Archive for March 2008
(S-R file photo of Nevaeh Miller, courtesy of Monica O’Neall)
Today’s editorial cites the poor reasoning and hypocrisy of Idaho lawmakers for killing a child death review bill in committee. Examples like the recent case of baby Nevaeh show exactly way reviews like this must take place and have all the pertinent information available.
In Coeur d’Alene, a plan is in the works for building a dog park and adjacent improved Humane Society shelter. We think it’s a sign that Coeur d’Alene is movin’ on up.
(My favorite subtle wordplay of this weekend’s edits? “Embarking.”)
On the other side of Spokane, railroads are on the cusp of a big step toward reducing truck traffic on our highways. A rail authority has been formed to administer the Palouse River and Coulee City Railroad — and on Sunday we said they’re finally right on track.
We don’t see any “finallys” in the Hanford cleanup though — chronic delays and setbacks have plagued the process of mopping up the nuclear reservation’s hazardous waste, and our Sunday editorial refuses to condone inadequate federal funding for only one area related to nuclear energy: cleanup.
(Disclosure: My son is one of the peer leaders at Moran Prairie Elementary School, a group that was among the honorees. It’s the main reason I’m posting this. So there.)
The Chase Youth Commission doled out its annual awards last night for student achievement in the realm of public service.
Questions: Are you generally upbeat or sour about kids today? What good works have you witnessed from them?
The following two messages were received on successive days this week from loyal readers who exemplify how differently reasonable people can see issues — or, in this case, columnists.
As usual, your reactions are invited. Meanwhile, I’ll notify both writers (whose names have been withheld) that their comments have been posted. They may wish to weigh in, too.
As a long time S-R home delivery customer (? 35 years) and avid listener to the podcast of KCRW’s ‘Left, Right and Center’, I love being able to read Robert Scheer with my morning meal. Please keep him coming as few pundits see the big picture as clearly as he does. Thanks.
I am writing today with a request. That is to please refrain from publishing editorials authored by Robert Scheer. I very much enjoy reading editorials in the Review. I certainly find value in others perspectives. Unfortunately, there seems to be a disturbing trend in regards to what is considered the rules for discourse; a general lack of respect.
I understand the leeway given to local citizens in regards to their letters to the editor; after all, we (citizens) are not paid for our editorials. However, Mr. Scheer is (paid.) Therefore, I would expect a higher standard of civility from a professional columnist. To be specific his editorial published in the Review on March 21st “Blithe Bush wears failure well” is the latest example of a man with a deep hatred of all things Bush. When he refers to a Pres. as a “virtual idiot” it crosses the line. I’m not speaking of just this instance. Make no mistake, I’m no Pres. Bush fan but can’t we state our opinions without calling folks virtual idiots!? Mr Scheer brings shame on the Review whenever you publish his editorials. I love David Broder’s editorials. He writes with class and conviction. Ms. Sullivan also is excellent. Both of these professionals have never stooped to such levels…they don’t need to when making their case.
Let’s just not acknowledge it, OK? I really can’t face it any more.
So, what’s on your mind?
That’s what she told the editorial board of the Columbian in Vancouver.
If he has the most delegates and states, then she says he should be the nominee. Barring a catastrophic campaign event, he will almost certainly have the lead when the primary season ends.
Cantwell also said she wouldn’t mind if the campaign went into summer as long as it were issue-oriented. Ha! Fat chance.
Meanwhile, Sen. Murray is firmly in Clinton’s corner.
If you were a superdelegate, what would be your criteria?
S-R file photo: Sen. Maria Cantwell shows support for Sen. Hillary Clinton at a Feb. 8 appearance in Spokane
UPDATE: Looks to me as if the Clinton camp has reeled Cantwell back in for now. Her comments in Spokane yesterday sound just like the Clinton talking points.
(S-R file photo)
When I mention this dorm topic to people who lived in dorms long ago, they always share a memory about the spartan/trashy/no-privacy rooms they endured (with the bathroom down the hall.)
Some say they didn’t mind. Others can’t believe they could live like that.
So, it’s your turn. Describe your dorm living situation and in the scheme of things in college life, did it matter? If you have a photo of your old dorm room, jpg it to me at email@example.com
In an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Hillary Clinton blamed her inaccurate claims of having been under sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996 on being “sleep-deprived.”
This from the woman who thinks she should be the one answering the red phone when it rings at 3 a.m.
The Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling today that the president can’t require the state of Texas to comply with an international agreement governing a murder defendant’s access to Mexican diplomatic officials. Chief Justice John Roberts, a Bush appointee, wrote the majority opinion. That’s not all that rare. What’s intriguing is that President Bush found himself aligned with Justices Breyer, Ginsburg and Souter, the liberal wing of the court.
Another day of campaigning, another candidate backpedaling from a comment. This time, it’s Hillary Clinton (well, it was her turn) who exaggerated an account of her landing at an airport in Bosnia. No she didn’t have to duck bullets to get to a waiting car. Meanwhile, the issues go unexamined.
So what’s on your mind today?
(A1C Lindsey Vulich places a pitot tube on a 50-year-old KC-135 tanker at Fairchild Air Force Base. Photo by Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review.)
In our editorial March 4 we had a lot to say about the Pentagon’s surprising choice of Northrop Grumman and a European partner to build the Air Force’s next refueling tankers.
There was a lot of disappointment in Washington state, Kansas and other areas with Boeing payrolls. But we thought…
It wasn’t an outrage.
Air Force officials stressed that the Airbus design offered by Northrop and European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. bested Boeing’s proposal. They called it more flexible and more dependable, with greater capacity for fuel and cargo. Those considerations are more important than where the jobs from the $35 billion deal will go, even if some go overseas.
We also wrote:
Credit Spokane Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers with enough circumspection to await more details rather than blurt out a hasty criticism.
Today, she visited with the editorial board and the tanker issue was one of our first discussion areas. An interesting comment by McMorris Rodgers: The country shouldn’t waste too much time handwringing this issue.
Listen here for her reasons why.
1. Political parties in Washington state killed the blanket primary. Now they’re faced with a system they might hate even more. You would cry, too, if it happened to you. But I don’t feel sorry for them.
2. When political campaigns turn into a daily Accuracy Watch, you know real concerns are being ignored.
For more details, click here.
The Coalition Against Assisted Suicide sent out an analysis of the latest Oregon Death with Dignity numbers. (See post above.) They said there are some “alarming trends.”
Here’s what they found:
Not one patient was referred for psychological evaluation - highlighting that mental health evaluation isn’t required in Oregon or Washington.
Some patients were given lethal prescriptions even though they had known the doctor less than one week.
At least one patient lived for a year and a half after receiving a prescription, even though only those with six months or less to live are permitted be given the lethal drugs, according to Oregon law.
Another week comes to a close. Many topics have been addressed, but many have been passed over. Here’s your chance to serve up some leftovers for everyone to chew on over the weekend.
Calling everyone who isn’t glued to an NCAA tournament game. Use the comments link below to launch your own issue-oriented one-on-one.
Thursday’s editorial in The Spokesman-Review highlights some of the concerns related to Sunshine Week. Read all about it.
Today’s Spokesman-Review reports on efforts that Spokane School District 81 has undertaken to market itself to reverse the enrollment declines that have eaten into its numbers in recent years.
Does it make you wonder why the tax-supported free public school system would have to do that? Do you wonder if part of the marketing strategy included talking to the hundreds of families who have opted to send their children elsewhere — at their own expense? Can you reconcile this situation with the appointment as superintendent of a person who has been a part of the administration that’s been at the helm during the period of declining enrollment?
Just wondering, mind you.
Today’s editorial is a reprint of the commentary we published five years and a day ago. It raised some questions that we thought were worth another look now.
Below are two YouTubes on the issue of Obama and his pastor. The first one is Obama’s speech on race (very long). The second one shows McCain defending Obama (short).
Here is an article explaining what prompted the speech.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the top-two primary system in Washington state. That means the top two finishers in a primary advance to the general, regardless of political affiliation. It means two people from the same party could face off.
The Republican and Democratic parties fought this. Now the state can implement the system preferred by voters.
Given voter disgust at how primaries are controlled by parties, wonder if this will mean changing systems throughout the country, with Washington state being the model.
(File photo of Brockett by Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review.)
Former Spokane County Prosecutor Don Brockett has been a tireless advocate for abused children these past several years, especially as it concerns children who were abused by Catholic priests. Again this legislative session, he lobbied for the elimination of criminal statutes of limitations for sex crimes committed against children under 18.
Here’s his e-mail today about the failed effort:
The child molesters have once again won the battle for the safety of the children in our state!
The 2008 legislative session has adjourned. Legislators refused for the fifth year in a row to take action on bills that would have eliminated the criminal statutes of limitations for sex crimes committed against children under the age of 18. Their inaction is inexcusable and should disgust all citizens of Washington concerned with the safety of children.
Because of this inaction by the legislators there will be little deterrent for potential child molesters because none of the children molested from now on will be able to prosecute their molester after the present statutes of limitations run out in their case. Legislators continue to reward molesters and re-victimize the vulnerable children.
If you disagree with this inaction, please immediately contact the governor and your senators and representatives and let them know this is unacceptable to you. If they have any concern for the safety and protection of the children of our state, they will move swiftly to re-introduce this legislation in the 2009 session and pass it immediately. Get their commitment at election time this fall.
For further information, see the website www.stopmolesters.org.
Do you think eliminating the statute of limitations will help solve this nightmare? Blog lines are open.
It’s been called to my attention that a weekend post referring to the day as a “bummer” left readers unclear as to what I meant. Forget the psychoanalysis… Just a comment on the crummy weather I was staring at out the window.
Having said that on this bright, sunny morning, here’s your loose thread for Tuesday. Weave away…
The Project for Excellence in Journalism has released its report on the state of the news media. This link will take you straight to the newspaper segment, but there are others that deal with various media, including on line. It’s a glum report as far as print is concerned. No surprise. But I recommend it to some of our critics who delight in pointing to a personal grievance here or there that is to blame for the kind of troubles that led to newsroom layoffs last year. The fact it, the trends are national, and our numbers do not represent an aberration.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, all. Are you decked out in green threads today? If so, grab a loose one and share your thoughts. If you need inspiration, try humming “Danny Boy.”
Bummer of a weekend. Might as well settle back and think deep thoughts. Share them here.
Well, my week as blogmeister is just about over. It’s been a great week. Special thanks to those who participated in the “Acquit all drug users?” post below. We’re at 47 comments now and counting. Feel free to keep up the commentary over the weekend on that post or any others. We read them.
Have a good weekend. Be careful out there this St. Paddy’s Day weekend. If you drink green beer, eat corn beef and cabbage along with it.
(Charles “Fred” Cowan, Keo’s brother-in-law.)
In afternoon, had a temperature of 100 and ached all over, especially head and back. I knew that the trip was off for me. When Io was told about it, she said she didn’t think they could go, either.
She immediately wrote and canceled our hotel reservation. I think Fred was disappointed for he thought they could go anyway.
So the cold won. Trip canceled. Noticed they canceled their reservations in Seattle by mail. There is a nasty cold going around Spokane right now and no one seems to be canceling plans. I’ve run into cold-infected people everywhere and I have been guilty of same behavior in the past. So I shouldn’t be too judgmental here. But I admire Keo for canceling, sparing herself and others.
Are you a keep-going-when-sick type or take-care-of-myself type?
Are we officially into early spring now? Spokane early spring: Rain, mud, hope for the buds just teasing us on the trees.
Be careful out there on the drive home. If you’re already home, be careful, too.
More of everything tomorrow.
(Keo’s childhood home, located just east of the intersection of Maxwell and Monroe streets in North Spokane.)
E. softened the water — so she could wash her hair. I suggested I use the hot water in the tank (to get it down to the soft water) and wash up what clothes were still soiled. But that turned out to be a big mistake. Eva brought hers over too. She did most of the washing. I hung them up in basement. I noticed the dampness right away on my shoulders.
Came up stairs and put a sweater on to finish. When I got in bed had symptoms of a cold, thought I could head it off my massaging neck. But felt sick most of the night. I took aspirin and kept my throat filled with honey.
Notice the mechanics of washing back then before modern washing machines and dryers. Everything took so much longer. And Keo’s dread of the cold, and hopes of staving it off, are still a universal concern in cold season. Instead of aspirin and honey, people take Airborne and hope for the best.
(The Monday morning protest against the euthanizing of Chico the monkey. Photo by RAJAH BOSE/The Spokesman-Review)
We stressed the health of the human beings in our editorial today.
Let us begin with a moment of silence for Chico, the South Hill monkey euthanized Monday. Now let us move on to some common sense. The Spokane Regional Health District showed a lot of it by choosing the well-being of humans over animals…
Chico will rest in peace. The health district can rest easily, too, at a sound decision that should have been made even earlier. To the monkey-bite victims, our condolences.
Chico did not have rabies. This means his human victims won’t undergo any further distress. That’s the good news we should all be focused on.
We know there are many strong opinions on this monkey business. Pun intended. Blog lines are open.
(Keo is pictured here with her sisters and mother, probably in the 1920s. She is second from the left.)
Still getting ready (for Seattle trip). Took my fur coat over to 1008 (her sister’s house) and stored away. I brought suitcase back.
In 1945, no one thought about the rights of minks. Does anyone you know wear fur coats anymore?
In our editorial today, we explained why Rep. John Ahern of Spokane has a free speech right to put his foot in his mouth.
The seven young people representing Planned Parenthood of the Inland Northwest traveled to Olympia for a firsthand lesson in civics. They came away with a firsthand understanding of free speech.
They hoped to lobby state Rep. John Ahern, R-Spokane, for more money for sex education. Ahern had other plans. In a meeting in his office with the teens, he said repeatedly: “By the way, I need to find out how many unborn babies were killed by Planned Parenthood.”
Women and men in the United States have the right to speak eloquently or stupidly, profoundly or crudely. They also have a right to speak first and think later.
The teens can learn from Ahern what not to do when they become legislators visited by young people from their districts: Don’t speak abusively, even though you possess the ability – and the right – to do so.
Have you ever been grateful for our First Amendment protections? Blog lines are open.
You know the drill…
Have a safe journey home and if you’re retired or work at home, be safe in your house.
When it’s my week to be the blogmeister, I take excerpts from a 1945 journal kept by a surrogate grandmother, Keo King Lavell. This is the second week installment of her journals. I did a week’s worth last month.
Keo was the daughter of the pioneer Spokane King family. Her father, Joel Barnes King, owned the general store (pictured above) at the corner of Maxwell and Monroe streets in North Spokane. How about those dirt roads?
Her journals, which she kept at the end of World War II when she was in her late 60s and a widow, are a reminder of how world and local events play out in the context of daily life.
In these two installments, she’s busy planning and worrying about an upcoming trip to Seattle.
March 10: A sunny but windy day. I sewed, trying to get my clothes in order for trip. At 5:30, went over to dinner (at her sister and brother-in-law’s house). Such a delicious meal — venison pies, yams, creamed baked cabbage, tomato salad, 2 kinds of pie — chocolate and butter scotch. After dinner, we played bridge.
March 11: It’s a rainy day today. So tired. Feared I was taking cold. But now I’m in bed and have been toasting my feet at register.
Get a load of the menu — venison pie? Creamed cabbage, two kinds of pie? Keo lived to age 89.
Makes me wonder: Do we focus too much on the next miracle food to keep us alive into old age?
On March 18, 2006, Otto Zehm had an encounter with several police officers at a convenience store. Two days later, he would die after never regaining consciousness.
On Oct. 4, 2006, Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker announced that he didn’t have enough evidence to charge any of the officers. But he said that could change based on an independent investigation by the FBI that had already turned up new evidence.
“They are out a ways from giving a final conclusion. I’m going to have to wait until their investigation is complete or I’m going to look pretty stupid,” said Tucker.
Make that a long ways out. Seventeen months after that statement and two years after Zehm died, the investigation hasn’t been completed.
How do you think this will be resolved? Do you still care?
(S-R file photo)
Our edit today applauds a compromise on field burning in Idaho.
The overall compromise, which was guided by a mediator, was the product of a six-month effort by farming interests and health advocates. Before that, field burning had been halted by a federal court ruling.
Both sides deserve credit for coming together, rather than continuing the divisive battle in the courts.
If the law is successful, it could become a model for how to resolve collisions between growth and the practices of longstanding industries.
Do you think it will work this time?
This time change thing. Man oh man.
People seemed a little on edge every where I went today. Anyone else notice?
Doing the “Drive at 5” post 40 minutes early. Time clock is off and really, our bodies think it is actually 3:20!
Be extra careful driving out there. We’re not at our best, any of us.
The politics surrounding Boeing’s failed bid to build the next generation of refueling tankers is interesting, according to well, me.
U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat from Illinois, where Boeing is headquartered, brought presidential politics into play: “We are sending the jobs overseas, all because John McCain demanded it.”
Actually what McCain demanded was an open bidding process after discovering that a no-bid deal to lease 100 tankers from Boeing had been slipped into a bill. Investigations into that sleight-of-hand led to a procurement scandal and jail time for Boeing’s chief financial officer and an Air Force officer.
It’s fascinating to listen to vocal opponents of the no-bid contracts awarded to contractors in Iraq, such as Halliburton, complain that a corrupt deal involving Boeing was scuttled.
Correction: Darleen Druyun, the procurement officer alluded to above, was a civilian. She reported to the secretary of the Air Force. By the time she was investigated for corruption she had moved onto a new job, with Boeing.
From the first Sunday edit:
The Washington Supreme Court decided unanimously and wisely against giving its immediate attention to Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown’s legal challenge to a couple of tax-restricting initiatives on the state’s law books.
That gives us a little time to reflect on the differences between a democracy and a republic and shed some light on the actions of Brown and her primary antagonist, initiative maven Tim Eyman.
In a republic, the people select a relatively small group of representatives to write laws and set policies on their behalf. In our case, that would be the 147 people who constitute the Washington Legislature.
When did you learn the difference between a republic and a democracy?
From the second Sunday edit:
Spokane Public Schools officials say notifying parents before a police interrogation at school would cause delays in important investigations. And police say parents could interfere with their questioning. Both arguments are valid. But a common-sense argument trumps this reasoning.
These are 12-year-olds being questioned by police – at school. This isn’t just a field trip (which requires parental permission, by the way). This is serious stuff, with civil liberties involved. And even in embarrassing, serious stuff, young people often want their parents’ advice. For instance, without any legal compulsion to do so, more than 50 percent of adolescents consult a parent about contraceptive use, according to the American Psychological Association.
Adults who deal with preteens on a daily basis know how tough and manipulative some youngsters can be. But they are still very young. Their brains and bodies are in flux. They can’t legally drive, drink, smoke, vote or marry, thank goodness, and they shouldn’t be asked to sign away rights they might not understand or even know they possess.
The default position here should be clear for adults who run our school districts: Notify parents first. Ask questions later.
Do you remember life at 12?
One of the challenges of being a long-lived journalist (and by the way, we’re an endangered species these days) is that you begin to see a lot of repeat stories.
I remember 25 years or so ago proposing a story about how whacky everyone is the week after Daylight Savings changes — both in the fall and in the spring. And editors (not here) said that would make no sense to readers.
Well, our newspaper and magazines now are filled with stories about how people will be sleep deprived and cranky all week due to the time change. You’ve been warned. Blog lines officially open as I write this at 6:51 a.m., though in our bodies and minds it’s still just 5:51 a.m.
Is it just me or is anyone else wondering why our lawmakers are spending so much time discussing football (“Cable discriminates, NFL says,” March 6) and steroid use in baseball? Call me crazy, but I think they should be talking about – oh, I don’t know – health care, homeland security, global warming, the economy, education, the nation’s ever-growing debt and, oh yeah, the war!
I have nothing against sports and I’m not the kind of person who puts up with any kind of discrimination (not even against the poor, defenseless NFL). However, I have to admit, it is not the burning sports issues that keep me awake at night. — Sue Stine, Spokane
(File photo of Roger Clemens departing from testifying before Congress regarding performance-enhancing drugs.)
Are there any cases in which Congress is justified or obligated to interfere in sports scandals, or is any such involvement a distraction from their jobs?
Well, folks, we’ve had an interesting few days here, talking about political language and government’s role in controlling behavior and the possibility of other woman candidates in the near future rising to tread the trail Hillary Clinton is now blazing.
But if nobody brought up what you were thinking about on your way home, here’s your chance.
The Idaho Senate has just sent to Gov. Otter a bill that could allow for the resumption of field burning, which has been banned for over a year. Betsy Russell reports here.
It carries new restrictions on air-quality cutoffs and disclosure of which fields are scheduled to burn when.
Can you breathe easier knowing grass farmers might preserve their livelihood, or are you choked up over the return of black smoke clouds to North Idaho?
Today’s editorial exhorts Idaho to catch up to other states and instate basic protections for children by beefing up child death reviews and adopting basic regulations for small day care providers.
The voters of Spokane have approved a $43 million bond by supermajority. For what? New pools and splash pads with free access for kids. Now we urge you to participate further; but don’t worry. This time all you need to do is show up.
The planning phase is seeking public input on the pools. To find out meeting dates and times, please check out the Pools and Play Web site.
Summer will be here before we know it. Any thoughts?
The phrase, that is. A researcher found that this label employed by conservatives, the AMA and insurance lobby at various times in our history doesn’t carry the negative connotation it once did.
From the article:
•Of the respondents, 67 percent said they understood what “socialized medicine” meant. Of those, 79 percent said the term means that the government makes sure everyone has health insurance. Only 32 percent said it means that the government tells doctors what to do.
•Of those who said they understand the term, 45 percent said that if America had socialized medicine, the health care system would be better, while 39 percent said it would be worse.
•Not surprisingly, opinions differed according to respondents’ politics. Among Republicans, 70 percent thought socialized medicine would make the health-care system worse. Among Democrats, 70 percent thought it would make things better.
Independents were split more evenly, with 45 percent saying that socialized medicine would be an improvement, and 38 percent saying it would be worse than the country’s current health-care system.
“It’s still an emotionally charged term for Republicans. The phrase itself gets them very angry,” Blendon says. “But Democrats and independents don’t see it as a term that drives them away.”
Do you find this to be good news or bad? If bad, what new phrase would you nominate for effectiveness?
Today’s editorial cautions against hasty condemnation of the Air Force’s decision to give Northrop Grumman and Airbus the contract for its new tankers rather than Boeing, which, of course, has a major manufacturing facility in Everett, Wash.
Most of the letters we’ve received on this subject have disagreed with the Air Force’s decision. The one that ran today criticized Airbus’ quality in contrast with Boeing’s:
Boeing is the most experienced and most successful aircraft builder in history. Boeing is the world leader in aircraft tanker technology. Ask any major airline pilot who has flown both the Airbus 330 and the Boeing 767. The Airbus uses awkward and sometimes hazardous technology for automated flight control especially during the critical landing phase.
The work of manufacturing aircraft for our military ought to be the job of a U.S. company like Boeing with its advanced technology and experience and with the economic benefit remaining here. Mark A. Bauernfeind, Spokane Valley
(File photo of Boeing 767)
Today’s notable e-mail forward:
Old aunts used to come up to me at weddings, poke me in the ribs and cackle, telling me, “You’re next.” They stopped after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.
What’s on your agenda today?
Today’s editorial urges the end of an outdated embargo on trade with Cuba, which hurts some Northwest farmers in particular. An excerpt:
Like the old cars that rattle around that island nation, this foreign policy relic is running on fumes. After 47 years, it’s obvious that the embargo against Cuba will not have the desired outcome. Other countries, such as Venezuela and Brazil, have stepped in to deliver essential goods.
Have a cigar and share your thoughts on this issue.
Saturday’s editorial explained the necessity of maintaining the current tenth-of-a-percent sales tax for maintenance of existing county jails.
While we can’t afford to let the jails go, there are deeper underlying problems in our criminal justice system that are troublesome in light of the separate discussion on a new jail. One of Sunday’s editorials urged a solution to the problem of over-incarceration, specifically addressing the large mentally ill population in U.S. jails.
The other editorial demanded up-front accounting regarding the war costs, which have been recently estimated at $3 trillion. That’s about $10,000 per American.
Jails and overseas conflict are costing Americans a pretty penny. Are they the investment you’re willing to make?