Midday Scan: Timeout for Legislators; America's manufacturing comeback; heroic coffee cups

The state's Supreme Court scolds Legislators on education reform; America sees an uptick in manufacturing outputs; coffee cups save lives at Mt. Rainier National Park.

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Mechanics at the Boeing Frederickson Composite Manufacturing Center lower into place a panel for the first production 787. (Boeing)

The state's Supreme Court scolds Legislators on education reform; America sees an uptick in manufacturing outputs; coffee cups save lives at Mt. Rainier National Park.

The Washington State Supreme Court has slammed the gavel: Washington is failing to meet its constitutional obligation to fund education, reports Seattle Times education reporter, Brian Rosenthal. That’s not too surprising — the legislature has been taking a chainsaw to K-12 in the face of a seemingly unfixable budget, but what is surprising is that the court is saying it will make sure the Legislature does something about it.

What does this mean? Will teachers get stronger support? Will pizza no longer be a vegetable? Will every kid get a tablet computer? Well, not necessarily. So far the court is only asking for “updates,” Rosenthal reports. That’s like saying to a child with a match, “Hey, don’t light that on fire,” but not taking the match away.

Nevertheless, the court has made the right decision. And while we might be able to sympathize with the Legislature’s money problems, in the end, the Legislature is not only failing our state’s children, but actually not following their own constitution. Tom Ahearne, attorney of the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools, who led the fight, put it best:

“I understand their predicament,” he said. “But not having the money to follow the Constitution isn’t an excuse for not following the constitution.”

In a bit of surprise news, Floyd Norris from the New York Times reports that this year is showing an increase in manufacturing jobs, marking this the first year since 1997 that has seen a boost in the industry. That’s a long time. 15 years long, in fact.

It turns out, while we are not as effective at mass-producing cheap crap as some other countries, we are a strong exporter in quality goods — especially machinery, chemicals, and transportation equipment, writes Norris. Furthermore, even though every plastic product we pick up seems to be stamped with  “Made in Taiwan," we are actually ranked 2nd in exports — in the world.

What will cranky uncles talk about at family gatherings, now that we know other countries aren't taking all of our jobs?

Two good things, Seattle and beer, were in The Atlantic’s spotlight today, thanks to West Seattle's endearing and unique Super Deli Mart. Unlike many Coors-toting gas stations, the Super Deli Mart is a beer-lover's paradise, featuring a robust and surprisingly tasteful selection of micro-brews — on-tap, by the bottle, and in the keg.

Writer Christopher Solomon, who lives in the area, continues on to pour compliments on Seattle's microbrewery scene, which boasts over 30 microbreweries, all serving new and creative beers. "Residents of the Emerald City are drowning in great draughts," Solomon says. Of course, everyone in Seattle already knows this.

The heartwarming conclusion, though, Super Deli Mart's ability to spark community bonding through the power of beer. The owner, Min Chung, has turned a regular ho-hum general store into a place of gathering and discussion. If that's not a good excuse to have a pint, what is?

Watch out if you're headed to Snohomish County: Health officials say whooping cough has hit epidemic levels, with a ninefold increase in 2011. The number of cases jumped from just 25 in 2010 to 220 in 2011. The illness can be especially harmful to babies under two months of age and can cause pneumonia, seizures, and troubles with breathing, writes Sharon Sayler of The Herald.

Thankfully, the Snohomish Health District is fighting back against the epidemic with a special one-day immunization fair, where they will provide up to 430 free doses of the vaccine to pregnant women in their third trimester and adults in close contact with children. For uninsured adults, the Everett Clinic is providing shots for $64 a pop — about half-price — if patients pay on the same day. If you live in the area, and especially if you have children, get vaccinated.

There's not a day goes by that a Seattleite somewhere doesn't call coffee a life-saver, but this weekend the expression took on a whole new depth. As Seattle Times environmental reporter, Craig Welch writes, helicopter pilots got creative this weekend during the manhunt for Mt. Rainier National Park shooter, Benjamin Colton Barnes.

The pilots were unable to communicate with campers on the ground near the location where Barnes disappeared into the woods, so they resorted to dropping empty coffee cups. Scrawled on them were messages written in marker warning a killer was at large. 

The campers quickly got the message, broke camp, and left. Certainly not your everyday camping trip.

Seattle Times,“High Court: State isn’t fully funding education”

New York Times, “Manufacturing Is Surprising Bright Spot in U.S. Economy”

The Atlantic, “A Postmodern Elks Club Serving Some of the World’s Best Beer”

Everett Herald, "Whooping Cough hits epidemic levels in county"

Seattle Times, "Coffee Cups deliver warning to campers on Rainier"


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