APPLE WATCHING: Algorithms monitoring your phone for porn. What could go wrong?
“Save the children!” is a rallying cry that’s been used to push anti-transgender bathroom bills, QAnon conspiracies, and — in proof that irony is dead — parental protest of school mask mandates. Add to this list one extremely strange bedfellow: our friends at the Apple Computer Corporation. Last Thursday the world’s most valuable company announced it would use a tool called NeuralHash to scan US iPhone photos for images of child sexual abuse when users upload the photos to iCloud. Photos flagged by the ma algorithm will then be further analyzed. NPR reports:Read full story
VD DAY: Syphilis rises precipitously in Spokane County
Sure, everyone's talking about COVID, but that's not the only completely preventable public health calamity at the moment. Here’s a terrifying statistic: between 2015 and 2019, syphilis infections in Spokane increased by 386%.Read full story
Abolition in the Northwest
This is a Spokane publication. We don’t like talking about Seattle unless it’s extremely embarrassing for them. However, we also like to highlight any jurisdiction who moves toward decriminalizing laws that disproportionately impact people of color and the poor.Read full story
Spokane's Housing Department in crisis ... during a housing crisis
Remember July 26, when Mayor Woodward declared a housing emergency? Sure, it was over a year after tenants advocates and landlord lobbyists banded together for perhaps the first time in recorded history to warn of a housing emergency, but better late than never, right?Read full story
From Earmarks to Water Quality in Eastern Washington
Remember the Bridge to Nowhere? After a series of mid-aughts scandals (some more scandalous than others), earmarks — the process of national lawmakers appropriating federal funds for local projects within their constituencies — became a convenient illustration of out of control government spending for Republicans during the 2008 presidential election.Read full story
Burning Question: prescribed burns in Central Washington
In the past six years, the Colville Reservation has been hit by at least three major wildfires. Multiple active wildfires are still burning on the reservation this summer. In 2020, flames ripped through 200,000 acres of Colville land and burned homes — many of which were uninsured.Read full story
POVERTY DESK | As pandemic benefits expire, tax credits and food stamp expansion come online.
It’s been a whipsaw couple weeks for poor folks. First, some good news: the Biden administration approved what the New York Times believes is the largest permanent increase in food stamps ever as a way of helping ensure people at the economic margins can get a baseline of nutrition. The average increase in SNAP benefit will be around 25%, and every currently covered household will receive the increase. The expansion will bring an additional estimated $402 million to Washington and $68 million to Idaho — a 27% jump in both cases. We assume the extra 2% is to cover administrative costs.Read full story
Mandate update: College Football coach edition
Mask mandates are back, baby. Beginning next Monday, Aug. 23, all Washington residents will be required to mask up indoors, regardless of vaccine status. And while anti-maskers getting extremely mad over the new rules ate up a lot of airtime and column inches, Axios and Ipsos released a poll showing nearly 2/3rds of people support mask mandates — including 40% of Republicans. Anecdotally, our service industry friends seem relieved to have a clear rule to follow.Read full story
ANALYSIS: Eastern Washington vaccine numbers probably under reported.
The Inlander is just out with a fascinating original analysis about Spokane County residents who got their vaccines across the border in Idaho, and therefore don't show up on Washington State's official rolls.Read full story