No parole for police shooter
Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday canceled the parole of a man who stabbed a Richland police officer seven times and shot the officer twice with his own gun in 1982. Jerry Lain has been serving a life sentence for the attack on officer Mike Fitzpatrick, who had caught Lain breaking into a car, and was eligible for parole after 20 years. Several Tri-Cities law enforcement officials recently testified against the parole, which was granted by the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board, subject to Lain's drawing up a post-release plan for himself.
In a press release, Inslee said he denied the parole after reviewing the case, including a 2013 psychological examination that concluded that Lain is a moderate to high risk to re-offend. Exam administrators also concluded that Lain was not completely honest in his responses to test questions, Inslee said. The Tri-City Herald reported that Lain stabbed officer Fitzpatrick just five months after Lain was released from an Iowa prison, where he had been sentenced for stabbing a man in a bar fight. The Herald said Lain was within two days of release in 2010 when then-Gov. Chris Gregoire blocked a parole order, a decision that was upheld by the state Supreme Court last November. — J.S.
Energy rush could grow
The Obama administration is reviewing whether to lift the long-held ban on exporting U.S. oil, according to the D.C. political publication The Hill. As Ansel Herz notes on the SLOG, the move would have "troubling implications" for Washington state, which is already seeing an increase in oil deliveries to its refineries. Crosscut's Floyd McKay has reported on increased risks from shipments of coal, as well as possible exports from Canada's Alberta tar sands oil. One hope has been that Oregon and Washington's governors could decide to stop many energy export proposals, but a lifting of the export ban might create a whole new level of pressure on the states. — J.C.
Tesla: The car, the legend, the name
Popular Seattle cartoonist Matthew Inman — he writes and draws The Oatmeal site — drives a popular car, the Tesla Model S (which he prefers to call a magical space car, among other names). His paean includes an explanation that the small motor giving the car incredible power is an AC motor, the result of the 1880s work of Nikola Tesla. He's just finished a new posting about why there ought to be a museum honoring Nikola Tesla (whose only connection to the car is the name). An earlier crowd-funding campaign, which Inman led, saved the site of Tesla's New York labs from possible development. But now another $8 million is needed to actually create a museum there, he's asking Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors (which has no other connection to the inventor than the name) to help. To wit: To come up with the $8 million.
@Oatmeal I would be happy to help— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 14, 2014
As Slate notes, that isn't necessarily a promise of $8 million. But it's a heck of a start. — J.C.
Quakes: We are making the earth move
According to a new study co-authored by a Western Washington University professor, human-caused groundwater depletion may be causing increased seismic activity and changes in mountain height in California’s Sierra Nevada range.
As humans continue to deplete groundwater resources in the San Joaquin Valley, the process puts pressure on surrounding sedimentary materials, thus causing the region’s mountains and valleys to rise and fall, though only by a matter of inches. According to researchers, this may affect the nearby San Andreas Fault, whose sensitivity to small changes in stress can control the amount and frequency of smaller earthquakes along the fault line. However, Colin Amos, assistant professor of geology at Western and one of the leaders of the research, notes that these findings do not serve as a warning for “The Big One” that seismologists predict for the region. — M.C.
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