Emergency in Washington's hospitals: Our state's hospitals are clamoring for help from the state, as losses totaling $1.6 billion so far this year threaten to send several hospital systems into bankruptcy next year. They blame rising costs of labor and materials, as well as longer stays per patient due to understaffing in the state's long-term care facilities that would normally off-load patients from hospitals' balance sheets. We could just nationalize the health care system like most other industrialized countries and stop letting profit drive patient outcomes, but of course that's not among the solutions hospital executives seem interested in.
In less depressing news: The Seattle Animal Shelter celebrated its 50th anniversary yesterday with the return of "Kitty Hall," an adoption event for cats in need of forever homes held at Seattle City Hall. Go check out the footage from KIRO7 for a well-deserved dopamine hit.
Missing Indigenous Person alert system working: KING5 reports that Washington's first-in-the-nation alert system designed to help Indigenous families locate their missing relatives has helped find the missing person in 16 of 22 cases so far this year. With 128 Indigenous adults and teens currently reported missing, having a tool like this actually work is an encouraging sign that cops are starting to take this issue more seriously.
Remember monkeypox? If you haven't gotten your vaccine yet, our local public health department is here for you.
Those eligible can get their first or second monkeypox/mpox vaccine at a free vaccination clinic this Thursday, 12/15, @SteamworksSEA.— Public Health - Seattle & King County (@KCPubHealth) December 13, 2022
For current eligibility requirements, visit: https://t.co/6hzJTC0b1J#monkeypox #MPOX pic.twitter.com/egSRO6jGci
Don't hold your breath, Danny: Danny Westneat's latest column for the Seattle Times asks the same question people have been wondering aloud since 2015: Will the GOP repudiate its "Trumpian ways"? No, they will not. Westneat notes that voters ejected some of the most extreme among the Republicans in the State Legislature, but this will not be enough to revive the Republican brand here in Washington state. All politics are national these days, and no mushy-moderate Romney Republican from the Before Times will find a megaphone loud enough to drown out the cacophony of FoxNews brain rot.
Great day at the office for Seattle's finest: Can't think of a better use of time for Seattle's overworked and understaffed police department than shoving a couple of activists trying to buy literal minutes for someone to save their home. Super "progressive" city we've got here.
this is what happened when housed neighbors tried to make the cops wait until the RV resident came back to drive away. The two people the cops pushed away gave permission to share this video. https://t.co/XcEFCxn2nC pic.twitter.com/qvZnimMVOm— Hannah Krieg (@hannahkrieg) December 13, 2022
Solidarity, fellow journos: Shout-out to the hard-working journalists at KUOW organizing for living wages in this playground for the rich we all pretend to afford while delivering you the news. They picketed outside their workplace after walking out of stalled contract negotiations once management's latest proposal would still have half the bargaining unit qualifying for low-income housing.
Sound Stories, Sound Wages— #SoundStoriesSoundWages (@wemakekuow) December 13, 2022
What you pay us is outrageous!#WeMakeKUOW pic.twitter.com/MC9PatfYA8
Marriage equality is an economic issue: In the wake of Biden signing the Respect for Marriage Act, which makes states honor marriages between same-sex couples obtained in other states, 19th News captured the financial impact of the law for people in southern states. Straight political pundits often dismiss marriage equality as a so-called culture war issue, but as the article shows, same-sex couples depend on equal marriage rights to access everything from health insurance to parental rights. If the Supreme Court overturns the Obergefell decision that created nationwide marriage equality, the new law would provide some limited protection for those rights in red states.
Not great: The local NBC affiliate in New York City reports that a fire in an NYPD warehouse has destroyed or damaged "[a]n untold amount of 'biological evidence.'" No one was killed in the fire, and most of the evidence was reportedly related to cold cases that aren't under active investigation. The cops have no information about how the fire started, other than the fact that it began on a shelf where evidence was stored.
In totally unrelated news: Let's hope none of those cold cases involved this kind of police misconduct.
SCOOP: The FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating drug planting allegations involving 1 current + 1 former NYPD officer.— George Joseph (@georgejoseph94) December 13, 2022
This comes 3+ years after the NYPD cleared the officers of any wrongdoing—despite explosive body camera footage:https://t.co/2AxNlWb1H6
Murdoch gets deposed: Yesterday, lawyers for the voting machine company Dominion deposed Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire propagandist owner of Fox News and several other right-wing media outlets. Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in damages against the media tycoon for his network's role in spreading lies about their voting machines fraudulently switching votes from Trump to Biden in the 2020 election. We'll see what they gleaned from questioning Murdoch when the suit goes to trial next April.
Everything is fine: Every once in a while, we get a news story like this revealing that some law enforcement agency is rife with right-wing extremists and nothing ever really happens as a result. Surely this won't come back to bite us in the ass the next time there's an armed insurrection after the fascists lose another election...
"More than 300 individuals on a leaked membership list of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers described themselves as current or former employees of the Department of Homeland Security" - @POGOwatchdog reportshttps://t.co/03yl995Ouy— Nick Schwellenbach (@schwellenbach) December 12, 2022
Boss move, Kate: Oregon Governor Kate Brown commuted all of the remaining 17 death penalty sentences in the state this morning, reports CNN. Brown had continued the state's moratorium on executions since taking office in 2015, but now Oregon's death row will be empty when Brown vacates the governor's mansion next month.
Let's end AM with some civic education: As we're working on our preview coverage of the legislative session this spring, it's worth thinking about why we have a backwards-ass part-time legislature in the first place. As local political consultant Crystal Fincher explores in this conversation with State Representative April Berg from last week, that part-time status means working-class people practically can't afford to serve as elected officials at the state level. Listen to their full conversation and reconsider your knee-jerk revulsion at the idea of paying politicians more.