BetterHelp sold customer data: The Federal Trade Commission found that podcast ad staple BetterHelp, an online counseling and therapy service, sold customer data to companies such as Facebook, Snapchat, Criteo, and Pinterest for advertising purposes. BetterHelp shared IP addresses, emails, and sensitive health questionnaire information despite pinky-swearing it wouldn't do that. The company must pay $7.5 million and change some of its practices to make sure it doesn't exploit its customers, vulnerable people seeking help and therapy, again.
Trump can face civil suits for Jan 6: In a legal filing to a federal appeals court, the Justice Department said Capitol Police officers and lawmakers can sue Donald Trump over the insurrection. Trump previously claimed he was "immune to such claims." The Justice Department indicated he is not. These civil cases would have no bearing on the department's special counsel criminal investigation into Trump's actions around the insurrection.
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department seeks arrest warrant: A Tacoma woman has tuberculosis and refuses to take her medicine or isolate. The health department has been to court 16 times in this case. During this sixteenth visit, the department requested an arrest warrant. If arrested, the woman would go to a special facility in Pierce County Jail for "isolation, testing, and treatment." This isn't Victorian England. Having a touch of consumption isn't sexy. Please, if you have tuberculosis, then get treatment.
Weak-willed Walgreens capitulates: A flock of Republican attorneys general threatened to sue Walgreens if the pharmacy chain—the second largest in the country—continued to sell abortion pills, both by mail or in brick-and-mortar stores. Walgreens said they won't sell them in states with abortion bans. However, Walgreens also won't sell the pills in some states where abortion is still legal, such as Alaska, Iowa, Kansas and Montana. These attorneys general also put pressure on CVS, Albertsons, Rite Aid, Costco, Walmart, and Kroger, but so far those pharmacies haven't indicated they'll toe the line.
Nordstrom pulls out of Canada: Our neighbors to the north simply aren't patronizing Nordstrom. After a dismal below-market fourth quarter, Nordstrom must trim the unprofitable fat. So, Canada's 13 Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores get the ax.
A HoneyHole whodunnit: The Capitol Hill Seattle Blawg is knee-deep in some investigative journalism. HoneyHole, the Hill's favorite sandwich shop, closed its expansion store near Seattle University in late January and hasn't opened since. No announcements, no responses to CHS's inquiries. It's a sandwich mystery.
Some weather for your Friday: Winter weather might pummel the Olympics and the Hood Canal area today. Frankly, I'm not sure what this means for us down here in Seattle. Boo! Give us the snow. We demand the snow.
Good morning from the overnight shift. We've issued an Winter Storm Watch for the Olympics as well as a Winter Weather Advisory for the Hood Canal Area. Confidence has increased that places like Seabeck southward to Tahuya could see 1-4 inches of snow by Saturday morning. #wawx pic.twitter.com/EXxmh7rdlt— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) March 3, 2023
Murdaugh jury decides in a jiff: After deliberating for less than three hours, the jury in South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh's case found him guilty of murdering both his wife and his son. A judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole Friday morning.
Is this a Wizard of Oz-type situation? Someone dropped their small house in the middle of a Snohomish County road. Perhaps there are some ruby slipper-adorned feet underneath?
...Somebody lose their she-shed?— WSDOT Traffic (@wsdot_traffic) March 3, 2023
This isn't actually on one of our roads, but our cameras have spotted a...shed...blocking all lanes in both directions of 180th Street Southeast, just west of SR 9, in #Clearview.
This is a Snohomish County road, so they'll have updates. pic.twitter.com/0CRUk74Xup
Negligence could be the culprit for East Palestine crash: The National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report on the Ohio train derailment found wheel-bearing failure likely caused the crash. According to a 2016 report by a former Union Pacific carman, managers told workers not to flag cars with bad wheel-bearings because it would delay other cargo. The carman believed this practice was the norm across rail companies.
Belarusian 2022 Nobel Peace Prize winner sentenced to 10 years: A Belarus court found Ales Bialiatski, the country's top human rights advocate, guilty of "financing actions violating public order and smuggling," CBS News reports. Three other advocates from the Viasna center of human rights that Bialiatski founded faced similar charges and sentences. He and two of his associates were jailed back in 2020 during protests against an election that gave President Alexander Lukashenko yet another term in office. Lukashenko has been president of Belarus since 1994.
Forbidden fruit: In Nebraska, authorities charged two men with unlawful possession of a bald eagle. Allegedly, they had shot and killed the patriotic bird and planned to cook and eat it. Unfortunately, you can't do that.
Fire on Lake City Way: A fire in an abandoned building closed Northeast 143rd Street to Northeast 137th on Friday morning as crews battle the blaze.
Houston volunteer ticketed for feeding homeless: Houston police stopped a group of volunteers called "Food Not Bombs" while they handed out food to people on the street outside a public library. While the group's name is a bit old-fashioned, nothing they were doing was against the law. Or so they thought. An officer asked the volunteers to stop. When one didn't, he issued the man a ticket for $2,000. Apparently, Houston recently changed its law so that charitable feeding is illegal anywhere except one permitted location near Houston Police headquarters.
Cocaine bear is so last month: Cocaine hippos are a real thorn in Colombia's side. The government would like to transfer at least 70 hippopotamuses living near drug lord Pablo Escobar's old ranch to Mexico or India. These hippos are descendants of the four hippos Escobar illegally imported from Africa during the height of his cocaine kingdom in the 1980s. They've multiplied and spread throughout the region. Around 130 hippos live in the Antioquia province. That number could reach 400 in eight years. Since these animals are non-native and have no natural predators, they're considered an invasive species. I hate when my country's drug problem becomes a hippo problem.