Hit the brakes if you're driving through a highway construction zone. Thanks to a new bill signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee, Washington will install speed cameras around highway construction zones to try to prevent worker deaths and catch speeders. Obviously we are not wired to look out for each other the way we are wired to avoid speeding tickets. The cameras won't start filming you and your misdeeds until 2024.
The labor market stays strong: The March jobs report came out. The U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate also fell to 3.5%, the lowest level its been in 50 years, according to Axios.
Clarence Thomas's ethics problem: For 20 years, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been kicking it on luxurious vacations gifted to him from his good buddy, real estate magnate and Republican donor Harlan Crow. Thomas never disclosed any of the yacht trips, which were valued at $500,000, nor did he disclose the stays at Crow's exclusive lodge, where he also rubbed elbows with executives at Verizon and PricewaterhouseCoopers, plus the leader of the Federalist Society. He also never mentioned any times he took Crow's private jet on quick personal trips or trips to statue-unveilings that could cost upwards of $70,000. Crow insists he's never had conversations about active cases or tried to sway Thomas's opinion. ProPublica has the painstakingly reported story here.
3/ But Thomas' friendship with Dallas-based real estate magnate Harlan Crow has allowed him to repeatedly experience luxuries well beyond his means.— ProPublica (@propublica) April 6, 2023
He's vacationed on Crow’s 162-foot superyacht around the globe and flies on Crow’s Bombardier Global 5000 jet. pic.twitter.com/wJTT1Z0aak
Lol: Clarence Thomas ruled on a bribery case against a former Virginia governor in 2016 while he was accepting these lavish vacations.
King County housing market tepid at best: The historically hot housing market has cooled in the fading wake of pandemic highs. You can thank fun things like interest rate hikes and income insecurity for the somewhat calmer waters of house-hunting. While median single-family home prices across King County fell 10%, according to the Seattle Times, that price was still $840,000. To make things more stressful, sellers are holding off, so supply is even lower.
Phishing at the Port: The Port of Seattle lost over $572,600 in phishing scams in 2021. Local government workers who had procedures in place to identify fraudulent emails did not follow them and fell for phony emails asking for money. The Port was able to recover around $522,600 of the lost money through direct recovery and crime insurance. Now, Port workers face the ultimate punishment: they must attend a cyberfraud fictitious email training every year.
It's not just the Port: According to the Washington State Auditor's Office, as reported by KING 5, "Washington’s government has reported more than $28 million of lost public funds as a result of cyberfraud." This is the only time I feel ageism bubble in my blood. If you do not understand basic computer technology, then I do not want you responsible for government processes. This applies for all levels of government!
So you've been personally victimized by Seattle's fake spring, huh? It'll be another soggy, chilly day in ol' Sea-Town.
Persistent rain will continue through the overnight period as a front crosses the area, finally tapering Friday morning with scattered showers developing for the rest of the day. #wawx pic.twitter.com/7ToNIJNo3p— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) April 7, 2023
Sucks for you all: It'll be a balmy 60 degrees where I am in Chicago. And, next week, right before I come back to Seattle, it's going to hit the 70s. Just in time for an afternoon Mariners vs. Cubs game at Wrigley Field. It's not all good news, though. Despite the glorious weather, the swan boats at Humboldt Park don't open until April 29.
Seasonable temps today thru the weekend w/lake breezes keeping it cooler near lake. Next week, Mother Nature is poised to give us an early taste of summer with highs in the 70s to possibly near 80 by the end of the week! No rain or storms are expected the next 7 days. pic.twitter.com/IhYkbMF9EZ— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) April 7, 2023
SeaTac's $1 billion blunder: The new International Arrivals Facility at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport cost about $1 billion. Part of the appeal of the swanky new terminal was that it could fit 20 big-ass, wide-body planes next to each other. Due to design flaws, the terminal can actually only accommodate 16 of those planes. This is not good. According to the Seattle Times, this "20% shortfall in capacity could cause 'damages to the Port’s operations in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars over the expected life of this project.'"
A quick tangent: Every time I use "ass" as a descriptor for something I'm reminded of this 2018 standup routine. Language is a crazy thing.
Real-life crucifixion ceremony continues: Well, this is a new level of religious extremism. New to me, at least. This ceremony, where men are literally crucified in the Filipino farming village of San Pedro Cutud, has been going on for decades. This year's Good Friday crucifixion featured eight men nailed to crosses with thousands of spectators. The Catholic church is not a big fan of this ceremony. It was the first real-life crucifixion in three years after a pandemic-induced pause.
Popeless in Vatican City: Pope Francis won't preside over some key Easter weekend ceremonies due to the chill in the air in Rome and his recent bronchitis hospitalization. Seems like... hear me out... he could use a big, puffy jacket? AI-generated fiction could become reality.
Get your Zoo doo: The Woodland Park Zoo is peddling animal shit starting this weekend. If you want to fertilize your begonias with a medley of rhino, giraffe, hippo, mountain goat, and zebra poop, then get your butt over there. The smallest amount you can get is 25 gallons. What a beautiful thing that in the northwest you can season your raised beds with exotic animal poop and human compost!
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a climate change! Baseball stars are hitting more home runs than normal, with about 50 or so more than usual making it out of the park each year. The performance enhancing drug to blame? Climate change. The Associated Press says "hotter, thinner air that allows balls to fly farther contributed a tiny bit to a surge in home runs since 2010."