Unvaccinated retribution: Over 180 ex-employees—from state troopers and fish biologists to nurses and the ex-Washington State University football coach—are plaintiffs in around a dozen lawsuits alleging they were unjustly fired for refusing to get vaccinated. So far, judges seem to be siding with Gov. Jay Inslee and his strict vaccine mandate, a rule that may have helped Washington keep its COVID-19 death rate so low. However, a new spate of lawsuits now center on "workers who asked for and received religious exemptions... but who were nevertheless fired or forced to quit because agencies said they could not be safely accommodated," the Seattle Times reports.
Yeah, obviously: In the wake of last year's Roe v. Wade reversal, Planned Parenthood in Washington state—a place that is resolutely not going full "Handmaid's Tale"—saw a 60% increase in birth control appointments. There was an uptick in long-lasting birth control options, too, with many women seeking IUDs which can prevent pregnancies for up to 10 years.
Another perfect day on tap: Savor the 70 degree day. We'll be wilting in the high 80s by Wednesday.
Room-temperature weather.— Seattle Weather Blog (@KSeattleWeather) June 5, 2023
Hiring a hitman on the dark web really never goes as planned: I don't know why people keep trying this. A Tennessee woman faces charges for allegedly hiring a hitman by spending $10,000 at site called "Online Killers Market." Her username was "cattree." She wanted to put a hit on her hiking friend's wife. She originally met this guy on match.com, but they became platonic hiking buddies instead of romantic hiking beaus. So she sent her bitcoin-bought assassin data on the wife: location info based on her Strava app updates, what kind of car she drove, where she worked, etc. The woman was arrested and will appear before a federal court on Thursday.
A fairy-fragile ferry system: We don't have enough ferry boats, and the boats we do have are old. The aging fleet shut down Steilacoom ferries on Saturday when one boat's generator died and the backup boat was in the middle of receiving repairs for a hydraulic issue. Having no working boats stranded passengers at the Pierce County port. Inslee says the state budget allocated funding for five new boats, which will hopefully bolster the ferry network.
This is how we looked from space yesterday: So sexy!
Perfectly clear skies over @CityofSeattle this afternoon. Check out this view captured live from the @Space_Station at 2:14pm this afternoon@NWSSeattle @CityofTacoma @fox13seattle @komonews @KIRO7Seattle @KING5Seattle— ISS Above (@ISSAboveYou) June 5, 2023
Jun 4, 2023 pic.twitter.com/jjzCsIQllg
Wayward plane crashes in Virginia after scrambling military jets: A business plane bound for Long Island, New York from Elizabethton, Tennessee inexplicably took a u-turn when it reached Long Island and headed for Washington, D.C. The plane was unresponsive as it flew directly over the capitol and restricted air spaces. A military jet scrambled to respond to the plane, sending a sonic boom cracking across D.C. The plane crashed in Virginia soon after. According to the Associated Press, the plane was registered to Florida-based Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc. Encore Motors' John Rumpel said, "his daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter, her nanny and the pilot were aboard the plane." There are no survivors.
Ukraine starts counteroffensive: Well, the U.S. and Russia say Ukraine engaged in airstrikes and ground assaults against Russian troops in a wave of offensive military activity. However, Ukraine has stayed mum on the issue.
Studios throw directors a bone: The Directors Guild of America reached a deal on a new contract with major studios. Among the terms in the new contract are pay increases, restrictions against AI, and a new structure for foreign residuals. Their current contract was set to expire at the end of June. While this could bode well for striking writers, the Writers Guild of America says "the situation is very different from 2008, when the DGA negotiated a deal that helped to resolve the previous writers’ strike that lasted 100 days," the Los Angeles Times reports.
Spotify cuts 2% of workforce: The cuts will hit Spotify's podcast unit and eliminate around 200 jobs. The music streaming giant will also combine its podcast studios, Gimlet Media and Parcast. These changes and cuts are just the latest from Spotify. In October, the company canceled 10 shows from Gimlet and Parcast. In January, it laid of 6% of its workforce.
Happy Pride Month, Utahns! Utah. Gov. Spencer Cox removed all mention and references to the LGBTQ+ community in his Pride Month declaration this year. Cox, who is up for re-election next year, mentioned LGBTQ+ people in his declarations of Pride Months past. People are rightfully pissed for this omission. Still, conservatives called him "woke" and "celebrating sin" for even acknowledging pride. Cox and his spineless flip-flopping managed to alienate him from both sides of the aisle. Now that's what I call political strategy.
Gannett papers strike for a day: As shareholders at the country's biggest newspaper company meet with CEO Mike Reed, who made $3.4 million last year, "hundreds" of reporters closed their laptops and picked up their picket signs to protest the boss' decision to cut so many of its papers to the bone. "The walkout was the biggest labor action in Gannett’s history, said the union representing the journalists," according to the New York Times.
Want to start your week by losing a brain cell or two? Then dive into this Guardian piece about the "Freedom Corner" nightly protests outside Washington D.C.’s city jail. For over 300 nights, people gather to protest the detainment of Jan 6 rioters, who they consider political prisoners persecuted by the government. They weren't rioters, they were "sightseers," some argue. One woman, whose husband was convicted of "obstructing Congress, interfering with police officers and threatening his own children" said, "I believe my husband was overly charged." Every night, they gather outside the jail, do a roll call, and chant "hero" after each name. Then they chant "Ashli Babbitt" over and over, the name of the woman who died during the insurrection. There is so much more bonkers shit in here.