From the wide-open lobby-lands of Olympia to the lush cash-forests of Seattle, a complex ecosystem of money and influence shapes how we vote — and how we live — in Washington state. Most of us only catch glimpses of it, when politicians display their plumage in TV ads or glossy mailers.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had one job in his third and final debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton: break out.

He needed to break out from the narrative that is fast enveloping his campaign — the way evening overtakes the late afternoon.

He needed a breakout performance showing himself to be disciplined and knowledgeable enough to be president.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger Bill Bryant sparred in their last scheduled debate in Pasco Wednesday night over Inslee's record at Hanford and their stances on environmental regulations.

The Pentagon says two Americans were shot and killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, and at least two others were wounded. One of those who died was a service member, the other was a civilian.

NPR's Tom Bowman reported the assailant opened fire at the entrance to an ammunition depot near Camp Morehead, a training center for Afghan commandos. The camp is about an hour's drive south of Kabul.

As Tom reported for our Newscast unit:

In the aftermath of the Great Depression, the U.S. government set out to evaluate the riskiness of mortgages — and left behind a stunning portrait of the racism and discrimination that has shaped American housing policy.

Now a new digital tool makes it easier than ever to see that history in high-resolution.

Closing arguments are underway in the trial of seven people accused of illegally occupying Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last year.

Is the Sound Transit plan worth $54 billion?

Oct 18, 2016
Sound Transit
Flickr photo/ Atomic Taco (CC BY SA 2.0)/

Bill Radke sits down with Maggie Fimia of, and Shefali Ranganathan, executive director of the Transportation Choices Coalition, to discuss the proposed $54 billion Sound Transit expansion. The plan is on the ballot this November, with Fimia claiming it's not worth the cost and Ranganathan saying it's a once-in-a-generation opportunity. 

The man from Mosul is neat and tidy, in his mid-30s. He uses careful English and tries to stop his voice from trembling as he speaks about the Iraqi city he lived in all his life.

"My mind is full with memories," he says. "Friends. Home. You know — my home. I was born there."

ISIS has occupied Mosul for more than two years. Residents describe a regime of strict rules and savagely violent punishments for breaking them. The man is too afraid of ISIS to give his name or occupation, but he is a professional. He brought up a family in Mosul.

The head of the largest association of police chiefs in the U.S. has issued a formal apology on the group's behalf for "historical mistreatment of communities of color."

Speaking Monday at the annual meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in San Diego, Terry Cunningham said his remarks on behalf of the group were aimed at breaking a "historic cycle of mistrust."

He said that policing is, in essence, a "noble profession" that has seen dark periods in its history.

Ralph Nader says it's OK to vote your conscience

Oct 17, 2016
Ralph Nader
Flickr Photo/Sage Ross (CC BY SA 2.0)/

Bill Radke talks with (in)famous third party candidate and activist Ralph Nader. Nader's new book, "Breaking Through Power: It's Easier Than We Think," looks at small movements that have affected big change. And while Nader says he doesn't endorse a specific candidate, he feels that there is plenty good that come out of voting third party, even in this election. 

Even after Nov. 8, no matter who is elected, many don't expect the partisan infighting that has highlighted this year's unusually ugly campaign to come to an end.

But in an interview with NPR's Robert Siegel, Vice President Biden struck a hopeful tone, saying that Hillary Clinton and Democrats could be effective if she wins the presidency.

What happens when two human political journalists compete against a computer over which can do the best job predicting the issues that will dominate the news in the presidential election? Well, you are about to find out.

The Islamic State forced the world to take notice when the extremist group overran Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, in June 2014.

Just months earlier, President Obama had described ISIS as "the JV team." But by August 2014, the U.S. was bombing ISIS in Iraq, and early Monday, the U.S. teamed up with the Iraqi army and other allies in a major offensive to recapture the northern Iraqi city.

A Connecticut judge has dismissed a lawsuit that was filed against the manufacturer and seller of the weapon used in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

On Thursday, the U.N. General Assembly welcomed Antonio Guterres of Portugal as the new secretary-general of the U.N., replacing Ban Ki-moon.

In a short speech expressing his "gratitude and humility" to the assembly for the five-year term, he highlighted his priorities: humility, empathy for the underprivileged and the "empowerment of women and girls."