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News >  WA Government

Spin Control: Inslee stays close to home but he’s all over the airwaves; songs for a pandemic

UPDATED: Sat., April 25, 2020

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is interviewed about the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by Spokesman-Review reporter Jim Camden on Friday, April 24, 2020 for the newspaper’s Northwest Passages virtual forum series. (SR)
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is interviewed about the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by Spokesman-Review reporter Jim Camden on Friday, April 24, 2020 for the newspaper’s Northwest Passages virtual forum series. (SR)

Gov. Jay Inslee has a fairly short commute to work – out the mansion’s side door, down some steps, through a side door to the Capitol and up to his second-floor office – and otherwise appears to stick close to his stay-home order.

Perhaps he got any travel bug out of his system last year during his brief run for president, which involved multiple trips to gatherings of Democrats around the country.

But one might not know his wings are clipped by watching television. Recently he’s shown up on “Meet the Press,” “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, several MSNBC talking head shows and “The View,” all via some sort of internet audio-video hookup.

Shameless plug: He also linked up with us from his office for a Spokesman-Review Northwest Passages online community forum on Friday.

He’s been in demand ever since Washington became the first battleground against COVID-19, to explain what the state is doing to fight the virus.

It brings to mind the intro of the old “Chickenman” radio show: “He’s everywhere, he’s everywhere.” Of course, this is all done by Zoom or WebEx or Skype, so he’s not really everywhere. But then, neither was Chickenman. (Readers too young to get the reference can Google it.)

It’s hard to do the math, but it’s possible that Inslee has been on national television more in the last two months than he was during his entire presidential run – even if one includes appearances on those two summertime debates with a stage full of would-be nominees.

Speaking of Mr. Everywhere

Someone else who qualifies for the “He’s everywhere, he’s everywhere” intro is initiative promoter turned gubernatorial candidate Tim Eyman. He actually is out and about from his Bellevue home, looking for the media spotlight at various demonstrations and protests.

He was at demonstrations in favor of dropping the stay-home order and work restrictions at the Capitol last Sunday and at Spokane City Hall on Wednesday. Thursday morning he was back in Olympia, outside the Temple of Justice before the Supreme Court hearing on a request to release more inmates from state prisons during the pandemic because of crowded conditions.

Eyman later sent out a photo from the Thursday morning event that showed three people who recounted emotional stories about being victims of violent crimes. His email credits them with swaying the court into turning down the request, 5-4, to release more inmates.

This seems to ignore the fact that the justices weren’t out listening to the speeches, and that they decide cases on the law, not emotion. It’s also worth noting that while the court split 5-4, there weren’t four votes for letting out 11,000 more inmates, including some convicted murderers serving life without parole, as Eyman’s email suggests.

The dissenting minority was suggesting they disagreed on some fairly technical points about the need for a writ of mandamus, including whether the state should report back to the court on how its plans of are working in a couple of weeks. Releasing inmates serving life without parole was never on the table.

Pandemic playlist

Last week we mentioned some songs that should go on a playlist for folks stuck at home with the pandemic restrictions – and some that should come off – then asked readers for suggestions. Here are some that we got:

Kim James suggested “You Are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson.

Might want to cue that up after Bob Witte’s suggestions of “So Lonely” by The Police, “All By Myself” and “One is The Loneliest Number” by Harry Nilsson – although I’d go with the Three Dog Night version for the last one, just to spread the variety among artists.

Witte and others suggested Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer,” although if you have kids that have been singing that for a month you might be tired of it by now. “Smokin in the Boys Room,” by either Brownsville Station or Motle Crüe, should be retired until fall.

“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” by Chicago would be good for people who have been home so long they’d have to reply “No.”

Feeling overcome by it all? There’s “Had to Cry Today,” by Blind Faith.

As an antidote for those feeling too down and out, Rick Matthews suggests “We’ve Been Through Some Crappy Times Before,” by The Austin Lounge Lizards. Witte has “It’s a Big Old Goofy World,” by John Prine, who himself succumbed to complications of COVID-19 this month.

If you want to take a different route – and don’t want to get into a debate about why Washington’s retail marijuana shops are open but your favorite bar or coffee house is closed – there’s “Might As Well Get Stoned,” by Chris Stapleton.

For a major pick-me-up, there are several versions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Matthews would go with Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. I’m partial to the Eric Clapton version and know the Judy Garland rendition has lots of fans.

Definitely off the playlist while social distancing is in full force: “Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and “Touch Me” by the Doors. Also off: “It’s The End of the World As We Know It,” by REM, no matter how tempting that may be to proclaim; and “Can’t Find My Way Home,” by Blind Faith, because with the stay-home order in place, if you can’t find your way home you shouldn’t have left.

On another musical front, Judy Bacon suggested a new hand-washing track for those tired of two verses of “Happy Birthday.” She’s a Julie Andrews fan and uses the first verse of “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” from “My Fair Lady,” which clocks in at just over 20 seconds. Maybe readers have more suggestions for songs to sing while scrubbing up, too.

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