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Community Comment

Archive for June 2010

Elton still in the race…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

If you look here you will see where candidate David Elton has withdrawn from the political race for County Commissioner according to The Inlander. That would be newsworthy were that truly the case, but contrary to Inlander reporter Kevin Taylor, the press release is inaccurate.

I spoke with Mr. Elton this afternoon by phone and he has not withdrawn from the political race for the Spokane County Commissioner, District 3 at all, and moreover, Elton made the assertion to me that he is supporting Bonnie Mager, one of the candidates whom he purportedly is challenging for the Third District Commissioner’s seat. I quote Mr. Elton: “Along with Don Barbieri and Steve Corker……Bonnie is a democrat I admire. She does a great job…..and she is my opponent. I am a lifelong Republican…but I never deny the truth…..That truth is that Bonnie Mager does a helluva good job. I admire Bonnie Mager!”

This comes hard on the heels of the Elton being termed “a civic gadfly” by Thomas Clouse writing for the Spokesman-Review ten days ago. To this I rebut, “If you kill a man like me, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me,” because my role was that of a gadfly, “to sting people and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth.” (paraphrased from Socrates)

I will leave the judgment to others of whether Elton is a gadfly or whether the irritation he sometimes causes in certain social and political systems in Spokane actually serves as a civic function far beyond being an irritant; that instead of simply serving as a gadfly, Elton is actually in search of the truth in his own obscure and sometimes unintelligible way and thus serves a higher and more noble cause.

Of course, your thoughts may differ.


Supreme Court rules in favor of gun possession…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

If you were skeptical, or perhaps mistrusting of the process we call the Government, The Supreme Court said Monday that Americans nationwide have a constitutional right to have a handgun at home for self-defense, even in cities that until now have outlawed handguns. Although this was yesterday’s news, it has far-reaching repercussions for the future.

This does not allow certain classes of citizens, such as convicted felons, the right to possess firearms. What it does mean is that upstanding citizens may possess and retain firearms in their homes for their self-protection, regardless of what local jurisdictions and towns may already have on the law books.

However, the law does not dramatically alter the law when it comes to carrying or possessing a concealed firearm on their person without first obtaining a permit from their local law enforcement jurisdiction to do so. Of course, the local laws regarding that process of obtaining such a permit vary considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, which also may now come before the Supreme Court, if my hunch is correct.

However, under the new law as set forth by the Supreme Court, it is now legal for all citizens to possess and keep firearms in their homes for their safety. This modification of the existing law regarding firearms was long overdue, and I for one, am glad it is now law.

Of course, your thoughts on the matter may differ.


Police Ombudsman to get additional powers…

Good morning, Netizens…

Well, bless my heart! The City Council voted unanimously in favor of giving the Tim Burns, Police Ombudsman, additional autonomous powers last night.

Until last night, the Police Ombudsman only had the authority to observe and report on police reports and sitting in on detective interviews. If he believed that a police review was unfair or incomplete, he could file a complaint with the Mayor or Chief of Police. Now he can conduct his own review of cases, sitting in on internal investigations.

The Police Guild will probably challenge the City Ordinance in court, because such ordinances would have to be approved by the Guild, and based upon my limited experience, they do not want the public knowing what are in those reports and investigations.

Hitch up your tighty-whiteys if you have them and watch closely. If Tim Burns does his job, and I believe he is committed to it, perhaps we may see an end to the travesties on the part of the Police Department, cases such as Otto Zehm, where Police clearly exceeded their authority. That isn’t to say they won’t exceed the law, but at least under the new system the Police Ombudsman will have the power to bring justice for ordinary people to the equation, something that has been missing for far too damned long, in my opinion.

Now I will sit down and stop rocking the boat. I will wait to see how the Police Guild will react. As the New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra once stated, “It ain’t over until it’s over”.


I didn’t attend Hoopfest… here’s why

 Good morning, Netizens…

Yet another year in the life of Hoopfest has come and gone, and all the numb sunburned bodies have finally laid their claims to fame and fortune or ill fame and misfortune as the case may be. But for me and mine, we did not attend Hoopfest; in fact, we didn’t even watch the breathless news breaks featuring the winners on the evening news. Why?

First, there is no place for aging fat bodies in the mass mayhem of thousands of basketball players vying for first place. Granted, there are a few elder members of our society who have banded together and thus compete on the courts downtown, but there should be strict disclaimers for televised images. After all, the pictures of septuagenarians hitting the tarmac with an ugly splat should not be broadcast where innocent youngsters can see them unless accompanied by, “Before you laugh, remember someday you, too, could look like this.”

Of course, no Hoopfest would be complete without a whirlwind tour of the vendors on food row. The selection of food and drink is just like Pig Out in the Park but with muscle strains and those fancy T-shirts. In fact, if you look closely, you’ll see that most of the vendors also appear at Pig Out in the Park as well. Once again, aging fatbodies, particularly those with Type-II diabetes should avoid the temptation. My, but what a wonderful selection of temptation we have in Spokane.

A great deal of noise has been made about how Hoopfest makes all this money for the City of Spokane and worthy charities, and thus justifies its existence. It does a lot of good for charities, in fact. However, I would much rather choose the charities I support, rather than have someone else choose them for me. Remember, this is day 70 of the Gulf Oil Spill.

The biggest reason we have studiously avoided Hoopfest all these years, however, is that I develop a severe rash of a most private nature when I am in a vast warbling mass of unwashed people, regardless of their intentions or why they came together. Yes, I admit it. I get a severe rash on the forefront of my brain just thinking about 30,000 plus strangers in close proximity to me and mine. Give me a quiet afternoon sitting out back in the Virtual Garden watching the Garden Gnomes and a few closely-held friends celebrating the ripening strawberry plants and the serenity of the rose bushes.


The Morton Street Freeway…

Good morning, Netizens….

During a normal time of year with normal traffic patterns, North Nevada Street from North Foothills Drive to Broad Avenue is a virtual expressway, with cars easily cruising the four lane thoroughfare at speeds in excess of 50 MPH. This has nothing to do with the posted speed limits of 35 miles per hour.

Spokane Songwriter Steve Schennum colorfully described this roadbed of pandemonium best in his song, “Hamilton Freeway” in which he observes:

I hardly ever see cops on the Hamilton Freeway

Except when they’re parked at the donut shop

They never look outside when they’re all on break

You could go 95 — And you won’t get caught

However, due to the rehabilitation/construction project currently underway between North Foothills Drive to Broad Street, Nevada is closed. Ostensibly there are detours: Crestline and Division are named prominently as being open and thus available to commuters, but unfortunately, no one seems to know of them. Instead drivers are using Morton or Perry Streets, creating a massive overload. During rush hour yesterday morning, Perry Street was backed up from Bridgeport nearly a mile in both directions from Bridgeport.

With all due reverence to Steve Schennum, I submit that during the construction project, we should modestly rewrite his song to “The Morton Street Freeway”. While we don’t have any donut shops along the Avenue, the cops hardly are visible anyway during most days. I cannot recall once in my living along Morton when I have seen a motorcycle officer pulling someone over for speeding.

Ye Gods, some drivers are moving down Morton at speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour, thus endangering cats, dogs, gophers, squirrels and other four-legged beasties, not to mention pedestrians and other drivers.

It’s time to prominently put up some detour signs.


What becomes of General McChrystal?

Good morning, Netizens…

There is a burning car wreck of a war in Afghanistan, and the former General in Charge of conducting our war has left the building, figuratively handing Gen. David Petraeus the monkey wrench with which he has been unsuccessfully attempting to fix the damned thing. As in his previous editorials, it appears that cartoonist David Horsey pretty much hit the nail on the head yet again.

Same monkey wrench, same ugly war, just a different General in charge. But what about General Stanley McChrystal now that he has been stripped of his command? David Horsey didn’t look into this but here, through my irreverent eyes is how McChrystal’s new life may appear.

Drawing a parallel from Harry Potter, after being recalled to the Pentagon, McChrystal will write on the Joint Chiefs of Staff chalk board “I will not potty-mouth the Commander in Chief again” 1000 times. After that, he might get a job in the Pentagon working as a desk clerk.

He may over time develop a new-found interest in esoteric Islamic religions, and might even write a book on his theoretical knowledge of Osama bin Laden. It possibly might contain salacious humor and thus be banned by everyone in the Islamic world.

He might sell the rights to his toolbox depicted above to Sears and Roebucks for use in future wars. The Craftsman all-purpose war tool box might be a hot item.

Of course, you might have other/better ideas or your opinions may differ.


Watch where you step, General…

Good morning, Netizens…

It isn’t every day that a General in charge of conducting war in a far-off country is called back home to meet with the President of the United States. However, today General Stanley McChrystal is meeting nose-to-nose with President Obama, and political wags and news agencies are all predicting he is about to be canned, even though he has purportedly already written his letter of resignation.

One can only imagine the thoughts that ran through McChrystal’s mind as he was flying back to the United States since yesterday.

He might as well have stepped on an IED. They would laud his name forever for sacrificing his life in war. However, for opening his mouth and openly making statements about his Command-in-Chief and various others? No, for that they might fire anyone, even a general.

Cartoonist David Horsey shows up how this might take place.


When not to talk to the Rolling Stone…

Good morning, Netizens…

Before I even contemplate posting David Horsey’s cartoon this morning, simply out of a sense of self-preservation I am going to add a few person comments about General Stanley McChrystal who, it seems, has been called home by President Barack Obama for a little discussion about his comments made recently to a Rolling Stone journalist.

Based upon a diversity of sources as much as possible from both sides of the political aisle, it would seem a safe bet that McChrystal probably will lose his job today. President Obama referred to McChrystal’s comments to Rolling Stone as being in “poor judgement”, and the usual pile of legislators and other politicians, sensing the mood, quickly piled on.

It goes without saying history is full of instances where wartime generals and their Commanders-in-Chief have had differences of opinion. Harry Truman stripped Gen. Douglas MacArthur of his command more than a half-century ago after disagreements over Korean War strategy, which in their own way, were as contentious as McChrystal’s control of the War in Afghanistan.

In fact, the only persons who seem to have good words for General McChrystal is Afghan President Hamid Karzai who expressed his confidence in McChrystal during a video conference Tuesday night with Obama.

As a military man, McChrystal should have known you never make negative public comments about your Commander-in-Chief, regardless of the circumstances.


Sex Americana

Good morning, Netizens…

Men at the beach more often than not totally lose their mental processes upon encountering women attired in skimpy bikinis. That is just about the bare essentials.

We don’t need science to tell us this. Still, as David Horsey suggests in this morning’s cartoon, the Journal of Consumer Research points out that men’s mouths gape open, their eyes glaze and they stammer a lot.

The question that remains is, do women undergo similar processes when encountering your typical Adonnis standing on the beach in their airtight thongs? If not, why not?


Happy Father’s Day

As Father’s Day comes up in a few days, I am remembering my Dad, gone now for 17 years, which I find almost unreal, because memories of him are more like yesterday!   Dad was my hero throughout my life, however, every now and then he would show his imperfections and become merely human for a moment – like when one of us crossed his path between his easy chair and a football game on the television set.  Then he was crochety and focused on that line of site that we momentarily interrupted.  We grew accustomed to crawling on the floor to get to our destination.

But more often than not, he was all-knowing, all-being – protecting me from any danger.  He was my major influence to becoming an independent thinking woman, at the cusp of women finding their own path – in 1969.   He always said I could be anything, do anything, I wanted and succeed.

There are so many things I am grateful for and thankful for, that my Dad was responsible for:

Thank you, Dad:

• For letting me dance, my feet on yours, clear until I was 16;
• Your invention of home made toys – like the sling shots we each had made out of old tires;
• The swing you made in a tree out back for my two sons to enjoy.  I have a series of pictures, frame by frame of them going up, up, up, leaning back, side-by-side, and laughing out loud with huge glee;
• The infamous “short cuts” on our many Sunday drives, one time driving up a little tiny one-lane cliff side dirt road, for miles and miles, only to have to BACK DOWN for what seemed like eternity;
• Routinely making Sunday breakfast;
• The time it snowed so deep that you made an igloo for us that lasted for two whole months!
• The same year, you made the fantastic toboggan run behind our house that was so sleek and fast that it would propel our six-man toboggan down and around the barn, and whoosh back up to the top – we only had to walk it over to the starting point and do it all again.
• Making up the rule not to sing at the kitchen table or the window would fall on our heads. (Says something about how happy we were that you would have to make up a rule to keep us from singing at the kitchen table!)
• Making up the Quiet Game (again at the kitchen table) where the game was lost at the first peep from a child, so we would spend delicious minutes making faces and sticking out our tongues at hapless siblings until one would burst out laughing. It only would last maybe five minutes before one of us would cave.
• Coming up with titles for the book you never wrote. Naming the cats after events like Sir Odd Leigh Waffled (the result of making waffles that were, well, odd) and Precious Horace D, or PhD, the only doctor in the family.
• The time we were camping at Priest Lake and our beach ball got away from us in the cool morning hours and you rushed in after it in your underwear – boxer shorts! How totally embarrassing to a 13-year old daughter when you came back with the beach ball, shorts plastered to your skin, and an audience of all the campers in the area. Clapping.
• Campfire breakfasts that included bugs on the eggs, that you explained away as just a little ash from the fire, or at the very least, added protein.
• Taking me to the store after my divorce and helping me write my first check; supporting me so much, encouraging me to believe in myself, cheering me on in my role as a single mother;
• Being the father figure for my sons and leading by example so they grew into really wonderful men;

You are the reason I am who I am today – smart, caring, independent, fair, and compassionate.  Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  You are the father that others should follow.

Dedicated to Don Rice, retired Chronicle Editor and Reporter


The Great Mancession…

Good morning, Netizens…

An alternative view of Fathers Day. Boy, I have some questions.

Wouldn’t unemployed women take exception to David Horsey’s cartoon? What does giving Father’s Day cards have to do with the perception of breadwinner roles? Would the kids do the same thing for mom on Mother’s Day if she were unemployed?

Happy Father’s Day…


City of Spokane

Good morning, Netizens…

This is the picture of the day, a pre-dawn shot of downtown Spokane taken by John D. Moore shot from atop the Clocktower in Riverfront Park. You can write your own cutline.


e-mail going away?

Good evening, Netizens…

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg just dropped what, for some, might be a bombshell. Appearing at the Nielsen Consumer 360 Conference, she announced that e-mail will soon be going away in favor of FaceBook. Her logic is that teenagers indicate the trends of tomorrow, and only 11% of teenagers currently check e-mail daily. You can listen/see her comments intact on YouTube here:

Personally, I think Ms. Sandberg is a well-paid spokesperson for FaceBook, and not necessarily being 100% accurate in her assertions. Granted, FaceBook does connect people in extraordinary ways as she states in her speech. What she doesn’t address, however, is the lack of privacy in communicating via FaceBook versus e-mail, since e-mail is capable of strong encryption and other security technologies.

The other possible factor that may play into her assertion is that most teenagers I know have to be taught about how to properly use secure e-mail in a business environment. Most teenagers do not seem to recognize the difference between business e-mail and personal e-mail and think nothing of using e-mail at work for their personal messaging.

I am also aware that some other system administrators have banned the use of FaceBook within the boundaries of their networks, for various reasons, security among them.

Perhaps in the future, as new software technology becomes accessible to FaceBook users, they will have a robust and secure form of e-mail for users. However, until then, e-mail is still atop the pile of services that people will continue to use. Of course, your opinions may differ.


Spewing on Capitol Hill

Good morning, Netizens…

After watching the news briefs from today as the CEO Hayward of British Petroleum took on the U.S. Congress, I wasn’t certain whether it was a waste of my time either listening to the questions in the news footage or waiting for the answers that didn’t seem to come. In view of this David Horsey cartoon, the question seems to be, when will the spewing end? Tony Hayward did not seem to have any answers, and most of the Congressional panel seemed more interested in their chances for re-election than how to solve the problems.

I also read about how the dolphins and other sea-life have moved much closer to the shore, as if they were attempting to evade the oil. Thus it makes Horsey’s cartoon more relevant. If this oil spill continues unimpeded I imagine in my imagination a time that might come when giant whales, dolphins and various other species of fish all line the shores of the Gulf, their hindquarters nearly aground in the surf line, gazing out to the sea they once called home at the encroaching sludge line.

If that unthinkable time ever comes, and I deeply pray it does not, we will still have all the promises, lies and obfuscation of BP spewing into our minds each day. The talking heads of television news will be reciting the same old hackneyed questions and frustration at BP continuing to mount.


Trusted friends and the weather…

Good morning, Netizens…

See? In all the fury and cry you missed out completely when one of my personal mentors, M. Hibbs, left town for one of my favorite places, Cody, Wyoming, and then tiptoed back into town all without so much as a how-de-doo by anyone. Readers of lowly Community Comment assume that I am the sole captain of this barge or that I have the temerity to steer it myself, but no. Not one day goes by but what I do not sense his presence watching from behind the curtain, watching my every keystroke, until he goes out of town to someplace from whence he would rather not connect to the Internet for business and/or recreation.

We often sneak off, when he is in town, to quiet meals at one or another of our favorite eateries, and talk over food with the candor that one only accords to two trusted old friends who have been testing the waters of their friendship for several decades and not finding it wanting. That isn’t to say we agree on every testy issue. Oh, God no. That would simply be too predictable, too accommodating, that we would agree on some of the most-contentious issues that rise to the surface of the boiling pot.

As a late and honored writer who once taught me a great deal about the craft of journalism said, “I had very few close personal friends when I started this job, and each time I write my column, I lose a few more.” She probably would howl with derision if she could read this, as the sentences are too wordy, which would most certainly bring out her red pen. Snick snick. One whole column into the bit bucket. She, too, was one of my mentors, albeit one who also taught me about having trust among friends.

I have written before, perhaps too many times, about M. Hibbs’ barometric bushy eyebrows, by which I can best judge which way the winds are blowing. One eyebrow is slightly elevated? That indicates polite skepticism. Neither elevated? Hibbs is simply waiting for the next bomb to fall. Both eyebrows, in their elegance at the top of his forehead? Oh, Lord. I’ve gone and done it now. If the gaffe is really a dandy, he may even take his glasses off to better consider how much of my skin to remove.

As I said at the beginning of this missive, I trust his judgment, much the same as I trust Jeanie Buchanan, who stands tall in my mind as a woman of courage and humor. But the list of other trusted friends is short. I always listen to my wife, who like all other friends, sometimes disagrees with my opinion, but I listen nonetheless.

Recently I watched my wife depart for week’s sojourn in Nebraska, and with witnesses, I am here to admit the time she was gone I was miserable. I just received a phone call from Northern Idaho, and it is snowing there. Both Hibbs and my wife are back home, and I am still miserable. This is supposed to be the Month of June. Oh, dear.


Louisiana Humor…

Good morning, Netizens…

Image: Saul Loeb/AFP / Getty Images

In the face of unspeakable horrors, of animals and plant life covered with oil sludge, while many in Grand Isle, La., have lost their livelihood to the BP oil spill, a few at least have kept their sense of humor. Old Spongebob Petrolpants has arisen from the edge of the lagoon in this hand-made sign to observe the obvious.

Nope. It sure doesn’t taste like chocolate at all.


Oil alternatives…

Good morning, Netizens…

Cartoonist David Horsey takes his shot at the billions of gallons of petroleum that modern society uses each day, and although he has only scraped the surface of the problem, he makes his point. If you look closely at the caricature you will see she is wearing some of those trendy plastic red shoes, which are made from petroleum. In fact, everything she has on requires petroleum: the ships that brought her jeans and t-shirt to the United States from China/Japan all are derived, in part, from the use of petroleum.

If you lean back in your Great Chair and contemplate the world around you, it won’t take long for you to see how utterly dependent we are on petroleum for everything we consume. Thus we are part of the oil spill, whether or not we want to admit it.

What are the alternatives?

We could go back to the Stone Age, where we lived in caves, wore animal skins and hunted our food. Yeah, sure. Our kids and grand kids simply could not survive without their daily injection of television fare. Without jet fuel we couldn’t migrate across the country, much less the world. The Internet would simply die for lack of electricity. The harder you look at an oil-free world, the worse it seems to get.

Sooner or later we will have to solve the problem of our dependence, but what is the solution to the problem?


On the campaign trail of David Elton…

Good morning, Netizens…

I almost got into journalistic trouble the other day when I stated a bit prematurely that David Elton was running for County Commissioner. There was a slight lapse between when I posted my announcement and when the Secretary of States web site updated at

That is because I received word of Elton’s filing from an private source and I verified the information from the Secretary of States office here in Spokane almost at the time he paid his filing fees. That seemed good enough at the time, but I wasn’t aware that the state web site had not been updated.

Once David Elton was officially in the running, it took less than 24 hours for his preliminary political campaign to run onto the rocks after a fashion. I have been aware for some time that David has an affection, a strange fascination for the Davenport Hotel, and ostensibly has been using their in-house computer network to access the Internet on a number of occasions, which is a serious no-no from their perspective, since is was not a guest of their establishment. He was warned several times, but persisted until yesterday, when he was escorted from the Hotel by security personnel and served with a notice titled “Notice of Trespass/Exclusion Private Property”. Ostensibly he is forbidden from entering the Davenport under city code 10.12.050, ie., trespass.

One never knows quite what David Elton will do next, but he always speaks his mind as he sees fit, with a considerable degree of cogency and clarity. More often than not, he creates controversy wherever he goes, whatever he says.

However, you might want to closely watch the political campaign in the County Commissioner’s Third Seat in the upcoming election. This is bound to be an interesting political campaign.


Down to the sea…

Good morning, Netizens…

(Photo: AP Photo/Richard Hartog)

The talking heads of televised news are hot to devour Abby Sunderland, who is pictured looking out from her sailboat, Wild Eyes, as she leaves for her world-record-attempting journey around the world at the Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, Calif., on Jan 23, 2010. The 16-year-old California girl who was feared lost at sea while sailing solo around the world has been found alive and well, her ship dismasted, adrift in the southern Indian Ocean as rescue boats head toward her damaged yacht, officials said on June 11, 2010.

Most of the news commentators I have heard are now raising a hue and cry about the responsibility, or lack thereof, of her parents for allowing her to undertake such a voyage at age 16. Most opinions I have heard thus far are that her parents should never have allowed such a young woman to make such a trip alone.

This raises the question in my mind if any of the news broadcasters who have spoken with such fervent conviction have ever sailed out to sea alone, for my limited experience sailing suggests probably not.
An article I read back in January stated that Abby had logged over 1000 hours aboard various sailboats, most of which time she was traveling either alone or with various other family members. Based upon that, she was not unskilled whatsoever in her knowledge. If she was guilty of anything, she was inexperienced in her knowledge of the Indian Ocean, a largely uncharted wilderness that has defied, challenged and killed a lot of mariners and aviators since time began.

Then there is the question, whether or not her parents should have allowed her to undertake such a dangerous trip alone which bothers me a great deal. Given all the vile things in the world that can beset young women today, bad choices that they can make, were that my daughter, I might have a different opinion. If she had experience sailing on the open sea, and if she had the requisite open-sea navigation experience, the knowledge that only comes from traveling in uncharted waters, I would do everything in my power to help her succeed in her goal.

Then I would prayerfully wait for her safe return each day by the shore, and rejoice upon her safe return, whether or not she succeeded. Most of all I would have great pride, for her courage and skill to travel as far as she did and then survive after losing her mast in a storm speaks volumes to me. She is now safe and headed home.

I’ll bet she tries again. Your thoughts, of course, may differ.


David Elton files for Commissioner seat…

Good afternoon Netizens…

I understand via the grapevine that David Elton has filed to run for County Commissioner for District 3 just a short time ago. Now this could be an interesting campaign, given the amount of muscle and financial wherewithal that he can bring to bear.

I also understand that David Elton is about to hold his first press conference, this time with KXLY TV. As more information comes available, I most certainly will keep everyone advised.


Chief Kirkpatrick’s e-mail to Seattle Mayor…

Good morning, Netizens…

It depends upon where you hear it, but Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick may be leaving our fair city after all.

The continuation of this story began yesterday when Sacramento, Calif. Police Chief Rick Braziel, one of the three finalists for the position of the Police Chief of Seattle bowed out of the race for the position, citing that he wanted to remain in California. According to KXLY TV-4, citing a report by KCPQ-TV in Seattle, Chief Kirkpatrick sent an e-mail to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn asking to be reconsidered for job in Seattle.

Although the City of Seattle confirmed they had received an e-mail message from Kirkpatrick, they would not comment further, citing this was a personnel matter. Kirkpatrick’s spokesperson, Police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, provided a tersely-written, one-sentence statement that read, “Chief Kirkpatrick is committed to her role as Chief of Police for Spokane; her status has not changed.”

McGinn, however, did conclude his statement Wednesday on Braziel’s withdrawal from consideration by saying that “the Police Chief Search Committee did an excellent job and we have two strong candidates for consideration.” Those two candidates are Ron Davis, Chief of Police for East Palo Alto, California and the Seattle Police Department’s interim chief, Jon Diaz.

Does Chief Kirkpatrick really want to move to Seattle? She owns a house there, and is familiar with that jurisdiction, having already served as Police Chief of Federal Way. More to the issue, given the contentious relationship between Chief Kirkpatrick and other high-ranking officers and the Police Guild, does the City of Spokane want her to remain here as Chief of Police?


Hoofing it on a slow day…

Good evening, Netizens…

This odd picture qualifies for the picture of the day after I recently returned from an evening walk that has become a regimen of mine. Of course, hoofing it doesn’t always sell like hotcakes, even in Jakarta. Of course, if you have another title for this picture, by all means do not let me impede youir progress.


You can’t win for losing…

Good morning, Netizens…

Sometimes you simply cannot win for losing, or so suggests cartoonist David Horsey. If Obama says too little the people rise en masse and scream he simply isn’t showing any emotion. If he does show how angry he is over the Gulf Oil Spill, they simply call him names.

Although I haven’t heard his rebuttal to those who are complaining about candidly speaking his mind, I haven’t heard any apologies yet. However, he is quite correct: I’d bet he does know whose butt to kick. If he wouldn’t object to an aging fatbody with a nasty attitude, I might even volunteer to assist. Wouldn’t you?

There are simply too many talking heads from BP so the more butt-kickers the merrier.


Jason Kadah redux…

Good morning, Netizens…

I seem to have provoked a lot of comments lately about the local weather forecasts after KREM-2’s weather forecaster Jason Kadah recently disappeared from our television screens. For the most part, I totally agree with what has been said and as several have spoken quite eloquently, Jason Kadah was your quintessential funny man, who mixed humor and the weather with fairly predictable measure. There are not enough people on local television that can make me grin, and Jason was one of those rare creatures.

Granted, Kadah did appear to serve beneath the shadow of KREM’s Tom Sherry, who is not only their chief meteorologist, and thus perhaps Kadah’s straw boss, but Sherry is their go-to guy when it comes to promoting various non-profit causes. It is hard to argue with the success of Tom’s Turkey Drive, and the various other causes Sherry promotes. One can only speculate whether there was friction there.

That, as several have noted, is only the edge of the iceberg. We have seen a high turnover rate of personnel at various news and weather positions at KREM-2, some of whom like Kadah, had established a niche for themselves in the public’s eye. Could it be possible that public popularity is only a tiny fraction of the criteria station managers use to determine who gets the axe?

I think so, and thus for the time being, and based upon previous engagements, we are stuck with a series of new faces. My belief is they will persist so long as they do not become too popular. Thanks to everyone who were willing to comment on the thread about Jason Kadah’s departure.


Power out in North Spokane and beyond…

Good morning, Netizens…

There was a major power outage in North-Central Spokane this morning at about 5:00 AM (KXLY said 5:15), one that Avista still has yet to explain. With no rain, lightning strikes or cars hitting power poles, it would be nice to know what caused the outage which, according to KREM-2, encompasses 6,000 people whose electric alarm clocks didn’t go off this morning.

At latest report a rumor has it that the outage may have been caused by animal life. I’ve seen that. I have a squirrel who loves using Avista’s power lines that pass behind the Virtual Ballroom to get from his/her nest to the feeding grounds. Whenever he scampers overhead, I nearly always wonder when or if I will see a flash, a puff of smoke and poof! No more squirrel riding the freeway.

Avista has since announced all power will be restored by noon today. If confirmed, services for the animal who zapped Avista’s power will be privately held later on.


Thunder thighs on patrol…

Good evening, Netizens…

Cartoonist David Horsey takes yet another shot at the Gulf Coast oil spill, and I think this time he might have something! Either that or he has alienated Midwestern tourists completely.

What his cartoon appears to show are obese Midwestern tourists laid in rows in lieu of oil booms. Ostensibly BP could bring busloads of more Midwestern tourists to the Gulf States and lay them in line on the polluted beaches and thus prevent the oil from reaching the surf line.

Ah yes, I can see it now! Thunder thighs on patrol.

Nothing else seems to be working, so why not?


Jason Kadah has left the building…

Good morning, Netizens…

Ah, the personnel policies of KREM-2. At least in the case of Nadine Woodward, KREM-2 TV she was allowed to give the viewers a bit of notification that she was moving on. However, in the case of Jason Kadah, last week he was there and the today he is gone. I spoke with KREM-2’s staff this morning and confirmed what I suspected since last week.

Morning Meteorologist Jason Kadah is gone. No reason is given; just that he will no longer be broadcasting his odd brand of humor mixed with weather in the morning on KREM any longer.

Some people on Facebook have been asking and getting no answers, not even from Jason Kadah. It does give one pause to wonder if there was some kind of pre-termination agreement which prohibits him from bidding a proper farewell.

Now the question is who will replace him? At least we won’t have corny jokes in the morning. That might be a good thing; maybe not.


Our Sunday morning Hymn…

Good morning, Netizens…

It’s a moderately-civil Sunday morning on the cusp of a vagrant rainstorm, and as I wander into the Virtual Ballroom I hear the All-Star Ghostly Church Choir singing an old favorite irreverent hymn from the Virtual Ballroom hymnal.

I fell down on my knees every Sunday

At Zerelda Lee’s candy store

Well it’s got to be a chocolate Jesus

Make me feel good inside

Got to be a chocolate Jesus

Keep me satisfied

As written and performed by Tom Waits.


A form of child abuse?

Good afternoon, Netizens…

I am sitting just outside the doorway to the Virtual Ballroom and Espresso Bar this afternoon, relishing in the first day in many where Mother Nature is smiling benevolently down upon the Virtual Garden without a hint of rain. One might think sitting tranquilly in the sunshine, watching the Garden Gnomes tending their gardens, I might not have a care in the world, but such is not the case for I am troubled by the action(s) of a man in Salem, Oregon.

According to KREM and the AP, a 33-year old Luke Kishpaugh of Salem demonstrated an ugliness which casts a pall over my day. A group of four young girls were watching a rabbit at Woodmansee Park in Salem, when Kishpaugh ordered his Doberman Pinscher to attack the rabbit, apparently for the pleasure of watching it kill the harmless bunny.

One parent who was with the girls told Salem police she saw the man get a “smirk” on his face and other witnesses saw him laughing when the dog captured the rabbit and tossed it into the air before killing it as the children were crying.

Police said the man later taunted a 3-year-old child in the parking lot and was also heard praising his dog. Pity the poor dog, much less the dead rabbit.

Ultimately, Kishpaugh was charged with aggravated animal abuse, animal abuse and told to stay out of city parks. To my way of thinking, this was simply not enough punishment for the man.

I think not only should he be banned from city parks, but that given the psychological link between animal abuse of this type and child abuse/molestation, he should be ordered to attending mandatory counseling for which he should also pay. While I do not know if this would cure his problem, I do feel it necessary.

What about your thoughts on this sad and disheartening matter?


Rachel Corrie boarded by Israelis…

Good morning, Netizens…

It comes as little surprise to anyone, but the 1200 ton Irish cargo ship Rachel Corrie, carrying relief supplies to Gaza, was boarded this morning in International waters by Israeli armed forces with no loss of life or injuries. Depending upon where you read the story, the ship was either under tow, being escorted or otherwise being taken to Israel’s Ashdod port city.

In this picture, Derek Graham uses a bottle of Palestinian olive oil to officially name the cargo ship the MV Rachel Corrie, named after a after a human rights activist killed by the Israeli military, before it departed from Dundalk , for the Middle East with a cargo of cement and supplies for Gaza

This takeover this morning stands in marked contrast to the violent confrontation at sea earlier this week when Israeli commandos blocked a Turkish aid vessel trying to break the blockade. At the time, Israeli commandos rappelled from helicopters and a clash with passengers left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.

Although the ship is currently incommunicado since being boarded by Israeli forces, according to one source cited by AP no one was injured during the boarding at sea.


Once a captain, now a knight…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

Most people immediately recognize actor Patrick Stewart for his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now you can call him by his true title, Sir Patrick Stewart as in this picture he is knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II during an investiture at Buckingham Palace in London, Wednesday June 2, 2010.

The life story of Sir Patrick Stewart, however, has never been limited to his many roles in Hollywood movies and American television. He rose to stardom in the Royal Shakespeare Theater Company in 1966 where he stayed until 1982. In the late 1980’s he joined the Royal National Theater where he continued performing onstage.

I would encourage anyone wishing to learn more about Stewart’s amazing and fascinating career prior to knighthood to read the Wikipedia article located at and in particular, read the comments about Stewart’s lifelong commitment to opposition to violence against women.

From a humble seed sometimes a great plant will rise…


Rachel Corrie heading for Gaza

Good morning, Netizens…

The Rachel Corrie, an Irish freighter is about to attempt to break the blockade of Gaza, and Israel has sworn they will stop it. The Irish vessel is named after an American college student crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer while protesting house demolitions in Gaza. Greta Berlin, a spokesman for the Free Gaza group, says the 1,200-ton Rachel Corrie is heading directly to Gaza and will not stop in any port on the way. It is trying to deliver hundreds of tons of aid including wheelchairs, medical supplies and concrete.

Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead McGuire and the former head of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program in Iraq, Denis Halliday, are among the 11 passengers on board, she said. The Irish vessel is named after an American college student crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer while protesting house demolitions in Gaza.

This, of course, follows hard on the heels of four days after an Israeli commando raid on a larger aid flotilla left nine activists dead.

The ship should be arriving in Gaza late this afternoon, providing Israel allows them to land.


Go sweet into the darkness…

Good morning, Netizens…

A dolphin lies on dead on a beach on Horn Island,Miss., in the Gulf of Mexico, Tuesday, May 11, 2010. Officials say that at least six dead dolphins have been found on the Gulf Coast since May 2. Authorities don’t know whether the animals died from the Oil in the Gulf. Photo Credit : AP Photo/Mike Stewart

It is getting more difficult with each passing day since the Gulf Oil Spill to watch the dead and dying sea and wildlife flopping on the beaches of the Southern States on the evening news. Some, such as this dolphin, are already dead while others helplessly flounder as death draws near with each lap of the oily waves.

No one knows how soon the oil will be be gone but until then, lives are ending, animals are dying and precious wetlands are inexorably being killed. All you can do is sit and let the tears flow.


Is Excited Delirium Valid Excuse?

I have been waiting for this for EVER.   The cause of “excited delirium” will NOT be a viable excuse in the Otto Zehm case.   High time.   I have always felt that excited delirium was a lame justification for death by taser.  In fact, I think tasering causes excited delirium.  

Read excellent article by Thomas Clouse, ‘Excited delirium’ theory barred from Zehm trial’


Wedding bells are clanging…

Good morning, Netizens…

Photo Credit

You had better sit down and pour another cup of Virtual Espresso. Rush Limbaugh is getting married next weekend, his fourth attempt at matrimonial bliss. Kathryn Rogers is 31 to Limpbow’s 57 years of age. Rush’s last wedding was on Memorial Day 1994, which makes this interesting from a historical point of view.


The mysteries of BP explained…

Good evening, Netizens…

At last! We finally have a cogent explanation of how BP is managing their income in these self-induced hard times. The only problem is due to BP’s inability to tell the truth, we have to rely on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s David Horsey to explain either their convoluted financial condition, much less how the hell they are going to plug the hole they drilled in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico that is leaking thousands of gallons of crude oil every day.

Unfortunately as you can see the federal regulators whose task it is to prevent ecological disasters such as the one in the Gulf are cozily in bed with BP board members, and that is just the edge of the iceberg. The company employees are equally cozy with the inspectors who are supposed to check their safety and work standards, and the lobbyists own, I mean control the politicians.

It is all controlled by a cash infusion valve, David Horsey would have us believe, and BP controls that, too.

Damn, I’m glad we finally got a clear understanding of how the Big Oil companies run their finances. Of course, your opinions may differ.


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