Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Here come the nones

No, not a misuse of the word. “Nones” are the people who self-identify as religiously unaffiliated. And, yes, it is a rather quaint collision of these two homophones. But this group is gaining ground politically. Washington state once identified as the least religious state in the US. We have lots of nones.

However, instead of denying belief in a deity, as do atheists, 68 percent of nones believe in God – they do not, however, participate in a formalized faith community.

One-fifth of the US public identifies as religiously unaffiliated and the number rises to 30 percent for persons age 30 and younger.

As politicians look at voting demographics, the nones deserve attention. And the caution is obvious: if you want to win this group’s vote, and not alienate the non-nones, what direction should be taken?

“Values politics” claims Chris Hale, a senior fellow at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.

 The 2016 elections will be interesting:  Values politics? Thank God.


Rep. Doc Hastings leaving Congress; enviros say ‘good riddance’

CONSERVATION —  Some conservationists didn't hide their happiness to hear that Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., is retiring after 20 years in Congress, an unexpected announcement that drew both cheers and jeers Thursday in the nation’s capital.

As chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, he's been a barrier to many efforts championed by environmentalists, especially those who objected to his persistent moves to open more public lands to development and to change laws dealing with endangered species, among other things.

“It’s really good riddance,” said Athan Manuel, director of the lands protection program for the Sierra Club.

Click “continue reading” for the full story from the McClatchy Washington Bureau.


What determines which federal gov’t sites get shut down?

So some of your favorite government websites are shut down, such as the U.S. International Trade Commission (oh noes! Not the US ITC! How else am I supposed to search the current Harmonized Tariff Schedule?)

I snarkily replied that it was “a completely nonsensical (from a technical perspective) act”, and I freely admit it that I was mistaken. In fact, there were some very sensical arguments made, re: IT staff support and/or the lack of it.

However, I have found a definitive statement about which federal websites would remain operational during an “appropriation lapse” in an official Whitehouse memo which states:

Sequestration curbs plows, delays Yellowstone’s spring opening

PARKS — The giant yellow snowplows that wake Yellowstone from its winter slumber every March are idled, waiting for the sun to make up for federal budget cuts that are forcing the park to open late for peak season.

According to a Washington Post story, mandatory cuts kicked in three days before the plows were to start clearing snow and ice from 300 roads at altitudes that reach 11,000 feet.

Faced with an order from Washington to slice $1.8 million from his budget, the park superintendent, Dan Wenk, had considered his options, and delaying the plows was a better choice than cutting his already barebones staff of rangers and seasonal employees.

National Parks are just one of many agencies weighing choices being forced by the budget reductions known as sequestration.

George McGovern

George McGovern, a man to honor and remember for his contribution to American politics, has died. He was a politician who advocated justice for poor Americans and supported civil rights for all of us.

McGovern characterized himself saying: “I always thought of myself as a good old South Dakota boy who grew up here on the prairie (South Dakota)…My dad was a Methodist minister. I went off to war. I have been married to the same woman forever. I’m what a normal, healthy, ideal American should be like.”

May his legacy serve as a reminder of commitment to one’s ideals, nation and family.

(S-R archives photo: July 14, 1972, Sen. George S. McGovern makes his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach.)

Commenter in lawsuit identifies herself

A woman who claims to have posted a comment on a Spokesman-Review blog that triggered a defamation lawsuit has revealed her identity.

Linda Cook said her suggestion to ask Kootenai County Republican Party chairwoman Tina Jacobson about alleged missing money in the Kootenai County GOP coffers, which Cook posted under the moniker “almostinnocentbystander,” was based on information she’d heard from a board member.

“At the time that I said it, I was convinced that it was not false, and it certainly wasn’t said with malice,” said Cook, who’s active in Kootenai County politics and was an aide to the late Idaho Congressman Helen Chenoweth-Hage.

Read the rest of my story here.

Richard Mack to speak in Spokane, CdA

A former Arizona sheriff revered by the militia movement for his outspoken criticism of gun control and government tyranny is returning to the Inland Northwest for meetings with local GOP groups, triggering a rift among some Republicans.

Richard Mack, who now lives in Texas and is running for U.S. Congress, is a self-described conservative constitutionalist with ties to various political parties and movements. He served as sheriff of rural Graham County, Arizona as a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully for governor of Utah as a Libertarian and now is trying to unseat a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the GOP’s upcoming Texas primary.

Read he rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Dec. 6, 2009: A passion rising

Compromise bill would require license plates on OHVs

OFF-ROADING — It's no secret that off-road vehicle riders run rampant in some areas of national forests and other public lands that are closed to motorized traffic.  But even if you catch them in the act, little can be done to report the offenses because ATVs and off-road dirt bikes don't need licence plates necessary for ID.

A compromise bill is in the works in the Washington Legislature that would help open more roads for OHV riding  while getting a licensing requirement promoted by environmentalists. Many OHVers support the licensing portion of the bill to help deal with the bad apples in their ranks.

See Olympia reporter Jim Camden's Spin Control column for the details.

Study: Mount Adams glaciers shrink 50 percent since 1904

CLIMATE CHANGE — In the first comprehensive study of its kind, a Portland State University study has found Mount Adams' 12 glaciers have shrunk by nearly half since 1904 and are receding faster than those of nearby sister volcanoes Mount Hood and Mount Rainier.

Mount Adams, 54 air miles from Yakima, is another sign of gradually warming temperatures that — if continued as expected by researchers — will mean significant problems for the water-dependent Yakima Valley, according to reports by the Oregonian and the Associated Press.

The study lends urgency to an earlier federal report that shows the water content of Cascade Mountain snowpacks could dwindle by as much as 50 percent by the 2070s.

The latest work on glaciers on the 12,276-foot Mount Adams by a Portland State University geology professor and a student team was based on aerial photography, geographic information system mapping, buttressed by historic photos taken by hikers.

The results show Adams' glaciers have melted away 49 percent of their coverage area since 1904.

Over generally the same time period Mount Rainier's glaciers lost 24 percent of coverage area and on Mount Hood the decline has been some 32 percent.

Some scientists suggest Adams gets less moisture because it is just to the east of the Cascades crest.

Herman Cain is Getting Out of the Bed

Well, it has begun - all the sniping, gutter-swiping, yellow journalism, affairs, un-affairs, and innuendoes have finally sent Herman Cain out of the bed he was lying in.  He has “exited the political campaign” according to news sources (CNN for one).

I hate politics, don't you???  I would never run for an office - my personal life would be scrutinized so closely, most likely you would find out little trivial sins - like all the times I utilize the 10-second rule (especially if it is chocolate).

Cain didn't stand a chance once the first woman spoke up.

Fair warning to all of you potential presidents - lock your closets!  Those skeletons are just itching to escape.


Meet the newly elected

The Greater Hillyard Business Association and the City of Spokane is hosting an event featuring the newly eleted Spokane politicians on Nov. 10 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The event will be held at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, 6116 N. Market St. and it's $15 for GHBA members and $20 for non-members. Dinner will be served by the Red Dragon Chinese Restaurant.
Here's a chance to meet up close and personal with the newly elected mayor, city council president and the city council member representing District 1, position 1. Current city council member Amber Waldref will be there too.

McMorris Rodgers isn’t naming GOP favorite — yet

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers smiled, hesitated and then dodged a question that could have earned her plenty of press – and grief: She declined an invitation to endorse a Republican presidential candidate today.

Eastern Washington’s representative and member of the U.S. House’s Republican leadership team was wrapping up her appearance at the Spokane City Forum when an anonymous questioner quizzed McMorris-Rodgers’ preferences.

She didn’t take the bait.

We’ll have to wait, perhaps after a clear front-runner emerges next year. No surprises there.

McMorris Rodgers revisited her standard talking points, including cutting federal regulations, slashing federal spending, repealing federal health care reform, and passing a balanced-budget amendment.

These City Forums are a worthwhile $10 affair. The speakers are important, local and relevant. Check it out at www.spokanecityforum.org

Horsey’s take on political attack ads?

Good evening, Netizens…

In the election year when television attack ads have become so much a part of the sand-blasted television real estate, when every minute or two we hear more ads from either Dynamic Dino Rossi or Pork Barrel Patty Murray, each attacking the other, it might seem like an outer-space battle of wills. After seeing today’s David Horsey cartoon, some say he is looking at one side the political spectrum. The question that remains, however, is how many of the attack ads are coming from the Tea Party members?

Really, if you stop and think of it, most of the attack ads we are hearing and seeing on our televisions do not just originate from either Patty Murray, Dino Rossi or members of the Tea Party. Some say the Republican Party, who are leading in the polls for the most television advertising, are the source. Republicans, however, are quick to point a finger accusingly at Democrats.

You can open up a can of greasy, squirming worms if you begin to study negative political advertising, yet it is as American as apple pie this time of year. The only ones who win out in such contentious years as we have present are the television stations and advertising agencies.

Relax! It’s only going to get worse as we enter the last four weeks before election.


The candidate’s qualifications are…


Good morning, Netizens…

Left over from yesterday, but thought-provoking nonetheless, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Scott Brown celebrates with his daughters Arianna (L) and Ayla (R) along with his wife Gail after giving a speech after winning the special election to fill the Senate seat of the late Edward Kennedy in Boston, Massachusetts January 19, 2010.


Now that’s a first.

Senator-elect Scott Brown made his victory speech yesterday here http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/vp/34947016#34947016 and said something that I found interesting, and some say was borderline disgusting. Toward the end of his speech, he announced that his daughters, who were present on the platform with him, were “available”. That further qualifies him for office, right?

His daughters, both of whom appear in this picture, did not make any public comment , although they did laugh when Brown stated he might be in trouble when he returned home that night.

The political upset, when Brown soundly defeated Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley, his Democratic opponent, may have profound impact on political demographics in the US Senate according to several sources. Will it spell certain defeat for health insurance legislation? Although some sources suggest yes, I believe that remains to be seen.


Put on your thinking caps…

Good morning, Netizens…

It is early on a Saturday morning, and while the fog hovers near the brackish river while we sit, high and dry, above the worst of it all. Our lives move onward, nonetheless, as we have jobs and businesses to maintain, bills to pay and thus the day begins pretty much as any other day.

What I am following this morning are two entirely different sets of opinions, each from a far-different camps of political thought. I first heard of these from cartoonist-columnist David Horsey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and like any self-respecting fish in the river, the minute I watched the first video, I was hooked.

The first video is of group of Obama supporters who were polled about President Obama’s policies and the his history prior to being elected President of the United States. While I cannot swear authoritatively that there is no attempt on the part of the interviewer to sway or lead those whom he interviews one way or the other, I submit the video rests as a troubling document nonetheless. This video was shot on election day last year.


On the other hand here we have the people recently interviewed at a Sarah Palin book signing. Once again, I cannot make any claims that this video is untainted by the videographer’s personal opinions; only that the opinions of the public themselves, are equally troublesome.


The truly troublesome aspects of both videos are that Americans perceive our country’s foreign policies as viewed from whatever news source(s) they happen to watch/hear, but overall at least the people being interviewed in both these videos appear to not understand how government works, is supposed to work or who is actually in charge. Nobody has a clue about what Sarah Palin would do if she were elected President of the United States. As history shows us, the voters who elected President Barak Obama in a landslide vote apparently had no idea what his foreign and domestic policies were going to be, either.

My opinions are that Sarah Palin as a Presidential candidate is very troublesome, for it exploits the underlying ignorance of mainstream Americans. But before anyone points to that statement as proof of a hidden bias, I will go further and state that most the people who elected President Obama into office were as ignorant in as many ways as those who support Sarah Palin.

I located a copy of the citizenship test that all newly-arrived U.S. Citizens are required to take prior to becoming citizens this morning, and took and passed the test easily. Since it is rather lengthy (100 questions) I will post it in its entirety in a separate message. I should note that the test questions I am using are the original questions, not the revised questions in use since October 1, 2008. That, too, is troublesome. If you go to http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/blinstst_new.htm you can comparatively examine the two sets of questions. Then it up to you to decide why the questions were changed.


New Washington political website…

From the folks who brought you Horse’s Ass, it’s “Publicola, the Washington news elixir.”

From HA founder David Goldstein:

“The sudden collapse of our local news industry and the resulting mass exodus of political reporters is a bitter pill to swallow for those of us who believe that maintaining a vibrant Fourth Estate is absolutely critical to maintaining a vibrant democracy… but… well… every crisis also presents an opportunity.

That’s why I’m pleased to be playing my part in the launch of Publicola, Washington state’s newest news and opinion site.  Largely the editorial creation of former Stranger news editor Josh Feit, Publicola strives to help fill the void in state political reporting, while providing the kind of fresh writing and analysis online readers demand…”

Franken Wins Minnesota Senate Recount

In this Nov. 4 file photo, Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken shakes hands with supporters after speaking at the Democratic election night party in St. Paul, Minn. Franken will be declared the winner of a recount by 225 votes with incumbent Republican Norm Coleman today. Story here. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

Question: Are the Democrats about to steal the U.S. Senate election in Minnesota?