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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.

While Congress gets Nowhere on Gun Laws, States (Like Washington) Make Progress

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Gun safety measures are stalled in Congress, but states like Washington have found the tactics to pass legislation.

Legal Maneuvering around the Sawant Recall

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Last week attorneys for Sawant filed a response that asks for much larger changes to the synopsis. They largely re-litigate points that they raised last fall that Judge Rogers flatly rejected — twice.

Finally: Bringing Factions Together to Solve Seattle’s Housing Problem?

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It may be that Seattle voters are ready to "leave Afghanistan," and that the voters and the mobilized beneficiaries of the charter amendment will pressure the council and the new mayor to grab this peace treaty, warts and all.

A Day in Governor Inslee’s Schedule

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We hadn’t yet seen a day as top-to-bottom newsy as March 29. Here’s a spin through it, with some context and a few illuminating and not-so-illuminating explanations from Inslee’s office.

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.

Street Fighter: When Nancy Reagan ran the White House

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Karen Tumulty is a Washington Post columnist and was for years a hardworking reporter on the presidential campaign trail, not one of the repetitive ones you see on Cable TV. The Triumph of Nancy Reagan is her first book. It is the best treatment of the Reagan years since Lou Cannon’s President Reagan: The role of a lifetime nearly three decades ago.

How #MeToo Morphed into #BalanceTonPorc

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Part of the backlash against #MeToo comes from virtue exhaustion. Democrats are sick of holding party members to standards that Republicans feel no necessity to meet.

How to sell Infrastructure to Republicans: We need to Beat China

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In terms of spending on scientific research and development, the US led China $553 billion to $463 billion in 2018, but China’s investment has been growing at more than 15 percent a year, while the US has increased by less than 5 percent annually, meaning that by this year, China likely is ahead.

Jumping Legal Hurdles for the City’s “Jump Start Tax”

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One problem with the original tax proposal: An employer that does no business in Seattle could end up paying taxes on the compensation paid to an employee who does no work in Seattle, simply because that employee chooses to live in Seattle — a choice outside the employer’s control. The Court is unlikely to approve this aspect.

Canada’s COVID Politics: Trudeau Ascendant

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Canadians remain wary of opening their American border. As well they might be: British Columbia has recorded 5,108 new cases of the coronavirus over the first five days of April. While the pace is stepping up, vaccination has had a slower start north of the 49th Parallel.

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.

Citizens’ Uprising: Coalition Proposes Bold Idea for Seattle Homelessness

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The proposed amendment is a loud message to the Mayor, the City Council, and the City Attorney that they have bickered themselves into irrelevance. Their endless infighting and incremental tweaks are no longer fooling anyone into believing that they are going to make a difference to homelessness in Seattle.

Take 5: Handicapping the Seattle Mayor’s Race, a Pivotal Election

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Will the election be the start of a pendulum swing back to pragmatic moderation, or the consolidation of the city as a leftist bastion? Voters, unions, and independent expenditures hold the keys.

The Moral Nuances of Immigration

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Eric Kaufmann insists that much of the resistance to mass immigration is not so much racist as merely conservative, emerging not from generalized loathing of others but from attachment to one’s own in times of rapid change. He makes a distinction between ‘racism’ and ‘racial self-interest,’ the first abhorrent, the second understandable. .

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.”

Rent Control: How a Legislative Bill Dies

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For opponents, the bill represented the thin end of the wedge of “real” rent control, something that could usher in decades of stagnant rents, tenants who never leave, depressed property values, and a system that would scare away investors in new housing projects.

Joe Biden: Luck or Shrewd Planning?

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Biden figured early that Democratic voters, or at least 75 percent of them, did not want the leftist “revolution” promised by Bernie Sanders. “It wasn’t just the party elites who didn’t want Sanders,” write the authors. “Most of the party’s voters didn’t want [Sanders], either.” Biden was able to become the “process of elimination” nominee.

The Next Challenge to American Democracy

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If the 2020 election results had matched the polling, Republicans would have suffered a comprehensive, crushing defeat that might have broken the fever of Trumpism and helped more traditional Republicans restore the GOP to sanity. Unfortunately, the polls were wrong again.

Rare Unanimity: Katherine Chi Tai Clears the Senate

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Katherine Chi Tai received a 98-0 vote, unanimous support from both parties as the next U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). This is a bit odd, considering the USTR will have a pivotal role in shaping the Administration’s trade policy, and more significantly the U.S. China relationship, currently plagued with tensions and distrust.

Do the Redistricting Dance: How City Council Districts will be Redrawn

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By no means should you read this as an exact prediction of what the redistricting master will ultimately do, but as a proof-of-concept it gives us a sense of the kind of changes to the Council districts we can expect given the uneven growth Seattle has seen in the last several years.

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.

Biden’s Brilliant Start (But Landmines Await)

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Biden and Congressional Democrats are facing challenges that could put Republicans back in power after the 2022 midterms—scotching chances for progress on the ambitious Biden agenda.

Historic New Funding For Native Communities; Deb Haaland confirmed as Interior Secretary

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The American Rescue Plan contains a whopping $31.2 billion for the country’s tribal governments and native communities. Most of the money will go straight to Indian Country,

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.

Gambling Operator Makes a Big Bet on Sports Betting in Washington

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Maverick Gaming, the largest non-tribal gambling operator in Washington State, quietly dropped an additional $1 million into its political action committee recently, likely in preparation for a signature drive to put a sports gambling initiative on the ballot in November.

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?”

Mercer Island — Seriously? What the Law Says About Fining Homeless People

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So what was the point of Mercer Island's passing an ordinance that wasn’t needed and can’t be used? Good question, but Mercer Island isn’t talking.

The Three Groups that Participated in the Capitol Insurrection

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Two important studies have been recently released that take a closer look at the insurrectionists' makeup, and one looks closely at who makes up the MAGA Movement. Together they point to something that the TV commentators didn't dwell on, namely that there is a growing domestic anti-democracy movement.

Women in Government: Neera, but Still So Far Away

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Neera Tanden is out of the running for reasons that are irrelevant and hypocritical and not remotely disqualifying for male candidates who share her experience, qualifications and accomplishments.