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Hanford fraud ● Hands off Mueller ● Halfway whole ● Toto-ly cool again

Friday, November 9, 2018




► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Billions are spent at Hanford each year. Report highlights risk of fraud and mismanagement — Millions of taxpayer dollars are at risk at the Hanford nuclear reservation if the Department of Energy does not oversee the site’s contractors and subcontractors more aggressively, according to a new report. The DOE Office of Inspector General released a new report this week summarizing the numerous findings of fraud, mismanagement and safety concerns it has detailed in the past seven years at Hanford. “The Hanford Site has been plagued with mismanagement, poor internal controls and fraudulent activities, resulting in monetary impacts totaling hundreds of millions of dollars by the various contractors involved at the site,” the Office of Inspector General report said.

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — No strike for North Thurston office workers as they agree to contract deal — The union representing office staff at North Thurston Public Schools reached a tentative contract agreement with the district less than a week after members signaled they were ready to strike.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Community groups call on City Council to reject Seattle police-union contract — In a major blow to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, 24 community groups on Thursday urged the City Council to reject a tentative contract her administration negotiated with the city’s rank-and-file police union.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — EvCC faculty gives ‘no confidence’ vote in Board of Trustees — Faculty at Everett Community College are continuing to oppose the site of the new Learning Resource Center — the future home of the school library and academic support programs. Despite the concerns, the board approved the location 4-1. Faculty union president Mike VanQuickenborne announced the no-confidence decision to the Board of Trustees at a meeting on Tuesday.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Immigration officials continue to operate at Spokane Greyhound bus station despite city ordinance — The U.S. Border Patrol continues to question people at the Spokane Greyhound bus station, despite an ordinance passed by the Spokane City Council last month.




TODAY at The Stand — Latest results: Mona Das surges into lead in 47th Senate race

► From The Stranger — Mona Das overtakes Sen. Fain in latest ballot count — After Thursday’s ballot drop, we’re still looking at a lot of close races in the Washington State legislature. The big news is Democrat Mona Das is now leading Sen. Joe Fain in the 47th Legislative District. She was down by 90 yesterday, but now she’s up by 206 votes.

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Whatcom County legislative races remain tight after Thursday’s vote count — A possibility of recounts still loomed in races for the 42nd Legislative District’s state Senate and two House seats.

► In today’s Seattle Times — How booming King County helped Kim Schrier flip the 8th for Democrats — Changing demographics in the 8th Congressional District may have played a role in the defeat of Republican Dino Rossi, handing the district over to the Democrats for the first time.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Pricing fossil-fuel pollution in Washington state faces an uncertain future after second election failure — I-1631 has gained less than 44 percent of the yes votes. The results underscore how tough it is to muster sufficient political support for putting a price on oil, natural gas and coal emissions — even in Washington, a stronghold of the environmental movement.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Protesters crowd into downtown Seattle to demand Russia investigation continue — The event was part of nationwide protests organized in response to recent shakeups in the administration. President Trump on Wednesday demanded Jeff Sessions resign as attorney general and named Matthew Whitaker acting attorney general.

MORE local rally coverage from the Columbian, KNKXPeninsula Daily News, Tri-City Herald, and the Yakima H-R.

► In today’s NY Times — Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker once criticized Supreme Court’s power — The acting attorney general, Matthew G. Whitaker, once espoused the view that the courts “are supposed to be the inferior branch” and criticized the Supreme Court’s power to review legislative and executive acts and declare them unconstitutional, the lifeblood of its existence as a coequal branch of government.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Congress, protect special counsel (editorial) — Citizens deserve to know the full extent of Russian meddling in our democracy — and whether the president’s campaign played a role. After the president’s firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Congress must act quickly to safeguard Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

► From Politico — Trump moves to restrict asylum access at the U.S.-Mexico border — The Trump administration on Thursday rolled out a fast-track regulation that will restrict the ability of certain migrants to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border — a move that’s almost certain to trigger legal challenges and humanitarian backlash.

► From The Hill — Dems mark Trump tax returns as key part of agenda — House Democrats want to get their hands on President Trump’s tax returns, and plan to make the issue a key part of their agenda upon taking the majority next year. A provision in the federal tax code gives the chairmen of the congressional panels with jurisdiction on tax policy the ability to request tax returns from the Treasury Department. That means the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee will have the authority in January to demand Trump’s tax returns.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Finally getting to see Trump’s tax returns is certain to be a bipartisan demand. After all, our own Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-4th) promised his constituents he would demand their release and even co-sponsored legislation requiring Trump to release them.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Cathy McMorris Rodgers won’t run for House Republican leadership position — She announced Thursday that she will give up her position in Republican House leadership. She reportedly planned to pursue the Republican whip position had the party maintained its majority.

► In today’s Washington Post — Federal judge blocks Keystone XL pipeline, saying Trump administration review ignored ‘inconvenient’ climate change facts — A federal judge temporarily blocked construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, ruling late Thursday that the Trump administration had failed to justify its decision granting a permit for the 1,200-mile long project designed to connect Canada’s oil sands fields with Texas’ Gulf Coast refineries.

► In today’s Washington Post — Sarah Sanders promotes an altered video of CNN reporter, sparking allegations of visual propaganda — The White House video, apparently made by a contributor to the conspiracy-peddling website Infowars, speeds up the movement of CNN’s Jim Acosta’s arms as the unidentified aide grabs at the mic during a heated conversation between the reporter and Trump. The video tweeted by Sanders also eliminated Acosta’s comment to the young woman — “Pardon me, ma’am” — as he sought to continue questioning the president.




► In today’s NY Times — This is us, halfway whole (by Timothy Egan) — It will take at least one more election cycle, but the enemies of progress are headed back to history’s basement. And democracy, after a surge of voters who had checked out of their role in the governing part, has a pulse. Equally significant: Progressive and common-sensical treatment of fellow Americans won at the polls. Medicaid was expanded by vote of the people in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah. These deep-red states will now join 33 others in the forward march of Obamacare. It will be a while before nearly every Republican stands up in Congress and proudly votes to take away someone’s health care or strips protections for pre-existing conditions. That argument is over. As always, policies to help people — a boost in the minimum wage in Arkansas and Missouri, pragmatic restrictions on guns in Washington state — passed handily, once they got past the gatekeepers and were put to voters.

► In today’s Washington Post — Democratic candidates in Florida pull into recount range as the state once again becomes the epicenter of a post-election fight over ballots — Nearly two decades after hanging chads transfixed the nation, Florida is once again headed toward a high-stakes election recount, as vote margins narrowed in Democrats’ favor Thursday in the state’s marquee U.S. Senate and governor’s races. Hundreds of party and interest-group volunteers spent the day trying to track down people who had cast provisional ballots, seeking affidavits to prove their votes should be counted. And in an echo of the 2000 presidential election, state Republicans tried to preempt the coming fight by accusing Democratic lawyers of heading to Broward County to “steal” the election.

► From TPM — Rick Scott’s sudden death overtime voting (by Josh Marshall) — It’s a simple point. Democrats are concentrated in large urban counties. Almost everywhere in the country, these counties take longer to count the vote than more sparsely populated exurban and rural areas. That’s hardly surprising. It’s not new. If you stop counting the votes before the blue regions are done counting, that obviously helps the Republican candidates quite a lot. That’s exactly what Rick Scott is trying to do as of last night, just much more openly and brazenly than even Republican candidates have done in the past.

► From CBS News — Scott Walker narrowly loses Wisconsin governor’s race – and he can’t ask for a recount because of a law he put in place — Under a new law that Walker signed last year, a candidate in Wisconsin must be losing by less than 1 percent to ask for a recount — but Walker lost by 1.2 percent.




► In the Wichita Eagle — Bombardier to cut 5,000 jobs, including some in Wichita — The Canadian parent of Learjet in Wichita is selling its turboprop airliner and business jet flight training businesses, and cutting 5,000 jobs. The job cuts will affect Wichita, though a company spokesman said he doesn’t know how many.




► A couple of weekends ago, The Entire Staff of The Stand was killing an hour in Bargain CDs, Records & Tapes in Everett (recommended!) and we walked out with a near-mint vinyl copy of Toto IV. This 1982 release would become the definitive album for this band of L.A. session musicians who’d recorded with the likes of Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs and George Benson. Following the blockbuster success of the album, the band happily went back to sessions, where they helped write and record Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Now, 35 years after it was a No. 1 single from Toto IV, this song is included in the “Hot 100 List” of the new Rolling Stone, which writes:

Nothing sums up 2018 like the fact that Toto’s “Africa” has become our unofficial anthem. It’s a song that’s ridiculous by definition — an Eighties ode to Africa by a bunch of L.A. rock dudes who’d never set foot in the place. But something about this song speaks to our moment. It’s the new “Don’t Stop Believin’” — a mega-cheese classic of Eighties sentiment that’s gotten bizarrely popular in recent years, beloved by hipsters and moms and tone-deaf karaoke singers screaming “I bless the rains down in Africa!”

Here it is live. Watch these guys go all “jam band,” fittingly at about 4:20. Enjoy!


BONUS: This song’s resurgence in popularity may owe something to Weezer, which just recorded a cover version of it in response to a fan petition. It has become an unlikely hit and spawned this memorable video. As NPR reports:

If you’ve ever wanted to see the Internet fold itself up into a burrito and consume itself hungrily over the course of four minutes, you’ve come to the right place. You see, Weezer made a video for its already-viral, ironic-but-maybe-not-ironic cover of Toto’s iconic-but-maybe-not-iconic 1983 hit “Africa,” and it’s got… “Weird Al” Yankovic in place of Rivers Cuomo, parodying the video for Weezer’s 1994 hit “Undone — The Sweater Song.” So, to review, what you’ve got here is a video of a left-field cover that doubles as a “Weird Al” Yankovic parody of a different video by the band that performs the left-field cover.


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