Step right up!
Prompted by a state attorney general's lawsuit, the Grocery Manufacturers Association is dribbling out the details behind behind a large lump sum donation it made to oppose I-522, the state GMO labeling initiative. Final dollar details will reportedly be available later today, but the donors list already provides a who's who of big corporate food manufacturers: Hershey, Del Monte, Nestlé, Bumble Bee Foods, General Mills and (together at last) Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. It's a quick turnaround from the association's previous silence on who was providing money for the campaign.
Bigger picture: Attorney General Bob Ferguson, less than a year into his new job, may be getting comfortable in an office that has a tradition of strong professional leadership. — J.C.
The last great Speaker?
Former U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley, who represented Spokane in Congress for 30 years and later served as U.S. ambassador to Japan, has died at age 84. As he rose in power within the House Democratic caucus, Foley gave up the chairmanship of the Agriculture Committee, something he would later say was his favorite position, according to an excellent Associated Press account. Also not to be missed: Joel Connelly of seattlepi.com combines telling details from Foley's career with bitter regret over the current condition of the House of Representatives. — J.C.
What a difference a border makes
Washington’s HealthPlanFinder managed to enroll almost 25,000 people, with over 37,000 applications awaiting only final payment. Oregon residents were not so lucky, the Seattle Times reports. The Cover Oregon website is still not yet accepting enrollments from the public, which admittedly was part of their plan. Oregon wanted a soft rollout, allowing only brokers and certified assisters to enroll the good people of Oregon. Unfortunately, the site still does not allow either group to register anyone, so not a single person has successfully enrolled. Cover Oregon will now start enrolling people by hand: Yes, with pen and paper. This shines some good light on Washington — something we usually start losing this time of the year. — A.S.
Video store struggles
Scarecrow Video in the University District is alerting customers that Saturday is Independent Video Store Day — and the store might not be around for next year's celebration. Scarecrow has posted an open letter on their website asking for help from the people who tell employees how much they love the store and how they used to come in all the time: "Come back in! Rent a couple of movies once or twice a month. ... have a latte." Sad to think that this is coming from Scarecrow, which boasts of being one of the largest video stores in the country. Yes, the technology at the heart of its business model may be a little out of date, but it's way ahead of Cover Oregon's pen and paper approach. — J.C.
Mental health gets a boost
A public hearing Thursday on putting a 75-bed psychiatric hospital near the Smokey Point I-5 exit west of Arlington brought almost entirely positive comments, The Herald reports. A number of public officials joined in the call for additional mental health services in Snohomish County, which currently has only 23 beds, all at Swedish/Edmonds. Could common sense be trumping NIMBYism? — J.C.
What does the Norwegian entertainer say?
A song called "What Does The Fox Say?" has been viral for weeks now, but Rolling Stone made things official this week when they declared the brothers behind the song — Norwegian comedy team Ylvis — a "breakout" act. Norwegians mixing comedy with song certainly has its own Northwest lineage. Stan Boreson, a Norwegian-American kid from Everett, built himself quite a television career on that concept, slinging musical jokes about nudity and his pair of bassett hounds. In later years, Boreson, now 88, had a half-dozen appearances on public radio's "Prairie Home Companion." (Videos on the next page.) — J.C.
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