1. The AP has a long feature on the troubled history of the Dreamliner, which reveals, among other things, that the now-grounded 787 was rushed into production, and was "plagued with manufacturing delays, cost overruns and sinking worker morale" from the start.
The rush, which came at a time when Boeing was struggling financially, was compounded by the fact that Boeing outsourced the majority of its parts to firms in other countries, resulting in parts that didn't fit together or weren't subject to stringent quality control.
In a related story, the NYT reports that federal investigators looking into problems with the Dreamliner's batteries now say the probe could take months and that the planes will be grounded indefinitely.
2. We're starting to lose track of all the twists and turns in the arena/Sonics/Sacramento Kings saga, but here's what appears to be the latest: According to the Sacramento Bee, a trustee overseeing the 7 percent stake of the Kings that is in bankruptcy says the team's minority owners have "right of first refusal" to buy the Kings.
The majority of the team, 65 percent, is owned by Sacramento's Maloof family (and another minority owner, Bob Hernreich). They made a deal to sell the franchise to Chris Hansen's group, which includes Steve Ballmer, last week.
In a move that's sure to go nowhere fast in the Republican-dominated state senate, Democratic senate leader Ed Murray (D-43) has proposed putting a five-percent tax on capital gains on the ballot.
3. Meanwhile, Seattle Transit Blog suggests that the cost of light rail tickets be included in event ticket prices at the new arena, to encourage people to take transit to games. Sounds good to us, as long as: A) ticket buyers, not taxpayers, pay the price of the rail tickets; and B) tickets for both Metro and Sound Transit buses, which serve the Eastside, are also part of the deal.
4. In a move that's sure to go nowhere fast in the Republican-dominated state senate, Democratic senate leader Ed Murray (D-43) has proposed putting a five-percent tax on capital gains on the ballot, the Seattle Times reports.
But Murray may have a different end game in mind. The Capitol Hill Democrat is running for mayor of Seattle, where the progressive tax—which would apply only to capital gains after the first $10,000 for an individual, and $20,000 for a couple—is sure to be far more popular than in Olympia.
Murray will probably be more than happy to heroically go down swinging for this lefty idea.
5. Seattle Bike Blog reports that the Seattle City Attorney's Office has filed misdemeanor hit-and-run charges against Leo Etherly, the star of a Seattle Police Department dash-cam video which showed an officer knocking Etherly to the ground after trying to arrest him for hitting a cyclist with his van and fleeing the scene.
As we reported in November, when SPD released the video, the city initially attempted to file felony charges against Etherly for assaulting an officer and hit and run (which were both technically a single incident). After the King County Prosecutor declined to charge Etherly with either felony, the case went back to the city, where it was up to the city attorney to decide whether to re-file the misdemeanor charges. That's what they did today.
6. Stop whining, whiners. That's the Olympian's message to owners of small liquor stores that are getting slammed by competition from big-box stores like Costco and supermarkets like Safeway, and pummeled by new rules that let distributors sell directly to bars and restaurants without paying a 17-percent surcharge, and are asking the legislature to change the rules so they won't go out of business.
"Let’s face it, Initiative 1183 [the Costco-backed 2011 initiative that privatized liquor sales in the state] even snookered a lot of its supporters," the Olympian's editorial board writes. "It’s a shame many small-store owners are losing money. ... But the Legislature cannot rescue everyone who makes a bad business decision."