Smoke from LA Fires Reached Seattle: This weekend, the city had fog in the morning, and smokey dusks at the end of the day. The smoke came from what the local weather celebrity Cliff Mass describes as "unusually late wildfires over southern California." That blaze is the fifth-biggest in the state's history and covers an area larger than "New York City and Boston
combined." The region has not had rain for a stunning 250 days. No rain is expected in the near future. The smoke from the blaze stretched to the Pacific Northwest this weekend and made another world of our skies. The smoke from wildfires in British Columbia did a similar thing this summer. This is looking like our times. The weather people at QFOX13 also warn that our city's air will be bad this week due to a "lack of wind." It may even make your voice raspy. Expect more fog in the coming days and no rain until Friday, December 15.
Is this just exceptional weather or are we entering a radically different kind of climate? The oceanpaleontologist Sarah Myhre believes that climate change will not be gradual, but happen very rapidly, due to positive feedback.
We know from Pleistocene climate archives that the Earth system is sensitive to tipping points that produce abrupt (less than 100-year) warming, but it takes tens of thousands of years to gradually cool the system.
A whole new Earth is emerging. It will be as strange to humans, a very new animal, as life on another planet.
The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board Gives the Go-Ahead to the Destruction of Capitol Hill's Bonney-Watson Funeral Home: As I have said before, even funeral homes are not safe from death. This one has lived for a very long time. It's "the oldest continuously operating business in the city." Mill Creek Residential, a Dallas-based "apartment developer, investor, owner, and operator" that has big plans for the site (a seven-story apartment building), feared that some locals might be sentimental about the old funeral home and want to preserve it. But much to the developer's relief, the "Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board has approved the demolition of Capitol Hill's Bonney-Watson Funeral Home." This place of death will die, but its ghosts will not go with it.
I Heard Five Gun Shots and Ducked: It was around 1 p.m.. The shots were close to my house. I feared for my life. At that moment, I was one of the shook ones. A Mexican woman who was walking down the street informed me that she had seen the whole thing. A person in one car fired several bullets at another car and drove off. "Four brothers were in that car," she said. "They looked at me, and I looked at them, as they turned a corner." The police arrived, investigated the incident, and eventually connected the shooting with the fresh report of a black man who was pronounced dead right after arriving at Harborview Medical Center. His car was riddled with bullet holes. He died from gunshot wounds. I happened to hear how his life came to an end near Rainier Avenue South and South Genesee Street. Later, the police searched for the suspects in the fog.
This year, several young black man have lost their lives in this area. One was even killed next to a bench I often visit to drink wine at Rainier Playfield. It is an eerie situation. More and more white professionals are moving into a neighborhood that's more and more haunted by the ghosts of young black men.
Jenny Durkan Very Foggy on Progressive Taxes in Seattle: When the Stranger's news editor Steven Hsieh asked the brand-new mayor about her position on progressive taxes in Seattle, she offered no clarity on the matter. Durkan talked about spending taxes wisely (austerity) and going back to voters and the public for more input (delays). But progressive taxes would help to Trump-proof the city, and Durkan did indeed run on a Trump-proofing platform. One would think that the GOP's planned tax cuts for the rich would make the future clearer for Durkan. Seattle Times' editorial board, however, is not foggy on this issue at all. It bluntly believes "Seattle should drop its dead-end income-tax case." Instead of doing something, the board proposes "we start [yet another] conversation about Washington tax reform."
The End of Amazon's Hiring Boom? Seattle Times reports that the corporation that dominates the city like a medieval prince "appears to be seeking the smallest number of new employees in the city in years after a feverish, four-year growth spurt that more than doubled its head count." In June, Amazon had 9,000 openings; today, it only has 3,503. What does this cooling mean? What is it telling Seattle? The report feels the pulse of the city and declares:
The slowdown also comes as the company seeks space to expand outside Seattle. Amazon is evaluating 238 bids it received from municipalities interested in welcoming Amazon’s second, “equal,” headquarters dubbed HQ2, which the company has indicated it could begin staffing as early as 2019.Experts believe Atlanta will win the H2Q prize.
After a Road Rage Incident: A young driver, Taylor Hulsey, died in a car-totaling crash on I-5 just north of State Route 520. The police suspect the deadly accident and the road rage incident are connected. And I believe there is a connection between road rage and car ads. What Americans never see in the thousands of car commercials that are poured into their eyes year in and year out is what they experience every day in a car: bad traffic. The ads say the roads are just for you, but in reality, they are not. They are packed with cars operated by individuals who also believe the road is just for them. Some of the rage that frequently erupts on American roads can certainly be attributed to this marketing/reality disconnection.
Reminding Us What Capitalism Has Always Been About: The mighty USS Nimitz returned to Naval Base Kitsap yesterday after roaming the Pacific Ocean for six months. The aircraft carrier has a crew of nearly 3,000 men and women. It sailed 78,000 miles, its jets dropped lots of bombs on Iraq and Syria. If you happen to see it in the bay, recall that the birth of capitalism was in many respects the establishment of the Royal Navy by Henry VIII (1491-1547). And it's not just that this big navy gave England more power over its rivals, but the feeding of its growing population of sailors demanded an industrial form of food production. The sailors were forced to consume a lot of cod (much cheaper than beef at the time), which was processed in distant Newfoundland. And it is in the connection between the industrial processing of the fish and the expansion of the navy that we find one of the foundations of the system that the USS Nimitz currently defends. Puget Sound Business Journal: "Also returning home are guided missile destroyers USS Shoup and USS Kidd to Naval Station Everett and the Whidbey Island-based 'Gray Wolves' of Electronic Attack Squadron 142."
The Dem Steps Down: And GOP governor makes sure the Dem-safe seat in Michigan stays down for a nearly a year. The GOP governor claims there is no money for a special election to replace the disgraced Rep. John Conyers Jr.. That's how the GOP rolls.
This Morning News Was Brought to You By the Second Paragraph of Charles Dicken's Second-Greatest Novel Bleak House:
Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards, and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ’prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon, and hanging in the misty clouds.Dicken's greatest novel is, of course, Our Mutual Friend.