Gee and Ursula’s Top Stories: The Blue Angels’ return is ‘overrated’

Aug 4, 2022, 12:13 PM
Blue Angels jets fly as thousands are gathered at the Jones Beach for the Bethpage Air Show in New ...
Blue Angels jets fly as thousands are gathered at the Jones Beach for the Bethpage Air Show in New York, United States on May 29, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
(Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Blue Angels make big return after multi-year hiatus

They’re back!!!

The Blue Angels are back in Seattle for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Navy squadron will be rehearsing Thursday and Friday. You should be able to see them over I-90 around 11 a.m. this morning.

The show will mark the debut of the Blue Angels F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the Navy’s newest jet.

“If you want to be mad at me, you can go ahead, because I’m going to say something that’s going to make you feel, if you will, uncomfortable,” Gee said in response to the Blue Angels’ announcement. “The Blue Angels are extremely overrated. Extremely. And the reason why I-90 isn’t closed down anymore, is because more and more people are realizing it.”

“It’s the tradition. It is our Navy’s finest,” Ursula said in response. “It is the beauty of the ability of these planes to be flying in formation so closely. I feel patriotic. I feel like this is summer in Seattle. It’s the Blue Angels.”

As for Gee and Ursula’s other top stories…

Griner sentenced to nine years, White House hopeful for prisoner swap

American basketball star Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison for having vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her luggage.

Griner was found guilty of drug smuggling and possession, and is also being fined the equivalent of $16,000.

“She messed up. She picked the wrong time to mess up. Right is right, wrong is wrong,” Gee said. “Now, let me start by saying, do I think that she should be in jail for nine years? The answer is no, absolutely not. I do not think Brittney Griner should go to jail for even longer than two weeks, let alone nine years.”

Griner said she never meant to break any laws during her closing arguments.

Today’s unusually quick verdict came during soaring tensions between Russia and the U.S. over the invasion of Ukraine.

“There was no doubt that Russia would give her the maximum sentence. The judge wasted no time handing down the 9.5-year sentence right after she had testified on her own behalf in closing arguments,” Ursula said. “She also testified that she had permission to use medical cannabis and used a certificate to buy it in the U.S. Earlier this month, one of Griner’s attorneys presented a letter from an American doctor in court, giving her permission to use cannabis to reduce chronic pain.”

With the involvement of the U.S. State Department, there are discussions about doing a prison swap for her and a former U.S. Marine who’s been held in Russia since 2018.

“They don’t play with our rules. They have their own rules. But here’s the question that we’ve never brought up,” Ursula said. “Why was she in Russia in the first place? Because of pay inequality here with the WNBA? Even though she is one of the very best players in the league? The top pay is $220,000 per season for women players compared to what NBA players make, like, what 20 million?”

Alaska Airlines facing lawsuit over racial discrimination

Two men who are Black and Muslim are suing Alaska Airlines for alleged racial discrimination after they were kicked off a flight because they were texting in Arabic.

The men were on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco when another passenger sitting in first class became alarmed about them texting in Arabic and complained to a flight attendant. That set off a chain of events, and the two men were removed from the plane.

Imran Siddiqui is the director of the Council of American Islamic Relations. The organization is representing the two men.

Even after the airline reviewed the texts and found nothing threatening, all the passengers had to deplane and go through more screening. The two men were forced to stay behind.

“This really hits home for me,” Gee said. “I went to my family reunion and on my way back, I was in first class and I was just sitting there and a guy walks up, kind of next to me and says, ‘so what do you do?’ I looked at him and I said, ‘I fly planes. That’s what I do.’ And I think he felt my energy and I think deep down inside, he realized that was a mistake.”

Alaska says it stands against unlawful discrimination and is taking the complaint seriously.

“Flying while Muslim has been a real issue since 9/11, but there are some cases that are especially egregious — and if all of this is true in this lawsuit — this one is bad, “Ursula said. “According to the complaint, the captain of the flight also ordered the first-class lavatory tanks used by one of the men to be emptied, and a manager asked a Port of Seattle police officer whether a K9 unit could sweep the plane.”

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to order Alaska Airlines to provide racial and religious sensitivity training to all employees, as well as punitive damages and compensation for economic damages and emotional distress.

Mastery-Based Learning starting in Seattle

Instead of letter grades, more schools around the state are opting for a “show what you know” system, or what’s officially called Mastery Based Learning. The Seattle Times reports a handful of districts have introduced the system in recent years, but with the support of a grant from the State Board of Education, more schools are going to be jumping on board this year.

Instead of traditional learning, students guide their own curriculum based on their skills, interests, or culture. They can learn inside or outside of the classroom. Instead of filling out the bubbles or writing essays, students will use portfolios or projects to show what they know.

The state’s first round of grant funds went to the Auburn, Enumclaw, Franklin Pierce, Highline, and Northshore school districts.

“This works if your student is not a traditional learner and doesn’t do well with standardized testing and the more traditional ways of teaching math, science, social studies, English, etc. Research has shown there are many students who don’t thrive in those settings,” Ursula said. “But if you’re going to go that route, you also have to be ok with the possibility that they won’t get into the colleges they want. They may have to go to community college before a four-year.”

There’s no conclusive data yet on whether mastery-based learning works. A 2020 review of the previous two decades of findings found mixed results, although that was likely because research was conducted too early on in the program.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Gee and Ursula’s Top Stories: The Blue Angels’ return is ‘overrated’