By Morf Morford, Tacoma Daily Index
In state politics
Washington state Governor Jay Inslee announced that he would not run for a fourth term for the state’s highest elected office. Inslee was only the second governor to complete three four year terms. The other was Republican Dan Evans (who served 1965-1977).
Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz are both considering a gubernatorial bid in 2024.
On a related note, Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced that he will not seek re-election.
Kreidler was first elected to insurance commissioner in 2000. He was re-elected to his sixth term in 2020.
In national politics
Several other members of the Supreme Court have come under investigation for questionable financial dealings.
A new king is crowned
It’s not very often that a new king is crowned. But for whatever reason, the world tends to stop and take notice when the British Royal Family makes a transition. For the first time in the lifetimes of most of us, the United Kingdom has a king instead of a queen.
Hollywood writers strike
Most of us probably don’t think of writers when we think of Disney and Netflix or movies or television in general. But writing is where it all starts. Whether it’s a book, a film script or a late-night talk show, it all starts with a blank screen – until it is covered with words.
This is Hollywood’s first strike in 15 years. The last one went on for 100 days and paralyzed talk shows and film development. This time it’s different. With streaming and a backlog of film and TV series, most viewers won’t notice.
The Debt Ceiling
May seemed to be consumed by political yammering, dawdling and posturing about the national debt ceiling.
Debt, for those in the back row and not paying attention (as in most politicians apparently) is the word for an expense already incurred, which is another way of saying that we already owe a certain amount, and, until recently at least, an honorable person, business or nation could be counted on to pay their past due bills.
And if we don’t, our credit rating and financial reputation can be soiled – and it may take years, or longer to recover.
Future expenditures, are just that; expenditures made, or possibly to be made, in the future.
In what can only be described as “welcome to the future”, two AI-generated images appeared on social media platforms Twitter and Telegram. One showed what was reportedly a large explosion at the Pentagon. The second, posted a few minutes later, showed what was reported to be a separate explosion at the White House. Both of these images were swiftly reposted thousands of times on both platforms.
They were fake, of course, but the S&P stock index lost more than $500 billion. Most of that value gradually returned over the next few minutes as it became clear the pictures were fake. They had been generated by an AI art program.
The Russian state-owned media outlet RT retweeted the images with their “official” Twitter account – you know, the one that costs $8 so they can be “official”.
We can certainly expect more deliberate disinformation in the coming months as we get closer to election season.
May of 2023 lived up to its name. Locally or nationally the weather could have been summed up simply – it may rain, or it may hail, or thunder, or be cooler than usual. Or it may be hotter and drier than usual on any given day. Or hour.
Portland, Oregon had the most days ever recorded for May that were over 90 degrees. We in the Puget Sound region experienced the longest string of days for this time of year with over 80 degrees on record.
We in the greater Puget Sound area also saw far less rain than usual in May.
Fire season in Canada
Before the middle of May, the Canadian province Alberta declared a state of emergency in response to more than 100 active wildfires. There were 110 active wildfires across the province, with 31 classified as out of control. Authorities said more than 24,000 people had been evacuated from their homes because of wildfires as of May 6. And on a few days that smoke made its presence known here in the Puget Sound area. We usually don’t see substantial smoke in our area until August or September.
It’s nutty season already
August is the usual month for erratic and uncivil public behavior. As with many other things, the nutty season came early in 2023.
The Target chain moved some LGBT Pride displays to the back of the store after some shoppers knocked them down and threatened employees.
Who of us knew that we could vandalize a store, threaten employees and make a scene to get products removed – and not be charged?
I can’t wait until Halloween, Hanukkah and Christmas approach.
Politician facing criminal charges
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) was indicted on 13 felony charges related to wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.
He was previously accused of lying about his Jewish heritage, education and employment history. He is also facing charges in Brazil for alleged check fraud.
He might be charged or even in legal custody, but he can keep his office as a member of Congress. Numerous politicians, including a few Republicans, have called for Santos to step down. Instead, he recently announced his campaign for re-election.
More than 200 mass shootings so far in 2023
In mid-May, we in the USA passed 200 mass shootings (four or more casualties in a single incident).
Other nations have gun ownership rates approaching ours. No other nation has more than ten mass shootings this year, but for whatever reason, we have far more than one every day (the 200th day of the year is July 19th).
We in the USA and those around the world have yet to comprehend what makes us so different.
Our politicians, theologian and historians seem incapable of anything like an understanding, let alone a solution.
Montana became the first state to ban TikTok. Montana’s governor signed the bill, and the law, presumably, will go into effect in January.
How can a state ban an app? Firewalls don’t acknowledge political or state borders. An appeal is certain. Tiktok is expected to claim the ban violates American’s free speech rights.
Vice Media, the edgy media company that was once worth nearly $6 billion, is filing for bankruptcy.
The death that dominated headlines and talk shows was the passing of Tina Turner. Tina Turner seemed to be ever-present in movies, music and almost every other media. She died in her home in Switzerland at the age of 83.
And don’t forget, April is Procrastination Awareness Month.