For its 114, we should give Pike Place the gift of no cars.
For its 114th birthday, we should give Pike Place the gift of no cars. RS

Inslee commutes drug sentences: The governor commuted 129 sentences for drug convictions invalidated by the Washington Supreme Court. The Blake decision, which found the state's felony drug-possession law unconstitutional, made thousands of people eligible to have their records cleared but added to the pandemic backlog of cases in the state's courts. So the governor's office is now allowing some people convicted under the law to petition for commutations, the Seattle Times reports.

Eight-year-old finds noxious weed: This is news because the plant had never been found in the Snoqualmie watershed and because "if left unchecked it will spread to a point where it chokes out the light and kills other plant life and reduces oxygen for fish," according to KING 5. The third-grader, Maggie, studied botany this year while she was homeschooling during the pandemic.

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Seattle needs more crossing guards: With only a few weeks before school starts, Seattle Public Schools has positions open for 42 of the 115 intersections where crossing guards help students get to school, KIRO reports. Crossing guards were furloughed when school went remote last year, and retirees who sometimes fill the jobs may be nervous about being around unvaccinated children, according to KIRO.

Earmarks are back, baby! We've reported on some of the bacon Rep. Adam Smith brought home thanks to new rules that allow members of Congress to allocate spending for certain community projects, but the Seattle Times has more on the background. Unlike the old form of earmarks, these new and improved earmarks "cannot be directed to for-profit entities and lawmakers must certify that neither they nor family members have a financial interest in funded projects."

Happy birthday, Pike Place: The "largest continuously operating market in the U.S." turns 114 today, KING 5 reports. I will celebrate by eating samples of dried pasta and apples for lunch.

Tropical storm Grace batters Haiti: Meteorologists expect between 5 and 15 inches of rain to fall on the country as a storm pounds its shores only a few days after a major earthquake destroyed a bunch of buildings and killed at least 1,300 people. "Haiti, a nation known for its widespread deforestation, is especially susceptible to heavy rainfall. With less vegetation to anchor topsoil, mudslides and landslides are routine during heavy rain events," the Washington Post reports. Today the storm will head toward Jamaica and could pick up more steam before crashing into the Yucatán Peninsula on Wednesday.

Looks like most of us will need that COVID-19 booster after all: This week the Biden administration will tell us all to get boosters eight months after we got our second shot, the New York Times reports. The vaccination order will likely remain the same (first the elderly in nursing homes and health care workers, then everybody else), and officials will encourage vaccine brand loyalty. Numbers out of Israel showing "a pretty steep decline in effectiveness against infection" from the Pfizer vaccine prompted the recommendation.

Just a little reminder that the World Health Organization called for a moratorium on boosters due to the obscene vaccination gap between the richest and poorest countries. "High-income countries administered around 50 doses for every 100 people in May, and that number has since doubled, according to WHO. Low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people, due to lack of supply," Reuters reports.

Body of Afghan found in landing gear of American jet: The news follows horrific footage of Afghans clinging to aircraft trying to leave the country. Politico attributes the story to "two sources familiar with the matter" and says the body was found "hours after" the plane took off from Hamid Karzai International Airport, which will likely see a name-change here shortly.

The UN calls on Taliban and everybody else to exercise restraint: In an emergency meeting Monday UN chief Antonio Guterres flagged reports of human rights abuses against "women and girls" and vowed to “use all tools at [the UN's] disposal to suppress the global terrorist threat in Afghanistan," Al Jazeera reports.

Gonna be hard to exercise restraint with so many American weapons lying around: The Associated Press reports that the Taliban yoinked an "enormous" amount of military gear when they waltzed into power. Meanwhile, the country will now likely retain its title as the "leading global supplier of opium and heroin" to the world.

In the meantime, the Taliban's PR campaign begins: This morning the militants "declared an 'amnesty' across Afghanistan and urged women to join their government," according to the Associated Press. They say they won't seek revenge on people who cooperated with the government and the U.S., but analysts say the group only made such overtures to keep aid money flowing to the country.

Stop comparing the fall of Afghanistan to the fall of Saigon: The fall of Afghanistan is way more embarrassing; Saigon took two years to fall after the U.S. withdrew its forces. When it did, President Gerald Ford set up a program to settle 131,000 refugees in the following months, despite rampant xenophobia and intense political backlash that only worsened later in the decade.

Democrats lose yet another game of 3-D chess with themselves: A Biden "administration official" told Politico that "the White House let political fear of GOP attacks make them act too cautiously on relocating Afghans to the U.S.," which puts the blame for this bungled withdrawal squarely on the shoulders of the party in power (for the next few minutes, at least) and its President. Who gives a fuck what the GOP might say about resettling Afghans? Do the right thing for the right reasons and tell people about it without lying, you fucking jellyfish!!!!

Luckily, the same certainly can't be said in this Washington, where Democrats uhhhh Republicans are leading the discourse on this issue: In all their infinite political wisdom, the Washington State Democrats let GOP state legislators out-maneuver them on the issue of resettling Afghans that the U.S. government abandoned. Yesterday afternoon the Republican minority leaders in both chambers signed a letter to state and federal leaders asking them to "act swiftly" and to "welcome" the refugees with open arms. They neglected to mention that their former leader, George W. Bush, chose to pursue a blood-soaked nation-building project in the region in the first place, so calling for swift resettlement would amount to the absolute least they could do, and I'm pretty sure state lawmakers have little say in the decision, but leave it to the Democrats to miss such an obvious opportunity.

Speaking of ol' UW history professor Danny Bessner: He hosted a good show on the topic of the US ghosting Afghanistan on his new podcast, American Prestige. Give it a listen if you want to catch up.

Bob Dylan accused of sexual abuse: A 68-year-old woman has accused Dylan of sexually abusing her when she was 12 "in his apartment at the Hotel Chelsea in New York City" between April and May of 1965, CNN reports. The woman's attorneys claim he befriended her and used "drugs, alcohol and threats of physical violence, leaving her emotionally scarred and psychologically damaged to the day," the lawsuit says. Dylan denied the claim. People on Twitter keep pointing out that Dylan was on tour in England between April 30 and May 10 of that year, and on a tour of North America up until April 24, for whatever that's worth.

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Federal government declares water shortage in Colorado River basin: The declaration means the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation can mandate water cuts in Arizona and Nevada, Colorado Public Radio reports.

Hm, wonder why free speech warriors haven't taken to the streets to defend Tennessee teacher Matt Hawn, who appears to have been fired for teaching Ta-Nehisi Coates's "The First White President" to Sullivan Central High School students in his current-issues class? Must be some kinda weird thing where they only get collectively mad when college sophomores rally against ostentatious right-wingers with a book to sell. So strange.

Sudoku popularizer dead at 69: Maki Kaji was a "university dropout who worked in a printing company before founding Japan’s first puzzle magazine," The Guardian reports. He "took hints from an existing number puzzle to create what he later named 'sudoku' – a contraction of the Japanese for 'every number must be single' – sometime in the mid-80s." In this way, Kaji advocated for the idea that every number is the loneliest number. RIP my man.

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Washington Ensemble Theatre presents amber, a sensory installation set in the disco era
In this 30-minute multimedia experience, lights & sounds guide groups as they explore a series of immersive spaces.