The Uvalde shooting is already slipping from the news cycle: You knew this would happen. I knew this would happen. We all know this is how our country reacts to tragedy. And yet, even the people of Uvalde must somehow find a way to move on with their lives. Some move on much faster than most, though. Just yesterday, the same police chief whose decision-making during the shooting spurred a DOJ investigation began his term as a city council member.
Finally, a prosecution I can get behind: Yesterday, federal prosecutors secured a 30-year sentence for someone who spread conspiracy theories and peddled hydroxychloroquine during the early days of the pandemic. No, I am not somehow breaking the news to you that Trump is headed for an orange jumpsuit. The perp, Jennings Ryan Staley, was a garden-variety crooked doctor trying to "profit from patients' fears," as U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said.
Enough already: What does it take to lose your job as a police officer in this country? Apparently wondering aloud why America doesn't "just bring back lynching" isn't sufficient to cost a parking enforcement officer his job, an arbitrator ruled, because SPD doesn't have a track record of firing cops like this officer, who don't have a "history" of making similar offensive statements. The State Legislature tried fixing this gaping loophole in the police accountability system last year, but the bill failed in the face of opposition from organized labor.
Can it truly be a Wednesday Slog AM without election news? I've gotten accustomed to half of these 2022 midterm update blurbs simply documenting the country's accelerating slide into fascism, which feels bad, but this is the life, I guess. The best political fodder I can scrounge for you, dear readers, is an upcoming King County Council vote on eliminating our local odd-year elections. Councilmember Claudia Balducci's proposal would move elections for county-level positions to even years starting in 2026. We'll know after the vote at 9:30 am whether Congressional candidate and current Councilmember Reagan Dunn will join his colleagues in trying to keep future occupants in his job from also running for Congress while in office.
Not this kind of election news: GOP apparatchik Glen Morgan is back on his bullshit, organizing a door-to-door effort to "clean" the voter rolls... a job the Secretary of State's office does in coordination with each county elections office does just fine without creepy canvassers trying to 'help.' Morgan's defense of the project has big "just asking questions" energy, and it hasn't produced anything but a bunch of alarmed residents calling their local elections officials to make sure the conspiracy theorists at their door aren't employees of the state.
Twitter celeb CEO pleads not guilty: No, we're not talking about Elon. Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price pled not guilty to charges of misdemeanor assault and reckless driving yesterday. The judge hearing his case entered a no-contact order between Price and the woman accusing him of attempting to kiss her without her consent and grabbing her throat. His next hearing will be on July 1st.
Another sacrifice on the altar of car culture: Details are still scarce, but, in case you are also wondering what caused all the sirens in the middle of the night down the street from my apartment last night, then here's your answer: A driver crashed into the entrance of Coastal Kitchen on Capitol Hill. Initial reports say the driver was likely in a state of crisis, a reminder that so many personal tragedies would be less damaging without access to a 2,000-pound battering ram on wheels.
Please, more studies that confirm my priors: If you also have a questionably healthy relationship to the brown bean juice that powers our society, this latest study may help ease your anxiety (which definitely has nothing to do with the amount of coffee you drink). Researchers in the UK compared health outcomes for 120,000 people and found that "those who drank 1.5 to 3.5 cups a day had a lower risk of death during those seven years than non-coffee drinkers."
Canada, must you tempt us like this? Officials in Vancouver will begin prioritizing "healthcare over handcuffs" in their treatment of people struggling with substance use disorder starting next year. Instead of arresting people, police will provide information on available services and help people get connected to them if they want the assistance. This quote from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry explaining the decision to decriminalize small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use makes me yearn for a functioning society with laws based in reality:
"Because of that risk of being labeled a criminal, losing their job, not being able to get an apartment, not being able to travel, things like losing their children, it keeps them from talking to their family and friends about their drug use. And that keeps them from accessing services[.]"
Speaking of travel restrictions: Airline and other travel industry lobbyists are lobbying the White House to end the pre-travel COVID testing requirement for international travelers. They argue that policy harms tourism, and that the policy serves no real medical purpose. And unlike when they successfully lobbied to end the mask mandate for air travel, the money-grubbing airline lobbyists have a point on the public health angle of pre-travel testing, seeing as we've done a fine job of failing to contain COVID domestically.
American exceptionalism does not extend to inflation: The EU is also experiencing the effects of soaring food and energy prices, mostly due to the war in Ukraine. Since we're not the only ones experiencing inflation, I guess we'll have to take pride in being the only developed country where children routinely cower under their desks for survival.
Farewell to a fixture of Seattle media: At least on-screen, anyway. Omari Salisbury, head of Converge Media, who you might know as the live-streaming reporter who captured the infamous pink umbrella incident during the 2020 protests, is ending his role as host of the Morning Update Show. If you're not already a viewer, I highly recommend tuning in and sticking around to see what host TraeAnna Holiday does with the timeslot.
It's rabbit season! No, I have not hit such a hole of content during this latest COVID surge that I've been re-watching old Looney Toons episodes. We're just finally seeing the unmistakable sign that winter has relaxed its icy grip: An absolute fuckton of bunnies playfully hopping their way through every semi-residential area of this wonderful city. As someone who grew up in the land of swamps, snakes, and insects trying to kill you 24/7, encountering these vacant-eyed herbivores never fails to put a smile on my face. Now, please educate me in the comments on why the rabbits are actually bad, and why I should feel bad for allowing them to bring joy to my day.
OK, I lied: I have absolutely been watching Looney Toons ever since I failed thrice over the long weekend to snap a picture of one of these adorable pests to include in this Slog AM. Of course, I brought enough for the whole class: