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A Matter Of Opinion

Archive for March 2009

Tuesday’s Loose Thread

Relieve your pent-up demand here.


Monday’s Loose Thread

Repeat after me: It’s just a game.

OK, what’s on your mind today?

Friday’s Loose Thread

Have at it!

Google layoffs, find Google

Geez, even Google is laying off people. I blame bias.


Olsen, Pete and prayers

Last night, Mayor Mary Verner and Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick attended a prayer circle held  by the Native American community in the aftermath of the Pete-Olsen verdict. Tim Connor wrote this account for the Center For Justice





Thursday’s Loose Thread

Let’s talk sports jargon annoyances. For years, “scoring” was sufficient, but in recent years it has morphed into “score the ball.” As in, “Austin Daye can really score the ball.” Sounds like an ill-advised move by in a woodshop.

What are are your baskeball pet peeves? What else is on your mind?


Boise ombudsman — 10 years after

Boise seems generally happy to have had ombudsman Pierce Murphy for the past decade.  Murphy was brought to Spokane to discuss his job as the city was formulating how to create its position.

One key difference in Spokane’s set-up is that the longest the ombudsman can serve is six years. He/she would be appointed to a three-year term with the possibility of a second term. If that were the case in Boise, Murphy would’ve already been replaced with a less experienced person.

I’d imagine it takes a few years just to get the lay of the land and get comfortable in the job. I wonder if it limits the quality of the candidates if the city can only guarantee three years of employment.

Do you think the ombudsman job should have term limits?


Wednesday’s Loose Thread

Forecast calls for a bunch of 50+ degree days in a row. I’ll believe when I see it.

What up, dogs?



Would GU invite Obama to speak?

Obama will deliver a commencement address at Notre Dame. This has some Catholics upset, since some of his views don’t square with Catholic teaching. I recall Planned Parenthood not being allowed at Gonzaga. Then again, McCain has been there, even though he is for the death penalty and the church is against.

What do you think?


History lesson about states’ rights

Idaho legislator Dick Harwood harvested a truckload of attention with his comment that the United States is a “confederacy.” Betsy Russell wrote about it on today’s front page.

Harwood is pushing a memorial to Congress and the president declaring that Idaho is sovereign and asks the federal government to stop interfering with that sovereignty.

That issue was pretty much resolved with the Constitution was drafted, debated and ratified. George Washington referred to state sovereignty as a monster. Madison wrote against it in Federalist 45. The first major case handled by the U.S. Supreme Court, Chisolm v. Georgia, declared that states aren’t sovereign. Yes, the 11th Amendment was ratified to overturn part of the impact of Chisolm v. Georgia, but only to protect states from being sued in the federal courts by citizens in another state or a foreign country.

The founders wanted to respect states’ role, but they resolved the sovereignty debate in the federal government’s favor. As Madison wrote to Washington: “I have sought for some middle ground, which mat at once support a due supremacy of the national authority, and not exclude the local authorities wherever they can be subordinately useful.”

In the 10th Amendment, one delegate to the Constitutional Convention wanted to insert the word “expressly” in the phrase about “powers not delegated to the United States.” Madison argued against it and carried the day.

Rep. Harwood may want to assert that Idaho is sovereign, and a majority of the Idaho Legislature may agree. But the memorial is toothless, and history is against them.

Tuesday’s Loose Thread

Let’s compromise on global warming and call it Inland Northwest moistening.

What winds your watch today?



Information clampdown in Olympia

It’s pretty tough to get news out of the Legislature on what’s going to happen with the state budget. Rich Roesler had a column about that. Now, here’s a Seatte Times writer wondering why House Leader Frank Chopp won’t meet the press.

Must be pretty awful news if it’s being guarded so zealously from the pubilc (and lobbyists), but don’t we already know that? Bring it on. The sooner we know, the sooner we can debate.


Monday’s Loose Thread

What? No NCAA tournament games on today? Dang. Well, my team is in the Sweet Sixteen.  How about yours?

Anything else on your mind?


Did Dodd do it?

A lot of confusing information and incorrect assertions in the AIG bonus controversy. Here’s a timely review of the facts by

In short, Dodd looks to be telling the truth.


Thursday’s Loose Thread

Make it sing!


Wednesday’s Loose Thread

It’s March Madness! There’s a basketball tournament going on, too. So, I’m having lunch with colleagues at “an area restaurant” when a server deposits the soup in my lap. It was egg drop soup. You just can’t make this stuff up.

Comment on the madness of your choice here.

Tuesday’s Loose Thread

Trying to think of an act more ill-advised than those officers celebrating Olsen’s acquittal. Stumped.

Your thoughts on this or St. Patrick’s Day and President O’Bama or anything else?


Monday’s Loose Thread

How about those AIG bonuses? It’s like giving me extra cash for abuse of the language, libelous columns and continual factual errors

“Gary is going to be very important to us as we try to turn things around. We can’t afford to have him leave for … um, OK, there are no other jobs, but it’s just good business sense to retain him.”

What bonus points would you like to make?


Officer Olsen not guilty

That’s what the jury said.

Because the jury determined the shooting was in self-defense, Olsen’s attorney is entitled to seek payment for his legal fees, and Olsen can seek back payment of his police wages.



Friday the 13th Loose Thread

Post at your peril.


Thursday’s Loose Thread

Funny column by Cindy Hval today. It did not suck. But, come on. Bad lyrics cross generations.

“In the desert you can remember your name, cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.”

What’s your favorite bad lyric. What else is on your mind?





Wednesday’s Loose Thread

Recently finished “Flyboys”, a book by James Bradley (“Flags of our Fathers”). Interesting stuff about the brave pilots in WWII and their exploits in the Pacific. It hones in on nine of them who were shot down near Chichi Jima (near Iwo) and taken prisoner and what became of them. Bradley gets interviews with some Japanese soldiers who were there.

George H.W. Bush was shot down, but he was the only rescued (by a sub). Very lucky.  Amazing courage shown by all.

Now I’m on to “Worst Hard Time” by Timothy Egan. It’s about the Dust Bowl. Figured I needed something to cheer me up.

What books are you reading? What else is on your mind?



Mix and match

The U.S. Senate today passed the  Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 to keep government operating.  Once the measure was sent on to President Obama, individual senators were free to get about their business … of sending out statements.  The two examples listed below came from Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

Unfortunately, I mislaid the original documents and can’t tell you which statement came from which senator. Can anyone help me out?


“The legislation carefully balances the need to make critical investments in our nation’s future while ensuring strict accountability measures to ensure American tax dollars are spent wisely and cutting and eliminating programs that haven’t performed the way they should.” 


“This bill increases spending by 8 percent at a time when our small businesses and families are struggling to make ends meet. It is simply irresponsible to be growing government at a time like this.  It only goes to show that when families lose income, they reduce their spending.  When the Federal government loses revenue, Congress spends more.”


Vote of confidence

Today is election day.  Doesn’t feel the same as it used to, not with this fascination with voting by mail. Me, I’ll be walking my ballot down to the Voter Service Center at the STA Plaza and handing it to a live person.

One thing mail-in balloting does do is provide an advance clue as to turnout.  That’s especially important in an election like the bond issue Spokane School District 81 has on today’s ballot. It won’t be valid, no matter how many people vote for it, unless the turnout is at least 40 percent of the last general election.  The last general election, of course, would be the one in November when turnout was huge for the presidential election.  I hear that school officials and other bond backers are worried that they won’t get there.

They wouldn’t have to worry about that if they ran their bond and levy elections in November, but they don’t want to do that.  Prevailing wisdom has it that you can mobilize your supporters to turn out for a special election date in March and people who might oppose you are more likely to sit it out.  The danger, of course, is the above-mentioned validation problem — especially on the heels of a heavy turnout.

Some of us just think that the more voters who participate, the more authentic the election.  But if the District 81 bond fails and they submit it a second time, don’t bet that they’ll wait until November.


T-T-Tuesday’s Loose Thread

What’s up? The temperature is. The market is. Guess it’s predicting good things.


Monday’s Loose Thread

Sorry about Friday. We’re doing more with Les, but Les was laid off.

What’s on your mind?



Thursday’s Loose Thread

Hardy-har, Mother Nature. Very funny.

What’s up?


Wednesday’s Loose Thread

Apparently, there is a college called South Carolina Upstate and their basketball team isn’t as good as Gonzaga’s. Who knew?

What’s on your mind today?


Who is the GOP leader?

Interesting dust-up over Rush Limbaugh’s CPAC speech. In the past when I’ve mentioned some misdeed or mistake Limbaugh has made, the response has been, “He’s just an entertainer. No need to take him so seriously.”

Here is RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s first take: “Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Yes, it’s incendiary, yes, it’s ugly.”

After Limbaugh fought back, Steele said: ”I think Rush is a great leader for conservatives.”

So who do you regard as the leader of the Republican Party these days?

Tuesday’s Loose Thread

Run with it.


When bloggers take over the reporting

Interesting article in the Washington Post about the vacuum that is created as newspapers shrink coverage.

Here’s how it ends:

Many bloggers say that far from being able to replace professional reporters, they actually suffer from the diminished flow of state news. “What I can’t offer on my blogs is the relationships, the institutional memory, the why, the history that reporters who know the capital can bring to their stories,” says Waldo Jaquith, who blogs on Virginia politics and runs a site,, that tracks every bill. “Newspapers can describe the candidates for governor in a more balanced, deeper way because you don’t have a dog in the race. We bloggers do.”


A combination of media revolution and economic collapse is dismantling our news infrastructure, especially at the state and local levels. “Someday, people will wake up to the depletion of the press corps,” Gibson says. “I don’t know if the result will be corruption or demagoguery, but the interests of the people are not being represented anymore.”


But as long as people buy property, look for jobs, send kids to school and pay taxes, they will need credible information about state government. Something will rise to fill the news vacuum, someday. In the meantime, the lobbyists are getting the news they need. The voters, not so much.




Monday’s Loose Thread

Quite the newsy paper on Sunday.

Paul Harvey dies.

Possible indictment as the third anniversary of Otto Zehm’s death approaches.

Guard training prompts rumors of government getting ready to seize guns in Hayden.

A veteran’s death perplexes family. Was it really suicide? Could it have been prevented?

I’m catching up to the fifth season of “The Wire” via Netfiix. It’s only the best TV series ever. The fifth and final season includes a newsroom setting. In one scene the newsroom is told that another round of buyouts is coming. Buyouts — those seem so quaint now.

Choose these or a topic of your choice and comment here.

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