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Archive for January 2010

Where is the Center of the Road?

Good morning, Netizens…

Cartoonist David Horsey takes a fresh shot at the Republican Party, and in so doing, examines the political distance between President Obama and the Republican Party. Is President Obama really a centrist? Is there a strong centrist in the Republican Party priming the pump for a possible Presidential election campaign? Please do not revisit the jaded idea that we should jump to Sarah Palin as a Centrist because that bird won’t fly.

Can you imagine party Republicans and Democrats actually getting along, meeting together and working on the many contentious issues facing our country?

The Republicans and Democrats are either going to have to somehow meet in the center of the political highway or we are doomed to more of the same contentiousness, with little productivity in Washington, DC. I don’t know if we can afford to wait.


Papa Johns to reopen soon?

Good morning, Netizens…

[Portions from KREM-2 News]

As you may well know by now, North Country Pizza, Inc., the franchisee for the local Papa Johns Pizza franchises, has closed the Spokane-area Papa Johns Pizza stores rather abruptly, leaving their employees jobless, and rattling the local economy. However, according to Grant W. Riva, an Attorney speaking for North Country Pizza, stated:

“Please be advised that our client, North Country Pizza, Inc., the former operator for the local Papa Johns Pizza franchises, fully intends to address all of its legal and financial obligations, including payroll to its employees. North County Pizza, Inc is regretful that the current economic situation in which it finds itself has forced the temporary closing of the local stores. It is anticipated that a new operator will reopen most of these stores in the very near future.”

It could not happen too soon, in my opinion. I have somehow acquired a taste for Papa Johns Pizza. However, Papa Johns will have to hustle, given that the chain states in their national advertising they are a “Proud Sponsor of Super Bowl LXIV”.

How can you be a proud sponsor of the Super Bowl with your stores shuttered and closed? Of course they did say they would reopen most of these stores soon. Somewhere in the dismal wasteland of corporate America the phones are ringing off the wall.


Kiss National Parks goodbye…

Good morning, Netizens…

Cartoonist David Horsey seems to hit the bulls eye once again, with this morning’s cartoon about Obama cutting the National Deficit. While I freely admit I was unaware that one of the cuts on the fiscal chopping block was the National Parks, I have been aware that, year by year, the budgets for National Parks and the U.S. Forest Service, have been steadily eroding. Somehow, it just stands to reason: they do not have nearly so many nor as powerful a group of lobbyists in Washington, DC as do say the Pentagon nor various well-heeled entitlements.

I hail from a generation of increasingly gray-bearded old-timers who remember when the public lands were celebrated, revered and treated with respect. We rode horses on what amounted to National Parks in those days, hiked and swam in the waters where few ever passed since the time the Red Man lived openly upon the land. Even as recently as two decades ago, I rode horseback through a portion of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, not seeing lights nor human habitation for three entire days and sleeping beneath the stars at night.

We are blessed with having a rich, vibrant legacy of wilderness lands in the Pacific Northwest, but if they are further cutting funding for the National Parks, what is next?

Remember, our nation has to pay for simultaneously waging two wars and we have to eventually pay for that, despite our current proclivity for deficit spending.


Salinger passes away…

Good morning, Netizens…

J.D. Salinger, one of my personal favorite authors has died. His most-notable book, “Catcher in the Rye”, was banned by the schools when I attended high school. However, I had already shifted my literary tastes to where I no longer was dependent upon their censored library for literature, and was covertly purchasing books I wanted to read, all of which were stored in the bottom of my high school locker. Upon graduation, I boxed all these banned books up and hid them at my grandparents’ house where they stayed for most of two decades in the attic.

George Orwell (various books), Aldous Huxley (Brave New World), Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five), Vladamir Nabokov (Lolita), John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye were just a few of the authors and titles the school board had determined I should not read. Nearly all the books, in later years, became required reading; nearly all were popular best-sellers. So much for censorship.

Of course, I immediately identified with the book’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield, and once I had read the book, I began searching for other works by the same author, without a great deal of success.

To say that Salinger was a recluse, which is what a lot of the news sources have been saying since he passed away two days ago, is hardly news. Based upon his experience, he did not like literary success, and assiduously avoided publicity and/or fanfare. I hardly can disagree with his position.

Rumors have persisted that a safe at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire contains several other books which Salinger had written during his life, but never published, perhaps out of aversion to the hue and cry. One might presume that, in his death, the contents of that safe, if they exist, will be revealed to the world, and his heirs will make a bundle. One can hope.

Did you ever read Catcher in the Rye?


A little piece of health care; a whopping price

There is an interesting article in the January 17 issue of the Spokesman-Review,, by John Stucke, “More kidney dialysis clinics coming to Eastern Washington.”

Ok, it’s personal.  Not sure anyone else is interested in this article, other than the 5,467 dialysis patients in Washington.  We are hopefully going to get an additional center, maybe more, in Spokane/Eastern Washington.  And more competition, which is a very good thing, I think.

Dialysis in Spokane costs $4,000 for a single treatment (three and a half hours or more of equipment, supplies, and dialysate).  That’s $12,000 a week, $48,000 a month, or $624,000 a year for life-saving treatment.

Personally, my experience with dialysis has been a very good one.  I love my center, love the people who care for me, and I feel healthier than I have in a year.  The cost is outrageous and beyond my brain to comprehend.  So I try not to think about it.

The reason I like to see another center come into the Spokane area is - - - - - competition!  I am hoping that Davita coming into Spokane will balance out the cost of dialysis.  In October, I vacationed in Orlando, Florida and Davita opened their doors to me.  Again – great service!  And the bill was just over $8,000 for three treatments.  When my insurance company decided that it was an “out of network” treatment, they also decided I needed to pay a second deductible (I do not understand this), and the insurance company marked the $8,000 down to $800.  A 90% discount!!!

My thought on this is – if they can write it down to $800, then shouldn’t the price of dialysis be $800 for three treatments?

Anyway, Davita will balance out the two other facilities in Spokane.


- Nationwide there are 27 million people with Chronic Kidney Disease.
- Over half a million have End Stage Renal Disease requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.
- More than 354,000 people are receiving dialysis treatments at least three times per week.


Obama’s State of the Union Speech…

Good morning, Netizens…

[Courtesy of the Associated Press]

Here is the full text of President Barack Obama‘s first State of the Union speech on Wednesday, as provided by the White House:


The true state of the union?

Good morning, Netizens…

Here we have cartoonist David Horsey’s State of the Union summation. Granted, while it is not truly a speech, but I submit its contents speaks volumes about the true State of the Union as it exists today. Although there were several different points of view mentioned in a previous discussion of banks and corporations being allowed to contribute directly to elections, I still have misgivings about it, much the same as I have profound misgivings about the huge bank bonuses being paid to their employees in a time when most working-class people are struggling to survive.

As Horsey’s character says, “If this isn’t economic recovery, I don’t know what is.”

What is too unfortunate, and thus perhaps David Horsey’s message is, the economic recovery as it stands, appears to be one-sided in favor of corporations and banks. Employment has dropped yet again, the number of people dependent upon assistance to pay their bills and feed their families has continued to increase and all while the health insurance crisis continues unabated.

However, tonight President Obama has an opportunity to give his version of the State of the Union. Perhaps he can stop this juggernaut economic bandwagon as it appears to hurdle down the hill.

Your thoughts, of course, may differ.


Have times truly changed?

Good morning, Netizens…

In this March 30, 2007 photo, Michelle, right, and James Cadeau play ball with their children, Elliot, 2, left, and Justin, 5, in the backyard of their home in West Orange, N.J.. The surge of interracial marriages and multiracial children is producing a 21st century America more diverse than ever, with the potential to become less stratified by race. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)

Now let’s take a look at this tasty demographic, particularly from the perspective of life in the Inland Northwest. Since we do not, at present, have the results from the census currently being taken, we do not have a valid, current benchmark to determine how many interracial marriages nor multi-racial children we current have living in the Inland Northwest, although I suspect the numbers are up from previous years.

We also have an ongoing issue with racist organizations in the Inland Northwest, if not other areas of the United States, although various sources would have us believe otherwise. Within the last twelve months, we have had several ugly situations where racist activities were recorded in the police logs on both sides of our state line with Idaho. To sum it up succinctly, ignorance and racial hatred is still hard to kill and it isn’t dead yet.

Experience? I can speak to that. Over forty years ago, in the San Francisco Bay Area, I met and became enamored of a woman of color, a teacher in the Oakland School District, and we nearly became a serious item. However, even in the so-called liberal bastion of Northern California, neither of us were willing to bring interglacial children into that environment.

I want my grandchildren to have the security to marry anyone of their choosing, without fear and without reservations based upon race. I do submit that might still be a generation away, but I could be wrong. The only step is for everyone to embrace diversity. Will it happen in my lifetime?


James Mitchell passes away…

Good morning, Netizens…

I do not generally watch “All My Children”, a venerable soap opera that runs five days per week on ABC-TV, but am vaguely aware of some of its cast and characters, including that most mean-spirited SOB of a character, Palmer Courtland, formerly played by James Mitchell.

Mitchell died Friday in Los Angeles, after a long run in the daytime show from 1979 to last month. You might never realize, from watching Mitchell play Palmer Courtland, that he was once trained as a dancer. Mitchell had leading roles in the Broadway musicals Brigadoon” and “Paint Your Wagon,” and danced on stage with the American Ballet Theater.

His film credits include 1953’s “The Band Wagon” with Fred Astaire, 1954’s “Deep in My Heart” and 1955’s “Oklahoma.”

 He also taught movement for dancers at Yale and Drake University, where he was awarded on honorary doctorate.

 However, playing the icy, wealthy Palmer Courtland, who wielded power over his children and the characters of the fictional town of Pine Valley, he carved himself a niche that survived decades on daytime TV.



Reverie on Sunday evening…

Good evening, Netizens…

I admit I took a “day off” today from the Blog, simply because I had been over-working this week and I simply wanted to sit and watch the NFL football playoffs. It was nice sitting in my recliner like the somewhat-aged doddering old goat I can become, uninterested in rehashing any of the local, national or international news in lieu of football. Since I was somewhat sleep-deprived due to an early-morning client phone call, I slept during the first game’s halftime. I seldom like either their analysts nor the advertising, although I must say the really good advertising sometimes appears during Superbowl and thus may be worthwhile.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap just brought an old memory from early college days back to the forefront over on Facebook awhile ago during one of the few times this afternoon I checked various online places. She mentioned Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, a delightful and emotionally-moving play in which I once played a minor role and also under-studied the role of the Stage Manager.

Emily: Good-bye to clocks ticking and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it—every,every minute?

Stage Manager: No. The saints and poets, maybe they do some.

Yes, and some hoary-headed old men who sit along the Boardwalk in the late afternoon on sunny days and talk about the good old days having realized their lives are comfortable to move on each minute of the day.


Did the Supreme Court just kill Democracy?

Good evening, Netizens…

The Supreme Court just changed how Democracy works, and hardly anyone seems to be noticing.

Perhaps the biggest change to take place in American government just kicked in, and at first, I wasn’t even certain anyone from either the mainstream news media or their alternatives were really connecting the dots. If one is to believe the latest Supreme Court ruling the Big Corporations can ostensibly control our election process in the future through political contributions. This could rewrite American history to read this is the Nation of the People, by the Corporations and For the Corporations.

Be prepared to sit down and listen very carefully to Keith Olbermann’s assessment. Normally I do not listen much to he nor others that I have termed wing nuts in the past, but after reading the fine print of the latest Supreme Court ruling on corporate freedom of speech, suddenly his incisive hard-biting commentary makes a frightening amount of sense.

Can you imagine a political infrastructure owned and controlled by the mega-corporations? Suddenly a number of changes coming soon come to mind: Halliburton controls National Public Radio. Walmart suddenly controls the planning and zoning for thousands of small towns, because they own the elected candidates that allow such things to happen. Will the Big Box stores soon control most of the merchandizing in America?

Our next Mayor might be more beholden to Corporate America than to Spokane’s citizens. Not to mention the Cowles family, long-known for their control of Spokane politicians, will most certainly cement their control over Spokane with an airtight fist.

Think about it. Could the Supreme Court have just killed Democracy?


A Tea Bagger’s revolt?

Good morning, Netizens…

This morning’s David Horsey cartoon may either please or displease, depending upon which side of the political aisle one sits. For those still searching for affordable health care insurance, there is an ominous air wafting across the country, because as of recent times, it does appear that affordable health insurance may be headed down the road to certain doom, or at least so badly-fractured as to render it useless.

Is the Obama camp’s use of the phrase “Tea Bagger” going to cost the Democratic Party votes come next election, as it perhaps just did in Massachusetts? That phrase used to describe Independent voters does sound a bit arrogant, doesn’t it?

Before anyone attempts to tell me that we must buy health care insurance from the government, they better improve the economy to everyone can afford it. Right now the unemployment figures are not improving hardly at all, and if the present health care bill remains as it currently appears to be with no improvement on national employment, I probably will pull up my camp chair and sit on the side of those opposed to it.

You have to improve the national economy, giving us back the jobs that have been lost, before anyone can afford the “affordable” health care insurance. There is a real problem with the number of jobs being shipped overseas, and someone from either side of the party line has to make changes to that before most can afford the so-called government health care insurance.


The candidate’s qualifications are…


Good morning, Netizens…

Left over from yesterday, but thought-provoking nonetheless, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Scott Brown celebrates with his daughters Arianna (L) and Ayla (R) along with his wife Gail after giving a speech after winning the special election to fill the Senate seat of the late Edward Kennedy in Boston, Massachusetts January 19, 2010.


Now that’s a first.

Senator-elect Scott Brown made his victory speech yesterday here and said something that I found interesting, and some say was borderline disgusting. Toward the end of his speech, he announced that his daughters, who were present on the platform with him, were “available”. That further qualifies him for office, right?

His daughters, both of whom appear in this picture, did not make any public comment , although they did laugh when Brown stated he might be in trouble when he returned home that night.

The political upset, when Brown soundly defeated Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley, his Democratic opponent, may have profound impact on political demographics in the US Senate according to several sources. Will it spell certain defeat for health insurance legislation? Although some sources suggest yes, I believe that remains to be seen.


Choose your disaster…

Good morning, Netizens…

A 6.1 aftershock has hit Haiti this morning, sending people screaming into the streets and endangering those rescue workers attempting to retrieve the dead and injured from beneath the rubble. At the present, there are no official reports of damage or reports of additional injuries from the region.

Have you ever been in a 6.1 earthquake? Since you’re reading this question, you obviously survived. Now imagine you are a rescue worker in Haiti working in the semi-dark perhaps 60-80 feet beneath the rubble attempting to reach a woman who is still alive. Suddenly the aftershock hits. Things begin falling around you in your makeshift tunnel, and you wonder if you will survive to rescue anyone else. A building, already in ruins across the street, disintegrates even further. Somewhere in a park where people are living in squalid tent cities, a baby cries. Disasters atop disasters.

Then we have Big Tajunga Canyon in Los Angeles where the hillsides burned last year. Yesterday they had drenching downpours, which usually preclude mudslides. Today an additional rainfall is predicted, and some sources suggest it could total another 5 inches. Evacuations have been ordered, and it seems only a matter of time before the mudslides cascade down the mountain destroying houses, impacting people’s lives.

Incredibly enough, they even had a tornado in Huntington Beach during yesterday’s storm.

Here in Spokane, we are so fortunate, and sometimes even during multiple disasters, we fail to see that.


Dr. Martin Luther King in the Rear View Mirror…

Good morning, Netizens…

Due to circumstances beyond my control, despite a multi-year custom of writing about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King in years past, yesterday I could not write about much of anything at all. Simply put, there wasn’t enough hours in the day to complete everything staring me down from my platter. However, since I have a Virtual Rear View Mirror in the Virtual Ballroom, I can study Dr. King’s eyes as they were in life, and the question which has so come to taunt me is, if Dr. King were alive today, wouldn’t he immediately leave for Haiti to personally assist in the rescue effort?

Would he, by looking into the collective eyes of Haitian’s pain and suffering beyond our wildest imagination, feel compelled to climb aboard a jet and fly to Port Au Prince by whatever means necessary and volunteer to help? I submit he would.

I do concede that the body politic has changed a great deal since Dr. King was alive. After all, if you contemplate the image of Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr. working on the ground in tandem handing out MRE’s and water, could Dr. King do any worse than stand tall and say, “Here I am, Lord, send me.”

Which brings us to my question of the day. Why am I still here? Despite Type 2 Diabetes, a bad heart and various other infirmities mostly related to encroaching old age, why am I not standing in the tropical heat of Port Au Prince with others of extreme courage, assisting in the relief effort? I have already donated to the American Red Cross relief effort, but that is not the same as knowing for a certainty that I could give more. Some might say at my age, such a thought would be a suicide mission, because the heat and disease inevitably would kill me. On the other hand, I could then say I gave everything to people who now have nothing.


The before and after of Haiti…

Good morning, Netizens…

Cartoonist David Horsey has never been particularly shy about speaking what he believes is the truth, and in this cartoon, he has illustrated the before and after of Haiti with exquisite anguish. Haiti was poor, empoverished, before the quake, and with most of its infrastructure in ruins, its leaders disorganized and people dying in the rubble, the abject misery of Haiti is little more than pitiful hands reaching upward toward the sky pleading for help.

People around the world, to their credit, have already begun a massive rescue effort, with ships and planes arriving as quickly as limited infrastructure can handle them. Still, there is not enough space to store the food, medical supplies and drinking water. The streets are littered with dead bodies, and more bodies buried beneath tons of rubble. People are still digging with their bare hands and raw implements, looking for loved ones in the tropical heat.

One cannot begin to assess the scope of the disaster. All we can do is wipe the tears of sorrow and compassion from our collective eyes and reach down beyond our reality and simply pray for Haiti.

Haiti was poor before the quake, and will remain poor for the foreseeable future. All we can do is reach out our collective hands and uplift those who had so little to begin with.


Pat Robertson channels Satan…

Good morning, Netizens…

[Picture credit:]

On his television show The 700 Club, recently Dr. Pat Robertson made the statement that the earthquake and resulting disaster in Haiti was because, desperate to get rid of the French, the Haitians “made a pact with the Devil”.

You can watch the entire segment here:

This video should be required viewing for anyone aspiring to become a religious leader, regardless of their religious background. A pact with the Devil? Is Pat Robertson channeling the Devil these days? Did he perform a live on-camera interview with Satan? Where is the compassion, the pity that the situation in Haiti so desperately needs from people of all faiths? I submit Dr. Pat Robertson’s lack of compassion in this video clip is devoid of any resemblance of compassion, and thus stands as a free-fall from grace.

Everyone has a vision of what being Christlike is to them. Somehow this picture of Pat Robertson I found seems more in keeping with his continuing “fall from grace” than the holiness with which he always seems to attempt to wrap himself. I believe it more than typifies Robertson’s true beliefs about Haiti in its hour of need.

“Screw Haiti,” Robertson seems to be saying. “Send me money so I can continue to spew garbage like an uncapped dumpster in a windstorm and thus attract the attention I so desperately crave. Oh, and sorry for the stink folks.”

Arianna Huffington said it best when she writes, “”For anybody of faith, even if you’re not God, Pat Robertson is giving religion a terribly bad name, again and again. Remember, this is not the first time. Remember after 9/11, when he blamed 9/11 on the ACLU, and People For The American Way, and gay people. So there’s a pattern here of blaming every disaster on something other than what actually happened.” []


Big Brother May Be Watching More of You

The Spokane County Assessor, Ralph Baker, is proposing having a series of high-resolution, low-altitude aerial photographs taken of YOUR property.  That means, your back yard, the shed you built but didn’t get a permit for, the garage that you added a work shop to, your wife sun bathing in her birthday suit.

See the Spokesman-Review article by John Craig here.

Question:  Is this an invasion of privacy?


Summation of conditions in Haiti this morning…

Good morning, Netizens…

[Portions from CBS-News, ABC-News, CNN-News and the New York Times.]

Day two in Haiti’s horrid disaster and we still may not know how many people have died or been injured in yesterday’s 7.0 earthquake. All through the night emergency medical teams have been conveying the injured to various makeshift medical facilities by truck, by hand, and in some cases stretchers are little more than doors, and the numbers of the dead and injured continues to rise.

There still is no electricity in Port Au Prince, aside from the electrical battery packs in use by various television networks, and in most places, no running water. Those who are not dying of shattered bones are simply waiting to die of thirst or malaria. People who are looking for loved ones can go to and hopefully find the status of missing persons.

Looting is being reported by all major network television news people already on the ground. Additionally, CNN’s Anderson Cooper said he saw corpses on the sidewalk. Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams have been dispatched. CBS News’ Katie Couric arrived Port-au-Prince on Wednesday morning. Ostensibly the entire world is watching.

We take so much for granted here in the Inland Northwest. Fresh drinkable water, food, safe places to sleep at night, but in Haiti all deals are off. Do you want to help? There are lots of places to send donations to this beleaguered country and more are coming online as day breaks here in the Inland Northwest.

How can you help? There are a lot of ways to give. Perhaps the foremost is the American Red Cross, which you can access by calling 1-800-Red-Cross or Doctors Without Borders http:/// or call them at 1-888-392-0392.


When will it stop?

Good morning, Netizens…

As cartoonist David Horsey so clearly shows in this morning’s cartoon of the day, we have had to give up a lot of things to the TSA in our search for security.

Unfortunately, very few of the things we have surrendered have given us any more security as recent experiences in Detroit so plainly show. We were told we were secure, safe to fly the skies and then a terrorist hot-wired his underwear. If his wiring had not misfired, the passengers aboard the jet would be so much dust on the tarmac.

Are we secure? My opinion is don’t count on it. Complacency is a horrible thing, especially when we are dependent upon a federal agency with such a deplorable record.

What is next? A strip search? Oh, dear. My vanity is endangered.


Quake devastates Haiti capital…

Good morning, Netizens…

[Photo Credit] The Haitian presidential palace stands in ruins in Port-au-Prince after a huge earthquake measuring 7.0 rocked the impoverished Caribbean nation.

(AFP/Lisandro Suero)

The entire world waits breathlessly for news from Port au Prince, Haiti this morning after yesterday afternoon’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake that left the capital city in shambles with most of its infrastructure laying among the rubble. After several hurricanes had already severely damaged the island, this monster of an earthquake has simply left an unknown number of dead and injured, while rescue efforts are underway to pull the dead and injured from beneath the rubble.

However, it is dark right now in Haiti, thus complicating rescue efforts. In most of the area there are no telephones, no cell service and power is out throughout the area. At least one of the area hospitals has collapsed and there preliminary reports of people screaming from beneath the rubble.

The United States has mustered a massive rescue effort, but they, too, are awaiting daylight before entering the disaster zone. The few pictures of the aftermath of the quake in the words of one seismologist familiar with the area is one of “death and mayhem”.

As always seems the case, whenever disaster strikes anywhere around the world, US-led efforts are underway. However, even they are waiting for daylight to see how badly things stand. Even our few pictures and images of Haiti all seem to be awaiting daylight.

For now, all we can do is await daylight and then perhaps the prayers for the dead.


What is marriage?

Good morning, Netizens…

(Elizabeth Chase from Los Angeles, and Kate Baldridge from Fresno, at a vigil being held on Monday, January 11, 2010 at the Plaza of the Phillip Burton Building in San Francisco, Ca., before United States District Court proceedings challenging Proposition 8. Photo: Liz Hafalia / San Francisco Chronicle)

Yesterday District Court Judge Vaughn Walker began hearing Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, the controversial case to overturn Proposition 8 on federal grounds. with pleas from two gay men and two lesbians to be treated like anyone else who wants to wed their sweetheart.

This all began in November 2008 when the voters in California which passed Proposition 8 into law, which defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. According to the trial supporters this made the union(s) of gay and lesbian partnerships unequal under the law, and now a federal trial is underway and appears to be heading for the Supreme Court.

According to the United States Constitution, which reads in part:

Amendment 14 - Citizenship Rights

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Demonstrations were held throughout the State yesterday, by those both opposed and in support of Proposition 8.The conservative news media will jump on this like a possessed kangaroo, if they haven’t already done so.

Other states are following the trial closely, and it seems likely that the Supreme Court will weigh on this contentious issue.


Sarah Palin going to Fox News…

Good evening, Netizens…

Picture: AP Photo shot during her resignation speech…

2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is joining Fox News as a contributor, the news channel announced Monday. Now before you toss your beer cans at your monitor, you might think about her press release that stated, “I am thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News. It’s wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news.”

Fair and balanced news? Oh dear.

As of this evening there has been no release from Fox about when she will begin her new job or how much she will get paid. All that is known is she has signed a multi-year deal to offer her political commentary and analysis across all Fox News platforms, including Fox Business Channel, and Fox News Radio.

Ironically Palin has a college degree in journalism, and a working knowledge of sports.


Freezing in the fruit basket…

Good morning, Netizens…

Icicles cling to oranges Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010, in Lakeland, Fla. Farmers spray their crops to help protect them against the cold temperatures. Temperatures in the area dipped into the mid-20’s, and farmers are working to salvage millions of dollars’ worth of strawberries and other crops.

(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

At 5:00 AM approximately I stepped outside onto the front porch to better view weather conditions, as I have grown sick of listening to the litany of grim news from the Southeastern United States, and got another good taste of life in the Pacific Northwest—Part2. Yesterday, in a moment of random madness I slipped on the street pavement and slid about ten feet on my ample derriere, so I was prepared for the slick bit of wild living this morning. No sliding on my butt this time, no sir.

However, what none of us in Spokane may be ready for is that the citrus fruit crops in Georgia and Florida may have taken a substantial hit this winter as a percentage of the crops in Florida are already toast. In a year when all of us are counting our pennies in the Piggy Banks, this comes as just another hit in our pocketbooks.

Matters in the Southeast are due to moderate in the next 48 hours, just as they are expected to moderate from freezing rain/ice/snow here to rain in the middle of the week.


What route to justice?

Good morning, Netizens…

This caricature of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, right, charged with attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner, at his hearing in Detroit federal court on Friday Jan. 8, 2010

(THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Verna Sadock) doesn’t do the man much favor, but as I consider it, I don’t know if anything would favor him.

I was reading a class outline taught this week by retired detective Ron Wright and he poses a question which I feel is still unanswered, despite all the news media attention given Umar Abdulmutallab’s first appearance in court. When do the Constitutional rights we accord to our citizens end?

According to Ron_the_cop Wright, Abdulmutallab is an illegal enemy combatant and should not get Constitutional rights afforded to all US citizens. Abdulmutallab is a terrorist combatant, which seems on the face of it to be a perfectly-valid argument. He is not a citizen of the United States, although there is the question whether or not possessing a valid US Visa conveys any citizenship rights upon him.

If I am interpreting Ron’s argument correctly, there is nothing in our Constitution which should give Abdulmutallab, as a terrorist, the same rights as a citizen. Do you believe that to be true? It seems like a good question to be asking before someone else boards a plane with explosives in their BVD’s.


Come home, Solo…

Good morning, Netizens…

One must take a giant step down the evolutionary stairs to kill a trumpeter swan. One of the most-beautiful birds in our country where avian beauty often abounds, there is hardly anything more awe-inspiring than watching these swans floating elegantly on the water, and we were graced, as of last year, with having a mated pair of these swans living in Turnbull Wildlife Sanctuary with four cygnets.

The male swan or cob, affectionately nicknamed “Solo” by various people at Turnbull may have been killed recently on the Colville River and I, for one, would seriously like to find the miscreant responsible.

As cold-hearted as it might seem, murdering a swan is much more than simply the death of one of the heaviest, most beautiful birds in all of nature. Murdering a swan requires a depth of depravity that might portray a sociopath living undiagnosed beneath the surface. It is perhaps a little-known fact that such behavior is closely-associated with other major mental health issues, including the entire gamut of malevolent behavior.

Before you resist the idea, stop and think how you might feel if someone were to brutally kill your favorite pet, leaving it floating on the ice-cold water of the Colville River. Anger, outrage and a sense of betrayal would loom, and with these emotions, the urge to find the killer and bring him/her to justice.

I’ll quickly concede that violence surrounds us at every turn, including the crap we serve to our young on television, which seems to encourage such unthinking, emotionless actions.

I think, come spring, I’ll drive around Turnbull and see if I can locate Solo. Maybe, just maybe I’ll get lucky and he’ll return.


Things you seldom ask about aging…

Good morning, Netizens…

The picture is an AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Fran Durner


Roy and Marcia Zahrobsky, 95 and 90 respectively, have been married for 70 years. It was “love at first sight,” said Marcia. They now live in separate rooms at the Prestige Care and Rehabilitation Center in east Anchorage, Alaska. The couple came to Anchorage in 1949. Why, after all those years, do they sleep in separate rooms?

Having had some experience in such things, I initially wondered if the care center involved encouraged or otherwise promoted the idea of Roy and Marcia sleeping in separate beds. I know a care center right here in Spokane who, for whatever reason, has unspoken rules and regulations about their customers having sex, which I’ll concede isn’t the same as sleeping in the same bed, but being in the same bed helps, I am told.

Of course, there is the issue that, when sleeping in separate beds, the care facility perhaps would charge the couples a double fee, since they take up two rooms, or perhaps not.

There is another side to this story, for my inlaws, who are well up into their 80’s, still sleep in the same bed with my blessings and encouragement. My grandparents, who lived well up into their 80’s, slept in the same bed throughout their entire lives together. Isn’t that what marriage is about?

What about you? When you get old, funky and grumpy, the Polident generation if you will, will you continue to sleep in the same bed as your partner/spouse? What, if anything, would encourage you to sleep in separate beds?



An Act of Kindness…

Good morning, Netizens…

(PHOTO CREDIT) Dean Germeyer’s “shiny shoes” sparked a conversation between the Chicago businessman and 79-year-old Elsie Clark during a flight from Dallas to O’Hare. When Germeyer heard Clark was stranded at the airport, he helped her out.
(Jean Lachat/Sun-Times/CBC)

Dean Germeyer could have done what others were doing, and ignore a 79 year-old handicapped Canadian woman in a wheelchair who was emotionally-exhausted and broke. However he did not.

Clark’s nightmare journey home from a visit with her daughter in Texas began in the morning of Dec. 30, when a careless porter pushed her to the wrong gate at Dallas/Fort Worth airport.

Suffering from a bad hip and unable to move her wheelchair, she missed her flight and was placed on a weather-delayed connecting flight to Chicago instead.

The pair struck up a fast friendship on the plane and Germeyer offered to help Clark make her connecting flight once they landed.

“She’s a very sharp, entertaining lady,” Germeyer said.

But though they rushed across O’Hare, the last flight to Winnipeg had gone. United staff offered her a discount on a hotel room she still couldn’t afford.

“I’m on a fixed income,” she said, “I’d have to have slept at the airport.”

Instead, Dean Germeyer, 43, took Clark home to his wife, fed her, took her on a guided tour of the city, put her up in a classy downtown hotel and arranged for a car to take her to the airport in the morning.

After a supper of quiche at his upper-end Streeterville condo, Germeyer took her to see a view of the Chicago’s skyline from Lake Shore Drive and to the base of the Hancock tower, from where she took a dizzying glimpse up at the stars.

When he dropped her off at the Affinia hotel and told her not to worry about the bill, Clark ended a tearful day with one last sob.

He could have ignored her, but instead showed her compassion and graciousness seldom seen in our hectic world of today.From the “little people” of Spokane, Washington, we need to find and deeply thank this man, for he is a person of stature.


New Years Resolutions…

Good morning, Netizens…

Since those who know me personally read Community Comments almost every day, I must pay particular attention to what I state are my New Years Resolutions, for I will have to abide by them. I made several resolutions last year, some of which I have never fulfilled, and as a result, I am constantly reminded of them by several persons who shall not be named. Unlike some of my other improbably long lists, my New Years Resolutions are fortunately short and in descending order of importance.

One: Each morning, seven days a week, I rise from my bed at approximately 3 AM, pour myself a cup of Mother McCree’s Kick-Ass coffee custom-brewed to eliminate any doubt of its toxicity, and within seconds of taking my first sip of this indescribably mean-spirited, robust caffeinated blend, I light up my first of many cigarettes. Now one of average intelligence might ask how the Devil I have managed to survive sixty-four years with my pack-a-day habit. I haven’t a clue. However I admit I simply have to eliminate this habit from my life. Not only is it an increasingly-expensive habit to maintain, it is ethically wrong to defile the temple in which I reside with such crap. However, I always drink coffee and smoke when I write, which creates another problem. Moreover, having tried to quit several times, I know the scope of the immense changes I have to make in my lifestyle in order to accomplish my goal. I will have to completely change my office around, eliminate the nicotine stains on the walls and learn to drive without a cigarette at the ready. This effort will not be simple nor fast. However, I need to quit.

Two: Altogether too often Blogs tend to be either 1. a rehash of the news as viewed from one perspective or another, 2. a thinly-veiled political set of arguments which attempt to sway one toward their way of seeing things, or 3. a set of rambling personal interludes. Community Comment tries to rise above all this, to be a warm place in the heart, sometimes written in fiction, sometimes not. It has a Virtual Ballroom consisting of ghosts and spirits and a Virtual Espresso Bar of utterly unique qualities. Although we offer some of the qualities of other Blogs, one of my New Years Resolutions is that so much as is possible, Community Comment shall endure so long as I draw breath.

Three: Like every man who stands tall in a system of beliefs, there is a woman, a tall creature with lustrous brown eyes, who stands beside me in everything I do. She is my guide, my helpmate and my best friend. Before anyone should ever give me credit for anything I do or say, they must carefully consider the substance of who she is, how she made it inside my consciousness and how carefully she guides my orisons. I must always keep all these things close to my heart, where I will carry them all the days of my life.

Four: Last and far from least there are a coalition of friends who often disagree with me on principle, but still remain my friends nonetheless. We cling together, bonding to one another in times both good and bad, and because we share willingly and joyously of ourselves with one another, we often become as one. Some of us have been friends for decades, and have thus stood the test of time. Therefore, one of my New Years Resolutions is always to be a good friend to those who will have me and to uphold and uplift my friends in this, the New Year.


Grant County officer dies…

Good morning, Netizens…

[Picture: KREM-TV]

A Grant County Sheriff’s Department deputy has died.

Around 7:20 p.m. deputy John Bernard of Moses Lake rolled his car while on a routine patrol. He was declared dead at the scene.

Bernard was 52-years-old. He was a four year veteran of the Grant County Sheriff’s Office and had previously served as a Grant County Corrections Officer from 1997 to 2002.

He joined the City of Ephrata Police Department as a patrol officer in 2002 and served until 2006 when he became a Sheriff’s Deputy.

He is survived by two sons, one of which is also a Grant County Sheriff’s Deputy.


It’s back to work we go…

Good morning, Netizens…

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave goodbye as they enter Air Force One at Hickam Air Force base in Honolulu, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Michelle: “We don’t have to go through TSA screening, do we?”

Barak: “No, that’s for ordinary people, and we are anything but ordinary. After all, we got paid to go to Hawaii during a national crisis, didn’t we?”


Never forget…

Good morning, Netizens…

After reading quite a few messages about the article that appears in the latest Inlander, which appears here and a well-written rebuttal written by The Center For Justice’s Tim Connor which appears here: and after pulling and reviewing my own records about the early days of the River Park Square Parking Garage debacle, I have had to make some hard decisions yet once again. I state once again because this entire affair has been beating our consciousness for a considerable time, it has impacted a lot of innocent people, but regrettably, it isn’t over yet.

I know too many people who simply sold their homes and businesses and moved out of the area because of the politics of the time. I remember how the stench of corruption hung over City Hall once the facts surrounding the public-private partnership first became known.

The Inlander article by Joel Smith and Nicholas Deshais appears to have deliberately ignored anyone who holds a different opinion of the facts. No mention is made of the death of Jo Savage, save for the comments to the article by both Ron_the_Cop and the Center for Justice’s Tim Connor. In fact, I cannot recall reading anything in the Inlander that is negative in any way to the interests of Downtown Spokane. Do Smith and Deshais have the balls to quote the elegant former City Councilwoman Cherie Rogers on the “mystery financing” surrounding the parking garage, for example? That might ruin their thesis. I nearly spilled my coffee upon hearing that Jim Sheehan’s developments have any ties to River Park Square. Oh, yeah, sure.

However I think someone should award Joel Smith and Nicholas Deshais a set of matching pom poms and frilly cheerleader costumes so they can stand in front of River Park Square and properly serve up more plastic cups of boosterism that they seem to have uncapped in lieu of journalism.


2009 in the rear view mirror,2010 in the windshield…

[Picture: AP A blue moon, the second full moon in a calendar month, is seen during fireworks to celebrate the new year in Omaha, Neb.]

Good morning, Netizens…

We have swung the magic machete past the boundary of 2009 and are now have arrived in 2010. Some suggest this might be a good thing while others, whimpering in their beer, suggest that 2010 might give us even more of a downhill slide into a paroxysm of government super-subsidies, health care dismemberment or perhaps even revolutionary overthrow of Democracy. Others suggest we have turned a new corner, and we are making much-needed progressive forward progress into a new decade of enlightenment. Could this be the Age of Aquarius on steroids?

The ideologues of both sides of the issues, each pulling us one way or the other, want us to believe what they think are the correct ways to guide this ship we call Home, and if we disagree it suggests that we are somehow flawed in our intellect, deficient in our logic or otherwise unpatriotic in our belief systems.

Our educational system is so fractured so as to be only marginally functional, as fewer and fewer high school students, those few capable of completing graduation, continue their educations by attending colleges or universities; even then those few who make the leap into higher education attempt advanced degrees that some older adults take for granted.

Our former Police Chief, Terry Mangan, was correct when he forecast the arrival of street gangs into positions of power and authority. All you have to do is drive down any street in Spokane and watch for their tags gaily displayed on buildings. Arrival? They are here now, proclaiming their place in society as proudly as if they were members of the New Age Rotary Clubs. They bring with them a vast underground subcultural trade in drugs and everything that trade produces. Can the police keep up? Not bloody likely, based upon the latest wave of home assaults. 

However we have witnessed the rise of the entertained generation. The incredible rise of the Wii, Xbox, PS2/PS3 and home entertainment centers the size of boxcars make the lives of even the under-educated purportedly Internet-illiterate an integral part of the digital New Age. They may not be able to functionally read or do their math, but they can play video games.

However, if we claim a place in the vast cultural wasteland around us, we in Spokane have heart. If a family is burned out of their homes, their property gets stolen from a U-Haul truck or they simply fall on truly hard times, people in Spokane give freely. A person carrying five dollars will donate two to help someone who is in need. Every day hungry people in need get fed at various locations throughout the town all because a retired eye doctor cares deeply enough to show up and cook a meal.

My, how I prattle. Now I must complete my New Years Resolutions, encouraging everyone to do the same.


Happy New Year everyone…

Good morning, Netizens…

Cartoonist David Horsey demonstrates for all of us, despite overwhelming encouragement from everyone in the Blog world, why my dearly-beloved spouse and I simply refuse to go dancing the old year away and to celebrate the new.

It is simply too embarrassing when a costume malfunction occurs in the heat of a hot dance and despite what she and others might think, I do remember how to glide across the dance floor with enough heat to make the younger generation seem pale by comparison. 

So Happy New Year, everyone. Dance ‘em if you have ‘em. Otherwise, glare out the front window at the creepy mess that Mother Nature dealt us for New Years Day.



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