Slog PM: New Seattle Times Ed Board Guy Needs Some Pepto, SCOTUS Keeps Abortion Bounty Alive in Texas, Staffers Accused Dembowski of Verbal Abuse

Not great, Rod!

Not great, Rod! King County Council

King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski was investigated and admonished after staffers complained of verbal abuse, according to the Seattle Times. One King County staffer resigned from her post and won a $33,000 settlement following an “informal investigation” (wherein he was accused of mistreating people and she was accused of “racially discriminatory and/or inappropriate comments,” but both denied the accusations), another staffer offered to resign after a conversation with Dembowski about something, and council chair Claudia Balducci wrote him a letter telling him to shape up. Dembowski said, “There absolutely have been, upon reflection, instances in my eight years here where I’ve been too passionate or too blunt in communications with folks and I’ve definitely learned and I regret it.”

Some of your precious supplies from the chain might be swimmin’ in the Pacific: The coast guard spotted eight of 40 containers that fell off a ship due to the damn bomb cyclone weather system, KING 5 reports. A stock pot the size of my apartment hasn’t arrived on schedule, so I will assume it’s in the drink until I hear otherwise.

Black construction worker said he faced racism at Microsoft build site: A “team lead” told Quinte Harris that he didn’t like Black Lives Matter, someone hung a cardboard sign that said “NOT a safe zone sorry” on it — a direct reference to a “Safe from Hate” initiative Harris started on the job — and the foreman did nothing about any of it, KIRO reports. “The laborers’ union, Local 242, said in a letter to Harris that it did not find enough ‘evidence to collaborate your harassment and retaliation allegations.'”

Someone grab some Pepto for the new Seattle Times Editorial Board columnist: The former Houston Chronicle reporter, Luis Carrasco, wrote a nice introductory note in the paper’s opinion pages about the relief he feels now that he lives in “blue Washington” as opposed to freaky-deaky red Texas, where the lawmakers are bad bad bad. That said: “Maybe it’s the PTSD talking,” Carrasco said, “but I sometimes find The Stranger as hard to stomach as Fox News, and what goes on in Olympia doesn’t look that far removed from what happens in Austin.”

Wait, what exactly is Carrasco having trouble digesting? Ah yes, the evils of a “one-party” state, where one party is “so dominant over the other that legislators in power go through the motions of debate but in the end do whatever they want.” LOL. I fucking wish, dude. Carrasco then goes on to undermine his own comparison — turns out he doesn’t think WA is as bad as TX “yet.” But just to be sure we don’t start down the TX path, he prescribes the classic centrist panacea to a problem that he’s arguing isn’t much of a problem: “We should be talking to each other.”

The last thing we need in this state is more fucking talking. Sorry if this little rant leads to a tummy ache, Carrasco, but Washington fucking “talked” about a tax on the wealthiest people in the state for nine fucking years before passing a watered-down version of a capital gains tax. Thousands die every year while we continue to “talk” about passing meaningful gun legislation, an issue the Legislature did little about this year because the Democrats kept fucking talking to Republicans. We had to talk for a couple years just to pass common sense comprehensive sex education statewide. We talked about a cap-and-trade policy for 20 years before implementing a system in a few years maybe if another bill passes, which we still have to talk more about. Though police have been killing plenty of Black people in Washington, it took George Floyd’s murder and a new class of Black and POC lawmakers to move the needle on police reform in this state. And every time the Legislature passes something good, Tim Eyman and a crop of right-wing nutjobs rise up to challenge it at the ballot box, which means another fucking year of fucking talking about something we’d already talked about forever.

And I know Texas lawmakers suck, but we have our fair share of batshit nightmares here, too. Thankfully, they don’t have total power, (~yet~.) But if Democrats talk rather than use the power they have to pass good policy, then they will lose it. I will conclude with this floor speech from Rep. Brad Klippert, one of the people Dems are supposed to be “talking” to.

Not enough of you are voting right now: Only 8% of us Seattleites have voted in the elections that have the most direct impact on our lives. Happily, there’s still time. Why not take a few moments this weekend to read the SECB’s legally binding endorsements and then vote the way we tell you to so that corporate drones don’t take over local government.

Could see a “$1 trillion-plus deal” on Biden’s budget next week: Politico reports somewhat of a breakthrough in the negotiations surrounding the already-compromised $3.5 spending plan and infrastructure bill. Here’s the only substantive paragraph in the entire piece:

Democrats are aiming to sell Manchin and Sinema on a roughly $2 trillion bill that tackles climate action, expanding paid family leave, education and child care, paid for as much as possible by increasing taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans. They are unlikely to raise income or corporate tax rates due to opposition from Sinema, but Democrats are proposing workarounds to establish a corporate minimum tax and levy billionaires’ assets.

Brilliant strategy: After Sen. Joe Manchin tanked former Center for American Progress leader Neera Tanden’s Office of Management and Budget appointment, the Biden administration put her in charge of a 20-person “war room” tasked to push the President’s agenda through Congress. In his newsletter, Alex Pareene offers this cogent analysis: “Assigning Neera Tanden a task that can only be achieved by winning over the senator who sank her previous nomination due in part to her insulting his daughter seems to me to demonstrate a deep misunderstanding of her skillset and reputation.”

Still can’t get an abortion in Texas: Today the Supreme Court allowed the clearly unconstitutional abortion bounty bill to remain law in Texas but scheduled a hearing for it in 10 days, the Washington Post reports. Since the law is so wild, they’ll probably toss it out and wait to overturn Roe until December 1, when they’ll hear the Mississippi abortion ban case.

Update on the death of the young filmmaker: As always, tragically, it looks like the problem was capitalism. “A colleague on the set of ‘Rust’ was so alarmed by prop gun misfires that happened earlier in the week, he sent a text message to the unit production manager: ‘We’ve now had 3 accidental discharges. This is super unsafe,'” the Los Angeles Times reports.

Speaking of the tragedies of capitalism: Economic fallout from the pandemic and decades of horrible U.S. foreign policy combined with a string of natural disasters sent “a record 1.7 million migrants from around the world” over the border in search of a better life. The number of crossings hasn’t been that high since “at least 1960,” the New York Times reports.

Israel proclaims six Palestinian groups as “terrorists:” The alleged “terrorist” groups include “Al-Haq, a human rights group founded in 1979, the Addameer rights group, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees,” Al Jazeera reports. The Israeli military thinks those groups have been working with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and human rights groups around the world are calling the accusation a shocking smear.

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I leave you with Beyonce doing an a cappella performance of “Halo” at the National University Hospital, Singapore in 2009.


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