Amazon walkout over WFH and the environment: More than 1,700 employees signed on to walk off the job today. About 830 will march from the company’s Seattle headquarters. Another 890 workers from offices around the world will join them. Like many of us, Amazon employees discovered that working from home rocks, and they’re demanding flexible options ahead of the company’s annual shareholders meeting. A month ago, Amazon started making employees come in three days a week. Employees are also pissed about recent layoffs and what they see as the company’s ambivalence toward its impact on climate change. From noon to 1 pm, they’ll gather at Bezos’s big ol’ glass balls in South Lake Union.
More than 1,700 Amazon workers plan to walk off the job Wednesday, organizers say. About 830 are from Seattle offices. Here's what workers want to change. https://t.co/0ICghScP2J— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) May 30, 2023
Terminator and/or The Matrix vibes: AI experts say the technology is moving so fast it could soon outsmart and overpower human beings, so we better impose limits on the technology before it takes control or destroys the world. Hundreds of people in the know, including the CEO of the Microsoft-backed OpenAI, signed a simple, chilling statement: “Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.” Beyond clarion calls of the apocalyptic variety, experts say AI could contribute to systematic bias and misinformation. It’s freaky, and all the people on Twitter telling me not to worry at all invested in cryptocurrency.
A really conservative deal: President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy hashed out a bill that lifts the country’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling (until 2025 and after the Presidential election) and cuts federal spending by $1.5 trillion over ten years. It heads to the House of Representatives tomorrow. The 99-page bill needs to pass the House and Senate by June 5, or the US will default on its loans. McCarthy said it’s the “most conservative deal we’ve ever had” for rescinding $28 billion in unspent COVID relief funds, cutting $1.4 billion in IRS funding (can we please just free file?) and restarting student loan payments (shrieks) after that delightful pandemic pause.
This deal lays major pipe(line) through a backdoor. Provisions in the bill shield the contested Mountain Valley Pipeline from judicial review, protecting it from all those mean appellate court judges who keep denying its permits. When complete, the pipeline will pass gas over 1,000 streams and wetlands in West Virginia and Virginia. The concession from Democrats pissed off climate activists, who plan to protest at Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer’s house. One company behind the pipeline, NextEra Energy, donated more than $300,000 to his campaign. Uh oh! Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal says the deal could harm poor communities and doesn't like the implications for climate justice.
Police capture four teen escapees: Yesterday, Ashley told you seven teens broke out of Echo Glen Children’s Center in Snoqualmie over the weekend, and police still searched for four of them. Well, Clark County deputies caught those kids Monday night in Vancouver. Even after a resident’s mother warned Echo Glen about the escape beforehand, the kids still broke out. The state employees union blames chronically low staffing–Echo Glen is short 28 positions. Turns out, Echo Glen struggles with escapes. Last January, five kids escaped the facility. And then, after Echo Glen tightened security and required children in maximum security to wear orange jumpsuits, another child escaped last April.
Speaking of Ashley, she has a little something to say about SPD's consent decree:
Federal judge may soon reduce oversight of Seattle police: During a hearing Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge James L. Robart said he was proud of SPD’s work in becoming a more constitutional police force after the DOJ came to Seattle 11 years ago and threatened to sue the department if it didn’t become a more constitutional police force. The judge's closing remarks indicated he planned to scale back federal supervision.
Now to me, again <3
Fuck: Fourteen health insurance companies want to jack up rates on the individual health insurance market by an average of 9.1% percent, a potential headache for the quarter million Washingtonians who buy their own plan. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington sought a 17.9% percent increase, while Premera Blue Cross could charge customers 15.8% more. Next, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner determines if the rate hikes are justified and makes its final decision in the fall. The state approved an 8.8% increase last year and a 4.14% increase the year before that.
Hiker finds missing climber’s body: An avalanche swept 60-year-old Jeannie Lee from Colchuck Peak more than three months ago, sending her and five other people 500 feet down the mountain southwest of Leavenworth. Yesterday, a volunteer found the New York woman’s body. Authorities say the body of 66-year-old Yun Park of New Jersey is still missing. Warm weather is melting the mountain snow, but it’s still not safe enough to search for him.
Three other climbers were also carried in the avalanche, deputies said. https://t.co/4yg6YzgMWc— Tacoma News Tribune (@thenewstribune) May 31, 2023
Weather: Drizzly this morning and cloudy all day. Tomorrow, the sun comes out and stays out into next week, with temperatures in the high 60s and lower 70s. Enjoy this mild window of smokeless vitamin D. You’ll miss it.
Police search for suspects in Florida shooting: Police in Florida are looking for three gunmen who injured nine people during a Memorial Day shooting. Bullets hit four children between the ages of one and 17. Hollywood, Florida police arrested two people on firearms charges. They say the men were part of a conflict that led to the shooting.
Store owner charged with murder after killing Black child: Rick Chow believed 14-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton stole four water bottles from his convenience store in Columbia, South Carolina on Sunday night. So he chased Cyrus and shot him in the back. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says the boy did not steal anything. Cyrus had a gun, but there is no evidence he pointed it at Chow.
Tara Reade defects to Russia: The former Senate staffer, who three years ago accused Joe Biden of a 1993 sexual assault that he denied, is seeking Russian citizenship. A Republican lawmaker allegedly told her she was in danger. Sputnik, a pro-Vladimir Putin press outlet, reported that Reade arrived in Russia for vacation but felt safer after stepping off the plane. While sitting next to alleged spy-turned-politician Maria Butina, Reade apologized to Russians for American elites’ “aggressive stance” on Ukraine and said most Americans want to be friends again. Russia is still killing its next-door neighbors in a meaningless imperial crusade.
Police arrest suspect in murder of New Jersey council woman: Eunice Dwumfour was shot and killed while sitting in her car outside her home in Sayreville, New Jersey this February. Police arrested 28-year-old Rashid Ali Bynum in Virginia. He faces three charges: First-degree murder, second-degree possession of a handgun, and second-degree possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. Authorities in Virginia will soon extradite him to New Jersey.