Compromise cuts food stamps
In a largely bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a farm bill Wednesday that cuts food stamp benefits while renewing subsidies for farmers and extending soil conservation programs. Among Washington's six House Democrats, only Jim McDermott and Adam Smith voted against the bill, according to Joel Connelly of seattlepi.com. The cuts will reduce benefits for about 850,000 people but avoids the kind of outright booting of 4 million people from food aid that House Republicans had supported earlier. In an article exploring the compromise, the Christian Science Monitor suggested passage in the Senate may not be certain. But Sen. Patty Murray said she will vote for the measure. — J.C.
Today in Olympia
Under current Washington law, good guy Steve McQueen of the late-50s TV hit "Wanted Dead Or Alive" would be an outlaw. His sawed-off rifle had a barrel less than 16 inches long — a no-no in Washington. Rep. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, wants to change that with a bipartisan bill that would legalize the ownership of short-barreled rifles. The bill received no opposition at a Tuesday public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
Despite the lack of opposition to his bill, Blake came loaded with ammo: visuals of John Wayne and McQueen (seen below in "Wanted: Dead or Alive" TV series), who he said could have been arrested here for the lengths of their guns. Blake asked the committee to endorse his bill this year: "You may not be able to do it for me, but do it for the Duke." — J.S.
Say it ain't so: Seattle's Transit Score, based on the availability of transit service, has dipped slightly in the past year, according to Sightline's Clark Williams-Derry. The main drop seems to have been in Southeast Seattle, where some Metro bus routes have been cut because of Sound Transit's Link Light Rail. But, that area often ends up with the short end of the stick in public policy decisions.
Solutions? A new report suggests the world's largest all-free transit system provides huge benefit to residents of Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn's biggest ridership gains have occurred in a district of high unemployment and minority population (Russian, in this case). No wonder King County is examining reduced fares for low-income residents. But maybe we should go further? — J.C
State of Union responses
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers wasn't the only state politician delivering a response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. Here's Kshama Sawant, criticizing both parties for their lack of support for those in need and their favoring of the wealthy and corporations. — J.C.
Poet laureate picked
Elizabeth Austen has been picked as Washington's poet laureate for the next two years. Besides being a published poetry author, Austen is a producer at KUOW 94.9 and has performed at poetry festivals and other events across the country. According to a press release from Humanities Washington and the State Arts Commission: "Her work trends towards the personal, touching on issues such as women’s societal roles, courage and searching for spirituality." She will become the state's third poet laureate next month, when she takes over from Kathleen Flenniken. — J.C.
Seahawks: God's team?
Never say "never." Therefore, we present a Seahawks video produced by ... the Christian Broadcast Network. It's not too shocking the network would be interested: Players like Russell Wilson have made no secret of their religion. Most surprising: The CBN reporter actually came to gay-marrying, pot-smoking Seattle. Hope he had some fun. — J.C.
Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!