Someday, we'll have a real regional transit system: Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell squeezed several hundred million dollars out of the feds to help Sound Transit ease the agency's cash flow concerns, reports the Seattle Times. The federal money won't help get trains running to Lynnwood or Federal Way, the two projects the funding is earmarked for, any faster. What the new dollars will do is help save Sound Transit $46 million in debt payments over the next few decades by reducing its short-term need to borrow.
More rain headed our way: After last night's bout of heavy winds knocked out power to roughly 40,000 people statewide, we've got more unusual weather to look forward to this weekend. The New York Times reports that an atmospheric river making its way up from California could dump between two and three inches of rain on the Pacific Northwest in the next few days. Beware flash flood warnings, and stay tuned to the National Weather Service for more updates.
Washington attracting fewer transplants: Seattle Times FYI Guy Gene Balk broke down the latest batch of US Census data in his most recent column, which shows Washington state experienced a significant net loss in domestic migration for the first time in years. 3,600 more people left the state than moved here from elsewhere from July 1, 2021 to July 1 of this year. While the data doesn't capture where they went, if they followed national trends and relocated to Florida or Texas, all I have to say is good luck!
Get those New Year's Eve plans sorted: Our friends at Everout have you covered with all of Seattle's best options for celebrating the start of the new year. Plus, for most of you office worker types, you've got an extra day to deal with the hangover, so go buck wild!
Related public service announcement: Don't drive drunk on Saturday night. Just don't. Instead of risking murdering another human, take free transit instead! King County Metro won't charge fares all day, so you've got plenty of time to figure out how to get where you're going without getting behind the wheel.
What the hell, Southwest? As of today, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg says the rest of the airline industry is experiencing a cancelation rate of just 4% compared to Southwest's rate of canceling 60% of its scheduled flights. Buttigieg says the feds are monitoring the airline to make sure it coughs up refunds and covers unexpected hotel or travel costs.
"We are past the point where they could say this is a weather-driven issue."— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 28, 2022
Secretary of Transportation @PeteButtigieg on Southwest's mass cancellations. https://t.co/SLHh3UmvFb pic.twitter.com/OPKCa1Bw1j
In related news: Really seems like $9.1 million could be a good start to covering those unexpected expenses...
.@SouthwestAir took $3.7B in federal aid from 2020-21.— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) December 27, 2022
It’s CEO got a pay raise to a $9.1M package in 2022.
Yet Southwest employees are working 16 hour shifts & threatened w/termination if they refuse overtime or call in sick.
Socialism for the wealthy. Capitalism for workers. https://t.co/noUi0D7Jxj
You have to read it to believe it: ProPublica released an absolute stunner of a report today documenting the origin and spread of so-called 911 call "analysis" by cops and prosecutors across the country. One public defender compared the pseudo-science to medieval trials by fire, and that's just the beginning of the absurdity of this story. Really, make yourself a fresh cup of coffee and dig into the whole thing, it will blow your mind.
Death toll keeps rising in Buffalo blizzard: CBS News reports that Erie County officials have tracked 31 weather-related deaths during Buffalo's historic snow storm over the last few days. The local airport reported 51.5 inches of snow in the last four days, which has kept residents from getting to medical treatment and trapped people in cars for days.
Millions set to lose Medicaid coverage next year: Part of the gigantic federal spending bill Congress passed to avoid a government shutdown next year will sunset emergency rules preventing states from kicking people off Medicaid, reports CBS News. Advocates estimate the end of the pandemic-era pause on annual reviews to determine whether people still qualify for Medicaid will cause nearly 5 million people who meet eligibility requirements to lose their insurance coverage and be forced to reapply. Great country we've got here.
About that pandemic... Sure, the public health emergency has ended, but that doesn't mean COVID is done with its mass killing.
COVID is the #3 cause of death in the US in 2022. https://t.co/siMbcQh680— Myra Batchelder #VaccinesPlus #WearAMask (@myrabatchelder) December 28, 2022
Direct action gets the goods: After nearly six weeks on strike, the unions representing student academic workers in the University of California system have secured a "landmark" contract with significant raises for teaching assistants, researchers, and other graduate student workers. For some perspective on just how badly those workers had been exploited prior to the strike, the new deal raises the salary floor for teaching assistants at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, and UCLA to a whopping $36,500.
Governor's would-be kidnapper gets 16 years in prison: The ringleader of the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer following the 2020 election will spend the next four presidential terms behind bars, Reuters reports. The lengthy sentence stemmed from the plot to detonate a bomb to disrupt police response to the kidnapping, despite the doofus's attorneys attempting to argue that their client was simply too incompetent to ever succeed at his Wile E. Coyote-style insurrection attempt.
Let's end AM with this classic that fits the weather we're staring down for the rest of the week.