People still do illegal weed stuff: Despite marijuana legalization in Washington state, there’s still criminal activity afoot. Unsanctioned farms crop up and try to blend in with legal farms right next door. People smuggle weed into nearby states where it’s not legal since they’ll fetch a better price. Legal growers are supposed to report how many pounds they take off a plant and keep all of it within a tracking system. But, a lot of that is based on an honor system built on self-reporting. That’s a lot harder to catch than illegal growers. According to KUOW, 44 people were arrested last year in a network of illegal marijuana grows run by Chinese nationals.
How the head tax will help the homeless: The spending plan aims to add or maintain 900 more units of affordable housing. It will add 5.5 percent more affordable housing to what already exists in the city. Will it be enough? The Seattle Times reports that, as of December, “King County’s waiting lists for affordable housing stood at 8,689 people.” If you want to appreciate local news even more than you already do, read this national take about the head tax. Spoiler alert: it is no good.
Is Seattle getting its own Highline? Listen, I didn’t know what the Highline was until a month ago. It’s this sick raised walkway in the middle of — what neighborhood is it? Chelsea? — in New York City. It’s got plants and views and it winds through buildings old and new. Seattle is planning something similar with the new post-viaduct waterfront. The Overlook Walk would start at that new one-year-old addition to Pike Place and, laid atop three new buildings, would land in front of Pier 59 and 62. The design still has one more review until it is permanently approved. The goal is to “connect the urban shore to the city,” writes Crosscut. Sounds pretty good to me.
Coalition abandons balanced tax code initiative: People for a Balanced Tax Code is a group of liberals who were planning on running a ballot initiative that would make the Legislature balance the tax code. Essentially, it would make wealthy households pay the same share of their income as poor households do. The current tax code is regressive, “people with modest incomes pay a comparatively high share of it in state and local taxes,” according to the Seattle Times. The deadline to collect signatures and file is coming up quickly. The group decided to scrap the plan and pivot to simply educating the grossly misinformed public.
Comcast is the enemy no one deserves: They’re charging crazy installation fees even if you buy your own modem and install it yourself. Homes in Washington are getting charged $90 for this shit. The fee can be avoided if you buy a television and internet bundle, but it’s usually included if you just opt for one or the other. Comcast! Your internet went out on me already once this morning!!!
Shut up, Bellevue, you’re not helping anything: Bellevue is being that kiss ass kid no one can stand. After the head tax passed the City Council yesterday, Bellevue mayor John Chelminiak reminded everyone that “Bellevue is open for business.” No business has changed their plans regarding expansion in Seattle as a result of the head tax, Chelminiak said. However, last week Amazon confirmed it will be expanding in Bellevue when it takes over the building Expedia was using for its corporate headquarters.
Positive Train Control updates coming today: Remember when the train derailed in Dupont in December? How could you forget? While we were going on with our lives, lawmakers and Amtrak were debating the future of PTC, the technology that, if implemented, could have stopped the train from derailing. PTC is set to be implemented by 40 railroads on about 60,000 miles of track before the year is out, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. Today, Congress will be hearing progress updates about the PTC installation. If you care a lot — maybe you like trains or simply enjoy not dying on trains — here’s a livestream link. Things will start up around 1 p.m. today.
Good luck getting south right now: A collision shut down all lanes of the southbound I-5 in Marysville. Two lanes have opened up as officials clear the crash but traffic is moving at a snail’s pace.
Man on flight watches The Disaster Artist, runs down aisles naked: It was a Seattle to Alaska flight. His in-flight entertainment experience may have been too immersive. Nick Steffl, a passenger behind the man, saw he was watching The Disaster Artist where a prominent nude scene was taking place. Next thing Steffl knew, the man was butt naked, running down the aisles, whooping and hollering. Steffl confronted the man, slapped him, and the man said, “Oh, I like it,” confirming he had a bit of a kinky side. He was then was detained by flight attendants.
Intelligence Committee approves Gina Haspel’s nomination as CIA director: Haspel was approved by the Committee “after telling Congress that the agency shouldn't have used harsh interrogation tactics after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.” This is interesting since the biggest objection to Haspel was her ties to torture; she was a supervisor at a CIA detention site in Thailand. Oh well. Five Democrats openly back her nomination and she’s expected to breeze through the full Senate vote. John McCain will not be voting for her.
It’s starting: The eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano is looming. The Big Island is on red alert.
Hawaii volcano fires volcanic ash skyward in what scientists are calling the start of the biggest explosive eruption at Kilauea since 1924. @mattgutmanABC has the story. https://t.co/Qk6w9QZeYn pic.twitter.com/QtXtmffNSq
— ABC News (@ABC) May 16, 2018
Swallow me up, black hole: How’s your day going? Did you know there’s a black hole that can swallow something the size of the sun every two days? It’s massive. It’s hungry. It is the size of 20 BILLION SUNS. It grew substantially since the Big Bang, researchers say. This calls into question the established science on black holes. Typically, black holes have a speed limit proportional to their mass that determines how fast they grow. This black hole is not typical.
North Korea threatens to cancel talks: Kim Jong-un isn’t going to give up his nuclear weapons. North Korea has been an instigator in the pursuit of a dialogue between itself and the U.S. But, it has demanded that the U.S. remove any military threats against North Korea. Analysts don’t believe North Korea will cancel the summit, they believe the country wants to shift the focus. The U.S. wants to talk denuclearization. North Korea wants to talk U.S. military presence.
Transcripts about Trump Tower meeting released: The interviews conducted by the Senate Judiciary Committee center around the meeting between Trump campaign aides and a Russian delegation at Trump Tower in 2016. The transcripts have been released. Donald Trump Jr. was there. He was interviewed. He said he “could not recall” 103 times during this interview. One thing he couldn’t recall was whether he discussed the meeting with his father. You can read the transcripts here.
We need to talk about Ke(l)vin: All this Swedish mother wanted was to bind her children to her permanently by tattooing their names on her flesh. Her son’s name is Kevin. Her tattoo artist tattooed it as “Kelvin.” Instead of getting the tattoo fixed, Kevin is now Kelvin. She legally changed his name. He’s two so he may never remember a time when he was Kevin.
Now what you're eating today:
Steven, Slog AM's number one fan and also The Stranger's news editor, is eating breakfast today.
"A blueberry scone and coffee from Tougo Coffee in Central District is more ambitious than my usual breakfast of coffee and nothing else."
A zesty breakfast for Katie.
Jim says: "The bread and jam are homemade, the peanut butter and cheese are from the store. I regret not reading the label closely enough to realize I was getting crunchy instead of creamy peanut butter."
I feel that, Jim. I'm a diehard creamy peanut butter advocate. Oh well. We beat on, boats against the current.
Leilani, our Managing Editor, sent in her baby's breakfast: "Not a very appetizing oatmeal situation, but when is it ever?"
Sending it in after the deadline, but I'll still accept it for partial credit. Mike from Chicago shared his breakfast with a very sweet story. I hope it's okay that I share it, Mike.
"I know. I’m late. But your post actually helped me. My mom died a couple weeks ago, and I have not been able to eat breakfast, and you helped me to eat. I clicked through to the webmd article, read it, and toasted a couple pancakes leftover from Sunday and there’s some raspberries and blackberries. And a little maple syrup. And thank you. Hope you have a great day."
Thank you, Mike. I hope your day is wonderful as well and that each day gets a little bit easier. I'm glad I could help.
For those readers who didn't catch my morning call for breakfasts, here's the WebMD article about the importance of eating breakfast.