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Community Comment

Archive for October 2011

When it becomes a bribe, not a contribution…

Good morning, Netizens…


Cartoonist David Horsey takes a look at the occupation of Wall Street and the Romney campaign in the same unfettered glance and as is often the case, has chosen to overlook the funding of Democratic candidates in the process. You can bet your election contributions that Romney isn't the only candidate with his hands in Wall Street's coffers, no sir and/or ma'am.


Now if we were to pass stringent laws that made campaign contributions illegal, because they amount to bribes, what would that do to the political spectrum? Neither side of the political fence would allow such a law to be passed by the House and Senate. It simply would never happen! All political candidates, regardless of their flavor, could possibly fund their huge campaign war chests without contributions. They are bribes after all, aren't they?


You could apply this same legal logic to our local political campaigns, too and make political contributions to Queen Mary Verner's campaign illegal and then sit back in your easy chair and listen to potential sources of Queen Mary's bankroll howl like a pack of wounded dervishes at feeding time. You could easily envision the political spectrum in Spokane suddenly lurch, taking on a new and hitherto unimaginable chaos on the streets and byways of Spokane as the candidates had to find new pathways to pay for their television and news media advertisements.


Would dumping the campaign contributions help or hinder the political process? That seems like a fair question on the day after Hump Day, doesn't it? Of course your opinions and ideas may differ.



Justice for Otto Zehm? I question that…

Good morning, Netizens…


This belated greetings comes to you after a marathon 19 hour work day, which was preceded by another killer of a day just before it. Somehow, through the miracle of the Internet, I have been closely following the various Twitter feeds from Yakima in the Otto Zehm affair, and I must admit, as excellent as the reporting has been my stomach has suffered recurring bouts of serious upset as I suspect, although I cannot prove beyond a question of a doubt, that this entire case, rather than a search for the truth of the murder of Otto Zehm, is a search for ways to find everyone involved, from Karl Thompson to Mayor Queen Mary Verner not guilty of any malfeasance, and leaving their hands as lily-white as snow.


The facts, such as they are, in the form of the grainy video from the Zip Trip Store, are just vague enough that I question whether they will ever find Karl Thompson guilty, much less all the others who played roles in this ongoing travesty of justice. People lied. Others, including Rocky Treppiedi, tried to circumvent or at least bend the will of the Grand Jury to their goals of thwarting justice.


Of course, few of these transgressions will ever be brought before a judge and jury. That, in my opinion, is the unfortunate and miserably sad truth of the trial of Karl Thompson. Even if they succeed in finding Thompson guilty, the “big fish” have skated away unscathed and thus justice for Otto Zehm has not been served.


In my opinion, it is time to overhaul the system. Of course, your opinions could differ.



Was Gadhafi evil?

Good morning, Netizens…


There is an abiding battle occurring around the world, even here in Spokane, between good and evil. In my years of writing for Community Comment, I have spoken of it with some degree of hesitation, lest I become overly enamored of hearing myself reiterate the same message over and over again. As much as I would like to believe that essential goodness is winning in the race for domination, it does seem, at times, as if evil is still holding all the trump cards, given the number of tyrants, dictators and various other persons who would do evil as part of their domination of their portions of the world.


While I do not always agree with cartoonist David Horsey's point of view, I do have to state with absolute conviction that he often states opinions which truly need to be heard, whether you nor I are accepting of them or in agreement thereto. This morning, he depicts Gadhafi in death, by stating all tyrants stand on shifting sand which, when you come to think of it, is both pretty concise and accurate.


The rest of living life as a tyrant is how long you manage to survive before someone bigger comes along and puts you out of commission. So the real question about life and living is are we willing to stand on that evil foundation of shifting sand or do we always search for the solid ground of goodness?


Libya's future seems all the more uncertain despite Gadhafi's death. Of course your interpretation of this may differ.



Who benefits from Cain’s 9-9-9 tax overhaul?

Good morning, Netizens…


In his cartoon this morning, cartoonist David Horsey takes a shot at Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain, suggesting he is no traitor to Republican causes. What I have found most interesting in Cain's candidacy is that, if selected as the Republican Party Presidential Candidate, which I do not necessarily believe will happen, we would quite possibly end up with two African-American candidates on the Presidential ballot for the first time in American history. Sure, why not?


In Cain's televised appearances, I have been noticing over time more and more African-Americans in the audiences, something that has captured my imagination. Would they have been present at what is a Republican function were it not for Cain's ethnicity? I cannot help but wonder how many of them were staunchly Democrats in the past and switched sides.


Then there is David Horsey's point, that being Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax overhaul. Will it positively impact hedge fund managers? Or, as I feel possible, will 9-9-9 tax the daylights out of the middle class? I'll readily concur that the IRS tax code needs an overhaul, but is 9-9-9 the answer? I don't think so.


I do think Herman Cain might be the Republican candidate who would bring much-needed change to the lily-white Republican Party, and that might not be such a bad thing. Will it happen on my watch? Once again, I don't think so. Of course, your results may differ.



Is Gadhafi dead?

Good morning, Netizens…


Pandemonium is the order of the day in Libya, which comes as no surprise, given their high level of political unrest. However this morning, depending upon your trusted news service, Muammar Gaddafi has either been captured and seriously wounded, perhaps in his legs, or from other sources, may already be dead. CNN at 5:35 AM local time just showed a picture ostensibly from AFP, of Gaddafi's dead body. His death was also independently verified by CNN, which brings us no closer to the truth.


All I can say is “good riddance”. Your results, of course, may differ.



Zealots are more scary than Mormons…

Good evening, Netizens…


I have become more angry than ever before with the latest ration of “I am a Mormon” advertisements hitting our local airwaves. However, I admit to have several negative predispositions about Mormonism and their members. However, lest some of my detractors stand up and begin waving their arms much like a Queen Mary Verner re-election campaign committee meeting, I will add nearly any religious zealotry affects me the same way.


I am old enough to remember in past decades when the word from the Mormon Church was that no persons of color, including black people, could not become members in good standing in the LDS. I have always pondered the implications of the revelation from God to the Church President that changed all this. I also ponder the fact that once that particular revelation was made manifest, Brigham Young University almost immediately began granting scholarships to black athletes. The practices of black exclusion continued in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) until September 30, 1978, when the highest bodies of church leadership lifted the ban on African membership after stating they had received a revelation from God.


I also have also got some pretty gritty distinct memories of the backhanded acceptance by the official LDS church in Salt Lake City of the so-called “Jack Mormons” who still practiced plural marriages up to the 1980's. It is only in the last few years the Feds have begun legal action against polygamists.


Just so I keep this diatribe even-handed, during my travels through the Deep South, I also encountered several Christian groups, including several that practiced such things as snake handling and faith healing, both of which I accord much the same validity as the Mormon Church's past history.


Cartoonist David Horsey takes what I believe to be a very accurate view of the Mormon Church. Rather than chew out Mitt Romney for ostensibly not being a Christian, nor even to take umbrage with him for running to become President of the United States, he states in this cartoon that religious zealots are more scary than Mormons.


Having known various flavors of religious zealots, I couldn't agree more. Yes, I do believe Mormonism is a cult, but some religious zealots make Mormons look good by comparison. Of course, your opinions may differ.



The demise iof an old friend…

Good morning, Netizens…


King CJ the cat was my constant companion for nearly 15 years; as my wife sadly observed, he had been a beloved member of our extended family nearly longer than she and I have been married. We knew his end was near after he ate some fiberglass and suddenly stopped eating entirely for nearly a week straight. Old cats, particularly do not react well to eating fiberglass; it is deadly to their digestive tracts, but more than that, old cats cannot live very long without eating. That is perhaps way more information than you wanted to know, right?


During the week that just ended, given my frustrating work load, having CJ in constant pain, piteously crying out with considerably frequency, it hurt to see my old friend vocalizing and unable to do more than commiserate. It is a given, I hate watching any animal suffer, but especially an old friend makes for a painful experience.


After nearly two weeks attempting to hand-feed CJ, including baby food and tuna cocktails via a syringe, and when my poor old friend no longer could raise his head unassisted, we finally took him to the vet and had him put down.


There is now a burial plot in our back yard near the entrance to the Garden Gnome community, and an empty place in our hearts that will take time to fill.


Rest easy old friend.



High Society

Hmmm, I just noticed my Yahoo highlight of the day,, “America's Most Expensive Zip Codes” where some of the properties are 34 million.  (I can't even do that many zeroes in my head - and can you really call something that costs 34 million a “house”?)

If you have a gazillion dollars to spend on a place to live - can you call it “home”?   If you live in a mansion (and I'm assuming that if you do - you won't be reading my little paltry post anyway so it doesn't really matter), can you lounge in your jammies on the couch, with your feet on the coffee table, and eat cinnamon-sugar toast without worrying about crumbs?  Do you scratch your belly and burp with a feeling of satisfaction that you have started your day with total abandon of any polite mannerisms?

Does your dog get to sit on the couch and snuggle next to you?  Do you even have a couch?  

My house could fit in your 700 square foot bathroom - the one that you don't use.  You probably wouldn't even notice me - except that I would have to use your front door to get in and out - but I could use the backdoor along with your “staff.”  

Does a 34 million dollar “home” increase your peace and contentment?  Do you really need a vacation to “get out of Dodge”?

OK, then, I'm just going to, um, go back to my humble little cubby hole, just off the railroad tracks, next to the neighborhood dog kennel.


Is this the future of modern love?

Good morning, Netizens…


Cartoonist David Horsey takes a look at modern love in the electronic world of today, and and it perhaps couldn't be more accurate, given our reliance and dependence upon our Ipads, Iphones and other ghastly electronic devices. I'm not even certain modern-day kids still communicate with one another without their favorite electronic device as an interface for romance.


This has got to be a generational thing. In my generation, you sought out members of the opposite gender, and took your chances and talked with them, face-to-face. Sometimes you actually found someone of a like mind and your bodies were at least compatible. In radical cases you even fell in love and got married or maybe not.


Although we may have asked the question, “was that good for you?” at some point of our elopement or love development, we simply asked it face-to-face. The truth was sometimes as elusive as it might be online back then; at least we had an answer.


I am even worried about the number of twenty-somethings that are expecting to find romance online, in such places as Facebook and Twitter. I'm so old-fashioned I met my spouse in church on a Sunday morning. Talk about quaint!


So how will the next generation communicate in their most-intimate moments? That, according to David Horsey, might be a scary moment in the future. We might even revert back to the old-fashioned way of doing things. Of course, your results may differ.



The hard-earned wisdom of Steve Jobs…

Good morning, Netizens…


David Horsey takes a brief review of the life of the late Steve Jobs in Jobs' own words.



A new sheriff is in town…

Good morning, Netizens…


Cartoonist David Horsey asks a good question this morning. After al-Qaida propagandist and mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki was targeted and killed by a U.S. drone, libertarians insisted his assassination was unconstitutional. Or was it? Critics on both the Left and Right, from the ACLU to Republican Ron Paul all state al-Awlaki should have been arrested and put on trial, not killed by executive order.


Obama's rebuttal is that al-Awlaki was an operative in a group at war with our country, and therefore a fair target. I cannot think of an individual more deserving of this fate for much the same reason I approved killing bin Laden.


Nevertheless it is good to ask such questions. Technology has given our government the capacity for targeted killings and, in a war where the enemy is not a country, but a shadowy confederation of lawless zealots, extralegal remedies are a tempting option.


Just because we fight in a moral twilight, we must do all we can to resist the lure of darkness.





Visionaries in the next generation?

Good morning, Netizens…

Yesterday one of America's truly great visionaries, Steve Jobs who made the Apple Computer stand tall along with the Iphone, Ipad, Imac and Itunes that he created, died of cancer.

I am not going to tread heavily upon the passage of Jobs, for there are enough plaudits and praises already being heaped upon his head nearly everywhere you look. He was a profoundly creative man, who turned his ideas into one of America's biggest corporations and did so with class and reverence for his family.

Yet, in retrospect, I cannot help but observe that in our great country we are watching the demise of visionaries, that we no longer are seeing new utopian thinkers entering society, much less are we seeing men and women of such moral stature.

Having used Apple computer products for over several decades, I must maintain a high degree of reverence for everything Steve Jobs created in his life. He will be sorely missed, and I wonder when or if a new generation of visionaries will appear to take his place.


Amanda Knox walks free…

Good morning, Netizens…


As of yesterday, Amanda Knox is once again home in Seattle, free from the Italian prison system that held her for over four years under what some was flimsy forensic DNA evidence. The Italian Appeals Court found enough evidence to dismiss all charges against Knox, although that ruling is already being appealed to the Italian Supreme Court. Where that goes, nobody knows. All I know is the appeals process cost her family a veritable fortune which is not as it should be. However, such things happen, both in Italy and the United States every day. It costs a lot of money to go to court, at whatever level you want.


Today's Cartoonist David Horsey depicts Amanda Knox stumbling forth from the horrific labyrinth of the Italian Court system and my first thought was how similar the news media have treated both Amanda Knox and Casey Anthony in Florida. By nature we tend to be insatiably curious about young women, especially if they have been on trial for particularly sordid or salacious murders. Yesterday, the national, regional and international news media created a traffic jam outside Seattle's airport, and to what end? We do not know any more about what took place in Italy now than we did before the sensational trial and appeal.


I'll grant the similarity between the Italian court trial and Florida's Casey Anthony's murder trial is pretty sloppy, if not nonexistent. What is particularly sad is that I do not believe, for a minute, that we will ever know the truth about what happened in either case, and after all, justice is supposed to be a search for the truth. Right?


Did Casey Anthony kill her daughter? Did Amanda Knox know or participate in her roommate's savage murder? I don't know whether the public will ever know the truth about either case. There are too many high-priced lawyers between us and the facts, and what is presented as the facts is subject to whatever mouthpiece happens to speak at the moment.


The courts and their minions have spoken. Justice has been served. I am truly sorry for the victims.


Of course, your results may differ.



Queen Mary stonewalls KREM-2…

Good morning, Netizens…

Photo: KREM-2 News. Not in my face you don't!

According to KREM.COM's web site, Queen Mary Verner still has a terse “no comment” regarding Tim Durkin's statements made about her Frequently Asked Questions.


In court documents filed on September 28th, Federal Prosecutor Tim Durkin accused Mayor Verner of handing out “patently false statements” in the Zehm case. Durkin referenced a list of frequently asked questions handed out by Mayor Verner at a news conference on September 9th that said City of Spokane attorneys met with Federal Prosecutors in 2009. In court documents Durkin said that meeting never happened.


KREM 2 News crews tried three times in two days to get a response from the City of Spokane, including an attempted interview outside Truth Ministries where Queen Mary was appearing Friday night.


According to—130898193.html KREM also attempted to interview Rocky Treppiedi and Howard Delaney (who were listed on the FAQ sheet as having attended the meeting in 2009 with Federal Prosecutors) on Friday about whether or not they attended a meeting with the Federal Prosecutors, but their receptionist said they had no comment. 


Stonewalling is no answer. Queen Mary, Rocky Treppiedi and Howard Delaney need to step up to the microphone and state what they know.



The Huffington Post overview of the SR.,.,,

Good morning, Netizens…


It isn't everyday that you read a well-written piece about the Spokesman-Review and the Cowles family but if you read this morning's Huffington Post you can gain an insight into the history of the SR as seen through the eyes of Huffington Post.


William Stimson, a journalism professor at Eastern Washington University, is quoted as saying, “We can be somewhat prissy around here,” Professor Stimson said in an interview. “But we are very lucky to have this paper.”


In a day and age when most newspapers of size comparable to the Spokesman-Review are either shuttering their doors entirely or selling out to other conglomerates of one kind or another, there is hope the paper will stay in family hands long after the other papers are gone. That is because the Cowles have diversified their assets over the generations.


It should be noted that the topic of Cowles' college-age son's senior project in high school was The future of journalism. Another generation of Cowles stands at the doorway of change getting ready to assume the future roll of newspaper journalism.



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