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Spin Control

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.

Ballots start to go in mail tomorrow

County elections offices around the state will begin mailing out ballots Wednesday to the state's voters. Spokane County elections officials say they will be mailing out more than 275,000 in two batches, Wednesday and Thursday.

If you are registered to vote and don't get a ballot by the following Friday, July 25th, call the elections office, which in Spokane is 509-477-2320 about a replacement ballot. (Live in another county and need their number? Click here.)

If you aren't registered to vote, but would like to be (and are a qualifying Washington resident) you have until July 28th to sign up in person at the Elections Office, which in Spokane would be at 1033 W. Gardner. Can't do it online, or by mail. Have to show up in person. Sort of the price you pay for putting it off too long.

The ballots must be marked, placed in the signed envelope and returned, either by depositing them in a drop box before 8 p.m. Aug. 5, or by mailing them back so they are postmarked no later than Aug. 5. Yes, if you mail your ballot you will have to put a stamp on the envelope. No, we will not listen to complaints about how this is unfair or as unconscionable as the poll tax. 

Your best bet for a drop box is probably the closest public library. For a list of drop box locations go inside the blog.

Today’s fun video: Calm v. a screamer on CNBC

 

If you're tired of watching two people trying to shout over each other on cable news, this CNBC clip shows what happens when you don't fight fire with fire.

When you fight fire with water, and keep it up, water wins.

Inslee talking up WA in UK

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee is returning from the Farnborough Air Show in Great Britain, but it would seem none of the British reserve rubbed off on him during his short stay there.

Asked during a telephonic press conference this morning how the air show was going Inslee offered this observation:

“It's hard being humble when you win the Super Bowl and have the best airplanes in the world.”

Asked what he was doing for fun, Inslee produced an all-business answer: “The pleasure was watching our airplanes fly.”

Clearly, the governor needs to get out more.

He also put in a plug for Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, currently the subject of some debate within the House GOP majority. He said he doesn't see any need for big reforms, which Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers recently said are needed before she'd sign on to re-upping the Ex-Im, but he'd be open to some changes as long as the bank can keep helping the state's exporters.

The fight is along ideological lines, he said, but shouldn't be. “This is a meat and potatoes issue.”

Today’s fun video: A candidate, a shotgun and an elephant pinata

 

Firearms may be a great accessory for campaign ads, but apparently not if you are a Democrat running for Congress in Central Washington's 4th Congressional District.

Estakio Beltran, one of two Democrats and 12 candidates overall running for the open seat in the 4th, announced a TV spot last week, then abruptly pulled it.

The 30-second commercial has Beltran in an arid open space, blasting away at an elephant-shaped pinata with a pump action shotgun. He racks out an empty while saying the standard “… and I approve this message” tagline before riding off on a burro in a direction that a sign suggests Congress is thataway.

A little loud, but in a crowded race that has one of the Republican candidates offering a gun giveaway with an AR-15, not totally out of the box. It did draw criticism from gun control groups, and from Republicans who contended that Democrats would be incensed by one of their candidates blasting away at a donkey, the traditional symbol for Democrats.

The ad had a very short shelf life and was pulled after a few days, which seems like a lot of trouble to go through for such a short run.

Asked why, Beltran spokesman Grady O'Brien sent out a prepared statement, explaining: “The purpose of the video was to call attention to a do-nothing Congress in need of a kick in the butt. Now it’s time to move forward and focus on the issues that are important to the people of this district: jobs through innovation, education, and accountability in Washington, D.C.”

The official campaign version was pulled from Youtube, but nothing really dies on the Internet. The above version, which features the ad twice, is still available elsewhere.

Decide for yourself: Clever ad by a young campaign or out-of-bounds rookie mistake.

Mitsubishi coming to Moses Lake

OLYMPIA — Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. will begin testing its new airliner in Moses Lake next fall, bringing about 100 jobs to that Central Washington community, Gov. Jay Inslee said. . . 

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

Spin Control Files: Reagan’s big visit to Spokane

Over the weekend, we ran the second installment of a new feature called “Spin Control Files,” which is an occasional look at some of the people and events that shaped Washington politics over the years.

The editors thought it would be nice to add another feature that highlights local history for our readers, and they asked me to do it because I've been around long enough to remember some of the people and events. (It was a nice way to ask me without suggesting I'm old.). 

We call it occasional because we don't have a regular schedule, but they'll probably appear about once a month. The first one explained who the Sam Guess Memorial Bridge is named for. (Hint: His initials were S.G.) The second, about the 1986 visit Ronald Reagan made to Spokane, can be found inside the blog.

No hidden agenda to either story. Someone asked me about the bridge a little while ago, and I recently ran into another reporter who covered the visit.

Sunday Spin: Covering pot — interesting, but no sampling

During of quarter century-plus of living in Spokane, I regularly had to explain to friends and relatives elsewhere that it was not a suburb of Seattle and thus did not get rain all the time.

Now in Olympia, I battle a new misconception, that being the newspaper’s marijuana reporter is not like being its wine critic or beer columnist. It’s interesting on many levels – government policy, changing social standards, complicated chemistry – but there’s no sampling of the subject matter and it has about as many laughs as sitting through a legislative budget hearing.

Which is to say, almost none.

Whenever Washington’s new relationship with marijuana makes national news, envious friends in California will send a “seen this?” e-mail with a story link to some other news outlet and a note usually cribbed from Cheech and Chong or Firesign Theater. . .

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

Today’s fun video: Candidate shows he can take it

 

Republican Mike McFadden, running for Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Al Franken, ignored the old W.C. Fields advice about never working with dogs or kids.

He has the players of his junior football team — or somebody's players, as they look like they come straight from Central Casting — delivering the message about how he taught them their skills but Congress is fumbling its job. Cute, until the very end when one of the helmeted youngsters delivers a quick blow to McFadden.

There is some debate in Minnesota about where he gets hit. Abdomen? Solar plexus? Groin?

The way he delivers the “I approved this message” line, it kind of sounds like the third option. 

State voter roll hits new high

OLYMPIA — Washington has a record number of voters on its rolls as the Aug. 5 primary approaches.

The Secretary of State's office says it has 3,922,537 active registrations, which is more than previous highs before the 2012 and 2013 elections.

The number of voters ebbs and flows a bit over the election cycles, increasing in a presidential year then dropping back as the rolls are updated and people who have died are removed and those who haven't voted for years are placed on inactive status.

Ballots for the primary go out next week.

Inslee offers up clean water plan

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee proposed new standards for cleaning up Washington’s lakes, rivers and the Puget Sound, immediately drawing criticism from some business and labor groups that they will be too expensive and from some environmentalists that they are too lax.

The plan announced Wednesday, which is still in an early draft stage, would require stricter standards for 70 percent of the chemicals regulated by law and “no backsliding” on the others, Inslee said: “If we do this, we will make our waters cleaner and safer and we will in fact reduce Washingtonians’ risk of having cancer.”

The new standards will be packaged with legislation Inslee will seek next year give more authority to the Department of Ecology and exceptions known as variances for some businesses that try to meet the new standards but can’t until technology improves or they find new materials that won’t bring toxic chemicals into their manufacturing processes.

Under orders from the Environmental Protection Agency, Washington has been trying for several years to upgrade its water quality standards that date to the 1970s.

The stricter limits proposed for toxic chemicals are set by a formula that includes a controversial “fish consumption standard” . . . 

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

New proposal on water standards coming today

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee is set to release a proposal to change the state's water quality standards at noon today, and already both sides of the debate are warning that it could be bad, if not downright terrible.

The environmental group Earthjustice is saying the devil may be in the detail, with confusing numbers that make things look stricter but really aren't.

Mark Schoesler, the Senate Republican leader, is saying the new standards must balance cleaner water with family budgets and jobs.

At the heart of the new rules will be the “fish consumption standards”, which estimate how much fish, shellfish and other river-lake-seafood people eat. The current rules are set with a daily consumption rate of 6.5 grams, a little less than a quarter ounce or about what you'd find on one fancy canape if the chef isn't skimping too much on the good stuff. Put another way, that's about 7 ounces a month, or about the size of that pricey Copper River salmon fillet that cost you an arm and a leg at the restaurant last month.

Obviously, some people eat way more fish than that. But it also matters what kind of fish, and where it comes from. . . 

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

First legal pot buyer in WA was from…Kansas

The first legal pot store in Washington opened not in Seattle or Tacoma or Spokan, but in Bellingham this morning at 8 a.m.

First in line to buy some legal weed was Cale Holdsworth of Abilene, Kansas, Slog reports. Holdsworth was almost immediately mobbed by a gaggle of reporters there to record the moment for history. 

Spokane's first pot store, Spokane Green Leaf, is scheduled to open at 2 p.m. First customers began lining up last night.

Supply problems limit pot store openings

Three stores in north Spokane are among the 25 applicants who will get the state’s first licenses to sell recreational marijuana, but only one will open Tuesday, the first day such sales will be legal.

The state Liquor Control Board this morning released its first list of store licenses it is issuing for communities around Washington. Three are in the Spokane area.

But only Spokane Green Leaf, 9107 N. Country Homes Blvd., expects to open, and one of the owners said they have not yet settled on a time. Because of supply problems that include a processor in the Seattle area cancelling over the weekend, it may be a “soft opening” on Tuesday, followed by a grand opening this weekend. . . 

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

Sunday Spin: Checking out claims on a dog day afternoon

OLYMPIA – In these dog days of summer, things that would not get a second-look the rest of the year are tested for news viability under much lower July vacation standards in an effort to fill the paper.

Any other time, a press release from one candidate complaining that his opponent was lying about his stance on an issue would likely go straight to the delete file. Lying in campaigns is, after all, a time-honored political tradition constitutionally protected by the state Supreme Court.

But Democrat Rich Cowan’s complaint that Republican state Sen. Mike Baumgartner was lying about Cowan’s stance on a state income tax came with an interesting wager: If Baumgartner could prove Cowan supported a state income tax, he could plant one of his campaign signs in Cowan’s yard. . .

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

Go forth this Fourth and take the trivia quiz

So, you think you’re a good patriot. The flag pin on your lapel says “Made in the USA”. You sing “The Star Spangled Banner” before baseball games without looking at the words on the Jumbotron. You chanted USA during the World Cup even though you don’t understand soccer.

On July 4th, we all bleed red, white and blue. But before heading off for hot dogs, apple pie and fireworks, try your hand at our annual Independence Day Trivia quiz. It has 13 questions, one for each rebel colony. They start easy, and get a little tougher:

1. We celebrate July 4th as Independence Day because that’s the day
A. The first shots in the American Revolution were fired
B. The Declaration of Independence was approved
C. The British surrendered at Yorktown
D. King George signed a treaty granting the colonies independence.

2. The American flag you put out this morning has
A. More red stripes than white stripes
B. More white stripes than red stripes
C. An equal number of red and white stripes

3. Where was the Continental Congress meeting when it adopted the Declaration of Independence?
A. Boston
B. New York
C. Philadelphia
D. Richmond

4. Who reportedly said “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country”?
A. Thomas Paine
B. Patrick Henry
C. Nathan Hale
D. John Paul Jones

5. Which of the following signed the Declaration of Independence and became president?
A. George Washington
B. John Adams
C. James Madison
D. James Monroe|
E. All of the above

6. True or False: George Washington once served in the British army.

7. True or False: The American army invaded Canada during the Revolutionary War.

8. True or False: The vast majority of colonists supported independence from Great Britain in 1776.

9. True or False: Paul Revere warned residents from Lexington to Concord “the British are coming.”

10. After the Revolution, the United States was governed by the Articles of Confederation and a Congress consisting of a single chamber. That Congress didn’t have the power to do what?
A. Levy taxes
B. Declare war
C. Set up a postal service
D. Coin money

11. In the U.S. Constitution, how were slaves counted for determining the number of representatives each state sent to Congress?
A. The same as other people in the state, they just didn’t get to vote.
B. They were counted like Indians rather than “free men”.
C. Each slave was counted as three-fifths of a person.
D. They weren’t counted at all.

12. When the Constitution set up the House of Representatives to have members based on each state’s population, it gave each state the number of representatives it would have until a census could be taken. Which state got the most representatives?
A. Massachusetts
B. New York
C. Pennsylvania
D. Virginia

13. The design of the first American flag is the stuff of legends – much of them in dispute – but the arrangement of the stars in the current 50-star flag was designed by
A. Norman Rockwell
B. The winner of an American Legion contest
C. A New York advertising firm hired by the White House
D. A high school student for a class assignment

For the answers, click here to go 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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