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Spin Control

Archive for May 2009

Last reminder: Filing week about to start

If you’ve been telling everyone you know that your local electeds are A.) clueless; B.) wasting your money; C.) spending their waking hours with the heads in small, lightless places or D.) all of the above, it’s put up or shut up time.

Filing week in Washington state starts tomorrow..

From the time the county Elections Office doors open Monday morning until 5 p.m. next Friday, a would-be city councilperson or school board member can walk in, fill out a form and – if the job pays more than $1,000 a year – plunk down his or her filing fee to get a place on the Aug. 18 primary ballot.

The announced fields in districts around Spokane County are currently pretty small. The Spokane City Council has three seats up for election and none has more than two candidates. Yet.

Most likely to grow significantly is the open council seat in Northeast Spokane’s 1st District. For most elections, an open council seat in Spokane generates enough candidates to fill a minivan.

Pull over, sonny

The Washington State Patrol is hiring. The woman’s voice on the radio ad seems to be offering an interesting job opportunity, but the line at the end of her pitch is a bit surprising.

“If you’re between the ages of 18-and-a-half and 65. . .”

Wait a minute. How many troopers get started at 65?

None, actually, because 65 is mandatory retirement age for the state patrol, said Sgt. Freddy Williams, the public information officer for the patrol. In theory a recruit could enter the academy in their early 60s and work a few years, or months, until Social Security kicks in.

In practice, it’s highly unlikely. A recruit must score better than 40 percent of the general public in a physical fitness test called the Cooper Standards just to get in the academy, and better than 60 percent of the public upon completion of that course.

When Williams joined the patrol in 1987, he was the oldest recruit the agency ever had, at 37. Since that time, recruits who were 50 have made it, but they tended to be retired military personnel in good physical shape, he said.

So why even say 65? “That’s the mandatory retirement age established by the Legislature,” Williams said. To rule out anyone that age or younger is age discrimination.

Friday a.m. video: Thursday in review

Finally, an update that’s not all Sotomayor all the time. This one, from TalkingPointsMemo, is just Sotomayor about half the time. Plus a bit of Burris and Blogojevich.

Spokane vortex strikes: Afghanistan

AP Photo by David Guttenfelder

Sometimes it seems there’s a Spokane connection to almost anything, if you look hard enough.

Here’s one that was overlooked, however. The above picture set off a bit of a media tidal wave earlier this month when a soldier in Afghanistan rolled out of his bunk during a Taliban attack, grabbed his helmet, vest and rifle, but nothing else, and rushed to the sandbags to fire back.

Spc. Zachary Boyd of Fort Worth became a darling of the media, particularly the New York media, for taking up his post in pink boxer shorts that proclaim I Love New York. (He’s also wearing flip-flops, but, really, it was the pink shorts that landed the AP photo on the front page of the New York Times.) Defense Secretary Robert Gates even sprang to Boyd’s defense, saying, essentially, U.S. soldiers are tough enough to fight in pink short and flip flops.

OK, good on New York, good on Fort Worth. What’s in it for Spokane, you ask?

The guy next to Boyd is Spc. Jordan Custer of Spokane. And if you’ll look closely, you’ll notice something about his attire that’s not regulation, either.

Give up? Go inside the blog to find out what.

Ombudsman protest planned

Groups who think the city isn’t going far enough to provide oversight of its Police Department will be protesting Friday in advance of a series of “meet the ombudsman candidates” forums.

And they have a special guest protester: Shonto Pete, the Spokane man who was shot in the head by Police Officer Jay Olsen in that strange incident that started in the parking lot of Dempseys Brass Rail and ended in (not so) Peaceful Valley.

They think the city’s plan for an ombudsman falls short because the office doesn’t have independent investigative powers.

Pete, some of his family, along with Sovereignty, Health, Air, Water, Land (SHAWL) Society; NAACP, Spokane Chapter; Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane; Progressive Democrats of America, Spokane Chapter; EWU MEChA; Medicine Wheel Academy, will be setting up at the Chase Gallery in City Hall at noon Friday.

Ombudsman forums will be held Friday and Saturday. Click here for the schedule.

Eyman back to old fave: Car tabs

Initiative entrepreneur Tim Eyman must have a bit of time on his hands. He’s filed yet another initiative with the Secretary of State’s office.

This one attempts to cast in even harder concrete a Washington car owner’s God-given right to cheap car tabs. Anything over $30 would require a public vote.

Secretary of State Sam Reed’s office reports Eyman filed it today, which means it was sent to the code reviser for a check of the language. The reviser has seven days, and has a total of 15 days to advise the state of any changes before it can get a number and petitiions can be printed.

So let’s see. Eyman could begin gathering signatures no sooner than June 13, which would give him 21 days to gather the 241,153 valid signatures needed to get on the ballot. Or about 15,000 a day.

Yeah, that’ll happen. What do you wanna bet Eyman’s just trying to get a little free legal help writing an initiative he can trot out next year?

Or is that being too cynical.

Mark your calendar: Filing week is coming

Washington residents who are thinking about running for some local office this year had better make up their minds quickly. It’s almost time to spit or get off the spot.

Next week is filing week. From the time the county courthouse doors open Monday morning until 5 p.m. next Friday, a would-be office holder can walk in, fill out a form and, if the job pays more than a grand, plunk down his or her filing fee to get a spot on the Aug. 18 primary ballot.

Those who want to avoid the long lines at county elections offices … and Spin Control is being facetious here, generally speaking … can file online.

Most offices this year are non partisan. But there is a partisan legislative race in Eastern Washington’s 9th District, where Don Cox was appointed to a seat that became open by the death of Steve Hailey but decided not to run. The 9th will have a Top 2 primary, which means the first and second finishers go on to the Nov. 3 general election, regardless of party.

That’s the way it is in nonpartisan races, anyway. No matter how many get into the primary, the two with the most votes move on to the general election.

Who’s got elections this fall in Spokane County? Go inside the blog for the list.

Thursday fun video: Take me out…

A summertime diversion from heavy political discussions of Sonia Sotomayor, North Korean nukes and who runs the GOP: the list of the 10 worst renditions of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”.

At No. 10 is Mr. T, who sang recently in Chicago to some pitiful fools.

To see who else is on the list, and listen to as many as you can stand,  go here.

Thursday a.m. video: What you missed Wednesday

Wednesday national newscasts, as expected, were full of Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. The folks from TalkingPointsMemo boil it down for you.

Police ombudsman forums this weekend

The City of Spokane will hold public forums for its police ombudsman finalists on Friday and Saturday.

There are three prospects:

Anthony Betz, of College Station, Tex., a retired FBI agent working as an adjunct professor at Texas A&M University.

Timothy Burns, of Visalia, Calif., a retired police officer working as the neighborhood preservation manager for that city.

Greg Weber, of Spokanean attorney in private practice who once  served on Washington State Attorney General’s staff.

Forums are scheduled for:

  • 5 p.m. Friday in the Chase Gallery in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
  • 10 a.m. Saturday at West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt.
  • 2 p.m. Saturday at East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone.

Allen makes it official

Spokane City Councilman Mike Allen has formally entered the race he had formerly said he would enter.

Or is that Allen has formerly entered the race he had formally said he would enter…hmmmm.

Whatever. Allen, who was appointed to the seat that opened on the council when Mary Verner was elected mayor, is going top ask voters to keep him there. He said he would, back in April, when former Councilman Steve Eugster said he was getting into the race.

Allen has what every serious 21st Century candidate must have … a Web site.

To recap the races as they stand now, go inside the blog

Wednesday video: Tuesday was all Sotomayor

All of Tuesday’s 100 seconds from TalkingPointsMemo were taken up with President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Sonya Sotomayor:

Wednesday’s question: When will Fox News anchors get the memo telling them how to pronounce her name?

No business like snow business

Most of Spokane County may be thinking about such warm weather concerns as whether we fit into a bathing suit, whether the legs are so white they’ll blind bystanders or how to get  a decent campground site. But not the elected officials of Spokane Valley and Spokane County.

They are still engaged in a war of words over snow. Specifically, how will it be pushed off the streets of the City of Spokane Valley once it starts falling this winter. The answer:

No one is sure.

In January, the Spokane County commissioners notified the City of the Valley the county would not be plowing under its existing contract in the winter of ‘09-‘10. Valley officials’ reaction ranged from surprise to outrage to unprintable streams of invective which, if uttered outside, probably would have melted the snow and contributed to global warming.

County said the current contract allowed for cancellation with 180 days notice, and they were giving much more than that…

So now it’s almost June, and feelings apparently haven’t healed much….

What’s ahead for Oregon phosphate ban?

The Oregon Legislature voted this week to ban automatic dishwasher detergent with phosphorus, to which we in Spokane can say “Welcome to the 21st Century.”

And, “Good luck with that.”

Based on local experience, Spin Control can also predict what’s ahead: 

Assuming the governor doesnt’ veto the law, dozens of people will rush out within 24 hours of the signing ceremony and buy cases of their favorite detergent under the theory it will disappear from the shelves as soon as the ink is dry. They’ll ignore all references to the fact that the law goes into effect in July 2010.

For a year, reporters will tell their readers, viewers and listeners that the ban will take effect July 1, 2010. These stories will routinely mess up the use of phosphorus, which is a noun, and phosphorous, which is an adjective. They will get letters from English teachers and chemistry instructors lecturing them on the difference, and do what they do with all such missives: ignore them.

Next July, shoppers who can’t find their favorite detergent on the shelves of their local Safeway, Albertsons or Zip Trip will call newspapers, radio and television stations to demand an investigation into the conspiracy to get rid of Cascade…

Saturday fun video2: Still more keyboard cat

Hard to say where all this attention to Fatso the Keyboard Cat will go, after he showed up on The Daily Show this week. Here, he’s a parody (or possibly a double parody?)

And no, this isn’t political, it’s just your typical Spokane vortex weirdness, because Fatso was, afterall, from Spokane.

Really. Spin Control does not make these things up. Just ask Doug Clark.

Spokane Dem chief steps down

Ed King, chairman of the Spokane County Democratic Party, is stepping down for health reasons and the party’s first vice president, Amy Biviano, is moving into the top spot on an interim basis with hopes of taking it on permanently.

Biviano said Friday she expects a smooth transition, considering she and King worked together on everything after they got their respective jobs in January. The county party will have a special meeting in July to elect a new chair, and Biviano will run in that race.

She may run unopposed, if recent history is any indicator.

King is stepping down because  he’s suffering from shingles, she said.

Not to play doctor or anything, but that’s a disease that can be greatly exacerbated by stress….

Friday a.m. video: What you missed Thursday, Obama v. Cheney

Barack Obama and Dick Cheney debate anti-terrorism policy in separate venues, courtesy of TalkingPointsMemo.

For John Stewart’s take on this, (which is, a bit longer but much funnier) go inside the blog

Planning Commish punts some cluster rules

Some proposed changes in rural housing developments known as clusters will have to be decided by Spokane County commissioners. The county planning commission, with only four of its seven members present, deadlocked Thursday on some of the more controversial changes, including whether to ban the developments in what’s known as small tract agricultural zones.

If all that makes you go “Huh?”, you probably live in a city, where changes in the suburban and rural landscape are something you notice on that yearly trip to Green Bluff to buy apples and pumpkins.

But it is a hot topic in rural areas. Simply put, cluster development is a practice of grouping the yards and homes into one or two spots on a large tract of land and leaving the rest of it open, as opposed to subdividing it into larger lots spread out across the whole tract. In some cases, a developer can get extra housing parcels, but in others they get the same number of houses, just not so spread out.

Some think clusters are a good thing; others think of them with the Army term that starts with cluster and ends with a word that in military jargon is “foxtrot.”

Thursday, the Planning Commission split 2-2 …

What’s your home worth?

Spokane County has finished its annual reevaluation of property, and is about to mail each property the assessments for the coming year. They’ll hit the post office on June 1, and should be in mailboxes within a few days of that.

But if you can’t wait to see how much your evaluation went up (if it went up) you can check it on the assessor’s Web site. Click here then fill in your address in the search engine spaces.

Note: A higher assessed value does not automatically mean your property taxes will go up next year. And having the same value does not mean it will stay the same or go down. There are other factors involved.

Thursday video: Catch up on Wednesday

What you missed in the news if you played hooky on Wednesday, from the folks at TalkingPointsMemo.

Gregoire gets shirt, Eyman gets pen

Initiative entrepreneur Tim Eyman is loathe to pass up an opportunity to get publicity for whatever ballot measure he’s hawking, so it was no surprise he showed up Tuesday at the signing and vetoing of the last bills from the late, great legislative session.

Gov. Chris Gregoire was signing the overall budget, but vetoing a provision that cut funding from the state’s performance audits, required by one of Eyman’s past crusades, I-900.

Eyman arrived with the wide array of interested folk who attend signing ceremonies for bills they supported, but didn’t get to stand behind the gov for the official autographing. Colleague Rich Roesler, who covered the ceremony, said it appeared Eyman was told by staff he couldn’t be in the offiical photo op but could make a presentation to Gregoire afterwards.

At the appointed time, Eyman peeled off his I-900 T-shirt and gave it to the governor as a sign of his gratitude. (His e-mail today is careful to note he had another T-shirt underneath.)

The gov was somewhat taken aback by a seemingly stripping Eyman, who folded the shirt and placed on the desk in front of her, Roesler said. No cameras were available to capture the Kodak moment on film or electrons.

As the event broke up, Eyman grabbed a signing pen from the tray. 

Question: Who got the better souvenir?

Today’s fun video: Why Harrison will pass on Obama invite

Pittsbugh Steelers linebacker James Harrison RSVPs with a resounding “Nope” to an invitation from President Obama to come to the White House with the other members of the team. His reason…because Obama would have invited the Arizona Cardinals if they had won the Super Bowl.

Duh? No duh?

So what do you think? is Harrison’s logic correct but his decision wrong or vice versa? Click on comment to offer yours

For The Daily Show’s take on Harrison’s logic, go inside the blog.

County employees get early retirement push

Spokane County will offer an incentive to county employees who are eligible to retire but not yet 65 – help with medical insurance they’d have to pay until Medicare kicks in.

It’s one way the county will try to convince some higher paid employees to leave voluntarily now and reduce the number of layoffs it may need next year.

County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to offer payments of up to $20,000 over 42 months to special Health Retirement Accounts that would be set up for long-time employees who opt for early retirement.

Today’s fun video: Spokane’s keyboard cat makes it big(ger)

Readers of Doug Clark’s column will recognize the Spokane connection to Monday night’s  Daily Show closer. (The video comes direct from Comedy Central, which means it has a 30 minute commercial before the 1-minute bit. Sorry about that).

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Daily/Colbert - Keyboard Cat
Daily Show
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Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Reader asks: Where’s the lottery money?

Reader Jim Nelson called this morning as a followup to Sunday’s column, to wonder where does the Washington state Lottery money going. Specifically, is it or isn’t it going to schools?

Spin Control can’t answer every question from readers, but this is a fairly slow morning, and we actually do know this one. (Well, we did have to double check, but the question comes up frequently.)

The answer is most, but not all, lottery money goes to school construction, but it didn’t always…

Monday videos: Weekend catch-up

If you were up and out early on Sunday, busy with chores or otherwise occupied, here’s a roundup of the morning talking head shows, courtesy of TalkingPointsMemo.

Steele and Kane on Meet the Press:

Liz Cheney on This Week:

If you fell asleep before Saturday Night Live came on, here’s the open — which was, as usual, political — from Hulu.


Speak the speech I pray you speak

Get Adobe Flash player
Gov. Gregoire about K-12 education
Get Adobe Flash player
Gregoire on Aerospace Council
Get Adobe Flash player
Gregoire on speechwriter’s job

Whether they like it or not, practically everyone attached to state government in Washington is being forced to cut back.

Universities are cancelling programs and students are facing higher tuition. School teachers are getting layoff notices. State employees are looking at lower wages or higher benefit costs or both.

In the midst of such hard times, does it seem strange to anyone else that Gov. Chris Gregoire is looking for a speechwriter with a possible salary of $63,000 a year? (And no, I’m not jealous because I want to change jobs.)

Whether the job of crafting the governor’s spoken words is worth 63K may be worth discussion. That may be the going rate for someone who can, as the political cognoscenti say, “shape the message”, although the law of supply and demand in the labor market probably doesn’t apply as easily to the craft of speechwriter as it does to say, the craft of cab driver or plumber or bartender.

This isn’t a denigration of the job, which is often filled by former brethren journalists. Goodness knows there are more former journalists in need of a new line of work with each passing week. Anything that gives them a shot at a new career is a good thing.

If the governor had a longtime speechwriter in the job, former journalist or not, it would be cruel to suggest he or she should hit the bricks. But in this case, her speechwriter Hal Spencer left, and she’s looking to fill the spot. Why not do without?

That question was put to Gregoire late last week during an interview with The Spokesman-Review’s editorial board…


Saturday fun video: GOP dings Obama

This is a commercial produced for the Republican National Committee, but it probably will air more on the Web than on your local TV stations.

It’s got some cute bits, but how much longer are folks going to rely on the American Express “priceless” theme as a crutch for their ideas?

What do you think of the ad? Click on the comment button and let other readers know.

Saturday video: What’s up with Friday

It would seem what’s up was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. TalkingPointsMemo’s encapsulation of the day suggests her press conference on CIA torture briefings will be her ignominious downfall.

Or not. What do you think? Click on the comment button and add yours.

Durkan named U.S. attorney for W WA

Seattle attorney Jenny Durkan was nominated today by the Obama Administration to be the U.S. Attorney for Western Washington.

OK, so where have you heard that name before?

Durkan was legal counsel to Gov. Chris Gregoire, and a political adviser to her during the 2004 gubernatorial campaign. She also was part of the legal team that successfully beat back the Republican challenge to Gregoire’s victory over Dino Rossi in the second recount.

She was among the legal heavyweights who descended upon Wenatchee in late May through early June of 2005 for the big showdown in Chelan County Superior Judge John Bridges’ court room.

For those wondering about the job for the Eastern Washington District, word is that Spokane attorney Mike Ormsby’s nomination is still making its way through the vetting process.

Friday’s fun video: Stewart rips Obama flip

In case you fell asleep last night before The Daily Show, Jon Stewart took on the the president’s shifting positions on releasing photos of torture and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Moral Kombat
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

One other flag note

The flag flying below the Stars and Stripes on the Spokane County Courthouse is the official Prisoner of War/Missing In Action flag.

It has a black field with a white circle in the middle, which has a profile of a head in silhouette. The county flies it to honor missing military personnel from here and around the country.

 Some county staff members noted recently that people have called recently to ask why the county was flying a pirate flag. So if you thought that was the Jolly Roger flying from the courthouse tower, you can be forgiven if you just rented Pirates of the Caribbean on DVD or had your property taxes jacked up.

But you probably still should get your eyes checked.

At half staff

In case you’re wondering:

May 15 is Peace Officers Memorial Day. Because of this, flags on government buildings — and some commercial and private buildings with flagpoles — lowered to half staff.

And even though Monday was the day that local officials marked the loss of life among public safety employees, that was at the beginning of the memorial week. This is the day.

Friday video: Catching up on yesterday

What you missed on Thursday, condensed by the folks at TalkingPointsMemo.


Thursday video: What was up Wednesday?

If you were otherwise occupied Wednesday, the friendly folks from TalkingPointsMemo will fill you in quickly?

Easy for them to say

When swine flu was all the rage last week, hardly an hour went by without some well-meaning organization sending “tips” to avoid the flu and how to handle it if you got it.

Most of them were pretty standard stuff your mom always told you, like wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Then there was the typical advice from the Human Resources Department: If you’re feeling sick, stay home from work to avoid infecting co-workers.

Great advice, coming as it was from people who mostly get paid for a sick day or two if they have to stay home from work. But not everyone gets paid sick days, a group calling itself the Fairness Initiative on Low Wage Work notes.

And they’re right. It was sort of like Vice President Joe Biden counseling people not to get on planes…he gets to go everywhere on Air Force One, so what does he care?

That could change under federal legislation that would require companies to offer employees up to seven days a year of pay if they have to stay home to recover from their own ills or to take care of a sick child. It’s going to be trotted out at a Washington, D.C., press conference on Thursday.

But even the so-called Healthy Families Act isn’t likely to cover everyone. Last year’s bill, which failed to get a vote in either house of Congress, limited the rule to companies with 15 or more employees. Seems like the smaller companies would be the ones most likely to be unable to offer sick days.

In a cluster?

The Spokane County Planning Commission has a hearing Thursday morning on clusters.

Not the vegetative kind, although these do affect rural areas. Not the Army ordinance kind, although the issue could be explosive.

The hearing involves rural cluster development, which is a way to shift current county zoning rules for large lots. Right now, property in certain rural zones is limited to one house for every 10 or 20 acres; cluster zoning would allow a developer to concentrate the homes in one part of a large parcel if there are large tracts of “open space” in the rest of the development.

There’s more to it than that, of course. You can read about it here.

Hearing starts at 9 a.m. in the Commissioner’s Hearing Room, which is in the basement of the Public Works Building, 1026 W. Broadway.

Wednesday a.m video: What happened Tuesday

For those otherwise occupied Tuesday, a synopsis of the day’s news by TalkingPointsMemo:

Cox won’t run in the fall

State Rep. Don Cox, the Colfax Republican who came back to the Legislature to fill the vacancy created when Steve Hailey died of cancer last year, won’t run in the special election this fall.

The state House Republican Caucus announced this afternoon that Cox says he can’t make the long-term commitment to the job and is happy to bow out after temporary duty. He called the late session one of the toughest in recent memory.

Southeast Washington’s 9th District won’t lack for candidates, even with Cox’s decision. It currently has four announced candidates: Susan Fagan, Patricia Hailey, Arthur Swannack and Darin Watkins, all Republicans.

Preaching to the choir

Sen. Patty Murray, who knows how to pick a friendly crowd, spent part of Tuesday talking about keeping defense jobs in the United States to the IAMAW.

That’s the International Association of Machiniest and Aircraft Workers, as in, the biggest union at Boeing.

Murray, who has led the fight to bring the Air Force’s contract for the next generation of aerial refueling tankers to Boeing’s 767 line, last week got a line added to legislation on reforming the military’s contracting process. It says the Pentagon has to tell Congress what the effect the cancelling of a contract will have on the nation’s industrial base.

Put another way, if the Pentagon wants to cancel a program, it will have to tell Congress what jobs will be cut, and in whose state and congressional district they’ll be cut.

On the tankers, Murray has been adamant that Congress consider what the job impacts will be of awarding the $35 billion contract to Boeing compared with a consortium that includes Northrop Grumman and the European maker of Airbus.

No surprise, she suggested machinist union members make  clear to its congressional delegation they have similar concerns.

For the text of her remarks, check inside the blog…

Monday video: Sunday talking heads

If you took Mom to brunch Sunday and missed the talking head shows, here’s the wrapup from TalkingPointsMemo, who seems to think the only one worth watching was Dick Cheney’s interview on CBS.

For a few yucks, here’s some clips from the White House correspondents’ dinner.


Happy Mothers Day to moms in high places

Just in time for Mother’s Day, a survey arrived last week from Adecco Group — described in the press release as the world’s largest staffing agency — on the most admired “celebrity”mothers.

To determine this, the agency paid to survey working moms, working dads and working non-parents. Envelope please…and the most admired celebrity mom for all three was:

Michelle Obama.

It seems her public image has recovered nicely from a year ago, when she could be caricatured on the New Yorker cover as a fist-bumping radical Angela Davis wannabe.

Number two for working men and working non-parents was …


Friday a.m. video: What happened Thursday?

Before you start Friday, wonder what happened yesterday? TalkingPointsMemo offers the abbreviated version:

Reminder: County Building Dept. works 4 days…

…and Friday ain’t one of them.

Tomorrow, May 8, is the first Friday the Spokane County Building and Planning Department will not be open because of budget cuts. So if you need a permit for that weekend project, better get their this afternoon.

And if you were hoping for an inspector to pop by tomorrow to sign off on work completed, well, you’re outta luck.

Friday closures continue until further notice. County officials will review it monthly, and say if the volume of work warrants it, they’ll go back to five days a week.

More video fun: National Prayer Day

And if you think the Democrats’ commerical in the post below is a bit over the top, what about this offering from the folks supporting National Prayer Day?

Is it just me, or does it feel like a trailer for a Jerry Bruckheimer disaster flick?.

National Day of Prayer Task Force_2009 Theme Video @ Yahoo!7 Video

Today’s fun video: Dems spoof GOP

With all the talk about the Republican Party searching for its direction-leader-heart-soul, the Democratic National Committee apparently decided to strike with the unkindest weapon of all.


It’s an ad that’s clearly designed to circulate mainly on the Internet and will probably never be aired on local television. But it is pretty clever.

Thursday video: What’d you miss Wednesday?

For those otherwise occupied yesterday, the TalkingPointsMemo look and the day, briefly.

Going for a walk with 45,000 folks

If you saw Mayor Mary Verner on the Bloomsday course and wondered what her time was, don’t bother checking the race site or the newly published tabloid.

She’s not in there.

Verner did walk the course with her 7-year-old granddaughter Bariah. But she wasn’t an official participant…She forgot to sign up.

Through a spokeswoman, Verner acknowledged Wednesday that she didn’t register and pay her fee. And no, she didn’t grab a T-shirt at the end, either.

She said she’d promised a while back to push Bariah in a stroller, then “suddenly it was the weekend and she realized she hadn’t signed up.” Marlene Feist related.

Verner reportedly thought about not doing the race, but a promise is a promise. They went down and joined some friends who were walking the race. She also reportedly thought about bailing halfway through the race, but stuck it out.

“She went for a walk and just happened to be going the same way as 45,000 other people,” Feist said.

WA GOP Women to Prejean: You go, girl

For all those out there who think Washingtonians are so virulently anti-California, please note that the Washington Federation of Republican Women have taken a stand firmly in supoport of Miss California.

For those who don’t follow pageants, Carrie Prejean answered a question during the Miss USA pageant about gay marriage. (She’s against it.)To see what set off the controversy, check out this video.

Perez Hilton’s comments on her comments created some more buzz.

The WA GOP Women are also against Keith Olbermann (huge surprise there), contending that he had a “hate-filled rant’ against Prejean during a recent show. Watch and judge for yourself, but to Spin Control’s way of thinking, it seems more like a series of sophomoric jibes about breast implants than a hate-filled rant.

More fun video: Worst 100 Days?

While everyone else was preparing to look at Barack Obama’s first 100 days, Slate Magazine went the other way, and looked at other presidents to determine who had the worst 100 days. Then they set it to a Ken Burnsian format. Here’s the result:

Wednesday fun video: Anything happen Tuesday?

Other than it was Cinco de Mayo? Here’s the TalkingPointsMemo quickie look.

Verner press conference: Taking it to the streets

Mayor Mary Verner must be tired of media events at City Hall.

And who can blame her? Except for the Chase Gallery outside the Council Chambers, it’s a pretty bland environment.

Monday she decided to talk about non-conforming bus benches in front of (wait for it..) non-conforming bus benches.

She picked a pair at Monroe and Indiana.Word is she’d heard the bench seats, which are essentially wooden 2-by-4s, were all broken last week. What better place to  illustrate the problems?

Except that Emerald Outdoor Advertising had fixed the seats in the intervening days. So Verner emphasized that they were on the sidewalk, cutting off space for pedestrians and wheelchairs, and of different designs.

Verner also had to deal with the basic law of press conferences in the wild, which is: Stuff happens…


Tuesday fun video: Catching up

Spin Control was remiss in blogging Monday. Blame it on the nice weather, blame it on Mayor Mary Verner’s press conference (more on that later), blame it on the crush of other news.

But as dad always said, “Blame is for God and small children.”

Since we are neither, without further ado, here are a couple of videos:

A quick TalkingPointsMemo look at what you missed if you, too, were tied up yesterday.

If you were busy running Bloomsday Sunday, here’s what you missed on the morning talking head shows.

Changing the game for presidential elections

How would you feel if you and 99 percent of Washington voted for Barack Obama last year, but the state’s Electoral College votes went for John McCain?

OK, you Republicans out there, stop rubbing you hands gleefully at the prospect. What would you say if the state’s voters went 99 percent for McCain, but its electoral votes went for Obama?

Those are far-fetched, but conceivable, scenarios for a future election under a law Gov. Chris Gregoire signed last week.

So is that a good law or a bad law? Depends on who you ask…

Go inside the blog to read more.

DCCC isn’t bringing its A game yet

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wants knock off Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Just how badly, it’s hard to say.

When the Eastern Washington congresswoman does something the Democratic caucus doesn’t like, the DCCC likes to chide her in a press release. This week, after she voted against some reforms of the credit card industry, they took to the Internet to do just that.

But it appears they just use one of their “cookie cutter” diatribes. You know, the kind where they write one statement for a bunch of targeted opponents and just fill in the blank for different congress persons. They essentially say the same thing…even when they purport to be quoting someone for a pithy comment.

How do we know that? Well, because we read it — apparently more closely than they did.

It starts: “As more families get hit by excessive credit card fees and unfair interest rate hikes in this recession, today Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers maintained his clear record of support in protecting the interests of big credit card companies instead of hardworking Americans.” (we put in the boldface…they didn’t mess up and emphasize it.)

Later they supposedly quote Andy Stone, the western regional press person for the committee: “Today, Representative McMorris Rodgers had a real opportunity to protect responsible consumers who play by the rules but once again, he sided with big credit card companies.”

Stone, who’s job it is to talk to the media about McMorris Rodgers shortcomings and her eventual opponent’s good qualities, obviously knows that she’s not a he. So obviously, he didn’t really say this, so the quote is … how shall we put it…phony.

A call to Stone, who’s normally more careful about these things, confirmed that he knows McMorris Rodgers is a she. No excuses, they just made a mistake, he said.

Friday fun video: Had enough of 100 days?

The Daily Show has, as Jon Stewart rates the three cable news network’s performance of rating the president’s performance.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Obama 101
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

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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.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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