No cops on the light rail: Sound Transit has decided to return to spot-checking passengers for proof of payment, but it will not use the paramilitary-looking pseudo-cops of years past. Instead, the Seattle Times reports, fare enforcement "ambassadors" will wear blue and yellow vests while educating passengers who they discover have failed to pay. In a move Sound Transit hopes will prevent the system from disproportionately punishing Black and low-income riders, ambassadors will not refer people who fail to pay to district court until their fifth violation.
Seattle's democracy vouchers doing their job: According to a new study of the program's 2021 results, democracy vouchers helped diversify who gave money in local elections to more closely match the city's overall demographics. Over at the Seattle Times, FYI Guy Gene Balk breaks down how the program has energized young people and Black and Hispanic voters.
Summer may be ending, but smoke season isn't: KUOW reports that even five years after Washington greeted my arrival in Seattle with historically smoky skies, we still don't have our shit together on strategies to keep people safe and healthy during times of poor air quality. Experts say our local government hasn't acted fast enough to put strategies in place such as giving homeless people hotel vouchers and subsidizing air purifier purchases.
Same story, different names: The Associated Press reports on the latest iteration of a story that will sound depressingly familiar to Seattle residents who followed the inquest into Charleena Lyles's killing: Someone calls the police because a loved one experiencing a mental health crisis acts dangerously with a knife in their hand, and then cops show up and shoot that person in their own home. This time, it's Salem resident Misty Castillo mourning the unnecessary death of her son, Arcadio.
President Biden noticed the midterms are in two months: In case you didn't watch Biden's prime time address last night after Charles embedded it in PM, here's the highlights of his speech:
President Joe Biden charged that the “extreme ideology” of Donald Trump and his adherents “threatens the very foundation of our republic.”— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) September 2, 2022
“Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal,” he said in his speech Thursday at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. pic.twitter.com/hxO9anmR9p
He's right: While the national political commentariat had a collective meltdown over the current president's use of the phrase "semi-fascism" a few days ago, the former president is out here proving that qualifier unnecessary.
In new interview, Trump says he met with J6ers recently and is “financially supporting” some of them. Then says if he wins re-election he will be “looking very strongly at full pardons” for all J6 defendants, “with an apology” from the govt. pic.twitter.com/xdIVEMt7Sf— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) September 1, 2022
But he's also wrong: As the latest dispatch from the ongoing saga of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's attempt to destroy public education in his state makes clear, "democracy" isn't the lived reality for many Americans living in red states. In his latest audition to be America's Next Top Autocrat, DeSantis took control of the school board in the state's bluest county, Broward County, by firing four of the nine elected members ten weeks ahead of the November election and replacing them with Republicans. God only knows what havoc they'll wreak as they prove the Supreme Court isn't the only body where a 5-4 conservative majority can undermine society's core public institutions.
Get fucked, Jeff: That's the attitude of a federal labor official with the National Labor Relations Board towards Amazon's objections to the union victory at its Staten Island warehouse, the first successful organizing drive in the country at one of its facilities. The NLRB official rejected Amazon's complaints in their entirety after weeks of hearings on the issue, with the full NLRB expected to issue its ruling soon.
More good (?) economic news: Today's jobs report shows employers added 315,000 jobs in August, just missing the projection of 318,000. But for reasons I still fail to comprehend, the fact that job openings outnumber available workers by a 2-to-1 ratio hasn't convinced the Federal Reserve to chill on its anti-worker rate hikes. Jacking up interest rates to penalize people who borrow money isn't going to magically revive the hundreds of thousands of people who died in this little thing called a pandemic we're still living through, and whose absence in the labor market undoubtedly contributes to this trend.
At least there are some jobs out there: The country's largest newspaper chain, Gannett, was not among the companies contributing to that hiring surge in August as it laid off roughly 400 employees this month. In unrelated news, Gannett's CEO made $7.7 million last year when the company's median salary was $48,419. The top executive also spent $1.2 million to purchase 500,000 shares of the company's stock immediately prior to the layoffs, in what I'm sure was also a totally unrelated coincidence.
Hawaii bids adieu to coal: Last night, the last coal-burning power plant in Hawaii pumped its last gasp of carbon pollution into the atmosphere before shutting down for good. In the short-term, Hawaii's grid still relies on oil-burning power plants to provide a significant share of its electricity, but recently passed state laws have accelerated the transition to renewable sources like solar and wind.
Putin never misses a chance to be an asshole: His latest offense to common decency? Denying Gorbachev a state funeral. It's not even as if this is a move to break with the tradition of the USSR, as Boris Yeltsin received those honors when he passed in 2007.
Cannabis products have officially jumped the shark:
Mike Tyson is selling ear-shaped edibles called Mike Bites. pic.twitter.com/7YUJFEUKLZ— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) September 1, 2022
No spoilers please: I'm ending AM with this hit of nostalgia for the Lord of the Rings nerds who are anxiously waiting the moment until we finish work to find out if the new Amazon show sucks or not. Please do not ruin this for any of us, commenters.