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Archive for June 2011

The reverse Robin Hood…

Good evening, Netizens…


I must admit present economic times have dealt a disheartening series of blows to some of our worlds. With real estate foreclosures and unemployment both rising, and no end in sight of the cutbacks to those who are on Social Security and Medicare, there does seem to be an inequality to our federal and state budget. Cartoonist David Horsey makes note of this in today's cartoon, quickly making note of how Republicans are opposed to imposing any new taxes on the wealthy and super-wealthy while the rest of us are struggling to make ends meet.


My personal take on this is while Republicans are embracing their anti-tax dogma with open-armed zeal, does this truly seem like a sensible political tactic when life is not nearly so good for the lower and middle-class income families? I sense the real trick may be coming when the Republicans attempt to justify their unwillingness to tax the wealthy in the upcoming elections. Just how are Eric Cantor and his Merry Men going to justify their actions when people step into the ballot box?


After all, low-income families vote, too, don't they?



Restricting violent video games for children…


Good afternoon, Netizens…


States cannot ban the sale or rental of ultra-violent video games to children, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, rejecting such limits as a violation of young people’s First Amendment rights and leaving it up to parents and the multi-billion-dollar gaming industry to decide what kids can buy.


This brings us to a quandary of sorts. There are, as I am certain, some parents who probably need the limitation of law regarding young people and ultra-violent video games because they do not care what their children watch, or at least do not care enough. Of course, the parents who do care about what the impressionable minds of their youngsters may see or hear would not be affected by this ruling. This is not just about video games, but about anything children see or hear, including television.


My impression is that we need to restrict what young children watch, as there is a logical relationship between children watching violent or sexually violent material and how they react once they reach adulthood. If parents cannot regulate or do not want to restrict what their children watch, I pity them for they underestimate the latent power of adolescent and pre-adolescent minds. If you teach children that violence in all its ugly forms is acceptable or desirable behavior, they will continue that belief into their adult lives, perhaps even passing that belief onto their children. Thus it becomes a multi-generational transgression. Of course the gaming industry has a huge and very powerful lobby which seeks to sell its wares to whoever can afford the price for so long as they exist.


Of course, the Supreme Court perhaps could pass a law making adult parents responsible for the acts of their children. Ostensibly we already have similar laws, but nobody appears to be enforcing them. Hence we have children watching adult videos and television shows. This is wrong, in my opinion. Of course, your beliefs and ideals may differ.



Me in Hoopfest? No way!

Good morning, Netizens…


There is no way in hell I would ever attend Hoopfest. In fact, given the parking dilemma of monstrous proportions that takes place when you inject an expected 250,000 people into Downtown Spokane, most of my family are avoiding even passing through downtown Spokane until all the madness ends.


I believe the part that truly makes me reluctant to participate in this annual debacle is not just the parking miasma, nor even the questionable pleasure of watching participants trying to knock their opponents on their derrieres, and there is a lot of that. Perhaps the biggest source of my reluctance to participate in such mass mayhem are the number of felons and other miscreants who are playing in what is termed the world's largest three-on-three basketball competition. Given that I know of at least four convicted felons who are competing this year, not to mention the gang shootings that took place last year, why should I take a chance that this year will be as predictably safe as police spokespersons are saying?


Perhaps the most obvious reason for my total lack of involvement in this tourist magnet public relations affair is I have somewhat proudly reached the age when I stand little to no chance of ever being a muscle-bound athlete, and I don't care what the late Jack LaLanne said about aging gracefully. I do get a respectable amount of exercise jumping to conclusions as it is; why should I engage in a sport where the objective is rapping an opponent in the gonads without a court-side referee seeing me? I'll save that sort of conduct for certain politicians and other riffraff.


So, without regrets, I'll simply have to pass on Hoopfest. Of course, your results and opinions may differ.



California Zephyr t-boned by truck…

Good morning, Netizens…


I've traveled by train numerous times, but one ride on the rails that sits in my mind as being beyond the exceptional is my ride on the California Zephyr from Chicago to Emeryville, California. Some may ask what makes this prolonged train trip so memorable for me? We could easily begin with the food service, for one, featuring a world-class dining car with a menu that will please even picky eaters.


The real kicker, however, is the excellent views out of the dome cars clear across the country, from the flatlands of the Midwest, through the mountains and into the Bay Area. The train route is such that you sleep during the boring parts of the trip, and are awake during the most beautiful parts of your trip.


That is except if you encounter a a gravel-hauling tractor-trailer rig which slammed into the train east of Reno at midday last Friday. At least five are reported dead as of this morning, including the truck driver and his passenger, a conductor and several passengers on the train. Nobody has explained yet why a tractor trailer slammed into the train in the middle of the Nevada desert.



Humpty Dumpty had a great fall…

Good evening, Netizens…


Having been distracted in a major sort of way, I return only to find cartoonist-extraordinaire David Horsey is having a field day with Newt Gingrich who, it seems, has lost most of his staff who have abandoned him. How can you say Humpty Dumpty?


Well, yes, there is that.


Will anyone be able to put Humpty Dumpty Newt back together again? As Newt reads his fortune-telling cards will they tell him it's time to quit?


I personally do not know why he ever started to begin with, but perhaps your thoughts may differ. If you have lots of Super-Glue and the patience of Job, perhaps your results will differ, too.



Monday summary…

Good afternoon, Netizens…


Before I begin rattling the keys too strenuously, I cannot help but point to an excellent article written in Community Comment yesterday named simply, “Happy Father's Day” written by Jeanie of Spokane. I seldom have much to say about Father's Day as my childhood, filled with abuse, prevents me from seeing into the joy and reverence of which Jeanie has written so eloquently. It is only in the last few years that America seems to have come to grips with child abuse to where they admit the horrors of such things actually have taken place. On the other hand, Jeanie has shared a love and respect with everyone that bears thoughtful consideration.


In more recent news, the Richland School Board voted 3-2 this week to prohibit use of the award-winning novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie in classrooms of any grade level. Obviously none of the school board who passed this ridiculous ruling had ever read the book in question, much less visited the Spokane Reservation or nearby Reardan where Alexie was educated. On the other hand, I have read the book, been a frequent visitor to the Reservation and visited Reardan, home to many white families. There is hardly a thing in the True Diary that isn't true, factual and probably did happen as it is depicted in Alexie's book. Shame on the Richland School Board for what I deem to be near-racist behavior.


For what it is worth, Alexie won the National Book Award for “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”. I haven't heard from any source, although it might be possible, that someone on the Richland School Board won such a prestigious award for journalism.



Happy Father’s Day

I wrote this for my Dad, Don Rice, who passed away December 19, 2003, former features editor for the Spokane Daily Chronicle.  I will be forever grateful that I sent this letter to my Dad the summer before he died.  That is a blessing all on its own for me.  I wish we all could say our heart's wishes to our loved ones before they are no longer around to hear them.

Happy Father's Day everyone.  Please enjoy my humble contribution:


Happy Father's Day

As Father’s Day arrives, I am remembering my Dad, gone now for 18 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 hiseasy 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, 5-12-26 to 12-19-93.
~Jeanie Rice Buchanan~

Martha Stewart comic book to be released…

Good evening, Netizens…


As the news hit the wire that societal maven Martha Stewart has a new comic book coming out next month, some folks have been scratching their heads while others may be angry. The comic book Female Force: Martha Stewart, will be 32 pages and cost you $3.99 next month according to the Associated Press. Martha Stewart is and has been a giant of a business woman, model, entrepreneur and marketing expert. Not to mention she is a four-time felon, having served time in prison and her comic book purportedly will tell all, including the gritty parts.


Imagine that, a felon as the lead protagonist of a comic book!


You nor I could never achieve such a fall from greatness. Of course, Martha Stewart's rise to fame and fortune (and descent to misfortune) is the sordid type of stuff that normally would be found in those junky magazines you find stacked in the cash register lines at the grocery store. Or perhaps this comic book is just another money-making scheme devised by the diva of home improvements.


One never knows about such things, do we? Of course, your opinions of this latest development in Stewart's life and times may differ.



How to reelect President Obama…

Good morning, Netizens…


We have reached Friday, and for the most of us, we have done so without trips to the hospital. Now that we've seen the events of the week confront us, then wither away into the inconsequential it is time once again to lower our eyebrows, if not our expectations, and begin examining the upcoming Presidential election. Granted, a number of Republican candidates have thrust their hands into the fray, announcing that they will indeed be available as candidates, and that is to be expected.


Cartoonist David Horsey has suggested a scenario for poor President Obama that, to some, might be closer to the gut-level truth than some might like. Few will contest my belief our economy, both in Spokane and far beyond, has just about hit the bottom of the barrel. There is hardly a day that goes by but what we hear more bad news about our collective financial affairs; some of us who would never have dreamed of such dire circumstances even have personal knowledge of how it feels to slide down that greasy rail to unemployment and points far beyond. People are crying in the streets.


Where is Joe Biden when President Obama really needs him?


That doesn't bother me as much as the endless state of war that has so boggled the collective minds of America during Obama's Presidency. Some writers have stooped far outside the truth of history by comparing the Wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East with that ugliest war of our generation in Viet Nam. I'll concede there is hardly a week goes by but what some nameless young man or woman comes home in a box, and is placed in a lonely hole in the ground, another victim of senseless war. On and on, these valiant soldiers march in a stilted silence that knows little end; on and on the tears of their loved ones reach upward to the sky, to what end?


When President Obama ran for office, he promised change. Not only has our national economy turned for the worse, instead of reducing our commitment to war, his policies have increased our level of warfare; we are now fighting on several fronts, and if you include Libya and the Middle East, aren't we taking on more combatants, more enemy soldiers, than at any time in American history? That is not the kind of change I hoped for.


I think if we stopped the wars, curtailed the shipping of our jobs and technology to foreign countries, our economy might improve. Perhaps thus might be the only improvement that President Obama needs to stand even a remote chance of being reelected. Of course, your beliefs and ideologies might differ a bit.



The price of doing business…

Good morning, Netizens…


After last night's Republican candidates debate, and still reeling with the vision of the various candidates gleaming beneath the lights, attempting to distance themselves from other Republican aspirants to the Presidency, each attempting to portray themselves as something they are NOT, that being ethical, it seems likely that cartoonist David Horsey might take a shot at it, I wasn't the least bit surprised at this cartoon this morning. Rather, I was expecting it. It seems defensible that anytime you hold an election for any office, you inevitably encounter lobbyists, who seemingly creep forth, out of the woodwork, each eager to represent their “masters” in a favorable light.


With fourteen million unemployed people in the United States, you might think there would be a lobbyist group representing the long-term unemployed, but guess again. In fact, as far as I know, there are no lobbyists representing ordinary U.S. Citizens, even in an election year.


I did cackle with some unrestrained glee at Horsey's portrayal of the U.S. Congress. I guess it gives streetwalkers a bad name.


No, the only targets assigned to lobbyists are members of the Congress, ostensibly each of whom have their hands out, eager for some of that good old payola. If any member of Congress sits on a key committee or are pivotal in a key vote, the lobbyists beat a path to their door with offers, lots of offers.


It's the price of doing business with the government.


Of course, I might be wrong in this.



Harold Camping has stroke…

Good morning, Netizens…

Harold Camping, the Doomsday radio preacher who sparked international media attention by predicting the Rapture, the end of the world, has been hospitalized after suffering a stroke at his Alameda home Thursday night.

The 89-year-old radio evangelist and president of the Oakland, California nonprofit Family Radio was taken by ambulance from his house Thursday night, a neighbor said, but his well-known, gravelly voice that led many believers to donate millions of dollars to his cause may never be the same. The stroke was on his right side, and although his speech is a little slurred, he is apparently all right according to family sources.

Camping was mocked nationally by talk-show hosts and the subject of protests, both by believers and nonbelievers alike. Some Christians called Camping a false prophet, and the American Atheists paid $27,000 for five weeks of billboard space denouncing the Rapture, along with hosting a party that May 21 weekend.

Camping said he took his wife to a hotel during the weekend of the predicted Rapture and that the phone in his Alameda home rang constantly and strangers knocked on his door. It was, he said, “a very difficult time for me.”

When the world did not end, Camping told reporters that the world would instead end Oct. 21 and argued that despite no physical evidence to the contrary, his point of view was correct.


Just say no, Nancy once said…

Good morning, Netizens…


Cartoonist David Horsey asks the same question some of us have been asking since Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner unzipped his drawers and sent pictures of his Johnson to various women on Twitter. What the hell was this purportedly smart guy thinking?


We have been staring at similar events over the past years. Bill Clinton and Monica certainly set a new low standard for political figures, not to mention Newt (the Lizard) Gingrich and his multiple relationships stacked atop one another like a bad deck of cards. John Edwards conducted a sleazy affair in the middle of a presidential campaign. Then there was Gary Hart who spent a holiday with a sexy blonde on a boat called Monkey Business which is what it was. Mark Sanford, who told his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail while, in fact, he was in Argentina on a romp with his mistress. He was the governor of South Carolina, for Pete’s sake. Why is it men seem to have this problem with that little component of physiological nature from escaping its entrapment and getting their butts into trouble?


Is there something to be said in favor of putting women in high offices in place of their male counterparts simply because they lack that appendage that so often get men into trouble? Look as I might, given a short period of time in which to perform research, I could not find a recorded instance in American political history where a woman in office got herself into such a mess. That doesn't mean it didn't happen, because I suppose such maladroit behavior is not limited to the male of the species but I never heard of it. Is it safe to assume that women in office would never be so dumb as to send near-naked pictures of themselves to people on Twitter. Perhaps their husbands/significant other partners might, but then that is a different perversion.


Soren Kierkegaard stated, “Boredom is the root of all evil.” Could we then go out on a proverbial limb and suggest men caught in such compromising positions are bored; was existentialism as we know it today simply the logical outcome of male testosterone? While I'll submit these theoretical concepts are pretty wild, still I wonder if they are somehow related.


I suppose before I get myself in too deeply, I should simply quit while I'm ahead of the game. We simply need to find a smarter class of public official, because so many of ours are stupid, and yet we gullibly continue electing them into office time after time. That, too, is stupid. Of course, your results may differ.



Dennis Hession running for Council President…

Good evening, Netizens…


Dennis Hession has thrown his hat into the ring of potential candidates running for City Council President, and once again, it seems as if Spokane is unwilling or unable to learn from its own history. Given that Hession has a long and interesting history in Spokane political circles, but is HE the man to replace the existing Council President Joe Shogun or will he continue Shogun's maniacal reign into the future?


How many lawyers does it take to make a good City Council President? None Make the City Attorney earn his wages and make the Council President in charge of seeking the truth.


Some have said that Joe Shogun has considerably reined in the public input sessions during City Council meetings to a point of non-importance. That might be true, so long as you disagree with how Joe thinks things should be. If you happen to disagree with Joe, chances are good that you will be unable to ask any further questions or voice disbelief with what is going on as Shogun will gavel you into submission. Ask George McGrath. I fear Dennis Hession probably will build on the record Joe Shogun has built as his legacy.


Thus far Steve Corker and Ben Stuckart are in the race for Council President, although I do wonder if anyone else will rise to the top of the political pile. The more the merrier, I say. Of course, your results may differ.



Stupidity in public…

Good evening, Netizens…

I will state at the beginning of this conversation that (putting hand over my heart) I will not succumb to temptation and begin telling deplorably bad Weiner jokes, of which there are so many on the Internet the last few days. As David Horsey suggests in today's cartoon, stupidity is a non-partisan offense. It should be punishable, but then we would have to punish all the fine people who helped elect Weiner into office, including the voters, since they each played a role in putting him where he is today.


Just how dumb is it to post pictures of your private parts on the Internet, anyway? Regardless of whether or not you are a public figure, that should rank right up there at the top of the list of idiotic things never to do. Then, to add insult to injury, after seeing his career about to go up in flames, Anthony Weiner hit the panic button and lied to the world.


Should Weiner resign his office? Personally I think half the people we elect into any public office should resign simply because they no longer serve the electorate, the people that once believed in them and voted them into office to begin with. They need to quit their office(s) and go do something honest for a living and, as David Horsey so aptly states, it makes no difference which political party they once served: stupidity can be found in any political party.


Stupidity in public office is a sad state of affairs. Of course, your opinion may differ.



Saving history for posterity…

Good morning, Netizens…


At my somewhat advanced age in life, there is hardly a place in each day when I turn around a corner and I can visualize a piece of what, for most people, is old history still staring me in the face. People tend to misunderstand this, because they never shared that piece of history and thus are unable to make the emotional or mental connection to it. People, particularly here in Spokane, seem to have a mental link with whatever genre of music they happen to enjoy, yet they sadly are quite sadly unaware of some of the truly talented musical performers who have already passed away, leaving behind a vast but unappreciated wealth of songs in their wake.


For example, if I begin rambling on about the life and times of the late singer/songwriter Fred Neil, for the most part, all I will receive are blank looks. Yet, I insist, he had one of the most-unique voices and that, coupled with an incredible gift of writing poignant, moving songs made him a force to be reckoned with back in the 60's in New York's East Village. Yet, aside from some of the old gaffers who were around in the 60'/s, very few people remember Fred Neil.


Speaking of history of a different kind, last week we saw an end to an American television icon, James Arness, who passed away quietly in his sleep at age 88. It seems ironic to me that another cinematic icon, the late John Wayne, was directly responsible for getting Arness started in his career, one that ultimately resulted in Arness's long and durable career as Marshall Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke. Can you envision an afterlife with the likes of such certifiable western movie stars as William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tom Mix, and the Duke (John Wayne) all rambling around on their horses looking for bad guys? Of course, this begs the question, are there any more of the old-time cowboys (and faux cowboys) left to protect innocent citizens from the bad guys? Of course, you have to have aged quite a bit to remember Hopalong Cassidy or, for that matter, Tom Mix as both were a bit before this generation's time, but still, these were once considered to be our collective heroes.

Doesn't History suggest that we lose sight of some of our collective heroes in life? I submit that each generation must find or select new heroes. Unfortunately, rather than go out of a morning and gently pluck our pieces of old history off the vines of life, in most cases we simply let them wither, then drop to the ground where they blow away with the first puff of wind. Of course your thoughts on this may differ.



The Pied Piper of Wasilla…

Good afternoon, Netizens…


I've often had a spot of fun watching Sarah Palin but David Horsey's cartoon this afternoon absolutely left me gasping with laughter on the floor as it is dead on. Here we have the Pied Piper Palin leading the national news media down the road to perdition without so much as an itinerary, an agenda nor even a promise that she is running for President. Ostensibly she is simply on a vacation with her family to see all the historical sights along the East Coast and along the way even have pizza with the Donald while meandering around in a bazillion-dollar tour bus depicting the American Constitution, American flags and her own signature.


So what is Sarah Palin doing if she is not running for office?


Others have said it, and I concur mightily. Why should she seriously run for an office that entails a lot of hard work when she can garner so much attention without having to issue any of those pesky policy statements, or even make speeches where the news media are eagerly awaiting, like a pack of wolves, for her to drop more of her homespun humor and inadvertent gaffes. Being demure about running for office appears to be working for the Pied Piper of Wasilla; after all, is she paying all the expenses while driving that huge bus around the countryside? You betcha NOT.


After all, she is entertained with all the celebrity status she has acquired, and because she is not entirely a dumb bunny, she is smart enough to know having the “lamestream” news media chasing her around the countryside clamoring for her attention is far more entertaining than actually winning a Presidential election.


David Horsey certainly got this one right. Of course, as always, your opinions may differ.



Nasty squall line hits North Spokane…

Good evening, Netizens…


Due to the hockey semi-finals, KHQ-TV broadcast their evening news at 8:00 PM tonight. Ironically, they let their Success by Six food drive supersede the news, as at 7:14 PM this evening, parts of North Spokane were hit by a serious regional rain squall, complete with lightning strikes, hail, torrential rains and gusty winds. At the peak of the storm, which lasted approximately one-half hour, hail stones the size of cats-eye marbles were bouncing off the streets in quantity; standing out on the patio we had to yell to be heard over the raucous noise of the hail stones hammering on the patio roof overhead. The sidewalks and street were so white with the hail it looked like an early winter snow.


Fearing the worst for the Virtual Garden's frail tomato plants just recently planted, we went and looked as soon as the hail stopped falling. We just had installed half a dozen new tomato cages, which we purchased for a pittance from Habitat for Humanity, and it must have been divine providence, because those metal cages appear to have deflected most of the damaging hail away from the tiny tomato plants, although it didn't hesitate about removing leaves from several trees nearby.


Since that time the sewers on both sides of the street blocked up, flooding the area with water up to the bottoms of cars parked on both sides of the street, but we are hardly alone in that. Portions of Market, Hamilton, Francis, Division and Monroe— almost anyplace there is a hill, the sewers rapidly overflowed with knee-deep water, creating a minor bit of havoc with city traffic.


Since we couldn't find any city employees to help deal with the flooded sewer, we cleaned the flotsam and jetsam out of the sewer, and it gave a might burp of appreciation as the water once more went cascading down the drain. Within minutes it was as if the street had never been flooded; within a half an hour, the hail had all but vanished.


It was just another wonderful evening in Paradise. Of course, your results may differ.



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