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Obama signs emergency declaration for fires

July 23, 2014 10:05 a.m. - Updated: 10:10 a.m.

President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration this morning that offers federal aid to Central Washington areas hard hit by wildfires.

It authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief efforts in Chelan and Okanogan counties and on the Colville Reservation. Obama had promised action Tuesday in Seattle after receiving a briefing on the fires from Gov. Jay Inslee. 

Full text of the White House announcement can be found inside the blog.

 

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Inslee: FEMA aid to help restore power in fire areas

July 22, 2014 5:10 p.m. - Updated: 5:11 p.m.

SEATTLE – The federal government will provide emergency assistance to help restore electricity in areas of Central Washington where wild fires have knocked out power, Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday.

Inslee got a promise of emergency assistance that will include generators, replacing burned out lines and poles and help from the Army Corps of Engineers from President Obama after briefing him on the devastation from the fires. Obama and Inslee rode into Seattle for a Democratic Party fund-raiser after Air Force One landed at Boeing Field Tuesday afternoon.

During the ride, Inslee said he was able to show Obama maps of the fires in Central Washington and brief him on “how enormous this threat is.” An estimated 350,000 acres have burned, the most in state history, and fire season still has months to go, the governor said.

“The administration is going to grant that emergency assistance that will be generated through FEMA,” Inslee said.

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Today’s fun video: What would Reagan do about Ukraine shootdown?

July 22, 2014 11:55 a.m.

 

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart skewers talking head news types who compare Barack Obama to Ronald Reagan's response to the Soviet shoot-down of a jetliner without checking the facts. 

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Spokane unemployment rate drops

July 22, 2014 10:51 a.m. - Updated: 10:51 a.m.

Spokane County's unemployment rated dropped by 1 percent in June, nearing the state average as it fell to 5.6 percent.

The Washington Employment Security Department released its monthly unemployment report this morning, which shows unemployment in Spokane County at the lowest point since October 2008. Statewide unemployment is estimated at 5.4 percent.

Ferry and Grays Harbor counties had the highest unemployment rates, at 8.5 percent and Asotin County the lowest, at 4.4 percent. King County, the state's most populous is at 4.7 percent.

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Inslee to brief Obama on fires

July 22, 2014 10:27 a.m. - Updated: 10:27 a.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee will brief President Obama on the fires in Central Washington as the two drive into Seattle this afternoon.

Obama, Air Force One and the traveling White House press corps are due in to Boeing Field at mid-afternoon, and the president will motorcade into Seattle for a fund-raiser. Inslee will ride in the car with Obama to brief him on the progress of fighting the wildfires, which have torched a record amount of area east of the Cascades.

The president is due to leave Seattle right after the fund-raiser to fly to San Francisco. Seattle drivers are being warned to expect traffic days for Obama's coming and going. 

Inslee, who has made several trips to the east side of the state to check on firefighting efforts, plans to stop at the Camp Murray Emergency Operations Center to thank workers on his way up to Boeing Field, his staff said.

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Sunday Spin: Some advice for Obama on this trip to Seattle

July 19, 2014 6:21 p.m.

President Obama’s campaign apparatus e-mails almost every day asking for money, but perhaps because I never give him any, he never calls to ask for advice. That’s OK. I have some for him anyway, unsolicited.

Don’t pop in and out of Seattle this week like some guy stopping at the ATM for cash on the way to pick up pizza and a video. If you’re intent on coming for a fund-raiser at some Seattle fat-cat’s home – thus making the city’s usually terrible traffic abysmal for everyone not in an escorted motorcade – it ought to be for something more than just the money. This is particularly true if half the state is still either on fire or choking on smoke.

The White House said last week the president will stop in Tuesday on his way to California, where he’s got even more money-makers later in the week. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

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Obama coming next week. Will WA still be burning?

July 18, 2014 12:26 p.m. - Updated: 12:26 p.m.

President Barack Obama is planning a fund-raising visit to Seattle on Tuesday. Quick in and out on the way to more fund-raising in California.

As with previous visits, it's likely to tie up traffic in the Puget Sound during his coming and going to the event, which is at an as-yet-undisclosed residence in Seattle. Motorists already dealing with summer construction season can expect even more delays.

But the fires in Central Washington — which Gov. Jay Inslee labeled a firestorm today — might still be burning by Tuesday, and even if they are under control, there will be plenty of scorched earth and former homes that are not much more than a foundation and a chimney. 

So the question for Obama and all his political planners is this:Do you cancel the Seattle stop out of respect for the disaster? Do you pop in and out of Washington like a person hitting their favorite ATM? Or do you extend the stay to acknowledge the disaster, possibly making a trip to the devastation and talk about the effects of climate change? 

Gov. Jay Inslee said today he hadn't talked to Obama about the fires and his upcoming visit.

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Edible pot rules: No to lollipops, yes to brownies

July 16, 2014 11:04 a.m. - Updated: 2:16 p.m.

OLYMPIA — Legal marijuana stores won't be able to sell lollipops, gummy bears or other candies infused with the drug, but will be able to sell properly labelled brownies and cookies, a state agency decided today.

The Liquor Control Board approved rules for marijuana-infused food products, also known as edibles, designed to limit items that may appeal strongly to children. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

 

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Today’s fun video: We’re all guilty of some word crimes

July 16, 2014 7 a.m. - Updated: 9:26 a.m.

 

How many of these infractions, misdemeanors and felonies have you committed?

And yes, Weird Al probably made better use of this tune than Robin Thicke.

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Ex-Im Bank: How vital is it?

July 15, 2014 5:13 p.m. - Updated: 5:27 p.m.

Govs. Jay Inslee and Butch Otter signed on to a letter Tuesday urging Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, but the owner of a Palouse company sometimes listed as a local beneficiary of the institution says the United States should let it go out of business . .  .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

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