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  • Smart Bombs: A constitutionalist context

    Video shot at the Spokane Valley Mall shows a deputy explaining why the Sheriff’s Office needs a mine-resistant, military-style vehicle. He replies, “We’ve got a lot of constitutionalists and a …


  • Smart Bombs: Industry alarmists heat up

    After pounding the “job killer” theme and exhausting all Al Gore jokes, conservatives still face the problem of global warming. I’m all for a solution that doesn’t shake workers or …


  • Gary Crooks: Old-school meets preschool in Idaho

    Ever since Idaho adopted kindergarten 39 years ago, it’s been voluntary. But somehow the specter of a measly five preschool classes being partially publicly funded for three years has some …


  • Smart Bombs: Politics infect health policy

    On Dec. 10, a picture was posted on U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ Facebook page, along with text that reads, in part: “This is 53-year-old Debbie Brown from Garfield, Wa. …


  • Smart Bombs: GOP Rx: More complaining

    You’d think Republicans would have observed the health care landscape since the rollout of Obamacare and seen an opportunity. Instead, they’re rolling back their own ideas after reading the polls, …


  • Smart Bombs: Justice denied, innocence lost

    The news that the Idaho Innocence Project has lost federal funding represents an injustice. The government will spend bundles of money to conduct prosecutions and lock people up, but if …


  • Smart Bombs: Health subsidies aren’t new

    Last week, I wrote that Medicare beneficiaries pay roughly $1 dollar in tax for every $3 in benefits. This is a generalized ratio based on a report by the Urban …


  • Smart Bombs: Can we handle the truth?

    “Bush lied, people died!” “Obama lied, health plans died!” The extent to which you accept one proposition and reject the other probably says more about you than the two presidents. …


  • Smart Bombs: Retirement benefit flies away

    My response to the Machinists union at Boeing turning down the latest contract offer is a mixture of empathy, frustration and fear. The critical component of the deal was the …


  • Smart Bombs: Buying health insurance? You better shop around

    The confusion and fear caused by people receiving notices of rate increases on their health care policies is exacerbated by insurers failing to inform customers of their options. The insurers’ …


  • Smart Bombs: Affordable Care Act criticism heals nothing

    If you were to collect the threads of Obamacare criticism and try to suture the American health care system, the patient would bleed out. I’ve tried to make sense of …


  • Smart Bombs: Voters support ACA, denounce Obamacare

    If you haven’t seen the “Jimmy Kimmel Show” video in which people are asked whether they prefer Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, search for it, and watch. I’ll wait. …


  • Smart Bombs: Duck and cover, Spokane

    So I’m enjoying the low-key excellence of “CBS Sunday Morning,” when a pungent political ad pierces the calm with noise about … the Spokane City Council race? You mean the …


  • Smart Bombs: NFL sacks inconvenient truth

    I grew up loving football, frequently pedaling my Stingray to Skaggs to buy the trading cards. The drugstore had only the American Football League version, so I became an expert …


  • Smart Bombs: Shut down this gambit

    Rested, recharged and ready to hit the rumpus room. So grab some coffee – but not the barista – and let’s get started: “We voted on Monday night to have …


  • Smart Bombs: Licensing ignores downshift

    When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to drive. I’d make any excuse to grab the keys. Low on milk? I’ll get it! Then I’d take the long way …


  • Smart Bombs: Gone, but not forgotten

    “Boy, oh, boy.” That was a stock phrase for Jim Gintonio, who died of cancer last Sunday at the age of 65. You don’t know him, and it doesn’t matter, …


  • Smart Bombs: Profit arteries still clear

    News of former President George W. Bush’s stent procedure provides a jumping-off point to discuss a couple of health care issues. The clogged artery was discovered during a routine examination, …


  • Smart Bombs: Strength in numbers

    For politicians who are truly interested in attracting more businesses to the state, there’s compelling information to change the shopworn narrative that Washington is a high-tax, high-spending state. The Tax …


  • Smart Bombs: Don’t buy Indiana’s baloney

    The headline on my last column was, “Play fair on Obamacare.” It’s naïve to think that will happen, but the dishonesty is still appalling. If this reform is so obviously …


  • Smart Bombs: Play fair on Obamacare

    Warnings of a train wreck for the Obamacare Express take me back to the early days of Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit that was tacked onto the health …


  • Smart Bombs: The real carbon tax hoax

    To avoid offending local energy hogs, I’ll reference a study of a Swiss village that found 21 percent of households emitted half the town’s greenhouse gases. The authors of the …


  • Smart Bombs: Can’t take back discrimination

    With momentum clearly on the side of gay rights, some longtime opponents are scrambling to get on the right side of history. They were never for discrimination. No sir. They …


  • Smart Bombs: Talking with patients is cheap, effective

    The American Medical Association has voted to consider obesity a disease in the hopes that this will spur more direct communication between doctors and patients. Plus, it might increase the …


  • Smart Bombs: Who shall overcome equality?

    After the Coeur d’Alene City Council voted to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance that protects gay and transgendered citizens, Pastor Stuart Bryan of Trinity Church said he would advise parishioners to …


  • Smart Bombs: Welcome to press freedom

    Politicians don’t care much about press freedom as a stand-alone issue. When they do express concern, it’s because it’s a handy cudgel with which to pummel political rivals. When the …


  • Smart Bombs: Education under the gun

    In the wake of the schoolhouse massacre in Newtown, Conn., Idaho’s lawmakers rallied to ensure that the state’s gun owners remained safe from government intruders. They passed four minor bills, …


  • Smart Bombs: The price just isn’t right

    Come on down! You’re the next contestant on the “The Price Is What?” The first item is major joint replacement. The price for this procedure in Inland Northwest hospitals is: …


  • Smart Bombs: Dim message on bulbs

    How many people does it take to persuade some Americans to change from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps? One. To understand the punch line, you first need to know …


  • Smart Bombs: Spokane’s Mike Fagan wrestles with alter ego

    Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan was sporting a “Let Voters Decide” T-shirt in a photo that ran in Thursday’s edition of this newspaper. Did he decide to be consistent and …

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