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Friday, April 23, 2021

Short Circuit: Impatience with the Institutions of Democracy Grows

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It's worrisome that the only channels for change that seem to be unclogged, locally as well as nationally, are channels that short-circuit deliberation and deny the chance to assemble a durable majority.

Nash Collection Farm Worker Photos Get Front Page Treatment

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The Nash Collection had been locked away in a sub-basement of the Washington State University Library since the early 1990s, with only about 100 low resolution images from the collection posted on the library’s website, until a Seattle couple posted a few of those images on Facebook.

The Chamber of Commerce Disarms Itself Politically. Sorta.

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The Chamber's unilateral disarmament will last through 2021. Beyond that, no guarantees.

Dump the Filibuster? Not So Fast.

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Wait til after the 2022 election. You need more Democratic votes to stand a chance to succeed, and you need the prospect of a good long run of Democratic dominance in D.C. to make it worth while.

To Have a Democracy, You Have to Let People Vote

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State laws are being proposed under the guise of curbing voter fraud. Yet reliable studies have shown there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Voter fraud essentially is an illusion, an excuse to clamp down on ballot access and make voting more difficult, especially for minority voters and for young and low-income voters.

A Really BFD: The First Next-gen Vaccine

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If this vaccine lives up to its potential, it will be a powerful tool to bring down the global pandemic.

Microsoft Protests Georgia’s New Voter-Discouragement Law

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Microsoft's Brad Smith: “We hope that companies will come together and make clear that a healthy business requires a healthy community. And a healthy community requires that everyone have a right to vote conveniently, safely, and securely.”

Post-Trump: The China Problem Spurs Bipartisanship

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In just four years, the Trump presidency alienated most of our traditional allies, whose loyalty is now in question when it comes to China. If Biden does not rally these countries to get back onboard, America will definitely be in a weaker position, as Beijing’s ruling party well knows.

Short-Circuited: BC Premier Declares “Circuit Breaker” COVID Lockdown

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Vaccination has had a relatively slow rollout, with just under 700,000 shots administered and just 87,000 B.C. residents fully immunized. Hence, a circuit breaker is now required until April 19 to break the chains of transmission.

How Local Business Giants Drove Down Seattle’s COVID Rates

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In the past, Boeing would set a high bar for corporate participation, with other companies finding their proper levels below. Microsoft now orchestrates such efforts.

Covid Relief Rescues Amtrak’s Historic Long-distance Routes

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The Empire Builder was once a signature train for the Great Northern Railroad, advertised by a drawing of a mountain goat. Then and now, the train gives a sense of America’s vast spaces and scenic grandeur.

Not Yours

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There is a deep line forming between my eyebrows. It’s not centered; it’s closer to my right eyebrow and it's about an inch wide. I have always known it’s there. Last week it became more prominent as I was reading about the disappearance of Sarah Everard.

Guns. Again.

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One grim certainty from these mass shootings: gun sales will spike right after the tragedy.

Leaving Portland — One Couple’s Story

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Portland had been transformed into a distinctively Europeanized city, but now it is afflicted by a chronic anarchism that the politicians seem unable to stop.

The Politics of the Violence Against Women Act

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The reauthorization would increase money for victims’ services, expand training for providers, and closes the “boyfriend loophole” that currently allows abusive former partners and stalkers with previous convictions to obtain guns.

Port Elections: Changing Dynamics for Getting Elected

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Down ballot races are now contested as an aspect of identity politics, more than the public-policy issues.

The Troubled Tale of the Black Brilliance Report on Participatory Budgeting

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"In the final days of the $3 million Black Brilliance Research Project, the wheels came off the wagon. King County Equity Now, the organization that fought for and spearheaded the project, found itself on the outside looking in,"

Northwest Congressfolk Team Up to Keep Federal Archives in Seattle

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It was a rare display of bipartisan cooperation uniting all but one of the region's congressional representatives. If successful, a reversal would prevent a sale of the building and land and keep precious historical records nearby.

US News Declares Washington ‘The Best State.’ Hold the Champagne — It’s Not.

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The methodology discounts high costs and thereby rewards the "best states if you can afford to live there." No surprise that Washington aces this test.

Sen. Maria Cantwell Messes with Texas, Probing its Energy Meltdown

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Boring in, she asked, “Do you know of any Enron traders who were involved in both the Texas and California markets that are now employed in ERCOT trading?”

COVID Update: Vaccines, Variants, and Endangered Kids

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Real world data remains to be gathered, but this result at least suggests that if we can in fact vaccinate the world fast enough, we still have a chance to clamp down hard on the virus.

What are People doing with those COVID-Relief Checks? Saving!

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The unemployed, who really needed the money, probably spent that extra benefit, while everyone else simply stuck it in the bank. The personal savings rate rose to 20.5 percent.

This Year’s Snowpack is WAY Above Normal (But our Glaciers…)

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“The Northwest snowpack went CRAZY in February, going from nearly normal to way above normal,” the Cliff Mass Weather Blog reported.

Why Big Lies Work Insidiously Well in American Politics

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Big lies have the media advantage of gaining further coverage by being attacked as false, so they are two-fers.

Demi-Semi-Literally: Who Pronounces the “t” in Often?

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Ever since its founding document proclaimed that “all men are created equal,” the supply of status in America has been inadequate. Any method to appropriate distinction, even though mispronunciation, will flourish.

Going Rogue: Two Renegade Northwest Congressmen on Key Votes

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The left politics of Portland has not picked up more support beyond the city, in trying to primary Blue Dog Rep. Schrader, any more than Seattle’s litmus-test left.

Seattle Parks: Where’s the Urgency?

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Given the challenge, tents everywhere in parks throughout the city, a sense of resignation was not surprising. But there are fixes and many other cities have found them.

Biden and Trudeau Agree to Rescue Porcupine Caribou Herd

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The coastal plain has been subject to a 40-year struggle. It is vital to existence of the 100,000-plus animals of the Porcupine herd, but Alaska politicians have long sought to drill in the Refuge.

Pickleball’s Seattle Origins (It’s America’s Fastest-Growing Sport)

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Wanting to play badminton one day in his Bainbridge back yard, but lacking a shuttlecock, Joel Pritchard substituted a whiffle ball and fashioned some small wooden rackets.

Cutting Costs at The Seattle Times

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In Seattle, the Times is reducing its rented space from four floors to one, but that does not reflect any cuts in personnel so much as the new hybrid work model.