Hope you're not trying to fly today: A glitch in the Federal Aviation Administration's computer systems caused the agency to ground all flights in the country this morning, reports the Associated Press. Biden says the Department of Transportation is looking into the issue, and that there's no evidence (yet) of a cyberattack as the cause. Meanwhile, if you were trying to skip town today, then you can check the status of your flight from SeaTac here.
Washington's roads remain deadly: Seattle Times traffic reporter David Kroman broke down the latest data on traffic fatalities nationwide and found Washington's roads got even deadlier last year. Traffic fatalities claimed nearly 600 people in the first nine months of 2022, making it the fourth year in a row with an increase in traffic deaths. Speeding and impairment remain consistent causes of the deaths, but safety officials hope the additional funding the state provided for automated speed cameras last year can help reduce fatalities in the future.
We see you, Gov. Inslee: KUOW has the highlights from Inslee's State-of-the-State speech yesterday in Olympia, the unofficial start of the legislative session. Most notable to my ears, Inslee wants Washington to be a state "where everyone is housed." Let's hope the Democratic legislators who were reluctant to embrace even a compromise missing-middle housing bill last year were listening!
Seems like we should, um, build more housing: Results from one of the globe's tightest housing markets suggest that building more housing helps house more people. Who could have guessed?!?
Creating space for more housing at all income levels makes housing more affordable at all levels.— Jonathan Hopkins 🚅🚇🚎🚲🛴🏳️🌈🇺🇦 (@JHopLovesTrains) January 11, 2023
Prices are driven by shortage, pure and simple. Aleve the shortage and you relieve the price pinch. https://t.co/E6rTlDAnRR
The most predictable response: Of course, the GOP had a counter-argument to Inslee's push for more investments in housing and behavioral health care that ... doesn't make any sense. Republican State Representative Peter Abbarno of Centralia said “[e]very one of us in the past few years has either been a victim of crime, or know someone who has,” which simply can't be true. After all, if public safety were really as bad as Abbarno claims, Republican fear-mongering in the midterms would have netted the party more seats. Although, at this point, it could be that people like crime more than they like Republicans.
A word of advice to Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat: If the police chief can't explain to you why crime is dropping in Seattle, then maybe ask someone not affiliated with the police department for their perspective? It's not hard, here's an example where I did just that on this very topic nearly a month ago.
Public service announcement: Gas stoves are bad for you, bad for your kids, and bad for the environment. I have no idea where this obsession comes from, but homeowners need to get with the times and start budgeting replacements to these pollution-stoves.
Researchers just found that gas stoves are responsible for 12.7% of childhood asthma cases.— Michael Thomas (@curious_founder) January 9, 2023
Recently I read dozens of studies about gas stoves and indoor air quality.
I also installed monitors in our home and ran my own tests.
Here's what I learned.
Uvalde investigation uncovers new excuse from top cop: CNN obtained the interview that incident commander and former chief of the Uvalde school police Pete Arredondo gave to investigators, and it's full of inconsistencies. The since-fired top cop maintained that he never considered himself the cop in charge of the scene, and that he made numerous decisions that violated the active shooter training he'd taken the December before the incident. Guess the only solution is to send the next school police chief to even more trainings!
McCarthy faces his first test: Can he wrangle enough of the lunatics who humiliated him last week to avoid a global economic disaster? Tune in to the world's worst reality TV show later this month to find out!
The U.S. government is on track to max out on its $31.4 trillion borrowing authority as soon as this month. That starts the clock on an expected standoff between President Joe Biden and House Republicans. Default looms with the global economy at stake. https://t.co/DedJtLVNlk— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) January 11, 2023
"This is what madness looks like": The latest update on Russia's war in Ukraine is less than great. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia's latest offensive against a town called Soledar has left it a ghost town where there is "almost no life left." Taking the territory cost the Russians dearly as well, with reports from captured mercenaries alleging the Russian prisoners forced to the frontlines are being killed by their own commanders if they refuse to rush into Ukrainian fire.
Stay losing, billionaires: The world's tiniest violins are playing for Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg after CNBC reported that they all lost more wealth in 2022 than the previous Guinness world record of $50 billion. Musk's fortune took the most precipitous plunge, with the 65% decrease in the value of Tesla stock largely responsible for his $182 billion haircut last year.
Set your alarms, astronomy nerds! Just before midnight tonight, CNN reports, you should be able to use binoculars to spot the world's first green comet in more than 50,000 years. If you're not a night owl determined to catch the first glimpse of the comet just above the northeastern horizon tonight, it should be visible for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere in dark skies later in January.
The people are wising up: A new poll shows that a majority of Americans now correctly understand the Supreme Court is a political institution where ideology, not legal principles, decide the outcomes of cases. The only thing notable about this is it took the wanton trampling of abortion rights this past summer for the public to wake up to a Court that has been paving the way for business interests to buy our elections, bust public unions, and erode voting and civil rights protections for years.
Let's end AM with the latest from my favorite podcast right now, the lefty legal realists over at 5-4. They broke down the absurd case of McDonnell v. US this week, where the Supreme Court essentially legalized bribery of government officials.