Kevin McCarthy is such a loser: The California representative has now failed for the SIXTH time to secure enough votes to win the House speakership as his further-right colleagues continue to stonewall him from winning. Embarrassing and hilarious. According to CNN, the GOP is "considering appointing four members each from the pro-McCarthy and anti-McCarthy camps to negotiate a path forward." They plan to reconvene to vote tomorrow.

And the Dems are holding strong: The Intercept figured out what Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Matt Gaetz were chatting about. Apparently, McCarthy had threatened his colleagues that he could get some Dems to vote "present" and lower the threshold to win. Gaetz asked AOC if that was true and she called BS—they're holding strong by continuing to vote for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Let's hope their spines hold up.

And in local politics: Washington Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski is stepping down, reports the Seattle Times. After six years in the position, Podlodowski said in a statement to the Times that it "was not an easy decision, but I feel strongly that I have accomplished what I set out to do and it is now time to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders." Former King County Democrats Chair Shasti Conrad said she intends to run to fill the position (and will make a formal announcement tomorrow) which the party will vote on on January 28 in Olympia. Congrats, Tina!

Good news: Ballard Commons Park is reopening earlier this year after being closed since December 2021 for "improvements" after kicking out all the unhoused people living there. According to KING 5, D6 Council Member Dan Strauss said there are plans to ~**~~*activate~**~~* the park in such a way that makes everyone happy. 

Reminder! Healthcare open enrollment ends on January 15! King County has some events to answer questions and get people signed up.

About that hot tub boat sinking on Lake Union: The story sounds... complicated. Q13 Fox waded into the middle of what they called "finger pointing." The group on the boat claimed they smelled "an electrical burning smell, saw smoke, and eventually an explosion" that left a crack in the boat with not enough life jackets to go around. According to the group, Lake Union Hot Tub Boats didn't answer their calls. The company dodged Q13's questions, said the hot tub boat never sank, and inferred the group had been drinking. Mess!

First labor union at Microsoft: Three hundred quality-assurance workers at ZeniMax Studios, a video game subsidiary of Microsoft, voted to join the Communications Workers of America, reports NBC News. Some interesting context on the way that Microsoft is handling unionization drives, which is markedly less hostile than their tech giant compatriots:

The unionization campaign was sparked, in part, by Microsoft’s ongoing bid to buy California-based game giant Activision Blizzard. Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Washington, made a June pact with the CWA union to stay neutral if Activision Blizzard workers sought to form a union.

The lawsuits begin: A passenger has sued Southwest Airlines for not providing refunds to stranded passengers in the airline's total meltdown late last month, reports Reuters. 

Sad news for our sister paper, the Portland Mercury: After 4.5 years covering news and politics, editor Alex Zielinski is moving on from the Merc and joining the good people of OPB next week to cover city government. She's a sharp, discerning, and empathetic reporter—we wish her nothing but good luck at her new gig!

Also sad, but to a much smaller degree: Ronzoni will cease producing their popular and cute pastina because they can't find a third-party manufacturer for it. 

In July: 63-year-old cyclist Robert Mason was killed by a hit-and-run driver on South Spokane Street in West Seattle while trying to make a left turn onto 11th Avenue Southwest. King County prosecutors have now charged 20-year-old Mohamed Yusuf with vehicular homicide and hit-and-run felony, reports the Seattle Times. Yusuf has not been arrested, but is expected to appear at an arraignment next week. 

The coyotes are back: Apparently it's coyote season because Seattleites across the city—and especially in Capitol Hill, thanks CHS Blawg—have reported multiple sightings of the animal in places like the Jefferson Park golf course and Volunteer Park. Consider it an auspicious sign that you'll make it through the winter! Just don't touch them, duh. 

Sylvia is free: The giant Pacific octopus that has called the Port Townsend Marine Science Center Aquarium (PTMSC) home for the past two years will be released back into the wild soon, reports KOMO. She's a grown 'pus now, having reached maturity, and it's time for her to mate. Hooray! Only thing is, once octopuses mate, they die. Life is confounding! 

For your listening pleasure: Erika de Casier's "Intimate."