The Daily Troll: GOP is lying low here. Questions about Justice's use-of-force stats. Boeing wants more S.C. land.

Genetic engineering for salmon is OK with FDA. What do our state Republicans members of Congress have to say for their fiscal cliff crash-and-burn? And Microsoft enlists kids.

By Joe Copeland

December 21, 2012.

Boeing loves South Carolina

Boeing is buying up about 1,000 acres in South Carolina near its 787 plant there, according to an Associated Press story picked up by The Herald. AP reports: "Boeing has not announced any plans for the land. But Boeing South Carolina chief counsel Mark Fava says the company doesn't 'bank' land it doesn't plan to use."

Re-inventing salmon

Salmon may be a miracle, but, hey, it's cool to revise their genetics. That's according to a draft Food and Drug Administration environmental assessment today on genetic engineering to create faster-growing salmon. As Associated Press reports, critics promise to use a comment period to try to overturn the ruling. Slate is crowing that the White House let the FDA act only because of a recent Slate report charging that the White House was ignoring science and blocking the FDA's approval of genetically engineered salmon for political reasons. Of course, other countries take a different view of GM crops, animals and science.

Police use of force

The Seattle Weekly has extensive quotes from a new report suggesting that the Department of Justice overstated the Seattle Police Department's problems with inappropriate or excessive use of force. As writer Matt Driscoll's article points out, the authors, Seattle University's Matthew Hickman and Loren Atherly of Northwest Justice Solutions, aren't trying to undercut police department reforms, but to argue for knowing what needs to be improved in police practices. (A May 21 Crosscut article by Hickman, an assistant professor of criminal justice, is here.)

Fiscal cliff

Republicans dropped the ball on the nation's fiscal challenges back in D.C., but as long as there is a Congress representing districts all over the country, this type of thing is a local story, too.

On Facebook, former Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial Page Editor Mark Trahant posted this Seattle-oriented observation on the House Republicans:

A few years ago, we had a P-I editorial board meeting just after the Democrats captured the House. Seattle's Rep. Jim McDermott -- one of the most liberal members of that body -- was talking through the challenges of governing. Speaker Pelosi had to move through the House a war budget, a war that McDermott and other Democrats were absolutely against. I remember McDermott saying what he'd like to do, vote no, but then he said, "I won't do that to my Speaker." He voted yes because that's how divided government works. That is what has changed. The band of Republicans that shot down the Speaker's Plan B were voting their conscience. But it was also a vote of no confidence in their leader and in the constitutional notion that a divided government can still work.

Washington has four Republicans in the House. We, frankly, don't read any of them as being part of the knucklehead group that can't even vote for a measure raising taxes on some millionaires. In news searches, Dave Reichert and Jaime Herrera Beutler didn't show up as saying anything about the fiscal cliff discussions of the past few days; Doc Hastings spoke of an early, closed door meeting to hear about Speaker John Boehner's Plan B measure as "fun." A Washington Post blog mentioned that Cathy McMorris Rodgers was observed talking to arch conservative party members, apparently to urge them to support Boehner's measure.

Perhaps, in the wake of the party's failure to offer anything in the way of compromise and solution, it's best for Republicans to say little. Or nothing.

Tribes and online gambling

The Puget Sound Business Journal posted a thoughtul look today at how Northwest tribes are looking at the likely legalization of online gambling over the next few years. Washington Indian Gaming Association President W. Ron Allen told writer Emily Parkhurst, “Online gaming proposals are of great concern of the tribes. We have to keep a watchful eye on it, make sure it’s respectful of the tribes.”

Amen. Tribes have developed themselves (and their neighbors) by following the route to economic development that Congress laid out for them.

Tacoma Dome

Tacoma just had a study done of what it would take to upgrade the Tacoma Dome, perhaps even to serve pro basketball or hockey. As The News Tribune's Lewis Kamb writes, the costs make such a renovation: "Improbable. Unrealistic. Doubtful. Dubious."

He also reports:

But the more likely scenario is forgetting about the pro-sports dream and just enhancing what Tacoma already has: A civic arena that hosts concerts, entertainment and community events.

Renovations for that option come to about $184 million.

Backers of KeyArena, either as a (fantasy!) pro sports venue or, more likely, a revamped concert and events center, should take note.

Microsoft and 11-year-olds

Geekwire's Todd Bishop found this video of a Microsoft ad, featuring an 11-year-old, being used in Portugal to sell Windows 8 and wrote an entertaining piece about its charm. Microsoft and charm: together at last?

Hopefully, you're getting some time off for the holidays! The Daily Troll will return on Wednesday.

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This story has been updated to correct an error concerning the number of Republicans in the state's congressional delegation.

Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at

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Printed on January 29, 2015