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Archive for January 2012

The Newt and Mitt show…

Good morning, Netizens…


Nothing could be more boring than the Screen Actor's Guild awards, right?

However, according to David Horsey, the SAG should give a special award for the best reality TV show to the Republican presidential debates to spice things up a bit.

 No actors in Hollywood were more adept at revising their lines and juggling their personas than Newt and Mitt. No screenwriter created characters more wonderfully preposterous than Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Perry. No series had more unlikely plot twists.

And the budget for this show? Limitless — the envy of every cash-strapped producer in show business.


Implications if Gingrich wins Florida…

Good morning, Netizens…


If you haven't been watching the debates between the Republican front-runners in the various primaries back East, you may have missed one of the truly great moments in political history. Apparently, Newt Gingrich's win in South Carolina over Mitt Romney has a lot of Republicans rattling in their cages, according to David Horsey's cartoon this morning.


Several high-ranking Republicans have already made statements to the media that they are very nervous about what would happen if Newt Gingrich should take the Florida primary. Some Republicans have suggested Gingrich cannot win the nomination at any cost. He will destroy the party. He will reelect Barack Obama and they’ll be ruined.”


If you can believe some of the Florida polls, Gingrich has edged ahead of Mitt Romney, although by a slim margin. Thus this morning's cartoon may have strong implications in the near-future. We may have to put up with Gingrich's attitude.


This could be interesting. Of course, your results may differ.



Giving the President a piece of her mind?

Good morning, Netizens…


I'm perhaps a little late picking up on this, but I still feel it is a worthwhile venture. Do you remember the picture of President Obama having a brief verbal spat with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in Phoenix Wednesday? Apparently in a book she wrote called “Scorpions for Breakfast” the governor wrote about a meeting she had with the President back in June 2010. In her book, Governor Brewer refers to Obama's style as as “patronizing and condescending”.


Apparently that characterization went over poorly with President Obama, hence the picture in various media sources of Governor Brewer jabbing her finger at the President. Cartoonist David Horsey did not waste any time delivering on such a rich opportunity and captured what I believe is a good possible characterization of what was said on the tarmac.


The two are at odds over Arizona's new immigration law that requires law enforcement officers to demand identity papers of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. That, and other sections of the law, are being challenged in the Supreme Court by Obama's Justice Department.


Apparently President Obama took Governor Brewer's tirade in stride and simply walked away. Maybe next time she won't be invited to attend a function involving President Obama. D'ya think?



Is this a harmless coincidence?

Good morning, Netizens…


Is this a coincidence or not?


I've never met Tom Clouse, a reporter for the Spokesman-Review, although if I did manage to meet him, I'd thank him for the good job he did covering the Otto Zehm trial in far-off Yakima, maybe even take him out for coffee. He led the Spokesman’s coverage of Otto Zehm’s death at the hands of Spokane police and the subsequent trial and conviction of Officer Karl F. Thompson.


While he was covering the trial in Yakima, somebody stole his big Ford F-250 from his driveway, and looted his entire house, from top to bottom. All kinds of stuff missing: a World War II sidearm, his late wife's jewelry, Bic lighters and perhaps more. According to the Inlander story, one of the ostensible burglars even gnawed on a piece of purloined cheese from the kitchen and left the remnants on the crime scene. As you can perhaps tell, we really have high-class health-conscious burglars here in Spokane.


To his credit, Clouse did attempt to get the Spokane Police to take evidence from the crime scene for DNA testing, but police, even the FBI, refused. According to the Inlander story, they haven't even gotten around to sending the fingerprints out for testing. I'd be steamed if I was the victim.


The $42,000 in losses at Clouse's house were all covered by insurance. That won't bring back all of his late wife's jewelry, her mother’s jewelry and grandmother’s jewelry, including the wedding rings. There was already a big hole in Clouse's life because he recently observed the second anniversary of his late wife's death. Of course if you are a crook, you hit a man when he's down, before he can stand up and face you.


But the Clouse burglary is only one of what I think is more than a coincidence.


Burglars also ostensibly hit Attorney Breean Beggs, who has represented the Otto Zehm family since 2009, as was civil attorney Jeffry Finer.


None of the usual talking heads, including Mayor David Condon, will meaningfully comment on the likelihood that these crimes against three people who have worked exhaustively on the Otto Zehm case, could possibly be retribution.


Is this a coincidence? It certainly doesn't seem that way, does it? Of course, your results may differ. Portions of this story were excerpted all or in part from The Inlander.



Another do-nothing commission?

Good afternoon, Netizens…

To their good credit, the City Fathers, both past and present, have united in their efforts, and created a police use of force commission will soon be able to convene and examine how the Spokane Police Department uses force. The members of this commission are:


Earl Martin former Gonzaga Law School Dean, Executive VP, Gonzaga

Bill Hyslop Attorney and former US Attorney

Ivan Bush Spokane Public Schools’ equal opportunity officer

Susan Hammond director of outpatient and psychiatric services for Spokane Mental Health

Gerry Alexander retired Chief Justice, Washington State Supreme Court


You might think that with a roster of heavyweights such as these fine people that the Spokane Police Department will agree with whatever changes the commission feels need to be made.


Oh, I forgot the airtight grasp the Spokane Police Guild has on Spokane. The last time anyone tried to improve the SPD, such as creating the office of the Ombudsman, the Guild put the kibosh on that faster than you can get George McGrath to contribute to the Joe Shogun thank you card for all his years of service.


I wouldn't sign it either. I may be old and befuddled but I haven't started pushing mountain flowers yet.



Five days in and quitting..,.

Good afternoon, Netizens…


I have crossed many divides in my 66 year course through life, but this morning, I am already five days not smoking, and although I like it not, there are side effects of the pharmaceutical and of course the urge to light up. I've quit smoking three times cold turkey, and fell back off the wagon shortly thereafter. That being said, I am down to four cigarettes a day. I made the New Years resolution to do this and now with the aid of modern pharmacology, I'm going to beat this habit.


In case you noticed, I've been a little absent lately, not posting near so much. That's because my hands shake so badly I cannot type very well, one of the side-effects of Wellbutrin, a mini-psychotropic that helps kill the habit of smoking, among other things.


It is almost funny, I can sit in my Great Chair and rattle right along like an old codger with palsy. However, the side effect is getting better as my body adapts to the drug. I would imagine I will be up to snuff in a few days, all without smoking any more obnoxious cigarettes.



Winter arrives, and with it joy in chaos…

Good morning, Netizens…


It's here! It's here!


After nearly a week spent forecasting doom and gloom about winter snowfall coming and destroying most lifeforms in the Pacific Northwest, the snow actually began arriving, bringing with it winter, just yesterday. Almost immediately the streets began more closely resembling skating rinks than public thoroughfares. Before anyone construes that I am casting aspersions on the good character of Spokane Public Works Department snow removal technicians, much less our new Mayor, it typically takes a few days of snow piled hock-deep on the middle of our street before I begin growling to myself.


We haven't gotten that far YET. We have a few people who haven't learned (or remembered) how to drive on snowy roads. A four-wheel-drive does not automatically give you the right to drive at ludicrous speeds on icy streets anytime of your choosing. There is a law for that: it is called gravity, and you might do well to heed it before driving too fast on the roads today.


Egads, it's winter. Finally. Now everybody can quit bitching about how we haven't had any winter weather.



Who is in touch with ordinary people?

Good morning, Netizens…


Is Mitt Romney really a man with the touch for the common people?


Cartoonist David Horsey certainly portrays the question in his cartoon this morning or, as David Horsey observes, is Romney just another out-of-touch rich guy?


Come to think of it, I cannot come up with one political candidate who has the touch for the common people. Can you? Of course, your opinions may differ.



Santorum and Gingrich woo Tea Party…

Good morning, Netizens…


Here from the illustrious pen of David Horsey, we feature what happens when Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum descend upon the Tea Party members of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.


Why is it that Gingrich and Santorum are reading from the same right wing prophecies? Or was I was the only person in the Pacific Northwest listening to their debate on the television?


To hear them tell, the only ways to save America from certain destruction and perdition is to elect a real conservative, thus eliminating Barak Obama from office before he takes us into socialism.


I've never met either Gingrich nor Santorum, let alone President Obama. However I have read in the Declaration of Independence where it says that Power comes to each of us, as citizens, and is inalienable. Neither of these two candidates appear to be speaking for God, although they certainly are trying to make it appear that way. Of course, your results may differ.



Upon the birthday of Martin Luther King…

Good morning, Netizens…


I spent most of yesterday observing the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King if not with a sense of obligation or even public service. I observed the holiday quietly, in retrospect and with a strong sense of the history which few others may have because of their relative youth.


Although I never witnessed Dr. King in any of his many speeches, I certainly visited the Deep South during a time in its history that still rests in my heart as one of the most disheartening, sad and bitter times. I still remember seeing the ugly “Whites Only” signs in nearly all public facilities. I also was told by many people, most of whom also came from the North, to avoid getting involved in any of the demonstrations that were frequently taking place.


In retrospect, I either didn't have the guts to stand up for my beliefs, or else I was smart enough to realize I very well could end up in jail (most likely on trumped-up charges) or worse. I developed a strong sense of avoidance during the early years of Segregation; avoiding controversy, any potential charges of racial favoritism, and always being careful where I parked at night.


Still, despite avoiding controversy of all kinds, I did manage to meet and know many people of color along the road, and they seemed to understand the quandary I found myself in. It seems in retrospect that if I met and greeted someone down south with gentle decency and kindness I nearly always received the same treatment wherever I was.


I cannot forget the courage of Dr. King, who based upon my memories of that time, had a vision of the future which still has not been fulfilled all these many years later. I once had high hopes that I would see that dream of which he spoke being fulfilled in my lifetime. Now, at the age of 66, I no longer believe that is true. But my children and perhaps their children may have learned from our past.



Ex-Mayor Wants to Rob the Public!!!

To borrow from Doug Clark from today's Spokesman Review, “I’m hotter than a car hood baking under a July sun” over ex-mayor Queen Mary requesting back pay from us village people.


Since when does someone get a hefty pension after working merely four years.  And since when can she not save a portion of her $100,000 a year salary for the future!  It just plain irks me.  And our lovely City Council will probably act like a bunch of dumb sheep, jumping off a cliff one after the other, and fulfill her request.

Queen Mary offered to set a precedent by keeping her salary at a “modest” $100,000 a year.  Now she changes her mind just because she was snubbed at the election.  Give me a break.

I have been unemployed for the last two years, living on a meager $14,000 a year on disability.  My family is dependent on this income.  

Hey, Mary!  I have no sympathy for you.  We are in a depression here.  Go get a job at Walmart.  Quit robbing me!

IMHO - Jeanie

Are Twinkies dead?

Good morning, Netizens…


Everyone has heard of Hostess Twinkies, right? Failing that, at least most people have heard of or indulged in Hostess Wonder bread at one time or another in their lives.


Well, huddle up next to your video monitor, because Wednesday of this week according to the Wall Street Journal, Hostess is filing for bankruptcy again in as many years. Bad economic times combined with long-term debt has led to the Twinkies brand going under.


According to several unverified sources, Twinkies have been around for nearly 80 years. No matter how you look at it, when history as we know it comes to a close, perhaps as soon as next year, will some unknown life form ponder what the Twinkie was or is? One bite, and perhaps they, too, will be hooked.


Of course, if you absolutely worship the taste of Hostess Twinkies, perhaps your opinion of Hostess's bankruptcy will differ and you might be in a semi-permanent state of mourning.



Why is Romney sporting mom jeans?

Good morning, Netizens…


Try as I might, I admit to being terribly unknowing when it comes to what the hell Mom Jeans are. When cartoonist David Horsey poked fun at candidate Mitt Romney for wearing Mom Jeans, I had no idea what he was talking about, but thank the Internet for setting me to rights. Ewww! Those jeans are truly hard on my eyes, especially when Romney is attempting to portray himself as a man of the people.


Okay, so what the hell are mom jeans and why is Mitt Romney wearing them? David Horsey defines mom jeans as high-waisted denims cut wide to accommodate the ample hips, thighs and posteriors of American mothers too busy driving their kids to soccer games to find time for a personal trainer. As I quickly found out, there are a couple of online photo galleries devoted to images of Romney in mom jeans. There are videos, too, several of which were pretty funny. And it has become a topic on Twitter. Egods, those jeans are truly hard on the eyes, but I said that already.


So just why is Mitt Romney putting on this costume? Perhaps he is simply trying to portray himself as more the man of the people rather than a multi-millionaire Mormon. He is perhaps doing his part to help the American public forget who he once was.


If so, American voters would do well to remember Mitt Romney for who he really is, especially in light of his recent comments about how he loves to fire people that work for him. I don't know which is more troublesome: Mitt Romney in mom jeans or Mitt Romney who loves firing people.


I guess until we get to the bottom line of who Mitt Romney is, I will simply pass on him as a serious political candidate. Of course, your choices may differ.



The Snake Pit closes…


Good morning, Netizens…

The Snake Pit is closed.

For several years, Suzie and I have become fond of traveling to Enaville, Idaho to a quaint place affectionately called The Snake Pit, AKA The Enaville Resort, for meals and conversation. During that time we have become fond of Joe and Mary Peak, its co-owners, and become enamored of its history and some of the tall tales associated with its lengthy past.


Established in 1880, over the years the Snake Pit has been a hotel (the Clark Hotel), a restaurant, a bawdy house and bar. Some of the finest tall tales we have heard about the Snake Pit evolved from the mining days, when the ladies of the evening regularly transacted their business upstairs of the bar. Back in those days, before they had indoor plumbing, they had privies out back and water snakes were a regular in the bar.


The Snake Pit has served as a hotel, railroad layover, and …a few girls. . Looking at the façade out front, you can see the skull of a bull with horns, and two red light bulbs for eyes.  Guess who was available when the eyes lit up? (The owners didn’t know this until about 1990, when someone mentioned it, and they got up in the attic to find an electric cord running from a switch in the front room upstairs!).

It remains to be seen when or if the Snake Pit will reopen. It is truly a sad time for those who have become fond of the old place.


Court rules against Shannon Sullivan…

Good morning, Netizens…


Yesterday Shannon Sullivan's efforts to recall Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Tucker landed on the legal rocks, unfortunately. Judge Craig Matheson, of Benton and Franklin counties, said four recall charges drafted by Shannon Sullivan were insufficient and that one of the four lacked a basis of knowledge, and thus Sullivan's attempt to recall Tucker were rejected by the court.


It takes a special kind of courage to stand tall before the courts and take a public stand on contentious public issues, but Shannon Sullivan does not seem to be lacking in that brand of spirit, based upon her previous recall effort against the late Spokane Mayor Jim West in 2005.


Judge Matheson stated that his decision can be reviewed by the State Supreme court if they chose to do so, although it remains to be seen whether Shannon Sullivan will pursue this further.


According to KXLY-News, after the ruling, Sullivan stated, “Is it the end? I'm not certain,”


It also remains to be seen whether Steve Tucker will be able to acquire enough votes from various luminaries at The Globe Bar and Grill in downtown Spokane to get re-elected, since, based upon my limited experience, that establishment appears to be one of Tucker's favorite places to hold forth his opinions, legal and otherwise.


It is time, in my opinion, for the public to move on past Steve Tucker, to hire a prosecuting attorney with the temerity and boldness to stand up for the public they serve.



Mayor Condon appoints Acting Police Chief…

Good morning, Netizens…


Yesterday Mayor David Condon appointed appointed Maj. Scott Stephens interim police chief and announced plans to review the department’s use-of-force policies and training. Stevens replaces former Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, who retired effective Monday, at a time when the Spokane Police Department is suffering from morale and deep division among the ranks and poor confidence from the public.


According to the Spokesman-Review, Stephens, as a lieutenant, supervised the department’s major crimes division during the 2006 police examination into Zehm’s death, an investigation that federal officials openly described as flawed. He also oversaw the division when two detectives were called to investigate an alleged rape at a Spokane fire station in 2006. The detectives directed the accused firefighter, who claimed sexual activity with the 16-year-old girl was consensual, to delete photos of the partially naked girl from his cellphone. The detectives claimed they were protecting the girl from inadvertent dissemination of the photos. Critics said the decision destroyed potential evidence.


Former Police Chief Roger Bragdon is quoted as saying that Stephens is a man of good character, a statement that is troublesome to some of the public, however no one has stepped forward to contradict Bragdon's statement.


Assistant City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi will no longer serve as the legal adviser to the Spokane Police Department. Under the City Charter, Treppiedi serves at the pleasure of the City Attorney, not Mayor Condon. However, it remains to be seen if City Attorney Howard Delaney will keep his job under the new regime. Mayor Condon has said he will re-evaluate his team of administrators currently in place at the end of 120 days, and thus Delaney may step down from office, as well.


As viewed from over the back fence, Mayor Condon has begun a good start toward restoring public trust in the Spokane Police Department. It is a good start, but Spokane still has a long way to go to completely restore faith in the department.


We will watch and see where Mayor Condon's leadership takes us in the future.



Short version of the news…

Good morning, Netizens!


A belated Happy New Year to you and yours!


I freely admit that, for my part and that of my wife, we avoided the crowds and mayhem of the New Years celebrations throughout Spokane. At the recently-arrived age of 66 years of age, I did not feel like putting up with the madness nor was I particularly enamored of watching New Years Eve fireworks. I briefly woke up from a sound slumber when the big sky bombs went off at midnight, then promptly went back to sleep. After all, my days nearly always begin at three or four AM each day, which means staying up past Midnight is out of the question.


In today's news although the Los Angeles Fire Department investigators suggest they have a person of interest in custody in a series of arson fires, it should be noted that even after they took this person of interest into custody yesterday, the arson fires continued. That suggests to me that they need to continue searching.


Sadly, we also have the shooting death of a Park Ranger at Mount Rainier National Forest. The Rangers, Pierce County, FBI and various other law enforcement officers have no clue where Benjamin Colton Barnes, the person responsible for killing Ranger Margaret Anderson, might be hiding. Ranger Anderson leaves two children and her husband, also a Ranger in the Mount Rainier, in her wake.


However, we saved the best for last. The sun is up, the sky momentarily clear and it is forecast to be near 40 today. Some winter!



President Obama passes National Defense Authorization Law…

Good morning, Netizens…


Ye Gods, President Obama has signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law. This is a beastly piece of legislation that would make indefinite military detention of American Citizens okay without trial so long as there is a war on Terror.


He insists he would not use the powers of this law. However, as various civil liberties advocates point out that once the provisions are law, however, they will be available to a President such as Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney or any future more right-wing, conservative president, who could choose to use the powers granted more aggressively. Any hope we, as citizens, may have once had that the Obama administration would roll back the constitutional excesses of George Bush in the war on terror was vacated today.


What a way to start the new year!


If you are an independent thinker, someone who thinks and speaks their mind freely, you could be in dire straits because, depending upon your mindset, you could become considered a terrorist, especially if the political spectrum swings wider to the right, which it may do.


Isn't this a dangerous and silly law?



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