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Can you deprogram QAnon?: Today So Far

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  • After quitting a cult herself, she helps others deprogram. Can it be done for QAnon?
  • Electric vehicle sales surge in Washington (but there's still progress to be made).
  • Seattle returns excavated artifacts to Upper Skagit Tribe.

This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for March 21, 2022.

Diane Benscoter met the "messiah" when she was 17. Which is way better than my experience at that age — having Petra CDs shoved my way to prove church music could be "cool." But just like I found out listening to those CDs, Benscoter discovered that it all wasn't actually cool.

Benscoter gave her life over to this modern "messiah" and the family / cult who grew around them. And she was crushed when she came to realize it was all a lie. With that experience, Diane now helps people deprogram loved ones who have spent time in cults. These days, her energy has largely been focused on QAnon. The phenomenon is new, being more political than religious. But there are psychological foundations to it that are not new.

"All of these groups are doing this because they need something in life," Benscoter told KUOW. "They've been looking for something, hoping for something more meaningful in their life, and it's fed to them on a silver makes so much sense to them."

RELATED: Following QAnon, conspirational thinking creeps into Olympic Peninsula politics

There is a sad reality behind cults and the people who get sucked into them. It's easy to look at "those people over there" as others; maybe make a joke or two at a distance. But up close, there are people who are striving for something — security, friends, family, something to get them up and going. Hear more of KUOW's conversation with Benscoter here.

And I'm sorry to any Petra fans out there. To each their own.

We've gone through horses and buggies, bikes and cars. Now we're stepping up to electric vehicles. Fingers crossed the next step is transporters. Though despite the significant share of Teslas I've seen around Ravenna (just a personal observation), Washington state doesn't have a lot of EVs on its roads. But that is changing.

KUOW's John Ryan reports that the number of EVs in Washington shot up 40% in 2021. And King County now has more EVs registered than the rest of the state. Last year, EVs added up to 11.7% of new car sales in King County and 7.8% in the state. It's a good start toward the future, but things will probably have to pick up more if Washington wants to hit its goal of nixing gas car sales by 2030. Read more details here.

This next story got trampled under last week's headlines, so I wanted to make sure it got some attention here. Seattle has been holding on to 270 Native American artifacts for about 10 years. The city is now turning them over to the Upper Skagit Tribe. In 2013, crews were excavating a site near one of the city's hydropower dams on the Skagit River to build the city-owned Gorge Inn (Seattle owns an inn?!). During that time, crews came across flaked cobble tools, scrapers, a club, chopping and cutting devices, and hammerstones. The items were stored in a building at Marblemount, Wash. But Councilmember Sara Nelson recently introduced legislation to turn it all over to the tribe. Read more here.


caption: Starbucks plans to offer borrow-a-cup programs in more stores by 2025.
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Starbucks plans to offer borrow-a-cup programs in more stores by 2025.

Starbucks plans to offer borrow-a-cup programs in more stores by 2025. A company official recently said that their popular coffee cups have become a "ubiquitous symbol of a throwaway society." It's one of a few recent developments for the company that is losing its current CEO. Long-time company leader Howard Schultz is returning, temporarily. (Courtesy of Starbucks)


The U.S. Senate recently passed a law to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, starting in 2023. Many are cheering the move after decades of spring forward/fall back annoyance. Others say that permanent Daylight Saving Time is going to be bad for our health.

But did you know that the United States has already done this? In the early 1970s, Congress passed a law to make Daylight Saving Time permanent ... well, at least for a two-year experiment. But it ended up being massively unpopular with Americans so they ended it before the two-year sunset date. The main issue was how long it stayed dark in the mornings. Despite daylight sticking around longer at night, folks didn't like waking up in the dark. There was also an argument that ending the time switch would help with energy consumption, but it turned out to have no effect.

Personally, I don't think anyone more or less favors Daylight Saving Time. They just want to stop this annoying back-and-forth with the clocks twice a year. Folks would likely be just as happy with Standard Time. Pick one and go with it.


caption: A destroyed Russian vehicle is seen after battles on a main road north of Kyiv, Ukraine. The image of a single vehicle is powerful, but it doesn't tell the whole story.
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A destroyed Russian vehicle is seen after battles on a main road north of Kyiv, Ukraine. The image of a single vehicle is powerful, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

4 reasons why social media can give a skewed account of the war in Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine unfolds, many people are watching it on their phones. Social media is awash in photos, videos and satellite images. But some experts worry that the picture painted by these online posts is not always accurate. Here are some tips to guide you as you navigate through the flood of online information about Ukraine.


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