"We don't suck." That was the Washington State Labor Council's rejoinder to Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Alan Mulally, who lit into our state's business climate last week with the quip: "I think we suck." Clearly, Mulally was setting the tone for next year's session of the Legislature. Evidently, it wasn't enough that last session lawmakers gave Boeing eye-popping tax breaks, a reduction of unemployment and worker's compensation costs, and a cutback of the overall state budget to avoid new taxes. The company wants still more. Boeing spokesperson Chuck Cadena first stressed the positive, saying, "The progress we have made as a region this year is encouraging." But he also had a warning: "Keeping our state competitive is something we as a region should continually give our attention." Labor Council spokesperson David Groves points out that some business groups think we are already very competitive. He directed attention to the Small Business Survival Committee, a D.C.-based conservative lobbying group, which ranks the Evergreen State as the eighth-friendliest in America for small businesses. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.
Carl Weathers played for the Oakland Raiders and the B.C. Lions, appeared in the Rocky movie series as boxer Apollo Creed, and starred in the iconic 1988 cop B-flick Action Jackson. He also played the character Dillon in the 1987 sci-fi/action potboiler Predator, and his co-stars were California Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. Do you see where we're going with this? And did we mention that Weathers reportedly owns a cattle ranch in Snohomish County? (We tried but could not verify this by press time.) This past weekend, Weathers, 55, appeared in a bit on Saturday Night Live, expressing interestand, in this crazy world, we must accept that interest at face valuein being the next governor from the cast of Predator. Weathers said any state would do, did not reveal his residency, and implied that he did not regularly vote. But with the 2004 Washington governor's race wide open, especially on the Republican side, that shouldn't matter. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
Tramaine Lampkin, 22, put the boo in boom and the R.I.P. in Crip. Last week he went to prison, putting the pun in punishment. With a habit of breaking laws and going free, he pleaded a lethal ambush down to something of a slip of the trigger and will be out in within a decade. "We had evidentiary problems," says King County Prosecutor's spokesperson Dan Donahoe. That might be a good epitaph for the headstone of Melvin Jones, who Lampkin shot to death May 17. That day, Lampkin grabbed a 9mm handgun, strapped on a bulletproof vest, and merrily went off to a birthday party. The attendees included Crips and Bloods, the warring street gangsters. In the early morning, outside the New Orleans Night Club in White Center, Lampkin's friend Roberto Chavez got in the face of Jones, who was doing nothing wrong, witnesses said. The two were standing next to a Jeep. Chavez pulled a gun, demanding respect, and the crowd scattered. Lampkin ran to the other side of the Jeep, reached over with his gun, and shot Jones in the back of the neck. Some witnesses worried about their own skins, and the prosecutor began dropping charges to win a pleaannoying the King County Sheriff's Office. Lampkin got 125 months, putting the laughter in manslaughter. RICK ANDERSON