Friday 31 Jul, 2015

A 'symbolic' victory for Greenpeace. Life for the "Up' house. The C-Span of the streets.

More rainbow crosswalks on the way

at 2:43pm by Alex Cnossen

Mayor Ed Murray announced yesterday the action plan from his LGBTQ safety task force’s action plan for the city. It prioritizes four categories: Public Safety, LGBTQ Youth, the Built Environment (infrastructure like gender neutral bathrooms), and Public Understanding. Part of the plan also includes adding in more rainbow crosswalks, painted around the new Capitol Hill light rail station. The mayor says that other neighborhoods may also get crosswalks in colors that represent their heritage.

A ‘symbolic victory’ for Greenpeace

at 12:37pm by Mark Matassa

Credit: The Oregonian
Credit: The Oregonian

When protesters pull out that phrase it’s a pretty good bet that they were not victorious in the original, non-symbolic issue. So it was in Portland Thursday, when Shell’s Arctic ice breaker made it past protesters dangling from a Willamette River bridge and past kayakers trying to block the ship’s passage, according to a report in The Oregonian. Losing that battle must have stung, but it will save Greenpeace some money, since a judge declared Thursday that the organization would be fined $2,500 an hour until the protest stopped or the ship passed.

Make mine a triple tall

at 12:26pm by Mark Matassa

Credit: Providence Journal
Credit: Providence Journal

Former Seattle Supersonics star Vin Baker, who also played with five other teams in a fine 13-year NBA career, is now working as a Starbucks barista in North Kingstown, R.I., according to a Providence Journal report picked up in The Oregonian.

The four-time all-star earned almost $100 million in his playing career, but Baker says he lost it all and is now trying to rebuild. “I was an alcoholic, I lost a fortune. I had a great talent and lost it,” he told the Providence Journal. “For the people on the outside looking in, they’re like ‘Wow.’ For me, I’m 43 and I have four kids. I have to pick up the pieces.” At 6-feet-11, Baker may be world’s tallest barista.

Beating the Seattle scorcher

at 12:22pm by Alex Cnossen

Grab the SPF 50 folks, because if the weatherman’s correct, it’s going to be 95 degrees today – on par with Seattle’s hottest day of the year so far. Temperatures will likely stay in the 90’s throughout the weekend. Both Seattle and Tacoma have issued a heat advistory, effective through 8 p.m. Sunday. Kiro 7’s posted a few tips on how to keep cool, including instructions to create your own makeshift air conditioner.

Central District accepts tiny house community

at 12:14pm by Alex Cnossen

A rendering of what the tiny house project would look like. Photo credit: Environmental Works
A rendering of what the tiny house project would look like. Photo credit: Environmental Works

Another tiny house community for homeless families and individuals will pop up this fall, adding fifteen 8′ by 10″ houses and a restroom pavilion to Seattle’s Central District. The new construction is the result of a partnership between the property owner — the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd — and Seattle’s Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) and Nickelsville.

It will be located on 22nd and E Union St. Nickelsville will still maintain its tent encampment (currently located at 1010 S. Dearborn St.).

Four more years of Wilson

at 7:50am by David Kroman

Hours before the negotiating deadline set by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Seattle’s favorite team agreed to give Seattle’s favorite good-guy a whole lot of money. For a head-spinning $21.9 million a year — $60 million of which is guaranteed, meaning Wilson’s career could end tomorrow and he’d still be rich — the Seahawks have purchased the services of Wilson for the next four years. That’s almost a record, falling just short of the $22 million earned by Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.

Wilson, who has led the Hawks to back to back Super Bowls, could have played out the 2015 season on his rookie contract, worth a paltry $1.5 million. But the Seahawks apparently did not want to compete with the rest of the league in free agency, so went ahead and paid the man early.

Next on the list is the less flashy, but arguably equally important, defensive rock Bobby Wagner. Somewhere along the way the Seahawks will hit their salary cap, but apparently they’ve got a bit of room yet.

You think it’s been hot here?

at 6:45am by Mark Matassa

Yes, the Pacific Northwest is experiencing unusually high temperatures, but in the city of Bandar Mahshahr, Iran, on the Persian Gulf, the heat index has hit 154 degrees, according to The Washington Post. Now that’s hot. The heat index is a measurement that combines temperature and humidity. The index of 154 is near a world record.

The C-Span of the streets

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

As apparent cases of white police abuse against black civilians continue to surface online, Americans’ confidence in law enforcement is eroding, according to polls cited in a New York Times article. The videos also are spurring quicker action among prosecutors, says the story. And finally, more police departments are adopting or considering the kind of body cameras that have brought the problems to the public’s attention.

Also, The New Yorker takes a closer look at one of these cases, the seemingly unnecessary arrest of Sandra Bland in Texas (she failed to signal). Three days later, Bland turned up dead in jail. “What seems undeniable at this point is that Bland should never have ended up in jail in the first place, and should never have been kept there,” writes The New Yorker’s Margaret Talbot. “This was one of those encounters in which a cop allowed himself to get much too angry when a civilian did not submit to his authority.”

Life for the ‘Up’ house

at 5:35am by Mark Matassa

upSeattle’s famous monument to opposing development, the late Edith Macefield’s Ballard bungalow, will be saved after all, according to The Seattle Times. A nonprofit group, as yet unnamed, has agreed to move the house to an as-yet unannounced destination. The move apparently will not employ hundreds of helium balloon, as in the delightful Pixar movie that gave the house its nickname.

Thursday 30 Jul, 2015

Inslee looks vulnerable, but to whom? An outside view of American sex trafficking. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

'The Blob' is here

at 5:50pm by Alex Cnossen

Drought conditions and record-low river levels are causing the Puget Sound to stagnate like an unflushed toilet bowl, scientists say, hurting Puget Sound’s food web and underwater habitats. In a media briefing Thursday coordinated by the state Department of Ecology, scientists explained how the effects of Seattle’s record-breaking temperatures this summer don’t stop at the water’s edge – they get worse.

“What I want to emphasize here is how warm our water has become, as well as our air temperatures,” said Nick Bond, the state climatologist and a UW researcher and professor. “Upper-layer temperatures are well above normal – up to four degrees and more.”

That’s enough to have a significant impact on the ocean’s biology, he said. “The waters off the coast of the Pacific Northwest have been substantially warmer for something like a year and a half,” Bond said. “I’ve started calling this mass of water ‘the blob.’” The Department of Ecology says the blob entered into the Puget Sound in late 2014.

Happy birthday, Medicare!

at 4:46pm by Amelia Havanec

Today, Medicare turns the big 5-0. When the health insurance program began rolling out, half of American senior citizens had no other option than to cover their health costs out-of-pocket. Now just 2 percent of people aged 65 and older are uncovered. 54 million Americans are currently enrolled in the program and the feedback is mostly positive. Plan to hear more about Medicare in the coming months as the program, however, as it will certainly be a topic of debate in the 2016 presidential race. Jeb Bush’s is already on record that we need to “phase out” the program.

Murray announces LGBTQ action plan

at 2:34pm by David Kroman

After a spike in crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Seattle, Mayor Ed Murray created a task force last March to draft an action plan for supporting the LGBTQ community. The plan, revealed Thursday, divides the priorities into four categories: Public Safety, LGBTQ Youth, the Built Environment (infrastructure like gender neutral bathrooms), and Public Understanding.

The specifics will include continuing the Seattle Police Department’s Safe Place program, which identifies safe havens for victims of harassment; improving rapid re-housing programs for LGBTQ youth; launching an education campaign through Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights; and, yes, built environment includes adding more of the popular rainbow sidewalks. The statement said that some items have already begun to be implemented while others are coming down the pipeline.

This is your body on Coca-Cola

at 1:10pm by drew atkins

We all know Coca Cola is unhealthy. However, few of us imagine that we’d immediately vomit it up, if it weren’t for the phosphoric acid added to it. This is the claim of a recent post by the Renegade Pharmacist, which is making the rounds of the Internet today.  Within an hour of drinking a Coke, other effects include a heroin-like stimulation of your brain’s pleasure sensors (Nice!) and a draining of important nutrients from your body (Bad!). For those who don’t believe ignorance is bliss, Huffington Post UK whipped up a nice infographic detailing all the purported effects.

Local hospitals: spreading sickness, as well as curing it

at 12:02pm by drew atkins

No hospital can entirely prevent the spread of sickness within in their walls. That said, some are worse at it than others. A number of Seattle and Puget Sound hospitals fall into this category, according to a research study by Consumer Reports. When it comes to allowing the spread of infections, the organization bestowed its worst rating on Swedish Medical Center’s Cherry Hill campus, where sickness is spread over 100 percent more than the national average. The second worse rating went to nine local hospitals, including Seattle’s UW Medicine/Harborview Medical Center and Swedish Medical Center in First Hill. Puget Sound Business Journal has the full list and write-up here.

At long last, a "grocery store for millennials" in Washington

at 11:36am by drew atkins

As someone just on the cusp of the “millennial” generation, I long for companies to clumsily cater to my demographic. You’re a junky pizza chain? Well, if unique veggies were added to your pan-fried goo, I’d definitely consider your products in a new light. While this sort of “millennial-focused” strategy somehow didn’t yield Pizza Hut big money, it hasn’t stopped other companies from pandering to the latest round of adults to hit the market.

The latest example is Whole Foods, which will be opening the first Washington outlet of 365 by Whole Foods Market in Bellevue. Yes, the actual name of the store is 365 by Whole Foods Market, like it’s a work of art or Calvin Klein fragrance or something. While the store will essentially contain the same products as their other grocery stores, the company says their 365 by Whole Foods Market outlets will cater to younger demographics by being “fun and convenient” and containing “innovative technology.” All can say is, I hope it involves apps. Us millennials love apps.

Hawks' troubles: Not just Russell

at 11:10am by Joe Copeland

It’s less than 24 hours until the Seahawks start training camp and the football team doesn’t have a long-term contract with quarterback Russell Wilson. As the Seattle Times puts it, “The silence is deafening.” Then there’s a possible holdout by Kam Chancellor, a crucial element of the Legion of Boom, as Sportspressnw.com and others note, and maybe by Michael Bennett. Plenty of fun — sports talk shows.

Single-family: Blowback upon blowback

at 10:54am by Joe Copeland

Journalist Erica Barnett, who knows city politics as well as anyone, is not happy about the mayoral-city council on a proposal to change the rules in single-family housing zones to allow more density. One basic point she makes in a series of tweets (she gathered them together through Storify): “Not once have I heard a politician give an actual reason for protecting exclusionary SF zoning. ‘Because people complained’ isn’t a reason.”

No bulldozing the Tongass

at 10:47am by Joe Copeland

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has knocked down an attempt by the state of Alaska and the Alaska Forest Association to do more logging and put roads into roadless areas of the Tongass National Forest, the Alaska Dispatch News reports. A federal roadless rule, which includes restrictions on logging, dates back to the Clinton administration, but the Bush administration later came up with an exemption for the Tongass. The Circuit Court judges divided 6-to-5 on the case: Something more for U.S. Supreme Court watchers to follow soon?

Someone should do this in Seattle

at 6:35am by Mark Matassa

In the cool video of the day, The New Yorker features two men who are walking every block of New York City – that’s 120,000 blocks and 6,000 miles to cover the five boroughs. The men have different approaches but similar goals, and the video shows a street-level view of a city that often confounds expectations. Great stuff.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

Credit: New Jersey governor's office
Credit: New Jersey governor’s office

With the legalization of marijuana spreading – four states have legalized it, including Washington and Oregon – Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie has a warning. If he’s elected, he’s been telling audiences, he intends to overturn the emerging state laws and return the issue to federal jurisdiction, according to a report n The Oregonian. “”If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it until Jan. 17 of 2017,” Christie told an audience in Newport, N.H., this week, “because I will enforce the federal laws against marijuana as president of the United States.”

An outside view of America’s sex trafficking epidemic

at 5:26am by Mark Matassa

The BBC has a sober look at the largely unseen world of child prostitution, which the FBI describes as “almost at an epidemic level, despite the agency rescuing 600 children last year,” according to the article. The report is short on statistics – tens of thousands of children “are thought to be” sexually exploited every year — but long on tragic tales and upsetting videos.

“A handful of good souls, the kindness of a few strangers and the good work of some law enforcement agencies and the FBI offer some relief to America’s most vulnerable,” the BBC concludes. “But the stories we have heard suggest they are only scratching the surface of one of America’s best-kept and darkest secrets.”

Inslee looks vulnerable, but to whom?

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

jay insleeA new poll shows Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s support is dropping, with just 30 percent saying they would vote to re-elect him in 2016. But only 25 percent said they would vote for a Republican, according to a Seattle Times report, and so far few Republicans have expressed interest in challenging Inslee next year.

Wednesday 29 Jul, 2015

The Republican campaigns' ATM. Not too late to freak about the big one. More comfortable, but will they be as cool?

Murray drops hot potato

at 3:46pm by Joe Copeland

Mayor Ed Murray today said he will not support ordinance changes that would have allowed for greater density in almost all of Seattle’s single-family zones. “Instead, we will refocus the discussion on designing denser Urban Centers, Urban Villages and along transit corridors that include more affordable housing,” he said. He blamed “sensationalized reporting by a few media outlets” for derailing a needed conversation about affordability and equity. (Take that, Danny Westneat!)

In a pretty clear summing up of the equity issue, Murray said, “We can move beyond the legacy of the old boundaries of exclusion that have remained largely unchanged since nearly a century ago when neighborhood covenants were used to keep people of color south of Madison Street.” Perhaps he should have been the one to write the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda report that stumbled — as Crosscut’s Eric Scigliano showed so well — into confusing zoning with racial exclusion. Crosscut’s David Kroman has a full report here.

Windows 10: at last

at 12:50pm by Amelia Havanec

Microsoft’s highly anticipated Windows 10 launched this morning. The new operating system works across desktops, laptops and tablets; versions for other devices, such as smartphones and Microsoft’s Hololens (an augmented reality headset), will come later this year. The push will mark a significant step for Microsoft toward influencing the mobile and web arena, currently dominated by Apple, Google and Amazon.

Windows 10 is the first next-generation OS since their Windows 8 launch three years ago, which caught some heat from loyal users when they ditched the start button menu and introduced a new layout. Windows 10 reintroduces the start button and Microsoft’s new browser, Edge. Current users of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 are eligible for a free upgrade.

Alternative housing plan draws a crowd

at 12:48pm by David Kroman

Immediately following the reveal of Mayor Ed Murray’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), Seattle City Council candidate Jonathan Grant and Councilmember Kshama Sawant introduced their own proposal. According to Grant, the HALA recommendations were good, but their plan went further.

Sawant and Grant re-introduced their recommendations Wednesday, this time flanked by some of the other candidates for each of the nine council seats. The group collectively expressed support for more fees on developers, a push to lift the statewide ban on rent control, using the city’s bonding capacity to build affordable housing and heightened protection for existing affordable housing. Rather than pitch any new proposals, the press conference was more of an opportunity for candidates to get on board with the alternative plan from Grant and Sawant. However, the candidates did pledge, if elected, to implement the reforms within a year.

Notably absent from the group’s proposals was any language regarding to density. That’s because, said Grant, the candidates did not agree on whether multi-family homes should be allowed in single-family areas.

Mud Bay goes employee-owned

at 10:28am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Tumwater-based pet supply company Mud Bay is swapping out its traditional business model in favor of stock options for its employees, reports PSBJ. It’s yet another bold move from a company who started out in 1988 selling everything from pop tarts to fertilizer, moved on to homemade dog biscuits, and eventually developed into a chain specializing in natural pet food. Under the new policy, Mud Bay’s 320 employees will become co-owners, entitled to shares until they quit or retire.

By land, by sea, by air: bridge danglers protest Shell

at 10:13am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

St. Johns Bridge in Portland, OR Credit: brx0/Flickr
St. Johns Bridge in Portland, OR Credit: brx0/Flickr

Portland may have one-upped Seattle in the lengths it will go to stand up for the environment. Or in this case, hang around for it. Thirteen Greenpeace activists are suspended from the St. Johns Bridge over the Willamette River to block a Shell arctic icebreaker on its way back to the ocean following repairs, on its way. The protesters rappelled off the bridge at 1 AM, and say they have enough supplies to last for days. Originally scheduled for 5 AM, the ship’s departure has been pushed back to 10 AM, according to the Oregonian. This follows Saturday’s fleet of 200 kayakers who protested near the dock.

More comfortable, but will they be as cool?

at 6:40am by Mark Matassa

converseIn either a brilliant marketing move or a misguided effort to engineer the awesome out of its premier product, Converse is redesigning its iconic Chuck Taylor sneakers to “feel like Nikes,” according to a Bloomberg report in The Seattle Times. Plus, of course, they’re going to cost more. “The old-style Chucks are one of the best-selling shoes of all time, with more than one billion pairs sold, and still account for a majority of Converse’s revenue,” according to the story.

Not too late to prepare for (or freak about) the ‘Big One’

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

It’s almost as if Kathryn Schulz scared herself, along with everyone else. The author of that terrifying New Yorker story on “the really big one” expected in the Northwest is back with a new story, headlined “How to stay safe when the big one comes.” Before she gets to that, though, she retreads some of the scary predictions of her first piece – the combination of a 9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami along the Cascadia subduction zone. Then, nearly (but not quite) apologizing for fomenting a region-wide freak-out, she offers tips for riding it out. “To achieve that, however, you need to navigate between the twin obstacles of panic (which makes you do all the wrong things) and fatalism (which makes you do nothing).”

Has the Party of Reagan become the Party of Trump?

at 5:34am by Mark Matassa

Donald Trump. Credit: Wikimedia
Donald Trump. Credit: Wikimedia

Huffington Post may have relegated coverage of The Donald to its entertainment section, as we noted last week, but The New Yorker is more interested in how he is defining the Republican presidential campaign. His seemingly off-the-wall remarks lately have put several in the gigantic Republican field on tilt, and as the first debate approaches on Aug. 6, Trump is leading in the polls. Says writer Amy Davidson: “Saying it’s Trump who’s wrecking the Republican Party ignores the ways that he embodies it.”

The Republican campaigns’ ATM

at 5:01am by Mark Matassa

Let’s say you’re running a presidential campaign, which essentially is a startup business with tremendous needs for cash, with the need for instant transfers of millions of dollars at a time, and likely without much of a credit rating. Where do you stash your cash? Probably not at the local Bank of America branch. In fact, reports Bloomberg, a small bank in McLean, Va., about half an hour outside Washington, has become the go-to political financial institution, at least for Republicans. As host to the accounts of Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Rick Perry and Donald Trump, little Chain Bridge Bank reported deposits of $369 million in the first quarter of this year.

Tuesday 28 Jul, 2015

Obama's evolving outrage on guns. Hillary's new climate-change plan. Boy Scouts will allow openly gay leaders.

Inslee to pursue new way to limit carbon

at 3:52pm by Joe Copeland

Gov. Jay Inslee today said he will use existing regulatory powers to impose a cap on carbon emissions in the state. He promised an open process to develop what he called in a press release “a regulatory cap on carbon emissions.” Crosscut’s John Stang will have a full report.

Ballots flowing (or trickling)

at 2:53pm by Alex Cnossen

Seattle’s new system of district elections for most city council positions has created considerable buzz. But according to King County’s ballot return statistics, it isn’t attracting any particular surge in voters compared with the rest of King County. In the city of Seattle, there are over 414,300 registered voters, as of July 21, 2015. The latest stats, however, show there’s been a paltry 34,639 ballots turned in — that’s a little over 8.3 percent, essentially the same as for the county as a whole.

The only one of the new districts where more than 10 percent have voted? District 3, home of Kshama Sawant.

Seattle, Tacoma and Everett urge water conservation

at 2:42pm by Alex Cnossen

Seattle, Tacoma and Everett implemented stage one of their water storage response plans today, requesting that residents conserve water and pay attention close attention to their water consumption habits. The cities both say that their water outlook is “fair,” claiming that they’ll have just enough water to make it into the rainy season.

Cascade Water Alliance announced a water advisory earlier this week. Their members — Bellevue, Kirkland, Issaquah, Redmond, Tukwila and the Sammamish Plateau and Skyway water and sewer districts — all get their drinking water from Seattle’s water supply. You can find a few water-saving tips on their website.

Gas guzzlers beware: tax hikes are coming

at 11:45am by Alex Cnossen

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Washington’s gas tax rate will climb by 7 cents per gallon this weekend. Next summer, it will rise again.

This Sunday, Washington state bumps up its gas tax up by 7 cents a gallon. But we’re not stopping there – next summer, the state’s going raise it again, charging an additional 4.9 cents, reaching 49.4 cents per gallon then. Barring action by any other state, the hikes will move our gas tax to the second highest in the nation (Pennsylvania will have the highest), The Herald of Everett reports. The Legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee approved the two-step increase to help pay for new roads, bridges and bike paths.

Going down: Homeownership

at 11:30am by Alex Cnossen

According to data from the U.S Census Bureau, people just aren’t all that into homeownership anymore. The agency reports that the percentage of homeowners in the U.S has dropped to 63.4 for the second quarter of 2015, down from 64.7 last year at the same time last year. That’s the lowest it’s been since 1967. Statistics for Seattle (the city) show that we’re even lower than the average — in 2010, the most recent year for available stats, we had a homeonership rate of 48.1 percent.

NBC News reports that national homeownership rates peaked at the end of 2004 with a 69.2 average rate.

New York Magazine's Cover Girls

at 8:00am by Amelia Havanec

CK4ffs2UAAAFZ-1New York Magazine’s cover story this week united 35 of the 46 women accusing comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault for a 13-page photo essay. The Magazine covers not only the rape accusations some of these women made against Cosby, but also the backlash they faced from a public that still reveres the comedian as a fatherly figure.

Cosby continues to deny the allegations — all of them — of the women, who all detail similar experiences.

 

Hillary’s new climate-change plan

at 7:10am by Mark Matassa

Hillary Clinton.
Credit: Barbara Kinney/www.HillaryClinton.com

Whether it’s driven by politics or a genuine concern about the environment, the Democrat on Monday announced bold new energy goals she would pursue as president. Clinton called for one-third of the nation’s electricity to come from renewable resources by 2026, up from 7 percent today and more that President Obama is seeking, reports The New York Times. Some called that mere political positioning, noting that Clinton still hasn’t taken a position on the Keystone pipeline for delivering oil from Canada to Texas, a litmus test for many environmentalists.

Boy Scouts will allow openly gay leaders

at 6:07am by Mark Matassa

The organization voted Monday to end its ban, although it said such decisions now would be left to local Boy Scout chapters. That’s a step in the right direction, some gay-rights advocates said in a Washington Post report, but is likely to shift the fight from the national and very public forum to less visible disputes across the country. The Mormon Church said it will now examine its century-long association with scouting.

True-crime author Ann Rule dies

at 5:30am by Mark Matassa

ann rule bookThe prolific author, whose fascination with crime and criminals led to best-selling books on Ted Bundy, Gary Ridgeway, Diane Downs and other killers, has died at age 83, reports The Seattle Times. Rule, who mainly focused on crimes in the Pacific Northwest, has sold about 20 million copies of her books. Her daughter said the author had many serious health issues, including congestive heart failure.

Obama’s evolving outrage on guns

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

Credit: Peter Dutton/Flickr
Credit: Peter Dutton/Flickr

Likening last week’s “mini-massacre” in Louisiana to brand diversification – it was a slightly different flavor than the major mass killings in Newtown, Charleston and elsewhere – The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik traces President Obama’s reactions to shootings and sees a glimmer of hope. “When one sees, with each new senseless gun massacre, the president himself passing from gravity to piety to heartbreak to something more like quiet smoldering indignation,” Gopnik writes, “then one might take heart even after one’s own soul drops at the latest news of a mini-massacre.”

 

Monday 27 Jul, 2015

Move it to the 'bad decisions' folder. A 'Smart' reboot for Windows? A century of world history, now available on video.

Nasty Android phone hack

at 3:30pm by Alex Cnossen

Hackers made headlines today after uncovering one of the biggest security flaws in the history of smartphones, CNN Money reports. An estimated 950 million Android phones users were affected worldwide.

The problem is in how the operating system analyzes incoming text messages. Upon entry, Android phones automatically comb through media files. These include photos, audio and video clips. This means that corrupt files can start infecting phones as soon as they’re received — they don’t even have to be opened. Apple also had a text hack recently. For iPhone users, a text with the right number of characters could freeze the phone or force it to restart. But in Android’s case, a hacker could take complete control of the phone, wiping it, accessing apps or overtly turning on the camera.

CNN Money reports that the flaw affects any phone using Android software made in the last five years. Google says it has ways to limit a hacker’s access, but the giant firm isn’t offering specifics.

 

Nordstrom's Trunk Club open to women

at 1:01pm by Nina Selipsky

Nordstrom’s Trunk Club is working to expand its offerings to women starting this fall, reports the Seattle Times. The Trunk Club is an online service that ships customers a trunk of apparel, handpicked by a stylist, whenever they request one. Members can try on the clothing at home and then return anything they do not want within 10 days. Nordstrom bought the company for $350 million last year. Originally designed to educate men on fashion, the online retailer is now asking women to sign up for early access spots on its wait list as part of its pilot.

NY Times on Hillary Clinton: Oops

at 12:57pm by Amelia Havanec

Over the weekend, the New York Times issued multiple corrections to a report regarding 2016 presidential front runner Hillary Clinton. The original article — a Times exclusive — said that two inspectors general asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation of Clinton for using a personal email account instead of her much more secure government address while she was secretary of state. But if the Justice Department decides to investigate, it won’t be a criminal probe into Clinton, herself, but whether governmental information was compromised in connection with that personal email account. These corrections in the story came with little explanation to readers, at least initially.

The Times’ own public editor, Margaret Sullivan, bluntly blamed a lack of accountability for using anonymous sources and the competitive pace of web journalism for inaccuracies in the story that falsely targeted Hillary Clinton. “I’ll summarize my prescription in four words,” she said. “Less speed. More transparency.”

Robotic researchers protest AI weaponry

at 12:55pm by Alex Cnossen

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The Guardian reports that Tesla’s Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Google DeepMind’s chief executive Demis Hassabis, Stephan Hawking and about 1,000 Artificial Intelligence and robotics researchers are calling for a ban on autonomous weapons. They argue that the weapons lower the threshold of going to war and increase the loss of human life.

Autonomous weapons can select and fire upon targets without human intervention. Most nations are concerned about the impact these weapons could have, but they’re split on how to address them.

“The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting,” the authors said in an open letter they presented at the International Joint Conference on AI.

 

Boy Scout ban ends today

at 11:25am by Alex Cnossen

 

This Boy Scout brought a  look of sheer determination to his Seattle Pride parade marching duties in July.
This Boy Scout brought a look of sheer determination to his Seattle Pride parade marching duties in July. Credit: Alex Cnossen

The Boy Scouts of America today are expected to officially lift their ban on gay scout leaders. It’s a bit limited in scope, the New York Times reports, allowing individual scout troops to elect leaders “whose beliefs are consistent with their own.” The group’s executive committee unanimously approved the resolution earlier this month. The resolution goes before the group’s board members today for final approval.

La vie en rose: Sammamish River goes pink

at 11:16am by Nina Selipsky

The Sammamish River is trying out a new summer look. Washington Department of Ecology scientists will dye the river today as part of an intensive test to solve water quality issues. The water is too warm and there is not enough oxygen for salmon and trout to breathe, reports KING 5. By collecting water samples and tracking the dye plume, researchers hope to understand the chemical and biological processes that are causing the water to be so warm. The test will help to determine the origin of pollutants and the areas of the river that need the most help. The dye — shades of pink, red, or rust — is not toxic and will not hurt wildlife or people, according to the Department of Ecology.

Vancouver housing at "breaking point"

at 10:24am by drew atkins

Due to real estate speculation, the increasing popularity of the city, and other factors, Vancouver housing has reached an average price of $1 million in the past year. Mayor Gregor Robertson sat down with local weekly The Tyee for an interview on the issue, and how the city might “create a more level playing field” in the housing market. The ideas discussed include a luxury tax on high value properties, a “flipping tax” to allow the city to benefit from real estate speculation, and the potential merits of a foreign ownership tax, given interest in the market from China and other countries.

‘On life, and death, after 85’

at 6:42am by Mark Matassa

The New York Times has a charming video of that title, consisting of nothing more than short questions and answers with older Americans about their lives, memories and fears.

A century of world history, now available on video

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

Last week the Associated Press made half a million videos of its news footage available online, wowing historians and giving the public its first real-time glance at moments like the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Hindenburg disaster and other events. The Washington Post, with the help of an AP archivist, put together clips of 19 key moments, from the Titanic leaving Belfast, through two World Wars, the assassinations of two American leaders and the moon landings. Terrific stuff.

A ‘Smart’ reboot for Windows?

at 5:36am by Mark Matassa

For such a long time, Microsoft’s Windows operating system was such a key to the computer industry that it seemed the company had a lifetime lock on technology. But that was before advances by Apple and the rise of portable computing. Now, says a Seattle Times report, just three out of every 20 devices sold this year will run Windows. So, to try to regain some of that lost relevance, Microsoft is releasing a new OS, Windows 10, that plays better with others and returns to some loved-but-lost features like the “Start” button.

Move it to the ‘bad decisions’ folder

at 5:01am by Mark Matassa

Credit: Oregon.gov
Credit: Oregon.gov
Credit: clinton.senate.gov
Credit: clinton.senate.gov

In Oregon, the disgraced and resigned Gov. John Kitzhaber is still facing investigation involving private email. The Oregonian has smartly considered Kitzhaber’s case with the email problems dogging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as some Oregon school board members and other officials. Says the state archivist: “This is really concerning for me. This is part of our basic training. Public officials should never mix business with their personal life.”

Friday 24 Jul, 2015

A growing divide on race. Trump, Bush and other big Rs in the NW. Amazon soars, Bezos climbs richest-man list.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis perform for Amazon employees

at 1:23pm by Cambria Roth

One employee raved: “It’s a good day to be an Amazon employee — first, a surge in Amazon stock and now a Macklemore concert.” And indeed it was, as  Macklemore & Ryan Lewis took the stage at CenturyLink Field and blew everyone away. Before leaving the stage, opener The Head and the Heart said they loved supporting a “little local company” before laughing and saying, “Except Amazon is f*cking gigantic.”

Rapper Wanz accompanied Macklemore on the hit “Thrift Shop” and the crowd screamed its approval as Macklemore talked about the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage, before belting his lyrics to “Same Love.” A great entertainer, he ran around the stage with a Irish flag at one point and spent half of the night in a cape and hair wig. He didn’t spend much of the night talking about Amazon, other than wishing the company a happy 20th birthday, before launching into another song. However, at the end of the concert he did say, “I’m reminded right now of all the hometown love.”

IMG_0244

Uber invasion of Canada expands

at 1:17pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Taxi drivers are suing Uber for $400 million (Canadian) and trying to get the contract cab company shutdown in Toronto. The BBC reports that cabbie Dominic Konjevic’s lawsuit, representing all drivers in the province, accuses Uber of building an “enormous marketplace” of illegal, unlicensed taxi services. How concerned is Uber? It entered the market in four new Ontario cities Thursday, the same day the lawsuit was filed.

 

Geek hyperalert: What will Stephen Hawking say?

at 12:30pm by Joe Copeland

Physicist Stephen Hawking will take questions in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session on Monday and Tuesday, GeekWire reports. He reportedly is particularly interested in discussing artificial intelligence (he’s got some concerns). The session will be on Reddit’s Science section (which is a lot more upstanding than a lot of Reddit sites). News of the AMA appears to have been posted first on The Verge, which reports that Nokia and Wired are putting the event together — suggesting that Wired was scooped on its own event. The Nobel Prize winner’s answers will be posted over several weeks.

Changes in lighting up legally

at 12:06pm by Alex Cnossen

A new round of alcohol and marijuana laws are taking effect today, among them a restriction outlawing the use of butane gas to produce butane hash oil, more commonly known as BHO. The law is a response to an increase in the number of hash oil explosions, which have been on this rise as more inexperienced manufacturers get into the game.

The other laws set to take effect today are posted on the Washington State’s Department of Health website. The laws are a part of Gov. Inslee’s Cannabis Patient Protection Act.

Seattle's roads among worst in the nation?

at 12:04pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

A nonprofit organization called TRIP rated major U.S. cities on the condition of their streets, and Seattle ranks 23rd out of the 25 studied. KING 5 and The Seattle DOT doubt the accuracy of the research, as the data TRIP used extends beyond city limits, to include bad roadways across the region. The report indicates that 42 percent of Seattle’s roads are in poor condition, and 28 percent in “mediocre” condition. Of course, anyone who experiences the jolts, jars and bounces of riding a bus (or bike) within the city limits might wonder why on earth SDOT thinks its roads are getting a worse rap than they deserve.

Turning point on food

at 11:48am by Joe Copeland

For the first time, federal statistics are showing that Americans are consistently taking in fewer calories per day, the New York Times reports.  Most dramatically, adults have cut their drinking of non-diet soda by one-fourth. University of North Carolina Professor Barry Popkin says we’ve reached a turning point. Before you go have a doughnut to celebrate, though, Popkin tells the Times, “the food part of our diet is horrendous and remains horrendous.”

Paper mill fights to save water, jobs

at 11:24am by Alex Cnossen

The average person uses about 80-100 gallons of water a day, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Science School. The average paper mill? According to Port Townsend Paper Mill managers, it’s in the millions, but they’re working to cut it down.

The biggest private employer in Jefferson County has rented cooling towers that allow water to be recycled, cutting usage by 2 million gallons per day, King 5 reports. Port Townsend declared a water emergency earlier this week. If the emergency continues into the fall, the mill may have to shut down temporarily, costing about 300 people their paychecks. Port Townsend City Manager David Timmons said that would have effects countywide.

 

New location for Snohomish County YMCA

at 11:18am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

“What will happen to George?” is the question nobody is asking — George is, according to KING 5, Snohomish County YMCA‘s very own ghost. The Y has just worked out a deal with Everett School District to buy the eight acres of land that an old administration building sits on. It will spend the next few years and around $32 million to construct its new facilities on the property, which is south of downtown Everett. The current YMCA building is 100 years old, with failing plumbing and no elevators. Perfect for George, not so perfect for clients.

Amazon soars, Bezos climbs richest-man list

at 7:17am by Mark Matassa

Credit: Flickr user Steve Jurvetson
Credit: Flickr user Steve Jurvetson

The company posted surprisingly positive second-quarter numbers Thursday, and its stock shot up to $567 a share, an all-time high — now up 80 percent for the year. One result is that CEO Jeff Bezos gained $7 billion in personal wealth, and is now the fifth-richest man in the world, according to a report at GeekWire.

 

A growing divide on race

at 6:13am by Mark Matassa

Credit: WhiteHouse.gov
Credit: WhiteHouse.gov

When Barack Obama was elected president polls showed a growing optimism among Americans on race relations. Not so much anymore. A new poll in The New York Times indicates a sharp spike in “generally bad” feelings about race among both whites and blacks. The Times breaks down the sad results in some effective graphics.

Trump, Bush and other GOP hopefuls and the Northwest

at 5:29am by Mark Matassa

Donald Trump. Credit: Wikimedia
Donald Trump. Credit: Wikimedia

The Oregonian’s reliably good political reporter Jeff Mapes rounds up the reputations and issues that the growing field of Republican presidential candidates have in this part of the country. Jeb Bush, for example, uses Portland as an ATM, Mapes says. Carly Fiorina, if she lasts until the May primary, may have some splaining to do in Corvallis, where as chief of Hewlett-Packard she sent thousands of workers packing. And Donald Trump, who owns about a dozen golf courses, didn’t win any friends when he dissed the Oregon Coast’s beautiful Bandon Dunes golf complex.

Sounding more and more like war

at 5:01am by Mark Matassa

Turkey, which has been reluctant to engage the Islamic State, on Thursday “plunged into the fight,” says The New York Times, and it also granted the United States permission to use its air bases for bombing ISIS camps in Syria.

Thursday 23 Jul, 2015

On the world's to-do list. A killer census for the Puget Sound. The 100 greatest American films.

Google's creepiest thing since Glass?

at 3:06pm by Harrison Lee

Wired reports on Google’s release of a new feature called “Your Timeline.” If you opt for this update, you can use Google Maps to view a list of locations you’ve visited in the past, day, month and year. The user can also see the specific path they took to go from point A to B. The next step in tech companies gathering information on their users? Google explicitly states, “Your Timeline is private and visible only to you.” Feel better? The Wired writer calls the statement “a little disingenuous.”

Police still investigating a shooting in the International District

at 2:58pm by Harrison Lee

The International District is trying to cope with the early Thursday shooting death of Donald Chin, who had helped other people there for decades. The Northwest Asian Weekly headline said the death of Chin, founder and director of the International District Emergency Center, has “stunned” the community. The International Examiner called him an “International District hero.” The Seattle Times has a profile of his work, describing him doing everything from helping the elderly monitor their prescriptions to patrolling the streets and giving CPR. Gov. Jay Inslee said, “Donnie Chin was a man who dedicated his life to making Chinatown and the International District safe for everyone. He had been doing that since he was a young man because he saw a need and he filled it.”  Police do not think that Donald Chin was the “intended target” and are still investigating.

Plan B rules upheld

at 11:34am by Harrison Lee

A federal appeals court has upheld Washington state’s rules designed to force pharmacies to dispense Plan B, the emergency contraception drug. Noting that this was the second reversal of rulings by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton on the issue, Associated Press reports the decision was unanimous among the three judges hearing the issue for the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Breaking the bounds of gravity, business-wise

at 11:21am by Joe Copeland

Seattle is getting some publicity (at least at home) for its growing role in outer space. You can credit Jeff Bezos and Paul Allen for much of the increase in space-related work with Seattle connections, and Elon Musk is creating some jobs here. But, as My Northwest notes, there’s been more than a half-century of research here, including by Redmond-based Rocket Research (it is now part of Sacramento-based Aerojet Rocketdyne) and, of course, Boeing. And, with Pluto on people’s minds, Ellis Conklin of the Seattle Weekly spins a great story about Redmond’s Planetary Resources: The company stands to improve humanity’s lot with new supplies of rare minerals — while making money by the boatload (or Trade Federation Superfreighter).

The 100 greatest American films

at 7:13am by Mark Matassa

Remember “Heaven’s Gate,” the 1980 Michael Cimino movie once derided as the biggest flop ever made? It shows up, unexpectedly, on the BBC’s new list of the 100 greatest American films. The list, based on a poll of 62 international film critics, will surely spark some debates. The silent picture “Sunrise” in the top 10? But the list is fun and mostly defensible. And The Oregonian has a nice introduction with video clips of the 10 best. Here’s No. 7, “Singin’ in the Rain”

A killer census report for Puget Sound

at 6:09am by Mark Matassa

puget.sound_.orcas_2.jpgThe annual count of resident orcas shows the killer whale population is larger than last year – 81 now, including four babies. An Associated Press report in The Seattle Times says, “The population of 81 orcas is higher than last July’s count of 78 whales. But it’s still low. Listed as endangered in 2005, the whales are struggling because of pollution, lack of food and other reasons.”

As if The New Yorker’s ‘big one’ weren’t scary enough

at 5:29am by Mark Matassa

Credit: Newsiosity
Credit: Newsiosity

The world’s most famous climate scientist just outlined an alarming scenario for our planet’s future, according to The Washington Post. James Hanson, who put global warming on the map, has a new paper with 16 other scientists positing that sea level rise will be much worse than previously thought. “If the ocean continues to accumulate heat and increase melting of marine-terminating ice shelves of Antarctica and Greenland, a point will be reached at which it is impossible to avoid large scale ice sheet disintegration with sea level rise of at least several meters,” the new paper says.

On the world’s to-do list

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

When the United Nations wrote its Millennium Development Goals in 2000, the idea was that by the end of this year, 2015, the world would have reduced the child mortality rate by two-thirds, reversed the course of the AIDS epidemic and vastly increased the number of people with access to safe drinking water, among other goals. Progress has been made on some, says a sober but reasonable analysis in The New Yorker. But now a new set of U.N. priorities, the Sustainable Development Goals, has broader and tougher-to-achieve benchmarks for the next 15 years. The New Yorker piece looks upon this skeptically. “‘Having 1,400 targets is like having none at all, and so governments need to make some hard choices, deciding which targets will offer the greatest returns on investment,’ Bjørn Lomborg, the president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, has written.”

Wednesday 22 Jul, 2015

Vulcan gets record price for office building. Jimmy Carter on Iran, Atticus Finch and Oregon. Obama, Stewart: Two veterans winding down.

Hacking is the new carjacking

at 3:51pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Forget about armed hitchhikers commandeering your car; you don’t have to be within even a thousand miles for someone to control your brakes, steering, and almost any other feature. Wired reporter Andy Greenberg agreed to be taken for a ride by two hackers, in a Jeep equipped with Uconnect, a fairly common feature in Fiat Chrysler vehicles. They told him to drive onto the freeway, and then they cut his transmission, leaving him without power. Miller and Valasek estimate that there are about 471,000 vehicles that they could remotely hack using just a phone and a laptop. Auto manufacturers insist that their security systems are “robust and secure” and that protection will evolve with new models. But a Senate bill introduced yesterday could accelerate security requirements.

There's an election on, right?

at 2:44pm by Joe Copeland

New statistics from the Washington Secretary of State’s Office show that people aren’t exactly racing to the mail box to return their Aug. 4 primary ballots. The secretary’s communications director, David Ammons, calls the statewide percentage of 2.5 percent voting so far “not so hot.” King County is right in the middle of the pack: Its 3.3 percent is a little above the average but it is almost at the exact median. Of the 32 counties that have primaries and have reported their return stats so far, 15 have smaller turnouts and 16 larger. Douglas County leads at 18.3 percent, San Juan is over 10 percent and a number of counties have double King’s return rate.

So, is the Seattle City Council’s first-time district election (what we in the media like to call “historic”) failing to register with voters, or even confusing folks? It’s literally too early to know: King County has yet to start sorting ballots by city.

Ferguson hires black police chief from Arizona

at 2:19pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Andre Anderson Credit: Glendale Police Department
Andre Anderson Credit: Glendale Police Department

He makes cheesesteaks, he plays chess, he’s a boxer … and Andre Anderson is the second interim chief in Ferguson, Mo., since former police chief Tom Jackson stepped down in March. Jackson’s resignation followed Michael Brown’s death and reports documenting racial profiling and excessive use of force by Ferguson police. Anderson, who is moving from the Glendale, Arizona department, will take over for the next six months, according to Associated Press, and work toward establishing “respect, cultural awareness and the professionalism this community deserves.” He seems to have the versatility to reach a wide demographic.

Take a look at the new Dr. Seuss book

at 2:16pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Its rhymes are snappy and playful, and very much in the vein of the author’s previous kids’ books, says the Washington Post. Dr. Seuss’s “What Pet Should I Get?” has just been published, 25 years after his widow found the manuscript and promptly forgot about it. The story follows two siblings on a visit to a pet shop stocked with the usual fish, dogs, and cats, and naturally a few quirky Seussian creatures. Here’s a peek at the cover and one page.

New dash cam footage released in the Sandra Bland case

at 12:16pm by Amelia Havanec

The uproar is growing over the death of black 28-year-old civil rights activist Sandra Bland, who was arrested earlier this month after a traffic stop in Texas. She was found hanging in her jail cell three days later, which authorities claimed was a suicide, but her family’s questions have prompted an investigation. Newly released dash cam footage from her arrest shows a state trooper pulling her over for failing to signal a lane change. The video also confirms that the confrontation escalated after Bland refused his order to put out a cigarette she was smoking in her car. The officer then asks Bland to step out of the car. When she refuses, he points a stun gun at Bland, saying, “I will light you up.” Authorities have said Bland was arrested because she assaulted the officer who pulled her over. But state legislators now believe Bland shouldn’t have been taken into custody at all, and NBC reports the district attorney says he’s treating her death as thoroughly as he would a murder investigation.

After questions were raised about sequences looping in the first version of the footage, officials released a new version that appeared to run consistently. They said no editing had been done on the earlier version; there were technical problems.

 

Trouble brewing over school stadium

at 12:10pm by Nina Selipsky

Neighbors are none too happy about Kennedy Catholic High School’s proposed new stadium and sports complex in Burien. At least a half-dozen people have told KOMO they are opposed to the plan and believe it will severely impact their quality of life, including reducing their property values. Kennedy High president Mike Prato says the new complex will actually benefit the neighborhood and the city by attracting more sporting events and fans who will spend money at local businesses. Residents are concerned about the bright lights, noise and street parking. Kennedy’s football team currently plays at Highline Memorial Stadium, and residents want to keep it that way.

County Council likes kids-and-health levy.

at 11:50am by Joe Copeland

The King County Council just voted to send a tax levy to voters in November. Council members voted 8-to-1 in favor of the Best Start for Kids measure, which focuses on preventive measures that advocates say will save money in the long run. If voters approve, the levy would raise $56 million annually over a six-year period.

Coffee and a paper to go

at 10:23am by Nina Selipsky

A winning combination – coffee and news! Starbucks and The New York Times Company announced a new partnership yesterday. Starting early next year, My Starbucks Rewards members will have free access to certain New York Times articles on the Starbucks mobile app, reports GeekWire. Some of the handpicked stories will include the Times’ top news of the day, daily and weekend briefings, and a handful of other articles “addressing key social, political and economic issues.” Starbucks loyalty members will also be able to earn reward points (“Stars”) with the purchase of digital or print subscriptions to The Times. The coffee giant also plans to recommend articles from other media sources over time.

Coffee and news
Coffee and news Credit: Daniel X. O’Neil/Flickr

More poor kids than before the recession

at 10:22am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

new report issued by Kids Count reveals that the U.S. childhood poverty rate is still high in the wake of the recession, at 22 percent in 2013. Kids Count also goes over some fairly common-sense research linking low parental income and education to decreased health and well-being for children. The Associated Press provides some takeaways: In general, the South and Southwest have more children in poverty than in the North. Poverty rates are highest among African Americans, American Indians and Hispanics. There’s some good news: More low-income 8th graders are proficient in math than they were in 2008. But 80 percent still are not.

Obama, Stewart: Two veterans winding down

at 6:26am by Mark Matassa

It was President Obama’s seventh appearance on “The Daily Show,” and he shares with host Jon Stewart the approaching end of a long time in office. The two talked and sparred a little Tuesday night about the president’s tenure, but you could feel warmth and mutual respect too. “You’re always going to fall short, because if you’re hitting your marks, that means you didn’t set them high enough,” Obama said. The Seattle Times carries the Associated Press story. “I’m issuing a new executive order,” the president said. “That Jon Stewart cannot leave the show.”

In Northwest quarterbacks news …

at 6:02am by Mark Matassa

Russell_Wilson_vs_Jets_November_11_2012.jpgESPN rates the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson as a second-tier quarterback, reports The Seattle Times, with Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees making up the first tier. And former University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, after a long negotiation, has signed with the Tennessee Titans, according to a report in The Oregonian.

Jimmy Carter on racism, Iran, Atticus Finch and Oregon

at 5:33am by Mark Matassa

Credit: The Oregonian
Credit: The Oregonian

In a wide-ranging, conversational interview, President Carter tells The Oregonian’s Jeff Baker that he supports President Obama’s proposed agreement with Iran, believes Hillary Clinton is likely to be the Democratic presidential nominee and that he was impressed in a recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He also likes fly-fishing in Oregon. He’ll appear at Powell’s Books in Portland on Monday.

Vulcan gets record price for Westlake office building

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

In yet another sign of Seattle’s hot commercial real estate market, Vulcan is selling a Westlake office building for a record $251 million, says The Seattle Times. The 12-story building is leased to Amazon and the global health organization PATH.

Tuesday 21 Jul, 2015

When it gets hard out there for a Dem. Enormous profit for Apple, despite lackluster Watch sales. Can math be racist?

Lynnwood: Music City?

at 3:04pm by Nina Selipsky

Silver Platters is now serving up music in Lynnwood. The independent record store’s Northgate location was displaced to make way for construction of the new light rail line, reports the Everett Herald. Silver Platters is home to thousands of vinyl records, CDs and Blu-ray movies, as well as rock ‘n roll memorabilia. The company needed a location with at least 8,000 square feet of space – the new store, next to the Lynnwood Convention Center, offers 10,500. Silver Platters holds small concerts and brings in artists to meet fans from time to time in its Sodo and Bellevue locations. Although Lynnwood is a bit of a trek from musician-preferred downtown Seattle, owner Mike Batt hopes to bring this tradition to the new store.

ATM thieves hit a speed bump

at 12:45pm by Nina Selipsky

Two thieves’ plans went awry this weekend when they drove over a speed bump with a bit too much gusto. Snohomish County authorities say two men tried to steal an ATM from the Fred Meyer on 164th Street SW, backing up their white van to the store’s front, cutting the cables holding the ATM in place, and loading it into the vehicle. But the men went too fast over a speed bump, causing the machine to fall out of the getaway van, reports KOMO. They abandoned their loot, and the van was found about 11 hours later. Investigators are checking the van for any evidence, dusting the ATM for fingerprints and looking into possible surveillance camera footage of the theft.

Hillary hashtags back at Mitch McConnell

at 12:32pm by Harrison Lee

Wired reports on a new Twitter hashtag recently created by Hillary Clinton’s social media team: #gendercard. Along with the hashtag was a Tweet containing a picture of a card with several of Clinton’s proposed policy changes such as “Affordable Child Care” and “Paid Family Leave.” The Tweet and hashtag are a response to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s statement to constituents in Kentucky, saying the “gender card alone” would not win the race of Hillary Clinton. Clinton responded saying, “There is a gender card being played in this campaign. It’s played every time Republicans vote against giving women equal pay, deny families access to affordable child care or family leave, refuse to let women make decisions about their health or have access to free contraception.”

Hillary gender card

 

Kitsap trailhead gets a cleaning

at 12:26pm by Alex Cnossen

Computer monitors, tires, dead batteries, magazines: Until recently, you could find these items and more scattered across the Stottlemeyer Trailhead, located in Kitsap County. During a recent clean-up effort, volunteers cleared out six dump trucks and almost 200 tires, reports King 5. The trailhead’s a bit safer and environmentally healthy now, but the property’s main owner, Pope Resources, says it’s an ongoing problem. That’s why they’ve posted five cameras in trees. Efforts like these are helping, but they’re not long-term solutions — three of the cameras have since been stolen.

Serveral orgaizations have stepped up to help out, including Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, North Kitsap Trails Association, Great Peninsula Conservancy, Kitsap Audubon, Kitsap County Parks, Back Country Horsemen.

The Seahawk is flying

at 10:47am by Nina Selipsky

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… both! This week, Boeing rolled out its second Seahawks-themed 747-8 freighter, reports the Seattle Times. The last time Boeing decked out a jet in Seahawks blue and green was before the team’s Super Bowl win in January 2014. If you’re superstitious, maybe this flying symbol of Seattle pride will bring the Hawks a winning season and another Super Bowl victory. Just look what happened when Boeing chose not to paint a plane last season…

The first Seahawks-themed plane.
The first Seahawks-themed plane. Credit: Dave Sizer/Flickr

Pay now, save later

at 10:37am by Alex Cnossen

After a lengthy meeting  on Monday, King County officials will likely add a property tax measure to November’s ballot that would aid child services. The measure, which could come to a final vote later this week, would also provide funding to help keep maternal and family-planning services at their current levels, according to the Seattle Times.

The proposal — called Best Starts for Kids — has generated months of discussion and preventative research. There are a number of details, but the main idea is that by charging a 14-cent levy per $1,000 of assessed property value, early-intervention health care programs will yield greater returns in the long run. The proposal’s rooted in an ongoing debate over how to deal with the county’s impending budget problems around public health.

 

Can math be racist?

at 7:00am by Mark Matassa

The highly specialized website Math ∩ Programming offers a philosophical look at the possibility of an algorithm being unfair. An example, says author Jeremy Kun: An Obama administration desire to study the effect of “big data” led to a report that included the warning, “Algorithms can facilitate illegal discrimination.”

Kun describes the problem of a bank that advertises to likely customers for a high-interest home loan. The problem is that the algorithm focuses on people most susceptible to those loans and, historically, those have tended to be low-income people (including racial miniorities). “So an algorithm that is ‘just’ trying to maximize clickthrough may also be targeting black people, de facto denying them opportunities for fair loans. Such behavior is illegal.”

It’s like a negative hat trick

at 6:12am by Mark Matassa

In ice hockey, a “hat trick” occurs when one player scores three goals in a game. In the Seattle-area hockey-arena sweepstakes, three bidders scored no goals Monday when none met a deadline for submitting an expansion-team application to the NHL. King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer says the game isn’t over: He’s encouraging the Tukwila, SODO and Bellevue-based groups to put their heads together and try again with one consolidated proposal. The Seattle Times has details.

Enormous profit for Apple, despite lackluster Watch sales

at 5:28am by Mark Matassa

Other tech companies must be wising there were an app for that. Apple is expected to report a $10.3 billion profit for the second quarter, led by $49 million in sales of iPhones, iPads and Mac computers, says Associated Press. The company isn’t releasing sales figures for its Apple Watch, but The Oregonian’s headline on the AP story calls the Watch “a dud.”

Meantime, Apple reportedly has agreed to lease the 44th floor and half the 45th floor at Two Union Square in downtown Seattle, according to The Seattle Times.

When it gets hard out there for a Dem

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

jay insleeGov. Jay Inslee, friend to labor, beneficiary of labor support, now finds himself on the outs because of a disagreement about Boeing. Inslee was scheduled to be the headline speaker at the Washington State Labor Council’s annual convention on Thursday. But he has been “disinvited,” reports The Seattle Times, because labor leaders are peeved that he supported an $8.7 billion tax break for Boeing in this year’s budget. Said an Inslee spokesman: The governor has “a lot of respect” for the Labor Council.

Monday 20 Jul, 2015

HuffPo to Trump: 'You're fired.' Accounting for Hillary's tough side. Pot of gold!

Property tax levy on King County agenda

at 1:42pm by Alex Cnossen

Council members today are meeting to discuss a new property tax levy for King County, which would go before voters in November. The proposed hike would raise $56 million a year for six years, helping to offset the rising costs of the criminal justice system, KOMO reports. Currently, this eats up about  three-quarters of King County’s $1.5 billion general fund budget.

King County Executive Dow Constantine is among the supporters of the the levy, claiming that it would spend now to save billions later. “You know, I’ve spent my whole political career addressing bad outcomes – jail, crime, mental health treatments, addiction services. Here, we see an opportunity to move way upstream. And invest in prevention.” The council’s meeting was set to begin at 1:30 p.m. but appears to be starting late.

 

 

.05 miles per hour?

at 1:37pm by Nina Selipsky

At least, that’s what the street marking on Fairmount Avenue Southwest says. Over the weekend, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) employees applied roadway markings in eight locations, reports the Seattle Times. In the West Seattle location, employees marked the street “20 HPM” instead of “20 MPH.” 20 hours per mile would make the speed limit .05 miles per hour – half the speed of the world’s slowest mammal, the three-toed sloth. SDOT is in the process of correcting these markings and will complete the work today (unless they work really slowly).

Attracting teens to the great outdoors

at 12:44pm by Nina Selipsky

In an effort to spark new interest in environmental stewardship, a local nonprofit is revamping its teen programs. Formerly known as Natural Resources Youth Camp of Western Washington, the organization recently changed its name to Mount2Sound Adventures and partnered with the Thurston County Conservation District and Americorps members. The new partners have brought “youth and vigor” to the camps after about 15 years of low participation levels, reports The Olympian. This year’s offerings include several small events, such as a kayak trip along the Squaxin Passage on Puget Sound, a three-day backpacking trip along the Seven Lakes Basin High Divide Loop in the Olympic National Park, and an Experience Local Food day camp.

New moose alert

at 12:31pm by Nina Selipsky

Keepers at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park near Eatonville, WA spotted longtime resident Connie the Moose with a wobbly, long-legged calf Saturday, confirming suspicions that she had been pregnant. Connie gave birth late Friday or early Saturday, reports The Olympian. Keepers got close enough to tell that the newborn looked healthy, but not to determine the calf’s gender. Once the park figures that out, it will start talking baby names. Connie’s newborn is the first moose born at the park in 15 years, and joins two other adult moose in addition to Connie: Ellis, the father, and Nancy.

Scott Walker's pledge if elected: Possible war on day one

at 12:09pm by drew atkins

Presenting the sort of bold, optimistic vision that the Party of Reagan has become known for, this weekend GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker pledged to not only “terminate” the Iran nuclear agreement reached by six countries and the European Union if elected, but suggested he may start a war with Iran on inauguration day.

“I believe that a president shouldn’t wait to act until they put a cabinet together or an extended period of time, I believe they should be prepared to act on the very first day they take office,” he said. “It’s very possible, God forbid that this would happen, but very possible, that the next president could be called to take aggressive actions, including military actions, on their very first day in office.”

 

Mayor Ed Murray's taking a trip

at 11:00am by Alex Cnossen

Tomorrow,  Mayor Ed Murray – along with mayors from around the globe – will travel to Rome to participate in an international discussion about ending social and environmental exploitation. Murray will brief the conference on Seattle’s efforts to prepare for and adapt to climate change, focusing on how cities can lead the way on equity and environmental justice.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is taking care of the mayor’s airfare and accommodations. Other U.S. mayors attending the event include New York’s Bill de Blasio, Portland’s Charlie Hales, Minneapolis’ Mitch Landrieu, San Francisco’s Edwin Lee, Boston’s Marty Walsh and New Orlean’s Mitch Landrieu.

 

Shark makes an appearance at world surfing competition

at 10:52am by Nina Selipsky

The “Summer of the Shark,” as Discovery dubbed 2015, is really living up to its name. Jaws became a reality for three-time world champion Australian surfer Mick Fanning during yesterday’s televised finals of a world surfing competition in South Africa. Fanning was sitting on his board, awaiting his turn at the JBay Open in Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape Province, when he was struck by a shark from behind and knocked into the water. According to Associated Press, Fanning tried swimming away at first, but then decided to defend himself and turned to punch the shark in the back. The World Surf League cancelled the remainder of the event, calling Fanning’s composure and quick acting in the face of a terrifying situation “heroic.” Fanning escaped unharmed, and he and fellow Australian surfer Julian Wilson (who was also in the water when the attack happened) will share second place and split the prize money.

Cuban cigar, anyone?

at 10:44am by Alex Cnossen

 

Map_flag_of_Cuba

Decades of hostility were formally put to rest this morning as U.S. and Cuban officials fulfilled an agreement struck last year that restored full diplomatic relations, NBC News reports. As part of the deal, Cuba was granted an embassy in Washington.

Americans wanting to travel to Cuba to still face restrictions. So do U.S companies wanting to do business in the country. Despite the deal, there are quite a few issues the U.S and Cuba don’t see eye to eye on, including mutual claims for economic reparations, Havana’s insistence on the end of a 53-year-old trade embargo, and U.S. calls for Cuba to improve on human rights and democracy.

Pot of gold!

at 6:19am by Mark Matassa

As The Seattle Times puts it, “The new legal marijuana business has created once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.” Take, for example, the tale of Evan Cox and his wife Charity, both high school dropouts, who got rich selling pot when it was illegal but police were looking the other way. The couple closed their business when the legalization measure passed – they didn’t want to cut into the business of legal stores – but now they are trying to go legit, hoping to get licensed to process marijuana. “At the point they closed the business, Evan says, ‘I was sitting on three-quarters of a million dollars. And it took that to get my license.’”

Accounting for Hillary’s tough side

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

Credit: Clinton Presidential Library
Credit: Clinton Presidential Library

Hillary Clinton’s father, Hugh Rodham, could be kind of a jerk, or at least a hard-driving, short-tempered disciplinarian. And so as a candidate, Clinton has not talked about him nearly as much as she does her mother, Dorothy. But in a fascinating profile, The New York Times tells Mr. Rodham’s story and explores the relationship between him and his daughter. The takeaway: “Mrs. Clinton’s father quietly represents the candidate’s combative, determined and scrappy side. The inspiration, friends said, that toughened his daughter up to not just withstand but embrace yet another political battle.”

Jing-Jin-Ji, the largest city you’ve never heard of

at 5:20am by Mark Matassa

Officially the population of Beijing is just over 21 million, but that’s not counting the suburbs and other large cities that make up the Chinese capital metropolis. Now a proposal to knit them all together with improved high-speed transportation and more dispersed services would create a new supercity, Jing-Jin-Ji, with a population of 130 million over an area about the size of Kansas, reports The New York Times.

HuffPo to Trump: 'You're fired!'

at 5:04am by Mark Matassa

Donald_Trump.jpgAfter declaring immediately that“I support that,” media critic Jay Rosen goes on for 1,500 words analyzing Huffington Post’s declaration that it will no longer cover Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as politics, but instead as entertainment. HuffPo came right to the point: “Our reason is simple: Trump’s campaign is a sideshow. We won’t take the bait. If you are interested in what The Donald has to say, you’ll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette.” In the end, Rosen agrees, but only after delineating all the reasons the site’s announcement should have been more expansive.

If Huffington isn’t taking the bait, stalwart political journalists, such as at The New York Times, certainly are. “Who advises candidate Trump,” one of its lead stories asks this morning. “(Hint: His name is Donald.)”

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