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Community Comment

Archive for July 2009

Council Candidates Duke it out…

Good morning, Netizens…

[Picture Courtesy of George Sands]

What is it about Spokane politics where election campaigns more-closely resemble half-hearted brawls at the neighborhood taverns than election campaigns? Although I must admit we have never seen a truly knock-down-drag-out fistfight between contentious candidates, I also wonder would such an event show the voters some of the character of the candidates? Would we pick the guy who pulled several sucker punches and won because of it, or would we pick the guy who fought a clean fight, no dirty tricks, and won?

Then we enter the arena where the candidates for City Council gather together in front of the public, which was also broadcast on Cable Channel 5. For a link go to and follow the links to the City Council Candidates Forum.

The real battle of the titans, however, took place during the debate between candidates wishing to represent the South Hill, when David Elton and Steve Eugster got their light sabers crossed somewhat. What a pair these two make! Eugster recently had his license to practice law suspended and David Elton is facing felony harassment charges which prevents him from attending City Council meetings, not to mention he has probably been taken off Council President Joe Shogan’s Christmas Card list for the foreseeable future.

Now we have the battle moving into the war of the websites, as Eugster has posted several of Elton’s e-mailed comments on his website, asking if Elton has an Oedipus complex, then posting a series of e-mail comments between he and Elton.

What is even more interesting is that the Spokesman-Review has endorsed Steve Eugster and Mike Allen for City Council for District 2, Position 2.


KREM.COM is offline…

Good morning, Netizens… has been offline for about twenty minutes. Otherwise I wouldn’t mention it, but it appears something major has broken.


Bad wreck on I-90

Good morning, Netizens…

There is a bad wreck involving a compact car and a semi on I-90 westbound at the Freya Exit. Traffic is hopelessly deadlocked,


Brief news about Community Comment…

Good morning, Netizens…

Before I wade into the pile of wildly-unpredictable material referred to as PENDING this morning, I need to make a few comments about some changes that are coming on in the next few days at Community Comment. Boy, do I have a load of stuff in the pending pile this week!

First, the picture that has adorned A Word A Day’s Daily Word since this Blog began is truly going to change. My biggest problem with finding the right picture is simply one of a durable copyright for the picture, and also finding the right picture. I believe I have several good candidates, but just in case someone has a better idea, please feel free to forward your ideas my way. I hope to have something ready to deploy by the beginning of next week, as A Word A Day list server does not run on weekends which may buy me some time.

If you are in Coeur d’Alene this morning, don’t be surprised it if rains, at least for awhile. I have been tracking an impertinent little rain squall since it first appeared on the NEXRAD radar shortly after dawn, and as of five minutes ago, it appears to be destined to hit Coeur d’Alene dead on the nose. However, do not expect any grilled specialties sandwiched between the weather forecasts. However, this weekend we in the Spokane region are going to cook, with expected temperatures near or past the century mark. Time to close the curtains, get nekkid and hug the air conditioner vent.

So, we march forward. Thank God it’s Friday!


Calling All Organ Donors

As most of you know, I have been going through the process of getting on a waiting list for a kidney transplant. I have Polycystic Kidney Disease. In the United States, about 600,000 people have PKD, and cystic disease is the fourth leading cause of kidney failure.

This is probably going to be the driest article I have ever written. I’ll apologize now – because usually I tend to have a sense of humor about everything life has to offer me. But try as I might, I don’t see the humor in kidney disease or in a disease where the only cure is dialysis or a transplant.

In the United States, more than 80,000 people are on the official waiting list, all hoping that someone will die in just the right circumstances and bequeath them the “gift of life.” Last year, only 16,517 got transplants: 10,550 with the cadaver organs allocated through the list, and 5,967 from living donors. More than 4,000 on the list, or about 11 a day, died.

(by Virginia Postrel, The Atlantic, July 9, 2009)

For the complete report (that is excellently written), please see

The numbers work like this: Of the 80,000 people needing a new kidney, 21% will get one this year, 36% from living donors and 64% from deceased donors. Of the 80,000 waiting for a kidney, 4,000 will die. Currently there are about 600,000 people in the United States that have PKD – 13% meet the requirements to be bad enough. To qualify for the transplant waiting list, the kidneys have to be functioning at less than 20%. Mine are at 10%.

So – that’s the nitty gritty. Obviously the world needs donors – and lots of them.

I am curious. I have settled into the theory that I will have a cadaver donor kidney. However, there are living donors out there. (I’m not asking for a living donor.) I am curious about you, the living donor. I want to hear your stories. Do you feel blessed by giving something that is very much a part of your body? Are you fearful for your own health? How do you feel if your gift (particularly a kidney) was rejected by the new host’s body? It does happen – that a transplant will be done based on all the right facts, the perfect match, etc., and still the recipient’s body will sometimes reject the new kidney – even with all the antirejection drugs they have to take.

I want to hear your stories. I’d like Dave and I to get a lot of response. That’s my goal – and in the end, I hope my research will encourage you to sign your donor card.


Woman falls to her death at the Resort…

Good morning, Netizens…


Picture by George Sands, other information by the Spokesman-Review

A 36-year-old woman died early today in a fall from the 12th floor of the Coeur d’Alene Resort, police said. The woman, visiting Coeur d’ Alene from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, fell from the balcony of a guest room on the south side of the resort, landing on the deck of the main floor of the resort about 12:30 AM. She died at the scene.

She had been accompanied by a 38 year-old companion and other details are unknown at this time.

Police are investigating.


All Hail King Joe!

Good morning, Netizens…

Spokane City Code Section 02.01.030 (Right to Speak) says this:

All meetings of the city council are open to the public except an executive session. Members of the public shall have the right to speak to an item on the city council’s legislative, special consideration or hearing agendas that are not adjudicatory hearings. Members of the public may attend but do not have the right to speak when the city council is meeting in briefing, study or other workshop sessions or acting in an adjudicative capacity. It shall be the duty of the presiding officer to determine and allot whatever time is necessary due to the number of public participants and extent of the proposed participation.

Joe Shogan has invented his own three minute egg rule: if you speak during the public forum, or to a piece of legislation about to voted upon by the City Council for longer than three minutes, you are out of order. Three lousy minutes. He even gaveled down Ron_the_Cop one time. If you persist in talking past Joe’s egg limit, he will summon the armed guards to escort you from the building, whom may even gratuitously Taser you a time or two if there aren’t any witnesses and it’s a slow night.

Council President Joe Shogan is a demagogue, a Wagnerian flapping jaybird, a tyrant of unimaginable proportions. As a lawyer, he interprets the portion of the above law to set his three minute rule. He is wrong. It says “It shall be the duty of the presiding officer to determine and allot whatever time is necessary due to the number of public participants and extent of the proposed participation.”

We have a queen running the town, in the form of Queen Mayor Mary Verner. Now being good little Netizens we can all stand before the dais during City Council meeting and, rendering a proper salute, bellow out, “All Hail to King Joe.” Yes, that might fly.

Of course, this is the same Joe Shogan who admits to police authorities that he is scared of David Elton on a rooftop. I can hardly wait for the rest of that story to unfold.


Breakfast with the Oldies…

Good morning, Netizens…

Mhibbs and I are holding forth at our undisclosed location in about twenty minutes or os. Those in the know are invited to come by and watch two old goats plotting and scheming.


Things to sell more newspapers…

Good morning, Netizens…

Early last Sunday morning, because I chanced to be sitting in my lawn chair about the time the Sunday morning newspapers were being delivered by a kid traveling with an adult, I began seeing a different vision of the newspaper business.

Within two blocks of Hillyard, the tow-headed boy jumped out of the car and delivered a total of 7 newspapers on front doorsteps in two city blocks. A total of 7 newspapers in approximately 30 houses doesn’t seem like much of an enterprise to me. Perhaps that is why so many newspapers have gone under in the last year.

Later Sunday morning, my beloved spouse and I attended the movie Harry Potter, the Half Blood Prince, and while I was waiting around in the theater lobby, I asked ten adults a key question thus:

Did you read J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter The Half Blood Prince or any other of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling prior to seeing the movie?

Eight adults answered they had not, as of yet, purchased The Half Blood Prince, and were uncertain whether they would do so in the near-future, but they were there accompanying their children. Incredible as it might seem, two adults claimed to have never heard of J.K. Rowling, but they had heard of Harry Potter. One daring old grump looked me right in the eye and stated he was there as a representative of his church to see what all this business of magic being taught by the schools was about. That was interesting.

Of all the children aged ten or older that I interviewed, all except for one had read all the books in the Harry Potter series. Incredible! That is a lot of reading for a kid.

Wanting to merge what I had observed of the Sunday papers being delivered with the continuing popularity of the Harry Potter books and movies, the Spokesman needs:

A director of the regulation of magic, whose job it would be to regularly post public messages about illicit magic being performed in City Hall, often without any public notice whatsoever. These stories should be written in a fictional genre, although these days most press releases that come out of City Hall qualify as sensationalistic fiction to begin with.

Additionally, create a column regarding the regulation of magical creatures. All you would have to do is fictionalize a series about the Goths, indigents and other street people that frequent downtown, without naming names, of course.

Am I on a roll here? Do you have any other departments and/or titles you would like to see appearing in the morning papers that might attract kids?


Who is in charge of the Park Board?

Good evening, Jeanie, everyone…

This fine city is as well-known for a collective of citizens who try to force the politicians of the City of Spokane to obey the law as it is for the politicians who are busily rubbing various myths together in a vain attempt to create facts when it suits their purposes. While we citizens are not, by any means, a powerful group, we certainly try to hold the politicians’ feet to the fire upon occasion, or at least expose the myths they attempt to perpetuate as facts.

I am told via an e-mail message that arrived in my absence that Queen Mary, Mayor of Spokane, has stated to Dick Adams she has no control over the Park Board, another instance where I believe she too is rubbing fallacies together to attempt to create facts to mislead or perhaps dazzle us all.

As I recall, none of the Park Board members are subject to the whim of the voters; we do not elect them. Is this not so? We can only have the audacity to question their actions, and hold the person(s) responsible for their gaffes to public scrutiny.

The unfortunate part of all this is, if our own Mayor, Queen Mary, is not in charge of the Park Board, WHO IS IN CHARGE?

Perhaps some day someone will deign to drop down off that great mountain, Mount City Hall, and let everyone else in on what appears to be a previously-unknown secret.


New Stun Gun Can Fire 3 Times Before Reloading

From MSNBC, you will love this:

New stun gun can fire 3 times before reloading

New Taser offered to police as way to hit multiple suspects

updated 11:34 a.m. PT, Mon., July 27, 2009

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz. - Taser International unveiled its first new stun gun since 2003 Monday, a device that can shock three people without reloading.

Older Taser models, in use by 14,200 law enforcement agencies throughout the country, have to be reloaded after one shot, which can be a problem for an officer who has missed a target or has more than one suspect to subdue.

For more on this, go to the website at:

I don’t know about you, but I think this would be completely out of control here in Spokane. The subtitle should read “new stun gun can now fire three times at the same subject without reloading.” I suppose it is slightly better than shooting the perp four more times after he has been shot and downed by one bullet. Why not make sure and plug him four more times. On second thought, maybe this won’t work in Spokane after all.


Private City Park Board Meeting/executive session

Good afternoon Netizens…

Several sharp-eyed Netizens, including Ron_the_Cop, have made note of the City Park Board Executive Session meeting that was held at 7:00 AM this morning at the Maintenance Shed at Manito Park during which the MOBIUS Group contract language and lease were discussed. According to Nancy Goodspeed, the Marketing and Communications Manager for the Park & Recreation Department, no other issues regarding Park Board Business were discussed.

According to Goodspeed this meeting was not open to the public.

After talking with Dick Adams and Jock Swamstrom earlier this morning, and after several e-mail messages, I am told this lease is in support of the Pacific Science Center which was soundly rejected by the voters the last time around. Just a few million dollars more than before is all. Bigger plans, More clandestine than before and no clear means of paying present or proposed debts.

All the same, rumors abound about land on the north side of the river being leased, and vast expansive plans are being hatched. There is a great deal about this of which we are unaware, but given the players, the potential cost to the taxpayers and the secretive manner in which the MOBIUS Group Lease is being drafted, something is rotten in this deal.

Is the City of Spokane, doing the city’s business in public only when they want?


Sarah Palin’s resignation speech…

Good morning, Netizens…

First, you can hear the first and second parts of her speech here:

and the second part

What is Palin up to? Everyone keeps asking the same questions, but it does seem she is setting the stage for something with her patriotic speeches.

Of course, she was speaking to her fans, was she not?

What do you think Sarah Palin is up to?


The magic halo…

Good morning, Netizens…

In our picture of the day, a halo appears off the sun above a statue of Communist leader Mao Zedong in Taiyuan in north China’s Shanxi province, Sunday. Photo: AP

Now I want to see President Obama perform the same halo while balancing the U.S. Budget.


Qwest DSL upgrade…

Good afternoon Netizens…

In Saturday’s Spokesman’s article on Qwest upgrading DSL author Tom Sowa does not make mention of the potential impact this much-needed project will have on ALL Qwest DSL customers, for despite all that you may have read on this issue, a considerable number of DSL customers currently use other Internet Service Providers and yet receive DSL services from Qwest. How does this work?

Back when DSL was first touted to Qwest subscribers a lot of people were unwilling to make the jump to High-Speed DSL and the result was that Qwest made agreements with various other service providers that they could resell DSL to their customers.

It remains to be seen whether or not these DSL customers who use other Internet Service Providers will be able to make the quantum leap to the new DSL rates. In most cases, even the ISP’s themselves know how this new set of services will work.

Are the new speeds available only from Qwest? Will your ISP offer the new speeds to their DSL customers?

Nobody seems to know. This is an evolving story it seems.


Arnold’s perfect fantasy for his fans…

Good evening, Netizens…

Welcome to Part II of David Horsey’s cartoon fantasies, brought to you through the auspices of the Golden State of California and its wonderful history of fantasy and unreality, including its governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. As depicted tonight there is a wonderful new fantasy to be added to the long and illustrious list of Schwarzenegger fantasy favorites, the California State Budget for 2009.

I believe I will leave David Horsey’s cartoon without any comment this evening, simply because I feel none is needed. The California Budget Deal for 2009 is an utter fantasy, ridiculous and most likely destined to leave them stranded on a fanciful desert of their own design. It’s too bad that other states will possibly emulate their actions as they have in the recent past.


Our national priorities revealed…

Good evening, Netizens…

Tonight we present another of David Horsey’s excellent cartoons. This time we finally see the justification, through David Horsey’s eyes, for the Republicans to waddle over to their side of the voting aisle and proclaim their reasons for rejecting Obama’s Health Care Plan.

Don’t worry. The reason(s) given by the Republicans have nothing much to do with reality, itself, but rather what they perceive the American voter MAY want to hear.

Someone needs to do an accurate public opinion poll to discover what Americans find most urgent. Given the choice between affordable health insurance coverage and lesbians being allowed to marry, one would hope Americans would find affordable health coverage to have a distinct lead in the priority of things.

Of course, a great deal of the public’s acceptance of Obama’s health care plan depends upon how it all will be paid for, doesn’t it? Or does it?


Jeanie facing tough times…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

In case you hadn’t heard it from other sources, I have spent part of today worried about my counterpart, Jeanie of Spokane, who is being evaluated today for a possible kidney transplant. Being somewhat bull-headed about my health myself, I guess I fully understand why Jeanie has been so closed-mouth about her ongoing battle for survival, but since she broke word about what she is facing in her own blog yesterday, at I guess I have the freedom to add a few chosen words about her battle of my own.

There are some days when I simply would let the day slide by without posting anything in Community Comment. Being by nature, a big-mouthed rascal, those days do not happen very often, but when they do, I inevitably get a phone call from Jeanie about one thing or another, and it challenges me to continue the battle for literary freedom, simply because she is out there, watching, listening and balancing what amounts sometimes as sheer zealotry.

I simply do not know what I would do without Jeanie. In so many ways she epitomizes that insatiable fire-eyed journalist that still breathes and lives in my soul, that has never died despite vast changes in my life and circumstances. It all seems to stem from a philosophical belief I have held for decades that, just when you need that strong right arm to help you face adversity, to give you the incentive to strive for achievements that appear untouchable, that key person can and will appear— if you believe.

Well, Jeanie, I believe. You have been an invisible but nonetheless vital source of vibrancy which has helped me “keep it together” for over a year and one-half of rising before the dawn each day to write a few brief lines for Community Comment. Those few of us who know you in real life as well in the Virtual Ballroom can and will support and uplift you in the spirit of love and friendship as you begin the road back to continuous health.

My thoughts and prayers are with you always.

Dave and friends…

Breakfast is served at 9:00 AM today…

Good morning, Netizens…

It stands to reason that in times when the thinkers and those who hold the community visions as important, the great Mhibbs and myself are getting together this morning at 9:00 AM at our undisclosed location on a hillside in the North Side of the Spokane for breakfast and palaver.

If you, the reader, can figure out where this place is, you will be welcomed with open arms. After a discussion with Jeanie earlier last week, we may actually hold a Gathering in the near future, perhaps even at Doodles of which you will be told well in advance, but this isn’t it.

This is merely a sagacious old goat and an in-resident wise man meeting for breakfast, and if you can figure out who is which, and based upon a long history of similar meetings, where we meet, you will be welcomed. Of course if you are a wise man or wise woman, you would not only know the location but come equipped with an agenda all your very own to keep us on our collective toes.

This odd invitation includes, of course, any members of the Spokane Police Department who, one presumes, would know where we meet, as we have both seen them eating breakfast at our secret location in the not-too-recent past, if not at the bagel shop further down the street where Detective JimF has been seen on several occasions.

I think that just about covers it. The Gathering is on the planning schedule. In the meantime we are having breakfast. Ya’ll come.


Students kiss their cell phones goodbye…

Good morning, Netizens…

The decision has apparently already been made by Spokane schools to ban most cell phone use by students, with the exceptions of before and after school and their lunch breaks. Normally I would not raise an eyebrow, simply because we send our students to school to learn, not make phone calls or text messages to their friends and family. I am aghast at public education has changed since the days long ago when I went to school.

Predictably enough, this decision has not been welcomed with open arms, either by the students or, in some cases, the parents themselves.

The penalties for students ignoring or breaking this rule are what I would expect: the school will seize the cell phones, surrendering it only to the parents. Now there might be a novel way to get parents involved in their children’s education. Seizure of noodkum’s cell phone for breaking the rules means the parents have to show up at the school to pick up the student’s cell phones. At least once.

Of course this probably will not do anything functional to increase the amount of time students spend learning in school. They will either study hard and learn or not.

Does anyone want to speculate on how students grade scores relate to whether or not they routinely carry a cell phone to school? In the country where we have more studies on how (or why) hippopotamuses mate in the dark, surely someone has performed a study of students and their cell phone use. Do straight-A honor students carry cell phones to school?

Somehow I seriously doubt it.


No one is above the law…

Good morning, Netizens…

[portions from Spokesman-Review, KHQ]

Well, I’ll be fiddled and diddled!

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick was issued a $154 speeding ticket by a Spokane County deputy sheriff over the weekend for driving 13 mph faster than the speed limit.

She was in an unmarked car heading for a picnic when she was pulled over on Upriver Drive in her unmarked police car.

“He told me I was speeding … I said, ‘Then you’ve gotta write me the ticket,’ ” Kirkpatrick told KHQ. “I didn’t give him an option to not write me a ticket.”

Kirkpatrick apologized to the citizens of Spokane and the mayor, KHQ reported.

I remember a number of off-duty Spokane Police Detectives who have been pulled over, but instead of accepting a speeding ticket, have shown the nice officer their badges, and thus received no ticket.

It’s a professional courtesy,” one of them said, when asked about the situation.

I could name names but then someone would have to shoot or Taser me.

Nice job being honest, Chief! You occasionally amaze even me.


Sichiro died for our sins of omission…

Good morning, Netizens…

The attorney for the plaintiff in the case of Benites S. Sichiro referred to his client’s death at the hands of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department as “falling through the cracks”.

The 39-year-old man suffered multiple Taser shocks, was beaten unconscious and was struck by a jailer using what is referred to as a “donkey kick” before dying of a lacerated liver on Jan. 29, 2006. That’s falling through the cracks?

Let us agree to terms, shall we? In the future when referring to victims of police violence in Spokane, Washington, instead of referring to it as “falling through the cracks”, let us refer to such incidents by their more proper name: falling through the chasm of systematic police abuse.

Now the attorneys, acting for Sichiro’s ex-wife, have reached a settlement of $425,000 for wrongful death. It remains to be seen however whether any amount of money would ever rectify the disgusting abuse that took place in the last fleeting moments of this man’s life.

Granted, Benites S. Sichiro was no poster child. However, the abuse must stop.


How to beat the heat (or at least use it)

Good morning, Netizens…

It is going to get Hot!

While I realize few of you arise from your beds as early as four in the morning, it is almost a “civilized” temperature at this hour of the day, as currently the temperature sits calmly at 61 degrees, a definite comparison to yesterday’s mid-90’s. Coming from my perspective, the only time the weather becomes news is when one of our local weather forecasters totally blows a forecast, or in this case, a summer heat wave settles into its lounge chair over the Inland Northwest for an unseasonably long period of time and we begin to cook.

Over the next week, perhaps even longer, the temperatures in Spokane are going to narrowly miss the century mark, and several days the Weather Bureau is predicting 100 degrees for the high. It is going to remain that way for most of two weeks.

I do distinctly recall last year laughing as I sank $600 in the form of an forced air air conditioning unit when we were upgrading our furnace, muttering something at the time about why bother. Last evening while the guests of the Virtual Ballroom, my wife and I were sitting in 70 degree comfort in the grand ballroom while it still was raging well over 90 degrees outside, it has ceased to be a joke.

All I have to do to appreciate having central air conditioning is step outside. Wham! Given my incredible age, and all the various health issues I face, suddenly sitting outside in the late afternoon 100 degree sunshine is no longer an option. However, after carefully considering various other choices, I believe I have a few select outdoor recreational activities for those who lack such amenities as air conditioning to better make use of the time.

Sidewalk cookery When the temperature climbs to the century mark, and cooking inside the house no longer seems like a reasonable option, carefully scrub off the sidewalk in front of your house and toss a few burgers onto the concrete. Add a few buns, condiments to taste and sit in your lawn chair, preferably in the shade, keeping a judicious eye on progress. After all, this is Spokane, where anything that isn’t locked, nailed down or otherwise secured may be subject to thieves’ desires.

Virtual Private Weather Center For the purposes of this plan, you must have a really dependable Internet connection and a copy of the latest version of the Virtual Lawn Chair software, the quintessential virtual networking software for Internet armchair addicts. Originally, I was intent upon a whirlwind trip to Juneau, Alaska, but since today’s Alaska temperatures will be nearing the mid-80’s, instead set your virtual private lawnchair to point at Ilulissat, Greenland, where today’s high will be 70-something. Sit back in your lawn chair and enjoy the ride. Remember, if your Internet connection drops for some unexplained reason, you may end up stranded on an iceberg somewhere.

Rent an iceberg When all else fails give Empire Cold Storage and Frosty Ice a call or drop by their web site at Rent an iceberg, dump it in the kid’s wading pond and make yourself at home.


On being polite…

Good morning, Netizens…

[Portions Boston Globe and his attorney’s statement]

The arrest of a pre-eminent African-American scholar, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., at Cambridge University in broad daylight inside his own home serves as an additional wake-up call to all Americans that we need to teach civility to police. African-Americans are charging the police with racial profiling, but the telling of the tale only increases the anger being heard on both side.

Professor Gates had arrived home and attempted to enter his front door, but the door was damaged. Professor Gates then entered his rear door with his key, turned off his alarm, and again attempted to open the front door. With the help of his driver they were able to force the front door open, and then the driver carried Professor Gates’ luggage into his home. Professor Gates had just arrived from a trip to China where he was filming his new PBS documentary entitled “Faces of America” and probably was suffering from jet lag.

A Cambridge policeman, responding to a complaint of two black men attempting to break into a house reasonably enough asked for identification, which was provided to him, a Cambridge University ID card and a driver’s license, both bearing the same address.

Professor Gates had already asked the police officer if he would give him his name and his badge number. He made this request several times. The officer did not produce any identification nor did he respond to Professor Gates’ request for this information. After an additional request by Professor Gates for the officer’s name and badge number, the officer then turned and left the kitchen of Professor Gates’ home without ever acknowledging who he was or if there were charges against Professor Gates. As Professor Gates followed the officer to his own front door, he was astonished to see several more police officers gathered on his front porch. Professor Gates asked the officer’s colleagues for his name and badge number. As Professor Gates stepped onto his front porch, the officer who had been inside and who had examined his identification, said to him, “Thank you for accommodating my earlier request,” and then placed Professor Gates under arrest. He was handcuffed on his own front porch.

He was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after police said he ”exhibited loud and tumultuous behavior.” He was released later that day on his own recognizance. An arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 26.

If this were you or I would we be charged with loud and tumultuous behavior, regardless of our racial makeup? Or would we be as loud and tumultuous as the police say Professor Gates had been? Wouldn’t you be loud and tumultuous if you were in the professor’s shoes? If this incident took place here in Spokane, wouldn’t police have applied a Taser to further pacify Gates, perhaps even put a mask on his face to prevent spitting? Is this racial profiling on the part of the police?

If either side had been polite to their counterparts could this entire affair been avoided?


How we remember Cronkite…

Good morning, Netizens…

It was inevitable that less than a day since the late Walter Cronkite became accustomed to hearing the sounds of the news-angels singing 24 hours a day in heaven, someone would have to dig up what they insist is the mud in his life for profit. A former Cronkite employee, his chef and manager, is about to publish a book in which she paints an ugly picture of Walter Cronkite, one that perhaps Americans never saw or never need to read.

In our our generation, it was traditionally stated from Shakespeare that “The evil men do lives after them while the good is oft interred with their bones” or modified slightly, if it weren’t for the muckrakers, we probably would not remember most of our fallen cultural heroes.

It is the sordid, the sensational, the risqué that are raked up from the ashes of the dead, typically for a tidy profit, and thus get perpetuated into the slipstream of life, whether truthful or not.

Thus this morning’s David Horsey cartoon venerates Walter Cronkite for the newsman that he was, and rightfully so, suggests he never truly had a peer when it came to broadcasting the news. If there was a news story, regardless of where in the world it was unfolding, Walter Cronkite was there, and told the story to our generation. The unfortunate part of history is we probably will never see nor hear another news anchor of his stature again.


Are we there yet?

Good evening, Netizens…


David Horsey’s cartoon asks a question of a “wise latina woman” that resonates with perhaps most of the women who read it: Have men done such a bad job of administering our legal system in this country? Of course this question is extensible, as we have to ask ourselves whether men have done a fair job of running our government compared to women?


The answers, I fear, depends upon how soon we see our government being administered equitably by women because, at the present time, women are just now breaking the glass ceiling.Thus we have a long ways to go.


My answer to the question in this cartoon depends upon whether the person(s) responding to it are black, female, transgendered or other ethnic backgrounds. Do we have a representative government? From the way I view it, not if you happen to be female or non-white. 



Discrimination lawsuit targets Spokane Country Club…

Good morning, Netizens…


I have never had a penchant for playing golf. Granted, I tried a time or two, but I quickly learned that I could slice better than I could putt, and to be honest about it, I couldn’t putt at all. A simple ten foot putt that a decent golfer could plug into the cup with a fair amount of ease simply defied my limited skills. A par three hole always seemed to end up a par 119 for me. Even worse, I did not have the spare time to spend on 9 holes, let alone playing a full field of an 18 hole golf course. Thus the inclination simply passed me by.


I have never set foot on the exclusive and very spendy Spokane Country Club, although I have peered at it while passing by.


However, there is now a gender discrimination lawsuit brought before Superior Court that may change how business is conducted at the Spokane County Club. Although women pay the same membership fees as men, it seems that men have exclusive access not available to them. For example, the member of the year award is called the “Man of the Year”, and the grill and other areas are open only to men.


My, watch this battle of the genders work its way through the courts. If women are paying the same fees as men, which it appears they are, yet do not have the same rights and privileges as men, this court case might be a doozy, and rightfully so.



Walter Cronkite passes on…

Good evening, Netizens…

Walter Cronkite, legendary television news journalist, has died. All the current news media talking heads are repeating in lockstep that Cronkite came to be called “the most trusted man in America”. Now that Walter has left the building, who is it that rises from being the second most-trusted man in America to number one, thus taking his place?

I paused awhile this evening trying to think of an aspirant to Cronkite’s former title, and to be honest, I do not know if I could come up with a list of qualified men to assume his place.

Just as Johnny Carson once made the claim that he “tucked America into their beds at night” Walter Cronkite gave us the news, with very little opinion, and a decency and honesty that I’m uncertain we will ever see again.

So do you have any candidates to ascend to the title “the most trusted man in America” now that Walter has departed?


Where were YOU?

Good morning Netizens…

Where were you on July 20, 1969? Do you remember?


The Clowns in Government…

Good morning, Netizens…

I must admit I hope Al Franken is as intelligent and on-point as a member of Congress as he was as a comedian. As David Horsey expresses in this morning’s cartoon, perhaps he is among his comedic peers, as there are a lot of clowns in the Congress. Despite the accuracy of the two clowns beside Al Franken, I do believe we have a locally-grown despot who qualifies as a clown, a man whose boundaries for sadistic humor knows few boundaries, our very own City Council President, Joe Shogan.

There is almost an element of the unworldly about City Hall these days. However, when it comes to the City Council meetings, Joe Shogan is in charge and rules with an iron gavel. God pity the poor person who dares to speak out on any given topic, especially if Shogan thinks the issue is moot, a done deal and the Council has already reached their conclusions before voting. After all, despite the fact we, the taxpayers, are paying for the numerous fiascos that flow unimpeded from City Hall, we fall short of the Glory of God before the all-powerful presence of the Great Shogun.

There are but a few rules in the new-and-improved City Council meetings. Bow down deeply and knock your head upon the worn carpet of the Council Chambers before speaking, cast not any aspersions in the direction of the dais and above all else, kiss the backside of the Council President before, during and after your presentation. When Joe laughs, everyone must put on their most-joyous faces and laugh with him. To do less may be subject to being ejected from the Council’s august presence.

Come to think of it, when I look at the caricatures of the two clowns in this morning’s Horsey cartoon, I can almost see the Great Shogun with makeup and a clown’s hat.

How many other clowns do we have in City Hall these days?


Three Truths…

Good morning, Netizens…

David Horsey’s three little inconvenient truths, each of which are pretty accurate, just about describes it all, but I have some slight differences with his professional opinion.

If killing leaders of Al Qaida is such a good idea, perhaps someone should instruct our former and current Presidents on how to kill Osama bin Laden. The last time I checked, bin Laden was still alive and kicking which seems stupid, given the damage and suffering of 9/11 for which he was admittedly responsible. Can you imagine the havoc arresting and bringing bin Laden to the United States for trial would cause?

Of course Dick Cheney withheld information from the Congress. There are some who question whether he told anyone about his covert activities, but then I could be wrong. Given my view of his career, perhaps Cheney never heard of the US Constitution.

Of course I suspect Dick Cheney recognized that inconvenient truth #3 was and remains an accurate assessment. If you classify something TOP SECRET and then covertly it ends up in the hands of a member of Congress, it will eventually be leaked to either our enemies or the news media. Perhaps that is the strongest point in Horsey’s cartoon.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince arrives in Spokane…

Good morning, Netizens…

You may (or perhaps not) read JK Rowling’s entire Harry Potter series of books, but the latest movie to be released, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” landed in Spokane very early this morning. I state very early because people were lining up to full movie houses to see the first run of this movie at approximately 3:00 AM this morning.

Boy howdy! Although I will plead guilty to having attended the first showing of Star Wars when it first came to town, I certainly did not see it running at three in the morning.

What is perhaps more impressive than the long lines of people waiting overnight to attend the opening of this movie are the numbers of young people who are reading books, sometimes for the first times in their young lives, for author J.K. Rowling’s series of books have captured young readers’ imaginations like few in my experience.

When you were in your tweens what book(s) caught your imagination as nothing before that time? Did they make a movie out of it? Did you get up at ungodly hours of the day or night to watch the movie? Would you do it again?


Why was Jason Poss killed?

Good morning, Netizens…

Everyone in the neighborhood, save the victim of the assault committed at her house on Glass Street, are asking the same questions. What happened to Jason Poss? There is hardly a day goes by this week that someone asks that question. Yesterday, while delivering our mail, the postman spoke up, stating that he recognized Poss’s face immediately, as Poss had walked through our neighborhood many times, and always seemed like a cheerful, amiable enough person, which came as quite a surprise because the postman talks to everyone while making his rounds.

What is even worse than the conflicting stories about the assault and eventual shooting of Jason Poss is there is a vacuum from the Police Department when it comes to the facts surrounding Poss being shot. There are conflicting stories, including witnesses who saw the shooting take place. Coming the in the face of a string of officer-involved deaths, were the police statements given after the death of Jason Poss truthful? Was this a case of police over-reaction?

Why was Poss shot after he was down on the ground and the knife out of his hand?

A person who I implicitly trust and admire, a tax-paying God-fearing woman has stated that, “…cops these days scare me. If I see one driving behind me, I simply leave the area rather than take a chance they will stop me.”

This isn’t right.

Innocent citizens should not fear the police. The death of Jason Poss only augments the argument that our police need training on how to deal with mentally-impaired citizens. My guess is that they are studying the situation, and perhaps if we are lucky, someone will come down off the police administration mountain and promise us that. Perhaps not.


What happened to the attack on Sotomayor?

Good morning, everyone…

I held back yesterday’s David Horsey cartoon simply because I wanted to see how well Sotomayor held up under the microscope of the world press, if not the conservative Republicans looking for a way to derail Sotomayor’s first appearance before the Senate.

However, what I did see were Republicans, including Senator Sessions, doing every kind of hand jive imaginable to avoid creating the appearance of being anti-Hispanic. Although none of them, thus far, would dare attack Sotomayor directly for any reason, they did everything imaginable to create dissent and distrust with President Obama’s selection of her as a potential Supreme Court Justice. My, how time and a Presidential Election have changed things!

I believe the Republicans are scared that any dirty business they might do against Sotomayor might come back to haunt them during the next election, that the number of Hispanics that put Obama in the Presidency implies they now have to court the Hispanic vote if they have any hopes, at all, of being re-elected.

That’s why I now believe Sotomayor will be approved as our next Supreme Court Justice.

However, the cartoon is right: the Ultra-conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh, are rattling the sabers from within the closet where the Republican National Party keeps them hidden this close to an election.

What are your thoughts on Sotomayor?


How safe is your identity? (Part 1)

Good morning, Netizens…

I cannot say I wasn’t warned, because an engineer I know in Seattle swore he was able to wirelessly steal the identities of people in Pike Street last week using the same technology as described in a YouTube posting . RFID or Radio Frequency Identification tags, better known in Washington State as “enhanced driver’s licenses” were introduced as a means for citizens to quickly and easily cross the border into Canada and Mexico using driver’s licenses equipped with a special RFID chip without using a passport.

These federally approved licenses will contain “at the minimum, the issue date, the citizens’ date of birth, gender, address, signature, Washington State driver’s license number and a full color facial photograph” and “citizenship status. According to the AP article, these licenses can be scanned by an appropriate reader from a distance of 30 feet or less.

After reading about it online, my friend equipped his car with a Matrix antenna and a Motorola reader he purchased on EBAY for under $200 similar to that described by Chris Paget in the YouTube video and began driving around Pike Street scanning for the unique serial numbers of innocent pedestrians carrying enhanced driver’s licenses equipped with RFID chips. He was immediately able to obtain half a dozen tags, all without the knowledge and/or consent of the persons carrying these licenses.

Upon further discussion with various people, I also discovered that the new-and-improved US Passports also are equipped with these RFID chips, which is further verified by

I have been alarmed about the deployment and use of Social Security numbers on Washington State Driver’s Licenses for several years, if not the ease with which savvy citizens can obtain information from current driver’s licenses with a minimum of trouble.

Unfortunately, technically-oriented people today no longer need to go through austere legal channels to obtain information from your driver’s license. All they have to do is wait for you to walk by their surreptitious radios equipped with RFID scanner and they have all the information they will ever need to clone your identity.

Do you feel alarmed? Perhaps you don’t have an enhanced driver’s license yet. Perhaps in a period of time our Washington State Driver’s licenses will be chipped, as well.

I don’t like it. There are altogether too many ways to beat this system, to gain access to my information. If a 24 year-old self-styled hacker in Seattle and another in San Francisco both state they have readers that work, a professional engineer must find this child’s play.


A game of global chicken, anyone?

Good morning, Netizens…

When you were a young driver, did you ever play the game “chicken” where two drivers, each driving at incredible speeds, would drive toward the other? The object of this dangerous game is to swerve and thus avoid the other driver before the two cars plowed into one another. Although I’ve never played the game, playing chicken is a legend of movies from a long time ago.

Which brings us to David Horsey’s excellent cartoon this morning, for he suggests, and I wonder if he isn’t correct, that the nations of the world reducing greenhouse gas emissions are actually a game of chicken, involving the developed nations of the world and those that are not so well-developed.

This brings on several questions that, to my opinion, are severely unanswered:

Isn’t the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions actually a case where the developed nations of the world will lead developing nations, not the other way around?

The raw science underlying the scientific theory of global warming suggests that reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide will reduce global warming. In your opinion, how accurate is this presumption?

Of course, there are other questions that remain to be answered, as well.


Death and destruction on Glass Street.


Good morning, Netizens…

A police-involved shooting took place this morning shortly after 9:00 AM right down the street from Glass and Morton, home of the Virtual Ballroom.

Apparently this all began at about 8:45 this morning when an unknown male subject kicked in the front door of 1328 E Glass and assaulted a woman living in the house with a skateboard. Additionally, he stabbed a black pit bull in the house before fleeing. One of four males living in the house stated none of them knew the assailant, although in my experience of things, the young men of that house know just about everyone else in the neighborhood. After all, they have a portable basketball hoop set up next to the street for late-afternoon hoops and are quite popular as a result.

Police were summoned, and on Courtland, one block over, a policeman confronted the suspect, and immediately was stabbed. Backup was summoned and police shot the young man whose name has not been released to the news media at this time.

Thank you Spokane Police Department! It is unfortunate but true there is one less raving idiot walking around assaulting innocent people because of prompt, effective police action.


Obama’s wandering eyes?

Good morning, Netizens…

There are, in theory, two versions of this picture. One shows U.S. President Barack Obama (C) and France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy (R) as they take their places with junior G8 delegates for a family photo at the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, July 9, 2009. Leaders of the Group of Eight major industrial nations and the main developing economies are meeting in the central Italian city of L’Aquila until Friday to discuss issues ranging from global economic stimulus to climate change and oil prices. (REUTERS/Jason Reed (ITALY POLITICS IMAGES OF THE DAY)82065)

The other “version” of the picture notes more deliberately that Obama is attracted to the 16 year-old girl before he remembers who and what he is, while in the meantime, Sarkozy can barely hide his amusement behind his hands.

My only advice to the President of the United States is, regardless how comely the lithesome young woman may be, don’t look. Stick to the higher moral ground and keep other nations wondering.

Do you have any other advice for our President’s wandering eyes?


Object lesson: don’t get caught!

Good morning, Netizens…

See? That got your attention, now didn’t it? Aren’t you glad it is Friday? Properly reviewed and evaluated, in the parlance of my industrial background, it’s “Just another day in Paradise” or better known by its acronym, JADIP.

Last night some youthful miscreants went rambling around the South Hill of Spokane trashing things in general and setting several fires. Some wits might observe this could have been a trial by fire, but when saner minds once again resume control of the Universe, they will be viewed as petty criminals or perhaps even felons for setting the various fires. Petty criminals never get to walk in slow motion before the TV cameras; only felons get that kind of specialized treatment by the news media. That is so wrong.

In my day of the great crime spree, Raymond and I stole several fat, sweet watermelons from the neighbor’s ample patch behind his sweet corn rows, and we got caught boosting said melons over the fence. No slow-motion television crap for us, uh huh. What we got was tantamount to a one-gun salute, as the farmer opened up with a double-barrel shotgun loaded with rock salt. Thanks to the Gods and Goddesses of Scottish lore, those tiny bits of rock salt missed me entirely, but they put a nice tattoo on poor Ray’s behind, of which we talked about for years to come when we weren’t at a state of war, that is.

Although I cannot state with any truth we never stole watermelons from that patch again, because like most criminal minds, Ray figured out a better way of stealing his watermelons and, later on, his pumpkins when they became ripe enough to steal. I just never got caught at it again. I learned my lesson the first time. I believe Ray is still serving time in the state prison system for bank robbery.

That’s the problem with modern law enforcement: you get prime-time television exposure when you get caught doing something major, while the little crooks scamper away, once they learn how to avoid detection and/or arrest. In modern society there aren’t any more farmers who load their shotguns with rock salt instead of bird shot, because they get to do the slow-walk before the TV cameras as they are led away to jail.

It’s going to be a scorching hot day today, just about as fine as those pieces of rock salt when they embed themselves in ones butt.

Since our various officers of the Spokane Police have been missing in action from this Blog lately, and since no one else is here to listen to your fumbling confessions, did you ever steal a watermelon on a hot summer’s day when nothing could beat eating a fresh, ripe watermelon down along the creek bank beneath the old wooden bridge?

It’s Friday, and a little confession is good for the soul, even then.


Public to Pay for Thompson’s Defense

Officer ruled indigent despite $675,000 home

It’s official.  We, the people, will pay through the nose for the SPD’s blundering.

I make a third of what Thompson makes and my $50,000 home is paid for.  However, maybe I should go out and buy a home worth two-thirds of a million dollars and put it in my wife’s name and then offer up the excuse that I am indigent.

Indigent means “poor, needy, impoverished, poverty-stricken, penniless, destitute.” Do you really think someone who lives in a $675,000 home is destitute? Well, maybe if he didn’t make any money. It’s not my fault he bought a home way beyond his needs!

O – I know why I can’t get away with this. I don’t have a wife!



Why did Sarah Palin quit?

Good morning, Netizens…

If you are not already tired of reading about Michael Jackson, perhaps David Horsey’s cartoon this morning will suggest new directions in which to vent your spleen. Just why did Alaska’s governor, Sarah (the Diva) Palin quit? Boy, that seems like a good way to get the day rumbling off in unpredictable directions to me. Here are some of the ideas that have sprung to mind:

She already needs a new wardrobe. No hundred-thousand dollar shopping sprees while she is governor, nope. She has to have the assistance of the Republican National Party for those kinds of expense accounts. That may come later on.

She wants to replace either Rush or Hannity as the acknowledged leader of the Republican right-wing news media with her new talk show to be called “Sarah Palin Rambles”.

Her stud muffin husband Todd says, although fishing has been good this year, why don’t we have another baby? As ridiculous as that might seem, I wouldn’t put it beyond either of them. After all, they have good health insurance for the moment.

As soon as Governor Palin gets out of being the Governor of Alaska, perhaps she will just settle beneath the news media radar screens in Wasilla, Alaska, maybe read a few good books, do a little fishing, some hunting, or maybe even write a few books, other than the one she is ostensibly working on now.

Last but far from least, she might even start her Presidential aspirations.

So what do you think Sarah Palin will do once she is no longer the Governor of Alaska? Do you have any juicy theories you’d like to share?


New words in the Collegiate Dictionary…

Good morning, Netizens…

(sigh) Just when I think I’ve gotten a pretty good vocabulary, even for a hack journalist, the fine folks that publish the Mirriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary add new words to their list of acceptable words. Well, they’ve done it again… Here is a list of some of the new words that appear in the latest edition(s) of their dictionary:

Acai (1868): a small dark purple fleshy berrylike fruit of a tall slender palm (Euterpe oleracea) of tropical Central and South America that is often used in beverages.

Carbon footprint (1999): the negative impact that something (as a person or business) has on the environment; specifically: the amount of carbon emitted by something during a given period.

Cardioprotective (1984): serving to protect the heart.

Earmark (15c): a provision in Congressional legislation that allocates a specified amount of money for a specific project, program, or organization.

Fan fiction (1944): stories involving popular fictional characters that are written by fans and often posted on the Internet.

Flash mob (1987): a group of people summoned (as by e-mail or text message) to a designated location at a specified time to perform an indicated action before dispersing.

Frenemy (1977): one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy.

Goji (2003): the dark red mildly tart berry of a thorny chiefly Asian shrub (Lycium barbarum) that is typically dried and used in beverages.

Green-collar (1990): of, relating to, or involving actions for protecting the natural environment. jobs>

Haram (1979): forbidden by Islamic law. foods>

Locavore (2005): one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible.

Memory foam (1987): a dense polyurethane foam that becomes more pliable when in contact with heat.

Missalette (1973): a shortened form of a missal published periodically for congregational use.

Naproxen (1971): an analgesic and antipyretic NSAID C14H14O3 often used in the form of its sodium salt.

Neuroprotective (1987): serving to protect neurons from injury or degeneration. drugs>

Pharmacogenetics (1960): the study of how genetic differences among individuals cause varied responses to a drug.

Physiatry (1947): physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Reggaeton (2003): popular music of Puerto Rican origin that combines rap with Caribbean rhythms.

Shawarma (1953): a sandwich esp. of sliced lamb or chicken, vegetables, and often tahini wrapped in pita bread.

Sock puppet (1959): a false online identity used for deceptive purposes.

Staycation (2005): a vacation spent at home or nearby.

Vlog (2002): a blog that contains video material.

Waterboarding (2004): an interrogation technique in which water is forced into a detainee’s mouth and nose so as to induce the sensation of drowning.

Webisode (1996): an episode esp. of a TV show that may or may not have been telecast but can be viewed at a Web site.

Zip line (1984): a cable suspended above an incline to which a pulley and harness are attached for a rider.

Source: Merriam-Webster Inc.


The next generation expresses an opinion?

Good morning, Netizens…

This picture is rather obscure as to its author or other information, although there is a copyright showing EPA as its owner. I seriously doubt if the Environmental Protection Agency had anything to do with Malia Obama’s political dress code, but I though enough of the picture to add it today’s long list of things to do.

Do you remember the 60’s? Did you ever wear or carry a peace symbol in public? Would you wear or carry a Peace Symbol today? 

It feels interesting, even somewhat difficult watching the next generation of kids as they pick up and address the issue of nuclear disarmament, especially when her father, President Obama, has been negotiating with Vladmir Putin to reduce nuclear stockpiles in both Russia and the United States.

Although I cannot help but wonder what her parents had to say about her wearing a shirt bearing the Peace Symbol at this time in history, kudos to Malia Obama for making a youthful political statement.


The Ventriloquist…

Good morning, Netizens…

David Horsey’s cartoon this morning certainly speaks the truth when he portrays Vladamir Putin as a ventriloquist of a sideshow on the walkway of world politics. Being a former KGB man in the Kremlin, and apparently quite good at it, Putin only shows the United States the face he wants us to see, or in this case, hear the voice(s) he wants us to hear.

Is President Obama really aware of Putin pulling the strings of Medvedev, who cannot speak without the say-so of Putin? Is Obama really aware that Putin unquestionably views President Obama as a neophytic poseur to world diplomacy?

Ah, if only ventriloquist’s dummies could talk.


Feeling the tail of an elephant…

Good morning, Netizens…

[Picture of Scheuer courtesy of ABC news, date uncertain]

Normally I stay as far away from the Right-Wing Nut Cases as I do from the Left Wing Nut Cases, as although both have their respective points at respective times, both are quite similar to a team of blind men assessing elephants. As each blind team member tentatively feels the tail of the elephant, they will determine the animal to be long and snake-like, perhaps even declaring it to be a snake, a poisonous viper at that. This morning, before I really demolish my disposable time with other devices, I found and re-read a transcript of Glenn Beck’s show, involving an interview with Michael Scheuer recently which incensed me. However, when I get that irate with someone, I nearly always stop and attempt to rationally understand not only what was said, but why.

In case you are not familiar with Michael Scheuer, you might examine the brief but fairly-accurate Wikipedia article on him at before throwing things at otherwise useful computer monitors. Please carefully read his educational background, as he has what I would term an interesting educational background. Then he went to work for the CIA.

Michael Scheuer, stated on Glenn Beck’s recently:

Scheuer: The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States. Because it’s going to take a grass-roots, bottom-up pressure. Because these politicians prize their office, prize the praise of the media and the Europeans. It’s an absurd situation again. Only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary. End Quote

Oh? That is both an interesting statement, given Scheuer’s background, and one that I would imagine probably boosted host Beck’s ratings, which never really hurt for a lack of controversy. Were such a thing possible, if Osama bin Laden to set off a strategically-placed major nuclear device in the United States, would it result in the kind of revolution Scheuer envisions?

Yet another opinion, one which I hold, is that were such an event to happen, the economic and financial fallout which would follow such a fool’s game as a nuclear weapon being set off by bin Laden, might leave our country so weakened we would be unable to recover our position as a world leader for decades, if ever.

Which is it? Is Scheuer a genius or a fool?


Who is this?

Good morning, Netizens…

Since a friend passed this picture to me, challenging me to identify her from her booking picture, I admit I drew a blank. Who is this mystery person? She was charged with driving while intoxicated in El Segundo, California on July 4, and the picture is courtesy of AP and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Can you identify this woman?


Former Congresswoman detained by Israel…

Good evening, Netizens…

How many of you have heard or remember Cynthia McKinney, the former congresswoman from Georgia? Until yesterday afternoon, although I remember her being the first African-American woman ever to represent the State of Georgia, who made a place in history for herself by signing a document in favor of impeaching former President George Bush, Dick Cheney and Condolessa Rice. I vaguely remember hearing about the confrontation with Capitol Hill Police officer who did not recognize her as a member of congress. Eventually the Capitol Hill Police figured out who she was, and she apologized for some of her rather brittle, racist comments made at the time of her arrest. Other than that, I pretty much drew a blank. Until today.

In the last 24 hours she has managed to once more surface in the headlines, this time aboard an ocean-going ship named Spirit of Humanity which attempted to run the Israeli blockade which surrounds Gaza, and was arrested by Israeli authorities and, for a time, incarcerated in a jail with other inmates. According to late information, the Israelis wanted her (and others from the ship) to sign what were termed documents regarding their deportation from Israel, and McKinney refused. The documents were ostensibly in Hebrew, which she cannot read. I wouldn’t sign a document I couldn’t read, either.

With McKinney onboard the Spirit of Humanity was Mairead Maguire, the 1977 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for co-founding a group that worked for peace in Northern Ireland, who was also arrested and detained for a short time.

From my perspective, like most similar circumstances surrounding Gaza and the Israeli government, it all depends upon whom you believe. Israel has blockaded entry to Gaza, which is governed by the organization Hamas, for two years, and the activists knew this when they sailed. The activists onboard the Humanity claim they were unlawfully stopped, boarded and arrested in international waters, after their GPS units and other navigational equipment onboard their ship were jammed by devices on Israeli warships. I guess that would make it a bit difficult to determine whether they were truly in international waters, wouldn’t it?

Although the Israelis are being typically closed-mouth about what supplies they found aboard the Humanity, the activists claim they were transporting humanitarian supplies only, including crayons for children. There is something truly odd about McKinney’s statements made repeatedly to various news sources, about the Israelis preventing them from delivering crayons ostensibly for the children of Gaza. Gaza is in theory in a state of war with Israel, although no one really has declared it thus far. In a state of war, when people are starving and dying every day, why send crayons to children? My unpatented but trustworthy BS meter is going nuts every time I re-read the statement about crayons for the children of Gaza.

Earlier this afternoon, in a moment of decision between whom to believe, I contacted a good friend who has vastly more experience at such things than I, and I asked her for her take on this issue of crayons for kids. Her advice to me was to trust my gut (and my BS meter).

Perhaps someday someone will have the nerve it takes to bring the people of Gaza and Israel to an agreement. Until that day, or at least until my gut settles back down, I’ve fulfilled my goal and written about the former Congresswoman from Georgia, and by the time you read this perhaps she will even be on her way back home to the United States. You haven’t heard the last of Cynthia McKinney, though.


Robert S. McNamara dead at 93…

Good morning, Netizens…

Robert S. McNamara, the former Secretary of Defense vilified for The War in Vietnam, has passed away at 93 years of age. Wait until he gets to heaven and finds out God’s real name is also called Han Duc Tho.


Sheriff Ozzie to run for re-election…

Good morning, Netizens…

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich is running for re-election as Spokane County Sheriff. Speaking at the annual Freedom in the Arboretum celebration held in the Finch Arboretum, Sheriff Knezovich affirmed he will be running for re-election, which comes as no surprise to most folks.

In my opinion, we could do a lot worse than putting Sheriff Ozzie into office for a second term. He has established a record relatively clear of the various problems and contention that the Spokane Police Department has been plagued with and has frank and open policies that are comparatively refreshing.

Your opinions, of course, may differ.


Early morning weather…

Good morning, Netizens…

A moderate-sized band of thunderstorm cells has moved through the Spokane area since approximately 3:00 AM and is now moving northeast out of the area. Numerous cloud-to-ground strikes were observed in and north of Spokane during this transition, and although there is no assessment of damages at this time, given the extremely-hazardous fire conditions, there are good chances for wildfires triggered by this storm as it continues moving out of the Spokane area.

Today’s weather forecast calls for the possibility of more thunderstorms and an 80% chance of additional rain.


Happy Birthday…

Good morning, Netizens…

Yesterday, the Fourth of July, 2009, the true source of our nation’s liberty largely went unnoticed, in lieu of fireworks, camping trips, day-long voyages to Riverfront Park and other entertainment venues. July Fourth is a multi-billion dollar deal, increasing each year in size and scope as each new generation is inducted into the annual fracas and yet it seems each year we get further and further from the original composition of Liberty.

The Fourth of July is, or once was, a series of traditions that have been honored over the decades. Long before the advent of fireworks and vast community celebrations, people simply hung our American flag on their houses to celebrate the freedoms we now enjoy and spent time in meditation and prayer.

Yesterday, as the sun slowly rose over the City of Spokane, rather than trundle ourselves off to Riverfront Park, we solemnly hung our flag on the front of the house, and then in the quiet of the afternoon, I sat down and read our Declaration of Independence, contemplating what the Founding Fathers had written down 233 years ago as their blueprint for our country, and as the heat of the day stacked itself like so much cordwood, I also contemplated the number of brave Americans who, since that time, have given their lives so that we might live as free citizens in our country.

I freely admit being a sentimental old poop, an idealist after a fashion, and attempt to be a patriotic citizen, although in my long life I have sometimes fallen far short of that. However, for yesterday and all it implies, I spent the majority of it listening carefully to these words from the past, and remembering the men who lay the platform for our great nation.

Then, as the sun settled slowly into the west last night, with tears streaming down my aged cheeks, we carefully took down Old Glory, reverently remembering how it once was. Then I copied the words which set forth our country, and quietly retired for yet another day.

Happy Birthday, America.

Sarah Palin resignation confusing…

Good morning, Netizens…

Sarah Palin announced yesterday she is stepping down as Governor of Alaska effective July 26. In reading her comments made before a small news media pool in Wasilla, Alaska, she left not only her supporters but portions of the entire Republican National Party asking what is going on. Her rambling statement yesterday, the day before a three day holiday, did not exactly leave anyone clues about her intentions regarding the Presidential election in 2012. After all, she had two years left to serve in her term as governor, two more years spent collecting a good paycheck while basking in the limelight of her run for the Vice Presidency.

Unsubstantiated rumors persist, including a few suggested by the Huffington Post, that a major criminal investigation is underway, and that Palin resigned to avoid further fallout. Other sources suggest it is just another way for Palin to quietly fire up an election campaign for 2012’s Presidential election, all the while making more money than her current salary as Governor of Alaska.

At present, there is not one lick of evidence that would quickly explain her actions, other than she wants out of the public limelight. Of course, every blogger and nincompoop between here and Tuskogee, Oklahoma (and beyond) are touting the latest rumors and half-baked facts on the Internet, but there are not a lot of facts to go on.

I could easily go on and on about the reasons why I think Sarah Palin made her move at this time. Unfortunately, I do not have a shred, one scintilla of evidence that I can point to to justify Palin’s actions. I cannot even point to how something really big is going to break in the near future.

Sarah Palin rocked the Republican Party by being nontraditional, all the while espousing wholesome American values in the face of a out-of-control Fourth Estate, who tried eagerly to make her appear like a complete idiot. Now that a bit more history has unraveled, it appears that a few more staunch Republicans have proven what idiots they are by their unfaithfulness to their spouses and families, to mention a few other subliminal crimes.

Maybe she’s just sick of politics? Now that would make sense.


Going to breakfast…

Good morning, Netizens…

The unmistakable MHibbs and I are meeting for breakfast this morning at our “secret” location. No, it is not Doodles, as that is too public for our thoughts. I’ll be back later on with more of my TGIF palaver and see if anyone remembers our secret location.


Charged and presumed guilty?

Good morning, Netizens…

Right or wrong, Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson, Jr. is going to be placed on desk duty, pending the outcome of his federal trial in connection with the 2006 death of Otto Zehm. This highly-charge decision came down late yesterday, according to City Officialdom, and the usual cast of characters are already banging their kettles with their spoons.

After the federal charges were filed June 19, a three-member committee – including one employee from the city’s Human Resources Department, one from the Police Department and one from the police union – reviewed the charges and recommended changing Thompson’s duties, city mouthpiece Marlene Feist said in a news release. Thompson will be moved out of the department’s patrol division and placed into a civilian police planning and analysis position. According to Police Department spokespersons, this will allow “the department to continue to use Thompson’s experience and training.” (Spokesman-Review)

Liz Moore, the director of the Peace and Justice Action League (PJALS) is also quoted by the Spokesman as saying this decision is, ““repugnant and incredibly disappointing.”

She might be right. However, at least for the present, Thompson has been only charged with a crime, but not convicted. That implies under our set of laws that Thompson is innocent. The Spokane Police have their laws; our nation has laws of their own. Which takes precedence? That is an interesting question, one that requires one puts aside their personal beliefs and opinions.

I can state I believe Thompson is guilty as all get-out, and probably shouldn’t be on the streets as a policeman. That, along with Liz Moore’s statement, is an opinion. It should not be enforceable upon a man who, in the eyes of the law, has not been convicted of anything yet.



Acronym for Islamic…

Good morning, Netizens…

Don’t you just love acronyms? Today’s David Horsey cartoon takes us in a direction which, perhaps, our fearless leaders probably do not want to go, but it seems accurate. Finding the acronym for the word “Islamic” cannot be that difficult, but making it fit the existing conditions in Iran, we’ll, that may be subject to public opinion.

Viewed from our side of the globe, most people look at the Mullahs with a jaundiced eye, perhaps, but to most Iran residents, the byword is “Mullahs rock, dude!

Of course, I always ask the question: which is it? Can you imagine the head of Iran’s mullahs meeting in the White House with Obama? How about a tour group of Mullahs traveling through the United States in a tour bus? Now apply the acronym of your choice to the word “Islamic”.

Then we’ll decide what to do when or if that ever happens. Mullahs on West Second Avenue? Sure, why not!


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