Friday 29 May, 2015

No more smoking in Seattle parks. Rand Paul's smackdown video. Cue Olympia's second special session. Google's Hands Free payment system.

Ninth Circuit rules Idaho abortion restrictions unconstitutional

at 4:00pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

The Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruled Idaho’s ban on abortions — after 20 weeks or more weeks of gestation — unconstitutional. The case, explains NPR’s Bill Chappell, was brought by Jennie McCormack, who was arrested in 2011 after she used the RU-486 pill to end her own pregnancy. Though criminal charges against her were dropped, McCormack, a single mother of three at the time, filed a class action suit arguing that Idaho’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act violated the U.S. Constitution. Not only did Ninth Circuit judges rule against the 20-week limit, they also shot down the state’s requirement that all second-trimester abortions be performed in a hospital, as it “places an undue burden on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion.”

Hackers block congressional IPs to protest surveillance

at 3:00pm by Mary Bruno

Screen shot 2015-05-29 at 11.44.25 AM
Credit: Fight for the Future

A group calling itself Fight for the Future arranged for 10,000 websites to block access for users coming from the U.S. Congress on Friday. The move was a protest against re-authorization of the National Security Agency’s controversial surveillance program. According to The Guardian, computers using congressional IP addresses were redirected to a site warning that the blackout will persist until Congress ends mass surveillance.

“Right now the code affects only visitors from Congress,” said Holmes Wilson, a co-founder of Fight for the Future. “We’re willing to keep it up … until either the USA Freedom Act is dramatically improved or dead, or until the Patriot Act provisions have sunset.” The U.S. Senate reopens debate on aspects of NSA surveillance on Sunday.

6.7 quake shakes Alaska coast

at 2:00pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

No reports of damage have emerged in the wake of the quake, which reports the U.S. Geological Survey was centered 61 miles northwest of Chirikof Island, and 400 miles southwest of Anchorage. According to the Herald, residents on nearby (and more densely populated) Kodiak Island felt the shaking for about a minute. The National Tsunami Warning Center sounded the all clear: no tsunami danger.

Amazon bringing 1,000 jobs and $1.1 billion to Ohio

at 1:49pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

All the key players were present for the announcement in Columbus this morning: Amazon’s Vice President for Global Public Policy, Paul Misener; Ohio Governor John Kasich; JobsOhio CEO John Minor. Ohio approved $81 million in tax incentives for Amazon’s subsidiary Vadata months ago. Amazon will spend $1.1 billion building data centers around suburban Ohio for its Web Services operations. “One of the reasons we came here was the workforce,” said Amazon’s Misener. Tweeting from the event, Ohio Statehouse Bureau Chief Karen Kasler said Gov. Kasich supported the deal “because I want a drone.”


B.C. petition tries to halt expansion of salmon farms

at 1:00pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Salmon are one of the species most threatened by rises in water temperature, both at sea and in their spawning streams.

The Victoria Legislature heard a petition on Thursday to limit the expansion of salmon farms in British Columbia, reports the Vancouver Sun. The petition was signed by about 109,000 people and more than 100 representatives from businesses and environmental groups, as well as First Nation peoples. The campaign was launched in response to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2012 changes to the Fisheries Act, which allow salmon farms to expand farther into B.C. waters. Conservationists worry about the impact of the farms on wild salmon populations and on overall marine health.

Office of Labor Standards find its director

at 12:58pm by David Kroman

Dylan Orr of the U.S. Department of Labor will take the reins at Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards (OLS). Created last fall, the OLS is supposed to enforce the city’s new minimum wage ordinance. But the wage increase went into effect on April 1 and the office has been without a director. Until today. Finding the right candidate was difficult, says Office of Civil Rights’ director Patty Lally. Apparently,  Orr’s endorsement from U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez did the trick.

Apples hit dead end at Port

at 12:00pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

apple.jpgWashington apple farmers are composting three weeks’ worth of record crops because there’s no profitable way to ship them. According to the Seattle Times, the labor dispute with ports up and down the West Coast (finally resolved last week) slowed down exports, which left crates of fruit rotting on docks. About a third of Washington’s apples are exported each year, but this season other countries are meeting the world’s apple needs. The estimated loss to Washington’s apple growers is about. At least, we don’t have to fret about the environmental impact of all that fruit dumped in central Washington fields. “These are apples,” said Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington State Apple Commission. “We’re not throwing our TVs out. They don’t harm the environment.”

Tim Egan spanks Jeb Bush over climate change

at 10:52am by Mary Bruno

Sure Jeb fumbled the Iraq question — for a week — but his “real stunner,” according to the clearly vexed but ever articulate New York Times columnist was the way Jeb, and many of his Republican brethren breezily sweep aside “the threat of megastorms, life-killing droughts, city-burying sea rises” and other climate change-related consequences and rail instead against the “arrogance” of the scientists sounding the alarm. “Why are Republicans still debating whether the house is on fire, when much of the rest of the world is ready to direct the fire hoses?” asks Egan, who concludes that “In addressing and assessing the great issues of the day, Jeb Bush has disqualified himself to lead.” Just as well, since he isn’t officially running for president anyway.

Former Speaker of the House Hastert indicted

at 9:30am by Mary Bruno

Former U.S. Representative J. Dennis Hastert was the longest-serving GOP Speaker of the House when he retired in 2007. On Thursday, reports the Washington Post, a federal grand jury indicted Hastert on charges that he “violated banking laws in a bid to pay $3.5 million to an unnamed person to cover up ‘past misconduct.’” He has also been accused of lying to federal investigators. Prosecutors allege that in 2010 Hastert agreed to hand over $3.5 million “to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A.” No details on the misconduct or the identity of A. Hastert, 73, is now a highly-paid D.C. lobbyist. If convicted, he faces 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Rand Paul's smackdown video

at 9:00am by Mary Bruno

Channeling WWE bombast, a super PAC supporting U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential aspirations has released this video spot promoting the “Brawl for Liberty” guaranteed to take place under the Capitol dome this Sunday over aspects of the Patriot Act — which Rand Paul has vowed to kill. The video features a lot of screeching eagles and shooting flames and swipes at Barack Obama and Paul’s Republican rivals like “The Capitulating Canadian,” Sen. Ted Cruz. Last week’s 11-hour filibuster by Paul and friends prompted the Senate to postpone a vote on the issue. But, the Washington Post reminds us, the Patriot Act is back on the agenda Sunday. “Get ready, America,” intones the video voiceover, “for the biggest brawl for liberty of the century!”

Google's Hands Free payment

at 8:07am by Mary Bruno

In the latest strategy to separate you from your money as quickly and painlessly as possible, Google gave attendees at a recent Google I/O session a sneak peek at an  “early prototype stage”  of its new, no-hands mobile payment system. Details are scarce, but the new method, which involves an app and a phrase (“I’d like to pay with Google”), will be tested in the years ahead at McDonald’s and Papa John’s franchises in the Bay Area.

“No longer forage through your pocket or your bag,” McDonald’s Chief Digital Officer Atif Rafiq told the Google I/O crowd. “… the app lets us verify that it’s you … It’s an entirely new level of convenience.” And security threat? Google, says GeekWire , addresses security on its website: “When you make a purchase, your full card details will not be shared with stores … We’ll also alert you to any unusual activity so you can go hands-free and be worry-free.”


An arrow to Rodney’s heart

at 7:34am by Mark Matassa

2014 07 11 Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, MLB
Credit: Seattle Mariners

It’s gotten to the point that even The Seattle Times’ unfailingly thoughtful and fair sports columnist Larry Stone says it’s time to give Mariners closer Fernando Rodney the hook. Sure, Stone acknowledges, Rodney is still racking up some saves (and then showboatingly shooting his imaginary arrow into the sky), but his stats are bad and his scary near-misses in the ninth are giving fans a case of the willies. Manager Lloyd McClendon doesn’t want to make a change, but Stone says rookie Carson Smith, who has been great in short relief, should get a shot.

'For a Few Dollars More': The Olympia story?

at 7:00am by John Stang

Is the 1965 Clint Eastwood movie a metaphor for the Washington Legislature’s second 30-day special session on budget talks, which begins  Friday? In For a Few Dollars More two gunslingers face off. They squint and stare at each other. Sounds a lot like the past 30-day special session in Olympia where little got done. The gunfighters then start their showdown all over again until everything gets resolved. Sounds like the new special session. We hope.

The only problem with this comparison is that Senate Republicans and House Democrats need to compromise because neither side can blow the other away — not-so-secret fantasies about winner-take-all aside. And that is why, as Crosscut reported Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered budget negotiators from both sides to face off daily,  in his conference room, starting Monday.

Pre’s Trail, 40 years on

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

preToday, Friday, is the 40th anniversary of Steve Prefontaine’s final race (a typical first-place in the 5,000 meters) and, hours later, shortly after midnight, his fatal car crash in Eugene. Pre, who attended University of Oregon and never lost a race there, is largely responsible for Eugene’s  “Track Town USA” nickname. At one time he owned the American record in every event from 2,000 meters to 10,000 meters. He also helped popularize running in the 1970s, not to mention the Nike running shoes designed by his UO track coach Bill Bowerman. He’s honored in Eugene still by the wonderful running park known as “Pre’s Trail.” The Oregonian, drawing in part from the Register-Guard in Eugene and other sources, offers a fond tribute.

Portland grocery agrees to nearly $100k in back-pay

at 5:24am by Mark Matassa

After arguing for two years that its employees were exempt from overtime-pay requirements, Portland’s Supermercado Tapatia has agreed to make good on the back pay, $49,600, and another $49,600 in damages, reports The Oregonian.

No more smoking in Seattle parks

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

121128_smoking_photo1.jpgSmokers still can light up in their own cars or homes, but anyone trying to take a quick drag or two in a Seattle park can just forget it. In a vote that was mainly symbolic, the Seattle Parks Board put its stamp on Mayor Ed Murray’s proposal to ban all smoking in city parks. As The Seattle Times reports, Murray didn’t technically need the board’s approval, since it is an advisory body. Murray said the ban will make the city’s parks healthier and more welcoming.

Thursday 28 May, 2015

Rick Santorum, in his own words. Seattle's C.D. losing its historic demographic.

George Pataki running for president

at 3:55pm by Robert LeCompte

George Pataki, former governor of New York, announced his candidacy for president today in New Hampshire, adding to an already crowded Republican field. In his announcement, NPR reports, Pataki focused on personal freedoms that he feels are being attacked by the federal government.

A certain sportswear firm could be involved in FIFA scandal

at 3:49pm by Robert LeCompte

Along with the 16 FIFA officials who have been named in the indictment thus far, there is also mention of an unnamed “major U.S. based sportswear company.” The indictment, reports The Washington Post, says that the sportswear company signed a 10-year, $160 million sponsorship deal with the Brazilian national team in 1996. What sportswear company made a similar deal with the Brazilian team that same year? If you guessed Nike, the Post notes, you’d be correct. The investigators believe that “marketing fees” involved in the deal were little more than bribes. Stock investors don’t seem too concerned though; Nike’s stock dropped by less than one percent following the allegations.

Neanderthal skull: World's first recorded murder?

at 3:38pm by Robert LeCompte

A team of archaeologists published a study in the scientific journal PLOS ONE detailing a 430,000-year-old Neanderthal skull that could belong to the victim of the world’s earliest recorded murder. The evidence revolves around 52 cranial fragments found near the skull and two penetrating wounds above the left eye. A CT scan showed that the wounds are the result of two different impacts from the same weapon at slightly different trajectories. The site where the skull was found, Sima de los Huesos (or, “Pit of Bones”) in Spain is also home to 27 other Neanderthal skeletons, which “may represent the earliest funerary behavior in the human fossil record,” says the study.

The skull belonging to a 430,000 year old possible murder victim. Credit: PLOS ONE
The skull belonging to a 430,000 year old possible murder victim. Credit: PLOS ONE

Ford opens its electric vehicle patents

at 12:59pm by Robert LeCompte

Ford says today that it will open the files on all of its patents and patent applications that are related to electric vehicles. Electrek reports this will allow anyone interested, including their competitors, to view the patents. “Innovation is our goal. … By sharing our research with other companies, we will accelerate the growth of electrified vehicle technology and deliver even better products to customers,” said Kevin Layden, director of Ford’s Electrification Programs. Those wishing to use the patents will still have to pay a fee.

What are your odds of being replaced by a machine?

at 12:53pm by Robert LeCompte

Researchers recently took a stab at estimating the likelihood of various jobs being able to be done by machines some time in the next 20 years. The worst odds belong to telemarketers. (Thankfully, reporters are pretty safe with just an 11 percent chance of it happening.) Interested in finding out how likely you are of being replaced by a robot? Head over to NPR to find out.

House Democratic group wants end to family detention

at 12:41pm by Robert LeCompte

Five Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington state — Reps. Suzan DelBene, Adam Smith, Rick Larsen, Jim McDermott and Derek Kilmer — joined 131 other House Democrats in calling on the Obama administration to end to the practice of family detention. “We believe it is undeniable that detention in a secure facility is detrimental to mothers and children and is not reflective of our values as a nation,” the group’s letter says. Prior to last Spring, reports The New York Times, refugees fleeing extreme gang violence in countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras would be released on a bond while they awaited their asylum hearings. Instead, the refugees, including whole families, are now being placed in detention centers that sound an awful lot like prison. “We have the opportunity to do the right thing,” the letter says, “and are confident that DHS has the capacity to honor our Nation’s longstanding commitment both to the protection and well-being of refugee families and to law enforcement and public safety.”

Tony nominees perform for NYT

at 12:00pm by Mary Bruno

The New York Times terrific “In Performance” series presents songs by five 2015 Tony Award nominees, including Kristen Chenoweth, star of Best Musical candidate “In the 20th Century” and Sting with a full beard and a classical guitar doing an acoustic number from “The Last Ship.”

Car crash causes seven-mile backup on I5 this morning

at 10:59am by Harrison Lee

Two closed lanes on I-5 were still causing a backup late this morning, due to an accident. A car carrying four people  crashed through a guardrail and over an embankment near mid-Boeing Field, KOMO News reports. Three of the four people in the car were seriously injured. At about 8:10 a.m., state troopers and medics responded to the reports of an accident. The backup stretched as far as seven miles.traffic camera

Toxic shellfish found in Hood Canal

at 10:48am by Harrison Lee

The Kitsap Sun reports that shellfish harvesting in Hood Canal has been banned due to paralytic shellfish poisoning biotoxins that were found in a sample of Mussels from the Seabeck Marina. In response, the Kitsap Public Health District and the state Department of Health have barred the harvesting of oyster, clams, and mussels.

What will Seattle need in 2035?

at 10:09am by David Kroman

Over the next 20 years, Seattle can expect 120,000 new people and 115,000 new jobs in the metro area. Those estimates come straight out of City Hall and beg the question: How can the city prepare? That question is at the heart of Seattle 2035, the new comprehensive plan for the city. The document, which is labeled a draft environmental impact statement, was introduced Wednesday night at a public hearing. Expect further coverage of the plan starting this week on Crosscut.

Nebraska bans death penalty

at 8:00am by Mary Bruno

In a blow to Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, a death penalty devotee, Nebraska’s predominantly GOP legislature voted 30-to-19 on Wednesday to override the governor’s veto and roll back the state’s capital punishment law. The bipartisan vote, said The New York Times, made Nebraska “the first conservative state in more than 40 years to abolish the death penalty.”

House wants fewer standardized tests in high school

at 7:45am by Robert LeCompte

The Washington House of Representatives apparently agrees with students and teachers: There should be less standardized testing. A bill passed Wednesday (in a landslide vote of 87 to 7) would reduce the number of yearly tests in high school from seven to just three per year — math, English, and language arts — although a science assessment will be added sometime in the next two years.  Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Snohomish, said, “We need to show students that they are more than just assessments.” HB-2214 is also estimated to save the state $30 million per biennium.

Amazon debuts same-day delivery

at 7:38am by Mary Bruno

Score one for instant gratification — that is, if you’re an Amazon Prime member. Geekwire reports that our favorite hometown e-tailer launched a free, same-day delivery service today (Thursday). The luxury of buying pet food or a GoPro in the morning and having it on your doorstep that afternoon is reserved for the Amazon Prime crowd ($99 a year for a Prime membership). The day-of program will be available in 500 U.S. metro areas, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, New York, LA and, of course, Seattle. Orders over $35 ship free. Order by noon if you want your item by 9 p.m.

Seattle’s C.D. losing its historic demographic

at 7:00am by Mark Matassa

Mt. Zion Baptist Church, a longtime stalwart in the C.D.
Mt. Zion Baptist Church, a longtime stalwart in the C.D.

In a sort of mea culpa, or at least a second look, Seattle Times “FYI Guy” columnist Gene Balk revisits his recent piece on the Central District as an affordable and convenient place to live. Uh-oh. As Balk confesses in a follow-up, that assessment went over none too well with the area’s African-American residents, who have lived there not for the “convenience,” as one woman puts it, but because there was no place else to live. Redlining by banks saw to that. Now, Balk says, the trend lines of gentrification predict the C.D. could be less than 10 percent black within a decade.

New council districts could hurt incumbents

at 5:30am by Mark Matassa

Tim Burgess.
Tim Burgess.
Jean Godden.
Jean Godden.

Supporters of the proposal to elect Seattle City Council members by district said it could shake up what has been an incumbent’s paradise. And sure enough, endorsement results coming in from state legislative district Democrats in the city are bearing that out. The Seattle Times reports that both Councilman Tim Burgess and Councilwoman Jean Godden have been passed over in many cases for fresh faces at the district level.

Rick Santorum, in his own words

at 5:05am by Mark Matassa

Some politicians don’t need analysts or opponents to mock their positions. They do just fine on their own. Here’s Rick Santorum, former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and a declared Republican presidential candidate, speaking about the Islamic State, immigration, education and more, in a Washington Post video. “If these folks want to bring back a 7th century version of Islam,” says Santorum, “then my recommendation is, let’s load our bombers up and bomb them back to the 7th century!”

Wednesday 27 May, 2015

Multiple red cards for FIFA officials. Federal courts v. Obama. Here come the nerds, still.

Transportation budget passes

at 3:50pm by Robert LeCompte

The state House of Representatives today passed a new budget for transportation this afternoon to assure continued operations of vital services even if no larger budget deal is reached by the June 30 deadline. The measure passed easily, although several representatives objected that the final version was largely the work of just two members of the budget committee. Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, said, “Anybody can exercise power but in order to exercise authority you need legitimacy and legitimacy can only be obtained through democracy.” As the Spokesman-Review notes, the budget, which is likely to be approved by the Senate before Thursday’s end of a special legislative session, would assure pay for the state patrol and ferry workers even if a budget deadlock were to force a partial shutdown of state government in July. The measure doesn’t include a proposed gas tax for new projects, which could be passed later.

With an eye on Move Seattle, Licata considers future levies

at 3:20pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Based on past voting trends, Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata is worried that voters may not pass Mayor Murray’s $930 million Move Seattle transportation levy. And with potential school district and housing levies in the pipeline, he’s not convinced Seattle would get a second crack at transportation. Therefore, he’s offering a diversified funding approach to make $930 million, or an amount close to it, more realistic.

He suggested Wednesday a tax on commercial parking along with a one cent per employee hour tax increase on businesses. This would decrease the mayor’s proposed property tax hike and, according to Licata, lighten the burden on property owners whose incomes haven’t quite caught up with rising property values.

Nick Licata
Nick Licata

Disney characters to become robots

at 3:04pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Disney is making its beloved animated characters into robots, reports GeekWire. The robots would populate Disney theme parks and “allow people to physically interact with characters that they have only seen in films or TV,” say developers in a paper documenting the research process. They’re using 3D printing and servo motors to create an open-loop walking trajectory unique to the character. It’s a challenge — most characters are not designed with much regard to the feasibility of their motions, for instance, the researchers note — but  if successful, the work will surely be rewarded by the sight of millions of giddy children’s smiling faces.




FIFA officials indicted on corruption charges

at 1:15pm by Robert LeCompte

A federal indictment charges 14 officials of FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering. Two of those charged, Eugenio Figueredo and Jeffrey Webb, are acting vice presidents, reports The New York Times. “These individuals and organizations engaged in bribery to decide who would televise games, where the games would be held, and who would run the organization overseeing organized soccer worldwide,” said U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Ominously for FIFA, Kelly Curry, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York District Kelly Curry, said, “This is the beginning of our effort, not the end.”

Washington state senators really like the U.S. Open

at 1:03pm by Robert LeCompte

The first topic of discussion for the state Senate today was a resolution praising … the upcoming U.S. Open. The resolution passed unanimously, with Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, rather proudly declaring that the golf tournament has already sold 230,000 tickets and is expected to bring in at least $8 million in sales tax revenue alone. Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge, asked that legislators working on a state budget hurry up and finish their work so that the senators don’t have to work through the Open, June 18-21.

2 sides on Olympia shootings

at 12:24pm by Harrison Lee

Associated Press reports that the Olympia City Council extended the public comment period Tuesday evening, allowing concerned citizens to voice their opinions about the recent shooting of two stepbrothers. The room was pretty split. Some criticized Police Chief Ronnie Roberts for ruling out racism as a cause for the shooting. Others were in support of the police officer. “There are a lot of people in the community that really appreciate the risk he took and what he did,” said one citizen. Following the City Council meeting, roughly 100 demonstrators protested outside the Olympia City Hall holding signs that read “Black lives matter” and “Black youth is not disposable.”

Shifting school start times: Costly but worthwhile?

at 12:17pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

A 30-member task force has recommended that Seattle Public Schools flip elementary and high school start times so that elementary students begin the day earlier and high-schoolers later. This would be more in line with kids’ biological clocks, sleep, according to Dr. Maida Chen of Seattle Children’s Hospital.

But KING 5 says the district estimates a $15 million cost associated with changing the schedule, mostly transportation-related. There are other less-costly options, such as changing only the high school schedule. Superintendent Larry Nyland will announce a final recommendation in June — when we can expect quite a range of public reaction.

Indicted auditor paying lawyer with stolen money?

at 12:09pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Federal prosecutors want a federal judge to look at whether Washington state Auditor Troy Kelley may have transferred $908,000 in stolen funds to his defense lawyer in March, according to the Seattle Times. A motion filed Tuesday also requests that Judge Ronald Leighton look at whether the transfer of the money could have created a conflict of interest for his attorney, Mark Bartlett. In April, Kelley entered a plea of innocent to charges of filing false tax returns, obstruction and possession of stolen property. The prosecutors suggest that money recently transferred to the law firm that is providing his legal representation and the IRS may have come from an account that ought to have been used to make refunds to clients.

Murray pitches new medical marijuana regulation

at 9:30am by David Kroman

Mayor Ed Murray proposed legislation Tuesday to close all medical marijuana dispensaries licensed after January 1st, 2013. Businesses that opened before 2013 could apply for a new marijuana business license, as created by state lawmakers last month. The effort, said Murray in a statement, would strengthen “the recreational marijuana market and create safer, more consistent access for those who rely on medicinal products.”

The proposal is expected to shutter 54 dispensaries, the mayor’s office said, and would crack down businesses that operate without a license, market products that may be appealing to children, or sell to people younger than 21 years old who do not qualify as a patient. The legislation would also prevent marijuana deliveries and selling untested products.

The effort to combine the parallel medical and recreational marijuana markets will go to the city council for approval.

Satya Nadella: 2015's Most Influential tech exec

at 8:30am by Mary Bruno

satya-nadella-microsoft-ceo.jpgSo says Jupiter Research, whose latest rankings put Nadella ahead of headline-grabbers like Jeff Bezos (#8) and Elon Musk (#9). For its annual ranking, Jupiter says it assesses “key criteria, including vision, innovation and personal capital.” Nadella got lots of points for shifting Microsoft from its traditional “OS-focused business model” to its new “Windows-as-a-Service” model. (And no penalties for suggesting that women techies forego asking for raises.) Joining Nadella in Jupiter’s Top Five are Jony Ive, Apple Senior VP of Design; Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO; Uber CEO Travis Kalanick; and Reed Hastings,  Netflix co-founder and CEO.


IRS hacked

at 8:00am by Mary Bruno

A sophisticated group managed to breach internet security at the Internal Revenue Service this spring, scooping up personal info on 104,000 taxpayers, including several years’ worth of returns, according to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Data robbers entered through the agency’s “Get Transcript” system, which lets taxpayers see past returns. According to the Washington Post, hackers outsmarted the security screen that requires entering your Social Security number, date of birth, address and filing status. The IRS will let you know if your personal information has been compromised.

Hutch opens research center in Uganda

at 7:36am by Mary Bruno

Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has set up shop in Uganda. “Throughout the developing world, cancer kills more people than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined,” reports The Seattle Times. “But cancer programs get far less support.” Hutch researchers hope to change that. In partnership with the Uganda Cancer Institute the Hutch will invest $10 million in a state-of-the-art treatment and research complex in Kampala, which will specialize in the types of cancers caused by viral infections.

Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a Wookie

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

Sci-Fi geeks must be beside themselves with the “release” of a trailer for “The Carbonite Maneuver,” a new movie combining the galaxies of “Star Trek” and “Star Wars.” Alas, it’s not a real movie but a creative mashup by YouTube user SonOfSpock, whose trailer is shared by The Oregonian, with a hat tip to Nerdist. “Legends will unite, and galaxies will clash,” the faux trailer promises.

Here come the nerds, still

at 5:45am by Mark Matassa

South Lake Union is developing rapidly.
South Lake Union is developing rapidly.

As if Seattle isn’t changing enough with Amazoners taking over South Lake Union, now come hordes of Silicon Valley techies, reports Puget Sound Business Journal. New stats from Redfin show “the number of people from the Bay Area looking for homes in Seattle has quadrupled in four years.” Evidence, says the Business Journal, of the strength of Seattle’s tech boom. Also Bay Area housing prices.

Federal Courts v. Obama

at 5:16am by Mark Matassa

President Barack Obama signed health-care legislation in 2010  with 11-year-old Marcelas Owens of Seattle, left, looking on.
Obama signed health-care legislation with 11-year-old Marcelas Owens of Seattle looking on.

The news Tuesday that a federal appeals court stopped one of the president’s signature immigration policies leads The Washington Post to ponder whether Obama’s legacy may rest in the courts. On several issues now – same-sex marriage, Obamacare, climate change and now immigration – the president’s initiatives are in the hands of the justice system.

Multiple red cards for FIFA officials

at 5:03am by Mark Matassa

After decades of rumors and suspicions, leaders of the worldwide soccer organization FIFA were arrested in Switzerland early Wednesday on federal corruption charges. They will be extradicted to the United States. The New York Times reports that the charges are for widespread corruption over the past two decades, “involving bids for World Cups as well as marketing and broadcast deals, according to three law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the case. The charges include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering, and officials said they targeted members of FIFA’s powerful executive committee, which wields enormous power and does its business largely in secret.”

Tuesday 26 May, 2015

Ireland approves gay marriage. The trial of a man who stabbed a BMW. Our pampered wilderness.

Nelson Cruz off to good start in baseball's All-Star voting

at 2:00pm by Joe Copeland

The Mariners’ designated hitter Nelson Cruz leads in the first batch of voting results for the American League All-Star team. He’s just one of three players leading in the voting for their positions who play for somebody other than the Kansas City Royals, whose fans are apparently engaged in massive ballot box stuffing a demonstration of “their passion” for their team. As with the other two non-Royals in first place, Cruz is trailed by a Royal, in his case Kendrys Morales, whose .207 batting average for the Mariners last year did little to help their unsuccessful bid for a playoff appearance.

Uber and Lyft anticipated to start picking up customers from Sea-Tac

at 12:54pm by Harrison Lee

GeekWire reports that so-called “transportation network companies” like Uber and Lyft may be able to pick customers up at Sea-Tac Airport sometime next month. The companies are currently limited to dropping off passengers. During a meeting today, the Port of Seattle Commission will discuss the possibility of passenger pickups. GeekWire notes that a port memo suggests that TNC pickups will commence in June or July of this year.

Residents of Kirkland mobile home community face eviction

at 12:48pm by Harrison Lee

KOMO News reports that residents of a Kirkland mobile home community are all being evicted to make way for high-end home development. Families, veterans and seniors now have 10 months before they will be forced to leave Firwood Lane Mobile Home Park. The land was bought for more than $3 million this spring by a Texas-based developer, who plans to construct 19 new homes on the land. “We’re looking at 150 to 200 people that are just going to be displaced,” says resident Lynn Leonard. The homeowners are meeting with the developer this week to discuss options for relocation assistance.

Companies fined $11 million for deceptive business practices

at 12:39pm by Robert LeCompte

Have you ever signed up for a subscription to a website or a magazine, only to find that the subscription automatically renews? Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson feels your pain.  Classmates, Inc. and FTD, Inc. have agreed to payments of $11 million to resolve allegations from Ferguson and attorneys general in other states that their billing and marketing practices violated consumer protection standards, including on subscription services from the firms’ third-party partners. “Consumers have a right to expect companies to clearly disclose the terms of their services. When a business fails to do that, my office will hold them accountable,” Ferguson said in a press release. Along with the payments, the two companies are also required to change their business tactics to be more open and straight-forward with customers.

Chambers Bay: No duffers need apply (for now)

at 12:15pm by Joe Copeland

The Chambers Bay course has shut down to all but the elite of golfing until after the U.S. Open there finishes (June 21). The final putt before Monday evening’s closure came from Cat Blair, a 28-year-old who is expecting her fourth child soon, who sunk a 4-footer, The News Tribune reports. Let the hype begin. Or continue.

Seattle home prices rising fast

at 8:39am by drew atkins

File this under mixed news. Home prices in Seattle are among the fastest-rising in the nation, according to the latest data from the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index. While that’s good for current owners, the 7.5 percent price increase over the past 12 months puts home ownership further out of reach of many local citizens, given they are rising faster than wages. The Seattle Times reports that the last time prices were at their current level was immediately before the recession hit, and Washington Mutual folded.



Oil-by-rail refinery on fast track for Longview?

at 8:25am by Joe Copeland

An environmental group, Columbia Riverkeeper, today is releasing a letter to state officials showing that an energy company plans to build the largest new mainland U.S. oil refinery in nearly 40 years on the Columbia River. The plans include bringing Bakken Field oil by rail and then shipping oil products down the Columbia. Although the company and the Port of Longview have been very low key about any construction, the Riverkeeper group believes the port could approve a deal at any time.

Snohomish deputy shoots man near Monroe

at 8:08am by Joe Copeland

A Snohomish County deputy, responding to a 911 call, fatally shot a man on a private road about a half mile from Monroe shortly after midnight this morning, KOMO News reports. KING 5 reports that investigators from several agencies are looking into the shooting but they may not make any statements today about the reasons for the shooting.

Seattle's public toilet do-over

at 7:30am by Mary Bruno

Credit: Portland Loo

The last time city officials tried installing public restrooms around town things, it was a $5 million mistake. The much ballyhooed, self-cleaning toilets became magnets for naughtiness. Undeterred, Seattle is at it again. The city, reports The Seattle Times, has set aside $230,000 for one “stand-alone” Portland Loo in Pioneer Square, where hordes of tourists, sports fans and homeless people have no where to go. “Our goal is to make this happen ASAP,” Gary Johnson, who coordinates the Seattle Department of Planning and Development’s center-city strategy, told the Times. ASAP = end of this year.


Our pampered wilderness

at 6:15am by Mark Matassa

Cascade Lake, Moran State Park
Cascade Lake, Moran State Park

For Memorial Day Weekend, the nation’s unofficial opening of camping season, Seattle-based writer Christopher Solomon has a blistering screed against glamor camping, or “glamping,” for The New York Times. The increasingly popular practice is bad enough, he says, but now that it is being offered in some of Washington’s most sacred camping spots, like Moran State Park on Orcas Island, well, enough is too much already. Reservations can run as high as $220 a night for a two-night minimum stay. But the real rip, Solomon says, is that this is developing as legislators are cutting the budgets of state parks.

A giant gap between the worlds of troops and civilians

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

Photographer at a Memorial Day parade
Photographer at a Memorial Day parade

A lot of the weekend’s Memorial Day coverage consisted of predictably feel-good features about military veterans who love their country and vice versa. All well and good. But in a “special report,” The Los Angeles Times pulls the camera back a bit to focus on a larger cultural divide between military and civilians. Many of those in the service now come from multi-generational military families, while less than 1 percent of the U.S. population is in the armed services today — the lowest level since before World War II. The Times examines the economic, political and cultural divisions that ensue.

David Brewster launching new ‘subscription library’ in downtown Seattle

at 5:45am by Mark Matassa

David Brewster.
David Brewster.

Brewster, the founder of Crosscut, Seattle Weekly and Town Hall Seattle, has a new “imported idea,” as he puts it: a membership library that he hopes will be “about the physical book in the age of Amazon.” Seattle Times books editor Mary Ann Gwinn has details about the new venture – named Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum – and an interview with Brewster.

The jury trial of a man charged with stabbing a BMW

at 5:10am by Mark Matassa

Over the weekend The Oregonian spun a fascinating tale from a crime that is a year old. It helped the storytelling, no doubt, that the subject could be described as in the headline: “Sword-wielding bipolar man in elf costume stabs BMW, fights criminal charges in trial.” The case got plenty of attention in May 2014, but writer Aimee Green, apparently assigned to cover the trial, begins the tale with the luxury-car stabbing. Bit by bit she weaves a tale of mental illness, epic drug use and legal strategy, before, at the very end, revealing the trial’s outcome. Definitely worth a read.

Ireland: first country to approve gay marriage

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny

In the end the vote wasn’t even close: 62 percent in favor of legalizing gay marriage, and 38 percent opposed. As The New York Times reports, not long ago such a development would have been unthinkable.

“Ireland decriminalized homosexuality only in 1993, the church dominates the education system, and abortion remains illegal except when a mother’s life is at risk,” the Times wrote. “But the influence of the church has waned amid scandals in recent years, while attitudes, particularly among the young, have shifted.” Said Prime Minister Enda Kenny, “Today Ireland made history.”

Friday 22 May, 2015

Oregon considers going nuclear. Rough start this week for @POTUS. West Seattle couple leaves it all to Uncle Sam.

New construction means apartment rents are rising more slowly

at 3:54pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

New apartment construction in Seattle is causing a gradual decline in the rate at which rent is rising, says Marc Stiles of Puget Sound Business Journal. Dallas-based Axiometrics reports that rent in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area dropped in April. Rent growth still increased by 7.6 percent over last April, but that’s down from the 8 percent rate in March. The slight drop is due to new construction, which will continue with an estimated 8,950 new units this year. But apartment occupancy will likely remain high (it was 96 percent in April), as job growth continues.

Memorial Day Weekend. Troll back Tuesday

at 3:46pm by Joe Copeland

While veterans will be honored in many good, traditional ways this weekend, the sports world could come up with a unique one Monday: a Major League performance on Memorial Day by a recent veteran with Persian Gulf service. St. Louis Cardinals rookie pitcher Mitch Harris, 29, recently became the first U.S. Naval Academy graduate to pick up a Major League victory. Harris has been trying to keep the focus on his performance on the field, but even he admits to an reporter that it would be special if he gets called in as a reliever during his team’s Monday game with the Kansas City Royals.

Sunny or not, there’s lots to do around the Northwest, including the Northwest Folklife festival and/or avoiding its traffic. Check out our Crosscut’s Weekend List for a few ideas.

The Daily Troll will take Monday off, returning Tuesday. We will send our next daily newsletters then, too. Have a good Memorial Day weekend.

South Seattle's dust frustration

at 12:46pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

South Seattle residents are puzzled by the dark soot that continues to blanket everything, KOMO News reports. The air quality worsened noticeably last month. “It’s a frustrating way to feel, that you can’t be outside in your own neighborhood and breathe clean air,” says Julie Johnson, a Georgetown resident since 2006. No one seems to have any idea what the dust is or where it’s coming from, although a lot of suspicions have been directed at a Drywall Recycling Services facility. Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has sent inspectors to the site, but they haven’t come up with any evidence that would connect the company with the mysterious particulate matter.


Olympia shooting victim in 'serious condition' at Harborview

at 12:45pm by David Kroman

One of the two young men shot by a police officer in Olympia Thursday is in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to a statement from UW Medicine Spokesperson Susan Gregg. Bryson Chaplin, 21, and his stepbrother Andre Thompson, both African-American, were shot by Officer Ryan Donald, a police officer who was responding to a shoplifting call from Safeway. The brothers, who were unarmed, matched the descriptions given to the department by the Safeway clerk.

Chaplin is in the intensive care unit; doctors do not expect his condition to change today, Gregg said. His family is not doing any interviews at this time. As we noted earlier, city officials have been asking for calm, and the city has set up a webpage where it is posting updates.

Salmonella strikes with raw tuna

at 12:21pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Fifty-three people in nine states have fallen ill with salmonella, linked to raw tuna from an unidentified supplier. Most cases are turning up in California, although other affected states include Washington, as well as New Mexico and a half-dozen Midwestern and Southern states stretching to Virginia, says KING 5. There have been no reported deaths, but 10 hospitalizations. Just be cautious when approaching sushi this weekend.

Shell's lawsuit over environmental impact statement dismissed

at 12:14pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Shell must conduct a full environmental impact statement, which it had opposed, if it’s going to build a facility to handle oil brought by train at its north Puget Sound refinery near Anacortes, the Skagit Valley Herald reports. A judge dismissed Shell’s request for court intervention in Skagit County’s plans for an EIS, but he left open the possibility that Shell can contest the scope of the review later.

Protests and investigation after Olympia shooting

at 8:20am by Mary Bruno

City officials are asking for calm after Thursday’s shooting of two young, unarmed black men by a white police officer. Olympia officer Ryan Donald shot stepbrothers Bryson Tyler Chaplin, 21, and Andre Damon Thompson, 24, who are suspected of trying to steal beer from an Olympia Safeway. Donald said he fired after the young men attacked him with their skateboards. Donald is on administrative leave. Chaplin and Thompson are hospitalized in critical and serious condition, respectively.

Peaceful gatherings around the city took a dark turn around midnight, according to The Seattle Times, when “a few dozen demonstrators gathered near City Hall … in Olympia, chanting, ‘This won’t end until the last cop dies.’” After a few flash bangs and some rock, the crowd dispersed. No injuries. The city has set up a webpage where it is posting updates.

An epic “Brains vs. AI” poker showdown

at 6:28am by Mark Matassa

Seattle Poker pro Dong Kim
Seattle Poker pro Dong Kim

In the world of high-stakes, no-limit poker, the pros all have roughly the same awesome level of knowledge about the mechanics: things like the odds of making a certain hand or how to optimize a bet. What often separates the best players is their emotional game: the ability to stay focused, to stay patient, to bet, raise or fold without emotion. But how would the pros fare against an opponent who never, never got tired, who instantly calculated billions of hand possibilities, and who had no emotion, no tells, no “poker face” to read?

That was part of the experiment last month at a casino in Pittsburgh, where Carnegie Mellon University computer programmers arranged a two-week match between four top poker pros (including one from Seattle) and the programmers’ artificial-intelligence bot, “Claudico.” And what a match it turned out to be, as captured in a Los Angeles Times article that is part the paper’s “Great Read” series.

Rough start this week for @POTUS

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

19POTUSWEB-master675As President Obama put it this week in his first Twitter post, “Six years in, they’re finally giving me my own account.” But the Twitterverse didn’t exactly throw a welcome party. The New York Times reports that, “It took only a few minutes for Mr. Obama’s account to attract racist, hate-filled posts and replies. They addressed him with racial slurs and called him a monkey. One had an image of the president with his neck in a noose.” Hashtag Idiots.



West Seattle couple leaves it all to Uncle Sam

at 5:14am by Mark Matassa

You hear stories about people cheating on their taxes to save a few hundred or thousand bucks. But The Seattle Times’ Erik Lacitis tells the story of a West Seattle couple who went the other way: When Peter and Joan Petrasek died, they left all their assets, $847,217, to the U.S. government. The couple had no children. The generous gift, Lacitis reports, was enough to keep the government running for 7.63 seconds.

Oregon considers going nuclear

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

It hasn’t been legal to build nuclear power plants in the state since voters had their say in 1980, but there’s a move afoot in the Oregon Legislature to explore using nuclear powerSpring_u “as a potential carbon-free energy source,” reports the Portland Business Journal. The bill’s sponsor, a fan of “The Simpsons,” jokes that he wants to start a baseball team called the Springfield Isotopes.

Thursday 21 May, 2015

Ancient Syrian city falls to Isis. Westneat on Seattle's failed global warming targets. Voters reject two public safety measures in Oregon.

New law puts Predators of the Heart animals at risk

at 3:25pm by Robert LeCompte

For almost 14 years, Dave Colburn has run Skagit County-based Predators of the Heart, an unofficial wildlife sanctuary to 17 wolves, a cougar, a few bobcats and an alligator, among others. This past year, according to KOMO News, the county added wolves, foxes, cougars and venomous snakes to its list of animals residents can’t keep, and filed suit against Colburn. His options? Pay $2,000 a day per prohibited animal (that’s $50,000 a day for Colburn), or euthanize them all. Colburn says he doesn’t have the money to pay the fine, fight the lawsuit or put his animals in a zoo. If you’re moved to help, Predators of the Heart has a donation page.”They’re not hurting anybody, they haven’t hurt anybody,” Colburn told KOMO.

New bill would open state/union talks to public

at 2:56pm by Mary Bruno

Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, introduced a bill this week to make normally closed-door collective bargaining meetings with state workers open to the public. A hearing is set for next Tuesday. Braun’s bill would also cap state employee raises at 3 percent.  It is at least theoretically possible for the Republican-controlled Senate to pass the bill next week. However, the Democrat-controlled House would not be able to act on the bill until the second 30-day special session, which appears inevitable at this time. (Labor-friendly House Democrats will likely kill Braun’s bill.)

Background: The Inslee administration and the state’s union negotiated a pay raise package worth an extra $583 million in the 2015-2017 budget. Senate Republicans want to trim the package by at least $75 million to fit those salaries into their $38 billion budget proposal. Even if Braun’s bill passes both chambers and gets the governor’s signature, it would be too late to affect the current budget talks.

UW awarded for raising number of computer science degrees for woman

at 2:46pm by Harrison Lee

Last year, reports, the University of Washington granted 30 percent of its undergraduate degrees in computer science to women. That’s a substantial boost from 2005 when only 15 percent of computer science bachelor’s degree went to females. Taking note, the National Center for Women and Information Technology, gave the UW the “grand prize” in its first NCWIT Extension Services Transformation Awards. “These accomplishments,” said Lucy Sander, NCWIT co-founder and CEO, “are the result of strategic, well-planned recruiting and retention efforts.”

Seattle announces campaign against LGBT bias crimes

at 12:45pm by David Kroman

Mayor Ed Murray and Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole announced Safe Place on Thursday, a public education campaign to prevent and respond to anti-LGBT bias crimes. Safe Place will provide businesses and organizations with training for recognizing and reporting hate-based crimes. The program is voluntary.

Safe Place is a response to reports of a spike in anti-LGBT crimes, especially on Capitol Hill. Last New Year’s Eve focused further attention on the issue when a man attempted to start a fire at gay-friendly Neighbors nightclub, which was packed at the time with 700 people.

Olympia officer shoots two suspected beer thieves

at 11:04am by Harrison Lee

The Olympian reports that at 1 a.m this morning, employees at a Safeway in Olympia called police to report two young, African-American men attempting to steal beer. The suspects fled. An officer responding to the call gave chase, firing at the suspects and hitting both. In a press conference today, Olympia police Chief Ronnie Roberts said that neither of the two suspects was armed, but one of them is accused of attacking the officer with a skateboard before the officer fired on him. One suspect is in stable condition at Tacoma General Hospital; the other is in critical condition at Olympia’s Providence St. Peter Hospital.

Comcast responds to need for (multi-gigabit) speed

at 9:21am by Mary Bruno

Comcast has announced it will offer “multi-gigabit,” faster-than-a-speeding-bullet broadband service to more than a million of its Washington customers starting this summer. How much are we talking? Comcast isn’t prepared to slap a pricetag on the service just yet. But as Geekwire reports, ISP news service DSLReports has discovered numerous Comcast websites that put “Gigabit Pro” services at $300 per month. Comcast spokesman Walter Neary told Geekwire that the zippy new service will be available to “those who live within one-third of a mile of a fiber node.” To find out if a home or business is node-worthy, he asks customers to simply call Comcast. And everyone knows Comcast calls are among life’s finest pleasures.

Nelson Cruz defying the odds

at 8:57am by David Kroman

Baseball intelligence says Nelson Cruz shouldn’t even be in the major leagues. And yet, he is responsible for 25 percent of the Mariners’ total offense this season. Grantland explores the anomaly that is the Boomstick.

Santa Barbara spill update: finding the breach

at 7:28am by Mary Bruno

Workers in Santa Barbara begin the daunting task of excavating the 24-inch oil pipeline that ruptured on Tuesday, tarring nine square miles of California coastline with some 21,000 gallons of oil. “Our hope,” said Michelle Rogow, on-site coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, at a press conference, “is that … we’ll be able to have a little bit more information as the pipeline is uncovered.” But the investigation and the work, she added, “will likely go on for some time.” The nearly 30-year-old pipeline, operated by Plains All American Pipeline, is capable of transporting up to 6.3 million gallons of crude a day, according to the Los Angeles Times. So, glass half full: It could have been a whole lot worse.

Voters reject two public safety measures in Oregon

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

Oregon had a special election on Tuesday, and results coming in on Wednesday showed that voters in rural counties were reluctant to pony up more tax money to replace lost federal timber payments. Public safety measures were rejected in Josephine County, home to Grants Pass, and in Curry County, on the Southern Oregon coast, reports The Oregonian. Polk County, home to the state capital Salem, passed a five-year property tax levy for sheriff’s office patrols and other law enforcement.

New Yorker on the Twin Peaks shootout

at 5:35am by Mark Matassa

Days now after the Waco biker-gang shootout, The New Yorker weighs in to sort out and wrap up conflicting stories and theories. In just the first hour after the fight, more than 100 weapons were found on the premises. “There is blood everywhere,” said a police spokesman. The story’s big reveal is that 18 law-enforcement officers were set up around the Twin Peaks girly bar in anticipation of trouble. But still they were unable to prevent the massive violence.

Westneat: Seattle falls short of global-warming targets

at 5:30am by Mark Matassa

Mayor Greg Nickels at CityClub.
Then-Mayor Greg Nickels. Credit: Seattle Channel

Seattle is known as one of the nation’s greenest cities, which lends a certain cred to the Shell Oil protests. But as Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat reveals, the city fell short of its own greenhouse-gas targets. Former Mayor Greg Nickels set some pretty high standards as part of the Kyoto global-warming protocol, but one line buried in a recent City Hall report revealed that Seattle didn’t meet the goal.

Ancient Syrian city of Palmyra falls to ISIS fighters

at 5:03am by Mark Matassa

ISIS has taken control of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, reports The New York Times. “As they have swept across Syria and Iraq, Islamic State fighters have destroyed or damaged numerous ancient sites and sculptures, condemning them as idolatry in slickly produced recruitment films, even as they pillage and sell off more portable items to finance their activities,” says the Times.

Wednesday 20 May, 2015

John Kerry defends trade deal at Boeing. Could someone hack your car? Letterman's last show.

Santa Barbara oil spill spreading

at 4:00pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

The Los Angeles Times reports that an oil spill from a ruptured pipeline has spread across nine miles of the Santa Barbara coast. Pipelines are generally less prone to leaks than tankers and other conveyances, but they’re not infallible. This oil slick will take around three days to clean up.

Linda Krop, chief council of the Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara, expresses concern about the effects on local wildlife and the lack of immediate response. “Right now we have migratory whales, including endangered humpbacks and blue whales,” she says. The sensitive area is also home to rare seabirds.

A humpback whale in the Santa Barbara Channel. Credit: Flickr user Anita Ritenour
A humpback whale in the Santa Barbara Channel. Credit: Flickr user Anita Ritenour

Unemployment down in Seattle

at 3:15pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Seattle’s jobless rate continues to steadily fall, reaching 5.5 percent this month. That’s nearly down to the national rate of 5.4 percent and an improvement on last month’s 5.9 percent. According to the Seattle Times, job growth is mainly due to expansions in the hospitality industry, wholesale trade, education and health services. It’s estimated that 12,000 new jobs were created statewide in March. Apparently this is no bubble: labor economist Paul Turek says the economic expansion “looks like it has legs for another two years.”

U.S. border patrol agent justified in March shooting

at 3:10pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

The Whatcom County prosecutor says a U.S. border patrol agent was justified in fatally shooting a man wielding bear spray as he illegally crossed into Washington from Canada. The Vancouver Sun reports the agent will face no charges. The Canadian he shot, Jamison Childress, was wanted for murder in Calgary.

Dusty reels of 1926 Tacoma film found in NYC

at 1:01pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

A team of historians and preservationists is working to restore a silent film shot in Tacoma called “The Eyes of the Totem,” says KING 5’s John Langeler. Its five reels sat for decades in the archives of MoMA, until Tacoma’s Historic Preservation Coordinator Lauren Hoogkamer called looking for it.

She found what she was looking for: a feature produced by Weaver Studios in Titlow Beach and directed by W.S. Van Dyke. Tacoma’s nascent movie industry faltered with the arrival of talkies, but Van Dyke went on to direct the popular Thin Man films.

Eighty-eight years after its original premiere, “Eyes of the Totem” will screen again with a new score on September 18th at the Rialto Theater in Tacoma. Here’s a preview from the project’s Kickstarter campaign:


Nearly One-Fifth of Recreational Pot Dispensaries Selling to Minors

at 12:49pm by Harrison Lee

Komo News reports that four out of the 22 recreational marijuana stores in Washington were found to be selling to customers under 21. State marijuana enforcement officials carried out sting operations at each dispensary this month, and found that two Tacoma stores called Mary Mart and Emerald Leaves sold to minors. In addition, Two Everett stores, Green City Collective and Purple Haze, were also found to be selling to minors.

The State Liquor Control board is handing over the names of the store employees to prosecutors.  Each store might also receive a 10-day suspension or a fine of $2,500.


Washington AG accuses cancer charities of fraud

at 12:36pm by John Stang

Washington joined every other state, as well as the Federal Trade Commission, in a nationwide complaint filed this week in U.S. District Court in Arizona, charging four cancer charities and their operators with bilking consumers out of some $187 million.Of that sum, only $5 million was used for charitable purposes, said a news release from Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

From 2008 to 2012, the defendants told donors their money would help cancer patients. Attorneys general and the FTC allege that the overwhelming majority solely benefitted the charity’s operators, and their families, friends and fundraisers.

It is estimated that tens of thousands of Washingtonians donated approximately $2 million to the charities:  Cancer Fund of America, Children’s Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services and the Breast Cancer Society. “Making money off of cancer patients is charity fraud of the worst kind,” Ferguson said in a press release.

According to the complaint, the defendants used telemarketing calls, direct mail, websites and materials distributed by the Combined Federal Campaign — which raises money from federal employees for non-profit organizations — to portray themselves as legitimate charities with substantial programs that provide direct support to cancer patients in the United States.

The complaint alleges that these claims were deceptive and that the charities “operated as personal fiefdoms characterized by rampant nepotism, flagrant conflicts of interest, and excessive insider compensation, with none of the financial and governance controls that any bona fide charity would have adopted.”

The complaint also alleges that the defendants used the charities for lucrative employment for family members and friends, and spent consumer donations on cars, trips, luxury cruises, college tuition, gym memberships, jet-ski outings, sporting event and concert tickets and dating site memberships. They also hired professional fundraisers who often received 85 percent or more of every donation.

Washington joins international carbon reduction effort

at 12:28pm by John Stang

This week, Washington joined an international group of states and provinces to collaborate on reducing carbon emissions. The goal is to reduce emissions by 80 percent to 95 percent by 2050, relative to their level in 1990.

In 2013,  British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington signed an agreement to collaborate on anti-greenhouse gas measures in an effort to combat global warming and its harmful effects. That 2013 agreement drew criticism from Washington legislative Republicans. According to a 2008 law, the state’s greenhouse emissions are due to reach 1990 levels by 2020, with further trimming of emissions later.

Gov. Jay Inslee has pushed a carbon emissions tax and a cap-and-trade system to meet that goal while simultaneously funding education. That plan has stalled in the Washington House amid questions whether enough Democrats support it to get it through.According to the governor’s office, Washington’s obligations under this week’s agreement are to establish a carbon pollution market program, which would be covered by the legislation currently struggling in the House.

Washington would also end coal-fired power generation in Washington – already in motion in the state – and reduce use of coal-fired electricity generated elsewhere, a concept still in the brainstorming stage within Inslee’s camp. The state would also tackle energy efficiency, cleaner fuels and transit expansion.

Other signatories to this week’s agreement are California, Oregon, British Columbia,  Ontario, the Mexican states of Baja California and Jalisco, the Brazilian state of Acre, the German state of  Baden-Württemberg, Catalonia in Spain, and Wales in Great Britain. Inslee’s office said this group will reach out to other jurisdictions around the world to build up influence at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.

First dinosaur fossil found in Washington State

at 12:23pm by Harrison Lee

Komo News reports today that the first dinosaur fossil has been found in Washington State. Paleontologists announced the discovery at the Burke Museum, making Washington the 37th state to have found dinosaur remains. The fossil was found in a state park on the San Juan Islands and appears to be part of the left femur of a theropod dinosaur. The theropod is a carnivorous, two-legged dinosaur from the same group as velociraptors and tyrannosaurus rex.

Secret shuttle sent into space

at 12:05pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

AFSPC5 Atlas V launches in Cape Canaveral. Credit: Flickr user Michael Seeley
AFSPC5 Atlas V launches in Cape Canaveral. Credit: Flickr user Michael Seeley

The Air Force’s latest secretive, Boeing-built research shuttle – the X-37B – launched from Cape Canaveral, FL, this morning aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

Tagging along on the unmanned rocket was a solar sail the Planetary Society is testing. The society’s CEO, Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” said they were “very happy to be aboard a U.S.-built, high-reliability big-time rocket,” after their previous effort was quashed in a Russian accident.

New Seattle streetcars move closer to reality

at 11:41am by Harrison Lee

My Northwest reports that a Seattle streetcar successfully executed a trial run shortly before sunrise on Tuesday morning. The streetcar began on 8th Street, traveled through the International District, First Hill, and Yesler Terrace. Later this year six streetcars are planned to begin operating on the First Hill line, running Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Maria Renz promoted to top advisor at Amazon

at 11:33am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos. Credit: Flickr user Steve Jurvetson
Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos. Credit: Flickr user Steve Jurvetson

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has a new technical adviser. And for the first time, it’s a female.

Maria Renz, a 15-year Amazon vet, has been named to one of the most desired positions at the company — CEO Jeff Bezos’ top advisor, or “shadow”. She will sit next to Bezos in daily meetings and takes part in the big decisions facing the company.Both the current head of the company’s cloud unit Amazon Web Services and the head of Amazon’s India business were once Bezos shadows.

Renz had a wide variety of experience behind her, most recently as the CEO of the parent company of, Quidsi. She has also served as president of Amazon’s MyHabit flash-sale business. With this latest promotion, her future has brightened further.

Can Obama save the bees?

at 10:45am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Honeybee on a lavender flower. Credit: Flickr user Ryan Wick
Credit: Flickr user Ryan Wick

The Obama administration has just announced a plan to stem the decline of the honeybee population by planting wildflowers and creating habitats in 7 million acres of highway medians and national parks. Habitat loss to urbanization and farming are one component of the disappearance of honeybees.

According to NPR, environmentalists are concerned that the White House is ignoring one of their bigger worries: pesticides, specifically a neonicotinoids that might be wreaking havoc on colonies. The administration plan outlines methods of monitoring pesticide exposure and effects, but doesn’t introduce any new regulations.


Google Maps produces racist returns

at 10:09am by David Kroman

Google’s got an issue: Searches for the term “ni***r house” in the worldview of Google Maps brings viewers to the White House. According to The Guardian, a spokesperson for the tech giant apologized in a statement. “Our teams are working to fix this issue quickly,” it read.

Google’s algorithm chooses search results based on billions of previous user searches. It is unclear if this latest problem is a hack or an unfortunate side-effect of the crowd-sourced search engine.

Either way, Google’s problem spans beyond Washington D.C. In Seattle, a similar search unfortunately brings viewers to the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center — a staple of the historically African American Central District.

Thomas Friedman: What presidential contenders aren't talking about

at 9:33am by Mary Bruno

“For a presidential campaign that has started so early,” writes New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, ” it’s striking how little most of the candidates want to engage with major issues of the day, let alone the future” This is unfortunate, and in the end, futile, argues Friedman, because we are, like it or not, living in the Age of Disruption. Technology, labor, climate, geopolitics. Everywhere you look, things are in flux — and not always in a happy, peppy way.

To demonstrate, Friedman quotes a March essay by Tom Goodwin, an executive at Havas Media, writing in Techcrunch: “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.” Indeed . . . And sooner or later, presidential candidates are going to have to start talking about it.

Hillary email complaints disingenuous

at 8:00am by Mary Bruno

Hillary Clinton, and a lot of other folks, are expressing their frustration with the State Department, which is taking, like, for-ever to make public the emails Hillary sent while serving as Secretary of State. But the Washington Post reveals that Hillary herself is the reason for this glacial slowness. She turned in hard copies of her 30,000 State Department emails. Yup. 55,000 pages, some double-sided, of email messages and attachments that State Department workers had to then scan and re-digitize. (Talk about misspent taxpayer dollars.) Don’t expect to get a peek at those emails until January.

Letterman’s last show

at 6:23am by Mark Matassa

David Letterman
David Letterman

After a couple of weeks of terrific countdown shows, David Letterman’s “Late Night” program on CBS closes down tonight. The guests lately have been fantastic — Bill Murray, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, George Clooney and more – all paying tribute to Dave’s 33 years on the air. The New York Times has a nice retrospective.

Here’s Bob Dylan’s performance of “The Night We Called It a Day,” on Tuesday night’s show.

Slippery Slope Dept.

at 6:09am by Mark Matassa

A rainbow of cupcakes were among the many foods and beverages donated by local businesses to celebrate the first same-sex weddings here.
Donated rainbow cupcakes celebrate first same-sex weddings here.

Jeb Bush, who has been taking a lot of heat for a candidate who hasn’t even declared yet, said in a new interview that Christian business owners who don’t believe in gay marriage shouldn’t be required to provide services for gay marriages, such as delivering flowers or baking a cake. “A big country, a tolerant country ought to be able to figure out the difference between discriminating someone because of their sexual orientation and not forcing someone to participate in a wedding that they find goes against their moral beliefs,” Bush said. No mention of the KKK and drinking fountains. has more from the interview.

Could someone hack your car?

at 5:45am by Mark Matassa

New Internet-friendly cars are cool and all, but KING 5 News says the online connections could allow previous owners or others to track where you’ve been, or even to start and stop your car remotely. A peril of progress.

John Kerry defends trade deal at Boeing

at 5:14am by Mark Matassa

The secretary of state, perhaps fighting an uphill battle against trade unions and many Democrats opposing President Obama’s proposed Pacific Rim trade deal, showed up at Boeing’s Renton plant Tuesday. The Seattle Times reports Kerry told Boeing workers it’s wrong to blame international trade for income inequality and the loss of U.S. jobs to other countries. “The remedy is not to pull back from trade agreements themselves or attempt to stop globalization, because that’s not possible,” Kerry said during his 50-minute speech outside a massive Boeing hangar. “Globalization has no reverse gear, my friends.”

Reddit Q&A with Bernie Sanders. Ask Me Anything

at 5:03am by Mark Matassa

Sanders at Drake University in Des Moines. Credit: John Pemble (via Flickr)
Sanders at Drake University in Des Moines. Credit: John Pemble (via Flickr)

As part of its “Ask Me Anything” feature, Reddit landed the U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate to answer questions from readers. Among the highlights, Sanders explained why he voted against the Patriot Act. “Obviously, terrorism is a serious threat to this country and we must do everything that we can to prevent attacks here and around the world. I believe strongly that we can protect our people without undermining our constitutional rights and I worry very very much about the huge attacks on privacy that we have seen in recent years — both from the government and from the private sector. I worry that we are moving toward an Orwellian society and this is something I will oppose as vigorously as I can.”

Tuesday 19 May, 2015

Teachers marching through downtown today. Pot Taxes? Uncool dude. Would you take a 7-hour shower?

Is Canada just like North Korea? Some 8th graders think so.

at 3:30pm by Robert LeCompte

Back in April the federal government released the U.S. National Assessment of Educational Progress, often referred to as the nation’s report card. So, how did U.S. kids do? Well, according to Canada’s National Post, world geography and geopolitics aren’t exactly their strong suits.

One-third of American 8th graders think Canada, Australia and France are dictatorships; another 10 per cent think the three  countries are “controlled by the military.” The good news (I guess) is that 54 percent of students answered questions about the countries correctly.

The results don’t suggest that American teens think Canada, for example, is emerging as the next North Korea. Kenneth Holland, president of the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States, clarified this point to the Post. It just means they have absolutely no idea what Canada’s government is like.

Seattle ranked 5th best city for jobs

at 3:00pm by Robert LeCompte

Glassdoor released the latest edition of its “25 Best Cities for Jobs” list this morning comes in at #5. (Can you say Am-a-zon?) The Emerald City performed well in terms of job opportunities and job satisfaction, languishing in the middle of the pack (33rd) when it comes to cost of living. (But we beat the heck out of Portland, which ranks 46th in Glassdoor’s extended list).

Cancer charities charged with fraud by the FTC and all 50 states

at 2:50pm by Robert LeCompte

The Federal Trade Commission is teaming up with all 50 states and D.C. to take legal action against four cancer charities. The FTC says the “sham charities” bilked donors of $187 million. At least two of the charities have already agreed to dissolve, and some executives will return money they received.

Los Angeles wants to be like Seattle

at 2:39pm by Joe Copeland

Los Angeles plans to raise the minimum wage to $15, following a 14-to-1 vote by the city council. The LA Times notes that Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle have adopted similar measures. Yes, but where’s the credit for SeaTac?

Apple buys GPS-company Coherent Navigation

at 2:33pm by Robert LeCompte

At some point over the weekend, Apple acquired Coherent Navigation, a GPS-startup in San Francisco. So says GeekWire. While the sort of GPSs mere mortals use are accurate to about five feet, Coherent’s system boasts an accuracy of inches. Maybe now Apple Maps will finally stop telling you to turn left — right after you pass the exit.

Judge wants schedule for releasing old emails from Hillary Clinton

at 2:30pm by Harrison Lee

A federal judge is forcing the State Department to draw up a rolling schedule for the release of tens of thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton, according to the Washington PostVice News brought suit to obtain Clinton’s work emails as secretary of state.

Spokane Marine killed in Honolulu crash

at 11:00am by Harrison Lee

Lance Cpl. Joshua Barron, 24, of Spokane, was the lone fatality when an Osprey carrying 21 Marines and one Navy corpsman went down during a training exercise in Hawaii, according to KOMO News. Another marine sustained critical injuries and three others are hospitalized and in stable condition. Lance Cpl. Barron was a tilt rotor crew chief with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and a decorated Marine.


Puget Sound teachers take to the streets

at 10:33am by David Kroman

Teachers in Seattle and the Eastside are walking out of the classroom Tuesday in a union organized strike, with plans to march on Westlake Center for an 11am rally. Amy Ferguson, a 1st grade teacher from John Rogers Elementary in north Seattle, lined up with her fellow teachers along Lake City Way. “We’re hoping to send a message to the Legislature that it’s time to fund education,” she said.

The Washington State Supreme Court handed the Legislature a constitutional mandate to fully fund education, which the state Office of Budget Management estimates will entail $1.2 billion in additional funding over the coming two years. Should voter-approved initiative I-1351 — which primarily concerns class size, and was backed by teachers unions — be fully implemented, OFM estimates the budget deficit for the coming biennium will grow to roughly $4.5 billion.

Lawmakers are struggling to reconcile budget packages ahead of the special session’s conclusion on May 28. Ferguson takes particular issue with the fact lawmakers’ found time this session to bump their salaries up 11.2 percent. She says she hasn’t received a state-funded raise for seven years.

Coverage of the rally will be published later in the day.


Teachers walking out of Nathan Hale High School call for more funding.
Teachers walking out of Nathan Hale High School call for more funding.

UPS settles lawsuit for more than $25 million

at 10:27am by Harrison Lee

ABC News reports that United Parcel Service has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought against it by a former UPS driver, who claimed that the company falsified records to cover up late deliveries, many of them to the federal government. UPS will pay $25 million to the U.S. Justice Department and $740,000 to the state of New Jersey. Settlement notwithstanding, a company spokesperson says UPS disputes the claims.

Waco: rivalries without limits

at 7:36am by Joe Copeland

Authorities tell the Los Angeles Times that criminal biker gangs are becoming more brazen in playing out their turf wars. Case in point: The fight that killed nine people in Waco broke out in a strip-mall franchise restaurant, near a dollar store and close to several churches.

Stone on the end of the Ackley era

at 6:30am by Mark Matassa

Dustin Ackley
Dustin Ackley

At some point, Seattle Times sports columnist Larry Stone concludes, you are what your stats say you are. This insight is in service of assessing the Mariners’ annually disappointing Dustin Ackley. He was a highly touted draft pick who never has performed as expected. This year, so far, Ackley’s hitting “a mind-boggling .043 (1 for 23) with runners in scoring position.” Stone’s final take: It may be time for a change of scenery.

No baby talk for dads

at 6:26am by Mary Bruno

Consider the Modern Dad. Washington State University researchers did. They found that while he may change a diaper or give a bottle he draws the line at baby talk. No. According to results from a new WSU study, moms speak “motherese,” using those high-pitched baby talk tones and sing-song cadences to address their children. Dads, not so much. They prefer to talk to junior like a grownup. Is this a bad thing? Not at all, WSU’s Mark VanDam told The Seattle Times: “We think that the fathers are doing things that are conducive to their children’s learning but in a different way. Moms provide the link to the intimate or the domestic. Dads provide a link to the outside world.”

Would you take a 7-hour shower?

at 6:20am by Mark Matassa

All the talk lately about drought – Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency because of low snowpack; in California residents are being asked not to water their lawns – but Buzzfeed puts the issue in stark personal terms. When was the last time you ate a steak? The way Buzzfeed figures it, an average beef cattle uses more than 499,000 gallons of water in its lifetime, which breaks down to 920 gallons for one eight-ounce steak. And that, the site says, is the equivalent of a shower that lasts seven hours.

Pot taxes? Uncool, dude.

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

Medical marijuana grower Brendan Howley inspects marijuana hung to dry at a facility he operates with his business partners. 1/2013
Medical marijuana grower Brendan Howley

Oh sure, Oregonians voted to legalize marijuana, but now legislators are sparking a plan to charge a sales tax on weed. Way to harsh an entire state’s mellow. Actually, the sales tax isn’t completely unexpected and it would replace a “harvest tax” that was part of the initiative. The bigger issue now, reports The Oregonian, is when the legal sales will kick in. Several proposals are in the works.

You say ‘sei,’ I say ‘sia,’ let’s call the whole thing off

at 5:20am by Mark Matassa

Pope Francis embraces a visitor to a Vatican event.
Pope Francis embraces a visitor to a Vatican event.

Those two similar sounding Italian verbs may be at the heart of a diplomatic dispute between the Vatican and the Middle East. As The New York Times says, every word counts in that part of the world, and Pope Francis ruffled some Israeli feathers when he called the Palestine Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas an “angel of peace.” Or did the pope say, “May you be an angel of peace,” which is a whole different thing. It all depends on which verb Francis used: “sei” for “you are,” or “sia,” which means “may you be.” Days later, the linguists are still debating it.

Meanwhile, in Washington state, the Seattle Archdiocese has agreed to settle a decades-old sex-abuse lawsuit by a now-63-year-old woman who said she was abused by a priest when she was a girl in the 1960s and ’70s. Details in the Seattle Times.

Teachers march through downtown

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

The Legislature hasn’t fully funded K-12 education, so teachers from Seattle, Mercer Island and Issaquah are calling a one-day strike, marching from the Seattle Center to Westlake Park for a noon rally. Here’s the Seattle Education Association’s release.

Monday 18 May, 2015

Tim Eyman is back. 'Imagine Seattle's future.' Dowd: He is heavy, he's my brother.

Google diverges on self-driving cars

at 4:30pm by Harrison Lee

This summer, Google’s own completely self-driving car prototype will hit the streets. The prototype is entirely autonomous and lacks a steering wheel or pedals, leaving the computer to do all the driving. Wired’s Alex Davies writes that Google is engaged in an “all or nothing” approach to the smart car technology that is a sharp contrast to other self-driving pioneers, who are taking the process at a steadier rate.

Audi’s head of driver assistance systems and integrated safety said, “We call it a revolution by evolution. We will take it step by step, and add more functionality, add more usefulness to the system.”


Parents focus on phones at the playground

at 4:15pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Do parents need a time out from tech? A study from four members of the University of Washington’s Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering shows that moms, dads, nannies and other caregivers don’t realize how distracted they are by their phones while their kids are playing in public. On 32 occasions when a child tried to interrupt an adult using a phone, that child was completely ignored 56 percent of the time. When caregivers were interviewed about the snubs, more than one third of them believed their phone use did not make it more difficult for children to get their attention.

“Phones do distract us and that’s something to be aware of,” the study’s co-author Julie Kientz told UW Today, “but I think it’s not nearly as bad as some people have made things out to be.”

Suspicions about Facebook's access initiative

at 1:31pm by Harrison Lee

There’s more flak for Facebook over its app, which it says provides free online access for much of the world. Wired reports that 65 advocacy organizations from 31 countries have written an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg claiming that “violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy, and innovation.”

Mount St. Helens erupted 35 years ago today

at 12:51pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Mount St. Helens in 2008. Credit: Flickr user skedonk
Credit: Flickr user skedonk

The 1980 eruption — “the deadliest and most economically destructive” in U.S. history, says CBSNews — completely destroyed everything in the blast zone, plus the crystal clear Spirit Lake, which was buried beneath a mountain of ash and mud.

On this 35th anniversary of the volcanic event, take a look at stories from KIRO viewers and pictures from those who experienced it posted on OregonLive. KGW has some spectacular color photos that a kid shot on a school trip.



Bertha may bide her time a bit longer

at 12:10pm by Harrison Lee

The state says that the waterfront project faces further delays, although no new schedule has been set. At a briefing, the Washington State Department of Transportation told the City Council today that the damage to the Bertha tunneling machine is worse than expected.But My Northwest reports a relatively upbeat assessment from WSDOT’s Todd Trepanier, who says,”Even though the damage is more than they were expecting to find it’s not more than they were planning to repair at this point.” Crosscut’s David Kroman will have a full report later.

Preschoolers who sit still

at 12:03pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

It’s unheard of, right? Little kids run around, refuse to stay put, won’t take their naps. But a study reveals that, at least at 10 Seattle day care centers, 3- to 5-year-olds partake in minimal physical activity. The Seattle Times reports that a research team led by Dr. Pooja Tandon of the UW recorded the kids’ movement throughout the day with accelerometers. They found that active playtime was limited to an average of 48 minutes a day, less than the one to two hours recommended by national health and childcare organizations.

A local leader in improving child care told Times health reporter JoNel Aleccia that there are practical workload issues involved in getting children ready to go outside and monitoring them. Parents understand those issues, too.

Google brings wifi to the masses

at 11:44am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

It’s your typical generous, but partially self-promotional move: Google has donated funds that will allow Seattle Public Library to lend wifi hotspot devices. Geekwire says  the hotspots will help bring an Internet connection to 90,000 Seattleites who don’t currently have access. Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement that the program for library patrons will “help bridge the digital divide.”

Washington's Sue Rahr talks police training with NPR's Steve Inskeep

at 8:28am by Mary Bruno

"I don’t work for a mayor or a county executive," says Sue Rahr. "I work for the community. They’re my bosses."
Credit: Morgen Schuler

The host of National Public radio’s Morning Edition interviewed Sue Rahr, director of Washington State’s police academy, and Camden, New Jersey, police chief Scott Thomson on Monday. The topic? How to change police attitudes about the use of force. Read Crosscut’s profile of Sue Rahr, who is revolutionizing the way Washington trains its police recruits — and maybe reinventing the art of policing.

Port protests continue with Monday march

at 8:12am by Mary Bruno

What all the fuss is about: Shell Oil's Polar Pioneer Arctic drilling rig arrived in West Seattle this weekend.
Credit: Flickr user Chas Redmond

After their kayaktavist protest on Saturday, opponents of Arctic drilling were back at it Monday morning. Protestors are marching to Terminal 5, where Shell Oil’s Polar Pioneer oil rig has been parked since arriving in Elliott Bay on Thursday. According to KIRO, the group of some 200 people convened on Harbor Island (at the Duwamish Fishing Dock) at 7 a.m.  and began the trek toward Terminal 5. KPLU reporter Bellamy Pailthorp says marchers plan to surround the rig as a way to prevent work on it.

Obama to limit sale of military equipment to police departments

at 8:02am by Mary Bruno

On Monday, the president will announce his plan to stop and/or restrict the federal government from supplying certain types of military hardware to local police departments. So, no more “tracked armored vehicles, highest-caliber firearms and ammunition and camouflage uniforms,” according to The New York Times. The president also wants to impose restrictions on other kinds of equipment, such as battering rams and riot gear, and require more training on their use. The ban, announced in Camden, NJ, is part Obama’s push to defuse the tensions between police and minority communities that erupted in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo. — and continue to burn.

“Life in Seattle’: Amazon’s view, and two counter-takes

at 6:16am by Mark Matassa

OK, it’s been out there for a week now and still trending, so let’s take a look. Amazon’s cheery “Life in Seattle” recruiting video was “practically demanding it’s own parody,” wrote Crosscut critic Rustin Thompson. And, of course, the vacuum has been filled. The Seattle Times takes up the story today, posting the original 2013 recruiting video and a pair of recent spoofs.

‘Imagine Seattle’s future, and let the city hear it’

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

That’s the headline of a Seattle Times editorial over the weekend, and it raises some interesting ideas. City planners say we should expect 15 percent growth over the next 20 years, which would mean a Seattle of 750,000 people by 2035,with 115,000 new jobs and 70,000 new housing units. The question is, where to put everybody. The city wants to hear from the public as part of its Seattle 2035 planning document.

Mixing old and new at South Lake Union
Mixing old and new at South Lake Union

Dowd: ‘He is heavy. He’s my brother.’

at 5:09am by Mark Matassa

With her typically sharp wit, Maureen Dowd of The New York Times considers Jeb Bush’s family dilemma. The presumed Republican candidate’s recent fumbling of a question about his support for President George W. Bush’s Iraq War gives Dowd an excuse to return to one of her favorite subjects and to, once again, rake over the coals some of her favorite targest: W., Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove. Good reading for those with a taste for blood.

And at The New Yorker, Dexter Filkins ponders the question, Did George Bush create ISIS. Filkins, resolutely thoughtful and fair, lays out good arguments on both sides of the question.

Tim Eyman is back …

at 5:03am by Mark Matassa

Initiative sponsor Tim Eyman
Initiative sponsor Tim Eyman

… “Like it or not,” as a Seattle Times story puts it. Eyman’s newest initiative proposal, if it’s approved, sets up a dastardly clever choice for the Legislature. Either offer a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority to raise taxes, or swallow a $1 billion a year hole in the state budget. The Times’ Jim Brunner reports that Eyman has new financial backers and his Initiative 1366 seems to have a good shot at qualifying for the ballot.

Friday 15 May, 2015

Egg business scrambled. From the Dept. of Should've Known Better. Maybe the crash was nobody's fault?

Death penalty for Boston bomber

at 2:05pm by Joe Copeland

A jury this afternoon sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death. The New York Times reports that all but two of the jurors explicitly said they believed Tsarnaev had made no expression of remorse. Sister Helen Prejean, a well-known death penalty opponent, had testified that Tsarnaev was sorry.


Weekend backpacks feed kids

at 1:47pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Thorndyke Elementary in Tukwila is leading the way with a system to ensure its students are well-fed and clothed, writes Seattle Globalist cofounder Sarah Stuteville in the Seattle Times. As part of a new program run by social worker Kimberly Goodman and staffed by 20 volunteers, kids from low-income families receive backpacks filled with food to hold them over through the weekend. The volunteers also arrange clothing swaps, housing info sessions and job fairs to address increasing homelessness in Tukwila School District. Almost 20 percent of Thorndyke students are experiencing housing insecurity, mainly due to steeply rising rents.

3D models of coral reefs

at 1:42pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

WIRED is enthusiastic about a new online coral reef-mapping project called the Hydrous. Founder Sly Lee, a former biological science technician for the National Park Service, saw the shortcomings of traditional two-dimensional coral measuring tools. So he tasked a team of software developers and researchers to take photos of reefs and meld them into a 3D modeling system. The goal is to use photos uploaded by users around the world to cover as much underwater territory as possible and improve understanding of reefs, which are suffering from higher temperatures and overfishing.

Another UNESCO site bites the dust

at 1:19pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Palmyra Credit: Flickr user Per Arne Slotte

Palmyra, an ancient Syrian city, is one of the worst casualties among  historical sites destroyed in the fighting between ISIS and the Syrian government, reports NPR. U.N. official Irini Bokova is appealing “to all parties to protect Palmyra and make every effort to prevent its destruction.” The Islamic State has used bombs and sledgehammers to smash temples across Syria and Iraq over the past four years. Looters are also to blame for damage, taking advantage of the turmoil to grab ancient statuettes.

The thrill is gone: BB King dies

at 7:05am by Mary Bruno

The legendary BB King dies at 89.
Credit: Tom Beetz

The legendary, multiple Grammy ward-winning blues artist died Thursday at his Las Vegas home. He was 89. King’s clean, staccato playing influenced guitar greats such as Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, says the BBC, which explains why King named ever one of his signature Gibson guitars “Lucille.”

For more in King and his music, read New York Times music critic Jon Pareles. Catch the BB King tribute on KPLU at noon today. And, do yourself a favor, listen to one his most iconic hits (“The Thrill is Gone”) right now.

From the Dept. of Should’ve Known Better

at 6:30am by Mark Matassa

George Stephanopoulos
George Stephanopoulos

ABC News anchorman George Stephanopoulos, who given his long career in politics really can’t claim ignorance on this one, is taking heat for failing to disclose that he contributed $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation while working for ABC. Stephanopoulos apologized, reports the Los Angeles Times, but he insisted he hadn’t violated any laws or ethics guidelines, since the Clinton Foundation is not a political organization but a charitable organization. Ahem. Said former ABC News president David Westin, who hired Stephanopoulos for “Good Morning America”: “I fear he’s in for a rough patch here.”

The campaign for your email address

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

At this point in the election cycle, the point of most political advertising is not to sway your vote, introduce you to little-known candidates or even solicit campaign contributions. No, says The New York Times, the primary goal of online advertising is to get your email address. The pitches for money and votes will come later, directly to your inbox.

Egg business scrambled amid devastating bird flu

at 5:14am by Mark Matassa

The outbreak might have received more attention if humans were more directly threatened, but for egg farmers and associated businesses the effect is huge. “Deadly avian flu viruses have affected more than 33 million turkeys, chickens and ducks in more than a dozen states since December,” reports The New York Times. In Iowa, the nation’s leading egg producer, more than 40 percent of egg-laying hens are dead or dying, the Times says. One immediate problem: what to do with all these dead birds?

Maybe it was nobody’s fault

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

House Speaker John Boehner
House Speaker John Boehner

As investigators dig into the details of this week’s deadly Amtrak crash in Philadelphia, it seems no one wants even a shred of responsibility. On Thursday, a lawyer for the train’s engineer said his client had no memory of the wreck but definitely had not been drinking or texting. Amtrak blamed federal officials, reports The New York Times, saying the train was equipped with an automatic speed-control system but it wasn’t working because of budget cuts and bureaucratic delays. When reporters asked House Speaker John Boehner about that, he called it “a stupid question,” reports Politico. Meanwhile, the National Traffic Safety Board said the train’s speed went from 70 mph to more than 100 mph in the minute before derailing, reports The Washington Post. Nobody knows why.

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