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Colbert weighs in on torture and American “awesomeness”

Dec. 11, 2014 noon - Updated: 12:05 p.m.

 

Plenty of folks are dissecting Andrea Tantaros comments on Fox that the Senate shouldn't have released its report on torture because America is “awesome”. Stephen Colbert does one of the best sendups of that and some other media comments.

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House Democrats pick committee leaders

Dec. 10, 2014 7:04 p.m.

OLYMPIA — House Democrats named their committee leaders today and Spokane's two representatives retained their vice chairmanships on key panels.

Rep. Timm Ormsby will be vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Marcus Riccelli will be vice chairman of the Health Care and Wellness Committee.

For a complete list of the committee chairmanships and vice chairmanships, check inside the blog.

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No one in U.S. appears to use the pseudonyms Senate gave to Spokane torture barons James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen

Dec. 10, 2014 4:56 p.m. - Updated: 4:57 p.m.

Grayson Swigert and Hammond Dunbar apparently don't exist.

And not just in the pseudonym sense, either.

No one in the United States appears to use the names that the Senate Intelligence Committee chose when trying to obscure the identities of Spokane psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen in the latest torture report, according to a review of various demographic and population databases.

Mitchell and Jessen have been paid more than $80 million from taxpayers for the now-discredited “enhanced” interrogation techniques, which the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigators concluded were brutal, ineffective and did nothing to make the country safer. SR columnist Shawn Vestal takes a closer look at their roles in his column today.

It's unclear why the Senate committee sought to obscure Mitchell's and Jessen's identities, particularly since their roles in the controversial torture techniques have long been known, but it made us wonder how you'd feel if your name was inserted into an official government report in lieu of the actual torture barons so we began searching for people with those names. And, that's when we discovered no one in the U.S. appears to use those specific names, based on searches of some of the most reliable databases, including Demographics Now and Lexus Nexus.

Perhaps that's why those pseudonyms were chosen.

 

 

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Inslee budget to propose $1 billion in tax hikes

Dec. 9, 2014 1:56 p.m. - Updated: 5:55 p.m.

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee's budget proposal for the next two years will include a request for $1 billion or more in higher taxes along with some program cuts, a delay of some new school spending approved by voters and raises for state employees.

Inslee will unveil the details of his budget plans for the second half of his term over four days next week. But in a discussion Tuesday with reporters, State Budget Director David Schumacher said without some new taxes the cuts to state programs would be “horrible.”

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

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Today’s fun video: Obama plays Colbert

Dec. 9, 2014 11:40 a.m.

 


President Obama pokes fun at almost everyone, including himself, in a mockup of The Word on The Colbert Report.

 

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Senate Republicans name committee heads

Dec. 9, 2014 10:44 a.m. - Updated: Dec. 10, 10:44 a.m.

OLYMPIA — Majority Republicans in the Senate named their committee leadership Tuesday.

Here's the breakdown for Spokane-area legislators:

Sen. Mike Padden of the Spokane Valley remains chairman of Law and Justice, and named vice chairman of Accountability and Reform, a new committee.

Sen. Mike Baumgartner of Spokane was named chairman of Commerce and Labor and vice chairman of Higher Education.

Sen Brian Dansel was named vice chairman of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development and vice chairman of Natural Resources and Parks.

Sen. Mark Schoesler, who serves as majority leader, doesn't get a chairmanship but will lead the majority caucus on the Rules Committee

To see the full breakdown, check inside the blog.

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Clark Hager — 100% for the Valley

Dec. 9, 2014 10:18 a.m. - Updated: 10:25 a.m.

From this morning's paper: Clark Hager fought for the Spokane Valley to be its own city for years, losing many battles but eventually winning the war.

Hager, 82, who died last month and will be remembered at a service Sunday, was a rock-ribbed conservative who pushed an agenda of smaller, more accountable government and lower taxes. Sometimes he used the pages of the Valley Herald, which he owned for several years in the mid-1990s. Sometimes he used theatrics. He frequently donned a red-white-and-blue top hat like Uncle Sam from a political cartoon. He occasionally towed a large, black-and-white, plastic bovine dubbed the Cash Cow to suggest his beloved Valley was paying more in taxes than it was getting back in services.

“He was 100 percent for the Valley,” said Joe McKinnon, also active in the incorporation movement. “That was the promised land as far as he was concerned.”

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

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Sunday Spin2: About those Powerball odds

Dec. 7, 2014 7:39 a.m.

Whenever a jackpot in one of the nation’s state-sanctioned numbers games, officially known as lotteries, approaches the stratosphere, reporters are asked to explain the odds of winning. Being notoriously bad at math, we often find some college professor to explain the formula then turn it into a simile, such as “it’s like being attacked by a grizzly and struck by lightning as you hit a golf ball for a hole-in-one.”

What we try to say, without actually spelling it out: It’s pretty much a sucker’s bet. Washington and other states, however, have extensive campaigns to convince people that they could beat the odds by plunking down a dollar or two.

So the Washington Lottery Commission must be ecstatic about Lisa and Everett Quam, who live near Auburn but could have come straight from Central Casting. They won the $90 million Powerball drawing the weekend after Thanksgiving. . .

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

 

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Sunday Spin: Has peace broken out in WA ‘War on Xmas’?

Dec. 6, 2014 6:04 p.m.

OLYMPIA – ‘Tis the night before Christmas, plus about 18, and all through the statehouse not a creature is stirring with complaints about how Washington is waging war on the holiday.

Thankfully.

The Association of Washington Business Holiday Kids Tree went up in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday. Gov. Jay Inslee flipped the switch for lights on Friday and the Capitol Building is suffused with the smell of noble fir  that almost obscures the aroma of bacon cooking in the basement café most mornings. Ut may be a minor Christmas miracle that no one has resurrected the complaint that if it looks like a Christmas tree and it smells like a Christmas tree, it by gosh by golly ought to be called a Christmas tree. . . 

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

 

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Spin Control Files: Remembering the Troglodytes

Dec. 6, 2014 10:44 a.m. - Updated: 10:47 a.m.

The somewhat erratically executed Spin Control Files feature today travels back to 1982 to remember the Troglodytes. 

Read about it here.

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