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Community Comment

Archive for March 2009

Quote of the Day — March 31, 2009

Good morning, Netizens…


Our Quote of the Day:


Storms make trees take deeper roots.


Dolly Parton


If what, as Dolly Parton states, is truthful, is it not plausible that despite our present economic hardship, our nation is merely being rebuilt and rethought into substantially stronger fare? Is it possible that as the storm passes, our economy if not our nation will be rebuilt with stronger roots, better fiscal wisdom and perhaps to reemerge as the world leader we have repeatedly stated we are?


Or, conversely, as we have seen throughout our history, when storms come, trees topple and fall, edifices are thrown to the ground and people’s roots simply cease to exist. We have a clear choice between the acceptance of inevitable strengthening or abject failure.


Is how and when we make this decision determined largely by our faith in ourselves as a nation if not ourselves?


Dave


Lightem if you’ve gottem…

Good morning, Netizens…


This afternoon I am going to take a road seldom-traveled and RANT.


It’s bad enough that our state and federal governments are taxing cigarettes to the point where an ordinary citizen in strictest obedience to the laws of the land can no longer afford to buy themselves a pack of smokes and dispassionately light up, thus feeding their habit and destroying their health. You can cheat the system by buying cigarettes online, thus screwing the respective governments out of their ill-gotten gains, yes, but that, too, is breaking the laws of the land.


But now they tell us we cannot smoke in our city parks. Pah!


You can still get rolled, beaten, jumped, jacked around and molested nearly with impunity, because there are no armed patrols under normal circumstances poking the bushes and byways in our parks looking for miscreants. But God forbid, you light up a cigarette while you are innocently sitting alongside the river with your fishing pole and a line in the water, and you can now get a ticket if a cop happens to wander through.


If we cannot or will not take care of our health by not smoking cigarettes, the government will tax them out of existence and then criminally punish anyone who lights up. Talk about government regulation! Eventually the government will legislate cigarettes to where we will have to quit, like it or not, either because we cannot afford them or because we will not be able to smoke’m if we have’m.


Hogwash! Or is it?


Dave

Shriner’s Hospital Future Bleak

Just got a news alert from the S-R saying that Shriner’s Hospital may close.  (http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/mar/30/shriners-hospital-may-close/)

I was born with curvature of the spine and not really bothered by it until I was in fourth grade.  Add to that being pigeon-toed, so much that I had to wear orthopedic shoes.  They were profoundly ugly shoes, too, for a nine-year-old.  I was afraid I would be ruined for life with those ugly shoes.  (I write about them at http://jeaniespokane.blogspot.com/2008/04/ugly-brown-shoes-and-belly-dancer.html.)

Before the shoes, I spent a few days at the Shriner’s Hospital.  No surgeries – just tests.  Checking my back.  Checking my feet.  Checking my legs.  There were dozens of kids there my age – many paralyzed with polio.  Shriner’s has been an indelible part of Spokane.  I can’t imagine where these children will go without Shriner’s.  This “recession” is like a bad cancer, metastasizing into the bone

I am worried!  Hospitals are laying off because of unpaid patient bills.  Shriner’s may close.  The Post Office is laying off several hundred people.  Where is this let-us-call-it-what-it-really-is depression taking us?

Superman to the Rescue?

Good morning, Netizens…

I keep asking this same question, over and over again, and each time when I peer into my bowl of fortune-telling oatmeal, all I see are oats. What are we going to do to save our newspapers?

Leave it to David Horsey’s cartoon this morning, and we might see the resurrected figure of lowly Clark Kent AKA Superman to the rescue. Why not? Nothing else seems to be working. We’ve seen several big national newspapers shutter their doors for good; we have seen some of the most-talented and skilled journalists evacuating the Spokesman-Review. Now more than ever, we need one of America’s most-durable cartoon super-heroes to come save the newspapers.

David Horsey may be onto something! Of course, if you have any other ideas, by all means feel free to speak up. If you have one of those old Superman costumes in mothballs in the closet, by all means don it and save the day!

Dave

What is your priority?

Good evening, Netizens…


Yesterday, the Eiffel Tower is shown just after the 20,000 bulbs illuminating the tower went out for five minutes. The City of Lights went dim when thousands of Parisians joined in an hour “lights-out” campaign aimed at showing citizens concern over climate change. (AP Photo/ Thibault Camus)
(March 28, 2009)


This was all a campaign to highlight the threat of climate change. Did you turn your lights out? To put it a bit more succinctly, do you care?


Which would I rather see, half the world turn the lights on their big commercial building lights off over concern for world climate change or eliminating nuclear weapons from the world’s arsenals? At the rate they are continuing to grow in numbers, won’t nuclear weapons eventually get used unless someone stops the madness?


The question which I feel challenges us all, which is more likely to eliminate mankind as we know it to be, global warming or nuclear holocaust? We must stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons.


Dave





Redoubt blows its top…

Good morning, Netizens…

This is a spectacular nighttime picture of Mount Redoubt blowing its stack late last night near Anchorage, Alaska, which certainly brings back old memories of Mount St. Helens, doesn’t it? Yes, for the sake of those who fortunate enough to be a safe distance from St. Helens when it blew, there was sporadic violent lightning storms just before the show really began to rock and roll and the Gods began bowling, rolling or tossing huge boulders at human pins far down the mountainside.

Where were you when St. Helens blew? Could you smell the sulphur? I was unfortunately between Tri-Cities and Ellensburg on the Interstate. My first warning that St. Helens had popped her cork was a boulder bouncing off the pavement. Later on I could smell the sulphur in the air, and never forgot that acrid, burning aroma. 

Dave

Quote of the Day — March 29, 2009

Good morning, Netizens…


This morning’s somewhat-acerbic quote should certainly get the blood pulsing through your veins.


Experts say you should never hit your children in anger. When is a good time? When you’re feeling festive?


Attributed to Roseanne Barr


Okay, so when it is acceptable to hit a child? I’m sorry, but you cannot quote me, as a victim of child abuse, when I should paddle the behind of a child, because I don’t have a good role model upon which to base a decision. Did you ever paddle a misbehaving child on his butt? Did you ever slap a child’s face? If you practiced alternatives to either, please share the wealth with everyone, because this child abuse is still a national disgrace. Are either forms of disciplinary action child abuse?


Some say either is child abuse, but in my opinion, the jury is still out. Please feel free to expound on this issue of national importance.


Dave



Should Jurors be forbidden from the Internet?

Good morning, Netizens…


As our own Jeanie of Spokane has learned, subsequent to serving on a jury panel recently, there are a lot of rules placed on potential jurors in Spokane County. In the story, which appears on the Spokesman-Review website here http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/mar/29/jurors-may-be-barred-from-using-electronics/ judges in Idaho are carefully considering new guidelines for jurors which specifically will prohibit the use of the Internet while serving as jurors.


The emphasis is moving toward a set of jury rules which will restrict or flat-out deny jurors from using their Ipods or other electronic devices to research or make comments upon cases while they are serving on a jury. In other words, if information has not been given to the jury by members of the court they will not be able to perform independent research to discover new information nor to comment on cases before the court.


The first question that hits my mind is how accurate is the information you, as a potential juror, would find on the Internet? Most important to me, do you believe banning jurors from performing research should be enforced? If so, why?


Dave

Thousands honor fallen officers in Oakland, CA

Good morning, Netizens…


I once lived and owned a business in the ghetto area where four young police officers from the Oakland Police Department died; I know the neighborhood quite well and have long since made my peace with it. Unfortunately, four brave officers died in the course of attempting to make an arrest. Four brothers in blue who, from all that I have seen and heard, were good cops, hard-working police officers who did their level-best to perform their sworn duties. They were fathers, brothers, friends and loved ones to many, but most of the people in Oakland, California never knew their names until yesterday, when a massive memorial was held in Oakland and they were put to rest with all the honor and pomp they so richly deserve.


People came from everywhere, not to mention police departments as far away as the Canadian Royal Mounted Police. They came with a sense of duty and great respect, paid their respects to their fallen comrades, and for a time stood in row upon row. The entire Oakland Police Department was there, as the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department stood a watch for them, so that all could attend.


Perhaps one of the best-written articles I have read about how this all came about appears here, in Salon:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/kamiya/2009/03/28/oakland_police/index.html?source=newsletter



Traffic Alert

Dave Laird just called in to report there is a bad three-car accident about ½ mile west of Barker, west bound lane of I-90, blocking traffic back to Liberty Lake Exit.  More later.

Wrestling at the Child Care…

Good afternoon, Netizens…


YAY! It’s Friday!


[SPOKANE VALLEY]


A large child care center in Spokane Valley was shut down by the state on Thursday after the owner and a parent allegedly got into a fight, which was witnessed by a child, state records show.


The Washington Department of Early Learning delivered a three-page notice of summary suspension on Thursday to Jolene Allen, owner of Christ Beginnings Child Care Center, 15112 E. 32nd Ave., ordering her to immediately stop offering child care.


According to the notice, “Ms. Allen and Ms. James grabbed each other and went to the floor. Both sustained injuries including red marks and rug burns.”


If all the facts prove over time to be correct, does this sound like Christ’s beginnings to anyone else? It sounds more like women’s wrestling match on the old-time television which, as the state law observes is probably no fit way to run a child care center. In fact the law is quite succinct in what is not allowed to take place in a child care facility.


I wonder if Jolene Allen will get her license back. Can you think of a reason why they should allow her to continue in business?

Dave

David Horsey goes to the birds…

Good morning, Netizens…


In case you were trying to read the Spokesman this morning online, it has been notably offline since about 8:45 AM or thereabouts, but has recently returned to the forefront. FreeBSD-Python can do that to you, as several in my little community have noted.


But in the meantime, our scientists have been discovering that eating lots of red meat is probably bad for your health and may cause you to die earlier in life. Always on the lookout for new ways to help the unemployed/under-employed, this morning the Seattle-PI’s David Horsey has taken on the cause of the American Cowboy and chickens with some unpredictable results.


First, I should mention that, as a young man, which as everyone knows was nearly eons ago, I once helped my Aunt Beryl raise a few hundred head of chickens, which had a traumatic effect on the rest of my life. They have got to be the dumbest creatures ever set forth on this planet by the Chicken God. At a ripe young age, I learned how to capture a chicken, using a piece of stiff six gauge wire bent into a loop. The idea was that you sneak up behind the chicken, remembering what I just said about chickens earlier, so you don’t have to waste all that effort being stealthy.


Reach out with your loop of wire and snag the chicken’s leg, and you’ve captured the faint-hearted critter. The cowboys in Horsey’s cartoon have it all wrong. You don’t need to rope and brand a chicken.Just grab them by a leg and they are yours.


Once Aunt Beryl taught me how to capture chickens, it was a short run from there to the beheading pen, surrounded top and all four sides with chicken wire, adjacent to the chicken house and thus convenient for those moments when you wanted to part a chicken from its life. In the center of the pen there was an old ax that had outlived wood cutting and had become the chicken beheading unit. WHOCK! Behead that bird and then dump it on the ground. It takes the average chicken about three minutes to die, during which time it will flail and dash madly from side to side in ecstasy in the beheading pen, until it finally dies of having no head and and no more blood.


After awhile, you can go around and pick up the dead chicken, and if all went well, it would be what you had for dinner. Sometime perhaps I’ll tell you about butchering dead chickens, if you persist. If anything else, that might convince most of you to stick with eating beef.


Dave

Quote of the Day — March 27, 2009

Good morning, Netizens…


Our quote of the day, which comes to us from television icon and sometimes-funny man, David Letterman, bespeaks how bad the air in Los Angeles is.


Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees.


David Letterman (1947 - )


Fortunately, most days of the year our air here in Spokane is better, at least so long as you do not have to shovel it, which sometimes happens. However, we have recently seen an upsurge in the number of peregrine falcons that have the same result on indigenous bird populations, with frightful efficiency.


They swoop out of the sky at a high rate of speed, snapping the neck of their target, and then lift off to someplace more private to eat their dinner, tossing the bones and various unwanted parts of their meal over the side. The only difference between Los Angeles and Spokane is that the birds are somewhat disembodied when they fall from the trees and the falcons are fat and happy.


Dave

Charles Simonyi goes to outer space again…

Good morning, Netizens…


Recognize this guy in the mug shot? But about eight hours ago, the billionaire who led the team that developed Microsoft Word did just that — and then some. With the successful launch of a Soyuz-TMA spacecraft from Kazakhstan, Charles Simonyi became the first private citizen to make a second space mission.


Among some of his many credits, Simonyi is the author of the Hungarian Notation, a method of notating software code which I have used and admire.


Simonyi, whose net worth of $1.1 billion makes him the 1,014th richest man in the world, according to Forbes Magazine, set up both missions with Space Adventures, the only company that sends private citizens into orbit. Of course, when you have that kind of assets, you can do almost anything you want.


Other than developing Microsoft Word and Excel before he left Microsoft in 2002. Simonyi once dated a convicted felon, Martha Stewart for 15 years before he finally married Swedish socialite Lisa Persdotter in November. Bill Gates even attended his wedding.


I can only imagine what his role in outer space will be. Ostensibly he, as the author of Word and Excel, he is in charge of product support and if cosmonauts gets the BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) they reboot the entire space station.


He is a radio amateur, and his call sign is KE7KDP. If you have a amateur’s license and in the mood for a convivial chat, you might give him a call. According to several sources, he has already been in touch with several schools world-wide that are closely following his progress in outer space.


If you had the chance, wouldn’t you like to travel to the Space Station? Granted that money were no object, what would you do?


Dave

Will Sgt. Pete Bunch skate again?

Good morning, Netizens…


SPOKANE - Disciplinary records for a Spokane County Sheriff’s sergeant arrested in February show that Pete Bunch has a long history of misusing his authority and even cheating taxpayers on his time sheet.


In 2003, former Sheriff Mark Sterk wanted to fire Bunch when he was caught cheating on his time sheet. According to an internal affairs report the year before Bunch “failed to accurately report 99 hours of vacation time used.”


The investigator at the time wrote, “the errors and erroneous reporting are the most egregious I have ever seen.”


In order to keep his job Bunch then had to sign his first last chance letter; the final warning agreement expired one year later.


Then in 2004 Sgt. Bunch received another last chance letter after he flashed his badge trying to avoid getting a ticket at the Liberty Lake boat launch. An investigation found Bunch “willfully hindered and delayed a Fish and Wildlife officer in the discharge of their official duties” and that Bunch “exhibited unprofessional and inappropriate behavior.”


Bunch has also been disciplined for misusing his county supplied cell phone and not properly investigating an alcohol related crash involving an off-duty state trooper.


Then last month he was involved in another off-duty confrontation with law enforcement. Police arriving on the scene contacted the suspected prowler but the man, who would only say he was looking for a lost dog, refused to cooperate with them and the fight was on.


The man, later identified as Bunch, was booked into the Spokane County Jail on obstructing and resisting charges but Spokane city prosecutors later dropped the charges against the deputy.


Now Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has to decide if he wants to give bunch another last chance. Sheriff Knezovich says he is waiting for a report from the Office of Professional Standards before making his decision.


Ozzie is right. The last thing the County needs is a protracted and potentially expensive lawsuit. On the other hand, one cannot help but wonder how many “Last Chances” any police officer will get before he gets fired these days?


Dave

Strike three, you’re out!

SHEBOYGAN, Wisc. — A Spokane woman visiting Wisconsin last year was arrested for drunken driving three times in three days, according to court records released Wednesday.

Jo A. Trilling, of Spokane, Wash., who was sentenced on the final two cases last week, was arrested in each case after driving off the road and getting her car stuck. She was arrested March 11, 12 and 13 of 2008, racking up a total of 30 days in jail and more than $3,000 in fines.

 

According to authorities: Trilling was first arrested about 2 p.m. March 11, 2008, when a Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department deputy noticed her trying to drive out of a ditch near the Kohler-Andrae entrance. The deputy noticed Trilling wore only one shoe and smelled of intoxicants.

A later blood test revealed a blood-alcohol level of 0.21, more than 2½ times the legal limit.

Exactly 24 hours later, the Kohler-Andrae park superintendent spotted Trilling’s car stuck in the snow in a campground that was closed for the winter. He told Trilling she would have had to drive through a muddy side lane and maintenance gate to get to that point, and she said she did not remember that.

Trilling told an officer she had “four or six cups of wine,” adding, “I am still finishing up the box of wine in my car from yesterday.”

Police say they found a box of Black Fox wine and a partial cup of wine in the car.

Trilling was arrested and again served the mandatory 12 hours in jail before being released without bond, officials said. She then headed for Cottage Grove, in Dane County, where she was arrested after a citizen reported she was “all over the road,” according to a police report.

A partial bottle of wine was found in the car. Trilling had a blood alcohol-level of 0.16.

The Cottage Grove case was concluded first and therefore listed in court records as the first offense. Trilling was fined $730 for that offense, $906 for the March 11 arrest in Sheboygan and $1,221 for the March 12 arrest in Sheboygan. Trilling was also fined $372 for an ordinance violation of resisting or obstructing an officer during the March 12 arrest.

Anyone want to wager what she’ll do when she completes her mandatory jail time THIS TIME? My money is on another bottle of vino.


Dave


A True Democracy?

Good morning, Netizens…


In one of David Horsey’s pointed cartoons this morning, we have an Iraqi official warbling on and on about Democracy like a jaybird with its balls in an electric fence out behind the Virtual Ballroom. Meanwhile the American diplomat tells the Iraqi what parts of a true democracy he still needs before he and his country can embrace democracy. Special interest money?


There are a lot more elements that Iraq needs to acquire for its fledgling democracy before it is even narrowly complete.


Lobbyists As Barack Obama is perhaps finding out on his own, our own imperfect democracy, such as it is, depends upon key people whose job it is to steer government money into the coffers of their clients without really appearing to do so. Once upon a time lobbyists were a major factor in previous administrations, such as the Bush regime but, depending upon where you hear it, that may be changing as President Obama has publicly stated lobbyists will not be allowed to serve on committees, sub-committees or in his cabinet. However, Iraq, still in the infancy of developing its own variant of democracy, will unquestionably hire lobbyists so they know where to spend all their oil money.


Financial Consultants Nobody I have read has truly expounded on just how the balance of payments between Iraq and the United States is supposed to work out. Let’s see here, it would be a few billion for the war effort they owe us, and a few billion for the damage done to some of the most-ancient sites in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. Of course, neither side would agree on who should pay, which is where a team of exorbitantly-paid consultants will need to be brought online.


Lawyers Nobody does much of anything these days without a legal eagle, do they? Of course, since these would have to know both Islamic and United States laws, perhaps they might even need entire teams of each kind.


Do you have any other parts of true democracy that the Iraqi government will need on their path to democracy?


Dave

A Little Zing for my day…

 

Good morning, Netizens…


I carefully slid back into my favorite bar stool at the Virtual Espresso Bar very early this morning, noting with some degree of interest, that the Virtual Ballroom has its usual collection of ghosts, spirits and various other dignitaries floating around the ballroom dancing to the heart-warming sounds of Artie Shaw back in the days when music was written on paper before it received any great public notice.


No sooner than I am ensconced upon my bar stool, today’s barrista, the Ghost of the Great Satchel Paige strolls up to me, and thus completes a history of sorts, for I once researched Paige before his death in 1982, for he was one of the first black Americans to play professional baseball, and played pro ball for Bill Veeck who at the time was at the helm of the Cleveland Indians.


“Do you have any good quotes or quips for me this morning?” I ask, remembering how Paige loved to turn a phrase in front of the news media of his time.


“Mans got to do what he’s got to do,” he states emphatically, with what appears to be a twinkle in his eyes.


Before I can rise to the occasion with something of merit of my own, he deftly slides a cup of Virtual Espresso in front of me with a smile that appears as suddenly as the cup of balmy-appearing espresso.


“This is what is called ‘fast ball espresso’ because although it is delivered without much spin it is guaranteed to have a zing. Helps make the days go better.”


Given that I have worked harder at my real day job in the last two weeks than I probably should and given the Garden Gnomes have already made their appearances in the Virtual Garden out behind the Ballroom, I am comfortable with the prospect of Spring, despite the cold weather this morning. Things are resuming their normal ebb and flow once again, and I am once more sitting at my home away from home.


As other patrons have drifted in the front door to the Virtual Ballroom, and Paige wanders down the forty-foot-long bar, I feel the zing of the espresso, the uplifting of the day and the contentment of knowing there is nothing I need to do about either.


Dave

Quote of the Day — March 26, 2009

Good morning, Netizens…


First, we delve into some essential truths about ourselves through the quote of the day:


A diplomat… is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.


Caskie Stinnett (1911- ), Out of the Red (1960)


Unfortunately my fate in life has nearly always been that when I tell someone to go to hell, it takes them at least an hour, perhaps longer, before they realize I have already left the room. Thus in most cases, I seldom have an opportunity to find out whether they found the pathway or not.


In a similar vein of thought, when I describe a person’s sins, I always prefer to describe their personal demons in as graphic a manner as possible, so there is not one shred of doubt to what sins I am referring.


I hazard a guess that I will never aspire to nor be a diplomat. Based upon the quote of the day, could you be considered a diplomat?


Dave



Taser Death of Teen

I always wake up to my radio - usually the news, sometimes music - some song that will rattle around in my head over and over and over - but it beats the shrill siren of the buzzer. This morning, however, I think I’d prefer the buzzing. First words from the news caster: “A teen died Sunday after police in Michigan used the stun gun on him.” That nasty taser stuff again. I think tasers should be banned. I think they should be outlawed. Police are not being trained sufficiently to use them appropriately. They should be used instead of (in place of) a gun - and only in situations where the use of a gun is the only recourse.

I was watching The Mentalist last week, where the character Chief Theresa Lisbon is confronted by a bad guy who just punched one of her colleagues, when he stands in front of her and says, “you want some, too?” And she says, “no thank you” and tases him. In real life, I would call that misuse of a taser - that she was not in a life and death situation and didn’t need to use a gun.

Tasers just add fuel to the gang-in-uniform good-ol’-boys-club we’re-so-much-better-than-you “police” platform. There needs to be an overhauling done.

For more, see http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29865217/ “Amnesty International critical of Taser death.”

Jeanie

Who you gonna trust?

Good morning, Netizens…


Yeah, tell me about it!


It sounded so nice, so respectable, so dependable when they signed us up for our 401k’s, didn’t it? However, now that we have wandered down David Horsey’s Carnival Midway where the real wheeling and dealing takes place, the money we invested isn’t worth a fraction of its original value, now is it? The only thing we can be certain of is that our financial worth and savings took a big hit while some faceless, nameless guys who own the Midway, such as the rabid bats at AIG, and thus actually control the how the show runs, made a killing doing so.


In several James Bond movies, there are several references made to crooked roulette wheels, where the Bad Guys are capable of manipulating the outcome of each roll of the wheel. In several other movies there are crooked dice, which because they have their edges altered in various ways, can be made to fall in more predictable ways. Of course, since the beginning of time there have always been crooked cards, altered to where they could be read by those-in-the-know in high-stakes poker games.


If the truth is known about our current economic and financial woes, it seems to me as if we all were gambling with our investments when we signed up for various fiduciary products, including our 401k plans; it is just that they told us our savings were all so secure. They told us we were being wise and cautious investors, which we should be.


They just didn’t tell us the equipment was all rigged in the favor of Fat Cats could manipulate the outcome in their favor anytime they wanted to do so with insufferable ease. Apparently they did that.


Short of the Ouija board, a shaman or a soothsayer, who can you trust in these days?


Oh, before you answer that loaded question, since you’re going back out into the Carnival Midway, please grab me a box of popcorn, would you please?


Dave

Quote of the Day — March 24, 2009

Good morning, Netizens…


We have a picture of Maugham, the author of our quote of the day, and what he wrote:


Follow your inclinations with due regard to the policeman round the corner.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965), ‘Of Human Bondage’, 1915


Perhaps if you are curious you might want to read the entire Wikipedia article on Maugham, as this British citizen and world-renown author was not only a multi-hued man of interesting experiences in the world, he was gay, and yet, because of the various places he lived, very discrete about it. In reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Somerset_Maugham you can gather the scope and breadth of Maugham’s incredibly prodigious literary life as well as his world travels. Since “Of Human Bondage” is also a free Gutenberg text here http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/351, not to mention available in Kindel format from Amazon, you can easily obtain a copy of the book for your own personal library if you wish. Just remember that, according to several critics, Maugham often injected an autobiographical image or two into everything he wrote.


Now as to the quote itself, and without launching myself into the ongoing, deep, confusing and murky waters of the Spokane Police Department at this particular juncture in time, suffice it to say the quote is timelessly-irrespective of any law enforcement services anywhere in the world. It is a strong admonition to carefully consider your actions before you step forth onto the stage of the world and to always be aware of the policeman, to whom you may pose a particular threat.


Perhaps a classic example of this is you are driving down a long and largely empty road, and suddenly you become aware of a patrol car looming up in your rear-view mirror. You glance at your speedometer almost out of instinctual fear, do you not? Isn’t that human nature?


Just a modest thought for the morning in washed-out gray Spokane as we tremulously continue treading toward Spring.


Dave

The Depilatory Wasteland…

Good morning, Netizens…


The New Jersey Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling recently attempted to pass a law which would prohibit Brazilian Waxing after several women filed complaints of infections caused by this hair removal procedure. Consumer Affairs informed them they could not go along with this prohibition, thus sparing a legion of New Jersey girls looking ahead to bikini season and a host of salon owners who said the ban could kill as much as 90 percent of their business.


Thus we begin to delve deeply into the world of feminine hair removal or lack thereof, and as David Horsey’s cartoon this morning shows, there is a lot more to this business of the feminine mystique, not to mention hair removal, than meets the eye.


Being your basic 60’s and 70’s kind of guy, I grew up with an appreciation for unshorn men and women, free of the depilatory haze, but times are apparently changing, particularly among the younger generations of both genders. According to Horsey, there are even women well up into their 80’s who prefer the hairless look down there.


WARNING! The following link to Wikipedia may cause warts, not to mention, as one reader has observed, may get you fired. Use with all discretion if you are at work.


Thinking I must have missed something, I turned to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikini_waxing to see what perhaps I might have missed, and immediately fell out of my chair, for there is a lot more to waxing than meets the eye. As much as I love the untraditional and provoking controversial conversations, this one just about meets the criteria for being off-color. You have been warned.


Horsey states that society cannot truly be free if people are not allowed to do things that are ridiculous, and I agree. Somehow how or when you trim your pubic hairs seems less offensive to me than the jangling people who wear tongue studs or other exotic earlobe hardware, but then in the United States of America, we can sit and talk in polite mixed company about such things as Brazilian Waxing while in other areas of the world men can be beaten for not having a beard or women for having their head uncovered.


We truly live in America, the home of the brave and the free, both hirsute and waxed alike.


Dave

We’re Off!

Good morning, Netizens…

Coming off a hard two-day plague of work and being forced by my spouse to leave for most of an afternoon I hereby declare this to be a free fly day, so if you have topics you’d rather discuss, whip them out and let them fly. All for free…

Dave

The shorter trip…

Good evening, Netizens…


It is obvious Spring is drawing close upon us. If not the obscenely-raucous hordes of robins in my front yard, then it has to be the appearance of what I term utterly illiterate Comcast outsourced sales people needing a shave and a haircut, one of whom came to my door this week. They, of all signs of Spring appearing in the Pacific Northwest, annually ignore the large sign posted on the front of the house that says DO NOT DISTURB. That sign seems to work for all the other mentally feather weight sales people who are trying to sell everything from windows to insurance. Most literate, sensible people read the sign, which is right by the doorbell, and wisely decide to leave without touching the button. Even Mormon missionaries and other religious affiliations can read.


Comcast, however, cannot read or, at least have indicated they do not care what I want. After I verbally removed the obligatory half-inch of flesh from the Hippy-looking dude using less than three conjunctions, he left, only to encounter Foghorn, who removed yet another inch of his hide, brandishing her yard rake in his face. After his third attempt when Mr. Igor, who also has a sign, asked if he had anyone in his family who could read, the poor itinerant salesman skipped our block in search of better pastures. Yes, I do believe Spring is here now.


Normally when Spring arrives, one of the first things on my personal agenda is to go ride a good sorrel mare I know into the Alpine pastures between Hunters and Springdale and check out a friend’s spring calves. There is no one there but me, a gentle horse and lots of white-faced calves drifting around the pasture, the youngest which occasionally pause for mid-air refueling when the mood strikes their fancies.


However, after reading the New York Times Online, I am semi-seriously contemplating taking a tour of historic places in Iraq before I saddle up my horse. At the following URL it seems tourism has come to Iraq. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/21/world/middleeast/21iraq.html?_r=1 Yes, you heard me right. Tourism in Iraq.


It seems a British citizen has formed a tour company that travels to ancient places in Iraq http://www.hinterlandtravel.com/ nearly all of which hail before the time of Christ. On second thought, after reading the disclaimers on the web site, perhaps I’m better off hiding in a high meadow on the back of a good horse.


Dave

Change is inevitable…

Good morning, Netizens…


There are some days when it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. I believe this is one of them.


From Dave Oliveria at Huckleberries Online we learn:


Earlier this morning, the SR newsroom learned that three respected, veteran reporters have accepted an early-buyout offer and will be leaving the newspaper at the end of the month: Bill Morlin (pictured), Karen Dorn Steele, and Dan Webster. Morlin, of course, is recognized as a national expert on the white supremacy movement. Steele is one of the region’s most respected environmental reporters. Webster’s name is synonymous with excellent SR arts and book reviews. He has written the Movies & More blog for at least five years. In accepting their voluntary resignations, Editor Gary Graham said: ”It should be obvious to all that these latest departures represent an incalculable loss to us and our readers.”


I have had a modest involvement with Bill Morlin over the years, ranging over a number of investigative cases, and each time I found him to be an investigative journalist’s journalist. Much the same can be said for Karen Dorn Steele who truly gave everything she had to each story she covered, and there were many more than I can list.


The question that sits, unwanted and unnoticed at the corner of awareness is who will assume the position(s) vacated? Who will be handling investigative reporting into the future?


Next month there will be a huge emptiness in the news room at the Spokesman-Review, a vacuous emptiness or, as Gary Graham stated, an incalculable loss.


Now what do we do?


Dave

Quote of the Day — March 20, 2009

Good morning, Netizens…


Our randomly-chosen quote of the day today:


“The average, healthy, well-adjusted adult gets up at seven-thirty in the morning feeling just plain terrible.”


This bit of truth comes to us from Jean Kerr (1922-2003) Writer and playright, who once wrote, “It’s pretty good for a girl who tried writing to justify not doing the dishes,” according to Los Angeles Times journalist Myrna Oliver. Author of a 1957 best–seller, “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” and many other plays and short pieces, her husband won a Pulitzer Prize as a theater critic for the New York Times.


I hate to disagree with someone so experienced in life, but when I get up in the morning, typically around 2:30 AM local time, my first thought is to see if the world as I know it to be, is still in existence. Since nothing much is moving about at that ungodly hour of the morning, no one to disturb my reveries and contemplations, it is a sacred period of time. When I wake up I always look forward to being able to write something functional, even if I do not necessarily agree with what others are saying about it.


Kerr often wrote in her Chevrolet, parked two blocks from her home in New York, for privacy’s sake. This was, of course, before the Internet gave us the tools to write anywhere at all, and thus be able to elude the hordes of people wanting to see into the world of introspective creativity.


Jean Kerr was both a prolific and terribly funny author. That says something about simultaneously writing in a Chevrolet and having six children, neither of which strike me as particularly easy tasks to master.


Dave

Who’s to blame?

Good morning, Netizens…


After some considerable research and introspection of the case of the Citizenry of Spokane versus City Hall, and upon hearing of the woman in Arlington, Washington who stole $73,575.18 from the church where she was the administrative assistant, (http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20090319/NEWS01/703199921/0/FRONTPAGE) and blamed it on Satan, I believe we have found the culprit behind the gaffes at City Hall.


My God, there has to be something hard at work that makes our lives in the Incredible City unbearable.


Suddenly an entirely new world of possibilities that none of us thought about emerges. You forget to plug the parking meter and that lascivious little cart comes sneaking around the corner with a demon fire in the ticket box while you’re standing there empty-handed. Uf da! Blame it on Satan for stealing your change. If that doesn’t wash, try blaming the children or grandchildren. Sometimes it does appear our offspring are in collusion with the Devil, but then they change back into angels. Go figure.


The disingenuous Major Crimes Detail of the Spokane Police Department, (http://www.spokanepolice.org/investigations/majorcrimes/default.aspx) ostensibly the voice of the victims according to their website, have disproven their lack of worth at investigating the Otto Zehm murder or the assault on Shonto Pete. Satan is your essential multi-tasker and hard at work on victim’s cases everywhere. There is no other explanation.


Of course, now we know who made the tape disappear from 911, don’t we? Nobody else could crack the mythological SPD security and make that tape of Shonto Pete telling a supervisor of 911 that he stole Olsen’s truck disappear into thin air. The electronic hands of the Devil are hard at work. Perfectly logical.


Closer to home, Avista, formerly known as the benevolent Washington Water Power, jacks its rates, paying its nefarious upper-echelon staff incredible salaries while most of us suffer beneath its narcissistic lead foot. You never know where the evil hand of Satan may crop up, do you?


The ideal solution to all this mischief and evil afoot everywhere in our fair city is to join the battle for goodness and mercy, and drive the evil forces from our midst. But then we wouldn’t have anyone left to blame for our misfortunes, now would we?


Dave

Aye, Mateys!

Good morning, Netizens…


While we’re busily flagellating the leadership of our local law enforcement for perceived errors if not bad intentions, today’s David Horsey cartoon gives us yet another target for our angst: AIG.


The inner machinations of credit default swaps, derivatives and other exotic financial instruments are so convoluted and hard to understand — even for the smartest brainchildren of Wall Street — that I won’t even try to explain them. I’m not even certain the people who authored these various financial instruments truly understand them, so how will you or I?


One thing is certain: they do not deserve bonuses for finding ways to put not only our economy, but the economy of a major portion of the world on the rocks. What seems unfortunate to my way of thinking is that why did Congress and President Obama wait until the bonuses which were paid for incompetence to get angry about them? That makes about as much sense as letting the pirates manage our national coffers, does it not?


My opinions do not matter for much, but having stated that, how different is the scams that were perpetrated by AIG and Bernie Madoff’s ponzi schemes? If, as I surmise, there isn’t a lot of difference between the two, simply remember where Bernie calls home these days. What might be equally interesting from a pragmatist’s point of view is to follow where these bonuses went, then close those loopholes by which so many in AIG have escaped.


AR AR AR! Put the mateys in the brig, I say.


Dave

Quote of the Day — March 19, 2009

Good morning, Netizens…

Rather than simply post the quote of the day, after over a year of quoting some of the great thinkers, poets and raving mad of our times, I have decided to make the quote of the day part of my morning ritual by investing a tiny bit of my introspective processes. What better way that to start with one of my favorite authors, Edward Abbey?

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

No tyranny is so irksome as petty tyranny: the officious demands of policemen, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets.

Edward Abbey (1927 - 1989)

Edward Abbey had me tied up in knots with his treatise (above) until he mentioned electromechanical gadgets. Since many of my associates and I make livings servicing many of those electronic gadgets to which Abbey pays backhand homage, I would have to demur from his reasoning, adding that you haven’t truly delved the depths of human depravity until you have encountered pious and sanctimonious people who manage huge computer networks.

They meet or exceed any standards ever set by policemen or government employees when it comes to being irksome.

Dave

Shellye Stark Verdict - Guilty

The jury has announced the verdict in the Shellye Stark murder trial:  Guilty of first degree murder and guilty of conspiracy to commit murder.

This is the case on which I was a potential juror.  I strived seriously and sincerely to wipe my mind clean of any preconceived thoughts and I felt that I would be objective and impartial.  This had to be a difficult decision to come to.

The Gipper Materializes?

Good morning, Netizens…


And such a fine and otherwise excellent day it is, with the exception of our beloved Spokane Police Department whose star has been inexorably sinking lower in the public opinion than ever before. They could have finessed this entire affair of Shonto Pete’s version versus the officially-approved version of events, including Marshall Tucker’s testimony, by simply waiting out the storm of public opinion. It isn’t that I believe Tucker lied on the witness stand; for good cops don’t lie and until someone steps forward and states that he is anything other than a good cop, that they can prove that beyond a reasonable question of a doubt, that he lied, he still is a good cop. Skepticism, however, can be an enlightening attribute in the face of conflict.


This morning a massive chink in the armor of the Spokane Police Department version of the Shonto Pete shooting appears in the Spokesman-Review, and like most Karen Dorn Steele articles, this one will knock the community’s trust or distrust of the Spokane Police Department clear out of the ballpark here: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/mar/18/caller-disputes-911-testimony/


Police Chief Ann Kirkpatrick has, of course, informed members of the Fourth Estate that she is convening a full formal investigation of Tucker’s testimony from the witness stand, but in the face of potential perjury charges, don’t you think it’s a little late for that? Isn’t asking the Guild members to investigate one of their own a bit much?


We have these two credible witnesses, Carol A. Blackburn and Michael R. Dale, who seem to substantiate the statements made by Shonto Pete of what happened that ill-fated night, and they directly contradict the sworn statement by Tucker on the witness stand. Somebody is lying. Suddenly my semi-facetious and impulsive comment “Win One for the Gipper” seems quite rational.


As one of my trusted associates just stated to me in e-mail, “…this just keeps getting weirder and weirder.” Does this seem utterly beyond credible belief to you? Kudos to Karen Dorn Steele for digging out that reasonable doubt that lives in the most trusting of souls.


Dave

Quote of the Day — March 18, 2009

The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.

Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982), Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 1966

Farewell to the Seattle PI…

Good morning, Netizens…


To perhaps better understand David Horsey’s cartoon this morning, you would have to have stood before the building which, until today, housed the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper, for today is its last day of publishing a printed paper.


Atop the building, set up against the sky, there is a backlit globe with an eagle standing atop it, a symbol of everything the PI has come to represent in over 100 years of continuous publication. As you can see the eagle has flown away into an unknown and somewhat uncertain future.


Having reported first-hand on the demise of a newspaper on several occasions, it is gut-wrenching to report the demise of not only your newspaper, and everything that represents, but most emphatically to end such a long and lustrous history of print journalism. So many awards, so much excellence.


It is, in their own words, a long shot, taking a print newspaper the size and scope of the PI and making it into a web publication.


Dave

Quote of the Day — March 17, 2009

When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty.

Norm Crosby

Power line magnetism study released…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

Until now scientists and we laypersons have only theorized about how high-voltage power lines affect human life. However, a study conducted by the Czech Science Foundation and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic state emphatically that power lines mess with animal magnetism.

Researchers, who reported last year that most cows and deer tend to orient themselves in a north-south alignment, have now found that power lines can disorient the animals. When the power lines run east-west, that’s the way grazing cattle tend to line up, researchers led by Hynek Burda and Sabine Begall of the faculty of biology at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany report in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They also found that cows and deer grazing under northeast-southwest or northwest-southeast power lines faced in random directions.

The research team studied cows and deer using satellite and aerial images.

Wind and weather can also affect which ways cows choose to face, but without such factors about two-thirds of them tended to align north-south when away from power lines.

The Earth’s magnetic field is thought to be a factor in how birds navigate, and other animals also are believed to respond to it. Having studied the migratory patterns of various birds, I am aware that most ornithologists are varied in their opinions how birds navigate during prolonged migrations. Some believe birds sense the global magnetic fields; others believe they employ the position of the sun and stars at night. One thing they cannot explain is how their fledglings learn the migratory patterns at birth.

In addition to Burda and Begall, the research team included Julia Neef of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Jaroslav Cerveny of the Czech University of Life Sciences and Pavel Nemec of Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.

The research was supported by the Czech Science Foundation and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic


Dave

Class warfare coming?

Good afternoon, Netizens…

A good friend forwarded this rather lengthy piece to me and, upon reading it through twice, I began to listen and anticipate what the author had to say. Could it happen here, in the land of milk and honey? The author of this piece accepts that it might happen, asserting that it happened once before in history. It is a good tidbit for thought nonetheless.

“Civil War in the United States?”

By Immanuel Wallerstein

We are getting accustomed to all sorts of breakdowns of taboos. The  
world press is full of discussion about whether it would be a good  
idea to “nationalize” banks. None other than Alan Greenspan, disciple  
of the superlibertarian prophet of pure market capitalism, Ayn Rand,  
has recently said that we have to nationalize banks once every  
hundred years, and this may be that moment. Conservative Republican  
Senator Lindsay Graham agreed with him. Left Keynesian Alan Blinder  
discussed the pros and cons of this idea. And while he thinks the cons are a bit bigger than the pros, he was willing to spend public  intellectual energy writing about this in the New York Times.

Well, after hearing nationalization proposals by arch-conservative notables, we are now hearing serious discussions about the possibilities of civil war in the United States. Zbigniew Brzezinski,  
apostle of anti-Communist ideology and President Carter’s National Security Advisor, appeared on a morning television talk show on February 17, and was asked to discuss his previous mention of the possibility of class conflict in the United States in the wake of the  
worldwide economic collapse.

Obama Fingers, anyone?

Good morning, Netizens…

A German fast food company, in hopes of increasing their sales, hit on a new fast food, Obama Fingers with curry sauce. The company, according to the AP piece, says it meant no racist overtones, as it wasn’t aware of any implied racism.

Many sales executives around the world have drawn the same conclusion: What better poster child for hope than US President Barack Obama? There are Obama dolls, Obama T-shirts, Obama soap-on-a-rope. There is even Obama thong underwear.

Sprehe, a German company that has all manner of frozen delicacies for sale, has come up with a new product it states is selling well. The “fingers” in question are tender pieces of chicken breast, coated and fried.

Would you be offended if you encountered “Obama Fingers” in your favorite fast food store?

Dave

I have heard America’s voices…

Good morning, Netizens…


Lewis Henderson wrote in part, at the outer edge of a long and highly articulate set of questions:

here: http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/commcomm/2009/mar/15/peering-future/#comments


“Was America ever actually great or is that just something I used to hear my grandpa say?”


I’ve heard America singing its song of self-adulation for over sixty years, but after all that time, no one has ever needed to remind me how it indelibly touched me, always in unique, unusual ways, but reaffirming in its simplicity and grace. It was just simply there, a terribly bright musical composition sung by the voices of Americans who struggle each day to make headway against the odds, asking nothing more than the opportunity to succeed in life.


Like the diamond which is discovered within a rock pile, there is always hope that wells up, untended, from within the human experience. I remember a late afternoon when I was parked in my truck in a nameless truck stop somewhere near the state border of Texas waiting for a load, when I rediscovered Carl Sanburg’s epic poem, “The People, Yes”. His words carved a niche in my consciousness when he wrote:


This old anvil laughs at many broken hammers.
There are men who can't be bought.
The fireborn are at home in fire.
The stars make no noise,
You can't hinder the wind from blowing.
Time is a great teacher.
Who can live without hope?

Sandburg wrote passionately about the beast we know, both now and then, as America. I identified especially with his “Chicago Poems” where he wrote:


Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of
Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog
Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with
Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

For a time back then, I was one of the faceless remorselessly optimistic freight handlers who carried the commerce of this great nation on my back over good roads and bad, down dirt tracks that ran beside the railroad tracks where old men wax philosophical through rheumy tired eyes and young men sweat out their living in the heats of late August. I have seen America, through good and ill, from the ill-natured whine of the barker at a side show to the first prayer of a child at dusk and its greatness remains unquestionable, its people strong, proud to stand tall, to be part of something so grand that it begs that none of us should ever forget.

Now, as I assume my role as grandfather to two children, I state to them with a faraway look in my eyes how great this nation can be.

Dave

Quote of the Day — March 16, 2009

You can take all the sincerity in Hollywood, place it in the navel of a firefly and still have room enough for three caraway seeds and a producer’s heart.

Fred Allen (1894 - 1956)

Peering into the future…

Good morning, Netizens…


Halfway through the month of March and perhaps the lion that has savaged our fair city will simply disappear, taking with it the interminable snow berms, the fiscal malaise and perhaps if we are truly fortunate, the abominably high Avista bills that have so haunted everyone this winter. Now we can begin the annual festivities called “pothole patrol”, in which various members of the news media state they are tracking pothole complaints.


Yeah, sure. We have the same potholes that ruined our automotive suspensions last year, only now they are new-and-improved, with better axle-snapping, ball joint rupturing, mind-boggling chasms that will, at the drop of a hat, put you permanently into the house of smooth-talking mechanics of the first order who will eagerly help themselves to what is left over of your wallets after Avista gets their latest rate increases.


When my beloved pre-teen-aged granddaughter comes creeping into my office just before the dawn for a hug and some rocking, each time I try to tell her about how much we love her, and each time I want to tell her we will try to correct all these social ailments before it is her time to assume control of society. Each time as I hold her close to my battered old heart, I try to envision the future we are leaving for her generations, and how they will address those few remaining inequities of the system when her time comes.


Unfortunately, try as I might, I cannot even begin to express to her how utterly unjust, outrageous and thoroughly uncivil things have become while on my watch. All that I have to give her is my unconditional love, given early before the day’s new dawn, as she makes her early-morning potty run. I hug her close to me, making promises I cannot keep, and wondering at how fast she is growing.


Perhaps it is not enough, this brief moment, a wee slip in the passage of time, but as I gaze into her lustrously huge brown eyes, I simply do not have it within myself to tell her how it is now, for I want her to live without fear always.


Dave

The Zehm lawsuit

Good afternoon Netizens…

It has taken me awhile to figure out how to upload this PDF copy of the Zehm lawsuit, then to make it accessible, but it does appear I was successful.

http://www.spokesman.com/documents/2009/mar/14/zehm-lawsuit/

 This represents justice for Otto, the first justice he has had since he was killed.

Dave

Margaret Hamburg nominated for Health…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

WASHINGTON March 14, 2009, 11:15 am ET · The nation’s food safety system is a “hazard to public health” and overdue for an overhaul, President Barack Obama said Saturday as he focused on that task by filling the top job at the Food and Drug Administration.

Obama used his weekly radio and video address to announce the nomination of former New York City Health Commissioner Margaret Hamburg as agency commissioner and selection of Baltimore’s health commissioner, Joshua Sharfstein as her deputy. Consumer groups applauded the picks.

Obama said the food safety system is too spread out, making it difficult to share information and solve problems.

The FDA does not have enough money or workers to conduct annual inspections at more than a fraction of the 150,000 food processing plants and warehouses in the country, Obama said.

“That is a hazard to public health. It is unacceptable. And it will change under the leadership of Dr. Margaret Hamburg,” he pledged.

Hamburg, 53, is a bioterrorism expert. She was an assistant health secretary under President Bill Clinton and helped lay the groundwork for the government’s bioterrorism and flu pandemic preparations.

Dave

Win one for the Gipper, Tucker…

Good morning, Netizens…


Like most citizens reading the history of the Jay Olsen trial, I sat disconsolately in my chair each day watching the testimony unfold like a badly-wounded badger pinned in a corner against the wall. I was not at the scene of the crime(s), nor even was I in Dempsey’s that ill-fated night when Olsen broke with police policies and guidelines just prior to shooting Shonto Pete in the head and this smelly case began inexorably sliding down hill. I felt sanctimoniously self-assured that Olsen was guilty, right up until Marvin D. Tucker, a police dispatch supervisor who appeared for the defense team, suddenly materialized as if he had risen up out of the ground.


Suddenly, instead of a toss-up trial, weighted slightly in favor of a conviction for Olsen, the Defense had induced as close to a reasonable doubt as you could possibly get without smudging your fingerprints. In one fell swoop, they had seriously undermined or undone the not guilty verdict of Shonto Pete, and thus created a reasonable doubt that Shonto Pete had, despite evidence to the contrary, stolen Olsen’s truck, and admitted it to a sworn peace officer.


But if so, where was the evidence? That fragile 911 tape, which contained the conversation that purportedly took place, which should have been kept and presented as evidence at trial, but was missing in action. I was comfortable with a guilty verdict for Olsen, myself being holier-than-thou pious sitting in my imaginary judge’s chair, calling the shots as I perceived them to be, right up until Tucker testified he had heard evidence that exculpated Olsen.


The terrible question, one which others that may follow in history, will ask perpetually is, did Marvin D. Tucker commit perjury to save one for the Department? If you presume Tucker lied on the witness stand, you need proof, which does not exist. However, until you can conclusively prove that he lied, the Defense Attorney has introduced a reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury that Olsen was innocent of all charges, save those to be studied by police internal affairs.


If they had that tape, where Pete admitted to stealing Olsen’s truck, this would be a clear-cut case, the kind that legendary television attorney Perry Mason could not rebut.


However, the Tucker testimony as it stands, created a reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind. That is all you need to find Olsen not guilty of the charges.


Does this case stink to high heaven? You bet! It positively reeks of racism, deception in high places in the Spokane Police Department and the frailty of our justice system. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth and adds even more distrust to an already-reeking pile of malfeasant barnyard odors that seemingly waft out of the Police Department without end.


However, as badly as it smells, it is legal. That doesn’t make it RIGHT. Jump right in, because I imagine this debate will last for a long time.


Dave

The late, great days of the Seattle PI…

Good morning, Netizens…


In this morning’s David Horsey cartoon we have a faux vision of how Seattle must have looked in the 1860’s when the Intelligencer newspaper was in its prime, televisions were an unheard-of development and newsprint was still the king of the news media.


Now we are staring the closure of the Seattle PI, although it remains to be seen if it will continue as an Internet publication, as well as various other newspapers across the country.


Good journalists, including political cartoonists, have been an important faction in American lore, but alas, it does seem as if their stars are fading from the heavens.


Dave

The Quote of the day — March 14, 2009

Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)

Another News Alert - Otto Zehm

From the S-R:  A federal civil rights damages suit was filed this afternoon against the city of Spokane and nine of its police officers by the estate of the late Otto Zehm.

Jay Olsen found NOT GUILTY

The verdict just came in.  Jay Olsen was found not guilty of all charges.  I personally am very surprised at this.  What is your opinion?

Alas, poor patient…

Good morning, Netizens…


In this morning’s David Horsey cartoon, we see a picture of the deplorable subcultures of the United States known as the drug companies and the health care insurers operating on the poor patient, the US Health Care System.


Like most people of my age, I have friends that are dying of various ailments, for that seems to be part of aging. Most are flat-broke, and have limited or no insurance, but they still require pills and other medicaments to keep them alive, which the drug companies are eager and willing to provide, sometimes on a discount basis.


The greatest question in American health care is why can’t sick people afford insurance? When you are young, hale and healthy, the insurance companies are delighted to take your money and there are great deals to be had by one and all, providing you do not have any pre-existing conditions that may come back to haunt you later on. However, when you are sick, in need of profound medical care, the price(s) for insurance escalate dramatically, and the insurance companies all agree, the health care system is healthy.


Both the insurance and drug companies spend billions of dollars annually, extolling the virtues of their respective systems, but people cannot afford insurance. People cannot afford health care.


David Horsey is right. The health care system, as it exists today, is totally bogus.


Dave





Quote of the Day — March 13, 2009

Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908 - 2006)

AP:Breaking News:Annenberg dies

Good morning, Netizens…

 

 

Leonore Annenberg, the widow of billionaire publisher Walter Annenberg who continued his tradition of philanthropy and patronage of the arts, died Thursday. She was 91.

Annenberg died of natural causes at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., family spokeswoman Kathleen Hall Jamieson said. Her family was at her side, said Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Annenberg was chairwoman and president of the Annenberg Foundation, which she headed since her husband’s death in October 2002.

Dave

Bernie’s Day in Court…

Good morning, Netizens…


While we are out dancing in the streets with ecstasy over Jay Olsen coming out of the closet, we might want to dance a lick or two for Bernie Madoff who arrived at the lower Manhattan courthouse just after 7 a.m. today where he is expected to plead guilty to swindling billions of dollars in one of the largest investment schemes in U.S. history.

Will he remain a free man? A Federal Judge will decide that later Thursday morning. After the disgraced financier’s expected guilty plea, prosecutors will argue he is a flight risk and there is no reason he shouldn’t be led out of the courtroom straight into the arms of a welcoming jailhouse gang.

The size and scope of Madoff’s ponzi-scheme has increased from $50 to $65 billion, and a guilty plea to the government’s 11-count indictment exposes the disgraced Wall Street veteran to a potential 150 years prison term.


For this kind of swindle, you can win really big bonus points, they tell us.


While the prosecutors tell the news media they will leave no stones unturned in their search for hidden assets, on the other hand Madoff’s wife states she wants to hold onto their lavish home, and some money.

“Right off the bat, Ruth Madoff claims to have $62 million and their $7 million apartment. We believe there are tens of millions of dollars stashed overseas,” said one attorney who represents one group of investors.


Oh? If we take a beating why shouldn’t we share the wealth or lack thereof?


Dave

The art of understatement…

Good morning, Netizens…


Having dabbled briefly in the wild wonderful world of Spokane Police politics, and having spent the better part of two days making certain, in my mind, that former policeman Jay Olsen is a simpering self-serving nincompoop who would shoot someone with drunken and farcical intentions of justice, I will momentarily take a hiatus from casting aspersions in his general direction and examine this morning’s David Horsey cartoon.


The question Horsey asks, as are lots of other people, when is Obama’s economic stimulus package going to work?


After all, we have this rather huge problem called the economic crisis that seems to reinvent itself each new day, getting bigger and bigger. Here is our fearless leader, Obama, hacking away at it with a scimitar, seemingly unperturbed and actually quite calm about it while the rest of us are sweating away our 401k plans, watching our investments trickle on down into insignificance.


Work your magic, Barack Obama! While you’re hacking away at what you perceive the problem to be, the rest of us are sweating and getting more and more worried.


Dave

Quote of the Day — March 12, 2009

The universe may not always play fair, but at least it’s got a hell of a sense of humor.

Michael Patrick King, Sex and the City

Shonto Pete’s revenge…

Good morning, Netizens…


The Jay Olsen trial, currently nearing its logical end, has opened Pandora’s box and revealed how discredited the Spokane Police Guild truly is. There are lapses, and then there are huge gaps of fact which never have been allowed to happen, were justice truly blind.


To set the stage a bit, the phone calls made shortly after the shooting took place were to his Guild representative and his lawyer. You or I would have called 911, but Olsen, it seems, obeys a different law. The Guild comes first.


Shonto Pete, by comparison, was interviewed by detectives at Sacred Heart Hospital while he was still drunk, under sedation and in no condition to be talking with detectives. Paraphrasing Pete’s own words, the detectives were more interested in putting words in his mouth than they were in search of justice. Of course, they waited two days until Jay Olsen sobered up, got “his story straight” and obtained legal counsel before they interviewed him. After all, he is one of their own.


Then we have the fanciful tale of Shonto Pete purportedly trying to steal Jay Olsen’s pickup truck. In testimony when Shonto Pete was charged with stealing Olsen’s truck, expert testimony has stated that there were no fingerprints belonging to Shonto Pete inside Jay Olsen’s pickup truck. There was one set of latent prints on the outside of the door, but not one fingerprint or any DNA evidence inside the truck: thus we can safely assume Pete was never inside the truck.


Yesterday, we have a witness to the crime whom it seems interviewed or at least ostensibly spoke with Shonto Pete shortly after the shooting in Peaceful Valley. Marvin D. Tucker, a 14-year Police Department employee, enters stage right and makes a series of rather preposterous statements, including that he had spoken with Shonto Pete by phone, that Pete admitted to him he stole Olsen’s truck and that all record of this incriminating conversation has been erased from the 911 tapes. WHAT? Why didn’t the Police give Tucker a lie detector test? Probably because the Police Guild would raise objections. They are not interested in justice. They are interested only in protecting their own it might seem.


Today ostensibly Jay Olsen will take the stand. Ostensibly this might be his last-ditch effort to save his career as a police officer.With pending litigation, Shonto Pete is still looking for justice, and/or revenge. 


Dave





Quote of the Day — March 11, 2009

When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping. Man invade another country. It’s a whole different way of thinking.

Elayne Boolser


One more week to go!

Good morning, Netizens…


Thus we begin week two of Jeanie-deprivation and she is serving out a sentence as a juror-candidate for our own beloved malformed justice system. Of course, while she is thus engaged, she is forbidden from being active on the Internet and a host of other activities in which she might express an opinion. God forbid that anyone should ever attempt to limit Jeanie’s opinions of life! I do not know if I could sustain this operation most of you know as Community Comment without her strong right arm, always at the ready to jump in and lend an opinion where one is needed.


We have one more week to go, and then look out!


Things have been terribly sedate without her around.


Dave

Quote of the Day — March 9, 2009

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

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

Quote of the Day — March 8, 2009

When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope still is to leave the world a little bit better for my having been here. It’s a wonderful life and I love it.

The late Jim Henson, writer and puppeteer: It’s Not Easy Being Green And Other Things to Consider

International Women’s Day 2009…

Good morning, Netizens…


Yet we cannot forget, even in this glad hour, that while all men of every race, and clime, and condition, have been invested with the full rights of citizenship under our hospitable flag, all women still suffer the degradation of disfranchisement. (Susan B. Anthony, History of Women’s Suffrage: Elizabeth C. Stanton et al., eds., vol. 3.,


If you look at today’s calendar and see that it is March 8, you probably shrug it off, phlegmatically giving yourself credit for having remembered to turn your clocks ahead. However, today is an international holiday, although most calendars do not show it, for today is International Women’s Day which was first conceived in the United States on 28 February 1909 and became formally a day of remembrance in 1911. During International Women’s Year in 1975, IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations and was taken up by many governments. International Women’s Day is marked by a national holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, but not the United States. We’re too busy trying to remember to turn our clocks forward an hour, it might seem.


However, if you turn your eyes from the scope of the State of Washington, less the United States, and begin to look around the entire world, it seems that this is indeed an important holiday for women of all races and creeds. If you look briefly at the IWD website, (http://www.internationalwomensday.com/) you can quickly garner some interesting facts about womanhood. In my “quiet time” this morning, I spent some considerable time perusing the web site, attempting to decipher why we do not honor this date in America, and I have drawn a few conclusions of my own.


One: The underlying organization behind International Women’s Day is largely a socialist-based organization, and thus viewed with extreme distrust in the United States by those in power.


Two: We placate ourselves by declaring the month of March each year as “Women’s History Month”, yet refuse to honor this day as observed throughout most of the rest of the world. Why?


In retrospect, however, what I feel is understated is that as men, we tend to take the role of womanhood for granted in life. It is an interesting introspection that women have been treated so unfairly throughout history, even unto today in our “modern” society, and yet we congratulate ourselves upon being one of the most progressive countries in the world. Are we?


Happy International Women’s Day 2009.


Dave



Grant Money available to SPD…

Good evening, Netizens…


The Spokane Police Department is about to garner some fairly substantial grant money, and tonight we’re going to help them spend it. That isn’t officially what is expected to happen. In fact, I can hear the sounds of machinations taking place at the highest levels of the SPD on what complies with the terms of the grant, and how best to portray the need.


The money, part of the economic stimulus package, was added to an existing program known as the Edward Byrne Justice Assistant Grants, designed to get more police on the street, more training and equipment to agencies, and more help for crime victims, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said.

The White House has promised to review all requests and approve or reject them within two weeks, a Cantwell spokeswoman said.

The program divides the money between states and local governments. Under its formula, the city of Spokane could request more than $824,000,


No, this is about law enforcement, enforcing the laws of the State of Washington fairly and decently, something that seems to have fallen on hard ears in the last few years.


One priority: fix the incongruous public release of crimes that is released to the news media to where ordinary citizens can read it. Most of the police activity logs are worthless, at least to those unfamiliar with Police jargon. Plus half the time, the actual address or location of where the crimes took place are never published. Unless it happens to be a really big crime, the criminal reports, as seen in the Spokesman-Review, are not worth boiling in linseed oil. Fix it!


Create more police on patrol; less cops behind desks in City Hall. Some of the new technology in police cars is designed to reduce the amount of time police otherwise spend filing their reports. Is it truthful that these reports are still not being filed online? I want an Internet Tsar for the Spokane Police Department, someone who will help streamline the police and bring them into a new awareness of and full use of the Internet, making certain no cops are looking at indecent sites online.


Make the faces of the police as we know them to be more human, less like automatons programmed to suspect everyone in sight. Stop incidents such as the murder of Otto Zehm before they ever get started. We trust them. When will they learn to trust most “ordinary” citizens?


There undoubtedly are others. Feel free to contribute.


Dave

Flip a coin or listen to Obama?

Good morning, Netizens…


In this morning’s David Horsey cartoon we have the first time that David Horsey has violated the air space of Barack Obama’s sacredness. Of course, that isn’t to say that President Obama is sacred, no; rather it speaks to the truth about Obama’s version of our national economic projections. After a week that saw the sacred gods of the Dow Jones diving deep into their inflation-proof bomb shelters, taking refuge in their offshore bank accounts which are now not nearly so safe as they once were, nobody can be convincing when they say they understand the markets.


“I dunno, man, like, let’s flip a coin and see where it’s going next,” one Wall Street marketer says to another.


Then we have Obama, making predictions about the economy. Which do you trust more, Obama’s predictions while wearing rose-colored glasses or the two residents of Wall Street flipping a coin to see where things will end up?


Dave

Quote of the Day — March 6, 2009

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

Abraham Maslow (1908 - 1970)

It’s FRIDAY!!!

Good morning, Netizens…


A peacock spreads its wings at the state zoological park in Gauhati, India, Thursday and announces proudly, it’s FRIDAY!


Oh thank goodness it’s Friday! Hitch on your flippers, fasten down your hat and let’s tap dance our way down the boulevard.


Perhaps if he is really lucky Obama will magically avoid dissing the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown any worse than he did earlier this week. Of course, you can look at the positive side: he is going to have a private tete-a-tete with England’s Queen, so I suppose we can say he is winning the hearts and minds of the English. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/iain_martin/blog/2009/03/06/president_barack_obama_dislikes_britain_but_hes_keen_to_meet_the_queen


Of course, a person in New York was charged with assault after throwing a cup of hot coffee at someone who complained about her talking too loud on her cell phone. Did you ever want to do something like that before? http://www.nypost.com/seven/03062009/news/regionalnews/cellphone_scolder_suffers_a_yak_attack_158272.htm


Boodles Bar and Restaurant in downtown Bozeman, Montana is simply gone. There’s no other way to describe it after an explosion rocked the downtown area, blowing out windows and rattling the entire town. That’s going to leave a mark. http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2009/03/06/news/top/news01.txt


Speaking of Montana, former police officer Jason Huntsinger pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single felony charge of receiving obscene material over the Internet and thus qualified himself as an honorary Spokane Police Guild member. He served as a sergeant -and also worked on the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force. The subsequent examination of a computer belonging to the Missoula Police Protective Association, of which Huntsinger was president, revealed that he visited a Kiddy Porn Web site as well as other sites trafficking in porn. http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2009/03/06/news/local/news03.txt



Dave


Sit or stand. Which should it be?

Good morning, Netizens…


In Jonathan Brunt’s article here http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/mar/06/city-says-bus-benches-must-go/ states, we may not have bus benches to sit on much longer, and upon reading further into the story, it does appear as if we have a classic brouhaha pitting our beloved Queen Mary of City Hall, Emerald Outdoor Advertising and the Lamar Outdoor Advertising advertising agencies against one another. While we’re at it, we have various City Council members, STA representatives and at least one firm that advertises their goods and services on the backs of the benches without a contract with our City Fathers, all bouncing off one another in print.


According to the new law, all bus benches with advertising in Spokane were ordered removed by the city in October, leaving the Spokane Transit Authority to find money to replace them.


Now that I think back in history, I fondly remember former City Council member Roberta Green who once adorned the seats of bus benches with her face during a hotly-contested election campaign. It worked for her, didn’t it?


This incredible snafu is all about signs and billboards.


However, after I consider the various sides of the issue at hand, if we are going to ban billboards from the bus benches, shouldn’t we should also ban advertising and signs from STA buses? Let’s be equitable about this. These buses are little more than rolling billboards and while this is a novel concept, if one is going to eliminate billboards from bus benches, let’s take out the rolling billboards as well.


Hell, let’s take out all the advertising and billboards while we’re at it. Leave the billboards be or remove them all. Which is it?


Dave

Jury Duty

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Thomas Paine, 1789: “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

Thus begins my first jury duty experience. I’m in the middle of a two-week stretch. I tell you, I find it the most fascinating thing I have done in a while. We first gathered together in one large room, called the “Jury Lounge” not to be confused with the “Jury Room” which is the room off from the court room that the jurors meet in. There were approximately 200 of us in the Jury Lounge the first morning. It was buzzing with quiet chatter as we waited to begin. We were shown an orientation film that clued us in on what would be happening and it started with the quote above from Thomas Jefferson.

Could you be impartial and objective and just gather the facts and evidence presented to you in court and to clear from your mind any tidbits of gossip or tales heard outside the court?

Quote of the Day — March 5, 2009

I’ve always followed my father’s advice: he told me, first to always keep my word and, second, to never insult anybody unintentionally. If I insult you, you can be goddamn sure I intend to. And, third, he told me not to go around looking for trouble.

John Wayne (1907 - 1979)

Tanya WHO?

Good morning, Netizens…


Tanya WHO?


I only vaguely recall President Obama mentioning skater Tanya Harding, as in this YouTube video, but it didn’t take Harding very long to come out of her seclusion swinging for the fences.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNgeWDir404


Remind me to never mention her name, either in jest or seriously, again.Talk about a knee-slapper!


Dave


 

Another feisty bird…

Good morning, Netizens…


Here we have another bird story, this time a bit closer to home. An Oregon driver hit a red tailed hawk on Interstate 5 the other day, but figured after colliding with the bird at 70 MPH the bird probably didn’t survive the collision with his Explorer. However, when they reached their destination, they were surprised to find a “feisty” red tailed hawk trapped between their plastic grill and the radiator.


Donning some leather gloves, an Oregon State Patrolman managed to extricate the bird, and transported it to the Audubon Society of Portland’s Wildlife Care Center. There was another surprise: the hawk apparently had only minimal injuries, and is currently receiving treatment before it is slated to be returned to the wild.


Who said the country isn’t going to the birds?


Dave

Eagle breaks truck windshield…

Good morning, Netizens…


Matthew Roberto Gonzalez of Opa Locka, Fla., was driving on U.S. Interstate 80 in northeast Nevada near Wells, about 60 miles west of the Utah line, when the eagle came crashing into the cab of his truck through the windshield.

“I heard a loud thump like a brick or something coming through the glass,” said Daryl Young of Miami, the co-driver who was dozing in the sleeper berth when it happened. “I woke up, and the windshield was all over me. Next thing I know there was a big bird lying on the floor.”

Joe Doucette, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, said it appears the eagle hit the windshield head first.

“One side of the head is swollen, but there does not appear to be any permanent damage,” he said.

“The guys in the truck immediately bailed out because it was one ticked off bird. She was pretty feisty,” Doucette said. “Even the officer who responded didn’t want to go in there so we had one of our wildlife biologists do it.”

The eagle was recovering at the Northeast Nevada Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Spring Creek, and Doucette said the goal was to release it back into the wild.

Jeffrey Spires, owner of Spires Trucking of South Florida in Miramar, Fla., said he thought his drivers were kidding when they called to report the damage.

“Never in trucking history,” he said.

Nope. I never heard of an eagle flying through a windshield. Deer, antelope, even a herd of elk tearing up a brand-new truck, but never an eagle coming through the windshield. However, an injured eagle can be a substantial problem, because you still have to contend with their raptor’s claws and a razor-sharp beak.


Dave

Barbara Bush & Robin Williams both hospitalized…

Good evening, Netizens…

I read a short while ago that although former First Lady Barbara Bush was hospitalized earlier today and open heart surgery performed, what nearly eluded me was that actor/comedian Robin Williams is also hospitalized in Florida with unnamed heart issues, as well.

According to her husband, Former President George H. W. Bush, Barbara is recovering nicely and is expected to be released soon.

However, there was little mention of Robin Williams, his diagnosis or approximate time of his release, although certain comedy web sites are predicting he has new material from his stay in the hospital for his ”Weapons of Self Destruction” tour underway since September.

Dave

Say Please????

Good afternoon, Netizens…

A Canadian who demanded courtesy from a U.S. border security guard says he was pepper sprayed and held in custody for three hours for asking the disrespectful officer to “say please” when ordering him to turn his car off during a search.

Yes, you heard me correctly.

Desiderio Fortunato, a Coquitlam, B.C., resident who frequently crosses the border to visit his second home in the state of Washington asks, “Is that illegal in the United States, asking an officer to be polite?”

Well, as it turned out, apparently customs officials are trained to never take any gaffe from people attempting to enter or leave either side of the border. A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said officers are trained on how to handle confrontation, and refusal to comply with a direct order is justification to use capsicum spray, also known as pepper spray, or other “soft techniques” such as physical holds. Why, they can get downright abusive about it, if Mr. Fortunato’s tale is to be given any credence.

Look on the more positive side. They didn’t apply a choke hold or try to put a spit collar on him. It didn’t take six officers to subdue the man for asking they be polite and respectful, either. Rather they sprayed him with pepper spray and held him for four hours, before refusing him permission to enter the United States.  

Dave

Quote of the Day — March 4, 2009

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.

Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)

Breastfeeding revisited…

Good evening, Netizens…

The question, as posed by Bob Kirkpatrick (http://www.deludia.com) in his mini-cartoon from the annex (http://yak.deludia.com/viewtopic.php?id=28)  seems to be whether or not mothers should be allowed to breast feed their infants while they are piloting their ways down the freeway. Should a State Patrol Officer be obligated to cite them for dangerous or hazardous driving because they are feeding their infant? One presumes that would depend upon whether they were engaged in texting messages to their friends and/or talking on their cell phone, both of which are already illegal, shouldn’t it?

The only person who has not stepped forward thus far to express an opinion are the infants themselves, which seems a bit unfair. After all, according to most sources I have read tonight, it seems the majority of us were breast fed, at least part of the time. It seems to me that once you have removed that nipple of life from the center of your world, you seem to lose all senses of perspective about breast feeding.

Should breast feeding be forbidden while driving? That seems to be the question the author is asking, and I submit it is a fair question that deserves an answer more lucid than the answers we typically get from our Legislature.

Dave


Retrospect on Blogfest 2009…

Good morning, Netizens…


Before this week gets moving along too quickly, I should extend a warm thank you to Dave Oliveria and the various netizens of Blogfest 2009 for the warm and fascinating afternoon, not to mention the pizza, the pop and the camaraderie. Since this was the first time I attended one of these events, I had no preconceptions about my limited role in it; actually I was ambivalent about the entire event, right up to when I met Dave Oliveria for the first time.


My darling Jeanie had invited me, and despite a full load of work on an otherwise hectic weekend, I felt honor bound to at least make an appearance. Within minutes of my arrival, however, I soon felt as if I were attending a family reunion: someone else’s family, that is, and I stuck around to see if that first impression was durable enough to last over time. Like portions of my real-life adopted family, however, it took people less than 10 seconds to welcome me to the fray, despite the fact only a few of them actually remembered who I am, why I write or how I came to enter their lives. They were not strangers very long, which is the “other” reason these Blogfests have been held 5 years in succession.


It did not take very long to understand why the terms blurker and blogger both apply to a wide variety of the kindly people who made themselves right at home with one another. They talked about their Avatars, those cute pictures and images that represent their faces in the Blog world, about Bob being given the boot and inevitably, the news about Northern Idaho, but most of all they talked about their places in the sun.


It was only mentioned a few times that Huckleberries Online is a national phenomenon, or that these people, some of whom have been blogging on Huckleberries since its inception over 5 years ago, are like virtual Town Criers going forth from house to house carrying and discussing the news. Is this the “new journalism” of which we have read so much? In the face of the inexorable deterioration of print journalism as we have known it to be for most of our lives, I continue to feel that something of substance will have to come along to take its place in our lives, and perhaps Huckleberries Online may be a harbinger of our futures.


Doug Floyd said it: “Why is it people will buy an expensive glossy magazine at the grocery store, but will not walk out onto their front porch and pick up the morning paper?”


That, my friends, seems to be the question which Dave O. may have answered. Granted, nobody understands it, even those people who feed and sustain it each day. However, it is a self-sustaining feast, a virtual cornucopia of ideas and truly a virtual community, for which I am delighted to have attended.


Dave

How troubling is the KKK?

Good morning, Netizens…


Let’s open this morning’s salvo of thoughts introspective with a picture of revelers wearing masks during a parade through the streets of Basel, Switzerland, Monday.


I cannot and should never speak for everyone, but I feel relatively certain that most black families in the Deep South (as well as other parts of the country) probably wince, or at least feel a momentary hesitation upon looking at this picture. Although the cutline of this AP picture tells us little about the significance of men/women dressing in white sheets marching down the street playing music in far-off Basel, Switzerland, with just a momentary bit of investigation, I have already found several reasons why dressing in white robes with pointy hoods, marching in a parade in Basel, Switzerland and America’s horrid racial strife all seem to have common factors.


I truly believed that the KKK, and its various factions thereto, had expired and faded into insignificance, but is this picture somehow inexorably tied to America? If not, what is the significance of men/women wearing the dreaded white uniforms with pointed heads? History, at least the brief synopsis I read this morning, suggests that the Klan may have seen its origins in Switzerland, long before now.


Does this picture trouble you in any way?


Dave

Quote of the Day — March 2, 2009

When the grandmothers of today hear the word “Chippendales,” they don’t necessary think of chairs.

Joan Kerr

A different view of energy…

Good morning, Netizens…

The ever-amazing Bob Kirkpatrick asks the hard questions, and takes a look at our energy crisis. Do we actually have enough energy? Yes/no? Hmm.

Dave

Quote of the Day — March 1, 2009

Cockroaches and socialites are the only things that can stay up all night and eat anything.

Herb Caen


Otto Zehm case draws to a close?

Good morning, Netizens…


Otto Zehm died for our sins. At least the cherubic-faced janitor died for something, of that we can be certain. But did he die unlawfully, due to excessive use of force at the hands of the Spokane City Police Department? After nearly 3 years of contention, discussion and rumors of litigation, we do not seem to be any closer to closure in the case of Otto Zehm than we were, and yet are we?


The Spokesman-Review’s Bill Morlin takes a long look at this case here http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/mar/01/otto-zehm-case-at-crossroads/ and discusses the various legal aspects of this case, which has so divided our community.


What remains to be seen is why it has taken this long to bring this case to a close. There are rumors that civil action is about to take place, and other rumors that criminal action may take place. It all depends upon who you believe, who you trust. The facts are that on March 18, 2006 Otto Zehm died at the hands of the Spokane Police Department. Shortly thereafter, Deputy Chief Al Odenthal, resigned on December 19, 2006. Can you call this a coincidence?


Were it not for the Center for Justice (http://cforjustice.org/) we probably would never reach any resolution in the Otto Zehm case. Were the fate of Otto Zehm left in the hands of the Spokane Police Department, nothing would have been done, for they are not in search of the truth.


It is time for the case of Otto Zehm to reach closure NOW.


Dave

Paul Harvey passes away…

Good morning, Netizens…


Yesterday Paul Harvey passed away, leaving the radio airwaves bereft of one of its longest-running voices. His legendary machine-gun style of news broadcast, which was known around the country as “The Rest of the Story,” Harvey had been heard nationally since 1951, when he began his “News and Comment” for ABC Radio Networks.


He died Saturday in Arizona, surrounded by family and friends in the hospital, according to ABC Radio Networks. He was 90 years of age.


What a path this man walked! In 2005, Harvey was one of 14 notables chosen as recipients of the presidential Medal of Freedom. He also was an inductee in the Radio Hall of Fame, as was Lynne, his late wife and producer.


At the peak of his career, Harvey reached more than 24 million listeners on more than 1,200 radio stations and charged $30,000 to give a speech. His syndicated column was carried by 300 newspapers.


I first heard Paul Harvey in the late 1950’s using a crystal radio I built myself out of spare parts, and once I was given a real transistor radio, I naturally continued listening to his morning show each morning.


Perhaps Harvey’s most famous broadcast came in 1970, when he abandoned that stance, announcing his opposition to President Nixon’s expansion of the war and urging him to get out completely.

“Mr. President, I love you … but you’re wrong,” Harvey said, shocking his faithful listeners and drawing a barrage of letters and phone calls, including one from the White House.


In 1976, Harvey began broadcasting his anecdotal descriptions of the lives of famous people. “The Rest of the Story” started chronologically, with the person’s identity revealed at the end. The stories were an attempt to capture “the heartbeats behind the headlines.” Much of the research and writing was done by his son, Paul Jr


Harvey was born Paul Harvey Aurandt in Tulsa, Okla. His father, a police officer, was killed when he was a toddler. A high school teacher took note of his distinctive voice and launched him on a broadcast career.

While working at St. Louis radio station KXOK, he met Washington University graduate student Lynne Cooper. He proposed on their first date (she said “no”) and always called her “Angel.” They were married in 1940 and had a son, Paul Jr.

They worked closely together on his shows, and he often credited his success to her influence. She was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1997, seven years after her husband was. She died in May 2008.



Good bye old friend.



Dave

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