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Spin Control: Summertime, and the deleting is easy

OLYMPIA – Things are quiet enough at the Capitol that it’s possible to do something reporters generally avoid: clean out the unsolicited emails clogging up the inbox.

We avoid wading through such correspondence for several reasons, like being busy most days with face-to-face and phone conversations, supplemented by Facebook postings, Twitter musings and actual news events. In that hierarchy, emails that come unbidden rank just slightly above nasty memos from the accounting department about expense vouchers.

Even with an aggressive spam filter, at least 100 unsolicited politically related emails a day ping into the account and tend to pile up during newsier times. The dog days are good times to thin out the 4,600-plus messages in my inbox.

Here’s a chance to wish Barack Obama happy 52nd by electronically signing a birthday card. Organizing for Action, which was the Obama for America campaign before his re-election, never misses a chance to ask for money, including this chance to “chip in” $5. Considering I didn’t get birthday wishes from him, I feel OK about pushing Delete. A follow-up suggests I should “go old-fashioned” and sign OFA’s card, so I “don’t get lost in the flurry of Facebook posts.” Not sure how electronically signing an e-card qualifies as old-fashioned. Delete.

The Tea Party Express wants at least $10 to help defeat Bruce Braley, whose many sins include being an ally of Harry Reid and attending a fundraiser with Nancy Pelosi. Have to reread message to determine Braley is in Iowa. Delete. says it has campaigns in 47 states over genetically modified food. Statistically there’s a 94 percent chance one of those states is Washington, and maybe better considering there’s an initiative on the November ballot to require labeling of such food. But the message doesn’t say, and MoveOn already suckered me in once this week with a news release about a petition campaign to get rid of a sister city that Spokane dumped years ago. Delete.

The National Resources Defense Council announces a new video in honor of Shark Week, “complete with a visit from a hammerhead shark.” A sequel to “Sharknado,” which had sharks falling from the sky and devouring people in Los Angeles, would be very cool. But this features a lawyer talking to a marine biologist about how important sharks are to the ecosystem. Shucks. Delete.

Friends of the Earth wants $5 to help save the bees. I know the little critters are in trouble, but considering I almost got stung this week picking blackberries, I’ll pass on the contribution and just promise not to swat any more. Delete. teases about something that “could be an albatross around Congress’ neck.” Could this be a creative Samuel Taylor Coleridge allusion? They’re pushing a petition to ask Congress to protect albatrosses. No points for the reference. Delete.

United Voices for America wishes me a happy end to Ramadan and asks for help to raise $8,350 by the end of the month to fight right-wing bigotry against Muslims. This is a standard fundraising tactic – set an odd-numbered goal and an impending deadline, then warn of an approaching apocalypse. In this case it’s that “more states are moving to ban Shariah Law … unless we push back, they will win.” Of the many crazy things proposed in the last session, banning Shariah Law was not one of them. Delete.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sends me a “final notification of my member status before tonight’s FEC fundraising deadline.” Suggested support is $3. There’s no election for 15 months so there’s no deadline that could make any difference. Considering I’m not a member and have never given them any money, there’s no reason why they’ve assigned me an eight-digit supporter number, unless I somehow got placed on some marketer’s list of easy marks. Delete.

The 48th anniversary of the signing of Medicare prompted the DCCC and its antithesis, the National Republican Congressional Committee, to send out news releases so similar that they could have been spit out by the same computer program. The Democrats just dropped in a GOP name, like Cathy McMorris Rodgers, in suggesting someone who doesn’t want the venerable health insurance program to see its 49th year, while Republicans insert a Democratic name. The NRCC press release doesn’t have a Washington Democrat’s name, but instead castigates Ron Barber of Arizona. I should send myself an email note to send them a map next week of the Western states. But for now: Delete. Delete.

Only about 4,590 emails to go. Time for a coffee break.

Spin Control, a weekly column by political reporter Jim Camden, also appears online with daily items and reader comments at www. spincontrol.
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