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Archive for January 2006

Pretty As A Picture

As the sun breaks through clouds above, a herd of elk walk together through a clearing in the River Rim housing development, in Bend, Ore., Monday.(AP Photo/The Bulletin, Andy Tullis)

Headlines @ Closin’ Time — 1/31/06

This photo was too darn cute to pass up: Cristian Ramirez, 5, left, and Marquise Malachi, 6, try out their new clown noses on each other, today in Spartanburg, S.C. Clowns from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus came to the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind and taught the children clown tricks. (AP photo)

*Excerpts from Bush’s address tonight: ‘Our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who we are’/Associated Press — In case you want to get the gist of his speech without sitting through all that gratuitous clapping.

*Cindy Sheehan to attend Bush address: Rep. Lynn Woosley gives anti-war activist gallery pass late today/KNTV-TV, San Jose — What are the odds of Sheehan sitting quietly through the speech? Betcha she’ll get tossed for yelling something from her perch.

*John Roberts swears in Alito: Jurist takes both constitutional, judicial oaths/Associated Press — OK, now let’s overturn Roe v. Wade (gratuitous baiting of Sue up in Sandpoint). My guess? Roe v. Wade is safe. But we’re finally going to rein it in somewhat with parental notification laws being upheld and partial-birth abortion being outlawed.

*Court: Partial-birth abortion ban unconstitutional: 9th Circuit panel cites measure’s lack of exception for mother’s health/Associated Press — Good. The Roberts court is now in place to slap the clowns on the 9th circuit upside the head for this idiotic decision. Partial-birth abortion goes against a supermajority of public opinion. See previous item.

*Hillary raises over $21 million for Senate bid: Polls show her more than 25 points ahead of nearest GOP rival/Associated Press — If Hillary didn’t come across as an angry, white woman, she might have a chance at the presidency. She should pump all her money into the New York race because the U.S. Senate is about as far as she’s going to go without divine intervention. (See poll showing her with only 16% national electoral support.)

Best of the Local Blogs — 1/31/06

I know I’m becoming a broken record about this, but Doug Fredericks’ photos are sheer artwork. Here’s one called “Sunny Morning” from 2005.

*Put your hands together for Herb Huseland/Bay Views, who has completed his first year of blogging Monday, an impressive feat not to be taken lightly, here.

*Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise is on a blog roll today, posting re: Phil Reberger’s denial that he’s not a lobbyist here, state Rep. Jim Clark’s comments that he’s not pushing property tax relief to hurt children here, and an interesting bill among the 31 calling for property tax relief that could help millionaires here.

*Cis/From A Simple Mind explains why she’s going to pass on President Bush’s State of the Union speech tonight here.

*Sam Taylor/Vandal Sense, former news editor of the UI Argonaut, has returned to reporting, which he loves but it’s not conducive to school work here.

*Bill McCrory/Whitecaps takes former Spokane Police Chief Roger Bragdon to task for misrepresenting crime-response figures prior to that big public-safety tax vote in November here.

Also: Granati explains why you should be careful with Wal*Mart carts here, CDADave brags about scooping CNN here, and Patches reports on her broken tail here.

Coming Attractions

Don’t you just love Dubya’s smirk? It’ll be on display tonight at 6 when he delivers the annual State of the Union speech. I have a prior commitment, so you can use this post to comment re: what you think of Bush’s speech. This is an AP file photo from 2002. (Blogmeister: This posting is nothing more than a gratuitous attempt to inflame Bob, GreenL, Toad, et al, into a blogosphere meltdown. I’m ashamed of you. DFO: Take a number.)

HBO — to Bob 2

Bearable Bob: “I think to make attending Brokeback Mtn a litmus test for the tolerance of homosexuality is beyond absurd. It’s, it’s, it’s BLOGSURD. I’m incredibly tolerant of homosexuals but I have no INTENT on seeing that movie. I want my cowboys stupid and insensitive. I want them saving up their buffalo nickels for trollops in Dodge City…NOT THIS.”

DFO: Bob, this is why I missed you from pre-Christmas on. I couldn’t have said this without being banished to outer darkness as an incorrigible Neanderthal (which, come to think of it, may not be that far off). Your comment is a coffee-spitter. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship — ah, a beautiful platonic one, that is.


It’s My 2 Cents — 1/31/06

In the last week, I’ve stirred things up here by asking an un-PC question re: that WSU date rape survey and by announcing last night that I didn’t plan to see “Brokeback Mountain.” The rape question, albeit poorly worded, triggered a week-long civil discussion here that underscored my contention that the issue isn’t as black-and-white as some people think. It also solidified my standing as a neanderthal among some colleagues who tried in vain to censor the question that launched the thread. Fortunately, Editor Steve Smith understands the value of debate in the public square, even though he thought I was full of beans (and said so in the comments feature of this blog). Last night, I poked a stick in the direction of the controversial gay sheepherder movie for the purpose of launching another discussion. Some people have closed minds about controversial topics, on the right and, yes, on the left. However, I learn from these discussions. They’ve gone a long way in helping me see things through the eyes of others — and respecting others. Nothing’s off-limits, as far as I’m concerned. I’m willing to go into hell (facing the anger of colleagues and derision of commenters here) for a heavenly cause (of fostering legitimate debate on controversial subjects). Usually, journalists can hide behind telephone recording machines, fax machines, editors, and the high wall that separates the newsroom from the public. I commit journalism here in real time. You can respond to me instantly. I try to be transparent. I ask questions that make people uncomfortable, including fellow journalists. I don’t have all the answers. I make mistakes. I try my best.

Quotable Quote

“Here’s a reason to root for the black and gold. ‘Pittsburgh has devolved into a has-been metropolis more akin to Spokane than, say, San Francisco.’ – from a column on the Super Bowl in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Go Steelers. Hey, us has-beens have to stick together.”

For the rest of Paul Turner’s “Slice” column today, click here.

Question of the Day — 1/31/06

Issue: State of the Union Address

What’s At Stake: “The president’s job-approval ratings reached their lowest points last fall but have recovered slightly. Bush can’t seek re-election, but Republicans have to worry about midterm elections and preserving their majorities in Congress.”

Question: Do you care?

HBO — to Bob

Bearable Bob: “I don’t know…but it seems like the Cialis and Viagra spammers have just hammered this site ever since DFO’s rather simmering description of cowboy man love.”

DFO: I didn’t know my description was “simmering” (to remain at or just below the boiling point). I was relatively dispassionate at the time, trying to repeat to you the way the Berry Picker reported it to me. BTW, he said that, overall, “Brokeback Mountain” was a decent flick. But your contention that there’s some link between the Cialis/Viagra spam and my, ahem, simmering is way off base. I’ve been slammed with the stuff for awhile, and the blogmeister is hesitant to block the words because manufacturers of those products also advertise. So, what’s a humble blogger to do? I routinely delete the C/V spam when I see it — and move on. I do the same to a troll that we’ve picked up from the Athol area. If anyone needs the products, however, I could leave a few bits of spam online, as a public service. ;-)

Running Late

I was visiting my padre this morning; so, I’m just getting started. QF6 ETA 10-15 minutes.

P.S. — “Brokeback Mountain”

Issue: “Brokeback Mountain.”

Review: I just got a report back from a Berry Picker who was dragged by his wife to the gay shepherd movie, “Brokeback Mountain,” at the Regal Cinema Sunday. Packed house, both Saturday and Sunday. Great scenery. At least a half hour too long. Only one scene in which the audience sucked in its collective breath, according to the Berry Picker — when Heath Ledger unbuckles his belt in the process of, ah, consummating his love for bent-over fellow sheepherder Jake Gyllenhaal. (But no one walked out.) Other than that, the BP said, it was decent acting and pretty scenery. And wouldn’t have been a big deal at all if a man and a woman had been involved.

DFO: Sorry, Hoss, I’m not going to see it. Besides, I’d never hear the end of it from my brother-in-law, who is a bonafide bronco-busting cowboy from eastern Montana, not a celluloid wannabe hired hand like Ledger and Gyllenhaal. I’d rather remember Ledger in “A Knight’s Tale” or portraying Mel Gibson’s son in “The Patriot.” Chick flicks are bad enough. But a chick flick featuring dudes is worse. Give me “King Kong,” “Lord of the Rings 2” or even “Indiana Jones” any day.

Question: Are you going to see/have seen “Brokeback Mountain”?

Headlines @ Closin’ Time — 1/30/06

In this image from television transmitted by the arab news network Al-Jazeera on Monday Jan. 30, 2006, Al-Jazeera aired a new videotape Monday of kidnapped U.S. journalist Jill Carroll, showing her wearing an Islamic veil and weeping as she speaks to the camera, purportedly appealed for the release of female Iraqi prisoners here.

*L.A. radio host sparks Muslim anger: Now challenges Islamic group to denounce all terror, recognize Israel/Billboard Radio Monitor — If morning man Bill Handel’s trying to build an audience, he definitely is succeeding. But I’d check under the hood of his car each time he drives it, before turning on the ignition.

*Half of Americans give Bush thumbs-up: While 49% of those polled disapprove of president’s performance/WorldNetDaily — OK, GreenL, this one’s for you; what’s boosting his popularity — the humming economy? The Iran threat? Is it a cyclical thing?

*Al-Qaida No. 2 terrorist: Next attack on U.S. soil: In video, al-Zawahiri calls president ‘butcher of Washington and a failure’/WorldNetDaily — Take a hard look at that photo of the tearful journo above. This is al-Zawahiri’s work, terrorizing women and other unfortunates who wander into his demented clutches. And he calls Dubya a butcher. Al-Zawahiri’s has some real mental issues.

*Hillary Clinton: U.S. ‘impatient’ for woman prez/NewsMax — Agreed. Condi would be great.

*ABC Anchor, Cameraman Showing Improvement/Woodruff, Vogt ‘very seriously injured, but stable’/Houston Chronicle — Say what you want about the MSM, but journos routinely put their lives on the lines to bring you the news from hot spots around the world.

Top Cutlines — 1/30/06

Greyhounds chase a rabbit during hare coursing competition at Clonmel Race Course in County Tipperary, Ireland, earlier today. (The rabbit lived, btw.) Hare coursing is the hunting of hares with dogs but the term typically refers to a sport in which the primary purpose is to judge the athletic ability. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines:

1. Elected officials chase down the last buck remaining in the taxpayers’ pocket in order to balance the budget — Jane Q. Citizen.

2. Anymouse and Dang react to the discovery of another Idaho Democrat in their neck of the woods — Side Note.

3. The silly wabbitt completely misunderstood the term “muzzle velocity” — Thom George.

HM: Bre & JBelle

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

HBO — to Richard Miller

Richard Miller: “Don’t like the new format, but I’m sure the subscription price will drop, since the paper is smaller. That’s right, I was born yesterday! Also, it looks as if Mr. Oliveria had a really bad week–he seems to have aged a lot from the previous week’s photo!”

DFO: Ouch!

HBO — to RBW

RBW: “Wonder if Managing Editor Gary Graham refers to former President Carter as James Earl.”

DFO: Funny you should mention that. In our Editorial Board meeting today, we discussed the Chris/Christine name change. One of the Edit Boarders mentioned that Jimmy Carter might have been the first presidential candidate to go with his nickname rather than his given one. Jerry Ford, for example, was dubbed Gerald. Richard Nixon was known by his proper first name when he wasn’t being called “Tricky Dick.” Someday, there’ll probably be a swing back to formality.

Extra! Alito Moves Closer to Nomination

Cloture vote to cut-off debate on Alito passes 72-25, final vote will occur tomorrow 11 am EST.

Hat Tip: GreenL

Best of the Local Blogs — 1/30/06

*I was chuckling (nervously) as I read the analysis by Marianne Love/Slight Detour that compared the full-page ad in today’s paper about the Jenny Craig weight reduction plan to the size of the new SR model here.

*Family Phil makes a good argument re: why all-day kindergarten isn’t a good idea for families like his who have a parent available to care for the kids here.

*Amyrebba bids a sad farewell to the family Trans AM, which she sold on Ebay, but she knows that financial freedom is more important here.

*Bre/To Blog or Not to Blog struggles with her diet at the one-month mark as she watches weight melt off her husband (“those darn guys lose weight faster”) here.

*Stebbijo/Your Choice can’t believe hot dog kits are now available for the uber-lazy, just in time for the Super Bowl, here.

Also: Cis doesn’t have an opinion about the new SR look because (drum roll, please) she didn’t get her fish-wrapper today here, Erin welcomes her family back from India here, and CDADave goes through brief withdrawals as he gets through a weekend without sports here.

Chris or Christine?

I’ll pull back the curtain on the newsroom this a.m. — to show some of our thinking re: the names of public oafish-als. Recently, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire’s staff circulated a news release that said Her Christineness preferred to be called “Chris.” That, of course, sent the newroom Powers That Be scrambling for the AP stylebook. This morning, Managing Editor Gary Graham circulated this note: “AP has decided to adhere to its stylebook, which says it honors the requests of news sources when it comes to preferred first names. We, too, will abide by AP style.” No problemo here, except (there’s usually an “except” with HBO) … I wonder why the switch on the guv’nah’s part? “Christine,” I believe, sounds more regal than “Chris.” Opinion Page Boss Doug Floyd, however, sez it adds a tougher edge to this state’s Queen Cee. What do you think?

APhoto of the Day — 1/30/06

Greyhounds chase a rabbit during hare coursing competition at Clonmel Race Course in County Tipperary, Ireland, earlier today. (The rabbit lived, btw.) Hare coursing is the hunting of hares with dogs but the term typically refers to a sport in which the primary purpose is to judge the athletic ability. You write the cutline.

HBO — to JBelle

JBelle: “Exxon posts the greatest quarterly profits in American history while the price of gas spikes in the same quarter! Where’s the outrage?”

DFO: Indeed. (However, I must admit, that the Exxon stations in Coeur d’Alene regularly sell the cheapest gas in the region — for those without Costco cards. Go figure.)

Quick Fix 6 — 1/30/06

1. APhoto Fix: An Exxon station is shown in Dallas, Monday. Exxon Mobil Corp. on Monday posted a record profit for a U.S. company of $10.71 billion in the fourth quarter, as the world’s biggest publicly-traded oil company benefited from high oil and gas prices and demand for refined products here. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)

2. Cartoon Fix: Henry Payne (Mining jobs), Rob Rogers (Oprah’s book club), and Ed Stein (Hamas).

3. Humor Fix: Daniel Kurtzman’s “” site offers a spoof of past State of the Union speeches by Dubya here. (Warning: Republicans with weak hearts should pass on this one.)

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

5. Top of the News Fix: Study: Bush backersd more biased against blacks here, ‘Brokeback’ shut out at SAG awards here, Rescuers save all 72 Canadian miners here, World’s first face transplant recipient revealed here, and Protests over Muhammad cartoon grow here.

6. Opinion Fix: Debra Burlingame/Wall Street Journal (Our right to survival), Leonard Pitts/San Diego Union-Tribune (The Wal*Martification of America), William Rees-Moog/London Times (Grow up, Google), Michael J. New/National Review (Pro-life laws saving lives), and John Leo/US News & World Report (Left joins right in attacking Big Media).

HBO — to Thom George

Thom George: “I too see the change in the past few years, but find it difficult to fault the ‘city officials’ for the growth of our area. People from all over the country are seeking out areas that are more beautiful, cleaner, more affordable and less crowded than where they are from. Since North Idaho excels in all those catagories it is no surprise that we are growing at an unprecedented rate. City officials are no more responsible for our growth, than they are for the sun rising in the morning.”

DFO: Bingo.

HBO — to True Native

True Native: Name one journalist at the Press who qualifies as good or great. I bet you people you CAN NOT do it!

DFO: TN, I’ve answered your question in the comments section. But it prompted another thought. You could put together a virtual all-star team, if you’d asked about top-notch journalists who are Coeur d’Alene Press alum: Columnist Doug Clark (former Press M.E.); Sports columnist Dave Boling of the Tacoma News-Tribune; national sports columnist T.J. Simers (of LA Times? SD Tribune?), WSU PR guy Bob Frank; Ric Clarke, Keith Ericson, etc. Shawn Vestal, Taryn Brodwater on our staff. Etc. And many more. I’m a former Hagadone M.E. (5 years of hard time in Kalispell, Mont.)

HBO — to Side Note

Side Note: “Speaking of sex being out there, two words: freak dancing. Tonight my job took me to the late night club scene and, my gosh, the freak dancing was completely sexual in nature. I won’t go into detail but it was simulated sex acts of all types on the dance floor. When a kinda cute young asian woman started freak dancing at me, I’m not making this up, and trying to get me to freak dance with her I freaked out and told her I was working and couldn’t dance.”

DFO: Our good friend Side Note from west of the Cascades is no prude. By the nature of his job, he pokes his nose into all parts of area life in his community. If he sez “freak dancing” (which some call simulated sex on the dance floor) is over the top, no one should argue.

Wild Card/Saturday — 1/18/06

Well, it looks as though the HBO gang’s almost back, with the return of Bob, Kick Shoe, et al,
Friday. Even George Thomas/Ain’t No God checked in earlier in the week to say he still didn’t believe. The only one missing is Any Mouse, whom I tossed in the cooler for a week or so, but have invited back (under his real name). The challenge now will be to keep the level of discourse as high as it’s been in the last month, while having fun. I must admit I’ve had my shorts in a bunch for awhile. And haven’t been the most gracious host. But I pulled out of that tail spin last week. I’ll work harder to keep things light here — even when we’re discussing tough topics, as we have this week. Meanwhile, I want you to treat each other with respect, be passionate, and have fun. Here’s your Saturday Wild Card …


CMAC: “Society has become less sensitive to sensual/sexual/private matters. As a young teenager (early ‘70’s), I remember being horrified the first time I saw a television ad for tampons (my brothers were in the room). This was shocking to me. Last year I got so sick and tired of hearing ads for Viagra type drugs for “male enhancement.” It’s terrible to have this message blasting 24/7 from the radio and TV. Yes, I am selective to my viewing and listening … but can’t control what ads will be played. Being the mother of two young women (and two sons), I feel like a salmon swimming upstream trying to shape their modesty. Our society in general thinks that sex is cheap not holy between a married husband and wife. One has to wonder with the likes of promiscuity, delayed marriage or living together, me first attitudes, and disfunctional families, how on earth is this up and coming generation going to turn the tide. Rape is a byproduct of our moral decay.”

DFO: Not only was this an insightful comment re: the “rape debate” started Monday evening by a hurried question, but it was posted by newcomer CMAC. I appreciate the thoughts she expressed as well as those from Russ, Bob, et al. It’s a touchy subject, as was evidenced by an attempt in the newsroom to stop the discussion before it started. Seems some in my profession believe some subjects are settled and therefore off limits. Amazing. Fortunately, Editor Steve Smith isn’t one of them, although he thought I was way off base to frame the question the way I did — and said so firmly in the comments feature of this blog. That may have been a first in newspaper history — an editor ripping an in-house journo blogger on his blog. And then giving him the go ahead to continue “to step in it.” I deserved the criticism for not explaining myself better. Well, I had my debate. My respect for Smith has increased. And it’s obvious that the subject is far more complicated than some are willing to admit.

HBO — to Dan of the County

Dan of the County: “On a more serious note, I guess I would ask about what the readers think of an active candidate and/or already elected official making comments on their own race. I think we all had some fun and learned some things with Mike Kennedy but I wouldn’t want to be inavertently “over the line” with my fellow bloggers. Of course, the day we can’t talk about politics at all … I’m outta here …”

DFO: First, DOTC, you’re not a blogger; you’re a blog commenter. A blogger is the guy or gal who dedicates him/herself to the terrible discipline of pumping words into blogosphere from a designated site. As to your concern about stepping over the line … I thought MikeK struck a nice balance. Hey, if the other candidates aren’t sharp enough to use this resource, that’s their problem. Mike went a long way toward re-inventing himself as a centrist nonpartisan via this blog. My biggest regret re: MikeK is that he might be too gunshy to participate here. Mebbe he has to be uber-cautious now that he’s an official pol. Wish Ryan Hill would check in, too. As for your final point re: a political-free HBO. Never happen.

P.S. — 1/27/06

Issue: Reality shows

DFO: We’ve been delving into some pretty deep (and controversial) subjects this week. So, how about something lighter to push us into the weekend. A current Idaho Statesman online poll asks readers to name the reality show they’d like to be on: What reality TV show would you like to be on from the following: Survivor, Amazing Race, Apprentice, Real World, American Idol, Other, None. If I was 25 years younger, I’d jump at Survivor.

Question: Which reality show would you like to be on? And how do you think you’d do?

Wild Card/TGIF — 1/27/06

The weekend’s only 3 or 4 hours away, HBOers. You have some things below to ponder, including the re-emergence of Bearable Bob, George Thomas yesterday, and Any Mouse’s decision on my offer to rejoin the fray — under his own name. I didn’t have time to post Best of the Local Blogs today. Sorry. I’m bushed. It’s been another interesting week. Mebbe next week’ll be calmer. Then, are things ever truly calm at HBO Central? Here’s your first weekend Wild Card …

Top Cutlines — 1/27/06

Greg Heil chases after his ski-easy-chair after he spilled and it got away from him as he participated in recent furniture races at the Bruce Mound Winter Sports Area, near Merrillan, Wis. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The News-Herald, Dan Young)

Top Cutline:

1. Melissa Johnson, of Mount Hood Oregon, patented her latest invention, the anti-lounger, which she claims can not be caught by any man. Melissa was quoted as saying “this little honey gets my man off his fat a** and out doing his chores” — Whatever.

2. X-treme sports networks work out bugs on new interactive viewer stations. Greg chases down his seat after a bathroom break goes bad — KaleJ.

3. Greg, a former couch potato, makes a video of his new exercise program to sell on the Home Shopping Network — A Token D.

HM: Bob (welcome back)

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

Where Were You?

The space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after lifting off from Kennedy Space Center in this Jan. 28, 1986 file photo. All seven crew members (Bottom, from left to right: Ellison Onizuka, Mike Smith, Christa McAuliffe, Dick Scobee, Greg Jarvis, Ron McNair and Judy Resnick.) died in the explosion, which was blamed on faulty O-rings in the shuttle’s booster rockets. The disaster shattered NASA’s image and the belief that flying on a spacecraft could become as routine as airplane flight. (AP photo/Bruce Weaver)

Question: We’re not going to be getting together tomorrow, on the 20th anniversary of the disaster. So, I’ll ask this now: What were you doing when the Challenger exploded?

Huckleberries Best of the Northwest — 1/27/06

Cody Fisher filled out the questionnaire at the St.Thomas soup kitchen but said that he is not living on the beach but staying with friends in Coeur d’Alene earlier this week. St. Vincent de Paul is leading the semi-annual count of homeless people in North Idaho. (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

1. David Horsey/PI provides another example of why he isn’t on the White House Christmas card list here. And Milt Priggee/Skagit Valley Herald welcomes born-again Seahawk fans onto the bandwagon here.

2. “Drowned out by the incessant yammering about the Seahawks in the Super Bowl are those who opposed building Qwest Field with taxpayer subsidy, and others who are outraged by a region going gaga over a bunch of big boys in pads,” writes Stuart Eskenazi/Seattle Times, here.

3. Washington Senate passes gay-rights bill here.

4. Montana’s top environmental regulator is putting pressure on BNSF Railway to move forward with cleanup of polluted railroad yards, saying the state will put a lot less effort into future negotiations with the company here.

5. Philip Morris USA will stop supplying cigarettes to illegal Internet and mail order dealers as part of an agreement with attorneys general for the five Pacific Northwest states as well as 32 other states and territories here.

6. IMHO-NW: Danny Westneat/Seattle Times (Don’t apologize for us — in Spokane), Ted S. McGregor Jr./Inlander (Wal*Mart picks another fight), Missoulian (Rise, fall of Winchester rifles), John McGrath/Tacoma News-Tribune, free subscription required (No-name coach teaches M’s to swagger), and Steve Kelley/Seattle Times (Neo-Hawk fans’ football smarts suspect).

Online Poll: By 44% to 40%, 1,025 Seattle PI respondents say they haven’t noticed more cigarette butts littering the sidewalks since Washington’s statewide smoking ban took effect.

*Study: 6.5% of Idaho’s school age children are unaccounted for — more than double the national average — here.

*Feds shoot 2 Idaho wolves after cattle killed here.

*Inland Northwest bars say business gone with the smoke here.

Orbusmax Special: 11,500 dead Washingtonians still registered to vote here.

Question of the Day — 1/27/06

Issue: More limits on smokers possible: State air board declares secondhand smoke a toxic air contaminant/LA Times

DFO: I have been amazed at how much effort is put into banning smoking, which can kill in a secondhand manner over an extreme period of time; yet, no one seems to be very serious about drunkenness. In Washington, habitual drunk drivers are treated like catch-and-release fish. They pose far more of a risk to my family than the cowering smoker at the entrance to a public building.

Question: Why are we so tough with tobacco but look the other way re: alcohol?

Does Idaho Need An Anti-Gay Marriage Law?

Does Idaho need a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage? (Coeur d’Alene Press online poll of 1010)

Yes — 48.8%
No — 50.1%
I don’t know — 1.1%

WorldNetDaily Poll — The Meaning of Hamas

What does success of Hamas in Palestinian elections mean for peace in the Mideast?

1. Annihilation of the Zionist state
2. Hamas is the true voice of the Palestinian people – this is a great step forward
3. The responsibility of governing will force Hamas to become more moderate
4. Hamas will become just as corrupt as the gang of Arafat cronies it replaces
5. It won’t make any difference
6. It gives Israel a reason to halt the return of more territory
7. It’s good news – the new government now has an honest face and terrorism an unambiguous address
8. More terror against Israel than ever before
9. World War III just got a little closer
10. Other

DFO: Nos. 4, 6, 8, 9

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

P.S. — Dealing w/Internet Jerks (A Must Read)

“But why the surprise when dissent (at the Washington Post Internet site) took such a nasty turn? Potty-mouthed jerks have been part of Internet discourse since they hooked two UNIVACs together and the second accused the first of being a !&#*! John Bircher. Great swaths of the blogosphere are rich and smart and civil, yes. Other areas are infested with people whose hatred for George W. Bush is so intense they keep a squeegee by the TV to wipe the spittle off the screen.”

Journo blogger James Lileks/Newhouse News Service goes on to provide clip-and-save tips on how to be a jerk on the Internet here.

Hat Tip: Bayview Herb for drawing this to my attention.

Wild Card/Thursday — 1/26/06

I’ve been a little owly of late — what with blogging at the speed of light, late nights and early mornings, and blog trolls to deal with. As I wrote on the comments side yesterday, I’ve snapped at a coupla commenters, anonymous and otherwise — some of whom might have deserved it. But, as your blog host, that’s no excuse for my semi-flame responses. So, in an attempt to be kinder and gentler, I’m extending an olive branch to Facts/Any Mouse, the uber-conservative who got the boot last week for refusing stubbornly to post a pointed question directed to Editor Steven A. Smith on the Ask the Editors blog rather than mine. Here’s the deal I have for the Mouse: I’ll let him post here, if he still wants to. But … he’ll have to post under his real name. I do. Ditto for some of his main targets. Deal, Mouse? The rest of you can comment on my recent surliness, this fine offer to Facts/Any Mouse or start your own thread with this Wild Card …

AP photo of rare mouse

Top Cutlines — 1/26/06

Bo, an 8 1/2 week old Border Collie, is surrounded by baby pigs as they nurse from a mother pig named Bertha at Greg and Nancy Balzly’s home in Benjamin, Utah, Tuesday. The couple noticed that their two Border Collie pups were gettiing fat even though they weren’t eating the dog food that had been left out for them. The couple found their puppies nursing from the pig. You write the cutline. (AP photo)

Top Cutlines:

In A League of His Own: In a shameless display of promiscuity, little Bo peeps at Bertha’s bare chest — John Austin.

1. Bo gets caught stealing from the public teat — Thom George.

2. The Spokane Visitors Bureau promotes diversity at the annual Pig Out at the Park event — Westsider.

3. I asked for bacon flavored dog food and this is as close as they could get — Whatever.

HM: Upclose

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

Afternoon Question — Oprah Ap-hollow-gizes

Issue: Author Frey admits fictions, Oprah apologizes/Reuters

Additional Info: Author James Frey confessed to Oprah Winfrey on Thursday that he made up details about every character in his memoir “A Million Little Pieces” and the talk show host apologized to her viewers, saying she felt “duped.”

Question: OK, let’s come clean here. Do you watch “Oprah” — and are you willing to let the world know it?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 1/26/06

“At my age, this thing could be a death trap,” said Osburn, Idaho, resident John Cuthbert,63, on Wednesday about the chopper he won from a national drawing sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts.The chopper was custom made by Orange County Choppers, of the Discovery Channel show American Choppers. John said that he is not opposed to selling the bike because he and his wife prefer ATV riding. (Kathy Plonka/SR photo)

Blog Special: You can find initiative activist Tim Eyman’s latest theatrical trick on Rich Roesler’s Eye On Olympia blog here.

1. Eric Devericks/Seattle Times shows how Google can help domestic spying here.

2. Huge student debts are haunting college graduates who basically have to go through life with two mortgages, according to Carol Smith/Seattle PI, here.

3. The federal government spends about $6,000 per bear per year to protect grizzlies in the lower 48 states here.

4. Gonzaga coach Mark Few recently compared the Bulldogs’ Adam Morrison, the most proficient scorer in all of NCAA Division I men’s basketball, to Old West legend Jesse James. It’s an intriguing comparison that seems to work on a couple of different levels, according to Steve Bergum/Spokesman-Review, here.

5. An additional seven women have testified that a northern Idaho man failed to tell them he had tested positive for HIV before having consensual sex with them, bringing to 13 the number of women who have come forward here.

6. IMHO-NW: Robert L. Jamieson Jr./Seattle PI (School caves in to political correctness), Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (Tree-huggers’ tactics don’t cut it), Jamie Kelly/Missoulian (Hetero man does “Brokeback Mountain”), Bill Virgin/Seattle PI (Commonalities between Seattle, Pittsburgh), and Art Thiel/Seattle PI (How to finagle a Super Bowl).

Online Poll: 63% of 1292 responding to an Idaho Statesman poll say Idaho should sleep state inmates in shifts to economize prison space.

*The “Survivor” reality show is holding a casting call on Groundhog’s Day at Eagle, Idaho, near Boise, here.

*An 18-year-old North Idaho woman has been charged with a three-way rape of a younger teen here.

*Idaho gets high marks for employment growth but a failing grade for the quality of the jobs created in an annual economic development report card released today here.

Orbusmax Special: Arkansan to sell D.B. Cooper cash here.

Huckleberries Best of the Local Blogs — 1/26/06

“Here’s an old view of Spokane, from about the mid-1940’s. Look at the railroad bridge which extends itself ABOVE the Monroe Street bridge!” CDADave continues his walk through history in his Thin Air blog today here.

*Family Phil supports the traditional family dinner, with everyone sitting around the table, but he fears that he can’t keep that intact in his house once the urchins become teens here. And he provides a link to a New Mexico columnist who agrees as well as introduces the concept of “scramboli” here.

*Mari Meehan/Dogwalk Musings sez Prosecutor Bill Douglas is toying with a mistrial by contending that Groene family murder suspect Joseph Edward Duncan III can get a fair trial from a Kootenai County jury here.

*Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind wonders how school officials can tackle bullying effectively when “American Idol,” the most popular show on TV, allows judges, like Simon, to destroy dreams with their bullying tactics here.

*Bre/To Blog Or Not To Blog describes the wrong way to apply for a job here.

*Sam Taylor/Vandal Sense provides a quick roundup re: what he’s been doing as News Editor of the UI Argonaut this semester and how his plans to live at home while he works for the SR CDA office this summer hit a brief snag here.

Also: Jim provides a morning update tour for UI Vandal fans here, Marianne tracks down a mysterious cell phone caller here, Patches is sending out invites to a kitty nap-a-thon here,

Question of the Day — 1/26/06

Issue: Commissioner questions $50M jail bill: Currie says KMB’s proposal needs to be more conservative/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press

Commissioner Rick Currie: “If the same thing comes befofre us, there will be one commissioner not supporting the expansion. I know the need is there, but we asked for too much last time.”

Commissioner Katie Brodie: “The finger pointing and saying whose fault it is is over. Weneed to look forward and decide what we can do differently and to find a package that meets the need and is taxpayer friendly.”

Question: I should have picked this up yesterday. But better late than never. Which commissioner represents your thinking about the jail expansion?

SR Edit: Protect Idaho Initiative Process

“Now, Democrat Sen. Elliot Werk of Boise is sponsoring a bill that would give voters a final say when the Legislature repeals an initiative. Senate GOP leaders oppose the idea, of course, which means it doesn’t have a chance of passing. However, that doesn’t mean the legislation isn’t needed, if for nothing else than to show how far out of touch with average Idahoans supermajority Republicans have become since they gained solid control a dozen years ago.”

For the rest of my SR editorial today, click here.

Quick Fix 6 — 1/26/06

1. APhoto Fix: President Bush leaves the podium ending a news conference at the White House this morning in Washington. President Bush defended anew his program of warrantless surveillance, saying “there’s no doubt in my mind it is legal.” He suggested that he might resist congressional efforts to change it here. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

2. Cartoon Fix: Robert Airail (Alito & party lines), Mike Lester (Gay cowboys), and Drew Litton (Cry baby NBA players).

3. Humor Fix: David Letterman’s “Ten Surprising Facts About Osama Bin Laden” here.

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

5. Top of the News Fix: USA Today: 1st year in college riskiest here, Schoolboy’s suit argues system favors girls here, Oprah re: author Frey: “I was wrong” here, 46 below in Fairbanks here, and Marriage amendment set for Virginia ballot here.

6. Opinion Fix: Steve H Hanke & Stephen J.K. Walters/Wall Street Journal (War on Wal-Mart claims casualties among poor), Peggy Noonan/Wall Street Journal (Bush the Romantic), Dick Morris/The Hill (Why Dems can’t sink Alito), New York Times (Filibuster Alito), and Susan Vigilante/National Review (“The DaVinci Code”: A history primer?).

P.S. — 1/25/06

Issue: Cellphone providers won’t fight driving bill: Is Washington ready to outlaw hand-held cell phones?/Karen Johnson, Seattle Times

DFO: Just do it.

Question: Do you believe driving while talking on a hand-held cellphone should be outlawed?

Top Cutlines — 1/25/06

Michael Coviello, a senior at Hasbrouck Heights High School, in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., can now wear a kilt and skirt to school after the American Civil Liberties Union reached an agreement with school officials here. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Bergen Record, Tariq Zehawi)

Top Cutlines:

1. Though allowed to wear the kilt Michael was made to wear it below the knees to avoid unwanted displays of his short comings — Dave Tolle.

2. Never willing to skirt an issue, the ACLU didn’t want the student’s civil liberties kilt — John Austin.

3. A Mr. America wannabe made the mistake of eating his french fries and ranch dip before the pageant instead of afterwards Jane Q. Citizen; and: This just in: schools do not have the power to prevent their students from committing a fashion faux pas — A Token D.

HM: BNR, CoeurGENX, whatever, Granati, et al. (Everyone take a bow today.)

For all of the day’s cutline entries, click here.

Peanut Gallery — Listening With An Open Mind

re: “Afternoon Question” about listening to the other side of an argument

“I always listen to ‘the other side’ and then ignore it completely and continue on with my bias which is based upon previous enlightenment, conviction and common sense. One of my old famous sayings is that ‘we go to meetings only to gather more armament for our bias.’ Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but not entirely.”

Gary Igram

DFO: Not only did Gary make me chuckle here, but I appreciate his tongue-in-cheek honesty.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 1/25/06

Snow and mud all but camouflaged the pen of Amazingly Cool, this 3-year-old paint stud who is owned by Jean McIntosh and Tom Selberg of Hayden, Idaho. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

1. David Horsey/Seattle PI doodles about special provisions of the new Medicare program here.

2. If you read HBO’s Best of the INorthwest Tuesday, you know that multi-murder suspect Joseph Edward Duncan’s blogging from jail here. But you might not know that a femme blogger was trying to snag him for other crimes here, nor did you see actual PDF posts of his writing here.

3. Four computers used as part of an alleged Spokane-based diploma mill operation also stored more than 10,000 images of child pornography here.

4. In a test of Washington’s new anti-spyware legislation, state Attorney General Rob McKenna and Microsoft announced a lawsuit today against a New York company that allegedly used misleading e-mail and other questionable online tactics to sell security software here.

5. Businessmen in Cody, Wyo., are welcoming the Hell’s Angels with open arms here.

6. IMHO-NW: Floyd J. McKay/Seattle Times (Alito’ll back aggressive presidency), Coeur d’Alene Press (Boy’s apology salves wounds), Dan Popkey/Idaho Statesman (Ex-chief of staff should admit lobbying) and John Levesque/Seattle PI (Jojima’s skill will talk for him), and Jim Moore/Seattle PI (Odd folks, odds favor Steelers).

Online Poll: 52% of the respondents to a Coeur d’Alene Press poll say that Idaho doesn’t need a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

*A three-judge panel rejected a Spokane man’s appeal of his July 2004 jury conviction for forcing his former roommate to chop off his own thumb as penance for what Culbreth said was the theft of a quilt and some lava lamps here.

*King County study: sprawl adds pounds, pollution here.

*Democrats were livid over a GOP-backed ad campaign blasting them as being soft on sex predators here.

*An abundance of snowy owls are attracting visitors to northwest Montana here.

Orbusmax Special: 2 Seattle residents have filed suit for “lost time” spent reading controversial bestseller “A Million Little Pieces” here.

Garth Sings About … Friends With Low Wages

Ohmigoodness, you can find a terrific new musical parody featuring a Garth Brooks wannabe — from the (you’ve been warned) — here.

Hat Tip: SR colleague Taryn Brodwater

Quote of the Day — Luring Duncan

“We purposely kept it secret. We wanted him to admit to other things. That was the whole point. … He got off on that” — Jules Hammer, who runs her true crime site under the pen name of Capt. Fantastic.

For the complete Coeur d’Alene Press story by Dave Turner re: how Capt. Fantastic tried to lure suspect murderer Edward Joseph Duncan III into revealing more crimes, click here.

CDA Press Online Poll — Gay Marriage

CDA Press Q Today: Does Idaho need a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage?

Yes: 52%
No: 48%
I don’t know: 0.0%

Total Votes: 58

DFO: It’s still early in the voting, HBOers, and the Press is likely to have this question up until the cows come home. You can check in with our friends across the media street and make your opinion known here. Too bad you can’t tell ‘em that DFO sent you.

DFO’s MIA Among Old Media?

Hat Tip: to Bill McCrory for providing the first chuckle of the day. (BTW, don’t you think I look like a Portuguese Johnny Cash?

Quick Fix 6 — 1/25/06

1. APhoto Fix: Actor Chris Penn poses with an unidentified guest at the premiere of “Starsky & Hutch,” in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, in this Feb. 26, 2004 file photo. Chris, the younger brother of Academy Award winner Sean Penn, was found dead Tuesday at a Santa Monica residence. (AP photo)

2. Cartoon Fix: Wayne Stayskal (Iran & Big Bang theory), Brian Fairrington (Seductive lobbyists), and Rob Rogers (Steelers fever).

3. Humor Fix: Jay D. Dyson provides another Sacred Cow Burger here. (Caution: Liberals, D’s beware)

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

5. Top of the News Fix: Alito confirmation seems all but assured here, College study: 62% say sexual harassment routine here, Pope encyclical mandates charity here, CNN/Gallup Poll: Only 16% firmly in Hillary prez camp here, and NBC pulls plug on “Book of Daniel” here.

6. Opinion Poll: Thomas Lifson/RealClearPolitics (The antique media), Arianna Huffington/The Huffington Post (Chinks in Hillary’s armor), Richard Russell/Wall Street Journal (Oil for missiles), Deroy Murdock/National Review (The Guantanamo Bar Association at work), and John Stossel/Townhall (Trapped in wrong government school).

Wild Card/Tuesday — 1/24/06

Wow! It’s been difficult to stay on the blog horse today with so many taking turns trying to knock me off. But I can hold on to the buzzer … or 6 p.m. … whichever comes first. If you have a thread to start, you can do so by using this Wild Card …

DFO: 13 minutes to go

Do KCo Repubs Smell Blood?

Kootenai County Republican Central Committee Meeting: 7 tonight — North Idaho College, Student Union Building, Blue Creek Room

Agenda Includes:

Introduction of Special Guests: Steve Casey – Candidate for Superintendent for Public Instruction

New Business:

Fred Ostermeyer – College System funding
1% Property tax initiative – Sharon Culbreth

Pachyderm Club Announcements:

Berry Picker: “I don’t know why the meeting tonight is at the student union bldg instead of the county admin building. Maybe expecting a big crowd on taxes or Steve Casey Q & A.”

Not Playing Well @ Georgetown

Members of the audience, some wearing black hoods, stand up and turn their backs on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, rear center, as he speaks at Georgetown University Law School earlier today. Answering the Bush administration’s critics, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that warrantless surveillance is critical to prevent another terrorist attack within the United States. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Larry Craig Embraces Podcasting

“Idaho Senator Larry Craig announced today the addition of several tools to expand opportunities for Idahoans to be involved in the political process. Central to the offering is his new “podchat,” which allows Idahoans to ask him questions and hear his answers in his own voice. The podchat is a marriage between an online chat and a podcast. Last week, subscribers to Craig’s bi-weekly electronic newsletter “eNEWS” were invited to submit questions to be answered by Craig. Craig recorded the podchat on January 24, 2006, which is available for free on Craig’s website here or through iTunes’ Music Store. Craig will be recording a new podchat each month, and Idahoans are invited to submit questions here. Like other content on Craig’s website, the podchats will be available for years to come.”

For Craig’s complete news release on this matter, click here.

High Fashion @ Sundance Film Festival

A collection of boots worn by people attending the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Monday. Publicists, actors, filmmakers and film fans showed their style in their cold weather footwear during the 25th Sundance Film Festival. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Question No. 2 — Anti-Gay Marriage Bill

Issue: Idaho gay marriage fight begins again: Bill must win two-thirds majority approval in the House and Senate before going before voters/Kyle Arnold, Associated Press

Rep. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, the state’s only openly gay legislator: “A small group of people want to make an election issue out of it and threaten the seats of many moderates by asking them to vote on this.”

Question: Do you believe Idaho needs a law banning gay marriage (or am I asking a question that’s leading?)

Editor Smith Spanks Huckleberry Hound

“It should come as no surprise to those who know me that I am offended by the frame of this question. I thought we had moved past these nasty little stereotypes a long time ago.

“The shocker isn’t that booze is involved. The shocker is that so many young women in our society are victims of rape and sexual assault at the hands of family members, friends, doctors, etc.

“National statistics bear this out and the WSU numbers are not out of line.

“A woman should be safe from assault…period. And an impaired young woman has not conceded her right to protection.

“Shame on you, Dave. You’ve been down this road before. I would have thought you learned something.”

Stephen A. Smith
Editor, Spokesman-Review

DFO: When you’re blogging at the speed of light, you don’t always frame the question properly. Certainly, no always means no in sexual relationships. But I also maintain that women can put themselves in harm’s way by making poor choices when booze is involved. I pulled the curtain back in my part of the newsroom to show that we journalists don’t always think alike. And, no, the boss didn’t tell me to put this out front.

Question No. 2 — County Commissioner Races

Issue: Piazza hoping third time’s a charm in run for county commissioner: Former county employee to challenge Brodie/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press

DFO: You have to give Rich points for persistence.

Question: Are Commissioners Katie Brodie and Gus Johnson vulnerable to a Republican challenge in the spring primaries?

Facts/Any Mouse Fires Back

re: The following was circulated over the weekend to Kootenai County Republicans by Any Mouse (aka Facts). You’ll see he distorts what happened to him recently. He was given the boot for not following directions to post his question to the appropriate place and being indignant when directed to do so.

“Today’s editorial claims that the GOP is wrong to object to the club and wrong to suggest that a “NO” vote on the levy is an appropriate protest. In fact, the SR says the GOP ought to APPLAUD the formation of the Gay-Straight club.

“On the editorial blog you can post your comments and see the Aryan Nations comparison: To post comments regarding the Pachyderm = Aryan Nations/Nazi story, go here. To comment on the editorial, go here.

“You may remember that Steve Smith (the SR Editor in Chief who supervised the online entrapment of Jim West) based his OUTRAGE about former Mayor West on the fact that his ‘victims’ were teenage adults. He was OUTRAGED. Instead of outrage at teenage children being exposed to, and even encouraged by these clubs to ‘explore’ an alternative and illegal ‘lifestyle’, Mister Smith’s editorial page salutes them!

“Since I tried to hold the SR accountable for that hypocritical position, I have been banned from posting on their blog. (BTW the SR claims that part of its ethical duty is to ‘be accountable and responsive’ to its readers. I guess that is only when we agree with them.)

“Please take a moment to read both the editorial as well as the odious blog claim of moral equivalence between the Pachyderm Club and the Aryan Nations and leave appropriate commentary. On the Spokesman-Review Blog “HBO” the claim has been made that the Pachyderm club is equivalent to the Aryan Nations and, well read for yourself: (PS – go and comment if you’d like. The ‘open minded’ editor has banned me for asking questions about the editors he doesn’t like.)

DFO: Same Old Any Mouse

Wild Card/Monday — 1/23/06

Monday’s all but in the books for me today. What do you think about the change in moving “Best of the Local Blogs” up earlier in the day? Also, make sure you check out Greg Lee’s Idaho Preps blog through the week as he gets acclimated to the online exercise. You can start your own threads tonight with this Wild Card …

Top Cutlines — 1/23/06

The newly-crowned 2006 Miss America, Jennifer Berry, from Tulsa, Okla., takes a bite of french fries and ranch dressing during her post-pageant press conference at the 2006 Miss America pageant in Las Vegas Saturday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Sam Morris)

Top Cutlines:

1. Local blogger Stebbijo gave herself the royal treatment after she successfully dieted all winter long on Kickshoe Kooy’s Kick your ass diet — Bre.

2. Residents in Omak are amused when they hear the new Miss America wears the crown on her Okie Noggin — John Austin.

3. Miss America gives her first demonstration on a topic near and dear to her heart - how to eat without smudging your lipstick — A Token D.

HM: Thom George

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

SR Edit: Keep NIC Local

“As Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and other state leaders push for a statewide community college system, local control remains the crucial issue to NIC and College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls. The two institutions have accomplished much in preparing high school graduates for four-year colleges. Additionally, NIC has enabled nontraditional students to make the transition in a local economy that has changed from reliance on natural resource industries to tourism and high technology. They have done so by responding quickly to new educational challenges instead of relying on a Boise-based board. The two colleges should remain in local hands no matter what transpires during the 2006 Idaho Legislature.”

For the rest of my editorial about Gov. Kempthorne’s proposed community college system, click here.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 1/23/06

Dr. Brian Evans, chief veterinary officer for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, speaks during a press conference in Edmonton, Monday Jan. 23, 2006, announcing that BSE or bovine spongiform encephalopathy was found in an Alberta cow. No part of the approximately six-year-old animal entered the human or animal food systems here. (AP Photo/ Jason Scott, CP)

1. David Horsey/Seattle PI doodles about the perils of Super Bowl hysteria here.

2. Boise-based Albertsons Inc. announced this morning it has sold the company for $17.4 billion, or $26.29 a share, to a buyout group led by Minnesota-based SuperValu Inc. here.

3. Best sports columnists of the Northwest write about the Seahawks’ victory over Carolina and the coming Super Bowl XL: Art Thiel/Seattle PI (Seattle’s new history starts with Super Bowl), John Levesque/Seattle PI (Next stop, Detroit), Steve Kelley/Seattle Times (Realization of a dream), Dave Boling/Tacoma News-Tribune (Flawless game plan propels Hawks, free subscription required), and John Blanchette/Spokesman-Review (Seahawks defeat 30 years of history).

4. Raindrops quit falling after a record 35 days of measurable precipitation in the Washington state capital here.

5. Western Washington protesters overwhelm neo-Nazis here.

6. IMHO-NW: D.F. Oliveria/Spokesman-Review (Huckleberries: Of Hooters, forensics), James Veseley/Seattle Times (When Greenies go nuts), Brian Murphy/Idaho Statesman (Same ol’ Jake the Snake), Idaho Statesman (Make kindergarten mandatory in Idaho), and Seattle Times (Full toolbox for sex offenders).

Online Poll: 93% responding to a Seattle PI poll disagreed with Microsoft’s claim that the computer spam problem has been solved here.

*Former Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Shigetoshi Hasegawa is retiring here.

*Police identify the mother found dead in the garage with her boyfriend by her 8-year-old daughter here.

*Idaho author dates her way to “The Today Show” here.

Orbusmax Special: Oregonian throws prosthetic legs at trooper here.

NI Prep Writer Extraordinaire Lee Blogs

“I don’t claim to be a prophet, but back in a December column (Dec. 15, to be exact), I said the Lewiston High boys basketball team would lose at least one Inland Empire League game. And I said the team that would inflict that defeat would be Coeur d’Alene. Last Saturday, Coeur d’Alene handed the second-ranked Bengals, previously unbeaten overall at 14-0, their first setback, 73-62, at Lewiston’s Booth Hall. Truth be known, it should have been at least the second loss for Lewiston. And it should have been the second time the Vikings defeated the Bengals. CdA built an 11-point lead over visiting Lewiston before the Bengals rallied for an 80-74 win in overtime Jan. 10. What does it all mean? The postseason should be nothing short of entertaining.”

For a link to the new Idaho Preps blog by Greg Lee, click here.

APhoto of the Day — 1/23/06

The newly-crowned 2006 Miss America, Jennifer Berry, from Tulsa, Okla., takes a bite of french fries and ranch dressing during her post-pageant press conference at the 2006 Miss America pageant in Las Vegas Saturday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Sam Morris)

Palouse Men: A Little Light In The Loafers?

“Concerns also have been raised about noise and light pollution, including a much-discussed claim by Washington State University Professor James Krueger on Jan. 13 that light pollution could cause Pullman men to become impotent. He based the claim on research involving deer.”

From a story about a Wal-Mart appeal hearing in Saturday’s Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Hat Tip: Tom Forbes/Palousitics

WorldNetDaily Poll — Jesus On Trial

Issue: Jesus Christ’s existence going on trial this week: Priest faces lawsuit by atheist to prove Nazarene indeed real/WorldNetDaily

Question: Do you think there’s sufficient proof Jesus Christ lived 2,000 years ago?

1. Since Jesus is a myth, all purported proof is phony
2. The lack of historical documentation tends to disprove Jesus’ existence
3. Clearly, there is not enough proof to say one way or another
4. While I believe Jesus existed, I admit there’s not a lot of proof, it’s just my faith
5. It doesn’t matter if there’s proof, people shouldn’t be sued for their personal belief
6. Physical proof is irrelevant to God. He exists whether we believe it or not
7. There’s plenty of evidence from Christian and pagan sources to prove the historicity of Jesus
8. People don’t willingly suffer torture and death for a lie, as many Christians martyrs show
9. Of course there’s proof. What do you call the New Testament documents and millions of devoted believers?
10. Other

DFO: Nos. 7-9

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Question of the Day — 1/22/06

Issue: Seattle stands on brink of Super Bowl goal: Defensive-minded Panthers provide final challenge/Jim Meehan, Spokesman-Review; and: Steelers, Broncos getting defensive: But ground-oriented offenses not bad either/Jamison Hensley, Baltimore Sun

Question: OK, you sports geniuses, guess now who’s going to be in the Super Bowl — and the scores of today’s ballgames?

CDA Press: Let People Spend Their $50

“Legislators should recognize the wisdom of returning to the people some of their hard-earned money, much of which would flow right back into the Idaho economy and immediately boost jobs and earnings. We encourage citizens to contact their legislators and voice their support for the energy relief proposal. To find your legislators’ e-mail address or phone number, simply go to”

For the rest of the CDA Press Sunday editorial, click here.

BTW, by 54% to 37% readers responding to a CDA Press online poll support returning the $50 to Idaho citizens.

Wild Card/Saturday

I see Mike Godwin’s Law was invoked in the comments section earlier today — you know, “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” We haven’t had the Nazi card played since the last of the flame wars in mid-December. Mebbe before that. Anyway, it proves things are still lively here. And I thank you commenters for making it so — yet, keeping the civility that has taken hold here. As you can see below I’ve posted a coupla questions and even a APhoto of the Weekend. Enjoy. I always check in during the weekend to make sure everyone’s behaving …

APhoto of the Weekend — 1/21-22/06

Seems the lobbyists in Boise gather around this sign before pouncing on unsuspecting Idaho lawmakers. You write the cutline. (AP photo)

Question of the Day — 1/21/06

Issue: Idaho’s union rate among the lowest: Barely 5 percent of workers represented by organized labor/Becky Kramer, Spokesman-Review

Additional Info: “Idaho is one of 21 states with a right-to-work law. In Washington, which doesn’t have the law, 19 percent of the work force belongs to a union. Idaho’s right-to-work law dates to 1985, when the Republican-controlled Legislature approved it over the veto of then-Democratic Gov. John Evans. State voters ratified the law the following year. AFL-CIO Idaho is making a third attempt to overturn the law this year. (It) is trying to gather enough signatures to put a right-to-work referendum on the November ballot.”

Question: Do you think Idaho is ready to overturn the Right to Work law?

Sightem: Seattle Mariner in Downtown CDA

“I went downtown CdA for dinner tonight.I happened to meet Mike Morse of the Seattle Mariners.What an incredibly nice and polite young man. He asked for my card so he could send me a signed picture.I will tell you that I was most impressed. Goes to show not all professional athletes are prima donnas!”

Eagle Eye


Issue: The rise of the blog/K Daniel Glover, Beltway Blogroll

DFO: I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years now (come Feb. 16). Dunno what impact Huckleberries Online has had in Coeur d’Alene and North Idaho. If I had more time, I definitely would do things here (online chats, keeping track of votes by North Idaho reps, etc.) that would have an impact.

Question: What impacts do you think North Idaho bloggers have had on their communities?

Top Cutlines — 1/20/06

Tracey Renee Brown of Post Falls, Miss Idaho, catches air as she dances during the preliminary competition for the 2006 Miss America Pageant at Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Thursday. Fifty-two contestants will compete in the annual Miss America pageant on Saturday in Las Vegas. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Top Cutlines:

1. An anonymous Lake City High School alum makes a dazzling exit from a recent Pachyderm Club meeting — Thom George.

2. Fretting not about straight or gay, Tracy’s adolescent exuberance soars, a beautiful testament to Idaho’s way! — Dave Tolle.

3. Tracy dances much better since buying a used tutu at David Copperfield’s garage sale — Family Phil.

HM: Alice Rankin

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

More Misery From That Miserable H95 Stretch

A head-on collision south of Silverwood and a two-car accident near the intersection of Corbin Hill Road are blocking U.S. Highway 95, according to the Idaho State Police. The ISP warns of significant delays. Additional details will be posted as they become available.

Wild Card/TGIF — 1/20/06

I just came up for air after writing an editorial and the print version of Huckleberries this afternoon. It’s not as easy as it looks. But the weekend is ahead. And I’m looking forward to it after receiving the report from home that the garage door is fixed for now (but a new one’ll cost $800 or $900). Oh well, easy come, easy go. Thanks to Mary Souza, Jane Q. Citizen and the rest of you for doing the heavy lifting this afternoon while I was working on the other side. Mary, you’re always welcome here. Ditto, for Jane Q. And it’s nice to see Eagle Eye back. Now, you can start your own threads with the first weekend Wild Card …

It’s My 2 Cents — Anonymous Posts

re: Mary Souza’s response to Jane Q. Citizen re: blog anonymity

“Jane, That’s a cop-out! I don’t care what your position in the community, Mayor, CEO or server,if you can’t put your name to your words, you should not voice your opinion. There’s no integrity in throwing insults and judgements without standing by what you say. Perhaps your real identity lacks much veracity and power so the pseunonym gives you the facade of importance. It’s OK, Jane, you can be yourself and we will all accept you as such. Just step away from the mask and let’s have an honest discussion” — Mary Souza.


DFO (to Mary Souza) as you know by reading this blog and my print writings through the years, I prefer signing my name to my thoughts. I fought long and hard against the newspaper move to publish unsigned editorials. However, cyberspace is different, especially Coeur d’Alene cyberspace. HBO wouldn’t have the dynamic dialogue it does if everyone was required to sign his/her name. In this town, where you constantly have to be careful not to upset the vindictive Powers That Be, several people who post anonymously here simply couldn’t for fear of repercussions. If the Hagadone Corp. knew who posted here and who blurked here, for example, it would order some to stop. Some of the names behind the pseudonyms are among the best and brightest in this community, spilling over into Washington. Your opinion re: anonymity is legit. Editorial Page Editor Doug Floyd shares it. However, it wouldn’t work here. As long as I know who writes behind the pseudonyms, I have leverage to keep them in line. But I do give extra wiggle room to those who post under their own names. And I congratulate you for doing so.

Best of the Local Blogs — 1/20/06

Chris/Digital Fog presents his version of an “Alabama Dishwasher” above (HBO prefers “North Idaho Redneck Dishwasher,” but who’s keeping score?) And he has a great link for troubleshooting office printers here.

Coming Monday: North Idaho prep sports writer extraordinaire Greg Lee begins blogging Monday. Stay tuned.

*Granati/Orange Frog got clobbered with a high garbage bill and found out why when he called to complain. Did you know that you’re charged $3.50 extra if the garbage man has to get out of his comfy truck to toss in assorted trash? You’d better read this. Click here.

*JBelle/Notes from The ‘Kan EWA continues to post wonderful comments about her time in Paris, including her thoughts on the work ethics of a socialist country here and the amusement she experiences when the Parisians discover she’s an “ah-mare-ee-CAIN” here.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour explains why she’s looking forward to the Miss America Pageant and remembers her own attempt to establish one in Sandpoint in the 1970s here.

*Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise reports on her blog that Senate President Pro Tem Bob Geddes is getting calls from all over the world re: his idea to sleep state prisoners in shifts to preserve space here.

*Ken Paulman/Daily Briefing reports that the news huddle had quite a discussion about an S-bomb making it into print in our “7” edition in an article by Tom Bowers (under subhead “Who No. 2 works for”) here.

Put your hands together for Toni Britton of Sandpoint who’s adding an online photography blog to go with her Calico Girls. You can find her new Idaho Nature Trails here.

Also: Family Phil unveils a budding poet in his family here, CDADave posts a pre-thong photo of City Beach that’ll have you thinking about summer here, and Toad/Synaptic Disunion remembers the ‘80s here.

DFO: Warning — for North Idaho Blogrollers; I’m about to weed through group again to boot bloggers who have become inactive. You’ve been warned.

Question No. 2 — Gay-Straight Alliance

Issue: Cd’A superintendent pitches district’s need for renovations: Amend says he’s optimistic levy will pass when March 14 arrives/Linda Ball, Coeur d’Alene Press. And: Mica Flats presentation becomes heated debate about Gay Straight club/Linda Ball, Coeur d’Alene Press

DFO: Local Republicans are wrong to hold this spring’s important levy election hostage because some of them oppose the Gay-Straight Alliance at Lake City High. They’re also wrong in not recognizing that the alliance has met criteria to become a club and, therefore, has a right to assemble on campus. They should be grateful that Lake City High has an open-club policy that allows Bible clubs to meet and ministers to come on campus. Some atheists I know mistakenly consider this a violation of the church-state separation principle. It’s a public school. And gays and straights are part of the public that has a right to assemble on campus. (And, yes, like Superintendent Harry Amend, I am a Christian believer.)

Question: Are local Republicans overreacting?

WorldNetDaily Poll — 1/20/06

Issue: Missionaries’ martyrdom ultimately saved tribe: Conversion to Christianity ended group’s near-extinction from bloodshed/Associated Press

Question: What do you think of a ‘gay’ activist being cast as a martyred Christian missionary?

1. He’s a professional hired to play a part – his sexual orientation and politics shouldn’t matter
2. Where’s the tolerance? I thought Christians were supposed to love all people, even enemies
3. There are plenty of homosexual Christians – what’s the big deal?
4. The morals of most Hollywood actors leave a lot to be desired – why pick on this guy?
5. Maybe the homosexual actor will be redeemed by the role
6. The casting is unfortunate but the movie’s power is its message
7. It sends a confusing signal to Christian audiences
8. It will be a tragedy if the actor uses the role as a platform to further his cause
9. It will only hurt the box office
10. Other

DFO: The martyrdom of Nate Saint, Jim Elliott and others at the hands of the South American tribe they were trying to reach with the Gospel is one of the great stories in modern Christian histories. It’s a shame that Hollywood inserted controversy and confusion into the story with its selection for the lead. Then, that’s Hollywood. The story still could overshadow this intentional subplot. Nos. 6 & 7.

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Running Late

I was actually running early today, until my garage door came off the hinges as I was trying to shut it. Alas, now I’m about a half hour late. So, I’ll start on the Quick Fix now. Sorry.

Wild Card/Thursday — 1/19/06

Stacey Cowles, the big boss, told me during the Editorial Board retreat Wednesday that he occasionally checks in on Huckleberries Online. Which, of course, caused me to shake uncontrollably. (Actually, I just swallowed hard while pretending to cough.) Actually, I enjoy the thought that he’s blurking out there (with so many of you others). Some things go on here that can’t be put in the daily paper. By and large, however, we keep most posts and comments above the belt. So, welcome Boss — and the rest of you guys. Now, if you want to start a thread, here’s your Thursday evening Wild Card …

Top Cutlines (from Wednesday)

David Ferreira finds a unique way to feed the birds Tuesday at Fort Island Gulf Beach in Crystal River, Fla. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Citrus County Chronicle, Brian LaPeter)

Top Cutlines:

1. In-Flight refueling exercise for the Utah Air National Guard? — Milt Nelson.

2. Duane Hagadone hands out yearly bonuses to Resort staff — Family Phil.

3. Usually local blogger CDA Dave enjoys strumming his guitar on the seawall, but the seagulls were a little miffed today when he didn’t share his lunch with them — Bre.

HM: Thom George

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

1 Of 3 Washington Quarter Finalists

This undated image provided by the U.S. Mint shows one of three final choices for the design of the Washington state quarter. The designs are being reviewed by the U.S. Mint, and will be sent back to the state this spring. Washington residents will be able to choose a favorite in an online opinion poll. But the final decision rests with Gov. Gregoire. (AP Photo/U.S. Mint)

DFO: Here’s hoping Idaho doesn’t have something goofy like this, involving a potato.

More About Ex-Vandal’s Job As Ram Coach

In this photo provided by the Miami Dolphins, Dolphins offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, center, is shown during a game Dec. 4, 2005 in Miami. The St. Louis Rams hired Linehan as coach earlier today. Linehan became the first UI Vandal alum to be named head coach of an NFL football team here. (AP Photo/Miami Dolphins)

Hat Tip: Phil Corless

Runnin’ With The Times

For those keeping score at home, Seattle Times Editorial Page Editor Kate Riley e-mailed for permission to reprint my editorial from Wednesday re: that chilling new Internet law here. Guess I’m runnin’ with the big dogs now.

Overheard @ A CDA Office

Lady 1 (While reading the paper): “Boo Hoo, they are saying Joseph Duncan’s not going to get a fair trial here.”

Lady 2 (Snottily responding): “Well he won’t!”

Lady 1: “Well….WHO CARES!”

Lady 2 (Snottily responding): ” Well if anything ever happens to me, I sure hope YOU’RE not on MY jury.”

Lady 1: (As she walks away) “Well then lets just hope you never murder or molest anyone!”

Hat Tip: Bre

Quote of the Week — Hillary Inserts Foot

“When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation, and you know what I’m talking about…. It has been run in a way so that nobody with a contrary view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument, to be heard” — Hillary Clinton, during a Harlem ceremony honoring Martin Luther King Jr Monday.

Local Question of the Day — Atlas Mill’s Demise

Issue: Atlas falls in pieces: Auction ends era for CdA sawmill, clears lakefront for development/Becky Kramer, Spokesman-Review

DFO: I remember helping Doug Clark shovel sawdust chips from the Atlas Mill into a pickup for $5 a load back in the 1970s. He used the chips for yard decoration. I was visiting from Kalispell, Mont., at the time. Over the years, I’ve seen one mill on the waterfront after another close. One friend saw the tide coming his way and landed a good blue-collar job at Inland Empire Paper Co. Another didn’t and is now mid-fiftysomething and jobless. For those who depended on the mills for their livelihood, this is a scary time.

Question: Does the loss of these blue-collar jobs bother you?

Question of the Day — 1/19/05

Issue: Turning 50

DFO: My child bride turned 50 today. She has aged well. She has aged well. I didn’t ask her if she was bugged by the Big 5-0 because she doesn’t seem to be. I’m six years older. As long as she doesn’t catch me, I guess, she isn’t bugged by her age. Then, she has aged well.

Question: Have you ever been bugged by a milestone birthday?

Quick Fix 6 — 1/19/06

1. APhoto Fix: A Turkish Van cat inside an apartment of the eastern Turkish city of Van, earlier today. The Turkish province of Van, known across the world for the fact that 4 children died of bird flu here, was in the past known only for for its cats, white and with different eye colors: amber and blue. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

2. Cartoon Fix: Monte Wolverton (Iran nuclear express), Ed Stein (“A Million Little Policies”), and Henry Payne (Sharon & Middle East peace).

3. Humor Fix: David Letterman’s “Top Ten Signs The Guy In The Cubicle Next To You Is Michael Jackson” here.

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

5. Top of the News Fix: Bin Laden warns of attacks, offers truce here, Dems hold 11-point lead in Congress races here, New study: Mobile phones not linked to brain cancer here, Report: Kennedy fathered “love child” here, Nagin T-shirts follow “chocolate” remark here.

6. Opinion Fix: Ann Coulter/RealClearPolitics (“Chocolate City” sprinkled with nuts), Bruce Reed/Slate (Why Dems should embrace imperial presidency), Rep. Roy Blunt/Wall Street Journal (Part of limited government), Marvin Olasky/World (Baby boomer sex and sadness), and Robert L. Pollock/Wall Street Journal (Bremer’s stumbles hurt Iraq transition).

Running Late

I met with my padre this a.m., so I’m running about 20 minutes late. Quick Fix 6 is headed your way shortly.

27 Days of Rain

Annoyance turned
to outright fear
when she found moss
behind her ear.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

APhoto of the Day — 1/18/06

David Ferreira finds a unique way to feed the birds Tuesday at Fort Island Gulf Beach in Crystal River, Fla. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Citrus County Chronicle, Brian LaPeter)

House Rev & Taxers Snub Property Owners

“Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d’Alene, who served on the interim committee and is a member of Rev & Tax, asked Ahrens what could be done about a constituent of his in Coeur d’Alene who has lived in the same home since 1942, is retired, lives on Social Security, doesn’t qualify for public assistance and whose home is a “scraper” – something a wealthy investor would just tear down to get the valuable land underneath. But skyrocketing values have pushed his property taxes up so high he can’t afford to stay in his home. ‘What would you say to this man?’ Sayler asked (Steve) Ahrens (Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry exec). ‘How can this be a fair and balanced system?’ Ahrens responded, ‘I don’t know what I’d say to that guy. … You have to make laws that deal with the majority.’”

For the rest of Betsy Russell’s inside report re: how Idaho legislators are ignoring cries for property tax relief, click here. For Ahrens miscalculations re: property tax relief and his gall in asking for a tax break of $80M for businesses, click here.

Question: What will it take to get the cartel of Kempthorne-Newcomb-Crow to pay attention to the average Idaho homeowner?

Quick Fix 6 — 1/18/06

1. APhoto Fix: Hostage American reporter Jill Carroll appears in a silent 20-second video aired Tuesday by Al-Jazeera television, which said her abductors gave the United States 72 hours to free female prisoners in Iraq or she would be killed. Al-Jazeera would not tell The Associated Press how it received the tape, but the station issued its own statement calling for Carroll’s release.

2. Cartoon Fix: J.D. Crowe (Nagin & Robertson), Jerry Holbert (King Kennedy & Alito), and Mike Lester (Blaming everyone else).

3. Humor Fix: Jay D. Dyson brings you Mayor Nagin’s “Mouthful” here.

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

5. Top of the News Fix: Supreme Court affirms NH abortion law here, Mine blast survivor breathing on his own here, Republicans vow to curb lobbyists here, Kennedy quits all-male Harvard club amid criticism here, and Tom Daschle mulls White House run here.

6. Opinion Fix: Max Boot/LA Times (Wiretaps shouldn’t bug us), Kathryn Jean Lopez/National Review (Mining the media), Dick Morris/The Hill (Scandals are bleeding GOP), John Derbyshire/National Review (Why suicide?), and Tunku Varadarajan/Wall Street Journal (Uncle Sam-I-Am).

Video Journal Spotlights Local MLK Event

Amy Danner, right, a fifthgrader from Skyway Elementary, lights a candle while keynote speaker Billy Mills, left, watches on the stage of Schuler Auditorium at North Idaho College Friday morning. The candle in the center was used to light 14 candles, one for each of the elementary schools represented by the fifth graders in the audience of the annual Martin Luther King day celebration. Jesse Tinsley/SR was on hand for the celebration. Jesse provides audio and video of the event in the latest Video Journal here

Best of the Local Blogs — 1/17/06

After serving in Vietnam, St. Maries resident and retired Marine Corps master sergeant Frank Werner was made the game warden at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he learned from local residents to carve the wooden decoys he still uses on waterfowl hunts in northern Idaho. (Another terrific shot by Ralph Bardholdt/Skookum Features and editor of the St. Maries Gazette-Record)

*Mari & CJ, The Golly Gals, visit the Spokane Valley Hooters — and have photos to prove it here.

*Stebbijo/Your Choice has an interesting post today re: words that have been hijacked to mean something else (pot, gay, liberal tipper, etc.), and she wonders if you have some nominees here.

*For as long as he can remember, Bill McCrory/Whitecaps sez the US has been at war with some other country or something. He provides a link to enable you to decide if we’re really at war or only AUMF here.

*MikeK (who unfortunately has been posting less and less since he got that gig at City Hall)/The Idaho Kennedys posts Democrat Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet’s view of the first week of the Idaho Legislature here.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour laments that she missed her chance to cash in on lakefront property, now that the small Lake Love Begone has receded from her house here.

Also: Erin/Idaho Native wonders when a “newborn” becomes an “infant” here, Granati/Orange Frog sees life as one big playground here, and Bre/To Blog Or Not To Blog is counting down to the Super Bowl here.

It’s My 2 Cents — Dirk Kempthorne

I was surprised to read comments made here over the three-day weekend re: Gov. Dirk Kempthorne. They were harsher than the usual pol bashing that’s part and parcel with being an American. Example: “Dirk: Ignorant, aloof, and out for himself, i.e., he supports tax breaks for businesses that might hire him” — James Bond. Another one: “It’s at times like this that I wish a politician — Dirk the Ignorant, in this case — would be running for re-election. I’d relish the opportunity to vote against him” — Dang. And: “Dirk looks out for ‘Number One’, first last and always. He has no concern for party developement, no concern for the people - he is out for Dirk” — Facts.

Dunno James Bond’s political pedigree. But the other two listed above are Republicans. So, this is some indication that Dirk isn’t well-loved within the party. On the other hand, I give The Dirk Tater high marks for fast-tracking reconstruction of U.S. Highway 95 and landing a Health and Science building for North Idaho College. Also, he zeroed in on plenty of important items in his State of the State address: more money for public and secondary education, an upgrade of 6 state parks including Heyburn, and the need to add hundreds of beds to address our burgeoning prison population. I didn’t like that he short-changed property tax reform, but the Legislature still can address that.

Overall, I like Kempthorne, as a person. And, after a lackluster first term, I believe, he’s rebounding and having a decent second one. Also, I believe, he’ll have a good legacy upon which to look back. Overall, I’d give him a B-minus for his time in office. The grade could go higher, if he comes to his senses on property tax reform.


Ben @ 300

Actor Ralph Archbold, second from right, portraying Benjamin Franklin, puts out electric candles on a three-tiered birthday cake made mostly of wood and plastic earlier today at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

Ah’m Your Huckleberry — Get Outta Jail Free

In Magistrate Gene Marano’s courtroom today, handcuffed twentysomething inmate Jacob Nichols was cooling his heels while waiting a preliminary hearing on three charges. When Nichols’ case came up, Judge Marano asked if he was in the courtroom. Nichols said he was, but his attorney wasn’t. At which point, Marano pointed out to Nichols that the charges against him had been dismissed. The inmate couldn’t believe it. Nichols crossed himself and then asked: “Are you serious?” At which point, the judge assured the inmate that he was and that Nichols was free to go. That beats a Monopoly get outta jail free card any time.

Question of the Day — 1/17/06

Issue: Another penny of sales tax for education: Teachers union pushing initiative that would raise money for salaries and other education needs

DFO: We spend more that $1B for education in the state now. I have mixed emotions about this one.

Question: Will Idahoans support a 6-cent sales tax, if the extra penny is designated for education?

Quick Fix 6 — 1/17/06

1. APhoto Fix: In a file photo Ruth Gallaid, from Eugene, Or., shows support for physician assisted suicide in front of the Supreme Court Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005, in Washington. The Supreme Court this morning upheld Oregon’s one-of-a-kind physician-assisted suicide law, rejecting a Bush administration attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die. See Top of the News Fix. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

2. Cartoon Fix: Mike Lane (GOP scandals), RJ Matson (House majority leader), and Henry Payne (Got MLK?).

3. Humor Fix: David Letterman’s “Top Ten Reasons Saddam Hussein’s Top Judge Resigned” here.

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

5. Top of the News Fix: Supreme Court upholds Oregon suicide law here, California executes oldest Death Row inmate here, ACLU sues to stop domestic spying program here, 4 Golden Globes for “Brokeback Mountain” here, and Girlfriend of Minnesota “vampire” candidate fired here.

6. Opinion Fix: Andrew Sullivan/Time (We don’t need new King George), Christopher Hitchens/Slate (Curtains for al Qaeda), Rep. John Bohner/Wall Street Journal (House R’s need low-pork diet), Phyllis Schlafly/Townhall (Why Johnny isn’t going to college), and Brendan Miniter/Wall Street Journal (R’s long for a new Reagan).

Question No. 2 — Leaving Kids Alone

Issue: Home alone: Family therapists urge erring on the conservative side when leaving children unsupervised/Jackie Burrell, Knight Ridder Newspapers

DFO: We began leaving our kids home alone in the evenings for a few hours when they were 12 or 13. Never had a problem. Then, they were pretty mature for their ages.

Question: What’s a proper age to begin leaving your children home alone?

Question of the Day — 1/16/06

Issue: Porn video sent to six airport workers: Computer forensics experts unable to tell if e-mail sent intentionally/Karen Dorn Steele, Spokesman-Review

DFO: I can’t believe top execs are still getting snagged by interoffice computer e-mail this late in the game. Whether its e-mailing porn or bantering inappropriately with a subordinate, people should know by know that they have to be careful with interoffice e-mail.

Question: What is the riskiest thing you’d send to an office co-worker?

Have Idaho Demos Seized The Middle?

“Proof that Democrats can appeal to moderate and independent Idahoans comes from an unexpected source, the Idaho Association of Realtors, which commissioned a poll in December to share with GOP lawmakers. The poll found education the top priority, a typical result. But there also was this: 71 percent want reform of sales, property and income taxes; 65 percent favor expanding the homeowner’s property-tax exemption; 64 percent would raise the sales tax a penny were it earmarked for teacher pay; 54 percent want counties to collect sales tax to cut property taxes; and 52 percent support higher impact fees to pay for growth. On all those issues, the GOP’s squarely on the other side.”

For the rest of Dan Popkey’s column in the Idaho Statesman Sunday, click here.

Ah’m Your Huckleberry — Chip Off Old Block

You may know that SR columnist Doug Clark (pictured) can sing and compose songs as well as tickle your funny bone with his bizarre view of Spokane. But did you know that his son, Ben, will beat his pop to the top of the charts? Ben, whose middle name “P’Georgio” is sheer Clarkian fun, is the lead singer for The Lashes, a Seattle sextet that’s getting regular rotation for its single, “Sometimes the Sun,” in Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle – and rave reviews for debut album “Get It,” scheduled for release Feb. 21. Quoth AMG AllMusic: “Tight, exhilarating, edgy, and infectious, ‘Get It’ has got it all — a superb debut.” The reviewer called The Lashes sound, “”stroppy pop for now people,” whatever that means. In his former life as a Ferris High student body prez, Ben formed a punk/pop band called “The Stoics.” But he couldn’t keep the band together when he moved to Seattle to pursue a music career. Two other Lashes band members hail from Spokane: Scotty Rickard on guitar and Nate Mooter on bass. For genealogists in the audience, Nate is Paul Revere’s nephew, the singer who had a hard time finding kicks, not the revolutionary horseman. Ben, Scotty and Ben are going places – literally. They’ll appear with the rest of the band on the “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” after the album’s release. At that time, the nation will get its first look at Ben’s signature wardrobe statement: four belts.

For a link to The Lashes Web site and music, click here.

Wild Card/Sunday — 1/15/06

Oh, joy! Snow! And I have to take my daughter to the airport today, for a return trip to college. Oh well, if I can make the stateline, the roads are plowed on the Washington side. You have much to ponder below today. Enjoy yourselves. And I’ll check in later. Here’s your Wild Card …

Question of the Day — 1/15/06

Issue: Lawmakers seem ready to take on school bond vote: Top Republicans support lowering supermajority to 60%/Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review

Senate President Pro-Tem Robert Geddes: “I think I could support that under one condition: if elections are consolidated in May and November.”

Question: Do you support lowering the supermajority to 60%?

Separated @ Birth?

And …

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Photos: Associated Press

Local Question of the Day — 1/14/06

Issue: Student club sparks debate: Republican group questions morality of Lake City High School’s Gay Straight Alliance/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press

English instructor Mark Woolcott: “There is no political agenda for the club. Student success is the primary goal, there is no other goal. It’s good for students of all types. It was formed by students.”

Jim Connell: “I’m certainly opposed to this club. It endorses the gay lifestyle among impressionable teenagers.”

Question: Who do you agree with?

Best of the Local Blogs — 1/13/06

Dunno if Family Phil is pulling our leg or not, but he reports on his blog, A Family Runs Through It, that this is National Delurking Week — or the week when blurkers come out of the shadows and post a comment. My numbers tell me that many of you are out there. Above, you’ll find the visual Phil posted to tell you about it here.

Attention: Huckleberries has received word that it won’t be long until North Idaho sports prep writer extraordinaire Greg Lee is blogging. Stay tuned.

*Speaking of sports blogs, anyone who follows the local college teams should check out the SR stable of sports bloggers. Now, you’ll find Jim Meehan/Idaho Vandals revealing that an La. Tech basketballer was arrested after the game with UI here, Glen Kasses/All Cougs, All The Time discussing that tough WSU road loss at UCLA Thursday here, and Dave Trimmer/EWU Sports discussing life on the road in the Big Sky here. Good stuff.

*I haven’t talked about pageview numbers this year because, frankly, I don’t know what they are. In the second week in December, my blogmeister changed my URL to end with “hbo” instead of “nhb.” In theory, traffic was to be directed from NHB (No Holds Barred) to HBO (Huckleberries Online). So, the HBO numbers should be growing while the other shrinks. That hasn’t happened. Combined, the numbers can total over 11,000. Singularly, they’ve run in the 4500 to 6000 range this week. Bottom line? Thanx for your continue support while we sort this out.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour report amazing progress in healing by the Bonner County family that was badly burned when a house exploded this month here.

*Sam Taylor/Vandal Sense is celebrating because he has been offered an internship with the SR after he graduates this spring … in the Coeur d’Alene office. That means the kid’ll see what life is like behind the Huckleberries Online curtain. For the rest of the story, click here.

Also: Bill wonders if high-speed Internet is a threat to our security here, Cis wonders why we’re worrying about gay marriage when Hollywood stars aren’t bothering to marry at all here, and JBelle shares thoughts re: bestseller “A Million Little Pieces” here.

Forget Public Trough, He Vants to Suck Your Blood

“Honesty is very seldom heard nowadays, especially from a politician. So, I am going to break from political tradition. My name is Jonathon “The Impaler” Sharkey, Ph.D., L.D.D.D. I am a Satanic Dark Priest, Sanguinarian Vampyre and a Hecate Witch. My Magikal Path name is: Lord Ares. I despise and hate the Christian God the Father. He is my enemy. However, it doesn’t mean that I hate all his followers. This Country was founded on religious rights and freedoms. This is guaranteed under the 1st Amendment of our great constitution. This right allows me to worship Lucifer and the Goddess Hecate, just as it allows you to worship the Goddess/God of your choice.”

From the campaign literature of Jonathon “The Impaler” Sharkey, who is running for governor of Minnesota (Vampire seeks Minnesota governor’s job: ‘I’m a Satanist who doesn’t hate Jesus – I just hate God the Father’/Perth Sunday Times, Australia)

DFO: For some reason, I thought of this bird when I received the first call for the 2006 campaign season from a Boise pol who wants to stop by for endorsement purposes. I haven’t seen the guy since he ran for office 4 years ago. I doubt that he’ll be as interesting as “The Impaler.”

Hanging Out — in New York

Members of the Moose Lodge in Huntington, N.Y. pose with their calendar portraits in their newly renovated lodge Thursday. From left to right are: Anthony Pennetti , Michael Silverman, Frank Bell Jr. and his son Frank Bell III, Charles Ford, and Stephen Gabriel Jr. The lodge was chosen by Bravo cable networks show, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. In July, 2005 the show descended on the lodge to make over its interior — and 12 members. The calendar shoot is central to a Queer Eye show set to air later this month. The calendars will be sold as part of a nationwide fund-raiser.

Question: Tactful bare-almost-all community calendars are becoming the rage a la “Calendar Girls.” Would you volunteer to model for one — for a good cause, of course.

Important Inside Question — from HBO

Are any of you being blocked from seeing the whole story when I provide links to Spokesman-Review articles? Gary Ingram reports that he is. My links should be able to get you behind the SR firewall. Please let me know one way or the other. If there’s a problem, I’ll try to get it corrected pronto.

Feedback: Click on the “printer friendly version” link and you get it all — Political Geek.

Family Phil Wants Your Vote — for DadTalk

“Since HBO worked wonders for the Black Bear Blog and its Best Outdoors Blog award, I’m hoping you can take a moment and vote for my good friend at DadTalk as ‘Best Daddy Blog’”

Family Phil

You can find the link here.

And Many of Them Are Coming to Idaho …

“Sometime in October, the United States will welcome its 300 millionth citizen into the world. According to the Census Bureau, a baby is born every 8 seconds, someone dies every 12 seconds, and the nation on average gains an immigrant every 31 seconds, which means the population is growing by one person every 14 seconds. Be prepared for a big to-do when the 300 millionth citizen arrives: When the population reached 200 million in 1967, Life magazine dispatched 23 photographers to locate the baby and devoted a five-page spread to its search” — World magazine blog.

Question: Feeling crowded?

Local Question of the Day — 1/13/06

Issue: Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s plan to give every qualified Idahoan $50 for energy assistance/Gregory Hahn, Idaho Statesman

DFO: Actually, I’ll be dealing with $150 since there are 3 of us in our household. I might use it to get my wife a digital camera that she’s been wanting.

Question: How will you spend your $50?

Huckleberries Local AM Headlines — 1/13/06

*Senate bill would ban bestiality: Animal rights groups have pushed for law after man died last summer in Enumclaw/Richard Roesler, Spokesman-Review — Enumclaw, Wash.: Where men are men and the farm animals are nervous.

*Kempthorne defends tax relief plan: Governor says cities, counties share burden of reform/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review — Kempthorne’s Truman impersonation: The buck stops — over there.

*Transportation department closes Highway 2 after roadway buckles/R.J. Cohn, Hagadone News Network — Someone reported this last night on the comments section of this blog. Dunno who. But that sleuth has a future in the news biz.

*Post Falls grill busted for gambling: Incident at Jack’s Sports Grill comes after warnings; liquor license may be suspended/Brian Walker, Coeur d’Alene Press — Busted for playing Texas Hold ‘Em? Now, that’s something you don’t see on TV world poker championships.

*Alaska Airlines acknowledges emergency landing: Latest in string of incidents involving Alaska planes/Associated Press — Now, this isn’t a happy thought you want to be thinking when you climb aboard an Alaska flight outta Spokane.

P.S. — 1/12/06

This one’s for JBelle, Dogwalk Musings and all you other dog lovers out there: Elizabeth McCorkle walks in the rain with her three cockapoos, Henry, left, Isabel and Simon earlier today in Eugene, Ore. Isabel and Simon are twins, but they all are wearing the same outfit. (AP Photo/The Register Guard, Kevin Clark)

Best of the Local Blogs — 1/12/06

Family Phil calls this one: “Attack of the Cheap Chinese Toys” here.

*Seems Marianne Love/Slight Detour is saying she’s not going to be part of that adult spelling bee that the Bonner County Bee is sponsoring. Or is she? Hard to tell since she apparently was “hukt on fonix” at one time or another. See why here.

*Stebbijo/Your Choice has reason to brag about her 24-year-old daughter here.

*Jim Meehan/Idaho Vandals sez new UI football coach Nick Holt is paying attention to possible recruits in his back yard (and rightfully so) unlike some who have gone on before him here.

*Not only does CJ/Golly Gals discuss a visit to Howard Hughes “Spruce Goose” in McMinnville, Ore., (southwest of Portland), but she provides photos, too, here.

*HBO (actually Your Huckleberry Hound by name) now has a link on the monster Web site belonging to Stefan Sharkansky/Sound Politics in the Puget Sound area here. He played a significant role in rallying the troops for Repub Dino Rossi in the long count and recount. Links on his Web site are hard to come by.

Also: The wind has kept new mother Erin up at nights here, CDADave wonders why gas prices are going up since there haven’t been any calamities of late here, and Mittens helps “Mom” fold socks here.

Proof That Washington Exists In A Fog

A bicyclist takes a ride while the Washington Monument is wrapped in thick fog which is moving slowly along the Potomac River near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., earlier today. (AP Photo/The Washington Times, Astrid Riecken)

Don’t Laugh. He’s Earned $37,350

This undated photo provided by Crier Communications shows Andrew Fischer of Omaha, Neb., wearing the logo for the snoring remedy, SnoreStop, on his forehead. Fischer auctioned off the use of his forehead for advertising space. SnoreStop topped the bidding by offering $37,375 on e-Bay. (AP Photo/ Crier Communications)

Question: What would you be willing to advertise on your head for a cool 30 grand?

Contest: Talking to the Governor

As I mentioned below, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne will visit the SR’s CDA office later this afternoon. You’ve done a good job letting me know what you think about the $50 per capita energy assistance he’s proposing. Now, I have another challenge for you re: the visit: What question would you ask the governor, if you attended the meeting? I’ll ask the governor the best question that you guys submit. Ball’s in your court.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 1/12/06

Dean Maurice lets a grin creep through his snow covered beard after a deep-powder run at Big Mountain ski resort in Whitefish, Mont., Wednesday. (AP Photo/Daily Inter Lake, Chris Jordan)

1. Eric Devericks/Seattle Times chronicles the revolution — er, evolution — of Repub congressional reformers here. And Milt Priggee/Skagit Valley Herald characterizes the tug-of-war going on with the Alito nomination here.

2. Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas is asking that Shasta Groene be allowed to testify against Joseph Edward Duncan III without facing the accused killer in a courtroom here.

3. Idaho had the nation’s 2005 second highest rate of in-migration — people moving into the state vs. people moving out — with 61.9 percent of the moves going into the state, according to the annual study by United Van Lines here.

4. Bad Day For Big Game: *Idaho wants to kill 51 wolves here. And 200 Yellowstone Park bison rounded up for slaughter here. And 2 aggressive deer killed at Helena, Mont., here.

5. A British Columbia drama teacher has pleaded innocent to charges that he videotaped high school wrestlers in the shower during a tournament near Olympia, Wash., last month here.

6. IMHO-NW: Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (Humor & zero tolerance), Chris Peterson/Hungry Horse News (The little heifer who could), Tim Woodward/Idaho Statesman (Boise’s socked-in airport), Bert Caldwell/Spokesman-Review (Spokane firm offers confidentiality), and John Blanchette/Spokesman-Review (Kwan should face challengers).

Online Poll: 31.4% of the respondents to an Olympian poll say they want to see a record for consecutive days of rain in western Washington.

*Poll: Washington Supreme Court justices, Demos risk voters wrath if they support gay marriage here.

*Former Coeur d’Alene Basin cleanup foe L. Michael Bogert now sits on committee overseeing cleanup here.

*The ouster of Spokane Mayor Jim West survived a Supreme Court challenge today when the court ruled signatures on the recall petitions were legally collected in August and September here.

Orbusmax provides the rest of the Northwest here.

Question of the Day — 1/12/06

Issue: Man sues chatroom pals: I was humiliated beyond what ‘no man could endure’/J.K. Dineen, Court TV

DFO: Here’s another reason why I prevent you guys from throwing too many elbows in here. Someone might get hurt — in court.

Question: Have you ever been an Internet bully?

APhoto of the Day — 1/12/06

In this photo provided to The Associated Press by the ‘Martha’ television show, Martha Stewart floats in a zero gravity environment aboard the Zero Gravity Corporation’s Boeing 727 aircraft in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. You write the cutline.

WorldNetDaily Poll — 1/12/06

Issue: New sentence possible for ‘60-day child rapist’: Vermont reclassifies assailant, making him eligible for in-prison treatment/WorldNetDaily; and: Cashman has hard-line reputation: Controversial judge churchgoing Vietnam vet picked by Republican/AP

Question: What should be done in the case of the judge who gave a child rapist a 60-day sentence?

1. Nothing. The judge didn’t do anything wrong – he followed sentencing guidelines
2. Everyone should just calm down – we have an independent judiciary in this country
3. People should be protesting in front of his house
4. The legislature should take the issue away from judges and mandate a 25-year sentence for child rapists
5. The judge should get at least 60 days in jail
6. The judge should resign
7. The judge should be impeached – if he’s not, the word no longer has any meaning
8. The governor should use every legal means at his disposal to remove this judge from the bench
9. The judge should re-sentence the rapist to a lengthy term and apologize
10. Other

DFO: No. 9

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.



  • It’s Miserable on the West Side, Too

    Kaeli Emrich tests the waters of the aptly-named River Road as she walks back to the family farm with her parents Steve and Kendra Emrich on Tuesday as high water from the Chehalis River overflowed in Chehalis, Wash. Gov. Christine Gregoire got a birds-eye view of mudslides and washouts on Western Washington highways Wednesday as the waterlogged region entered its 24th consecutive day of rain/AP photo by Steve Bloom/The Olympian.

    Top Cutlines — 1/11/06

    Britney Spears is seen on the set filming in Queens, New York. Now, she heads Mr. Blackwell’s worst-dressed list. You write the cutline.

    Top Cutlines:

    1. You can take the girl out of the trailer park but you can’t take the trailer park out of the girl; and: Britney starring in the remake of A Streetwalker Named Desire — both Jane Q. Citizen.

    2. A great artist reinvents herself: From nubile to new child, From to-die-for derrierre to diaper carrier, From clubbin’ hottie to chubby mommy — all in less than a year! — Whippersnapper.

    3. Britney reacts after hearing Mr. Blackwell say, “She looks like an ass!” — Thom George.

    HM: Bre

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

    Global Warming?

    ‘Tis so. Chris/Digital Fog offers proof above that global warming is legit.

    Poll: Only 24% of US Find Fat Unattractive

    Americans Find Being Fat Not Unattractive/Candice Choi, Associated Press — That’s good because we’d never reproduce otherwise. Two-thirds of the country is overweight.

    Question: Do you find love handles unattractive?

    Peanut Gallery — Remove Cyclops Kitten

    “I’m not reading your blog again until you take that picture of that poor, unfortunate kitty down” — An unnerved CDA blurker.

    DFO: Sorry.

    SR Blog Page-Views

    Spokesman-Review blog pageviews for 2005:

    All Cougs All the Time: 147,000
    All We Never Knew: 17,000
    Art Beat: 82,000
    Ask the Editors: 149,000
    Auto Racing 2005: 46,000
    Campus Commons: 23,000 (started in August)
    Daily Briefing: 127,000
    EWU sports: 52,000
    Eye on Boise: 223,000
    Eye on Olympia: 192,000
    Gonzaga basketball: 56,000
    Hard 7: 91,000
    Health Beat: 137,000
    Home Planet: 49,000
    Huckleberries Online: 1,348,000
    Idaho Vandals: 0 (started 1/06)
    Inland Northwest History: 7,200 (started in November)
    Journey to Vatican III: 134,000
    Mount St. Helens watch: 65,000
    Movies & More: 1,465,000
    News is a Conversation: 410,000
    Prep report: 99,000
    Sound Wave: 130,000
    Spin Control: 97,000
    Taste of the Town: 7,900 (started in November)
    Treasure Hunting: 155,000
    Wheel Life: 144,000

    Extra! Boise Community College By Fall?

    Community college could open in Boise by fall/Associated Press

    DFO: ‘Twill be interesting to see if such a community college was funded entirely by the state. Or if the Great State of Ada has to underwrite a new college with property taxes, as is done in Twin Falls and Coeur d’Alene.

    APhoto of the Day — 1/11/06

    Britney Spears is seen on the set filming in Queens, New York. Now, she heads Mr. Blackwell’s worst-dressed list. You write the cutline.

    More About One-Eyed Kitten

    “A photo of a one-eyed kitten named Cy drew more than a little skepticism when it turned up on various Web sites, but medical authorities have a name for the bizarre condition. “Holoprosencephaly” causes facial deformities, according to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health. In the worst cases, a single eye is located where the nose should be, according to the institute’s Web site.”

    For the rest of the story by Terrence Petty/AP, click here.

    Quotable Quote

    “Kootenai County is growing like a teenager on growth hormones.”

    Gus Johnson, chairman of the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners to a crowd of government officials and business people meeting over a breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.

    Quick Fix 6 — 1/11/06

    1.APhoto Fix: Vladimir Arutyunian, accused of trying to kill U.S. President George W. Bush, seen in a defendants’ cage during his trial in Tbilisi, Georgia, Wednesday. The trial of Arutyunian accused of trying to assassinate the U.S. and Georgian presidents approached its end on Wednesday, as the court was expected to convene for closing statements. Vladimir Arutyunian faces life in prison.

    2. Cartoon Fix: Monte Wolverton (Indian affairs, then & now), Gary Varvel (Senate confirmation hearings), and Ed Stein (Listening to ordinary Americans).

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

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

    5. Top of the News Fix: Top Demo blasts Alito’s “inconsistencies” here, AIDS-infected activist charged with raping boy, 13, here, Bank One implicated in GOP kickback scheme here, Granny brigade wants to replace kids in Iraq here, and Sharon out of immediate danger here.

    6. Opinion Fix: Michelle Malkin/Townhall (Hillary wraps herself in armor), Dick Morris/The Hill (America is shifting leftward), Heather McDonald/Wall Street Journal (What left-wing profs consider mainstream), John Dickerson/Slate (New etiquette of lobbying), Kathleen Parker/Orlando Sentinel (Dangers of cussing like a sailor),


    Issue: In spite of broad, high-profile news coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court in the past year, 57 percent of Americans can’t name any current U.S. Supreme Court justices.

    DFO: I can name . I’ll peek in a minute to see whom I’m missing.

    Question: How many Supreme Court justices can you name? (I’ll put the answer in the comments section with a link to the story.)

    Best of the Local Blogs — 1/10/06

    Granati has started posting his photos on line here, and for some reason this one caught this gardener’s eye.

    *SR sports writer Jim Meehan provides some insights from his interview with UI Vandal basketball coach Leonard Perry from a telephone interview this afternoon here.

    *Marianne Love/Slight Detour finally discovers the culprits who TP’d and Saran Wrapped her home and vehicle some years ago, including two who hold significant positions within the local judiciary here.

    *Family Phil isn’t impressed by “experts” who say that you can leave your kids alone for the night when they are 14 or 15 here.

    *Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise provides the Demos’ view of Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s State of the State speech here.

    *Bill McCrory/Whitecaps provides solid reasons via links why the authorities should be subject to close and compulsory outside scrutiny here.

    Also: The Calico Girls in Tony Britton’s world discover there’s three colors in North Idaho: Green, White and Gray here; Cis fears that cabin fever is setting in here, and CDADave is collecting for the D.F. Oliveria Appearance Alteration Enhancement fund here,

    Top Cutlines — 1/10/06

    Jessica Gates, 5, wears her father’s battle dress overcoat to ward off the cold after his return from Iraq Monday, Jan. 9, 2006, to Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Technical Sgt. Brian Gates and 40 fellow airmen from the 49th Security Forces Squadron returned home after more than six months of duty in Iraq. You write the cutline.

    AP Photo/Alamogordo Daily News, Ellis Neel

    Top Cutlines:

    1. “Yeah, I know the jacket is bigger than me, but my daddy’s home. Wanna make som’n of it?” — Granati.

    2. Jessica looks around for an ex-Iraqi leader when she overhears her mommy telling her dad that she is “Saddam glad to see” him — John Austin.

    3. Welcome home dad! Thank you for your sacrifice — Kale.

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

    Like Mother, Like Daughter

    Gov. Christine Gregoire, left, looks on as her daughter, Courtney Gregoire, is sworn-in to the Washington state bar earlier today at the State Supreme Court, in Olympia, Wash. Gov. Gregoire, who was attorney general for 12 years before moving to the governor’s mansion last year, presented hundreds of new attorneys and assistant attorneys general to the high court for the ritual swearing in.

    Video Journal Spotlights Coeur d’Alene

    Dunno if you’re acquainted with Colin Mulvaney’s SR Video Journal in which photographers discuss their photos. But VJ has been spotlighting the Coeur d’Alene area of late. Colin’s the shooter-on-the-spot in St. Louis, Mo., who was covering the aborted attempt by CDA’s Chris Anders and Kalie Budvarson to make their mark at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships here. And Jesse Tinsley shot the interesting blessing of Lake Coeur d’Alene’s waters by members of our community’s orthodox faith here.

    Pave Paradise, Put Up A Parking Lot Dept …

    “Well, driving through Coeur d’Alene today, I went down Sherman and out Northwest Blvd., where I took the on-ramp to go onto Lincoln way, and, it looks like quite a few more pine trees have bitten the dust. There’s some new construction going on, where “Coeur d’Alene Homes” is located; a big new building is going up, but before “what goes up”, something “must come down”, and in this case, most all of the pine trees located near Coeur d’Alene Homes and Heritage Place, have indeed come down. I don’t mind building per se, but why does vegetation have to be bulldozed down?

    “I have long admired, for instance, the Hecla Mining Headquarters building out along hiway 95; a huge building was built way back off the freeway, in total harmony with the many, many pine trees that were left standing in that block. Regarding developers and builders who rip out trees en masse, what, are you trying to turn North Idaho into a semi-arid desert? If THAT’S what you want, I say, go build your buildings near Rosalia, Washington, or somewhere in that area. Not only will you be able to build your buildings, you’ll save money on timber-falling expenses ‘cos there ain’t that many trees in that neck o’ the woods.”


    For the rest of CDADave’s fine rant today, click here. And for a photo of what I might look like in a goatee (if my hair was still black), click here.

    Who Coulda Said …

    “I feel about as welcome as a turd in a punchbowl.”

    1. George Bush at the NAACP Convention
    2. Bill Clinton in church
    3. O’Reilly on the David Letterman Show
    4. stopthecrazygrowth at the Kootenai County Land Developers Ball
    5. Sandi Bloem in Uncle Duane’s Office
    6. Other?

    Hat Tip: stopthecrazygrowth

    Quotable Quote II

    Since the first Quotable Quote is in question, who said:

    “Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.”

    1. Richard M. Nixon
    2. John Wayne
    3. Mae West
    4. Harry Truman
    5. Barry Goldwater

    Correct Answer: “Give ‘Em Hell” Harry Truman

    APhoto of the Day — 1/10/06

    Jessica Gates, 5, wears her father’s battle dress overcoat to ward off the cold after his return from Iraq Monday, Jan. 9, 2006, to Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Technical Sgt. Brian Gates and 40 fellow airmen from the 49th Security Forces Squadron returned home after more than six months of duty in Iraq. You write the cutline.

    AP Photo/Alamogordo Daily News, Ellis Neel

    Local Question of the Day — 1/10/06

    Issue: Gov. Dirk Kempthorne proposed (in his State of the State address) expanding the “circuit-breaker” property tax assistance program, which helps low-income elderly and disabled people, and adding a tax-deferral program. But he dubbed the property tax issue, overall, a local problem. “If citizens believe they are paying too much in property taxes, that debate belongs in the county courthouses and the city halls,” the governor told a joint session of the Legislature in his annual State of the State address.

    Question: Is the governor full of beans on the property tax issue?

    Running Late — 1/10/06

    I met with my padre this a.m., so I’m running a bit late. I’ll dispense with the Quick Fix 6 and get onto the other morning blogging. Stay tuned.

    Wild Card/Monday — 1/9/06

    We’re off to a good start today, with breaking news about non-reformed creep John Tuggle and the beginning of Sam Alito’s hearing. Plenty below, too. If you have your own thread to start, however, here’s your first Wild Card of the week …

    Extra! Some K-County Vets Up In Arms

    Ed Note: HBO has intercepted this e-mail from Hayden vet Dusty Rhoads. Where’s that PR firm when you need it?

    “The Resolution that was on the Kootenai County Commissioner’s Agenda for 1400 hours Tuesday January 10th has been pulled from the table. This resolution was to establish a “Veterans Affairs Commission” under the Co. Commissioners just as is the one under Governor Kempthorne.

    “Evidently there has been a rush of last minute phone calls to the Commissioners speaking against this resolution. I sure don’t understand how any veteran in this county could vote against a Veterans Commission that would have the ability to set down at an official meeting with the County Commissioners on a regular basis. Problems, suggestions and ideas could be presented to the Commissioners from this group of advisors. Seven veterans from federally chartered veterans organizations, who belong to the Kootenai County Veterans Council, would have an open door to be pro-veteran for any and all actions within the county. How could we pass up this opportunity?

    “I think there may be some members of veterans organizations who do not currently belong to the Kootenai County Veterans Council and may feel left out but they are more than welcome to join at any time and would be welcomed with open arms. The Veterans Council Monthly Meeting is an opportunity for every veterans organization to speak up on any and all issues.

    “The County Commissioners Office will now set a date and time and hold an open hearing about establishing this Veterans Affairs Commission. Both those for and those against this resolution can speak up at that time. All the veterans organizations in the county will be notified by
    the Commissioner’s Staff.”


    Top Cutlines — 1/9/06

    Blink182 drummer Travis Barker hammers away on his drum kit during the Cadillac Escalade party at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. You write the cutline.

    Top Cutlines:

    1. Said the drummer’s proud father to a bystander: “Tat’s my boy!” — John Austin.

    2. Drummer Travis Barker,
    scribbled music on himself
    with an indelible marker.
    ….and now we see
    that he doesn’t miss a beat!! — Dave Tolle.

    3. I know I wrote the music down somewhere, oh yeah. Under the left armpit — Kale.

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

    Where The Buffalo Roam — At Dusk

    A lone bison walks along a high ridge overlooking Gardiner, Mont., just outside Yellowstone National Park at dusk, Sunday/AP Photo by Garrett Cheen/The Livingston Enterprise.

    We Think We Can, We Think We Can, We Think …

    Novice pair skaters, Kalie Budvarson and Chris Anders of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, perform a death spiral during their short program Sunday at the State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships in St. Louis. The pair are in 11th place going into Monday’s Free Skate. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review.

    Local pair stumbles on first day at Nationals: Coeur d’Alene duo in 11th place after short program mishap; free skate today/Hilary Kraus, Spokesman-Review

    Huckleberries Best of the Northwest — 1/9/06

    A cow makes a dash onto 8th Ave. S. in Great Falls, Mont., while running from law enforcement officers. Appeals to spare the life of the 1,200-pound heifer came from across the nation after she fled Mickey’s Packing Plant on Thursday, and had several near-death experiences before walking into a makeshift pen and a stock trailer. Now, it appears the cow may be saved here/APhoto.

    1. In the “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” category, the rates Avista charges customers in the Inland Northwest are the lowest in our six-state region, while Montana’s rates are the highest, here.

    2. Cartoonist David Horsey/PI doodles re: the ailing Ariel Sharon and what he means to Israel security here.

    3. Steve Hetrick, a former Air Force chaplain and carpenter, experienced the high of helping Hurricance Katrina survivors get their lives back together in New Orleans and now the low of having his tools stolen out of the back of his pickup while it was parked in a church lot here.

    4. Further, the 1939 International school bus made famous by late author Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, is being resurrected from the swamp on Kesey’s Willamette Valley homestead, to tell the story of the psychedelic ‘60s here.

    5. The new Oregon pseudoephedrine registry appears to be making a dent in the illegal drug trade built on turning the over-the-counter cold remedy into methamphetamine here.

    6. IMHO-NW: D.F. Oliveria/Spokesman-Review (Monday’s Huckleberries), Joel Connelly/Seattle PI (John Edwards comes to town), Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (Washington rep can bite my tail pipe), Jim Kershner/Spokesman-Review (Longing for good ol’ days?), and Jim Moore/Seattle PI (WSU Cougs on the rise).

    Online Poll: 86% responding to a Helena Independent-Record poll believe the Jack Abramoff scandal is Jack Abramoff scandal is evidence of a more widespread problem.

    *Idaho Values Alliance lobbies against same-sex marriage here.

    *Victims advocates: Tougher sex offender laws could backfire here.

    *Leukemia claims Montana lieutenant governor’s wife here.

    * A Wal-Mart employee of Pasco, Wash., has been taken into custody for investigation in seven bomb threats against two stores in Washington and one in Oregon here.

    Orbusmax Special: The new endangered species in Oregon? Hunters and fishermen, with habitat the loser, here.

    Local Question of the Day — 1/9/06

    Issue: Airport suspends police chief: ‘Vulgar’ e-mail attachment also leads to loss of pay for a week, new airport director says/Karen Dorn Steele, Spokesman-Review

    DFO: At this point, everyone should know that Internet porn and work don’t mix.

    Question: Do you think the punishment was appropriate here — or over the top?

    APhoto of the Day — 1/9/06

    Blink182 drummer Travis Barker hammers away on his drum kit during the Cadillac Escalade party at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. You write the cutline.

    Huckleberries Local AM Headlines — 1/9/06

    *It takes gall to pass a stone: Surgery delays celebration of couple’s 37th anniversary/Christi Wilhelm, Coeur d’Alene Press — Ouch!

    *Bonner County family recovering after blast/S-R, Associated Press — There’s a lesson here re: what not to do when you smell a gas leak.

    *Spokane’s skating event hopes rest on uncertain state support/Richard Roesler, Spokesman-Review — Seems to me that the Washington governor speaks with forked tongue.

    *Legislature opens with key issues, tests: Schools, roads, taxes among priorities/Betsy Z. Russell, Spokesman-Review — Guard your wallets, friends & neighbors, the Legislature is going back into session.

    *Foiled coffee shop robbery prompts warning/Associated Press — Words to live by.

    WIld Card/Sunday — 1/8/06

    I just posted Monday’s column below and now this Wild Card. If you have a thread, you’re welcome to post it here. I’ll check back later today. If not, I’ll catch you in the morning with the first Quick Fix 6 of the week …

    Best of Huckleberries Online/Continued 1/3-6/06

    A Fine Howdy-Do?
    It was difficult to get Grandpa and Grandma Berry to move from Marysville, Wash., to North Idaho to be near a daughter and their grandchildren. Both are in their 80s. And he suffers from a World War II wound. But they found a nice duplex in Hayden and were enjoying peace and goodwill on Earth until the mail arrived around Christmas Eve. Seems the new landlord sent a Christmas card with a note informing the elderly couple that they’d have to move by spring so he could demolish their unit to make way for condos. The neighbors got the same message. In an e-mail to the SR on Christmas Day, granddaughter Kim Hill wrote: “My family and I are flabbergasted at this demonstration of greediness mailed in a Christmas card. Is this not the prime example of the Dickens classic tale of Scrooge and the movie villain, the Grinch?” If so, here’s hoping the landlord undergoes the same heart transformation as the two heels-turned-heroes.

    Insurance Scam
    Imagine Cis Gors’ surprise when she discovered her car insurance rates had gone up substantially because she’d met only 10 of 14 criteria on her – credit report. You read that right. Cis hasn’t had an accident in her 48 years of driving. Her husband has had one, 25 years ago. But her credit cards are only 5 years old. And her insurance company prefers that they be 12 years old. Never mind that the Gorses occasionally combine high-interest cards into lower-interest ones like the rest of us do. Or that a credit report should have nothing to do with insurance. The Gorses also got marked down because they were using 30 percent to 39 percent of their cards’ capacities, which is understandable because they have low card ceilings. Seems there situation is understandable to everyone but the insurance industry, which spends as much time figuring out how to gouge their customers as it does trying to provide protection.

    Smells Like Dinner
    Did you hear the one about the Spokane woman who drove off in disgust after visiting Higgens Point/Lake Coeur d’Alene to see the annual gathering of eagles. She couldn’t believe how many stinky, dead fish had washed up on shore. The smell ruined her enjoyment. When SReporter Erica Curless heard about the odor problem, she called the Idaho Fish and Game to check it out, realizing that the fish played a role in the eagle’s diet. On the line, the F&G receptionist chuckled: “That’s the whole point!” she said. “The kokanee die, which attracts the eagles.” Duh! Cue up “Circle of Life” for the newcomers.

    Poet’s Corner: “Slightly fatter,/slightly balder,/all his lang syne/slightly aulder” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“New Year’s Eve Assessment”) … “In the “Aiming to Please” Dept., Cd’A’s new America’s Cheesecake Café has made taking care of business difficult by adding small TV’s at eye level (for an NBA center, that is) above the men’s urinals. This, according to customer Jim Wilger … Sign of the Times (at Forget-Me-Not Gifts/CDA): “Credit extended to anyone over 85 when accompanied by a parent” … Personal Note: I’d like to thank the blurkers/commenters who helped make Huckleberries Online a success during its first full year in 2005 by clicking on the site 1,303,071 individual times … Chuck Tingstad registered the first sign of spring on Christmas morning when he spotted a coupla duffers on a green near his Spokane Valley home. E-mails Chuck: “Methinks somebody got a set of clubs for Christmas and just couldn’t wait to try them out.” Bingo.

    Parting Shot
    Accused Groene Family murderer Edward Joseph Duncan III has made two lists while hanging out at the Kootenai County slammer awaiting trial. His blog chronicling his descent into madness was listed among the “Worst Tech Moments 2005” by Kevin Poulsen of the San Francisco Independent Media Center. And he ranked No. 6 among Idaho’s “Top 25 Influencers” (or change agents), compiled by Randy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press. His mother must be so proud.

    A Freak of Nature

    Speaking of cats, this poor little critter wasn’t lucky. Cy, short for Cyclopes, a kitten born with only one eye and no nose, is shown in this photo provided by its owner in Redmond, Oregon. The kitten, a ragdoll breed, which died after living for one day, was one of two in the litter. Its sibling was born normal and healthy/AP Photo by Traci Allen.

    Best of the Local Blogs — 1/6/06

    CDADave provides this vintage photo from 1907 of the docking area in Coeur d’Alene. Also, he has some words to say about taxes after finding a CDA tax receipt from Christmas time 1910 here.

    *Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise reports that the Idaho Transportation Dept. has reviewed the bid award for overseeing the massive highway construction project ahead — and once again the Boise-based Washington Group International came out on top here.

    *As the father of a second-grader, Family Phil has poignant thoughts about local news that a second-grader has been booted from school indefinitely for saying he had a gun when he didn’t here.

    *Mari Meehan/Dogwalk Musings provides a great map (courtesy of the Washington Post) and some thoughts about the Jack Abramoff scandal that has sucked in some of the region’s congressmen here.

    *Bill McCrory/Whitecaps provides a link to a memo that will help you decide for yourself if the president had the authority to order wiretaps to fight terrorism here.

    *Chris/Digital Fog provides an interesting video post, entitled “The World According to America” here.

    Also: Cis empathizes with housing contractors here, Granati recalls time spent in India last year here, and Marianne sez there’s good bread in Clark Fork here.

    Ah’m Your Huckleberry

    You may know that local hospitality mogul Duane Hagadone sold his 205-foot yacht, Lady Lola (above), and her shadow boat (which is now called “Amevi Surprise”). But did you know that Hagadone started a trend with his Lady Lola Shadow and that former skipper Stan Antrim is now refurbishing vessels to serve as shadow boats for the richy rich? According to the latest issue of Boat USA International, Antrim is using the skills learned retrofitting the Lady Lola Shadow to find and refurbish boats that will serve as carriers for helicopters, speedboats and other toys for megayacht owners. Seems Coeur d’Alene bazillionaire Hagadone hit on something when he was scrounging around for a way to have his toys and take them with him on cruises, too. A 1981 vintage oil supply vessel, the erstwhile LL Shadow carried the chopper, a speedboat, a shuttle boat for up to 20 guests, a three-man submarine among other things. Since leaving Hagadone’s employment, Antrim has rebuilt a second vessel, a 170-footer dubbed the Paladin Shadow, and has plans for a third. But no one has met his asking price, yet. For a cool $9.75 million, you could join the ranks of the rich and famous. Of course, you’d need a main megayacht, too.

    Huckleberries Best of the Northwest — 1/6/06

    Two antelopes are seen as they graze through a field of snow off of Old Yellowstone Trail near Gardiner, Mont., Thursday/AP Photo by Garrett Cheen/The Livingston Enterprise.

    Photo Extra: The Billings Gazette runs its best photos of 2005 here.

    1. A Post Falls, Idaho, second-grader was suspended from school indefinitely for saying he had a gun, according to Brian Walker/Coeur d’Alene Press, here.

    2. David Horsey/Seattle PI tries to look through the eyes of Washington initiative meister Tim Eyman here.

    3. An annual coyote killing contest set for this weekend in Fallon County will go on despite objections from a national animal protection group that the event is unethical here.

    4. You can find a heart-warming story re: how a soldier who lost a leg in Iraq has bounced back to make the Army’s international rifle team here.

    5. In the news category of “man bites dog,” Idaho Congressman Butch Otter admits that he was wrong to co-sponsor legislation attempting to sell public land to private interests here. His apology here.

    6. IMHO-NW: Joel Connelly/Seattle PI (Abramoff’s tentacles snare NW), Doug Floyd/Spokesman-Review (Leadership needs more cleansing), G. George Ostrom/Bigfork Eagle (Cryin’ about spyin’), John Levesque/Seattle PI (The end for Shaun Alexander?), and Bud Withers/Seattle Times (Wrapping up an amazing Rose Bowl).

    Online Poll: 74.2% responding to Great Falls Tribune poll don’t like paying 2 more cents for first-class stamps.

    *Montana’s grizzly bears are moving on out and turning up in places that are surprising researchers every year here.

    *The L.A. Times is reporting that ex-Gonzaga player Ronny Turiaf could be called up by the Lakers soon here. (And: Coach Mark Few gives current Zags “A” as team prepares for WCC opener here.)

    *Proposed Washington law would allow property owners to adopt a beaver here.

    Orbusmax Special: Oregon State and Portland State subsidized sports teams by more than $7M here.

    APhoto of the Day — 1/6/06

    Officer Amy Lowe of the Humane Society of Cascade County and a cow that had escaped from a local slaughterhouse in Great Falls, Mont., Thursday. You write the cutline.

    AP Photo by Robin Loznak/Great Falls Tribune.

    Monopoly Cards Depicting Life In K-County

    Remember those Monopoly Cards from Digital Fog Thursday night? Well, Dang answered the Huckleberries challenge and has come up with some of his own. And CDADave offered several ideas for other ones in the comments section from last night here. Anyone have any other ideas?

    Huckleberries Local AM Headlines — 1/6/06

    U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and Idaho Gov.Dirk Kempthorne hold a signed memorandum at a news conference inside the governor’s office at the Statehouse in Boise Thursday. Idaho has assumed management authority over more than 500 gray wolves that roam the state’s central mountains under an agreement signed Thursday by Norton and Kempthorne/AP Photo by Troy Mabin. See Item No. 1.

    *Idaho gets say over majority of wolf packs: Pact lets state authorize ranchers south of I-90 to shoot predators when warranted/Betsy Russell & James Hagengruber, Spokesman-Review — Ready, aim …

    *Student with TB released from hospital: Second mass test next week; no one else at CdA High shows symptoms/JoNel Allecia, Spokesman-Review — So far, so good. (BTW, put your hands together for our newest SR/CDA bureau staffer JoNel Allecia, who replaces Susan Drumheller, who now is hugging trees in Sandpoint for the Idaho Conservation League.)

    *Gun range expansion draws fire in Idaho: Bayview group blasts state plan for Farragut State Park project/James Hagengruber, Spokesman-Review — As long as they’re firing words and not bullets, there’s no cause for alarm.

    *Net result: Live feeds to continue: Pilot program is successful; Idaho sessions stay online/Associated Press — Now, if Bruce Newcomb & Co. would do something about closed meetings, we could say that the Idaho Legislature has open government.

    *Altercation between friends results in stabbing death: Investigators are awaiting accounts of 26-year-old’s death from witnesses/Thomas Clouse, Spokesman-Review — Another example of how alcohol kills.

    P.S. (from Digital Fog)

    Asks Chris, who produced these three Monopoly cards for Digital Fog: “Don’t these new Monopoly Community Chest cards better reflect reality in 2006? I think so.”

    Question: Can you think of any other Monopoly cards that might apply to 2006?

    Best of the Local Blogs — 1/5/06

    CDA’s Phil Corless (aka Family Phil) has become one of the best bloggers in North Idaho. After taking a break from his blog for the holidays, he has returned this week in style by posting a list of his 2005 “bests,” including favorite kid quote, favorite second best job, and favorite photos. You can treat yourself by clicking here.

    *In News Is A Conversation, my Editor Steve Smith responds to criticism from Marianne Love/Slight Detour about the media’s embarrassing bad call on the West Virginia mining disaster here.

    *What’s this? CDADave/Thin Air has kept that resolution re: joining a health club? Click here.

    *JBelle/Notes from The ‘Kan EWA introduces her to her Chow Nation here and provides a “best of” list from her recent visit to Lac Louise, Canada, here.

    *Oops. Missed this one on vacation — Jesse Tinsley/Video Journal provides a narrative for his photography re: the last day of the old IFI/Stimson mill here.

    *For good reason, Side Note, over on the west side of the Cascades, enjoys reading the SR blog by Courtney Dunham/All We Never Knew for good reason. It’s frank. Entertaining. And provides insights into how twentysomethings view the world. Today, Courtney discusses “open relationship” and a 27-year-old guy who’s in one but tries to hide as much as he can here.

    Also: Bayview Herb announces his ‘un-retirement” here, Cis introduces us to some women who played big roles in Idaho’s past here, and Marianne reminisces with other former Sandpoint High teachers at a funeral for a mutual friend here.

    Quotable Quote — Spinning PR Story

    “Well, Gus said it always takes a “negative” to get a mention in the paper. Time will tell if he’s right. I’ve been wondering, do you think the PR firm put a positive PR spin on the announcement of the PR contract here?” — I.B. Lurking.

    Buh-bye Ex-Mariner

    Philadelphia Phillies general manager Pat Gillick helps pitcher Ryan Franklin on with his team jersey during a press conference Thursday, Jan. 5, 2006 in Philadelphia. Franklin was signed to a one-year baseball contract here.

    Question: Are you optimistic that the M’s can rebound from two poor seasons to challenge for the AL West division title next year?

    Local Question of the Day — Top Influencers

    Issue: Suspected Groene Family killer Edward Joseph Duncan III makes Idaho Top 25 “Influencer” list, but Duane Hagadone doesn’t/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press.

    Randy Stapilus, explaining category: “Think ‘change agent’ rather than ‘powerful person.’ An Idaho example may make the point. State Democratic Party Chair Richard Stallings is on this list, and state Republican Chair Kirk Sullivan is not. That does not mean Stallings, as a leader of the Democrats, is more “influential” in the power corridors of the state than Sullivan, who is a well-regarded leader of the group that utterly dominates state politics. But the Idaho Republican Party hasn’t had any great need to go through massive changes recently – it’s been a successful organization - and so it hasn’t here.”

    Question: With the Stapilus’ criteria above, can you see his argument for including on the list?

    Got Questions — for Idaho Legislature Reporters?

    re: The following is a note from colleague Betsy Russell in Boise:

    Got questions about the upcoming legislative session that you’d like to pose to reporters covering the session? Here’s your chance. Tonight on Idaho Public TV’s “Dialogue” program, host Marcia Franklin will talk with a panel of three Statehouse reporters – myself, Corey Taule of the Idaho Falls Post-Register, and Greg Hahn of the Idaho Statesman – about the session, and we’ll take your calls (toll-free: 800-973-9800). Questions can also be submitted before the show by email. The program airs live at 8:30 p.m. Mountain time, 7:30 p.m. Pacific time. It’ll repeat – but without live questions – on Sunday, and also can be viewed online at

    Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 1/5/06

    Seattle Seahawks’ Shaun Alexander, right. carries the ball against the Tennessee Titans Pacman Jones in the second quarter of their NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005 in Nashville, Tenn. Alexander set an NFL record for touchdowns, led the league in rushing and ran away with The Associated Press Most Valuable Player award Thursday here.

    1. Washington’s two senators said they have no plans to return money from clients of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, while Idaho Sen. Larry Craig’s staff is looking at campaign records before deciding what, if anything, to do with several contributions, according to Jim Camden, Spokesman-Review, here. (From Orbusmax, a list of recipients, including U.S. Sen. Patty Murray at No. 9, here.)

    2. Seems David Horsey/PI hasn’t heard that Washington Democrat Patty Murray is 9th on the list of Jack Abramoff’s payoffs as the lobbyist appears to have been an equal opportunity sleaze here.

    3. Randy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press of Boise has released the names of the Top 25 “influencers” — or agents of change — in Idaho, Washington and Oregon here.

    4. Caldwell man arrested for altering lottery ticket here.

    5. Oregon timber researchers hope to create wood sniffers that could track lumber from forest to front-room furniture the way bloodhounds track criminals _ by their scent here.

    6. IMHO-NW: Bill Virgin/Seattle PI (Not every worker safe in US), Bert Caldwell/Spokesman-Review (Economic development from ground up), Nicole Brodeur/Seattle Times (Kurt Cobain’s sad legacy), Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (No home for bitterness here), and Nick Daschle/Columbian (WSU’s Bennett will be missed when he hangs ‘em up).

    Online Poll: 65% of 4721 Billings Gazette respondents say that President Bush was right to order domestic spying by the NSA without a court order.

    *A Tri-Cities woman, 38, died from a rare form of meningitis on New Year’s Day here (free subscription required).

    *Idaho, Washington cracking down on repeat sex offenders here.

    *Study: Logging burned areas kills new trees, increases risk of forest fires here.

    Orbusmax Special of the Day: Washington smokers’ ban sends puffers to Idaho here.

    Extra! Seattle’s Alexander Wins NFL MVP

    Issue: Alexander named NFL Most Valuable Player/Barry Wilner, Associated Press — The hits keep coming for long-suffering Seahawk fans.

    SR Editorial of the Day — 1/5/06

    No one can stop another driver from behaving poorly. But a cool head can often prevent, for example, a near accident or a tailgating incident from escalating into road rage with serious consequences. The needless death of Vonette L. Larsen, 41, is a reminder that authorities are better trained and equipped to handle errant drivers than the average citizen – and that staying calm at the wheel during the current epidemic of road rage can save your life

    For the rest of my editorial re: the tragic road-rage death of Scarcello Road, click here.

    Local Question of the Day — 1/5/06

    Issue: Clean air group’s suit cites secret sessions: State agriculture officials met with seed companies/James Hagengruber, Spokesman-Review

    Additional Info: Apart from the lawsuit, Gora said her group has obtained e-mail records that she said are evidence of state employees “mocking” public health advocates. Copies of the e-mails were distributed to the media Wednesday. In an e-mail that Gora said caused particular offense, the state’s burning program manager suggested gathering after the sessions to toast a departing air quality program employee with flaming cocktails. In another e-mail, the same state employee mentioned post-meeting talks ” ‘where we discuss food, drink and/or the meaning of smoke (I burn, therefore I am…?).’”

    Question: Do you get the impression that state bureaucrats don’t take problems associated with field burning seriously?

    Quick Fix 6 — 1/5/06

    1. APhoto Fix: Saudi emergency personnel attend the scene of a hotel collapse in Mecca Saudi Arabia in this image taken from TV Thursday. The five-story hotel at a gate to the Grand Mosque in Islam’s holiest city collapsed into a pile of rubble Thursday as millions of Muslims converged on the city for the annual hajj pilgrimage here.

    2. Cartoon Fix: Henry Payne (Baghdad Dreamin’), Rob Rogers (Dubya’s resolutions), and Brian Fairrington (No pension for you).

    3. Humor Fix: David Letterman’s “Top Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting Free Surgery” here.

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

    5. Top of the News Fix: 120 Iraqis, 7 US soldiers die in suicide attacks here, Study: Teen girls lack facts about most STDs here, Female teacher has sex with boy, 12, here, Microsoft blocks Chinese dissident’s blog here, and Maryland county to buy Uncle Tom’s cabin here.

    6. Opinion Fix: Andrew C. McCarthy/National Review (Playing “Gotcha” with the war), Chuck Colson/BreakPoint (Are Christians “Boobs”?), Robert Novak/Inside Report (Demos’ “Nancy” problem), Michael Reagan/NewsMax (Abramoff will tell all), and Dick Morris/New York Daily News (How Demos saved Bush).

    Wild Card/Wednesday — 1/4/06

    Well, it’s almost 6 again, HBOers, and I need to head home for supper. So, I’ve moved up the Wild Card for those of you who want to start your own threads …

    Best of the Local Blogs — 1/4/06

    Before HBO formally introduces new blogger Toni Britton/Calico Girls of Sandpoint to you, how about a sample of her poetry, from a cat’s perspective here?

    *Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind sounds off about car insurance companies after seeing her rates go up because (drum roll, puh-leez), she and the king of the house scored only 10 of 14 points necessary to have a perfect credit report. If you’re asking what a credit report has to do with car insurance, click here.

    *Marianne Love/Slight Detour taught her Sandpoint journalism students to always try to get it right before it appeared in print; so, you can imagine her reaction to the inaccurate news last night when the media was reporting that 12 of 13 miners had survived the W.Va. mine blast here.

    *In Video Journal, colleague Jesse Tinsley explains what went into taking that polar bear plunge shot at Lake Coeur d’Alene on New Year’s Day here.

    *If you don’t think North Idaho has critical infrastructure, Bill McCrory/Whitecaps sez to think again here.

    *You can find out about Mari Meehan and Carolyn Mills, the Grand Old Ladies Living Young (Golly Gals), our newest North Idaho blog, here (Mari) and here (Carolyn or “CJ”).

    Also: *Amy/That’s Life, Life Goes On provides tips on how to start from scratch to become an eBay seller here, CDADave/Thin Air explains why blogging isn’t as easy as it looks here, and Stebbijo/Your Choice lists attainable resolutions here.

    A New North Idaho Blog

    As you know, Mari Meehan/Dogwalk Musings joined our little blog party here six months ago or so by posting thoughts she has while walking Bacchus, her Saint Bernard (pictured below). Now, she’s hooked up with another local woman, Carolyn Mills, to produce the Golly Gals blog. Mari’s description of the blog:

    “We both landed in a neighborhood on the Rathdrum Prairie just north of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where we find little in common with our neighbors — or the people in the area for that matter. The two of us have lead lives different from those we now live among and we were delighted when we met one another. There is much to learn about the area and places nearby, the people, our differences and we intend to explore it all. We’ll learn - we’ll never be too old for that. We’re going to have fun, laugh, discover and maybe even inspire. No complaining, no politics, no woe is me - just plain good fun. We invite you along for the ride.”

    You can find the link under the North Idaho Blogroll or by clicking here. Mari plans to keep posting her observations in Dogwalk Musings. Tomorrow: An introduction for Toni Britton’s new Calico Girls blog, which views life from a cat’s perspective.

    Not Quite March of the Penguins, But …

    Steam rises from the open water in the Chena River as a pair of ducks cruise the shoreline in sub-zero temperatures in Fairbanks, Alaska, Tuesday afternoon.

    APhoto/Eric Engman, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

    Ah’m Your Huckleberry

    First, you should know that eightysomethings Leroy and Arlene Berry faced a difficult decision in moving to Hayden from Marysville, Wash., to be near a daughter and grandchildren. And that they were delighted to find a nice duplex on Miles Avenue when they finally did. Now, onward. Somewhere around Christmas Eve, the couple’s peace was shattered when they and others in nearby duplexes received Christmas cards from a new landlord with a note informing them that they’d have to move by spring. Seems the landlord planned to demolish the duplexes to make way for condos. Arlene was so upset by the news she couldn’t sleep, especially since Leroy was in pain at the time from an old WWII wound. In a letter to the SR on Christmas Day, granddaughter Kim Hill wrote: “My family and I are flabbergasted at this demonstration of greediness mailed in a Christmas card. Is this not the prime example of the Dickens classic tale of Scrooge and the movie villain, the Grinch?” If it is, let’s hope that the landlord undergoes the same heart transformation as the two heels-turned-heroes.

    Why Ask Why?

    Why did we have to wait two days to learn that shots were fired at Jonathan Wade Ellington, 44, of Hayden, the driver accused of felonies in the fatal road-rage episode on Scarcello Road New Year’s Day? Capt. Ben Wolfinger and the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department knew that info on Sunday afternoon. It changes the complection of the story somewhat. Is Kay See Ess Oh managing the news? Inquiring minds want to know …

    Local Question of the Day — 1/4/06

    Issue: Kootenai County tries public relations firm: 3-month contract could be prelude to another jail expansion campaign/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review

    Commissioner Gus Johnson: “There are times where the county doesn’t get the story out as well. It always has to be a negative before we can get in the paper. We would like to see some positive.”

    Question: Do you think Kootenai County should have hired a public relations firm to improve communications and help sell the next jail levy?

    Huckleberries AM Local Headlines — 1/4/06

    *Shots fired in road rage altercation: Suspect held on $10 million bail; father fired handgun after car hit/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review — So? 95% of this tragedy can be laid at the feet of the road-rage jerk.

    *Kennedy joins CdA council: Panel’s youngest member takes oath, checks e-mail/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review — The first of the HBO commenter crowd moves into elective office. We shall overcome some da-a-a-a-ay …

    *North Idaho recovering from holiday tragedies: ISP: Increased crime streching county resources/Brian Walker, Coeur d’Alene Press — What a way to start a new year. No where to go but up from here.

    *Region’s flu season light – so far: But it’s not over or too late for shots; health districts have vaccine available/Kevin Graman, Spokesman-Review — Yeah, right, someone in my family has been sick almost from the first of November.

    *The Grail may lose its liquor license: Commission rejects renewal, says bar owner can appeal, remain open until March expiration/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review — Someday soon, the city of Huetter is going to be a hot ticket in the local housing market. Don’t think The Powers That Be will want a troublesome bar at the town’s entrance.

    WorldNetDaily Poll — 1/4/06

    Issue: Bush Assails Democrats Over Patriot Act: Opponents Are Blocking Law’s Full Renewal for Political Reasons, President Says/Washington Post

    What do you think of the Patriot Act?

    1. A much-needed piece of legislation to help secure America
    2. I have no problem with it, because I have nothing to hide
    3. We’re at war, and there has to be some sacrifice of freedom to defend the nation
    4. It’s OK, but for only for a limited time, and should be repealed when the war is over
    5. It would be a good thing, except for the fact government can never be trusted
    6. Unacceptable trade-off of rights for purported security
    7. It clearly violates the Constitution
    8. No matter the rationale for the act, Americans can kiss their personal freedoms good-bye
    9. Bush adminsitration is evil and is using the terror war as a pretext for establishing a totalitarian regime
    10. Other

    DFO: No. 10 (ask me again if/when Hillary Clinton becomes prez).

    For the rest of the WorldNetDaily report, click here.

    Wild Card — 1/3/06

    I’ve already broken one New Year’s Resolution — to be outtahere by 6 p.m. Oh well, I didn’t think that one would last. I’ve enjoyed my first day back and interaction with you. Nice to see Mari Meehan trying her hand at another blog (See: Best of the Local Blogs). And MikeK ascend to an elected city position. The 1.3M page-views for 2005 also was nice. In other words, things are going well in HBO’s blogosphere as I look forward to another year with you folks. Here’s your evening Wild Card …

    Best of the Local Blogs — 1/3/06

    Juanita “Jonesy” Woltering started hunting as a seven-year-old in West Virginia. Since moving to St. Maries in 1954, Woltering, 74, has hunted annually, racking up a bookload of tales, and harvested lots of game like this elk killed near Clarkia decades ago. Before harvesting the bull she remembers trundling past a logging crew in her Jeep. “The loggers snickered about it.” That day, she killed the bull with the big rack that hangs above her piano. “It took the snickering right out of them,” she said. She lives in Fernwood now/photo and cutline by Ralph Bartholdt/Skookum Features.

    DFO: Pleaz put your hands together for two new links on the HBO North Idaho blogroll: Golly Gals (by Mari Meehan and Carolyn Mills) and Calico Girls (a clever blog from a cat’s perspective by Toni Britton of Sandpoint). I’ll give them a proper intro tomorrow.

    *CDADave/Thin Air has it on good authority — the femme who rang up his groceries the other day — that 2006 is going to be a weird year here.

    *Stebbijo and Marianne Love/Slight Detour both use the D-word in recent posts — Diet — here and here.

    *Jim Miller/Jim Miller on Politics from Tri-Cities, Wash., believes Washington and Oregon, which have growth management plans and high housing costs, can learn from Idaho, which has relatively affordable housing and no growth management restrictions, here.

    *Herb Huseland/Bayview Herb has been on a nice roll, writing his first poem here, and swapping words with Orlando, Fla., columnist Kathleen Parker after she made fun of bloggers here.

    *Amy Crooks/That’s Life, Life Goes On is discovering the wonders of eBay as she faces a possible layoff from her day job here.

    Also: Chris/Digital Fog provides a nifty Toyota commercial that’s not shown in the U.S. here, Kale/Un-Muted Mumblings notes how Gonzaga’s basketball success helps land hoity-toity speakers here, and Bre/To Blog Or Not To Blog tells how she spent New Year’s Eve as a designated driver here.

    Ah’m Your Huckleberry …

    A Spokane woman called the downtown office this week to complain about thousands of stinky, dead fish near the Higgens Point viewing area where she went to see the eagles. The stench was so horrid she had to leave, not getting to enjoy the eagles. She wanted us to do a story about it. So, assistant city editor Dave Wasson called Erica Curless to check into it. Erica tells Huckleberries: “I thought it was odd, especially since the eagles are here to eat the fish, but I called Fish and Game.” The woman who answered the phone seemed somewhat amused. Sez she: “That’s the whole point! The kokanee die, which attracts the eagles.” Duh! Not everyone in the Northwest is familiar with our circle of life.

    Photo: Jesse Tinsley/SR

    Mike, Deanna, Woody Sworn In

    You don’t think high-tech has become a major element of our lives in this Brave New World/2006? Here, Thom George documents HBO’s Mike Kennedy being sworn in at noon today, via cell phone. Writes Thom: “Quality isn’t very good, used my Treo phone, but wanted to forward the visual proof that Mr. Kennedy is indeed a city councilman.” Kudos to Mike, Deanna and Woody. Hat Tip to Thom.

    New Year’s Eve Assessment

    Slightly fatter,
    slightly balder,
    all his lang syne
    slightly aulder.

    The Bard of Sherman Avenue

    Question of the Day — Resolutions

    Issue: New Year’s resolutions: By the numbers/Heather Lalley, Spokesman-Review

    DFO: A couple of years ago, I resolved to accept an offer to become involved in the leadership of my little church — not knowing the challenges that were ahead. Few things have challenged me more. This year, I haven’t thought through resolutions much, other than the usual lose weight/read more books/be a better person-type stuff.

    Question: Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution that changed your life? Or: Are you optimistic re: what 2006 is going to bring?

    Huckleberries Local AM Headlines — 1/3/06

    *Hession to be sworn in as mayor: Council, with new member, to meet/Mike Prager, Spokesman-Review — Dennis Hession has no where to go but up as far as Spokane is concerned.

    *Kong starts contractions: New year brings joy bigger than star of blockbuster/Mike McLean, Coeur d’Alene Press — Can’t think of a better way to induce labor than the Peter Jackson’s thrill ride. Congrats to the parents of KMC’s first 2006 baby.

    *Madison, Jacob top baby names: Parents’ picks range from Aiden to Zeba/Rob McDonald, Spokesman-Review — Most popular local names: I remember when every other boy was named David. Wonder if my first name has become one of those old-fashioned ones, such as Gertrude and Bertha?

    *Police: Woman’s husband fired gun: Suspect in road-rage fatality told arresting officers to look for bullet holes in vehicle/Christi Wilhelm, Coeur d’Alene Press — We’re going to have to wait until police sort this one out. Whatever really happened — this was a senseless taking of life.

    *Killed Spokane Valley woman identified/Spokesman-Review — Another woman who hooked up with the wrong guy.

    WorldNetDaily Poll — Military prayers

    Issue: Chaplain ‘starves himself’ over Navy no-Jesus zone: Episcopal priest continues fast in protest
    of policy prohibiting sectarian prayers

    What do you think of Navy chaplain not eating until Bush changes prayer policy?

    1. Proof that many religious people go way overboard
    2. Navy is making the right call on restricting content of prayers
    3. Hunger strikes never really accomplish anything
    4. Hasn’t this chaplain ever heard of separation of church and state?
    5. His resolve is admirable, but he’s misguided
    6. What’s the point of having chaplains if they can’t pray to their God?
    7. Chaplains praying to Jesus served in the Continental Army before there even was a Constitution
    8. It’s an outrage that his First Amendment rights are being violated
    9. President Bush, who says Jesus is his favorite philosopher, needs to step in and slap down Navy
    10. Other

    DFO: Nos. 6-9

    For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

    I’m Back

    Before I begin the daily Huckleberries Online blogging, I wanted to thank everyone who extended kind Christmas/New Year’s holiday wishes in my absence since Dec. 23. I needed the R-‘n-R. And I’m now rarin’ to go again. Today’s fairly exciting because it’s the day that Mike Kennedy, one of our own, graduates from blog commenter and partisan pol to a nonpartisan elected official. Here’s wishing Mike and re-elected CDA council members Deanna Goodlander and Woody McEvers the best as they are sworn in today. We’ll be keeping an eye on them. And I’m sure they’ll provide fodder for this blog mill.

    Wild Card — 1/1/2006

    I’m borrowing from Stebbijo again here (who put this nice touch in the “comments” section New Year’s Eve. Thanx for the upbeat message, Stebbijo.) Two days until we fire this blog back up again. Meanwhile, you can find your next to last vacation Wild Card here …

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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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