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Community Comment

Archive for August 2010

Rest in peace, Pastor Creach…

Good morning, Netizens…

In our ramble through our lives, there are only two categories of human beings: saints and sinners. Some may have problems accepting such a broad-handed statement, but I believe it is true and factual.

There are those who, by their hostile actions or anti-social behavior, fall into the category of sinners. They often live outside mores and social values, eking out their lives while justifying their aberrational lives by a variety of means. They can disguise their true nature and in many cases no one finds their behavior the least bit noteworthy. In some cases the general public even elect them into public office, because they are very capable of dextrously hiding their true natures behind a public facade.

On the other hand, there are those saints who live their lives by the best standards they know, and although they may occasionally err, for the most part they live lives of purity and wholesomeness, free of any criminal nor abnormal social values. They almost always have a belief in something greater than themselves, and most have strongly-held religious beliefs on which they base most of their lives.

I have spent a immodest amount of time contemplating the life of pastor Wayne Scott Creach since he was killed in the parking lot of his business. He was a gentle man, a good businessman, a preacher of the Baptist Faith and a staunch family man.

Was he a saint? In keeping with my own personal beliefs, I feel he qualifies, yes, although I also believe no living person has the gift to determine sainthood.

However, there is both bravery and cowardice among the flowers, where we mingle, remembering one whom many call saintly. Pastor Creach left a legacy in his wake that most would struggle to match. For that and the many gifts of which he gave so freely to others without reservation nor expectation, I believe he was a saint.

Rest in peace, Pastor Creach.


Happy Halloween early?

Good morning, Netizens…

David Horsey takes another shot at the Halloween mess we call the U.S. housing market today and, actually so long as you are renting, current on your mortgage, if you have one, or not attempting to get a mortgage, perhaps you might not agree with this cartoon. The real ghouls that appear only transcendentally in the cartoon are those of the national economy and through it, the housing market.

According to most of the major public opinion surveys, most Americans have reduced opinions of our economy, and a lot of that may be because of our unemployment statistics.

The longer our unemployment stays in the basement the worse the specter of our housing is going to get.

Are you fully employed right now? If not, welcome to Halloween. It does seem to be a bit earlier than usual this year.


New Orleans 5 years later…

Good morning, Netizens…

If one has been watching over the course of this last weekend, we have had a remarkable set of events unfolding. First, we had the fifth anniversary of the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, which was good given the normal lack of attention it has garnered in the news media the last five years.

I suspect that few people reading this were there, present in the first-person, during the hideously-destructive events of Hurricane Katrina. While we have been inoculated into a type of shell shock from watching the rerun images of families stranded and abandoned at the Convention Center, the mass destruction of the Ninth Ward, still it is vastly different from having been crying out for drinking water, food and medical care but finding the government unable to provide even the most-basic amenities in the aftermath of the disaster.

One might believe that, after five years of supposed federal care and aid to help New Orleans recover from the damages, that the lives of those in Louisiana might have been improved to where they were at least on par with their lives before five years ago. Unfortunately, if the images put forth by the news media are to be given any credibility, people are still living in contaminated FEMA trailers, homes are still destroyed or vacant, and people are still suffering. New Orleans, it seems, has fallen off the radar screens in favor of other disasters, real or perceived.

That is one of the reasons I am consistently annoyed, perhaps even angered at Laura Papetti of KREM-2 news for her role in World Vision, also known as Count on Spokane ( No food, no medicine, no education Papetti somberly states of life in South America. If you browse through the World Vision web site, you see no mention of Louisiana. If you dig a little deeper into the history of World Vision, you will see why they will never receive one thin dime of my money.

There are hundreds of thousands of people still displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Some are still struggling lo these many years later, to obtain the minimal things they need to achieve the “good life”. Unfortunately, New Orleans has faded into non-existence in the news media except for the annual observations that take place.

That is sad, terribly sad.


Public announcement at noon…,

Good morning, Netizens…

Spokane Co. Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey will make a joint statement from the Spokane County Courthouse at noon today regarding the office-involved shooting yesterday. Although I will be unable to attend, I trust that one or all of the local television news sources will carry this event live.


Another week bites the dust…

Good morning, Netizens…

It’s always tranquil just before dawn, it seems. The human race hasn’t had the time to make any big mistakes in the new day, and for the most part, those criminally-inclined have finished their dirty business and crept back into the holes they call home, although crime never truly ceases. Mother Nature always seems to be most-tranquil in the darkness just before daybreak; the fires from yesterday are dying down one would hope. Even the yesterday’s winds are calm, and it is cooler. Thank God it’s Friday.

It may be days, weeks perhaps, before we will ever know the fact of how Pastor Wayne Creach met his demise, except he died of a bullet in his chest. Those who knew him in life will mourn the passage of an iconic preacher and business owner, a gentle soul who left a broad footprint in life as in his death. If one takes a simplistic view of this tragedy, we can state emphatically that someone made a horrible mistake, and call it that. We simply lack the facts to reach any other conclusion.

Perhaps what is an even greater bit of sadness is how vitriolic and suspicious people are of the police in general, and perhaps with damned good cause; perhaps not. As an old friend once told me, “…you’re either part of putting out the fires or part of throwing logs on the fire…”.

A fleeting visual image from KREM-2 of Spokane Police Department’s Public Information Officer Jennifer DeRuwe appearing at the crime scene attired in casual clothes wearing what I would term a blue party-like Carnaby hat before she had time to don her official SPD baseball cap was almost hysterical in my opinion. Unfortunately it gave the grim crime scene a macabre feeling rather than the overwhelming sadness that eventually prevailed.

What else is there to be said for today? In search for something uplifting and joyous to tell, the peach harvest now well underway in Green Bluff is excellent according to my sources.


Pastor and business owner killed in Spokane Valley

Good morning, Netizens…

We have an officer-involved shooting in the Spokane Valley this morning. The only problem they might have, in this case, is the police shot Wayne Creach, a 74 year-old Baptist Minister, an upstanding and well-respected member of the community and owner of the business where police were looking for a prowler.

From very sketchy reports this morning, the encounter between Creach and the Spokane Valley Police Department began approximately 11:15 PM last evening. Creach got out of bed to investigate a prowler next door at his business, Plant Farm with Country Charm, a local nursery. His wife heard a yell and three shots and that was it.

All we truly know right now is a good man and well-respected business owner has been shot dead by the Police. The Spokane Police Department and the Washington State Patrol, neither of which are particularly well-trusted in my opinion, are now in charge of the investigation due to the involvement of a Spokane Valley Police Department officer being involved.

It will be interesting to see how the spin-moguls manage to make it sound like Pastor Creach is at fault for his own death.


Permits for Highway 12 on hold…

Good morning, Netizens…

Yesterday morning, Mhibbs and I had breakfast at one of our undisclosed locations, an event that we have kept largely to ourselves, simply for the freedom it gives us in what and when we discuss matters of the world of our choosing. One of the many topics we discussed yesterday was the court ruling regarding wide, heavy loads of oil refinery equipment which were slated to travel down Highway 12 East of Lewiston to the Montana border.

While I was modestly-skeptical whether the requisite permits would be granted, Mhibbs felt confident, given all the precautions being taken by the Idaho Transportation and Conoco Phillips Petroleum to protect the ecologically-sensitive Clearwater and Lochsa River corridor, would be ratified without much discussion.

Second District Judge John Bradbury ordered the Idaho Transportation Department to review the request from ConocoPhillips again and to take action to ensure the safety and convenience of the public, thus putting the planned operation on hold until possibly October.

The ConocoPhillips shipments are just the first oversized loads planned for the corridor. Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil is proposing to haul more than 200 oversized loads of heavy oil machinery from the port in Lewiston along Highway 12 into Montana, then north to its Kearl Oil Sands project in Alberta, starting in November.

Highway 12 is a scenic, two-lane highway that is predominantly used by tourists and recreational travelers to follow the rivers, and even with that limited use, traffic is often slow and cumbersome at times.

The Exxon loads would weigh more than 300 tons, stretch up to 227 feet long, and reach up to 27 feet high. Half would be up to 29 feet in width — wide enough to take up both lanes of the highway. Trucks would move only at night and pull over in newly designed turnouts during the day; Imperial/ExxonMobil already has spent $440,000 on improving turnouts along the route..

According to the article in the Spokesman-Review written by Betsy Z. Russell, this might not be the absolute end of the process, but it certainly revises the oil company’s plans. The loads proposed by the oil companies will be offset by the trailers’ bigger tires and extra axles, creating no more stress on the road than logging trucks or other commercial haulers.

Suffice it to say Judge Bradbury’s ruling caught both Mhibbs and myself wondering where and when this entire process will be finally determined.


Justice for Todd Chism?

Good morning, Netizens…

[Picture of Todd Chism from KREM-2 News]

Let me be absolutely clear about this: in no way can I condone nor tolerate persons who drink and then drive. Todd Chism should be held to the same standards that would apply to you or I if we were caught driving while intoxicated. I do not want to know nor speculate about the number of men and women that have been killed by drunk drivers. Were it not for our local law enforcement, Todd Chism could have been convicted of a far more serious crime than Driving While Intoxicated.

This is Todd Chism’s second arrest in a very short curve of time for being drunk behind the wheel.

Just so I can live with the outcome, I hasten to point out that Todd Chism was once falsely arrested by members of the Washington State Patrol for possession of child pornography. Todd Chism, rather than a perpetrator of a crime, was a victim of a far more-heinous crime, in that his rights were denied him, and that a flawed investigation cast his entire life into question.

Had I endured the kinds of publicity that Todd Chism has endured, had I been questioned and had my personal property seized under false pretenses, I would still be fighting to regain my life. Given my personal history of borderline alcohol abuse, I probably would be arrested for driving drunk. My life all but gone, I would be killing the pain with alcohol.

So perhaps once Todd Chism comes to trial for his two charges of driving while impaired, I am hopeful that the judge places part of the blame for his errant behavior where it belongs. For if we are going to extract justice from Todd Chism for driving while intoxicated, we need to extract justice for Todd Chism for the injustices done to him by the Washington State Patrol.

Your thoughts, of course, may differ.


Is it over? Is it REALLY over?

Good morning, Netizens…

Former President George Bush once suggested that the war was over. Cartoonist David Horsey appears to ask the same question today that Americans asked back then. Is it over? Is it really over?

We’re leaving, aren’t we?

I suggest we wait and see.


Overview of Community Comment…

Good morning, Netizens…

Shannon Sullivan wrote:

“Dave, Shannon Sullivan here. I was just wondering why the blog has gotten away from the local issues? With the election coming up, where are we suppose to go for updates, comments?

I realize spin control has a lot, but I think that there needs to be a blog that focuses on what is going on here in our own community.

Any thoughts?”

Originally I was simply going to answer this series of questions in its own original thread, mostly because it was Sunday and I generally try to avoid writing original material for the Blog on Sundays as that is a day I’d like to spend more time with my loved ones and family. Then as yesterday wove onward, I found I ran out of free time, as sometimes is the case on Sundays. Thus, at my first rising, at 4:00 AM today, Monday morning, I decided to dedicate an answer to your question in its own thread and perhaps explain a bit about the command-level decisions I often am forced to make.

Brief History: When I was asked to start this Blog over three years ago, although I had some thinly-sketched ideas of what I wanted to do with it, I didn’t really begin to “flesh out” my ideas at first. I wrote what I felt like writing, both fiction and non-fiction, and when I felt motivated to comment on local issues, I did, from within my own perspective. Within some boundaries, I still write what I want, and although I sometimes spend less time on local issues than perhaps I might, one of my priorities, is that I always try to cover stories, regardless of their geographical or geopolitical content, that are not being covered by any other Blogs in the Spokesman.

Failures: Among some of the failures I take upon my own responsibility are that I have not dedicated enough of my limited resources to cover what I term the local news media, itself. Mediocrity in journalism, either in print or televised news media, is no defense for a lackluster outcome, and at times our local television news media are deplorable in how they sometimes handle the news and weather forecasts.

I also assume responsibility for having introduced members of the Spokane Police Department to this blog head-on. Nobody else invited them to explain their actions; of course no one else withstood the vitriol and mashing that resulted on both sides. I failed miserably at my goal of encouraging open, honest dialog, and for that I will be judged, but it was an honest failure. In the words of my personal ad hoc consigliere who frequents this piece of cyberspace, upon occasion, I need an editor.

Once upon a time, in a different piece of the Internet in Usenet News, I started what became known as “Gatherings” which members of the general public were invited to attend. We had breakfasts together at the former Pancake House on Francis Avenue, picnics in the parks, even. Perhaps we need to re-institute this historical piece of the past, something along the lines of Dave Oliveria’s occasional Blogfest, which both Jeanie and I have attended. We still need to “put faces with the screen names” after all these years.

You state we have drifted away from the local issues. If so, it is because I simply run out of disposable time before I run out of things to say or topics to discuss before my “good day job” kicks in. You can always suggest ideas for things we can discuss, and if time permits, it will be added to the list. I encourage everyone to this: help make this Blog better at avoiding mediocrity.

I also hasten to point out that neither Jeanie nor I have ever received nor ask for a nickel of recompense for what we do, nor are we employees of the Spokesman-Review or the Cowles Publishing Company. We are simply two journalists who do the best we can to achieve balance in what we write and when we write it.


Weather sighting…

Good morning, Netizens…

There is moderate sheet lightning visible in the sky East by South-East and due West at the present time. It is unknown whether the lightning is sky-to-ground. However, the general direction of travel, according to the NEXRAD Weather Radar, would tend to shift this storm somewhat East and North of Spokane’s core.

There is another band of weather to our Southwest which may impact Spokane later on this morning.


The beams of the World Trade Center…

Good morning, Netizens…

I close my eyes and in semi-repose tenderly consider a Texas husband-and-wife team of truck drivers that briefly touched life in the Inland Northwest the other day. They were hauling a pair of steel beams taken from the wreckage of the World Trade Center from New York to just north of Bremerton, Washington as part of a memorial to 9-1-1.

There was a controversy, fortunately short-lived, about the fact the twisted metal beams were wrapped in the U.S. Flags. My philosophy is those beams, burned and twisted in a time of war, earned that right.

One of our own ad hoc street poets, Marshall Smith, eloquently stated of the flag-shrouded WTC beams, “They can bend and twist us. Be we will never, never break.”

Somehow in the peace and tranquility of an early gray morning, as a tractor trailer continues its way down the road to Ellensburg, thence to Bremerton, American flags wrapped around a pair of warped steel beams glow softly in the darkness, carrying that message onward, ever onward.


Chernobyl radiation still impacts wildlife…

Good morning, Netizens…

AP Photo: A boar family sniffs for bugs and grubs on a gravel road in Eglharting, Germany. Almost a quarter century after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in Ukraine, thousands of boar shot by German hunters show excessive levels of radioactivity. According to the AP, unlike other wild game, boars often feed on mushrooms and truffles which tend to store radioactivity and they plow through the contaminated soil with their snouts, experts say. Cesium-124, one of the byproducts of the Chernobyl meltdown, has a half-life of 30 years, which implies it will be around for a few more years.

Since this story broke, and upon doing a brief bit of additional research, I have since found that boars are not the only wildlife that have high levels of radiation.

Wild birds, deer and free-ranging cattle throughout portions of Europe all still bear some of the radioactive byproducts left over from Chernobyl and thus are hazardous to consume.


The modern party line…

Good morning, Netizens…

Early in my years and perhaps yours we had one of the greatest sources of misinformation and gossip known to man, commonly known as “the party line” telephone. For the most part my experience with the party line consisted of a wall-mounted crank telephone where you had to call the operator with a good crank before you could place a phone call. Unfortunately, you could also listen in to any other members of your party line while they were calling someone else. This made for a particularly good source of information and juicy gossip.

Until recent years I hadn’t seen anything that would rival the old party-line telephones for ease of use and abuse. If you heard the phone ring someone else’s ring (ours was two shorts and a long ring) wait a few minutes and then making certain to cover up the mouthpiece to prevent background noise from letting the other party know you were there, simply pick up the phone and listen in.

The only big difference between then and modern-day telephones was there was no dial; all calls were routed through the operator in town. Everyone knew where the operator’s office was because she lived on the main drag, and that was where you paid your phone bill. She was also, in some cases, a reliable source of self-censored gossip about life back then. If your wife/daughter had a legitimate baby, it’s gender and weight were spread via word-of-mouth as soon as someone called from the hospital. If the baby was born out of wedlock, although it might take a bit longer for word to get around, all it took was a phone call and everyone in your party line quietly spread the word. Many a young woman’s life was put on emotional rocks of life because of the party line.

In this morning’s David Horsey cartoon we take a modern-day look at the latest permutation of the party line carried forward into our generation.

The premise today is if we read it on the Internet, regardless of the veracity of its source, it must be accurate because it came from the Internet. We have made the transition from the old party line to the newfangled gadgets; the only difference is in many cases nobody knows the source of information nor, in some cases, its accuracy, but we are encouraged to spread the word nonetheless, because by God we can.

As much as Jeanie and I have the temerity to have put our names on this Blog, still we both make strenuous efforts to keep what we say is accurate. Not all Blogs, unfortunately, seem to perform this self-censorship. This morning David Horsey seems to have hit the nail squarely on the head.


Beauty is as beauty does…

Good morning, Netizens…

Don’t hand me a pretty face and expect I will immediately automatically gush, feel a heart throb and feel sexually attracted. At my ripened age of 64, while I might still feel that swooning sensation for my beknighted, gorgeous wife with bedroom eyes, it more often than not is a passing thing. Where we once rattled the pictures off the wall with our lusty cavorting around, these days we seldom even wake the cats.

Gorgeous is as gorgeous does, folks. That pit-bull of an actress, the late Anne Ramsey pictured here, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Momma in Danny DeVito’s “Throw Momma from the Train” has come to epitomize what I often irreverently refer to as my “arch heroine” because not only was she a good and durable actress, but she was so homely it nearly hurt my eyes to look at her. As if to add insult to her appearance, Ms. Ramsey suffered with slurred speech, which was caused by the partial removal of her tongue and jaw as a result of a cancer operation and yet she persisted in cinema.

Don’t misinterpret my meaning. There are members of the opposite sex who age with grace and dignity, and I eternally will remember them in all my orisons. However, there are women who, through no fault of their own, are just as homely as dirt, unprepossessing and as simple as Ma Kettle. Of course if you are old enough to remember seeing Ma and Pa Kettle on the Big Screen, you may already be feeling the evil fingers of age working you over. Perhaps not.

Judging by the news anchors and weather reporters for the various TV stations, I may be in the minority in my lack of regard for feminine beauty.

I personally believe, since we cannot get Jason Kadah back, we should hold a seance for the ghost of Anne Ramsey and put her in charge as the morning weather forecaster at KREM-TV. Of course, if Ramsey is keeping to her character in the Afterlife, if you won’t like the weather forecast today, she might threaten to smack you in the backside with a big stick.

While Anne Ramsey doing the morning weather on KREM might not work, I would hazard a guess that it would never be boring.


Ever used a privy before?

Good morning, Netizens…

Some of the youngsters reading this message probably never spent any of their youthful lives sitting in a privy, although once when I complained about sitting in the privy during a real blizzard with a lantern for lighting, I was told by one of my elders “it builds character”. During the summer, you have to dodge hornets, bees and other things that sting, all that seem to have an extreme affinity for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Picture this: you have just settled down for answering nature’s call, your copy of Successful Farming, Prairie Farmer, Home and Garden or whatever other reading material was left by the privy’s former tenant, settling down over the hole when, from down below you, you hear the ominous sound of a angry bee/hornet warming up for a quick run at whatever parts of your privates that seem reasonable. It is amazing how quickly you can freeze in place. When the angry buzzing from below stops, you begin to relax, only to freeze another round as it begins.

Even better, imagine feeling nature’s call when all the pipes in the house are frozen tighter than a gnat’s behind, and armed with a lantern for light and heat(because the power is out as well) you head for the privy. Cold? I am talking temperatures down into the tweens, between absolutely frozen guaranteed to freeze all contact with exposed flesh, and beyond. Hang your privates into that.

There are still places in the Heartland of our great country where privies are used, some with more frequency than others. I personally believe one of the questions on the U.S. Census form should be, “Have you ever used a privy?”. That way we could tabulate Americans with character.

The picture is taken from a calendar displayed on Huffington Post. A privy with lighting? What good is that when the power is out? You still need a lantern once the power goes out.


The Tea Party versus the Mosque…

Good morning, Netizens…

As I peer at David Horsey’s cartoon this morning through bloodshot bleary eyes, try as I might I cannot consciously recall any Tea Party rallies being held at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. Thus David Horsey’s premise is somewhat obtuse and misleading. In fact, the only religious groups I have heard of holding rallies in Oklahoma City were held far from the Memorial, but I could be wrong.

Of course, some bright-eyed pilgrims from the Tea Party might possibly steal the idea from this cartoon, and the next thing you would know, everyone else would be howling at the top of their lungs. Would you?

What would we say if the Seventh Day Adventists or the some extremely Fundamentalist Baptists decide to build a church down the street from Ground Zero? Would all the other organized religions want to build edifices of their own? Who would complain about them?

Do we always associate Muslim Terrorists with traditional mainstream Muslims? It would seem so, but unfortunately that could be wrong.


Who won? Who lost?

Good morning, Netizens…

Hang onto your drawers! Who won the primary?

Well, allowing for the final ballot count which is slated to take place tonight at 6:00 PM according to the Washington State ballot count page it looks as if Patty Murray is going back to Washington, D.C. and Dino Rossi is heading home again. In my opinion, Chris Marr and Michael Baumgartner are still too close to call for the State Senate, Bonny Mager appears to be re-elected to the County Commissioner’s seat while Al French is falling behind and David Elton won 796 votes. The County Assessor appears to be Ralph Baker, with Vicky Horton a marginally-close second.

Frank Malone may have beaten out Steve Tucker for the County Prosecutor’s seat, which probably wouldn’t hurt some feelings in the blogosphere.

Laurel Siddoway has apparently won a seat on the Court of Appeals, Division 3, District 1 which is another case where certain faces in the blogosphere probably are still on their knees praying to the powers-that-be for an upset.

These are apparently the most-notable candidates in the primary election. Of course, allowing for typographical errors and miscalculations the actual ballot counts could be different.


The churches versus gay marriage…

Good morning, Netizens…

The hue and cry is being raised by nearly everyone over gay marriage rights as a result of the pending court case for/against California’s Proposition 8, but we need to more carefully consider who opposes gay marriage so virulently with perhaps a poor man’s opinion.

The effort has been lead primarily by ultra-traditional Catholic scholars that have attempted to create a new natural law that would support the traditional Catholic positions on sex — that masturbation, all gay sex, contraception, all sex between unmarried adult straights, and oral and digital sex by straight married couples are all grievous sins. Uf da! If the traditional Catholics have their way, just about any sex other than between married male-female couples free of any “hanky-panky” or experimentation is forbidden fruit.

According to the church, the only sanctified marital state that can exist in the church is between man and wife. This, of course, comes from the church perhaps best-known for purportedly celibate priests who have a history of sexual child abuse. It has only recently from the Pontiff that such behavior between priests and children violates church laws.

Then we have the Mormons who oppose any and all homosexuality in all its various forms. While they are handing down the laws they also oppose all sex outside of straight adult marriage, despite their lengthy history of condoning plural marriages until 1890, although there are still fundamentalist sects of the Mormon Church today which practice polygamy today. Like the Catholic Church, the Mormons have issued several statements opposed to gay marriage. Does this mean all Mormons are alike in this? Incredible as it might seem, there are groups which support gay men and lesbians. These fractional groups are not associated in any way with the Mormon Church.

The real question, it appears, will be decided by the courts, in my opinion most probably the U.S. Supreme Court. It will go down in history as the judicial system largely voting for or against the rules of organized religions, depending upon how the courts determine the rights of non-heterosexuals to marry.

Isn’t that it? The courts ruling for or against the opinions of organized religions? It does give you something to think about.


Bring back Jason Kadah, missing in action…

Good morning, Netizens…

After my piece on the demise of Jason Kadah, former KREM-2 morning weather forecaster, and many responses later, I sort of figured despite his humorous approach to weather forecasting in the morning, he was missing in Spokane, and nothing would ever bring him back to the Spokane news media. Then the Jacob Fries of the Inlander posted a message in their blog that might add even more heat to the fire on Wed, Aug. 11, 2010.

That is only the beginning. Jason now apparently has a Facebook page of his fans all clamoring for his return, and I adamantly and thoroughly concur. Watching the morning weather forecast on KREM these days simply isn’t the same without Kadah’s off-the-wall sense of humor, if not the accuracy of his weather forecasts. Grace Pena’s upbeat bouncy morning weather simply is not an acceptable replacement! When she tries to be funny, it becomes a painful experience, like having a molar extracted, and I immediately reach for the channel changer and begin looking for another weather forecast.

It seems funny in an abstract way that Kadah was fired by KREM’s news director Noah Cooper, but now when anyone wants to know the details, you are referred to station manager Jamie Atkin who, it appears, is conveniently out of town on vacation.

Plus according to the Inlander piece, there is pending litigation between Kadah and KREM, which may stop everything in its tracks, somewhat similar to what happened to Nadine Woodward.

I’ll reiterate what I have stated several times before: give me back Jason Kadah. KREM-2 doesn’t have a clue what I like, and irreverence works for me!


David Horsey and the Obama Inheritance…

Good morning, Netizens…

David Horsey asks the question, what did Obama inherit, and then he answers it with a static conclusion.

Did Obama or did he not avoid another Great Depression? For good or ill did he manage to pass Health Care Reform through an unwilling Congress? Didn’t he pass Wall Street Reform? Did he pass student loans? Some might say that Obama has done a lot of good; others may deny it.

At some point, the gaffes will stop being Bush leftovers and they will become Obama problems. One has only to ask when will that be?

If the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire in full, we will be seeing one of the largest tax increases in years, no? Allowing a huge tax increase in one of the worst economies in American history could be financial suicide, couldn’t it?

Some say our downward economic slide is just on the edge of disaster; our economic fall could be just beginning. Who gets the blame then, Obama or Bush?


The Culture Wars

Good evening, Netizens…

David Horsey states in today’s cartoon that while the culture war between the Republicans and Democrats may be over a diverse number of issues, the recent ruling by a California judge that approves of gay marriage could be the the hammer that hit the nail on the head. Or could it?

The Republican Party is particularly hostile toward same-sex marriages, so it stands to reason that their party platform could rise to the occasion during upcoming elections, and make that an election issue. Conversely the Democrats could easily get a strong party platform in favor of gay marriage.

The issue, however, may not be decided until this contentious battle is determined, perhaps eventually by the Supreme Court. There is quite a battle brewing. Which way do you think the courts will eventually rule?


Hiroshima in retrospect…

Good morning, Netizens…

There is a macabre quality to a remembrance of the bombing of Hiroshima 65 years ago yesterday. There have been other catastrophes since 1945 equal to or exceeding the number of people who were killed either at the time the bomb was dropped from the Enola Gay or since that time. Like Veterans of Foreign Wars, the number of survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are slowly diminishing over the years, so there are fewer and fewer left who remember the horror of two days in December in the first person, yet they live with the memories.

The Hibakusha, those Japanese who still bear the keloidal and other burn scars from their exposure to the atomic blasts, still are around, even here in Spokane.

“Tears and sweat bring out the best in us…” (Mr. Rogers, interview 2002)

“Today and always I remember them, those in Hiroshima on August 6th and Nagasaki on August 9th, as well as those in Los Alamos and Tinian that day. As a child I feared nothing more than a nuclear attack, the unendurable death from a single plane. I hope our children will have less, and not more, to fear. I hope the atom bomb can retire and that 65 more years, and 650 more years, and 6,500 more years, will pass before another city is destroyed by a single bomb. I think of those in Hiroshima on August 6th and every day.” (Lucy Walker, Huffington Post, 2010)

I have written extensively, some might suggest, about the potential impacts of an atomic bomb exploding near Spokane. Some might consider this repetitive action vulgar or perhaps even compulsive, but what it has become is more liken to a silent prayer that I never live to see such an event take place, that my children and their children will pick up the gauntlet and like myself, do everything within their power to prohibit nuclear weapons before it is too late.

That is why every August 6th I remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki with its legion of invisible victims.

Please feel free to join me in my reverie.


Kagan Confirmed as Supreme Court Justice…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

It comes as little to no surprise, but Elena Kagan has been confirmed as a member of the Supreme Court, the third woman to serve on the current Supreme Court bench.

I don’t claim to have any knowledge of Mz. Kagan, nor do I expect in my remaining years of life to ever sit down and have a conversation with her over tea, not that I would turn down an offer were it made. Somehow, despite having been grilled by the news media and members of the committee who vigorously screened and grilled her about her qualifications for her job, there appear to be a few unanswered questions that, over time, will probably be answered.

The question that keeps poking at my consciousness, that has bothered me since Mz. Kagan was first put forth as the potential next member of the Supreme Court is, would they have asked the same questions if she were a man, hinted slyly with little jabs here and there about her philosophy and her personal past? Would they speculate on the Internet about a man in the same way?

Partisan politics aside, I cannot help but wonder if Kagan were unfairly treated as a woman.

I do, of course, remember all the dirt that was dug up during previous times when new members of the Supreme Court were selected, so perhaps in this case nothing has changed. Perhaps time will tell.


Northern lights a no-show in Spokane…

Good morning, Netizens…

I was hopeful. However, I also accepted that the night skies somewhat overcast with smoke and haze might not be the ideal situation for viewing of Northern Lights. Still, I optimistically set up my lawn chair occasionally glancing at the northern horizon in the hopes of seeing a flash of color. Since I had to be in bed early, because mornings start just before dawn around here, I hedged my bet by asking a friend who lives well outside the city lights if he would perhaps stay up a bit later in the hopes of seeing the elusive aurora borealis.

While I haven’t heard an official word from the talking news heads on television, northern lights were a definite no-show last night, even from my friend’s home outside Springdale, Washington which is about as far from the city lights as one could wish for.

I’ve seen, or rather heard Northern Lights several times before. My first caught me unawares on the highway leading to Juneau, Alaska nearly 30 years ago. I had stopped the truck on a particularly lonely stretch of highway to stretch my legs and answer nature’s call approximately three hours before dawn. I had just completed my “walk-around” the truck, checking tail and marker lights and tires, when I heard what sounded like someone hissing at me. I spun around, fearful that one of the indigenous wildlife forms of Alaska had crept up on me unawares, but no.

It was just the aurora whispering in the snow. I could plainly see the lights as they shifted and moved across the sky. No one has ever explained how or why this sound happens, but I later learned from some “old hands” at the business of driving long-haul trucks in our Northernmost state that aurora is just part of the many mysteries of Alaska.

I had such high hopes, but aurora sightings are actually quite rare in Washington State, especially when you factor in city lights. Perhaps if we have another solar eruption similar to earlier this week, we might still have a chance. One never knows.


Is Larry Shook banned from City Hall e-mail?

Good evening, Netizens…

You can tell it is getting close to an election when all the incumbents suddenly start trying to resolve all the problems they have created for their angry constituents, who have been complaining about loudly since the last election, except in Spokane. Here the rule of thumb seems to be to continue ignoring the public complaints, perhaps even sue them if they get too vituperative about them.

However, the usual aromatic hazardous waste that comes wafting off City Hall seems to have worsened recently, as reporter Larry Shook asserts all e-mail from him is now being rejected by City Hall’s System Admin as SPAM. Now mind you, I am not a lawyer, however, I believe that constitutes tampering with the public record which is a no-no under Washington State Law. Now I could be wrong. However, it does raise some interesting legal questions, not to mention thorny moral issues. That never really seems to have slowed City Hall before, has it?

Now if you want to add to this thorny issue, of the public’s right to contact their elected officials in e-mail, it was announced earlier this evening that Mary (Queen) Verner is about to announce even deeper cuts in personnel in coming times ostensibly to balance the budget. I understand although the final list of cuts has not been ratified just yet, who catches the ax this time around will be determined.

This could turn out to be an utterly fascinating election.


Mitch Miller is dead but not forgotten…

Good morning, Netizens…

Sometimes it is difficult for me personally to look back on the time, simply because my family life was so dysfunctional it still hurts. One of my few clear memories of that time, however, was when a twelve inch black-and-white Hallicrafters television first appeared in our living room, bringing with it an entirely different view of the outside world. Ed Sullivan, Perry Como, Eddie Fisher, Jack Paar—the list could go on and on. Each of these people were allowed access to our lives through television in its infancy. You have to be an old fart to remember such things, I am told.

Perhaps no one did more to change American musical history, however, than Mitch Miller and his “Sing Along with Mitch” show broadcast throughout most of the 1960’s. He made Karaoke a hit long before it was a known factor in American Pop culture. According to several sources, Mitch Miller made Pop music an icon of America’s musical palette. His advice at the time was to “follow the bouncing ball” as the words to songs appeared at the bottom of the television screens across the country. Given the longevity of Miller’s show, it was apparent that folks sitting before their glowing screens across the country were singing along.

Some of the names Miller brought to the mix of music had biting comments to make about his role in the development of their talents. Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra both had disagreements with Miller over the songs he chose for them to record. Sinatra once recorded a little-known tune named “The Hucklebuck” which went nowhere on the charts and made Sinatra mad.

For a time, Mitch Miller shaped music as we knew it to be. Later on in his life, he re-introduced his audience to Gershwin, and thus garnered additional track time in the recording studios.

I chose the picture accompanying my comments about Miller’s life and times simply because I felt it more honest than the glowing images largely taken from “Sing Along With Mitch”. He was still beaming in that characteristic way he once had, and you can almost hear him from the grave saying, “Just follow the bouncing ball.”

Musical historians may note for good or ill the talent and persistence of Mitch Miller. No one, however, will take away the number of pop songs he brought to the American public.


Reflections on Chelsea’s wedding day…

Good morning, Netizens…

Picture: AP

You would have to have been deaf, dumb and blind to have missed the run-up hoopla created by the nuptials of Marc Mezvinsky and Chelsea Clinton yesterday. It seems to have consumed the news media, not to mention the general populace. Several news media announcers even went so far as to call this “the royal wedding”, which it is not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if listeners were any less-taken by the marriage for it.

My first and only thought upon looking at this post-marriage-vows photograph was what a beautiful bride Chelsea makes, and then, in afterthought, given the turmoil Chelsea’s parents endured because of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, I was utterly amazed how Bill and Hillary’s marriage has endured despite all the accusations and counter-accusations from that time. They are still residing together ostensibly as man and wife, and have portrayed their roles of proud parents with dignity and grace, and that is all anyone need to ask of them.

Then, in my quiet moments in the aftermath, I wondered in an absent-minded sort of way, whether in a few years we will see a divorce between Mezvinsky and Clinton. I do not think so, and furthermore, I don’t think it would be my business if they did. Two young people from differing cultures (Chelsea is a Methodist and Mezvinsky Jewish) have begun their lives together as man and wife, and despite all the attempts by thousands to be invited to the “A List” of dignitaries invited to the nuptials, they managed to carry it off with some degree of aplomb.

It did take quite a few million dollars to get the marriage in the bag, but given the family’s desire to prevent this marriage from turning into a mass media frenzy with paparazzi, I would have expected that. All I can do is wish the newlyweds long and lustrous lives together, and all the joy that life has to offer.


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