Whoa, turns out taxes work! Washington's shiny new capital gains tax is working way better than expected. In 2021, lawmakers passed a bill that placed a 7% tax on the sale or exchange of stocks, bonds, and certain other assets above $250,000. Initial projections indicated Washington could collect $248 million from the tax in 2023, all of which would fund schools. However, this year—its first year in action thanks to many legal battles—the tax brought in $849 million. Now, K-12 schools, pre-school, early childhood education, and school construction projects will get a cash windfall. Doesn't it make you wonder where we'd be if we didn't have a regressive tax system?
Consent decree drama: The Seattle Police Department has been under a federal consent decree for excessive use of force since 2012. They want out of that. So do a lot of people. On May 30, after a hearing on this matter, U.S. District Judge James Robart may release SPD from the clutches of federal oversight. However, an independent data scientist uncovered data earlier this month showing SPD's police killings have not only increased during this time but are "more than double the national average." According to this new data as reported by the Seattle Times, "1 in 10 people who have died by homicide in Seattle between 2013 and 2019 have been killed by a police officer."
The federal monitor observing SPD doesn't agree with this new data. Antonio Oftelie, who Robart appointed to keep tabs on SPD, said, essentially, that these killings may have happened, but the data doesn't show whether the killings were "justified."
Return to Zoom school: Thanks to a case of measles, the kids and teachers at Aki Kurose Middle School will return to online learning for about a week. Back in 2020, Washington state lawmakers removed the ability for families to claim philosophical or personal exemptions to avoid getting the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. A measles outbreak, especially in Seattle Public Schools—where about 93% of students are up to date on their vaccines—is surprising.
Hell yeah: It'll be lovely today, and mostly lovely this weekend, though in a partly cloudy sort of way.
Want to see Taylor Swift? Maybe in your wildest dreams. Or if you have a spare $1,200. And that'll only get you nosebleed seats at Lumen Field when Taylor comes here in July. Not caring about Taylor Swift is my smartest economic decision to date.
More on the alleged cat-killing restauranteur: If you want to read more about the fucked up story of Will Aghajanian, co-owner of the buzzy LA restaurant, Horses, and how he might have killed up to 14 animals, check out this Grub Street story that's got all the details.
A bit of hope to mix into your diet of dread: Doctors in Switzerland were able to make a man who's been paralyzed for 12 years walk again by attaching electrodes in his brain and spinal cord and having them communicate via Bluetooth.
Twelve years ago, Gert-Jan Oskam was left paralyzed in a bicycle accident.— The Associated Press (@AP) May 26, 2023
Now, he can stand, walk and climb stairs thanks to an experimental operation by neuroscientists and surgeons in Switzerland. pic.twitter.com/4ab7mmhJv5
Back to the dread: Indiana's anti-abortion attorney general filed a complaint to the state medical board against the doctor who spoke out about providing an abortion for a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled from Ohio to Indiana for the procedure after Ohio banned it. The complaint alleges the doctor violated privacy laws, and it imposes a $3,000 fine on the doctor.
Only five seniors at Texas high school eligible to graduate: Marlin High School in Marlin, Texas is not exactly the gold standard for academic achievement. Of the 33 seniors, 28 did not meet graduation requirements. The school postponed graduation until June to give students more time to meet requirements. They also moved to a four-day school week to cut down on absences and help student engagement.
Keep your hands and arms inside the plane: As a South Korean-bound Asiana flight began its landing descent, a male passenger allegedly opened the emergency door. Witnesses said he tried to jump out of the plane. Everyone survived the ordeal, but some people fainted and others went to the hospital with "breathing problems." The man was arrested.
The door on this South Korean passenger plane came open as the flight was coming in to land at Daegu airport.— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 26, 2023
Several people were taken to hospital with breathing problems ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/cikBYsIb4P
Orcas sink another boat: Orcas continued their assault against boats off the coast of Portugal and Spain by damaging another sailboat. The killer whales have damaged "dozens" of boats in the area by ramming into them. In this most recent attack, an orca pod "broke the rudder and pierced the hull." These devilishly smart whales and their coordinated resistance effort are an inspiration. Especially when you consider how much we fuck up their environment.
You'll never go on a cruise again: This feature takes a look at the environmental impacts of the Pacific Northwest cruise industry. Here are some quick takeaways. Cruise vessel noise impacts orcas so much they can't feed for five hours a day. A mid-size cruise ship releases at least 2,800 tonnes of CO2 during a seven-day trip. Each year, cruises release four billion liters of gray water and treated sewage near the Scott Islands marine National Wildlife Area off Vancouver Island. A standard cruise ship "dumps 800,000 liters of treated sewage and 6.3 million liters of gray water" during one week-long journey. There's so much more. Read the story.
To the lighthouse: The U.S.'s General Services Administration (GSA) is just giving light houses away. Since technology has made the actual function of lighthouses pretty irrelevant, the GSA is giving them away to nonprofits and other organizations that can help preserve the lighthouses for history, the public, or for entertainment. If no organizations step forward, the lighthouses will go up for auction. Maybe Mayor Bruce Harrell can take over the Discovery Park lighthouse and make the inside a pickle ball court.
Important news from Capitol Hill: Have you seen this hog?