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A Matter Of Opinion

Archive for February 2009

Friday’s Loose Thread

It’s all yours.


First-person obit: The Rocky Mountain News

Columnist Jim Sheeler wrote an eloquent tribute to the Rocky Mountain News on the day it folded. Read it here.

Rocky Mountain News, R.I.P.

Tomorrow will the final edition of the 150-year-old Denver newspaper. And thus ends another thoroughly depressing day.


Open government. You interested?

Transparency presumes that the public cares enough to check in and evaluate. As I look over the new OMB site set up by the Obama administration, I wonder how many people will actually belly up and drink in the data. In any event, here’s some leisure reading for you.

Do you appreciate these efforts or is it just a smokescreen?

Thursday’s Loose Thread

Another day, another late loose thread. Today, it’s labor pains.


Wednesday’s Loose Thread

Sorry for the tardiness. Anyone catch the prez’s speech last night. What did you think?

Or introduce your topic here.



Tuesday’s Loose Thread

We are falling down, down to the bottom of the hole in the ground. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.John Prine.

How about this economy, eh? What’s the opposite of irrational exuberance?

Thoughts on this and other topics welcomed here. (BTW, there is a discussion of the local economy is Monday’s Loose Thread.)




Monday’s Loose Thread

Hope you’ve been reading Bill Morlin’s articles on polygamy. Fascinating stuff.

What’s on your mind today?



Friday’s Loose Thread

Collect up those thoughts and deposit them here.


Parking meter clarification

If you’ve been in the immediate area surrounding the Fox Theatre lately, you’ve probably noticed the signs affixed to parking meters and bearing the graphic logo that designates parking spots for handicapped drivers. The signs say those spots are available for authorized drivers for up to four hours (although many if not all of the affected meters have two-hour limits).

Apparently I’m not the only one who was a little puzzled as to what that means.  Today, City Hall issued a notice acknowledging there has been some head-scratching.

The signs do not prohibit non-handicapped drivers from using those parking spots under the normal meter-feeding expectations.  But drivers with handicap tags may park there for free for up to four hours.

The word is out,  but for day-in-day-out clarity, it seems to me the signs ought to be more explicit.

Surgical checklist

In Wednesday’s column, I noted a surgical checklist that has proven to be effective in saving lives and limiting post-op complications. A reader wondered what the entire list looked like.

Take this link and scroll down to Table 1. Some basic stuff, yet a lot of hospitals didn’t have checklists before the Institutes of Medicine’s shocking report on medical errors, many of which are avoidable. Some have been reluctant to act.

Lemons to lemonade?

An interesting story now posted on relates that bleak budgetary times have county officials like Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard and budget officer Marshall Farnell talking aloud about local government consolidation.

Between Spokane County and the city of Spokane, just to be clear. Richard is quoted as speaking specifically about law enforcement activities. 

We missed a bet (in my opinion) a decade ago by not approving a unified local government. How odd if a recession puts that option back on the table.

Check out the story, then share your reactions.

Wednesday’s Loose Thread

Last song I listened to on the way in was “I’d Love to Change the World” by 10 Years After.

I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll leave it up to you

Well, how would you change the world? This is the thread for random offerings, too. Not feeling particularly political today? Then tell us the last song you heard.

(OK, now I have that old Coke jingle in my head”: “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.”)

Tuesday’s Loose Thread

President signs stimulus bill, Lance Armstrong’s bike is swiped, Michael Phelps won’t be charged for smoking pot and the Dow hits a 3-month low.

Choose any of those or BYOT.


Monday’s Loose Thread

In honor of Presidents Day, this article in which respondents rank the presidents.

Top five: Lincoln, Washington, FDR, Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, who had dismal approval ratings when he left office.

Will history be kind to George W. Bush? Since 2000, Clinton moved from 21st to 15th.  Bush is 36th. Will he see a Trumanesque bump? A Clintonian one? Or will he remain near the bottom?

Thoughts on this or other topics accepted here.


Friday’s Loose Thread

In honor of Lincoln, two quotes to stimulate debate.

1. “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what’s said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

2. “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

Clearly, the Party of Lincoln has rejected No. 2. More here.

What are your deep thoughts for the day?


What would Darwin do?

It’s Charles Darwin’s birthday. He’s a tad older than Cindy. If he were alive today, what would he think (beyond “how do I get out of this coffin?”):

Some scientists weigh in on that. Excerpt:

Even though the laws governing inheritance were being worked out by Austrian priest and scientist Gregor Mendel during Darwin’s lifetime, the significance of this work for evolution and all of biology went undiscovered until the early 20th century.

“The breakthroughs of Mendelian inheritance, from genetics down to the human genome, are an exuberant celebration of evolutionary theory,” Novacek said in a telephone interview this week.

Meanwhile, creationists and claims about intelligent design would sound something like a broken record to Darwin, who was familiar, as were his contemporaries, with William Paley’s “Natural Theology,” published 50 years before “Origin,” Novacek explained.

Paley asserted that living organisms are so complex and refined that there must be some divine creator behind their design and creation.

“Darwin would probably say, this looks like history repeating itself. This is a little déjà vu,” Novacek said. “He would say, ‘Here we go again.’”



Thursday’s Loose Thread

You now the drill. Er, know the drill. Yeah, this “more with less’ thing is working out great!



Tuesday’s Loose Thread

Round up those random thoughts, and post them here.


Monday’s Loose Thread

So Grammy’s Record of the Year goes to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. That’s quite a transformation for the former lead singer for Led Zeppelin.

From “Please Read the Letter” (2007):

Once I stood beside a well of many words
My house was full of rings and
Charms and pretty birds
Please understand me, my
Walls come falling down
There’s nothing here that’s left for you
But check with lost and foun


From “Black Dog: (1971):

Hey, hey, mama, said the way you move
Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove.
Oh, oh, child, way you shake that thing
Gonna make you burn, gonna make you sting.
Hey, hey, baby, when you walk that way
Watch your honey drip, can’t keep away

So what’s on your mind on this fine Monday morning?

Friday’s Loose Thread

“Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.” — Bill Watterson

So what are you not doing this weekend? Anything on your mind?

Thursday’s Loose Thread

Sunday is go-to-meeting day. Saturday is recreation day. Friday is the beloved end of the work week (for most). Monday is the cursed return day. Wednesday is hump day and a character on the “Addams Family.” Tuesday is enshrined in song “Ruby Tuesday.” And, of course, there is the lovely Tuesday Weld.

But what about Thursday? Why so overlooked?

If that isn’t on your mind — and, gosh, don’t you think it ought to be? — what is?




Book ‘im, Danno

The Secretary of State’s Office in Olympia reports that public libraries in Washington are seeing increased usage during the economic downturn. Patron visits are up 7.5 percent. Material checkouts are up 11.22 percent. Online visits are up 20.21 percent. Reference transactions are up 4.41 percent. Public Internet computers are in use 9.74 percent more of the time. There are 13.77 more public Internet computer users.

Does this hearten you?  How much to you rely on our public libraries?  Why or why not?

Hang down your head, Tom Daschle

Two comments in today’s paper related to the demise of Tom Daschle. Think this heralds a new day on ethics in government or will this continue?

Here is Smart Bombs. And the Our View editorial.




Wednesday’s Loose Thread

I share a birthday (no, not today) with Ronald Reagan. If that doesn’t kill astrology …

What’s up? Or, as the kids say, What up? Or are those kids adults now?


Tuesday’s Loose Thread

Wow, that glaring sun was a real problem this morning. Good thing the clouds rolled in.

What’s on your mind today?

Doing what’s right? What’s right?

In an article in the current issue of Media Ethics, co-authors Theodore Glasser and James Ettema address the concept of accountability as the essence of journalistic ethics. They say: “Our being-ethical-means-being-accountable theme emphasizes ethics as a process, not an outcome; an argument, not a choice.”

I know what that means to me, but I’d be interested in hearing others’ thoughts.

Monday’s Loose Thread

Apparently, it’s the halfway point between Winter and Spring. NPR mentioned the term for this, but I forgot.

Thoughts on this balmy Monday morn?



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