So, how are your lungs? Seattle had the worst air quality of any "major city" on the planet this weekend. Things should be clearing a bit today, but I’m not planning on opening any windows until mid-week just to be safe, and I definitely wouldn’t leave the house without a smoke mask. If you were out-of-doors this weekend without a mask, I don’t know what to tell you–not much is known about the long-term individual health impact of inhaling wildfire smoke, though what research exists suggests that there may be a connection between breathing smoky air and various long-term impacts. And we DO know that short-term exposure can lead to health problems and premature death. I wouldn’t risk it. Wear a smoke mask until the air quality sensors are back to green.
Here’s what firefighters were up against this weekend. We should be paying these workers millions of dollars. Washington uses prison inmates to fight wildfires, and the state pays them just under $15 per hour.
Leading edge of the Bolt Creek Fire as seen from Baring, WA looking NE up on the slope. The main inferno is still currently roaring a bit further east near Grotto. Can confirm, the wildfire sounds like a freight train. #wawx pic.twitter.com/vq7Qb8SmU1— Benjamin Jurkovich (@BenjaminJurkovi) September 10, 2022
Here’s what this weekend looked like from space. We’re pretty much exactly in the path of the red-outlined plume of smoke.
Smoke from the #BoltCreekFire near Skykomish and the #GoatCreekFire near Packwood will affect large parts of W. WA today, with air quality reaching "unhealthy" levels. Snohomish and Lewis counties will see the worst AQ. Full forecast - https://t.co/e9qxc8QFzW pic.twitter.com/2zIoAcIwPv— WA Department of Ecology (@EcologyWA) September 10, 2022
Still no school. Public school officials still haven't come to an agreement with the Seattle Education Association. They're making progress, according to union officials, but they're just not quite there yet. One sticking point: Establishing a cap for how many students can be assigned to a counselors or social worker. Currently, Seattle schools assign way more than is recommended by the National Association of Social Workers.
People sure do seem to die on I-5 a lot. There were two overnight crashes on I-5 Friday night. One crash in Tukwila involved a Honda Pilot that rolled over and was then hit by another car, killing both people inside the Pilot. A few hours later, a Camry driver swerved to avoid a broken-down Kia, missed, and killed the person in the Kia. Also on I-5 this weekend, a driver crashed into a motorcyclist in Bellingham, and another driver crashed into a tree, sustaining serious injuries. That follows a deadly I-5 crash in Everett last week, a deadly truck crash near Tumwater last month, and a street-racing crash in August that injured three people in Tacoma, which was linked to street racing. Freeways will always be deadly, there is no way to make them safe, and they should be completely eliminated wherever possible.
We just narrowly dodged a disaster: More housing! That was a close one. Developers were nearly allowed to start work on 400 new units of housing in Belltown, but, fortunately, the Design Review Board pumped the brakes and ordered them to delay construction so that they have more time to figure out the design for the alley behind the building. You may have thought we were experiencing a housing crisis right now, but that’s far less important than addressing the current alleyway-design crisis. Big thanks to the Board for stopping those new units of housing, which would have displaced a beautiful Jiffy Lube.
It’s going to be tough to straighten that out. Rainier Valley Chiropractic is a little bent out of shape after a driver crashed into the building this weekend, reportedly taking out a structural pillar.
Here’s the deal with the leaflets outside the stadium: The Broncos–a football team, apparently–are in town for a show at Lumen Field. One of their co-owners, Mellody Hobson, is also a Starbucks board member, which makes this a great opportunity to hand out some pamphlets. As far as I can make out, Hobson is based in San Francisco and won’t be at the game, but hopefully word will get back to her.
.@MellodyHobson , a Starbucks board member, recently became a part owner of the Denver Broncos. On Monday, join us (starting at 4 PM) to leaflet outside the #Seahawks game to tell Mellody to STOP UNION BUSTING#WeBustBroncosNotUnionshttps://t.co/eTbFk1BHve pic.twitter.com/7xjXXIiZBs— Starbucks Worker Solidarity (@VentiSolidarity) September 11, 2022
Good news for construction projects: The Teamsters have finally reached an agreement with concrete companies, ending the threat of another strike.
Ukraine had a series of victories against Russia. The war is still raging, but Russia has been pushed out of various areas in the northeast and south of Ukraine. While these victories seem promising, experts warn that it could provoke a brutal retaliation from Putin. And that seems to be happening: Russia has hit crucial infrastructure, causing widespread power outages.
Trump's in DC today. Nobody's quite sure why, which is itself a very weird state of affairs. Getting off a plane, he seems to be dressed for golf. There's lots of speculation about what's going on but zero information, so be skeptical of any theories you run into until anything's confirmed. Meanwhile, here's an article about the time Trump asked for political advice from the guy whose job was to hand him cans of soda.
At long last, peace with the beavers. Here is a charming story about a rancher forming an alliance with a bunch of beavers. Once, beavers were regarded as pests who screwed up the land and needed to be trapped, removed, and killed. Now, humans are looking into ways that they can live alongside them and even take advantage of the animals’ skills.
Jeff Bezos painted an online target on a Black professor. This weekend, Bezos decided to go after a Carnegie Mellon professor whose family was killed in a British-government-backed war. Professor Uju Anya reacted to the news of Queen Elizabeth’s death by writing “may her pain be excruciating.” Bezos apparently didn’t care for that, and he tweeted a critique of Anya to his 5.1 million followers.
But here’s the context for Anya’s quote: Her family were among those killed and displaced in the Nigerian Civil War. At the time, Britain was exploiting Nigeria’s oil reserves and providing money and weapons to put down the rebellion. Coincidentally, Anya recently tweeted approvingly of Chris Smalls, the guy who led the unionizing of Amazon workers. I’m not saying Bezos had that in mind when he decided to go after her, but I wonder what the man who's hoarding more money than virtually all of humanity thinks people will have to say when the time comes to write his obit.
Weasley honestly seems like the perfect dog. Look at that good face!!!
Now showing at Seattle Humane: It's Weasley TV. You'll see this good boy on all our our screen around the shelter, along with some other adoptable pets who have been waiting longer than expected to go home. Weasley is rated G for Good Boy! https://t.co/p3UoQIrK0d pic.twitter.com/OtYvdYoEzY— Seattle Humane (@SeattleHumane) September 10, 2022