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A Matter Of Opinion

Archive for December 2008

Pet peeves

Smart Bombs was feeling peevish today about the language. Are there any cliches — trendy or otherwise — that you would like to see banished?


Wednesday’s Loose Thread

Anyone heading downtown for the First Night celebration? We had planned to, but my son awoke with a fever. I’m going to miss it. Always fun. Pretty funny that the snowboarding exhibition was canceled because of too much snow.

What’s on your mind on this last day of 2008. I think on the Chinese calendar it’s the Year of Good Riddance.





The Audacity of a Dope

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich kept saying he would name someone to Obama’s senate seat, and I kept saying, “Who we be so stupid to take the job?”

Well, here he is.



Tuesday’s Loose Thread

Corridors of snow. That’s our neighborhood. The sidewalks are like World War I trenches. Remember that Tim Conway character who would shuffle around in slow motion. That’s us. Hope you’re staying safe and warm.

What’s on your mind today?

Monday’s Loose Thread

Well, I escaped the weather for a week, but not weather talk. Naturally, folks in Arizona were curious about all the snow, but it didn’t take long to get back to talking about their weather. Might rain. Could dip into the 30s overnight. Might not reach 60. Sorry about those clouds. Such drama.

What’s on your mind on this relatively balmy day?



Friday’s loose thread

Assuming you have pent-up thoughts as a result of Christmas intensity or cabin fever, here’s today’s loose thread.  Comment now and avoid the rush. 

Back at work, briefly

This holiday season has been as unconventional as I can remember, only partly because of the weather.  Blog duty has experienced its share of the neglect for the last few days, but I sense we’re ramping back up.

Catching up on a significant issue, you probably read on Wednesday that the state of Washington plans to save money by closing the Pine Lodge Corrections Center for Women at Medical Lake.  Inmates will be transferred to a prison in southwest Washington. 

I’m guessing the impact will be felt primarily by two groups of people — the 140 workers who will either accept transfers to other jobs or be laid off, and the families and friends of the inmates who were accustomed to being able to visit the prisoners in Spokane County.

What are your thoughts about this move?  For that matter, what thoughts do you have for any aspect of the state’s nearly $6 billion (so far) revenue shortfall for the coming biennium?

Taking a risk

Here’s a seasonal note, via e-mail, from Bill Slusher in Omak:


“When I was ten years old (the Pleistocene Era), a Presbyterian minister said in a sermon: “Lest ye be lost, ye must be bathed in the blood of the lamb!”

“I thought, that’s it. I’m outta here. This bunch is nuttier than a Georgia pecan patch. Thus ended my short religious life. I came to believe that we’re all agnostics whether we admit it or not, as none of us can prove or disprove any divinity. I grew to tell my children: “Respect they who love their god. Beware they who proclaim that you must love it too.”

“Nonetheless, I always cherished Christmas and the story of Jesus, though I was never able to invest my soul in it. I was blessed to have led a life in which Christmas remained a wonderfully special time for me and all our family.

“Christmas has been enormously changed by the passage of time since I was a kid, and not always for the better, whatever one’s religion or absence thereof. Now, somehow, just saying Merry Christmas can actually cause some folks to be ‘offended.’

“But you know what, I’m going to risk it.

“Merry Christmas to all they who serve America in harm’s way this holiday season, wherever they stand guard, however alone they feel, I wish them a safe holiday, and I thank them.

“Last, but hardly least, Merry Christmas to you all, and to all whom you hold dear, however you relate to whatever god, or none.

“May 2009 be the best year yet for us all!”

Happy Christmas Eve & loose thread

To those who celebrate the holiday, I hope your Christmas is shaping up as a merry one. Like a lot of other folks, we’ve had some glitches, mostly weather-related, at our house, but we’ve learned over the many years to be flexible.  Looks like my son-in-law, won’t arrive until Friday to join our daughter and their baby. We’ll just put the calendar on hold a couple of days and pick up with the celebration when he arrives. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it? (To tell the truth, we’d been wishing we had a little more time for preparation.  Ask and you shall receive.)

That said, here’s your loose thread. Comment at your own convenience and on your own schedule.

Worth passing on

Here’s an excerpt from city public information officer Marlene Feist’s latest release

“Please remind people of safety issues around plows. One driver encountered a child’s snow fort that had been built in the street yesterday. Several have had people running up to the plows, often in locations that are essentially blind spots for the driver, which can be very hazardous.”

You’d think common sense would apply, but sometimes common sense isn’t all that common.

Confession time & loose thread

Cindy asks who’s the little man behind the curtain.  C’est moi.  Gary is fiendishly enjoying an Arizona Christmas whilst I labor in the snow drifts. I’m still getting the knack of the new system here so bear with me (“me” being Doug Floyd if I still mess up the signature line).

Good idea to consider this the loose thread, too, given my technological ineptitude.

Drive at 5…

…or slide and spin at 5.  Whatever.  If you have thoughts and time to post them, just click on comments and post away.

Mistaken identity

Sarah Palin took some ribbing when a Canadian radio station pranked her into thinking she was on the phone with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Perhaps she’ll be able to sympathize with The New York Times published a letter in which Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe supposedly criticized Caroline Kennedy’s efforts to become New York’s junior senator. Yup, the letter was bogus.

Personally, I think Palin’s gullibility is more defensible than the NYT’s. Newspapers have processes for checking out the authenticity of letters. Palin was live on the phone and had to make real-time decisions about looking silly or being rude.

Either way, haven’t all of us been duped a few times? 

Monday’s loose thread

There seems to be no end to it, right?

A  weekend trip to the Seattle area was relatively uneventful. Except for a few scattered patches of compact snow, I-90 was clear and passable at near-normal speeds — both ways. Coming back Saturday, though, we knew a big storm was on the way so we made it a point to get a prompt start. It took us about five hours.  Sunday evening I ran into an acquaintance at the store who was just in from Seattle.  His drive took seven hours. What a difference a day makes.

Everybody talks about the weather…so you might as well post it here.  Other topics welcome, too, of course.

Friday’s Loose Thread

{In the voice of John Facenda, of NFL Films}

From the frozen tundra of Southeast Spokane, a lone blogger emerges from his slumber to stagger into the den and commence blogging.

 So, who else is still in their jammies? Random thoughts accepted here.


Thursday’s Loose Thread

Can’t go anywhere. Might as well share your thoughts here.

My Lucky Commute

After hearing all the horror stories from people trying get up the South Hill, I guess my trip home was a breeze. Just didn’t seem like it at the time. The first challenge was just walking across Monroe at Riverside to get to the parking garage. At 5 pm, the cars were stacked up. Guess the commute started an hour early.

Took me 15 minutes to clear the snow from my car, with the help of two manila folders. Once the fluffy stuff was off, I then got out the scraper and got the windshield cleared. Thank goodness I brought boots yesterday. .Oh, almost forgot. I dropped my keys next to the car, and amazingly found them right away. Small panic there.

I had heard that many paths up the South Hill were closed or impassable, so I figured I’d try trusty Maple/Ash. Me and a thousand other drivers. Seeing that snarl, I picked my way through Browne’s Addition and emerged on Sunset, heading west. I turned south on Government Way and took the freeway overpass. Just me and three other cars. At about 16th, I popped out on Highway 195. From there, I took Hatch Road to 57th. Piece of cake. Was home at 5:48 pm.

What’s your story?

Dual standards

MSNBC was being snotty today about the fact Interior secretary-designee Ken Salazar wore a cowboy hat — INDOORS! — during an appearance before the media.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press today moved the following story.

<blockquote>ATLANTA (AP) - A Georgia judge ordered a Muslim woman arrested Tuesday for contempt of court for refusing to take off her head scarf at a security checkpoint.

The judge ordered Lisa Valentine, 40, to serve 10 days in jail, said police in Douglasville, a city of about 20,000 people on Atlanta’s west suburban outskirts.

Valentine violated a court policy that prohibits people from wearing any headgear in court, police said.</blockquote>

Maybe Salazar should be nervous.

Guns and poses

Are gun-grabbing fears legitimate? I don’t think so. Click HERE to read about it.

What do you think? Plus, what your thoughts on carrying weapons at national parks?




Wednesday’s Loose Thread

Certainly have some interesting weather around here. But I’ll take the snow over the blow (wind, that is).

What’s on your mind today?

Tuesday’s Loose Thread

Here’s the place to comment on whatever floats your boat.


Welcome to the blog

You’ve been clamoring for a preview button. Well, you have a preview button. Now your comments can be a prefect as myne. In fact, you have to use the preview button to post a comment. Administrators will zap all shoe puns. Give it a whirl.



Programming Note

We’ll be bouncing over to the new Web site,, pretty soon. So get those bookmarks ready.

Monday’s Loose Thread

Darn shame about those Zags. Now 0-3 against Arizona. But this isn’t about my glee; it’s about your pain.

Vent here about that or anything other item.

More heating bill assistance. Cool.

Here’s comes the cold. The heat is on. The bills will be high. But the feds have doubled the assistance after years of falling behind. That’s good news, in Our View.

It’s “Call in Gay” Day

The idea is for gay people to stay home from work to demonstrate what an impact that would be. Reminds me of the mildly amusing movie “A Day Without A Mexican,” where Southern Californians wake up one day to find that all of the Mexicans have disappeared.

Know of anyone participating in this event?

Wednesday’s Loose Thread

It’s good to be back, or is it? Guess time will … wow, a cliche right out of the chute.
Ugh. Another one.

What’s on your mind?

Revisionist editorializing

Yesterday I posted about the state’s new budget-data Web site and described it as user-friendly. After spending some hands-on time with it, I tried to see it through the eyes of somebody who hasn’t had a ringside seat to the Legislature. Maybe it’s not quite as convenient as I first thought. My bad.
Today’s editorial goes into it.

Time for a loose thread…

For those who are weary of the Obama citizenship frenzy, did you know JFK is still alive and in a comatose state at Bethesda? And that Neil Armstrong never landed on the moon; it was all staged in a TV studio.
But, as the headline says, it’s loose thread time.

Counting counts

First a confession: Yes, I’m one of those people who bristles when a clerk has to rely on the cash register to tabulate the change for a cash purchase. I want it counted back into my hand — the right way.
So today I received a letter from a writer who said she hoped it was under 200 words but her computer didn’t have a word count so she didn’t know for sure. (I resisted the temptation to send a reply saying, “Repeat after me: one, two, three, four…)
I’m reminded of the Spokane School Board member several years ago said spelling wasn’t that important anymore because kids had spellcheck.

2012 presidential race

So who do you like in the 2012 race on the Republican side? New poll has it this way, so far:

1. Mike Huckabee
2. Sarah Palin
3. Bobby Jindal
4. Charlie Crist

It’s never too soon to speculate.

Front-page editorial

Detroit News turns the front page over to the editorial board. Highly unusual. But, of course, the auto bailout is a big deal to Michigan.

MSM coverage of certif-gate!

Chicago Tribune has an article — and refutation — of an ad placed in its pages stating that Obama is not eligible to be president.

Meanwhile, a new lawsuit was filed today in Olympia. Might be a story on that tomorrow.

Here’s an article on Slate written by an editor of Reason. He’s dubious.

Have fun!

Dealing with change

Here’s a heads up regarding some of the syndicated writers whose stuff you see from time to time on the opinion pages.
We’re going to be picking up conservative Charles Krauthammer and liberal Amy Goodman. You may have read there commentary earlier this year when they were among several columnists we published on a trial basis. They generated much more feedback than any of the others, with both fans and detractors weighing in.
In case you’re wondering, we’ll be dropping some writers, too: Thomas Sowell, Susan Estrich, Michael Barone and Robert Scheer. Gone as well, will be cartoonist Glenn McCoy.
One other wrinkle to share. We’ll be presenting our workhorse columnists on a more consistent schedule, so you’ll be able to anticipate specific writers on specific days. There are times when that kind of regularity just doesn’t work, but it will be the rule rather than the exception.
I’m interested to hear your thoughts, both now and as you get accustomed to the new package.
In case you’re wondering, I think this will provide some structural balance as an ideological concern. Faces you’ll see most often include David Broder, who’s pretty centrist, along with left-leaners Leonard Pitts Jr., Froma Harrop and the afore-mentioned Amy Goodman. On the right there will be Kathleen Parker, Cal Thomas and Charles Krauthammer. We’ll augument that mix with scattered voices from the wires we subscribe to.

Did anyone learn a lesson here?

A spat over the use of teachers’ union dues for political purposes has been going on for eight years. It’s been to the state and U.S. supreme courts.
Now, just maybe, it’s over. Here’s an announcement from the Washington state Attorney General’s Office:

OLYMPIA – The State of Washington and the Washington Education Association announced today that they have settled a dispute stemming from campaign finance charges brought 8 years ago against the Washington Education Association.
In 2000, the state filed charges against the Washington Education Association, seeking fines and attorneys’ fees. The WEA challenged the constitutionality of the law in question. The trial court ruled in 2001 that the WEA had violated a state campaign finance statute. The Washington Court of Appeals and Supreme Court held the statute to be unconstitutional. In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that the law was valid but did not rule specifically on WEA’s compliance with the law. The Washington State Legislature amended the same law at issue in the case in 2007.
Under the terms of the settlement, WEA will pay the State $735,000 to resolve the litigation. In addition, WEA will return up to $240,000 to eligible agency fee payers during the 2003 – 2007 school years. These funds have been held in escrow during the time that the appeals were pending. Rebate amounts to those eligible agency fee payers who cannot be located will be paid to the Department of Revenue’s Unclaimed Property Fund. The agreement also provides for audits and other safeguards. The settlement eliminates the need for further court action to resolve remaining issues, and brings this case to an end.
The State and the WEA anticipate rebate checks should be mailed within the next six months to eligible agency fee payers. Any agency fee payer dispute as to the amount or entitlement is to be resolved between the WEA and the agency fee payer.

Tuesday’s Loose Thread

What’s on your mind today?

Your national security team

Obama announced the team today.

Starting at center, Hillary Clinton at State.

At power forward, Janet Napolitano, Homeland Defense.

At shooting guard (but, hopefully, not shooting), Robert Gates, returning to his position at Defense.

Napolitano is the governor of Arizona. When I first heard of her, it was as an attorney for Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas nomination imbroglio.

Clinton and Napolitano represent the kind of women Rush Limbaugh used to refer to as femi-Nazis. Just another sign of progress.

Thoughts on this team?

Monday’s Loose Thread

We have double the staffing this week! Woot!

What’s on your mind?

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A Matter of Opinion is really a matter of many opinions — those held by the people responsible for the opinion pages of The Spokesman-Review ... and yours. Check in regularly to follow the discussion and help keep it lively.

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