Walmart firebug doesn't get far: Aaron J. Cockrill had a simple dream—walking out of Walmart with a cartful of shit he didn't pay for. Unfortunately for Cockrill, that was "against the law." So he decided to create a diversion to aid his getaway. He lit three fires—one in the garden center, one in the stationery section (smart, lots of tinder here), and one in housewares. That was all well and good, except the fire alarm closed his escape route and he had to sneak out a different way. Cockrill got away but incriminated himself later when police stopped him for something else entirely. He told them, "Richland police would probably want to talk to him about the fire at Walmart." His trial is in August.
Our pee says we're a "world leader in cannabis consumption": That's what this new study that tests Puget Sound wastewater has confirmed. In order to get an accurate read on how much the region is lighting up, scientists have been testing our sewage. The results are in, and they've vaulted us into first place worldwide for cannabis use per capita! Our pee is dirty!
A Patrick Shanahan update: New reports are saying that Trump's withdrawal of acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan's nomination to become the actual defense secretary wasn't actually his choice. Instead, the former Boeing executive and University of Washington Board of Regents chair withdrew himself because the "unusually lengthy background check process" was bringing up bad memories. Those include the time his wife was arrested for punching him, his son was arrested for hitting his wife with a baseball hat, and allegations from his wife that Shanahan punched her in the stomach. This is probably for the best.
Another not-very-June day: I am considering these last few chilly days a necessary reprieve from the suffocating summer we're definitely going to get.
Cool & cloudy today, with rain chances increasing tonight.
You don’t want to come to #Seattle in the summer. It’s like this every day .... damp & dreary .... 55-degree slop ...
— Seattle Weather Blog (@KSeattleWeather) June 19, 2019
Back to the Durkan Speedway drawing board: Ah, 35th Avenue Northeast, you beautiful mess. Okay, some quick history: 35th was slated for a redesign that would create two bike lanes on either side of the arterial. Long story short, because of public pressure (talking about you, my car-cherishing neighbors), the plan got scrapped. It became a repaving project with a new center turn lane—now used as a passing lane—as the primary change. No bike lanes, no speed reduction. A motorcyclist was killed at the intersection of 35th Ave NE and NE 75th St by a driver using that turn lane last week. Seattle Department of Transportation will be making some changes to the center turn lane, but will not be making the changes cyclists say we need to keep the street safer.
Happy Pride, we're getting a Chick-fil-A: Before we go any further, gay people I know have said that it's okay to eat Chick-fil-A despite their bullshit anti-LGBT politics. I'm not very familiar with their wares, but I hear it has something to do with their sauce? This sentiment (the acceptance of Chick-fil-A, not the sauce thing) will definitely vary, so fill me in if I'm dead wrong. Anyway, a new store is opening in Bitter Lake off Aurora Avenue in North Seattle. Will you be at their red-carpet opening event?
Alexa, help, my chest feels tight: New studies show that Amazon's home assistants could be able to detect when you're having a heart attack. Alexa is always listening. In fact, she's listening so closely that she'll be able to determine when your breathing gets weird and gaspy, a sign you're having a heart attack. University of Washington researchers have just finished a proof-of-concept study on that kind of tech. Hopefully, one day Alexa will be able to listen to us having sex and give us tips and tricks based on how we're grunting.
Happy Juneteenth: Today is the real American independence day.
Happy #Juneteenth! Today in 1865, 2yrs after Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Texas were notified by union soldiers they were indeed free
"The scatter" followed - When masses of former slaves left Texas to find family or move north#Juneteenth is still not a federal holiday pic.twitter.com/NryYkxV4FH
— Shelby Ivey Christie (@bronze_bombSHEL) June 19, 2019
Welcome to hell, Hope Hicks: It turns out that hell is actually just a small room with you, the House Judiciary Committee, and a team of suck-the-fun-out-of-everything White House lawyers. Hicks, Trump's former longtime confidante, appears throughout the Mueller report. Democrats will finally get a chance to question her about potential instances where Trump obstructed justice. But it might be tricky since the White House doesn't want officials (or former officials) to disclose any goings-on from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Some wide-sweeping form of executive privilege applies to them. Washington State representative Pramila Jayapal is in the room:
UPDATE: Rep. Jayapal says the Hicks interview is a “farce.” Says White House lawyers won’t even let her say if she told the truth to Mueller, where she sat inside the West Wing and won’t formally claim privilege despite refusing to answer questions.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) June 19, 2019
In other people-who-used-to-be-close-to-Trump news: Stephen Schwarzman, a former adviser to the president and current private equity billionaire and chief executive of Blackstone, just gave the University of Oxford its biggest donation ever. He gave more than $188 million to a facility that will research ethics and artificial intelligence. Shit. What does he know that he's not telling us?
The Saudi crown prince should probably be investigated: You know, for his alleged role in the brutal slaying of Washinton Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. According to a report, Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and other officials may be personally liable for Khashoggi's murder.
The horse girls are evolving: I don't know if you've seen the latest internet trend that is teenage girls leaping over barriers as if they're show ponies, but I am obsessed with it. Check out Hanna:
There's something absolutely horrifying and uncanny in watching young women trot around on their hands and knees and vault themselves over tables and chairs. But if perhaps—HYPOTHETICALLY—you and your roommate get curious and attempt to do it yourselves, you'll realize the activity actually requires a refined sort of athleticism. It also really hurts your wrists??? This is apparently an old trend. Here's a 10-year-old girl getting REALLY into the sport in 2013.
Japanese women are outperforming their male counterparts on medical-school entrance exams: A year after Juntendo University in Tokyo admitted to rigging medical school entrance exams to favor first-year male students over women, results show that women are outperforming men on exam scores.
The New York Times asked 21 Democrats running for president the same (or nearly the same) questions: Their responses are here. But not Joe Biden's responses. He declined to participate. Jay Inslee's answer to "When was the last time you were embarrassed?" was highly specific—"When I missed a hook shot with three seconds to go against Ballard High School." It haunts him.
Everyone really cares about that viral garlic peeling video: I included it in Slog AM yesterday. It was a cook stabbing garlic through the head and ripping out individual cloves seamlessly. Everyone, it seems, is fact-checking this. And I'm not only talking about Slog commenters. The consensus seems to be that it's not that simple and the technique doesn't work as well as the original video would have us all believe:
Breakfasts are back: I got only one e-mail that said looking at other people's breakfasts reminded the sender of looking at sawdust, so I'm going ahead with Wednesday breakfasts. It's a modest affair today.
Jim was the reigning breakfast king (unofficial title) back in the day. I'm glad to see you've still got it.
Kyle, a dedicated Slog AM reader, whipped up a fried egg, half an avocado, and drizzled that sucker with tapatio.
Tonio is getting his grub on in line for the ferry from Orcas Island to Anacortes.
Tonight's best Seattle entertainment options include: A chance to eat cake and hear readings at the WordsWest Literary Series Finale, a show with the Lowdown Brass Band, and the Duos Comedy Showcase—Pride Edition.