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Spin Control

Bringing Nazis into the WA gun debate

It's almost always a bad idea to make a reference to Nazis in any contemporary American political debate because it shifts the focus away from the issue at hand and onto the rightness or wrongness of the analogy.

That's what's happening for opponents of Initiative 594, which would expand background checks for most gun sales and transfers, after a comment by a National Rifle Association spokesman.

Steve Judy, an NRA lobbyist, was recorded offering his views of why some people push for more gun control, and why he believes they should know better. As first reported on Horsesass.org, a Seattle political blog, he started with the super rich, opining that they want to know where the guns are so that the poor can be disarmed before the rise up against them. He was rifting on a column in Politico, a national political website, by Nick Hanauer, who was actually talking about what was going to happen to the super-rich (himself included) if they don't do something to correct the growing gap between the rich and poor.

Hanauer was talking about the poor coming for the rich with pitchforks, but Judy said the reason the rich support gun control is so that the poor won't have guns. But then Judy veered into the fact that Hanauer's family emigrated from Germany to escape the Nazis, and said he was dumbfounded Hanauer would give money to gun control. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

 

Today’s fun video: Mary Poppins wants a raise

 

Mary Poppins Quits with Kristen Bell from Funny Or Die

Funny or Die's video shows how Mary Poppins would come out in support of a  higher minimum wage.

Last call for voter registration

Today is the last day to sign up to vote in the primary for eligible Washington residents who aren’t yet registered.

Who’s eligible? You’ll have to be 18 by Aug. 5, an American citizen, and not someone whose voting rights have been revoked for something like a felony conviction and not later restored.

You have to go to your county elections office to sign up in person. Can’t sign up a spouse, significant other or friend. For Spokane residents, that’s at 1033 W. Gardner between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Sunday Spin: What will primary turnout be?

OLYMPIA – With Washington’s primary a mere 10 days away, the big question – after who’ll survive and go to the general election, of course – is how many voters will bother to cast ballots.

It’s a common question around the country, as a recent study shows primary turnout is down in most states from 2010, the last mid-term primaries.

A recent report from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate says turnout is down even in states that took steps to make it easier to vote by offering such things as election day registration or early voting. This must confound voting-reform advocates who believe the only thing needed to do to promote more frequent and fervent voting is to make it easier, as if voters are being deterred from casting a ballot because they must turn over their first-born child to register and walk two miles in the snow, uphill both ways, to the polling place on election day. . . 

Eastern WA burn ban extended

OLYMPIA — The ban on most outdoor and agricultural burning in 20 Eastern Washington counties was extended for another week.

The ban, ordered last week by Gov. Jay Inslee, was set to expire at noon today. But with wildfires still burning east of the Cascades, Inslee extended it through Aug. 1.

“While fire crews  have made significant progress over the past week in bringing the fires under control, weather conditions are still a concern and we need to continue erring on the side of safety,” Inslee said in a press release announcing the extension.

The ban includes, but isn't limited to:

Campfires
Bonfires
Yard debris or trash burning, land clearing, weed abatement
Agricultural burning
 Fireworks.

Court: Public records trump renters’ concerns

OLYMPIA – Renters who have been wrongly sued by their landlords can't have their names hidden in court records to prevent possible problems with finding future housing, the state Supreme Court said Thursday.

Public interest in the judicial system outweighs renters' rights to privacy, a slim majority of the court said. A dissenting justice said the majority was ruling from an “ivory tower” in a way that favors court records over the prospect of a family’s homelessness. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

Today’s video: Murray talks about WA fires on Senate floor

 

Sen. Patty Murray tells the Senate some of the details of the wildfires in Central and Eastern Washington, makes pitch for emergency aid to move through.

 

Spokane County turnout nudges past 10%

Slightly more than 30,000 ballots for the Aug. 5 primary have been returned to the Spokane County elections office.

That pushes turnout — or turn in, to be more precise — to about 10.5 percent countywide. County Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said the county is on track for the predicted turnout of between 35 percent and 40 percent total.

The four-way primary in the 5th Congressional District and a three-way primary for a 4th Legislative District House seat are drawing interest, McLaughlin said. The 6th Legislative District Senate race is also getting attention, even though it has only two candidates so both will advance to the general.

As usual, the mailbags were heavy on Monday, after the first weekend ballots had been in homes after they were mailed out the middle of last week. That's often the heaviest day for ballot returns until the Monday before the election.  People who know who they plan to vote for (or against) in all races tend to mark their ballots and drop them in the mail, as do folks who plan to be gone at some point between now and the election and don't want to forget. 

Unlike primaries in some odd-numbered years which can be hit or miss for having enough candidates for some municipal elections, all voters in the state get a ballot this year because of primaries for federal and state elections. Most of those offices are partisan. But under the state's primary system, the candidate with the most and second-most votes advance to the general, regardless of party. 

Primary turnout in even-year elections typically is near or above 40 percent, McLaughlin said. One exception was 2002, which like this year had no primaries for statewide offices or a U.S. Senate seat and had a turnout of 36 percent.

Ballots must be marked, placed in the provided envelopes which must be appropriately signed, and deposited at a drop box by 8 p.m. Aug. 5 or mailed with proper postage so they are postmarked by that date. 

Spokane County drop boxes can be found at public libraries. For a list of addresses, click here to go inside the blog.

Election junkies who want to follow the turnout statistics can click here and call up the latest PDF under Statistics.

Used practice targets left at League office

The League of Women Voters of Washington wants supporters of a gun-rights initiative to denounce the unknown group that left used targets at or near their office.

But supporters of Initiative 591 called the incidents a “propaganda stunt” the good government group is milking to get money for a rival ballot measure, I-594. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

Believe it or not: Support for conspiracy theories

About a third of American adults believe the JFK assassination was pulled off by a conspiracy, a new survey suggests. About the same number say he was the victim of a lone gunman.

Rasmussen Reports surveyed more than 1,000 Americans on some of the most common conspiracy theories. It found that 32 percent believe more than one shooter was involved in John F. Kennedy's assassination, which was slightly less than the 37 percent who said he was a victim of a larger conspiracy when a similar survey was conducted in November around the 50th anniversary of the event.

Other conspiracy ratings:

Almost one in four believe the government new about the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks before hand and did nothing to stop them.

About the same number say Obama is not an American citizen. (That goes to two out of five for Republicans surveyed.)

One in five believe a UFO with aliens crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.

About one in seven (14 percent) say the U.S. faked the moon landing in 1969.

Almost the same number (13 percent) say the British Royal Family had Princess Di killed.

Disbelief was high, however, that Paul McCartney was killed and replaced by someone else in the Beatles. Only 3 percent believe the Walrus is Paul. (Oblique reference explained inside the blog.)

Obama signs emergency declaration for fires

President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration this morning that offers federal aid to Central Washington areas hard hit by wildfires.

It authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief efforts in Chelan and Okanogan counties and on the Colville Reservation. Obama had promised action Tuesday in Seattle after receiving a briefing on the fires from Gov. Jay Inslee. 

Full text of the White House announcement can be found inside the blog.

 

Inslee: FEMA aid to help restore power in fire areas

SEATTLE – The federal government will provide emergency assistance to help restore electricity in areas of Central Washington where wild fires have knocked out power, Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday.

Inslee got a promise of emergency assistance that will include generators, replacing burned out lines and poles and help from the Army Corps of Engineers from President Obama after briefing him on the devastation from the fires. Obama and Inslee rode into Seattle for a Democratic Party fund-raiser after Air Force One landed at Boeing Field Tuesday afternoon.

During the ride, Inslee said he was able to show Obama maps of the fires in Central Washington and brief him on “how enormous this threat is.” An estimated 350,000 acres have burned, the most in state history, and fire season still has months to go, the governor said.

“The administration is going to grant that emergency assistance that will be generated through FEMA,” Inslee said.

Today’s fun video: What would Reagan do about Ukraine shootdown?

 

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart skewers talking head news types who compare Barack Obama to Ronald Reagan's response to the Soviet shoot-down of a jetliner without checking the facts. 

Spokane unemployment rate drops

Spokane County's unemployment rated dropped by 1 percent in June, nearing the state average as it fell to 5.6 percent.

The Washington Employment Security Department released its monthly unemployment report this morning, which shows unemployment in Spokane County at the lowest point since October 2008. Statewide unemployment is estimated at 5.4 percent.

Ferry and Grays Harbor counties had the highest unemployment rates, at 8.5 percent and Asotin County the lowest, at 4.4 percent. King County, the state's most populous is at 4.7 percent.

Inslee to brief Obama on fires

Gov. Jay Inslee will brief President Obama on the fires in Central Washington as the two drive into Seattle this afternoon.

Obama, Air Force One and the traveling White House press corps are due in to Boeing Field at mid-afternoon, and the president will motorcade into Seattle for a fund-raiser. Inslee will ride in the car with Obama to brief him on the progress of fighting the wildfires, which have torched a record amount of area east of the Cascades.

The president is due to leave Seattle right after the fund-raiser to fly to San Francisco. Seattle drivers are being warned to expect traffic days for Obama's coming and going. 

Inslee, who has made several trips to the east side of the state to check on firefighting efforts, plans to stop at the Camp Murray Emergency Operations Center to thank workers on his way up to Boeing Field, his staff said.

Sunday Spin: Some advice for Obama on this trip to Seattle

President Obama’s campaign apparatus e-mails almost every day asking for money, but perhaps because I never give him any, he never calls to ask for advice. That’s OK. I have some for him anyway, unsolicited.

Don’t pop in and out of Seattle this week like some guy stopping at the ATM for cash on the way to pick up pizza and a video. If you’re intent on coming for a fund-raiser at some Seattle fat-cat’s home – thus making the city’s usually terrible traffic abysmal for everyone not in an escorted motorcade – it ought to be for something more than just the money. This is particularly true if half the state is still either on fire or choking on smoke.

The White House said last week the president will stop in Tuesday on his way to California, where he’s got even more money-makers later in the week. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Obama coming next week. Will WA still be burning?

President Barack Obama is planning a fund-raising visit to Seattle on Tuesday. Quick in and out on the way to more fund-raising in California.

As with previous visits, it's likely to tie up traffic in the Puget Sound during his coming and going to the event, which is at an as-yet-undisclosed residence in Seattle. Motorists already dealing with summer construction season can expect even more delays.

But the fires in Central Washington — which Gov. Jay Inslee labeled a firestorm today — might still be burning by Tuesday, and even if they are under control, there will be plenty of scorched earth and former homes that are not much more than a foundation and a chimney. 

So the question for Obama and all his political planners is this:Do you cancel the Seattle stop out of respect for the disaster? Do you pop in and out of Washington like a person hitting their favorite ATM? Or do you extend the stay to acknowledge the disaster, possibly making a trip to the devastation and talk about the effects of climate change? 

Gov. Jay Inslee said today he hadn't talked to Obama about the fires and his upcoming visit.

Edible pot rules: No to lollipops, yes to brownies

OLYMPIA — Legal marijuana stores won't be able to sell lollipops, gummy bears or other candies infused with the drug, but will be able to sell properly labelled brownies and cookies, a state agency decided today.

The Liquor Control Board approved rules for marijuana-infused food products, also known as edibles, designed to limit items that may appeal strongly to children. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

 

Today’s fun video: We’re all guilty of some word crimes

 

How many of these infractions, misdemeanors and felonies have you committed?

And yes, Weird Al probably made better use of this tune than Robin Thicke.

Ex-Im Bank: How vital is it?

Govs. Jay Inslee and Butch Otter signed on to a letter Tuesday urging Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, but the owner of a Palouse company sometimes listed as a local beneficiary of the institution says the United States should let it go out of business . .  .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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