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Archive for December 2005

Wild Card/TGIF — 12/30/05

I finally got around to seeing “King Kong” at the Riverstone Regal today. Gracious. Wonderful retelling of the old classic. And the special effects? Wow! If you’re into “Jurassic Park” meets the monkey king who gets the blonde and then dies trying to protect her, this one’s for you. The action simply doesn’t stop (although my wife complained that parts of it were too “Jurassic Park,” like the scene where Kong kills three T-rexes trying to eat the screamer. I might see “Harry Potter” to round out my sci-fi/fantasy three-bagger this Christmas. Then, time’s running down on the vacation. Speaking of which, I’d better deal you another Wild Card. Four more days …

To DFO And A Basket of Berries:


DFO: Now, that’s being sent off in style; thanks, Stebbijo.

Best of the Local Blogs — 12/23/05

Now, this is simply a hoot! Family Phil’s son tells Santa about the two kids in class who don’t believe in him. Phil, thanks for this funny photo as I bring down the curtain on my work year. I hope Santa rewards Junior for his faith in him. Click here.

*Chris/Digital Fog documents the link between brain injuries and Bingo here.

*Cis/From A Simple Mind has a nice way of saying happy birthday to her younger brother here.

*Kristin/Not So Fast has found an cool little game that involves shooting Gonzo from a cannon into a small barrel of water here.

*Jason, a soldier at Fort Lewis, Wash., has joined the “Friends of Huckleberries” blogroll with his conservative blog, Something Ain’t Right here. Although he’s semi-anonymous, you can learn about his military career here.

*Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise caught up with Coeur d’Alene High principal Steve Casey as he was making a swing through Boise in pursuit of the state superintendent of school’s jog here.

Also: Marianne/Slight Detour tackles Christmas cookie day here, CDADave provides insights into the elevations of Coeur d’Alene and Spokane here, and Sam Taylor/Vandal Sense thoroughly enjoyed his first week at the SR here.

Video Journal Brings Slide Show Christmas

Santa Claus quenches his thirst as Ryan Gronostajski, 6, looks on Friday in Lawrence Township, N.J./APhoto

You can find a wonderful three-minute slideshow put together by Colin Mulvaney/Video Journal from the APhoto wire here. (This is the kind of Christmas slide show that you’ll want to share with friends and family.)

Stebbijo’s Choice — 12/23/05

I tossed that calendar that arrived in the Coeur d’Alene Press the other day without looking at it. But Stebbijo did. She thought it was ugly. Then, she looked at who paid for it: Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Department of Lands in cooperation with USDA Forest Service, Idaho Commerce and Labor, Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security and Kootenai County Office of Emergency Management.

Blogs Stebbijo: “We all pretty much agreed that this calendar was a total waste of our tax money. Even in the name of education it was just a waste and UGLY! We all wondered why in God’s name the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security was donating to it and we all wanted to know how much it cost. I am scared to call to see how much was spent. I am just flat chicken. The tree mafia gang scares me. How much do you think came out of taxpayer money to publish this ugly calendar that was most likely trashed and probably used to start a home fire?”

Stebbijo asks: Would you hang it in your kitchen? And provides these two choices:

Yes, I am a camp cook.


Frightful - maybe in a honeybucket.

Question: Did you keep your Brand X calendar?

Huckleberries Best of the Northwest — 12/23/05

Outfielder Matt Lawton is shown running the bases as a Pittsburgh Pirate in spring training camp last year. Now, he’s the latest signing by the Seattle Mariners. But he won’t be with them on opening day no matter how great a spring he has because he’ll be serving a suspension for steroid use at the end of last season here.

1. Freelancer Milt Priggee/Gig Harbor is enjoying the resurgence of the Seattle Seahawks as much as anyone in the NW this holiday season here.

2. Jim Junior Nice killed his three children with a combination of over-the-counter medication and rat poison, allege documents filed Thursday in 5th District Court, according to Terry Smith/Twin Falls News-Tribune, here.

3. Boise State fans are upset after hearing rumors that Coach Dan Hawkins, who will relinquish the reins of the Broncos to become the UColorado head coach, is recruiting some of the same players as BSU here.

4. A former Twin Falls, Idaho, track star who lost both legs in an explosion in Iraq received a surprise visit this week from President George Bush and First Lady Laura Bush here.

5. Montana is the only state that allows a double proxy wedding. That’s why Francie Mercado, 25, wearing a white lace wedding gown at the University of Florida, and Jason Druding, 26, wearing Marine desert camouflage fatigues at a base in Djibouti, Africa, could get married thousands of miles away at Montana State University, according to Gail Schontzler of the Bozeman Chronicle, here.

6. IMHO-NW: John Levesque/Seattle PI (Compassion runs deep for Coach Dungy), The Columbian (Not in the Northwest), Bill Virgin/Seattle PI (Retailer’s friend, if used wisely: the sale), Idaho Statesman (City Hall right to permit Christmas display), Seattle Times (How to have real bowl games).

*Albertsons Inc. is no longer for sale and will keep its corporate headquarters in Boise here.

*A former Spokane Lutheran youth minister has been jailed on sex charges here.

*2 weeks into Washington’s smoking ban, some are fuming but few cited here.

Orbusmax Special: Suspect in eco-terrorist case found dead in jail cell here.

Remembering Santa

Growing up, our house was always the most brightly lit, my father climbing the 40-foot-tall tree in our front yard to string the lights and affix a 6-foot-tall star on top that could be seen for blocks around. He loved Christmas and he still loved being Santa after all of us kids were grown. He even bought his very own Santa suit which he kept with the beard and hat and wig in its own special suitcase. He became Santa Claus when donning the suit at shopping malls, church and community Christmas parties and for several years on Christmas Eve when we’d surprise the winner of the newspaper’s Letters to Santa contest with a personal visit.

For the rest of the column by Kerri Thoreson/Coeur d’Alene Press about Santa Claus (aka, the late Ron Rankin), click here.

APhoto of the Day — 12/23/05

A scene from India Wednesday. The birds are called bulbuls. You write the cutline.

Huckleberries Local AM Headlines — 12/23/05

Bradley Gilmore of the Army Reserve’s 659th Engineer Company is greeted by longtime friend D.J. Nall (aka Frum Helen Back) at the Hauser Resort Wednesday for a welcome home party for the Hauser Lake resident returning from Iraq. “I watched him grow up and it was scary when he went to war.” says Nall here. (Brian Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

*School employee touched many lives: Lisa King killed after being hit by truck in parking lot/Brian Walker, Coeur d’Alene Press — This is easily the saddest local story locally from Christmas 2005. That poor husband … the kids …

*Tax district would fund rec centers: Group hopes to build swimming pool, skating rink for no-cost, after-school use/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review — And the answer is — slim and none. The question? What are the chances of selling a new taxing district in anti-property tax North Idaho.

*Santa hit by pellet at mall still smiling/Spokesman-Review — HBO nominates the young delinquent in this case for a Christmas lump of coal. Shooting Santa? Sheesh.

*Praying for a miracle: Father prepares for what may be his last holiday with family/Christi Wilhelm, Coeur d’Alene Press — Another sad Christmas story.

*Dry mountain snow sucking up rain/Spokesman-Review — Dreamin’ of a white Christmas? Fuhgeddaboutit.

Quick Fix 6 — 12/23/05

1. APhoto Fix: A commuter on a Manhattan-bound train reads the New York Daily News with a headline about the end of the three-day transit strike earlier today. The citys crippling strike ended Thursday when union leaders, facing mounting fines, possible jail terms and the wrath of millions of commuters, voted to send their 33,000 members back to work without a new contract. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)

2. Cartoon Fix: Jeff Parker (A last look at NYC transit strike), Gary Varvel (Eavesdropping), and Henry Payne (Dems & civil liberties).

3. Humor Fix: David Letterman’s “Top Ten Signs You’re At A Bad Mall” here.

4. My Way Fix: This Day In History here, Today’s Birthdays here, Positive Quote here, and Word of the Day here.

5. Top of the News Fix: Rumsfeld: US to cut Iraq troop levels here, Alito argued to overturn Roe in 1985 memo here, Colorado school district forges holiday pact here, Catholic mag embarrassed by condom prank here, and 2/3s of tsunami donations unspent here.

6. Opinion Fix: Charles Krauthammer/Washington Post (One last demagogue), U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum/Townhall (US service members: America’s best), Wall Street Journal (Padilla Put-Down), R. Emmett Tyrrell/American Spectator (“Munich” focus flaws), Rob Long/National Review (Trouble at the North Pole),


An 18-foot Colorado Blue Spruce Christmas tree stands brown and stripped of its needles Wednesday in the Rotunda of the Rhode Island Statehouse in Providence. Workers dried it with commercial fans and sprayed it with a fire-retardant chemical. They were following the stringent new fire code enacted after a deadly 2003 nightclub blaze.

Question: I know of a local box store that sold trees this year that lost many of there needles after a week. For those of you with real trees, how are they doing? Are they going to make it until Monday?

Best of the Local Blogs — 12/22/05

Not only does Digital Fog offer the spoof above of a, ahem, crime scene, but he provides an updated version of Gene Kelly’s “Singing in the Rain” here.

*Sam Taylor/Vandal Sense and Intern Boy Friday for the SR this Christmas season continues to give us a look under the hood re: what it’s like to work in a mid-major newsroom, including insight into what interns discuss here and the heartache a young journalist feels when he spends the day with a 2-year-old cancer survivor here.

*Bre/To Blog Or Not To Blog is having a rough time at the office this yuletide, what with the treats and unneeded gifts and all. She couldn’t even give the latter away to a co-worker who’s pinching pennies this Christmas here.

*Bill McCrory/Whitecaps provides a bookmark worthy site to enable you to find how your congressman voted here.

*Bayview Herb/Bay Views reacts strongly to “an anti-Christmas message” from a Spokesman-Review columnist here.

*CDADave/Thin Air posts a photo of an Indian teepee on the St. Joe “near Coeur d’Alene,” circa 1910, and then wonders if it’s appropriate to use “Indian” in these PC times. (DFO: in a word, yes, but I generally use the term American Indian in my scribblings for the paper to make sure there’s no confusion with the ones half way around the world.) Click here.

Also: Cis tells of a lovely wedding in a North Idaho log cabin here, Marianne blogs on 3 hours sleep here, and Kale/un-Muted Mumblings offers an antiseptic holiday greeting for the easily offended here.

Andrus Slaps Otter Up Side The Head

“Selling off our public federal lands to pay for the damage of Hurricane Katrina is like selling your backyard to cover the costs of a fire in your garage. It doesn’t make sense.”

For the rest of ex-guv Cecil Andrus’s comment against Butch Otter’s proposal to sell off Idaho’s public lands, click here.

Hat Tip: Mike Kennedy

Poll: US Making Significant Progress In Iraq

Poll of 1,003 adults shows an 18 percentage point surge in number of Americans who think president is making progress in democratizing Iraq… 65% say U.S. is making significant progress in bringing democracy to Iraq, compared with 47% in November… 60% say Washington making headway in restoring order in Iraq, compared with 44% last month … Click here.

Hat Tip: Orbusmax

A Cool Christmas Card from Big John Rook …

… can be bound by clicking here.


Woman dies after being hit by truck in Post Falls store parking lot/Spokesman-Review — The ISP has identified the victim as Lisa Eastman-King, 2004 Post Falls Education Association Patron of the Year. She leaves a husband and 4 children. An incredible tragedy.

A Festivus for the Rest of … You

This is for those of you who have been on the other side of Huckleberries Online’s Christmas tug-of-war this holiday season — just to show there’s no hard feelings. That’s what the debate here is all about. We need to learn from each other. If we can argue and break clean, we’ll find that we agree on most of the important things. Happy Holidays to you.

AP Photo Illustration/Jacky Myint

Extra! Idaho 3rd Fastest Growing State …

Just in from Ken Dey/Idaho Commerce & Labor:

“Idaho was the nation’s third fastest growing state between 2004 and 2005, according to new U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released Dec. 22. From July 1, 2004 to July 1, 2005, Idaho added 33,956 new residents – a 2.4 percent increase. Nevada grabbed the No. 1 spot with a 3.5 percent increase in population. Arizona was the second fastest growing state. Florida and Utah were ranked fourth and fifth followed by Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Delaware and Oregon. In the last year the United States population rose by 0.9 percent - 2.8 million people - to 296.4 million.”

For the rest of Ken Dey’s press release, click here.

Question: Is this good news or bad?

SR Edit: Idaho School Fix Should Be Top Priority

On Wednesday, the Idaho Supreme Court voted 4-1 to support 4th District Judge Deborah Bail’s 1991 decision that the state’s method of funding schools is unconstitutional. In the 21-page decision, the court spanked lawmakers for quibbling over a few rundown schools and failing to realize that the state’s bonding system was fatally flawed. In 2006, the Legislature’s top priority should be to fix the current system that hamstrings poor school districts by placing the entire burden of school funding on local property taxpayers. North Idaho lawmakers should insist that they do.

For the rest of my editorial this morning re: the Idaho Supreme Court decision on school construction, click here.

Question: Do you support lowering the supermajority for passing school bonds from two-thirds to 60 percent?

Huckleberries Local AM Headlines — 12/22/05

KC Duley, right, and her husband Dan Duley, left, have just opened Bada Bing’s Deli in Hayden at Fourth St. and Prairie. KC holds a plate of cannolis, an Italian dessert delicacy made of ricotta cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, pistachio nuts and chocolate chips wrapped in a pastry. The recipe for the cannoli and sauces used for pasta are from KC’s family. Nils Rosdahl discusses the new business and other’s in his weekly Handle On Business column here.

*Liberty Lake, Post Falls vie for Cabela’s: Cities create incentives to woo outdoors megastore/Melodie Little, Spokesman-Review — My money’s still on Post Falls because Mayor Clay Larkin’s a civic promoter extraordinaire.

*Chance for White Christmas melts: Predicted lows expected to be above freezing/Brian Walker, Coeur d’Alene Press — Mother Nature has her timing all messed up this Christmas holiday season.

*Judge bans groomed trails to help caribou: Ruling aims to keep snowmobiles off federal land near Priest Lake/James Hagengruber, Spokesman-Review — Wasn’t there a study released recently that said snowmobiles had little to no effect on the big game animals of Yellowstone National Park? This may be a case of enviro hysterics that is going to hamper the winter survival of Priest Lake area businesses.

*Huetter moves closer to hooking into sewer: Town must secure grant before beginning $1.2 million project/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review — Huetter residents are sitting on some of North Idaho’s top property and this move just made it more valuable.

*Arrest made after false return of vacuum/Spokesman-Review — The bad guys are getting a little more creative.

Quick Fix 6 — 12/22/05

1. APhoto Fix: James Dungy, right, the son of Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, center, walks the sidelines during a game at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Oct. 3, 2004. James Dungy, 18, was found dead in a Tampa, Fla.-area apartment, police said Thursday here.

2. Cartoon Fix: Chuck Asay (Energy gougers score again), Steve Kelly (Merry Christman OK), and Mike Luckovich (Dubya & the Constitution).

3. Humor Fix: David Letterman’s “Top Ten Signs Santa Is Mad At You” here.

4. My Way Fix: This Day In History here, Today’s Birthdays here, Positive Quote here, and Word of the Day here.

5. Top of the News Fix: Growing population shifts power to South, West here, Senate extends Patriot Act here, Warrantless searches not unprecedented here, NY union moves to return to work here, and Rumsfeld hints at cutting forces here.

6. Opinion Fix: U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy/Boston Globe (Mr. President, you’re not King George), Bret Stevens/Wall Street Journal (US military winning Pakistani hearts, minds), Doug Gamble/National Review (Good old Christmas songs), Bridget Johnson/National Review (Christmas in the newsroom), and Ann Coulter/Townhall (Live and let spy).

Wild Card/Wednesday — 12/21/05

Today is my favorite day of the winter, this side of Christmas and Super Bowl Sunday. It’s the shortest day of the year. From now until mid-June, the days will be getting longer. Now, you guys have already started some threads on this Wild Card. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start some more …

Extra! Avista Grinch Steals Part of Christmas

Issue: Avista rate increase approved/Alison Boggs, Spokesman-Review

DFO: Let’s do a word association game for insatiable: Death. The yearning of an unloved wife. Avista’s greed. Yeah, yeah, I know Avista exec, you’re just passing your costs along — and getting rich as all get out.

Question: Damn ‘em. (Actually, that was a statement.)

Top Cutlines — 12/21/05

24 Santas ride the SheiKra rollercoaster at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla., earlier today. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines:

1. Busch Gardens managers misunderstood their insurance company’s contract that had two dozen clauses promoting safety on their new ride— John Austin; and: New York City Salvation Army bell ringers explore another alternate mode of transportation into downtown Manhattan — PDX Pup.

2. On the 24th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 24 dirty pants, 23 flying beards, 22 clenched hands…..five falling Santas…. and a ride operator laughing with glee — A Token Democrat.

3. “So this is what happens when the EPA outlaws Reindeer poop” — Bayview Herb.

HM: PF Dad

For all of today’s terrific cutlines, click here.

SR Photo of the Day — Sweet Dreams

As we dream by the fire,” pantomimes Rachel Averett, 10, while she sings “Winter Wonderland” in the Atlas Elementary talent show Tuesday morning in Hayden. Students demonstrated their acting and musical talents for their classmates on the last day of school before the holiday break Tuesday. (DFO: This wonderful photo was taken by my CDA Newsroom colleague Jesse Tinsley, who, along with Kathy Plonka, specializes in capturing the moment.)

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 12/21/05

Past Gonzaga great Ronny Turiaf on the bench as his alumni battles Idaho earlier this month. Turiaf, who is recovering from heart surgery that has kept him from playing so far with the L.A. Lakers, has received clearance to begin playing for the Yakama Sun Kings of Continental League here/Brian Plonka, The Spokesman-Review.

1. The Idaho Supreme Court paddled the foot-dragging Legislature today by ruling the method Idaho uses to fund school construction is blatantly unconstitutional and puts children at risk here.

2. David Horsey/Seattle PI provides his ideas about U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and ANWR drilling here. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate blocked Stevens’ slight-of-hand attempt to open the wilderness area to drilling today here.

3. Governor’s race leads AP list of Washington stories for 2005 here.

4. Score for Idaho hunter’s first muzzleloader kill may be 1/8th off a world record here.

5. NBC’s “Today” show will put Little Montana Town That Could (Philipsburg) on the map tomorrow morning with a show that underscores how much can be done when a community pulls together here.

6. IMHO-NW: U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell/USA Today (Tap our minds, not ANWR oil), Rebecca Nappi/Spokesman-Review (Spokane’s new First Lady), Idaho Statesman (Otter supports flawed land giveaway), Missoulian (Lose mortgage interest deduction), and John Levesque/PI (Are Seahawks good or lucky?).

Seattle PI Online Poll: 69.5% of 1421 respondents say they vote by mail.

*3 dead children found in Twin Falls, Idaho, home here.

*Spokane County enacts a 0.1% sales tax to fund mental health services here.

*An ecoterrorists pleads for mercy in two fire-bombing cases here.

Orbusmax Special: Alaska robbers mess with wrong grandma here.

Why No “Brokeback Mountain” in Spokaloo … Yet

Colleague Dan Webster/Movies & More points out that 8 films will be opening in the Spokane area during the holidays but not “Brokeback Mountain.” He explains in his latest posting: “Why? Well, there is a reason that goes beyond the simple one put forth by some members of the local gay community. It’s called business.”

For Dan’s complete post and links to the movies that are opening, click here.

SR Edit: Bush Overstepped Secrecy Bounds

For reasons Bush hasn’t adequately explained, the White House refused to comply with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress passed after the abuses of the Nixon administration. FISA established secret courts as a check against executive power. Some check. Those courts have approved 99 percent of search requests. Still, the White House has brazenly bypassed the process that already affords more secrecy than dedicated civil libertarians think comfortable. President Bush says the government needs to move fast, but the courts take only a few hours, and warrants can even be obtained after the fact. It’s a flexible law.

For the rest of Associate Editor Gary Crooks’s edit on domestic spying, click here.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with Gary’s premise that Bush went too far?

Question of the Day — 12/21/05

Issue: Military chaplains told to shy from Jesus: Muslim, Jewish and Roman Catholic chaplains are likewise told not to pray in the name of Allah, in Hebrew or in the name of the Trinity

DFO: I’m glad this isn’t just a Christian thing, so I can point out unabashedly that this is political correctness run amok. If you aren’t going to allow ministers, rabbis, etc., to minister in their faith tradition in the military, why have them?

Question: 73 members of Congress are asking President Bush for an executive order rescinding the current military practice of muzzling faith traditions. Do you support their request? Or do you believe that military chaplains still can minister adequately to troops within the new guidelines?

Quick Fix 6 — 12/21/05

1. APhoto Fix: In this video grab released today, by the Marseille Public Assistance Hospital, the medical team led by Gabriel Lena, in charge of the paediatric neurological department of the Marseille Timone hospital and Dominique Casanova, plastic surgeon of Marseille’s North hospital, performs the separation of 15-month old twin boys. (Yeah, I know it’s graphic; then, I figured most of us are grownups who’ve seen worse on “CSI”.)

2. Cartoon Fix: Chuck Asay (ACLU puts arm on Santa), Brian Fairrington (Looking for leaks), and Jerry Holbert (Rehabilitating Congress).

3. Humor Fix: Daniel Kurtzman/Political Humor presents the 25 funniest quotes of 2005 here.

4. My Way Fix: This Day In History here, Today’s Birthdays here, Positive Quote here, and Word of the Day here.

5. Top of the News Fix: Cheney breaks Senate tie on spending cuts here, Witness recounts torture by Saddam regime here, NYC enters second day of transit strike here, New York tries to slam brakes on “Choose Life” plates here, and Poll: 85% believe they’re going to heaven here.

6. Opinion Fix: Kathryn Jean Lopez/National Review (Don’t be myth-understood), Chuck Colson/Check Point (Intelligent Design & courts), Michael Novak/National Review (Tocqueville at 200), Linda Chavez/Center for Equal Opportunity (Partisanship & patriotism), Kellyanne Conway/National Review (Demos’ month of missed opportunity),

Wild Card/Tuesday — 12/20/05

You have plenty below to keep you commenting for awhile. In case that’s not enough, you can always start your own thread with this Wild Card …

Best of the Local Blogs — 12/20/05

Family Phil asks readers today why his son is so angry. And provides these choices: A. Christmas break starts tomorrow and all the snow is melting today, B. He has to wear a big pink bunny suit on Christmas morning, C. His daddy is singing Christmas carols in the condiment aisle of the grocery store, D. Santa told him that he’s all out of Star Wars figures this year, “but maybe you’d like a nice Shrek doll?” or E. All of the above. He provides the answer on his A Family Runs Through It blog here.

1. At Cis Gors request, Sam Taylor of Vandal Sense/UI Argonaut fame provides a rundown on his family in his latest blog entry and some kind words on what it’s like to be interning for The Spokesman-Review over the Christmas holidays here (I can’t figure out who’s the journalism superhero to whom Sam refers in his text. Bill Morlin? Steve Smith? Who?)

2. Kale/Un-Muted Mumblings opines on that sensible Ten Commandments ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals here.

3. A wonderful post by Amy Crooks/That’s Life. Life Goes On who sees the silver lining in a tough year and uses common sense to provide a Christmas for her little ones here.

4. Marianne Love/Slight Detour explains why Dec. 10 is considered the Love family’s personal 9/11 here.

5. Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind maintains that “spring is coming!” Before you think she’s spent too much time in cold little Kootenai, she offers pretty legit reasons for thinking so here.

In the way-cool dept., Mike Clifford/Heartland Outdoorsman has introduced HBO to his outdoor blog friends in Illinois and beyond here.

Also: Digital Fog has a wonderful video he labels, “Send in the French Marines” here, CDADave/Thin Air still is buying the notion that winters are fun here, and Granati provides a video link, “Santa Gets Busted” that’s a hoot here.

DaveT’s Program for Eliminating Tobacco

Well I’ve got a bit of an idea how to make tobacco history. In theory it’s rather simple, in practice, well who knows? The plan goes like this: Increase the age to legally purchase tobacco products by one year, every year. So, if this year the legal age to purchase tobacco is 21, then next year it would be 22, the next year 23 … and so on …

This way those who can legally buy tobacco today will always have that option. Those who are under age today would never reach that threshold. This way there is no instant cut off of tobacco for those who need/want it. Various revenue related issues would have the time needed to adjust systems/businesses.

There’s one thing that tobacco users, non-users and the tobacco companies all agree on: Young people should not start using tobacco products. Only tobacco companies see the wisdom in giving today’s under age generations the option of starting tobacco habits as adults. Why should we allow the tobacco companies to prey upon our children with billions of dollars of advertising/marketing enticements the day they become of legal age to purchase tobacco?? Over several decades tobacco and all it’s ills could approach being fodder for the history books

Dave Tolle

Another Huckleberry Friend …

Put your hands together for Mike Clifford/Heartland Outdoorsman, of Illinois, another new “Friends of Huckleberries” who runs a swell outdoors forum here and an equally good blog here. You’ve seen MikeC crop up in the “comments” section lately. I’ll let him explain his site:

The Heartland Outdoorsman is a comprehensive website devoted to fishing, hunting, camping, travel and photography in an “Outdoors Magazine” online format. We offer our members free Blog space, photo hosting and numerous other perks that are found in very few online communities at no cost. We’ve been operating from this domain for 3 years. We are unique in our ability to bring together so many diverse usergroups in one complete package. If a member doesn’t care for fishing and hunting, for example…they can choose to post to a great number of various photography categories or participate in some fascinating wildlife discussions. As well, we cover the daily news from the serious to the wacky, and relegate any political ramblings to a forum of it’s own as well.

HBO met MikeC via the ongoing 2005 Best Outdoors Blog contest in which commenters/blurkers here supported Steve Remington/BlackBearBlog of Maine in style. ‘Tis nice that Cyberspace knows no boundaries. Welcome, Mike.

Few re: Zag performance: “Pathetic”

Gonzaga’s Jeremy Pargo blocks Eastern Washington’s Rodney Stuckey during during their basketball game at the Spokane Arena Monday. No. 8 Gonzaga beat Eastern 75-65 in a performance that Coach Mark Few called “pathetic” afterward here. (APhoto/Amanda Smith)

Question: After seeing Gonzaga struggle against Virginia and Eastern Washington, do you think the Zags have the right stuff to make a run in the NCAA tournament at season’s end?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 12/20/05

John Kellersman, 33, poses with the 15-foot star and the word “freedom” he carved in a sandstone cliff near Deaver, Wyo., in this recent but undated photo. The oil roughneck started his project Sept. 2, 2001, and spent four years working with a 30-foot ladder, a hammer and a chisel and other tools here. (AP Photo/The Billings Gazette, Ruffin Prevost)

1. David Horsey/PI isn’t happy with the president spying on Americans in a time of war here.

2. The University of Washington’s sports graduation rate has been deemed a sucess under new NCAA rules — even in high-profile sports like football and basketball here.

3. The Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE), the state’s largest state employee union, is asking agencies to terminate dozens of workers, some just in time for Christmas, because they haven’t paid their dues, according to Michael Reitz/FrontPageMag here.

4. Idahoans are returning to their roots again as they embrace a “Christmas tree” rather than a “holiday tree” on the steps of the state Capitol in Boise here.

5. At 4 each morning, the Carmelite monks of Clark, Wyo., rise to greet the day with prayer and, often, with centuries-old Gregorian chants. Now, you don’t have to travel to wind-swept Wyoming to hear the chants because the Carmelites are releasing their music on CD here.

6. IMHO-NW: Doug Clark, Spokesman-Review (Welcoming new Spokane mayor), Seattle Times (Pass Patriot Act with compromises), Bert Caldwell/Spokesman-Review (Ex-Enron exec gets “truth” out), Art Thiel/Seattle PI (Myopic M’s forced to overpay), and John Blanchette/Spokesman-Review (Eags/Zags in Arena must continue).

Seattle PI Poll: 70% of 1610 respondents said ANWR shouldn’t be open to oil drilling.

*The city of Union, Ore., is trying to recall the mayor and her councilman hubby over a land sale and their rudeness here.

*Demo targets Washington Rep. Dave Reichert among others in ‘06 here.

*3 Boise State assistants will join Dan Hawkins in Colorado here.

Orbusmax Special: Blogger Palousitics on lack of free speech at WSU: “Enough is enough” here.


Sightem, on same bumper blue 7B plate bumper with 5 other stickers by Bre/To Blog Or Not To Blog:

It will be a great day in the world when schools have all the money they need and the air force is forced to hold a bake sale to raise money for bombers.


God was my co-pilot, but we crashed in the mountains and I had to eat him.

Question of the Day — 12/20/05

Issue: Judge rules against ‘intelligent design’: Pennsylvania case among biggest since 1925 Scopes trial/Associated Press; And: Text of Intelligent Design statement.

DFO: I view the notion that we descended from apes to be just as absurd as the evolutionists view my opinion that God spoke the universe into existence (Genesis) and fashioned each one of us in our mothers’ wombs (Psalms 139: 13-15). I don’t think religion should be taught along with science in public classrooms. But there should be a disclaimer in science books re: “Intelligent Design” for the 45% who believe God did it all and the 45% who believe that it was a God/evolution thing. As it is, this ruling honors the 10% who believe it was all evolution. Again, we default to the minority religion of unbelief.

Question: What do you think of this ruling? (BTW, I’m posting this with renewed confidence that we can have a civil discussion on this divisive issue.)

Local Question of the Day — 12/20/05

Issue: Kootenai County tries without cooperation from the National Guard to provide property tax relief for returning troops

More Info: Kootenai County Chairman Gus Johnson said that the National Guard hasn’t provided the commissioners with a list of soldiers who would qualify, meaning North Idaho soldiers won’t get a tax break before today’s deadline.

Question: What would you suggest that the commissioners do now?

Quick Fix 6 — 12/20/05

1. APhoto Fix: With a transit strike shutting down public transportation, New Yorkers brave the cold to make their way across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan this morning in New York. After days of failed negotiations with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Transport Workers Union launched a system-side strike, leaving an estimated 7 milion riders scrambling to find alternate transportation here.

2. Cartoon Fix: Robert Airail (The real Christmas Scrooge), Chip Bok (If there’s no more torture …), and Daryl Cagle (“Brokeback Mountain” wannabes).

3. Humor Fix: David Letterman’s “Top Ten Signs You’re Not Going to Be Named Times Man of the Year” here.

4. My Way Fix: This Day In History here, Today’s Birthdays here, Positive Quote here, and Word of the Day here.

5. Top of the News Fix: Cheney defends presidential powers here, NM Demo Richardson in “touching” controversy here, Number of democratic nations reaches 122 here, More US women having unwanted babies here, and Chinese inmates organs for sale to Briton here.

6. Opinion Fix: Debra Saunders/S.F. Chronicle (National insecurity), Paul Campos/Rocky Mountain News (President has gone too far), Ben Lieberman/Heritage Foundation (Alaska oil drilling myths), John Avlon/NY Sun (New York: Hostage for the holidays), and R.Andrew Newman/National Review (No powerpuff “Narnia”).


Issue: Congressman Butch Otter sponsors legislation to allow the sale of public land, including Idaho’s, to help pay for the relief effort from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

DFO: If my good friend Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise hadn’t written about Otter doing this here and here. This looks more like a way for Butch to allow his got-rocks buddies to get their hands on the creme de l’creme of Idaho’s public lands. What is he thinking?

Question: Am I over-reacting here? Is there merit in selling off Idaho’s public lands to pay for hurricane relief?

Headlines @ Closin’ Time — 12/19/05

Hundreds of thousands of dead menhaden, a small, silver-colored fish, lay dead on the northern sound-side of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., earlier today. The fish started appearing Sunday and litter the entire ocean-side of the beach/APhoto.

1. Poll: Bush’s Approval Ratings Climb: Iraqi Elections, Economic Gains Lift President From Career Lows/ABC News — Can’t keep a good man down?

2. House opens way for Arctic oil drilling: ANWR provision attached to major defense bill/Associated Press — We can’t begin to work our way toward energy independency unless we bolster our domestic oil production.

3. Seaplane crashes off Miami Beach, 19 killed: Witnesses report explosion before propeller-driven aircraft went down/NBC News — Sad.

4. Women put panties on rabbi’s tomb: In hopes their prayers for husbands will be answered/Agence France-Presse — Desperate housewives, move over; here you have desperate brides to be.

5. Lieberman may face primary challenge in Connecticut: Anti-war Democrats upset by senator’s support of war/NewsMax — This race will prove whether or not the Democrats are being taken over by its anti-war wing.

Gonzaga No. 8 in New APoll, Washington No. 9

U-Dub nipping at Zags’ heels in one poll, ahead in another here.

Craig Isn’t Backing Down from Patriot Act Stand

President Bush may have labeled his opposition to renewing portions of the Patriot Act “inexcusable,” but Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig isn’t making excuses for joining a bipartisan filibuster of the anti-terrorism law. “We’ve been cautioned before by our leaders down through history that we should not allow our concern about security to deny us our constitutional freedoms,” Craig said shortly after Bush lambasted the parliamentary blockade of the bill in the U.S. Senate during a White House press conference today. “I don’t step back from protecting civil liberties and I never will.”

For the rest of the story by Christopher Smith, click here.

Wild Card/Monday — 12/19/05

Looks like HBO may be approaching another a blog-letting with Bearable Bob up in arms today re: the 11:38 a.m. comment that the flames are getting outta hand again. That’s too bad. As blogmeister, I’ve try to walk a line between the extreme positions held by some on this blog. Sometimes, you step on a time bomb. I did today. Oh well, about every six months, there’s a blog-letting. And it’s about due. The last one occurred in early June when Any Mouse and some companions stomped off. Now, it looks like Unbearable Bob’s stomping off and giving everyone here a piece of his mind in the process here. His call. If you want to discuss this development or talk about something of importance, here’s your Wild Card …

Photo of the Day … Going, Going …

I’ve been trying to figure out why the Photo of the Day is losing steam. Cutline entries have dropped off. Is the feature losing steam? This inquiring mind wants to know …

Peanut Gallery — Too Much Bob?

I’ll continue to read your articles in the Spokesman Review online but I’m done with HBO. Bob’s antics suck the oxygen out of the room and take much of the enjoyment out of it. Eagle Eye, Jane Q Citizen and others have complained in recent weeks as well but nothing seems to change. The bottom line is, the in-your-face political vitriol that he is allowed to spew 24-7 is tiresome and (in my opinion anyway) is just as insulting as many of AnyMouse’s posts were. It’s your blog and your rules and I understand that so rather than wait and hope that things will change (which I have no control over) I’m just going to quit visiting HBO. It’s the holiday season after all, and the last thing I (and others) need or want is to be constantly derided as rednecks, an idiots or backwards because we don’t happen to agree with the political beliefs of Bob.

DFO: I’m going to run this e-mail I received this morning from an online friend anonymously. Am I blind to the antiques of His Bobness, my enfant terrible? I consider him, and his creative genius, a bigger plus than a minus. And I allow more elbow pokes after 6 p.m. on weekdays and during the weekends when there’s little commenting activity. Isn’t that a good arrangement? On the other hand, too many good people on the blog are being poked in the eye. What to do?

Photo of the Day — 12/19/05

In this photo by Rich Landers/Spokesman-Review, a hiker crosses a narrow log across a raging glacial stream as he hikes the 95-mile Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier. You write the cutline.

Local Question of the Day — 12/19/05

Issue: Kootenai County in 20 years

COEURgenX: “I am curious what our community thinks this place we call home will look like in 20 years? With towers over downtown and planned ‘communities’ around the county? What does everyone want to see? if they could in fact play SIM-CITY with our county?”

Question: Anyone?

Huckleberries Local AM Headlines — 12/19/05

*Hession likely to be appointed mayor today: He says he wants to share ideas with staff, reduce meetings/Mike Prager, Spokesman-Review — JBelle/The Kan EWA provides a superb commentary on Spokane’s new mayor-to-be here.

*Zags aren’t looking past Eagles: Despite 19-game winning streak in series, GU coach Few knows Eastern still a dangerous foe/Steve Bergum, Spokesman-Review — I ain’t biting. Zags by 15.

*Fire rips through CdA strip mall: Officials suspect heat tape around plumbing caused blaze/Spokesman-Review — I rarely stopped to purcase anything at those shops or to get gas at the 7-11. But it’s eery seeing that busy corner burned out.

*Police link teens to vandalism incidents/Spokesman-Review — The insurance company will pay for the damages, and these creeps will promise never to be bad again — and they’ll receive a little time in juvie and work release and be back out on the streets again in no time.

*Suit filed over deadly collision: Complaint seeks damages from driver, BF tavern/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Daily Bee — This should serve as a warning to bars to be more careful re: who they allow to continue to drink.

Top Cutlines/Weekend — 12/17-18/2005

In the “Do Not Try This At Home” category, here you find dancers getting limber during tryouts for the Rockettes. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines:

1. As the last full weekend of shopping before Christmas arrives, a group of hard core shoppers limber up for a trip to the mall — Jane Q. Citizen.

2. Participants prepare for the 3rd invitational N.O.W. Indian Wrestling competition — Dave Tolle.

3. Don’t mess with these women. They’re really “bent out of shape”! — CDADave.

HM: Lesley Presley

For all the cutlines entries this weekend, click here.

Best of Huckleberries Online — 12/12-16/2005

Huckleberries Online got in on the action last week when the ichthys hit the Washington State Democrats Web site fan. Ichthys? That’s what you call the metallic “Jesus fish” that’s clipped to some cars to designate the driver’s allegiance in today’s cultural struggle. Onward. Earlier this month, a Washington Demo with access to the party’s official site posted various car decals for sale along with an ichthys, replete with hell fire and the word “hypocrite” in its belly. No trouble deciphering the message there. Several blogs, including Huckleberries, snagged the link before wiser heads at Demo Central pulled it. Next thing you know, the R’s were making tea out of this tempest, and a Seattle radio station was crediting Huckleberries among others for catching the D’s dissing religious righties. Which prompted state Rep. Doug Erickson to demand an apology from Gov. Chris Gregoire on behalf of the Dems. Which prompted state Dem chief Paul Berendt to apologize on behalf of the state D’s. Which was all great fun for a blogger who calls Idaho home.

APhoto of the Weekend — 12/17-18/05

In the “Do Not Try This At Home” category, here you find dancers getting limber during tryouts for the Rockettes. You write the cutline.

CDADave Endures Winter … Do You?

Winter Feedback dept.: Yeah, I disdain winter. I don’t like to be cold. I don’t like to fall on the ice. I don’t like navigating a slushy parking lot, from car to store. I don’t really have a whole lot of use for the winter. It’s something I endure. Still, sometimes there is beauty in Winter that can be easily enjoyed as long as a 20-below “chill-factor” isn’t present. I went down to Independence Point the other day to feed my “flock” (quack, quack), and I couldn’t believe how COLD I got during the time it took for me to tear a loaf of bread into little pieces. Still, I’m finding I have a soft spot for those ducks. Awwwww…….. CDADave

Question: I’m with CDADave — not a big fan of winter; however, this year, I’m determined to enjoy more than endure winter. How about you? Do you enjoy winter? Or do you simply endure winter?

Dang Hits Nail On Head Re. Demo Problem

As a man to whom the Democratic party could appeal to, I find them on a national scale to be utterly opposed to my values. I see them as the party of higher taxes, against small business, devaluing the role of the father in the home, fickle support of the military, naive on foreign affairs, anti-religion, and out to destroy the 2nd Amendment. I recognize that the Dems here locally may not toe that line, but in DC they certainly do. That’s where the marching orders come from.


DFO: As Rush might say, mega-dittos. I find Mike Kennedy/Mary Lou Shepherd/the late Jim Stoicheff’s brand of Democrat very appealing. Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy, Dean and the rest of the usual national suspects turn my stomach as I suspect they do most Idahoans.

WorldNetDaily Poll — 12/17/05

Issue: ACLU to appeal Quran ruling: Group wants non-Christian religious scriptures OK’d for oath-taking/Greensboro News-Record, North Carolina

Question: Should courts allow oaths to be made on holy books other than the Bible?

1. Only the Quran should be used
2. Yes, exclusively using the Bible is a state establishment of religion
3. Yes, an oath with the oath-takers choice of holy book has the most validity
4. Yes
5. The state shouldn’t be using any religious books
6. No, it’s unnecessary – most courts already allow witnesses to affirm their truthfulness without using the Bible
7. No, this is a Judeo-Christian nation and the Judeo-Christian holy book is the Bible
8. No, the Bible has served its purpose well in American history – there’s no reason to change
9. No
10. Other

DFO: No. 6

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

TGIF/Wild Card — 12/16/05

The blog’s been hopping today and into the evening, so I don’t know how much this is needed. But I’ll move it up toward the top anyway. Have a good weekend …

Best of the Local Blogs — 12/16/05

Illustration: Digital Fog

*Sadly, it doesn’t seem as though Stebbijo/Your Choice is having a good Christmas season here. (HBO to Stebbijo: Hang in there, gal; a lot of us in the North Idaho blogosphere appreciate your work and outlook.)

*JBelle/Notes From the ‘Kan EWA (yes, our own JBelle) posted a wonderful reminiscence of a little girl who grew up to be the daughter of the next mayor of Spokane here.

*Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind has had it up to her with the political correct set that disses patriotism and religious leanings here.

*Eagle-eyed CDADave/Thin Air didn’t miss that juxtaposition on the two front-page stories Thursday, featuring Duane Hagadone’s gazillion-dollar renovation of The Coeur d’Alene Resort and the Christmas Fund for the area’s poor here.

*Bill McCrory/Whitecaps was shaken by that New York Times article today that reported that George Bush allowed the National Security Agency to spy on Americans in search of terrorist activity here. (BTW, Matt Drudge reported earlier today that the NYT failed to mention that there’s a possible book promotion tied to the story’s publication here.)

Also, Family Phil lists 5 weird things his kids do here, Bre/To Blog Or Not To Blog is inspired by the Granatis to tell you a little A-to-Z about herself here (BTW, Bre, I also sleep with the fan on), and His Bobness is hoping to interest hot, rich “chubby chaser” chicks with that bare tummy shot of his here.

Hawkins to Colorado, Peterson Takes Over At BSU

Dan Hawkins, right, talks about his hectic week at a news conference at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo., on Friday, where he was named head football coach. Hawkins, who compiled a 53-10 record over five years at Boise State, replaces Gary Barnett, who resigned under pressure last week following a troubled tenure. Meanwhile, BSU offensive coordinator Chris Peterson has taken over in Bronco land here.

Where They Found the Perfect Christmas Tree

Not up on the mountain
mid the snow storms and rocks,
but down in their basement
in a big cardboard box.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 12/16/05

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton, right, passes the final certification of election document to Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard for his signature earlier today. The Spokane County Canvassing board certified the recall of Spokane Mayor James West at 9:44a.m. here (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review).

1. Six weeks after losing all five of their children in a car accident, Jeff and Carolyn Schrock celebrated the birth of a baby girl. Jolynn Marie Schrock was born on Wednesday afternoon here.

2. A plumbing problem in a Spokane woman’s basement led police to the discovery of a naked man who’d taken up residence there here.

3. A Springfield man was charged with setting fire to 35 sport utility vehicles at a Eugene car dealership in March 2001, according to the AP, here.

4. A Twin Falls, Idaho, track star who earned a sports scholarship from Boise State has lost both legs in an explosion in Iraq here.

5. A pro-Merry Christmas business in Kalispell, Mont., took a stand in the cultural wars — to the applause of hundreds of Flathead Valley residents here.

6. IMHO-NW: Bert Caldwell/Spokesman-Review (Comparing Spokane pay with other Washington counties), Bill Virgin/Seattle PI (Traditional phones near end of line), Ed Symkus/Inlander (Evolution of the Big Ape), Art Thiel/Seattle PI (Another past-his-prime M’s pickup), John Blanchette/Spokesman-Review (Zags don’t take Virginia lightly),

*Seattle Mariner trade talk heats up here.

*Colorado to name BSU’s Dan Hawkins as its new football coach this afternoon here. And BSU is expected to name offensive coordinator Chris Peterson as its new coach today, too, here.

*As many as 20 people may have been infected by a Moscow, Idaho, man who didn’t tell his sex partners that he was infected with AIDS here.

*Idaho cattle herds sent to slaughter after brucellosis infections here.

Orbusmax Special: Washington Demo slap at Evangelicals traced to Mount Vernon activist who is pushing for legalization of marijuana here.

Q & A

Question (from SR Opinion Page Editor Doug Floyd): “Do you know whether that picture of His Bobness was taken from the front or behind?”

DFO: I have it on the best of sources — from His Bobness himself — that he posted a shot of his front side. But (what’s this?) the above photo has disappeared from his Web site. Gremlins? Modesty? Shock at seeing it blown up to Huckleberrian proportions? Inquiring minds want to know.

Local Question of the Day — Aquifer District

Issue: Proposed aquifer user fees raise questions: Committee plans to ask Legislature to create protection district/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review

Additional Info: Committee members, including Reps. Bob Nonini and Frank Henderson, both Post Falls Republicans, said the fee is focused on water quality, not quantity, so all residents will pay the same no matter how much water they use. Henderson said it might be possible for people with financial hardships to ask for an exemption.

Question: Do you support the formation of a aquifer district under which everyone will pay the same fee?

SR Editorial re: Arrogant Assessor

County Assessor Ralph Baker lost the only contested election campaign he waged in Spokane County. That was in 2002, when he ran for auditor. Since then, however, the road to office and influence has been wide, smooth and unimpeded. Maybe, therefore, complacency explains the strangely insensitive attitude he has adopted toward the public. Telling county personnel to spend less time with citizens who come into the courthouse office, removing chairs so members of the public will find waiting for service less comfortable, telling employees to stop helping senior citizens fill out property tax exemption forms — these are not the actions of a politician with an eye on the ballot box.

For the rest of Gary Crooks’ SR editorial, click here.

Question: I simply can’t imagine a situation like this in Kootenai County. We’d run off an assessor like this who has no time for the public. Can you suggest any jobs that Baker would be better able to perform.

WorldNetDaily Poll — Impeach Bush?

Issue: 1/3 of Americans want Bush impeached: Figure close to number who think U.S. can’t win in Iraq/WorldNetDaily

Question: What do you think of the poll saying 1 in 3 Americans wants Bush impeached?

1. The president has the blood of American soldiers and innocent Iraqis on his hands – that demands impeachment
2. Bush should be impeached along with most members of the Supreme Court and practically all of Congress – they’ve all trampled the Constitution
3. It shows that 1/3 of the people in this country ‘get it’ – I’m surprised it’s not higher
4. I agree with those who say he bungled the war but that’s not an impeachable offence
5. Poll numbers change from week to week – I don’t think it means anything
6. I don’t believe it – no one I know is calling for Bush’s impeachment
7. 1/3 is not a majority – impeachment’s never going to happen
8. It reflects the campaign by Democrats and the establishment press to exact revenge for the Clinton impeachment and Gore’s defeat
9. It’s testimony to the extreme anti-Bush bias of the establishment press and its one-sided reporting on the war
10. Other

DFO: No. 9

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

P.S. — 12/15/05

Issue: Santa Claus

DFO: I can’t remember when I gave up my belief in Santa Claus. But I’d guess it was sometime around 6 or 7 — and that my favorite cousins were the ones who burst my bubble. Still, we continued to celebrate the arrival of the jolly elf for the 4 younger siblings for years. My mother still enjoys telling about the time when I was 13 or 14 that I put out a dress and a pair of my older sister’s nylons under my sock — and told Santa to fill it. He didn’t But I impressed him, judging from the note he wrote me.

Question: How did you find out that Santa was a myth? (Oops, I’m not telling you anything new here, am I?

Headlines @ Closin’ Time — 12/15/05

Happier Times: Carolyn Conrad, 29, right, and Kathleen “KP” Peterson, 41, held hands during their civil union ceremony at midnight July 1, 2000, in Brattleboro, Vt. See Item No. 1.

*Nation’s 1st same-sex civil union ending: Activist: ‘We all experience similar issues in relationships’/Rutland Herald, Vermont — No promises of a rose garden, no matter which side of the plate you swing from.

*1/3 of Americans want Bush impeached: Figure close to number who think U.S. can’t win in Iraq/WorldNetDaily — OK, I’m trying to boost Bearable Bob’s spirits after that unfortunate posting just below.

*Turnout strong for Iraq parliamentary vote: 1 of largest, freest elections ever in Arab world/Associated Press — OK, I’m trying to boost my own spirits after posting the link just above this one. You go, Dubya.

*Teacher recants ‘Santa is myth’ story: Angry parents call school after woman shatters 1st-graders’ perception/WorldNetDaily — No matter where you stand on our war-on-Christmas debate, you gotta agree that this teacher crossed the line.

*Bush accepts McCain torture ban: Arizona senator: ‘It’s a done deal’/Associated Press — Seems we’re no longer going to stoop to the strategy of the terrorists … ah, I mean, insurgents.


Top Cutlines — 12/15/05

Female students giggle as they watch naked male students belonging to the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity of the University of the Philippines, the country’s premier university, during the traditional “Oblation Run” earlier today at suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines. You write the cutline.

Top Cutline:

1. Sun Wong giggles in disbelief as Long Duck Dong’s Shlong bounces to the rhythm of Spagheti Song sung by the Sexbomb Girls early Saturday — Black Bear Blog.

2. Fraternity member Sum Schmal Wang was hoping to impress the co-eds during the run but unfortunately a cold snap in Manila reduced his display — Eagle Eye.

3. Watching the frat boys jog by, Imelda suddenly remembered where she put her three-inch floppy — John Austin.

HM: Dave Tolle

Skookum’s Bartholdt Joins HBO Blogroll

Put your hands together for one of my favorite North Idaho journalists Ralph Bartholdt (shown above in Iraq), who joins the HBO “Local Photographers” blogroll today. Not only is Ralph a fine photographer, but he’s the only journalist I know that has covered the story of post-war Iraq. He did so with the blessing of the Publisher Dan Hammes at the St. Maries Gazette-Record, where Ralph works as the editor. His articles capture the old Ernie Pyle style of telling the story of the soldiers in the line of fire. You’ll find some of those on the link I’m about to provide you. I’m thrilled that Ralph is joining Doug Fredericks, the two Phils and Sandpoint In Pictures to make this a growing repository of beautiful North Idaho photography. You can find Ralph’s Web site by clicking on the link under “Local Photography” or by clicking here. And you can find a story by Ralph this week interviewing a WWII vet from the St. Maries area here.

Child Care: Is Idaho Lagging Too Far Behind?

In Washington, all child-care centers must be licensed. In Idaho, only those centers with more than 12 children are required by the state to be licensed. Some Idaho cities, such as Coeur d’Alene, have stricter standards. Because the smaller centers don’t need to be licensed, they also aren’t subject to minimum health and safety inspections. And, alarmingly, their workers are not subject to criminal background checks. Legislation to shore up child-care regulations in Idaho failed last session. This time advocates will come armed with a survey that shows Idaho residents are unhappy with the state’s lax standards.

For the rest of the editorial by Gary Crooks/SR, click here.

Question: Are you satisfied with the level of protection by state regulations offered to children in Idaho day cares?

More Intolerance by the ACLU …

Misunderstanding the principle of separation of church and state continues to produce absurd results. After receiving a complaint from the ACLU, the town of Bellingham, Maine decided to end the practice of snow plowing church parking lots even though the service had been performed “as long as there have been churches in the town.” Another complaint, this time by a parent of a public school child, caused a Madison, Wisconsin school district to end field trips to Salvation Army sites where students would ring bells to help solicit donations. “Contributions by students to the community are very valuable,” said school district spokesman Ken Syke, “but we have to keep that separation [of church and state]” — World magazine blog.

For the complete story, click here. And for the story of an intolerant parent who stopped third-graders on field trips from ringing Salvation Army bells, click here.

Local Question of the Day — 12/15/05

Duane Hagadone answers questions in front of an artists rendering of the new Spa, after a press conference at the Coeur d’Alene Resort on Wednesday 12/14/05 about a 20 million dollar makeover for the Resorts 20th birthday. Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review

Issue: CdA Resort getting luxury spa treatment: Renovation of 200 rooms part of $20 million makeover/Becky Kramer, Spokesman-Review; and: In the Driver’s Seat: Hagadone announces four major projects to cost $100 million/Rick Thomas, Spokesman-Review

DFO: I go into The Coeur d’Alene Resort about once a year, for a particular event, like the Festival of the Trees. This year, I attended a wedding reception there. Nothing else. Guess I’m not into sizzle.

Question: How much do you spend per year (ball park) at Hagadone’s various enterprises?

WorldNetDaily Poll — “Brokeback Mountain”

Issue: Heath Ledger: ‘Brokeback’ beautiful story of love: ‘I think most straight men are coming out of the screenings feeling swept away’/Windy City Times; and: Homosexual cowboys: Ted Baehr says ‘Brokeback Mountain’ is plotless, twisted, boring/WorldNetDaily

Question: Will you see ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ the story of ‘gay’ cowboys in love?

1. Yes, I’d bend over backward to see this
2. Yes, I adore true love stories
3. Yes, the reviews are fabulous, and Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal are simply dreamy
4. Yes, I’m curious to see what all the hubub is about
5. I’m not sure, I keep going both ways on this
6. No, I don’t want my money supporting filth like 2 cowboys having sex
7. No, just the concept of ‘gay cowpokes’ is utterly repulsive
8. No, and I expect this to be a big box-office flop
9. No, it’s another example of why Hollywood has become ‘BrokeBANK Mountain’
10. Other

DFO: No. 10: No, but I’m curious to see what the hubbub is all about. (BTW, I’m running this daily polling question holding out hope that some of the usual suspects are mature enough to discuss this without resorting to name-calling.)

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

P.S. — 12/14/05

Issue: Holiday rudeness

DFO: Eric Anderson of our office was waiting in the checkout line at KMart the other day when a thirtysomething woman cut in front of him and demanded that the clerk call the Toy Department. Ms. Ill-Manners wanted to know if the store had a certain type of toy car. The clerk made the call but couldn’t get anyone to pick up. So, the woman stomped off muttering about having to check for herself. Worse yet, the clerk said the woman’s behavior is becoming all too common.

Question: Have you witnessed any unusual examples of bad behavior among shoppers this Christmas season?

Headlines @ Closin’ Time — 12/14/05

Columnist Bob Novak watches a basketball game in Washington in this Dec. 5 file photo. Novak, who first published the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, says he is confident that President George W. Bush knows who leaked Plame’s name here.

*Bush: Iraq invasion my responsibility: “It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong”/Associated Press — Sounds like he still wouldn’t take a do-over, though.

*House OK’s Patriot Act extension: Counterterrorism bill sent to Senate on 251-174 vote/Associated Press: No surprise here. The Senate’s where the suspense will take place.

*Air marshals to expand their mission: Testing counterterror surveillance at train stations, other transit facilities/Associated Press — Just as long as airport screeners isn’t allowed to expand its mission. Some of them are as power mad as they are intrusive.

*Salvation Army Gets ‘Gifts of Gold’: Red kettles filling up with “12 Days of Christmas” stuff this season/NewsMax — Now, if the Salvation Army would see fit to give the city of Coeur d’Alene $29M for a community center, we’d all enjoy a merrier Christmas.

*U.S. nixes Cuba for baseball classic: Embargo prevents contracts involving Cuba, Cubans/Associated Press — Just when you think the Cold War has been over since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union …

High Tech Privy

The Brondell Swash 600 toilet seat is seen earlier today in San Francisco. San Francisco entrepreneur Scott Pinizzotto’s start-up company makes The Swash, a gadget he describes as “a more hygienic and comfortable way to go to the bathroom.” The gadget washes and then warms the back side. But pampering the posterior isn’t cheap. The Swash toilet seat retails for $439 to 549. Sales have risen by nearly 50 percent every three months. Mebbe I shoulda kept this one for tomorrow’s APhoto of the Day.

Let’s Help Out Our Friend Black Bear Blog

The Huckleberries Online crowd has boosted Steve Remington/Black Bear Blog to a nice lead over his competitors for the best Outdoors Blog of 2005. At last count, BBB has jumped from 28 to 67 votes as he threatens to lap the field. Only 2 or 3 other outdoors blogs are even in the hunt at this point. Our goal? Let’s get him to 100 before the day’s out. You can check out his site (which is included under the HBO Friends of Huckleberries blogroll) here. And you can vote for Black Bear here.

Pullman Killer Was Registered Sex Offender

A registered sex offender from Moscow murdered a man and woman in Pullman last Saturday before turning the gun on himself, Pullman Police reported today. The results of autopsies on 27-year-old Louissa Thompson, 25-year-old Peter Zornes of Oakesdale and 29-year-old suspect Trevor Saunders of Moscow (pictured) show that all three died from a gunshot to the head, Commander Chris Tennant said in a press release. … Zornes was a recent acquaintance of Thompson’s and had just begun working at the same Pullman Shopko where she was employed/Compiled by Spokesman-Review here.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 12/14/05

A toppled transmission tower is seen in January 2000, outside Bend, Ore. Chelsea Dawn Gerlach (pictured), 28, of Portland, was one of two people in Oregon arrested as part of a nine-year federal investigation targeting ecoterrorists. Gerlach was to appear in U.S. District Court in Portland Thursday on indictments alleging she was involved in the 80-foot Bonneville Power Administration transmission tower destruction, the 2001 arson that destroyed the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture, and a $12 million fire at a ski resort in Colorado here.

1. Free-lancer Milt Priggee/Oak Harbor, Wash., pays tribute to the late Richard Pryor here.

2. A registered sex offender apparently is responsible for the double-murder/suicide at a condo in Pullman, Wash., according to police reports, here.

3. North Idaho veterans have joined many of their peers in protesting a move by the U.S. Postal Service to decommission the “Purple Heart” stamp when first-class postage increases from 37 cents to 39 cents next month here.

4. John and Stacey HolleyPost Falls, Idaho, were horrified when they found out that their fallen soldier son’s remains were going to be handled by baggage carriers at the San Diego airport, according to Brian Walker/Coeur d’Alene Press, here.

5. Boise State football coach Dan Hawkins has emerged as the leading candidate to take over the UColorado program here.

6. IMHO-NW: D.F. Oliveria/Spokesman-Review (Caring adults best defense for kids), Dan Popkey/Idaho Statesman (Idaho highway program snafu), Seattle Times (Smoke-free casinos good for tribes, too), Jim Kershner, Spokesman-Review (These are “The Doors” — not), and Steve Kelley/Seattle Times (Gilbertson still on sidelines).

Washington Ceasefire Poll: 70% of 403 registered voters want background checks for gun-show buyers here.

*A 21-year-old Navy wife accused of fatally neglecting her 18-month-old daughter, then storing her body for weeks in a garbage bag, according to the Associated Press (free subscription required), here.

*Most elk, bison and trumpeter swans are unfazed by the presence of snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park, a new study suggests, here.

*Columbian: Six confirmed cases of E. coli have been linked to drinking unpasteurized milk from an unlicensed dairy here.

*Cancer claims moderate Washington Repub Richard Hemstad/Olympia here.

Orbusmax Special: Boise dealership sued for persuading man with dementian to trade in SUV for car worth half as much here.

APhoto of the Day — 12/14/05

Former President Bill Clinton kisses Hillary Clinton after introducing her at a fundraising dinner for her 2006 U.S. Senate campaign Tuesday in New York. You write the cutline.

Local Question of the Day — 12/14/05

Issue: Kennedy sheds residency complaint: Shellman to pursue clarification by Idaho Legislature/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review

Additional Info: “I’m not singling out Mike Kennedy,” Lee Shellman said, who spent $666 on newspaper ads questioning Kennedy’s residency. Shellman said he would have done the same to any other candidate “making a mockery” of the election process.

Question: Are you buying Lee Shellman’s explanation for the Republican attack ads against Mike Kennedy during the Coeur d’Alene municipal campaigns this fall?

Illustration: Dan Gookin

WorldNetDaily Poll — Sexpidemic

Issue: U.S. teacher sexpidemic spreading across planet: Long list of American rapists joined by female Australians/WorldNetDaily

Question: What’s the solution to the outbreak of teacher-student sex?

1. Have men teach boys, and women teach girls exclusively
2. Homeschool children instead of sending them to these pervert zones
3. Have better psychological screening of teachers
4. Provide more supervision of teachers and students
5. Impose much tougher penalties for these teacher molesters and rapists
6. It would help if society stopped glorifying this type of behavior everywhere else
7. It takes two to tango, so hold the students more accountable along with teachers
8. I don’t see anything wrong as long as the sex is consensual
9. Lower the age of consent, so these are no longer criminals
10. Other

DFO: No. 5

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

P.S. — 12/13/05

Issue: Iranian president again doubts Holocaust: Calls on Muslim nations to take proactive stand on Palestinian conflict/Associated Press

DFO: In the US, only racists and horribly informed individuals deny the holocaust. It’s something that happened and was witnessed by numerous people including concentration camp liberators like former CDA mayor Ray Stone.

Question: What would you say to a nonracist person who denied that the holocaust occurred?

Wild Card/Tuesday — 12/13/05

At the legislative review today at the downtown office, Rich Roesler/Eye on Olympia told me that the link provided by HBO to the Washington Democrats “hypocrite” ichthus (the Christian fish) received quite a bit of radio air play in Seattle. Seems the talkmeisters couldn’t pronounce my surname. Then, not many people can. On the other hand, blogger Delta Mike Charlie and Orbusmax deserves the credit for catching the Washington Dems before they pulled their version of the ichthus from their site. (The original page can be seen here. WorldNetDaily provided an exclusive story about the flap here.) You can talk about this or start your own thread with your Wild Card this p.m.

Headlines @ Closin’ Time — 12/13/05

*Gay cowboy romance leads Golden Globe contenders: “Brokeback Mountain” claims 7 nominations, including best dramatic picture. (Above, actors Jake Gyllenhaal, left, and Heath Ledger in a scene from director Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain”)/ — Anyone have a review for this one?

*Gerald Ford hospitalized: Former president undergoing medical tests in California/NBC News — How’d you like to be known for pardoning Nixon and falling down?

*U.S. to Canada: Stop bashing us: Ambassador warns pols about slamming their ‘No. 1 trading partner’/Reuters — Mebbe we should plant a coupla WMDs underneath the snow up there and then invade the Great White North. On the other hand … who cares what they say?

*Woman, unborn baby survive parachute failure: ‘I eggshelled my entire face,’ says skydiver hoping to take plunge again/KTHV-TV — Of course, HBO has video here.

*Fed raises interest rate quarter pointz: 13th increase brings level to highest point in 4 1/2 years/Associated Press — Stop!

Rising Religious Left Trying to Sheep Steal?

Many of the evangelicals who vote to support the conservative/Republican coalition are not political. They don’t understand, and don’t really want to understand, the philosophical basis of their political conservatism. They tend to follow some basic issues, such as abortion and gay rights. However, they are vulnerable to seduction from the evangelical/ecclesiastical left. The change of only a few hundred thousand votes nationwide could change the economic, social, political, and foreign policy direction of the United States. This is where the evangelical/ecclesiastical left is attempting to go! They have launched a full-scale effort to swing many “mushy” evangelicals away from conservatism. If they can’t get these “soft” conservatives to vote their way, they at least hope to get them to stay home from the polls.

For the rest of the post by Coyote/NW Republican, click here.

Hat Tip: Orbusmax

So, The Grail Claims To Be A Restaurant? Hmm

A 21-year-old professional boxer was reportedly stabbed outside The Grail early Sunday morning. Shawn Phillip Hawk told authorities he went to the nightspot in Huetter with his girlfriend and a friend. He said he was walking to his car around closing time when he was approached by six to eight men, according to a report from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department. According to the report, one of the men bumped into Hawk, and he felt a pinch on the back of his leg, above his knee. He said he then felt blood running down his leg and realized he had been stabbed. Hawk, a boxer under contract with The Coeur d’Alene Casino, said he wasn’t interested in pressing charges in the stabbing — Spokesman-Review.

Huckleberries Best of the Northwest — 12/13/05

Six-year-old Rose Bettis, left, joins fellow angels in prayer before taking the stage for a Christmas show at Creswell Christian School in Creswell, Ore., Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005. Nearly 50 children from the school presented morning and evening performances for family and friends at the school. (AP Photo/The Register-Guard, Chris Pietsch)

1. Black Ink Monday has come and gone, but free-lancer Milt Priggee/Oak Harbor continues on his crusade to put the vanishing editorial cartoonist back on the editorial page here.

2. Two children were hospitalized after a rash of apparent E. coli poisonings in southwestern Washington, and officials said unpasteurized milk may be to blame here.

3. What’s in a name? Well, if it’s Rattlecreek Ridge, you’d better think up something else, as a Montana vineyard had to do when it was threatened by a Washington winery here.

4. If you hit a deer and veer into a ditch, where your car gets stuck, don’t do what Ryan Caples did — stuff the badly injured animal into the trunk and then claim the animal isn’t there when a Kootenai County sheriff’s deputy comes to your aid, particularly if you have an open container in your car here.

5. A Spokane man’s two-week stay in the Spokane County Jail ended Monday after his father made a convincing argument that Spokane Police had arrested the wrong person in connection with a string of three sexual assaults here.

6. IMHO-NW: Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (Guys go ape for Kong), Idaho Statesman (Craig right to demand Patriot Act changes), Rebecca Nappi/Spokesman-Review (Mayor West’s personal life), Jamie Kelly/Missoulian (Censor me? No, censor you), Jim Moore/Seattle PI (Belligerent Bret Boone?).

*Ex-boyfriend appears to be to blame for double-murder, suicide in Pullman here.

*A UW fraternity with an “Animal House” reputation has had a complete makeover as a result of learning table manners from an etiquett coach here.

*Billings man sues to hunt on Montana’s American Indian reservations here.

*Boise State’s Dan Hawkins has talked to UColorado about its vacant football coaching job here.

Orbusmax Special: Oregon universities offer more meditation classes for stressed-out students here.

Local Question of the Day — 12/13/05

Issue: Depot watchdogs incur chairman’s ire: Outburst prompted by petition, impromptu meeting/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review

DFO: I’m hearing more and more about Gus’s temper. Most of the time it’s off stage. And the Average Joe doesn’t hear about it. But here’s an example of Gus exploding at the wrong time, with the media just outside his door.

Question: Does Gus have too hot of a temper to be a Kootenai County commissioner?

Question of the Day — 12/13/05

Issue: The World Wide Web has been around for 15 years now: Spark looks at “Top 10” Web moments/Kristie Lu Stout, CNN

Which of the following is the most significant in the World Wide Web’s history?

1. WiFi hotspots
2. Webcams and photo sharing
3. Skype
4. Live 8 on AOL
5. Napster shuts down
6. Monica Lewinsky scandal
7. 9/11, and the rise of citizen journalism
8. Dotcom boom/bust
9. Hotmail
10. Google

You can vote online here.

Question: How has the World Wide Web changed your life?

WorldNetDaily Poll — 12/13/05

Issue: Immigration emerging as next big issue: Poll shows borders could define next administration/WND

Question: Which political issue is the most important one for you?

1. Abortion
2. Border security and immigration
3. Economy, taxes
4. Education
5. Environment
6. Growing global government
7. Health care
8. Iraq war, war on terror
9. Prospect of Hillary Clinton becoming president
10. Other

DFO: No. 8

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.


Issue: Spokane business, visitors groups look to repair city’s image/The Olympian

DFO: I don’t think any more or any less of Spokane as a result of the scandal involving Mayor Jim West. It isn’t going to make me shop there more than I do now, which isn’t much, or less. It won’t prevent me from using the airport. My paycheck will still come from Spokane.

Question: Is there any discernible way that the West scandal will have a long-lasting effect on Spokane?

Best of the Local Blogs — 12/12/05

CDADave/Thin Air published this cool photo of the Fortgrounds area (current site of North Idaho College) pre-1900s, or at least sometime before the current building boom. For text, click here.

*Bill McCrory/Whitecaps have some thoughts worth reading on that CDA Press story by former SR Girl Friday Linda Ball re: increased gang activity in Kootenai County here.

*Colin Mulvany/Video Journal waited around long enough to get a little different view of a hell fire and brimstone preacher from Spokane whom most ignore in his wonderful Find The Frame online feature here.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour explains why the locals refer to the Bonner Mall at Ponderay as “The Bonner Morgue” here.

*Stebbijo/Your Choice offers a pretty good list of possibilities as she wonders aloud re: what you think of when you hear the term “white trash” here.

*Put your hands together for 8 weeks of nicotine-free living by His Bobness (those of you who aren’t fans of BB can fashion your hands in the form of an anticipated choke hold) here.

Digital Fog offers more of his “Nativity Scenes Gone Wrong” here, Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind introduces us to a pet peeve, misbehaving children, here, and Family Phil Jr./A Family Runs Thru It has mixed a kid-tested, father-approved, family-friendly Christmas CD for us here.

Top Cutlines — 12/12/05

Seattle Seahawks fans cheer near the end of the Seahawks’ 41-3 win over the San Francisco 49ers at Qwest Field in Seattle Sunday. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines:

1. With his He-Man residuals drying up and fresh from his stint as an extra in Pirates of the Caribbean, Skeletor (copping a feel from He-Man pal Teela, left ) is looking for a new gig as a Seahawks die-hard — PDX Pup.

2. A fan from the last time the Seahawks were doing this well comes back from the dead to celebrate a great season — Arpie.

3. Two fans indicate the exact number of mentally-capable parents each has — John Austin.

For the rest of today’s cutline entries, click here.

Idaho Statesman Announces All-Idaho Gridsters

Chris Delport and Byron Hout of Lake City High have been named to the 5A first team. You can get a complete rundown on the first and second teams from all five Idaho divisions here.

Hookah Smokers Strike Back

Megan Carlisle of Olympia, Wash. smokes from a hookah as she takes part in a protest in Olympia, Wash., earlier today against the statewide voter approved smoking ban that affects all public places that went into effect last week. The protesters are against the ban also making it illegal to smoke in hookah lounges. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Bumpersnicker …

… (on a green rig at Jewelry Pounders on Division Street in Spokane): “Don’t worry what people think. They don’t do it very often.”

Hat Tip: Jon Livingston

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 12/12/05

A cougar is shown near La Grande, Ore., in this undated photo after it had been chased up a tree by dogs. For some reason, cougar kills in Oregon are down this year. Both biologists and hunters do offer a few theories to explain cougar hunters’ comparative lack of success so far this year (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Steve Nehl).

1. David Horsey/Seattle PI doodles re: the cultural war over Christmas here.

2. Gov. Christine Gregoire, a tough, battle-scarred lawyer, earned her stripes brawling with Big Tobacco and other political tigers. But some of her advisers and top aides, armed with results from four focus groups with voters last month, want to begin softening the aggressive image that helped put her on the map, according to David Ammons/Associated Press, here.

3. Spokane County Assessor Ralph Baker is sending a clear message to anyone with questions or complaints about their property assessments: Stay home. Baker has ordered chairs removed from his office’s waiting area, directed employees to spend less time meeting with residents, and installed a new voice-mail system that makes it almost impossible for callers to actually reach an appraiser by phone, according to Amy Cannata, Spokesman-Review, here.

4. Glen Farnworth, an Idahoan in prison for drunken driving, has sued the state’s parole director because, he claims, a sobriety program violated his religion by forcing him to submit to God’s will twice a day here.

5. Some Washington pervs are beating the system by registering as homeless rather than providing their residential address here.

6. IMHO-NW: D.F. Oliveria/Spokesman-Review (Monday’s Huckleberries), Joel Connelly/Seattle PI (Key U.S. House races), Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (Mayor Jim West’s last hurrah), Kahlen Burgwin/WSU Evergreen (Thumbs down to “Narnia”?), John Blanchette/Spokesman-Review (Seattle star LB Lofa Tatupu).

Helena Independent Record Online poll: 92% favor a cable a la carte system that would allow them to get only the channels they wanted.

*Gun control groups are using the Tacoma Mall shooting to bolster their contention that unlicensed gun sellers should not be allowed to advertise their wares in newspaper classified ads, according to Adam Lynn, Tacoma News Tribune (free subscription required), here.

*In Vancouver, Washington, two families have contributed a record-breaking $15M each to local hospitals here.

*I-90 restrictions over Snoqualmie Pass should be lifted soon here.

Orbusmax Special: Employers struggle to find workers in North Idaho here.

A Christmas Quiz by John Leo

The “winter program” at Ridgeway Elementary School In Dodgeville, Wisconsin, changed the lyrics of the Christmas carol “Silent Night” to the more inclusive “Cold in the Night.” (“Cold in the night, no one in sight, winter winds whirl and bite.” ) After this success, the program’s next step will obviously be:

a) Changing “O Holy Night” to “Uh-oh! Wholly night!” a song about a lunar eclipse
b) Singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.”
c) A song celebrating the comeback of the American auto industry, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Ford.”
d) A ditty about hoping for snow at the Panama Canal, “I’m dreaming of a white isthmus.”

For the rest of the Christmas quiz by John Leo/US News & World Report, click here.

Want to Guess Why Duane Hagadone’s …

… Staging a press conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Bay 3 of The Coeur d’Alene Resort? New tower? Blackwell Island? Botanical Garden? Annexing McEuen Field? Another condoplex? What?

Best Guess So Far: Hagadone’ll be talking about the new spa that is being built at the Resort and a big remodel of guest rooms. Nothing earth-shattering.

Local Question of the Day — 12/12/05

Issue: Quest to classify Grail creates clash: Kootenai officials, owner disagree on whether spot is bar or eatery/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Lansing Haynes (at Nov. 4 hearing): “The Grail can call itself whatever it wants. The Grail is a bar. How many restaurants have UV parties? How many restaurants have Fantasy and Fetish parties?”

Question: So, if you were making the call here, would you say The Grail is a bar or a restaurant?

WorldNetDaily — A Message for Our Troops

Question: What message would you like to give U.S. troops for Christmas?

1 Like John Kerry says, stop terrorizing Iraqi children in the night
2 Like Howard Dean says, this war is unwinnable, so come home now
3. Just come home now!
4. I support you, but not the war
5. Ignore the anti-American media, you’re doing a great job
6. Thank you for making your country a safer place
7. We miss you tremendously, and you are in our thoughts and prayers constantly
8. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten
9. We love you, push on to victory!
10. Other

DFO: Nos. 5-9

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Best of Huckleberries Online — 12/12/05

You may know that military contractor Brent Wilkes is referred to as “co-conspirator No. 1” by the feds investigating the bribery scandal involving former Repub congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham (pictured) of California. But did you know that Wilkes lived high on taxpayer-funded retreats in Coeur d’Alene and Hawaii? In an article (which is linked in Huckleberries Online), the San Diego Union Tribune said Wilkes would take his management team to posh places like The Coeur d’Alene Resort, where he rented the $2,500-per-night Hagadone suite, with its indoor swimming pool and outdoor Jacuzzi, and spent thousands of dollars for group meals at Beverly’s. The Union-Tribune provides more: “For recreation, they would fish, Jet Ski or play at the resort’s exclusive golf course, famed for its 14th hole on a man-made floating island in Lake Coeur d’Alene.” About once a year, Wilkes and his execs would visit their two favorite retreat sites on the public dime, Idaho in the spring and summer, Hawaii in the fall and winter. Your tax dollars at work.

Wild Card/Sunday — 12/11/05

A major reason I enjoy my work with the SR Editorial Board (Publisher Stacey Cowles, Editor Steve Smith, Opinion Page Editor Doug Floyd, and Associate Editors Gary Crooks, Rebecca Nappi and myself) is the respect we have for each other — despite the differences in ideology. We can argue passionately for an hour about Bush, the war, abortion, etc., and break friends. After almost 12 years on the Editorial Board, I’ve come to understand where the others are coming from — and have changed my ideas on some things. I’m hoping we can do the same thing here. I brought up the “war on Christmas” last week for that reason. The purpose wasn’t to change your minds necessarily re: religion in the public square, particularly at Christmas, but to make you realize that good, intelligent people have different perspectives. Our public debate today is poisoned by the extremes on each side shouting at each other and not listening to each other. Two intelligent people can look at the war and Iraq and see two vastly different things — one a Vietnam-type quagmire; the other slow progress that will stabilize the Middle East. Last week, I posted some things under the “comments” section to get in on the fun. And I replied to posts more than I usually do. I enjoyed letting my hair down a bit and baiting you a bit. But I may have triggered Friday night’s flame war by mixing it up. Mebbe I should keep my comments out front? Who knows? Meanwhile, I will continue to post controversial subjects while pursuing the idealistic idea of civil debate. Here’s your Sunday Wild Card …

CDA School District Needs To Do Its Homework

Two things stand out from the district’s aborted attempt to relocate aging Lakes School: It didn’t realize the importance of Person Field to neighbors because it didn’t meet with them until the eleventh hour of the planning process. Nor did it have a solid plan for future use of the current school site a few blocks away. Unable to answer key questions, the district wisely decided to rebuild Lakes on the current site rather than relocate. A $50 million levy will be a tough enough sell to patrons in the current anti-tax climate without worrying about a backlash from the Person Field neighborhood.

For the rest of my editorial today re: the aborted Lakes Middle School reconstruction at Person Field, click here.

Question: Do you think the Coeur d’Alene School District will have trouble passing a capital facilities levy of $40M to $50M next spring?

Hunters, Eatcher Hearts Out

A herd of elk loung in a field northwest of Argonne and Stoneman Road, Friday afternoon. The herd has been spotted in and around the field several times in the last few weeks. Kathryn Stevens/The Spokesman-Review.

DFO: I thought this beauty by Kathryn Stevens was worth repeating.

Question of the Day — 12/10/05

Issue: Gregoire asks Washington tribes to end casino smoking/Joel Connelly, Seattle PI

DFO: Sounds like the Indian casinos in Washington are going to reap a windfall from the new state law that makes smokers pariahs in non-Indian business establishments.

Question: If you were a tribal casino official, how would you respond to Gregoire’s request to go smoke-free?


The front, left, and inscription of President Bush’s 2005 Christmas card.

Issue: Putting the X in Xmas: Crossing names off your holiday-card list/Jack Broom, Seattle Times

Helpful Hint: “My rule of thumb … If I haven’t spoken to them in three years, or I don’t know what’s going on in their lives, I stop sending them a card. Or maybe it’s a Mr.-and-Mrs. thing that I didn’t know about. If I didn’t get invited to the wedding, then I probably don’t send them a Christmas card” — Marguie Huffman, manager of Simply Seattle at First and Pine.

Question: When do you broom someone from your Christmas card list?

Feedback: Usually when people take out ads targeting me in the newspaper I figure that’s a sign they’d like to be removed from the list — Mike Kennedy.

Easter Egg — How Your Brain Works

Cis Gors/Kootenai passes along a quirky little test that takes only moments, and will show you how your brain works here.

NW Holiday Scenes

Adrianna Keeney, 6, of Kalispell, Mont., gets up close and personal with her work while decorating the Christmas tree in the window of her mother’s hair salon Thursday. (AP Photo/The Daily Inter Lake, Chris Jordan)

A herd of elk loung in a field northwest of Argonne and Stoneman Road, Friday afternoon. The herd has been spotted in and around the field several times in the last few weeks. Kathryn Stevens/The Spokesman-Review.

Jesse and Kelli Garland enjoy some moments together during the holidays Thursday. Jesse has leukemia and the two were married at Holy Family Hospital in February when his condition worsened. He went into remission but the leukemia returned this fall and they are staying with relatives during his final days. Christopher Anderson/The Spokesman-Review

Wild Card/TGIF — 12/9/05

As I go in search of an editorial topic, I have a confession to make — and I do so knowing that Junior might be checking this blog (and having a fit when he reads this). When I got married, I insisted that there were two things that’d never set down in my house: a dog and an artifical Christmas tree. My wife, son and daughter respected my wishes until a Valentine’s Day about 9 years ago when I arrived home to find a puppy in a box in my kitchen. My howls were ignored. Now, my second demand has been ignored. My wife was given an artificial tree, which is now featured in our front bay window, decorated and all. And I don’t seem to mind that either. I never thought I’d allow such a thing in my house. But … it doesn’t lose its needles, you don’t have to water it, you don’t have to go hunting for it, and you don’t have to worry about it drying out from the heat of the wood stove nearby and starting a fire. I can’t believe I’m writing this. You can take up this thread — Christmas tree: real or artificial — or start your own thread with this Wild Card …

Yuletide Night on Sherman Avenue

White stars are frozen in the skies
white snow upon the mountain lies
white lights throw beams from branches bare –
White Christmas now is everywhere.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Question No. 2 — 12/9/05

Former Rep. Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and Rep. Tom Delay, R-Texas, are seen in undated file photos. When Republicans seized power in Congress a decade ago, they vowed to sweep out the stench of scandal and restore bonds of trust with the people. Now the people may be wondering whether the new bosses are same as the old bosses, or possibly more corrupt/APhoto.

Question: Are Republicans more corrupt than Democrats, or is this a case that the party in power ultimately will become corrupt?

APhoto of the Day — 12/8/05

In this photo by Brian Plonka/SR, Gonzaga guard David Pendergraft dives for a loose ball Thursday against WSU in Spokane. You write the cutline.

WorldNetDaily Poll — Checkbook Journalism

Issue: Saudi boasts of role in Fox News coverage: Shareholding prince says change made
after he phoned chief Rupert Murdoch

Question: Is Fox News compromised by having a Saudi prince as a major investor?

1. No, Fox News is truly fair and balanced
2. No, Fox News has more integrity than any other TV news source
3. No, Rupert Murdoch would never permit that kind of influence
4. No
5. Not sure, but this revelation is troubling – Fox News needs to answer this allegation
6. Yes, the bottom line is what counts for Murdoch
7. Yes, political correctness is affecting Fox News on matters concerning Islam
8. Fox News was compromised long before the Saudi’s involvement
9. Yes
10. Other

DFO: No. 5

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

P.S. — Who’s Your “Survivor” Fave?

Gary Hogeboom, of the the Xhakum tribe, wears the immunity necklace during the 11th episode of “Survivor: Guatemala,” in Flores, in an undated photo.

Issue: And then there were 5.

DFO: I haven’t watched “Survivor” as closely this season as I have the previous. But I’ve tuned in the last coupla weeks. I was sorry to see former NFL QB Gary Hogeboom get shipped out two weeks. But was delighted to see that one creep get blind-sided last week (Jed?) — you know, the one who called the rest of the tribe “scumbags” as he walked off the scene.

Question (for individuals who watch this fluff reality show): Who do you want to win now?

Best of the Local Blogs — 12/8/05

Digital Fog provides an example of “Nativity Scenes Gone Wrong.” If you haven’t checked out Digital Fog’s blog, he offers interesting photos and spoofs, including one today of a man caught with his pants down outside an upper-story window and other goodies here.

*Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind remembers the first time she saw King Kong, the original one with Faye Wray, and how she didn’t stop running until she was four blocks from he theater here.

*His Bobness is swearing off flaming political posts again and this time he means it here. So, we should start a lottery to see how long it lasts, and I’ll take “less than a week” and start posting fire-breathing righty stuff in the “comments” feature.

*You think Coeur d’Alene is the only company town around here? Think again. Bayview Herb/Bay Views reports that Waterford Park Homes has purchased three of the town’s six resorts, the town trailer park, and the Scenic Motel, possibly with an eye of transforming the scenic bay into a mega-resort here.

*Stebbijo/Your Choice had a close encounter with the local McDonalds directional signs at the take-out window and now wonders if Mickey D’s is worth the green here.

*CDADave/Thin Air discovers a little kindness to our fowl weather friends along Lake Coeur d’Alene kindness a warm fire inside here.

Also: Granati’s tinkering with his Web site design here, John Rook dubs U.S. Sen. Ernest Hollings as “Radio’s Man of the Year” here, and Mari Meehan/Dogwalk Musings tosses in her 2 cents re: the Christmas war here.

Ah’m Your Huckleberry …

First, you should know that a CPD Blue was summoned to a local family’s home at 7:45 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, to take a report about a 16-year-old runaway/statutory rape victim. Onward. Later, the CPD Blue spotted the alleged victim at the East Tubbs Hill Park with two galpals. They all spoke and moved lethargically, but they denied they were doped up. Seems Not-So-Sweet 16 had tested positive in a home drug test. None of the three was thinking straight when they told the officer that “they were out on a dog walk during which (Sweet 16’s) dog was killed by another dog.” A story like that, of course, is easy to verify. The CPD Blue called the girl’s mother “and learned the dog was miraculously safe and content at her feet.” Another Festivus miracle.

Peanut Gallery: How Cold Can You Go?

I heard it was 45 below in West Yellowstone, WY, last night. Coldest I ever saw as a kid in northern Minnesota, or, as ya’ll would call it, North Minnesota, was 44 below — GreenL.

DFO: I’ve experienced 29 below during my sojourn (1977-82) in Kalispell, Mont. On the other hand, I also have been in the warmest place in the nation on a given day, Red Bluff, Calif., 118-plus on the day I applied for a job as sports editor in June 1972.

Question: What’s the bitterest cold that you’ve experienced?

Extra! Congress OKs Patriot Act Renewal

Issue: House, Senate reach deal on Patriot Act
But Sen. Russ Feingold threatens to filibuster final version of law’s renewal
/Associated Press

More Info: Idaho U.S. Sen. Larry Craig opposes the extension here.

Question: Do you back Congress here or do you side with Craig and U.S. Rep Butch Otter against the Patriot Act extension?

Be Careful Out There …

Brutus, one of the newer police dogs with the Kootenai County Sheriff Department, waits beside deputy Rich Lyons at the Sheriff’s office. Because of the retirement of two dogs, Baron and Chow, Brutus has been added and another, Ringo, is in training/Jesse Tinsley, The Spokesman-Review.

At …

… Regular gas was selling for $1.97.9 at the Exxon @ 3rd/4th and I-90 last night. Anyone seen anything lower?

APhoto of the Day — 12/8/05

Santa Claus makes contact with a child at Adventure Aquarium on Wednesday in Camden N.J. You write the cutline.

AP Photo/Adventure Aquarium, Jason Staudenmayer

Local Headlines — 12/8/05

*West challenges successor: Ousted mayor says others better qualified than Hession to run Spokane/Mike Prager & Jim Camden, Spokesman-Review — I hope he’s right. I don’t want another mayor with this guy’s wretched personal/public life. (You can listen to West’s press conference yesterday here, and to Dennis Hession’s here.

*The Front Row: Good kids, parents part of 400 wins for Poffenroth/Mark Nelke, Coeur d’Alene Press — Let’s let CHS junior Jenna DeLong pronounce judgment here: “Ever since he came here, the basketball program has skyrocketed.”

*Spokane lawmaker wants ‘Christmas’ back in Olympia Capitol ‘Holiday Tree’/Rich Roesler, Spokesman-Review — You go, John Ahern.

*Rathdrum Mountain campaign mounted: Group aims to buy 280 acres and prevent development/James Hagengruber, Spokesman-Review — Now, if our enlightened Legislature would only allow the half-cent sales tax to be used to preserve open space …

*Fallen soldier remembered: Post Falls parents cope with loss of only child/Brian Walker, Coeur d’Alene Press — Greater love hath no soldier than this, that he lay down his life for his country. Salute.

Quick Fix 6 — 12/8/05

1. APhoto Fix: A makeshift peace sign of flowers lies on top John Lennon’s ‘Strawberry Fields’ memorial in New York’s Central Park earlier today. The memorial is near the Dakota building where Lennon, a former member of the Beatles, lived with his wife Yoko Ono and son Sean when he was murdered outside the building. Today is the 25th anniversary of his death.

2. Cartoon Fix: Chuck Asay (Trials of Iraq), Chip Bok (Repub change agents), and Etta Hulme (White House leak).

3. Humor Fix: Daniel Kurtzman at is inviting readers to nominate their favorite 2005 political dot-comedy for the 6th annual awards competition here.

4. My Way Fix: This Day In History here, Today’s Birthdays here, Positive Quote here, and Word of the Day here.

5. Top of the News Fix: Feds defend air marshals in shooting here, Iraq group says it killed US hostage here, Face transplant woman to profit from photo sales here, Schwarzenegger to hear last appeal on gang leader here, and Ohio town traffic cams: 124 tickets, $18,718 in fines per day here.

6. Opinion Fix: Christopher Hitchens/Vanity Fair (Saddam’s chief apologist), Peggy Noonan/Wall Street Journal (Questioning our immigration policy), Loretta Napoleoni/Foreign Policy (Zarqawi: Profile of a killer), Mark Davis/Dallas Morning News (Oh, holiday tree?), and John Hood/John Locke Foundation (Free SpongeBob!).

Wild Card/Wednesday Evening — 12/7/05

We’ve posted a bunch of comments on the afternoon Wild Card. So, how about a fresh one for the evening — complete with a Cherry Hill sledding photo by correspondent Mike Kincaid. I noticed a coupla you guys were throwing elbows earlier today. Hope you got it out of your system. Now, your Wild Card …

Top Cutlines — 12/7/05

Shannon Sullivan, right, the single mom who led the successful campaign for the recall election of Spokane Mayor James E. West, is hugged by attorney Jerry Davis at Five Mile Pizza Parlor as results come in Tuesday night. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines:

1. (deep voice off camera) SHANNON! WHAT YOU ARE AND JERRY GOING TO DO NOW?! Shannon: WE’RE GOING TO DISNEYLAND! — JBelle.

2. It was so cold after the victory party that attorney Jerry Davis actually had his hands in his OWN pocket — John Austin.

3 (tie). Shannon just found out which star is playing her in the movie about Spokane — Cis. And: Oh, my God! Did they say there was free beer?” — A Token Democrat.

In A League of His Own:

motobrock2: So you comin over 2night?
RightBiGuy: LOL
motobrock2: ???
RightBiGuy: They think they’ve won.
motobrock2: who?
RightBiGuy: Spokane, that’s who
motobrock2: Well move then
RightBiGuy: Where?
motobrock2: Athol, ROFL
RightBiGuy: 730 ok?


For all of today’s cutline entries, click here.

Ah’m Your Huckleberry …

Earlier today, a local car dealer stopped along the onramp at Interstate 90 and U.S. 95 to offer $10 and a job to two beggars holding signs. In fact, he beckoned his general manager immediately to interview the men to see if they were suitable for hire. One wasn’t. The other, HBO’s been told, balked when he learned the application process included a background check. Seems the beggar had a warrant out for his arrest and wanted to be paid under the table. Also, he said he didn’t want the job, if his buddy couldn’t have one, too, and he was reluctant to leave his street corner because he makes about $300 per day begging. Remember that next time you’re tempted to help one of these scammers out.

Wild Card/Wednesday — 12/7/05

A passenger who claimed to have a bomb in his carry-on bag was shot and killed by a air marshal in Miami today here. You can talk about the safety in the skies. How safe you feel when you fly. Or anything else you’d like with this Wild Card. (HBO’ll post another Sacred Cow Burger from Jay D. Dyson in the comments section and the latest Christmas outrage to kick things off today.)

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 12/7/05

Matt Gibeau, 21, blows smoke rings while smoking a hookah at Fire and Earth, a hookah lounge in Olympia, Wash. Tuesday. The hookah lounge will have to end smoking of the large pipes starting just after midnight Wednesday as the voter approved smoking ban in all public places across the state takes effect here. The business will continue to sell hookahs, smoking supplies and gifts/APhoto.

1. In a historic special election, two-thirds of Spokane voters voted to recall Mayor Jim West as the result of allegations that he abused his office trying to woo young gay men here.

Related: West said today that he’s “at peace” after recall here.

2. David Horsey/PI pens why he believes the economy is flying high here.

3. John Olerud, the soft-spoken former Mariner and WSU ballplayer, has retired after 16 seasons, the Boston Red Sox said Tuesday, here.

4. A new state study shows the majority of people diagnosed with a rare form of asbestos-related cancer over a 23-year period lived along Montana’s railroad routes, according to Lynnette Hentzei, The (Kalispell, Mont.) Daily Inter Lake, here.

5. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously today against a disabled Seattle man that the feds can seize Social Security benefits to pay old student loan debts here.

6. IMHO-NW: Rebecca-Nappi/Spokesman-Review (Sale of Knight-Ridder chain), Joel Connelly/Seattle PI (Mount Rainier Beer National Park?), Missoulian (Jettison Patriot Act), Danny Westneat/Seattle Times (Losing our battle for Christmas spoof), and Kaisie Brede/St. Maries Gazette-Record (Embrace winter).

Olympian Online Poll: 37.6% of respondents plan to spend between $25 to $75 per family member this Christmas.

*Racist fliers litter the streets of Ridgefield, Wash., after a black officer claims he was discriminated against after he was fired here.

*All lanes of I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass will be open by mid-next week here.

*WSU student commits suicide here.

Orbusmax Special: 3-year-old Wenatchee boy still not ready for jury duty here.

Question of the Day — why Not Hession?

Hession ready as acting mayor: West’s departure sparks jockeying for city’s top political posts/Mike Prager, Spokesman-Review

About Hession: A longtime business attorney and former Spokane Park Board member, Hession is widely viewed as a cautious deliberator not given to quick, unstudied decisions. He promised during an interview on Monday to maintain West’s administrative staffing for the time being. He would have to leave his law practice and become a full-time mayor under the City Charter.

Question: Rather than put the city of Spokane through another election grind after the long West controversy, wouldn’t it be a good idea now to simply make straight man Dennis Hession mayor?

SR Backs Seatbelts, Not WSP Sting

Ticketing people one by one is an inefficient way to spread the word and it builds ill will. Like it or not, many people believe traffic sting operations are focused on fund raising, not public safety. (“So this is how they’re going to make up for those $30 license tabs!”) Ignoring that perception will reinforce the cynicism and turn people against the seat-belt law.

Read: Seat-belt crackdown doesn’t need subterfuge: WSP idea good, execution isn’t/Gary Crooks, Spokesman-Review

Photo of the Day — 12/7/05

Shannon Sullivan, right, the single mom who led the successful campaign for the recall election of Spokane Mayor James E. West, is hugged by attorney Jerry Davis at Five Mile Pizza Parlor as results come in Tuesday night. You write the cutline.

Morning Headlines — 12/7/05

*Manslaughter charge filed in NIC death: Former student allegedly gave drug/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review — How many Boomers can say: There, but for the grace of God, go I?

*Bonners Ferry jolly over St. Nick’s visits/Lucy Dukes, Hagadone News Network — Better late than never.

*Poffenroth joins 400 club: Coeur d’Alene trips Trojans to give ex-CV coach a big memory/Greg Lee, Spokesman-Review — The Coeur d’Alene Vik girls BB program is in good hands — with Poffenroth. Saaalute.

*Spokane County votes to vote by mail/Amy Cannata, Spokesman-Review — You know, I’m beginning to think that voting by mail might be a better approach after all.

*CdA Tribe donates $100K: Money will help with construction of new CdA chamber building/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press — Another nice gesture from the former owners of this place.

Quick Fix 6 — Pearl Harbor Day (12/7/05)

1. APhoto Fix: Today, we pause to observe the 64th anniversary of the bombing of sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. And to remember the brave men and women who stopped tyrants on two fronts during World War II. Here, smoke and flames rise from the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941.

2. Cartoon Fix: Ed Stein (1,000th execution), Gary Varvel (Parental consent), and Rob Rogers (Planted Iraq news).

3. Humor Fix: “Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well.” —FEMA Director Michael Brown. At Political Humor, blogmeister Daniel Kurtzman is asking readers to vote among five entries (all from Republicans) for the dumbest quote of the year here.

4. My Way Fix: This Day in History here, Today’s Birthdays here, Positive Quote here, and Word of the Day here.

5. Top of the News Fix: Sobbing Iraqi woman recalls torture here, Kurds anticipate Saddam’s execution here, Gibson plans holocaust mini-series here, Dean doubts US win in Iraq here, and Bush spokesman stands by Jesus-Santa reference here.

6. Opinion Fix: Dick Morris/The Hill (Hillary can’t have it both ways), Kathryn Jean Lopez/National Review (Che Guevara — not), Michael Goodman/New York Daily News (Dean digs Dems big hole), Ryan Lizza/New York Magazine (New York: Abortion capital of America), and John Stossel/RealClearPolitics (Extravagant waste in law business).

P.S. — 12/6/05

Issue: Initiative would raise Idaho sales tax: Extra penny to be used to fund education/Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review

DFO: Ah, I need to read the small print.

Question: Would you support an Idaho’s teachers initiative to increase the sales tax to 6 percent to support education?

Best of the Local Blogs — 12/6/05

Doug Fredericks/Hayden continues to take my breath away with his stunning photography, including this 2005 shot that he calls “Sunny Morning.”

*CDADave was disappointed by what he found at the reopened Tesoro Truck Stop on the south end of Sherman Avenue here.

*What’s this? His Bobness engaging in a cross-blog war with out MikeK — make that city councilman-elect Mike K — as the target? Hmm. Click here.

*Bre/To Blog or Not to Blog believes she did pretty well on her first commercial audition, although she admits she didn’t nail it here.

*Dunno why I’m giving the other side fuel for its fire in the Great Christmas Debate that’s been ongoing this holy-day season, but colleague Jim Camden/Spin Control gets in his licks here. And Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind proposes both a Santa Day and a Jesus Day here.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour points out that some national stories have a Sandpoint connection here.

Going, Going …

In what may be his last day in office Spokane Mayor Jim West works at his desk in City Hall earlier today. The logo in the carpet ( foreground ) is one of the touches West brought to the office during his tenure/Christopher Anderson, The Spokesman-Review.

Ray Murphy Injured …

Former Post Falls Chamber of Commerce Exec Ray Murphy (also a former UI Asst. Athletic Director) is currently in the ICU at Deaconess with a bad head injury after falling down some stairs a few days ago. Send prayers his way.

Family Phil

Whitecaps Pulls Back Curtain on Person Hijack Try

Everything seems nicey-nice as the local papers reported that the CDA school district has decided to back off its attempt to relocate Lakes Middle School to Person Field here and here. But Bill McCrory/Whitecaps pulls the curtain back in his blog to reveal that the district didn’t do its home work in discussing the proposed project with neighbors here.

Peanut Gallery — Turn Person Field into Real Park

The city needs to buy the school district’s 1/2 of Persons Field and then make it into a REAL park. I think the fields should stay if possible, but it’d be nice if, say, there were slant parking on the north side of Garden (across from the theater) to match the south side of the road. Then, there’d be more parking for both the theater, and, more importantly, for junior tackle, when 500 “parents and fans” park on every square inch of non-green space in the neighborhood. (This is only slightly exaggerated ;-) The worst (and most ironic) thing that could happen now is that the district sells the land to the highest bidder (which they should in order to keep that levy total down), and the “green space” becomes 20+ new houses.


Inquiring Minds Want to Know …

Monday afternoon a Lakeland school district bus slid off the road on Ramsey. Simple rear tire slide off, no one hurt, no property damage. A fish and game officer, female, stopped her truck in the middle of the road and started directing traffic. Then she got on the bus and started taking down the kids’ names for the “report”. Quite full of herself, my spy said. She was actually blocking the bus out and was impeding traffic flow also. A sheriffs deputy arrives on the scene, pooh poohs writing a citation for a simple slide off and sends the fish and game lady on her way. The bus was pulled from the ditch with a 4-wheel drive truck from the district without a scratch. So my question is what kind of authority would a fish and game officer have in a traffic situation. Sounds like she waaaaay overstepped her authority.

A Berry Picker

Photo of the Day — 12/6/05

A four picture combination shows the hands of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gesturing as she briefs the media in the Chancellery in Berlin earlier today, following talks with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. You write the cutline.

Question of the Day — Cinematic Monsters

Item: Actress Naomi Watts, who stars in the upcoming remake of “King Kong,” poses for photos in the hands of a 20 foot tall replica of King Kong in New York’s Times Square Monday.

DFO: I plan to thoroughly enjoy Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong. I love monsters and sci-fi. And appreciate that today’s filmmakers are upgrading old favorites, like Kong and Godzilla (although I could have done without Matthew Broderick in the lead). Now, if Jackson has extra time on his hand, I’d enjoy seeing his take on one of the greatest cinematic monsters of my childhood, Rodan.

Question: What old monster movie would you like to see talented Peter Jackson redo next?

WorldNetDaily Poll — Worst Professions

Issue: Telemarketers ‘worse than congressmen’: Nurses top list of professionals looked upon as being most honest, ethical/Editor & Publisher

Question: Which professionals are the most dishonest and/or unethical?

1. Advertising practitioners
2. Attorneys
3. Business CEOs
4. Clergy
5. Entertainers
6. Journalists
7. Politicians
8. Telemarketers
9. Union leaders
10. Other

DFO: No. 5

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Running Late …

Just got in from a dental appointment, and I’m running late. QF6 coming to a blog site near you soon …

Mike Kennedy: World ruler?

Ohmigoodness, Demo CDA City Councilman-elect Mike Kennedy’s political ambitions are worse than the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee expected here. The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight should be worried that MikeK has more than a future run for the county commission or an Idaho legislative seat in mind, according to my sources around the world, including a Berry Picker who smuggled this photograph out of Red China. Stay tuned.

Monster Hat Tip: Dang

Wild Card/Monday — 12/5/05

Afternoon on this cold winter’s day now has given way to evening, and it’s about time to leave. I have one question before I do, however. Who’s the lunkhead who approved posting a stop sign on an underused intersection at Lunceford and Kathleen? Mebbe Honeysuckle’s busy at 8 and after school on school days. But I go through there all the time and can’t understand why the city would stop traffic on the straight shot between Best and Kathleen. Aren’t there enough stop signs and stoplights in this town already without posting one that doesn’t make sense? Now, you’re Wild Card …

Another Look at the Titanic

This is an undated photo showing the bow of the Titanic at rest on the bottom of the North Atlantic, about 400 miles southeast of Newfoundland. Undersea explorers said Monday that the discovery of more wreckage from the Titanic suggests that the luxury liner broke into three sections, not two, as commonly thought, and thus sank faster than previously believed/Ralph White, APhoto.

Then & Now — Seatbelt Controversy Revisited


No law, or set of laws, has made the government more intrusive and ridiculous than seat belt legislation. Nothing is a bigger affront to the ideas of freedom, liberty, yada, yada, yada. Whether you are a pinko liberal or a right-wing whack job, there are plenty of reasons for just saying to hell with seat belt laws. Democrats and Republicans alike should stand together to stop these laws that are incongruous with the ideals of both parties.

Derek Kieper/Daily Nebraskan (Sept. 17, 2004)


Derek Kieper was a smart, funny, intense young man who relished a good debate and would do anything for his friends. Kieper, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, died early Tuesday morning when the Ford Explorer he was a passenger in travelled off an icy section of Interstate 80 and rolled several times in a ditch. Kieper, who was riding in the back seat of the Explorer, was ejected from the vehicle. … Derek, who was thrown from the vehicle, was not wearing a seat belt. Havermann and Uphoff (who suffered non-life threatening injuries) were wearing seat belts at the time.

Butch Mabin/Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star (Dec. 5, 2005)

Hat Tip: Jeff Hoyne, for bringing this tragic but interesting situation to HBO’s attention.

Update: Blogmeister Ken P sez Derek Kieper died in the accident in January not last week, as the date on the Lincoln Daily Journal article seems to indicate. Still, the irony remains …

Q & A

Question: Your post this morning about the DUI lawsuit in Bonner county prompts me to ask a question. Are bartenders licensed? I know the bars require licensure but do those people who dispense liquor in drinks…are they required to be licensed??? Reason I ask is that all kinds of service professions require licensure. Hair cutters require a license to coif the coif. Seems as though a bartender who literally serves poison in palatable and safe doses should also be trained in its hazards and skilled in “drunk people” management. So can anyone tell me if bartenders are state monitored thru licensure and if not why not???Dave Tolle

DFO: Just got off the phone with the Alcohol Beverage Control in Boise. Bartenders aren’t required to obtain a license to serve drinks nor are they required to obtain training to recognize problem drinkers. However, the state does provide training for establistments that ask for it and recommends that barkeeps be trained.

Doonesbury: To Ban Or Not To Ban

Issue: ‘Doonesbury’ pulled from today’s newspapers/SR blogger Ken Paulman, Daily Briefing

DFO: The editors Sunday pow-wowed about Garry Trudeau’s cartoon strip after they noticed it had an offensive word in the final panel instead of “a joke” in this revised panel here. I have somewhat of a problem with censoring a writer or artist. On the other hand, Trudeau has gone over the line before. If editors didn’t pull his chain occasionally, no telling how far he’d go.

Question: Did the SR editors do the write thing by pulling Trudeau’s strip?

“Things Dispatchers Shouldn’t Say Over Scanner” Dept …

Overheard (on the scanner just after 2 p.m. Saturday): “Been advised not to dispatch any small, cheerleader-sized firefighters to this call because the patient weighs over 350 pounds” — Dispatcher (with laughter in the background).

Question of the Day — 12/5/05

Issue: Dean’s feistiness fires up audience at DNC fall meeting: Chairman slams Bush, tells party to offer voters clear alternative in 2006 races/Dan Balz, Washington Post

More Info: Displaying the fiery style that excited many Democrats during his unsuccessful presidential campaign, Dean attacked “political hacks and cronies” of the president for eroding civil rights and voting rights protections and said of Republicans, “Theirs is a party of self-absorption and selfishness.”

Question: Dean’s rhetoric fires up hard-core Democrats. But does he cause more harm than good for his party by turning off the middle-of-the-roaders who decide elections?

APhoto of the Day — 12/5/05

President Bush sits with local school children and watches members of the Washington Ballet perform earlier today in the East Room of the White House. You write the cutline.

WorldNetDaily Poll — Ex-Strippers for Christ?

Issue: ‘Porn again’ for kingdom of God: Ex-stripper starts Christian ministry to help people tied to sex industry/Joe Kovacs, WorldNetDaily

What do you think about sexy, glamour gals preaching to those connected to porn?

1. These women should be completely ashamed of the degrading approach they’re taking
2. Terrible. It might actually bring Christian folks into the world of porn
3. I don’t think they should lower themselves to the level of those attached to porn to try to help them
4. The intentions might be good, but these gals need less glam and lot more Christ-like humility
5. It’s interesting, but I’d like to see if it has any success before supporting or being critical of it
6. If gals like that are in church, it will definitely bring more people into the fold
7. Churches are dying these days, maybe this is a way to reach those heretofore unreachable
8. Jesus himself hung out with sinners and prostitutes, so I have no problem with this
9. Brilliant idea! Christians need to go on the offensive and play hardball against evil
10. Other

DFO: I paused before using this one today. Dunno what I think about it. So, I’ll mark No. 10.

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Portland 4, UCLA 0 … Hail National Champs

This is a repeat shot from Friday evening, showing UP’s Christine Sinclair after she scored the winning goal against Penn State in the semifinals of the national NCAA women’s soccer tournament. Sinclair scored 2 more goals today as UP stomped UCLA 4-0 to win its second national championship in four years. Why am I telling you all this? Amy Dearest attends Portland (and reported by phone just now that the Chiles Center was rocking as students watched the blowout) — and PDX Pup (ex-UP goalie), her mom, JBelle, and the rest of their clan are big-time Pilots fans. Congrats all.

Best of Huckleberries Online 11/28-12/2/2005

Huckleberries hears … that the election of former Demo strategist Mike Kennedy (pictured celebrating) to the Coeur d’Alene City Council has unhinged Kootenai County Republicans. Seems the Elephants believe that there are too many “rats” – their word, not Huckleberries’ – at City Hall. And that Mayor Sandi Bloem has been too lax in checking pachyderm pedigree. After all, they harrumph, City Attorney Mike Gridley ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the Idaho Legislature. And Demo Ryan Hill was recently appointed to the Coeur d’Alene P&Z committee. The local R Central Committee already is bothered by Democrats masquerading as Republicans in their ranks. And they are worried mightily that Kennedy could use the nonpartisan City Council office to jump to partisan higher office, such as the county commission or a legislative post. Remember: the GOP Central Committee was the same Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight that misfired by running attack ads against Kennedy in the closing days of his campaign. Some credit the R’s for boosting Kennedy to an easy win because CdA voters didn’t like their tactics or attempt to turn a municipal race into a partisan one. Seems the more the R’s stew and scheme, the better local D’s look.

HBO No. of the Day — 6626 …

Or, the number of photos downloaded by Spokane Mayor Jim West during a three-month period earlier this year, most of them from here. Or, just that many more reasons why you should be careful what you download at work.

DFO: BTW, you can read investigator Mark Busto’s report to the City Council re: West’s computer use here.

Wild Card/Saturday — 12/3/05

A quick note to say how much I’ve been enjoying the little Catholic community that checks in on this blog. JBelle, her Pup, Milt Nelson, Kale, MikeK etc. I’m a cultural Catholic — raised in the church in the Latin days, dropped out at 16 for 6 years of hell raisin’, and then returned to the faith, albeit Evangelical, at age 22 as the result of a life-transforming spot news assignment as a rookie reporter involving a bus wreck that killed 5 kids. Mebbe I’ll tell you about it someday. But back to my point. I enjoy the fondness and devotions our HBO Catholics have for their faith. In fact, I appreciate the different perspectives offered by people of faith here, including liberal Christians. (Side nod to GreenL.) I’ve been learning from you. Then, I’ve seen generally that we agree with each other more often than we don’t. Mebbe that’s the value of HBO. Rather than shouting at each other all the time, as letter writers do on the editorial page, we have a dialogue here, which is sometimes passionate but more often geared toward making friendships and understanding. But I’m getting maudlin here. And you need your Wild Card …

Bill McC Catches Idaho Officials in Hypocrisy

re: “A New York company is suing Idaho after posting the best bid to manage the Gem’s State’s massive road construction program only to lose the contract to a Boise firm with strong Republican political ties here — Huckleberries Best of the Northwest, No. 4, Friday.

In the Saturday Spokesman Review there’s an article headlined: Contract dispute mars highway plan. It’s a follow-on to the story noted above. There’s some irony, no, hypocrisy, noted later in today’s story. Here are two paragraphs:

“‘The Legislature would, for the most part, prefer to see contracts with Idaho companies that have a significant employment base in the state,’ said Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston. ‘I don’t think that’s an unreasonable or illogical assumption.’ ”

Three grafs later: “The state Transportation Department has hired a Los Angeles law firm to defend it against Parsons Brinckerhoff’s challenge.”

Idaho’s highway builders are good enough for Idahoans but its attorneys are not?

Bill McCrory

WorldNetDaily Poll — 12/3/05

Issue: Bush’s Jesus joke: ‘Santa, thanks for coming’: President alludes to Christ at National Christmas tree lighting/WorldNetDaily

Question: What do you think of Bush’s remark at the White House tree lighting ceremony?

1. It was funny and appropriate
2. It was no big deal – certainly, it wasn’t newsworthy
3. Get a grip. Bush made a reference to Jesus, then paused and changed the subject to welcome Santa Claus, that’s all
4. Let’s not nitpick about a tree-lighting ceremony
5. It was inappropriate but I’m sure it was an innocent faux paux
6. The ‘joke’ was no big deal but, in light of the controversy over secularizing Christmas, it was inappropriate
7. I hope the speechwriter was fired
8. It makes me question his claim to be a Christian
9. It was inappropriate and offensive – Bush should apologize
10. Other

DFO: Nos. 3 & 4

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.


Issue: Christmas decorations

DFO: I’m too lazy ever to put up decent decorations at my home. So, my wife hangs up some white lights, and they look decent against the two-story blue building with white trim. However, I love outside Christmas decorations. Can’t get enough of them. And I applaud anyone who goes through the trouble of putting up a good display.

Question: Can you provide addressed of the best outdoor Christmas decorations in the neighborhood, so I can check them out?

Wild Card/TGIF

Sorry, it took so long to write Huckleberries this afternoon. I had nothing but the blog to fall back upon. And I did. Almost every item has its genesis in the online blog this week. That’s unusual. I’ll post it later this weekend. I don’t think I’ll have time to post photos or links. So, it’ll be pretty blah. Sometimes, it’s all I can do to keep up. But enough of my excuses. I’m transforming this afternoon’s Wild Card into an evening one …

Top Cutlines — 12/2/05

Country singer LeAnn Rimes meets Santa after performing as part of a MasterCard “A Home for the Holidays” promotion this week. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines:

1. Santa thinking “If only I really could see her when she is sleeping, and know when she is naughty or nice …” LeAnn saying: “Santa I want … (Santa still thinking) LeAnn: “Up here Santa. Did you hear me?” Santa: “Hum, oh I’m sorry I was just thinking what a nice girl you are.” LeAnn: “Yea right you dirty old man” —

2. Santa makes mental note to add his name to the “naughty list” when he gets home - Family Phil.

3. Ho, ho, ho, what would you like for Christmas, LeAnn? A career again — His Bobness.

HM: A Token Democrat

For all the cutline entries, click here.

First U.S. Bird Flu Death …

…in Orlando, Fla.

Yeah, Digital Fog is having fun today.

Mr. Fins/Feathers Values Customers

Jeff Smith, owner of Fins and Feathers Tackle Shop and Guide Service in Coeur d’Alene, pushes the snow from his sidewalk out to the berm in the middle of Sherman Avenue Friday to clear the sidewalk and curb area for parking. He said he clears the curb area because “I want people to know we’re open”/Jesse Tinsley, The Spokesman-Review.

Question: Any businesses out there who haven’t cleared the sidewalks for customers. Time to rat ‘em out.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 12/2/05

Spokane Police Chief Roger Bragdon announced today that he’ll be stepping down in January here.

1. A man accused of shooting six people in the Tacoma Mall was at first boastful and calm as he spoke to dispatchers, but as he held three people hostage for almost four hours he became more frightened and irritable, eventually breaking down in tears, according to the AP, here.

2. Vandal athletes involved in an altercation outside of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity have either had charges against them dropped or lessened after an agreement made with Moscow city attorneys, while another player has been charged, according to Sam Taylor/UI Argonaut, here.

3. A federal appeals court has upheld an order requiring W.R. Grace & Co. to pay the government $54.5 million for asbestos cleanup in Libby here.

4. A Denver company is suing Idaho after posting the best bid to manage the Gem’s State’s massive road construction program only to lose the contract to a Boise firm with strong Republican political ties here.

5. Gonzaga Bulldog Adam Morrison, who is preparing to take on cross-state rival Washington in Seattle this weekend, is a first among equals, according to Dan Raley/Seattle PI, here.

6. IMHO-NW: Ryan Bronson/Coeur d’Alene Press (Adidas CEO recalls Coeur d’Alene), Art Thiel/Seattle PI (NFL misses mark on Seattle calls), Columbian (Helping Mount Hood), Virginia Moore/Gonzaga Bulletin (Harry Potter & the Curse of Puberty), John Blanchette/Spokesman-Review (Xmas shopping at Friel Court),

Great Falls Tribune Poll: 87% of 199 said it is important that seasonal trees be called “Christmas trees.”

*Atheist group seeks removal of crosses honoring fallen Utah cops here.

*Idaho housing prices have jumped 15.01 year-over-year here.

*Spokane judge slaps wrist of 2 purse snatchers here.

Orbusmax provides the rest of the Northwest here.

For Motorists Who’ve Forgotten

This icy white stuff known as snow
can make it hard to stop and go;
don’t be alarmed to see it here
for snow falls on us every year.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

“Spoilt Milk”

Hat Tip: Jay D. Dyson/Sacred Cow Burgers

APhoto of the Day — 12/2/05

Country singer LeAnn Rimes meets Santa after performing as part of a MasterCard “A Home for the Holidays” promotion this week. You write the cutline.

Huckleberries Local AM Headlines — 12/2/05

*Teachers contract ratified by union: Pact now goes to school board, scheduled to consider it today/Rasha Madkour, Spokesman-Review — The teachers should be happy. Their 3% raise beats anything we’ve gotten at the paper for the last 5 years. Not complaining. I thoroughly enjoy my paper and job. It’s just the way it is in this industry right now.

*Snow grips North Idaho: Residents urged to be ready for the worst with winter/Coeur d’Alene Press — Boy, am I glad I didn’t get rid of my wood stove.

*Hunter charged in slaying: It was too dark to tell target wasn’t deer, prosecutor says/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review — Another year. Another victim. Another hunter who’ll regret being trigger happy for the rest of his life. The story never changes.

*Accused coach had history of complaints: Records state district officials counseled Swalstad about inappropriate behavior with students in 2003/Sara Leaming, Spokesman-Review — Can you say “lawsuit,” baybee.

*Bonner County sheriff’s captain cited: Deputy says superior threatened to beat him up/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review — Captain Dearest has been watching too many Dirty Harry movies.

Quick Fix 6 — 12/1/05

1. APhoto Fix: “And he (Peter Jackson) has made a picture I can only describe as jaw-droppingly brilliant: the most entertaining blockbuster movie this year” Baz Bamigboye/Daily Mail here.

2. Cartoon Fix: Gary Varvel (Having a PC Christmas), Bob Nowak (Illegal immigration), and Wayne Stayskal (Christianity under attack).

3. Humor Fix: David Letterman’s “Top Ten Messages Left on Oprah’s Answering Machine” here.

4. My Way Fix: This Day In History here, Today’s Birthdays here, Positive Quote here, and Word of the Day here.

5. Top of the News Fix: 10 Marines Killed near Fallujah here, 1000th person executed since 1977 here, California murders dwarf Iraq deaths here, UN: Torture in China widespread here, and “Lost” stars charged with DUI here.

6. Opinion Fix: Daniel Henninger/Wall Street Journal (Abandoning Alfred E. Neumann PR approach), John H. Miller/National Review (Stan Berenstain, R.I.P.), Mona Charen/Townhall (Investigate the CIA), Stephen Spruiell/National Review (Winning in Iraq), and Christopher Hitchens/Slate (Sticking up for Saddam).


Issue: State Patrol sting puts brakes on seat belt violators/John Branton, The Columbian

Columbian Online Poll: “A Washington State Patrol sergeant posed as a homeless man on a state Highway 500 offramp, holding a cardboard sign. In reality, the sergeant was watching for motorists who weren’t wearing their seat belts. When he saw a violation, he radioed other troopers waiting nearby to stop the cars, and they pulled 41 cars over and gave lots of tickets.”

Question: Good police work or cops going overboard? Choices: Good Cop? Or Bad Cop?

Top Cutlines — 12/1/05

Bell ringer Haleigh Akin, 4, check the Salvation Army Red Kettle after a donation is made in front of the Broadway Square Mall in Tyler, Texas Wednesday. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines:

1. Unfortunately, no one can identify the little girl because her face doesn’t ring a bell — John Austin.

2. A little girl searches in vain for the spirit of Christmas — A Token Democrat.

3. “Ah, Ralphie wuth wight, my tongue ith really thtuck to thith bucket!!” — Family Phil.

HM: Side Note & Lesley Presley

For the rest of today’s cutline entries, click here.

Extra! ISP Issues Road Alert

The Idaho State Police has issued a warning urging drivers to stay off roads unless absolutely necessary due to severe road conditions. The press release said conditions are expected to worsen. Click here.

Hat Tip: Toadmaster for providing WSP link

Question: Buried In? Or Not?

I know these guys do their best to keep the streets clear, but I do wish there was a way they could “lift their blades” whenever they pass a driveway. I understand that in some cities, residents can actually stick a red flag or something by their driveway, and the snowplow drivers see it, and “don’t plow there”. Once, I went outside, only to find my Chevy Chevette literally BURIED by the snowplow. And, that plowed snow is packed, concentrated, and is far harder to shovel than the freshly fallen stuff. I was so mad at the city, I took my shovel, proceeded to liberate my car, throwing the snow BACK INTO the street. It’s a good thing the cops didn’t come by and catch me doing that. I woulda been cuffed, taken into custody, and my snow shovel woulda been used as evidence against me. Isn’t life grand?CDADave/Thin Air.

Question: Do the snowplow drivers lift their gates or bury your driveways in? BTW, CDADave wants to know if anyone can recognize where the photo above was taken.

To Stud Or Not To Stud — There’s Another Question

re: GreenL’s decision to opt for studded tires in defiance of the Bobosphere here:

The major tire stores are all jammed packed right now, so I found some independent tire jockey in lovely east Spokane who had exactly one customer in front of me, I was out of there in 35 minutes and saved $20 over what Alton’s charges. But there was no popcorn, coffee, and the waiting room was unheated! Hmmm, better check my lugnuts — GreenL.

Question: GreenL brings up an interesting issue. We’ve been debating “studs/no studs.” But how about prices. Some of these thievin’ tire companies are charging more than $50 to put on a set of tires. What did you pay, GreenL? And what do some of you other studs out there pay?

Local Question of the Day — 12/1/05

Issue: Sex offender quits job after protest: Sandpoint library had hired woman as circulation attendant/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review

DFO: No question that a sex offender shouldn’t be checking out books to children in a public library. However, they have to do something to make a living and try to get on with life.

Question: What kind of jobs can a sex offender do to enable them to try to put his/her life back together?

Feedback: With crimes of this sort, I usually try to look at the offender this way…what if I was related to them in some way, what if they were my father/mother/father-in-law/brother/sister? It changes my perception just enough to let them have another chance — Toadmaster.

Huckleberries Local AM Headlines — 12/1/05

*More snow-going ahead for drivers: With up to 4 more inches in forecast, new storm promises to keep roads slick/Jody Lawrence-Turner, Spokesman-Review — Looks like another night by the fireplace reading the race of J.K. Rowling’s “The Half-Blood Prince.” Hat Tip: Mike Kennedy, for the loan of the book.

*St. Maries WWII veteran scouted for Gen. Patton/Ralph Bartholdt, St. Maries Gazette-Record — Dan Hammes’ Gazette has been running a nice weekly series on WWII veterans. God bless the vets, everyone.

*Kootenai County sales tax drops half-cent: Property tax relief also ends/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review — Anyone with any bright ideas re: how we’re going to pay for the next county jail expansion?

*Triumph Over Hate: Task force to present new exhibit; institute plans open house/Bill Buley, Coeur d’Alene Press — Stormin’ Norman Gissel, Tony and the gang are still fighting their important fight.

*Pressure mounts for open sessions: Citizens organization doesn’t want legislators to close committee hearings/Christopher Smith, Associated Press — Ya know, we should count the number of our Repub solons who participate in closed meetings next session, and hold them accountable in the primaries and general election next year. This practice would stop if GOP solons, including ours, began saying, no more secrecy.

Today’s Happy Thought

But the important aspect of these (petty, partisan) attacks is that, in coordination with left-wing Democrats, including former President Clinton, the media have created a maniacal Bush-bashing aimed at having America lose the war, and with it our traditional ability to guide the world toward a better future. Fortunately, history isn’t written by typically impatient, unwise and biased journalists. If history is a guide, their opinions are nearly perfect contrary indicators of eventual reality. The reality is that America — and specifically President Bush — is winning one of the great contests of all time, World War IV, the fight by the civilized secular world against Muslim extremism, the last repository of fascism.

For the rest of Martin L. Gross’s commentary, click here.

Feedback: In a perfect world Martin L. Gross would be pushing Charles Krauthammer in his wheelchair down a Baghdad highway having a deep and lively conversation (among two shining neoconservatives) about what a great success Iraq is. Then Krauthammer would suddenly interrupt Gross’s theory of how Bush will be one of the great presidents (right up there with FDR!) to say “Martin? what’s that metal case alongside the road there…the one with the wires sticking out?” — Bearable Bob.

Contrary To Nasty Rumors …

…The blog will be in operation today. Stay tuned …

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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