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Washington

Five weeks: The sprint to the presidential nominations

Between now and Super Tuesday on Feb. 5, and before Washingtonians caucus, the presidential nominees will be determined. The national campaign then will last a withering nine months, during which the parties will pray nothing scandalous arises. Here's what to watch for in coming weeks as folks in other states decide who will enter that uncharted territory.

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Allow me to go 'Andy Rooney' on the Department of Licensing

Washington state is well known for its Rube Goldbergian tax system. We have no income tax, but do have a regressive sales tax, a punishing B&O tax, high property taxes, and countless charges and fees that make us taxpayers feel as if we're being nibbled to death by ducks. The appeal of Tim Eyman's "$30 tabs" mantra was its simplicity: Can't we just make one thing easy? Apparently not.

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Rick redux – and now redemption

I've always thought that the loathing for Rick Neuheisel was out of proportion to his misdeeds. Yes, the former Husky football coach broke rules and definitely lied about his interest in a job elsewhere. He earned the nickname Slick Rick even before he came to Washington.

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The Seattle Times nut graph is bad financial news

Every year, Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen ends the year with a holiday message to the Times staff that usually includes a roundup of the year's notable achievements, plus a dollop of holiday cheer. But this year's message, while not inscribed on a lump of coal, won't go down easily for Times staffers. The message: Brace yourself for some serious cutbacks in '08.

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Is Evergreen a "hippie" school?

What year is it, 1972? That's how I felt reading the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's story about how the Evergreen State College will be offering a six-month program in political activism at Seattle Central Community College. Never mind that Evergreen is widely respected nationally and that many of its pioneering educational offerings--internships for credit, individual study contracts, evaluations instead of grades--are now standard tools at schools all across the country. What the P-I picked up on is that hippies are coming to town!

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Anatomy of a one-party state

In Washington, the Democrats are "routing" Republicans in money, recruitment, and centrist ideology, so much so that GOP defector Fred Jarrett says his former party has positioned itself outside the "governing coalition."

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A whiter-than-expected Christmas

Christmas Day my partner and I decided to pass on various family Christmas doings and attend the Church of Nature. We left in the morning and drove north on a nearly empty I-5 up to the Sedro-Woolley turnoff to Highway 20 and headed into bald eagle country. This time of year, eagles flock to the Upper Skagit River and you can stop along the road from Concrete to Rockport on up to Marblemount and spot the splendid birds perched in the trees along the river like so many over-sized Christmas ornaments, or watch them feed on salmon carcasses along the river banks.

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Washington

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