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Obama in Oso: Reports from the pool

April 22, 2014 5:36 p.m. - Updated: 5:37 p.m.

Marine One flies over the site of the March 22 mudslide taking President Obama to Oso. AP PHOTO

President Obama stopped in Washington state on his way to Asia, landing in Everett and traveling to Oso to see the devastation of last month's mudslide and talk to some of the surviving families and the people who responded to the disaster.

As is typical for a presidential visit, the White House sent out a “pool report” from a small group of journalists assigned to travel to the remote locations, to avoid having the entire press horde showing up in some place like Oso. Spin Control provides the relevant pool reports, along with some tweets from Northwest reporters, to keep you updated on the visit.

Obama leaves for Asia

5:20 pm pool report: President Obama exited Marine One with Gov. Jay Inslee and headed for Air Force One. He shook hands with the governor, gave him a brief hug, and headed up the stairs to board the plane. The senior staffers who accompanied him from Washington DC then followed. We are rolling, headed for Tokyo.— Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post.

Arlington departure

5 p.m.: Obama and others left landing field in Arlington, headed for Paine Field in Everett where Air Force One is parked. 

In Oso

4:50 p.m. Pool report: Obama spoke to fire fighters and paramedics at the Oso firehouse, standing under a handmade banner that read “Oso Strong” next to a bright red Snohomish County fire truck. The walls of the firehouse were papered with signs thanking the search and rescue volunteers, including a twenty-foot yellow banner covered with the handprints of elementary school children. 
For several members of the crowd of 75, it was the first time they'd taken a break to do anything besides eat or sleep since the disaster took place. “We've been working together for weeks, but this is the first time I feel we've really come together,” said William Quistorf, chief pilot for the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office, gesturing toward the Navy aviators sitting next to him. “It feels like part of a healing process”. . . 

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Today’s fun video: Stewart weighs in on AZ cattle standoff

April 22, 2014 11:45 a.m.

 

The Daily Show was off during the height of the standoff between Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management. Last night, Jon Stewart made up for lost time.

There are two clips on the segment, although you'll have to wait through a commercial at the start of each one.

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Earth Day, from 2 perspectives

April 22, 2014 10:19 a.m. - Updated: 10:48 a.m.

At Spin Control, we get a wide range of suggestions from e-mail, Twitter and Facebook on a wide variety of topics most days. But seldom do we get something with such a sharp dichotomy on the topic of the day, which is Earth Day.

We got word of a contest from Press the President, a group which describes itself as “a worldwide forum for unfiltered debate about U.S. issues that affect the globe.” It's sponsoring a photo contest this month for people to show how they are helping the environment this spring, and even has some helpful tips, such as eat vegetarian one day a week, bring your own cup to the coffee stand rather than using one of their paper ones, or give somebody that Christmas present you don't like rather than throwing it out, or planting a garden. (Obviously their worldwide forum includes some real intellectual heavyweights and novel thinkers.)

Press the Prez, meet Clint Didier, Republican candidate for Congress in Washington's 4th Congressional District, who tweeted his favorite thing to do for Earth Day.

Just a hunch, but we're guessing Didier's photo wouldn't win anything in the photo contest.

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McMorris Rodgers makes 2014 bid official

April 21, 2014 4:59 p.m. - Updated: 5:30 p.m.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers made her re-election campaign official Monday, announcing she’ll seek a sixth term in the House of Representatives.

The announcement is primarily a formality because the Spokane-area Republican has been raising money almost since the 2012 election ended and already has collected some $1.3 million for the upcoming campaign.

Rival Democrats have recruited Joe Pakootas, chief executive officer of the Colville Tribal business operation to run against her. David Wilson, former head of Interface College, is running as an independent.

In her announcement. . . 

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Pot store lottery begins

April 21, 2014 3:23 p.m. - Updated: 3:23 p.m.

OLYMPIA — The lottery for Washington's limited supply of recreational marijuana shops began today and will continue through the beginning of next month. But don't expect any snappy video shots of bouncing balls in a cage, which the state's other Lottery features.

It's called a double-blind lottery. And, like it sounds, it won't be very visual.

The Liquor Control Board has sent a list of retail license applicants who met the qualifications and filled out their forms properly to a Seattle auditing firm, which will generate random lists of applicants in each of the state's 39 counties, plus all the cities, where a certain number of stores will be allowed.

Later this week, Washington State University's Social and Economic Sciences Research Center will generate random lists of “winning” numbers for all jurisdictions that have more applications than their allotted slots. That's likely to be most of them, but a board spokesman said this afternoon they don't yet have a full breakdown on jurisdictions and applicants who met the most recent demand for information from staff. 

The auditors will match up the two lists, send the finished product to the Liquor Control Board, which expects to have the selected applicants all notified by May 1. The board will post the list online on May 2, although word of some of the applicants will likely leak out before then.

One other caveat: Just because an applicant makes the list does not guarantee a license. They'll have to pass further inspections of their planned storefront before getting the final go-ahead. If an applicant drops out or fails an inspection, the next applicant on the random list will get a shot.

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Sunday Spin: How to make freebie meals very infrequent

April 19, 2014 5:59 p.m.

OLYMPIA – A special panel is struggling to tell legislators how often they can break bread – and drink various beverages – with lobbyists.

State law already carries the stricture that such activities should be “infrequent.” The task for Legislative Ethics Board – a group of legislators and citizens who set rules for the conduct of senators and representatives – is deciding when does one move beyond infrequent to frequent.

Is it one dinner a month? Lunch every third Thursday? One dinner, one lunch and two coffee dates a week?

This argument may seem to fall somewhere between medieval scholars debating how many angels fit on the point of a pin and Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of pornography as “I know it when I see it” . . . 

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On the web: State may have something valuable for you

April 18, 2014 7 p.m.

OLYMPIA – Odds are that you or someone you know has money waiting at the state Department of Revenue, just a few computer key strokes away.

The department’s main job is taking in money from Washington residents and businesses. But every so often, it reminds people of its efforts to send money out. It’s unclaimed property program has some $1 billion in cash, securities and other things waiting for their rightful owner to step up, fill out the proper forms and get what’s coming to him or her.

That might be a rebate check for a few bucks that never found its way to your mail box.

But it could be much, much bigger, like some $2.2 million in stocks and unclaimed dividend checks a Puget Sound resident was able to claim in the last year. Erin Lopez, the unclaimed property operations manager, said the man’s parents apparently bought the stocks when he was a child but the securities firm lost track of them when they moved and dividend checks started getting returned. Eventually everything went to the state for safe keeping under a law passed in 1956 which requires the state to hold assets forever in a person’s name. . . 

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State, feds nix each others Hanford plans

April 18, 2014 5:06 p.m. - Updated: 5:09 p.m.

OLYMPIA — Washington rejected the U.S. Energy Department's latest plan for the cleanup of leaking tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The federal government, in turn, rejected the state's counter offer, setting up the prospect that they could be headed back to court with their long-running dispute over one of the nation's biggest nuclear cleanups. . . 

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WA to US: Hanford plan’s a no-go

April 18, 2014 11:42 a.m. - Updated: 11:55 a.m.

OLYMPIA — Washington is rejecting the U.S. Energy Department's latest plan for the cleanup of leaking tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

In a letter today to the Justice Department, Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the proposal DOE made last moth to amend the 2010 plan on cleaning up the waste is too vague. The Energy Department has fallen behind on its timetable to clean up waste left over from years of production for the nation's nuclear weapons, and came up with a revision.

“Energy's proposal lacks sufficient specificity, accountability and enforceability,” Inslee said. 

The state has its own plan, which it considers more specific. If DOE rejects Washington's plan — which could happen later today — the state could go to “dispute resolution,” which involves a 40-day period of negotiations. If there's no agreement there, the state could go to federal court and ask a judge to order the department to use the state's plan.

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Today’s fun video: MT candidate is quite a shot

April 18, 2014 11:39 a.m. - Updated: 11:42 a.m.

 

This ad from Montana congressional candidate Matt Rosendale suggests two truths about American politics:

Guns are popular.

Drones are not. 

The ad also suggests that Rosendale considers himself a pretty good shot.

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