Data breach at the WA Department of Licensing: A department spokesperson said “suspicious activity involving professional and occupational license data" prompted the DOL to "temporarily shut down its online licensing system," Seattle Times reports. So, no worries about potential sensitive data exposure if you only have a license to drive, but yes worries about exposure if you're one of the 250,000 people who have a license to do anything else in the state.
Those motherfuckers: Early on in the pandemic, the University of Washington and the Washington State Hospital Association bought $4 million worth of N95 masks from a company in Texas. Turns out those masks were fake, so now UW and WSHA are suing, according to the Seattle Times.
Wanna know why you're feeling bad? KMOX reporter Kevin Killeen presents a strong argument in this story out of St. Louis.
An unexpectedly good jobs report: The U.S. added nearly half a million jobs last month, blowing predictions out of the water, according to the Washington Post: "Over the past 12 months, the United States has added nearly 7 million jobs as workers have found ample openings in an economy still recovering from the pandemic’s first days."
Pence adds first vertebra to developing spine: Earlier this week, Donald Trump falsely claimed that former Vice President Pence could have overturned the election, but today Pence sought to correct the record. According to the Associated Press, Pence said “President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election.” Where'd he find the spine? Likely the donors funding his potential 2024 run.
I forgot this man existed: A jury convicted temporary #resistance hero Michael Avenatti of stealing $300,000 from Stormy Daniels, who was owed the money for a tell-all about allegedly boning Trump, the AP reports. He served as his own lawyer in the case and plans to appeal.
Republican National Committee booted two Congressional Republicans for investigating the insurrection: During its winter meeting today, the RNC officially censured U.S. House Reps Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for "participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse," which wouldn't be my definition of a violent attempt to overturn the will of the American people, but to each their own. The New York Times reports that RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tried to walk back the language, but hopefully we've all learned this game by this point?
Congratulations, Seattle Dems who voted for City Attorney Ann Davison: "Multiple" speakers at the RNC's meeting also pointed to Davison's win as evidence of the GOP's rising tide, which is rooted in scaremongering around crime and immigration. Seattle voters had a choice between bench-building for Trump's party and picking a City Attorney who would make substantive reforms to a misdemeanor system that creates more criminals than it rehabilitates, and fear / ignorance drove them into the arms of the city's purported political enemy. Incidentally, Dean Nielsen, founder of the consulting firm CN4, blue-washed Davison in that race. Now he's helping Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell run a tough-on-crime campaign for King County Prosecutor. The 1990s are back!
Or rather, I guess, the 2000s: The Seattle Police Department dropped its
budget request 2021 year-end crime report, which shows a violent crime rate of 721 per 100,000 (up from 608 last year) and a property crime rate of 5,686 per 100,000 (up from 5,267 last year). A look at crime data from the Seattle Times shows that's about where we were between 2005-07.
As gun sales in Washington have risen astronomically over the last couple years, so too have shootings. According to the report, the cops tallied "612 verified criminal shootings and shots fired citywide," which they characterized as a "40% (+175) increase compared to 2020, and an 86% (+283) increase compared to 2019."
What's the mayor going to do? Project strength and provide few details. In a press conference today, Harrell talked a big game about refusing to tolerate crime, but when asked if that meant keeping people in jail for longer periods of time, he quickly indicated he'd be deferring to the City Attorney's Office and the Seattle Municipal Court for stuff that happens after an arrest. "I have to protect the city, but I also have to say in my lane," he said, setting up a fun dynamic in future conversations about public safety. One Seattle, baby!
Harrell also made another thing clear: Seattle isn't focused on "re-imagining" policing anymore, we're going to "rebuild our police department to have the right kind of officer and the right number of officers." (No word yet on whether Harrell plans to fulfill his campaign promise by forcing all the cops to watch the George Floyd video and sign a pledge not to be bad, though.) In any event, to address the crime in the near term, Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz will deploy emphasis patrols to areas Harrell called "hot spots." The policing strategy moving forward, according to Harrell, will takes its cues from Mark Kleiman's 2010 book, When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment, which Strategic Initiatives Director Tim Burgess handed him recently.
Kleiman's book argues that we must substitute "swiftness and certainty of punishment for randomized severity, concentrating enforcement resources rather than dispersing them, communicating specific threats of punishment to specific offenders, and enforcing probation and parole conditions to make community corrections a genuine alternative to incarceration."
If that strategy sounds familiar to you, it's because current Deputy City Attorney Scott Lindsay used the same one when he worked as public safety director under Mayor Ed Murray. His "9 1/2 block strategy" reduced narcotics calls in that area downtown but appeared to just push it into surrounding neighborhoods.
Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell, the Mayor's niece, said the administration's public safety vision included thoughts about how to set up "mental health support systems" and whether we need police/fire to respond to every call, but she offered no actual path forward or any sort of timeline.
Build-a-Bear's adult section needs some work: Talk about clickbait: A story from CNET promising some analysis on a line of horny teddy bears produced by the company that allows you to stuff your own bear, as it were, totally underdelivered. The only "adult"-themed bears include stuffed bunnies wearing pro-wine shirts and holding up bottles of rosé. Create some fuckable bears or gtfo.
I'm going to go see Romeo and Juliette at Pacific Northwest Ballet, which uses the dark and dramatic Prokofiev composition. Start at 1:30 if you wanna feel like you're walking down a snowy alley in Moscow.