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Community Comment

Archive for October 2009

Trick or treat at Glenn Beck’s house…

Good morning, Netizens…

David Horsey takes a close look at what would happen if Barak Obama and some friends were to go trick-or-treating at Glenn Beck’s house with what some might observe to be predictable results. Of course this is only a cartoon. Can you imagine what would happen if the same intrepid trio were to visit Rush Limbaugh’s real-life house in costume?

One has only to wonder at whether or not Bush or Limbaugh has the nerve to return the favor, ie., show up at the East Portal of the White House in costume. Can you imagine a weary set of Secret Service officers looking at a pair of unknown trick-or-treaters in costumes at the White House? Gee, I cannot help but wonder what treats they might find in their bags, should such an improbable event ever take place.

Of course there has to be an unspoken set of Secret Service rules to prohibit such a fanciful Halloween from ever taking place, much the same as Beck and Limbaugh probably do not allow trick-or-treaters, regardless of who they say they are in real life.

However, I’ll bet all of us commoners see a lot of faux Barak Obamas tonight.


The Daze of October…

Good morning, Netizens…

Here are a few important (and unimportant) holidays this month of October 2009 which you might or might not have heard of much less missed:

  • Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

Yes, by all means help America’s animal shelters by adopting a shelter dog. Then you will possibly have a use for all those old newspapers piled in the hall closet.

  • American Pharmacist Month

Do you have a personal one-on-one relationship with your pharmacist?

  • Apple Jack Month

I am fond of telling about my history, including Apple Jack, so it makes sense to me we should have a month about it. Of course, since my granddad’s Apple Jack was notoriously delightful, people often dropped by unannounced to surreptitiously steal free samples, which is when he began making pear jack, which is a speedy and very strong replacement for Ex lax.

  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Why not instead simply have a Breast Cancer awareness Day every day?

  • Clergy Appreciation Month

In October we are supposed to appreciate our clergy, then at the end of the month we spend an estimated $6.9 billion celebrating Halloween, werewolves and other dead devices?

  • Computer Learning Month

I still have a hard time accepting the number of people who own, operate and seemingly understand computers who know little to nothing about them or the software they use.

  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Here’s another month-long observation that needs to be made into a daily observation.

  • Eat Country Ham Month

Of course, without truly understanding the difference between a country ham and an urban ham (except the urban ham gets more laughs during stand-up comedy shows) I submit that most people wouldn’t know the difference between a country ham and any other brand of ham.

  • International Drum Month

I personally believe there isn’t a lot of difference between buying your child a drum for Christmas or a pregnant cat.

  • Lupus Awareness Month

Over 1.4 million people have and suffer with lupus. The rest of us probably have little knowledge of what it is, save that it HURTS like hell.

  • National Diabetes, Cookie, Pizza and Popcorn Popping Month

Is there a common factor between these? Perhaps, but at least we only have one celebration of chocolate, and it’s only one day of the year. If you are going to beat diabetes, get used to not eating the things you love or else change what you crave. Yes m’dear, they do have sugar-free chocolate.

And of course, there is National Vegetarian Month, Sarcastic Month and Seafood Month in the Month of October. However, you can be grateful that tomorrow, November 1, we have a whole new month of unseen holidays (some of us never heard of) to celebrate.


Dennis Hopper under treatment for prostate cancer…

Good morning, Netizens…

[Portions from the AP news wire and AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen, Ap Entertainment Writer Thu Oct 29, 10:55 pm ET]

LOS ANGELES – Dennis Hopper has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and is canceling all travel plans to focus on treatment, his manager said Thursday.

The 73-year-old actor and artist is being treated through a “special program” at the University of Southern California, said Sam Maydew.

Asked about Hopper’s prognosis, Maydew said, “We’re hoping for the best.” He would not elaborate on the actor’s condition.

Perhaps best-remembered for his role in “Easy Rider”, Hopper recently finished shooting the second season of “Crash,” a TV version of the Oscar-winning 2004 film. He plays maniacal music producer Ben Cendars on the series, which airs on the Starz network. Hopper also has several film projects in the works.

Nobody ever dreamed how popular Hopper would become when he and Peter Fonda finished filming the low-budget film “Easy Rider”, however.


A love note…

Good morning Netizens…

Here is an anonymous note I received this morning (although various suspects do come to mind)

I will seek and find you.

I shall take you to bed and have my way with you.

I will make you ache, shake & sweat until you moan & groan.

I will make you beg for

  mercy, beg for me to stop.

I will exhaust you to the point that you will be relieved when I’m finished
with you.

And, when I am finished, you will be weak for days..

All my love,

The Flu

Now get your mind out of the gutter and go get your flu shot!

A few other warning signs…

Good morning, Netizens…

If you thought to yourselves that the picture might possibly be a bit over the edge, you know for a fact your cat(s) are sneaking up on you when any of the following takes place:

1. You receive an e-mail message from UR.CAT informing you, among other things, that the cat food sucks, the kitty litter needs changing and the couch or sofa is no longer off-limits to cats.

2. You inadvertently intercept a bill (which was paid online using your credit cards) for a new deluxe cat tree and a set of designer cat toys. Suddenly your cat is looking rather smug.

3. If you cats are not fixed or neutered (shame on you) be alert for signs your cat is spending an inordinate amount of time on online dating services for cats, even the X-rated kind.

4. Ever heard of before? The cats know about it and are shopping early for Christmas. 

You have been warned.


Jeanie is back home!!!!

Good morning, Netizens…

There have been times in my life which always stand out above other memories, and perhaps the glowing memories of my incredible friends are among the best memories that feed me, console me and keep me warm in cold times. This morning, I received one friend back safely from her trip to Disney World, and word of an old friend, Art Cline, who for a time has been simply listed as missing in action, who once played an important role in my life. Wouldn’t you know it that Jeanie of Spokane brought Art back into my fold of friends after he retired to Florida?

I admit freely I was fearful for Jeanie when she left for Disney World. She was recently inducted into the macabre otherworldly experience of kidney dialysis, and the thought of entrusting her beauty and consciousness to strangers in a far-off state with her health care scared the Bejesus out of me. So many things could go wrong, so many different ways she could encounter problems with her dialysis, and for a time she was so frail that I simply worried. I have a license to sleep with my wife each night and a learner’s permit to worry.

What I didn’t know was that an old friend and one of my personal counselors, Art Cline, was staying with Jeanie, sleeping on the couch in a condo full of women (boy, doesn’t that sound salacious?), and each morning rising at 5:00 AM to escort Jeanie to her dialysis program, where he waited until she was done, then escorting her safely to the Disney World. While there is perhaps more to this story than I am being told, nonetheless despite Art’s having already won the Congressional Medal of Honor as a helicopter pilot in Viet Nam, they should now give him another award for service and honor to Jeanie.

I am so glad to have Jeanie back in our midst, that when I heard about Art I sat here and bawled because I am a sentimental old poop, and because, if I had it in my means to do so, I would have done what he did. There are facts and then there are myths and legends. Legend has it that Art single-handedly fought off the evil of the world and sent Jeanie safely back home to us and then left her in tears as he walked back out the door of life.

Jeanie, my God, but you have been missed! Welcome home!


Debt, starvation and taxes…

Good morning, Netizens…

Ah, the federal debt. David Horsey shows a lifelike rendition of what it must feel like to be our ostensible founder and guardian, Uncle Sam, sitting beneath the incredible weight of our national debt. He makes a point of bringing former President Bill Clinton into the argument, while totally ignoring both former President Bushes, who perhaps bear a considerable responsibility for our having such a debt on our backs.

The unspoken question, left untouched by David Horsey, is how much does such a huge debt have on our personal lives?

In an aside, is there any truth to the Internet rumor that some morning we will awake and most of our country will be owned by the Chinese or Japanese? For that matter, might the South Koreans even have dibs on most of our infrastructure?

I remember the history of television sets older than my granddaughters. Hallicrafters, RCA Victor and Sylvania to name just a few of the names of old TV’s and radios back when. They worked like workhorses, had tubes you could replace and still are in use in some backwoods areas of the country even today. Modern kids want Eurasian equipment, such as Aiwa, Sony, Panasonic and the list is long. If they die, you throw them into the nearest landfill and start over.

Before someone rises up to remind me how little our national purchasing habits have to do with our National Debt, our government is spending money we do not have, just as some Americans are spending more than they possess.

That debt is overwhelming. Of course, your opinions may differ.


Coming swine flu regulations…

Good morning, Netizens…

Now that President Obama has declared Swine Flu an emergency priority, here are some things our government might do to prepare us for the coming Apocalypse.

Ban all pig feed lots, mud bogs and other places where pigs do those gross and nasty things that pigs do while smacking their porcine lips and leering speculatively at you through their white eyelashes.

Warn nation’s children to stay away from all swine, either two-legged or four-legged, but especially the latter.

If your ham hocks become infected during dinner, build a tall wall of mashed potatoes to prevent contamination of your peas.

Distribute both real flu shots to all government employees and Fortune 500 employees. Everyone else can stand in lines and wait until more shots are available or die waiting.

Check all pig visas to see if they have been traveling to other countries. They don’t have a visa? Tell them to get a Master Card or else deport them.

Remind citizens that the swine flu emergency gives you the perfect excuse to ignore relative’s requests for a Thanksgiving or Christmas get-togethers.

Create a high-level government cooperative involving all aspects of the federal government in case the crap really hits the fan.


Hot Mormon Muffins…

Good morning, Netizens…

Some considerable rattle, hue and noise is being raised about Hot Mormon Muffins Calendar ( both from within the vast Mormon Church and in the news media as well. This tasteful but tongue-in-cheek calendar features Mormon Women in what Mormons Exposed, the calendar designers, describe as a controversial but informational look at Mormon women.

These are not sultry, nor even cheesecake photographs of women, Mormon or otherwise. They are tastefully done, and all for a good cause, as all money raised by the organization goes to combat breast cancer. It you are curious enough to do so, take a close and perhaps introspective look at the women who appear on the calendar at and perhaps you will see they are, for the most part, attractive, well-educated mothers and Mormons to the core.

Promoted by the organization Mormons Exposed, this all began as another calendar, Men on a Mission Calendar ( which featured male Mormon missionaries posing bare-chested, which is controversial enough by itself. If you have ever wondered how it feels to actually serve as missionaries on foreign soils some of their brief comments about life in foreign countries are illuminating and very educational.

Last year, a dustup over the calendar ultimately cost its creator, Las Vegas entrepreneur Chad Hardy, his membership in the church and his diploma from the church-owned Brigham Young University. I didn’t know you could take away a college degree for moral turpitude, but then welcome to Brigham Young.

Both calendars strive, I believe, attempt to depict another view of Mormon men and women, one largely free of some of the rigid adherence to Mormon stereotypes, all done with good taste and a sense of humor.


Child molestation at Halloween…

Good morning, Netizens…

Here’s an idea from the Associated Press Wire we in Spokane might put to good use.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Registered sex offenders in a northern Alabama city won’t have a hard time making Halloween plans.

They’re expected to attend a mandatory meeting hosted by state and federal probation officers next Saturday from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

That conveniently falls in the time most children in Huntsville will be out trick-or-treating.

The Huntsville Times reports that the educational program will review both state and federal sex offenders laws. It’s meant to encourage accountability and behavior changes in the offenders.

Accountability? Behavior change? What a novel concept for convicted sex offenders and predators in Spokane! Of course, my built-in distrust of the system makes me wonder if the ACLU might not step in and cry such an arrangement was a violation of the predator’s civil liberties. After all, they have completed their prison sentences and are no longer a threat to society’s children, right?

On the other hand, if we organized a mandatory meeting for all sexual predators in Spokane on Halloween, all under the aegis of an educational program, perhaps the sheer number of convicted predators that might show up might scare the bejesus out of parents throughout the Spokane region into sending predators a strong warning note.

WARNING! Spokane is a do-not-molest zone. The rights of our kids are more important to us than your civil liberties.


Andrew Lloyd Webber diagnosed with cancer…

Good morning, Netizens…

If you truly are an aficionado of music, not just a person who limits themselves to just one genre or another, the news late yesterday that Andrew Lloyd Webber has been diagnosed with prostate cancer might hit you like a brick aside your head.

Well known around the world for such hits as “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Cats”, Phantom of the Opera”, and “Evita,” has won seven Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe and an Oscar. In 2006, he was awarded the Kennedy Center Honor. Lloyd Webber was knighted in 1992 and named to Britain’s House of Lords in 1997.

According to his publicist, Webber is in the early stages of cancer and, as such, is likely to recover and return to work by years’ end.

His latest creation, called “Love Never Dies”, a sequel to his musical “Phantom of the Opera”, is slated to begin on Broadway in the New Year.


A quiet day in autumn…

Good morning, Netizens…

Photo Credit:

AP Photo/Don Ryan

This colorful fall canopy above a Portland-area pedestrian is a familiar sight this time of year, given that we have so many parks, each filled with a full spectrum of colors of the autumn palette. There is something that promotes introspection when one is shuffling through piles of leaves in the various parks, as we once again make the turn from late summer to fall, and heading toward winter.

Although we have many projects pending like invisible swords of Damocles that are hanging over our heads, natty little business projects that have been hanging around undone for months, still the thought of wandering around the countryside gamboling among the fallen leaves, voyaging through our introspections, is a tempting morsel.

[Fading toward the early afternoon] Now that we have our power restored (another of Avista’s unexplained outages) and the incessant screaming of the UPS’s singing like a mad chorus of raunchy jaybirds, it is time to be about business for awhile.

What are you doing today, this absolutely beautiful fall day? Are you introspective?



Good morning, Netizens…


Those of you who faithfully study the Word A Day listings that appears each day may have noticed there was no word yesterday, but today we have two words. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps a bolt slipped off one of the gimcracks that hold the Internet together late yesterday, but nobody thought to sound the alarm around the Virtual Ballroom.

Have you had the flu yet? No, not just the N1H1 variety, because if you had that your odds of ending up hopelessly hopeless in your choice of hospitals would have dramatically increased. Everyone is talking about the N1H1 virus, calling it a pandemic and various other hysterical-sounding descriptive adjectives, but for the majority of people who have caught it, it feels little more than any other flu virus. However, for some, particularly the young children, you end up dead. Despite what the news media are telling us, they do not have enough flu shots to go around, despite what everyone was told several months ago. I am already sick— of hearing the endless list of self-appointed medical professionals who have been giving interviews to members of the news media, and the nearly-equally brainless news representatives who have been rhapsodizing like a band of starlings about it.

This morning at about 8:00 AM Marty, Steve Thompson and myself are meeting for breakfast at our favorite place. I was thinking of wearing one of those surgical masks that have become the latest rage in parts of the world, but then I wouldn’t be able to feed my face, now would I?

In other news, the comedian Soupy Sales passed away. I vaguely wondered in the back of my mind how many readers even remember his name or his once-familiar version of slapstick comedy. If you did not remember him you can see a younger version of him at which just goes to show you if you can’t find anyone, they’re probably on You Tube somewhere.


David Horsey jousts with Tim Eyman…

Good evening, Netizens…

David Horsey has taken on Tim Eyman, and frankly, I am uncertain if Eyman is quite the glinty-eyed ogre that David Horsey would make him out to be.

On the other hand, I am no fuzzy and warm fan of Tim Eyman, although I have a certain degree of sympathy for many of the Initiatives he has either successfully put or attempted to put on the ballot. I admit freely and openly a great deal of misgivings about one of his most-current efforts, I-1033.

However, in case you haven’t read the entire document, I recommend you read the complete initiative. On second thought, at least speaking for myself, read it through twice. There is a lot of bureaucratic double-talk present, which is nearly always true of our beloved State Government, and by association, Tim Eyman.

If I were to summarize I-1033 in a simple sentence, I would probably say that, at the expense of various state government programs that are dependent upon property tax levies for their source(s) of funding, what this initiative does is put a spending cap or limitation on the amount of additional property taxes that can be added each year. It is true that, if I-1033 passes, there are a lot of state programs that will need to find additional source(s) of funding, and pretty quickly at that.

This does not prohibit any additional new property taxes. What it states plainly is that if additional property taxes are needed or wanted above the reasonable limits it sets forth, the voters can approve the additional funding as it becomes necessary. I may not have the precise terminology down pat, but at least from what I understand of I-1033, at least now I can see why schools and other tax-dependent organizations have been flooding the airwaves in opposition to I-1033.


That atomic cloud of bugs…

Good morning, Netizens…

That atomic cloud of incredibly small bugs you see everywhere, what are they?

They are called blue ash aphids, sometimes called midges. If you open your mouth, you can breathe them. I am told they are not tasty, but can be tolerated with tobasco sauce served over sausage.

They’re everywhere.


The long goodbye…

Good morning, Netizens…

This is how you say goodbye forever… with heart-rending tears.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Joanne Ryan (R), mother of USMC Sgt. James McIlvaine, holds McIlvaine’s daughter Alexa McIlvaine (C) while being comforted by Eric Cembrook (L) during a visit to Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery during the burial service for Spc. Stephen Mace Monday in Arlington, Virginia. McIlvaine and Mace were both from the Purcellville, Virginia area. McIlvaine was killed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in April 2009, and Mace was killed October 3, 2009 along with seven other U.S. soldiers in the Nuristan province of Afghanistan.


Sporadic outage(s) yesterday…

Good morning, Netizens…

Since I am already up, have fresh coffee and since the Spokesman’s web site is once again speaking proper network-ese, I suppose I should apologize to everyone for the temporary meltdown which took place sporadically yesterday, with the result that no one could connect to Community Comment, the Spokesman-Review, nor the other Blogs throughout parts of yesterday.

This was not the first, nor do I suspect it will be the last event, as this appears to be a Domain Name Server hack, if my diagnostic skills haven’t entirely lost their edge. I could be wrong, but although this has been taking place over the last few months, I suspect there is no canned repair which will prevent it from happening in the future. In the parlance of our times, the technical staff are working on a solution. Which is to say, they will fix it whenever it happens again and again and again.

We are inexorably bound to one another by tiny pieces of the greater All, and when one of these pieces of DNS fall into disrepair, the entire kit and caboodle ends up on the network floor, smoking, choking and spewing its pieces of electronic data everywhere but where it is supposed to go. Expressed a different way, regardless of how incredibly fast your computer may go, without a road map to tell you where to travel, you go nowhere at all.

So we march onward into the vacuousness of space.


I dream of Jeanie…

Good morning, Netizens…

I awoke just now, dreaming of Jeanie with the light red hair. This week, Jeanie is wandering in a delightful mini-vacation in Disney World in Florida while getting her dialysis done on a regular basis with the assistance of an extended library of friends. When Jeanie is absent from Community Comment for very long, I truly miss hearing her voice on the phone, or seeing messages she has posted, but now that she is clear across the country and completely out of touch, I miss her more than words can tell.

It takes a great deal of spirit to fight kidney disease, but I would imagine it takes even more than courage to wander through Disney World with friends, occasionally having dialysis performed in in a strange place, while cohabiting with with Mickey, Minnie Mouse and Goofy. She does not seem to have any limitations when it comes to her friends and loved ones, which is perhaps what Jeanie is all about. She and her merry band of friends planned, scrimped and saved up for this trip and nothing, not even kidney disease, would keep her from her appointed rounds. There has to be an inner child in Jeanie, that drives her onward.

I remember our first meeting as if it were yesterday, on a summer’s day in Franklin Park. We both were healthy back then, I had no trace of diabetes and she no evidence of kidney disease, and she, Mechanic Man and I sat in the shade talking about writing, about how our great dreams were unfolding. Somehow I knew, beyond a question of a doubt, that we would write together often, as we do now, and that we would never forget our heritage of journalism.

Somehow, I never anticipated the courageousness with which she would eventually deal with kidney disease, nor did I foresee that she and I would eventually end up harnessed in this other-worldly experience we share as Community Comment.

She ostensibly will be back home by week’s end, and we can only hope she returns hale and eager to tell us about her trip to Disney World, as she promised me she would.


another view of the NRA…

Good morning, Netizens…

This morning’s David Horsey cartoon could get interesting as he takes on the National Rifle Association. It seems New York Mayor Bloomberg is pushing Congress to prohibit the illegal sales of guns at gun shows. Although I do not have any statistics to back up my theorem, I believe avidly that more illegal sales of guns, such as to felons, actually take place between private citizens, rather than at gun shows since you do not have any licensing requirements.

Granted the NRA probably has more congressmen under their control than Horsey’s cartoon suggests, but all one has to do in order to prove that idea is simply publicly speak out against gun ownership. Then step back a pace and wait for the fury to unfold. People in high places will come screaming out of the cupboards at you, suggesting that you are the direct descendant of daemons, and the root cause of ongoing criminal activities.

Given the sheer hypocrisy with which the Spokane Police Department cross the criminal line, that they recently have committed crimes much the same or worse than those committed by persons they ostensibly pursue, I cannot see where I have much choice than to possess at least one gun, for my own self-protection. In the last five years, upon several occasions, I have had to use a gun to stop armed burglars and various kinds of ilk who were attempting to make off with my property, including two jail birds who were attempting break into my house last winter. So I guess, in an abstract sense, I support the NRA. Times are hard, and ordinarily stable people are becoming increasingly desperate.

However, I did observe in Horsey’s cartoon that the bullets in the gun belt are upside down, pointing upward rather than downward. I haven’t figured the implications of that out just yet, although there could be a hidden meaning there.

Bloomberg doesn’t stand a chance against the NRA.


A simple health care system…

Good morning, Netizens…

David Horsey’s cartoon yesterday submits an efficiency in health care design that is sorely-missing from every design submitted thus far.

The only problem is what do you do when you cannot pay the hospital bills?

The logic is impeccable. If you cannot pay for long-term medical care, emergency medical care or expensive pharmacy prescriptions you do not deserve to have any tangible assets, such as a house, car, motorboat or other possessions. You deserve to be dirt broke until you can pay for health care costs.

We need to fix our health care system.


The future of the unknown versus the known…

Good morning, Netizens…

I suppose in retrospect that this week, as grandiose, confusing and harried as it has been, could easily be fitted into a tiny box I would call the misfit week, if for no other reason than all attempts to characterize my good day job have thus far failed me. Things got frantic in the abstract world I call my workplace and I not only replaced a server hard disk, replaced an entire server, reconfigured another server and suffered the typical indignities of Avista’s unpredictable maintenance schedules which usually result in power loss. My God, what a righteous mess this week has been!

One of my mentors once told me this business notably consists of days, weeks or even months of utter and complete boredom, sporadically mixed with minutes of absolute terror, horror and pandemonium. Old Bob was right about that, and after having served in my position for over two decades, I can attest to the fact how unpredictably those moments can arrive. One minute you are sitting there, blithely content with your fate in life and the next minute your heart is up around your tonsils and you are moving at a godforsaken rate of speed somewhere, typically in the middle of the night.

Meanwhile as I read Jim Kershner’s column this morning talking about the new decade just months away I couldn’t help but ponder some of the erratic and sometimes preposterous statements I have read on the Internet about 2012, the year that we supposedly are marginalized or doomed to nonexistence. Some of the predictions about 2012 should come with one of those canned warnings: WARNING This content may be unsuitable for all adults and young children.

The only author I have ever read that has suggested how the world might end in 2012 would be that of oft-quoted T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men ( in which in the final stanza it was eloquently written:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

So rather than dwell incessantly over the dire predictions of what might be, to live in fear of that which none can predict, I gather my oldest granddaughter into my arms and hug her close to me, for she has the scent of a freshly-harvested wheat field in autumn, sings little songs like the meadowlarks just as the sun is setting on an otherwise tranquil eventide on the Palouse and clutches me closely in her sun-tanned arms with her head upon my shoulder.

My only thought is that, come what may, she will never travel too far from my heart so that, if it comes, I will always be there for her at the closing what little we know of it to be. For here I stand, a victim of the fates, for friends, lovers and loved ones at the closing of the day.

For I have known such guileless, innocent and overwhelming love, over which the unknown fates have no hold.


When is it racism?

Good morning, Netizens…

By MARY FOSTER, Associated Press Writer Mary Foster, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS – A white Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.

Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”

Oh? Just when does denying a marriage license to an interracial couple become racism, anyway? Bardwell states that neither the Black nor White worlds accept the offspring of interracial marriages, which is why he refuses to marry them.

The ACLU has already been summoned, and potential legal action is under consideration.

Racism has many faces, as we have seen throughout history. Is this one of them?


Sterling Savings Bank … more to the story

Good morning, Netizens…

The local news media is absolutely astir over the situation involving Sterling Financial Corporation. It all started late Wednesday when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and the Washington Department of Financial Institutions served them with a cease-and-desist order, and Chairman Harold Gilkey and Heidi Stanley, chairwoman of the subsidiary Sterling Savings Bank both submitted their resignations effective immediately. The board of directors named Director William Eisenhart as acting, nonexecutive chairman. J. Gregory Seibly was named acting president and chief executive officer, and Ezra Eckhardt was named acting chief operating officer.

It goes without saying that Sterling, with $12.4 billion in assets, is the largest bank based in Washington State.

However, this change of management is only the symptom of the current changes taking place. The underlying problem with Sterling, as well several other banks in the Spokane marketplace, is one of the appraised values determined by real estate appraisers which in retrospect, were substantially higher than the true market value of the real estate. In other words, people were borrowing more money, based upon high appraisal values, than the property was worth.

So, in the world of speculative real estate values, the appraisal firm(s) and the rules under which they operate ( bear nearly as much responsibility as the bank itself, for having contributed to this snafu of unimaginable proportions.

When you examine the appraised values, on which Sterling loaned money, in a predominate percentage of the time Auble, Jolicoeur and Gentry (, one of Spokane’s largest appraisal firms, played an important role since they wrote a substantial percentage of the damaged appraisals.

Hardly anyone outside the realm of real estate openly speaks much about appraisals, especially after legal action has taken place against several lenders in the Spokane region.

The regulators are demanding that Sterling raise $300 million dollars within the next sixty days. Although the newly-coined bank representatives appear publicly optimistic, it remains to be seen if the bank can raise that amount of capital.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal and Foresight Analytics of Oakland, Calif., “Washington went from doing better to now doing as badly as many areas around the country.”

We have already seen the impact that has had on other states.


The new health insurance program…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

David Horsey once again picks up the gauntlet of health insurance, this time looking rather dismally (and perhaps accurately) into the future of health care claims.

Do these poor patients look willing? If I interpret the various versions of the new health insurance laws working their way through the various committees, it does appear that, regardless of what versions of the law they pass, it will be mandatory, that is, we the consumer, have no say what kind of insurance we will have. We simply will have insurance or pay an unstated penalty.

Some say it could be even worse. Might it be possible that we might not get medical care if we did not have health insurance?

But as suggested by David Horsey’s cartoon, there are other issues, such as recouping the costs of this long and costly battle against subsidized health care.

Watch and see what happens. This could either get very scary or very costly, and given the insurance company’s take on the matter, it will be costly


What are your alternatives today?

Good morning, Netizens…


When you were a kid and said a bad word in front of your parents, did you ever have your mouth washed out with soap? Back in those days did you immediately associate white bars of Ivory Soap with bad language? At least for parts of our generation, having your mouth washed out with soap was simply how parents disciplined their kids who used foul language, and for the most part, it worked, at least so long as Mom and Dad were within earshot. With the aftertaste of Ivory Snow bar soap still burning in your mouth, you avoided foul language in the future.

In Florida a woman and her boyfriend were arrested for child abuse after the couple washed their kids mouth out with bar soap for using foul language. Given the language kids use, even in elementary school today, you would need to carry a half-case of Ivory Soap with you at all times.

According to the police, the parents put a bar of soap in their girl’s mouth for ten minutes whereupon she vomited, and was taken to the hospital. The hospital summoned police and the parents were arrested. According to police having the bar of soap in the girl’s mouth for ten minutes was simply too long.

So, what are your alternatives for kids who use foul language today? Welcome to the age of Doctor Phil.


Mayor states Budget will result in cutbacks.

Good evening, Netizens…

It seems quite typical that anytime you have the Prosecutors, Fire Department and Police Guild involved in any public issue, you nearly always end up with facts that do not match. Mayor Mary Verner doesn’t seem to get her figures quite right, either.

Verner and the City Council agreed earlier this year that they would push for half the $7 million deficit to come through union concessions and that if unions didn’t choose to participate, unions that didn’t agree to cuts would face job loses equal to the amount demanded through concessions.

In her speech made before the City Council Monday, she stated that 22 police jobs would be eliminated from the City Budget in 2010 due to budgetary constraints. The multi-million dollar budget shortfall has been discussed both in and out of public meetings for several months, but to date, no one from the Guild has negotiated a solution that would avert personnel cutbacks.

When you begin looking closely at the figure of 22 police officers being laid off due to the budget cutbacks, Police Guild President Ernie Wuthrich says 19 of the 22 positions on the chopping block are already empty because most were left open after retirements. Therefore, only three current officers could be laid off. Why would Mary Verner omit that important detail, of 22 versus 3 officers laid off?

After the meeting Verner stated to various members of the news media that she was not ruling out a last-minute concession by the union, before she presents her budget to the City Council November 2.

That doesn’t sound very optimistic to me. In fact, I have a fairly difficult time being optimistic about the Police Guild. They seem like part of the problem, not part of the cure, regardless of the issues involved.

Portions from KREM-TV


The alternatives are???

Good morning, Netizens…

We already have had our discussions, such as they are, about President Obama having won the Pulitzer Prize for Peace, so when cartoonist David Horsey put that issue squarely in his sights this morning, I simply grinned to myself, muttering something thickly beneath my breath and decided to run with what I am dealt.

According to David Horsey, President Obama’s win of the Pulitzer Prize is all about expectations. When you put it on that set of terms, suddenly all the Republican hissing and throwing of fits of verbal pandemonium somehow seems fitting, and their expectations of President Obama are that he will dismally fail in his lofty goals, that he will fall on his backside with as little grace as humanly possible or that, at best, the American people will unceremoniously tire of his endless messages of hope for the future and vote him out of office. Perhaps if the Right Wing have their way, Americans will rise from their nearly-hypnotic obsession with Obama and elect Sarah Palin the next President of the United States.

All I can say for the Republican Right Wing is that Ex-President George Bush never won a prize for hope nor expectations. Unless Sarah Palin changes herself dramatically, she would never win, either. Lord knows, I am already frightened enough of the potentials for damage that Sarah Palin could bring to the White House. Idiocy, especially when done with arrogance, is its own worst punishment.

So if President Obama goes down in the annals of history as a Peacemaker, the harbinger of World Tranquility and all those other glowing terms the Nobel Prize Committee laid at President Obama’s feet, ours will be a better world in which to live.


Frozen irritation woes…

Good morning, Netizens…

Photo Credit: Marshall Smith

After a perfectly lovely breakfast Saturday morning with M Hibbs, Ron-the-Cop and Marshall Smith, one of the many topics of conversation was the unusually cold temperatures outside for, as we sat down to breakfast the outside temperature was just breaking 27 degrees. As fate would have it, this was cold enough to break other things, as well, such as the sprinkler systems at various public places throughout the city.

The Union Credit Union at Baldwin and Hamilton was already freezing up, and due to the fact they obviously haven’t caught on to what nature was doing to their sprinkler system, the amount of ice cascading down their front walk and throughout their foliage has increased over the weekend, rather than dissipated. It remains to be seen whether or not permanent and thus expensive damage has been done to their underground sprinkler lines.

However, this has been a winter-like weekend across the Inland Northwest, not to mention portions of Idaho (where potatoes may have frozen) and Montana where ice and snow have already made roads and exercise in futility.

As of this Monday morning at nearly 4:00 AM, the temperature outside stands near 20 degrees, and presumably the ice at the credit union on North Hamilton will have grown in size.

Of course they tell us that by mid-week, a warming trend will take place, with the possibility of snow in the Spokane area. Yeek!


Marge Simpson on front cover of Playboy Magazine…

Good morning, Netizens…

In this photo released Friday by Playboy Magazine, the cover of the November 2009 issue featuring Marge Simpson is shown. It’s a first for the magazine, which has never featured a cartoon character before. It will hit the newsstands October 16.

In the land of cheesecake and beyond, having Marge Simpson on the front cover (and inside with a full-page fold-out) is perhaps more than the mind can handle on a chilly Saturday morning, but it really has happened. Would you buy a copy of Playboy Magazine next month just to see what parts of Marge Simpson are exposed in Playboy? Could we be talking blue pubic hair here, or did Playboy, in the interests of public censorship, airbrush that minor detail out? 

Oh Lord! (Dave nearly falls off his Great Chair upon considering the possibilities)

Well, in the sense of fairness, could be possibly be talking about a full-color fold-out issue of Esquire Magazine featuring Homer Simpson? It’s only six in the morning, and I think I already need a drink, but perhaps it is an agist thing. 

I do recall that Playboy’s founder, Hugh Hefner, once appeared on The Simpson’s TV show, so this is perhaps a case of turn-about is fair play, no? I cannot help but wonder if, in the world where nothing is sacred, a frontal nude of Marge Simpson would arouse anyone’s prurient interests?


Gathering off for today…

Good morning, Netizens…

Yes, it is another of those days when I have to scrape my face, attempt to appear like I might know what I am doing and hit the road earlier than I normally would like. Hence the breakfast this morning has been firmly re-scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday morning, sometime between 8 and 8:30 at our covert location.

Thank God it’s FRIDAY! With a new server up and configured for a client, there are always “issues” to use the patented phrase, and this one has been a doozy, but it is done, it does seem.

So tomorrow morning, I am at everyone’s disposal.


Are we really the land of the free?

Good morning, Netizens…

Cartoonist David Horsey asks a question that perhaps doesn’t really apply to Spokane’s racial makeup, although one has to admit the teen violence and gang mentality has already begun to arrive here in sufficient numbers to justify the Spokane Police Department having a gang unit.

That aside, there was a time not that many years ago when I thought nothing of strolling around downtown and, especially, Riverfront Park, with total impunity. Now I wouldn’t walk through those areas unless I was armed and had the means to avoid being tasered for being in the wrong place at the wrong time with a plastic Pepsi bottle in my hand. 

The gangs are here. Does their presence in Spokane limit what we once considered to be our personal freedom?


President Obama wins the Peace Prize…

Good morning, Netizens…

AP news wire [Oslo, Norway]

In this AP photograph, President Barack Obama addresses the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Are you sitting down? It might be a good thing if you are because President Barack Obama has won the Nobel Prize for Peace.

According to the Associated Press, President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, citing his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation.

President Theodore Roosevelt won the award in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson won in 1919, thus making President Obama the third sitting President in history to win this prestigious prize.

In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”

Has Obama complied with the wishes of Alfred Nobel? That’s a good topic to discuss this morning.


Are you a minority?

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick is being pursued by law enforcement agencies all over the United States because she is a , , , , , minority.


It is interesting to me that in the 21st Century, with all the wonders of science, all the advances in technology, all the various political ladders that have been climbed – we, in 2009, still consider the term “minority” as a class that is mandatorily in place to give equal chance to all the people.  And among all the ethnic differences and cultural differences and physical ability differences, we are including gender to that category.


I’m not saying it is a bad thing or a good thing.  It just kind of perked my senses – in that I have never considered my being female as a minority.  However, just yesterday, we discussed at the fact that women are charged more for health insurance than men are, simply because we are, well, female..  And that strikes me as discriminatory somehow.  So – on the same level then – we women are considered minority – but not in all cases.  We are only considered in the minority classification for jobs that are considered only for men. Is there a double entendre here?  As a secretary – I would never find that little box on my job application to check that I’m a minority.  But, maybe a man would?  (Ironically, the first secretaries were men.)


I’m curious – do you feel you’re a minority for your particular position?  I know one of us is a janitor – do you feel that your job is a gender-specific job?  How do you feel about being qualified, or not, as a minority?


~ Jeanie

Why I killed Ron the Cop’s message…

Good morning, Netizens…

Twenty reasons why I cancelled Ron-the-Cop’s response to my message yesterday about having breakfast. Well, the first nineteen don’t count.

The real problem I had with the message wasn’t so much that Ron announced he and Steve Thompson gathered together to discuss various conspiracy theories, including River Park Square Parking Garage, but the link which took our conversation about having breakfast in an entirely different direction more to his liking, back to the parking garage.

We’ve had how many investigations and rumors of events surrounding the admittedly-tragic death of Ms. Savage, but what is forthcoming? Nada. Zip. If anything had changed in this case, which is rapidly becoming a cold case, I might relent a bit in my judgement about posting comments about it, but from my vantage point, nothing has changed.

In quite the similar vein of thought, I found the recent announcement by various sources that Police Chief Ann Kirkpatrick has applied for several jobs in other cities to be quite cogent. This is especially true since the story was broken by Bill Morlin writing in the Center for Justice, as both have extreme credibility where I am concerned. I would much rather discuss the potential impact of losing what I consider to be a good Chief of Police working in the face of a union mail fist and doing a good job of it, than discuss theories about River Park Square Parking Garage.

I have heard many rumors about why the head of the City of Spokane Park Board just stepped down, and while some of them sound quite cogent, nobody is really stating what took place. What is news is that he stepped down voluntarily. Pretty much everything else are just rumors, and while perhaps what relationships that exists between the Park Board and Mobius bear a close scrutiny, we do not have enough information. Perhaps that will be forthcoming.

I labored over my decision last night to kill the message, and given the small window of opportunity I have for such decisions, and given the number of other similar messages that have been killed in the past in other SR blogs, I cannot see that I have many options.

You and Steve both have blogs in which you can freely discuss various theories of your choice, even disparage the Spokesman-Review however you wish without fear of being deleted or censored if you will, although I personally loathe that word.


New-and-improved snow removal…

Good evening, everyone…

As our regional weather begins to lean toward fall-like conditions, it is perhaps easier for some to remember the debacle of snow removal last winter. Perhaps that is why Mayor Mary Verner and the City of Spokane are rolling out a revised approach to snow removal as a pilot project for the 2009-10 snow season. This is as close, I submit, as the general public in Spokane will ever get to hearing our Mayor admitting in public that things simply didn’t work last winter. Getting politicians to admit their mistakes is about as difficult as pulling teeth out of a bantam rooster, and just about as noisy.

The biggest problem I perceive about Verner’s proclamations is, once again, despite the purchase of a few more plows (11 truck plows, according to the press release) the City once again seems to be suggesting it is the citizens and businesses responsibilities to keep sidewalks, hydrants and storm drains clear of snow and to adhere to parking restrictions on snow days.

“We heard from our citizens, and we are responding,” says Spokane Mayor Mary Verner.

The Magi of City Hall have changed their plan. Under the new-and-improved plan, the City defines the snow season as Nov. 15 to March 15. During this time, the City may declare a snow emergency when weather conditions warrant.

A Stage 1 Snow Emergency is declared when 2 inches of snow are on the ground and 4 more are anticipated during the current snow event; a Stage 2 Snow Emergency is declared when 6 inches of snow are on the ground and more is anticipated in the current snow event.

A Stage 1 Snow Emergency will require citizens to move parked cars off of all arterials and bus routes, while a Stage 2 Snow Emergency will require citizens to park on one side of the street in residential areas. The parking changes will allow plow drivers to open up streets better, allowing for easier and safer travel during heavy snows.

Although it is not specifically mentioned, when it snows 2 inches of snow with no further additional snowfall expected, the city apparently has decided not to include that element in the plan, despite the tragic number of fender-benders and slide-offs that have taken place every year due to icy intersections and thoroughfares.

If snowfall is less than 2 inches will they plow the main thoroughfares or simply wait until it melts off? Good question. When it snows and the median temperature drops below the freezing point of liquid deicer, will they put traction sand on the major intersections? Probably not, based upon their beastly snow removal performance records of past years.

Last year we had a snow berm of over 5 feet tall in our yard from clearing our sidewalks. Don’t go telling me, as a god-fearing citizen, to clear my sidewalk within 24 hours or face a ticket. I work for a living. Lead by example, not by edict.


I have to cancel breakfast this morning…

Good morning, Netizens…

There have been a few times, and I stress the word FEW when I simply could not attend to my appointed rounds with Marty and various other dignitaries at our occasional breakfasts. I was looking forward to this morning, as the Deities all know I certainly need to step off the escalator for a few hours for some friendly faces, but this morning simply isn’t it. I had originally scheduled breakfast this morning, perhaps with Steve Thompson, Ron Wright but definitely Marty, but last evening I received a phone call which changed all that. I’ve got to head out the door on business this morning, EARLY.

Even my saintly wife seems to understand. She also has come to live with that nefarious phone ringing at odd hours of the day and night, because that is my day job, answering distressed or angry people on the phone with various computer network issues and calming their technical eccentricities down to a dull roar because I fix things.

Things like that happen in my day job.

I truly apologize if I made a mess out of someone else’s schedule, but I still have this larcenous relationship with income you see.

Peering ahead, I do have Friday morning available, if anyone is interested if Marty can schedule me in. That is, barring any further emergency calls.

This isn’t like the Phoenix Gatherings of old we once held, when we raucously filled up one end of the Pancake House on Francis with a band of miscreants, wags and poets, but simply a pair of old friends sitting down and talking about our observations, what we have read, politics of all flavors and various technical observations on life. Our breakfast meetings are like a pair of old, comfortable shoes that sit in the closet most of the time, until we truly need them for a walk, take them down, slip them on and eagerly go strolling down familiar pathways and occasionally commenting on how quickly the leaves are changing just as the bumper tomato and cucumber crop is in.

<sigh> Oh how I wish I could go to breakfast this morning. Marty is one of very few to whom I ascribe the tentative title of being my compass, and right now my compass is spinning in all directions. But perhaps Friday morning.


David Letterman meets David Horsey…

Good evening, Netizens…

Who in our midst could have possibly averted the news about David Letterman’s sordid affairs with his staff members. DISCLAIMER: This, of course, all took place BEFORE he was married to another staff member. The fact remains he apparently had a conga line of willing stage girls willing to share saliva and other bodily fluids with him, based upon several sources.

Somehow I knew in the darkest corners of my febrile mind that the extraordinary cartoonist David Horsey could not simply let David Letterman’s admitted gaffes pass by unnoticed.

What is there about the mindset of male public officials, bureaucrats and television and movie stars that makes them so predictably amoral about doing the Humpty-Bumpty, the lateral mombo, the twist and shout with a diversity of women?

I think my grandma had it about right when she said, “Mischief. That’s what they’re all up to, is just mischief. One trip out to the corn cob shed with grandpa’s belt will take the edge off testosterone.”

Was Grandma right?


The hen that laid the golden egg…

Good morning, Netizens…

The AP picture of the day which comes to us from Canada, reminds me of raising chickens quite a bit, although I admit I never saw any chicken pop an egg quite THAT big before.

An egg weighing in at 143 grams is seen amongst regular sized eggs at the home of Mike McCannell in Vars, Ontario, Canada on Monday. McCannell found the egg while collecting on Friday afternoon. He says it was laid by a chicken that is around 4-years-old.

Like most stories and pictures, there are some things that went unsaid about the chicken who laid the giant egg:

You can spot the chicken clear across the barnyard. She is the hen who is walking bow-legged, is perhaps a bit dizzy and is still looking for a trophy for having created a single egg suitable for making a giant omelette.


Could it get worse?

Good morning, Netizens…

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. employers cut a deeper-than-expected 263,000 jobs in September, lifting the unemployment rate to 9.8 percent, according to a government report on Friday that fueled fears the weak labor market could undermine economic recovery. The Labor Department said the unemployment rate was the highest since June 1983 and payrolls had now dropped for 21 consecutive months.

How much worse could it get?

Of course, in certain areas of Washington, DC they still persist in singing this song:

So long sad times
Go long bad times
We are rid of you at last
Howdy gay times
Cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So lets sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

It could get worse you know? Or it could get better.

Of course it could. “If I cannot bring you comfort, at least I bring you hope.

The movie “Toys”


Could it happen here?

Good morning, Netizens…

The year was October 17, 1989, at 5:04 PM. I was standing in the San Francisco International Airport waiting to catch a plane to Seattle, when the ground began to shake. In the aftermath, I saw the damage throughout most of the Bay Area caused by the 7.1 earthquake including the collapse of the Nimitz Freeway and the damage in the Marina District of San Francisco first-hand, and it formed a lasting impression upon me.

Over the last week, we have witnessed earthquakes throughout the Pacific Ring of Fire, which encompasses from New Zealand, Java and Sumatra approximately up through East Asia and Japan, across the land bridge to Alaska and from thence down the West Coast of the Americas to Antarctica. These quakes ranged from 8.0 or higher down to 4.0. The massive tsunami wave that hit portions of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga was caused by an underwater earthquake which was rated as an 8.0 to 8.3, and a second quake near Sumatra and Indonesia which was rated as 7.9 on the Richter Scale.

The damages and loss of life throughout the region was incredible.

The Cascadia fault line, which passes through portions of Western Washington which has been active in the past, and if such a quake as hit Samoa were to occur, what impact would it have on our lives here in Spokane?

According to the USGS predictions, were an 8.0 to hit the Cascadia fault line, life, such as we know it to be in Seattle and the surrounding area, would quite possibly be severely impacted, including the possibility of tsunami waves which could reach all the way to Hawaii or beyond. Damages could easily reach into the billions of dollars with commiserate loss of life. Depending upon location, much of the Seattle-Tacoma region could be severely damaged, if portions were not eliminated entirely, such as on the mud flats where the soil liquifies easily. 

And Spokane? Here is where it gets a bit speculative. Would we feel an 8.0 centered in Seattle here in Spokane? Most-likely. However, a great deal depends upon whether such a quake in Seattle could “set off” a quake of say 4-5 on the Richter Scale here on our own fault lines? That could hurt us.

Loss of power for days, perhaps even a week.

Damage to the water system throughout the city with resulting loss of water.

Telecommunications breakdown throughout a broad region.

Street and freeway disruption and/or damage.

Disruption of the railroad system, especially through the downtown core and the High Bridge trestle.

Loss of human life.

Could such a scenario happen in Seattle? Could it happen HERE? Are we prepared? Having seen first-hand what they have done for Earthquake Preparedness in California, I would say we are not.


Is Obama bugged? It would seem so…

Good evening, Netizens…

David Horsey makes a minor point appear quite innocuous while he overlooks one stark fact that somehow has eluded most of the policy-makers in Washington, DC. As far as I know nobody has won a war in Afghanistan. Perhaps I made a minor error in stating this, but thus far, I have not yet found a victor. None.

So if, as Mr. Horsey so aptly put it in his cartoon this morning, Obama is bugged by the Taliban insurgency, so be it.

We either have to discover a viable means of obtaining victory in a country where no one else has, or simply lick our wounds and retreat. Which will it be?


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