More S.L.U.T.-y thoughts (then we'll stop)

Yesterday, I blogged about my friend and accountant who gave us a quick-shot, not-so-hot reaction to riding the streetcar for the first time. There, I called it a streetcar. I want to take it seriously, because I am their customer: the line connects near enough to my home and work to be an option and I intend to take it once the silly stuff dies down. (see silly stuff, below).


Selling the Northwest's global genericism

One of the virtues of travel is that it gives you a chance to see how your part of the country is selling itself to the outside world. After flipping though a copy of Alaska Airlines magazine on a recent flight to San Francisco, I have to say that if Horace Greeley were shilling for regional real estate developers, he'd be saying "Go West in style, yuppie scum!" He'd take out a full-page, four-color ad to do it, too. Current real estate pitches emphasize wealth, urban amenities, and a let-them-eat cake luxury lifestyle that is the antithesis of anything remotely regional or rooted. Local color? No. Rain? What's that? Moss, mountains, a frontier spirit? Hmmm, call the valet to take out the trash.


The insurance commissioner will make his case

Quick update about something we're keeping an eye on. Using the state's premier trauma center as his stage, Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler on Wednesday, Dec. 12, will unveil a new report detailing costs taxpayers absorb to care for the uninsured and underinsured. With officials from Harborview Medical Center by his side, the commish will lay out a county-by-county breakdown showing a growing economic burden. The new report will add momentum, he hopes, to a universal health-care proposal Kreidler is drafting for the upcoming legislative session. Earlier this fall, Crosscut outlined the framework his plan to take care of more than 600,000 people who are without health insurance.


A tree falls in Oregon

They might be dwarfed by architecture, but nothing we've built has transcended time the way big trees have. The "Klootchy Creek Giant" lived long and large. It took a record-setting windstorm to bring it down.


West Coast growth industry: pushing initiatives

Is Washington state going to be rid of the spate of initiatives anytime soon? Not likely, for the simple reason that it's become a steady and lucrative business for initiative-pushers like Tim Eyman. On the other hand, few succeed in making much long-term change. California is the mother lode of the business. A fascinating run-down of the business in The New Republic reports that the initiative campaign business now runs about $300 million per election cycle. There are five signature-gathering companies, as well as an army of lawyers, fund-raisers, pollsters, media consultants specializing in the growth industry. It makes one grateful there is only one Tim Eyman Inc. in the state, so far.


If not for television, a W for UW

Those of us who were present with two eyes ranged from the hoi polloi to the highest echelons of state public life: at least one former guv (Booth Gardner) and the University of Washington's omnipresent Mark Emmert, "one of the best [college] presidents in the whole damn country," according to UW regent Bill Gates Sr., borrowing from sports-programming parlance. It didn't matter, however, that the best and worst of us who were two-eyed witnesses Saturday at Hec Edmundson Pavilion thought Justin Dentmon's buzzer lay-up beat the clock. All that mattered was the judgment of a dispassionate cyclops: the television camera recording the event for Fox Sports Northwest. Even after the game refs allowed the scoreboard at the UW basketball court to read UW 76, Pittsburgh 75, the officiating crew members had another gander at the recorded last play. Then they had a few more.


In divorce, money trumps care-giving

The Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday, Dec. 6, that there is no right to a state-funded attorney during divorce. Brenda King couldn't afford a lawyer, but her husband, Michael King, could. No surprise: He got custody of the couple's children, even though she had provided the majority of care up to that point. King's case is typical. "The person who can afford an attorney, and a good attorney, in a custody case is much more likely to win," says Ken Saukas, founder of Divorce Attorneys for Women. And having more money itself makes a parent more attractive to a judge.


City of Seattle v. Seattle Times

So Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr now says he didn't know his office was issuing subpoenas to three Seattle Times reporters until after the fact. Carr said he did not reveal that detail earlier because he generally tries to take the heat for decisions his office makes. "Generally" apparently means until he looks dumb as a result of such a decision. Because until he outed the lawyer responsible for the misguided attempt to circumvent a state law shielding reporter sources, Carr had been defending the subpoenas.



The latest from news outlets and blogs around the Northwest and beyond, chosen by Crosscut editors.

Toxic sludge in Oso threatens emergency crews

Sewage, propane, and household solvents are among the toxins officials worry about during cleanup efforts.


Natural gas plant on Columbia River explodes, injuring 5

Witnesses describe huge blast, 30-50 foot plume of flames, and black smoke. Storage tank gouged by shrapnel has a leak, and a two-mile zone is at the risk of further explosion.


Today is the last day of the rainiest March ever

Rainfall records across Western Washington were broken this month, including at SeaTac, where there hasn't been this much rain since the late 19th century.


"Everybody needs dessert."

Sultan chocolatier Kathryne Paz shares her sweets with as many as possible, including those struggling in her community.


Mudslide missing jumps from 18 to 108

Drastic rise in officials' estimates of number missing in devastating Oso slide.


At least 18 missing, 3 dead in mudslide

The governor has declared a disaster area as rescuers try to stay safe in dangeous conditions.


Animal shelter to auction note and cash left by Barefoot Bandit

While on the run, Colton Harris Moore left cash and a note for a Pacific County animal shelter, which the shelter is auctioning to raise funds.


More jobs in Wash. now than before the recession

The state jobless rate dropped to 6.4 percent, with 3,800 new jobs added between December and January. 


Landslides, avalanche reported as a result of rain

The 5-foot avalanche on Stevens Pass spilled fresh powder across all four lanes. WSDOT expects the pass to be closed until 1 p.m. Wednesday. 


65-foot crack found in Columbia River dam

Though officials Friday admitted it was a serious problem, they said it was not an immediate threat.


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