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Huckleberries Online

Archive for August 2006

Afternoon wild card - Thursday

Well folks, this is it. I’m off tomorrow, so things will be mighty slow over the weekend. We almost had a complete meltdown earlier this week, but things are starting to get back to normal (?) so I’m going to call it a win and move on.

Let’s try to avoid any more Lord of the Flies-type scenarios over the weekend. The big guy will be back on Tuesday.

Here’s the afternoon wild card…

Everybody needs a break once in a while

Another great Blogspotter post from Frank Sennett, citing a Wall Street Journal piece on what happens when bloggers try to take a vacation. From the article:

A banner stripped across the top of the Daily Dish declares that the popular Web log’s host, Andrew Sullivan, has ‘gone fishing.’ Mr. Sullivan declared a two-week vacation and opted to leave his political blog behind.

Several thousand of his readers have done the same.

Despite the efforts of three verbose guest bloggers, replacements handpicked by Mr. Sullivan, the site’s visitor tally has fallen.

Read more

I don’t really consider myself a “guest blogger” in this case, more of a caretaker, really, making sure the plants are watered and the fish are fed. I offered to help keep things at a slow idle when I saw that DFO was coming back to the blog multiple times a day while he was supposed to be on vacation. Nevertheless, this article is a very timely piece of perspective considering some of the problems we’ve had this week.

Fortunately, this group has been, for the most part, very understanding and supportive in Dave’s absence. According to the story, though, not all bloggers are quite so fortunate. Romenesko hasn’t had a vacation in 7 years. That just ain’t right.

The battle of the election blogs

Democrat Larry Grant, who is running for the open 1st District seat, has been online with a Web log, or blog, since last November.

This week, a group of top national Democratic political bloggers singled him out as one of 19 “Netroots” endorsed candidates – and more than 300 online donors across the country anted up more than $7,000 for the campaign in two days.

Grant scores online / Betsy Z. Russell, S-R

Question: Could Larry Grant pull a Ned Lamont?

The blogosphere has no power. Except when it does.

Frank Sennett puts the smackdown on Bruce Kluger’s blog-bashing column in USA Today.

“The blogosphere is still in its infancy, and like any kid, it needs to be watched very carefully,” USA Today contributor Bruce Kluger writes in a sour, it-must-be-August-so-I’ll-pull-a-few-hundred-words-straight-out-of-my-posterior-region examination of the growing power of blogging.

Read more

‘Quick, well-oiled men’

For a nice big dose of double entendres, check out what Valley reporter Peter Barnes found in a pile of news clippings…

Afternoon wild card - Tuesday

Let’s not have a repeat of last time, ‘k?

Tell me you didn’t see this one coming

The Smoking Gun reports that John Karr, the guy once suspected of killing whats-her-name, wanted Johnny Depp to portray him in the movie. And believe you me, there will be a freakin’ movie.

Question: Who will play John Karr in the movie?

Alternate question: Who will play you in the movie?

Afternoon wild card - Monday

Looks like the ruffians on the Sunday wild card have gone back to their corners to towel off, so we’ll open up a new one here. Be sure to drop me a line if you’ve got an idea for something to post, I’ll try to be more active tomorrow…

And you think you’re having a bad morning

“It was just an accident,” said Billy Colleran, pictured above.

At about 9:30 a.m. he went to fetch some coffee for his buddy’s girlfriend at the Starbucks near Pines and Sprague. Leaving the drive-thru with wallet and beverage in hand, Colleran mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brake, he said. In a split second, the 18-year-old recent U-high grad and his black Chevy Corsica plunged through a cyclone fence and into a pit sizeable enough to obscure an oversized semi trailer.

Peter Barnes / Valley Connection

AM Hucks: Elway, Local Wave Makers Behave

I’d like to tell you the story about John Elway and his cigarette boat the way I first heard it – that the ex-Super Bowl MVP was an outlaw on Lake Coeur d’Alene waves. That Elway routinely blasted past Kootenai County sheriff’s marine deputies in his water rod at speeds approaching triple digits. That the ex-Denver Bronco QB usually was on the first green at Black Rock by the time the Deputy Dawgs got their boat’s nose out of the water to pursue. That the deputies would then meekly drop off a citation for speed and/or noise at Elway’s Kidd Island Bay cabin. And that Elway gladly paid it out of pocket change. But those aren’t the facts. Indeed, local deputies popped Elway with two tickets in one day early in the boating season, according to Sheriff Rocky Watson. And the ex-footballer has behaved himself since. He even mentioned he might return to Lake Coeur d’Alene next year with a smaller boat that’s more appropriate. Rocky tells Huckleberries that locals with monster boats have behaved themselves, too. It’s the out-of-towners with the $800,000 jumbo boats and trophy wives who are causing havoc this year with their noise and speed. Rocky sez he gets an earful about these inconsiderate clowns whenever he attends a lakeshore property owners meeting. He’s pushing for an ordinance change that would allow his department to seize such a boat for a weekend or more. Obviously, a citation doesn’t mean much to Big Boat Owners Behaving Badly. But a few days without their phallic symbol might.

Wild Card/Sunday — 8/27/06

Today’s a bittersweet one for me. I’m excited because I’m putting Amy Dearest on a plane for Europe today — for a semester of studying abroad. I’m sad for the same reason. She’s been with us the last four months, earning money to buy a laptop computer and her plane ticket by waitressing at Tomato Street. (Oh, the stories she can tell about good customers … and a growing number of bad ones who pull all kinds of tricks to get free meals or treats and who stiff hard-earning waitresses of their tips. But that’s another story.) I enjoyed her stay. I was spoiled by it. It seems I’m always putting my kids on planes. Or keeping up with them only by long-distance. I envy you guys who have your children nearby. Then, I guess I’m partly responsible for instilling in my kids a desire to spread their wings and try things that interest them. I can’t wait to hear her stories. Now, your Wild Card …

Parting Shot (8/25/06) — CDA Bike Accident

Abby Brennan, right, holds JoAnne Kitchen after a teenage boy was struck earlier today while riding his bicycle in a crosswalk in Coeur d’Alene. Kitchen, a nurse, cared for the boy until paramedics arrived. The boy was taken to Kootenai Medical Center with multiple broken bones and a head injury. His condition and identity is not known. (AP Photo/Coeur d’Alene Press, Jerome A. Pollos)

House OKs Property Relief 47-33, Senate Yet To Act

The House has adjourned sine die, meaning without a time – or for good. But the Senate still hasn’t passed the governor’s tax bill – in fact, debate hasn’t gotten under way yet. So what happens if the Senate amends the bill – which would then need House concurrence? “They wouldn’t dare,” laughed one House member as he headed down the stairs to leave the building. “They’ll just have to come and find us within three days,” chuckled another.

For all of the up-to-the-minute reports by Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise re: the historic special session, click here.

Huckleberries Best of the Local Blogs — 8/25/06

SR photog Jesse Tinsley snapped this one of Dennis Franz at Avondale Golf Course today, where the former “NYPD Blue” star helped raise money for a police/firefighter charity.

*I’ve always learned more from bad drubbings than easy wins. It’s my way to engage giants, to debate outside my league. But rarely have I been so outgunned as this past Friday during a brief but weighty debate over online speech with Steve Smith, editor of The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review — Brent Andrews/Chronic Discontent here.

*Mari/Dogwalk Musings beat me to the punch by a coupla days as she expresses her thoughts about Commish Gus Johnson’s move into the P&Z director’s vacant office here. Watch for my Sunday editorial about this.

*Mommy Dearest/BrodH20 has one of those horrible moments that all parents do — when you lose sight of your kid in a crowded area — here.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour explains how she fell in love at first sight with a Border Collie puppy named Kiwi during a day at the fair here.

*Idawa/Word Forge doesn’t like the cold weather in Seattle and has a burning desire to visit Moscow, Idaho, here.

Point Of Order: It’s been 3 weeks since MikeK has posted anything on his Idaho Kennedys blog. This, after repeated promises to post more often. What shall we do to this Irish Catholic? Penance? Purgatory? The Cooler?

Meanwhile, Stebbijo Unzipped is looking for stories about homeless people here, Family Phil snapped a few good fair photos before his batteries died here, Herb loses sight of Bayview here, Cis reveals that she’s becoming a grandma of many colors here, and Toad posts an “experimental expository” here.

Doug Clark: “The Ballad Of Otto Zehm”

Oh, you can’t stop a cop with a bottle of pop,
You can’t outrun a badge and a gun,
Cause when the law’s on your side you can do homicide,
And not worry because nothing gets done.

Listen to “The Ballad of Otto Zehm” here.

Summer Travels: Where Oregonians Draw The Line

They don’t much care if you decide
to try assisted suicide,
and view it largely as a joke
if you should take a little toke;
most everything they will let pass —
unless you try to pump your gas.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Question: Why Waste Time Running As A Write-In?

Bonner County Commissioner Karl Dye announced Thursday that he’ll run as a Republican write-in candidate for re-election to the position, four months after he lost the GOP primary to fellow Sandpoint resident Lewis Rich. Rich, a volunteer firefighter, beat Dye with 54 percent of the vote in May, something Dye attributes to his own lack of campaigning. He said he wants to remain in office so he can continue working on issues such as the property tax problem.

DFO: Unquestionably, Bonner County would be better off if Dye won re-election — as a check to block Bud Mueller’s attempt to take over again. But his chances of winning as a write-in candidate are beyond long.

Question: Why do candidates waste the time and money to run a write-in campaign when their chances are slim and none?

Extra! Rev & Tax OKs Guv Tax Bill, Sayler Votes No

The House Revenue & Taxation Committee has just voted 13-6 in favor of Gov. Jim Risch’s tax reform bill. Those voting against were Reps. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls; Janice McGeachin, R-Idaho Falls; and Democratic Reps. Nicole LeFavour, Wendy Jaquet, George Sayler and Elmer Martinez. All other members, including Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, and committee Chair Dolores Crow, R-Nampa, voted in favor. Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star, urged support. “This is a good bill for anybody in the state of Idaho who pays property taxes, and it’s fair across the board,” he said.

If you want to keep up with the latest happenings on the special session and don’t want to wait for tomorrow morning’s paper, Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise is all over it here.

McCrory: What’s The Downside To Being CDA Pariah?

Bill McCrory: What is the downside to being blackballed in Coeur d’Alene?

DFO: As William Wallace said in “Braveheart”: FREEEEDOM.”

Extra! Government Way To Open This P.M.

SR photog extraordinaire Jesse Tinsley informed HBO moments ago that he’s assigned to shoot the opening of the Government Way Bridge — at 2 p.m. today. Apparently, a procession is planned at that time for the long-overdue opening. Stay tuned …

Dave Walker: Bloem Not Only One Against Blackwell

At the risk, if not near certainty, of being blackballed, I’d like to stand up for Mayor Sandi Bloem regarding the recent Blackwell decision. I find the personal attacks to the mayor disturbing. She did not single-handedly veto the project. The council was split 3 to 3 with her vote the tie-breaker. Placing all the blame on the mayor and claiming her vote was personal are as shortsighted views as I’ve ever seen. Sandi Bloem has lived in Coeur d’Alene her entire life and as a long-time friend, I have always known her to be committed to this community. Sandi was one of the leaders when, back in the 1980s, the downtown area was revitalized. She has spent countless hours working for various committees and causes, including the Kroc Center. To say she put some sort of personal vendetta ahead of the future of Coeur d’Alene is asinine. (For the rest of Dave Walker’s letter in the Coeur d’Alene Press today, click here.)

DFO: Dave Walker and I have clashed many times over the years, particularly during his time on the City Council. In this instance, however, he nails it. I have nothing but contempt for the curs in the shadows who have attacked Her Sandiness for her brave tie-breaking vote on the Blackwell Island annexation. Hagadone has dropped her from his A-List since she had the audacity not to support his ill-conceived downtown memorial garden plan. The classy mayor isn’t the type that would avenge herself on the megalomanic multimillionaire at the expense of the town she loves more than he does.

Kelly: Opportunity Lost To Meet UBob

Kelly Richards: The picture of Bob posted this morning reminded me that I saw him at the NI Fair last night. (It’s so strange to run into people in the real world that you know only from the internet, kind of like the people you see in magazines and think you know, but you don’t.) I quickly decided not to introduce myself as Bob doesn’t know me, right? And he looked like he was already involved in a nice conversation. Only later did it occur to me that my photo has been posted here a few times, too, so maybe I wouldn’t be a complete stranger. Darn. Opportunity lost. I imagine we could have had a great conversation!

UBob (reviewing the North Idaho Fair): Overall, the North Idaho fair sucked. It was rinkydink. I thought the Spokane County Fair was an exercise in hickiness. But the North Idaho fair was rubeoriffic. The beer garden was ok. The little kids racing 65cc motocross bikes weren’t bad, especially when they had nasty wrecks. But the small display halls and stupid stinky draft horses and idiot volunteers were just too much for my aesthetics, man, not groovy. The stick food saved it. (For the complete comment, click here.)

DFO: Believe it or not, I’ve never met UBob in person either. Or even talked to him on the phone. If I saw him at a public place, I’d probably pull a Henry Stanley on him — you know, “Dr. Livingston, I presume.” In this case, I’d have to go with “UBob” or simply “Bob” instead of Livingston, of course.

Morning Poll: 53% Say Islam Threatens West

Issue: Poll: 53% say Islam poses threat to West: Compares with less than 1/3 after 9-11 terrorist attacks on U.S./London Telegraph

More Info: The alleged plot to blow up transatlantic airliners and last year’s terrorist attacks on London have made more people fear Islam as a religion, not merely its extremist elements, a poll for The Daily Telegraph has found. A growing number of people fear that Great Britain faces “a Muslim problem” and more than half of the respondents to the YouGov survey said that Islam posed a threat to Western liberal democracy. That compares with less than a third after the September 11 terrorist attacks on America five years ago.

Question: Does Islam pose a threat to the West?

Pluto No Longer Planet! Mickey, Donald Next?

Models of the planets in our solar system are suspended around the Hayden Sphere at the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Science in New York earlier today. When the museum constructed the model, it left Pluto out because scientists at the museum did not consider it a planet. Now it’s official. The International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of its status as a planet today. (Shino Fukada/AP Photo)

Question: What Would Your Political Party Look Like?

Issue: How Do You Start a Political Party? If Joe Lieberman can do it, I can do it/Daniel Engber, Slate

More Info: “Joe Lieberman will appear on the Connecticut ballot this November despite losing the Democratic primary, said state officials on Wednesday. To get on the ballot, the senator collected more than 7,500 signatures and formed a brand-new political party called “Connecticut for Lieberman.” Wait, can I start a party, too?”

Question: OK, you hot shots; here’s the chance to start a political party and form your own platform. What would it look like? And who would you nominate for president?

Inside Huckleberries — 8/24/08

*Scanner Traffic: An apartment dweller reports that water is leaking out of the walls and that he gets shocked whenever he touches metal.

*Scanner Traffic: A man who tried to ward off a vicious dog with pepper spray accidentally squirted himself in the eye. Meanwhile, another man, with a baseball bat, is chasing the animal.

*George Abelhanz e-mails: “For some unknown reason I have been unable to view the “Dogwalk Musings” blog for the past week. I will get an error message that internet explorer has failed. I Don’t have this problem when accessing the other blogs? Any suggestions?” (DFO: It must be on your end, George. I can access Dogwalk Musings from here.)

*Bonner County Commish Karl Dye tells Huckleberries he’s going to run for his spot as a write-in candidate here.

*Huckleberries has learned the other epithet that anti-immigration agitator Stan Hess called NIC instructor at Larry Craig’s townhall meeting Tuesday — begins with “B” and ends with “astard.” And this guy wants to represent us on the college board of trustees?

*D.J. Nall/Hauser Thoughts sez Republicans will be surprised and Democrats delighted if they Googled the word “failure” here.

*Cis Gors re: “About DFO” wording in upper righthand column of HBO: “You have “In that position, he writes editorials and his Saturday Huckleberries column”. Is the daily staying or going? If staying shouldn’t this be changed?” (DFO: Yes. Note to self — Get on it.)

*Commissioner-elect Todd Tondee can now brag that he also serves the best pizza in Kootenai County as his Big Cheese Pizza (Post Falls) won the SR’s pizza eat-off at the fair last night. Capone’s and Papa John’s were second and third, respectively. People’s Choice: Mangiamo Pizza (CDA). Showmanship: Old Ice House Pizzeria & Bakery (Hope, ID).

Looks Like Thom George Spotted Fair Goers …

… wearing some of that head gear passed out last night at the North Idaho Fair by Bill Sali supporters.

Whippersnapper: How S-Valley Preps For Winter

Spokane Valley residents getting ready for winter:

1. Throw some fall lawn fertilizer in front of the meth house next door.
2. Guess the number of teenage hookers on east Sprague for the office pool.
3. Drive to Worley and stock up on tax-free cigarettes.
4. Wash your Spokane Chiefs jersey for the next bloodbath with the Tri-City Americans.
5. Check for your picture in the warrant roundup in the Valley Voice.
6. Make sure you have your SNAP energy assistance forms ready.
7. Winterize your boat moving it from your driveway to the curb.
8. Insulate the trailer with duct tape and Tyvek swiped from construction sites.
9. Mow one last time around the three cars parked on your lawn.
10. Check your profile for hits from “pretty ladies in the tri-state area.”


Greg Lee Picks — Cd’A, LCHS, Lakeland In Openers

Greg Lee, prep sports scribe extraordinaire: “Panhandle Picks enters the blog world. I’m welcoming any and all bloggers to participate in the fun. Under the “comments” option, bloggers are asked to post their predictions and see how they fare against the Scribe and weekly guest here.

DFO: If you’ve ever wanted to take on SR prep sports expert Greg Lee and his guest prognosticators, you now have the opportunity. Beginning today, Greg is posting his “Pigskin Picks” online for blurkers and commenters to weigh in on. Think he’s all wet? Tell him so. Think he’s right on? Let your fingers do the talking. You can read Greg’s Idaho Preps blog here.

Question: Is Prosecutor Doing OK w/Duncan Case?

Issue: Shasta may testify in person: Judge rejects Duncan’s request for outside jurors/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review

More Info: Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas on Wednesday said the state intends to call Shasta as a live witness. But he’s asking Gibler to let her testify with her back to Duncan and accompanied by someone she’s close to.

Question: Are you satisfied with the way the Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office is handling this case?

Review: Family Phil & Co. Visit North Idaho Fair

I just spent six hours and about $50 at the North Idaho Fair this evening. We petted the goats and cows, then washed our hands, petted the llamas and pigs, then washed our hands. Ogled the cakes and jellies, quilts and giant pumpkins. Most fun was watching the motorcycle racers crash. Yee-hah! There’s nothing quite like seeing a 10-year-old wipe out at the bottom of a dirt hill.

Also fun was meeting Kerri Thoreson for the first time. I wasn’t hungry for corn on the cob, but she planted a seed in my mind and two hours later I was forking over my dollar for the delicious corn.

The Democrat booth appeared lonely, as usual. Nobody there looked like a Thom or a Dan so I just kept on walking.

Bill Sali (See: DanG photoshop above) was handing out these ingenious little feathered “Indian brave” headbands to the kids, so all over the fairgrounds were little walking Sali ads. My daughter wanted one … we turned it inside out.

The only bad part of the evening was that my camera batteries died soon after we arrived.

Family Phil

DFO: BrodH20 had a close encounter with those yellow Bill Sali headbands, too, here. Anyone get a photo of those headbands with a feather sticking up in the back? HBO is open for bizness.

PF Trojan: Why School M&O Mils Have To Go

PF Trojan: I was not sure about this plan at first, but what I have found that I like about it, and many seem to miss, is that not only will it remove the 3-mil levy for this year, but it will also remove those increases from our property taxes each year in perpetuity. All other levies on our property taxes are capped on how much they can increase each year, while the 3 mil school maintenance and operation levy is not. Meaning the higher the increase in property value, the higher the increases in the 3 mil levy. So if this plan is approved Friday, not only will Dean’s homeowner in his example save $360 this year, but they will also save next year and the year after that when the property increases in value further because that levy is no longer there. Bottom line, the school maintenance and operation levy needs to be removed from property taxes now while it is still a manageable number to replace ($260 million). Soon, as property values continue to rise in Idaho, the total value of the levy will be over a billion dollars and the legislature will not be able to be replaced by sales tax or surplus. I’m not a big fan of the penny increase in sales tax, but that seems to be the only way to get the 3 mil levy removed. Not a perfect plan, but a compromise plan with the needed support to pass. The D’s plan is great this year, but does nothing next year or the year after that when property taxes increase again.

DFO: PF Trojan absolutely nailed this.

Hucks: FBI Exercises Rights To Buy Cheap Goods

There was considerable testimony in the 1st District Court on Tuesday about a botched FBI tape recording involving murder suspect Joseph Edward Duncan III. Let’s rewind the tape to last summer when the FBI first questioned Duncan about his possible connection with the killings of Brenda Groene, her two sons, and lover Mark McKenzie. Seems FBI agents borrowed a tape recorder from Kootenai County sheriff’s detectives to conduct an initial interview. But the recorder wasn’t available later when Duncan requested the FBI to return for a follow-up chat. So, an agent got permission from a supervisor to buy a digital recorder from the local Fred Meyer. Unfortunately, he didn’t have time to read the lengthy manual that came with it before interrogating Duncan again. He winged it. The tape ran out. And that’s how the FBI lost about an hour’s worth of its interview with Duncan, including a brief discussion about the Groenes. That disclosure caused a courtroom wag to quip: “I wonder where the FBI buys its guns?” Wal-Mart?

•That great deal that the Human Rights Education Institute got on folding chairs wasn’t so great, after all. Two collapsed “like tinfoil” during U.S. Sen. Larry Craig’s wild town hall meeting at the institute Tuesday – one with Repub die-hard Ruthie Johnson on board, the other bearing Jim Aucutt of the Kootenai County and Waterways Advisory Board. Neither Seasoned Citizen was hurt. Let’s hope institute Director K.J. Torgerson kept her big-box-store receipt.

Hump Day Wild Card — 8/23/06

You know the drill …

Dylan: Today’s Music, Ah, Sucks? Blows?

Folk legend Bob Dylan has attacked the quality of modern music recordings, dismissing them as “atrocious“. The singer said he could not think of a decent-sounding record made in the last two decades. Dylan added that even the songs on his forthcoming new album, his first in five years, sounded better in the studio than on CD. “You do the best you can, you fight that technology in all kinds of ways, but I don’t know anybody who’s made a record that sounds decent in the past 20 years, really,” the 65-year-old musician told Rolling Stone magazine. (For the rest of the Ireland Online story about Bob Dylan, click here.)

Question: Agree? Disagree?

Top Cutlines — 8/23/06

In this 2005 file photo, Joan Rivers, left, and her daughter Melissa blow kisses as they arrive for the 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The pair are about to give Hollywood stars their version of the red-carpet treatment at the 58th Emmy Awards. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)

Top Cutlines

1. After being stopped by Hollywood Police and ranting about Jews and Conservatives; the Rivers prepare to blow in the breath analyser and disavow any responsibility — Paul Ferguson.

2. Keith Richards joins Johnny Depp on the set of next year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Scallawags In Drag — Family Phil.

3. Unseen was the 10 minutes of facial stretching Joan had to do in order to get her tight-as-a-drum skin to flex enough for her to pucker up — A Token D; and: Indisputable pair of falsies — VFW.

HM: Eric Seaman (yeah, I got it, too.)

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

Question: Could You Be A Fair Juror In Duncan Case?

Issue: Judge denies outside jury for Duncan: Defense motion on insanity defense also rejected/Spokesman-Review

DFO: There’s no way I could sit on this jury. My mind is made up about Duncan. I’d be open to an argument in the penalty phase if life without possibility of parole was an option, although I believe Duncan deserves death for his misdeeds. (I guess I should say “alleged” misdeeds.)

Question: Could you be an open-minded juror in the case involving Joseph Edward Duncan III?

Inside Huckleberries — 8/23/06

*You can find more information (from a sympathizer) about the individual who disrupted U.S. Sen. Larry Craig’s townhall meeting last night, Stan Hess, here.

*A Berry Picker, posting under the name “Jumbo,” estimated the “crowd” at the Hastert-Sali affair yesterday in Post Falls as half the 150 reported by the Sali camp. Quoth: “It was a smaller crowd than there usually is for the chamber meetings every month. There were four or five empty tables and maybe ten tables with 8 people. If you don’t count local electeds and Sali family and campaign staff I say the 75 to 80 number is accurate.”

*Tom Forbes/Palousitics sends along a link from an L.A. Times editorial that slaps Democrats for demonizing Wal*Mart here.

*Huckleberries hears … that Steve and Shasta Groene were baptized in a moving ceremony Sunday night at Real Life Church in Post Falls.

*Rep. Frank Henderson dropped by this morning to push tax relief in the form of an increase of the grocery tax credit from $20 to $45. He has the breakdown to show that they change when in effect drop the sales tax on food to 2.5% for a family of four. But more about that later.

Drummergrrrl: How About The Collapsed Chairs?

Drummergrrrl: Stewart didn’t mention that also during the meeting two of the plastic folding chairs collapsed with people sitting in them spilling them onto the concrete floor - one of which held Ruthie Johnson. And that when Hess stormed out of room he called Stewart a Bolshevick and a much less polite name to his face. Fortunately, no one was injured in either the chair mishaps or the shouting matches.

DFO: What was Hess’s beef with Tony Stewart?

APhoto of the Day — 8/23/06

In this 2005 file photo, Joan Rivers, left, and her daughter Melissa blow kisses as they arrive for the 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The pair are about to give Hollywood stars their version of the red-carpet treatment at the 58th Emmy Awards. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)

Seaman: Coeur d’Alene Olive Oil?

Eric Seaman: Nice article in todays paper as I am a big fan of olive oil but shouldn’t we call it The Temecula Olive Oil Company or the Corning (Calif.) Olive Oil Company? I mean that’s where it’s really made. I stopped by their both at Art on the Green and said “oh cool an olive oil company in town” when I followed that with, “Where in town is the factory that you produce it?” some dashing gentleman said “ In California.” So I got to thinking that it was kind of a drag that such a good item was merely Coeur d’Alene in name alone. No connection to the community other than using the Oh so flavorful Coeur d’Alene moniker which I’m sure does well in SoCal. Granted Coeur d’Alene Brewing doesn’t grow its own hops and what not but, the libation is brewed here, created here by people who live here. Coeur d’Alene Cellars of course doesn’t grow their grapes here but they bring them in, from as far as France, and actually make the wine here, and a fine Sirah they make at that. The closing statement in the article has a quote that says, “I think it’s fabulous that we have an olive oil company here in Coeur d’Alene. We no longer have to go to CA for stuff like this.” Interesting comment, I suppose we don’t have to go to CA or Fla for orange juice either just change the label to Coeur d’Alene Orange Juice. Or, how about Coeur d’Alene Sardines? Better yet The Coeur d’Alene Mayonnaise Company.

DFO: Eric makes a great point here. If it’s not produced here, is it right to use Coeur d’Alene in the product name? As an aside, my wife is from Corning, Calif. She grew up about 2 blocks from the big olive plant, which is set alongside the railroad tracks in an otherwise residential area. Corning is known as the “Olive Capital of the World.” Anyone who’s driven I-5 through northern California has seen the billboards advertising the Olive Pit, where you can find all sorts of olive products. The only thing olive that I’ve seen here is the Russian olive tree in my back yard and a cluster of Portuguese siblings whose last name means Olive Tree.

It’s Our Fault: When Did D’s Reign In North Idaho?

It’s Our Fault: Lived here ten years, so I don’t remember the previous “sea of democrats.” I’m only experiencing the 5-6 or so who are now blanketing this blog with “canned” comments. As for me, I have a job that requires me to behave unitl quitting time. How I envy those who can spend 24 X 7 on here. Life can’t be too bad for them …

DFO: Before the Republican revolution of 1994, Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the 5 North Idaho legislative districts 11 to 1. The only Republican holding legislative office was Hilde Kellogg. The four Democrat senators were Tim Tucker, Barbara Chamberlain, Denny Davis and Mary Lou Reed. Remember. North Idaho had four legislative districts then. Not five. After the 1994 sea change, 7 R’s held legislative office in North Idaho to 5 D’s. Before 1994, Democrats dominated politics in Boundary, Bonner, Shoshone and Benewah counties. Shoshone is the only county that remains Democrat today.

WorldNetDaily Poll — Immigration Reform?

Issue: White House to back Pence reform bill: Will show support for proposal criticized as ‘amnesty lite’/WorldNetDaily

Question: What do you think of Rep. Mike Pence’s immigration-reform plan?

1. It’s a perfect plan
2. It’s a great compromise
3. It’s the ticket for GOP victory this year
4. It’s inadequate, borders should just remain open
5. It’s not great but it’s the only chance to pass a reform measure
6. It’s still amnesty by another name
7. It’s the death knell for Republicans this fall
8. It’s the blueprint for reconquista
9. What’s wrong with Bush, why is he blind on this?
10. Other

DFO: No. 6 (I think)

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Parting Shot (8/22/06) —

Morning dew clings to a spider web at Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2006, near Great Bend, Kan. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Bo Rader)

It’s My 2 Cents — Keeping In Touch

In high school, I was best friends with Rich Eggers, an all-Northern California middle linebacker who’d moved to my school from the Tri-Cities. We did everything together my junior and senior years. In fact, I moved in with his family when my parents moved from town. I wanted to finish high school in Gridley, Calif., where I’d live from the second grade onward. Rich and I got in trouble. But we never got caught. He was the brawn. I was the brains. He was a better athlete. I was a better student leader. He was my campaign manager during my senior year when I successfully ran for student body president, intimidating the freshmen and sophomores into voting for “Oly.” My campaign posters featured those little 6-ounce Olympia beer cans, of days gone by. We played high school baseball together. I taught his old man and him to play a Portuguese card game, called Pedro. We even dated the same girls. I saw him last on the day of my wedding in 1975. He married classmate Karen Moreland while in high school, raised two girls, and had 10 grandkids. I knew that he’d moved back to the Tri-Cities. But I never got in touch. We move on. On Monday, I learned via e-mail from Karen that Rich died of a heart attack more than six years ago. Until then, he’d remained forever young, a stocky redhead who once visited my P.E. class, penned our best wrestler in 15 seconds, and then yelled: “Vote for Oly.” I’m still digesting the news. Mebbe it’s best not to find out what happened to those who shared your Glory Days.

Top Cutlines — 8/22/06

Carolina Panthers’ James Anderson is given an ice shower after being tapped to a chair, Monday at Spartanburg, S.C., during the team’s football training camp. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Spartanburg Herald-Journal, John Byrum)

Top Cutlines:

Out of timeouts, the Panthers try another method to ice the kicker — John Austin.

Oliver Stone’s remake: “The Longest Yard - Abu Ghraib” — Rainbow Sparkle Pony Angel.

For several seasons, James believed that an after-practice shower was not necessary. His team thought an intervention was in order — Idaho Dreamer.

HM: KaleJ

For the complete list of cutlines entries, click here.

Berry Picker: More Gozzer Ranch Attitude

“Apparently on Saturday night, Aug. 19, Gozzer Ranch was having a party for THEIR people, and decided fireworks would be in order. So a barge was brought in, fireworks begin to be set off (big ones, not your neighborhood bottle rockets and sparkers), and local folk, realizing the danger in this extremely dry time of year, seeing the cinders from the fireworks falling on the land and into our precious Lake, loud booms scarring local pets into basements and dark places, called authorities. One of East Side Fire District officials immediately called the Gozzer Ranch, and was told, after asking if they had a permit to do such a thing in this fire danger time of year….”We intend to do our fireworks display’ just tell us the fine and we will pay it.” Apparently no permits nor permission were granted to these arrogant folk. Get used to it people; this type of attitude is here to stay as long as we keep allowing multimillion dollar private gated communities to be invading our beautiful North Idaho rural lands. When will we learn?????????????????????”

A Berry Picker

Spuddy Buddy Launches 6th World Spudfest

World Potato Congress President and CEO H. Lloyd Palmer, left; Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir, center, and the Idaho Potato Commission mascot, Spuddy Buddy, welcome potato growers, industry executives and researchers from more than 40 countries to the opening of the sixth World Potato Congress at the Boise Centre on the Grove in Boise earlier today here.

Napkin: New North Idaho Blog Has Own Worries

I worry about the culture wars, about the growing number of people who say “evangelical Christian” like it’s a curse word, as if we are a poison or a plague, a blight that must be eradicated in the name of human progress. I see Political Correctness, a movement that I’m sure was born in kindness, grown into a surly teenager, run amok and unable to see reason or logic. And I wonder how long it will be before a law is passed forbidding me to teach my children my “intolerant” attitudes toward sin, or the “ridiculous” notion of absolute truth. I worry about winning the hearts and the minds of my son and daughter in a world of self-serving morality that promises everything and delivers emptiness. (For the rest of the post by Katrina/Notes On A Napkin, click here.)

DFO: Family Phil brought Notes On A Napkin to my attention in the comments section last night. Terrific blogger. Great insight. Please give her an HBO welcome. (I’m also checking out a recommendation from Sparkle Pony.)

Eye On Boise: Guv Seeks Special Debate Rules

Current Gov. Jim Risch laid out an unusual suggestion for the format of his statewide televised debate against election opponent Larry LaRocco, the former congressman he faces in his bid for another term as Idaho’s lieutenant governor: Risch wants the two candidates interviewed separately for 30 minutes apiece, with the other nowhere in sight. … Jason Risch, Risch’s son, wrote in an Aug. 17 letter to the organizers of the Idaho Debates that the suggested new format was “due to the disruptive nature of previous experiences with the opposition.” (For the complete post by Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise, click here.)

Question: Does Gov. Risch have a legit concern?

CDA Press Poll Shows Little Support For Risch Plan?

The Idaho Legislature convenes Friday in special session. Should lawmakers approve the governor’s proposed property tax plan?

Yes: 32.6%
No: 53.1%
Undecided: 14.3%

Total Votes: 175

DFO: Does this mean Gov. Risch’s tax plan lacks support or that clever Democrats are skewing the unscientific online poll?

Clark: Today’s Pols Are High School ASB Nerds

Here we are, deep in the intestinal blockage of yet another intense campaign season. And, as usual, concerned Americans are exercising their democratic right to deluge the newspaper with highly annoying correspondence in an attempt to tell us whom we should vote for. Say what you will about Cuba. At least those poor Commies don’t have to open up the newspaper every day and read another vitriolic letter about the Cal Walker vs. Ozzie Knezovich sheriff’s race. Despite the partisan armpit noises, I guarantee you one thing. When the ballots are counted we will end up griping no matter who gets elected. And you know why? Because the candidates are essentially those same shallow nimrods who ran for student government posts back when we were all stuck in high school. (For the rest of Doug Clark’s screed about politicians, click here.)

Question: Is Clark right? Do you have to have a touch of high school ASB Dudley Do-Right rah-rah-rah in you to run for political office?

Sue: Please Define Liberal, Conservative For Me

Sue: Someone would have to define, on a pretty limited basis, the difference between conservative and liberal for that statistic to make any sense.

DFO: Sue has a good point here. I’d tend to define liberal/conservative along the lines of social issues — abortion, gay rights, school choice, etc. Politically, everything’s goofy now because the Republicans in Congress have been spending like drunken Democrats. So, fiscal responsibility no longer can be ascribed to them. How would you describe the difference between liberals and conservatives? Is it like pornography? You know it when you see it?

Sara: Oh, To Vote In A Swing State

Sara Anderson: I went to UI precisely because it was a good deal. Out of state tuition is enormously expensive, and I just wasn’t willing to pay it. With $5000 per year from my parents, and whatever I could earn through scholarships and working, I came out of school almost entirely debt-free. I even was able to find employment immediately after graduating. Now, keeping this state-funds-sharpened brain in Idaho is the harder part. I’m sticking around because my husband is eyeing law school, but after that, we’re likely to get the heck out of here. Oh, to vote in a swing state …

DFO: Indeed, Idaho would be as hard on a Democrat as Massachusetts is on a Republican. I’ve lived in only one swing state — Montana. You’d think it was red. But Democrats Max Baucus and Pat Williams were part of the delegation back when. Baucus still is a U.S. senator. The Democrats in Montana are more blue-collar. Think Butte. Mebbe that’s why they succeed in the Pacific Northwest, which is generally Flyover Country outside the big cities of which Montana has none.

Hucks: Freshly Minted Guv Makes Sweet Impression

Temptation comes in many sizes and shapes – sometimes in the form of a chocolate mint after a long session with an editorial board. Gov. Jim Risch and his entourage, including his wife, Vicki, were leaving The Spokesman-Review lobby early Monday afternoon when the first lady spied a mint in a plastic dispenser on the front counter. The governor, his wife, state Sen. Dick Compton and three aides had spent the previous hour lobbying the Idaho Editorial Board to support the governor’s property tax relief plan that’ll be discussed in a special session Friday. They made a good impression. As the party was leaving, however, the first lady heard the siren call of the mint. But there was a complication. The mint was part of a fundraising effort for Child Search Alert: National Missing Children Center. It sold for a quarter. But the first lady didn’t have two bits on her. “Oh, take a mint. We’ll pay later,” said Compton, avoiding a glare from the receptionist. This, despite the sign posted on the plastic container: “For those not sure this candy is not free. Payment is required. And thanks for helping.” The governor knew better. Quickly, Jim fished a George Washington out of his wallet and bought four mints, for Vicki and other members of his party. This Huckleberry woulda been better if he hadn’t. Imagine the headline: “Governor, sweet-toothed first lady stiff missing children over 25-cent mint.” Good judgment has enabled the governor and his first lady to thrive for so long in the blood sport known as Idaho Politics.

Wild Card/Monday — 8/21/06

We have a busy week ahead, HBOers … The North Idaho Fair starts Wednesday. So, there’s elephant ears to think about. Sam The Intern is getting married Saturday, I believe. So, there’s condolescences to send to Sweet Kat. And, in my household, we’re preparing to ship Amy Dearest to Europe for a semester of study and to host central California family for a week. (Yeah, I’m taking my final vacation week of the summer off next week. But I’ll try to have the guest commenters and Blogmeister KenP lined up to take my place to get us through to the new school year.) Now, the Wild Card …

Princetown: Texas-Austin Is Nation’s Top Party School

Issue: U of Texas-Austin Tops Party School List/Associated Press

DFO: Before Pioneer Days was outlawed, my alma mater, Chico State University in Chico, Calif., was a Party School power. Sorta like Washington State and University of Idaho — only in a higher division. Things went south after several major crimes related to the annual boozefest. That’s probably as it should be.

Question: Are you proud or embarrassed by your alma mater’s drinking reputation.

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 8/21/06

Mommy Dearest/BrodH20 tells you what she did on her summer vacation here.

*JBelle/Notes From The ‘Kan EAW wonders what kind of brute would steal her prized collection of state quarters here.

*Frum Helen Back/Hauser Thoughts has some advice after dealing with her four grandchildren for 43 hours, 5 minutes and 34 seconds here.

*If you’re hungry, don’t read/see this mouth-watering pictoral from Kristin Hoppe/Not So Fast on how to prepare a scrumptious Mexican meal here.

*A boring rodeo at the Bonner County Fairgrounds provided ample opportunity for Marianne Love/Slight Detour and her friends to catch up on the latest gossip here.

*Ken Paulman/Daily Briefing explains why we’re probably not going to send a reporter to Afghanistan or Iraq to cover the ongoing story of the Shipp twins from Hauser Lake here.

Meanwhile, Family Phil continues his landscaping project here, Cis rearranges to make room for a new TV set here, Stebbijo Unzipped catches us up on her saltwater tank hobby here, CDADave laments the passing of the Summer Solstice here, and Frank has harsh words for Spokane Valley Police Chief Cal Walker here.

A Funny Thing Happened To Post Falls Dad …

… en route to Spokane today. Take it away, Post Falls Dad: “This afternoon I agreed to take my daughters and 12 y/o nephew to Spokane for a mall visit. As we were driving out of Post Falls we passed 2 very hi-dollar new sports cars, both covertables, and both being driven by fiftysomething men going bald. As we passed the last one, my nephew turns to me and asks ‘Uncle, I can’t wait until you lose your hair so you can stop driving this minivan and drive one of those.’ What would your readers rather have? A full head of hair and drive a man-van, or bald and drive something exotic?”

Cruisers: Yuppies As Well As Puppies Welcome

re: response from Cruisers owners Larry & Sheri to e-mail criticizing yuppy clientele

I received a e-mail today from Mary Burton that asked to be removed from our e-mail as (her organization) doesn’t like our gatherings or the yuppies who come to CRUISERS. If anyone or any other m/c club doesn’t want to receive e-mails simply let me know and I would be happy to remove your name that you put on our sign-up list. Sometimes I am just amazed. I am aware that there is some bad blood out there…I am just not interested in any negetivity or name calling. EVERYONE is welcome at CRUISERS! I don’t care if your a yuppie or a puppy, German or Catholic! … We are just a small biker bar in Stateline Idaho. Come if you want to have fun or have some great cold beer or good food. Wear leather or a formal. We will like you either way!

Larry & Sheri

Question: Are You Vacationing Less, Enjoying It Less?

In August, when much of the world is hard at work trying to do nothing, Jeff Hopkins and his wife, Denise, usually take a week to chase fish in Olympic National Park — a ferry ride and two tanks of gas from here with a boat in tow. But this year, their summer vacation is dead, a victim of $3-a-gallon gas and job uncertainty. “This is our vacation,” said Mr. Hopkins, loading up his drift boat for an evening of fishing in the city just after getting off work at the Boeing plant, where he has been employed for 15 years. Even before toothpaste could clog an airport security line and a full tank of gas was considered an indulgence, Americans had begun to sour on the traditional summer vacation. But this summer, a number of surveys show that American workers, who already take fewer vacations than people in nearly all industrial nations, have pruned back their leisure days even more. The Conference Board, a private research group, found that at the start of the summer, 40 percent of consumers had no plans to take a vacation over the next six months — the lowest percentage recorded by the group in 28 years. (For the rest of the story about the rise of the shrinking vacation syndrome, click here.)

Question: Has gas prices, terrorism caused you to change your vacation plans this year?

Huckleberries Best of the Northwest — 8/21/06

Friends Mario Escarcega, right, and Kayden Stoddart of Idaho Falls head off from their 13th Street neighborhood to spend some time in the water’s of the Snake River last week. (AP Photo/The Post Register, Randy Hayes)

Stapilus: Risch’s property tax relief plan starting to sink here.

1. The president’s been doing some heavy reading recently, but to what effect, wonders David Horsey/Seattle PI here.

2. The state of Washington is being sued for $15M for failing to adequately supervised Aryan Nations member Buford Furrow Jr., who wounded several children in a 1999 southern California shooting spree at a Jewish day care center here.

3. Just more than a year ago, Jamie Moyer was offered the opportunity to leave the last-place Mariners and go to the Houston Astros. Moyer turned it down. But when the Philadelphia Phillies came calling in the middle of last week, Moyer signed off on a trade, which was announced late Saturday. What changed here? Steve Kelley/Seattle Times: Seattle loses a bit of its magic here.

4. Residents in Granite Falls, Wash., are angry that People magazine has referred to their community as “Methville” in wake of the murders of a mother and her daughter during a hike here.

5. The new chief of Idaho’s overcrowded prison system wants to expand enough to house 1,700 more inmates, saying the state could save “tens of millions” of housing dollars by making prison domes out of synthetic material stretched over aluminum beams here.

6. IMHO-NW: Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (Rolls Royce clarifies social hierarchy), Bob Salsbury/Unvearing Bobness of Being (Hey, U! Get Offa My Cloud, Man!) Rebecca Nappi/Spokesman-Review (Latte-a-day remark leaves bad taste), Frank Sennett/Spokesman-Review (Popular blogs find way to bookstore), and Kalispell Daily Inter Lake (Mismanaging Montana’s wolves).

Online Poll: 53% of 1158 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll oppose Gov. Jim Risch’s plans to cut property taxes by raising the sales tax here.

*Idaho City pastor beats long odds after suffering sudden-death heart failure here.

*More than a dozen women who had never climbed a mountain before reached the summit of Mount Rainier as part of their battle against addiction here.

*A baby orca that vanished from sight last week was found Sunday, ending fears that the calf, believed to be just 8 days old, had died here.

Orbusmax Special: Nearly one-third of candidates are unopposed in race for Washington Legislature here.

Senseless Vandalism: 1st Baptist Church Attacked

Some dimbulb spray-painted graffiti on the First Baptist Church building (424 Wallace) between Friday evening and late Saturday morning. Dean Kahler of First Baptist Church spotted the graffiti on the wall in front of the parking space reserved for the pastor: “666,” a star and two upside down crosses. About $15 in damage. Seems the attackers have been watching too many occult movies.

APhoto of the Day — 8/21/06

Flower girl Jasmyne Morris, 8, right, cradles Henrietta, a small hen, as her grandfather Terry Morris, and wife Renee, left, walk to greet family and friends at the conclusion of their wedding ceremony on Saturday near Bismarck, N.D. Henrietta the hen was a bridesmaid. But she wasn’t on the reception menu. You write the cutline. (Mike McCleary, AP/Bismarck Tribune photo)

Take 5 — Or You Know Summer’s Ending When …

1. The Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre cast takes its final bow of the season (as it did Saturday night).

2. Pickups carrying wood as high as the sideboards will allow are as plentiful as Hummers on Highway 95.

3. Your garden tomatoes finally start to ripen.

4. Smoke from burning grass fields gets in your eyes (especially if you’re living north of said fields).

5. The politicians come knocking on your door.

Question: Anything else to add?

In The Know: My Comment Copy Is Disappearing

In The Know: Before I put more time into writing through this blog I need to know why it is rejecting the code letters and I lose all my work when I try to send. Is there a time limit in composing blogs or is there a limit on lenght? I wasted a great deal of time composing two responses that were rejected.

Bill McCrory: The same thing was happening to me. Ryan posted an explanation in another S-R blog.

DFO: Whenever I write a longer comment, I make a back-up copy just in case the jumble suffers a timeout. I know how frustrating it is to have copy eaten by blogosphere Gremlins. If it wasn’t for the (fill in expletive) spammers, the SR and HBO wouldn’t have to take these steps. Sorry.

Question: How Can CDA Keep Housing Affordable

Wanted: A few perceptive comments from ordinary folks about Coeur d’Alene’s real estate market. Affordable housing is the topic of two public forums at City Hall this week. As part of the discussion, residents will get a chance to sound off on whether Coeur d’Alene is still an affordable market. BBC Research and Consulting will conduct the forums. The Denver firm has been hired to create a long-range housing assessment and plan for the city. Work-force housing is the focus of the study, said Tony Berns, executive director of Lake City Development Corp., which is Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency. “It’s not low-income housing,” he said. “It’s housing for your firemen, your police officers and your nurses.” (For the rest of the SR article by Becky Kramer, click here.)

DFO: The blue-collar workers have already claimed theirs, if … they are middle-aged and able to buy several years ago, both parents work, or they cashed in elsewhere. If not …

Question: What does Coeur d’Alene need to do to keep housing affordable for the working class?

Wild Card/Saturday — 8/19/06

I put together a Mailbag roundup for you below, HBOers — a list of comments from you, followed by my responses. I hope you enjoy it. As always, you can start your own threads with this Wild Card …

Government Way Bridge To Open Wednesday

After more than a year of construction that kept traffic off the Government Way Bridge, motorists once again should be able to cross Interstate 90 within a week. Officials said Friday the new bridge could be done as soon as Wednesday. Contractor Morgan Osgood Construction is 49 days behind schedule and has racked up about $75,000 in penalties because of the delay, said Marvin Fenn, Idaho Department of Transportation resident engineer in Coeur d’Alene. Business owners near the bridge are eager to see the busy arterial reopen. “We were greatly relieved to see the asphalt machine yesterday and the steamroller today out there,” said John Hiller, owner of Browsers Uncommon Books north of the bridge. “We were jumping for joy” — Sam Taylor, Spokesman-Review.

Question: Now that the Government Way bridge is about to open, which current local road construction project gives you the biggest pain in the back side?

Hagengruber: No Need For Strict Reporter-Blog Policy

I worked for a few months at a large newspaper in Germany, where reporters wear their politcal beliefs on their sleeves. They are encouraged to include opinions in print. At first I agreed with my colleagues that it was idiotic for U.S. newspapers to expect jorunalists to check their beliefs at the door each morning. But then I realized that German newspapers are politically balkanized. They split off to cater to their own political beliefs — if you are conservative, but the Muenchner Merkur, those on the left buy the SZ, those who like photos of football players and topless fraulein buy Bild.

More and more, I like the idea of newspapers attempting to respect/acknowledge the full spectrum of political beliefs in the communities we cover. With any luck, our stories will be able to provide enough objective new information to advance readers’ understanding of an issue.

I didn’t take Steve’s memo as a threat. It just seemed like a warning for us not to be stupid. I could spout off here about wolves or forestry issues, but I might have to write something on these topics next week and it really sucks when a source slams the phone down after hearing the name of the reporter.

I would be against a strict policy on commenting online. I guess it’s up to reporters to deomonstrate we don’t need one … One thing I do think we should adopt from my old newspaper in Munich, though, is beer vending machines. They were scattered throughout the building (70 cents a bottle) and editors frequently brought a case of cold ones to the afternoon news meetings. Really lightened things up.

Jim Hagengruber
SR Reporter

DaveT: I Hope SR Doesn’t Blogcuff Reporters

Dave Tolle: I for one have very much enjoyed and appreciated the various blog discussions I’ve entered into with S-R folks. They’ve all been informative and some frustrating but never distastful or so controversial as to compromise their work status (IMHO). It would sadden me to see them become reticent about participating in this an S-R blog. It’s a real time community link and how better to let the community get to know the people who bring them the daily news. Whatever emerges from this policy I hope it’s not blogcuffs.

DFO: I’ve asked to be part of the ethics committee discussion re: online commentary by SR journalists. It’s a tricky one. Reporters probably shouldn’t engage in verbal fisticuffs with regular commenters are me. It might compromise them. However, there’s great value for them to participate in discussions about journalistic questions and values. The critical area will be … whether or not a journalist is allowed to post under a pseudonym.

CDADave: Be Careful When You Visit City Park

CDADave: In City Park this evening, a 50ish man and his wife were heading west on bicycles, riding along the seawall. A group of kids on bikes were blocking this gentleman’s path and wouldn’t get out of the way. The old guy almost got in a fight with the young kid. Good for him! Some of these young kids have no regard for life and limb. Another kid was riding his bike at a high rate of speed, and he would leap ACROSS the gaps in the sea wall. Someday either a bike rider or someone sitting at one of the park benches is gonna get killed. Where are the bicycle cops when ya need ‘em?

DFO: As I said in an editorial earlier this week … we’re not going to clean up the litter, dogs, punks behaving badly and vandalism in the park and on Tubbs Hill until City Hall gets serious about cracking down on these small quality-of-life issues. It wouldn’t take long to fix bad behavior if the bicycle cops were handing out citations right and left — and mebbe tossing people in the pokey. I few might leave in a huff because they’re forced to behave. But who needs ‘em? With the growth in this town and the visitors pouring in, someone’ll take their place clogging up the waterfront.

Question: How Do You Find The Right College?

Gonzaga University and Whitworth College ranked among the region’s best schools and best values in the new rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The two Spokane private schools typically do well in the annual rankings. This year, GU was ranked 3rd among all master’s-level universities in the West, while Whitworth was 5th. Whitworth was ranked third on the list of best values among its class, while GU was seventh. (For the rest of the article, including rankings for WSU, UI and EWU, click here.)

DFO: I’m delighted that I’ll never have to go through another ordeal of trying to help one of my kids decide which is the best college for him or her. I sympathize with you parents out there who are going through this exercise. Or will go through this exercise.

Question: What’s most important to you and your family in trying to find the right college for your kids?

Top Cutlines — 8/18/06

Babies Delaney Chadwell, left, Gabriel McCormick, Joseph Lockwood, Amanda Miller and Malachi Chapleski, right, perch on a chair at Dayspring Midwifery clinic in Hayden, Idaho on Thursday. The five babies were born within a six-day time period and were all at the clinic which handled their deliveries, for their six-week check-ups. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Coeur d’Alene Press, Jerome A. Pollos)

Top Cutlines

In A League Of His Own: When all five babies need Pamper-ing at once, a mid-wife crisis ensues — John Austin.

1. What happened to Dopey? — Duffer.

2. Green Libertarian, AnyMouse, claude d waalz, Rainbow Sparkle Pony Angel, and VFW wait in the cooler for DFO to reinstate their blogging privileges — Thom George.

3. Even at this young age, Amanda was a fashion trendsetter with her scandalously bare feet — Family Phil.

HM: KeithinCDA

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

As The Lake Churns: Gaudy Colors Subliminate Lake

Whatever happened to sandcastles? A couple of kids, a bucket, and a shovel and the works of art would emerge from the sand. Imagination blossomed … sticks became cannons on the wall. White rocks adorned the walls and experimentation found just the right channel to let the lake waves fill the moat. Not too many sandcastles any more. It is hard to even find the sand because parents are blanketing beautiful sand beaches with brightly colored plastic floating space capsules, and vinyl floating islands. Even the inflatable tubes for dragging non-skiers have changed from the tire-sized vehicle into huge 3 or 6 seaters that actually go airborne, endangering life and limb. I guess it is the color that stabs at the brain and causes pain. Mother Nature’s greens and browns are dislodged by the cheap gaudy colors of air-filled plastic. Where did the Dad who taught a kid to swim, fish, water ski, swim under water, dive, and whittle ever go?. I suppose that it is stilll there. … You just can’t see it through the plastic. Hope so.

I. Ben Barphin, waterfront director
As The Lake Churns

Inside Huckleberries — 8/18/06

*”Quest was landing their plane, and there was a noise. … No, it didn’t crash. … It hit several geese that flew up in front of the plane as it was landing. … 2 dead geese and several wounded ones. Plane was put in the shop quickly. To check for repairs” — Cis Gors.

*Regional Editor Scott Maben e-mails: “I don’t know if you’ve followed the buzz about this silly movie, Snakes on a Plane. The title really says it all. It has earned a huge cult following (especially among bloggers) even before it has opened. And now the reviews are starting to come in. Everyone expected a bomb, but maybe not? Here’s the first.”

*My apologies to Eye On Boise blogger Betsy Russell for taking so long to offer congrats. Her blog was named the first-place winner for online coverage of the state government beat by Capitolbeat, a national association of Statehouse reporters and editors, for the third straight year. Saaalute.

*From Derek Payton ( in Sarasota, Fla., recently: “I stumbled onto Huckleberry blog this evening … You wrote about pappy’s pizza…wow! The memories!!! I grew up in CDA, Sandpoint and Bonner’s Ferry during the mid/late 70’s. Our favorite pie was a thin crust Canadian bacon with the sliced tomatoes, we would line up along the glass and watch the dough machine and the assembly line. Remember that?? The building had steeply vaulted ceilings and an upstairs “loft”?? Shag carpet everywhere!! To this day, (25 yrs. later) we still try to copy the pappy’s special when we cook homemade pizza! Thanks for the memories!!!!!!”

*Forgot to mention: You’re going to start getting copies of the original Spiderman comics in the Sunday edition this week — and into the foreseeable future. Cool.

*So, That’s What You’ve Been Doing Since You Rejected Mrs. Robinson (from Idaho records in today’s SR): “Dustin T. Hoffman, 18, Hayden; possession of a controlled substance; $300 fine, five days in jail or 40 hours county work program.” (Hat Tip: Sam Taylor)

*Cis Gors sends along some awesome photos of the Ground Zero sight, taken by an emergency response member, shortly after the 9/11 attacks here.

*The Heimlich Maneuver sends along the following link to the Wall Street Journal article, “Bush phobia may prove fatal,” along with the note: “Good article on balancing need for civil liberties with need for proactive means for foiling terrorists” here.

Editor Smith: Journalists Surrender Certain Rights

Well, gang, here I go again, into the brave new world of Huckleberries. With all due respect, Brent Andrews is flat out wrong.

We have long-held (before my time) and widely accepted ethics rules that limit — no question, they limit — the ability of our journalists to express personal opinion in certain situations, particularly with respect to politics. Those policies currently are framed in print terms. All newspaper of which I’m aware have or are in the process of determining how those policies extend to the online world. The questions are complex, the answers elusive. But here’s the bottom line. No employee of the SR newsroom can actively engage in political activity (that policy has been in place for years). A journalist who feels his or her rights to speech are hindered may make the free choice to do something else as Brent Andrews has done. One of the prices we pay for the privilege of serving citizens as journalists is the voluntary surrender of opportunities some others can exercise. When that price becomes too high for any one person, they can choose to move on.

I’ll send Dave an electronic copy of my two- three-year old explanation of political involvement policy so that he can post it. I have no idea where our online ethics discussions will go. But, in the meantime, I was urging caution on the part of our journalists and the simple application of common sense. I find that relatively non-threatening. (And, as i told our folks, it is absolutely OK to weigh in on journalistic issues, such as this one.)

Last point, unlike some papers of which I’m aware, we have a no-fault policy in our newsroom. Journalists can say whatever they want about the paper, or me or our policies without repercussion. It’s true. Ask ‘em.


DFO: You can find The Spokesman-Review policy on political involvement here and the SR Code of Ethics here.

Chateau Developers Boot Neighborhood Trash Bins

Issue: Chateau decides to take out the trash: Developer boots trash bins after county nixes proposal/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: The Dumpsters are used by the residents who vehemently opposed Kirk-Hughes’ proposal to build a luxury golf course community. The project was rejected by the county commissioners on July 27. Eleven days later, the county received a lease termination notice. It didn’t give any explanation for canceling the lease.

DFO: Wah, wah, waaaaaahhhhh. Move over, GoZZZZZer Ranch, we have another bunch of Big Out-Of-State Developer Creeps Behaving Badly. County officials should remember this pettiness when these clowns return, cap in hand, asking for a follow-up comp plan revision or some other P&Z concessions. Remember, they need us more than we need them.

SR Edit: Keough, Others Should Fill Out Vote Smart

Idaho State Sen. Shawn Keough isn’t afraid to take an unpopular stand. During the 2001 Legislature, the Sandpoint Republican brought the Senate to a halt by using a procedural move to protest unilateral leadership actions in a lawsuit over inadequate school buildings. … However, she has misfired during her re-election campaign by deciding not to fill out candidate questionnaires from special-interest groups. Her position is somewhat understandable. Candidates for higher office are bombarded with surveys seemingly from every organization that has a lobbyist. It takes time to fill them out. Some have leading questions. Candidates shouldn’t feel obligated to fill out all questionnaires; they don’t have time. But they owe their constituents a good-faith effort to fill out ones from local groups or groups with local members – and Project Vote Smart.

For the rest of the comment about candidate questionnaires, click here.

DFO: Vote Smart is a valuable resource for constituents. North Idaho incumbents/candidates who haven’t filled out the form, besides Shawn, are: (state Senate) Joyce Broadsword, Mike Jorgenson, Steve Johnson; (state House) George Eskridge, Mary Lou Shepherd, Phil Hart and Dick Harwood. Yes, most are Republicans.

Happiness Is …

… A summer day on the lake aboard Captain UBob’s boat. Here, you see one of Toad’s younguns expressing his thrill of the moment. Toad calls the photo “Unadulterated Happiness.” By the way, Huckleberries hears that … Mr. and Mrs. Toad have a third pollywog on the way. Toad tells you about it here.

Amyrebba: This Asthmatic Empathizes w/Farmers

Amyrebba: It seems to me that we are all scream about the field burning, but no one if finding a solution that will both benifit the farmers and save us from respritory distress. I am not a seed farmer and I do have asthma, but I am not all for just banning the field burning with out first finding a solution to the problem. If you want the farmers to give up field burning find a solution to present to them that is both economical and efficiant. Until then you are not going to get anywhere on this argument. I know equipment is being tested in Oregon for this, but if cost is such that it would not be economical for the farmers then it won’t happen here. I’m just sick of seeing farmers go under because of presure, taxes, and other influences. It is a way of life that should be passed down through the generations and treasured.

DFO: I still prefer the farmers to subdivisions — and I love the open space of the Rathdrum Prairie. But I don’t live in the path of the smoke.

AM Hucks: Avista Bill Gives Credit Where It’s Overdue

Huckleberries Online commenter Post Falls Dad shoulda thought he’d hit the lottery when he opened his Avista bill Thursday. After all, he got a natural gas credit of $909.86. Thinking he’d been “punked,” he called the utility and was told: “We tested your meter and found out we have been overcharging you by 3 percent on your gas usage. The canceled billing amounts are credits to repay you for the overcharges. Have a great day.” Unimpressed, Post Falls Dad told Huckleberries: “It’s not enough that we were hit with a huge increase, but to be overcharged?” P’haps he shoulda demanded interest, too?

•Poet’s Corner: “There are few things that farmers hate/like arthropods that masticate,/and so to halt an insect tide/they fill the skies with pesticide” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Summer Travels: Crop Dusters Near Moses Lake”).

•Nah, CdA Councilman Mike Kennedy isn’t expanding constituent service to include lawn-mowing duties. He was paying off a bet when you saw him behind that mower in the Bentwood subdivision Sunday – to fellow former New Yorker Thom George. Seems Mike picked the wrong team in the Big Apple series, which the Mets won last spring, and he couldn’t get Thom to go double or nothing on a rematch.

•ITD spokeswoman Barbara Babic tells Huckleberries she has all her fingers and toes crossed that the Government Way bridge will reopen Wednesday, after more than a year of work. We all do.

Hat Tip: To the Copy Editor who writes the headlines for print Huckleberries. S/he’s consistently is brilliant.

Editor Smith: No More HBO Commenting For Me

re: internal memo e-mailed to newsroom my SR Editor Steve Smith Thursday p.m.


I wanted to send out a cautionary note re: staffers who participate in our many online blogs and forums.

A few weeks ago, I allowed myself to be sucked into a dynamic and exciting online debate on Huckleberries Online. It was so easy to jump into an argument about religious zealotry that before I knew it, I was debating issues with our readers and expressing relatively strong opinions.

As editor, there are places where it is appropriate for me to express a point of view…but that blog debate wasn’t one of them. My involvement, while personally satisfying, was in appropriate and compromised the newspaper.

I’m not the only staffer who has been drawn to our blogs. At this point in time we don’t have anything in our ethics policies dealing with the appropriate level of involvement. We have a group actively updating our policies and I’m sure this and other aspects of online behavior will be addressed.

Until that time, I would just ask that we all exercise common sense in interacting with readers online. It is always appropriate, in our Transparent Newsroom, to address questions or concerns about our journalism. And for columnists and others with a license to opine, there is plenty of room to exercise opinion.

Othwerwise, please be careful about expressing views about stories you are actively covering or otherwise involved in, be careful of political expression and try to avoid situations where you’re arguing politics, social policy, religion or other such issues with our readers.

As I said, I’m not in any way suggesting rules at this time, just asking for care and common sense. And I promise to do better myself.


Thom George: How’d It Go, DFO?

Thom George: DFO; how went the meeting with the boss, re: Daily Huckleberries?

DFO: Extremely well. Daily Huckleberries will continue this fall on the other side of my last weekly vacation (Aug. 28 to Sept. 1). Importantly, Editor Smith has agreed to lighten my editorial-writing load by (drum roll, please) contracting with a North Idaho free-lancer to pick up one editorial per week. This’ll free me to get out of the office a little — and concentrate a little more on the interactivity of this blog. I was pleased with the outcome. I enjoy every element of my job. In fact, I believe, I have the best newspaper job in Idaho. But there’s too much of it, at present. Basically, I have two jobs that demand full-time attention — Opinion Page duties and Huckleberries print and online — that are getting two-thirds attention or less.

FHB: Getting Old Takes Courage

Katherine Hepburn was sure right about getting old being only for the brave. I recently blew $23 on a lotion to make my skin look more radiant and my age spots less visible. It was going to take 8 weeks to see the difference. I’m throwing the stuff away after 2 weeks. Either I’m rapidly getting more age spots or the new radiance makes all of them more visible. My mother never told me about all of facial changes I would experience as a gift for living so long. Perhaps she knew that I am not one of the brave — Frum Helen Back/Hauser Thoughts.

DFO: I’ve made one concession to age as a result of a twice-blown ACL in my left knee — no more baseball or side-to-side sports.

Question (not for Sam The Intern, Sarah, or you other Gen Yers): Have you made any concessions to age, yet?

Top Cutlines — 8/17/06

Ayla, a service monkey for the disabled, throws out the first pitch prior to a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park in Boston Wednesday evening. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Top Cutlines:

1. Ayla was a bit timid at first, making her first public appearance in years after suffering for so long serving as James Trafficant’s hairpiece — DanG.

2. The Rocket finds out the hard way that steroids DO have side-effects — KaleJ.

3. The Mariners’ GM may have misunderstood his boss when he was told to start looking at players from the farm club — Thom George.

HM: Heimlich and I Believe Everything I Read At The Daily Kos

I appreciate your lobbying for contest winners. It helps as I’m sorting through them. (No, Pony, it isn’t right to lobby for yourself.) For the rest of today’s cutlines, click here.

Flippy Floppy: Gotta Like Flies To Like Silver $ Inn

“Please Seat Yourself” read the sign at the café entry. The gift shop, casino, and bar were abuzz with activity but the cafe was empty but for one random table full of rather gothy looking teenagers who looked like they’d been sitting there for three weeks. Naturally, we picked a booth near them so we could spy on their antics (We were them once, many years ago.) Our plump but very pleasant waitress poured our water and gave us our menus. Wow – the water here is damn good. I always brag about how good CDA water is, but this tasted like it just melted right off a glacier and into my cup. The menu was full of standard cafeteria fare – sandwiches, burgers, steak and salad, chicken strips, and the prices were clearly oriented toward the tourist. I picked a Mushroom Swiss Burger and Fries for $8.95, and Q settled on a Western Burger for the same price. Good thing we decided quickly because our waitress returned after giving us only about 45 seconds. More water, please – I wanted to bottle it and take it home. Meanwhile, our gothy teen neighbors were making fun of the busload of Japanese tourists that had just poured into the gift shop.

For the rest of Flippy Floppy’s review of the Lincoln Silver Dollar Inn at Haugan, Mont., click here.

‘The Trifecta’: Too Much For Idaho D’s To Overcome?

First, conservatives had the anti-gay-marriage initiative, brought by the Idaho Legislature. Then, they had the candidacy of Rep. Bill Sali, a Christian activist legislator running for Congress in District 1. Now, they have the potent symbol of their religion, the Ten Commandments, front and center, in Idaho’s capital city. “These are the hot-button issues that the Christian conservative moement would like to use to increase their voter turnout,” said Ross Burkhart, a political science professor at Boise State. “This would be a good development for their turnout aspirations.” Bryan Fischer, who heads the Idaho Values Alliance, calls it “the trifecta.” (For the rest of the Boise Weekly article by Shea Anderson, click here.)

Question: How do you think religious conservatives will affect congressional, statewide and legislative races in Idaho this fall?

Indeed, We Were Having Technical Difficulties …

re: the three-letter comment jumble today. Check out Blogmeister Ryan’s explanation here.

Jane Q. Citizen: Where’s Sam The Intern?

Jane Q. Citizen: Where’s Sam? Has he gotten married yet? Is he in the cooler? Inquiring minds want to know. :)

DFO: Sam’s serving a self-imposed exile. He hasn’t posted since that recent dust-up when people questioned his professionalism. He doesn’t intend to post again. No, he hasn’t gotten married to Sweet Kat yet.

DanG: Is Grant Just Another Rubber Stamp Demo?

DanG: When you line up many of the people who are against Sali, they are not my most favorite pols in the world. Newcomb and Crowe held the legistlature hostage for years and stopped up lots of good stuff; they had no love for North Idaho. On the other hand, I agree that we need to send someone to DC who can get along and play well with others. Grant has already promised to reverse Bush’s tax cuts and that doesn’t sit well with me; i.e., he’s committed to raising our taxes despite his mouthing that he’s pro-small business. Project Vote Smart doesn’t list his opinions on gun control. If Grant is against the 2nd Amendment as well, then the guy is just another rubber stamp Democrat and he does not get my vote.

DFO: DanG brings up a good point. I can’t see voting for Sali. But that doesn’t mean I’ll automatically vote for Larry Grant. Can a social conservative vote for him without being appalled down the line when he lines up with national Democrats on social issue after social issue? Unless someone can make the case, this might be the first election that I pass on the congressional vote.

BTW, you can find Larry Grant’s positions on the issues, bio info, and key endorsements at Project Vote Smart here. Sali refused to fill out the Vote Smart questionnaire.

Issue: Doc Wants To Help But Hands Are Tied

Issue: Retired doctor can’t afford to volunteer: Physician Norman Leffler would like to help out at Dirne Health Care Center, but malpractice insurance would cost $10,000/Tom Greene, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: He wants to work at the nonprofit Dirne Health Care Center — which currently has a waiting list of about 400 to 500 patients, but it could cost him a small fortune just to work. Leffler said he transferred his Florida license to an Idaho license at a cost of about $1,000.

Question: Any ideas how to solve this problem?

“Welcome To North Idaho” Reality Check

Wonder how many of the huddled masses yearning to be free in Suffering California would be heading our way, if they knew what it really was like up here now. SR buddy Jesse Tinsley did a little photoshopping to show outsiders what the local chamber won’t.

WorldNetDaily Poll: Catching JonBenet’s Killer

Issue: Schoolteacher arrested in JonBenet Ramsey case: Suspect already in custody in Bangkok on unrelated sex charge/New York Times; and: Suspect claims: ‘Her death was an accident’: Police: ‘He said he was in love with the child. She was a pageant queen’/Associated Press

Question: What’s your reaction to the arrest of a suspect in the murder of JonBenet Ramsey?

1. It’s about time – what took so long?
2. This is great – the cloud of suspicion over the Ramseys can finally be lifted
3. I knew all along that John and Patsy Ramsey had nothing to do with this horrible crime
4. I predict this suspect will be convicted in the press just like Patsy Ramsey was
5. This case has already received too much coverage
6. It’s promising but I don’t have enough information to know if this is a real breakthrough
7. I still believe Patsy Ramsey was personally responsible for her daughter’s death
8. I still suspect the family is complicit in some way
9. It’s good news, but I’m still haunted by the parent’s weird behavior after the murder
10. Other

DFO: Nos. 5-6

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Parting Shot (8/16/06) — Here’s Looking At You, Kid

In this undated hand out photo, Sebastian, a Persian cat with long black hair, sports gold crowns on his two large teeth, which grew sticking out from his lips in an underbite similar to a bulldog’s. Concerned that his cat’s exposed teeth could be damaged, Dr. David Steele a dentist from Alexandria, Ind., had gold crowns made for his cat pet. (AP Photo/Dr. David Steele via The Herald-Bulletin)

All Cougs: Blog Envy Is Such An Ugly Thing

First things first … it’s time to plug Vince Grippi, my colleague who’s gone online full-time. His blog has been insightful, well-written, and most importantly plugging this one. If you haven’t discovered it yet, go take a look, and if you’re a Spokane-area sports nut - even if you’re not, really - I think you’ll find a lot of great stuff there. As far as this blog goes, I want to take a moment to say thank you for continuing to hang out at this little slice of Internet real estate. You’ve made All Cougs, All The Time the second-most popular blog on the S-R’s Web site, trailing only the eeeeevil behemoth Huckleberries Online, which has a readship that’s usually about 2 1/2 times the size of this blog on a daily basis.

For the rest of the All Cougs, All The Time post by talented Glenn Kasses, click here and don’t forget to check out Vince Grippi’s great new sports blog Sportslink here.

DFO: I feel like an old gunslinger trying to hold off the young turks at SR blog central.

Top Cutline — 8/16/06

Jeffery Thurston, 10, of Auburn, N.Y., cuddles with one of the cows in a stable at the Wayne County Fair in Palmyra, N.Y., Tuesday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Daily Messenger, Vasiliy Baziuk)

Top Cutlines

1. Jeffrey hugs his calf goodbye before he packs up and moves to a condo in the city. His greedy parents sold the family farm to developers who will now turn the land into subdivisions. But at least people won’t be bothered by the smell of manure wafting on the summer breezes — Jane Q. Citizen.

2. Jeffrey knew that he’d have to sell Bessie so his mom could get that tattoo she so wanted, although it made him sad and feel grown up too soon,he somehow knew, deep down, that life was often teats for tats — RSPA.

3. Jeffery huddles in the corner with the other offspring during a La Leche meeting — Paul L. Ferguson; and: “Some day, Bessie, we won’t have to hide our love. We’ll be accepted by society and have the same rights and protections as everybody else, you just wait and see!” — Family Phil.

HM: John Austin, everyone else

I’m going to quit judging these contests because they’re getting so dang hard to judge. Well done. For the rest of today’s cutlines, click here.

Ex-PFHS Athlete Ruen To Ring Wall Street Bell

Former Eastern Washington University volleyball and basketball standout Janelle Ruen from Post Falls (pictured) is expected to ring the opening bell Thursday morning at the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York City. Ruen is in New York competing in this week’s Brooklyn Open on Coney Island as she continues to make a splash in her first season on the American Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Beach Volleyball Tour. She and teammate Jennifer Snyder are now seeded in the top 20 on the tour, and have finished 13th four times since opening the season in early April with a seeding of 37th and a finish of 41st in the first tournament they competed in. Ruen and Snyder, who previously played at Long Beach State, are 24-19 this season. At the Santa Barbara open in May, they defeated AVP top-ranked competitors Misty May and Kerri Walsh 23-21 in the first game, but dropped the next two games 21-13 and 15-6. Ruen now resides in Newport Beach, Calif. — Dave Cook, EWU sports information director.

Popkey: Idaho R’s Organize — For Demo Grant

No matter how much cash Vice President Cheney raises for Bill Sali’s congressional campaign this afternoon, it’s a better day for Democrat Larry Grant. That’s because the long-term impact of Cheney’s fly-by fundraiser will pale compared to the announcement today of a Republicans for Grant organization, giving license to Republicans to vote for a Democrat. The group includes some top GOP names: Jim Nelson of Nelson Construction, Micron co-founder and former GOP congressional candidate Ward Parkinson and lawyer-lobbyist Allyn Dingel.

For the rest of Dan Popkey’s column in the Idaho Statesman, click here. Meanwhile, Serephin @ the 43rd State Blues is celebrating the news here,

Question: Will Republicans For Grant hurt Repub nominee Bill Sali’s chances much?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 8/16/06

Miss Teen Rodeo Idaho Sarah Pierson, left, and Caldwell Night Rodeo queen 2006 Jessie Metcalf chat while they keep their heads covered as a light rain falls with the rainbow behind them in Caldwell Tuesday/Mike Vogt, Idaho Press-Tribune.

Extra! Veep Dick Cheney’s visit to Boise later today already causing traffic problems downtown here.

1. Free-lance cartoonist Milt Priggee doodles re: the kiss of death that Joe Lieberman received here.

2. Kootenai County Public Defender John Adams is asking for a jury from outside Kootenai County for Duncan’s October trial because pretrial publicity may have prejudiced the local jury pool here.

3. An Airway Heights mother is trying to come to grips with the catastrophe that has befallen her family — two daughters who were born seven years apart have died seven years apart to the week here.

4. Boise Mayor Dave Bieter is scheduled to sign the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement today. Bieter would be the first mayor in the state and 280th in the nation to sign the agreement designed to reverse global warming here.

5. The nurse charged with killing her 88-year-old patient by neglect said Tuesday that she followed the orders of the nephews who had power of attorney for the woman, who slowly died from a serious leg infection here.

6. IMHO-NW: Dan Popkey/Idaho Statesman (Repubs organize for Demo Grant), Bob Salsbury/Unbearable Bobness of Being (No liquids, no gels), G. George Ostrom/Hungry Horse News (Song in high places), Randy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press (10 Commandments: Behind the numbers), and Hindu/Sagebrush (Cantwell Flip-Flops).

Online Poll: A plurality of 39.5% of 747 respondents to an Olympian poll say the Seattle Seahawks will win the Super Bowl this season.

*Wife arrested for allegedly battering 300-pound former Seattle Seahawk defensive tackle here. Meanwhile, another ex-Seahawk has been arrested on a DUI charge here.

*Spokane County sheriff IDs body found in campfire here.

*Ranchers say sheep, cattle losing weight for fear of wolves here.

Orbusmax Special: Oregon Christian Coalition leader admits sexually touching three girls here.

JohnA: Live Free (Of Boise, Olympia) Or Die

John Austin: Bob, I agree that Idaho should be made back into a territory. Then, we could create a 50th state to replace it (after allowing Utah to annex everything south of Riggins.) Imagine a state that was centered on issues facing us in the north, with a legislative body that empowers rather than stifles the great initiatives we’ve advocated for years. Oh, to be King for a day.

DFO: I’ve had the unique experience of living in Kalispell, Mont., Lewiston and Coeur d’Alene — and working for an eastern Washington newspaper — for the last 30 years. All three of those towns are political light-years from their state capitals. I’d love to live in a state consisting of eastern Washington, northern Idaho (to the southern border of Idaho County) and western Montana. Indeed, to be king …

APhoto of the Day — 8/16/06

Jeffery Thurston, 10, of Auburn, N.Y., cuddles with one of the cows in a stable at the Wayne County Fair in Palmyra, N.Y., Tuesday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Daily Messenger, Vasiliy Baziuk)

JBelle: Jim Elder, Gibbs, Si; Hagadone … Hmm

JBelle: In any community, some are hailed, some are railed. I hear so many good things about Jim Elder and his restaurants. He is everywhere at once, helping in all kinds of meaningful ways, accessible to all. I hear many wonderful things about Steve Gibbs and Art Spirit Gallery. He is (almost) a patron saint of the regional arts community. Forgive me, I am a little blank this morning because I know there are others that I can’t pull up at the moment; business people who step up and do more than what’s required just because they believe you have to do right as well as be right. I don’t hear about the kindness of HH much, Wondering; who is to say why that is? But around here, the Cowles are legend, the Johnstons/Fix/Hansens are legend, the Murphys are legend, the Barbieris are legend; all because they gave much and then gave more and happily dished supplies and in-kind out the back door whenever they could. I’m not a big fan of the food service at the Resort; the ingredients never seem fresh to me. That’s a personal opinion! It’s not lost on me that many people go there and just love it. And that’s fine with me because that means the lines are short at the places I really like.

John Austin: I am one of a dwindling few it seems that appreciates what Duane Hagadone has accomplished here. He told me years ago that if he had come from somewhere else and offered to invest millions in the dying downtown, he’d have been welcomed with open arms (and probably urban renewal bucks.) But, since he was a local guy willing to risk his own dollars, he has been scrutinized and even chastised. I think there was a whole lotta truth in that long-ago comment.

Miss Teen USA … It’s Miss Montana

In a photo provided by the Miss Universe Organization, Katie Blair, center, of Billings, Mont., reacts after being crowned Miss Teen USA 2006 at the conclusion of the LIVE NBC broadcast of the 24th annual Miss Teen USA competition in Palm Springs, Calif., Tuesday. (AP Photo)

Question: Should We Have Settled With Paradis?

Issue: Former inmate to receive $900,000: Donald Paradis spent two decades in prison for 1981 death of Kimberly Palmer/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press

Lynnette McHenry, ICRMP claims manager: “It’s the nightmare claim. Even if a jury awarded Mr. Paradis only $1, the 1983 civil rights laws means the attorney fees would have to be covered and that would have been at least $5 million.”

DFO: Looks like the county insurance company is now in charge of meting out justice, and this former Death Row inmate is laughing all the way to the bank.

Question: Should the county have reached a settlement with Donald Paradis?

Fredericks: “The Weed”

Hayden photographer extraordinaire Doug Fredericks calls this work or art simply “The Weed.” And he’s dead on about that. Vile weed.

Frum Helen: Did You Used To Be A Lefty, DFO?

Frum Helen Back: I didn’t know everyone agrees with you Dave. Maybe I’m a lone decenter. I do enjoy reading the opinions of others. Sometimes they influence me and sometimes they don’t. Hey Dave, did you used to write editorials that leaned to the left?

DFO: I think so. I still have copies of the Chico State Wildcat in which a coupla other fools and myself overthrew the student newspaper because it was too establishment. And I have a clipping of a Chico Enterprise-Record article quoting me from a little disturbance I was involved in, after the Kent State massa-cree. Beyond that I can’t remember what I did or whether I went to college, for reasons I will not disclose here.

DOTC: HBO Should Be Holding Their Feet To Fire

Dan of the County: All of the local political “debates” I’m aware of usually consist of each person reciting a prepared opening and closing statement with a few limited questions in between (which in most cases have already been give to the “debaters” ahead of time). There are usually so many candidates at one time that due to time constraints, no one really gets to get much “meat” in the process. My suggestion to DFO still stands—live debates on HBO in real time with just a few candidates at a time and someone putting the questions and answers on the blog in response to “real” questions from the blog crowd. Now, that could be enlightening and scary as all get out.

DFO: Blogmeister KenP and I are going to talk about this tomorrow. I like the idea. Meanwhile, I’ve just signed up with Tony Stewart to be one of the four panelists to question congressional candidates Bill Sali and Larry Grant Sept. 15 at a North Idaho College televised debate. ME Mike Patrick will represent the Coeur d’Alene Press. Also, there will be panelists from the NIC Sentinel and the Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe.

BTW, you can read DOTC’s post from the state clerk’s association re: vote-by-mail discussion here.

Celeb Sighting …

Who? Dennis Franz and close family (wife, children and a grandchild?).
Where? The Cedars.
When? Last night.
Most noticeable (according to a Berry Picker)? Franz’s “skullet.” You know what I’m talking about - the baldness up top with longer locks drooping down the back. In his case, though, his skullet was a bit ratty and looked kind of dirty. I guess that’s the benefit of being a celebrity in Idaho, you can make the skullet work, even at Cedars.

Question: Who’s the last celeb, major or minor, that you’ve seen in Coeur d’Alene, beside Franz, John Travolta and Patty Duke?

McCrory: Something Fishy About Souza Conflict Story

“So why, three months after the May 9 Planning Commission hearing, did the Press suddenly see this as a timely news story? The timing of the story, resurrected from obscurity, suggests it was planted by someone wanting to discredit Commissioner Souza. The content of the story, or maybe the absence of content would better characterize it, is inconsistent with good reporting and good editing. It lacked substantive and complete information. The story’s timing, its inflammatory headline, and its suggestive but flimsy and filmy information make it reasonable for readers to question the Coeur d’Alene Press’s motives in publishing it. I do.”

For the rest of Bill McCrory’s comment about the Souza-conflict-of-interest story, click here.

Question: It’s That Time Of Year Again

Issue: Field burning season begins: Rathdrum Prairie first target/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review

DFO: How can the field burning season begin without at least a dozen Coeur d’Alene Press editorials and articles condemning it for ruining the tourism season? Mebbe we should let the fields burn when the wind is blowing toward Coeur d’Alene. Who knows? It might chase off the newcomers that the snow and cold don’t.

Question: Do you dread field-burning season?

Question: Why Isn’t CDA Hooked On Jazz Now?

Issue: Coeur d’Jazz canceled due to slow ticket sales, costs/Becky Kramer, Spokesman-Review

More Info: In the 1980s, a similar jazz festival drew nearly 10,000 people to North Idaho.

DFO: Jazzfest was a great idea that petered out. I’ve wondered why no one has picked up the torch and resurrected it.

Question: Why isn’t there more interest in jazz locally?

Question: How Would You Vote On 10 C’s?

Issue: Boise to put Ten Commandments to vote: City staff is working to get initiative on Nov. 7 ballot so voters can decide whether to have monument in park/Shawna Gamache, Idaho Statesman

More Info: The Idaho Supreme Court ruled Monday that the city of Boise was wrong to deny a 2004 petition to ask voters whether they want a Ten Commandments monument at the park. The court overturned a district court decision that had sided with the city in not allowing the petition.

Question: If we were talking about the 10 Commandments monument at the Kootenai County Courthouse here, how would you vote?

Spencer: I Will Fight Vote-By-Mail Legislation

Spencer (to Dan of the County): Don’t forget to tell the other Clerks that I plan to lobby against this legislation (for vote-by-mail). On second thought, don’t, it will be more fun if they don’t see me coming. ;)

DFO: Spen-sah; you’re wrong about mail-in voting, and you’re wrong about Proposition 2. The former will enable people to cast better votes because they’ll have the leisure to study the ballot. The latter would be a disaster for city and county planning if it’s passed. And I’ll make that point long and loud this fall in the editorial space of The Spokesman-Review.

JimmyMAC: Thumbs Up For Beverly’s

JimmyMAC: Bev’s is great no matter how you slice it. If food is one of your passions and you don’t mind dropping a c note than many many more times than not you will have a great experience dining at Bev’s. One of my favorite items there is the ahi with wasabi aoli. Also, Victor is an excellent server, always has been.

DFO: “Ahi with wasabi aoli”? What language is that, JimmyMAC? Tahitian?

WorldNetDaily Poll — Was US Involved In 9-11?

Question: Do you think the U.S. government was complicit in the 9-11 attacks?

1. Yes, evidence is overwhelming the government actually committed the terror
2. Yes, evidence proves it was ‘an inside job,’ that feds allowed it to happen
3. Some evidence points in that direction, though it’s hard to believe the government would do such a thing
4. There’s compelling evidence on both sides, so we can never know for sure
5. No, the government was napping on the job, but not intentionally complicit in killing own citizens
6. No, the government made mistakes, but was not grossly negligent
7. No, in such an open society, it’s difficult to predict and prepare for such attacks
8. No, I can’t fathom why some actually believe their own government committed the worst crime in U.S. history
9. No, the whole notion is preposterous, these conspiracy theorists are lunatics
10. Other

DFO: Nos. 6-9 and 10 (hell no)

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Wild Card/Monday — 8/14/06

Blogmeister KenP sent along that weird little Tango car — 8 1/2 feet by 39 inches — that has Spokaneites buzzing. You can find a photo of the little guy parked in a tiny spot here. KenP sez: “For god’s sake, just ride a bike.” I tend to agree. You can comment on the Tango. Or start your own thread with tonight’s Wild Card …

Toad: Goodness! DFO’s Icing Commenters

Toadman: Holy Crap … D’s gonna start putting people on ice (code for “killing”, of course … maybe he enjoys that?) … better watch my p’s and q’s… and any other letter that might get banned!

DFO: Not to worry, Toad; indeed, I put two regulars on ice in the last two weeks. But you have to work hard over an extended period of time, fail to heed warnings, and generally be asking for trouble to get nailed with a long-term or permanent ban. When I refer to the cooler in most instances, it means a cooling off period of a day or somewhat longer, until the commenter figures out who’s running this thing. You’ve been around here long enough to know I don’t toss someone in the cooler arbitrarily.

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 8/14/06

Family Phil continues his photo essay: “What I Did This Summer on the Pacific NW Coast” here.

Extra! Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise reports that state Superintendent of Schools Marilyn Howard is being treated for cancer here. Also, Betsy covered that state Tax Commission hearing on Bonner County property values here.

*A piece of advice if you are going to Big Al’s Mud bogs. It is a lot of fun once the show finally gets going and the announcer has a great sense of humor too. But bring you own comfortable folding chair, sez Amyrebba/That’s Life, here.

*Mommy Dearest/BrodH2O discusses the trials and tribulations of serving as default emcee at the annual Athol Daze Parade here.

*Nicholas Casey/Rants & Raves is worried that his wife has taken too much notice of the fact that two of their friends have recently bought homes here.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour speaks of rabbits, turtles, and outlaw Farmins in her latest post here.

*Toad/Synaptic Disunion worries for the woman he saw in a burka at the Wal*Mart on Division Saturday here.

HBO Page-View Nos. were strong last week, topping 5000 on Thursday and Friday and finishing at 29233 for the week for a 7-day average of 4176 per day.

Meawhile, Bayview Herb wonders where the tourists went while contemplating the tomatoes in his garden here, Jim cleans out his notebook here, Kristin notes that Iran’s prez has a blog now here, Brent loves library book sales here, CDADave is searching for solitude in all the wrong places here, and Kale offers another reason why not to use AOL here.

Cracked Mag Making Comeback

The September/October issue of Cracked magazine is shown Friday, Aug. 11, 2006 in New York. The story of how the crass humor magazine Cracked was killed and brought back from the dead begins at, of all places, two white-shoe law firms in Boston and New York. (AP Photo)

DFO: Anyone out there a devotee of “Cracked!” “Mad” or the like?

Flippy Floppy: Bunyan Holds Its Own With Hudson’s

The menu remains nearly identical to how it was 50 years ago as well. Where else can you get a Blue Ox Burger or a Hammy Whammy (mmmm - layers of thin fried ham and yellow mustard on a doublesize roll)? Their food is typically very good – a hometown joint with food made fresh and with a flair of originality you can only find at old small-town joints like this. The onion rings are killer – hand battered and fried to a perfect golden brown until they’re stuck to each other – so good right down to the little crunchy bits left at the bottom of your little red-and-white checkered tray. They will flavor your Coke with vanilla, cherry, chocolate and probably a dozen other flavors. They have fresh Huckleberry shakes for goodness sake, although they will cost you. In fact, I noticed that everything on the menu suffered a dramatic price hike recently, and a meal here can add up quick. The food is normally worth it here, but you could spend the same amount at Applebee’s or something and at least feel a little fancy.

For the rest of the food review by Patrick/Flippy Floppy, click here.

DFO: I’m beginning to believe that Patrick/Flippy Floppy is one of the unheralded treasures of the local online crowd. Mebbe the local media. Period. His reviews match anyone’s for excellence. And he’s better than most pro reviewers in connecting with his audience. Take a bow, Patrick.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 8/14/06

Spokane Regional Health District director Dr. Kim Thorburn chooses an evening gown at her office to wear that was handpicked for her makeover by Spokesman-Review columnist Doug Clark here. (Dan Pelle/Spokesman-Review)

Stapilus: Farm families still have an impact in eastern Washington’s 5th congressional district here.

1. David Horsey/Seattle PI paints what it’s like to “fly the evil skies” nowadays here.

2. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled this morning that the city of Boise was wrong to block a 2004 citizen ballot initiative on the Ten Commandments monument here.

3. Eastern Washington University student Neleigh Olson picked a bad time to wrap up her summer backpacking trip in Europe. And a bad airport. But how could she have predicted the chaos that descended on London Heathrow Airport on Thursday after the discovery of a terrorist plan to detonate bombs aboard London-to-U.S. flights here?

4. Rolling Stones fans shattered by policy as they try to get tickets to Missoula event here.

5. 726 soldiers, including 31 at Washington bases (9 at Fort Lewis) were booted out of the service in 2005 for homosexuality here.

6. IMHO-NW: Betsy Russell/Spokesman-Review (What a difference a week makes), Serephin’s Blog/43rd State Blues (LaRocco’s new anti-Risch ad), Missoulian (Foiled plot underscores relentless threat), Rebecca Nappi/Spokesman-Review (Pools are big part of small towns), Frank Mieli/Kalispell Daily Inter Lake (Easy labels, hard answers).

Online Poll: 71% of 1045 respondents to a Seattle PI poll say they don’t have a tattoo.

*Idaho still setting gas-price records while cost goes down nationally here.

*Tacks on trail ruin Coeur d’Alene Triathlon for some here.

*Anti-tailgating strategy backfires on I-90 here.

Orbusmax Special: U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, Demo Jon Tester deadlocked in Montana poll here.

Sandpoint Sue: BC Doesn’t Handle Its Zehms Well

“The Otto Zehm story affected me so much, and I’d like to offer a suggestion for you to think about for future articles on this subject. Bonner County has a very bad reputation for dealing with mentally ill people in emergency situations. My sister witnessed an episode at the Safeway store here yesterday. A young man known to have problems started acting up, throwing things in the store. The police were called. Thankfully they didn’t taser or hogtie him, but they simply escorted him out of the store and told him to go home. I hope he got there. He was apparently off his meds, and needed some medical attention. Unfortunately, Bonner General deliberately removed the padded room they have for mental patients several years ago, and instead require them to be transported to Kootenai at great expense to the police and sheriff. Because of this situation, law enforcement usually ignores these people. Its a sad thing for those troubled people, and for the safety of the community. I’m not sure what other towns experience, but its not a good situation here.”

Sandpoint Sue

Haves Carving Out Chunk To Show Off To Have Nots

Kathy Plonka photo

Issue: A debate over gates: The proliferation of secured luxury golf communities in North Idaho has generated an ongoing discussion among locals and developer/Erica Curless (pictured above with Gozzer Ranch development boss Andy Halloran, left), Spokesman-Review

More Info: (Marshall Chesrown) quotes a 1998 feasibility study as evidence: “Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, could be the last undiscovered jewel for recreation property left in America.” He grinned and massaged the leather on his ostrich-skin cowboy boot. “Eight years later, we’ve definitely been discovered.” It’s a feat he attributes to Duane Hagadone, who put Coeur d’Alene on the golf radar with his floating green.

DFO: I don’t begrudge the millions of dollars Chesrown, John Stone and those clowns from Discovery have made developing our lakeside. Cows or millionaires — not much difference as long as they stay for the most part behind their fences, er, gated communities.

Question: On a scale of one to 10, how would you rate the importance to Kootenai County of the upscale, golfing communities built by Chesrown, Discovery Co., and others?

AP Photo of the Day — 8/14/06

A South Korean riot police officer reacts while they block anti-U.S. protesters during a rally to protest a plan to relocate American military bases and South Korea-U.S. joint exercise this morning. You write the cutline. (AP Photo).

Paulos: New Gang Of Four Impeding My Boss

Rumor has it that a special executive committee of the Coeur d’Alene City Council is considering a special meeting prior to each regular meeting to study photo albums of the city in the period between 1910 and the time the first French traders visited the area. Aim of the committee is to kill ideas to the council by businessmen, especially successful ones. In an early session, the select committee was examining photos of horse-drawn, firefighting equipment and calculating the savings by eliminating the need for gasoline for today’s trucks. The now fire stations? Perfect for storing hay. Between fire runs, the Parks and Recreation Department could let the horses graze on the city’s ball fields, eliminating the need for expensive mowing machines and fuel to run them. … Committee members are Mayor Sandi Bloem, Councilmen Ron Edinger and Al Hassel, both former mayors, and newcomer Mike Kennedy. The group evidently drew courage from their successful two-foot battle with a spectacular development plan for Blackwell Island.

For the rest of Bob Paulos’ Sunday column in Duane Hagadone’s Coeur d’Alene Press, click here.

DFO: I’m trying to imagine the scenario in which SR Editor Steve Smith would allow this drivel in our newspaper. Strain. Grunt. Can’t do it. No way we’d allow something this self-serving — and poorly satired — to defile our pages. In the old days, The Duane would run a full-page house ad denouncing those who opposed him. Now, he’s relying on Paulos (or a ghost writer for Paulos) to defend his projects? My have the mighty fallen.

Question: Is this column fit to line a bird cage?

Question: A P&Z Conflict Of Interest Or Not?

Issue: Souza accused of violating conflict of interest laws: Cd’A man says planning commissioner should not have participated in meeting/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info (from Press): “A Coeur d’Alene man is hopping mad at a city planning commissioner who bounced his business off the map. Jay Weedon asked the city to charge Mary Souza with violating conflict of interest laws when she rejected his proposed children’s birthday party business. That business, which utilizes inflatable bouncy houses, would have been located behind the Charter Academy and across the street from Souza’s corporate event production company. ‘She should have dismissed herself from the meeting,’ Weedon said Friday.’”

Question: Did Mary have a conflict of interest? (Bonus Question: Is there anything such thing as a conflict of interest in Coeur d’Alene?)

Spokane Shock 50, Bakersfield 47

Charles Frederick of the Spokane Shock scores his second touchdown of the first half against Bakersfield tonight during their 50-47 Arena2 league playoff victory in the Spokane Arena. Next week, the Shock will play the Arkansas Twisters in Spokane for the National Conference Championship/Christopher Anderson, Spokesman-Review.

Alice Rankin: Like Daughter, Like Mother

I had a close encounter with a mother bear last month. One evening about 7:30 PM, I walked out on my front porch/deck and walked over to the side by the patio. I wanted to look at my raised Earth Box planters with the lushly growing tomato plants. Suddenly, I noticed something, about the size of a small dog, walking straight toward me on the patio, about seven feet away. For a nano-second I asked myself, “What is that?” Then my brain screamed, “BABY BEAR, RUN!” I am sure I covered the distance to my front door in Olympic record time.

Safely indoors, I looked out my front window in time to see the mother bear, on all fours, emerge from behind the planter. She had been about ten feet away from where I had been standing, but out of my sight. I that baby bear had made a noise, or squeak, when he saw me, that mother bear could have been over that planter in the wink of an eye and I would have been hamburger!

We have lived here at Kidd Island Bay since 1974 and I have never seen a mother bear with a cub before. And I pray I never do again! There have been a number of lone, big, black bears here through the years, eating apples, pears, plums and berries. But always at a distance, which is how I like them. I have never really been afraid before.

So it looks like someone was watching over my daughter and me during our close encounters with the local wildlife.

Alice Rankin
Kidd Island Bay

Katie: Yes, Gus & I Had Dinner, But …

Katie Brodie: Gus and I did have dinner last night before our public hearing at 6:00. I had been on vacation this week, and I asked him if we could meet before the meeting, get caught up on what had been going on and get a bite to eat … nothing very sinister, no blue prints, only office stuff. But thanks to ever is watching over us.

DFO: On the plus side, Katie, you only have 4 1/2 more months to live in the glass house. Afterward, few will notice who you’re having dinner with — and you might not like that either.

CDADave: Big P/U Drivers Boorish, Too

CDADave: Like Big Boat drivers, I think drivers of big pickups also operate their vehicles boorishly. I can’t begin to count all the times when a big diesel rig like a Dodge Ram has filled up my back windshield with its presence, driving maybe 6 inches in back of me. And if I’m behind one of those big rigs, I can’t SEE ahead of me. Sorta like having someone bend over right in front of your face.

DFO: I’m often amused by those monster trucks, too. They’re generally driven by stock brokers with cowboy boots who’ve never done a day of work on a ranch. Throw in a cell phone and a pinch of impatience, and you have a royal pain in the butt on your bumper.

Parting Shot — 8/11/06

Linda Newton, left, and her son, Kenny Newton, both rub their heads after removing giant paper mache renditions of George Bush and Condoleeza Rice after walking across the University of Washington campus earlier today in Seattle. They were participating in the national convention of Veterans for Peace there. The convention continues through Sunday. Both are from Lake Forest Park, Wash. (Elaine Thompson, AP Photo)

WorldNetDaily Poll: America’s Vulnerability

Question: America is most vulnerable to:

1. Airline hijackings
2. Suicide bombers
3. Snipers
4. Rocket or missile barrages
5. Attacks on food supplies
6. Shopping-center attacks
7. Infiltration of our ports
8. Hijackings of cruise ships
9. Border infiltrations
10. Other

DFO: No. 6

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Top Cutlines — 8/11/06

Lars Lottrup stands with only his leg protruding from a balloon Thursday at the International Clown Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/John McConnico)

Top Cutlines

In A League of His Own: Claude d. might be right after all, that the real estate market is on its last leg and the bubble is about to burst — John Austin.

1. Idaho’s three-legged stool of taxation after the special session of the legislature — Jane Q. Citizen.

2. Sadly Lars miscalculated last evenings testosterone dosage — Dave Tolle.

3. Genetic engineering sponsored by Sunkist farmers — Kristin.

HM: Bronx Boy

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

Marianne Has A Conspiracy Theory, Too

I may be stretching my conspiratorial imagination a bit, but has anyone else wondered about the timing of the BP pipeline shutting down and this foiled threat in London. Is there something we are NOT being told about the pipeline’s problems? Just something to chew upon.

Marianne Love/Slight Detour

Busted: An Artist’s View Of Sexy Hillary Clinton

The sculpture ‘The Presidential Bust of Hillary Rodham Clinton: the First Woman President of the United States of America’ sits on display at the Museum of Sex in New York August 9, 2006. Artist Daniel Edwards claims to have been inspired to make the piece after actress Sharon Stone said Clinton could never be president because she is a sexual being. (AP Photo)

DFO: Hillary’s come a long ways since those frumpy college campus days.

Huckleberries Best of the Northwest — 8/11/06

Marietta Jeager Lane, left, mother of a murder victim, hugs Heather, while protesting the execution of David Dawson at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge, Mont. Dawson, 48, died by injection at 12:06 this morning at Montana State Prison, becoming the first person executed in the state since 1998 here (Meanwhile, the only family member to survive Dawson’s murderous attack enjoyed a day at the beach here. (AP Photo)

Stapilus: Pencil it out with Spokesman-Review calculator before you jump on Gov. Risch property tax relief bandwagon here.

1. David Horsey/Seattle PI looks at Condi Rice’s midwifery in the Middle East here.

2. Another Bum Who Needs To Fry: Joseph Duncan isn’t set to be tried on triple-murder charges until October, but his attorney is already asking for Idaho’s protocol for lethal injection here.

3. A survey of the Children’s Administration shows that the people charged with running the Washington’s foster care and child protection programs have little confidence in their top leaders here.

4. Dream cross-country bike trip of retired Tacoma city worker ends abruptly in death here (free subscription required).

5. Dona M. Smith is proud of her orange-haired Pomeranian, Aris, who helped nab a murder suspect in June in a well-publicized feat of barking that revealed that the man was hiding in Smith’s Bellevue home. But now it’s Aris who’s in trouble: He’s been missing since Monday morning, and Smith is distraught here.

6. IMHO-NW: D.F. Oliveria/Spokesman-Review (Hate groups have rights, too), Hindu/Sagebrush (US helped foil terror plot), Billings Gazette (Sad, proud honor roll grows longer), Missoulian (Critters aren’t only ones in peril), and Kalispell Daily Inter Lake (Glacier Park road money in the bag).

Online Poll: By 49.6% to 42%, 2635 respondents to a Seattle PI poll support the ban by airport authorities of almost all liquids and gels in carry-on luggage.

*3 Fort Lewis Army Rangers charged in Tacoma bank robbery here.

*”Nigerian letter” con man’s prison sentence extended 6 months here.

*House Speaker Dennis Hastert to visit Post Falls here.

Orbusmax Special: Cindy Sheehan in Seattle for war resisters’ convention here.

Souza: The Way To A Woman’s Heart

Mary Souza: Remember that sex begins in the kitchen! So help out around the house and honor the private time you two have together(limit the blogging, TV, video games, etc).

DFO: Mary, I can see limiting TV and video games … but the blogging?! Gracious. Then, there’ll be no use for guys like me. Hello? Is anyone out there?

DOTC: Real Estate Recordings Still “Healthy”

Dan of the County: I noticed a few comments-questions about the volume of real estate sales, closings, etc. and how it may compare to last year. One fairly objective indicator is how many recordings we process in the Recorders Office. Every time someone buys, re-finances, or somehow affects the status of real property in Kootenai County it usually needs to flow through the Recorders Office. So I checked some numbers from the reports I get each month from my Recorders staff. The Recordings in July 2006 are 26% less than July 2005. The recordings for June of this year are about 25% less than June of 2005. Also, just for the real estate trivia buffs, June of 2005 was our highest month on record for recordings followed closely by August of 2005. So it does appear that was the peak of activity in recent years. It should also be noted that even though our current numbers are down a fair amount over last year, the numbers are still very healthy when compared to historical numbers in Kootenai County. This latest “boom” period started in about July of 2002 based on recording levels.

DFO: Our faithful public servant continues to keep us posted about interesting things at the courthouse. I know many elected officials blurk here. You’d be most welcome to join in the discussion as Dan of the County, MikeK, Mary Souza, and other public servants have done. This forum is a good way to communicate with the vox populi.

Inquiring Minds Want To Know …

… What Kootenai County Commissioners Gus Johnson and Katie Brodie were discussing, huddled in a booth at the back of Mulligans (Coeur d’Alene Inn), near the kitchen, with blueprints spread out in front of them. My spies heard the words “Hayden” and “lots.” Business, perhaps? Wouldn’t that make the rendevouz between 4:30 and 5 p.m. yesterday illegal under the state’s Open Meeting law? Hmm. After all, a commish quorum was present. Obviously, we know which odd man is out. Stay tuned.

SR: Deplorable Hate Groups Have Rights, Too

In Phelps’ convoluted way of thinking, the deaths of our fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan are proof that God is punishing this nation for tolerating gay men and lesbians. The church’s vile Web site celebrates those deaths. The protesters’ picket signs read, among other things: “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “Thank God for IEDs (improvised explosive devices).” Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church should embarrass American Christians. Only the lowest of the low would add to the anguish of grieving family members and relatives of fallen warriors by pushing a political or religious agenda at a funeral. However, Phelps has the right to do so.

For the rest of my editorial re: speech rights of hate groups, click here.

Question: Does the First Amendment protect the rights of hate groups, like the Westboro Baptist Church, to picket military funerals?

Huckleberries Hears …

… That House Speaker Dennis Hastert plans to be in Post Falls Aug. 22 to raise funds for Repub congessional nominee Bill Sali. Writes Jesseca Sali to the SR: “We are blown away by the showing of support we have been receiving. People like what Bill has to say about traditional family values, a strong national defense and limited government.” Speaking of support, insiders tell Huckleberries, that it’ll be interesting to see which Repub muckety-mucks show for the arm-twisting and which show their displeasure of the uberconservative nominee by staying away. Stay tuned.

Gozzer Ranch Hands Behaving Badly — Episode 6

Item: At 6:45 p.m. Sunday, KCSO marine deputies and other rescuers received a report of an injury boat accident at Squaw Bay:

“The initial investigation revealed that two teenage employees of Gozzer Ranch were riding different personal watercraft in the area when they collided with each other. One of the PWCs, a 2006 SeaDoo, was being operated by Jessica Walker, 18, of Smelterville. She was sitting on her PWC stationary in the water. The second operator, a 17-year-old male juvenile, was also stationary a short distance away. The male accelerated his 2005 SeaDoo toward the other PWC, but didn’t realize he was as close. He turned left to avoid a collision but instead struck the port side (left) of the stationary PWC with the bow of his PWC. The striking PWC impacted the stationary PWC at an angle causing it to partially ramp over. There was one additional PWC in the area but was not involved in the collision. Alcohol was not involved in this collision. Walker was transported to Kootenai Medical Center via ambulance where she received treatment for injuries caused during the collision. The male juvenile was uninjured.

DFO: Be careful out there — particularly when a Gozzer Ranch Hand is behind the wheel of anything.

Brits Foil Terrorist Plot, Air Terminals Jammed

An elderly man is taken away by strecher after fainting as travelers stand in long lines at Denver International Airport because of heightened security rules Thursday, Aug. 10, 2006. A possible terrorist plot to blow up planes traveling from England to the United States was discovered by British authorities here, here and here. (AP Photo/Denver Rocky Mountain News, George Kochaniec)

Question: Will this change your plans to travel by air in the near future?

Postmaster Kuntz Responds To Huckleberries

re: Buddy Frazier’s claim for $1000 damage to family heirloom sculpture.

Mr. Frazier didn’t file a claim. He left promptly after hearing what was required to process his claim, which is applicable to everyone. He did leave his insurance receipt of mailing, but it doesn’t list any personal information. So unfortunately we don’t have his phone number or address. I wish instead he had asked to speak with me, or get my number. He told Corrol (bulk mail director Bainard) he desired $100 per hour for 10 hours ($1000) to repair his creation. As you can imagine, the Accounting Service Center in St. Louis, who adjudicates all claims, will want verification that this is justified. It would be a poor business decision if we didn’t require some example or verification that his time is worth that. And regrettably this may be challenging for Mr. Frazier to prove. Once I am able to talk with him I will work to find a way to do so. However, I am not the arbiter of the final decision. St. Louis will be. Please continue to search for his number. I will do what I can to locate him as well. Once I talk with him I may suggest that we use a middle-person to assist us with this challenging task. I sincerely want to make this difficult process as easy as I can for him.

Philip Kuntz
Coeur d’Alene

DFO: I can kick myself for losing Buddy Frazier’s cell phone number. I’ve torn my office apart trying to find it. Dunno how to reach him. Obviously, Postmaster Kuntz and employee Corrol Bainard are trying to work with the unhappy artist who moved here recently from Alaska. Momma told me there would be days like this.

APhoto of the Day — 8/10/06

Muree Ahlberg, 2, of Bennett, Wis., takes a mighty swing at a plastic baseball in Solon Springs, Wis., Wednesday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Daily Telegram, Jed Carlson)

Rainbow: How About Cage Fight Rather Than Forum?

Rainbow Sparkle Angel Pony: DFO mentioned a public forum here for the flamethrowers to participate in to problem solve their differences. I’d be glad to participate, for sure. But, before we commit to this plan I’d just like to suggest another possible pathway to resolution. And that is cage fighting. Bring it to the octagon.

DFO: Truth be told, I don’t mind the flame wars and even the name calling all that much — after hours and on weekends. However, I get bugged, big time, when you guys — and it’s all guys involved in the perpetual struggle for control of the HBO comment section — come running to me in the morning to complain about the other guys. We need to talk about rules for you five (Rainbow, Mouse, GreenL, Claude, and DanG). If you can agree to what’s over the top, it would make my life easier. Having said this, a cage fight does have appeal — one with bars and barbed wire, so we can be assured that the last man/mouse standing is the true reining king of the blog section.

Poll: Sawyer Tops List Of TV News, Talk People

Issue: Americans Rate Television News and Talk Personalities: ABC’s Diane Sawyer tops the list/The Gallup Poll

Top 10: Diane Sawyer (80% favorable rating; shown above with Donna Deshon on Sandpoint who won a “Desperate Housewives” trivia contest on “Good Morning America” last September), Dan Rather (70%), Barbara Walters (66%), Regis Philbin (65%), Katie Couric (60%), Matt Lauer (59%), Larry King (57%), Charles Gibson (55%), Bob Schieffer (50%), and Brian Williams (47%).

Question: Who’s your favorite?

NIC Responds To Biz Letter

Manufacturing leaders’ ongoing frustration with North Idaho College and how well it serves their needs reached a boiling point last week with a bluntly worded letter to the college’s Board of Trustees. The business representatives said they had no confidence in NIC President Michael Burke and his ability to work with the business community to meet their employment needs. NIC trustees blasted back, calling the letter off-base and downright inaccurate. Now, more than a week later, all parties say the letter served as a call to action and a plea for better communication. “They’ve gotta quit accusing us and we’ve gotta quit being defensive,” NIC spokesman Kent Propst said.

For the rest of the story by Meghann Cuniff/Spokesman-Review, click here.

Question: Do you think something’s going to get done here?

Parting Shot — 8/9/06

Chris Flattery, one of the owners of Ottaway Amusement, works on the ferris wheel earlier today as the carnival is set up for the Tri-Rivers Fair in Salina, Kan. (AP Photo/Salina Journal, Tom Dorsey)

Coming Never To A Theater Near You …

Slate magazine introduces a slide show that’ll stop any conversation with this comment: “Is conversation dead? It must be, when people can’t even talk before a movie because they’re too busy staring at those cretinous trivia slide shows. Here’s one that’ll stop any conversation dead in its tracks. Grab your overpriced popcorn and Coke, and click here.

HBO’s Best Of The Local Blogs — 8/9/06

Family Phil took his camera along on his family’s recent vacation to Mount St. Helens and other western Washington spots here.

*Christine of Post Falls is staring the big 4-0 in the face and wondering if the heat surges she’s feeling have anything to do with the Big M as she starts a new local blog, Cinnamon Spice, here.

*A campout for his boys gives KaleJ/Unmuted Mumblings an opportunity to reaffirm their conviction that they shouldn’t use foul language like some other boys do here.

*Mommy Dearest/BrodH2O provides the ingredients for that Sanders Beach drink on Capone’s menu here.

*Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind argues that a penny isn’t much to pay for property tax relief here.

*Like most of us long-suffering Mariners fans, CDADave/Thin Air knows when to celebrate when a silver lining emerges from those dark annual baseball clouds, like Richie Sexson’s Grand Salami to win the game Monday night, here.

Meanwhile, Bob begins a discussion about his perfect world Bobopia here, Toad tells about getting flipped off here, Jim provides a link to a USA Today story re: UI football coach Dennis Erickson here, Nicholas observes his first anniversary as a blogger here, and Amyrebba has created a new blog to handle her genealogy work here.

CDADave: Alligator Wrestling … The Humane Way

DFO: BTW, I agree with a recent post by CDADave/Thin Air: What’s with Seattle announcer Dave Niehaus referring to cleanup hitter Richie Sexson as “Sexy,” all of a sudden. Terrible nickname … unless, of course, Niehaus considers the big slugger sexy.

The Cellar: Eulogizing Duncan’s Dead Brother

DFO Note: The Cellar is a blog dedicated to ferreting info out re: accused killer/child rapist Joseph Edward Duncan III.

Cellar Dwellers, and Cellar Blog readers, you need to know that Spyder (JED’s brother) died this past Monday (July 31) from a “heart aneurysm.” Spyder was a sensitive, caring man, with a couple “kids” of his own, who agreed with the focus of The Cellar Blog in recording the TRUE details concerning his older brother, Joseph Edward Duncan, III. He and I shared many, many e-mails and phone conversations since he first contacted me last July when I took over this blog, and I consider him my friend. Spyder was a great conversationalist, once you managed to break past the one- or two-word replies. Yeah, he had a LOT to be wary and protective about. Namely, “his daughter,” a young teen- who was the first person that alerted him to his estranged brother’s crimes when the local news broke in Washington, with an innocent, “Hey, isn’t that your brother Jet?” comment while the television news was blaring in the living room.

For the rest of the Post by The Cellar, click here.

Repub K-County Prefers Demo Tax Plan?

As the clever bloggers and commenters here at HBO have already noticed, there’s something about that Coeur d’Alene Press online poll that asks readers to pick which tax plan they prefer:

Republican plan: Use current state surplus and increase the sales tax to provide some property tax relief

Democrat plan: Use surplus and revenue from out-of-state property owners to provide some property tax relief

Total Votes: 2484

DFO: The Democratic plan outpolling the Republican plan in one of the most Republican counties of Red Meat Idaho? I don’t think so. Sounds like people are working the phones to skew a poll that’s already as unscientific as can be.

APhoto of the Day — 8/9/06

Soon-to-be bride Lee Penley of Alberta, Canada, and her Harley were photographed by bridesmaid Pamela Looney Tuesday at a wedding chapel in Sturgis S.D., during the town’s annual motorcycle rally. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Kansas City Star, David Pulliam)

Nappi: What Chance Did Kylla, Devin Have?

This column has some God in it, be warned. It begins with Mel Gibson, but it won’t stay with him for long, because this column is about the two babies in our community who died recently. Kylla Pahl, 13 months old, burned to death two weeks ago in her Coeur d’Alene home after a candle ignited a floral arrangement. She was alone in the home at the time. And Devin Miller, 20 months old, died Sunday in Spokane. His injuries were consistent with shaken-baby syndrome. His foster father has been charged with second-degree murder. Gibson’s drunken, anti-Semitic rant was a case of “in vino veritas.” This Latin saying means “in wine, truth.” I don’t have the excuse of too much wine for this harsh opinion that feels like truth to me: Kylla and Devin are better off dead, because after their rocky beginnings, what chances did they have for healthy lives?

For the rest of colleague Rebecca Nappi’s column today, “Babies deaths revealed painful lives,” click here.

DFO: As much as I admire Becky, I don’t agree with her original position: that Kylla and Devin are better off dead. (Becky came around later.) God’s grace, I believe, can overcome any horrible beginning or circumstance. As long as there’s life, there’s a chance.

Question: Do you believe Kylla, Devin are better off dead?

McIntyre: Dems Closer To McGovern Losing Strategy

Democrats lost the 2004 presidential election over leadership on national security. Last night’s win by anti-war Ned Lamont over pro-war Joe Lieberman, while joyous for the far-left netroots crowd, is a bad harbinger for future Democratic Party prospects nationally in 2008 and beyond. The closeness of the election only makes the outcome more frustrating for Democratic strategists. Had Lieberman eked out a victory, the Connecticut Senate primary would have been a huge win for the Democratic Party as they would have been able to reap the dividends of all the energy (and voters) Lamont’s candidacy had attracted, while at the same time sending a message to the country that the Democratic Party is large enough for pro-war Democrats. Had Lieberman held on and won, he undoudtedly would be reaching out to left-wing Democrats and pushing further away from President Bush and the Republicans. Instead, Lieberman will now be ostracized from the party and will be reaching out to Independents and Republicans while chastising the extremists in the Democratic Party.

For the rest of the column by John McIntyre/RealClearPolitics, click here. And for a column by Dick Morris predicting that Lieberman can still hold his seat, click here.

Question: Do you think U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman is done in Connecticut?

Wild Card/Tuesday — 8/8/06

Joe Lieberman’s going, going … and Cynthia McKinney is gone, as the nation’s D’s set their lineup for a run at Congress leadership this November. Dunno is the Donkeys will take over. Can’t do much worse than the R’s have for the last 12 years. Or can they? Hmm. That could be a topic for tonight’s Wild Card. Or you can simply start your own thread …

Mrs. Sam The Intern To Be — Thanks HBOers

Mrs. Sam The Intern To Be (aka, the lovely Kathryn): A.k.a. - I, too, wanted to say thanks to everyone for their well wishes and for offering their services. It is wonderful to have so many friends and family members offering to help us with the wedding. It definitely makes planning the wedding a little easier. I may not have posted on here before or spoken with any of you but I already feel like I know many of you just from what I hear from Sam. Thank you all so much for your support!

DFO: Speaking for all HBOers, Kathryn, I/we wish you the best wherever Sammy winds up for a coupla years. I also hope your road will lead back here to the SR someday. Your man is a solid reporter who’ll become a terrific journalist.

Horton: What’s Wrong With Pinevilla?

Dear Huckleberries:

“Whatsamatter” with Pinevilla? Are we the new “trailer trash”? I am very proud of our area, and my home. I am so fortunate that I live here instead of in Hunter’s Glen because maybe I would draw the Foskett Man for a neighbor, the nightmare neighbor!!!!! I sure hope he doesn’t have any grandkids, they would have to sit with hands folded in the perfect house with the perfect grandparent!!! He gives a new meaning to the word “neighbor.”

Diane Horton
Post Falls

Top Cutlines — 8/8/06

Janet Jackson has created another stir by posing strategically nude for Vibe magazine. Jackson, who lost 60 pounds before posing for the September issue, talks about her relationship with 33-year-old music producer Jermaine Dupri in the mag. You write the cutline. (AP Photo)

Top Cutlines

1. The Jackson Two — Rainbow Sparkle Pony Angel.

2. Janet Jackson reveals her shellfish side — John Austin.

3. Can’t blame the wardrobe malfunction here, there wasn’t any wardrobe — KaleJ.

HM: Cis

For all of today’s cutlines, click here.

RedTed: Charge Washingtonians To Use Waterways

RedTed: Speaking of CDA waterways, how about charging the out of state folks (namely our friends to the west) higher fees for using boat launch facilities. As a CDA local, I’m sick of seeing all those Washington plates jamming up the boat launches while us tax paying Idaho folks lose out on parking spaces, etc.

DFO: First, RedTed, welcome to the HBO comment section. There’s always room for one more. Secondly, I’m totally sympathetic to your complaint re: the crowded waterway. However, as former state legislator Wally Wright found out years ago when he tried to charge out-of-state boaters extra for licenses, it’s illegal to treat tourists and visitors differently than locals on such matters. If memory serves me correctly, Kootenai County imposed the fee that Wally (then a Bayview marina owner) pushed. But it got tossed out at the District Court level. I guess we have to grin and bear it.

Daily Briefing: Why We Didn’t Run Fine Plonka Photo

Blogmeister KenP explains why we published a photo of a Spokane Indians crowd shot instead of this nice wildlife shot by Kathy Plonka (of deer running toward the shade of the underpass on Pennsylvania Avenue in Coeur d’Alene on Monday) in his Daily Briefing here.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 8/8/06

Heidi Dietrich, 27, works out on Green Lake in preparation for the National Masters Rowing championships on Green Lake in Seattle earlier today. Seattle has never quite seen the likes of the flotilla coming to town this week, estimated at approaching 2,000 rowers, with age-group classes ranging from 27 to 75 and up here. (AP Photo/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Paul Jopseph Brown)

Hindu/Sagebrush: Beware of Breast Feed In at Yakima park here.

1. The suspect in the disappearance of Spokane resident James F. Ehrgott and in two subsequent homicides was arrested Monday in Southern California when two newspaper press operators foiled a carjacking here.

2. In the best tradition of Mother Teresa, warm-hearted columnist Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review finds another worthy cause to exploit — the political troubles of Spokane health director Kim Thorburn, who, he believes, is in bad need of a wardrobe makeover, here.

3. A Renton, Wash., man was burned over most of his body and his passenger ejected when their sport utility vehicle crashed, allegedly after it was involved in a hit-and-run accident here.

4. Some analysts have hinted that gasoline could reach $4 a gallon in the Pacific Northwest and California, as a result of the closure of the Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, oil field here.

5. A first-degree assault charge was upgraded to second-degree murder Monday against a Spokane foster father suspected of beating a 20-month-old boy who died Sunday. Avery E. Sam, 37, remained in jail in lieu of $500,000 bail here.

6. IMHO-NW: Idaho Statesman (Risch property tax relief has its price), Spokesman-Review (Judge Thorburn on judge performance), Joel Connelly/Seattle PI (McGavick victimized by poison politics), Bert Caldwell/Spokesman-Review (A reason for Spokane’s optimism), and Dave Boling/Tacoma News-Tribune (Freakish Seahawk Peterson, free subscription required).

Online Poll: 45.2% of 1432 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll say that Tour de France winner Floyd Landis cheated by increasing his testosterone levels.

*Richland, Wash., residents find racist fliers in front yards here (free subscription required).

*U.S. Sen. Max Baucus’ brave nephew remembered at Montana military funeral here.

*The Montana Grizzlies were picked third in the preseason Sports Network Division I-AA football poll here.

*Oregon 2-year-old killed when struck by a lawn mower here.

Orbusmax Special: Washington judges admonished for leading football cheer, demanding that Muslim woman take off head scarf here (may require free Tacoma News-Tribune subscription.

APhoto of the Day — 8/8/06

Janet Jackson has created another stir by posing strategically nude for Vibe magazine. Jackson, who lost 60 pounds before posing for the September issue, talks about her relationship with 33-year-old music producer Jermaine Dupri in the mag. You write the cutline. (AP Photo)

Hard 7: Exposing A Demo For Lieberman

Former special counsel to President Clinton and current supporter of Sen. Joe Lieberman Lanny Davis wrote an op-ed for today’s Wall Street Journal that’s even more intellectually dishonest than the tripe that usually passes for deep thought on the WSJ’s editorial page. Davis attacks the bigotry of bloggers who oppose Lieberman and support his antiwar Democratic challenger, Ned Lamont. “My brief and unhappy experience with the hate and vitriol of bloggers on the liberal side of the aisle comes from the last several months I spent campaigning for a longtime friend, Joe Lieberman,” he writes.

See how Frank Sennett/Hard 7 knocks down Lanny Davis’s arguments by reading the rest of his blog post here.

Parting Shot — 7/8/06

Jimmy English, with Wildlife Removal Service, puts an elastic band around the mouth of a six-foot alligator found in the yard of Joe Wayne and Inge Cheshire in the River Oaks subdivision of New Hanover County, near Wilmington, N.C., earlier today. About 20 area residents gathered around to watch as English, with help from his nephew, Joe Carroll, quickly snared the alligator and brought it under control. (AP Photo)

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 8/7/06

Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns snapped this photo en route to a romantic lunch on upper Priest Lake last Aug. 31, her birthday. Don’t forget to check out her blog on happenings around Priest Lake.

*Drag queens in Coeur d’Alene on a quiet Sunday. You betcha. And Patrick/Making Flippy Floppy was there at Club Pendulum in the downtown area to file a report here.

*Frum Helen Back/Hauser Thoughts posts a “death clock” on her blog, so you’ll know when you’re going to check out here. After Sept. 1, 2021, I’ll be living on borrowed time.

*Speaking of death, Mommy Dearest/BrodH2O sez she almost checked out during her annual rafting trip, which still still rates as one of the best ever river floats, here.

*Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind, who did a knockout job subbing for Best of the Local Blogs last week, wonders why Americans are drawn to tragic movies, like “JFK,” “In Cold Blood,” etc., here.

*Councilman MikeK reminisces about Susan Butcher, the first person to win three consecutive Iditarod championships, who died Saturday here.

*CDADave/Thin Air eschews the German sausages at Art on the Green for one that was $2.50 cheeper at the Memorial Field concession stand here.

Meanwhile, Marianne spots her first ripening tomato here, Stebbijo and Bob are becoming addicted to their salt-water tank hobby here, Family Phil is sorting through photos after a weeklong vacay here, the various wars are getting to Mari here, and Jim introduces us to a daily blog from one of the UI Vandal football players here.

Extra! UBob Shares Huckleberry Spot w/Toad

“I had a nice weekend, went lakin’ on Saturday with the kids and went huckleberry picking on Sunday with cool guy, Toadman, and his lovely wife and energetic yet quite well behaved young lads. Here’s the deal tho … I fancy myself the grizzled yet caring safari leader (straight outta Hemingway!) of huckleberry hunting. I have an access permit to private timberlands! I have over 25 years experience locating and removing the lil purple rascals! Toadman and his family are recent Texan transplants who need Bwana Bobness! So, I took em to a spot that involved scrambling about on a fairly steep hillside (none of you coulda handled what I put this nice unsuspecting family thru) landmined with rotted logs and branches and brushed with foliage one can only imagine as what will be left growing after the nuclear winter.”

For the rest of UBob’s post re: huckleberry picking, click here.

Question: Do you have a favorite story re: huckleberry picking? Or: Have you ever shared your fave site with a friend or family member?

Easter Egg — For Those Who Want To Help Dubya …

… back rub his way to Whirled Peas here.

Opponents: Trade Sandpoint Bypass For Tunnel

The Sandpoint Public Works Committee has unanimously agreed to hold a special meeting this fall to discuss digging a 2,250-foot tunnel for U.S. 95 beneath the town. The tunnel is an alternative to a proposal to route the highway around the town, which some say is dangerous and will harm downtown Sandpoint’s waterfront ambiance. Both projects are intended to relieve traffic congestion. “Most of (the tunnel) is hidden from sight and that’s the beauty of it,” Steve Potter, a member of Citizens for the Sandpoint Tunnel, recently told the city’s Public Works Committee.

For the rest of the Associated Press story, click here.

Question: With recent cutbacks in regular Idaho road projects and decades of talk about the Sandpoint bypass to date, is this worth discussing?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 8/7/06

Two caribou walk down a road near oil transit and other pipelines on the Prudhoe Bay oil field on Alaska’s North Slope Friday, Aug. 4, 2006. BP Exploration Alaska, Inc. began shutting down the Prudhoe Bay oil field Sunday after the discovery of unexpectedly severe corrosion and a small spill from a Prudhoe Bay oil transit line here. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)

Eye On Boise: Check out the online calculator provided by The Spokesman-Review to see how Idaho Gov. Jim Risch’s proposed property tax cut will affect you here.

1. Milt Priggee/Puget Sound Business Journal shows how gas prices are affecting vacationers this year here.

2. Students will return to the dorms at Washington State University in a couple of weeks, but the police won’t – at least not without a warrant or an invitation here.

3. Reacting to community shock that a Spokane police officer would rent his basement to a convicted sex offender, columnist Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review provides a checklist to prevent someone else from bunking with a dangerous roommate here.

4. Nephew of U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, eulogized for heroism after being killed in action in Iraq here, while Kansas hate church pickets funeral here.

5. Tri-Cities, Wash., police waste no time in finding stolen doughnut truck here.

6. IMHO-NW: Spokesman-Review (Don’t punish Spokane for spill), Frank Mieli/Kalispell Daily Inter Lake (Sacrificing safety for rights), Rebecca Nappi/Spokesman-Review (Naming Spokane’s unknowns), Randy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press (Blog utility and Idaho radio), and John Blanchette/Spokesman-Review (Judy Doba kept WSU coach in game).

Online Poll: A plurality of 49.7% of 1535 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll believe that Iraq had WMDs in 2003.

*Washington Medicaid officials plan to rewrite regulations to make it clear the state will no longer cover sex-change operations here.

*Rolling Stones’ Boise concert sells out in 54 minutes here.

*Misplaced remains, possibly of 15-year-old girl, show up in Pocatello evidence locker here.

Orbusmax Special: Oregon family learns the high cost of down-loading free songs here.

Pony: Top 10 Things Newly Rich Idahoans Would Do

Top 10 things most Idaho residents would do if they got real rich real quick:

1. Blow stuff up
2. Blow more stuff up and sneer at cops
3. Drive noisy fast boats with trophy babes stirring up mai tais
4. Laugh at the little people
5. Cut in front of lines
6. Drive HUGE trucks and SUVs with really dark tinted windows.
7. Hog up all the good tables at restaraunts and lounges, tip 20% of your blood alcohol level X the current Fed rate.
8. Release 1000 white doves on your palatial grounds for your fat texan friends to shoot with expensive italian shotguns.
9. Hire Dang to write your biography.
10. Hire Bill McCrory to train your perimeter snipers on proper use of warning shots to scare the locals away from hiking on your property that they’ve all hiked on all their sad little lives until you bought it up and plan to clearcut the cedar groves to put in an ATV race track.

Sparkle Pony

Will Ferrell Mimicks Bush On Global Warming

Cis sends this along with a note: “I am not a Ferrell fan…. but some are” here.

Photo Of The Day — 8/7/06

Mommy Dearest/BrodH2O explains this photo she snapped while inner tubing on the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene: “Finally, we arrived at the Big Bridge where some of us tried out the rope swing. As we waited by the side of the road for our ride, I spotted something in the bushes. My mind had been so far from work when I saw it. What’s this? A remnant of the spring judge’s race?” You write the cutline.

Question: Lieberman Too Moderate For D’s?

Issue: Lieberman campaign promises fight in last 2 days: Poll released last week shows challenger leading 54% to 41%/Associated Press

More Info: Lieberman, a three-term incumbent and his party’s vice presidential candidate in 2000, has been dogged by liberal Democrats angry at him for supporting the war in Iraq. Lamont, a political newcomer and founder of a cable company, has capitalized on the war’s unpopularity in Connecticut by accusing Lieberman of being too close to Republicans and President Bush. A Quinnipiac University poll released last week showed the Greenwich businessman leading Lieberman 54 percent to 41 percent.

Question: Will national Demos be hurt in the eyes of the electorate nationwide, if Connecticut D’s dump him for a more liberal candidate?

AM Huckleberries: Friesz Still Hits Mark

Columnist D.F. Oliveria is back from vacation and will resume writing his column on Tuesday. Today’s Huckleberries column is written by Kelly Richards, executive director of Concerned Businesses of North Idaho and mother of one of John Friesz’s Little League players.

As students prepare to return to college campuses this week, one local man will be returning to his college glory days. Former University of Idaho quarterback John Friesz will receive the ultimate honor in college athletics as he is inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. As fellow Vandals and avid sports fans, my husband and I both were on campus when John was breaking records and winning awards on the football field. Even though I knew John by name only, he made quite an impression on every Vandal fan. John now lives a quiet, unassuming life in Hayden with his wife, Julie, and three sons, Hunter, Jake and Carter. He shares carpool duties and helps supervise school field trips. In acknowledgment of all those who contributed to his gridiron success, John spends countless hours giving back by coaching parks and rec basketball and Little League baseball and also helping with junior tackle football. He is teaching by example how a premier athlete conducts himself on and off the field. Congratulations on your honor of a lifetime, John. As I watch your young protégés listen keenly to you on the field and treasure their “Coach John” trading cards at home, I see you are making quite an impression on them, too.

Kelly Richards/for DFO

DFO: A monster Hat Tip to Mike Kennedy, Thom George, John Austin, and Kelly Richards for filling in for me — superbly — while I was on vacation. It enabled me to relax that much more.

Wild Card/Sunday — 8/6/06

I see Sam The Intern made Huckleberries Online history Saturday by becoming the first Huckleberry to announce his wedding plans here. Very cool. He and his beloved Kathryn are planning to two-step to the Hitchin’ Post before job offers take him elsewhere to continue a journalistic career, which, I predict, will be sterling. Some of you already have wished Sam and Kathleen the best. The rest of you can use this Wild Card to share your best wishes with the happy couple or to start a new thread. We’ll have a lot to discuss when I return to the Huckleberries Central Monday …

Wild Card/Saturday — 8/5/06

Blogmeister KenP did another yeoman’s job this week posting items that kept things hopping here while I enjoyed a coupla days of camping. Just a weekend left until we soldier on through the dog days of summer and then into the school year when things really get interesting — especially with state and local politics looming dead ahead to distract us from the important things in life. But we’ll talk about that then. Now, we need to enjoy the weekend and mebbe post a new thread or two with this Wild Card …

Cis’ blog roundup - Friday

Dogwalk Musing found something to rant about. She has a few questions to the “Emperor” and a kudo to the CDA councilpersons here.

Erin’s family trip to Seattle is a bitter sweet time. Pushing, helping a sister pack and clean house before they leave, visiting sights, and visiting with family before they start to spread apart for a while.. all in a few

Construction and “you can’t get here from there” has Stebbijo wondering… about the next 2 months, here.

Dave thinks about what he can still do before summer is over. As the cool weather reminds us that fall is closing in behind here.

Jbelle’s post is short… a word…Summertime… and a picture.. but then you know you should stop and smell the flowers… a picture can say a thousand words here.

Bob beating stress, in the only way Bob knows how. His way… 1 thru 10, here.

A lot of the bloggers seem to be enjoying the summer so posting is spacy…so let’s end this week with some pictures from…

Doug Frederick, which always is kind to the eyes, and the mind. Here is a picture and chose your pleasure.. and a neat saying..
When there’s nothing to see, look.
Dakota Indian saying …………..Which we all can learn

And finally, sometimes the upper part of North Idaho gets lost in the shuffle… so here are some pictures to click on and we all know why we are lucky to live in this area we call North Idaho.

‘Personal dignity outweighs freedom of speech’

A Chinese journalism professor has won a lawsuit against a blog hosting site that refused to remove remarks criticizing him by one of its users, state media said Friday.

It was believed to be the first time that a person in China has sued a blog host for defamation. Winning shows “personal dignity outweighs freedom of speech,” the professor, Chen Tangfa, was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

The site,, was ordered to pay Chen 1,000 yuan ($126) in damages and post a formal apology on its home page in a ruling handed down Wednesday by a court in the eastern city of Nanjing, Xinhua said.


KenP says: Thank goodness, for DFO’s sake, that we don’t live in China…

Daily Huckleberries: John Austin

I have some advice for the elderly, cautious out-of-towner (old C.O.O.T.) I saw driving his RV 1 mph up Beauty Bay hill. A kind gesture (as opposed to those you received) would be to head to Shoshone County, where you’ll get away from the traffic (and me). First, stop in Murray, whose former residents included Molly B’Damn – she got her nickname by driving her buggy 1 mph – and Wyatt Earp, last seen chasing his horse out of town. (He needed a better corral, even an OK corral, but that’s another story.) Next, try Wallace, with its Brothel Museum and Sierra Silver Mine Tour. Both are testaments to the bygone days when we had high-paying jobs around here. Finally, since you’re so close, why not continue on to Montana, where they have enough national parks, hot springs and keno to keep you busy for weeks. Thanks, you’ll do us both a favor.


Thursday wild card

First, the part where Paulman casts judgment on the postings:

Best Spokane blog name from within the newsroom: “Old Men Blowing their Noses on the Sidewalk,” (Doug Clark) followed closely by “Potholes Online (anonymous).”

Best Spokane blog name overall: Well, I don’t think we’ve managed to top “Methamphetamines Online,” (RSPA) which gets bonus points for overall packaging.

And the best cutline: Joanne, using her magnifying glass, saw that there was a new type of cockroach on her kitchen floor tile. (Cis, who gets an ‘A’ for creativity).

Here’s the afternoon wild card…

Photo of the week

You write the cutline:

A window washer works on the facade of Bank of America Stadium in uptown Charlotte, N.C. Thursday. (AP Photo/The Charlotte Observer, Todd Sumlin)

Daily Huckleberries: Mike Kennedy

I have a vision of Pat Flammia in his kitchen where I first met him, his bushy mustache and gnarled fingers kneading polenta into a dish. He was a portrait of every Italian country gentleman I’d ever known – a wonderful, artistic, loving portrait. Then I picture him in an apron, lording over the corn-on-the-cob booth at Art on the Green.

Anyone who’s ever enjoyed that corn – not to mention the festival – can thank Pat. He painted stirring landscapes and images of people with no faces. I don’t know what they meant to others, but to me the faces were all the same. Every kind of person, all stripped of features, all the same. He was part of the tapestry of Coeur d’Alene that I fell in love with 15 years ago, listening to bagpipers on the North Idaho College campus, seeing beautiful paintings, eating great food. I didn’t know who Pat Flammia was that weekend I moved here.

Pat died last week, and there won’t be a formal memorial service for him. But this weekend, Art on the Green will be an informal three-day celebration of his life and the many contributions he and his wonderful wife, Sue, have made to our community. So, come down, and when you’re nibbling an ear of corn, be sure to look skyward and give a wave. Job well done, Pat. Rest in peace.


Everything ‘freedom’ is French again

U.S. House Republicans have dropped their snub of France by renaming french fries “freedom fries” at House cafeterias.
UPI, 8/2

Question: Were we too hard on France for opposing the Iraq war?

A note from Dave Tolle

I can understand geopolitical wars. They are the works of humans and their ideals. Humans are really, really dumb when compared to a God. I cannot understand religious wars. Allah and the Lord are renown as wise and compassionate types. Would either of them be at the forefront of today’s fighting or in the war rooms deciding when and whom to kill? Are they not humble enough to give up a temple or a piece of land to keep their human flocks at peace? Do they not see the tragedy of dead children? Are they to blame for all this misery and anguish? I don’t think so. It’s people who won’t allow their Gods to do the work or make the concessions to keep the peace. Near sighted, small minded, selfish, stupid 21st century religious zealots from all sects are fueling this ugliness. Humans have progressed quite a bit since the frameworks of these religions were founded but they’re still dumb enough to wholesale slaughter one another despite the basic tenants of these religions invoking the name of their incredibly smart and peace loving Gods. Guess its time for these Gods to send this planet another offspring to set things right or just erase the board and start all over.

A blast from the past

Hauser Thoughts has obtained a top-secret document from the Kootenai County Courthouse I.T. department. Evidently, this is the message that users received when trying to access HBO during the post-election ban:

Shawn Keough launches a pre-emptive strike

Another anonymous post recommendation:

Each election cycle candidates for legislative office receive many many questionnaires from special interest groups. This year, I have had about 50 in my mailbox. This year I’ve elected not to respond to any of them. While some are sincere in their requests for information, most are at best slanted with loaded questions designed to entrap the candidate and at worst could be construed to be a contractual agreement when a candidate is required to sign a statement locking them into the answers without consideration for the future which might include new information or changes in circumstances.

Betsy Z. Russell / Eye on Boise

Question: To whom are state legislators accountable? If your representative refuses to answer a special interest survey does it influence the way you vote?

The Duane gets shut down

Another suggested post from an anonymous berry-picker:

With Mayor Sandy Bloem casting the deciding vote, the Coeur d’Alene City Council on Tuesday rejected an annexation that developer Duane Hagadone needed for his proposed Blackwell Island development.

…Goodlander voted to approve the annexation, along with council members Dixie Reid and Woody McEvers. Voting no was Bloem, along with Mike Kennedy, Al Hassell and Ron Edinger.”

Question: What do you think Duane will do now with the Blackwell development?

Line-Up For Guest Huckleberries Print Writers

Here’s the lineup for this week for the guest writers who’ll be filling the Huckleberries print space. (Still looking for one more.)

Wednesday (for Thursday) — Mike Kennedy.
Thursday (for Friday) — John Austin.
Friday (for Monday, Aug. 7) — Kelly Richards.

For: Mike, John & Kelly; write what you will in 150 words and send your copy in to Regional Editor Scott Maben ( by 3 p.m. on your assigned day. Please send along a number that he can reach you at, too. Also, provide a brief description line for the end (aka, “Mike Kennedy is a Coeur d’Alene City Councilman.”) Good luck. And thanks.

Meghann Cuniff’s best of the INorthwest

Alert S-R reporter Meghann Cuniff sent along the following items:

The vice prez will attend a Boise fundraiser to support congressional candidate Bill Sali here.

The mayor of Portland is so fed up with the gadflies at the city council meetings that he’s trying to implement a “only one public testimony per month” rule. There’s video of him going off on a couple of gadflies at past council meetings. here.

Question: Would you pay $2,100 for a photo with Dick Cheney?

The elusive Idaho Democrat

Another suggested post from a berry-picker…

The Kootenai County Democrat is becoming an increasingly rare sight on the campaign trail.

Two District 3 legislative candidates dropped out of their respective races in July and no replacements were found in time.

It means Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, and Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden, are virtual locks to win re-election this fall because they’ll be running unopposed on the November ballot.

Democratic candidates drop out of races - Marc Stewart / CdA Press.

I know this has been debated before, but I’ll pose the question again - does the lack of opposition hurt the democratic process? Or is this just as much a reflection of the will of the voters as the election itself?

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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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