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Community Comment

Archive for December 2009

One more day to go…

Good morning, Netizens…

Ah, the last day of 2009 has arrived.

Like most days, I survived my birthday yesterday, sans parties or other social engagements. Instead I spent most of the latter part of the day sitting in a recliner, fast in love with Tylenol since I was stricken with some undefined ailment that had struck my beloved wife just the day before. Whatever the hell it is/was, consisted of a Jim Dandy of a migraine headache, something that has seldom has bothered my aging fat-body before. Yesterday my doctor, during a regularly-scheduled appointment pronounced me fit as a fiddle, and by mid-afternoon I was whimpering in a recliner dependent upon pain medication and by eight o’clock last night was out of it.

However, I awoke at my prescribed time this morning, found my Great Chair calling out my name and fell once more into the throes of another day in paradise, with no lingering symptoms of yesterday to otherwise stop me from making forward progress.

To my utter surprise and delight, an old friend, John Jansen showed up and commented on my aging, as he, Marty and many others go back a long ways to Usenet News and The Phoenix Newsgroup, which predates Community Comment by over a decade. In retrospect, it has been a really good run.

As much as I loathe New Years Resolutions, I’m going to take yet another stab at making a few, with encouragement to everyone to include some of your own. If time and energy permits, we may even look at the news that shaped our lives in Spokane this year.

It is a good day to end 2009, and tomorrow we can start all over again with a clean slate. Will we collectively screw it up, or can we really make this a New Year when we turn this boat around? That seems to be a fair question.


Upon reaching 64…

Good morning, Netizens…

Today, December 30th, is my 64th birthday, which given my predictable penchant for getting myself into troublesome situations, is probably much older than anyone, myself included, should have expected I would reach. But, as I observed awhile ago, the wiring and plumbing still work, so I have no complaints.

Given my various medical predicaments, since I have one more year until I achieve the questionable value of reaching the age when I can file for Social Insecurity, I am nearly to the point where the government subsidies will kick in. That will bring to a close to the endless questions about what it is I do for a living and thus my penchant for paying huge medical bills will end. It is sort of like being a disabled veteran of a Foreign War but without the feeble excuses for medical care at the VA hospital and were it not for my doctor with lustrous bedroom eyes who tends my ailments with acumen and skill, I might not be here at 3:00 in the morning, hammering on the keyboards.

My life has been one hell of a run, beginning with the still-unexplained assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy driving huge trucks through the crazy sixties and seventies, from the Midwest, through Colorado to the San Francisco Bay Area and eventually moving to the Spokane Area. Who would have dreamed I would survive the Sun Myung Moon and the Moonies only to end up with Crazy Joe Shogun as our City Council President? There are a lot of parallels there, you know.

Some, in retrospect, may ask, how the hell did I end up in this journalistic fricassee called Community Comment, anyway? That’s quite a story in and of itself. Some blame the former editor of the Spokesman-Review, Steve Smith, for my abiding daily presence on the Blogs, but I’ve had a good multi-year run at this project, and with the capable assistance of a few good friends, we still stand tall before the mast each day, attempting to account for the imprint of history upon our foreheads, with dignity and some courage.

We’re moving forward. I’ve seen a lot of dear friends pass away on this dirt road, but still others are patiently trodding the path with me, and waiting for that uncertainty that awaits us all at the end of life. My only guideline, my only goal is that I complete this run with dignity and grace.


Liar, Liar, pants on fire…

Good morning, Netizens…

Homeland Security’s Janet Napolitano admitted she lied on Sunday’s news talk shows this morning, and I, for one, want to know why she is still in charge of Homeland Security. She admitted this morning that the Homeland Security system failed. Failed? It allowed a person on the watch list aboard a plane destined to the United States with a detectable explosive device, PETN, hidden on his person, and yesterday she stated the system worked?

Forty bazillion Americans stand patiently in line every day waiting to pass through Homeland Security’s security screening at airports around the globe, trusting that they are safe from terrorist threats because they get screened. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is now charged with attempting to blow up a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit. Fortunately, instead of the device hidden in his shorts exploding, he set fire to his pants and, in think-speak, “burned his groin”.

My only comment about Abdulmutallab is, “Ooh, I’ll bet that smarts! Now you’re going to prison.”

My only comment about Napolitano is, “Are you still here?”


Where are the elements of truth?

Good morning, Netizens…

There is an element of truth in nearly everything you might read in newspapers, either online or in print edition, regardless of political affiliation. In this morning’s David Horsey cartoon, we encounter some fine examples of the Liberal concepts purportedly considered factual as well as some of the Conservative Republican social theories heard in 2009. I submit there are elements of truth in both, which implies we might see some considerable changes in the coming New Year.

There is hardly a day goes by but what you encounter one or more of the Conservative Republican party lines isn’t trotted out before the general public, or the Liberal Democrat counter-beliefs isn’t handed out, both proclaimed loudly as factual. There are elements of truth in both.

Now we will wait and see what the New Year brings by comparison. We’re almost there.



I love Christmas. I love Santa. I love decorated trees. I love all the lights and all the yard ornaments, the deer, the snow families, the giant lighted candy canes. It is all festive and exciting.. As a child, I would be breathless with anticipation. Santa was coming! To MY house!

I spent hours and hours trying to figure out Santa. My logical self was pretty sure he was my Dad. My heart self wanted him to be this magical mystical Santa who came down chimneys all over the world. I would be extremely concerned that we had no chimney and how would Santa find me. Would he just come through the door? Would he knock first? What if I woke up? Would he vanish in a puff a smoke? (And what would happen if, in all my delirious anticipation, I couldn’t GET to sleep?) I knew, if Santa were my Dad, presents would arrive, my cookies would be eaten, the milk glass would be empty. But I still wanted that magical man, Santa Claus.

When I was ten, I was convinced that Santa had indeed been real. Christmas morning, I arose early (earlier than our 6:00 in the morning rule – no getting out of bed before 6:00 in the morning), and I peeked out the window in the living room, and there on the ground were two stripes burrowed in the snow. PROOF of sleigh tracks! Never mind that there were no hoof prints of eight tiny reindeer – they are magical beings that float – so no prints.

This year, things have happened that take away from the magic. It’s been difficult to get into the spirit. But then, I have discovered that Santa does exist – I have my very own personal Santa – you know who you are. One of our bloggers or blurkers sought me out and gave me a gift – but even more, I was given the gift of friendship and love. I am blessed beyond measure! Santa does exist. The magic is in the air.

Peace and joy to all this Christmas.


The Story of Christmas…

Good evening, Netizens!

In keeping with a tradition that is more than a decade old, an old friend, Connie E. sent me a copy of the King James Version of the Birth of Jesus. She and I have been doing this, posting the Christmas Story in our respective versions of the Bible, since before 1998, although I had posted the story previous to that, since 1992. This ritual, if you can call it that, is one of my final Steps Toward Christmas, as I wrote in late
November of this year. It is now nearly Christmas Day, very early on a cold winter’s morning. What better time than this to tell the true Story of Christmas?

From conster@ Fri Dec 24 23:32:22
Subject: Luke 2:1-17 KJV
From: Connie Estell <>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 23:32:22 -0800

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from
Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was
first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, everyone unto his own city.  And Joseph also
went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the
city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and
lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his expoused wife, being great with child.  And so
it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she
should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped
him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no
room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping
watch over their flock by night.  And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon
them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good
tiding of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born
this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you: You shall find the babe wrapped in
swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the
angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to
God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven,
the shepherds said on to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and
see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying
in the manger.  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the
saying which was told them concerning this child.

From dlaird@xxxxxxx Fri Dec 24 21:12:09
Subject: Where it all began–
From: Dave Laird <dlaird@xxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 21:12:09 -0800

Good evening, everyone…

It is Christmas Eve, and for most of the people in Spokane, Washington,
Christmas has already passed them by, as Christmas is largely consumerism
and hyperbole. However, for some, Christmas is a celebration of a father’s
love for his Son, and the mystery thereto.

If you can imagine a father conceiving a son, knowing in advance that his
son would be forced to die an ignoble death on a wooden cross, would you?
Moreover, would you accept the pain and suffering of being the person to
ask your son to so give his life that others might find redemption? While
these religious tenets and beliefs are somewhat out of favor in our world,
and while people are turning away from religious events in droves, what no
one can change is that the birth of his Son Jesus is still one of the many
mysteries of faith, and thus is the cornerstone for the true meaning of

As is my habit each year for over the last decade, tonight I willingly
step aside from the vacuum we call modern society, and for whatever good
it might find in each of your hearts, I post the story of the birth of
Christ in a manger in Bethlehem, as was originally foretold by the
prophets. It represents a love of a father for his child, and for the
generations that would follow his name.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the only true star of Christmas, in a
story that has withstood the test of time for us all, Emmanuel, which
translates from the Aramaic to mean, Christ with us.

Luke, the Second Chapter, verses 1-20 from the New American Standard Edition of the Holy Bible:

1 Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar
Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was
the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all
were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city. 4
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea,
to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the
house and family of David, 5 in order to register, along with Mary, who
was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 And it came about that while
they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 8 And she
gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid
Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And in
the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and
keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord
suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them;
and they were terribly frightened. 10 And the angel said to them, “Do not
be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be
for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born
for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for
you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.” 13
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly
host praising God, and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on
earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” 15 And it came about when
the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began
saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this
thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they
came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He
lay in the manger. 17 And when they had seen this, they made known the
statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard
it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But
Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And
the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had
heard and seen, just as had been told them.

May the peace and meaning of this story, and of the birth of the Christ
child find a place in your hearts, as in mine, always. From our house and
places on this earth and life, Merry Christmas to all.

Dave Laird, family and friends…

Another True Believer…

Good evening, Netizens!

This is yet another of my almost-true stories about Christmas. However, unlike most, in this story I became not only the author but the protagonist, as well. Although in the final version, which you are about to read, I gave Freddy the Logger the credit, whom some of you may know from reading The Springdale Tales, but in actuality, I was the Santa in this story. The Darigold milk truck was, indeed, stuck in the snow, and I happened upon it in time to strike a bargain with the route manager and thus procure the milk for distribution. That Christmas Eve, armed only with a Toyota 4X4 full of milk, I made the first (and possibly the last) ever Santa’s ride distributing milk to all the needy families I knew in Springdale. Coincidental to this story, I also managed to capture what I feel is the essence of a real-life character you know by his non de plume of Freddy the Logger. I hope you enjoy it…

It passed, or did it?

Good morning, Netizens…

[PHOTO] Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., center, answers questions outside of the Senate chambers on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009, after the Senate passed the health care reform bill. From left are, Senate Finance Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Reid, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn..

(AP Photo/Mannul Balce Ceneta)

However, as of 7:04 AM PST this morning, according to the major TV news and despite what the AP news wire suggests, the Senate was still meeting to pass the bill, minus any Republican voters, that is, who have promised to staunchly avoid signing onto the bill.

Senate Democrats and the talking news heads are calling the bill a momentous package. Most are suggesting the bill will be one of the most-popular bills in recent history to pass. However, the bill as it currently appears still must be merged with the House’s bill, a task which nobody, even the news media, seem to feel will easily pass.

I don’t trust this bill one bit, in either House nor Senate version. Like nearly every bill that has oozed its way out of the House or Senate in the last decade, the proof is in how much pork and special privileges are built into the bill. Although we have heard a few news bytes about the pork in the bill, it is still too early to fully comprehend the full extent of what the government doesn’t want us to know, including the special deal made for the State of Nebraska. That is troublesome. How much do you trust the new-and-improved health care reform bill?


Santa’s Ride…

Good morning, everyone…

As many of you who have read The Used Kharma Lot for years and years know, each Christmas I publish a collection of fables, tales and stories about this most precious, magical season of the year online for everyone to enjoy. This year is no exception, with the exception that this year the stories appear in a Blog. 

Since this story was written originally in December of 2000, it has had portions of  it updated.

From our house to yours, may you have a Merry, Merry Christmas.

Arbor Crest Winery Mansion on fire…

Good morning, Netizens…

The Arbor Crest Winery Mansion atop the hill overlooking Spokane Valley is on fire, according to KREM-2 news and visible from areas of the Spokane Valley Floor.


The Climate Carol…

Good morning, Netizens…

Strictly in the Spirit of the impending Christmas Season, once again I present cartoonist David Horsey’s Climate Carol, an irreverent play on that old favorite, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.

Now I have read the portions of several recent message threads about global warming, and while I am aware that there are many opinions of global warming, both pro and con, at the same time I have to admit Horsey’s cartoon is pointed and quite funny.

Your opinions, however, may differ. By all means feel free to contribute a Christmas Carol of your own.


Sergeant Brad Thoma terminated…

Good morning, Netizens…

Former Sgt. Brad Thoma is no longer a police officer as of Monday according to an announcement made yesterday. You can read the Spokesman-Review story about his evolution from being a police officer to a citizen here, albeit a citizen with some pretty strenuous controls over his driving privileges. Thoma was involved in a drunken hit-and-run accident in September and was a 20 year veteran of the Spokane Police Department at that time.

Alcohol and driving simply do not mix, and without boring the reader, I will state I hold some pretty-strenuous opinions about anyone who climbs behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated, especially if that person happens to be a sworn peace officer. However, alcoholism seems to be an occupational hazard of being a police officer, according to some national statistics. Of course, one could observe that the consumption of alcohol and carrying a loaded firearm is a dangerous mix, regarding whether or not a law enforcement officer is involved. Thank God Thoma didn’t injure or kill someone while driving drunk, because that could have happened.

As things worked out in the court, Thoma will avoid criminal prosecution if he stays out of trouble for five years. He does have to use a Breathalyzer device to start his car which is how he came to be fired, according to Chief Anne Kirkpatrick’s statement.

“A valid driver’s license without restrictions is essential for the job,” Kirkpatrick said in a prepared statement.

It is unfortunate that we lost a good police officer with lots of street experience. Some may disagree with that opinion. Some may suggest that the incident should have been prosecuted to the fullest possible extent of the law. I’ll leave that for someone else to decide. If citizen
Brad Thoma keeps his slate clean, with no more infractions, he may be able to resume his career in five years. Is that justice? That, too, I’ll leave for someone else to determine.


Mudder Nature in Denmark…

Good morning, Netizens…

Cartoonist David Horsey once again takes on the Global Climate debate by depicting Mother Nature departing the climate conference in Copenhagen.

My initial reaction to this cartoon is what is Mother Nature doing riding in what appears to be a limousine? Then the next question is, if she wouldn’t be riding in a limousine, just how would she be getting around? A horse-drawn carriage? A Model-T Ford? How about a 1949 Dodge Pickup Truck with a boom box stereo?

As for Mother Nature’s recommendation we might want to find a new planet, when do we leave?

Hoo boy! Now there is the question of the day. It becomes a question of not if but when.


Post-immaculate conception…

Good morning, Netizens…

Talk about creating a controversy. A handout picture released by the St Matthew-in-the-City Anglican church in Auckland shows an apparently naked Virgin Mary and Joseph in bed together. The billboard has sparked the ire of conservative Christians in New Zealand if not conservatives elsewhere around the world. Picture: (AFP/HO/St Matthew-In-The-City)

Of course, this does open the doorway to the the inevitable discussion of the immaculate conception of the Baby Jesus which, according to some, is yet another controversy of itself.

However the picture is perhaps controversial enough.


The Magical Christmas Tree…

Good morning, Netizens…

The Magical Christmas Tree

Copyright December 2009

Yet another Christmas Story, this time about a magical Christmas Tree that transformed itself from a tree found in desperation on a ragged-looking lot on the fringe of Hillyard to a beautifully decked out tree when it was needed most of all.

Community Comment Dancers…

Good morning Netizens…

O dear me. Our secret is out, and visible on Youtube here:

Jeanie and Dave dancing in the Virtual Ballroom. Oh dear.


We Three Kings…

Good morning, Netizens…

In this morning’s David Horsey cartoon, we have the three wise men, judiciously renamed the three wise guys. I suppose the nicest things one could observe about this odd manger scene is that neither Mary, Joseph, the Democrat’s jackass nor even the Baby Jesu seem terribly impressed with the gifts these three faux-magi have brought as gifts for the child. Stunned might be a better word.

The only reason the Baby Jesus is showing a brief grin is he just filled his diapers for the first time, but fortunately nobody has noticed yet. Being the Son of God, even in the form of an infant, certainly does have its advantages.


Morning comment…

Good morning, Netizens…

It is grimy, gray and drip-dry outside this morning, and typically by now I would have already posted stories and comment, as that has typically been my daily regimen for nearly three years. However, those steps will be delayed today, mostly because a band of miscreants, people who were once told they were banned from the Spokesman-Review Blogs because of repeated violations of policies and procedures.

Instead of resting up for the long week ahead of us, first Jeanie and then myself began a protracted study of how several banned users were able to log on and post vitriolic messages, often posting as more than one person. We both began reviewing IP addresses for the suspected users and matching them to user names, and suddenly we stood up together, and with the assistance of Ryan Pitts, we began purging users who could not, for whatever reasons, to be honest and forthright about their identities.

As a result of our efforts, Roger_Young, Fuscia and Uptight_Spokanite all were exposed and their user accounts removed. That is only the edge of the iceberg, because if they attempt to return using different IP addresses or other user names, we will sniff them out. In fact, upon review of the policies and procedures, we may begin enforcing some new rules for those attempting to establish user accounts.

All this because of a few people. Neither Jeanie nor myself are paid employees of the Spokesman-Review but serve as volunteers. We don’t need this kind of time-consuming mind games filling up what little disposable free time we have. Nuff said.


The China Doll…

Good morning, everyone…

Here is a Christmas fable for both the young and the young at heart. Written in 2001, and later copyrighted, but not before I substantially modified and edited it, this tale has more miles than my tired old van.

For those who have complaints about it being fiction/fantasy or that it is longer than your typical blog post, simply do not open it.

Atlas Shrugged?

Good morning, Netizens…

Holy thudpuckers! There is an invisible line being drawn by cartoonist David Horsey and Atlas in this cartoon that follows very closely behind some of the social theories expounded by Ayn Rand’s book, “Atlas Shrugged” isn’t there? I was once taught in college that Atlas Shrugged was a lampoon of the Republican Party, which brought howls of delight/anger from various factions of the student body. Ever since that time I have wondered what truths there were, if any, in the professor’s suggestion about the book. I always thought it was about the “power of one”, one person’s power to stand against public opinion.

On the other hand, in this cartoon David Horsey loads both front-facing guns and takes a pot shot at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Suddenly the vision of the Planet Earth being a bowling ball rolling erratically across the floor of the Universe after Atlas dumps us all comes to mind.

My God, I think it’s a direct hit, but of course your thoughts may differ.


Saturday morning news… oh dear.

Good morning, Netizens…

O Lord, please spare me new news reporters at KHQ-TV! It seems like every two weeks (somewhat exaggerated, but not by much) news reporters and anchors at KHQ change, which means just as you were getting used to their brand of news on Saturday mornings, since they offer the only news available in lieu of kiddee cartoons, what you see is what you get.

The latest import, Jennifer Rohrar, seems to follow the logic that apparently rules how personnel are chosen at the station. They must not know anything about Spokane issues and news and they must have TEETH. Extra points are given if they can correctly pronounce the word Spokane.

Oh, my word. There is hardly a sentence that goes by but what Mz. Rohrar doesn’t exhibit a set of whitened monster chompers that would do an angry wolverine justice. This isn’t your typical good morning smile, no way. It is a baring of the fangs, and it takes place about every 30 seconds or when there is “dead air” time. It’s reflexive: if you don’t know what to say, simply flash your pearly whites, giggle and everything will be okay.

What is unfortunate is that I cannot recall who preceded Mz. Rohrar at KHQ. I gather the folks at KHQ don’t really care about establishing long-term relationships between the studio and their audience, even on
Saturday mornings when the kiddies monopolize the television to watch cartoon shows. Otherwise why do they continue to change news anchors as if they were old socks?

Or perhaps KHQ is already atop the national trend: nobody gives a crap about mainstream news these days.


The Mobius Project dies on the vine…

Good evening, Netizens…

Let us look at the history of Mobius in retrospect for a moment. While the announcement much earlier today that the rocky marriage between the Spokane Park Board and Mobius was ending effective immediately, its failure demonstrates quite clearly the power of the Internet. For, without the groundswell of public dissension and controversy surrounding the Mobius Project, perhaps it would have gone forward, a flawed and dangerous precedent for the City of Spokane.

There were a multitude of questions surrounding not only the lease agreement, which would essentially pose questions of illegal gifting of public lands, but agreements being made in violation of the Open Public Meetings Act.

Were it not for the persistence and research done by a handful of ordinary citizens interested in the truth, the flawed agreement between Mobius and the Spokane Park Board might have moved forward.

This is not to suggest that Mobius is not still viable nor even desireable, no. It is just now that it is free-standing, not bound to the City of Spokane or its Park Board. For a better history and understanding of the issues involved, please read written by Shawn Vestal of the Spokesman-Review.


What is a hero or heroine?

Good morning, Netizens…

(Photo credit: Comcast)

I seldom complain about advertisements, simply because I have an oddball television tuner card that I have hot wired into one of my few remaining Microsoft Windows boxes, which allows me to muzzle and in some cases, completely eliminate television advertising from my consciousness. However, in one of the few instances where I have paid attention to the nauseously self-serving advertisements, most particularly Comcast, I cannot help but notice they are advertising hockey player Karen Thatcher and various other Olympic competitors as “local heroes”.

Wait a minute here. Isn’t Thatcher a well-paid spokesperson? I did tentatively attempt to see if she were paid for her participation in this advertisement, but no such luck. That does bring me to my question, whatever did she do to earn the status of a heroine? Play hockey? What values make a person a hero or heroine?

Our men and women in far-off wars in our names. Firemen who go into burning buildings to rescue potential victims. Police who take their lives in their hands simply by having coffee in public places and then die trying to save us all. These are my heroes and heroines.

Who are some of your local heroes?


To touch the unknown…

Good morning, Netizens…

I once wrote about an empoverished school for the blind in Los Angeles, a tale which eventually became part of my Christmas Stories Collection. In all, back in the 60’s I spent over two weeks interviewing blind children about a street woman who befriended them, played music for them in the parks and eventually worked her way up out of the ranks of the homeless.

Yesterday when I saw this picture, shot by Richard Drew for the Associated Press, I knew I had to include that as part of my examination of Christmas 2009. The girl, Morgan Cohen, is blind from birth, and as all blind children do, relies heavily upon her other senses, ie., touch, smell and sound, to better understand the world around her.

So when Santa leaned closely enough for her to do so, she naturally had to tug on his fluffy white beard to better understand him, perhaps even to see what he might say or do. But for a brief interval in time, Santa brought some of the magic of Christmas to her.


How is the recession hitting you?

Good morning, Netizens…

Cartoonist David Horsey takes a shot at recession, suggesting that the bankers aren’t feeling the impact of the economic downturn nearly so badly as Americans who have lost their jobs due to downsizing and layoffs. Have you been feeling the pinch this Christmas Season?

I simply have to know, because the recession has been hitting our house particularly hard this year, and I am wondering how many others have felt its icy fingers picking their pockets.

Of course, any discussion of the economy brings to mind the television advertisement that we should “shop local”, which features some of Spokane’s retail groups. Despite their heartfelt pleas, in tight economic times don’t you necessarily ignore “shop local” in exchange for “shop cheaply”? Are you looking for the best prices rather than following local vendors?

Of course, some bankers simply don’t care. When they receive a 20 million dollar bonus, they can shop wherever they want, right?


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Good morning, Netizens…

Right on schedule, I rolled out of bed at 2:49 AM this morning, and peering between my crusty eyelids, what did I see but SNOW coming steadily down like a veil smothering the vacant eyes of the City. No, not that wussy, half-snow we had yesterday morning, that barely covered the rose bushes of summer and left a powder on the streets, but a heart-chilling steadily-falling accumulative snowfall. There is already a few inches on the ground, which promises that this morning’s commute should be yet another exercise in futility, brought to us by our kindly City Government.

Peering at the calendar as I pour a cup of something that seethes out of the cup at me as I prepare for the day’s labors, I also note it is ten days before Christmas, and once again, it is time to begin the annual events I observe during the ten day run-up to Christmas Eve. For the sake of those who haven’t endured my peculiar traditions of Christmas in the past, over the next ten days I will be writing at least one fictional tale about Christmas each day, in some cases re-posting stories I have written in the past. Then, on Midnight on Christmas Eve, I will post the Biblical story of Christmas taken from the Revised Standard Version Bible. As in past years, if others want to post different versions of The Story, such as King James Version, please send them to me in e-mail to, I will post them as well with an attribution.

Then on Christmas Day, aside from A Word A Day, which runs automatically, I will simply spend time with my family and friends, for that is what Christmas is all about.

For each of you, however you observe it, for whatever it is to you and your own, may you enjoy a Merry Christmas.


Cast out from the Garden…

Good morning, Netizens…

Everyone in the news media seems to have taken their shots at Tiger Woods lately, so it comes as no surprise that cartoonist David Horsey hauls off and takes a shot of his own. Why should that surprise anyone?

Unfortunately, the news stories of Woods’ infidelities with various women does not seem to be related in any way to his undeniable ability to play golf with incredible skill, but it does impact his billion dollar bottom line in other ways. Global consulting firm Accenture Ltd. became the first major sponsor to drop Woods. The move ends a six-year relationship during which Accenture credited its “Go on, be a Tiger” campaign with boosting its image significantly.

Everyone, it seemed, once wanted a piece of Tiger Woods, but as of last week, Woods announced on his web site that he was leaving golf, at least for awhile. When or if he will return hasn’t been discussed, but it does seem premature for the news media to continue to put stories of his infidelities on page one. It is not news anymore.


Impressions of the Russian journalists…

Good evening, Netizens…

As stated earlier, I spent a portion of the week with Mary Carr and her delightful band of Russian journalists who headed on their 18 hour flight home to Moscow quite early this morning. Loathing prolonged air flights as I do, I couldn’t help but feel some pity for them, even allowing for the fact they will be changing planes three times.

However, the highlight of the entire week for me was the meeting with them at Franky Doodles Friday morning to discuss Blogging and journalism. Present were the four journalists, translator Larissa Kulinich, Marty Hibbs, Mary Carr and myself.

Although I had no preconceptions about our meeting, I did wonder in the dark corners of my mind whether or not the Russian journalists were under any constraints about what they could say, whether or not they were being censored, as in the former days of the KGB.

Toward the end of our meeting, when I could no longer hold it back, I sprang with the question whether there were any constraints upon what they could or could not say. When the answer to that question was affirmative, I barely waited for the translator before I asked whether any of them had ever been told they could be imprisoned or executed for writing something objectionable to the Russian Government. Once again, the answer was yes.

I walked away from our discussion of Blogging with a much-clearer understanding of the freedoms we take for granted here in the United States, compared to Russia. As one of the members of the group said, “It is getting better.” However, from my perspective, they have a long way to go before they can freely express themselves, and that their Blogs, such as they are, have a long ways to go before they will enjoy true literary or journalistic freedom. However, so long as there are endeavors such as those undertaken by Mary Carr, there is always hope for the future.


Sgt. Jim Faddis retires

Good morning, Netizens…

A rumor that I heard two weeks ago, that Sgt. Jim Faddis of the Spokane Police Department was seen in City Hall in an area where he would have been inquiring about his retirement benefits, is true. It was confirmed yesterday by a story about the retirement of Detective Jerry Keller, here:

Detective Faddis has retired, and although I will not speculate on how long he has been a police officer, nor how many awards he has won for excellence, this brings to a close the unfortunate personal relationship between he and I. I first met Sgt. Jim Faddis when he was playing Bluegrass Music at various events throughout a three-state area. He was one of the most-gifted musicians I had met in several decades, with a dead-on “high lonesome” voice valued by Bluegrass aficionados and had a repertoire covering a wide variety of musical genres, from Rock and Roll to Folk, Bluegrass and back again.

He eventually began posting in Community Comment, and despite the number of vituperative comments made about Police Officers, he and several other officers for a brief period of time gave our readers a meaningful insight into how police perceive the public, something that is still desperately needed today.

In retrospect, Jim Faddis was a good cop. I truly will miss him, but I imagine he is putting as much distance between himself and the Spokane Police Department as he can.


The ethics of global warming…

Good morning, Netizens…

Now before I get down to the serious business writing about the Russian journalists who were visiting Spokane this week, a visit which Jeanie and yours truly played small but emotional roles, I must open this can of worms called Global Warming, at least viewed by cartoonist David Horsey.

It should be noted that, from my position and thinking, the threat of Global Warming is true. However, this is just an opinion based upon what limited facts I have from which to draw my conclusion. In the cartoon, even David Horsey suggests that scientists are hyping the truth about Global Warming, which also might be truthful.

However, Horsey also draws the same conclusion that others have reached, that it is altogether too often that both scientists and government leaders “massage” the numbers to match their opinions. Thus David Horsey’s ethical question does not contain another element which I have often found to be far too truthful, and thus is inelegantly unethical.

There are people throughout the Blogosphere who have developed a considerable following when speaking of Global Warming, who lack either the scientific acumen nor have the political authority to declare Global Warming either exists or does not. Yet because they are purportedly unbiased, that they are not swayed by either scientific researchers nor political persuasion, they are therefore more ethical and thus more likely to possess the facts. Thus is not always the case, in my opinion.

The truth or untruth about Global Warming depends upon which source(s) you find most ethical. That perhaps is the more difficult question than whether or not Global Warming exists or its impact upon our lives.


A hectic week by any standard…

Good morning, Netizens…

Thank God it’s Friday! I am caught up and current with my real day job and this weekend the Russian Journalists are heading back to their homes in Russia. I cannot help but wonder how they perceive us in Spokane, allowing for the language barrier that separates us from one another.

This has been a hectic, busy week, even by my typically pandemonious schedule. It began with a simply lovely barbeque dinner with the Russians, Jeanie and Mary Carr, with a drive-by greeting by John Olsen, who not only helped fix dinner for everyone, but then headed downtown to attend the City Council session and witnessed King Joe Shogun toss two people out of the Council Chambers for unknown causes. It is too bad the Russian journalists were not in attendance, to witness King Joe in action. What a class piece of work he can be!

Wandering around the marvelously-complex Hamilton Studio and marveling at the eclectic ambience, I became acquainted with my hosts, Don Hamilton and Leonid Bergoltsev, the former is the owner of the building, the latter is a world-class Russian photographer some of whose pictures adorned the walls. I made a commitment to return to this special place, this time bringing a digital camera and capturing some of its beauty.

Making the rounds of the building who should I encounter but former Editor of the Spokesman, Steve Smith. Although we had briefly met during the time when Community Comment first saw its inception, this was the first time we actually had an opportunity for prolonged discourse.

As fate would have it, just as the dinner was getting lively, my phone went off, and off to a customer’s headquarters we did roll, as their network hub had gone down. Thus we missed the latter part of the ceremonial imbibing of Spokane’s own Dry Fly and various kinds of Russian vodka. Oh, my, Dry Fly is so smooth. It is perhaps the biggest temptation to return to drinking since I discovered Cutty Sark. Oh, dear me.

Wednesday and yesterday the day-to-day madness got more technical and insane, as there were a number of issues that demanded my attention, but now, at oh-my-God on a frigid Friday morning, things are slowly calming down in preparation for yet a last meeting with the Russian journalists later on this morning.

It has been a wonderful week, indeed.


What is it?

Good morning, Netizens…

Take a close look at this picture shot over Norway and see if you can define what it is. Scientists, UFO-ologists and various others have tried, and the closest they can come, according to various news wires, is that this is a picture of a Russian missile in its dying last moments. Still some others are insisting this is Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, which are quite common in Northern Norway on the Arctic Circle.

According to various news agencies, The Bulava missile was test-fired from the Dmitry Donskoi submarine in the White Sea early on Wednesday but failed at the third stage, say newspapers in Moscow today. However, the Russians are denying that the submarine launched any missiles.

I have been far enough north in the United States and Europe that you could read by the Northern Lights in total darkness. During my sojourns in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, it was related to me that if you went out on the ice you could hear the sounds of the Aurora as it rasped across the ice shelf. Despite all its splendor, I never saw anything even closely resembling this strange event.

Was it a missile gone astray or aliens putting on a lightshow for the Norwegians? That is a dandy question.


Does this seem familiar?

Good morning, Netizens…

(Picture of snow removal on campus in Lincoln, NE courtest of ROBERT BECKER / Lincoln Journal Star.)

Despite the fact you have to double-up your thermal underwear in order to travel very far in the out-of-doors today, outside of cars that don’t start and perhaps frozen pipes, we do not have any real cause to complain. Most of the Midwest, in particular Nebraska are all but shut down since yesterday afternoon, and most government and schools are closed for the duration of today. We had this discussion once before about how Midwestern blizzards can truly shut things down, at least until the winds stop blowing the snow sideways.

There is a monster snowstorm that is inexorably working its way toward the Northwest from the Great Plains, and the roads throughout most of the regions are closed, truck stops are full of stranded passengers and commercial freight-haulers and most public events have been canceled until the winds stop blowing sometime tomorrow. According to the Lincoln Journal-Star, in northeast Nebraska, they are planning to pull the snow plows from the roads at 7:00 PM as of last night.

What makes this storm so radically different from that of last winters unanticipated and thoroughly nerve-wracking snow storms in Spokane is the wind, which is currently gusting between 40-45 MPH as the storm develops across Nebraska. Can you imagine what would happen in Spokane if we have twelve inches of snow driven by a 40 MPH wind?

Yes, having to dress for frigid weather is nothing by comparison to bracing for a real Midwestern blizzard. Even if you have one of the best snow-removal teams in the Midwest at your disposal, which we in Spokane do not, there comes a time when you simply have to stop the trucks, close the roads and wait for the winds to die down.


Sitting in a kettle…

Good morning, Netizens…

David Horsey’s cartoon this morning attempts to depict the status quo of President Barack Obama and, although Horsey hits the target, the cartoon leaves the some readers with the same sense of ambivalence that might be responsible for President Obama’s withering polls. According to Fox News, hardly an objective news source when it comes to anything associated with President Obama, the latest Gallop Poll shows Obama has fallen to a 47% job approval rating. If this piece of demography is true, it places President Obama at a lower job approval rating than any of his recent predecessors, including former President George Bush.

The underlying question seems to be what do we do about Afghanistan?

On one hand, if we “stick it out” and continue the battle for dominance over the warring cultures of Afghanistan and Pakistan, if history is our mentor, we will most likely lose, as no one has won a war in that region. As I have said several times, bring me the head of Osama Bin Laden and for my part, the war with Afghanistan is over.

That, too, may be a simplistic and overly idiotic view of world affairs. On the other hand, attempting to wage a war which has, in President Obama’s own words, a predetermined end is inviting our opponents to simply wait us out.

That, our lackluster economy, and now the hotly-contested debate about global warming, the number and diversity of the fires heating up President Obama’s kettles may be even more than the sum of Afghanistan.

Of course, your results may differ.


In Memoriam: Four Officers of Lakewood Police Department

Good afternoon, Netizens…

(Picture: AP Photo of Officers moving into position to stand watch at the caskets of four slain Lakewood police officers before a memorial service Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009, at the Tacoma Dome.)

I spent the bulk of the afternoon watching the memorial services live from the Tacoma Dome for the four fallen Lakewood Police Officers which was broadcast in its entirety live by KOMO-TV.

When you called for help, from the very depths of your frightened souls, they came.

They were fathers, mothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters and yet, for a moment in time, they ceased being all of these and came to you came serving as the only defense for the defenseless, the only protection for those who have none, called to duty and always answering the call. 

This afternoon, four young people, police officers of the Lakewood Police Department, were honored and remembered in the biggest memorial service of its kind seen before in Washington State.

They are:

Mark Renninger

Tina Griswold

Ronald Owens

Greg Richards

Gone but not forgotten.

Words cannot express the sorrow we must feel at the loss of their lives, taken from us while serving us all. 


The news as I see it, Monday 12/07…

Good morning, Netizens…

(Fresh news from the AP and other News Wires)

Felony-green paint, anyone?

The Home Depot Inc. will start selling Martha Stewart-branded paint and cleaning products next year in addition to the home decor and closet organization lines announced in September, the nation’s largest home improvement retailer said Monday.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.’s existing deal with Kmart ends in January. As soon as it does, Home Depot said it will start selling the Martha Stewart cleaning products, home decor and closet organization lines. The Martha Stewart paint line, which will replace Home Depot’s line of Ralph Lauren paint, is set to appear in March.

It must be something Stewart learned about color coordination while she was in federal prison.

Openness in Government?

The Obama administration is conducting a workshop on government openness for federal employees behind closed doors Monday, a private training session for freedom-of-information officials to learn about a new U.S. office that settle disputes between the bureaucracy and the public.

Perhaps we ought to take up a collection for City Council President Joe Shogun to attend this important event.

A Day of Mourning Declared…

In Perm, Russia today flags are flying at half-staff as the entire country mourns 112 victims of a nightclub fire, and more are in hospitals. According to various news services, President Dmitry Medvedev declared Monday a national day of mourning and has called for harsh punishments for those responsible for Friday’s blaze. In something Americans could perhaps learn from, all entertainment programs on television and radio were cancelled Monday.

Meanwhile in local news…

KREM-TV news anchor Laura Papetti got caught eating a peanut butter sandwich on-camera this morning during the initial weather forecast. Maybe this is a new trend, eating breakfast while working as the news anchor. Perhaps not.

Chilly isn’t the word…

I suppose that nothing about the news would equal the wind chill this morning. While our temperature presently is sitting at 7 degrees, when you factor in the gusting winds, our morning wind child gets downright nasty. It reminds me abstractly of living in Plentywood, Montana, immediately adjacent to the Canadian border where such meteorological conditions and wind are actually quite common. Tomorrow, if the forecast holds true, although the winds will drop, so will the temperatures to below zero.


A brief introduction to the Virtual Ballroom…

Good morning, Netizens…

For those of you who have read Community Comment for any prolonged period of time, you will quite possibly remember my creation called “The Virtual Ballroom”, a fantasy world I created from the inception of Community Comment. The Ballroom is a fanciful, fictional place in my heart which is a mix of living, mortal souls and ghosts of great and not-so-great individuals who call this place home. It is traditional, when visiting the Virtual Ballroom, that the host offers each visitor a free espresso drink, typically named in honor of whatever occasion comes to mind. We’ve had some doozies over the years.

For the sake of many of our recent visitors, occasionally I write fiction/fantasy because I love it so, and thus it too has become part of this Blog.

As of late I have been remiss in tending the “home fires” of the Virtual Ballroom, mostly because of the considerable demands placed upon my disposable time aside from Journalism and writing. However, as we approach Christmas each year, I have always posted fiction and non-fiction about the Christmas Season as I perceive it to be.

I am hopeful that in the coming days, I will be able to find the time to share some of these tales, including a brief visit to the Virtual Ballroom, for the sake of our Russian guests, and that you will find it illuminating or perhaps amusing.


The Russians are coming for a visit…

Good morning, Netizens…

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!

I’ve held off making this important announcement for the last few days, cautiously thinking just how I would make this announcement without incurring various people’s wrath because they weren’t invited. Later this afternoon, a group of Russian journalists are arriving in Spokane for a tour of our area’s news media, including (among a few) The Spokesman-Review, KREM, KXLY, Spokane Public Radio, KSPS, Clear Radio and KHQ.

Among the stops, which are many, Monday evening there will be an invitation only barbeque at which point everyone will meet and greet one another. At 10:30 on Friday morning, there will be an invitation-only get-together with the Russian Journalists at Franky Doodles for coffee and conversation. During the latter, according to the agenda published by Mary Carr, Dean of Instructional Services at Spokane Community College, who is the host for this entire affair, we will discuss Blogging and journalism (among other things).

I have thought about this a great deal and spoken with Mary Carr over the last few days. Given the number of people who will be in attendance, especially from the local news media, I have deemed it prudent to stick as closely to the agenda as possible. I am especially honored that Jeanie and I were invited to this affair, as it gives us opportunities to meet many of the people from our local news media, most of whom we have only met sporadically in the past, as well as meeting journalists and bloggers from Russia.

Those from Russia in attendance will be:

Yekaterina Viktorovna Karaseva (Facilitator)

Yelena Alekseyevna Berezhkova

Dmitriy Viktorovich Bykov

Milana Lvovna Dzhiganshina

Anna Vladimirovna Klyuyeva

Vladimir Vladimirovich Kravtsov

Larissa Vasilyevna Kulinich (Interpreter)

These people will be here, arriving later today, and leaving Spokane on the 13th.

I cannot stress how honored we are to have been included in this event.


Roman Polanski’s new jail cell…

Good morning, Netizens…

December 4, 2009
AP Photo/Keystone/Jean-Christophe Bott

Journalists wait outside the chalet of Polish-French filmmaker Roman Polanski after he arrived at the chalet named “Milky Way”, in Gstaad, Canton of Bern, Switzerland, Friday, Dec. 4 2009. The Swiss court has approved on 25 November 2009 Roman Polanski’s bail offer of USD 4.5 million to be released from prison and kept under house arrest and electronic monitoring at his Swiss chalet. Polanski has been arrested on 26 September 2009 as he arrived in Switzerland to attend the Zurich Film Festival. He has been wanted in the US on charges of having sex with a 13 year old girl in 1977.

What do you think of putting Roman Polanski in his posh Swiss chalet instead of in jail?


GUILTY of murder…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

Shortly after three o’clock local time today the two judges and members of the jury panel found Amanda Knox guilty of murder. There are several steps that remain to be taken, but one observation is that despite the fact her parents bought a plane ticket home for her, Amanda won’t be flying home anytime soon. She was found guilty of murdering her roommate Merideth Kercher and has been sentenced to 26 years in prison.

Her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito of Italy, also was found guilty following a yearlong trial. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.


Verdict to be announced…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

According to KOMO-News, Amanda Knox’s jury verdict in Perugia, Italy has been reached and is expected to be announced this afternoon at approximately 3:00 PM.

More details forthcoming.


My only comments on Tiger Woods confessions…

Good morning, Netizens…

The tabloids and various other news media have pounced on Tiger Woods like a panther hungry for fresh meat. Using such words as scandal, sin and confession, they attempt in various ways to portray marriage as an arcane institution that we should move beyond. Television shows have increasingly, over the last few years, promoted our acceptance of infidelity and made it headline news. Smut becomes news; news becomes smut or so it seems.

Woods’ adulterous affairs which have threatened his reputation if not his his opulent product endorsements, have rapidly become fodder for the laugh track on late-night television. Television networks appear to be denigrating the significance of loving relationships between husband and wife with unwashed humor, and be damned the consequences.

Mind you, I am not immediately opening that can of worms called what is marriage? Marriage, at least where I come from, is a monogamous relationship between a man and a woman. There are some who believe that the government should regulate or otherwise enter into the act of marriage, but I think not. They have enough trouble running the government. I probably will catch hell from Dr. John for saying so, but I also do not believe marriage is a relationship, monogamous or otherwise, between two men, two women or two aardvarks for that matter. Those are contracts; close but no cigar.

I understand that Elin Woods, Tiger’s spouse, has hit paydirt in wake of the scandal. Various media outlets have reported that Tiger Woods and Elin Woods’ prenuptial agreement has been amended in light of current “transgressions” becoming public. What’s does Mrs. Tiger Woods stand to gain? Rumor has it that Elin Woods has been offered a financial package worth $80 million for sticking around with Tiger Woods. She also gets an immediate $5 million payout.

That doesn’t sound like a marriage to me. That sounds like a heady financial arrangement with a marriage remotely attached.


Investing in the War in Aghanistan…

Good morning, Netizens…

It’s another wonderful day in the frigid Northwest this morning and cartoonist David Horsey is painting a picture of the obvious after President Barak Obama’s Tuesday night speech on the War in Afghanistan. Until that speech it could easily be said that Obama inherited the Afghan war from his predecessor which, although a thin line of rationale, is a line nonetheless.

However, now that President Obama has tentatively agreed to send more troops to that Stygian wasteland called Afghanistan, he has put his fingerprints all over the war he inherited.

The real questions now as when the war began are:

Where is the head of Osama Bin Laden?

When will we capture or kill him so we can finally see closure for the victims of 9/11?

So as I step through the frost this morning, I cannot help but wonder what others think of President Obama’s plan?


Compassion for all…

Good morning, Netizens…

I am not going to waste a lot of breath this morning, mourning the passage of Maurice Clemmons. There are enough facts in place to convince me he was the sole gunman who killed the four Lakewood Police Officers in a coffee shop and ultimately was killed by a Seattle Police officer.

There are several things about this tragic loss of human lives, however, which bear close scrutiny and further introspection. I am already sick to death of hearing the comparisons between the deaths of both the four police officers and Maurice Clemmons as having any association whatsoever with the death of Otto Zehm. The Zehm case stands as a travesty of justice, one which time perhaps will bring to closure. Unfortunately that remains to be seen. Zehm’s death created a huge rift in our community between our police and the public they serve. It created a credibility chasm which still is being resolved.

The killing of four Lakewood Police Officers was premeditated, calculated murder; nothing more, nothing less. Clemmons had bragged to his associates before-the-fact for them to watch the news, because he was going to kill some cops, and he did. If an alert, aware Seattle Police Officer had not been on guard, Clemmons might have claimed yet another victim.

Tiffany Ryan, who works in the Spokane Police Department records division, as the sister of slain Lakewood Police Officer Tina Griswold, became a bystander to chaos. I think this video, courtesy of the Spokesman-Review, speaks more eloquently about the heartbreak and sadness she is enduring than anything I could say.

If you watch this video closely you will undoubtedly detect a note of emotional support and compassion between Chief Kirkpatrick and Tiffany Ryan, as is rightfully so. This wellspring of humanity between our Chief of Police and one of her own is a breath of fresh air, in my opinion, and needs to be extended to the general public who fall far outside her department in some cases.

We should not stop at the borders of the Police Department with compassion and understanding at all.


World Aids Day commemorated at White House…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

November 30, 2009
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

A World AIDS Day ribbon is seen on the North Portico of the White House in Washington, Monday. World AIDS Day is Dec. 1, 2009. Is this the first time such an open display has been seen at the White House before? I truly do not know.


Clemmons dead…

Good morning, Netizens…

This AP Photo of Maurice Clemmons in his jail suit does him no justice. Prior to two nights ago, Clemmons was listed by the Lakewood Police Department as a “person of interest” in four murders. Overnight, however, he became listed as the prime suspect being sought in the calloused murder of four Lakewood Police Officers shot while they were sitting in the Forza Coffee Shop in Western Washington.

A marathon search began, with police jurisdictions in various parts of the State of Washington actively looking for Clemmons, whom they suspected was either injured or dead from his exchange of gunfire with the Lakewood officers. His relatives apparently rendered him assistance during his short run from the law, and at least three people have been arrested for rendering assistance to a fugitive.

However, according to Seattle Police Department Clemmons was finally cornered early this morning in the 4400 block of South Kenyon Street and killed there by Seattle police at about 2:40 a.m. Tuesday, Pierce County Sheriff’s Det. Ed Troyer said.

In life as in death, Maurice Clemmons was a poster child for criminal and aberrant behavior, having been charged with assaulting a police officer, rape of a child and of course, the shootings of the four Lakewood police officers. Not to mention his incarceration in Arkansas, which was then commuted by then-Gov. Mike Huckabee. When Seattle Police shot him last night, he was going for a gun stolen from the Lakewood Police Department.

His death brings his criminal spree to a close, but it does little for the spouses and children of the four officers in Lakewood.

(Portions of this post attributed to Seattle Times, KREM-2 TV, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Portland Oregonian)


The Tea Baggers daydream…

Good morning, Netizens…

Somehow in the vibrant corners of my mind, where all kinds of imponderable things rise to the surface, I just knew David Horsey would eventually get around to the issue of Sarah Palin and her book tour again. It isn’t that he has been dodging the issues which Sarah Palin brings to mind, for as many who follow her every statement know, she is quite capable of manipulating the airwaves when it suits her purposes.

However, I suppose if the so-called Tea Baggers were to have Christmas wishes, I could imagine Horsey’s impression of that meeting might be accurate. Sitting on Santa Sarah’s lap would be a high-priority item, and if one were lucky, you might even get an autograph.

At last report her book, which some say was ghost-written, is selling well, especially in the geographical/political areas Palin has chosen. After her ill-fated run at the Vice-Presidency in which she was manipulated by her “handlers” depending upon your view, it is refreshing to see her performing some manipulations of her own. Of course, it depends whether or not you are a “Tea Bagger” sitting on Santa Sarah’s lap or whether you grit your teeth each time Palin flashes her pearly-whites at you.


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