September 13, 2009 in Idaho Voices

Listening promotes thinking

By The Spokesman-Review
 

First, you should know that Marianne Love admits that she taught George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and “1984” during her years as a Sandpoint High instructor. Therefore, she knows the difference between indoctrination and diversity of ideas. In her Slight Detour blog, Marianne recalls fondly that the best class discussions involved different views, offered by students under rules of civility that she occasionally enforced. Why am I telling you this? Marianne believes that parents and ideologues threatened by President Barack Obama’s address to students Tuesday are afraid their children will learn to think for themselves. “Listening to a speech by President Obama or Dick Cheney or Rush Limbaugh or any other politically charged big name whose face or voice constantly shows up on the air waves is not gonna plant a poisonous seed in children’s minds,” writes Marianne. In fact, she continues, “listening to advice or speeches from parents is not gonna necessarily guarantee that little Johnny or little Jane will go forth loyally espousing Mommy and Daddy’s philosophies.” So what advice did this astute educator suggest? Let the kids listen to Obama. Or Rush Limbaugh. Or John McCain. Then, discuss their speeches around the dinner table. Bingo.

Small world

As a new kid on the Stony Brook University (New York) block, ex-Idaho Falls newspaper editor/ex-SR staffer Dean Miller didn’t know where to turn for his printing needs. So the new Center for News Literacy director was sent to a printer named John – John Longo. “Hmm,” Dean thought, Longo’s an unusual name. And New York has a lot of people. Also, thought Dean, “The other Longo I know had a wise-guy accent, which was rare in Idaho.” John Longo’s voice mail message had that same accent. Which is common in New York. So, Miller left a message and asked if John Longo has a relative who is a cop in Idaho. More Dean: “He calls me back that afternoon, all juiced up.” Coeur d’Alene police Chief Wayne Longo is the guy’s cousin. Seems the Longos got back in touch two weeks ago. On Facebook. Their fathers owned a pool hall together back in the day.” Queue up Disneyland’s “It’s A Small World.” Or not. (Sorry to put that tune in your head for the rest of the day.)

Huckleberries

Bumpersnickers: On two consecutive days near City Park recently, I spotted different beater pickups with the same message for visitors: “Welcome to Idaho. Now leave.” Ah, I doubt that the chamber will pick that redneck mantra soon as a city motto … The burnt toast that set off the fire alarm in the MRI room at Kootenai Medical Center earlier this month would be funnier, if the same thing hadn’t happened in The Spokesman-Review building on Northwest Boulevard a coupla times already … Huckleberries Online poll: By 58 percent to 41 percent, my online crowd wanted local schoolchildren to hear President Obama’s message to students last Tuesday morning … For the first time in 27 years, I’ll be technically unemployed next week, as I take a week’s unpaid furlough, like the rest of my newsroom colleagues, to help management balance the books in downtown Spokane. Cindy Hval and Betsy Russell will step in to keep Huckleberries Online hopping during my absence … I passed a milestone Wednesday when I celebrated my 25th anniversary with the Spokesman-Review. It’s been good. Mostly.

Parting shot

Kootenai County Clerk Dan English gave four reasons to other Huckleberries Online addicts for his recent bariatric bypass surgery: He couldn’t take the weight off and keep it off through his own efforts. His wife’s new insurance covered the surgery. His window of opportunity was closing because Dan’s now 58 and the insurance cutoff age for the surgery is 60. And “I’m really, really motivated at this particular time because (conservative gadfly Larry) Spencer promises me all Democrats will have tough competition from his candidates next year, so I figure I need to get back to my old fighting weight.” Methinks Spencer’ll be hard-pressed to defeat Dan.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email