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Community Comment

Archive for August 2009

The animals in our midst…

Good morning, Netizens…

Phillip Garrido looks out at the courtroom during his arraignment on 28 felony counts stemming from the abduction of Jaycee Dugard in 1991, in the El Dorado Superior Court in Placerville, Calif. on Friday, Aug. 28, 2009. Garrido pleaded not guilty on charges including forcible abduction, rape, sexual assault and false imprisonment. At left is court-appointed attorney Susan Gellman who represented Garrido. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Phillip Garrido, convicted sex offender, rapist, kidnapper and former prison inmate steps up to the stage and after throwing himself on the mercies of the criminal justice system quickly scurries and hides behind his attorney. Garrido, in case the name doesn’t ring a bell, is the man who, on June 10, 1991, kidnapped Jaycee Lee Dugard, aged 11 years, from her school bus stop and held her captive until this week. Here’s a few dates from the long list:

In June 8, 1999, Garrido’s parole is transferred to California from Nevada. He is subject to home and office visits and had to wear a GPS monitoring device on his ankle. No parole violations were reported. Well, until recently, that is. His parole agent made several house visits during this time.

Day before yesterday, Garrido and his wife were arrested and charged with allegations of kidnapping, rape by force, lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and kidnapping someone under 14 with intent to rape.. The girl was taken into custody only briefly enough to verify that she was that kidnap victim, now aged 29 years old, with two children fathered ostensibly by Garrido. Garrido fathered her first child at age 14, and none of her children have been in either public schools or treated by medical professionals prior to this time.

The entire criminal justice system, including the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and the Probation Departments have yet to explain why, despite several visits by members of the Sheriff’s Department and his probation officer, nobody was aware Dugard was living in Garrido’s back yard in a warren of tents and other buildings, being held against her will, one presumes.

In April 2008, Garrido registered a corporation called Gods Desire at his home. Those who knew him said he became increasingly fanatical about his religion in recent years, breaking into song and claiming that God spoke to him through a box. As if to prove how crazy and stupid he was, he put up a set of web sites. Consider the madness at

Hopefully he’ll have to talk to God from behind bars the rest of his life. We do live in very strange times, indeed.


The Oxymoron of Duncan

So, this just in from KREM - Convicted mass-murderer Joseph Duncan is competent to stand trial in the killing of a 10-year-old Southern California boy, Anthony Martinez, a jury has ruled.

I am curious how a totally wacked out nutso like this creep can be anywhere even close to “competent.”


The news byte that won’t go away…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

You may have thought you had heard the last of Michael Jackson’s homicide, or at least the last of the allegations of how and why he died.

Well, the coroner’s report, while not publicly disclosed, at least is cited as giving the reason Michael Jackson died. He died of too much medicine. The lawyers have been summoned and it still may take decades before they are through nursing on Jackson’s financial empire and Jackson’s doctor(s).

LOS ANGELES —AP—  Michael Jackson’s death was a homicide caused primarily by the powerful anesthetic propofol and another sedative, the coroner announced Friday in a highly anticipated ruling that increases the likelihood of criminal charges against the pop star’s personal doctor.

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office determined the cause of death was “acute propofol intoxication.” Other sedatives contributed to the death, most notably lorazepam, sold under the brand name Ativan. Additional drugs detected in Jackson’s system were midazolam, diazepam, lidocaine and ephedrine.


When does socialized medicine begin/end?

Good afternoon, Netizens…

In today’s David Horsey cartoon we take a closer look at the various claims and counter-claims being made about socialized medicine and discover a fact some may have overlooked in their haste to wave their banners of opinion.

Isn’t Medicare socialized medicine? Or isn’t it?

Then, in the interest of examining both sides of this thorny issue of socialized medicine, if we no longer had Medicare, what substitute(s) could we come up with to provide medical care for the retirees and financially indigent? If there were no Medicare what would we do for medical treatment upon retirement or financial despair? Would we simply turn them away in droves from the emergency rooms, which is about the only place left they could obtain service(s)?

Before we rush into/away from what has been termed “Obama-care”, wouldn’t it seem prudent to examine Medicare closely?


Rest in Peace Ted Kennedy…

Good morning, Netizens…

I wondered in my heart of hearts when cartoonist David Horsey would weigh in on the demise of Ted Kennedy, as I recall reading where David Horsey had spent some time with the good Senator back in the 80’s, and todays’ cartoon, coupled with his online comments which exist at bear out my recollection.

This nation, if not the entire world, has stood up together and paid homage to Ted Kennedy in his demise. As David Horsey comments, when Kennedy was on his game, he was indefatigable, for he had that great ability to move people in his speeches. Unfortunately, the ghost of Chappaquiddick Island and Mary Jo Kopechne haunted Kennedy for years thereafter. Otherwise he might have ascended to the Presidency, but perhaps not.

What is true is that Kennedy did become one of the greatest Senators our nation has ever seen, and led us with distinction and honor. It remains to be seen when or if we will ever find a replacement for the man. 


The Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Good morning, Netizens…

What is the light at the end of the tunnel in Afghanistan?

Some say it is the elimination of the Taliban. Several nations have made valiant attempts at rescuing Afghanistan from itself and failed. Although President Obama inherited the war in Afghanistan, is there a clear pathway leading us to closure there?

Have we started a war with no logical end, or is Afghanistan the modern-day version of Vietnam?


Ted Kennedy dead at 77…

Good morning, Netizens…

As many of you already know, Senator Ted Kennedy died last night, succumbing to brain cancer at age 77.

The news wires and TV news shows are filled this morning with great quotations about Kennedy, his life and political history. In my opinion, one of the most-meaningful eulogies thus far as been from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who issued a statement that said in part, “…..The liberal lion’s mighty roar may now fall silent, but his dream shall never die.”

I remember when Kennedy was elected to the Senate in 1962 and, according to nearly every source I’ve checked, has served longer in the Senate than only two others.

Despite being ravaged by cancer, however, he has remained a vital force in American politics since he announced publicly in May 2008 he had a cancerous brain tumor.

If, in the course of American politics, there is a lintel post, a door post through which the truly great American Political figures must pass in order to step aside from leadership, leaving their gifts of insight and wisdom for history to respectfully consider, Ted Kennedy had reached that point in his life.

Then, as he transcended life, he turns, and with that inimitable Bostonian twang that was undeniably his trademark, he quotes himself when speaking of President Barak Obama, and says, “The world is changing. The old ways will not do. … It is time for a new generation of leadership.”

One of the most-endurable, vociferous and omnipresent voices of the Liberal mindset has left life. It is time for a new generation of leadership to assume the reins of authority which Kennedy was both its architect and proponent. Rest in Peace.


The Atheists have a sign, but no Manger…

Good morning, Netizens…

The picture of this sign is real. Although we still have a Christmas Tree slated for the Capital Building in Olympia, Washington, the Nativity Scene which had been there on display for years is now gone, verboten, forbidden. Instead we have a Christmas Tree and the sign in the picture, brought to you by the Atheists.

I agree they have the right to have such a detestable sign present in our State Capital Building, but I have the same Constitutional Right to have a creche, a humble manger scene, as my personal celebration of Christmas present in the Capital Building. I have rights, too, dammit!

If we had the lawyers in charge back when Jesus was born in the manger, the Birth of the Christ Child probably would have never happened. Instead we would have had a sign similar to what is above, and an empty manger occupied by jackasses and perhaps a cow. However, they would have had to make their own peace with God to have a star shining down on their sign.

They apparently didn’t have that kind of clout.


Who stands to gain or lose?

Good afternoon, Netizens…

Once again cartoonist David Horsey takes a look at the Health Care System, at least as it is sometimes presented to us. While I only know a very few people who fit into the category of the woman on the left, I presume she must either be a government employee of some kind (including elected positions), a person retired from such companies as Burlington Northern, certain union employees (although those numbers have been steadily dropping in recent years) or gifted with exceptional health and wealth. In short, she is probably not representative of anyone we know personally.

What is not in the picture are the escalating numbers of people who have no insurance whatsoever, because they cannot afford it, or it is one of the faceless population that, because they have no health insurance, have lost their homes and life savings because of unexpected medical expenses. What seems so tragic is no one else in the picture, perhaps even including President Obama, have ever found themselves in such dire circumstances.

They all have health insurance. If they all lost medical insurance coverage, we might have a chance of passing Universal Health Care Insurance into law. Otherwise, nobody in the picture probably gives a damn about the uninsured.


Presidential Events Revealed…

A Belated Good Afternoon, Netizens…

In this cartoon presented by cartoonist David Horsey, it might appear as if he were doing no favors to the members of the National Rifle Association, since they ostensibly would approve of bringing guns to a Presidential event if not anywhere God-fearing, gun-packing citizens feel guns are necessary.

However, as someone who once had an elderly Aunt who was a registered member of the NRA, my first question would be, what about the Women of the NRA?

I guess if having a small penis is a prerequisite for bringing guns to a Presidential event, one could state with some degree of candor that some women figuratively do have small penises, too. Very small, that is.

At least we tentatively do understand who would bring guns to a Presidential event and can proceed on that basis.


Speaking of dignity and equality…

Good morning, Netizens…

In this Spokesman-Review picture Spokane Mayor Mary Verner in front of Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick speaks against racist propaganda at a news conference Friday, Aug. 21, 2009, near the state line.

I will not and cannot denigrate nor contradict what the Illuminati of Spokane and Coeur d’Alene said during the press conference about racism, for they are right. We need to be aware of racist developments in our communities, to take strong stands against it, and to stop it before it gains a foothold. We cannot stand idly by while a vocal minority of Aryan racists foment racial hatred against persons of color. We should and must be heard speaking in one voice against race hatred.

However, our communities’ leaders also need to take a stand against abuses of other kinds as well. I would like to see a similar group of public officials take strong public stands against police intimidation, particularly of those mentally ill in our communities. Like race hatred, small steps have been already undertaken, but we must persevere. We must have the courage of our convictions to stand up and in one voice demand human dignity for all peoples, from all walks of life, and that decency and humanity be accorded to everyone, regardless of race, creed, color or mental health.

Not just when it is politically expedient.


Going to the fair this summer?

Good morning, Netizens…

Jodi Holt trims the ear of a red and white Holstein cow in preparation for her showing in the dairy competition at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, Ky., Thursday in this morning’s picture of the day from the AP news wire.

I cannot help but wonder how many readers in Community Comment ever had the privilege of preparing livestock for the State Fair, as I once did, not that we have a State Fair here in Spokane. It is so unfortunate that our Spokane Interstate Fair has forsaken their support for such things as Future Farmers of America (FFA) and other groups dedicated to instilling good values in farm kids. Kids used to wear their FFA jackets with pride. Where are they now?

There is something ennobling and humbling about raising livestock from their infancy, grooming and tending them in the heat of the summer sitting in a barn at the State Fair, and eventually selling them for a profit.

It has been several years since I attended the Spokane Interstate Fair. Instead I go to other places, such as the Adams County Fair, The Pend O’Reille County State Fair and even the Kootenai County State Fairs where the kids and their animals always seem to take precedence over the thrill show rides and carnival atmospheres.

Were you raised on a farm? Were you a member of the FFA? What fairs do you like attending as we wind down summer?


Thunderstorms moving through area…

Good morning, Netizens…

My, but that was lovely. We had a small, fairly powerful severe thunderstorm move rapidly across parts of Lincoln, Stevens and Spokane Counties this morning at approximately 1:00 AM this morning. This was not in any of the weather forecasts, but the brief rainstorms were welcome.

There was some mild winds ahead of the storm, but not damaging in the slightest excepting north of Reardan, and no hail that I have been able to discern. There was, however, a severe thunderstorm warning issued for part of Lincoln, Spokane and Stevens Counties at 1:30 AM PDT.


Mandatory Dorm Life?

Here’s a thing for you to ponder.  What do you think about the University of Idaho’s pending plan to have all freshmen live on campus? 

Associated Press - UI may make all freshmen live on-campus

MOSCOW — The University of Idaho wants to make all first-year students live on campus — a move that officials say could boost university housing revenue by nearly $400,000 and campus dining services by $300,000.
UI President Duane Nellis has approved the proposal, and the school will present it to the State Board of Education on Thursday.

School leaders say the move would also boost residence hall occupancy by 100 students, and could raise the number of students who return from college after their first year from 79 percent to 85 percent.

UI Vice Provost Bruce Pitman says Nellis is pushing the school to improve student retention rates.

If the proposal is adopted, it would go into effect in 2010.

I went to Eastern for college.  I had to BEG my parents to let me live on campus.  But first, I had to show I was committed to college by living at home for my Freshman year, saving every penny I made, and paying for room and board myself.

UI thinks that having the Freshmen live on campus will encourage them to come back for their Sophomore year.  I disagree.  If anything, I think the added expense of living on campus will be a deterrent.  What say you? 


Spokane Election Part I nearly completed…

Good morning Netizens…

Opening salvos this morning before things get too hectic.

Well, it does appear that the election runoffs have completed and no real surprises took place, although I thought Steve Eugster might have drawn a bigger percentage of the total. Perhaps it is because this year, instead of appearing at Unity in the Community’s slam-bang gathering in Riverfront Park this year, Eugster neglected to wear the outrageous shorts he wore the first year he ran for City Council position. Maybe the shorts scared people into voting for him, perhaps not. Did you vote for Eugster?

The real race to watch come the election will be Nancy McLaughlin who, it appears, will face community agitator and gracious lady Karen Kearny. Don’t underestimate Kearney’s power base, for there are a lot of people who remember her fondly for her stands on “uncomfortable” issues in the past. Given proper handling, this could be a truly fascinating election between these two.

Get ready for the heat today. There are still a few last days of real summer left, and it seems they are all arriving in the next week and one-half. There is nothing like the heat to warm up a good election I say.


Dr. Terry Novak dead at 68 years of age…

Good morning, Netizens…

Dr. Terry Novak, Eastern Washington University’s professor of public administration, died Saturday at his home at age 68 of unstated causes perhaps associated with diabetes. In this picture of Novak from the Spokesman, he looks angry, but perhaps he had more goals to attain that will go incomplete now.

Novak was the spark plug behind the Waste to Energy Plant, in the vernacular, the Wasted Energy Plant, and through bringing water and sewer to the West Plains, the development of the West Plains, among his many credits. He was the Spokane City Manager for 13 years, back in our former Council-Manager form of City Government.

He hired former Police Chief Terry Mangan, something that perhaps history will not reflect upon so kindly upon according to some.

However, there was hardly anyone in City Government that hasn’t already chimed in to praise the man, from the greatest to the lowliest. Even if persons didn’t agree with him, he got things done in the words of many. You can read the official SR article here:

All we, the living, can say of Novak is, Rest in Peace.


Probius Phoont…

Good morning, Netizens…

I have been in and out of the Virtual Ballroom and the Virtual Garden all summer long, but only long enough to have a quiet cup of Virtual Espresso, exchanging casual conversations with the various ghosts that have served as the barrista of the day, perhaps to appreciatively listen to some of the music being played by the Virtual Orchestra. For some unexplained reason our orchestra this summer has taken to playing really eccentric music, things by classical composers that have long since been buried in our collective histories, things that even the most-dedicated classicists would recall.

The Garden Gnomes who tend the lush Virtual Garden, either through magic or sheer pluck, have managed to raise a respectable garden of vegetables and delightful flowers that adorn the stone walkways throughout the garden, despite the heat of July and the chilly weather of August. If the casual were to go looking for the Gnomes during the worst of the strange weather we’ve had this summer, you would like as not note they were missing, for during the worst of the heat, the Gnomes were taking shelter beneath the giant, uncontrollable rhubarb plants that grow unrepentant toward the rear of the rear garden wall, and during the recent chill, staying deep underground in their warm burrows. It has been only at twilight and daybreak, that they have been visible, hard at work at weeding and harvesting. Oh, my Lord we have cucumbers!

Perhaps the most dramatic event to take place all summer has been the arrival of Probius Phoont, who has appeared in the Virtual Ballroom recently.

Nobody, not even the ghost of the Greek dramatist Aeschylus, who frequently comes by to recite some of his own ancient verse while serving Virtual Espresso at the bar, who seems to know far more about everyone in the Virtual Ballroom than anyone, does not know the origins of Probius. Of him, Aeschylus states, “That is the only spirit who has an uncertain past, present and future, but who seems to know or presume a great deal about everyone and everything in the Virtual Ballroom. Be his assumptions correct or in err largely remains to be seen.”

Thus it was in the half-light of early morning, I came to meet this strangest of all Spirits in the Virtual Ballroom, as once more he was serving as the barrista of the day. Attired in a plum-colored robe that rippled as he moved up and down the counter, with a brass-colored helmet atop his head, Probius Phoont slid a cup of orange espresso tinged with streaks of chartreuse in front of me, and tapping it meaningfully with his forefinger stated, “It has no need of a name. Unlike most things of nature, its presence requires no name. Simply imbibe it, bask in its ambience and move onward.”

Taking a tentative sip, and finding it extremely pleasurable, I gazed on this odd spirit and asked, “Who are you, Probius? That is a question everyone in the Virtual Ballroom seems to be asking. No one seems to know where you originate nor how you came to be here.”

I am the ghost half-brother of a cartoon character known as Flakey Foont which was drawn by R. Crumb back in the 60’s and 70’s.

My mouth fell agape. We have ghosts in the Virtual Ballroom, but now we have a ghost of a cartoon character’s half-brother? Will miracles never cease?


Town Hall on health care

Good morning, Netizens…

Oh my goodness! After watching the various Town Hall Meetings on health care over the last week and change, and after listening very carefully to what some members of the public said to the various members of the government agencies, I would not want to be one of those agencies for they have taken a verbal beating, for right or wrong.

We have forgotten how to be polite in our discourse, regardless of our point of view. Collectively we seem to feel being abrasive and abusive enhances, our opinions, gives us a better place upon which to stand and the more others will hear what we have to say. The louder we yell, the more we stress how irate we are, the more people will listen.

David Horsey draws an important line in his cartoon on the health care crisis this morning. Mental health should be included in our planning of whatever health care plans we have for the future. We should include mental health care for those who are most in need, but those who are protesting at Town Hall Meetings against the government proposed health care plans for the future.

It seems a valid point to make.


Those who survived Woodstock…

Good evening, Netizens…

In this AP photo, Grandpa Woodstock shows a peace sign as he walks with his wife Queen Estar in Bethel, N.Y. The couple were attendees of the original 1969 music festival. A concert at Bethel Woods commemorated the 40th anniversary today, and from all reports, it was anticlimactic, even with Richie Havens performing for the news media. 

I nearly fell off my chair laughing when I saw this picture, as there have been hundreds of times I have asked myself whatever happened to those who actually attended the three day event at Yasgur’s farm. Grandpa Woodstock grew older and his wife grew what appears to be a beard if you look closely enough.

Nobody ever suggested we got more gracious, beautiful or articulate as we age. Sometimes we just become befuddled, and live our lives in the past.


Brrr. It’s chilly this morning!

Good morning, Netizens…


With the temperature hovering at a brisk and chilly temperature of 45 degrees this morning, does this mean no one will be swimming in the recently-opened swimming pools in Spokane today? How about tubing down the Spokane River? Anyone in favor of hypothermia for a recreational opportunity?


There is a spot of fog hanging over Hillyard this morning, and it is too chilly to be out recreating at this graceless hour of the morning. Even the Garden Gnomes in the Virtual Garden are staying pretty much below ground, snuggled next to their stoves, rather than come above ground and inspect the tomato plants.


The raucous jaybirds that normally would steal or eat anything not fastened down by a one-inch steel cable seem reluctant to leave the comfort of their nests and are not in evidence at all.


I have a service call to attend to, but I’ll be back to see if anyone else is surprised by this sudden rash of August weather that is more like October.



The Mobius Lease Agreement

Good morning, Netizens…

Here is a link to the Mobius Lease Agreement:

I do not know if anyone has uploaded this vital agreement, so there it is.


Ronnie spins!

Good afternoon, Netizens…

The late President Ronald Reagan made this radio broadcast and it is a marvelous audio document when viewed in present times.

From the perspective of a staunch conservative Republican, I can imagine Ronnie spinning in his grave watching the Obama attempts to rectify medicine as we once knew it. Still, it is a thought-provoking bit of history.


Medical mistakes by David Horsey…

Good morning, Netizens…

When you first view David Horsey’s cartoon this morning, you might perhaps chuckle, maybe even discredit it. After all, it is a cartoon, right?

First, I think you need to read the underlying document, a critically-acclaimed report on medical errors originally penned by the Heart Newspaper company, which is here for your reading. It is a somber, thought-provoking document, and well worth the time and effort.

I was nearly a victim of local hospital error, after having a heart attack. I know the nature of the beast. They routinely make mistakes which are never acknowledged, and for which no changes in policy nor procedure are ever made to rectify the original situation.

Yes, Mr. Horsey, I’ve been that patient laying on the gurney, wondering if I will survive. You hit the nail right on the head.


The WASL Test Results

Good morning, Netizens…

What follows is only a portion of the total WASL Test results, in this case for Grade 10. If you wish to read the entire result tests go to and examine the various grade levels. To be utterly honest, I had no idea the math results were as deplorable as they are. According to the results posted on the web page, 63.5% of the students in tenth grades taking the WASL math test did not meet standards.

This leaves us a serious set of realities, because our children, I believe, are our futures. In our complex and terribly technologically-driven world, if children cannot perform math at a satisfactory level, I believe they are doomed to eking out lives in substandard, menial jobs.

What is perhaps even worse is that over 20% of the students taking the test performed at a substandard level in the reading tests.

So, here for your contemplation and consideration as parents, grandparents and others who care about our children’s futures, are the results for the 10th Grade.

If this is, as the Spokesman-Review suggested this morning, is a plateau, it has a lot of rocks on the road.

Math in Middle School???

Good morning, Netizens…

Here, from the Spokane District School System is the list of recommended school supplies for kids entering or enrolled in Middle Schools this year:

  • Three ring binder

  • White college-ruled notebook paper, no colored paper

  • 2-#2 pencils

  • 2-pens, blue or black

  • Ruler

  • Pencil bag to fit three ring binder

  • Eraser

  • Index tab dividers for binder

  • Book to read

  • Graph paper for math and science

  • Calculator

  • Composition book (black/white)

  • Padlock (combination type) 

  • Other supplies as directed by teachers

  • Colored pencils (optional)

  • Glue stick (optional)


A calculator? Do we reasonably expect our kids to learn how to do math by forcing them to buy a calculator to attend school? My grandchildren do not know how to perform the multiplication tables, something I had to learn by memory when I was in sixth grade. As a result of my education, and the knowledge I obtained about math in my middle school years, I can still do math in my head that daunts most kids today.

Is this the “dumbing down” of America taking place, where our kids cannot do math in their heads, but are largely-dependent upon calculators?

Could the reason the WASL tests are being cancelled after this year be because the kids cannot do math without a calculator? This gives me the chills. How about you?



A Breakfast call is sounded…

Good morning, Netizens…

Indeed, Marty has sounded the breakfast gong so on or about 7:00 AM this morning we will be meeting at our appointed Mystery Place for breakfast and all, at least those who know where we meet,  are invited.

Who knows what we will talk about, because that always changes from day-to-day.


The coming battle over Initiative 1033…

Good morning, Netizens…

Washington State Initiative 1033: (short description, full text available)

This terse description of I-1033 states in part that it will limit state taxes in Washington State. Written and submitted by Tim Eyman, it has acquired enough signatures to make it to the state ballot.

After reading the full text of this initiative, I am wondering whether people will vote thus:

It cuts our taxes and thus vote for it.


Ambivalently ignore anything Tim Eyman supports or not care about cutting taxes.

I admit the full text of the initiative and after nervously watching our property taxes steadily increasing each year, and despite a certain resistance to Tim Eyman’s predictable bent against taxation, I think I’ll support this initiative. However, I worry about those voters who, because they do not own real property, and thus are not impacted by property taxes, might not vote in favor of it.

What about you?


Fixing the health care system…

Good morning, Netizens…

“I’m mad as hell as I’m not going to take this anymore!”

In this morning’s cartoon, David Horsey demonstrates just a few of the reasons what many working-class and some lower-middle-class Americans seem to be yelling in a series of public input sessions on Obama’s healthcare bill. It also makes a mockery of the high profile interviews Pennsylvania Senator Arlan Specter gave to members of the news media since a meeting he led turned into a yelling contest.

You might think that Specter, having survived over 45 years as a Senator in his state, both as a Republican and as a returned-to-the-fold Democrat, would recognize that when Americans get angry, they simply will not sit down and be placated until their issues have been addressed openly and directly by their elected officials.

Based upon the town hall meetings held in various places throughout the United States, there is little doubt that Americans are angry. The single-payer system proposed by the Obama administration is not acceptable, but then the current health insurance system is unacceptably broken.

What isn’t shown in David Horsey’s cartoon, however, are the number of homes that have been taken over in lieu of payment of delinquent hospital and medical bills, such as are common in Spokane. I have tried several times to obtain some numbers to demonstrate this increasing penalty inflicted on those who cannot afford medical insurance, but surprisingly enough, none of the Spokane-area hospitals seem eager to provide those statistics. Could this be shame?

The other aspect of the town hall meetings are the numbers of people who could not attend, because they are working.

When the cost of medical care has tripled in the face of national average incomes, there is little reason why people are angry.

The incomes of health care CEO’s and the sickening profits of their firms, however, are, as David Horsey points out, quite content with the status quo. THAT has to change before anyone will pronounce the health care system fixed.


Injunction against Microsoft Word…

Good morning, Netizens…

A judge on Tuesday ordered Microsoft to stop selling Microsoft Word products in their current form in the United States. However, before you panic, remember legal appeals or technical work-arounds make an actual halt of sales unlikely.

If you understand the “nuts and bolts” of Microsoft Word, this injunction stops Microsoft from selling Word products that let people create custom XML documents, since the patent for those functions are held by i4i (

The ruling, which includes damages Microsoft must pay, are related to a patent infringement suit filed by i4i.

According to the Associated Press, Microsoft did not reply to questions about the affect the injunction will have on it and its ability to sell Word in the U.S. In a statement it said it planned to appeal the verdict.

An appeal could stay the injunction but even if the injunction stands, Microsoft could potentially strip the functionality from Word or possibly build a work-around.

In a March 2007 suit, i4i charged Microsoft with willfully infringing its patent. Earlier this year, a jury in the Texas court ordered Microsoft to pay i4i US$200 million for infringing the patent.

The judge also ruled that Microsoft should pay an additional $40 million for willful infringement of the patents and over $37 million in prejudgment interest. That brings total damages to more than $290 million.


The Perseid Meteor Showers are here…

Good evening, Netizens…

Tonight and tomorrow night are slated to be peak viewing nights for the Perseid Meteor Shower, an annual celestial event that has been eons in the making.

In this picture, a meteor streaks towards the horizon during the annual Persied shower in Florida in August 2008. Perseid meteors are bits of debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle which burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, and can be seen during clear skies in August, all around North America. (Photograph by: Doug Murray, Reuters)

The Perseids have been with us sporadically during the months of July and August, and late during July I witnessed several multi-hued meteors moving across the sky.

Unfortunately, due to high cloud cover from a low pressure center moving through the Inland Northwest tonight, it may be difficult if not impossible to see the meteors at their peak. We can only hope that by tomorrow night the skies over Spokane will clear off enough that between the hours of 1:00 AM and 3:00 AM we will be able to view this heavenly fireworks display.


Eunice Kennedy Shriver, 88

President John F. Kennedy’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who carried on the family’s public service tradition by founding the Special Olympics and championing the rights of the mentally disabled, died early Tuesday surrounded by relatives at a Hyannis hospital. She was 88. (San Francisco Chronicle)

I have followed the life of Eunice Kennedy Shriver for just about my whole life. She was a remarkable woman and personally I think she was the cream of the crop of the Kennedy clan.


Where were you during Woodstock?

Good morning, Netizens…

Do YOU remember Woodstock? Were you there? Or did you sit transfixed before a glowing TV set watching the news as Woodstock Nation, as it became to be called by the news media, unfolded?

Ah, the memories that unfold whenever I remember those days, when time itself seemed to concede the Woodstock Nation could single-handedly end the evils of all War forever.

While there are lot of things I remember about Woodstock, this is not about those ancient and celebrated memories. Rather, this is about your memories of that time, if you have them, and how those memories sit with you compared to the harsh realities we face today.

Please, take us down your memories of that time.


Rest in Peace Eunice Kennedy-Shriver…

Good morning, Netizens…

In our most quiet moments this morning, we should take a bit of time and remember Eunice Kennedy-Shriver, who passed away overnight at Cape Cod Hospital at age 88. She epitomized her family’s tradition of giving in her life by founding the Special Olympics and championing the causes of mentally-handicapped children throughout the world.

Her survivors include her husband, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2003, and the couple’s five children: Maria Shriver, who is married to Schwarzenegger; Robert, a city councilman in Santa Monica, Calif.; Timothy, chairman of Special Olympics; Mark, an executive at the charity Save the Children; and Anthony, founder and chairman of Best Buddies International, a volunteer organization for the mentally disabled.


The Bonding…

Good morning, Netizens…

Until yesterday it has been decades since I last attended an old-fashioned marriage ceremony. Please note I did not use the word wedding, for that implies the surreal episodes of semi-lackadaisical frolics that precede the ceremony, more white lace than any other events held in a church, far more flowers than are needed for state funerals and the semi-lucid alcoholic overindulgences that follow the reception. Normally the actual ceremony that accompanies these events is anti-climactic, terse and typically quite predictable.

The minister at yesterday’s marriage had a coy sense of humor, that crept into the otherwise serious and somewhat lengthy ceremony, like an uninvited but gleefully-accepted friend dropping by the house for a visit. In his comments, the elderly minister stated to the groom, “this is no piece of hamburger you have here. This is prime rib, and you need to understand this.”

Fairly glistening in her white wedding gown, her face glowing with that mysterious radiance that spread from face-to-face among the onlookers, the lovely bride yesterday had struggled and fought a good fight to end up at the altar with a good man, but as bride and groom stood there before the minister, the battle was over, and a greater combat began.

Marriage is a process of bonding two lives into one, creating a world of give-and-take, and nothing could be closer to the truth in my opinion. In this complex and mind-altering world we live in, when you take two diverse lives and inexorably bond them into one flesh, one mind and one heart, you are asking a miracle to be performed. Given the statistics of marriage and divorce, it appears that sometimes the miracle simply fades over time. The bond falls asunder and the ugliness of divorce takes over.

In my most-quiet moments, if I had a simple prayer to say from this time forward, I would pray that my friend Mel and her newly-conjoined husband live long and prosperous lives, and that they have children who, someday may hear about how their mother and mother, stood before the altar, anxious to be off on their lives together, but willing to hear the admonishments and comments of an old minister full of wisdom.

Perhaps they will tell their children how, at the altar, Mel was a ‘piece of prime rib’ and should always be respected and loved. For if you build a marriage on solid rock, with just a twist of humor to make one smile when things get rough, they will live long and contented lives.


Grant County gangs our problem…

Good morning, Netizens…

There’s good story in pictures being told by a veteran Spokesman-Review photographer, Dan Pelle, at

Having worked in the Mattawa and Othello areas for over a decade, I have witnessed steadily-increasing gang activities, from the gang signs that adorn practically every building in the area, to overworked, overstressed members of the Grant County Sheriff’s Department who struggle on a daily basis to maintain order.

There are some who say this ongoing problem doesn’t affect us here in Spokane, to which I say that is pure bull. The gangs are already here, and their numbers are increasing at a disproportionate ratio.

They are heavily armed, perhaps more so than we would like to admit, well-organized enough to remain below the radar screens of local law enforcement gang units and very sophisticated in what they do.

A picture can tell a thousand tales, and in the case of this photo collection, it is exquisitely-done, quite accurate and very thought-provoking.


A bit of tongue in cheek about Sotomayor…

Good morning, Netizens…

As some may know, there are two Oaths of Office when swearing in a Federal Court Justice. The second, which most of us have seen already, was administered by Chief Justice John Roberts in an ornate conference room, beneath a portrait of the legendary Chief Justice John Marshall. Her left hand resting on a Bible that was held by her mother, Celina, Sotomayor pledged to “do equal right to the poor and to the rich.”

The first, which took place in a private conference room witnessed by guests and assorted dignitaries with the TV cameras absent.

The oath that Sotomayor took in private is prescribed by the Constitution and required of all federal officials. The second oath, taken in front of a television audience, is spelled out in the 220-year-old federal law that established the federal court system, although this was the first time TV cameras were allowed to witness the event.

Rumor has it the reason for this was so all of America could see their fingers were uncrossed behind their backs and for the really ancient viewers, so that the public could see none of the members of the nation’s highest court were still wearing their Captain Midnight Secret Decoder Rings.

Please see

It is said you are truly ancient if you can remember Captain Midnight, or still happen to have one of the original secret decoder rings, but that is a fraction of the age of the Supreme Court.

Yours for history’s sake…


Don’t upset the apple cart with FACTS…

Good morning, Netizens…

Cartoonist David Horsey opens our collective eyes to a recurring Republican Party nightmare— the continuing evolution of extremist right-wing based theories that, upon close examination, bear no basis in fact. It is almost as if someone is saying, ‘Don’t upset the apple cart with real, provable facts’ sometimes.

Are they ruining the Republican Party or are they, on the other hand, attracting a new generation of wingnuts with theories of their own?

That seems like a fair question for an otherwise fine Saturday morning, does it not?


Quote of the day — August 8, 2009

Good morning, Netizens…

This insightful quote comes to me from George Sands, and having read a bit more about the author of the quote thought perhaps others might enjoy reading it too.

“Then there is the phenomena I call “blogulgation” — when a group of bloggers feed off each other’s posts, citing to each other as reliable sources to bolster the validity of their position. A diatribe by another blogger is tagged as “news” in a cyber game of telegraph, where a surreal “reality” is crafted from amalgamated speculation corroborated not by actual facts or independent investigation but by endorsement of other speculators. Often regurgitating outdated news, disproven facts, they share such a fanatic devotion to their cultivated theories that they become disturbingly hostile, on a personal level, towards anyone with divergent views. Rather than a quest for enlightenment or intellectual debate, these groups often evolve into a support group for those with identical, albeit misinformed opinions.”

Ann Bremner

( A few brief words about Ann Bremner)

(Portions obtained from on her web site)

In addition to being one of the preeminent lawyers in the Western United States, Ms. Bremner was was named (again by her peers) as one of the “Top Ten Women Lawyers” in Washington State and one of the “25 Smartest People” in Washington State in Law & Politics Magazine.

Have you ever seen evidence of blogulgation taking place? It’s a thought for an otherwise beautiful Saturday morning.


Palin: Obama’s plan ‘downright evil’…

Good evening Netizens…


Just because she is no longer the Governor of the State of Alaska doesn’t mean that former governor Sarah Palin off chasing big game and fishing in the Alaska wilderness.

Earlier today Palin called President Barak Obama’s health plan “downright evil”, her first online comment since leaving office. She also asserts that he would create a “death panel” that would deny care to the neediest Americans.

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care,” the former Republican vice presidential candidate wrote.

The claim that the Democratic health care bills would promote and encourage euthenasia have been smelling like an overly-ripe fish on the Internet for weeks, and has even been echoed by some Republican leaders. Both the Democrats and the nonpartisan group, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania say the Republican claims are false.

Republican criticism has also included allegations that the reform plans will lead to rationing, or the government determining which medical procedures a patient can have.

Unfortunately, millions of Americans already face rationing, as insurance companies rule on procedures they will cover. Denying coverage for certain procedures might increase under proposals to have a government-appointed agency identify medicines and procedures best suited for various conditions.

Sarah Palin is, of course, believed to be preparing to run for President in 2012, and thus despite her statements to the contrary, she is still a politician advocating policies for the Right Wing of the Republican Party.


Mobius deal approved

 From great article written by the S-R’s Jim Camden: The Spokane Park Board approved a 50-year contract Thursday with a group trying to put a science center on the north edge of Riverfront Park.

Read more at:

On the Web: The Park Board’s contract with Mobius Spokane is available at

Have you ever worn stiletto heels?

Good morning, Netizens…

Have you ever worn a set of stiletto heels? Bear with me a minute here…I meant to say have any women reading this ever worn stiletto heels before? Somehow the mental picture of two funky old graybeard males needing shaves wearing color-coordinated stiletto heels takes me back to certain places in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood, a residual memory that still haunts me to this day. We probably do not need to go there.

The advantages, according to the moguls in charge of shoes are that they give the optical illusion of a longer, slimmer leg, a smaller foot, and a greater overall height. They also alter the wearer’s posture and gait, flexing the calf muscles, and making the bust and buttocks more prominent. Some can use the emphasis, some probably should avoid it all possible costs.

However, stilettos disproportionately result in ankle and foot damage. Given the deplorable condition of the sidewalks and streets in Spokane’s version of the Universal Urban Obstacle Course should leave us asking, is making my butt more prominent worth the cost of orthopaedic surgery from a shattered ankle?

I simply do not understand. Can someone enlighten me before I rush out to one of the shoe emporiums and buy a set of these so-called “wonderful shoes”. Besides I don’t need any emphasis of my big behind nor do I need to waltz into Dempsey’s Brass Rail wearing an air of insouciant pulchritude wearing stiletto heels and cheap perfume.

What about you?


History, unimpeded, will repeat itself…

Good morning, Netizens…

Mobius of Spokane has been characterized by a local blogger as Riverpark Square 2.0, which by itself is a controversial condemnation of the stilted process the Spokane Park Board has started. Now that the lease is public, there are even more reasons to question it. The biggest flaw appears to be the sub-leases which gives Mobius virtually unlimited authority to lease the land they have grabbed to other more public entities.

Will these sub-leases be untaxable? The members of the cartel that put Mobius together did not trust the taxpayers to make such a decision, nor did they even broach the issue. That is wrong! Can you envision a shopping mall in Riverfront Park? A bank? A skyscraper full of lawyers?

The last time Pacific Science Center came before the taxpayers it was voted down. Since that time, several of the Science Centers that were built are now in serious financial trouble. When you take their fiscal track record, and combine it with the questionable lease agreement, you do have some of the elements of the public-private funding miasma that brought us to the edge of fiscal bankruptcy to begin with.

Everyone seems to have a warm-fuzzy feeling about the Mobius exhibit currently on display in Northtown Mall. I don’t. There are a lot of people known to me, whose opinions I have come to trust over time, who are questioning the fancy paperwork that has, until recently, hidden all the plans behind Mobius/Pacific Science Center’s card shuffle.

Listen to history. Unless we study it, give it the accord it demands, we are doomed to repeat its worst mistakes over and over again like a bad record.


The question of Obama’s citizenship…

Good morning, Netizens…

I am certain few would argue with me when I say our country has a diversity of opinion nearly unequalled anywhere in the World. That is probably because we are a sum of the mixing pot, that undefined melange of races, creeds and colors of people who have decided to join us in our exercise of Democracy, that big-breed animal we take out of its cage every once in awhile and walk it proudly through the neighborhood. Unfortunately Democracy is like any large pet— you have to be responsible for its care, maintenance and feeding.

For many months now I have been listening to the endless discussions of Barak Obama’s birth certificate, his somewhat uncertain lineage and the continuous assertions that he is NOT a certified, dyed-in-the-wool American citizen and thus should not be President of the United States. I’ve been listening, and to some degree, have posed a few questions of my own about whether the presidency of Barak Obama adheres to the law.

This morning, cartoonist-to-the-world David Horsey has assumed the laurels of that particular discussion, thus relieving me of any further involvement in the argument, and I believe he has it pegged just about right. Sure, we all have the right, if not the obligation to question those things we personally find particularly objectionable or questionable. However, we should always look at the sources, those illy-defined “authorities” who have fueled our questions to begin with.

Authorities, authorities. There are so many authorities these days. Anyone who has Internet access can become an authority with less effort than they normally would reserve for answering nature’s call. However, with just a smidgen of perusal, one is left with the dominating question: who are the people who are questioning Obama’s birthplace?

That probably should be the question we are asking before we question the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate. Our version of Democracy voted for this Obamanation of Democracy, didn’t we?


Breakfast is served at 7:00 AM today…

Good morning Netizens…

Mssr. Hibbs and I will be meeting for breakfast at 7:00 AM this morning. While I apologize for the short notice that is somehow the ways our surreptitious gatherings take place, not planned.

The usual hidden place, of course.


Feel like diving into the pool anyone?

Good evening, Netizens…

As we welcome cartoonist extraordinary David Horsey back from his vacation, he would have us waiting with bated breath beside the Democratic Health Care Pool trying to decide whether to take the big plunge right away. The reason the kid in the front row is busily picking his nose is because, as stupid as he might appear, he knows full and well his generation will be paying for our stupidity.

Of course, before Republicans begin banging on their dinner plates about President Obama’s Health Care Plan, they should be forced to admit they have no plan of their own. Anyone from the Republican Right Wing should also be forced to admit how much money they have received from various health care mega-corporations, underneath the table, of course. Now that could be interesting.

It does seem nobody wants to dive into the pool with the sharks of the medical inflation. Most everyone else are turning up their noses at the ugliness of an unknown health care future that Mr. Horsey so aptly describes for us.

Are you feeling secure about the future of the health care system under the Obama Plan, or are you just as scared as I am?



Noodling is a new term.  Have you heard it?  It means to think upon, wonder about, share your thoughts, brain storm.  So - what are you noodling todoay?


2 American journalists are on US soil…

Good morning, Netizens…

Free at last! Thank God they are free at last!

To say that the 2 US journalists that were once held by North Korea learned quickly how to make an entrance onto US soil at Bob Hope International Airport is an understatement by itself. In the first picture you see the various people involved, including Euna Lee and Laura Ling and their respective families.

The second picture is of Bill Clinton greeting everyone after his departure from the plane.

The third picture, showing Laura Ling’s tearful speech thanking everyone who participated in their safe return to America, with Bill Clinton and Al Gore standing immediately at her side.

One hastens to note that NONE of this event was sanctioned by President Barak Obama, although one is relatively certain, despite the various disclaimers being heard in the news media at various times, that he was more intimately-involved than perhaps we are being told.

The pictures, of course, are TV captures from KREM-TV and CBS news.


American Journalists pardoned and freed!

Good afternoon, Netizens…


According to the Associated Press, thanks to Bill Clinton’s visit to North Korea, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the 2 American journalists being held prisoner in North Korea have been pardoned and ordered released. 


Just so you know Department…

Good morning, Netizens…

Two reasons why former President Bill Clinton flew to North Korea to meet with North Korean government officials. American journalists Euna Lee (L) and Laura Ling are shown in this undated file photo.

According to a pocket survey performed yesterday, Monday, in downtown Spokane:

60% of the people asked why Bill Clinton was going to North Korea stated they had no idea he was traveling there.

90% of the people stated they had no idea who the Americans were being incarcerated in North Korea nor why.

Were you aware of why Bill Clinton went to North Korea? That seems a fair question, since until I saw this picture, I had no idea of their names.


KREM.COM running text-only, Inlander needs a reboot…

Good morning, Netizens…

When all else fails, and there are no other avenues for covering news, always contact the source. That advice was given me years ago as a news journalist, and it has stood ever since.

This morning I contacted KREM by phone, and they have told me this was a systems failure, a BELO server from the sound of what they have been told, as it took down not only KREM and BELO but their entire daisy chain of BELO associates, including Portland, Dallas, Texas, St. Louis all the way down the chain.

Could you have worse? According to my source at KREM, they have no Internet access at KREM for the time being, and their news, in the form of their Blogs, are text-only, no pictures, sound or other multimedia capabilities. Much the same can be said for their various other holdings.

My source also stated they have no idea when the station’s website will return to functionality above and beyond their Internet configuration.

This is definitely a disaster of unimaginable proportions to any Internet-based corporation, but especially a corporation of their size and scope.

Of course if you want to hear more anguish, The Inlander’s web site is down as of about five minutes ago according to several sources, and according to their ISP, Go One-eighty, their web server is down. Help has been summoned.

“So I pushed the big red button and now it is saying, ‘Operating System Not Found’. Now what do I do?

OK kids, it’s back to MS-DOS we go!


Thought for a Day…

Good morning, Netizens…

Just a worthwhile thought for the day ostensibly from the late Paul Harvey. I have not been able to find a citation for this quote, but it sounds like something he might say.

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I’d like better.

I’d really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would. I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.

I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen. It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep. I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in. I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother/sister. And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he’s scared, I hope you let him. When you want to see a movie and

your little brother/sister wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let him/her.

I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely. On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.. If you

want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.

I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.. I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy/girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like. May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I don’t care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don’t like it.. And if a friend

offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend..

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandma/Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays. I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor’s window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Hannukah/Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you - tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it’s the only way to appreciate life. Written with a pen.. Sealed with a kiss. I’m here for you. And if I die before you do, I’ll go to heaven and wait for you. Send this to all of your friends. We secure

our friends, not by accepting favors, but by doing them.


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