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Community Comment

Archive for May 2012

Heroes in our midst…


Good morning, Netizens…


The morning's picture: Members of Rolling Thunder salute during the presentation of colors during the annual Rolling Thunder rally on the National Mall ahead of Memorial Day in Washington, Sunday, May 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)


Here we are at Memorial Day, and as most of the country salutes our troops from various wars, I could not help but pass on a story handed to me by Marshall Smith, himself a veteran.







Captain Kangaroo passed away on January 23, 2004, at age 76 , which is odd, because he always looked to

be 76. (DOB: 6/27/27) His death reminded me of the following story:


Some people have been a bit offended that the actor, Lee Marvin, is buried in a grave alongside 3 and 4-star generals at Arlington National Cemetery.


His marker gives his name, rank (PVT) and service (USMC). Nothing else. Here's a guy who was only a famous

movie star who served his time. Why the heck does he rate burial with these guys? Well, following is the amazing answer:

I always liked Lee Marvin, but didn't know the extent of his Corps experiences.


In a time when many Hollywood stars served their country in the armed forces often in rear echelon posts where they were carefully protected, only to be trotted out to perform for the cameras in war bond promotions, Lee Marvin was a genuine hero.


He won the Navy Cross at Iwo Jima. There is only one higher Naval award…the Medal Of Honor!


If that is a surprising comment on the true character of the man, he credits his sergeant with an even greater show of bravery. The following is a dialog from “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” His guest was Lee Marvin…


Johnny said, “Lee, I'll bet a lot of people are unaware that you were a Marine in the initial landing at Iwo Jima… and that during the course of that action, you earned the Navy Cross and were severely wounded.”


“Yeah, yeah… I got shot square in the bottom and they gave me the Cross for securing a hot spot about halfway up Suribachi. Bad thing about getting shot up on a mountain is guys getting shot hauling you down. But, Johnny, at Iwo, I served under the bravest man I ever knew…We both got the Cross the same day, but what he did for his Cross made mine look cheap in comparison.


That dumb guy actually stood up on Red Beach and directed his troops to move forward and get the hell off the beach. Bullets were flying by, with mortar rounds landing everywhere, and he stood there as the main target of gunfire so he could get his men to safety. He did this on more than one occasion because his men's safety was more important than his own life.


That Sergeant and I have been lifelong friends. When they brought me off Suribachi, we passed the Sergeant and he lit a smoke and passed it to me, lying on my belly on the litter and said, “Where'd they get you Lee?” I told him, “Well Bob… if you make it home before me, tell Mom to sell the outhouse!”


Johnny, I'm not lying, Sergeant Keeshan was the bravest man I ever knew. The Sergeant's name is Bob Keeshan.

You and the world know him as Captain Kangaroo.”

On another note, there was this wimpy little man on PBS, gentle and quiet. Mr. Rogers (who has now passed away) is another of those you would least suspect of being anything but what he portrayed to our youth.

But Mr. Rogers was a U.S. Navy Seal, combat-proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name. He wore a long-sleeved sweater on TV, to cover the many tattoos on his forearms and biceps. He was a master in small arms and hand-to-hand combat, able to disarm or kill in a heartbeat.


After the war Mr. Rogers became an ordained Presbyterian minister and therefore a pacifist. Vowing to never harm another human and also dedicating the rest of his life to trying to help lead children on the right path in life… He hid away the tattoos and his past life and won our hearts with his quiet wit and charm.


America 's real heroes don't flaunt what they did; they quietly go about their day-to-day lives, doing what they do best. They earned our respect and the freedoms that we all enjoy. Look around and see if you can find one of those heroes in your midst.


Often, they are the ones you'd least suspect, but would most like to have on your side if anything ever happened.


Take the time to thank anyone who has fought for our freedom. With encouragement they could be the next Captain Kangaroo or Mr. Rogers!


Send this on. Nothing will happen to you if you don't, but if you do share it, you will be awakening others to what a HERO is made of…


This is something to think about and ponder on Memorial Day.



The art of procreation…

Good morning, Netizens…


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, moms who are Latino, Asian, African American or mixed race are now giving birth to just over 50% of American babies. When you look at the numbers, the median age of European heritage is 42 while Latinos is 28. The median for Asians and blacks falls somewhere around 33. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that younger people make more babies, and thus this trend toward a multicultural nation will continue to grow.


When these children of color grow up, these babies will be working hard to pay for the Medicare and Social Security benefits for old farts like me and cartoonist David Horsey. According to Horsey, it probably would be a good idea to pay close attention to the quality of K-12 education these children receive, and thus prepare them for the future they are about to inherit.


There isn't much doubt that America is changing. I know this bothers the hell out of some Americans, but David Horsey says, and I totally agree, that we need to pull our heads out of the sand, stop living in the outdated definitions of “Real Americans” and do everything within our power to bring these new babies into the new world and thus into the great American family.


Of course, the only other alternative is that we aging folks of European heritage might redevelop a new interest in procreation. Of course, that might scare the daylights out of our grandkids, wouldn't it?



The City and the Zehm family settle…

Good morning, Netizens…


At least viewing from the outside, the Otto Zehm debacle is over after last night's City Council meeting, when the Council unanimously ratified a $1.67 million dollar settlement with the Zehm family. Aside from the money, the Zehm family will receive a letter of apology from the city of Spokane and a promise to require further crisis intervention training for police officers. The deal also includes a recommendation for crisis intervention training for all police officers within the next two years, up to $50,000 for a consultant to advise the City on its use-of-force policies, and a recommendation for the Spokane Park Board to name a pavilion in Zehm's honor. These additional agreements bring the estimated value of the settlement to $2 million.


I also believe that all the police officers who stood and saluted Karl Thompson should individually and collectively write letter(s) of apology to Ann Zehm for their unconscionable behavior on behalf of the City of Spokane and the Police Guild.


What is somewhat disheartening to me are the number of people online who still feel that former police officer Karl Thompson, who was found guilty of beating Otto Zehm and zapping him with a taser should receive a new trial. In watching the videotape of the beating of Otto Zehm, does anyone have a clear sense of why police beat Zehm so savagely? He was, according to court testimony, armed with a plastic Pepsi bottle, which police testimony attempted to portray as a “lethal weapon”.


I am glad the City and the Zehm family were able to reach this agreement, and that after nearly six long years, the Zehm family will receive a letter of apology as part of the agreement. I am also glad that Attorney Rocky Treppiedi is no longer involved with the Spokane Police Department or City Hall. There are a lot of things I am glad about, the least of which is the Otto Zehm affair appears to finally be over.



It’s about time!

Good morning, Netizens…


I've been waiting patiently as all the various members of the news media have danced a fandango over the proposed settlement between the City of Spokane and the Otto Zehm family, but I still have not seen anyone with either the honesty or temerity to state on the public record WHO was factually responsible for the mess our current city government finds itself in. Was it, as most seem to assume, a band of renegade police officers and commanders who failed to follow good policies regarding the abuse of authority? Or, was it the shadow land governance of the Police Guild responsible for most of what has gone wrong with the police? There are, in fact, a lot of others in City Hall who by their lack of honesty who could easily be considered at fault, but who are they?


I remember with some clarity the first time I coined the phrase “Queen Mary” referring to our former mayor with a somewhat unprofessional bit of journalistic backhand humor. My insight, at the time, was that Queen Mary wanted so badly to be the “Queen of the Prom” she forgot who it was who voted her into office, all except for a select few of her friends and political allies. Queen Mary loved appearing in the public eye, so long as no one asked her any really “tough” questions. Perhaps that is the primary reason why she was a one-term Mayor after all.


Then there was former Assistant City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi, who I believe spent more time abusing citizens of Spokane than he did seeking justice for anyone other than the ruling faction(s) in City Hall, and I, for one, am glad he is no longer part of our City Government.


Include at least two former Mayors, a handful of City Council members, including Joe Shogun, a handful of lower-level administrators, lawyers and other luminaries and you just about have the picture. I had very little reason to trust any of these people. They tried unsuccessfully to make Otto Zehm appear guilty. They lied.


As in any case where the powers and authorities of the city government are involved, regardless how messy they might be, the underlying question that always seems to remain is just when can I start trusting our city government? Some members of the news media are right: this isn't about the money. They have six long years of deception to make right.




It’s Mother’s Day!

It’s Mother’s Day – MY day – when I am supposed to be the Queen for the Day, waited on hand and foot, breakfast in bed with burnt toast and undone eggs and relishing every single little bite.  

Only, not today – both my sons live out of town – one near Moscow, Idaho with his very pregnant-with-twins mother-to-be wife – and one who lives near Laughlin, Nevada.  Both sons will have their fill of mothers today – wife and mother-in-law for one, a gazillion-million grandmothers flying in to Laughlin to gamble, hit the slots, drink fluffy low-alcohol drinks, gamble, twitter, giggle… . and gamble… their way through their day – for the other one.
But I have a little mother living right here with me – my new kitty that adopted our house as her new home six weeks ago.  Unknown to us, she arrived already knocked up.  And so we spent days thinking, isn’t she cute – she’s eating so much that she’s getting a little chunky.  
And then… .
She had three kittens last week – and it gave me pause to think of mothers of another kind – animal mommies.   Mothering is totally instinct for animals.  They don’t even think about it.  For that matter, they don’t even know they are pregnant.  They don’t attend birthing classes.  They don’t have showers.  They don’t cry at the drop of a hat when they get panic attacks, thinking of all the future days of breast feeding, changing diapers, running after a two-year-old getting into trouble, leaving them on their first day of school, ALONE, arguing with a teenager, watching them graduate, planning their mega wedding, holding their “baby’s” first baby (all this thought in one blink while worrying about giving birth in three months).  Animals don’t do any of this.
And most animal mommies are instant single Moms of multiple babies.  Right off the bat!  And they just go along with it.  No trauma.  No, oh-I-wish-I-could-go-out-and-spend-time-with-other-adults-partying-all-night.   No being depressed that they are all alone in this parenting thing.  They just take care of it. 
My kitty is just a natural mother.  She attends her kittens twenty-four/seven, and allows herself brief little breaks maybe three or four times a day.  No complaints.
She did, however, MOVE her kittens from the Kitty Castle to a hidden, hard-to-get-to place in the corner of our bedroom, at the foot of the bed where I have stored stacks of winter blankets, shoes, books.  There is this one small open spot just big enough for a small-sized mama cat and her three kittens to curl up and nest – unbothered by humans just having to pick up the babies and examine them.  Hell no – I’m not going to do that again – she might find a place I can’t get to at all.  This way, I can hang over the edge of the bed and “look” at the kittens, while petting the Mommy and telling her what a good job she is doing.
Happy Mother’s Day, Gracie Kitty!  
Now, I’m going to stare at my cell phone and send mesmerizing, hypnotizing thoughts to my two sons to call me.
Oh, dang it all, I’m just going to call them myself and tell them Happy Mother’s Day.  After all – if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have this special, be-kind-to-me day.
Happy Mother's Day to all you natural-born mothers!  May your toast be golden.  May your eggs be sunny-side up.  Have a great day!

The Yemeni social culture of bombing…

Good morning, Netizens…


David Horsey has the temerity of a street smart gangster from the East Los Angeles Hood, with testicles the size of footballs. During my observation of him, he has taken on nearly every political and social figure one could ever think of, and the hell of it is, he has gotten away with it unscathed. That is saying something in this age of Fundamentalist kooks from places like Yemen, home of vapid idiots claiming to have insider knowledge of the “true” meaning of Islamic laws and traditions.


Now we have the latest permutation of designer underwear bombs built and designed by Ibrahim Hassan Asiri, a world-reknown bomb designer well-known for his underwear bomb that fizzled in December 2009, when a hapless lad from Africa tried to blow up a plane over Detroit and instead seriously singed his privates. The new-and-improved explosive device, however, never made it onto a plane or even close to a runway, thanks in part to some excellent sleuthing by Central Intelligence Agency operatives.


Putting explosive devices in underwear may seem pretty outlandish to traditional Western thought, until you consider the wacky mindset of Islamic extremists. It doesn't seem the least bit outrageous that they would willingly don a pair of tighty-whities with a little explosive thrown in for good measure. Why worry about ones exploding private parts when good terrorists are going to Paradise where there might be a surplus of willing virgins willing to sacrifice their innocense for a terrorist that, it seems, doesn't have any equipment left on his privacy rack anymore.


If I were Asiri, I would be keeping an ultra-sharp eye on the horizon for any signs of drone aircraft about to pounce on his butt, and put his underwear retail store out of business permanently. I would be my bottom dollar that somewhere the CIA is not only targeting his bombs,, but probably his entire operation.


That might be considered urban renewal for Yemen, after all.



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