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Archive for April 2006

Another Weird Twist in Mitchell-Amaro Race

An 80-year-old woman with heart problems went to the Kootenai County Clerk’s office Friday morning terrified that a judge was going to sue her for allegedly removing campaign signs from her lawn. The unnamed woman got a postcard in the mail, allegedly from 1st District Judge John Mitchell, that says if she doesn’t stop removing campaign signs he will be “forced to take LEGAL ACTION.” Mitchell, who is seeking re-election, is adamant that the postcards are fraudulent and weren’t sent by him or his supporters.

For the rest of the SR story, click here.

DFO: The Tinfoil Brigade is working overtime.

APhoto of the Weekend — 4/29-30/06

Dordt’s Jen Kempers, center, falls in the water hazard during the women’s 3000 meter steeplechase Friday at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

WorldNetDaily Poll — The DaVinci Code

Question: Are you planning to see ‘The Da Vinci Code’?

1. Yes, the book was a great success – I’m expecting the movie to be great, too
2. Yes, I’d see anything with Tom Hanks in it
3. Yes, I love mysteries and thrillers
4. Yes, the controversy has made me curious
5. Yes
6. No, I hated the book
7. No, I won’t give financial support to those who make and show movies like this
8. No, I already know the story is blasphemous and I’m not going to let it pollute my thinking
9. No, I’m curious but I’m also concerned it might weaken my faith
10. No

DFO: No. 11 … I enjoy thrillers and Tom Hanks. I also enjoyed the book and chuckled at the author’s attempt to debase Christianity with his brand of heathenism. Can’t wait to see the film.

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Dang’s Review: Mitchell vs. Amaro Debate

Observations. Seriously this time! Here are the little things I notice. Call it the theatrical director in me:

* When the Judge showed up, he walked past Rami to the dais. I recall hearing him say, “Good afternoon, Rami” or some other pleasant greeting. I don’t recall her replying or if she did it was at a very low level. Or maybe she just smiled at him, it was hard to tell.

* No one lost the blinking battle. Both of them blinked at relatively normal rates. (Remember how Bob Dole blinked all the time when he spoke? Very put-offish.)

* When David Larsen tried to lighten the mood with a joke, the whole room laughed. Judge Mitchel laughed. Rami Amaro did not laugh.

* Jason, the photographer from the CDA Press, has the best camera gear.

* Judge Mitchel referred to Rami as Ms. Amaro. He was fairly consistent with that. Towards the end of the questioning, Ms. Amaro was referring to her opponent as “Mitchell.”

* I’m guessing that most of Amaro’s supporters were grouped together at or near that one table — you know, the one she ate at (right next to Siggy) and the one with all the people wearing AMARO buttons. They were an angry bunch. Siggy himself had kind of a James Carville intensity about him.

[Sidebar: For the life of me, I can’t understand why the Siegwarths are taking this out on Judge Mitchell when it was the other guy’s lawyer that asked for the summary judgement. But anyway.]

* A really loud guy from Sandpoint asked a heated question, bothered by DUIs. Did anyone catch what was on his T-shirt? Anyway, I think the Judge answered his question well, but the guy was obviously still angry (and he didn’t rip off his Amaro button afterwards).

* The Judge looked very comfortable. He was calm and easygoing, the kind of country lawyer-judge you’d expect to find in North Idaho. Once I thought he might be getting a little heated, but he never got angry.

* Overall, Rami held up very well. I think her “supporters,” especially those who’ve contributed here, have done her a disservice. They are shrill, Rami is not. Still, I would recommend she try this again in 15 years when she’s racked up some experience and demonstrated some sincerity.

* The Democrats were most gracious and I really appreciate that they put on this form and did it in such a classy manner. I don’t recall the name of the MC, but that gentleman was terrific. I enjoy it when people get involved, and especially when a forum is presented that’s open to a great mass of folks and makes everyone feel welcome. What were there, mabye 100 people there? Easy.


Easter Egg: How To Find A Driver’s License

Granati provided a chuckle earlier this afternoon by sending along a link that provides a free searchable database of over 121 million U.S. driver’s license photos and license information here.

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 4/28/06

CDADave is back to his old tricks of making us laugh with his parodies here.

*Mari Meehan/Dogwalk Musings believes the Bush’s administration’s new PR guy has the perfect name for the job, Tony Snow, here.

*On the nicest day of the year, Sam Taylor/Vandal Sense finds out about the high cost of fighting HIV and AIDS here.

*Bre/To Blog Or Not To Blog is back with us, with a post about an outing to Skate Plaza that has a touching ending here.

*It’s a little late in the day to be pointing this out, but … today is Arbor Day, and Marianne Love/Slight Detour encourages everyone to go out and hug a tree here.

*Patrick/Making Flippy Floppy reviewed the Sunset Grill in the Sunset Mall more than a month ago, but I forgot to post a link until now here.

Meanwhile, Betsy reports on an un-PC comment made by congressional wannabe Robert Vasquez at the Mica Grange Hall here, Bob rants for those who’ve missed his political observations here, and Herb mourns a pet turkey named Rufus here.

The Debate: Amaro vs. Mitchell

Attorney Rami Amaro speaks while Judge John Mitchell waits his turn at a standing-room-only debate earlier today at the Iron Horse in Coeur d’Alene. Amaro is challenging sitting judge Mitchell for a district court judgeship/Jesse Tinsley, Spokesman-Review photo.

DFO: I’m still waiting for a report about the debate from those of you who were there. Dang? Thom George?

Amaro vs. Mitchell @ High Noon Today

Rami Amaro and Judge John Mitchell will square off in a debate in 12 minutes at the weekly Demo luncheon at the Iron Horse downtown. I’m going to miss it because I have a horrible head cold. But that doesn’t mean you have to do so. Be there. Or be square.

Latest: Kootenai County GOP refunds money to judicial candidate Amaro/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review

OhMyGosh … Geraldo Rivera Has Interviewed …

… Shasta Groene for his “Geraldo At Large” program? What’s Steve Groene thinking, to put his daughter in the public eye that way? For the promotional footage for the interview, click here and then click on “Next Show.”

Mailbag: Rami Vs. John … Fun, Fun, Fun

Digger: Alright folks, for me, these Mitchell-Amaro threads have now become just a place to get a good laugh. I enjoy seeing the Tinfoil Times folks push their candidate and the regular HBO’s rip apart their arguments - not supporting Mitchell - but trying to derive some debate on Amaro. Keep it up - I haven’t had this much fun in a long time!

DFO: Win or lose, I tip my cap to attorney Rami Amaro and her backers for having the guts to take on a sitting judge. To her credit, she has spotlighted a coupla areas of concern in Judge John Mitchell’s record: the dozens of recusals and an apparently soft record on sentencing. She’s made a coupla mistakes along the way. At the end of the day, however, she will have no reason to hang her head. I keep waiting for one of the candidates to make a good case why s/he should win my vote. BTW, Amaro and Mitchell will face off today at the Demo’s Friday luncheon at noon at the Iron Horse.

Hat Tip: Dang, for the “Separated @ Birth” suggestion re: Rami Amaro and actress Geena Davis.

APhoto of the Day — 4/28/06

Tyra, a pit bull terrier, retrieves a log tossed by her owner Aleisha Mader into the waters off Seahurst Park in Burien, Wash., this week. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Mike Urban)

Question of the Day — Parental Liability

Issue: Boys, parents face suit over 2004 cross burning/John Craig, Spokesman-Review

More: “The lawsuit, filed with assistance from the Center for Justice in Spokane, says state law allows parents to be held liable for up to $5,000 in damages caused by their children.”

Question: Should parents of juveniles be held liable for monetary damages in cases like this?

WorldNetDaily Poll: 3rd Party Candidates

Poll: 3rd party scores with border backlash: Presidential candidate focused on fence, enforcement would tie Dems, beat GOP/WorldNetDaily

Question: Would you support a 3rd-party candidate who make enforcement of immigration law the top priority?

1. No, I don’t believe we have an immigration problem
2. No, a third-party candidate always ends up being a spoiler and the worst candidate wins – like Ross Perot and Bill Clinton in 1990
3. No, I’m voting for the Democrat nominee no matter who it is
4. No, I’m voting for the Democrat nominee – Hillary Rodham Clinton
5. No, I’m voting for the Republican nominee no matter who it is – otherwise we’ll be stuck with Hillary
6. No
7. Yes – normally I wouldn’t vote for a third-party candidate but this Rasmussen survey has convinced me
8. Yes, it’s the only way to get the attention of the two major parties
9. Yes
10. Other

DFO: No. 6

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Wild Card/Thursday — 4/27/06

I’m running low on fodder for my weekly Huckleberries print column. Anyone have a slice of life … compelling story … one-liner that I can toss into the mix for Saturday’s paper. Feel free to post in the comments section below this item — or to start a thread, for that matter, with this Wild Card here …

Sara/F-Words Nominates Darwin Award Prospect

Item: James C. Stone, 56, a Post Falls financial planner who lost more than $250,000 in a Nigerian scam and helped pay for part of it by stealing from his company and its pension plan, has been sentenced to three years in federal prison here.

Sara Anderson: This is kind of the financial equivalent of the Darwin Awards.

More About Perv Crackdown …

“Many of the fugitives who were arrested were wanted for multiple offenses in multiple jurisdictions. One was a sex offender living near Boise who had not only failed to register at his new address, but was renting a room from a family with a young daughter and had been giving neighborhood kids rides to school.”

For the rest of the story by Betsy Russell and Jody Lawrence-Turner about the multi-agency roundup of sex offenders, click here.

Poll: A Shot For A 3rd Party Wannabe?

Item: Poll: 3rd party scores with border backlash: Presidential candidate focused on fence, enforcement would tie Dems, beat GOP/WorldNetDaily

Question: Why can’t a third party get enough traction to challenge the R’s and D’s on a regular basis?

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Ill., center, gets out of a Hydrogen Alternative Fueled automobile, left, as he prepares to board his SUV, which uses gasoline, after holding a new conference at a local gas station in Washington, Thursday to discuss the recent rise in gas prices. Hastert and other members of Congress drove off in the Hydrogen-Fueled cars only to switch to their official vehicles/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP.

Hat Tip: Blogmeister Ken Paulman for posting a link in the comments section that outs hypocritic gas guzzlers like Hastert here.

Huckleberries Best of the Northwest — 4/27/06

Laramie County Community College horse training student Jennifer Ramsey brushes her two-year-old horse named ‘Toots’ in a round pen on the campus in Cheyenne, Wy., Wednesday. Ramsey is on the team showing horses and was giving her horse some hair care. (AP Photo/The Wyoming Eagle, Michael Smith)

Extra! The body of Realtor Gary Fox has been recovered from Lake Coeur d’Alene.

1. David Horsey/Seattle PI explains why the Demos might not take back Congress in November here.

2. Ada County taxpayers’ cost to defend their three county commissioners from each paying $150 fines for violating the state’s Open Meeting Law could exceed $30,000 and might climb even higher here.

3. The U.S. Marshals Service will announce today the arrests of more than 9,000 fugitives, including 190 in Eastern Washington, in a nationwide sweep. Operation FALCON II follows a similar operation a year ago in which more than 10,000 fugitives were apprehended. FALCON stands for “Federal And Local Cops Organized Nationally” here.

4. The Idaho State Police is investigating whether a Bonner County sheriff’s deputy had sex with an underage girl in Boundary County, according to a North Idaho sheriff and the general counsel for an organization that insures Idaho government agencies here.

5. Washington Sen. Bill Finkbeiner, who broke ranks with other Repubs to help pass the new gay civil rights bill, has announced plans to retire here.

6. IMHO-NW: Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (A journey for the ages), Bert Caldwell/Spokesman-Review (Medical info network wows Gingrich), Mark Nelke/Coeur d’Alene Press (Running with the kids), Idaho Statesman (Idaho students need more financial aid), and Brielle Schaeffer/WSU Daily Evergreen (Objectifying women).

Online Poll: 59.5% of 1330 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll drink wine.

*Ex-North Idaho College basketball player Jacque Pate shot to death here.

*WSU gives 6-year-old Beagle rare bone marrow transplant here.

*Few object as Rodin’s nude “Adam” comes to Billings, Mont., here.

Orbusmax Special: Seattle and Portland make list of America’s most liberal cities here.

Because You Asked II …

… Mike Kennedy sends along an e-mail from Police Chief Wendy Carpenter (pictured) explaining that multi-officer response to that Super One call:

“The call originally started at the Super One in Hayden. A male suspect had been passing Account Close Checks (Felony) mostly in the county. He left the Hayden store and went to the Cd’A Super One. A detective with the County had been working with Super One and other stores trying to catch this guy. A deputy was at the Hayden store taking another bad check report when the guy walked into the Cd’A store. He was immediately recognized by employees and the manager walked up to him and asked him to come to the office. The guy immediately became combative and tried to leave the store by knocking down several employees and customers. Citizens and employees were fighting with the male trying to detain him so I can only imagine what the 911 call sounded like. It appears a Sergeant and a Lieutenant with my department were first on scene. Three County officers arrived next. The county was there because of the crime which had just occurred in Hayden. The Lieutenant in an unmarked left shortly after every thing was calm. My Sergeant waited until an Cd’A officer arrived to take over the investigation. The radio log shows the Sergeant left approx. five minutes after the officer arrived. So at this point Cd’A only has one officer on scene. The suspects car was in the parking lot. It was searched and towed, this would have taken at least 30 minutes. One of the deputies transported the suspect to the jail. Another deputy would have remained on scene to follow up on his report. If there were other deputies on scene I can’t say what they were doing.

“As far as why so many officer responded to the call I can only guess that the call was toned which meant it was a priory, a felony in progress and it is not uncommon for any available officer to respond until peace is restored. This call was a little unusual because the city and county were both investigating a crime at basically the same time so both agencies would have responded. I know for the public to view this they think officers are just hanging around but in reality they have to talk with each other to see what has happened and who is going to do what. I can say for the city we don’t have time to stand around and do nothing.”

Wendy Carpenter
Coeur d’Alene police chief

Mailbag: Thumbs Up, Down re: County Administrator

Jane Q. Citizen: I would respectfully disagree with my favorite punster John Austin that this is not the time to discuss the county administrator issue since at least one of the commission candidates — Todd Tondee, has made it the cornerstone of his election platform. Voters should know how all of the candidates feel about the issue and it will have a rather large fiscal impact either way once the commission is settled in come January.

DFO: You’ve put me on the spot, Jane Q. Todd Tondee, indeed, wants to bring back the county administrator … and he told me that he’s willing for refund the recent commissioner salary increases to pay for one. Although most people probably oppose hiring a county administrator, I believe Tondee is right on. A good administrator will save his/her salary annually and more by being attentive to daily operations of the courthouse. Kootenai County is too big and complex to continue to expect three people, hired by a popular vote, to set both policy and oversee daily operations. One of the biggest mistakes Commissioner Gus Johnson has made was to join the late Ron Rankin in axing the administrator position 6 years ago.

Question of the Day — “United 93”

“After an introductory scene of some Arab men praying in an apartment on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the first quiet line of dialogue among them, subtitled in English, is ‘It’s time.’ And so, despite the complaints about this film coming out “too soon” after the events of 9/11, after at least one theater in New York pulled the trailer from its screens, let me make two things clear: It is time, and the resulting film has been made with an adherence to the facts — as we know them — and with deep respect to the people who were murdered on that awful day.”

For the rest of the review of “United 93” by Ed Symkus/Inlander, click here.

Question: Do you plan to see “United 93,” the film based on the fourth hijacked 9/11 plane that never reached its target?

The Hill: Sali Or Vasquez Or Sorenson, Oh My

The six-way race to win the Republican nomination in Idaho’s 1st Congressional District has turned into a full-fledged family feud, fraught with intraparty tensions and resentments. The six GOP candidates in pursuit of victory in the May 23 primary include a centrist woman, a social conservative who has a propensity to throw political firebombs, a Hispanic county commissioner who opposes illegal immigration and three traditional conservatives. The district, which runs up to Canada in the north down to Nevada in the south, covers the western half of the state. Some Republicans are concerned that a win by either state Rep. Bill Sali (R-Idaho), whom some Idaho GOP leaders consider a lightning rod, or Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez, a single-issue anti-illegal-immigration candidate, could significantly boost Democrats’ chances in November because they appeal to a small part of the GOP base.

For the rest of the story by Jonathan E. Kaplan/The Hill, click here. Hat Tip: Dan Whiting of U.S. Sen. Larry Craig’s office for sending this link.

Question: Who’s going to win the 1st Congressional District Republican primary?

Hump Day Wild Card/Wednesday — 4/26/06

We’re more than halfway home to another weekend, HBOers. So, hang in there. We’ll make it together. Meanwhile, the Wild Card hasn’t been too active today. So, I’ll move it up to the top for your writing pleasure …

P.S. — 4/26/06

In 10 minutes, North Idaho College trustees will meet to consider a demand by staff for higher wages and benefits. These include:

*A 5.7% cost-of-living increase.
*The entire week of Thanksgiving off, instead of just the last 3 weekdays of the week.
*Increase the college share of employee insurance premiums.

DFO: I wonder what cloud these guys are walking on? In the real world, no one I know, besides a corporate exec or two, has gotten a cost-of-living raise above 2 percent for some time now. In the real world, you get only Thanksgiving day off. And in the real world you’re paying a higher and higher percentage of your insurance premiums and being forced to accept a higher and higher deductible.

Question: What do you think of the NIC staff demands?

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 4/26/06

*Family Phil has a list of “superfoods” on his refrigerator that’ll help you lead a long and healthy life here.

*Mari Meehan/Dogwalk Musings reflects on an attempt to do a good deed that went bad for lack of cooperation on the part of another here.

*Despite all the doom-and-gloomers out there, Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind isn’t afraid to face the next 10 years here.

*CDADave provides tips on the fine art of bird feeding here.

*Sam Taylor/Vandal Sense is being taxed by his final paper for a Literary Journalism course, a report on the unsolved murder of gay UI student Wil Hendrick here.

Meanwhile, ErinG reports that sickness is running through her family here, Marianne mourns the passing of William Shakespeare here and the virus that ate three years worth of family e-mails here, and Stebbijo discusses “blog feelings” here.

Mailbag: Who’s Ron Rankin’s Heir?

JBelle: My observation, from the last row of the sidelines, is that more than the exorbitant property taxes, people of Kootenai County resent not having representation at the county level. The things you mention as the downside are only symptoms; what people really don’t like is that once a commissioner is voted in, they forget how they got there. That’s why I asked about Ron Rankin’s heir; my parents, long time business people and property owners in North Idaho, felt a great pride in and relief with Mr. Rankin’s leadership; they didn’t need to agree with him 100% of the time because they knew no matter what, Mr. Rankin hadn’t forgotten about them. He was the people’s man and from my seat in the stadium, the people really miss him and want, more than anything else, somebody who’s pitching for them.

DFO: Rankin was unique in that he had a populist vision and a connection to the average taxpayer. He also wasn’t afraid to cheerlead pet projects like the local-option tax. None on the current board fill those qualifications to be the Rankin heir. Then, few could.

Mailbag: What To Do About Kids?

Holly: Just for context, for those who don’t know, I’m 18. So I’m in this age group, I guess. There is not so much for people of my age to do in this area. My friends and I like going to the park or down to the lake to hang out. We don’t mean to be a nuisance. I guess the community and tourists have to make a choice: Do they want kids outside in the park or inside drinking alcohol because they can’t find much else to do and they apparently aren’t welcome anywhere else. And my friends and I would enjoy it if jazz or classical music was played outside. Of course, I know not all people my age will agree …

DFO: The kids are safe until downtown Coeur d’Alene’s high-rises, current and future, attracts enough rich year-round residents to complain. At that point, the city will have to choose between the taxpayers and the loiterers. And the loiterers will lose. Until then, I don’t think much’ll be done about the problem as long as the kids don’t harass Coeur d’Alene Resort guests.

Huckleberries Best of the Northwest — 4/26/06

Anne Alsaker waves her arms while running south on Highway 89, trying to keep a loose horse from causing an accident, near Livingston Mont., Tuesday afternoon. Alsaker, who said she has been around horses her entire life, was driving north on the highway when she spotted the young Percherion loose outside Bob White’s pasture. “I just care about animals and peoples safety,” said Alsaker/Garrett Cheen, AP/Livingston Enterprise.

Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise catches up on the Boise scene after a week’s vacation here.

1. Michael Brown, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has been hired by OnScreen Technologies Inc., of Portland, Ore., a maker of compact displays for emergency first responders here.

2. After 25 years of chauffeuring dignitaries to kick off Tacoma’s Daffodil Parade in his 1948 Jaguar, D.W. Brown, 81, has been given the boot by the Washington State Patrol, which believes he’s too old to drive for Gov. Chris Gregoire here.

3. Starting July 1, all women getting abortions in Idaho must receive three booklets detailing risks of the procedure, fetal development and alternatives to abortion here.

4. The gaggle of geese that the city of Sandpoint tried to evict from its beach on Lake Pend Oreille is back again here.

5. There’s a reason Willie Bloomquist has 17 straight steals and the best stolen-base percentage in baseball, and it’s not just because he runs fast. It’s a matter of simple math here.

6. IMHO-NW: Lawrence Mowery/St. Maries Gazette-Record (Of cancer, miscarriage), Doug Floyd/Spokesman-Review (Wetlands disappearance hurts Spokane’s credibility), Idaho Statesman (Albertson’s raises questions with pay hikes), Joel Connelly/Seattle PI (Virginia gov offers Hillary alternative), and Art Thiel/Seattle PI (A little Sonic who could).

Online Poll: A plurality of 28.4% of 842 respondents to a Coeur d’Alene Press poll lists “California transplants” as the greatest threat to North Idaho’s quality of life.

*Lacey driver leaves gas station with nozzle still attached to vehicle here.

*A young mountain lion that raided a corral, killing a packing goat south of Bigfork early Monday, has been destroyed here.

*One of Spokane’s largest gun dealers has lost its license following a federal investigation here.

Orbusmax Special: It’s National Tax Freedom Day, but Washington state taxpayers are still paying here.

APhoto of the Day — 4/26/06

A horned toad, held by Erin Huynh, grabs a stick at Grimes Point east of Fallon, Nev. Shortly after the photo was taken, the toad was released back into the wild. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Reno Gazette-Journal, Marilyn Newton)

Question No. 2: North Idaho College Alcohol Ban

Issue: NIC to debate easing ban on alcohol: Exceptions could be made for nonprofit fundraisers/Rasha Madkour, Spokesman-Review

DFO: I’m always amazed that we’re death on cigarettes but we look the other way when it comes to alcohol. NIC board members would be sending mixed signals by embracing a proposal to allow drinks to be served on campus for fund-raisers and by charitable and civic groups.

Question: Should North Idaho College relax its campus alcohol policy?

Du Pont: How Repubs Can Break Spending Habits

“The Heritage Foundation reported last week that this sixth year of a Republican Presidency and Congress will see government expenditures of $23,760 per household—$6,500 more than when they came to power in 2001 and the highest inflation-adjusted annual spending since World War II. Excluding homeland security, domestic discretionary spending has increased 7.6% per year. Education spending is up 139%; energy spending has doubled, and the Bush Medicare prescription drug bill will add $33 billion a year to federal expenditures.

“A Republican House enacted all this spending, a Republican Senate approved almost all of it (Democrats did control the upper chamber for a little under two years in 2001-02), and a Republican president signed it all. Congress has appropriated a cumulative $350 billion more than the president requested in his annual budgets, but none of that additional spending was disapproved by him—indeed, President Bush is the only president since John Quincy Adams (1825-29) never to use his veto power in a full term in office.”

For the rest of the Wall Street Journal op-ed piece by Pete Du Pont, click here.

Question: Why have Republicans become so undisciplined on fiscal matters?

P.P.S. — A Deck of Cards for HBOers

Dang (from last night): An idea. They had the Iraqi deck of cards. I think we should do a Huckleberries deck of cards. First, I nominate: Bard of Sherman Ave: Ace of Spades; Bob: King of Clubs; Anymouse: King of Diamonds; JaneQ: Queen of Hearts; Green Lib: Queen of Spades (heh-heh). I’d love to be The Joker, but will settle for Jack, or maybe a 10, though I dare not be presumptuous.

DFO: I, of course, would request to be the only Wild Card in the deck. Any other nominations?

Top Cutlines — 4/25/06

Through droplets of rain on a window, prices of gas are seen at an Amoco station on City Line Avenue in Philadelphia on Monday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Metro Philadelphia, Rikard Larma)

Top Cutlines:

In A League Of His Own: The horrible aftermath of HBO restrictions on postings is shown; the implosions are evidenced by pieces of mouse mixed with Salisbury steak — John Austin.

1. those aren’t raindrops. those are my tears! — Granati.

2. No good crying over spilt milk. Spilt gasoline is another story — KaleJ.

3. Never abundant, or cheap, gasoline is now priced by the drop — Thom George.


Mailbag: What Is Silverwood’s Phallic Symbol?

Sierra Madre: Dave, I think you are the man for the job in finding out the thoughts of panhandlers on this topic as well as what is it? What in billy blue blazes is that red pulsing phallic symbol at Silverwood? I fear I will have a crash as I avert my eyes from its visual assault each time I pass it. … I look forward to reading about what you find is the reason for this abomination.

DFO: I honestly dunno. I haven’t been out Silverwood way since my sister moved from the Athol area to Spirit Lake. Can anyone out there help identify the UFO (unidentified fallic object, sorry for the phonetic spelling)?

Afternoon Question: Teens @ Independence Point

Issue: Shedding light on loitering: City hopes to address complaints of young people hanging out at Independence Point parking lot by adding more light/Tom Greene, Coeur d’Alene Press

DFO: Seems like the city has been moving kids up and down Sherman Avenue since I moved to this area 22 years ago. When I was a reporter under the Ray Stone administration, city officials armed the police with ordinances that enabled them to roust kids from the downtown streets. Now, they’re at Independence Point. Part of me wants to shrug and say: The kids need some place to congregate. But another part of me understands that undesireables are mingling with the rest of the kids as well. What to do?

Question: Is this much ado about nothing or a significant problem?

Huckleberries Best of the Northwest — 4/25/06

Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi is carried off the field Jan. 14, 1968 after his team defeated the Oakland Raiders 33 to 14 in Super Bowl II, in Miami, Fla. Packers guard Jerry Kramer (64), provides one of the shoulders for Lombardi’s ride. See Item No. 2.

1. Milt Priggee/Puget Sound Business Journal captures our annual battle with April 15 here.

2. Jerry Kramer figured he had seen the last of his Super Bowl I ring, lost on a plane flight more than 20 years ago. But the former Idaho and Green Bay Packer offensive line great (and Sandpoint, Idaho, native) should be reunited with the keepsake soon after the ring surfaced on the Web site for Chicago-based Mastro Auctions, a sports memorabilia company here.

3. Steve Groene, father of two murder victims and a kidnap victim, was on hand in the Tri-Cities to help supporters of Initiative 921 collect signatures that would ask voters to make some sex crimes punishable by automatic life sentences here.

4. Lack of funding in the University of Idaho engineering department has dramatically reduced the number of students from India who are enrolled at the school here.

5. A 16-year-old student accused of plotting to shoot people at Rogers High School, then kill himself “to finally go out in a blaze of hatred and fury” was charged Monday with first-degree attempted assault here.

6. IMHO-NW: Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (The cop who shot the bus), Bert Caldwell/Spokesman-Review (Finally, a reward for energy conservation), Robert L. Jamieson Jr./Seattle PI (Beaten fan raps on Snoop Dogg — in court), John Blanchette/Spokesman-Review (Stylishly cloaked in crimson), and Larry Stone/Seattle Times (White Sox not sitting on title).

Online Poll: 71.4% of 1478 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll say that school uniforms are a good idea.

*The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies group at Washington State handed out orange T-shirts in preparation for the National Day of Silence Wednesday here.

*A railroad repair crane and a carload of railroad ties plunged into Benewah Lake Monday afternoon after a trestle gave way here.

*Bonner County Sheriff Search and Rescue Inc. can continue using its name – even though it’s no longer affiliated with the Sheriff’s Department here.

*And the survey sez: Idaho gas prices among lowest in the nation here.

Orbusmax Special: Seattle mayor turns to Olympia for Supersonics arena remodel here.

McArtist Thomas Kinkade’s A Groper?

“Mr. Kinkade’s memory was fuzzy when he was asked during the arbitration proceedings about a signing party in Indiana in August 2002. By various accounts, most of the partyers overindulged, including Mr. Kinkade and Mr. Cote. At one point, according to testimony and interviews with Mr. Cote and three others who were there, Mr. Kinkade polled the men in the room about their preferences in women’s anatomies. During that discussion, according to arbitration records, Mr. Kinkade groped one of the women at the party. Others at the party said they also saw the alleged groping” — Dallas Morning News, from today.

For a New York Post story about Kinkade’s extracurricular activities, click here.

DFO: I learn from this blog regularly, too; ferexample, Green Libertarian posted a comment that pointed out that revered fuzzy-light artist Thomas Kinkade stands accused of groping a woman and other questionable behavior. I challenged him on the claim. And Fourth Paddler and he both produced online evidence to back it up. It certainly causes me to view Kinkade in a different light. I wonder if this will affect his incredible earnings or the proposed Lake Coeur d’Alene development featuring homes modeled after his work?

APhoto of the Day — 4/25/06

Through droplets of rain on a window, prices of gas are seen at an Amoco station on City Line Avenue in Philadelphia on Monday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Metro Philadelphia, Rikard Larma)

Question No. 2: Kinkade Coming To Lake Near Us

Issue: It’s all about fantasy: Development would showcase five Kinkade-inspired houses/Becky Kramer, Spokesman-Review

More: The detailed sketches paid off. After a successful pitch to the artist, Haight and two partners signed a licensing agreement this spring to build a Kinkade-themed development on 20 acres overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene. The five homes are expected to sell for $4 million to $6 million. Each is based on a painting. The Gates of Coeur d’Alene will be the second housing development for Kinkade, a best-selling California artist known for soft-focused landscapes.

Question: According to estimates, 10 million households in this country have some kind of Kincade product. Does yours?

WorldNetDaily Poll — 4/25/06

Issue: ABC viewers urge: Fire Diane Sawyer: Network anchor accused of exploiting beaten teen girl in quest for TV ratings/WorldNetDaily

Question: What do you think about Diane Sawyer’s abused-teen coverage?

1. She did a public service by revealing this evil
2. Network did nothing wrong, the girl was no longer in danger by the time it viewed the tape
3. Journalists are supposed to stay out of involvement in stories, so ABC did the right thing
4. You can’t prosecute journalists for exposing the dark side of life
5. Sawyer’s report is just good television
6. Report showed poor judgment by ABC, but no action should be taken
7. It just shows the despicable moral neutrality of the ‘mainstream’ press
8. Sawyer and her producers should be fired
9. Sawyer and her producers should be arrested
10. Other

DFO: No. 4 (I saw this program).

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Wild Card — 4/24/06

I’m flirting with the idea of developing some blog rules that’ll diminish the personal attacks that seem to be haunting HBO in recent weeks. Something along the lines of a 10C’s for Huckleberries. One commandment for sure would be: Thou shalt not cut-and-paste a windy post in the comments area. I don’t want to take the fun out of the blog. But I wouldn’t mind a few rules that we can all recognize that’ll foster debate. Anyone have a prospective commandment? (BTW, I want the flamers to chime in here, too.) Beyond that, if you have your own thread to start, here’s your evening Wild Card …

Top Cutlines — 4/24/06

A man who would only identify himself as a hitchhiker from New York sits on a street corner, Saturday in the Georgetown section of Washington. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Top Cutlines:

1. Tomorrow’s sign: “Please help me. My life’s the Pitts’” — John Austin.

2. The next day he had more success with a sign that read: “Tom and Katie just had a baby and I need money to buy them a remote island to live on so we never have to hear about them again” — Family Phil.

3. The sign didn’t deliver the results the man wanted and he realized that when it comes to buying celebrity baby gifts, most folks think beggars can’t be choosers — Sider.

HM: A Token D

Mailbag: Whattabout Adamson?

Dan of the County: I’m wondering if you know any of the “story” on Dan Adamson who is running for Govn’r on the Rep ticket. On Saturday evening I saw one of his TV ads (as in $$$) and this morning coming into the courthouse from Twin Lakes via Highway 41 there were all kinds of his color campaign signs. If someone has the money and organization to even blanket the Rathdrum area I’m assuming he must be quite serious, and I’m wondering what kind of following/platform he has?

DFO: Can’t see how Adamson could be anything but roadkill for Butch Otter in the Republican primary for governor. I hope he isn’t spending his own money in his quixotic race to upend Butch. I’ll guarantee you that the advertising companies are making sure that he pays them upfront. Does anyone out there know anything about Adamson. I’ll give you bonus points if you can name either Republican running for Controller Keith Johnson’s seat.

Digger provides this link to Adamson’s Web site here.

For Those Keeping Score At Home …

… I paid the highest ever for a gallon of regular gas during my quick trip to Portland and back during a vacation last week: $2.99.9 at the King City station, just north of the Tri-Cities, on Friday. Anyone beat that price recently?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 4/24/06

Fans cheer from shore as Washington State’s Varsity Eight rowing team, top, takes the lead just over 1500 meteres into a 2000 meter race against Stanford Saturdayat the Snake River’s Wawawai Landing/Joe Barrentine, Spokesman-Review.

1. David Horsey/Seattle PI looks at Karl Rove’s new role here.

2. The Associated Press reported that Boise boasts the lowest average price in the country for regular unleaded gas at $2.54 a gallon here.

3. Allegations of rape rose faster than reports of any other violent crime on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington last year, perhaps reflecting a willingness by students to tell police about sexual assaults and efforts to educate young people about the crime here.

4. Parents who say the dancing at Bozeman High School’s spring prom was lewd want school officials to step up the enforcement of standards. Most students at the prom held April 8 engaged in a dance that is the equivalent of ‘‘sex with clothes on’’ and demeans young women, Dean and Melea Mortenson wrote the Bozeman Daily Chronicle in a letter published Friday here.

5. Among the greatest sex offenders in the state of Washington are “registered counselors” who use their state sanction to prey on unsuspecting clients, according to a Seattle Times investigative report, here.

6. IMHO-NW: Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (Old scandals better than modern ones), Frank Mieli/Kalispell Daily Inter Lake (Maybe it’s time for a civics lesson), Greg Bower/Idaho Statesman (National Crime Victims’ Rights Week), Joel Connelly/Seattle PI (Seattle declares war on Alaska?), and Art Thiel/Seattle PI (Tick tock goes Mariners’ season).

Online Poll: 84.2% of 177 answering a Great Falls Tribune poll believe that bullying is a problem in schools.

*Washington state ranks 4th in nation for venture capital investments here.

*An early morning fire put 15 elderly and disabled people out of their Post Falls, Idaho, group home Sunday here.

*However odd it may seem, a rainy spring is worrying firefighters and range and forest managers in much of Eastern Washington, especially in areas infested by cheatgrass here.

*The state Board of Education has revived the University of Idaho’s College of Art and Architecture here.

Orbusmax Special: Three teen Oregon girls hire two men to beat up shared boyfriend here.

Haunted: Ghosts Roam CDA, Farragut

Did you know that North Idaho has several places that have made online haunted lists. In a Huckleberries Past about a Montana high schooler who checks out the paranormal, I mentioned that Senior Froggy’s on Sherman Avenue was haunted. Seems a construction worker lost his life while pouring the foundation of the Mexican restaurant. And his ghost occasionally creeps out those using the basement bathrooms now. I didn’t know, however, that there’s been ghost activity at the Bates Motel, the Coeur d’Alene High drama auditorium, and the former Farragut Naval Base brig at Farragut State Park. You can read all about the ghosts, their origins, and other haunted Idaho places here. And you can read about Spokane and Washington ghosts here.

APhoto of the Day — 4/24/06

A man who would only identify himself as a hitchhiker from New York sits on a street corner, Saturday in the Georgetown section of Washington. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Huckleberries Becomes Part of Mitchell-Amaro Dust-Up

“(Rami) Amaro said she has been the subject of threats and personal attacks that she describes as ‘atrocious, underhanded and juvenile.’

“She said she contacted the prosecutor’s office out of concern for her children after reading a comment a reader posted on a Spokesman-Review blog, Huckleberries Online, that asked, “Would Rami know if her kids were kidnapped?”

“On that same blog, one commentator posted Amaro’s picture next to a photo of a bank robber. She said that there have been numerous personal attacks and that she’s even been accused of being a bad mother.

“She said she wants Mitchell to rein in his supporters.

“‘Mitchell, put your foot down, be an ethical, moral citizen and tell your supporters to stop,’ Amaro said.

“In an interview Wednesday, Mitchell told The Spokesman-Review there’s no telling whether comments about Amaro come from his supporters or people who just don’t support her – especially because contributors to the blog aren’t required to post their names.

“‘You could look at it that anything that goes against you as a candidate must come from the opposition’s supporters, but maybe it’s people that are criticizing something you did,’ Mitchell said. ‘They may be criticizing my opponent when they don’t even know me.’”

For the rest of the Thursday story about the Mitchell-Amaro judicial race, that included comments about this blog, click here.

Question: I can’t figure out why this judicial race has created so much heat. As I’ve said before, both sides have thrown mud on this blog. So, I’m amazed at how anyone can point the finger at the other side. Why do you think this race is getting so much attention?

WorldNetDaily Poll — Entertainers & Politics

Issue: ‘Back to the Future’ co-star: Impeach Bush: Red Hot Chili Pepper ‘Flea’ also prays against Iran invasion/WorldNetDaily

Question: What do you think of political comments made by entertainers?

1. Being famous means their opinions are indeed more important than the average citizen
2. This is America, and free speech is the bedrock of our system
3. If their remarks agree with my philosophy, then they are important
4. I don’t always agree with them, but it’s interesting to see where the stars stand
5. I wish all entertainers would announce their political views, so I can choose to support or boycott their art
6. They can harumph all they want, but that doesn’t mean I have to listen or agree
7. Who cares what these clowns have to say about politics?
8. Today’s entertainers are part of the reason America is in bad shape, so their politics is par for the course
9. I can’t stomach these self-absorbed, anti-American numbskulls when they talk politics
10. Other

DFO: Nos. 7 & 9

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Vacation Wild Card/Saturday — 4/22/06

Two more days, and we’re back together again, dissecting life, politics and religion in the Inland Northwest. I’ll be pruning and planting at home today and tomorrow. Here’s hoping you enjoy the weekend sun as much as I plan to do — and your Saturday Wild Card …

Vacation Wild Card/Thursday — 4/20/06

I notice my absence in the Coeur d’Alene office is causing hardship for the early arrival (to wit, good buddy Taryn Brodwater is complainin’ on HBO that she misses the coffee I set adrippin’ before she arrives. On the other hand, she always complains that it’s too weak. So, you see a guy can’t win). Looks like you folks have been having fun this week. So am I. I’ll tell you about it when I get back to full-time bloggin’ Monday. Until then, here’s your Thursday Wild Card …

Vacation Wild Card/Tuesday — 4/18/06

The Vacation Wild Card Monday attracted a lot of action. Some cool. Some uncool. But it was pretty free-wheeling. We all got to the end of the day without anyone being tossed. So, I’ll consider that a battle won. I got a lot done around the house today. And the partial sunshine was nice. More of the same planned for tomorrow. You can talk about Adam Morrison’s predictable decision to go pro. Or the veep’s visit to Spokane. Or whatever your heart desires with this second Wild Card of my current weeklong breather here …

Wild Card/Easter Sunday — 4/16/06

A Happy Easter to all — to those who believe and those who don’t. It doesn’t matter what side of that fence you fall on here. I enjoy almost all of HBO’s bloggers, commenters and blurkers. And I want you to have a good day today. I posted some things below that should be of interest if you have time to check in here. If not, that’s OK, too. After all, it’s Easter. And here’s your Easter Wild Card …

F-Words: Spend My Tax Dollars Wisely

“I am not going to drop my tax check in the mail until Monday. This is the second year of my having a grownup’s job and therefore paying a grownup’s taxes. The learning curve has been steep. What’s even better is thinking about what my taxes are funding, and what they are not.”

Sara Anderson/F-Words goes on to note things she doesn’t want her money used for and things she does. You can read the rest of her post here

Question: How would you like your federal taxes spent? How don’t you want them spent?

Whitecaps: Top Cops Need Good Press Relations

re: Spokane police withholding records from the SR because acting chief Jim Nicks is angry at the newspaper.

“I am continually amazed by how many otherwise competent police chiefs and sheriffs have failed to take the time to learn about and really understand the role and critical importance of a free press in the United States. After being selected as chief or elected as sheriff, one of the first things that executive ought to do is personally meet with editors, publishers, news directors, and station managers to discuss issues that are sure to arise. These meetings need to be regular, though not necessarily frequent, to establish good lines of communications leading to mutual understanding, trust, and respect. The press is one very important link between the department and the public it serves. News stories, carefully and professionally prepared and delivered, can tell a chief or a sheriff a great deal about how his clients (the community) perceive his agency. The stories are feedback to the chief or sheriff. When the filing of Public Record Law requests becomes a news story itself because of their increasing frequency dictated by necessity (read: unnecessary secrecy and departmental stonewalling), it’s time for a chief or sheriff or any other public administrator to ask if his agency is engaging in unnecessary and even illegal secrecy. News professionals will understand that some investigative information can not and must not be released as quickly as other information can be. Law enforcement professionals must understand that most responsible reporters (and their bosses) will honor caveats such as on the record, off the record, background, and deep background. However, understanding each other’s operating procedures and ground rules is absolutely essential to avoid major blow-ups between law enforcement and the press. The only way to do that is through face-to-face discussions and developing a mutual respect for the challenges of each other’s job. It has worked in local to national agencies, and it can work in Spokane, Spokane County, Coeur d’Alene, and Kootenai County.”

Bill McCrory/Whitecaps

WorldNetDaily Poll —Assisted Suicide

Question: What are your thoughts on assisted suicide?

1. I own my own body – it’s my right to end my life whenever and however I want
2. People who oppose it are afraid to face the reality of death
3. No one should have to lose his dignity or live in pain – assisted suicide is a necessary evil
4. Whether you agree with it or not, a lot of medical professionals are secretly doing it
5. I support it if all the necessary safeguards are in place to ensure it’s what the patient wants
6. I support it for people with terminal physical conditions, but not for the mentally ill
7. I’m morally opposed to it, but I believe it should be an option for those who are terminally ill
8. Man is made in God’s image – it’s wrong to intentionally end an innocent life
9. It’s a slippery slope – it will end with healthy people being killed against their will
10. Other

DFO: Nos. 8 & 9

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Barbie — North Idaho Style

“This came to me via a MySpace bulletin, so I have no idea who wrote it, but it’s hilarious so I thought I’d share…I don’t want to be a blog hog and it’s kind of long so I’ve linked over to my blog where you can read the whole thing…

“North Idaho Barbies

“Coeur d’Alene Barbie: This modern day homemaker Barbie is available with a Mercedes 4WD SUV, a Prada handbag and matching Nike Yoga ensemble…

“Oldtown Barbie: This pale model comes dressed in her own Wrangler jeans 2 sizes too small, steel-toed cowboy boots, a classic Metallica ‘T’ shirt and a Tweedy Bird tattoo on her shoulder…

“…more here …”

Patrick/Orange TV

DFO: This is beyond funny. We need to find out who wrote up. Big time thanks to Orange TV.

Clueless In Spokane

“The Spokane Police Department is withholding public records requested by The Spokesman-Review because acting Police Chief Jim Nicks is angry with the newspaper’s recent coverage of two high-profile cases. The records were assembled and scheduled to be released this week in compliance with a state Open Records Act request submitted by reporter Karen Dorn Steele. But she was informed Thursday by Police Department spokesman Tom Lee that the records wouldn’t be released. When asked the reason, the police spokesman said Nicks “is upset” with the newspaper’s coverage of Otto Zehm, who died last month after being Tasered by police, and former firefighter Daniel Ross, whose digital photos of on-duty sex with a teenage girl were ordered deleted by police detectives”/Bill Morlin, Spokesman-Review.

DFO: Nicks definitely isn’t ready for prime time.

Question: What do you think of the acting police chief’s actions in withholding the information that The Spokesman-Review requested?

House District 4: Demo Sayler Or Repub Culbreath

Issue: Culbreth wants to take on tax reform at the Capitol: Will challenge Sayler for spot in the House/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press

DFO: We’ve been fixated on the Mitchell-Amaro judicial race for weeks now. But it’s time to start considering other races. It’s a long ways off. But Sharon Culbreath will face incumbent Rep. George Sayler in November for one of the Coeur d’Alene House seats.

Question: Culbreath has the right issue: property tax relief. But is she the right person to beat former long-time Coeur d’Alene High instructor Sayler?

Mailbag: How Much Are You Willing To Pay, DFO?

Thom George: OK, DFO, how much money are you willing to pay (to get the Government Way bridge finished more quickly)? I’m sure anything can be done faster if you pony up the bucks. I’m constantly amazed by the number of people who can find something to complain about when they are directly impacted, yet would be the first ones to balk at paying for better or quicker service. I’m sure there are many parents of school age children who’d love updated text books, larger, less crowded classrooms, but either wouldn’t vote for the tax dollars needed to accomplish this, or wouldn’t even vote one way or the other. Same with the jail; we want the judges to “lock ‘em up”, but we don’t want to pay for more jail cells.

DFO: Boy, did you miss this one by a mile, Thom. I editorialized and voted for both the $40 million school levy and the half-cent sales tax for expand the jail. I’ve never voted against a school levy or bond in the 22 years I’ve been in this county — even during the years my children were attending private schools. I editorialized and voted for the new CDA library and the public safety bond. So, you’re saying that isn’t enough? And I make sure there’s a least one voice in the community raised when Uncle Duane tries to invade public places. So, you’re saying that isn’t enough?

Mailbag: Where Did Egg Hunt Fun Go?

Jesse Tinsley: I went to the Dave Smith car lot in CdA today to shoot a feature photo of their annual Easter egg hunt for tomorrow’s paper and was horrified by the pushing, shoving and greed involved in egg hunts. Parents were pushing their kids to front of the lines and pointing out things they should grab when the hunt starts. The greed and competition takes the fun out it, I think. A few years ago my toddler son was shoved to the ground while trying to take part in the Post Falls egg hunt. All he wanted was to find an egg or two. I don’t think I’ll ever take my kid to another public Easter egg hunt. Too rough, kids get too greedy and there is no time to savor the joy of hunting for eggs because it’s all about grabbing as many as you can while the weaker kids end up empty-handed and crying. Where did the fun go?

DFO: Sounds like you experienced an Easter Egg Hunt version of Sports Mom and Sports Dad. I simply can’t understand pushy parents. They either replicate themselves and create pushy, spoiled children. Or they turn off their kids. I ached for my kids when they were treated unfairly by a coach or a teacher. But they survived without my interference and so did I.


When Huckleberries last checked in on Local Boy Making Good Ben Clark in January, he and his Seattle band were about to release their first album on the Columbia Records label and appear on Craig Ferguson’s late, late show. Since the release of “Get it,” The Lashes have been on tour. Ben? He’s the lead singer of the sextet, son of S-R columnist Doug Clark – and a far cry from the tyke who shared his “Star Wars” toys with my son, Seth, both dressed in Underoos. Molly Yanity/Seattle Post Intelligencer caught up with “Ben Lashes” during a break in his tour and proclaimed: “The Lashes could be the next big thing to emerge from the Seattle music scene.” She also contended that Ben has the “it” factor and that “The Lashes power-pop sound is catchy” – a sentiment repeated by other gushing interviewers up and down the West Coast. Time will tell if The Lashes are the next Nirvana. Either way, Ben Lashes has come a long way since Ferris High when he and his first band got exposure by playing halftime gigs for the girls’ soccer team.

Smiling on the outside
A week ago, CdA blogger Phil Corless/A Family Runs Through It was walking his kids to a soccer photo shoot when he noticed a little girl skipping along the sidewalk toward him. When she saw The Family Corless, she smiled “the kind of smile that you can’t help smiling back at and thinking, ‘There’s one happy kid.’ ” And then it hit Phil. The girl with the 100-watt smile was Shasta Groene, the 9-year-old who survived the horrors of being kidnapped last spring and having three members of her family murdered. The encounter made Phil stop and hug his two children. When his son asked why he’d teared up, Phil forced out a short explanation: “I just wanted you to know that I love you.” Later, Phil blogged: “I really truly hope that (Shasta) keeps that happiness on the inside as well. Nobody can imagine the pain she’s gone through, but if she can smile like she did at me and my family in the park, then maybe she’s going to be okay.” A lot of people in this area are praying that Phil’s right.

Blast from the past
I dug through my files of old e-mails after learning Aryan Nations sympathizer Vincent Bertollini had been run to ground in New Mexico. He and multimillionaire buddy Carl E. Story arrived late on the local racism scene. But they made nuisances of themselves, nonetheless, bankrolling fliers, videos and posters to promote their Christian Identity religion. Occasionally, when he wasn’t propagandizing or driving drunk, he’d fire off an e-mail to me. On Aug. 20, 2000, he e-mailed: “Our work is just beginning, and (we’re reaching) more and more households in this Great Northwest (98 percent White Adamic Aryan in demographics – for the record, that is why we are here and do what we do because this is truly the last stronghold in America against the nonwhite blight instigated and perpetuated by the wicked JEWS).” Nutty stuff. But typical of the online correspondence several S-Rers received from Bertollini and his ilk back in the day. You didn’t miss anything if you weren’t living here then.

Speaking of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and KKKers (oh my), North Idaho College instructor Tony Stewart was confronted by a red-faced redneck Wednesday evening as he was en route to Schuler Auditorium to be honored for his work as an educator, host of a long-running public TV show, Hospice volunteer and human rights activist extraordinaire. “I’m from the people’s republic of California,” the North Idaho immigrant hissed. “And you’re trying to turn this area into another people’s republic of California.” Tony’s too polite to utter the words that I would have: “And your point is?” … Poet’s Corner: “Although his brain/is but a dot,/the pigeon flies/while you cannot” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“The Pigeon”) … Bumpersnicker (on a white Honda in CdA): “My other car is a pair of walking shoes” … Any “Lord of the Rings” fans should enjoy the short post by blogger Kristin Hoppe/Not So Fast re: her struggle in adjusting to daylight-saving time: “I hates it, tricksy sun!” … Go ahead and laugh at us Idaho rubes, Tater Tot Breath, but mobile device users picked quirky Idaho-based “Napoleon Dynamite” as the crème de la crème in two Screentone Awards categories, including best overall. Gosh!

Parting shot
“That idiot is just an absolute idiot. … He doesn’t have one ounce of empathy in his whole frickin’ body, and you can put that in the paper” – House Speaker Bruce Newcomb as reported by Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise re: state Rep. Bill Sali, R-Kuna, following a dust-up during the abortion debate on an informed consent bill. Now, there’s something you don’t hear a Speaker of the House say every day about another elected rep. Remember this when you’re considering Sali’s qualifications as you cast your ballot in the GOPrimary horse race for the congressional seat being vacated by Butch Otter.

My2Cents — Time For A Break

As you may have read in the last coupla days, I’m taking next week off, to catch up on a few things around the house and prepare the garden. I need a breather. I know you HBOers don’t like these occasional weekly breaks, but I need them to keep the creative juices flowing. On the other hand, I miss this forum when I’m out of circulation (at least for a coupla days). In the interim, I need to figure out how to reconfigure things here to free up another hour during my work day. I’ve been considering shedding the Best of the Inland Northwest because it eats up so much time in the middle of the day and deprives me from getting away from the desk. That, or Quick Fix 6. Any thoughts? Behave yourselves while I’m away. I’ll post the usual stuff this weekend. But you’ll have to make do with the Wild Cards next week. BTW, thanks for all the laughs and thought-provoking posts that you make here. I still don’t know what HBO will be like when it grows up. Then, mebbe that’s part of what makes the blogosphere special.

CDADave: “An Unfortunate Chapter”

“I once saw Richard Butler eating breakfast with a few of his friends in a local restaurant. And as I looked at him, the thought came to mind that he was just another tired, old, bitter man, and maybe in some ways not that different from the rest of us. At the same time I also thought, “what happened to him to make him the way he is?” I didn’t feel hatred for him; I just felt kinda depressed and sad. How do I feel about all of this? It’s an unfortunate chapter in our area’s recent history.”

For the rest of CDADave’s post about Butler, click here, and for a good dose of Thin Air, click here.

DFO: Sorry, HBOers, I didn’t have time to put together a Best of the Local Blogs tonight, what with print Huckleberries and an editorial to write today, and all. But I figured you needed a shot of CDADave’s parodies and Thin Air as much as I did.

Afternoon Question — Plea Deals That Keep Giving

“KIRKLAND, Wash. — Travis Lockie already had two drunken-driving convictions when he was arrested for the same offense earlier this year. He might have faced months in jail. Instead, the prosecutor cut him an unusual deal: A $1,400 donation to a local charity got him treated like a first-time drunken-driving offender. Lockie paid, and left court a free man. But the next day, Lockie, a 32-year-old construction worker, was arrested for driving drunk again. He asked his new lawyer to get him the same deal as last time. Instead, the lawyer, Chris Herion, filed court documents telling a judge of the odd arrangement — and the fact that Lockie’s donation never reached the charity. Herion, in effect, had blown the whistle on an open secret in Benton County District Court.”

For the rest of the story by Jonathan Martin/Seattle Times, click here.

Question: Is this a clever way to raise doughnations for charitable causes? Or totally unethical? (Hat Tip: Bill McCrory for bringing this to HBO’s attention.)

Cool Easter Egg Card Sent To HBO …

… by both Cis Gors and Mari Meehan here (click on basket or eggs).

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 4/14/06

Chuck Thrap, an employee of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, holds up one of about 2,500 rainbow trout released into Deer Lake this week/Jed Conklin, Spokesman-Review

1. David Horsey/Seattle PI offers one possible out for Northwest ratepayers who were Enron’d here.

2. Cold Case: A 16-year-old victim of serial killer Wayne Nance whose body was found near Missoula, Mont., now has a name and her parents have peace here.

3. A teenage boy testified today that his friend showed him a knife and told him “that he was going to kill somebody” shortly before a playmate was beaten and stabbed to death. Pale and trembling on the witness stand, Jake Eakin told jurors that Evan Savoie hit 13-year-old Craig Sorger on the back of the head with a rock the size of basketball and then struck him repeatedly on Feb. 15, 2003 here.

4. The Intermountain Forest Association is thrilled that Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne has been nominated as the next Secretary of the Interior but others aren’t, here.

5. A 26-year-old Moses Lake man drove off with a Spokane Valley Fire Department medic vehicle Thursday evening during an emergency call and led police on a 52-mile pursuit in which a Whitman County deputy sheriff’s car was smashed here.

6. IMHO-NW: Ted S. McGregor Jr./Inlander (Willful ignorance), Randy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press (Who owns the west, and why), Scitz/River Journal (The Cocalalla 500), Marty Fortier/Coeur d’Alene Press (Inter Seasonal Stress Syndrome), and Garrett Andrews/WSU Daily Evergreen (Dealing with WSU student sex offender).

Online Poll: 78.1% of 1564 respondents to a Seattle PI poll say they are done with their income taxes.

*Veep Dick Cheney is headed to Spokane for a Mike McGavick fund-raiser Monday here.

*A Boise Fire Department fire team rescued a woman from the Boise River this morning here.

*As part of a wave of demonstrations that has swept the country this month, more than 200 people in Spokane hit the streets to stand up for the rights of immigrants here.

Orbusmax Special: Eastern Washington defendants got off the hook if they donated to charity here.

Mailbag: Who Was The DUI Judge?

James Bond: Was Mitchell the judge who got a DUI a few years ago? I know a northern Idaho judge got pinched for DUI a few years ago.

DFO: No, it was (now retired judge) Craig Kosonen. (see archived story below).

From Spokesman-Review files (Dec. 4, 1997): “First District Judge Craig C. Kosonen pleaded guilty to drunken driving Wednesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after he crashed his pickup into a concrete barrier south of the city limits. Magistrate Barry Watson granted Kosonen’s request for a withheld judgment and sentenced the 61-year-old judge to two days in jail, which he can choose to serve in the sheriff’s community work program. Kosonen also was fined $500 and his driver’s license was suspended for 90 days. All are within the standard sentencing range for first-time offenders. Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas said Kosonen did not ask for or receive special treatment. His guilty plea was not made as part of a plea agreement. “You’ve got to have some measure of respect for someone who comes in right away and admits his guilt and asks for no special treatment,” Douglas said. Kosonen’s blood-alcohol level was nearly double the legal limit when he lost control of his red 1997 Dodge pickup about 9:25 p.m. on Potlatch Hill Road near Coeur d’Alene Lake Road, according to a Kootenai County sheriff’s report. Kosonen, who was alone in the truck, refused medical treatment.”

Amarophile Develops Web Site

A lot of the pro-Amaro, anti-Mitchell comments replicated on HBO have their genesis at If you hold your cursor over the Huckleberries link on the Blogroll, a popup sez: “Please weigh-in on the judicial race: Huckleberries Site Spokesman-Review” (which is sort of cool). Hold your cursor over the Coeur d’Alene Press link, and it sez: “Local Newspaper: Submit your letter to the editor about the judicial race May 23. Dunno if I like Brand X being singled out as the “local newspaper,” but I appreciate the chance to … you know … DRIVE UP PAGE-VIEWS WITH ANOTHER AMARO-MITCHELL POST!!!!

Question No. 2

Issue: Jail group raising cash for survey: Advisory committee hopes to get $12,000 from area businesses to ask about expansion/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press

DFO: Izzit just me, or should the jail expansion promoters have taken time last go round to see what the public would support?

Question: Unquestionably, we need a jail expansion of some sort. Are you more inclined to vote for a half-cent sales tax to fund the work, if a ballot measure is brought back this fall?

SR Edit: Spokane Sheriff’s Pick Satisfying Surprise?

“For those who expect partisan fixes whenever political appointments are handed out, the Spokane County commissioners’ choice for a new sheriff could be judged a satisfying surprise. The three commissioners, all Republicans, bypassed the applicant anointed by outgoing Republican Sheriff Mark Sterk and endorsed by the Spokane County Republican Central Committee that Sterk heads. Instead, they unanimously named Ozzie Knezovich to finish Sterk’s unexpired term. What’s more, Knezovich is a union guy, a role not commonly associated with Republican preferences.”

For the rest of the editorial by Doug Floyd/Spokesman-Review, click here.

Quick Fix 6 — 4/14/06

1. APhoto Fix: Christian pilgrims carry a large wooden cross along Via Dolorosa towards the Church of the Holy Sepulchre retracing Jesus Christ’s steps toward his crucifixion during a Good Friday procession in Jerusalem earlier today. (AP Photo/Baz Ratner)

2. Cartoon Fix: Steve Kelley (A nonprotest protest), Sandy Huffaker (Health care for all), and Mike Luckovich (Illegal immigration fence).

3. Humor Fix: David Letterman’s “Ten Signs You Hired A Bad Easter Bunny” 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: Veteran dies day after getting WWII medals here, Survey finds boys failing in schools here, Texas stops arresting drunks in bars here, Federal tax filers get extension here, and Neil Young records impeach the president song here.

6. Opinion Fix: Dick Armey/Christian Science Monitor (Imagine an EZ tax season), Rosa Brooks/LA Times (Real Americans pout, not protest), Henry Kissinger/International Herald Tribune (American strategy & pre-emptive war), Julie Ann Ponzi/Townhall (Review: “Female Chauvinist Pigs”), and Brent Bozell/Media Research Center (Character assassination, media style).

P.S. — Impression of Islam — 4/13/06

Issue: Poll: Sinking perceptions of Islam: Fewer than 1 in 5 say their impression of religion favorable/CBS News

DFO: I’ve had the pleasant experience of getting to know a young Muslim woman during the past year, colleague Rasha Madkour. Wonderful person. If she was the face of Islam, I’d have a very favorable impression. The extremists in the Middle East who advocate the annihilation of Israel are something else. I’m reluctant to paint with a broad brush here. I guess I don’t know enough re: how Islam plays out in the lives of most adherents to make a call yet.

Question: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of Islam?

Top Cutlines — 4/13/06

A mother holds her toddler petting a 10-year-old, 4-meter (13-foot) -long python snake at the Dusit Zoo, in Bangkok, Thailand in this AP file photo. Proposed legislation in Florida could force python buyers to complete state training, buy a license and face jail time if they let their snakes loose. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Top Cutlines

1. From the Thais-that-bind-department, a Bangkok mother introduces her baby to their new pet python, Monte — John Austin.

2. Contestants line up to play Britney Spears’ latest creation: Pin the Baby to the Python; Britney’s previous games, Drop the baby from the High Chair and Crush the baby in the Car were flops — Thom George.

3. Boise residents say goodbye to lawmakers as they wrap up another legislative session — Family Phil.


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

Extra! South Park Disses Jesus, Flag

Issue: ‘South Park’ shows Jesus defecating on Bush, flag: After Comedy Central refused to broadcast image of Muhammad on program/Associated Press

DFO: During Holy Week? These guys have no shame.

Question: Isn’t this a bit too far, even for the Liberal crowd?

Floaters On The Storm

A pair of pelicans take note of a pair of ducks floating by Wednesday as they wait out a rain shower along the Snake River in Lewiston, Idaho. (AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune, Steve Hanks)

Bertollini Brought To Justice In New Mexico

I was delighted to hear the news that neo-Nazi sympathizer Vincent Bertollini was run to ground in New Mexico here. For you newcomers, Bertollini (shown above kissing racist Richard Butler at the Aryan Nations compound in July 2000) was a latter-day supremacist who immigrated to Kootenai County and used his big bucks to breathe life into Richard Butler’s fading cause. He bankrolled racist flyers and generally made a nuisance of himself because he had the cash to do so. Occasionally, he’d send me a nasty note. In August 2000, he wrote the following to me after one of his fliers was slammed in an op-ed piece:

“Our work is just beginning, and as we reach more and more households in this Great Northwest (98% White Adamic Aryan in demographics — for the record, that is why we are here and do what we do — awake the brethren!) because this is truly the last stronghold in America against the non-white blight instigated and perpetrated by the wicked JEWS. So, write your picayune, whining, sniveling race traitor articles all you want. We don’t care, we will not be stopped and we know the end. It has been foreordained from the beginning of time. Than God we are in this time and place to be part of it!”

See what many of you missed? Not much. Bertollini spouted this stuff before being charged in Bonner County with a third DUI, which elevated his offense to a possible felony, and vanishing. Now, he has to face the music. ‘Tis a nice ending to a rich megalomaniac.

Mailbag: End of the World Scenario?

Thom George: DFO; #9? Don’t you forsee an end of world scenario with this type of strategy?

DFO: Every time something heat’s up in the Middle East, I see an end of the world scenario. As I look at prophecy in Scripture, I see that it all goes down in the Middle East. With Israel right in the middle of it. The first Iraq war coulda triggered it. And, certainly, the table is set now for all hell breaking loose into an Armageddon fight, with the world’s one superpower enmeshed in a sectarian fight that doesn’t appear to have an end close by. Then, that’s the view of an Evangelical who uses Scripture as a filter for these sort of things. Hal Lindsey of “Late Great Planet Earth” fame made a bundle three decades ago predicting the end is near. And we’re still going, like the Energizer bunny. Mebbe the end is a long way off?

Pornography: No Harm, No Foul?

“The most legitimate claim against porn is that it debases women; the rest is shifting the blame. Yes, grown men have gotten so addicted to porn that their real world relationships rotted and then blew away. Then, disgustingly, they blamed the Web sites for their problems, as if it wasn’t within their power to extricate themselves from the inescapable force that is Internet smut. … It’s really the same thing as blaming cigarette companies for smoking cigarettes, and McDonald’s for making you fat. As American as it is, it’s still blaming the pusher for one person’s irresponsibility. It’s wimpy, basically.”

For the rest of the opinion piece by Chris Malmberg/EWU Easterner Online, click here.

Question: Do you believe that pornography is fairly harmless?

WorldNetDaily Poll — Taking On Iran

Question: How would you advise the president to proceed on Iran?

1. Do nothing – Iran is a sovereign state and it’s done nothing against U.S. interests
2. Do nothing – there’s no evidence Iran is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons
3. Do nothing – the last thing we need is for the U.S. to get bogged down in another murky Mideast conflict or spark a nuclear confrontation
4. Wait until we know more
5. Pursue diplomacy and cooperate with the U.N.
6. Take a cue from the Cuban missile crisis – talk tough publicly, make concessions privately
7. Give more aggressive support to the anti-government factions fighting for regime change inside Iran
8. Launch a limited attack with conventional forces and weapons to show our military superiority and resolve
9. Prepare for an immediate attack using tactical nuclear weapons to completely wipe out Iran’s nuclear facilities
10. Other

DFO: No. 10, Give the Israelis the green flag to do No. 9.

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Hump Day Wild Card — 4/12/06

The Idaho Legislature is over, and I should get busy trying to provide a letter grade for its accomplishments or lack thereof. Lawmakers pulled their bacon out of the fire with their actions on the last day — increasing the homeowner exemption and finally signing off on the GARVEE bonds. I’ll probably give them a B or B-minus. Some of our legislators had a very good session and have become players in Boise. While I contemplate the session, you’re free to use this Wild Card for your own threads …

P.S. — Immigration Protest Backlash — 4/12/06

Issue: Protests backfire! Zogby poll: National demonstrations by illegal aliens have negative impact/WorldNetDaily

DFO: I’m definitely looking at illegal aliens in a different light. I’m beginning to see their importance to our economy. But I also see the need to address this issue satisfactorily for both main countries involved. Some kind of registration system that allows us to know who’s here and for how long. On the other hand, the protests irritated me. After all, they’re in the streets flaunting our laws, while others have waited in line to join this country of immigrants.

Question: Were you turned off by the street protests?

Mailbag: Huckleberry Hound Run For Office?

Mary Souza: Thanks, DFO, but I have no plans to run for anything—the need is now, and I’m working hard behind the scenes to shake the tree and get some action. Why don’t YOU run next time? You seem to have your finger on the pulse of the community …

DFO: I was the student body president at my high school and the vice president at my junior college. If memory serves me correctly, and that’s a stretch since we are dealing with the “lost in the ‘60s” here, I did miserably at both jobs. I’m better as an agitator. Besides, I enjoy journalism and blogging too much to give them up to spend hours listening to The Duane and cronies tell me why we need a memorial garden downtown only to have him pull the request after a coupla public meetings.

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 4/12/06

*Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise reports that the ugly tie worn by Greg Hahn/Idaho Statesman finally worked as the Legislature got the hint and adjourned here.

*Bill McCrory/Whitecaps offers his usual reasoned approach to that question I asked earlier today re: the need/or lack thereof for partisanship in most county elected positions here.

*Stebbijo/Your Choice proves why online advertising isn’t all that it’s cracked up today as she looks for a discount coffee shop in which to spend her four-bits worth of earnings here.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour remembers her animal-loving, story-telling father, Harold, on the 90th anniversary of his birth here.

*Granati/Orange Frog offers some pickup lines that you can use at your own risk here.

*Jim Meehan/Idaho Vandals provides an update on UI’s attempt to land basketball players for next year here.

Meanwhile, Bayview Herb expands on his immigration thoughts here, Mari muses about bloggers here, and CDADave provides an update on his medical condition here.

Even Wildlife Fighting Over Mitchell & Amaro

Bull elk on the right: Judge Mitchell has a much higher peer approval rating than Rami Amaro. And if you don’t believe it, I’m going to kick your lights out.

Bull elk on the left: Oh yeah, well Mitchell has been disqualified by dozens of attorneys, and if you don’t vote for Rami Amaro, I’m going to head-butt you back to Enumclaw.

Actually, these two bull elk near Enumclaw are establishing a pecking order in the herd in preparation for real competition in the fall when they’re in rut. Somehow, the photo reminded me of the local judge’s race and all the jousting that has gone on here. Wished I knew how to photoshop. (AP photo)

Hat Tip: Thom George (for parody)

Bob: Blues For The Christ

Searchin’ for Jesus in all
these places, is He in this
baby’s coffin goin’ in the
ground, is He in this
hurricane blowin’ down,
is He in this Army gun
spittin’ fire at strangers,
Searchin’ for Jesus
in all these places, ain’t
findin’ him nowhere.

Bob Salsbury/Unbearable Bobness of Being

DFO: Bob’s poem, “Blues for the Christ,” has been on my mind since I first read it. Poignant. Sad. Powerful. His fine rhyme, however, hasn’t been my experience. I’ve encountered “The Christ” at the scene of a school bus crash a quarter century ago that killed 5 teens. I’ve experienced his presence again, coffin side, when I buried my father and handed my stillborn daughter to a nurse, never to see again. He’s been there in the darkest hours of my adult life. I know he’s there on the battlefield and in the hurricane, not condoning the horror but offering strength to cope with this life and hope for what exists beyond. The misery that comes into our lives can be interpreted as evidence that He’s not there. Or as an opportunity for grace to drive us to Him.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 4/12/06

Idaho state Rep. Frances Field, R-Grand View, leads the Idaho House in singing “God Bless America” as the 2006 legislative session came to a close in Boise Tuesday. This year’s session was the third longest in Idaho history. (AP Photo/Darin Oswald)

Eye On Boise: Gov. Kempthorne will sign increased homeowners exemption into law here.

1. David Horsey/Seattle PI sees the problem with illegal immigration as a matter of what-goes-around-comes-around here.

2. Dan Popkey/Idaho Statesman: Stage is set for meaningful property tax reform in 1977 here.

3. A 10-year-old Boise boy who died of cancer in January has won a national literature contest for a poem about his illness. Izeyah Yenter’s poem, “I Wonder Why…” received the Outstanding Interpretation award for literature, the highest honor in the Parent Teacher Association Reflections, here.

4. Pierce County sheriff’s deputies say they’ve foiled a plot by four students at Key Peninsula Middle School at Lakebay in the Peninsula School District to shoot staff members and students and, burn down the school here.

5. A trip to Iraq last weekend reinforced for Rep. Cathy McMorris her belief that the U.S. military is doing the right thing, at the right time, in the Middle East. But it also convinced her that the Iraqis need to step up to the challenge of protecting and running their own country here.

6. IMHO-NW: Rebecca Nappi/Spokesman-Review (Wishing the best for Katie Couric), Idaho Statesman (The system worked — slowly), Coeur d’Alene Press (MySpace needs more than warning label), Joel Connelly/Seattle PI (“GOP welfare state”), and Bardia Mehrabian/WSU Daily Evergreen (Nation of immigrants fearful of immigration?).

Online Poll: 61.4% of 1006 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll gave the 2006 Legislature grades of D or F.

*2 Idahoans sentenced to prison for killing grizzly bear cub here.

*A Rexburg, Idaho, man who apparently lived with the decomposed bodies of his wife and daughter was charged Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter here.

*BLM proposes birth control program to gain time while improving wild horse habitat here.

*Polling for Washington state quarter back online here. (BTW, you can vote for your favorite Montana quarter, too, here.)

Orbusmax Special: Idaho grocer fires workers for attending immigration rally without excuse here.

CDADave: $$$ Are Breaking Up Meredith’s Old Gang

CDADave has survived his recent computer woes and is back to providing more Thin Air here.

Question No. 2: New Spokane County Sheriff

Issue: Knezovich tapped as sheriff: County appointee will serve remainder of Sterk’s term/Jonathan Brunt, Spokesman-Review

SR Edit Teaser (by Doug Floyd): Knesovich has valid credentials, but we’ll need to wait and see. There is a concern, though that as union president he is too close to the rank and file. His ardent defense of the two deputies involved in the Dukes of Hazzard exploit is troublesome. He needs to put his law enforcement, administrative and leadership skills to work and he needs to show he can be the boss, not a buddy.

Question: Should county prosecutors, sheriffs, assessors, clerks, treasurers and coroners be partisan offices?

GreenL: Keep Sheila, Barbie, I Prefer Brandi

Green Libertarian: I still think Brandi Swindell is cuter. (DFO: Brandi Swindell is a religious conservative activist and an unsuccessful candidate last fall for the Boise City Council.)

WorldNetDaily Poll — Shroud of Turin

Issue: Author: Shroud of Turin wrongly condemned: Believes dating scientifically flawed, linen could be burial cloth of Jesus/WorldNetDaily

Question: Do you believe the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus?

1. Yes, though my faith does not hang on the cloth
2. It’s a fascinating relic of antiquity, but its connection to Jesus is questionable
3. There’s nothing in the Bible that would indicate Jesus’ burial clothes had an image
4. This is absolutely the burial cloth of Jesus
5. I believe it is, though it’s a matter of personal faith, not definite proof
6. No more than I believe the Easter Bunny will bring eggs to my door
7. Other
8. No, carbon dating has proved it’s a forgery from the Middle Ages
9. No, since Jesus never existed
10. It’s some other crucified man, but not Jesus

DFO: No. 2

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Wild Card/Tuesday — 4/11/06

Duties on the other side are calling, so I’ll leave you with this Wild Card to entertain yourselves …

P.S. — Do You Have A Purpose In Life

Issue: In her blog today, Cis Gors asks the question: What is your purpose? Not who you are, or what you do necessarily, but what is your purpose? She continues here.

More: As you raise up in the morning … does anyone care? Does anyone notice? Of course if you have a spouse they will care and notice. At least I hope so. But if you don’t have a spouse? Do you have a purpose?

Question: So, what is your purpose?

Eye On Boise: House OKs Homeowners Exemption

The House just voted 60-8 in favor of HB 421a, the bill to increase the homeowner’s exemption from property tax. The bill now goes to the governor. It raises the exemption’s top amount from $50,000 to $75,000, adds in the value of land as well as improvements, and indexes the top amount to housing price inflation in future years.

For the rest of the post by Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise, click here.

The Faces of Protest — 4/11/06 …

Rebekah Phelps-Roper, of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., holds up signs and demonstrates near the Tennessee Capitol as a tour group enters the building in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday. Phelps-Roper, a member of a group that’s been holding demonstrations at funerals for soldiers killed in Iraq, demonstrated against proposed legislation that would prohibit protesting near a funeral. (AP photo)

Brigham Young student Matt Kulisch leads Soulforce members — a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender group — on a march from the Mormon Temple, left rear, to the Brigham Young campus in Provo, Utah. The group is making a nationwide tour to schools they believe discriminate against gays. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

Erin Carrington holds a sign as thousands of people march through the streets in Washington, on Monday. Tens of thousands of immigrants spilled into the streets in dozens of cities across the nation Monday in peaceful protests. (AP Photo/ Mannie Garcia)

Question: Do protests accomplish anything?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 4/11/06

In this undated image provided by the U.S. Mint, one of three options for the design of Washington’s official state quarter is shown. An online opinion poll that allowed Washingtonians to pick their favorite was suspended Monday after robotic computer programs flooded the poll with bogus repeat votes here. (AP Photo/U.S. Mint)

Sagebrush: Cantwell fights to save high gas prices here.

1. David Horsey/PI issues a Homeland Security Alert here.

2. Dave Boling/Tacoma News Tribune, who as a sports writer in the Inland Northwest, has covered back-to-the-future University of Idaho football coach Dennis Erickson for decades, visits Moscow to see what a man who’s coached a national champion and professional football is doing there here (free subscription required).

3. Washington taxpayers paid $84,000 for 20 surgeries over three years so a man named Andy could become a woman named Ava here.

4. Another College Sports Controversy: Two members of the University of Washington’s men’s crew team were kicked off the squad after admitting they painted a gay slur on a teammate’s fence here.

5. Timber tycoon and luxury-resort developer Tim Blixseth is offering to trade up to 100,000 acres he owns in Idaho, including a historic campground on the Lewis and Clark Trail, for state or federal land he can develop near McCall and New Meadows here.

6. IMHO-NW: Kalispell Daily Inter Lake (Immigration is a privilege), Idaho Statesman (Lawmakers failed future community college students), Ingrid Rachinski/WSU Daily Evergreen (Looking past our bodies), Josh Studor/UI Argonaut (Christianity and sexuality redefined), and Susan Payntner/Seattle PI (Punishing young killers).

Online Poll: 79% of 146 respondents to a Lewiston Tribune poll say they don’t cheat on their taxes.

*Police here have unearthed the remains of an infant buried two years ago in a backyard grave, as part of an investigation into the newborn’s teenage mother here.

*A Miles City man provides Gonzaga with a traveling exhibit on L. Frank Baum’s Oz books and memorabilia here.

*The accident that sent a woman plunging five stories to her death wasn’t the first time the walls of a Spokane parking garage were breached here.

*An ex-BSU footballer received 6 months in jail for leaving the scene of an accident that killed a Boise family here.

Orbusmax Special: Liberal PI columnist Joel Connelly has 4 people registered to vote at his tiny Whidbey Island retreat here. Connelly’s response here.

Question No. 2 — NBC Pedophile Sting Operation

Issue: ‘Dateline’ Pedophile Sting: NBC Collaboration Raises Eyebrows as Well as Awareness/Paul Fahri, Washington Post

More: “The NBC newsmagazine “Dateline” agreed to pay a civilian watchdog group more than $100,000 to create a pedophile sting operation that the network plans to feature in a series of programs next month, network representatives and the organization’s founder said. As part of the sting, the network also went along with police officials’ deputizing of the group’s members, in effect turning “Dateline’s” made-for-TV operation into a law-enforcement action. The segments, taped last month in Ohio, have prompted news media observers and others to question NBC’s methods and criticize its practices.”

Question: Does the ends justify the means? Or has NBC crossed the line here?

Serephin’s Blog: Sheila Parties W/New York Pals

“Last Monday former Idaho state senator and 1st CD Republican candidate Sheila Sorensen (R-INO) was in New York City attending the swank Women’s Campaign Fund event. There were at least a dozen chi-chi restaurants in attendance, and Sheila (who, by the way, darling, looks FAAABUUULOUS! The perks of having a plastic surgeon for a hubby, hmmm, sweetie?) was busy rubbing elbows with the likes of Gail Sheehy, author of Sex and the Seasoned Woman, Former V.P. Al Gore’s daughter Karenna Gore Schiff, New Jersey Democratic Governor Jon Corzine, Democratic Representative from New York’s 28th District Louise Slaughter and Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons. Not to mention Ted Allen, food and wine specialist from the TV series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, as well as schmoozing with Massachusetts Senator and former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and his lovely wife Teresa Heinz Kerry. All reports are that Sheila had a most wonderful time dishing with the cognoscenti.”

For the rest of this post by Serephin’s Blog, click here. (BTW, the Idaho Values Alliance also noticed Sorenson’s trip to New York here. And so did Bill Sali, another GOP congressional wannabe, here.)

Question: Is hobnobbing with pro-choice pals in New York City the way you win a GOPrimary nomination for Congress in Idaho?

APhoto of the Day — 4/11/06

Jennifer Nettles of the group Sugarland is passed through the crowd after diving into the audience at the CMT Music Awards show on Monday in Nashville, Tenn. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/John Russell)

Question of the Day — What To Do W/Murals?

Issue: Lynching murals in courthouse spur debate: Legislature will meet in facility during Statehouse remodel/John Miller, Associated Press

DFO: This one should be a no-brainer, despite what historians want. Although the murals are an accurate reminder of this country’s sordid history, they shouldn’t be in the spotlight when the Legislature uses the old Ada County Courthouse for is temporary headquarters. Ship ‘em off to a museum.

Question: What do you think should be done with the Ada County Courthouse murals?

Quick Fix 6 — 4/11/06

1. APhoto Fix: Proof of the rap group D12 ,attends the MTV Europe Music Awards in Rome, Nov. 18, 2004. The rapper was shot to death early today at a nightclub along Eight Mile Road in Detroit, a publicist said. The death of Proof — whose real name is Deshaun Holton — was confirmed by Dennis Dennehy, the publicist for D12’s label, Interscope Records here.(AP Photo/ Alessandra Tarantino)

2. Cartoon Fix: Robert Airial (Locating illegals), Monte Wolverton (White House leaks), and Paul Nowak (CBS News ratings).

3. Humor Fix: David Letterman’s “Top Ten Signs Things Are Nuts At The New York Post” 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: Poll: Bush 60% disapproval rating here, 29 indicted over Madrid bombings here, 2 CBS newsmen beaten in Caribbean hate crime here, Student expelled from Baptist college for being gay here, and 4 women beat Bingo winner to death over $1,000 jackpot here.

5. Opinion Fix: Mark Steyn/City Journal (Facing down Iran), Catherine Seipp/National Review (Not onboard with gay marriage), Charles Krauthammer/Time (Liberty, Equality, Mediocrity), Douglas Rowe/Townhall (Pondering fate of Sopranos’ gay mobster), and John Leo/US News & World Report (Gambling with America’s sweetheart).

P.S. — “Big Jim”: A Beloved Ex-Californian, RIP

Issue: Good-bye, ‘Big Jim’: Friends honor late owner of Athol, Idaho, tavern/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review

Key Paragraph: Big Jim (shown above in family photo) was born in Minnesota on the 200th birthday of President George Washington, Feb. 22, 1932, the oldest of six children. After high school, Big Jim served in the U.S. Army. He soon moved to southern California and worked at a paper mill for 32-years.

DFO: I was struck that Big Jim and his wife, Syd, bought the bar in the late 1980s and then became a fixture in Athol after they moved from California to run it. Joe Peak of the Enaville Resort also is an ex-Californian, I believe.

Question: Do California immigrants play a bigger role in the Inland Northwest than we’re willing to admit?

Idaho House OKs Property Tax Relief Again

The House has just voted 53-16 in favor of a new property tax relief bill – this one amended into SB 1404, an unrelated bill about school bonds that already had passed the Senate. The newly amended bill now matches up with HB 678, a bill that earlier passed the House, and then was sent back to committee in the Senate after efforts to amend it fell short. That bill would have shifted half the current school operations funding off the property tax.

For the rest of the post by Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise, click here.

The Pigeon: Further Cause To Be Humble

Although his brain
is but a dot,
the pigeon flies
while you cannot.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Eye On Boise: Legislature Passes Open Meeting Law

“SB 1492a, the amended bill to preserve the Idaho Open Meeting law but add a provision that legislative committee meetings can be closed in certain “extraordinary” circumstances specifically laid out in House or Senate rules, passed the House on a 64-1 vote, with just Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, objecting. Senate leaders originally had written the bill to delete the section of the open meeting law that applies to legislative committees, but after negotiating with the Idaho Press Club, agreed instead to keep the section in law and simply amend it. (Full disclosure here: I’m the president of the Idaho Press Club.) The club had sued the Legislature over closed committee meetings, contending they’re unconstitutional, but had lost on a split 3-2 ruling in the Idaho Supreme Court last month” — Eye On Boise.

DFO: Not the best bill, but a good one. BTW, Betsy reports that the Legislature has adjourned until tomorrow morning, so there still could be action on the GARVEE bonds and property tax relief. If not, then this blog will take the lead in the throw-the-bums out movement.

Mailbag: Rami Asks Backers To Quit HBO Thread

Rami Amaro, candidate for 1st District judge: As a candidate for judicial office, I am extremely disappointed in many of the posts made by my opponent’s supporters on this blog as well as on the former blog related to this race. This is not the type of political sparring that judicial candidates or their supporters should be engaged in. Although I firmly believe that my supporters have stayed above the fray, and have greatly appreciated their support, I am requesting that anyone who supports me refrain from any additional posts on this blog as I believe that it brings our campaign down to a level that I am unwilling to sink to.

DFO: I appreciate Rami Amaro’s comment here — not because I believe that exposure on HBO hurts most commenters and their followers (See: MikeK, Coeur d’Alene City Council). But because, for some reason, the comments by followers in both camps have been disappointing. Both candidates in these races are decent people who are willing to endure public exposure to run for office. Before receiving this comment, I was thisclose to stopping discussion about this race. Some of it has been infantile. Some of it has made claims that I don’t have the time to verify. Some of it has been repetitive and obsessive. Time to move on. (BTW, Rami Amaro called to say she wanted supporters to abandon the old thread but not HBO altogether.

Dan of the County: Candidate Web Sites Available

I wanted to let the HBO readers know that we will be posting a link to any county candidates websites that we are aware of. They just need to pick the 2006 primary on the drop down list of elections on our county elections website here. So far we have links for Katie Brodie, Gus Johnson, and Todd Tondee. We do not have links for legislators or judicial candidates since they file with the Secretary of State and are not part of our database program. Also, we now have links on that page to the candidates for R and D precinct committee persons. And finally, many thanks to all the readers who tested our “beta” polling place look-up feature. We got some good comments and were able to make a few helpful refinements to the tool based on that feedback. That link is now on the elections website under “address lookup” here.

Dan English
Kooteani County Clerk

DFO: DOTC, can you link to the Web sites for Judge John Mitchell and challenger Rami Amaro?

Question No. 2 — Property Tax Relief

Issue: Pull old proposal out of the freezer: Property tax relief crucial before Legislature adjournes/Coeur d’Alene Press

More (from Press editorial): “Depending on your perspective, the 2006 Idaho Legislature is either dashing valiantly to the finish line or spinning recklessly out of control. Unless a property tax miracle lands at the Legislature’s doorstep Monday, many citizens will consider the session a failure. But that “miracle” — or at least, a logical next step — is possible.”

Question: Will you consider the 2006 Legislature a failure if lawmakers adjourn without substantive property tax relief?.

SR Edit: President Needs To Come Clean

The White House won’t directly comment on the latest bombshell in the Valerie Plame case, which baffles even those who had given the president the benefit of the doubt. A court filing last week says that the president and vice president authorized the leaking of classified information by I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was Dick Cheney’s chief of staff. The White House doesn’t deny this, but it also refuses to elaborate. This looks bad for President Bush, and even supporters can see that he needs to come forward. “This is a very significant disclosure. This is big. They owe all of us an explanation, all of us who trust him, and they owe the American people an explanation,” said U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, a respected Republican from Illinois.

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

Quick Fix 6 — 4/10/06

1. APhoto Fix: Former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling, left, talks to his attorney Daniel Petrocelli as they walk to the federal courthouse for the start of the 11th week of his fraud and conspiracy trial today in Houston. Skilling is expected to take the stand in his own behalf later in the day here. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

2. Cartoon Fix: Rob Rogers (Peaceful co-existence), Ed Stein (The Hammer), and Jerry Holbert (W is for vendetta).

3. Humor Fix: I had a horrible nightmare last night. I dreamed it was “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” at Homeland Security — Jay Leno.

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: Vermont: Highest taxed state per capita here, 200 gay couples plan to attend White House Easter egg hunt here, Lieberman won’t rule out Independent bid here, Lawyer: Woman came to Duke lacrosse party injured here, and NY Post gossip writer sez he was set up here.

6. Opinion Fix: Chuck Colson/Break Point (Hugh Hefner’s legacy), John Fund/Wall Street Journal (GOP flirting with disaster), Gov. Arnold Schwarzennegger/Wall Street Journal (Keep doors of this country open), Jennifer Roback Morse/Townhall (Standing up to disability police), and Mark Steyn/Washington Times (Immigration compromise), and

Text: Larry Spencer’s Boise Radio Ads

The copy for Larry Spencer’s radio ads for the Boise area this weekend is as follows:

SPENCER “Hello, this is Larry Spencer. I’m an Idaho native and I am paying for this ad because I believe property tax reform is important to Idaho.

WOMAN: My property taxes are going up again?!?

MAN: I know what you mean. My mom is really struggling to pay her property taxes on a fixed income.

WOMAN: I thought the legislature was finally going to do something about property taxes this session!!

MAN: Senators are saying that they don’t think that this is important to us.

WOMAN: You can’t be serious!!

MAN: This is one of the most important issues we are facing. I am going to contact my senator now and let him know how important this is to me!

SPENCER: Make a difference now. Email your Senator at or call 208-332-1000. That’s or 208-332-1000.”

Wild Card/Saturday — 4/8/06

Another busy week officially ends for me this morning with this post. I’ll be busy today. But I’ll check in to see how things are going here. Enjoy yourselves with this Wild Card …

Question of the Day — 4/8/06

Issue: Firefighters block public release of documents/Bill Morlin & Karen Dorn Steele, Spokesman-Review

More: The Spokane firefighters union is attempting to block the public from seeing a file of city documents detailing the case against a fireman who quit after admitting on-duty sex with a teenage girl and photographing the encounter.

Question: How has this incident affected your view of Spokane firefighters?

Mailbag: Modern Femme Sexual Mores

Sara: “Feminine” and “masculine” aren’t really relevant to ethical behavior. You’re totally misconstruing the sexual freedom women have availed themselves of to say that “women think that if they want to be liberated they need to act like immoral men.” You may not be comfortable with one-night stands or other expressions of sexuality that aren’t traditionally associated with women, but there are a lot of women who are. I think it’s a pretty big stretch to say that raunchy behavior is “immoral,” even if you don’t want to participate in it or be around it. (You can read Sara’s entire post in the thread here).

DFO: I’m amazed that some feminists consider sexual freedom a plus for their movement. Free love, as we called it in the ‘60s, is a minus, for both the men and women who participate in it. I can’t speak for women. But I’d say that men lose a piece of their soul every time they’re involved in one-night stands or uncommitted relationships. After awhile, they see women only as sex objects and lose their ability to have a meaningful, committed relationship. They’re haunted by the ghosts of relationships past. I’d guess it’s as bad for women who’ve had many partners. Mebbe worse. Sexual freedom extracts a heavy price.

WND Poll: Will The Real Judas Please Stand Up?

Issue: The Judas we never knew: New text tells nothing more about relationship with Jesus than does Jesus Christ Superstar/Christianity Today

Question: What do you believe about Judas?

1. I knew it all along – he’s the hero
2. Martin Scorsese told it right in ‘The Last Temptation’ – Judas was the most sensible disciple
3. This newly revealed gospel has told the truth – Judas ‘betrayed’ Jesus only because Jesus asked him to
4. I can’t say yet – I’m waiting to see the ‘Da Vinci Code’ movie first
5. We’ll never know – this all happened too long ago
6. This new ‘gospel’ is just one of many heretical Gnostic texts that have nothing in common with Christianity – its ‘Judas,’ obviously, can’t be the real one
7. It’s fascinating to watch so many people, too intelligent to believe the Bible, giving this so much credence
8. Judas was one of the most misunderstood people in history
9. I believe the depiction of Judas found in the only 4 gospels of the Bible
10. Other

DFO: Nos. 7 & 9 (BTW, I know we discussed this Wednesday or Thursday. But it seemed like a good WND question to launch a weekend. If you’ve already said your piece on this subject, simply go on to another topic.)

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

P.S. You Worry About Global Warming, I’ll Cuddle

Issue: The liberal baby bust: Conservatives could take over simply by having more kids/USA Today

More: Childlessness and small families are increasingly the norm today among progressive secularists. As a consequence, an increasing share of all children born into the world are descended from a share of the population whose conservative values have led them to raise large families.

DFO: We shall overcome some da-a-a-a-ay …

Question: Is this how liberal’s going down?

Top Cutlines — 4/7/06

In this photo provided by California Grown, Gold medalist snowboarder Shaun White holds products from the Golden State while filming a public service announcement for California Grown on Thursday in Del Mar, Calif. California Grown is a consumer education campaign designed to encourage Californians to seek out and purchase locally grown products. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines:

In A League of His Own: Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for one day. Teach a man to snowboard and he can retire at 20 — Family Phil.

1. Ten minutes later, in the privacy of his vintage VW bus and with Zeppelin on the stereo, White sampled a few ounces of California’s #1 cash crop — Family Phil, again.

2. “Psst! Even though I’m a fish, EVEN I KNOW THAT’S A BAD HAIRDO!” And: New California marketing slogan:
Yep, that’s about all we got: fish, snowboarders and flowers. If you want anything else, try Oregon — both Whippersnapper.

3. Shaun tries his hand at gene-splicing with a northern california salmon, hoping to gain the unique ability to snowboard UP the slopes — Green Libertarian.

HM: James Bond

For the rest of today’s cutlines, click here.

Pretty As A Picture — 4/7/06

Molly Wagner, a junior in the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music dance program, stretches her muscles before a dress rehearsal for “Dance! in Celebration of the 100 Year Anniversary” program at White Concert Hall on the campus in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday. The performances will feature choreography by George Balanchine, Michael Fokine and Paul Taylor. (AP Photo)

Progress Continues Along Northwest Boulevard

Issue: Cd’A developers to build office, retail complex there Printer-Friendly Version: Estimated $8 million project to be built partly on old Mad Mary’s site/Emily Brandler, Journal of Business

More: “Coeur d’Alene real estate broker John Beutler, who owns Century 21 Beutler & Associates, says that he and his wife, Ann, along with developer Marshall Chesrown, plan to construct a 59,000-square-foot office and retail complex along Northwest Boulevard, in Coeur d’Alene.”

DFO: I enjoyed a meal or two at Mad Mary’s. But ‘tis nice to see this bit of progress replacing her funky old restaurant facade.

Question: What do you think will be the next major development along Northwest Boulevard?

F-Words: Seeing Rape Culture

“About a year ago, I was in an ice cream shop with my spouse deciding over cookies and cream or orange sherbet when a group of about six or seven late high school or early college-aged guys came in, with a blonde girl of the same age in tow. These guys were of the jocky type, with basketball shorts and expensive cell phones, tanned and lean. The group quickly overtook the small shop while my husband and I sat back to eat our ice cream, eventually just quietly taking in the show that these kids were putting on for us. The one female in the group seemed a little nervous but eager - like she was finally getting to play with the big boys. The joking and teasing began to turn sexual and slightly obscene, with the majority of the teasing and joking being directed at the girl. She smiled along with it, feigning ignorance as to what they were talking about when they asked her if she enjoyed certain euphemistic sexual acts, and even giggled nervously when one guy grabbed her and pulled her into his lap. You could see that she was embarassed but not sure what to do about it without jeopardizing her newfound social status.”

For the rest the post by Sara Anderson/F-Words re: “Seeing Rape Culture,” click here.

DFO: As soon as my blogmeister adds it, you will find a link to Sara’s compelling blog under “North Idaho Blogs.”

HBO’s Best of the INorthwest — 4/7/06

Law enforcement personnel crawl on their hands and knees Thursday in Lakewood, Wash., in a grid of yellow crime scene tape looking and marking possible evidence in the murder of Adre-Anna Jackson. Police confirmed Wednesday that human remains found near a school are those of the 10-year-old girl who vanished in December. (AP Photo/Russ Carmack, The News Tribune)

Breaking: An Irish judge postpones extradition for Frederick Russell again here.

1. David Horsey/Seattle PI looks at life in Seattle without the Supersonices here.

2. In the first test of Washington state’s new clean indoor air act in Spokane County, a judge has ruled against a Spokane Valley bar that was allowing patrons to smoke here.

3. Idaho has some of the youngest drivers in the nation. And those drivers, who can get a license when they turn 15, face few restrictions. Now a coalition of insurers and public safety officials is forming to talk about changing the rules regarding seat belts, nighttime driving and passengers, as other states have done here.

4. Study: People who visit Yellowstone National Park to catch a glimpse of its wolves bring $35 million to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming each year here.

5. With few residents or roads, numerous lakes and a sprawling, loosely patrolled border with Canada, Okanogan County has become prime territory for pot smuggling via float plane here.

6. IMHO-NW: Dan Popkey/Idaho Statesman (Sali: A GOP pariah), Idaho Statesman (Property tax reform delay prudent), Missoulian (For many, April 17 is tax holiday), Cady McCowin/UI Argonaut (HIV trial raise tough issues), and Seattle Times (WSU barely reaches first base).

*Online Poll: 57% of 1756 respondents to a Billings Gazette poll say illegal aliens should be deported.

*The median house price in Seattle has reached $407,000 here.

*Montana Coach Larry Krystkowiak is a finalist for the men’s basketball opening at Pepperdine here.

*Washington state will continue to use road de-icer even though it kills an endangered plant growing near U.S. 2 here.

Spokane residents will get their first glimpse next week of a “Mozart and the Whale,” a movie filmed in their own back yards here.

Orbusmax Special: Government lawyers want gold dental work from pair facing drug charges here.

Mailbag: We Want Property Tax Relief Now

Claude D. Waalz: I hate to interupt the Democrat Underground screaming points, but the issue of North Idaho property taxes is WAAAY more important to me. There are retired mine, mill and Kaiser workers being taxed out of their houses and the Boise Buttheads ignore the problem. The North Idaho delegation isn’t cutting it. They need to just say ‘we’re shutting this s.o.b. down by filibuster because the folks back home are P.O.’d and they’re going to fire us unless we get them relief!”

DFO: Dunno if I agree with your assessment of the North Idaho delegation. The only reason the big property tax relief bill got out of that Senate committee was that our senators insisted on a floor vote. It’s noteworthy that the vote failed because all seven Democrats voted against it. They feared the schools would be hurt. I like your idea of a filibuster, however, until the senators do the right thing.

APhoto of the Day — 4/7/06

In this photo provided by California Grown, Gold medalist snowboarder Shaun White holds products from the Golden State while filming a public service announcement for California Grown on Thursday in Del Mar, Calif. California Grown is a consumer education campaign designed to encourage Californians to seek out and purchase locally grown products. You write the cutline.

SR Edit: Time For Answers In Otto Zehm’s Death

“At the memorial service for Otto Zehm, questions arose about the circumstances surrounding the death of the 36-year-old mentally ill man who had a run-in with police officers at a Spokane convenience store. Those questions resonate beyond family and friends. The community needs a fuller explanation for what happened on that tragic day and why police were still pursuing criminal charges well after Zehm died.”

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

Question: Can the Spokane police conduct an internal review that the public will believe? Or should they seek beyond the Spokane sheriff’s office for an independent review?

WorldNetDaily Poll — Meredith Vieira’s Politics

Issue: New ‘Today’ host anti-war protester: Meredith Vieira told viewers ‘entire pretext’ for Iraq conflict ‘built on lies’/WorldNetDaily

Question: Do you plan on watching Katie Couric’s replacement, Meredith Vieira?

1. Of course, she’s a babe and I don’t care about her politics
2. Yes, Meredith’s a pro, and does a great job
3. Yes, I agree with her left-leaning politics
4. Yes, so I can see her fail
5. The hosts on ‘Today’ have always been liberal, so what’s new?
6. I was planning on watching until I heard about Meredith’s politics
7. I wasn’t planning on watching until I learned of her politics
8. I’d have a hard time watching ‘Today’ knowing Meredith doesn’t support U.S. troops
9. No, I never watch ‘Today’ to begin with
10. No, I’m sick of left-wing, anti-war wackos

DFO: No. 10, I never watched Couric … why should I watch Vieira?

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

P.S. — 4/6/06

Issue: Jesus requested betrayal, says ‘Gospel of Judas’: Apostle who turned in Christ portrayed as hero, not traitor/National Geographic

Any Mouse: The Church condemned the Gnostic heresies many times, starting with the works of St. Justin Martyr who died around 165 AD. Every century sees another set of heresies, another set of attacks on the truth and yet the Church still survives and teaches that which has always been taught.

DFO: Hmm. Sounds like an early-church version of the Da Vinci Code. If the Gospel of Judas was written by the apostolic treasurer/traitor, I can see why he might want to spin his role in the Crucifixion. But it’s telling that the four Gospel writers of renown aren’t buying the spin. Makes for an interesting tale. BTW: I still plan to see the Da Vinci Code.

Question: Are you curious about the Gospel of Judas?

Top Cutlines — 4/6/06

Wayne State University hosts a mock funeral for Old Man Winter, played by mortuary science studies student Ray Staroscik Wednesday on campus in Detroit. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Free Press, Regina H. Boone)

Top Cutlines:

1. The low budget for the movie “Undead of Detroit” was glaringly obvious when the Wayne State mascot showed up in a crowd of zombies — Whippersnapper.

2. AAAH! It’s Barney! maybe If I just lie reeeally still, he won’t come over — HC.

3. Mortuary Science student Ray Staroscik showcases his “mortician’s handiwork” and proves to the world that he will never be able to get a job as a mortician — Digger.

HM: Dave Tolle

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

Keith Richards, right, and Ron Wood, of The Rolling Stones wait on a bus after arriving at Shanghai airport earlier today. The Rolling Stones arrived for a concert in Shanghai Saturday as part of their “A Bigger Bang” world tour. The performance is their first in mainland China. (AP photo/Greg Baker)

DFO: I almost used this one as the APhoto of the Day today. I know CDADave is a Beatles fan. So, a parody might be forthcoming.

Afternoon Question: Obsession With Fat

Issue: Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling objects to skinny culture/Seattle PI

More: Rowling has a bone to pick with the skinny models and celebrities whose “overpriced handbags and rat-sized dogs” grace the glossy pages of celebrity magazines. On her website,, the author of the best-selling Harry Potter series criticized an article featuring a young woman whose thin frame indicated she is “either seriously ill or suffering from an eating disorder.”

Question: Is there anyone out there who’s comfortable with themselves despite being a coupla pounds to the bad?

UW Students Vote For Medal of Honor Memorial

After a sometimes-heated debate and an unusual roll call vote, the University of Washington student government Tuesday night backed the creation of a campus memorial to honor former students who have received the Medal of Honor. The vote followed an earlier attempt by a UW student to create a memorial in recognition of Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, a pilot with the Flying Tigers and later the Marines in World War II.

For the rest of the Seattle PI story, click here.

Hat Tip: Karl Swenson/Leaning Straight Up

Eye On Boise: Senate Kills Property Tax Reform

Meghann Cuniff/Eye On Boise: The big property tax bill, HB 876, just failed in the Senate on a 15-20 vote. All Panhandle senators voted for the bill, which would have shifted school maintenance and operation funding from the property tax to an increased sales tax.

Dan of the County: Listening to the vote go against the property tax relief bill was kind of like replaying the last few minutes of the Gonzaga game (or about the last 3 quarters of the Seahawks Superbowl appearance).

DFO: As the Brooklyn Bums used to say: Wait’ll next year.

Wonder How They Thought of This Script?

“Law & Order” Season 7 Episode 07018
10/9pm 4/04/06

SERIAL PEDOPHILE MURDERS FAMILY MEMBERS AND RUNS OFF WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN PROMPTING A CITYWIDE MANHUNT: Solid investigative work leads the detectives to a violent repeat sex offender Jeremy Paul Wilson (guest star Lou Diamond Phillips) who was recently released back onto the streets. Wilson, a cold blooded murderer and pedophile, is in possession of a cache of hunting knives, has kidnapped two children and has nothing to lose. The manhunt for Wilson brings Dets. Fin (Ice-T), Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Chris Meloni) to a bus terminal where a violent and emotional showdown with Wilson takes a dangerous turn. Also starring Dianne Neal, Richard Belzer, Tamara Tunie and B.D. Wong. TV-14.” (Check it out here.)

Mailbag: Mixing It Up @ HBO Central

Bearable Bob: Herb, I think your two choices are absurd…an out of control chat room vs serious forum…it’s both, it’s more, it’s a mix. That’s why people come here…because it has its serious side and because it can be goofy and fun…Herb before you whine at me as some horrid troublemaker, you might want to pay a little closer attention to the topics DFO posts…he runs a mix…some are more conducive to quiet thoughtful contemplation marked by threads of near interstellar logic and reason and others he posts are invitations to jump into a wading pool full of green jello in our bikinis and wrassle and wrassle.

Dave Tolle: Some bloggers immediately regress N2 spittle name calling and rampant insults. Rather than intellectually discuss their positions on any topic or issue they work quickly to worm the thread into the gutter of emotional tit 4 tats. They thrive on it. They think it’s cute or funny. Being assinine is their signature. It’s them who send people like Alice Rankin to the blurking sidelines and no doubt keeps many from contributing.

Any Mouse: Alice is a lady. This blog is often not the kind of place a lady wants to be seen.

DFO: All of the above.

Mailbag: North Idaho Delegation

Dang: The real problem here is that the reps from North Idaho never band together. They’re cats.

Dan of the County: Actually dang, my perception (and it could be wrong, I haven’t run the statistics on voting patterns, etc.) is that the North Idaho delegation is usually pretty unified on voting for regional issues. It’s just that our region is out voted by the southern regions. Even on the property tax relief via higher sales tax, the North Idaho Dems voted opposite the other D’s from the rest of the state.

DFO: I lean DOTC’s way on this one. The North Idaho delegation is pretty unified on issues that affect the region. And some have gained the seniority and respect to work their way up the pecking order to make a significant impact, like Sen. Shawn Keough of Sandpoint, Rep. Jim Clark of Hayden, and John “I’m The Bear” Goedde of Coeur d’Alene. There’s some culls in the North Idaho lineup. Overall, however, our current delegation is stronger than it’s been in quite awhile.

Question of the Day — Life After Death

Issue: Poll: Most don’t believe in body’s resurrection: Only 36% think they’ll be raised from dead in physical state/Scripps Howard

Nicene Creed: “We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

DFO: I’m tossing this one out today as a change-up from political subjects, like Open Meeting laws, property taxes, and day-care regs. As an independent Evangelical, I firmly believe in the resurrection of the body and life after death. Surprisingly, I’m in a minority that barely tops a third of the population. Strange for a country that’s purportedly Christian.

Question: What do you believe happens after death?

SR Edit: Lawmakers Asleep On Day-Care Regs

“It’s no secret that Idaho legislators don’t like regulations, so it’s not surprising that bills calling for more government controls often die. But given the repeated headlines about children as victims of abuse, you’d think they would give more thought to legislation that would apply minimum licensing to all day-care providers. It will probably take another tragedy before lawmakers wake up, because they aren’t listening to the people they serve.”

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

Seattle Takes 2 of 3 From Visiting Angels

Los Angeles Angels first baseman Casey Kotchman, right, fields a pick-off attempt as Seattle Mariners’ Joe Borchard dives back to the bag in the third inning today in Seattle. Borchard was safe on the play. Seattle won the game 6-4, with new pitcher Jarrod Washburn giving up only 2 runs in seven innings in his Mariner debut. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)


Bob re: the death of singer Gene Pitney: He was working on A Blog Without Pity when he died…I know this cuz he was always asking if he could borrow my stuff …

DFO: Bob, of course, is joking. Sort of. Reading between the lines, I think he brings up an interesting topic to close the day. Blogging is extremely hard work. Bob and I have been at it for more than two years. I spent the first year on the verge of quitting every morning. (Now, that feeling comes around only late at night when I’m refereeing flame wars.) Two years is an epoch in the blogosphere. You can see that by how few bloggers post every day. If you bloggers don’t mind, would you share here your trials and tribulations in keeping a blog going?

Extra! UW Senate Passes Boyington Resolution

“The Student Senate of the UW has passed the Resolution to honor MOH winners, including Col Pappy Boyington of Baa Baa Black Sheep fame in a 60-14-13 roll call vote. More on this as it comes. Barring interference by the Board of Directors, this should be a done deal. Stay tuned for fund raising information. Let’s not let a lack of money do what the liberals at the UW tried to do, and that is to deny some brave men their due.”

Karl Swenson/Leaning Straight Up.

Top Cutlines — 4/5/06

Dawn Vertner, a senior at the University of Wyoming, gets a kiss from Honey, a Golden Retriever that Vertner says is “an obsessive licker,” while attending an inter-squad scrimmage of the Wyoming football team at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyo., Saturday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Boomerang, Barbara J. Perenic)

Top Cutlines

1. Wyoming conservatives used the photo of Dawn and Honey to sell their anti-bestiality legislation to the public — Sam Taylor.

2. Wyoming conservatives used the photo of Dawn and Honey to sell their anti-bestiality legislation to the public — Whippersnapper.

3. Dawn and Honey sittin on a bench/L-I-C-K-I-N-G/first comes love then comes marriage/then comes Dawn pushin’ a puppy carriage! — Bob.

HM: John Austin

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

Mailbag: How About A Moratorium On “PC”

Sara: Can we please put a nation-wide moratorium on the use of the term “PC?” It really has no definition, except perhaps that it is a term people throw around to show that they’re edgier than other folk. (How a conservative can be edgy, I do not really know. It’s one of those popular oxymorons, like Christian rock.) It was a somewhat relevant term - what in 1990? Now it’s pretty old hat. Let’s try and move on to this millennium.

DFO: Sorry, Sara, I believe political correctness abounds in today’s society. You can say anything you want about, say, religious Evangelicals, but you’re branded a bigot if you raise too many questions about immigration. We saw a good example of that here this week when the Left Bank name-called individuals who had problems who supported permission slips for Idaho high school clubs as a result of the Gay-Straight Alliance being formed at Lake City High. I believe PC is alive and well. Then, I’m a fiftysomething and may not have missed the sea change when it went out of fashion in the ‘90s.

Mailbag: No Place Like CDA Home

Stopthecrazygrowth: For all the complaining I do, there is still an awful lot to like about living here. To me, the one underlying positive about our community is that it is in fact very much a community. You would have to go far and wide to find a more compassionate, giving community of people than we have right here in North Idaho. I have lived all over this country and rarely will you find people more willing to get involved in making life better for others. This includes non-profits, charities, faith based groups and our corporate neighbors as well. I suppose why I am really so concerned with too much growth is that this sense of community will wither away and leave us as just another average place to live. I actually do have a fair amount of faith that the inherent goodness in our citizens will persevere no matter what.

DFO: I couldn’t have said it better.

Sen. Jorgenson: “It Gives Rise To Secession”

Issue: North Idaho Secede From State?/Eye On Boise

Sen. Mike Jorgenson (arguing for property tax relief): “People in the north have been sending signals for a long time. It’s evolved into tax initiatives and turning school bonds down. These things all lend themselves to regionalism – God forgive me, I apologize from the bottom of my heart for having to say it, but it gives rise to secession.”

Question: So, should we join Montana, Washington or Canada?

APhoto of the Day — 4/5/06

Dawn Vertner, a senior at the University of Wyoming, gets a kiss from Honey, a Golden Retriever that Vertner says is “an obsessive licker,” while attending an inter-squad scrimmage of the Wyoming football team at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyo., Saturday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Boomerang, Barbara J. Perenic)

SR Edit: Confronting Neo-Nazis Not Wise

Veteran members of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations have seen this drama played out before, at the gates of the old Aryan Nations compound on the rimrock above Hayden Lake, on Sherman Avenue in downtown Coeur d’Alene, at Coeur d’Alene’s City Park. For three decades, the local task force shadowed Richard Butler’s organization, countering annual supremacist conventions with human-rights celebrations, hijacking an Aryan Nations parade for a fundraising event and combating hate with peaceful activism and anti-hate laws. They task force never allowed the racists to dictate its agenda. The resisters to the Olympia hate rallies would do well to study the Kootenai County task force playbook.

For the rest of my editorial today, click here.

Quick Fix 6 — 4/5/06

1. APhoto Fix: This photo, supplied by NBC shows Brian Williams from “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” reports from Hurricane Katrina-stricken New Orleans in 2005. NBC and CNN, along with two Gulf Coast stations that stayed on the air throughout Hurricane Katrina, won Peabody Awards for their coverage of the deadly storm. (AP photo)

2. Cartoon Fix: Steve Kelly (Dems’ defense plan), Signe Wilkinson (Demoralizing casualty figures), and Rob Rogers (Iran on ‘Roids).

3. Humor Fix: We have a lot of UCLA fans here. Larry, upstairs, was devastated. UCLA, hasn’t won a championship since the mid 1990’s. They’re like the Democrats — Jay Leno.

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: Universal stands by “United 93” trailer here, 57% of college students are women here, Southern California school district bans patriotic clothing here, Teacher charged with giving student wedgie here, and Jesse Jackson: Baseball needs to protect Barry Bonds here.

6. Opinion Fix: John Podhoretz/NY Post (A party boss till the end), Kathleen Parker/Orlando Sentinel (English spoken here), Dick Morris/The Hill (Hillary leaves room for Gore), Michelle Malkin/Townhall (The party of police haters), Mark Joseph/Townhall (Hell freezes over).

PS: Are You Man Enough To Wear Manties?

AP photo

If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you’ve heard of the Mansierre, a bra to keep barrel-chested men, ahem, in place. Or was that the Bro? But I digress. Chadwick Brooks (above) sells manties, or panties for men, from his shop in Kansas City, Mo. Dunno if they’ll catch on.

Coupla Questions: If you’re a man, would you be comfortable wearing manties? If you’re a woman, would you buy manties for your man. And: What blogger or commenter in the HBO blogosphere would you expect to be first wearing manties?

Top Cutlines — 4/4/06

In this photo obtained from TV news magazine, Inside Edition, actor Tom Cruise surprised Yahoo employees by bringing his girlfriend Katie Holmes onstage and showing off her very pregnant belly, at the companys quarterly Influential Speakers Event. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Jimmy Duvall)

Top Cutlines:

1. Tom: “Look at her belly. It’s just so, so HUGE!” Katie: “Make one more size joke and I’ll kick your a**.” — A Token D.

2. Announces Tom to everyone “And we all know that my Katie won’t suffer from post-partum depression because she has me to keep her happy!” — ErinG.

3. In conceivably his best Mission Impossible role, actor Tom Cruise pledges his life-long commitment to his latest love interest — John Austin.


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

Mailbag: How About An Anti-Anti?

Upclose: Same old, same old. Anti-abortion, anti-government, anti-gay, anti-growth. Can’t we come up with something new? I’m thinking it might be time to check out of here for a while.

John Austin: OK, how about anti-anti? How about a thread about something (anything) in our communities that we LIKE? For me, it’s a new public park, including a lake, where there was once a gravel pit. Or, the sight of litter brigades along our highways - volunteer or not. Anybody else have an anti-anti? Extra points for something unique to our communities.

TomT: I like a sunny spring day when all the ball fields and parks are full of soccer games, softball games, T-ball, etc. Families cheering on the sidelines and no one asking each other what their position is on anything. The people in this community have so much in common in spite of all the political differences.

DFO: See, you folks have the power to change the tenor of the blog at any time. Simply make a good suggestion in the comments section or under the Wild Card. How about it? You have something positive to say about your community or anything else?

Wikipedia: Idaho

” … A troubling development in the 1980s was the rise in North Idaho of a few right-wing extremist and “survivalist” political groups, most notably one holding Neo-Nazi views, the Aryan Nations. These groups were most heavily concentrated in the Panhandle region of the state, particularly in the vicinity of Coeur d’Alene, a resort town. Although Idaho is a conservative state politically the vast majority of its residents reject such hateful ideologies. In 2001, the Aryan Nations compound, which had been located in Hayden Lake, Idaho, was confiscated as a result of a court case, and the organization moved out of state. About the same time Boise installed an impressive stone Human Rights Memorial featuring a bronze statue of Anne Frank and quotations from her and many other writers extolling human freedom and equality.”

DFO: I was following the Wikipedia link for Idaho, provided by Sam, and saw this closing paragraph. Significance? Wikipedia has the updated version of the Aryan Nations — that the supremacist organization isn’t here any more and that Boise has a terrific memorial to Anne Frank. (BTW, the link Sam provided sez an eccentric lobbyist made up the name Idaho, which originally was given to the Colorado territory.

Mailbag: Elbow Throwing On HBO Blog

OfCoffee: These discussions get so overwhelmed with viscious, personal attacks from the vocal few that they are a labor to read and quickly take us off the point of the discussion. And I will guarantee you that the monopolization of these discussions by such negative-spewing posters is chasing away people who once thought this was a place to have a legitimate conversation. And I think that is sad.

DFO: OfCoffee’s referring to the long thread (153 comments) from yesterday re: Rep. Bob Nonini’s push to require high schoolers to get parental permission to sign up for clubs. I don’t baby-sit the comments section, as I once did, especially at night. I try to force civility on the weekday time comments. But I let things get rougher after 6 p.m. I figure that’s the time adults come out and play. I don’t like direct name-calling and probably should have killed the post by Sohiller at 6:25 p.m. for “anti-abortion nut job” and “whackjob.” Then, I didn’t see it until almost midnight. Some of the comments that are considered flames are simply clever writing. And I tip my cap to that. My default position is to try to keep as many people as I can reading and posting here for as long as I can (unless an individual has proven s/he doesn’t belong here). I try not to boot people, unless I can think of no other way to make them behave. The current lineup of commenters is a challenging one. But an interesting one, too.

Mailbag: Spokane Airport Security Worst

JBelle: Hands down, the absolute most bush-league, unprofessional security is right here in The ‘Kan, at Spokane International. I have missed flights, I have had to recount a medical history in a semi loud voice, I have….oh dear; now I’ve started.I just don’t have the energy today to get riled up. Let’s say this: any times, I will drive to Seattle to avoid using SI. No kidding.

DFO: So far, the force has been with my family and me when flying outta Spokane. No strip searches. In fact, no close encounters with the magic wand. But your post has sent a chill through me, JBelle.

APhoto of the Day — 4/4/06

In this photo obtained from TV news magazine, Inside Edition, actor Tom Cruise surprised Yahoo employees by bringing his girlfriend Katie Holmes onstage and showing off her very pregnant belly, at the companys quarterly Influential Speakers Event. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Jimmy Duvall)

Question No. 2 — Another Spokane Coverup?

Issue: Police seek man’s medical records: Janitor’s death after scuffle remains a mystery/Thomas Clouse and Benjamin Shors, Spokesman-Review

Jeffry Finer (criminal defense attorney who teaches at Gonzaga University re: search warrants): “I’ve got to tell you, I’ve never heard of it. I don’t know how they would have the authority to advance an investigation into a dead person.”

Question: Are Spokane police officials trying to cover their back sides?

WorldNetDaily Poll — 4/4/06

Issue: Washington drowns in Republican red ink: Federal spending rises faster than any time since New Deal/WorldNetDaily

Question: What are your thoughts on the spending increases and red ink on the GOP’s watch?

1. The GOP’s level of spending has been appropriate
2. There’s nothing wrong with spending more if you’re going to help the poor
3. It can all be blamed on necessary increases in military spending to fight the war on terror
4. No other president since FDR has had as many major crises as Bush
5. It’s alarming, but I trust this president and the Republicans to handle it
6. What do you expect when you have a Republican president and congress?
7. It doesn’t matter – the government can always print more money
8. We’re the beneficiaries of all this spending but our children are the ones who will pay
9. The Republicans have cooked their goose for the midterm elections
10. Other

DFO: Nos. 3, 4 & 10 — 10, because the Repubs are hiding behind legit issues of terror attacks and war costs to spend like crazy in other areas, too.

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Wild Card/Monday — 4/3/06

For those keeping score at home, Jane Q. Citizen and JBelle were, indeed, blurking in the shadows at the first Bearable Bobfest in the Valley Friday evening. And they did, indeed, ship over a pitcher of beer to the celebrants without being seen. Jane Q. told me how she and JBelle did it. Clever. Sounds like a pretty good time was had by all. Now, I have to get outtahere. So, I’ll leave you with this Wild Card …

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 4/3/06

Family Phil comes clean. He wasn’t on a fishing expedition the last few weeks. He was in Iraq delivering Crayolas. Click here.

Eye On Boise: Bob Nonini’s high school club permission bill passes the House 35-32, but it probably won’t get a hearing in the Senate here.

*Put your hands together for Kathy “Kick Shoe” Kooy, who not only is one of the Friends of Huckleberries bloggers from Ephrata, Wash., but she’s now written a column for the Seattle PI here.

*Bearable Bob reminds the commenters and blurkers in the blogosphere that blogging is hard work — so hard that sometimes you want to throw in the towel when a commenter gets under your skin here.

*Mari Meehan/Dogwalk Musings shares her thoughts on illegal immigration here, and Bayview Herb discusses his attitude toward illegal immigration here.

*JBelle/The ‘Kan EWA is struggling with her own personal Jerusalem as Lent continues to wind down here.

*Stebbijo/Your Turn proves why her graphics are always among the best as she posts about the opening of The Coeur d’Alene Resort golf course (on April 1) here.

HBO Page-Views: March was a ha-huge month for Huckleberries Online: 216,544 page-views (to break old record of 177405), 6,985 PVs per day average, and 526,018 PVs for the first quarter (to put the blog on track for 2 million PVs for the year).

Meanwhile, CDADave provides a Thin Air entertainment report here, Sam brags about the UI Argonaut taking the top spot in regional competition here, and Pickaxe Pete/Bodie Specter reacts to the news that comedian Chris Farley died … 8 years ago … here.

Would You Pay $65,000 For This House?

Karen Henry, a Realtor for Tomlinson Black in Kellogg talks about the yellow house in the background on Tuesday, March 21, which is 453 square feet with a garage and is $65,000. See Spokesman-Review stories about the North Idaho housing market here and here/Kathy Plonka, Spokesman-Review.

Strategic Vision, LLC Poll: Rossi Beats Gregoire

March 24-26, 46% D’s, 37% R’s

*The Strategic Vision poll found that 39% of respondents approved of Governor Christine Gregoire’s job performance; 52% disapproved; and 9% were undecided.

*In a hypothetical 2008 match-up between Gregoire and 2004 opponent, Dino Rossi, the poll found that 51% said they would vote for Rossi; 38% said they would vote for Gregoire; and 11% were undecided.

*When asked if they were confident that Washington had overcome the problems that plagued the last election; 18% said yes; 66% said no; and 16% were undecided.

*When asked if they favored an immediate withdrawal of United States military forces from Iraq within 6 months, 56% said yes; 28% said no; and 16% were undecided.

*United State Senator Patty Murray received a 55% job approval; with 31% disapproving; and 14% undecided. United States Senator Maria Cantwell received a 49% job approval; with 32% disapproving; and 19% undecided.

*In a potential match-up with Senator Cantwell and Republican Mike McGavick, the results were Cantwell 49%; McGavick 39%; and 12% undecided.

IDAHO Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

So, you think Idaho means “sun coming up over the mountains”? It means something quite different on an international stage, thanks to Louis-Georges Tin, editor of the Dictionnaire de l’homophobie. Last year, Louis-Georges & friends launched the first IDAHO: International Day Against Homophobia on May 17, the 15th anniversary of the day the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. A second observance is scheduled this May 17. And you thought IDAHO meant “I Do Anything Hagadone Orders?”

APhoto of the Day — 4/3/06

As painters work on an Opening Day logo, members of the Seattle Mariners groundskeeping crew rehearse a dance at Safeco Field in Seattle Sunday. The Mariners open their 2006 baseball season at home against the Los Angeles Angels today. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Dan DeLong)

Question No. 2 — Whither Goest The M’s?

Issue: M’s replacing buzz with banality: “This will be a team that could possibly have the ability to surprise some people”/John Blanchette, Spokesman-Review

DFO: Things are never good when you have a Senior Citizen who throws an 80 mph fastball opening the season on the mound.

Question: As the season opens today for Seattle, are you optimistic that the M’s can escape the American League West cellar?

Quick Fix 6 — 4/3/06

1. APhoto Fix: NBC “Today” show co-host Katie Couric and actor Antonio Banderas appear during a segment of the television program promoting his new movie,”Take the Lead,” in New York’s Rockefeller Center earlier today. Published reports in some New York newspapers Monday say that Couric has reached a deal in principle to anchor “CBS Evening News.” (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

2. Cartoon Fix: Nick Anderson (What Dubya, donkeys have in common), Chip Bok (A catchy immigration phrase), and Signe Wilkinson (Congress: Not for sale?).

3. Humor Fix: President Bush is back from his Mexican trip. While he was there the people were very nice to him. A lot of people greeted him with the only English phrases they knew, “Welcome to Wal-Mart. Can I help you?” — Jay Leno.

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: Exxon dethrones Wal*Mart on Fortune 500 here, SD rez to offer abortions if state ban stands here, Dalai Lama: Killing Bin Laden will inspire 10 more here, Laura Bush: Hillary kept bad White House here, and “Basic Instinct 2 sinks like stone here.

6. Opinion Fix: Christian Science Monitor (Censure: Good theater, no traction), Jennifer Roback Morse/Townhall (Are we French yet?), Wall Street Journal (GOP must not become anti-immigration party), James Taranto/Wall Street Journal (Best of the Web Today), Tony Perkins/Townhall (Social conservatives are in the game),

Whodunit? JBelle & JQC?

Seems JBelle & JQC went undercover to the Bobfest Friday, slipped the revelers a pitcher of beer, and left undetected. Or did they? Inquiring minds want to know. Below, you’ll see Toadman’s narrative with evidence indicating the dynamic duo was lurking in the shadows at one point. Very cool preemptive strike, if they pulled this off. Take it away, Toad:

Ok, so, well then JBelle, explain this!


And also, what it said on the other side:


Wild Card/Saturday — 4/1/06

It’s April Fool’s Day, HBOers. So, you can launch a thread here by telling us about your favorite April Fool’s Day jokes. Or you can tell us how the Mariners are going to do this year because baseball season begins tomorrow. Or you simply can start your own thread with this Wild Card …

Eye On Boise: Singing The Blues In Boise

“I used to have a friend who could top anybody’s hard-luck story – no matter what awful thing you had gone through, she had something worse to tell. I think I’ve now become that friend. First, the day before the legislative session started, I had a ski accident in which I thought I’d sprained my knee, which landed me on crutches for the first week of the session. It turned out to be a torn ACL, requiring major surgery, which has had me in pain and on and off crutches all session. At one point I developed an overuse injury in my right hand from using crutches.

“Meanwhile, various powerful politicians, including at one time the entire House GOP leadership, stopped speaking to me because of a misunderstanding over a post on this blog. Others stopped speaking to me for other reasons; some I’ve had professional working relationships with for years now snap at me and walk away when I ask a question. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled 3-2 against me in the lawsuit challenging closed meetings of legislative committees that was filed by the Idaho Press Club, of which I’m president.”

For the rest of the hard-luck story by Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise, click here.

Question: Can anyone top this string of bad luck by my Boise colleague?

Overnight Mail — KREM Plays Santa Near Easter

JBelle: Here’s something that lets me know that a Guardian ad Litem should be on the table: earlier this morning, I read somewhere here that Shasta herself want to speak to the media, on an extemporaneous basis while celebrating her late brother’s birthday. Adults involved thought it was fine, under the circumstances. A little girl feels a certain comfort, getting with the electronic media and putting her feelings out less than one year after she’s been kidnapped, raped, tortured and held? Do I read this right? that she has been established in her own mind as a celebrity of sorts, who is compelled to put out her own messages to keep things straight with the public? And ADULTS, family and non-family alike, support these pursuits. KREM is like a Santa Claus greeting: you know, HO! HO! HO! Merrrry Christmas! ‘Cept it ain’t Christmas two weeks out of Easter.

DFO: Shasta has a federally appointed guardian ad litem, of sorts. I’ll bet he didn’t know anything about the publicity stunt. I’ll also bet that the KREM/KHQ interviews with Shasta will be fodder for analysis by Editor & Publisher or some other major industry publication. BTW, if you haven’t read the interesting threads about the appropriateness of the Shasta interviews, click here and here.

Overnight Mail — So, How Was The Bobfest?

Sider: Well, I’m kinda interested in the party scene. Have there been any reports from the Bobfest? Did Mike Kennedy show? What about Dang or Anymouse? DFO couple days ago told me he wasn’t going, but who else made it? Stebbijo, GreenL, Toadman, JBelle, Herb, Cis, Kyle, Luke, Mary, Duane, CdaDave, Calico Girls, Jane, Bill McCrory, Kick Shoe…c,mon someone out there in the valley must have a laptop and some sense of wireless or bluetooth technology. Give us a sloppy post you party animals.

DFO: Any reports from the front?

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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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