Council confirms Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz: After more than two years as interim Chief, the City Council voted 8-1 to let Diaz drop the "interim" part of his title on all his stationery. Council Member Kshama Sawant cast the lone no vote, voting against the chief as part of her consistent refusal to approve of anyone “responsible for overseeing the track record of police violence.”
More city council drama: Council Member Alex Pedersen will join fellow conservative Debra Juarez in fleeing City Hall after November. Hannah broke down the news on Twitter:
Great news: Council Member Alex Pedersen will not seek re-election in 2023— Hannah Krieg (@hannahkrieg) January 4, 2023
Sonics fans, listen up: Some time in the next couple of years, the NBA will return to Seattle. After the $4 billion sale of the Phoenix Suns reset the calculations on how much current owners could earn from expansion fees, there's simply too much money to be made here for the league to choose anywhere else for expansion. Despite kinda calling back to the heyday of Seattle sports by choosing orange and green for his campaign, Mayor Bruce Harrell should not get a shred of credit for our beloved basketball team's inevitable return—no matter what he tells KOMO.
New climate laws go into effect: Axios reports that Washington's worst carbon polluters will now have to start paying to continue polluting under the state's cap-and-trade law. Meanwhile, the transportation sector will have to start doing its part to comply with a new clean fuel standard. Whether those measures will do enough to meet the state's goal of reducing emissions to 95% below 1990 levels will largely depend on how the state invests the money polluters pay under the cap-and-trade regime. The first auction of permission slips to pump carbon into the sky will be held later this month.
Charge your phones: While we won't see the level of intensity that California is dealing with from another atmospheric river, the system could produce dangerous wind gusts this evening. Prepare for possible power outages!
Easterly winds will increase across the region today, peaking tonight. Strongest winds will be along the Cascade gaps, the Pacific coast, & along the western Strait of Juan de Fuca where winds of 30-40 mph and gusts to 55 mph will be possible at times. #wawx pic.twitter.com/xVZ63n3Ahf— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) January 4, 2023
Trump's influence put to the test: After the Republicans in the House of Representatives made absolute clowns of themselves yesterday by failing to confirm Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, the Associated Press reports Trump has thrown his weight behind McCarthy's candidacy. On his social media site, Trump urged his cult followers fellow Republicans to "NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT.” Little late for that, my dude.
Someone didn't get the memo: Or, in this case, the Truth Social post, I guess?
Matt Gaetz sends a letter tonight to the Architect of the Capitol to have Kevin McCarthy removed from the Speaker’s office spaces. pic.twitter.com/Vg4p9cwdb6— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) January 4, 2023
If only this was all just a shitty reality TV show: Unfortunately, the GOP circus in DC will have real consequences if this chaos is any indication of how ineffectual McCarthy will be as Speaker. Vox reports that the new Speaker, whether that's McCarthy or someone else, will be stuck in a "governance doom loop," where the same far-right faction opposing McCarthy could stymie must-pass bills to raise the debt ceiling or fund the government. 2023 is off to a great start!
Congratulations, gamer siblings: NBC News reports Microsoft has voluntarily recognized the first American labor union after video game testers at its subsidiary, ZeniMax Studios, voted to join the Communications Workers of America. See, corporate bosses? It's not so hard to give your workers a tiny bit of agency in their workplace! Sure, this amenable attitude is likely due to Microsoft's pending $68.7 billion deal to acquire another video game studio in the midst of an organizing drive, but, hey, does it really matter why they're doing the right thing?
Tesla stock takes a tumble: CNBC reports that Tesla stock dipped more than 12% yesterday following a disappointing report showing the company delivered fewer cars to customers than Wall Street analysts predicted. One analyst predicted continued "demand challenges" in the coming year, partly due to the fact that only one of the company's models qualifies for the tax credits that Biden's Inflation Reduction Act provides.
Of course, there could be other explanations: I don't own stocks, but it seems to me that having the company's CEO experience a total meltdown in public on the daily wouldn't help its stock price.
12 months ago, I was Person of the Year— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 4, 2023
War in Ukraine shows no sign of stopping: According to ABC News, Ukrainian officials are preparing for the war to heat up once the winter thaws in March. The Biden administration included $47 billion for more military aid to the war-torn country in the $1.7 trillion government funding package that passed Congress last month, more than doubling the $22 billion the US has already spent supplying weapons and ammunition to Ukraine.
Ending with some good news: The FDA announced yesterday that it will permit retail pharmacies to dispense mifepristone, also known as medication abortion. The agency also permanently removed restrictions on mail-ordering the drug and prescribing the medication via telehealth appointments, which could help women in states with abortion bans reduce the travel time and expense to get reproductive health care.