator accident lessons
State and Metro Transit investigations leave considerable uncertainty around the circumstances of an April 2013 strangulation death on an escalator in the Downtown Bus Tunnel. In all likelihood, the victim, 42-year-old Maurecio Bell, was drunk. But the condition of the escalator isn't even well-documented. Rick Anderson's excellent new Seattle Weekly story on the death of 42-year-old does point to three clear conclusions for the future. There's almost certain to be a lawsuit. Escalators are a hell of a lot more dangerous than most of us act like — for every five escalators in the state, there's at least one injury each year. And it would take the state Legislature to enact stronger, New York-style escalator safety standards that might — or might not have — saved Bell.
Fake kidnapping ... awareness?
Some folks who probably think themselves to be communicators of uncommon intelligence staged and — of course — recorded a phony kidnapping of a child in a Sequim park on Saturday afternoon. The weather was beautiful, bystanders saw it, they were terrified and at least one gave chase furiously as a van drove away with the child: all perfectly predictable in an incident in which there were no signs or permits. The Peninsula Daily News reports that officials are looking at whether misdemeanor charges could be filed. The hoax perpetrators say they were making a point that a kidnapping of a "blond" child would be easy, On a video, one of the organizers says that the bystanders' reaction was unexpected. Yeah, right. And what if someone had had a heart attack or crashed while giving chase?
Right wing radio in WWU feeding frenzy
Update 3:52 p.m. Glen Beck and other far-right blabsters are working themselves into a tizzy over a survey at Western Washington University about the entirely sensible goal of increasing campus diversity culturally and economically. Beck suggested that WWU President Bruce Shepard could do a lot for his 10-year goal of making the campus "not as white as we are today" by firing white administrators and faculty. Shepard is also being accused of racism — for noticing that his campus could be more diverse.
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