Tokitae comes home: The Salish Sea orca who died in Miami after being in captivity there for 52 years finally made it home to her native waters. Her cremated remains made the trip home in a "4-foot-long, 20-inch-tall, 12-inch-across, 300-pound cedar box." A Lummi Nation elder traveled with her. The plan is to scatter her ashes in the sea in a private ceremony.
King County won't house inmates in Des Moines jail: As Ashley reported, King County won't follow through on its plan to ship its inmates from two county jails to a regional Des Moines jail. The announcement comes as the Des Moines jail, known as South Correctional Entity, or SCORE, saw four inmates die within its walls just this year. According to Publicola, King County said the deaths didn't impact the decision. The county said it ended the deal because SCORE could not accommodate enough inmates to make enough difference in staffing strains and capacity burdens in King County's facilities.
New Jersey senator indicted: Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife were indicted Friday on bribery charges. The investigation revealed the Menendezes stashed $100,000 worth of gold bars and $480,000 worth of cash in their house. Now, don't get confused. This indictment is unrelated to Mendendez's previous indictment, which alleged he accepted lavish gifts for political favors. That indictment ended in a deadlocked jury. This latest indictment concerns a New Jersey businessman and a New Jersey developer. Mendendez will likely still seek re-election.
PRO TIP: When accepting cash bribes as a U.S. Senator, don't stuff the bundles of money in a jacket with your name on it and the Senate seal. pic.twitter.com/1nR1hZZqCP— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 22, 2023
Come on lol pic.twitter.com/dLaDPcyziH— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) September 22, 2023
Enjoy the last vestiges of summer: It'll be partly cloudy with highs of 75 degrees Friday. In other words, it'll be glorious. A final meal before fall hits us with the wet stuff. Don't check the forecast if the gray and wet isn't for you. That's all it is as far as the eye can see after Friday. Or, rejoice if you're into this sort of thing. (I am into this sort of thing).
Happy final day of summer!— Seattle Weather Blog (@KSeattleWeather) September 22, 2023
It’s been nice, but I’m more than ready for some fall weather excitement. 🌧️💨🍁
The DNR puts AI on fire watch: The Washington Department of Natural Resources is piloting an artificial intelligence detection system for wildfires. Cameras from a tech startup scan a 360-degree area for fire and an AI scans the images for anything resembling smoke or flame. If the AI spots something, then it sends the image and text to WA DNR employees. So far, WA DNR has deployed nine cameras, and it has another 12 planned for installation by next summer. Does it actually work or make a difference in wildfire response? The jury's still out, but this is definitely a textbook bandaid solution to a climate change issue.
Something's fishy on I-5: Yeah, that would be the fish. Yesterday, a semi-truck carrying fish rolled over near Arlington, spewed its fish across the freeway, and blocked all lanes of traffic for hours. At one point in time, for whatever reason, I created a whole list of things that spilled on I-5 in Washington. I am mentally adding all of this fish to the list. [Eds note: I'll update the piece with this blurb in the back end.]
Oof, this story from Ashley:
NEW: Seattle Police Department Officer Burton Hill called his Chinese American neighbor, Zhen Jin, a racial slur (ch***) during a confrontation in August 2022.@TheStranger got the audio recordinghttps://t.co/RYGlvKPok7— Ashley Nerbovig (@AshleyNerbovig) September 22, 2023
Michigan bans child marriage: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation that bans child marriages and raises the age of consent to 18 years old in Michigan. Part of the bill also banned "secret child marriages." Previously, 16 and 17 year olds could marry with written consent from a parent or guardian. In the past 20 years, around 5,400 minors were married in Michigan. Nine lawmakers voted against the anti-child marriage bill. All of them were Republicans. Isn't that the party that wants to protect children? Hm. So weird how their policies never seem to actually do that.
The power she wields: Taylor Swift made an Instagram post softly encouraging people to register to vote and, to heed her tepid will, 35,000 people registered to vote. I hope she keeps this up! Swift, though she broke her silence on politics in 2018, stays pretty mum on the issues.
Ethics review when? ProPublica continues to be all up in Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's business. And for good reason. You'd think there wouldn't be more to say about Thomas's shady dealings after multiple reports uncovering lavish vacations and special favors from wealthy Republicans, but you'd be wrong. In this latest report, ProPublica found Thomas attended and spoke at two Koch network donor events put on by libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch. Here, I'll let the original story spell out the significance: "That puts Thomas in the extraordinary position of having served as a fundraising draw for a network that has brought cases before the Supreme Court." This fucking guy.
Robocop break: I guess New York is pivoting to crime-fighting robots?
UAW strike update: The United Auto Workers are awaiting negotiation progress from The Big Three automakers Friday morning. If the fat cats in charge don't inch toward the union's demands (livable wages, pensions, job security, a four-day work week), then more Ford, General Motors and Stellantis plants could strike. Ahead of the negotiation deadline, things did not seem like they were headed toward a resolution any time soon.
House Republican clusterfuck could lead to government shutdown: The White House is readying federal agencies for a government shutdown since House Speaker Kevin McCarthy can't get any sort of funding plan past the hard-right contingent of House Republicans. Spurred on by Donald Trump, the hard-right Republicans won't pass any legislation unless it slashes government spending significantly, a latent response to the spending plan McCarthy hashed out with President Joe Biden earlier this year. They voted against McCarthy's typically-popular defense funding bill and his stop-gap bill to keep the government open. Within these bills, too, McCarthy bowed to ultra-conservative demands—but, not enough it seems. “This is a whole new concept of individuals who just want to burn the whole place down,” McCarthy said, according to the Associated Press.
$78 airport meal drama: If you want in on some hilarious online drama concerning a New York Times columnist, novelist Joyce Carol Oates, the hellscape of the Newark Airport, and a smokehouse bbq restaurant, then read this.
A song for your Friday: Fall starts tomorrow. That means it's "Over the Garden Wall" season. Let this song usher you through the change of seasons.