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Thursday, November 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

News conjures up lottery dreams and cell phone wishes

I was amazed to read Wednesday about the effort to keep cell phones out of the paws of the prison population.

Apparently a lot of cellular phones have been smuggled into California and Florida lockups.

The story didn’t detail how these devices are being smuggled. But if it’s what I imagine, it gives new meaning to the term “Blackberry.”

Here in Washington, corrections officials have trained three dogs to enter cells and sniff out contraband phones that might be hidden in, say, noxious piles of fermenting inmate skivvies.

Why PETA hasn’t protested this animal abuse is anyone’s guess.

But I don’t think we should worry about keeping cell phones out of the hands of inmates. In fact, I say we hand every inmate a free cell phone the moment he or she enters the hoosegow.

Here’s the catch: All prison cell phones must use whatever cell plan Matt has.

Matt is a guy who calls me quite often with tips and political insight. Unfortunately, all of Matt’s calls sound like they are emanating from deep within the bowels of a malfunctioning power washer.

DOUG – “Hello.”

MATT – “$##@!!”

DOUG – “Huh?”

MATT – “%$# … Shogan.”

DOUG – “Matt, are you trying to tell me something about Councilman Joe Shogan?”

MATT – (Dropped call.)

This Garble Plan could be a great rehabilitation tool for the incarcerated. No inmate would want to return to the joint again.

I told Matt that if I ever win the lottery I’ll do two things.

The first is to spend whatever it takes to get Barbara Lampert elected.

I’m talking about TV, radio and newspaper ads, hiring a speechwriter, getting Lampert a snappy wardrobe …

See, the North Side woman has entered more races than Richard Petty. But she never actually does any meaningful campaigning.

This year, Lampert is running yet again for Spokane City Council.

As always, her chances of being elected are about the same as GU turning Mormon.

Call me selfish but I believe having Lampert in office would be a great public service.

To my column and you readers, that is.

Er, what was I saying?

Oh, yeah. The second thing I’d do with my lottery windfall is buy Matt better cellular service.

Of course, if I had my way nobody would have a cell phone – period!

Forty years ago, technology helped us put a man on the moon. Today technology has turned Americans into self-obsessed twerps who “tweet” each other constantly about the excruciatingly dull details of their lackluster lives.

Cell phones have lowered the collective IQ. Cell phones have made us distracted drivers and ill-mannered louts.

Not long ago I was using a public restroom in an airport. A guy in one of the commodes was texting messages.

True, there are horrors even greater than a toilet texter. At least it wasn’t Larry Craig communicating via toe-tap.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman- Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at

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