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Spin Control

Archive for December 2008

Today’s fun videos: Before the holidays get away

OK, this seems like Christmas lights, and Christmas is so 2008. But this video may surprise you about half way in…and it’s not a Christmas carol.

For those more into New Year’s Day, here’s a celebration from where the day started.

A rare East Sider win

Peter Goldmark is a rarity in statewide politics, the Washington secretary of state’s office confirmed today: An East Sider who won a statewide office.

Now it’s true that Goldmark did set up a residence in Seattle for the campaign, and did better in Western Washington counties than most Eastern Washington counties, he is nonetheless an Okanogan native and rancher. As such, he’s the first person with an East Side address at the start of his campaign to win statewide office in …well, a really long time.

Just how long depends on the office. Go inside to find out more

The Christmas Trivia Quiz: A holiday tradition

Having survived the 2008 election, the War on Christmas and the War on the War on Christmas, can only mean one thing: Must be time for the Spin Control Christmas Quiz.
This annual feature stems from several things. Newspapers are always hurting for something to fill their pages around Christmas; the author soaked up way too much Christmas trivia in a former job which involved reading lots of newspaper filler over the holidays; and over the years readers offered other bits of Christmas trivia, so the stuff piles up.
Some of this year’s questions have a government or political theme, others are just, well, trivial.
Take your best shot:
1. Poinsettias became a holiday staple in the United States thanks to what type of government official?
a.) A president
b.) A U.S. Senator
c.) A governor
d.) An ambassador
2. In the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” what day involves government officials?
a.) Day 6
b.) Day 8
c.) Day 10
d.) Day 12
3. According to the Bible, who was emperor when Jesus was born in Bethlehem?
a.) Julius
b.) Augustus
c.) Tiberius
d.) Claudius
4. Which of the following do not have a display in the Washington state Capitol this year?
a.) Christians
b.) Jews
c.) Pagans
d.) Atheists
5. The original Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, lived about 1,400 years ago and had a day job. Was he
a.) A duke in what’s now Holland
b.) A count in what’s now Romania
c.) A prince in what’s now Italy
c.) A bishop in what’s now Turkey
6. What’s the name of the angel who told the shepherds “peace on earth to men of good will.”
a.) Michael
b.) Gabriel
c.) Malachi
d.) None of the above
7. Who set Christmas Day as Dec. 25th?
a.) Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome
b.) Pope Gregory, who established the basic calendar we use
c.) St. Luke the Evangelist, who wrote the most complete Nativity account
d.) William the Conqueror, who was crowned king of England on that day in 1066
8. American newspapers used to make a big deal out of what foreign leader’s Christmas tree, describing it for readers in great detail every year?
a.) The king of England
b.) The kaiser of Germany
c.) The czar of Russia
d.) The emperor of Spain
9. In “It’s a Wonderful Life”, Mr. Potter is mostly a mean, rich banker, but he does hold a government position at one point. What was it?
a.) He was on the Planning Commission, so he could stop houses being built at Bailey Park.
b.) He was on the Public Safety Committee, which is why he could swear out an arrest warrant against George
c.) He was a member of the state Financial Institutions Department, which is why the bank examiner kept showing up at the Building & Loan.
d.) He was the head of the Draft Board, which is how he knew George was 4F.
10. Abbreviating Christmas as Xmas drives some people crazy but others say it’s no big deal. What does the X stand for?
a.) It’s an atheist’s way of saying Jesus didn’t exist.
b.) It’s an agnostic’s way of saying Jesus is an unknown factor.
c.) It’s a use of a letter from a foreign language.
d.) It’s a 19th Century abbreviation for “I’m not writing this out because everyone knows what it means.”
11. What’s the name of Rudolph’s girlfriend (or more accurately, doe-friend) in the animated classic “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”?
a.) Marie
b.) Clarice
c.) Olive
d.) Lisa
12. The U.S. Postal Service issued its first Christmas stamp in 1961. When did it issue its first Hanukkah stamp?
a.) 1961, they were released at the same time
b.) 1962, because sales were so good the previous year
c.) 1971, when Richard Nixon was courting the Jewish vote for his re-election
d.) 1996, in a joint effort with the Israeli government.
For answers, go inside the blog.

Today’s fun video: Ferrell won’t have Bush to kick around much longer

What will comedians do without George W. Bush? Hard to say. But Will Ferrell takes one last pass at the prez.

A Message from George W Bush by Will Ferrell

Today’s fun videos: Shoe toss time

Worse reflexes, better come back?

Rep. Hailey resigning

Republican Steve Hailey of Mesa is resigning his 9th District House seat because cancer is leaving him unable to do the job.

In a letter to Gov. Chris Gregoire late last week, Hailey wrote his “health is such that I cannot represent the interests of my constituents in the fashion they deserve.”

Go inside the blog to read more

Spokane Republicans pick new leaders

A stand-room-only crowd selected new leaders for the Spokane County Republican Party on Saturday.

Cindy Zapotocky was elected county chairwoman, and Dave Stevens vice chairman.

Curt Fackler, outgoing chairman, said the crowd was bigger than expected, and bigger than the county commissioners meeting room, which he’d booked for the biennial reorganization.

They held the meeting in the same spot two years ago and there was plenty of room, he said. But the jump in political participation resulted in the election of 203 precinct committee officers, and about 164 showed up on Saturday despite the weather, Fackler said.

The new blood also may be signalling a shift in the party…

That was the week that was

Rod Blagojavich, the governor of Illinois was arrested, released on bail and back at his desk.

Barack Obama, the former junior senator of Illinois, said he had no knowledge the governor was trying to sell his old job, and called for the gov to resign.

President Bush talked about his religious faith.

Bill O’Reilly continued to call Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire “a coward” and a “pinhead” because she won’t remove a seasonal display by atheists in the state Capitol.

Spokane residents were told they could be kicked out of the council chambers for disparaging city officials.

Go inside the blog to see videos

Today’s fun video: For anyone needing a pick-me-up

So you’ve got the holiday blahs.
Or the blues.
Or Season Affected Disorder.
Or whatever the latest pop psyche term is.

This’ll get you going.

Shogan to public: Behave or be gone

City Council President Joe Shogan will enforce a new level of decorum at council meetings, starting Monday.

Anyone caught dissing the mayor, the council, individual council members or the staff will be warned once, then shown the door.

Shogan issued a new edict Thursday, a “No Tolerance” policy for “verbal personal attacks”.

Go inside the blog to read more.

Larry Craig: still worth a late-night mention

There’s one thing Sen. Larry Craig needs to consider in deciding whether he’ll ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to review his airport bathroom case.

Well there are several things, like cost, and precedents, and the law. But beyond that.

How long does he want to be fodder for late night monologues?

Jay Leno was able to slip a Larry Craig joke into his monologue Wednesday night.

It went like this…

Hastings GOP head of committee


Rep. Doc Hastings was named today the top Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee.

The appointment represents the Tri-Cities Republican’s return to a committee that has a fair amount to do with the Inland Northwest. Federal lands are part of the panel’s purview, as is timber policy.

Hastings left the committee a few years ago when he was named to the House Ethics Committee, where he eventually served as ranking Republican. The Natural Resource Committee’s previous ranking Rep, Don Young of Alaska, had to step down to fight the corruption investigation he faces.

Today’s video: from the Xmas war front

It was bound to happen. Someone would take video from the state Capitol, put it to Christmas music, and post it on YouTube.

Here’s something that just hit the Web today. (And we should note that colleague and Olympia Bureau Chief Rich Roesler can be seen during the interview segment starting about 1:22 into it.)

You better watch out

Another sign that yuletide is nigh, just like carols in department store and Bill O’Reilly complaining about a war on Christmas.

State officials are set to warn people to check out charities before they contribute.

Secretary of State Sam Reed and Attorney General Rob McKenna will hold their annual “Check before You Give” a press conference Wednesday. Reed will release his naughty or nice list of charities that shows how much of what they raise goes to the problems they’re trying to help.

Detains coming Wednesday morning.

Border Patrol horses to step lively

The Inland Northwest didn’t really go for Barack Obama in the presidential election. The landscape outside the Spokane city limits was pretty red.

No matter. The region will be represented in the inaugural parade next month when he gets sworn in.

The Border Patrol’s Spokane Sector will be sending its Mustang Unit to the parade, to march with the agency’s honor guard and bagpipe and drum team.

The Mustang Unit might be one of those government programs that Democrats and Republicans, and liberals and conservatives, can like.

That was the week that was

Bill O’Reilly declared war on Christine Gregoire, and generated much more attention to an atheist’s Christmas display.
The latest from O’Reilly on the Capitol display.

How’d this all start? Click here.

Spokane County finally found out who won the 6th Legislative District race. (Hint: it was the guy who was ahead all along.) Click here to read about it.

And Obama filled out more of his cabinet…but you can read about that almost anywhere.

Final recount total: Driscoll by 72 votes

Democratic challenger John Driscoll won – again –over Republican Rep. John Ahern at the end of a hand recount of nearly 76,000 ballots in Spokane’s 6th Legislative District.

After about two days in which teams of election workers watched by party volunteers checked 75,947 ballots, the margin of victory for Driscoll changed from 74 votes to 72 votes.

Both candidates were in Olympia Thursday when the new totals were announced.

Driscoll, who was going through orientation for new lawmakers, said he was relieved.

“I didn’t know how much it was hanging over my head until now,” he said. “But now it’s over.”

Ahern, who celebrated his 74th birthday Thursday, said he considers the defeat just a temporary setback.

“It’s somewhat disappointing, but what the heck, life goes on,” he said, shortly after spotting Driscoll outside the House office building and congratulating him. “If it’s OK with my wife, I’ll run in two years.”

Today’s videos: More from the Xmas War Front

It’s great to be popular, and Washington state’s Capitol holiday displays certainly are popular on the cable news talking head shows.

Bill O’Reilly made the holiday displays in the Washington Capitol his “Talking Point” Wednesday night. He wants Gov. Chris Gregoire to take the atheists’ display down.

Not to be outdone, Keith Olberman criticized O’Reilly for criticizing the displays, saying he was just trying to dredge up a favorite holiday chestnut, the War on Christmas.

Read Gov. Chris Gregoire and Attorney General Rob McKenna’s response here.

See O’Reilly’s initial report here.

Governor’s office said it received about 200 calls an hour yesterday. They don’t yet have an estimate on today’s call volume.

Debatable points: Go inside the blog to join the discussion.

Recount update

This just in from Spokane County Elections HQ:

As of 2 p.m., elections workers, under the watchful eyes of partisan observers, have counted 36,575 ballots from 41 precincts.

There has been no change in the totals for John Driscoll or John Ahern.

There is one precinct that has one more ballot than the official count says it should have, and one precinct that has one less ballot. County Auditor Vicky Dalton said the staff suspects that the extra ballot in the former precinct belongs in the latter precinct. But election workers will have to examine all ballots in the plus-1 precinct to find the extra one.

Today’s Video: O’Reilly to Gregoire, ‘This means war’

Cable news and radio talk provocateur Bill O’Reilly has declared war on Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire in the annual talk show debate over the supposed “War on Christmas.”

Take a look, if you missed him Tuesday night.

O’Reilly is in high dudgeon over the atheists’ display in the Washington Capitol Building. (Read Rich Roesler’s Eye on Olympia post here.)

It’s Gregoire’s building, he says, and she walks past it every day on her way to the office. If she wasn’t such a wimp, she’d do something about it.

He also put the governor’s phone number on the screen and invited his viewers to call.

Let the recount begin

The recount of some 76,000 ballots in the 6th Legislative District race begins about 1 p.m.

County elections staff spent the morning separating ballots into precincts, and will start checking the votes, precinct-by-precinct, this afternoon under the watchful eyes of political party observers.

Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin believes it will be done sometime Thursday.

Democrat John Driscoll leads Republican incumbent John Ahern by 74 votes in the final tally announced last week. Spin Control 2.0 will try to update precinct results, as they become available.

Today’s fun video: If the election were a game

The sound track on this should bring back memories of the old Nintendo games…

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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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