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Archive for September 2008

The Red Light Cameras are coming…

Good evening, Netizens…

As most of you know by now, the City of Spokane is in the final stages of installing Red Light Cameras designed to capture pictures of miscreants running red lights. This complex system is not without its detractors however, based upon our irreverent view of Red Light Cameras.

You begin to suspect the Red Light Cameras might not be such a hot idea once the system is functional when:

Spokane Police Cars never get tickets, even when they run red lights without their lights and siren on. That is why we soon will have an Ombudsman, right?

Tickets for City Vehicles, including Garbage Trucks, cruising through a red light do not receive tickets as such. There is a large bin in City Hall, next to Police Chief Kirkpatrick’s desk, where all tickets for City Vehicles end up, out of sight, out of mind.

Your 98 year-old grandmother who walks everywhere she goes is mailed a ticket showing her pushing her aluminum shopping cart across Mission and Hamilton after a trip to the Safeway Store.

The STA buses nearly all got tickets the first month for running the red light at Mission and Hamilton. Who yields the right of way to a city bus, after all? After a big tirade from the STA top brass about the number of tickets, bus drivers stopped running the red lights. On the average workday it now takes over two hours for a bus to turn left on Mission from Hamilton during rush hour. This is called progress. At least they do not run red lights anymore, and perhaps they will finally install a badly-needed left-turn signal at the intersection and solve the real problem.

“Turning left off Hamilton onto Mission during rush hour without getting a ticket will soon be more dicey than using an icepick to get stubborn boogers out of your nose,” one angry driver recently observed.

A few other things the cameras caught that were not red light violators were 2 dogs mating in the intersection, 2 panhandlers fighting over prime advertising space on the corner, an empty box of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies scudding across the street in the wind and “Happy Hippy” Joe Hill who rides his three-wheel bicycle everywhere in town despite being mostly blind. It does seem that perhaps “Happy Hippy” was running the red light, but he was tailgating an STA bus that preceded him through the intersection, since that was the only thing he could see with his vision limitations.

One fact seems to be certain. People will acquire a newfound delight in flipping off the red light cameras, even if they are not breaking any laws.

What is your solution or observation?


Quote of the Day September 30, 2008

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.

Henry Kissinger (1923 - )

Top Ten Reasons I’m Glad the Bail-out failed…

Top ten reasons I’m glad the financial bail-out failed

I’ve been waiting to see what Sarah Palin has to say on the matter. She is a wise and careful leader and certainly understands all this mess from her vast experience in Alaska, right?

The idea behind the “Adopt-A-Banker” was not that well-explained to me.

From Dick Adams I hear there were parties held at WAMU once the terms of the bail-out were announced. I would never attend such an event. Funny, but I never was invited either. Were you?

Marty’s “Ladies with Guns” changed their targets on the pistol range to mortgage lenders. Did I mention I, too, like ladies with guns?

Although I can calculate the interest on a 700 Billion dollar loan, I want to know who pays if we fall behind in our payments? Who in their right mind would show up in a tow truck to repossess this mess?

Why rescue people who wear $5000 Gucci shoes? Sell the shoes and save the Universe.

It does me a world of good to see Chinese investors sweat a little.

Gee, does this mean we are going to stop giving loans to countries that potty-mouth us at every turn? Besides, the phrase “badmouth our country and no loans for you” sounds pretty good to me.

The political buzz-phrase of the last generation was “deniable plausibility”. If the bail-out ever passes, the new catch-all phrase will be “invisible culpability”

The government refuses to pay my debts, why should I forgive their stupidity?


It’s Great to be Monday Because… . .

1. It’s a fresh new day and a fresh new sart
2. I have a job I enjoy and I have all my ducks in a row before the boss gets here
3. I’m alive
4. I got MY parking space!
5. There were no bees in my bathtub (later on I am going to write a book entitled “Bees in my Bathtub” that will sell bundles just on its title)
6. The coffee pot was full when I arrived to work. Yes!!
7. I got all my filing done last week. Hooray!
8. I am healthy, strong, and fit.
9. I temporarily froze what little assets I have until this financial crisis is at a low roar
10. I have my slippers on under my desk (and I smile a lot) – unlike Cindy who has her slippers on in the comfort of her own home – but it’s a close second pleasure.

Quote of the Day September 28, 2008

America has begun a spiritual reawakening. Faith and hope are being restored. Americans are turning back to God. Church attendance is up. Audiences for religious books and broadcasts are growing. And I do believe that he has begun to heal our blessed land.

President Ronald Reagan, to the National Association of Evangelicals, Columbus, Ohio

Picture of the Day —Meghan McCain —09/28/2008

Good morning, Netizens…

In our first Picture of the Day, Meghan McCain, 23, left, speaks to a fan as she signs copies of her best-selling book, “My Dad, John McCain,” at the Treehouse Toys store in Oxford, Miss. The book, ranked No. 2 on the New York Times Children’s Hardcover Picture Books category, is a first-person story of her father’s Vietnam war experiences, his decision to run for president and highlights of family life.
(September 27, 2008) Associated Press

On June 12, 2008, McCain wrote on her blog that she had changed her party registration to Republican as a “symbol of my commitment to my dad and to represent the faith I have in his ability to be an effective leader for our country and to grow and strengthen the Republican party when he is elected President of the United States.” (from her Blog) Meaghan McCain’s Blog

She originally attended Columbia University where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History. McCain originally planned to become a music journalist, and interned at Newsweek magazine and Saturday Night Live. McCain later decided to pursue fashion design, and has said that she hopes to one day design a “a high-end couture line that goes up to plus sizes.” Perhaps more interesting than that, in 2008, Meghan published a book entitled My Dad, John McCain which is selling quite well and has stated that she hopes to write a “satirical account” of her experiences on the campaign trail when the election is over.

It strikes me as interesting that Senator John McCain has such a talented, creative daughter who is being overshadowed by Governor Sarah Palin.

Fascinating. Were you aware of Meghan McCain’s abilities prior to now?


Saturday 09/27/2008 Wild Card…

Good morning, Netizens…

Presented as a public service:

CenterPoint reports 17 percent without power

CenterPoint Energy (9 p.m.)
377,000 customers without power
2.258 million total customers
17 percent out

Texas-New Mexico Power Co. (5 p.m.)
4,874 customers without power
115,000 total customers
4 percent out

Entergy Texas
0 percent out*

Sam Houston Electric Cooperative
0 percent out*
*excludes some isolated cases or damaged-destroyed locations

There are a lot of people still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Ike in the Houston area, including Galveston and Brownsville, Texas.

As usual, when you use today’s Wild Card, always try to remember there are others who may not share your particular viewpoint(s).


McCain Pinball…

Good morning, Netizens…

David Horsey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer keeps banging them out of the park, regardless of which side of the political aisle you sit. In today’s Cartoon of the Day it is probably likely that the McCain supporters who still read Community Comment will throw things at me, but I submit that Horsey’s cartoons are a fine example of a cartoonist at his very best.

So if you want to play in politics, enjoy a robust game of McCain pinball. Rest assured that I will continue to show his talent, including those critical of Barak Obama, Osama bin Laden, or any other world figure that needs an occasional joke made at their expense.


Your Friday Wild Card 09/26/2008

In today’s Picture of the Day Japanese bow as the curtain lowers at the end of a show to model the latest styles of adult diapers in Tokyo Thursday. The show was organized to display the latest styles of adult diapers and to raise awareness of some of the issues facing the county’s rapidly aging population. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) (September 25, 2008)

So it has come to this, an onslaught of the Tidy Whities for all discerning senior adults? As he hem and haw over politics, if not the diapers for adults, what is on your mind this fine Friday?

This is your Wild Card for the Day…


The Bush plan dysfunctional.

Good morning, Netizens…

Have you ever had part of a week, a few measly days, that you hoped would end soon? Having been out sick for several days with a variant of the 24 hour flu, I returned to the fray just in time to turn on the television and listening to President George W. Bush state what I thought was the obvious, that America’s economy is on the ropes. Duh. I hear America getting angry these days whenever someone mentions the economy, and the anger tinged with fear doesn’t seem to come from just one side of the political aisle or the other. Everyone who at least has a vague inkling of the hazards we face are scared half out of their wits.

President Bush said Wednesday that lawmakers risk a cascade of wiped-out retirement savings, rising home foreclosures, lost jobs and closed businesses if they fail to act on a massive financial rescue plan. “Our entire economy is in danger,” he said.
“Without immediate action by Congress, American could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold,” Bush said in a 12-minute prime-time address delivered from the White House East Room that he hoped would help rescue his tough-sell bailout package. “Ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession.”
Said Bush: “We must not let this happen.”
(Source AP)

I think makes me maddest is to think that the people who have benefited most from the culture of deregulation and hands-off government that are supposed to be the watchwords of the Republican Party will be the recipients of one of the greatest disbursements of government largess in history if the bailout plan is allowed to proceed. The banks, mortgage lenders and other fat cats are actually going to profit from the government’s largess while the rest of the people can go spit. Bush said his “natural instinct is to oppose government intervention,” but it is precisely the lack of government regulation of the financial industry that got us here.

What really makes me even more angry is that, in the face of wholesale defections by Republican members of the House and Senate, Bush continued to try and justify the Paulsen plan he insists will get us out of our current economic morass without creating a bigger mess than we already have.

We need another plan.


Quote of the Day September 25, 2008

You can’t change what you’ve done, so you might as well just take pride in it.

Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata, Animal Crossing: Wild World, 2005

For the Girls - Part II

For the Girls, Part II

I have diligently searched for hunkie firemen or more revealing photos of Antonio. Cute but not heart-stopping, breath-taking. I’ll have to come back to them in about 20 years, when I am (eeeek) almost 80 years old. I wonder if I can hold my stomach in that long.

Hooray it’s Wednesday

It’s the middle of the work week, it’s time to get on the spring board and catapult yourself into the weekend.

Dave is under the weather today but his thread, Sarah Who? seems to have its own engine and is propelling along just fine.

Here’s my spontaneous question. Mainly for the guys. Do you start projects and stay with them from start to finish? Or do you start a project here, need a tool and when you get to the toolbox you see something else that needs to be worked on and you start that project and then you need something… and soon you have nineteen projects started with no sign in sight of finishing?

Inquiring minds want to know, particularly because I live with Project Man. :(

Quote of the Day September 23, 2008

What makes something special is not just what you have to gain, but what you feel there is to lose.

Andre Agassi (1970 - ), on “Charlie Rose”

Monday Monday Thread

We all like to beat to our own drums, so here’s a chance to play your drum. . .

Waiting for lunch…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

The Rockford Fair is but one of a blessed few free fairs left throughout our region, but one of the few places where people wait in long lines to spend their money is in front of various food vendors. As the picture shows, the lines were long waiting to get something to eat, but the food was infectiously good homemade stuff that sticks to your ribs.

However, there were also enough sno-cones, elephant ears, cotton candy, ice cream and other sugar-encrusted goodies scattered throughout the fair grounds to satisfy even the most discerning kids’ taste and even some adults who were willing to stand in long lines waiting for ice cream.

However, one of the more interesting aspects of lunch time at the Rockford Fair were the discussions that went dancing around the tables, from family to family, not to mention the occasional impromptu family reunions that took place throughout the afternoon.

It made the waiting in the long lines worthwhile.


The Volunteer…

Good morning, Netizens…

At first she didn’t want me to take her picture, but then relented when I promised her I would not mention her name. Even then, in the mannerisms of my generation, she was shy about her accomplishment, having risen early that morning, arriving at the Rockford Fair about 9:00 o’clock and volunteering all day in the kitchens helping prepare food. All this incredible effort at the age of 60-something.

“I wonder where the next generation of volunteers are going to come from?” she asked me plaintively. “Everything you see here at the fair, from the displays to the food we serve, is all handled by volunteers, and we’re frankly running out of people.”

It was not the first time I had heard that comment, and as the afternoon waned, the wind increasing and beginning to sprinkle fair patrons with occasional rain drops, through the eyes of this unsung volunteer at the fair, I saw other volunteers checking and tightening the cinches on the various tent poles, and the fair manager scurrying around the fairgrounds making certain everything was ready, whatever the weather might have brought.

“You just tell everyone if they enjoyed the Rockford Fair this year, next year they need to come out and volunteer, hear? It’s always nicer when we have lots of volunteers.”


Quote of the Day September 21, 2008

The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.

Roseanne Barr

Mia misses the gator steak breakfast…

In this morning’s first of many pictures of the day, UNICEF goodwill ambassador, actress Mia Farrow, right, is seen during a visit to a flooded church in Gonaives, Haiti. Farrow is on a five-day visit to Haiti to witness the devastation after four successive hurricanes struck the country, killing more than 400 people. (September 20, 2008) Associated Press

The first thought that crossed my mind is where are the Hollywood stars and starlets while most of the South Texas Coast and portions of Ohio remain devastated, with no water nor electricity? I have seen some of the horrific damage done in Texas, even far inland as Columbus, Ohio, and I wonder why we do not get the kind of attention by movie stars and luminaries to our own country’s disasters as they have paid to Haiti.

Sitting here in the gray dawn, with the gentle sounds of raindrops pitter-pattering like cat’s paws across the awning roof, I feel so very fortunate that my home is not in Galveston. Although I have visited Galveston and Brownsville quite a few times in my life, I do not know if I could ever live there. It seems like every decade or so another hurricane comes rumbling out of the Gulf and they end up rebuilding yet again. Besides, the rumors persist that they have mosquitoes big enough in South Texas after a hurricane to haul my aging fatbody away in one swoop. Lest I forget, they have gators too.

Aha! Now I see a need for Marty’s “ladies with guns”. Send them down to Texas and clean up the gator population in Houston. Send Mia a few gator steaks and see if they are to her liking.

Have you ever had gator (or any other Texas-style goodie such as armadillo) steaks before? I hear they are mighty tasty, indeed.


Whatcha Reading???

Inquiring minds want to know - what has been on your summer reading list - how about listing five books. Would you recommend one to me?

The Tanking of our Economy…

Good morning, Netizens…

Today’s picture of the day is another David Horsey’s excellent cartoons from this morning’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It shows what the entire world has been watching— the bailout of big money interests by the Feds and, despite what they have said to the contrary, it is a bailout for some while for others it has become a buyout by various banks and financial institutions without any real clear distinction why some have gotten bailouts and others shuffled into buyouts.

Perhaps it is clear to readers, but it is very unclear to me who determined who received these huge bailouts, and while others were told, ‘sorry, no bailouts at this time.’

One thing is certain: based upon the articles I have read, the bail outs have done little to stabilize the business marketplace. An associate recently made a series of phone calls to regional banks that traditionally would extend credit to home builders and commercial firms, and discovered that, with only a very few exceptions, none of the regional banks are extending loans for development or new construction projects of any kind at this time.

Our government is hastily reassuring us that there is no cause for concern, but the Dow and other international marketplaces suggest otherwise.

Are you concerned?


Quote of the Day September 18, 2008

Believe in life! Always human beings will live and progress to greater, broader and fuller life.

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868 - 1963), last message to the world, 1957

McCain waffles, anyone?

Good morning, Netizens…

Yesterday, after John McCain waffled several times when speaking of the economy, and after a careful review of the number of government buyouts of failing banks, loan institutions and investment firms, I cannot help but feel that McCain is badly out-of-touch with reality when it comes to our nation’s economy.

Monday morning, as the financial system absorbed one of its biggest shocks in generations, John McCain said, “There’s tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and on Wall Street. “People are frightened by these events. Our economy, I think still, the fundamentals of our economy are strong. But these are very, very difficult times. And I promise you we will never put America in this position again. We will clean up Wall Street. We will reform government. And this is a failure.” (As quoted by AP and a handful of newspapers)

Hours later he backpedaled, explaining that he had meant that American workers, whom he described as the backbone of the economy, were productive and resilient. By Tuesday he was calling the economic situation “a total crisis” and denouncing “greed” on Wall Street and in Washington. That looks like a waffle to me, but it could just be politics speaking.

As recently as January of this year, McCain, appearing at a Republican debate, stated on the record that Americans were better off than they were eight years ago; by this summer he had released an advertisement that said “we’re worse off than we were four years ago.” (AP, New York Times, Wall Street Journal) Speaking strictly from experience, there is no way we have been better off financially since George Bush took office. Otherwise, how can you explain away the trillion dollar debt, the bank foreclosures, the savings and loan debacle or the mortgage bailouts? I’m glad to see McCain woke up and smelled what he was shoveling when he said we were better off than eight years ago.

His first big speech on the mortgage crisis warned against excessive government intervention; a month later he released his plan for government action to help people keep their homes ostensibly by more tightly regulating the mortgage lending firms. Rather than calling that a U-turn, which semantically it was, I’ll call that a waffle, because poor John McCain doesn’t seem to recognize looming disaster when he sees it.

Of course, a tour on which he embarked in July to emphasize his understanding of Americans’ economic pain was overshadowed when one of his top economic advisers, former Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, was quoted as saying that the United States was only in a “mental recession” and had become “a nation of whiners.” A mental recession? Only my wallet is in recession, not my mind. As for a nation of whiners, perhaps Gramm needs to walk down Wall Street, perhaps reflecting a bit about the whiners whose offices have been sold or in foreclosure.

I am relatively certain that the ideo-conservatives will no doubt have a field day trying to defend what appear to be McCain’s back-and-forth statements on the economy. However, I believe I recognize a stack of waffles when I see them. All I need to make McCain’s policy statements into a complete breakfast is some butter and syrup.


Our Police Our Selves 09/16/2008

Contact : Cpl Jon Strickland
Date : 9/15/2008
Incident #: 08-283214

At 1:56 this afternoon, Spokane Police officers, Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies, and a Sheriff’s K-9 unit responded to the 8500 block of North Standard in the City of Spokane after the son of the homeowner telephoned 911 stating he had found a burglar inside his home.

The son further added that when the burglar surprised him on the stairway as he was entering the home, the burglar swung a hammer at his head. The force used to swing the hammer was so great that had it struck the victim, it would have seriously injured the victim or even been fatal. The only reason the victim was not struck is he had enough forethought to drop to the floor when the burglar swung the hammer. The suspect then fled out the rear door on foot.

Once officers arrived into the area, they began a systematic search of the surrounding area. As a precaution, Shiloh Hills Elementary School was locked down for a short time for the safety of children and staff.

Twelve minutes after the initial 911 call, Cpl Mike Carr spotted the suspect and three other males running from inside Lilac Lanes, which is located near Nevada and Magnesium Road. Officers chased the suspects on foot in the nearby apartment complex where two of them were apprehended. The other two suspects were not immediately located.

Two juvenile males, both 16-years old, were booked into the Spokane County Juvenile Detention Center for 1st Degree Burglary, a Class “A” felony.

The 21-year old victim stated he feels lucky and knows this could have turned out very differently.

Sure. They could have tried to break and enter the home of an alert NRA member and got themselves Blue Crossed by a 12 gauge Mossberg shotgun.

Contact : Ofc. Teresa Fuller
Date : 9/14/2008
Incident #: 08-282424

At approximately 8:00 pm last night, patrol officers responded to a possible shooting at the Maplehurst Apartments in the 400 block of south Maple. Witnesses on scene said there had been an altercation between two males and a female in a public hallway of the building. Several witnesses also reported hearing at least one gunshot.

When officers arrived on scene, they found blood in the hallway and were able to locate one of the males involved as well as the female. Neither of them had sustained injuries consistent with the blood that was found at the scene. Officers were originally unable to locate the injured male. It was determined at this time the injured male may have been stabbed rather than shot. Officers did find and remove several firearms from the location.

At approximately 11:00pm, the other male arrived at an area hospital and was admitted for his injuries. He is in stable condition at this time. It does appear he was stabbed, not shot. It is unknown at this time how the parties are related. The investigation into exactly what led up to the altercation as well as any future charges against the parties involved is still ongoing. The people directly involved with the altercation have all been located, but anyone with further information about this incident can call 242-TIPS.


The latest in a series of hurricanes strikes Wall Street…

Good morning, Netizens…

In this morning’s political cartoon by David Horsey in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer we envision a humorous approach to the debacle taking place in the national economic marketplace. To be honest, I have lost track of the number of giant investment corporations that have bought the farm in the last 30 days, let alone the last year. Let alone the “side-deals” being made by various investment corporations to obtain low-cost government loans from the FDIC or, in several cases, advantageous buy-outs.

There are only a few pinpoints of light in Hurricane Subprime Mortgage that truly are understandable. The deregulation of the financial giants was orchestrated and enacted by a bevy of budgetary analysts, Republican lobbyists with the encouragement of our current President in 2002, with vast optimistic predictions of how the market would thrive minus the heavy-handed federal regulations. The other pinpoint that still sticks in my craw is that the CEO’s and high officials of these failed financial institutions were still paid billions in separation pay and salaries while the institutions they were charged with protecting were sliding inexorably off the edge of the fiduciary planet.

The only victims of Hurricane Subprime Mortgage, it seems, are the small ma-and-pa investors and those who through their own gullibility, allowed themselves to get in too deeply to the credit morass or simply trusted too much.

The question of the day, then, is have you been impacted by the economy bankruptcies and incongruous melt-down taking place?


Quote of the Day September 16, 2008

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948)

Our Police Our Selves 09/15/2008

Contact : Cpl Jon Strickland
Date : 9/13/2008 Incident #: 08-280690

Three Classic Cars Stolen in Commercial Burglary

At 04:04 this morning, a citizen telephoned police stating a burglary was in progress at 1126 W 2nd Ave, and that vehicles were being driven out of the dealership. The business is Rohrers Select Cars, which sells older classic cars in prime condition.
Police arrived and found no one inside the business, but found that several cars had been driven out of the building. One vintage Chevrolet Corvette sustained several thousands dollars in damage after being struck by one of the stolen vehicles as it exited the showroom.
The owner was contacted, who responded to the dealership. The owner informed police three vehicles were missing: a 1972 Buick Gran Sport, a 1969 Ford Mustang, and a 1965 Chevrolet Malibu. The owner estimated their combined value at over $60,000.
By 10:00 this morning, Spokane Police officers had located all three stolen cars. The Mustang was found at Riverside and “A” Street, the Buick at Sprague and Howard, and the Malibu near 1st and Madison. The Mustang was high-centered on a dirt burm with a flat tire and possible body damage. The Buick had some body damage from hitting the Corvette. The Malibu did not appear to be damaged at this time.
There are no suspects at this time. A Spokane Police Evidence Specialist responded to the scene and has taken nine different fingerprint cards as evidence to date in hopes of identifying the suspect(s).
Anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in that area this morning is asked to call 242-TIPS.


Walking for a Friend

It was a beautiful sunny morning, perfect for a walk with friends. I arrived at 9:00 and donned my ret hat, took my sweater off to show my purple shirt and made my way to Mirabeau Meadows to join my other Red Hat friends from Scarlett Snickerdoodles. Whenever we gather, we have fun, we laugh, we giggle, we act silly, and we make a show of ourselves. People take our pictures, thinking we are some kind of circus act or parade performer. We are the Red Hats. We are getting up there in age and we are going to dance the whole way. We are not following rules and we are not going to be polite little old ladies with simpering smiles. We are going to wear purple – and pink and red and green and orange and we will do this with the most clash we can manage. We will wear feathers in our hair, jewelry on our fingers, wrists, ears, necks. We will wear lavish red hats with gaudy pins and plastic flowers and long fluffy scarves. We will laugh loud, hug long, and love deep. Most importantly, yesterday we were walking for a cure. A cure for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). We were walking for a fellow Scarlett Snickerdoodle – Lois.

Quote of the Day September 14, 2008

Hope is a thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without words
And never stops at all.

Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)

Bush Guilty of War Crimes? Read the document in full…

Good morning, Netizens…

Here is a complex but highly functional document which purports to list the reasons why President George Bush should be tried for war crimes. Before anyone proclaims this to be another attempt to smear President Bush’s good name, perhaps they should read the full list of contributors who helped draft and formulate this document.

Click here for file

It is, beyond a doubt, one of the best-written documents of its type that I have read.


Attributed to Massachusetts School of Law at Andover

Perceiving the truth…part I.

Good evening, Netizens…

After a hiatus of more than a few days, I doggedly walked back to the entrance of the Virtual Ballroom this evening, tired but nonetheless almost glad to be home again… almost. Even from afar I could not help but witness the internecine carnage taking place in my beloved Ballroom, as the flashes of impertinence, braggadocio and half-baked conclusions combined to form brilliant red flashes that were visible from quite a distance away.

I severely underestimated the opinions that, like highly-sharpened semi-intellectual meat cleavers, would come crashing down on delicate parts of emotional anatomies as the result of my posting political cartoons. People have been drawing cartoon characters about public and political figures since American History began, and I had hoped that such gallows humor as commends itself at this contentious time of our lives, with scarcely months separating us from the Presidential Election, would certainly be rebutted with more humor, rather than what came about.

As I sit down at my favorite bar stool, none other than the ghost of the late President Harry S. Truman wafts his way down the bar and hands me a seething, boiling beverage that has an evil cast about it, especially when it burps violently as he sits it on the bar before me.

“This new drink is called Harry’s Revenge”, Truman says with a brief glimpse of his huge beaming grin. “It is in the memory of all those people who printed news stories about Thomas Dewey defeating me handily in the election, the same election I went on to win in 1948. You will no more predict the next President of the United States based upon polls or surveys than you will by proclaiming ‘victory is certain’ at the top of your lungs.”

Truman paused, as if to weigh his next words carefully, then added, “This drink serves only to remind you that the real moment of truth is when you decide who is telling the truth and vote accordingly, not based upon what so-and-so’s surveys show.”

I took a deep sip of the Virtual Espresso for the Day and almost immediately know I still do not have enough information to determine who is telling the truth, and that quite a few others need a good-sized cup of this potion before the roof blows off the Virtual Ballroom and ends up among the ripening stalks of sweet corn and in the pumpkin patch.

The one truth I do know is that our nation cannot continue to survive with another 8 eight years of George Bush’s policies and half-baked truths. To suggest otherwise is sheer folly.


Quote of the Day September 13, 2008

When we are angry or depressed in our creativity, we have misplaced our power. We have allowed someone else to determine our worth, and then we are angry at being undervalued.

Julia Cameron, The Vein of Gold

Question of the Day

How often do you arrive at work to see all your co-workers wearing the same color?

How does that happen? Do you plan ahead? Or are you virtual siblings and your minds all think alike when you are getting dressed? Has anyone done a study of the percentages in how often this happens.

Frequently I will arrive to work in my black dress with white polka dots and magically my co-workers will have a theme of polka dots working. Or everyone will be in some combination of black and white. I’ll try to fool whatever gods are playing with me and dig into my summer wardrobe box and pull out a dress I haven’t worn in years, pink with green stripes - hideous! And I’ll arrive at work and blend right in. How does that happen?

What do you want

One of our bloggers gave a terrific idea for a post at Community Comment.

What do you want from this particular blog? What restrictions or rules would you like enforced? Are we TOO restrictive? Not enough? How can we encourage communication? What would you like to see in topics? How can I make your day?

9-11 in retrospect…the seventh anniversary…

Good morning Netizens…

Once again I have been forced by circumstances beyond my control to begin a message the night before, this time about my perceptions of the seventh anniversary of 9/11, only to end the message today.

Someone, somewhere will inevitably ask the question, ‘Where were you when you heard the news that the Twin Towers had been attacked and fallen?’. My answer is I was sitting at my desk, doing what I have done for over 12 years, working with a new client, ESpeed, of New York on a new contract for services I had acquired only the previous week. Mr. Lee Adler was a systems programmer at ESpeed, a division of Cantor Fitzgerald, and had hired me from a “head hunter” in Seattle. I was honored beyond words to be able to work with Mr. Adler, for he had vast amounts of knowledge, which he always was willing to share.

I was working with him on a web page server when suddenly communications went dead, and my internet connection was unable to reconnect to their offices in New York. This was approximately 9:09 AM local time, and no matter how smartly I hit redial, all I ever got was either a busy signal or the phone rang unanswered.

A few minutes later, I heard the news that the first plane had crashed into the World Trade Center North Tower.

Like most people I sat horrified in front of the television set for hours, which became days watching the sad tidings unfold, made even more sad because of the talented, incredibly brave people who gave their all trying to save human lives that terrible day. I once lived down the street from the World Trade Center, and have never been back to New York since that day.

In the days and years since that day, 7 years ago, the President George Bush and the federal government made two great promises, both of which turned out to be utter lies. First, Bush assured us that the authorities would bring those who brought those attacks about to justice. They have not done that. They have violated liberties and stepped up efforts in Iraq, but Osama bin Laden and his co-conspirators remain at large, and I wonder if the conspiracy theorists suggestion that the government wants it that way to better control our lives might be correct. Why did Bush attack Iraq when the CIA and NSA knew bin Laden was in Afghanistan?

The second great broken promise the government made was that it would protect us and American prosperity from further attacks. Given the shape our economy currently exists, with the financial industry failing at a frightening pace, and the outright fraud that has taken place at the highest levels of the federal government, Bush lied through his teeth. He assumed control of our country relatively debt-free and has taken us to unfound new lows of indebtedness and our national economy is failing.

I remember where I was September 11, 2001, and I have a clear memory of the events of that day in history, tainted only by the utter contempt I have for President George W. Bush for all that he has done to destroy our way of life since that day.

Where were you on September 11, 2001 when the planes hit? Will you remember that day all the days of your lives?

The Cartoon of Osama Bin Laden’s celebration courtesy of David Horsey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Sorry, no questions at this time…

Good morning, Netizens…

In our picture of the day, Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, poses for a picture with a supporter along a rope line at the conclusion of a campaign rally in Lebanon, Ohio, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) (September 09, 2008) Is that all it takes to be elected as the next Vice-President? A cell phone picture?

She moved right down the reception line, never taking questions from either members of the press (who were kept far enough away from her so as to make their questions inaudible) or supporters who thronged to see her. Despite cries for her to take the stage, as John McCain had just done, Palin simply shook hands, posed for pictures and then hopped in an SUV and pfft, she was gone.

Granted, Thursday night she is slated to appear with a hand-picked member of the news media for an interview, and ostensibly will be answering questions then. In fact, that appearance on national television has done little, in my opinion, to assuage either the public’s curiosity about the Governor of Alaska or, for that matter, the questions the news media (all of them, not just one selected in advance) want to ask her.

What about you? Do you feel that Palin is being deliberately evasive? If so, why is she evading questions of substance?

Palin supporters please note: I would ask the same question of anyone running for Vice President, whether they be man, woman or aardvark. I want to know whom I’m voting for.


Mini-bush speaks to the masses…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

I have continued to search for situations where Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has spoken on the public record but to little avail. In fact, it seems to me as if John McCain and his campaign team are doing everything in the power to keep her away from the news media and/or the general public. Then I found this excellent David Horsey cartoon in this morning’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer that, at least to me, explains why she doesn’t speak up and give us the benefit of her vast experience or lack thereof.

David Horsey also has portrayed the indelible link between the Bush regime and Sarah Palin, something that neither John McCain, Sarah Palin nor the Republican Party seem to admit.

It begs the questions, are we really doing God’s work in Iraq? This all goes back to what I have already stated a number of times: get out of Iraq and bring me the head of Osama bin Laden. What the United States is doing in Iraq is anything but godly.

Granted, Sarah Palin got her first passport a year and one-half ago. Does that qualify her to conduct foreign policy for the United States of America? Ye Gods, no. That is a frightening vision, her attempting to negotiate with heads of foreign state. Maybe she’ll try to convert them to her religion?

Of course, everyone will have an opinion about whether or not to drill for oil in sensitive areas. The ecology of sensitive areas is delicate, and should never be managed by oilfield workers, in my opinion. I have seen what oilfield development can do to the land, and it is ugly. Of course, your opinion of this may differ.

Each of these statements, when taken as part of a whole, are very troublesome to me. More or less, these are things that Sarah Palin has already stated on the record. These are statements of an inexperienced neophyte who lacks the most basic rudiments of Presidential skills.

Are the members of the McCain think tank and George Bush both afraid of what Sarah Palin might say?


The Feds “absorb” Fannie and Freddie

Good morning, Netizens…

Now that the Feds have taken over the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the question that seems foremost in everyone’s mind is how does this affect me? The move of the Feds assuming control of both Fanny and Freddie has no precedent in history that I have been able to find, and most of the business-side sources one would normally turn to to ascertain the meaning of this all cannot tell us the ramifications of the move, either.

So first, what happened here, and why? In order to provide capital to banks that lend money to aspiring homeowners, Fannie and Freddie need to be able to sell the mortgages, packaged as securities, to investors around the world once the two companies have bought the loans from the banks.
All this worked fine until foreign investors got nervous about the housing market simply because there were a lot of borrowers who either didn’t qualify for a mortgage or houses which were badly over-priced. Once the sheer volume of foreclosed homes on the market reached the breaking point, where foreclosed homes were glutting the marketplace, Fannie and Freddie became less and less viable as a mortgage lender. Once that took place, the government thought it had no choice but to step in and take over.

What happens next?

MORTGAGE RATES: If you already have a fixed-interest mortgage rate nothing much will change. The possible exception being that taxpayers probably should become utterly irate because the we are now footing the bill for the mistakes of borrowers who got in over their fiscal heads and the lenders who let them borrow more money than their investment(s) were worth to begin with.

If you are buying a home or thinking of refinancing an existing mortgage, some thinking is that the takeover will help stabilize mortgage rates. This is largely dependent upon the rates that the lenders, in this case the Feds, charge banks. If the rates drop, the banks may pass those savings onto the borrowers by lowering the rates. Perhaps not.

HOME PRICES: With national unemployment rising, an economy that appears to be on the ropes, you might think things couldn’t get worse. Another factor which will weigh heavily on home prices are the sheer number of homes for sale, as people try to get out from under bad mortgages. There are lots of cases where lenders are putting homes on the market, having already foreclosed on them, but the houses are simply badly over-priced because of bad loans.

Several scholars have suggested that the Feds are simply not interested on foreclosing on a bunch of homes, and that perhaps new deals may be made where the Feds are willing to modify the original mortgages to make them more affordable. That would work for the consumer, but it seems highly speculative. If they bail out homeowners, someone will have to bring pressure to bear.

The big three of the mortgage industry, credit score requirements, loan-size-to-home-value and down payment requirements are all up for grabs. It remains to be seen whether any changes to these three will require Congressional interference, but do not count on any big changes until after the November elections.

Most of all, it is very unclear whether stockholders or investors in Fannie or Freddie will ever get a return on their investment(s). They may lose everything before this process evolves. The attitude I’ve read is the Feds are not going to feel compelled to maximize shareholder returns. Now that the taxpayers are paying the bills, they better not care. I do not want to subsidize foreign investors when our economy is dragging in the mud.

How about you? Do you think the Feds absorbing the debts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is a good deal for consumers?


Quote of the Day September 7, 2008

I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 - 1930), The Sign of Four, A Scandal in Bohemia

The Truth Shall Set Them Free

Good morning, Netizens…

Noted Spokane lawyer and playwright Bryan Harnetiaux is directing The Exonerated, a dramatic reading that tells the stories of five men and one woman who were freed from death row. Performances are at Spokane Civic Theatre this coming Friday and Saturday at 7:30 both evenings. Tickets are $30 and can be ordered at TicketsWest. The performance is co-produced by the Center for Justice and Civic Theatre and proceeds benefit the Center for Justice.

First, a bit about Spokane lawyer and playwright Bryan Harnetiaux

Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, The Exonerated is a powerful portrayal of vindicated innocence and the human cost of time lost to wrongful prosecution. The stories are of innocent people who served between 2 and 22 years on death row, before being released after exculpatory evidence was brought forward. This weekend’s production coincides with the launching of the Center’s new Integrity of Justice project which is a partnership with the Innocence Project Northwest Clinic at the University of Washington School of law.

The Spokane performances feature actors David Casteal, Denise Utter, Winto Everette, Thomas Heppler, George Green, Bryan Jackson, Brooke Kiener, Andrew Biviano, and Rusty Nelson.

Director Bryan Harnetiaux is a luminary both in Spokane theatre and law. He is a 1973 graduate of Gonzaga Law School and has been an adjunct professor at the Law School for many years. In his writing he has tackled many important issues including death, racism, environmental degradation, and old age. He’s argued at the Washington State Supreme Court on several occasions and, as an athlete, is known both for his long range jump shot and his continued prowess on the softball diamond.

The Integrity of Justice Project is a public policy research and community education effort to foster a partnership among prosecutors, law enforcement, defense lawyers, judges, and others in the justice community. The purpose of the partnership is to identify best practices and procedures for determining guilt or innocence and thereby promote the integrity of the criminal justice system. The Integrity of Justice Project is funded by tax-deductible contributions. It is the centerpiece of the Center’s Liberty & Justice program that also includes our ongoing Law Enforcement Oversight project and Prison project.

Four your reference you can reach Center for Justice at:
Community Building
35 West Main, Suite 300
Spokane, Washington 99201
(509) 835-5211
Center for Justice is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except during the noon hour and on court holidays.

Information used in this message is from the CFJ web site Center for Justice and used without permission.


Quote of the Day September 5, 2008

Wisdom doesn’t automatically come with old age. Nothing does - except wrinkles. It’s true, some wines improve with age. But only if the grapes were good in the first place.

Abigail Van Buren (1918 - ), 1978

Quote of the Day September 5, 2008

When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the Worldwide Web…. Now even my cat has its own page.

Bill Clinton (1946 - ), announcement of Next Generation Internet initiative, 1996

Protesters held hostage…

Good morning, Netizens…

Here is a brief update with regard to the people trapped in Gaza City where Israeli forces are refusing to allow protestors to leave Palestinian territory peacefully.
British journalist and peace activist Lauren Booth, right, sister-in-law of former British premier Tony Blair, who is now an international Middle East peace envoy, attends a protest against the Israeli siege in Gaza City on Wednesday. Booth said today she is trapped in Gaza as Israel refuses to let her leave the Palestinian territory she entered aboard a protest boat. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)
(September 03, 2008) Getty Images

Dr. Bill Dienst, an emergency room physician in Washington, went to Gaza on one of the boats that broke the Israeli siege of Gaza last month, and is likewise trapped and being held hostage.

One must simply ask, why are the Israeli forces holding these peaceful protesters captive? What do they stand to gain from this?


And the baby slept through it all…

Good morning, Netizens…

As I was watching Governor Sarah Palin step through her paces last night, eventually delivering her canned speech before an ecstatic convention floor, I was utterly amazed at how this tiny infant managed to remain asleep throughout the entire raucous event. The thought continually bubbled up, upwanted, in my mind, why would they bring an infant, to the floor of the Republican National Convention? What purpose did it serve?

I wondered several times, as raucous demonstrations erupted around where the baby slept in Cindy McCain’s arms, how a baby would sleep with all the applause and screaming delegates present? Call it being jaundiced or perhaps overly-distrustful, but could it be possible they handed the baby a mild tranquilizer mixed in with its pablum just before arriving at the Convention?

Furthermore, I mused over how much of a distraction it was. Did American television viewers or the members of the Convention demand that all of Sarah Palin’s progeny be present on the stage when she completed her acceptance speech? If you were a candidate about to give an acceptance speech on national television, would you bring your baby to the show, or would you hire a wet nurse to tend him until afterward?

I did not learn a damned thing about Sarah Palin last night, other than how well she and various members of her extended family, including Cindy McCain, conducted their business while the tiny infant seemingly slept unaware of the high drama unfolding around him. Tonight all I learned about Governor Sarah Palin is how well she handles a Teleprompter, and I give her passing grades for that. I learned very little about the McCain campaign’s assessment of its political standing with women, or working families, or social conservatives. Whether you’re learning what Sarah Palin really thinks or feels is anybody’s guess. That represents the most troublesome aspect of Vice-President Sarah Palin to me, because she is now one heartbeat away from the Oval Office and I still know very little about her.

I did note that Palin’s speech entirely ignored the needs and wants of middle-class families, but after all, this is the Republican National Convention. I didn’t expect they would waste any valuable time on the teleprompter talking about that or any other valuable social causes.


RIP Jerry Reed…

Good morning, Netizens…

Jerry Reed has passed away.

The old adage that the older one becomes the more familiar faces seem to pass on or simply fade away has come true yet again this morning. Actually, the death of actor and consummate guitar player Jerry Reed took place Monday, but that seems irrelevant at this point in time. One of my true heroes has left the building, and now he’ll be playing music with some of the other greats whose lives touched “The Guitar Man” in various ways.

Most people will always remember Reed for his priceless portrayal of the movie character Cletus Snow in Smokey and Bandit. You would think that I would remember the three movies for Burt Reynolds star value, but I have never had much of a thing for stars. My memories of Smokey and the Bandit was always personal, for me. I was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama waiting for a load at a truck stop and simply mouthed off to the wrong group of bikers and got my butt kicked but good. After all, they were taking a leak on the shiny new chrome wheels on my Peterbilt that I had just bought that afternoon. I should have kept my mouth shut, but I had just spent a lot of hard-earned cash to buy a brand-new set of those status symbols, shiny chrome wheels that any self-respecting trucker would love to own, and here were a bunch of greasy, filthy bikers-from-Hades peeing on my truck. It cost me a good sum of money getting parts of my body put back into its proper places at the hospital.

I never did forgot that beating, but the first time I saw Smokey and the Bandit I nearly screamed for joy for Jerry Reed (AKA Cletus Snow) climbed behind the wheel of his Kenilworth in “Smokey and the Bandit,” covered in blood after getting his butt kicked by a bunch of bikers. Then he turned the wheel of the rig and aimed for their motorcycles, and he paid my debt of honor to those bikers in full. If I hadn’t been so preoccupied with seeing through both black eyes that were swollen shut at the time, I’m sure I would have done the same thing.

It was a real jolt knowing that Jerry Reed is gone. People that are bigger than life aren’t supposed to leave life behind.

Rest in peace, Jerry. I hope there are some good guitar pickers over yonder.


She’s come a long way, baby…

Good morning, Netizens…

In another of David Horsey’s excellent political cartoons from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, we see yet another view of Sarah Palin. It seems, according to the cartoon qualities that Horsey has seized upon several times this week, the Republican die-hards consider Palin “interesting”. Many others continually refer to her purported lack of experience or the controversy surrounding her ex-brother-in-law. Others are carping about the entitlements and earmarks which Palin has brought to her town. Just this year, she sent to Sen. Ted. Stevens, R-Alaska, a proposal for 31 earmarks totaling $197 million — more, per person, than any other state. So, I suppose that if one is searching for a controversy, they probably can find one in Sarah Palin’s past, but I also hasten to point out nearly every politician walks that same pathway.

On the right, we have a picture of Sarah Palin taking the oath of office in Wasilla, Alaska in 1996. As they say, she’s come a long way, baby. From beauty queen, to small-town Mayor, then Governor and now Vice-Presidential candidate. I consider that a significant amount of movement.

It should be noted that Alaska pays $1,200 cash to every Alaskan. In addition, each Alaska resident gets an annual dividend check, about $2,000 this year, from Alaska’s oil-wealth savings account, known as the Permanent Fund, now fattened to more than $35 billion. Perhaps residents of Alaska view entitlements and earmarks a bit differently than other states.

When you examine both Governor Palin and her husband, I find it more interesting that he prefers the official title of “first dude” than various other titles that have been suggested for him. One presumes that this title could be transferred to the husband of the Vice-President of the United States then, couldn’t they? Somehow that title could go either way, depending upon circumstances, but I like it.

There is also a fair amount of controversy about Democrat female crossover voters who will vote for Palin strictly on the basis of her gender. How significant is the voting for former Hillary Clinton voters? There is apparently a groundswell of female voters who apparently are leaving the Democratic Party for Republican headquarters in the aftermath of Hillary losing a bid to Obama.

Sarah Palin is interesting, to say the very least. The real question of the day is will she add interest to the John McCain campaign, which according to all the polls, is trailing the Obama campaign at the present time? Is she an asset or a liability?

Those are the questions foremost in my mind. By all means, feel free to add more of your own remembering that tonight, Wednesday, Governor Palin will address the convention, and thus perhaps things may change.
Pictures courtesy of AP

Quote of the Day September 2, 2008

If you have any doubts that we live in a society controlled by men, try reading down the index of contributors to a volume of quotations, looking for women’s names.

Elaine Gill

They Wouldn’t Ask That, would they?

“How can a woman who just had a baby and also found out her 17 year old daughter is now pregnant handle the job of Vice President - and what happens when she is suddenly the President?”

The problem I have with those questions Jeanie is that I highly doubt anyone would ask them of a male VP candidate. And that bothers me a lot.

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