Supreme Court sides with Albertsons: Washington's Supreme Court declined to hear Attorney General Bob Ferguson's case to block a pending $4 billion payment to the grocery store's shareholders yesterday, reports KUOW. Ferguson and attorneys general from several states had opposed the payout, arguing that it would weaken the company's ability to remain financially solvent while the Federal Trade Commission reviewed a proposed merger between Albertsons and Kroger.
New lawsuit dropped: The Seattle Times reports that two men who were residents of a Secret Harbor home for troubled boys in the 1980s and 1990s have joined 21 other plaintiffs in suing the facility's owners. They allege they were subjected to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse from both staff and other residents when they lived at the facility. Secret Harbor has since sold the facility, referred to by some former residents as a "juvenile Alcatraz," and their current CEO says they're "working through legal channels" to address the allegations.
We're so close: Just a few more days until our bodies recognize that we shouldn't be hibernating through the Big Dark!
Less than 10 days until 5 pm sunsets begin. Hang in there, Seattle!— Seattle Weather Blog (@KSeattleWeather) January 18, 2023
Two more bills to track: Seattle Times columnist Naomi Ishisaka highlighted two proposed pieces of legislation in her most recent dispatch that would make a big difference for people incarcerated in Washington's prisons. House Bill 1024 from Rep. Tarra Simmons would require people in prison to get paid minimum wage for their labor, informed by her experience earning just $0.42 per hour when she was incarcerated. The other bill, House Bill 1087 from Rep. Strom Peterson, would limit the amount of time people spend in the tortuous conditions we call solitary confinement. Find your reps and give 'em a call to back both bills!
ICYMI: Not all potentially good policy-making is coming from the State Legislature. Check out King County Council Member Girmay Zahilay's latest on local efforts to address the behavioral health crisis.
Every year on MLK Day, I write in the @SeattleMedium about how Dr. King’s vision applies right now, right here in the county named after him. This year I focus on what he called “the most shocking & inhumane” of all forms of injustice: healthcare injusticehttps://t.co/zeVPWdUzc4— Girmay Zahilay (@GirmayZahilay) January 16, 2023
Microsoft joins wave of tech layoffs: The New York Times reports the local tech giant will layoff 10,000 employees amid rising interest rates and the slowest growth the company has reported in five years. Microsoft hasn't specified which departments will take the brunt of the cuts, but the total impact will be less than 5% of the company's global workforce. According to the WA Employment Security Department, the company will layoff 878 people in the Puget Sound area.
Gates Foundation misses the point: In an interview with the Associated Press, Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman claims philanthropy's role isn't to fix poverty. He's right. Philanthropy's purpose is to serve as tax shelters for obscenely rich people to avoid paying for government programs they don't personally agree with, a luxury most people who are opposed to say, war, don't have. Of course, Suzman didn't give up the game. Instead, we turn to Alex Molnar of the National Education Policy Center, who spoke plainly about the core problem of inequality underlying all the social ills the Foundation's programs attempt to address:
“It requires taking money from people like Mr. Gates — taxing the bejesus out of them,” he said. “Nobody should have that much money. Nobody should have that much influence.”
Speaking of influence: The New York Times reports that the food "handling" course that millions of food service workers are required to take ends up subsidizing the restaurant industry's lobbying to keep their wages down. Whoever came up with this idea might be the most American capitalist to ever live.
As long as we're talking about capitalist hypocrisy: The same corporations that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hates for their allegedly "woke" business practices sent their lobbyists to co-chair his inauguration, reports the Washington Post. Maybe this article will be the one that makes people realize corporations have no principles other than profit, but considering the fact that big companies and the GOP have been running this little game of performative conflict since the 1980s, I doubt it.
This is what you're backing, Disney: Mickey Mouse is really comfortable associating his brand with this nonsense? Smh.
Ron DeSantis says "almost every study" found those who receive the booster are "more likely" to get infected with COVID-19— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) January 17, 2023
"I don't even think China imposes [travel vaccine mandate] anymore!" pic.twitter.com/89NyJUZDaW
We love a good audit: The Associated Press reports that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is launching investigations into possible over-use of antipsychotic medications to sedate nursing home patients. Prior investigations have shown some facilities over-prescribe the medications normally used to treat schizophrenia despite potentially fatal side effects, and federal data shows that the number of patients that "have" schizophrenia—according to the nursing homes—but that don't have a corresponding diagnosis spiked between 2015 and 2019.
Some good international news for once: Cheers to Ressa and every other journalist in the Philippines for this victory over authoritarianism!
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa was acquitted of tax evasion charges on Wednesday, in a decision welcomed by rights activists who have expressed concern over worsening press freedoms in the Philippines. https://t.co/2tD1H2ExOL— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 18, 2023