Recently in Seattle Category

On the public teat - Seattle employees

I had posted earlier about the disproportionate number of public union employees with greater-than-average salaries compared to private quarter basic working stiffs.

Here are some numbers for the City of Seattle -- from Seattle station KIRO:

City of Seattle employees over 100k? Here is the answer
But I'm going to make you work a little to see the answer. I'm not going to simply give you the number.

I want you to see for yourself the web page that lists the salaries of every city employee.

I want you to scroll down and see with your own eyes how many make over 100k.

And it is just as bad - or worse - at the county and state levels. I want you to remember this when you hear our mayor or county exec or governor try to tell you that they need to raise our taxes because they have "cut to the bone"

Here is your answer.

The answer is a list of employees in tabular form giving Name, Job title, Department Name, Gross Pay, Overtime, etc...

A little work with Excel shows 2,496 Seattle City employees earn over $100,000 per year with 504 from City Light, 1,271 from Police and Fire departments and $49 Million in overtime.

This is out of a sum total of 11,180 employees -- in other words, over 22% of all Seattle City employees make more than $100,000/year.

All the while it is crying about how to cut spending when its salaries are so unrealistic compared to the real world...

Dumba** of the day

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From Seattle station KOMO:
Cigarette-smoking teen burned while siphoning gas
Cowlitz County authorities say a 17-year-old Longview boy was burned when he lit a cigarette while trying to siphon gas from a car.

Fire and Rescue Lt. Jason Sanders says the boy suffered first- and second-degree burns over 30 percent of his body during the incident early Friday. The teen, whose name was not released, was taken to St. John Medical Center in Longview to treat the burns on his pelvis, hands and feet.

Sheriff's deputies say the incident occurred in the Beacon Hill area north of Longview. They say the teen was trying to siphon gas from a family member's car.
Paging Mr. Darwin, Mr. Charles Darwin to the white courtesy phone please...

Take your "peak oil" and stuff it

With all the Cassandras pissing and moaning about "peak oil" this and "peak oil" that, it is wise to listen to the people who actually work in the oil business... From CNN:

Energy body rejects whistleblower allegations of oil cover up
The International Energy Agency has rejected reported allegations from a whistleblower that world oil reserves have been exaggerated to avoid panic buying in the oil market.

A senior source within the IEA is reported to have told The Guardian newspaper that many within the agency believe the body's prediction for oil supplies "is much higher than can be justified."

In its annual outlook released on Tuesday, the IEA repeated its prediction that oil supplies would rise to 105 million barrels by 2030 under current government policy.

"We're the ones that are out there warning that the oil and gas is running out in the most authoritative manner. But we don't see it happening as quickly as some of the peak oil theorists," Richard Jones, deputy executive director of the IEA, told CNN.

"Generally, we're viewed as more pessimistic than we should be by the (oil) industry," he added.

Of course, it devolves into a power play for lower CO2 emissions:

The IEA's 2009 World Energy Outlook is explicit in its warnings about the impact of a "business as usual" approach to energy over the next 20 years.

"The scale and the breath of the energy challenge is enormous -- far greater than many people realize. But it can and must be met," the report said.

It presents the results of two scenarios: The "Reference Scenario" assumes government policy remains the same, while the "450 Scenario" projects what may happen if governments take action on climate change.

The 450 refers to the long-term concentration of 450 parts per million of CO2-equivalent needed to limit to 50 percent the probability of a global average temperature rise of two degrees Celsius.

Talk about a two-fer -- Malthusian predictions and Anthropogenic Global Warming. Neither of which have ever proven to be correct.

Fremont is a curious little district of Seattle. It is nestled between the port area of Ballard and the residential area of Wallingford. It lies along the Ship Canal and was for a long time, an industrial area. Up until about 20 years ago, rents for commercial building space were incredibly cheap so it became the de-facto artists community. Now, it is showing yuppification and gentrification (Adobe's headquarters is there) but there is still a lot of the old spirit showing. From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:

Video: Zombies perform "Thriller" in Fremont
The streets of Fremont were crawling with the "undead" on Friday night. The frightful beings gathered in the Seattle neighborhood with the intention of breaking the Guiness Book of Records standing record for the largest zombie walk. It was announced near the end of the limping and groaning event that they might have been short of the record of 3,370.

However the zombies did a fine rendition of that zombie classic "Thriller."

Here is one image from the slide show:

braaaiinnssss_fremont.jpg

And... it seems that the number of people was high enough. 3,848 and they had to beat 3,370 Mmmmm -- time for some dinner. Fresh Braaaiiinnnssss....

Seattle blessed Seattle...

Hey -- a 2005 Darwin Award happened in Seattle!

Hat tip to Gerard Van der Leun for this information about the 2005 Darwin Awards:

Home Town Boy Makes Good
SEATTLE RESIDENTS WERE PROUD, DAMN PROUD when a now ex-resident made the finals of The 2005 Darwin Awards today.
(31 May 2005, Seattle, Washington) Strength and endurance are two of the most important characteristics that can be passed on to improve the species, so physical challenges between males are frequent. In this case, two drinking buddies found themselves on an overpass 40 feet above a busy freeway in downtown Seattle at 2:45 a.m. It turned out to be the perfect place to determine who had more strength and endurance. Whoever could dangle from the overpass the longest would win!

Unfortunately, the winner was too tired from his victory to climb back up, despite help from his 31-year-old friend. The unidentified champion fell smack into the front of a semi-truck barreling down the highway at 60 mph and bounced onto the pavement, where he was hit by a car. The car did not stop. Authorities did not identify the winner of the competition.
Ah, yes, Seattle home of industrial-strength drunks.

Gerard did not mention that the Darwin Awards are ranked by vote and the Freeway Dangler is one of the top three winners. Go Seattle!!!

Sailing in Puget Sound

Michael J. Totten had the wonderful experience of sailing in the area where Jen and I live -- Puget Sound: bq. I don�t know much about sailing. My friends Adam and Christina took me out on their boat. They have the sailing bug, big time. I can see why. It�s one of the best ways to travel. It�s slow, to be sure. Taking seven hours to go 25 miles isn�t exactly efficient. But you aren�t strapped in your seat like you are in an airplane, a bus, or a car. You can get up and move around like you can on a train. It�s better than train travel, too, though, because you�re in control. Assuming the boat isn�t tiny, you have more room to sprawl out in than even in a first class sleeper car. bq. Arriving by boat isn�t like arriving any other way. You get to skip the ugly suburban sprawl and pull up right in the heart of the city. The harbor closes around you like embracing, welcoming arms. And after spending all day on the water, lashed by freezing wind, a cheeseburger and beer tastes like manna from heaven. bq. We saw ducks, dolphins, and seals. A rainbow over the jagged snow-capped peaks of the Olympics. Fall foliage on the deciduous trees among the evergreens.

Arson in Seattle

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A convenience store burns. It is owned by someone from the Middle East. The fire is of suspicious nature. And more: bq. In addition, white crosses and an anti-Arab message were found spray-painted inside Turns out to be a bit different from the mental picture you are painting now. As KOMO reports: bq. The owner of an ethnic grocery store that burned in a July 9 arson has been arrested, accused of torching the business himself, a police spokesman said Thursday. bq. Mirza Akram, 37, of Everett, was arrested for investigation of arson by investigators from Everett police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. bq. Investigators found a gas can and incendiary device inside the Continental Spices Cash and Carry store. In addition, white crosses and an anti-Arab message were found spray-painted inside, which initially led investigators to consider whether the fire was a hate crime. bq. However, the agencies said in a news release that investigators learned Akram allegedly was having financial difficulties with the business. They allege he burned the business to eliminate the losses and potentially recover money through an insurance claim. They allege Akram and an associate set the fire. Sheesh - the guy could have done the old 'faulty wiring' and gotten the insurance. To fake a hate crime in these times is unthinkable especially when you have personally made the effort to move to this nation to get away from the global area that is sponsoring most of the terrorism these days... (except for two brand-new nations and one 50-year-old democracy)

Local follies

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There is an interesting article on Seattle politics in today's Shark Blog. Deborah Senn is running for the post of WA State Attorney General. One of her previous positions has been the WA State Insurance Commissioner and during this time she proved to be less than adequate at her job -- during her watch the state lost it's national accreditation. Stefan wrote a few days ago: bq. Deborah Senn is the most entertaining of the four candidates. What exactly will she do to lower gas prices? Will there be price controls and rationing? The article doesn't say. Senn's major qualification for the AG job is that she was the state's elected Insurance Commissioner for 8 years. But the article avoids mentioning that her tenure was a disaster, that resulted in: Accreditation by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners was withdrawn in 1999, while Senn held the office, after a NAIC audit found fault with staffing levels, training, exam procedures, timeliness and management oversight, Today, Stefan posts an email from one of his readers: bq. This article is quite accurate as to what happened to Washington State's health care -- it was socialized by Lowery and Senn in the 1990s with the result that individual policies (which cover very little) now cost as much as $600 per month. bq. In addition about 1/3 of the physicians have left the state or retired -- in Seattle Providence Medical Center which was the CHARITY hospital in the area (they NEVER SUED ANYONE FOR ANYTHING) went out of business along with the Sisters of Providence health insurance pool (lost $30 million in six months playing Senn's roulette...) I know because I was a manager at the institution.... bq. The pool of the uninsured in Washington is growing at an alarming rate -- fewer companies can offer health insurance (on top of the state's tax structure) and the types of uninsured are moving up the scale from temporary workers to those with regular jobs -- ONLY GOVERNMENT WORKERS ENJOY NEARLY UNLIMITED ACCESS TO HEALTH INSURANCE FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES (OR SAME-SEX LOVERS) --- taxpayers in King County pay up to $900 per month in health benefits for every county worker -- bq. This will not right itself -- ever....the entire health system in the state was brought down and destroyed by Debbie (and Mike) and Hillary -- the doctors have fled, the vast pool of cash accumulated over the decades by insurance companies is gone, and the basic charity care institutions are gone -- they will never return.... bq. DEBBIE SENN IS THE SINGLE MOST DIRECT CAUSE OF THIS CATASTROPHE... Stefan concludes his post with this delicious comment: bq. It's tempting to support Deborah Senn in the Democratic primary, but only because she would be such an easy Democrat for the Republicans to beat. Heh...

Monorails

Stefan at Shark Blog has been doing wonderful work counteracting the hype around the proposed Seattle Monorail. This is a greatly scaled back proposal from the original plan and the whole confabulation is funded by a tax on our car registration. (I have a '93 Volvo and my tax was $91) He has a longish article today on it and light rail (The Sound Transit Light Rail system spends $35 on each paying customer - the customers fare is $3 -- the money is made up by the taxpayers.) The link that caught my eye was to an Essay by Emory Bundy: bq. Why Rail? Why do we support systems that almost never work? bq. Since the record of new rail systems in America is abysmal, it is puzzling why they enjoy so much support. The answer lies in a marriage between an idealistic desire to recapture features of the pre-automotive era, when sprawl and congestion did not so blight our lives, and cynical, old fashioned, pork barrel politics. bq. The introduction of urban rail systems in American communities almost never works. In addition to a loss of transit market share, such systems impose a perpetual burden in the form of higher subsidies. The consequence of such capital investments, followed by burgeoning operating subsidies, is to pay more and get less, while failing to address the manifest challenges of congestion and mobility. Why, in the face of experience, do many people still promote rail development, the quintessential non-solution? bq. Later in this article, a list of affordable and affirmative responses to the awesome challenges of congestion and mobility will be presented, headed by lesson number one: don�t squander resources. He goes on: bq. The Los Angeles urban area, today, is far more concentrated than metropolitan Seattle or Portland-5,800 people per square mile. Immense determination, political courage, and policy discipline would be necessary for Seattle or Portland to match that density two generations hence. And an ambitious, horrifically expensive effort to serve LA with rail has been an unmitigated disaster in that still widely distributed region. Over the past three decades Boston has added light rail and commuter rail lines, and integrated its entire metropolitan transit system. During that period, ridership has remained essentially static, market share has diminished, and annual transit subsidies have exploded from $30 million to $560 million per year-which still isn't enough to sustain transit operations. bq. So why doesn't rail generally work in American cities? The reason is exceedingly simple: the technology is far too expensive. Sound Transit is setting out to serve the transportation needs of a far-flung region with alight rail system estimated to cost $100 million per mile. People have a complex set of destinations they need to reach: how extensive a network can be formed at a cost of $100 million per mile? But unless the transit system becomes a highly elaborated network, it simply cannot get many people from where they are to the myriad destinations to which they routinely travel. bq. Even buses fail to do the job well, and they're far better suited to the task than trains are. They're less costly, more flexible, and consequently forge a more intricate network of service. But train promoters shamelessly use the shortcomings of buses as an excuse to promote rail schemes. When they succeed, they make an already inefficient transit system markedly less efficient, driving up costs, and driving down market share. He is from Seattle and does a masterful takedown on Sound Transit as well as Rail in general. Good stuff!

Good boy Pongo

Wonderful story about a string of burglaries and the key evidence that cracked them. pongo.gif bq. The feel good moment happened after Morin searched pawn and game shops for his stuff, hoping to find it. He did. And thanks to Pongo's hair that sticks to everything, he made the I.D. bq. "It's amazing that he actually shed enough to get into the (game) covers," said Morin. bq. Turns out the burglar was not too bright and pawned the stolen items using his real name. It didn't take police long to catch up with him. Heh - Pongo was blowing his coat and that provided conclusive proof. (We have three dogs including a Siberian Husky whose coat-blowing is epic)

Justice is served...

From KOMO-TV A very nasty piece of work (Edward Stokes) was released from prison two weeks ago. Sex offender - convicted for multiple offenses. The 'judge' who set this turd free did so because Stokes: bq. A California court said last fall that Stokes should not have been convicted because he was unable to confront his accuser. (The aforementioned accuser killed themselves before the case went to trial). Anyway, Stokes was thought to be living in southwest Washington - turns out he was living in northwest Oregon -- false address? BUSTED!!! It seems too that he had recently purchased a surplus ambulance and was planning to use it for his adventures... While I dislike murder in any sense of the word, some inmate somewhere could do the world a significant favor.

New Telescope

Paul Allan has given another $13.5 Million to a group jointly run by SETI and the Radio Astronomy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. This brings his donations to $25 Mil. As reported by KOMO-TV, this will be used to fun the construction of the Allen Telescope Array. The new telescope, actually a network of 350 small radio-frequency dishes linked by computer, is being built on about 2� acres of lava beds north of Lassen Peak near the high-desert hamlet of Hat Creek, about 215 miles north-northeast of San Francisco. Very cool stuff. By using a large number of small dishes, you can get the effect of a huge diameter single dish (very good spacial resolution) at a fraction of the expense. What you loose is the amount of signal that you can capture. Considering that electronics now can detect single electrons with ease, this is not an issue. Another cool feature of this design is that these 350 dishes can be split up into many smaller arrays to do coarse searches of different areas of the sky. If they find an interesting target, more of them can be brought online to get a more detailed image.

Seattle To Recognize Gay Marriages

From the KOMO-TV web site: bq. Mayor Greg Nickels has jumped into the roiling debate over gay marriage, vowing to recognize the marriages of gay city employees who tie the knot elsewhere and pushing for a measure to extend protections for gay married couples throughout the city. This is one very complex issue - who has legal right to declare that any two people can or cannot marry. I predict that in ten years, this will be a non-issue and Gay couples will be fully accepted and given legal rights but for now, there is a lot of old-school knee-jerk reaction going on and people are trying to stop these people from celebrating their relationships. Sad really - it's not like marriage between a man and a woman is any guarantee to a healthy long-term relationship...

Mad Cow lawsuit

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against QFC and their parent Kroger. This is regarding the cow found at a ranch near Mabton, WA. As reported by KOMO-TV, the suit claims that a recall order for beef linked to the cow was issued that day but QFC did not begin pulling the "highly hazardous" meat from about 40 stores that carried it until Dec. 24. From the KOMO website: bq. The Agriculture Department this week revealed that the recall covered 38,000 pounds of beef, nearly four times as much as initially announced, from the infected cow and from the meat of others that was mixed together in processing. One official said as much as 17,000 pounds probably was eaten or thrown out by customers. bq. The only notice to QFC customers was the posting of small signs in stores starting Dec. 27, according to the lawsuit. bq. QFC had "a duty to warn" buyers under the Washington Product Liability Act and could have done so through newspaper, radio and television advertising and by notifying individuals who made purchases using QFC Advantage discount cards, wrote Steve W. Berman, Crowson's lawyer. Sloppy work on the part of QFC -- considering the fear factor over this disease.

Seattle is closer to France than to Texas

Hat tip to L.G.F. for this link to this article by Seattle P-I editorial cartoonist David Horsey: bq. The typical citizen of Seattle would feel more at home, ideologically speaking, in Paris than in Dallas. Yet, even a liberal Seattleite would be shocked by the images of America drawn by French schoolchildren. And more: bq. They might hate our president, but the French loved us -- which is no great surprise since most of what we said was what they wanted to hear... ...Nevertheless, we were brought in with the assumption that we would be Bush bashers and we lived up to expectations. bq. At one point, as we stood onstage getting our pictures taken with yet another student being awarded a prize for yet another anti-American image, I turned to Benson and said I felt like one of the Dixie Chicks, the all-girl country singers who got heat in the heartland for denouncing their president at a concert in Europe. We realized it was one thing for us to point out our country's flaws in our daily cartoons and quite another to see our homeland portrayed in such brutal imagery by French schoolkids echoing what they hear from their parents and teachers and see in the media. As Charles pointed out regarding this last paragraph: bq. "But Americans like Rall and Horsey do their best to feed it�and Horsey, for one, seems to be hearing the sound of chickens coming home to roost" And Horsey does seem to have some second thoughts - he says this: bq. As sharp critics who, nevertheless, love our home, we tried to point out that the America simplistically rendered in the children's drawings was a mere caricature, that our country, like theirs, is a complex society struggling to make real its founding principles of liberty, justice and equality. But it was impossible to move the conversation far from the president and his triumphalist foreign policy. Europeans are preoccupied with their disdain of Bush. But then he follows with this sentence: bq. It would be nice to think that, once the current occupants of the White House are retired to their ranches, think tanks and corporate boards, all will be harmonious again between old allies, and French schoolchildren will see America in a kinder light. Talk about out of touch with the realities of world politics... For an example of Mr. Horsey's cartooning, check this one out here. Goering=Bush indeed...

Interesting Auction today and tomorrow

The Washington State Department of Revenue is having the James G. Murphy auction company sell off its collection of unclaimed Safe Deposit Box materials. These are items that have been abandoned. Lots of interesting stuff here - it will be a royal zoo - I like going to auctions and there is a large difference between a professional crowd and an amateur one. This will be amateur hour and people will not know how to bid and will be bidding waaay to much for some items. Still, for the historical value, it would be fun to attend and you can probably pick up some neat stuff for a couple bucks if you don't mind the crowds...

Seattle Monorail boondoggle

Thanks to Stefan Sharkansky to this link to a Citizens Group which proposes a recall of the Monorail. The idea of the Monorail is a fun one but it's implementation is a huge mess. The website lists 23 reasons for recall. This is worth checking out if you live in or near Seattle.

Ummmm Dad... (stupid driver tricks)

From KOMO-TV comes the story of a 17-year-old girl, days away from getting her driver's license. She and her 15-year-old boyfriend took her family's new Ford Explorer and decided to go for a spin around West Seattle. bq. Unfortunately, police say her premature celebration involved speeding down 14th Avenue Southwest at speeds witnesses estimated at 80 mph when she crashed into a car at the uncontrolled intersection of SW Barton Street and 14th Avenue Southwest. Even worse? That car was a Seattle Police cruiser. And she is grounded for how long? Good news is that nobody was hurt but still...

Charter Schools

Seattle blogger Stefan Sharkansky is more into the current debate on Charter Schools than I am but this caught my eye. This is from the Braden Files and talks about a Charter School in Marlborough, MA that is not built on the traditional model. bq. The Soviets ordered them to leave most everything behind. When Julia Sigalovsky fled the Soviet Union in 1989 she took only her husband, their son, Linda the collie, six suitcases, $400, and a titanium-strength foundation in math and physics. The latter proved to be her most valuable asset as she navigated refugee camps and multiple career changes to establish herself in Massachusetts. bq. Moscow School No. 2, she realized, gave her the tools to become a geochemist, then an MIT ceramics process researcher, then the founder of her own environmental engineering firm. Two years ago, while trying to find a rigorous kindergarten for her second son, she thought: What if she created a school where children received the training she did? What if they studied a subject not just for one year, but for five or six? (Emphasis mine) The Braden Files link to an article in Boston.Com that details some of the protests and support that this school has received. bq. Many critics are put off by the rigor of the academy's curriculum, saying it would not truly be a public school because many children, including those with special education needs, could never keep up. The charter school would skim the cream, Boniface said, leaving the underperformers. "If you drain the top kids, your ability to be at or above the state average is diminished," she said. bq. Sigalovsky's concept is founded on some basic principals: that children should, and can, grasp theoretical knowledge before learning examples. That schools should teach physics, chemistry, algebra, geometry, and biology not just once in four years, but every year. That history should not be divided by country, but should survey the modern world. That literature should parallel the history courses and should focus on periods and movements instead of countries. That geography is not tangential, but an integral part of understanding world history. Maybe there should be schools for exceptional children. The idea of sticking with one subject for more than one or two terms is wonderful - instead of dealing with a whole bunch of "dash-studies", deal with the basics and really get a good grounding. This is not for everyone, not all smart people will benefit from this style of pedagogy and by no means should this become the model for every school, but there are people who will flourish in this environment and they should not be denied... As for Seattle (and Washington State) Charter Schools, WA is one of ten states that do not allow them. There are issues pro and con - plus, there is the issue of where are the parents - kids should not spend 4PM to 10PM in front of the GameBoy or TV, schooling demands input from the parents as well.

Only Democrats Need Apply

Local Seattle blogger Jim Miller talks about the differences between the Democrats and the Republicans -- he was listening to a talk show on KUOW and comparing it to one on KTZZ bq. Only Democrats Need Apply: Why this difference between leftists and conservatives? I am not entirely sure. Part of it may be the stereotype, that those on the left think the right evil, while those on the right think the left foolish. Most of us feel less obligation to talk with people who have evil ideas than with people who have foolish ideas. Another reason may be the ideological isolation of those on the left. It would be easy for Scher to avoid those with different ideas; it would be impossible for Medved to do the same. bq. Finally, here's some unsolicited advice for the program manager at KUOW. About a year ago, the Seattle Times, realizing it was out of touch with much of its audience, directed its reporters to visit a church, just for the experience. KUOW staffers might benefit from similar exposure to moderates, Republicans, and even conservatives. Perhaps such exposure might even lead them, in time, to drop what is, in effect, a political test for employment at the station.

Mudslide Condos torn down

Of interest to people from Seattle, demolition on the three leaning condominiums was finally started today after seven years of legal wrangling... They were previously valued at about $1 Mil. each but were severely damaged in a 1997 mudslide. The owners feel the the City of Seattle was responsible - having cleared the engineering drawings for the buildings as well as being responsible for the maintenance of storm drains and water runoffs. To quote an article from KOMO-TV's website here bq. Ever since a mudslide damaged them 7 years ago, the condo owners have been in limbo with the city. But finally this week, the city condemned the condos and the owners wasted little time in bringing out the wrecking crew. bq. Before the 1997 mudslide, the properties were worth about $1 million each. Once the condos are cleared, the land will likely only be worth $250,000 for each parcel. bq. It's a financial fiasco to go along with shattered plans. bq. "We planned to retire here someday," said condo owner Penny Fukui. "We worked hard, we saved our money and bought this home brand new, and intended to live here for the rest of our lives." bq. For the last seven years, the owners have been paying the mortgages and property taxes on the condo. Penny's been living in an apartment and another condo owner, Bob Ferguson, has been bouncing around before finally buying a house a short time ago. bq. And to top it off, the three owners have to shoulder the cost of the demolition -- $55,000 total. So split three ways means a little over $18,000 a piece. Not a good day for these poor people...

Hate crimes come home to roost...

A couple of disturbing events at Garfield High School - from KOMO-TV: bq. The alleged target was a drama teacher, and the suspects are some of her students. bq. When Carol Ross got to her classroom last November, she found: "a ferret with a nail through its head hanging from our storage loft." Just to the left of the ferret, swastikas were drawn on the wall. Two weeks later, she found a black noose hanging from the wall. bq. Though the incidents happened a while back, those with the NAACP and the American Jewish Committee held a news conference Friday timed with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to condemn the acts of hate. bq. "The school of Garfield High was violated," said Rick Harkavy with the American Jewish Committee. "So it's appropriate that this weekend, we educate ourselves not only on what happened, but we understand that the legacy of Dr. King says in our community, such acts of hate should not be tolerated." Sure you can say that it's "just kids letting off some steam" and "they don't really mean anything - they were just kidding" but still - these acts are not cool and the children who did this should be found and brought to light. Where are their parents? Do these kids go home to an empty house each afternoon and jack into an unsupervised internet and play games instead of doing their homework? Sheesh!

Asher Kelty, backpack innovator, dies at 84

Fromt eh Seattle Times bq. Asher "Dick" Kelty, whose innovative aluminum external-framed backpacks with waist straps revolutionized backpacking in the 1950s, has died. He was 84. Mr. Kelty, who had congestive heart failure, died Monday at his home in Glendale, said his wife of 57 years, Nena. bq. For more than 50 years, the Kelty name has been synonymous with backpacks and backpacking. bq. A one-time cottage industry launched in the Keltys' two-bedroom home in Glendale in 1952, Kelty Packs earned a reputation as the Cadillac of backpacks. bq. From heavy and cumbersome wood frames and canvas bags, Mr. Kelty went to a lightweight aluminum frame contoured to the human body and a nylon bag. He also padded the shoulder straps and added upright partitions inside the bag. His "hold-open frame," which was threaded through the top of the bag, allowed easy access. bq. But most significantly, Mr. Kelty added the waist strap, which took the weight of the pack off the shoulders and redistributed it to the hips. bq. "By taking the weight off the hiker's shoulders and putting it on the hips, he took the misery out of the sport. He made it enjoyable for people to go backpacking," Nick Clinch, an explorer for National Geographic magazine, told Nena Kelty in "Backpacking the Kelty Way," the book she co-wrote with Steve Bogain in 2000.

Dumb Criminal (sort of)

This happened across the mountains in Spokane: bq. Three men streaking through the warmth of a Denny's restaurant were chilled and chagrined when they spotted a thief driving away in their getaway car, their clothing inside. bq. Naked in the 20-degree weather, the three young men huddled behind cars in an adjacent parking lot until police arrived. bq. "I don't think they were hiding. I think they were just concealing themselves," police spokesman Dick Cottam said. bq. The trio, wearing only shoes and hats, entered the restaurant in north Spokane at about 5 a.m. Wednesday. They left their car running outside so they could make a quick exit. bq. But a man eating inside the restaurant saw the running vehicle and stole it, along with the streakers' clothes, Cottam said. bq. The streakers watched through the windows as their car drove away, Cottam said. They ran outside but could not catch it. DOH!

Washington State voting on-line database

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Very cool new website here... You can use this to track Bills by number or keyword. You can also see how your Washington state senator or representative voted on any issue.
A pair of websites that track health inspections in restaurants in King County. This one (here) shows those places that failed inspection in the last seven days. This one (here) can be used to look up a restaurant's history of inspections.

Here comes the snow again...

We are scheduled to get dumped on starting sometime this evening or tomorrow. Follow this up with heavy rain and warm temperatures and it's gonna be a fun couple of days... From the NOAA website here comes this prediction: bq. WAZ001>007-009-013>016-060600- bq. ADMIRALTY INLET AREA-CENTRAL CASCADE FOOTHILLS-CENTRAL COAST-EASTERN STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-EVERETT AND VICINITY-NORTH COAST-NORTHERN CASCADE FOOTHILLS-NORTHWEST INTERIOR-SAN JUAN-SEATTLE METROPOLITAN AREA-WESTERN STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-WESTERN WHATCOM bq. 1040 AM PST MON JAN 5 2004 bq. ...A HEAVY SNOW WARNING IS IN EFFECT TONIGHT AND TUESDAY... bq. THREE TO SIX INCHES OF NEW SNOW IS EXPECTED TO FALL BY LATE TUESDAY AFTERNOON OVER MOST OF THE AREA. bq. TWO TO FOUR INCHES OF NEW SNOW ARE EXPECTED ALONG THE COAST...WITH 3 TO 6 INCHES JUST INLAND FROM THE COASTAL STRIP. bq. TWO TO FOUR INCHES ARE EXPECTED IN THE SEATTLE AREA...WITH 3 TO 6 INCHES EXPECTED NORTH AND EAST OF DOWNTOWN SEATTLE. bq. LIGHT SNOW OR FLURRIES WILL BEGIN FALLING ALONG THE COAST THIS EVENING...BECOMING STEADY AND HEAVY AT TIMES BY MIDNIGHT. THE SNOW WILL GRADUALLY SPREAD NORTH AND EAST THROUGH THE EVENING...BECOMING HEAVY AT TIMES OVER PUGET SOUND TOWARDS MORNING. SNOWFALL WILL BECOME HEAVY AT TIMES OVER THE NORTH INTERIOR AROUND SUNRISE. bq. SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING BEFORE GRADUALLY CHANGING TO RAIN ALONG THE COAST DURING THE AFTERNOON. THE INTERIOR AREAS WILL CHANGE TO RAIN LATE IN THE AFTERNOON...EXCEPT FOR WHATCOM COUNTY WHERE SNOW IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TUESDAY EVENING. Just wonderful... At work, we have windows that overlook the Seattle harbor and the Olympic mountains and I have been seeing this front rolling in since about noon. Power was out at our house in the University Village/Sand Point area for a couple hours this morning too.

Snow

Looked out the window and it's Snowing (and sticking) Grew up on the East coast so I'm very familiar with the stuff but it will be interesting driving when I go out later to run some errands...

May 2016

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