Steve Ballmer leaves Microsoft board
Former CEO Steve Ballmer today stepped down from the Microsoft board, pointing in a letter to the press of duties with his newly-acquired Los Angeles Clippers basketball team and other demands, including civic causes. As GeekWire's Todd Bishop notes, Ballmer's departure, along with the decision by Bill Gates to hand off board chair duties removes whatever concerns about new CEO Satya Nadella being able to make big changes without fear of offending his big-name predecessors. As this video shows, Ballmer is in his "seize-the-day" mode of enthusiasm about the Clippers.
Of course, enthusiasm and Ballmer are never too far apart, even at a college graduation ceremony. And if there's any doubt that Ballmer will continue to be involved with civic causes in Seattle as he takes over the Clippers, his remarks to UW grads this summer about being committed to the city for the rest of his life are reassuring. (Ballmer may have joined the NBA, but it's unlikely he'll develop ex-NBA commissioner David Stern's problematic relationship with the truth). — J.C.
Kiddie sticker shock
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its annual Expenditures on Children by Families — a.k.a. the Cost of Raising a Child — report. We have no idea why the agriculture department is studying this subject, but suffice it to say the agency report makes one thing crystal clear: Kids are really, really expensive. Your average middle-income family (making between $61,530 and $106,540) with a 1-year-old will spend about $245,340 on “food, housing, childcare, education, and other child-rearing expenses up to age 18,” according to the USDA. That figure — national, so imagine what it costs in metro Seattle — doesn’t include the price of the pregnancy or college! And after all that money — and all we do for them — they never call, they never write ... — M.B.
Jesus Festival: This weekend's biggest non-happening
This was supposed to be the weekend of the first Mars Hill Church-sponsored Jesus Festival at Marymoor Park. But the big event was canceled a while back, leaving questions about what happened to the $2 million in extra money raised, in part, for the festival, according to the SLOG. The Jesus Festival, according to seattlepi.com's Joel Connelly, was supposed to feature "live bands, food trucks, fun stuff for the kids, open air gospel preaching, baptisms and a summer night filled with the worship of thousands of brothers and sisters praising Jesus together." Plus, it was going to be free. Which, we suppose, park entry will be this weekend, as usual. — J.C.
Skywalks: An idea whose time has past?
The Spokane City Council has approved a new skywalk, connecting the Convention Center with a 15-story hotel under construction downtown. The Spokesman-Review reports that the skywalk will add to a network of 15 skywalks, which began going up as the city prepared for its big Expo '74 event. This new skywalk is the first in 20 years, though, and one council member expressed hope that it would be the last. Councilmember Jon Snyder said skywalks hurt street-level retail business opportunities. No more skywalks is easy to say in summer. But will the choice be as clearcut when there's snow, strong winds and freezing temps? — J.C.
Yes, we have weed today
A new state-licensed marijuana retailer in Bothell says it has plenty of product on hand and won't be like those other stores that have opened and then had to wait to get fresh supplies. The Herald reports that the shop, Herbal Nation, which accepts debit cards, is targeting middle-aged professionals and retired people. Will Herbal Nation be swamped when Social Security checks arrive each month? Can't say. Our call just now went unanswered: Maybe those clerks were too busy. — J.C.
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