Random Thoughts 2/27/04:

This'll have to hold you until I begin blogging again Monday. Meanwhile, check out Sunday's Hot Potatoes and Monday's Huckleberries in the paper. (You can get to my latest print columns by clicking on D.F. (Dave) Oliveria in the bio box at the right):

NOTE TO SELF: Aren't you amazed how you become every politician's best friend when the campaign season kicks off? Folks who can't stand you all of a sudden are pressing you to have coffee. And once the endorsements run and the votes are counted? They go back to despising you again.

BILL AT 56: Has it been almost 16 years since Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas was sworn into office? He was a Democrat back then. His mother came over from Hawaii to see Bill sworn in, along with Pierce Clegg, who, also as a Democrat, had knocked off sheriff Merf Stalder, a few months earlier. Bill and Pierce won in campaigns that were overshadowed by a sheriff's scandal. Going back further, I recall Bill's first day on the job in 1984 as a deputy prosecutor for Glen Walker. Indeed, time flies.

CHIP CHECKS IN: Got this from ex-Bonner County sheriff Chip Roos, who now lives on the coast in -- don't laugh -- Tokeland, Wash., which is 25 miles from the nearest McDonalds: "The daffodils are blooming here, tulips are coming, I mow the lawn at least once a month, Robins and blackbirds are singing and tree buds are green. Top that. I read everything you write and enjoy it. If you tried to be that open in the journalistic enviroment around here you would be wearing tar and feathers."

DFO: I'm thankful for the freedom I have at The Spokesman-Review to call them as I see them.

THE BARD: After I complained about Street Department crews plowing in my driveway earlier this winter, The Bard of Sherman Avenue penned a wonderful rhyme, entitled "Snow Plows." I didn't publish it in my print columns because the city plowers used their snow gates afterward when they plowed my street. So, with spring around the corner -- and apologies to the hard-working city worker bees -- here's that rhyme:

When snow plows come to clear his street,
They leave the pavement clean and neat,
Except for just one lonesome heap
Across his driveway three feet deep.

DFO: I'm amazed you folks haven't figured out the identity of The Bard, yet.

FULL HOUSE: Both Idaho political parties have been packing them out for special events, like Frank Church and Lincoln Day dinners. You've read about the Democrats' full houses for their caucuses. On Monday, state GOP Chair John Sandy told me about waiting for half an hour for tables to be set up for an overflow crowd of 700 at a Lincoln Day Dinner in Idaho Falls. And then running into a packed house of 100 at a truck stop at Montpelier. The R's had to push a handful of Lincoln Day dinners into March because they had so many in February. In Idaho, the D's are like the Red Sox; until they win the big one, they always seem to be an Alex Rodriguez or two short.

GOTTA BRAG: When she entered her freshman year at Coeur d'Alene High, my daughter Amy told my wife and me that she was going to duplicate her brother Seth's feat of being a valedictorian. She did, after transferring to Lake City High her senior year to participate in Director Sandra Seaton's amazing drama department. I'm humbled by their success. (Seth's now in his second year at the University of Colorado medical school.) Yeah, I know I'm bragging. Occasionally, a father's gotta pop his bottoms. And I'll save you the comments that're sure to be coming. Yeah, they got their looks and smarts from their mother.

Travis: The Metro Man

In my Huckleberries print column Monday, you'll see an item about Dick Haugen's former KVNI-AM sidekick Travis Malone. During a recent bull session with S-R Sports Writer Greg Lee, Travis, a DJ-for-Hire, admitted he's a metrosexual -- the new term for a young hetero swinger. In fact, here's the description provided by Travis for metrosexual:

"(met.roh.SEK.shoo.ul) n. A younger urban heterosexual male with a strong aesthetic sense who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle." And there's more: "Metrosexual men are known to spend time on and great amounts of money on hair and clothing. These men have been known to travel to europe just to keep up with the latest trends. Typical "metrosexual men" will have their hair cut and dyed up to once a week. They will only date the best dress and up front women, often dating several trendy women at one time. These women are typically several years younger."

You can find out where you stand on the metro list by taking this test. I scored one out of 12. In other words, I'm in the hopeless category.

Concludes Travis in an e-mail to me: "I'd be willing to bet Dick Haugen spends more on his hair than me. Have fun with this, I wish more men and women would take time to look good around here. I'm tired of the white trash in this area. I hate to say it too loud, but I'm proud to be a metrosexual??!"

TGIF Lunch Special (2/27/04):

Five and a half more hours of breaking big rocks into little rocks ... and then the weekend. Hang in there:

1. A lay committee of prominent Catholics has taken its bishops to the wood shed for looking the other way for a half century and failing to stop widespread sexual abuse by priests, primarily with boys, 11 to 14 years old. Here's the full story.

2. Remember that tirade against Dubya by Far Left knucklehead Michael Moore at last year's Oscars? Well, you can find out here why Oscar poohbahs are stressed that Planet Hollyweird egomaniacs might try to do something similar this year at Sunday night's big event.

3. Believe it or not, conservative flamethrower Rush Limbaugh has come to the defense of raunchmeister Howard Stern, who was suspended from his show in six cities this week for foul radio fare. Limbaugh makes an interesting argument here. But this time ... Rush is wrong.

An Eyeful:

So, there was former Kootenai County commissioner Ron Rankin flipping through the channels at 8:15 Thursday night when he stumbled upon KSPS Channel 7 (Spokane) ... and was treated to a couple making love, naked as jaybirds. Actress Samantha Robson provided a front and side view of her nekkid torso for the PBS "Murder in Mind" series show rerun: "Swan Song."

I don't need to go into more detail.

Well, Rankin, the old Marine was shocked -- shocked! -- that such fare was available in prime time to all area viewers, cable or no, children or no. And he called the local PBS station first thing Friday morning. And got nowhere. According to Ron, he was told that the program started with the warning that some of the material might be offensive. Which didn't do Ron any good because he turned on the channel 15 minutes into the show. Quoth Ron: "You can't monitor that kind of thing." He was ticked that our tax dollars help pay for such programming. Said he: "Yeah, I can turn it off, but I'm still paying for it." (A hoity-toity KSPS exec dismissed this valid complaint by sniffing that Ron was out only about 80 cents per month for public TV.)

In terms of nudity, Ron said, the Janet Jackson peep show didn't hold a candle to this full frontal assault. Where's the FCC when you need it?

(DFO: This note will serve as background for my lead item in Sunday's Hot Potatoes column on the Editorial Page of The Spokesman Review.)

Friday Quick Fix Six (2/27/04):

And a happy TGIF to you, too. I'm gonna introduce you to a coupla of the top conservative writers in the country today. They can be deliciously wicked when it comes to slicing and dicing the other side:

1. First, we have Emmett Tyrrell Jr. of the American Spectator, who columnizes on why he doesn't plan to see Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ.'' He doesn't support movie violence. And Gibson's movie has plenty of that. You can read Tyrrell's argument here.

2. Then, we have conservative she-devil Ann Coulter, who eats liberals for breakfast. She's tough. And here she makes sport of the poor decisions of labor unions in supporting politicians who don't support them. Remember NAFTA?

3. Finally, we complete our threesome of conservative thought purveyors with Wes Pruden of the Washington Times. You knew Wes wasn't going to let "sewer-dweller" (Wes' words) Howard Stern rant and rave about being censored off the airwaves without some response. He-e-e-r-r-r-e-e-s Wes.

4. Want some good news about Baghdad and Iraq? Here it is.

5. I know you didn't believe all those mea culpas coming from M-TV world after Janet Jackson's infamous display at halftime of the Super Bowl. And you were right. Skanky Britney Spears & Co. have led M-TV right back to the sewers. Click here.

6. Believe it or not, I survived the entire last six years without once watching a single minute of "Sex in the City." And columnist Suzanne Fields sez I wasn't missing much. Click here.

Random Thoughts:

Question from Post Falls Police Chief Cliff Hayes: How often do you write your on-line column?

Answer: Throughout the day. I try to give you a Quick Fix Six to start the morning and a Lunch Special around noon or 1 p.m., depending on my writing schedule. The items are the best in conservative thought that I can find on the issues of the day. Beyond that, I publish items as they come to me: E-mails from readers, rhymes from The Bard of Sherman Avenue, background on local politics and whatever else I find of interest. This blog (Web log) is a work in progress. I'll try to keep it interesting, so you'll have to check back at 9 a.m., noon and 6 p.m.

Now, for some Random Thoughts to close the day:

If you've never seen a Blair Bybee-directed play at Lake City High (Remember "Footloose'?), make sure you get tickets ($5 to $7) for the performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat over the next two weeks, beginning Thursday (March 4-6, 10-13). LCHS plays are at least college quality. E-mail Sandra Seaton (lchsdrama@hotmail.com) for tickets, and you can thank me later ... By now, readers of Huckleberries and Hot Potatoes should know that an ellipses means I've moved onto the next item ... Sub Bob Nonini's eyes "got big as saucers," according to my moles, when House Speaker Bruce Newcomb angrily gaveled down two reps who were out of order the other day: Bill Sali and Henry Kulczyk. Nonini's been test-driving the House District 5A seat in hopes that fellow GOPers'll pick him to replace He-e-e-e-a-a-a-rrrr-Comes-Hilde Kellogg in the spring primaries.

BeardedNail@aol.com has this take on No Holds Barred: "Since this person can't say anything good about the center or left, lets find someone to cover the other side and have an equal coverage in the paper. This man has never seen a gop (lower case) he wouldn't get in bed with for a small amount of funds. Either equalize or get rid of this ooooolllllddddd wiiiiindbbbbaaaaaagggggggg." DFO: I pointed this Anonymous Wonder to kens@spokesman.com who handles our Blog Central to see if he has the gumption and time to provide us with his riveting thoughts from the Left.

Finally, I'll leave you with a "PETA" bumpersnicker that Reporter Kevin Taylor saw on an oversized pickup with Alaska plates. The small type below? "People for the Eating of Tasty Animals."

B-deet, b-deet, that's all folks -- DFO


They say they're red and white and blue.
Does hogwash come in colors too?

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Back from the Dead?

From the front lines in Bonner County comes word that the Democrats are rising again:


Your recent quip about finding enough Democrats to fill a phone booth prompted my response. I also noted that the article on the Demo caucuses (Sunday S-R) said that Kootenai Co. expected 100 to show up.

We had a pretty tight phone booth here in Sandpoint tonight, as about 260 showed up in the Community Hall (Capacity 150 ... good the fire marshall didn't show, as he is a Republican and would no doubt have cleared the hall.) While we split our delegates among four candidates, we were united in our drive to restore democracy to our wonderful nation, as it is rapidly being taken from us by the current monarchy.

You might also be interested to know that the churchgoing population was pretty high too -- over a dozen from our Methodist congregation and a similar number of Friends.

John Harbuck

NHB: I haven't used that telephone booth line in awhile. You have a good memory. Frankly, I hope you're right about the rebirth of the Idaho Democratic Party. We need a strong minority party to scare the arrogance out of the Republican Party. (Note to readers outside Idaho: An Idaho Democrat is a fairly conservative critter. Some of the best politicians I know or have known are Idaho D's: Rep. Mary Lou Shepherd of Wallace and the late Jim Stoicheff of Sandpoint.) As a result of a weak Idaho Demo Party, North Idaho has some Repub reps who fill space in Boise, at best, and gum up the works, at worst. I won't name names.

Why Matt Drudge Link?

Observation from old friend and Noam Chomsky disciple Fred Glienna:

Your link to Matt Drudge is disgraceful. Surely even the legitimate conservative sources, such as the Washington Times and National Review, know too well that his reporting is not journalism by any rational standard.

NHB: Fred makes a decent point here. You have to approach The Drudge Report carefully because ... Matt Drudge's sensationalistic. And occasionally wrong on one of his newskewps (i.e., the recent erroneous skewp that John Kerry had a thing for a former AP writer. On the other hand, Drudge was the one who broke the Monica Lewinsky story.). Drudge pegs his accuracy on such things at around 80 percent. Fred'd say it's probably lower. Either way, Drudge's entertaining. More importantly, Drudge's Web site offers a smorgasbord of media Web sites and columnist links. Plus, he gives you that old "Extra! Extra!" street-corner journalism feeling. One thing you must remember when you approach Drudge's site: Reader beware.

Thursday Lunch Special (2/26/04):

On the lunch menu today is the usual fare of 3:

1. The Alliance Defense Fund was disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court elected to endorse the state of Washington's discrimination against former divinity student Joshua Davies. Here's the ADF's response to the 7-2 decision.

2. Sherman Alexie, a Spokane Indian and self-described liberal, explained briefly in a speech at the University of Washington why he loved this country. And, fortunately, David Horowitz Web site was there to pick it up. Click here.

3. Here's the rest of the story about the latest globaloney nonsense peddled by Greenpeace and usual Gang Green suspects.

Fightin' Words:

Controversial Steve Eugster didn't make any friends at Catholic Gonzaga University with the announcement of his candidacy for Superior Court judge. In fact, he may have lost a friend by questioning the religious diversity of Jesuit U. Ex-Spokane County Demo Chairman Tom Keefe shared this letter to Steve with No Holds Barred:


Your campaign site makes the bold assertion that "The court lacks important diversity -- there are too many Gonzaga law school graduates on the bench, one religion predominates."

In the text of your prepared announcement you go on to assert and ask, "One religion predominates. One wonders where the protestants, Mormon, agnostics are?"

Although I did not attend Gonzaga Law School, two of my brothers and many of my friends and professional colleagues did. Some are Catholics, many are not. I find your comments regarding the school, its graduates and my faith deeply offensive. The "Gonzaga conspiracy" you feel is out to get you is, in my mind, a figment of your own fertile imagination.

I want to let you know right now that should you carry forward with your plan to inject anti-Catholic sentiments into the political discourse of this town during your bid for the bench, you can expect me, as a former friend, to vigorously oppose you at every opportunity, and to urge others to do so as well.

I urge you to reconsider the reckless, bigoted message you have already unleashed on this town.

Tom Keefe

NHB: You can find a full text of Steve Eugster's announcement here. (Be sure to click on "Announcement of Candidacy.")

Thursday Quick Fix Six (2/26/04):

No Holds Barred is a week old today. Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday to us, Ha-a-a-p-p-p-y-eee (Editor's Note: Shaddup, and get on with it). Here's six to put in your coffee:

1. If you struggle to balance your commitment to human rights with your opposition to gay marriage, you can find some food for thought from David Horowitz and Tammy Bruce here and here.

2. Sure, John Kerry's post-Vietnam War statements and involvement with Hanoi Jane Fonda and other anti-war activists should concern you. But Kerry's involvement with the MIA/POW issue after he was elected should concern you more. The Village Voice, of all media, claims Kerry betrayed those left behind. Click here.

3. Three cheers for Clear Channel radio for getting vile Howard Stern off the air in its overdue move to clean up the airwaves. Read all about it here. (And here's a statement about Clear Channel's new policy re: on-air decency. May its kind increase.)

4. Planet Hollyweird muckety-mucks are hosed about Mel Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ." They believe it may harm his film career. I can almost hear Brother Mel's response now: So what? Click here for Hollyweird reax.

5. We believers are losing the battle over gay marriage because we deserve to lose it. We don't have our own house in order. Richard D. Ackerman of WorldNetDaily provides a well-needed gut check here.

6. What did John Kerry say about drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge? And when did he say it? For some reason, the eco-Twinkies aren't saying anything about the controversial statements that Kerry made to "Hardball's" Chris Mathews about the controversial Alaska refuge. Find out about the interview here.

Will He, Or Won't He?

Political junkees are wondering whether ex-Idaho rep Don Pischner will run for office again. And they have a reason to wonder because he's collected some 60 names on a District 5 candidacy petition to do so. Plus, he has supporters urging him to go for it. But he's hesitant because he doesn't want to mess up a budding career as a lobbyist. Another loss in a House race might do that. At this point, the chances of Don running are way less than 50-50. And if he runs? It'll be in a three-way primary race against county GOP chair Bob Nonini and ex-rep Ron Vieselmeyer -- not against controversial rep Charles Eberle of Post Falls, who bested him last time. Meanwhile, a little birdie told me that Eberle won't get a primary pass. Stay tuned.

Wednesday Lunch Special (2/25/04):

Here's three for free to feast your eyes on while you eat your chowder today:

1. National Review On-Line provides the best conservative thought in the business, bar none. And today's no exception. Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is front and center, of course. And you can read a host of reviews here.

2. David Bedein of FrontPageMag puts a human face on the victims of the crazy suicide bombers attacking Israel here. And this is a good time to get acquainted with David Horowitz, a former radical Leftist who probably is the best conservative apologist in this country today. Check out the brilliant articles on his Web site here.

3. Bush II laid out the strategy for his 2004 campaign against John Kerry Monday. In case you missed it, David M. Shribman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette spelled it out here.

A Word from Idaho's Senior Senator:

In his message, "Democracy: Not A Spectator Sport," U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, used the tiny town of Harrison to explain why constituents should get involved with the political process. Find out why here and discover a Web site that features press releases from Idaho's senior senator. (You'll have to click on "Editorials" when the site comes up.)

You Can Run But Not Hide from John Kerry:

No Holds Barred reader M.N. Kirking discovered that all the state's horses and all the fed G-men couldn't stop Demo prez wannabe John Kerry from telemarketing. E-mails M.N.:

Being on the State and Federal No Call List does no protect you from politicians. We received a call from Sen. John Kerry requesting support. This should be a no-no.

DFO: And it's only February.

Support of Traditional Marriage Roundup:

If you believe as I do that traditional marriage in this country should be defended at all costs, but don't know how to argue your position, here's a roundup of stories and thoughts about the matter. They come from the superb conservative townhall.com Web site:

1. Here's Dubya's comments supporting a constitutional amendment in support of traditional marriage.

2. Here's Christian apologist Chuck Colson's call to arms in defense of traditional marriage.

3. Concerned Women of America are grateful that Dubya took a stand for traditional marriage, but you can find out why they still have concerns here.

4. Human Events, the national conservative weekly, shows how the media slanted the reporting of Dubya's marriage announcement here.

5. You can sign a petition endorsing a federal marriage amendment here.

Yankee or Dixie?

Big John Rook of Coeur d'Alene passed along a little quiz that'll help you determine whether you're a Yank or a Dixiecrat. I barely made it into the Yank category (46 percent), despite never having lived in or traveled to the South. Must be my Azores Islands roots. I thought I'd pass it along, so you'd have something to do today when the boss isn't looking. Click here to determine what side you're on.

Wednesday Quick Fix Six (2/25/04):

Good morning, sunshine, it's time to get at 'em again with a Quick Fix Six:

1. You know going in that the New York Times is going to get "The Passion of the Christ" wrong. And the Gray Old Lady didn't disappoint. You can read the Times clueless take on Mel Gibson's "Passion" here. (You may have to register your name and password, but it's free.)

2. No one can fillet the Far Left like Washington Times Editor Wes Pruden. He writes three times a week and is worth bookmarking. Here's his take on Planet Hollyweird's approach to Gibson's "Passion." It's a day old. But not stale. You can thank me later for introducing you to Pruden.

3. WorldNetDaily is amused -- as you should be -- that finicky movie reviewers are deploring the violence in "The Passion of the Christ" when they don't bat at eye at horrific violence in other films. The Bible has a word for such people: ye old hypocrites. Click here to see their hypocrisy.

4. Of course, there's more to life than just "The Passion." Columnist Dick Morris, who used to be Slick Willie's superb strategist, contends that Dubya's in trouble because he's been too darn effective. Click here for more.

5. Columnist Jonah Goldberg sees a major difference between the wall Israel's building to keep suicide bombers out and the Berlin Wall. Find out why here.

6. Like the supermajority of us, columnist Armstrong Williams sees no right to gay marriage in the Constitution. Find out why here.

Worse than Slaughterville? You Bet:

All the way from Dwayne Boettcher in Edmonton, Alberta, comes word that his province has a historical site that'll make PETA-philes grit their teeth -- you know, the lads and lasses that are so upset about the name of Slaughterville, Okla. Take it away, Dwayne:

"Here in Alberta we have Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. Oh, the horror! Something must be done."

Later, Dwayne added this follow-up: "It is not a town but a historical site (read: tourist attraction). Indians used to drive herds of bison over a cliff.
See the link.

Any other tasty names out there to serve our PETA-friends?

A Blast from the Past:

From Seaside Park, N.J., comes this note from ex-Coeur d'Alene planner Steve Badraun, whose fatal sin, once upon a time, was to take on the town's muckety-mucks. After an unsuccessful 2001 run for mayor in which he criticized the town Jumbos, Steve was voted off the planning commission by ex-mayor Steve Judy's City Council during a not-very-special meeting on New Year's Eve. It was an incredible abuse of political power. Now, Steve's back with thoughts on how to plan for growth at the eastern gateway to be-yoo-tiful Coeur d'Alene:

Hello Dave;

The recent annexation application and the proposed planned unit development by the Hagadone Corporation will serve as a rapidly moving catalyst for commercial and residential expansion in all of those areas (along Interstate 90 and the Centennial Trail byway). Unless we act now with a well thought out plan for the coexistence of green spaces, public areas , parking lots and buildings and signage, we will soon have a mishmash of development that lacks the statement that we may want in those areas.

The byway has truly emerged as a place of peace, tranquility and reflection away from the day-to-day grind. Much like the hikes and walks on Tubbs hill, bikers along the byway find those miles along the lake a cherished part of their day or week in North Idaho.

With some serious planning, we can accomplish the same goals for development and recreation. The clock is ticking. Soon a comprehensive master outline that ensures the integrity of these areas will be a path we neglected to follow. The people of Coeur d' Alene will have lost a great treasure and an exciting gateway.

Steve Badraun
Seaside Park, N.J.

DFO: Coeur d'Alene, you've been warned

Fan Mail (2/24/04)

After reading your blog comment entitled "A Rose Has Many Other Names" and then looking at John Leo's commentary, I recalled a recent speech by one of our elected representatives. What a vertical accumulation of equine fecal material!

Bill McCrory
Coeur d'Alene

Tuesday Lunch Special (2/24/04):

Here's a some hot-mustard articles to go with your sandwich and milk today:

1. Hollyweird's always trying to give us Far Left guidance in our ongoing culture war. But it should practice what it preaches when it comes to minorities. Find out why Tinseltown moguls are such hypocrites here.

2. Pastor Jerry Falwell explains why believers should approach national bestseller "The Da Vinci Code" with fear and trembling. Click here.

3. In the opening to her special report for the Independent Women's Forum, Carrie L. Lukas writes: "The feminist agenda is inconsistent for women. In short, it is an agenda that replaces dependence on men with dependence on government." Read all about "How the Feminist Big Government Agenda Betrays Women'' here (Methinks you'll need to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

4. The Left Coast report by James Hirsen is a must read for anyone who's interested in a conservative take on all the stars, starlets and other denizens who hang out in Planet Hollyweird. Click here.

5. Find out why William J. Federer believes gay marriage will lead us over a slippery slope that has no bottom. Click here.

6. "The Passion of the Christ'' has triggered a revival of sorts that has caught the cultural elite off guard. Christians are coming out of the wood work. National Review Editor Rich Lowry analyzes what this means here.

Tuesday A.M. Quick Fix Six

One day down and four to go until the weekend. Here's some picks to get you going on Tuesday morning:

1. Find out here why the issue of gay marriage has Dimplecrats running scared.

2. Catherine Seipp of FrontPageMag doesn't want to see the "lazy idiot'' MTVers extending their influence by voting in the next election. And here's why.

3. Find out why Islamic extremism has put Feminists between a rock and a hard place here.

4. While all of us Boomers seem to be obsessed with the Vietnam War again, Dubya is winning the war that matters -- you know, the one over in the Middle East. Here's what's happening that doesn't seem to matter to the national media.

5. Mel Gibson's sending a powerful message to Hollyweird with "The Passion of the Christ.'' And Brent Bozell explains why here.

6. The Dimplecrats pretend that Ralph Nader doesn't matter this year ... that he won't be a factor as he was in 2000. But here's why Nader's decision to run for prez as an Independent has them shaking in their boots.

No Holds Barred Makes the Big Time:

I've been working on newsroom computers for the past 20 years and with the Internet since it started. But I'm just getting used to the speed of the blogosphere. For example, I started this blog (Web log ... or on-line column) last Wednesday night. And already I've received a mention on Marvin Olasky's blog for World magazine (the best Christian news magazine in the business). And here's that mention. Amazing, hunh?

I'm having fun with this. And I enjoy hearing from readers of this blog or my print columns, Huckleberries and Hot Potatoes. Please share this Web site with your family and friends. And I'll try to do my part to make it entertaining.

Crying in Their Beer

No Holds Barred is only five days old ... and already the anti-war, anti-Dubya Lefty crowd is attacking. In our Monday "Ask the Editors'' column, John Griffith of Spokane whined to Online Managing Editor Ken Sands:

"Just read D.F. Oliveria's blog. Ewwwww. (Should be ee-yew but who's counting the W's?) I hope the S-R can find someone on their staff to balance D.F. with an extreme leftist blog and links. Good luck! (What? Just one exclamation point?).

If they ain't whining, I'm not doing my job.

We're No. 2, We're No. 2:

This just in ... ESPN's Joe Lunardi projects Gonzaga to be a No. 2 seed in the West bracket of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The only thing that can stop the Zags now is an unexpected loss to one of its West Coast Conference patsies between now and the end of the conference tournament -- or the NCAA Selection Committee, which has been known to suffer brain cramps at Gonzaga's expense. Check here for Lunardi's complete forecast.

A Rose Has Many Other Names:

Hey, you weren't fired or downsized, you simply were part of a ``negative employee retention.'' Doesn't that make you feel better? And to make you feel better still -- and get a few chuckles -- here's columnist John Leo commenting on today's euphemisms, including Janet Jackson's infamous ``wardrobe malfunction.''

Monday Morning Quick Fix 6

Monday, Monday ... can't trust that day ... Thought I'd start you out with a little Mamas and Papas to begin the week, which dawns cold and sunny here in the Pacific Northwest. If the Mamas and Papas don't do it for you, how about a morning Quick Fix Six to get you going?

1. Here's a viewer's guide on ``The Passion of the Christ.''

2. Ebert and Roeper gave ``The Passion of the Christ'' two thumbs up. Check here.

3. The Internet brings news that our old friend Osama bin Laden might be close to meeting his maker -- or at least Dubya's GI welcome wagon committee. Check here.

4. If you've never read crusty Libertarian Florence King, who used to write reguarly for the National Review, here she is. You can thank me later.

5. When Teresa Heinz Kerry visits Moscow, Idaho, this afternoon, someone might want to ask her about her contributions to extremely liberal groups. Check here to see how liberal the woman who would be First Lady is.

6. For those wondering how Muslim extremists can get a foothold anywhere in the United States, Joel Mowbray, writing for Front Page Magazine, sez look no further than the Inland Northwest's Palouse -- and the campuses of Washington State and the University of Idaho. Check here for his amazing analysis.

Punxsutawney Phil: Eat yer heart out:

Here's a little rhyme to welcome today's sunshine:

Last Weekend's Weather

Few things in life
are quite so merry
as sunny days
in February.

-- The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Larry and Ted, Lisa and John:

U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, has thrown in with some strange bedfellows in co-sponsoring the Safe Act, a revision of the Patriot Act (which has kept us safe here at home since 9/11): U.S. Sens. Ted Kennedy, Russ Feingold, Lisa Murkowski and John Sununu. Alas, their new bill might take away safeguards that were in place prior to 9/11.

In a Feb. 23 roundup item, The National Review said:

"Under current law, investigators can ask courts to issue "sneak and peek" warrants, in which the target is notified after the search has taken place. This is a common-sense procedure: Sometimes the FBI needs to be able to search Tony Soprano's home without tipping him off. The Safe Act would restrict this ability. It does not just modify the Patriot Act; it would actually restrict law enforcement more than the pre-Patriot law. Terrorism investigators would be operating under more constraints than they faced before September 11."

The short item concludes that Attorney General John Ashcroft will recommend that the president veto the Safe Act if it reaches his desk. Sez The National Review: ``Let's hope that enough congressmen have the sense to keep that from happening."

Earth -- to Larry Craig: What are you doing throwing in with Ted Kennedy?

Josh McDowell Trumps Repubs, Dimplecrats:

In Kootenai County, the Repubs were proud of themselves recently when they attracted a record 427 people to their Lincoln Day dinner. And the Dimplecrats felt pretty good when 130 of their brethren turned out in Coeur d'Alene to hear recording artist Carole "I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet" King sing and promote John Kerry.

But neither political group could touch the turnout ttracted to North Idaho College Sunday night by Christian apologist Josh McDowell: 1,270. Nice to know the Christian Underground is alive and well in the Inland Northwest.

Weekend Six Pack

This Quick Six Fix will have to get you through the weekend until I blog again:

1. What did he say? And when did he say it? I'm being melodramatic. You can find out what young John Kerry said in his 1971 testimony about the Vietnam War to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee here.

2. Mel Gibson will talk about ``The Passion of the Christ'' with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson on KMBI-FM (107.9) at 8 p.m. Monday. You can find out more about that interview here.

3. Ah, you'd better not send little Shawn or Sally to Tufts University either. You can find out about the Vulvapalooza and other college sex nonsense here.

4. Need a Cal Thomas fix? He really cooks in this column.

5. Despite our huge budget deficits, Michael Goldfarb makes a good argument for passing a $318 billion highway reauthorization bill here.

6. Tired of listening to the Left's lies about Dubya? Here's some ammo to disarm your Dimplecratic neighbor.

Slaughterville or Bust:

Just to prove I'm working my tail off for you, O My Reader, I've found someone from Oklahoma to discuss the PETA-push to get the town to change its name. Actually, CDA's Tom Wobker found me. He was born in Oklahoma. And he was amused that the PETA-philes are oh!-fended by Slaughterville's name. Here's Tom:

``Re. the PETA letter about Slaughterville -- I was born in Oklahoma, have relatives there, and until the last few years visited often, especially after my parents retired to my Mom's hometown of Bartlesville. Assuming PETA is serious (which may be difficult), how did they overlook the lovely little hamlet of Hogshooter, Oklahoma, which is located just a few miles east of Bartlesville on the banks of Hogshooter Creek? How can they permit such an atrocity of a name to continue? It's on signs and maps and the Internet and everything. I'm aghast!!!''

Anyone else out there know of a PETA-defiling town name?

Send This One to Letterman:

Izzit just me, or is this headline/drop head in the latest North Idaho College Sentinel student newspaper funny _ or what?

``Political discussion club starts to `think': Democrat involvement not required.''

Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt:

In Idaho, the property tax sends people up the walls. In Washington, it's the sales tax. Here's retired Spokane Doc Ed Parker's take on Washington/STA's attempts to balance the budget on the back of what is now an 8.1 percent sales tax in most of Spokane County:

``We share some conservative/liberal viewpoints and disagree on others. My
conservative side is acting up as Governor Locke wants to raise the sales tax
1% (a 12% increase) and the Spokane Transit Authority wants to raise the tax
another 0.3%. This is a 16% increase in the sales tax. Whew! None of my
retirement income has seen such a rise. Incidentally, the tax pushers never
mention how much tax revenues have increased because of our increasing
population buying things that cost more each year.

``No matter how justified my desires to spend money on my wife, children,
grandchildren and charities I still have to live within a budget. Washington
State citizens live in one of the most highly taxed states in the country, but
the government is never satisfied with what we give it in taxes. I believe if
we allowed the State and Feds to spend whatever money they needed for all
worthy projects, there would be NOTHING left for us as individuals.''

(DFO: Well said -- although I do see a need to keep the Spokane Transit Authority's buses rollin' rollin'. Alotta poor folks need the buses.)

Commissioner Pincushion

Kootenai County Commissioner Dick Panabaker believes he has a big bull's-eye painted on his chest this year as he seeks his fourth term. Concerned Businesses of North Idaho, Jobs Plus and Duane Hagadone are dogging him because he was reluctant to support a $50,000 doughnation to Jobs Plus two years ago. At the time, Jobs Plus was hurting for contributions. Mebbe it still is.

According to Panabaker, heavyweights from the Concealed Businesses/Jobs Plus crowd courted him for months to vote for the additional money for Jobs Plus, concluding that he was the swing vote on the three-man commission. (He was.) On the day of the vote, Panabaker said, he was visited by Jobs Plus exec Bob Potter and John Barlow, the Hagadone Corp. exec who ramrods Concealed Biz. According to Panabaker, Barlow offered to beg on his hands and knees for Panabaker's vote in favor of the Jobs Plus contribution. Reluctantly, Panabaker said he would vote in favor of the funding. But he made no promises about any future support. The county used $42,000 from the sale of the Corbin ditch property to Post Falls homeowners to provide most of the Jobs Plus funding.

After the 2-1 vote in support of the funding, Panabaker said he returned to his office and discovered that Duane Hagadone had left an angry message on his phone. Seems Hagadone had tried to call Panabaker before the commissioners vote. In the recording, Hagadone said he'd supported Jobs Plus for 15 years and warned: ``Our editorial staff will be busy with you in the future.'' (Panabaker told me he would have voted against the Jobs Plus funding if he'd received the call earlier.)

All of which may explain why Hagadone's Coeur d'Alene Press has been firing away this winter at the county commission and at Panabaker, who faces a tough re-election primary. And why the Concealed Biz/Jobs Plus/Hagadone complex is supporting two candidates in the two commish races: Katie Brodie (vs. Panabaker) and Claudia Brennan (vs. Commish Rick Currie). Stay tuned.

TGIF Six Pack:

Here's a Quick Six fix to jump start your Friday morning:

1. The Wall Street Journal agrees with Spokane Deanie Neil Beaver that "Mad How'' Dean "changed the face of politics.'' Find out why here.

2. Also, U.S. Sen. Zell Miller tells us -- and Congress -- why our rotten culture has brought America to the eve of destruction here.

3. Unless you want your Little Shawn or Little Amanda to enroll in Sex Week 101, you should be thankful that s/he didn't get that full-ride scholarship to Yale. Here's why.

4. Theaters are signing up in droves to show Mel Gibson's controversial ``The Passion of the Christ,'' despite the best efforts of Christophic Hollyweird to prevent its airing.

5. You can find out why Dubya is driving Evangelicals cuh-razy here.

6. You can find out what Marvin Olasky thinks of Lefty judges legislating a "right'' to gay marriage from the bench here. Then, religious conservatives should bookmark Olasky's excellent blog and the World mag Web site.

Early Returns (on new column):

Here's what they're saying about "No Holds Barred" so far:

--Gee Dave, I thought "Huckleberries" and "Hot Potatoes" were no holds barred!!! Looking forward to the new column. George Abelhanz

(DFO: By the way, this page has a link to my print columns. Just go to the "About DFO'' box on the righthand side and click either on my name in the type or the "editorial and two columns'' wording.)

--I read column and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is much easier to read than the paper. These eyes do have a problem with smaller print sometimes. Keep up the good work. Kit Rinehart

(DFO: Meanwhile, my eyes are bugging out from reading all the online stuff.)

--Very well done. It gives you more space than the print column to expand your commentary. Now, the acid test will be whether or not our Coeur d'Alene City Council confers a badge of honor by criticizing it openly in a council meeting rather than it one of its regularly scheduled executive sessions.
Bill McCrory

(DFO: I miss outspoken Boy Mayor Steve Judy, too -- not.)

--Great! Now I have yet another provocative Web site to distract me from my work! Congratulations on the "No Holds Barred" blog. I look forward to visiting often. Gordon Crow

(DFO: The good former Idaho state senator checks in from Minnesota)

--I enjoyed reading your blog today. This is quite a project you have embarked upon. Are you accepting bets as to how long you will be able to continue this blog? Edward H. Parker, Jr., MD

(DFO: Gulp. Ed, do you know something I don't know?)

The Bard Makes His On-Line Debut

Anyone who has followed my print columns, Huckleberries and Hot Potatoes, knows there's a mysterious poet in our midst whom I've labeled: ``The Bard of Sherman Avenue.'' The Bard (notice how I skirt a gender reference there?) is a delightful person. One hint about The Bard's identity: S/he ain't me. Now (drum roll, puh-leez) -- The Bard paying tribute to former Gonzaga/Utah star John Stockton, who had his old Zag No. 12 retired Wednesday night at The Kennel:

"He was not tall and was not fast/And many thought he would not last./They did not know his secret plan:/'I think I can, I think I can" -- The Bard of Sherman Avenue ("Stockton").

Hot Potatoes Gets Hot Potato:

Sometimes in my print column, Hot Potatoes, I don't have the room to fully explain what I mean. And that can bite me in the tail. On Wednesday, I ticked off some Vietnam vets with this:

"We're 30 years removed from Vietnam, and thanks to political operatives from both prez camps, boomers are still 'splaining what they did back then. Sheesh. Hot Potatoes doesn't think that old Asian war will go away until the '60s g-g-generation has gone to graveyards every one.'' Good riddance.''

The vets took it as a slam on their service. It was anything but. If there was something noble that came out of the '60s, it was the courage shown by the American soldier to do his duty in an awful situation.

In the short Hot Potato, I was denouncing the generation that accelerated the rot in our country's culture, my generation -- the most pampered, obnoxious, arrogant bunch of half-stoned, free-loving flower children this country has ever known. And I was part of it. I'm not bragging. It's just fact. And my g-g-generation fueled much of the social ills that are threatening to destroy us today. Drugs. Divorce. Violence. Crime. Suicide. You name it. We have an awful legacy. That's why I feel this country will be much better off when we leave the stage, if we still have a country.

And if that explanation isn't good enough ... mea culpa.

PETA-philes Can't Take It:

Seems PETA-philes can dish it out -- when it comes to outrageous public advertisement -- but they can't take it. Now, the animal fascists are on a search-and-destroy mission aboard the Metrorail in Washington, D.C., vandalizing posters paid for by rival Center for Consumer Freedom.

Here's a description of the oh!-fending posters from the Washington Times: The ad has a picture of a lab rat next to a picture of a sick child. It includes a quote from PETA President Ingrid Newkirk: "Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we'd be against it."
The ad also highlights PETA's boycotts of charities such as the March of Dimes and the Pediatric AIDS Foundation because they may use animals in medical research.

Remember that next time PETA demands to be heard as well as seen.

Fasten Your Seatbelts:

For those who have developed a taste for Huckleberries, Hot Potatoes and other basic food groups in North Idaho, I'm taking it to the next level today ... by moving on up to blogging. If you don't know what that means, sound it out: blog, bah-log, Web log. In other words, a blog is a combination Web diary/column/train-of-consciousness thing.

Here's what I hope to accomplish with my blog:

1. Let folks in North Idaho know what's going on behind the scenes in political races and North Idaho governments.
2. Comment on the stories of the day.
3. Bring important Web stories to your attention.
4. Use the blog to test drive new words for my Hot Potatoes columns on Sundays and Wednesdays -- words such as ap-hollow-gize and institution-all-lies, which speak for themselves.

I view life through an offbeat conservative filter but that doesn't mean I'm conservative through and through. I may lean to the right on social issues but I voted for more Democrats than Republicans in Idaho's last legislative elections. In other words, I don't put much stock in either party's politics.

One of my favorite sayings comes from the old Chicago Times: "It's a newspaper's duty to print the news and raise hell." So, fasten your seatbelts. I hope you have as much fun reading this as I'm going to have writing it.

Polls Come and Go But Zogby Soldiers On:

Don't get your shorts in a bunch about that recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll that shows the Dimplecrats' two Johns leading Dubya by double digits. First, a poll this time of year is about as reliable as trying to judge who's going to the World Series based on spring training performance. (OK, OK, the Yanks are. Now, onward.) If you're going to rely on a poll, look no further than Zogby. I've watched Zogby for years. And it runs rings around the rest of the number crunchers. If memory serves me correctly, Zogby predicted on Election Day 2000 that Weird Al Gore was going to win the popular vote -- by a nose, as they say in horse racing. Here's the way Zogby sees things shaping up in the national prez race as we wait for spring.

Repubs vs. Repubs in K-County:

Watch for conservative ex-solon Ron Vieselmeyer to take on volatile county GOP chair Bob Nonini in a bruising primary battle for retiring Rep. Hilde Kellogg's District 5A seat. Nonini's been test-driving the position by subbing for Hilde in Boise lately. But he's far from a lock here. He has a lot of baggage -- not the least of which is his temper. And most know that Hilde would have preferred attorney Freeman Duncan to run for her spot. Meanwhile, there's a third significant pol eyeing a Repub primary race against Nonini. Stay tuned.

Also, Clyde Boatright is aching for a primary rematch against the man who took his state Senate seat, Sen. Kent Bailey. Both solons played key roles in allowing extremely heavy trucks to roll in Idaho. And deserve to be filleted for that brain cramp. I'd prefer a third choice. But you play the cards you're dealt.

Finally, Hayden Councilwoman Jeri DeLange announced her Repub primary bid for state Rep. Jim Clark's District 3A seat Thursday. Quirky Clark, whom I'm told by insiders ``has been very mean-spirited and downright rude'' at the Legislature this year, has decided to seek re-election. He'd flirted with the idea of giving up his seat to run for county commissioner. Clark'll have a tough time. DeLange will have the backing of the chamber of commerce crowd.

Neutral Media? Ahaha:

In case you were wondering what that smell was surrounding the national media's witch hunt re: Dubya's Texas Air National Guard service, here's a comparison with how the national media lapdogs treated Slick Willie Clinton's military service -- or lack thereof. Almost makes ya paranoid.

A Rare Insight into Gibson's `Passion'

Few people can provide better insight into Mel Gibson's controversial movie, ``The Passion of the Christ,'' than Coeur d'Alene native David Dolan. Dolan? He was reared Catholic, as Gibson was, and became an Evangelical after a period of wandering. But that's not all. After a stint with KMBI-FM (the Moody Bible affiliate in Spokane), he moved to Israel in 1980. Two years later, he began his broadcast career in the Middle East as the news director for the Voice of Hope in southern Lebanon. (He talked about that experience in his first book: ``Holy War for the Promised Land.'')

Whenever something's happening in the Middle East, I turn to Dave's commentary for insight. In his Feb. 16 column for WorldNetDaily, he discusses ``the passion of Christ'' from the city where it took place. "As an ex-Catholic evangelical living in the world's only Jewish state," he explains why his Jewish friends are nervous about the movie. And he agrees with some critics of the film that Gibson should ad a disclaimer at the end -- only his disclaimer differs a bit from the one suggested during Gibson's interview with Diane Sawyer for ABC's "Primetime" this week.

Here's Dave's take from his recent column: "It would be wonderful if the photogenic Australian actor/producer (Gibson) took up my friend Mike Evan’s suggestion to add a short “disclaimer” at the end of the movie, pointing out that ”During the Roman occupation, more than 250,000 Jews were crucified by the Romans, but only One rose from the dead.” Such a gesture would also help bolster the scant resurrection material in the film, which is after all the only thing that made Jesus’ odious death different from other crucifixions, and worth crowing about today.

(Speaking of disclaimers, Dave's column contains mild criticism of his Catholic past. So beware. Now, onward.)

Dave's many friends in the Inland Northwest should bookmark his Web site. His link is here.

Polly want a college nominee:

As you know, Gonzaga University can play great men's basketball. But it gets a little squirrelly when it comes to free speech. Remember that hubbub last fall re: a visit by conservative author Dan ``Why the Left Hates America'' Flynn? The PC police and its administrative allies went bananas when they saw the word HATE! And the young Repubs who brought Flynn to campus landed in a heap o' trouble. As a result of that PC brain cramp, Jesuit U finished in the Top 10 of Young Americans for Freedom's 2003 ``Worst Moments in Education.''

Now, Collegiate Network ("The Home of Conservative College Journalism") is seeking nominees for the 2004 Campus Outrage Awards, or "Pollys". The Polly Awards? I'll let Collegiate Network prez T. Kenneth Cribb Jr. explain: "We created the Campus Outrage Awards to expose the excesses of college administrators and professors who misuse their authority to silence dissent and impose their own political agendas on unwilling students."

You can win up to $1,000 for nominating outrageous examples of political correctness on campus. Go to the Web link above for all the details. And ... by the way ... I have dibs on Gonzaga. But there's gotta be something out there just as silly from Washington State, Idaho, Eastern Washington, Spokane Community College or even North Idaho College. Good luck.

PETA-philes strike again:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are at it again -- you know, the Animal Firsters who brought to Spokane "Holocaust on Your Plate" and the impotent Santa billboard. Now, the PETA-philes have targetted Slaughterville, Okla. You got it. They don't like the town's name. It conjures images of animal slaughter. (Well, boo hoo hoo.) But don't take my word for it. In part, here's what PETA said in a letter to Slaughterville administrator Marsha Blair:

"I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, our 800,000 members and supporters, and other compassionate Americans to ask Slaughterville to change its name — which conjures up images of the violent and bloody deaths of terrified chickens, pigs and cows — to Veggieville, a friendly name honoring a heart-healthy and compassionate alternative to animal corpses."

Seems the town's name has nothing to do with butchering Porky, Bugs, Daffy & Co. It was named after James Slaughter, an early 20th century grocer. The PETA-philes are right that the name doesn't conjure pleasant images. But neither does Smelterville in the Silver Valley. The natives like it, so who cares what outsiders think, particularly unreasonable ones like PETA?

All of which brings to mind a billboard message that a reader saw recently: ``There's plenty of room for all God's creatures: right next to the mashed potatoes.''

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