Parting Shots (3/31/04):

I'm beginning to think My Mother didn't raise me right. After all, there I was shooting the breeze with Gov. Dirk Kempthorne at a reception after the NIC health/science building ground-breaking ... when I noticed the cake on his plate. I mean, the guy's governor of the whole state of Idaho. And I'm wondering why he ate the cake and left the frosting and filling. So, I asked if he was watching his weight to keep trim in case a snoozepaper photographer catches him bare-chested again. Remember? Last year, a shooter for The Daily Bee in Sandpoint snapped him coming out of Lake Pend Oreille after a swim. The guv's pretty buff. I don't think Dirk answered my question. He just started inching away. So I followed up with another one of the same vain: Were you targetting the 35 to 54 femme demographic with that skin shot? Mom'd probably have a cow if she knew I talked to the guv that way.

--Never met a politician who didn't enjoy a round of applause. And the North Idaho legislators who witnessed the NIC ground-breaking ceremony were no different. All of them deserved the job-well-dones, too, for supporting the construction bonds to build the $12 million facility. But one. One voted against the 2003 bill, the only North Idaho legislator to do so. I'll announce his name in Monday's Huckleberries. (Hint: Prez Michael Burke announced him last.)

--Chiarpah Matheson, who spoke at the NIC ground-breaking ceremonies for the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe, is the spitting image of his Papa, Dave.

--I identified with Prez Burke's comments about health and science courses: They're the reason I became an English major.


Fan Mail (3/31/04):

The cards & e-mails keep coming. Thanx for helping me grow this blog (and keep reading the other letters on the jump):

I never took the time to thank you for the free advertizing I got from one of your columns in the mid 90's! Your presence in the the paper will be missed but your blog is even better. To refresh your memory, I am the owner of Beagle Heating & my slogan of "Good ol boy quality at a redneck price" caught your eye on I 90 back then! And yes, I am the person with the then controversial license plates in 1991 of "nwrednk"!

Good luck to you,

Your friend, Northwest Redneck (aka Red!)

DFO: Red, keep your eyes open for good blog stuff. And, remember, Huckleberries continues on ... and needs to be fed, too.


Smarter than a legislator,
Testy as an old head waiter,
Unsurpassed as agitator,
We will miss our Common-tater.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

DFO: The Bard wrote three rhymes when I left the Hot Potatoes biz. I was a little embarrassed by this one. But I probably enjoyed it the most. BTW, the guesses to The Bard's identity have stopped. And that's good. We decided you guys would get it someday, and we'd have to 'fess up. So I'm imposing a moratorium for a bit to give The Bard some breathing room. And, yes, Virginia, there really is a Bard. And s/he ain't me.


Hi Dave,

Is it too late for some enlightenment on what the difference was between hot potatoes and huckleberries? I never did figure that one out. Also I'm enjoying your blog, but for some reason the first couple of paragraphs always show up overwritten with the stuff on the left side of the screen making them unreadable. At least that is the case on my six year old computer here at work.

Rick Price

DFO: Nah, it's never too late to learn the distinction between Idaho's two major food groups. Huckleberries involves slices of life, bumpersnickers and funny things that happen to people. Hot Potatoes was suppose to be strictly opinion. But sometimes I strayed in one column or the other. So, I can't blame you for the confusion. As far as that shadow on the blog goes, it's a result of an old server. I get it at my old computer at home, too. You should be able to upgrade easily and free on the Internet (unless you're computer illiterate like I am).


One wonders why John Kerry, or any of his ilk should be distressed by high gasoline prices. This is what true green environmentalists have long pined for, claiming this would lead to less motoring, less gasoline consumption, cleaner air, et cetera, et cetera.

Ah, but there's a catch. They wanted higher gas prices to be driven not by supply and demand, nor by the costs of production and distribution, but instead by higher federal motor fuel taxes, providing more money for high-minded liberals to spend on our behalf. Dang!!

Leonard C. Johnson



I enjoy your writing but your support for "taking" Sanders Beach is out of character for a self imposed conservative who normally supports private property rights.

Don Sausser

DFO: Good point, Don. "Private" Sanders Beach is different for two reasons. CDA residents have been using the beach since the 19th century. And no one can say absolutely, positively that the East Lakeshore homeowners and Hagadone Hospitality own their part of the beach, even though they're paying taxes on it. Why? No one has ever established the high-water mark for the lake. It's possible that those homeowners are trying to squat on public property. Meanwhile, the homeowners can't build within 40 feet of the beach, so they're helpless to keep someone off their portion unless they want to go to the Supreme Court to establish their legal right to the property. They'd be wise to grant an easement to the city and let the city take care of policing and cleanup.

On the Bravery of the Crocus:

This tiny plant must conquer fear
To bloom before the springtime’s here,
For the snows of March that sometimes cloak us
Will frost your pistil if you’re a crocus.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Lunch Specials (3/31/04):

Just got back from the ground-breaking for the new $12 million health and science building at North Idaho College. The local politirati was there -- as was Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (who sends his greetings. Howzat for name dropping?) But 'nuff said. It's time for the Lunch Specials:

1. The 18th version of the Netsky worm may be coming to a computer near you soon. So beware. You can read all about the latest computer virus here.

2. You can find an updated account on the horrific attack against foreign contractors today in Fallujah here.

3. Lefty comedian (his word, not mine) Al Franken debuted along with Air America Radio as the Liberal Empire struck back Wednesday. The Left's answer to Rush, Shawn, Laura, et al, opened on five radio stations. Read all about it here.

4. The residents of Killington, VT, are so fed up with taxes that they want to move to neighboring New Hampshire. Read all about it here.

5. Go ahead and scoff at those virginity pledges that teens are taking and the True Love Waits movement. But they work. Click here.

--Dick Morris sez the media-ocrity were premature in writing Dubya's obituary here.

--Columnist Terence Jeffrey wonders if Catholic bishops will confront J. Flipflop Kerry for his support of human cloning and abortion and opposition to traditional marriage here.

--Alan Bromley argues in the Wall Street Journal that we should leave "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and Howard Stern on the air. Click here.

--Dubya's holding his own in the early going against Flipflop here.

Best of the Northwest (3/31/04):

1. The Idaho Statesman reported this morning that Idaho slipped four spots in the national ranking of how much states support science and technology, from 26th to 30th. Click here.

2. Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey takes a look at how a decision by the loopy 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will affect 14 Death Row inmates in Idaho here.

3. Two teens who burned a cross on a black Arlington (Snohomish County, Wash.) minister's lawn are expected to be charged with felony malicious harassment today. Click here.

4. Although job prospects are improving, Oregon still isn't a great place for teachers looking for work. Click here.

5. The University of Idaho Argonaut likes what it sees in new college prez Timothy White. Click here. And reports on that fine arts hubbub here.

Wednesday Quick Fix Six (3/31/04):

We start again. The insatiable blog needs to be fed. But first a weather report from viewtiful Coeur d'Alene. Cloudy. But the sun is trying to break through (which describes the efforts of local folks trying to get inside the thick skulls of our City Council to preserve Sanders Beach: one of the three great beaches on Coeur d'Alene's North Shore). Onward:

1. Hate to start your day with this one ... but The Drudge Report provides a graphic illustration of the kinds of animals we're dealing with in the Middle East. Islamic extremists burned and mutilated the bodies of four foreign nationals in Fallujah, including one American. Your Middle East upchuck fix is here.

2. Despite the best efforts of opportunistic Richard Clarke and the media-ocrity, the public still pins blame for the current 9-11 controversy on (drum roll, puh-lease) -- Slick Willie. Find your morning polling fix here.

3. Things haven't been going well for Iraqi weightlifter Khadom Sharif Hassan since he used a sledgehammer to help topple that statue of So-Damn Insane a year ago. Now, he's singing the Baghdad Jailhouse Blues. Your Iraq feature fix can be found here.

4. In an editorial, the Washington Times (, which all conservatives should bookmark) wonders when the National Education Association is going to come clean about its political expenditures. Click here.

5. From burglars to murderers, people are confessing their crimes and changing their lives after seeing Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. Your Passion fix is here.

6. Everything you ever wanted to know about the "outsourcing" boogeyman but were afraid to ask is provided by the Village Voice here.

--Tony Blankley of the Washington Times sez J. Flipflop Kerry shares a trait with Thomas Dewey that is potentially fatal: sheer unlikeability. Click here.

--Dick Morris of New York Post On Line argues that the Richard Clarke hubbub helped Dubya here.

--Michelle Malkin takes a closer look at left-wing thuggery here.

--Ruben Navarrette Jr. of the Seattle Times supports Dubya's wildly unpopular immigration proposals here.

Parting Shot (3/30/04):

Dang, I'm trying to write a full-length column re: Sanders Beach for this weekend ... and I keep getting snagged every 3 or 4 inches. I have an overwhelming urge to ... throw in three dots ... and change the subject. Mebbe toss in a word like "viewtiful" or "got-rocks pals" to set the tone. Oh well, I have a coupla more days to whip the thing into shape. And only 10 more inches to go. The chances are 50-50 that I'll make it.

--Some of you have wondered why you get the shadow effect on the lead item when you open my blog (like I do at home). The blogmaster sez you need to update your browser because you're probably using Internet 5.0 or worse. Dunno much about the technicalities here. But it's easy if you're blessed to have a technotweeb as a friend. The upgrade should be free.

--Just when I thought I'd never read a Brand X column from beginning to end, Ric Clarke has forced me to do so with his "where are they now" remembrances. Last weekend's piece on former CDA mayor Jim Fromm was a must-read. One of the most courageous votes I've ever witnessed was Jim's tie-breaking vote in 1985 that blocked the return of hydroplane racing on Lake CDA.

--Izzit just me, or does U.S. Rep. Butch Otter enjoy beating up on women? I'm speaking figuratively here, of course. For the third straight time, Butch will face a femme Demo in the general election. He had no trouble dispatching ex-Moscow city councilwoman Linda Pall and ex-U.S. attorney Betty Richardson. Now, he's matched with Naomi Preston of Boise. The wily Otter'd better enjoy easy pickin's while he can because a projected race against Lt. Gov. Jim Risch for governor will be anything but gentle.

--Congrats to Hudson Hamburgers for winning the Best Burgers category in the Inlander's annual best-of competition. But, what else is new, hunh? Other North Idaho "bests" were Sandi Bloem (elected official), The Wine Cellar (best wine list), Beverly's (best fine dining), San Francisco Sourdough Co. (best sandwich), The Porch (best new restaurant), Dockside (best breakfast), Capone's (place to drink beer), The Iron Horse (place for drinks), Kelly's (best live music/dance club), etc.


Another Farewell to Taters:

Sorry to see the Hot Potatoes column go, but I can appreciate how much work and time it must have consumed each week. At least Huckleberries will still be around. How 'bout the Bard? Love the dude, who ever (s)he is. Dudette?

We communicated last fall about the back woods attitude around here,
and had a good chuckle. I still don't get the attitude and points of view, held by the people from Spokane. They deserve the inferiority complex they bestow on themselves. And that parking garage thing, what's up with that?

I always looked forward to the Letters to the Editor column, with the "West Side" locals up in arms over your opinions. In fact, I'm still amazed over how heated the "discussions" get over the dumbest topics. Like the effectiveness of studded tires, and the cause of the rutted highways. There never seems to be any middle ground around here when it comes to opinions. Very polarized, one way or the other.

I have loved your pot shots, opinions, and points-of-view, and have learned a lot about life in North Idaho in my first year living here.

I've briefly checked out your Blog, and will have to explore and dig deeper, to mine "your nuggets of wisdom", but I must confess, I too, prefer reading a newspaper over a computer screen and web pages.

Keep up the good work, and don't cut 'em any slack!

Rick Casemore
French Gulch / CDA

DFO: Thanx for the kind words. I, too, will miss the return fire from folks set off by Hot Potatoes. Sometimes, they almost sounded as though their heads were going to explode. It doesn't get much better than that (other than their heads actually exploding).

Will Sandi Be Our 'Cable Car Lady'?

(And now another word about Sanders Beach from Steve Badraun.)

It was 1947, in San Francisco, when city officials decided to rip out all of its cable cars and junk the entire system. The oil companies and motor car industry giants wanted them destroyed.

One remarkable woman , Friedel Klussman, stood alone that day to resist their efforts. She recognized the value of cable cars then and in the future for her native San Francisco. The citizens rallied around Friedel and literally told the politicians "you're not going to get rid of our cable car system". This tiny woman was the seed for an uprising that led to a team of ferocious political advocates who collected 50,000 signatures, got the proposal on the ballot and succeeded with 77 percent of the vote to stop the destruction.

Friedel and her group rallied again and again against new threats to junk the cable cars in 1950, 1951, 1954, and 1971. When Friedel Klussmann died in 1986, workers draped the cities cable cars in black for their "cable car lady". Today almost 10 million passengers a year ride the cable cars. It is the worlds only surviving cable car system and the premier symbol of San Francisco.

Our shoreline, our beach assess, and our views and vistas of our lake are the "cable cars" of Coeur d' Alene. Once and for all, we need to make our stand and never again give lose one small piece of these treasures. Always we need to work to build on these symbols rather than giving them away. Is our heritage of Sanders Beach going to vanish because of one developers wishes? Is Sandi Bloem going to be our "cable car lady'?

Steve Badraun

French Upgrade Terror Alert Status:

John Rook of Coeur d'Alene spotted this one out in Cyberspace:

In light of the Madrid bombing, France has raised its terror alert level
from run to hide.

The only two higher levels in France are surrender and collaborate.

Lunch Specials (3/30/04)

The Lunch Specials today feature Middle Eastern cuisine, with a big helping of anti-terrorism on the side:

1. It hasn't been a good day so far for the Bad Guys. In London, British police arrested 8 Pakistanis and seized a half ton of explosives about five miles from Hethrow airport here. Meanwhile, Uzbek police killed two dozen Bad Guys in their hideout here, and Philippine authorities prevented a mid-level attack on the train system here.

2. Authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have reached the end, literally. The final installment of their 12-part "Left Behind" series hit bookstores today. Read all about it here.

3. Dubya mounts a preemptive attack on John Flipflop Kerry's gas policy here.

4. Now, Passion of the Christ is taking the United Kingdom by storm here.

5. The Statue of Liberty is scheduled to reopen this summer for the first time since the 9/11 attacks here.

Best of the Northwest (3/30/04):

The day begins with bad news from Boy-C:

1. Intolerant atheists and the Anti-Christian Liberties Union claim another symbolic victory as a Ten Commandments monument is moved from public property in Boise. Find the Idaho Statesman report here.

2. The soldiers of Idaho's 116th Calvary Brigade are moving their weddings up to ensure they exchange vows before Uncle Sam summons them to Iraq. Click here.

3. Rev. Ken Hutcherson, an African-American pastor from Redmond, Wash., and former Seattle Seahawk linebacker, sez gays are not the nation's new African-Americans here.

4. The Warm Springs tribe is stirring up trouble among Oregon Indian tribes by proposing to build a casino in the Columbia River Gorge, east of Hood River. Click here.

5. The battle between ranchers and wolves -- including the two-legged kind -- continues to rage in southern Idaho. Click here.

Tuesday Quick Fix Six (3/30/04):

I meet with my Holy Man Tuesday mornings, so this froggie's a bit late with his bloggin'. Sorry. Onward:

1. In the "does a falling tree in the forest make a noise if no one's around to hear it dept?" 56 economists say the economy is rebounding. But John Flipflop Kerry and national Demos complain that it isn't. So is it? Judge for yourselves here.

2. The world didn't come to an end when New York City banned smoking in public places, according to Mayor Bloomberg. After a year of smokelessness, biz is booming in New York. Click here.

3. Columnist Dennis Prager of points out that the United States is the only country to define itself as Judeo-Christian. But what does that mean? Click here.

4. Ed Fuelner of Human Events On Line sez this may be a decisive year for the Conservative Revolution here.

5. David Limbaugh sez Demos have a Military Leadership Deficit Disorder that's fueling their witch hunt into Dubya's record as commander in chief here.

6. Christian journalists have their hands full dealing with former star reporter Jack Kelley and his ethical lapses. Click here.

--Mort Kondracke of Roll Call sez voters care more about Dubya's post-9/11 record than his pre-9/11 record here.

--The Constitution Restoration Act puts activist judges on notice here.

--An al Qaida mastermind in the 9/11 attacks sez decisive U.S. response stopped plans to attack the Library tower in Los Angeles and the Sears Tower in Chicago here.

--Be still my beating heart -- a liberal talk-radio network is ready for its debut. Click here.

Parting Shot:

Note to Self -- Was I suppose to call Mayor Sandi Bloem to set up a coffee to discuss the error of my ways re: Sanders Beach? Or was she suppose to call? By the look in her eyes and tone in her voice Friday, it won't be a social visit. But Sanders Beach is worth the grief.

--I've been in the news biz 34 years and finally saw something I'd never seen before: A politician receive a standing ovation ... before he said anything. At the human rights shindig Friday night, U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo received three standing O's, including one when he was introduced. Which is dangerous. A pol gets applauded too much and the next thing you know he thinks he has a mandate to do some goofy thing or another. Then, who can blame Crapo for thinking that? After all, he has no Demo opponent in his run for re-election.

--I noticed Councilman Al Hassell was sitting at a separate table from the rest of the CDA council at the human-rights event. And wondered if that was symbolic. Just Call Me Al travels to the beat of his own drum. Which is good for the community.

--Tony Stewart, the area's numero uno human-rights activist, is right that the annual Kootenai County Task Force event is the only forum where Donkeys and Elephants can break bread for an evening without bashing one another. Tony deserves credit for keeping politics out of the task force activities.

--I met some decent Demos at the shindig who'll probably serve as road-kill in Repub Idaho this fall, including Naomi Preston of Nampa, the woman challenging U.S. Rep. Butch Otter. First impression? Impressive. Can't see Otter losing to any D. But he's not going to have a cake walk with her.


Fan Mail re: Dick Clarke

Hi Dave:

Congrats on your blog site. I just have one question: Who is this Dick Clarke, anyway?

The Dick Clark I remember was known for "American Bandstand", and for his involvement on New Years Eve when they dropped the ball in Times Square.

This Dick Clarke could be on "American Grandstand" for his comments about his involvement on 9/11 when they dropped the ball in the same city.

I think I prefer the original.

John Austin

DFO: Hidey-ho, good neighbor, John; long time no see. You're right about Dick Clarke (notice the final E) being a grandstander. And making a million bucks to tell all to the enraptured -- not embedded -- national media, which are huffin' and puffin' and tryin' to blow Dubya's house down. I don't like the words to Clarke's ever-changin' tune and he's hard to dance to. I've run down several links that tell a different story about this bum than Dan, Roger and Peter'll tell ya. Click here and here.

Courthouse Roundup:

No Demos are running for the four positions that are available this year at the Kootenai County Courthouse (2 commish, prosecutor and sheriff). But there are plenty of D's running elsewhere in North Idaho, particularly in Bonner County. For a complete look at all Idaho courthouse races (courtesy of K-County Clerk Dan English and the Idaho Association of Counties), click here.

Say It Ain't So, Potato:

I've been touched -- more than just in the head -- by the response I've received from readers re: Hot Potatoes. Or the lack thereof for the forseeable future. Here's a sampling of the incoming e-mail (more letters on the jump):

Hi Mr. O,

I have enjoyed many a chuckle reading your irreverent snippets at the northidahoness and whowithalls in our community. I be tuning into your blog for sure.. tho, I get sooo distracted on the Internet, I really prefer print media. Thanks for enlightening me and validating my suspicions about the goings on around here.

Jeanette Dunn
Premier Publishing
(Publisher of the Cuisine de Coeur d'Alene food and entertainment guide to North Idaho)

DFO: Jeanette, thanks for the kind remarks. If anything, the blog gives me an opportunity to reconnect with my community in ways that Hot Potatoes never did. Dunno how this thing's going to evolve. But I wouldn't be surprised to see a Hot Potatoes' reprise of some sort on line.

Hello Dave... can't tell you how happy I was to open the paper this morning. When I read in yesterday's (Sunday's) paper that it was your last column.. I was so depressed! You are clever, funny, intertaining and insightful with your colum and I love it!

I'll miss you on Sunday but I hope you will continue to write on Monday morning... it sets the day/week just right!

Diane Sullivan

DFO: As Bogie said to Bacall in Casablanca, we'll always have Huckleberries. Or was that Paris? Thank you, Diane, for your very nice note.



We were sad to read in this morning's issue of the _S-R_ that it was the last edition of Hot Potatoes. Was the column retired at your request?
Will we be able to read your commentary online at "No Holds Barred?"


Kim and Beth Long

DFO: I really needed to get a life. And the column was holding me back from doing so. I'll miss it. Occasionally. But I wanted to pursue some other things. As far as my commentary goes ... I have just begun to write. Keep watching this spot.



I mourn the passing of Hot Potatoes. It had become my custom upon moving to Minnesota to read the column prior to heading to church on Sunday morning. While I do not think the absence of Hot Potatoes will affect my churchgoing or my spirituality, it will become yet another erstwhile tie to home that goes missing.

See you in the Blog,

Gordon Crow
Ex-Idaho state senator

DFO: Only my mother and sisters call me David. Ee-yew.


Say it ain't so Spud-boss. Who is left to deflate the Horses ah, fools that abound among us? Who is left to invent new words? What will Webster do for new material? What is the world coming too? Who will the idiots blame for their sorry lives? This Tater grieves...

Herb Huseland

DFO: I know how you feel. I'm going through withdrawals without any oafish-als to harangue for Wednesday.


Two things:
1) I'm said to hear Hot Potatoes are finally going to be mashed. Oh well, as is life. And your blogging seems to garner more readers than HP, as long as Huckleberries stays put I'll be content. (My question is, what else do you do for the SR besides columns? DFO: 3 editorials per week, blog and, soon, a full-length column.)

2) I would like to lodge my objection to the possible charging for online access to the Spokesman Review. I'm a poor college student and online is the only way I get my news these days. To charge for it is just plain wrong in my opinion.

Henry Johnston
UI student

DFO: For now, the current version of the on-line paper continues to be free, unless you want our fancy now product that replicates the print version.


Always like Hot Potatoes. Didn't always agree but always read it with pleasure.
Sorry to see it go.

DFO: Huckleberries'll always be there, if you need a fix. As far as agreeing with me goes ... I didn't always agree with me after I read my mashed ramblings the next morning. I guess we all have a little John Kerry in us. (In fact, I don't even agree with what I wrote in the previous sentence.)

Monday Lunch Specials (3/29/04):

Sorry, there are no potato products among today's Lunch Specials:

1. What's this? In the heart of -- pardon me, Herb Caen -- UC-Berserkley, a group of 60 Young Republicans are making their presence know. Which is driving the Loon Left cuh-razy ... while gaining headlines. Click here. And read California Patriot by the Berkeley College Republicans here.

2. Wanna know how a young God-fearing American positions himself to make an impact in an increasingly secular society? Check out Daniel & Friends here.

3. Paul Beston explains how he became a conservative while working with National Public Radio here.

4. A fantasy written by Anglican priest Graham Taylor is being promoted as a Christian version of Harry Potter. Read an interview with Rev. Taylor here.

5. Why do Democrats dismiss the amazing liberation of Iraq? Click here.

Life After Hot Potatoes:

As many of you know now, I bid adieu to Hot Potatoes Sunday. After 10 years and 1,000 columns, I needed a break. And I wanted to do something else. My new role will blend something old (Huckleberries, of course, and three editorials per week) with something new: full-length column and blogging.

This blog is a work in progress. And now has four daily features that I'll continue: the morning Quick Fix Six (which culls the top conservative Web sites to give you the rest of the story behind the morning's headlines); Best of the Northwest (a mid-morning roundup of important Northwest stories); Lunch Specials (Top News of the Day); and Parting Shot (personal thoughts at the end of the day). I also plan to print on-line letters from readers. And publish responses from a Question of the Week.

Please let me know if you have problems opening the site. Or any links. And please forward any ideas that I can use to improve this site.

Best of the Northwest (3/29/04):

Religion is front and center in the Best of the Northwest roundup today:

1. Not only is Steve Massey a personal friend and former Spokesman-Review assistant city editor, but he's the pastor of my church, Hayden Bible. In his bi-weekly column in The Spokesman-Review religion page, he tells it like it is and gets a lot of guff for it. For those of you who don't subscribe to the S-R, you're in for a treat today. Say hello to Steve here.

2. Pastor Jason Martin of Arlington (Snohomish County, Wash.) apparently took the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-6) seriously. When two teen racists burned a cross on his lawn, he didn't rant about discrimination and hate crimes. He forgave them. Click here.

3. The Oregonian Editorial Page supports U.S. Sen Ron Wyden's efforts to extend wilderness protection to Mount Hood and areas in the Columbia Gorge here.

4. Columnist Dan Popkey of The Idaho Statesman looks at the history of a controversial Ten Commandments monument that's scheduled to be moved from a public site today in Boise here.

5. The Statesman takes a look at the winners and the losers from the Idaho Legislature's charter school fight. Hint: the supporters of charter schools were the winners. Click here.

'No Second Helpings'

He's dished out Taters these ten years,
well seasoned with some laughs and tears.
Now a rest is Dave deserving --
oh my gosh, here's our last serving!

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Monday Quick Fix Six (3/29/04):

It's Monday, and the first day in the rest of our lives. Now that Hot Potatoes is no more in print, I'll have to figure out what to do with all my free time. Mebbe walk along the north shore beach during the lunch hour. Mebbe go home at a decent time. Mebbe ... ah, fugeddaboutit ... I'm already figuring out something to do ... full-length columns. Dunno if I can concentrate long enough on one subject to write 18 inches. So, stay tuned. Meanwhile, here' your fix:

1. You know who won at the Oscars. But do you know who won the Christian Film and Television Commission's? Hint: A movie named after a little fish and another based on a triology about wizards, orcs and fairies. You can find all the CFTC's best here.

2. So, what do our good friends, the Pakistanis, really thing of us? Sixty-five percent think Osama bin Laden's a great guy, and 46 percent believe the attacks on Westerners were justified. With allies like this, who needs enemies? Click here. (Meanwhile, you can find out why Osama's bad guys are still trying to kill Pakistani prez Musharraf here.)

3. Dick Lamm, the former Demo guv of Colorado, is being labeled a neo-Nazi and worse by his Sierra Club, ahem, colleagues as he runs for the board of directors of Gang Green. Why? He had the audacity to speak out against our unprecedented immigration. Columnist John Leo opines here.

4. Remember when society looked down on women who stayed home to take care of their kids? Mebbe it still does. But there's a growing back-to-home movement that's reaching women whom the feminists once believed would never again look homeward. They're now featured in a Time mag cover story. Columnist Suzanne Field discusses it here.

5. Not so fast. John Flipflop Kerry has a Vietnam War record, too, one before and after the war. And the Media-ocrity seem content on ignoring what he did when he came back from Vietnam -- other than cursory treatment of his anti-war speech before Congress. Click here.

6. Few Americans know the Middle East like former Kootenai County resident Dave Dolan. He talks about the demise of terrorist Ahmed Yassin here.

--Chicago Sun-Times editorial: Atheists don't have the right to edit out God. Click here.

--Matt C. Abbott sez right-to-lifers should return to their basic message: abortion kills, always. Click here.

--Pope John Paul II: Sunday should be preserve for the Lord, not sports. Click here.

--Neil Cavuto is sick of the 9/11 commissioner, too. Click here.

Parting Shot (3/26/04):

--Been hooked to the plow today (Hot Potatoes, Huckleberries and an Editorial for Monday re: the proposed Coeur d'Alene School District policy re: animals at school.) Didn't have time to do much with the blog other than to edit roundups. Sorry. But the load will lighten somewhat after this weekend. Check Sunday's Hot Potatoes. I'll tell you what it means Monday.

--Now, I'm off to the annual human rights banquet at The Coeur d'Alene Inn. Last time I attended, my old compadre, Bill Wassmuth, was still alive. He and I go back to the beginning of his involvement in the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. About 1984. Or 1985. Memories. After almost 20 years of watching this town, for good and for bad, I have a bushel full of memories. I'll use this blog to tell you about them. I haven't been here nearly as long as the Edinger brothers. But I still have a lot to tell ... like the time ... ah ... don't get me started now.

--Meanwhile, you might want to venture down to the 15th Street entrance to Sanders Beach and check out those signup sheets. If you don't, you can read about them in my Parting Shot in Monday's Huckleberries.


Lunch Specials (3/26/04):

Worked thru the lunch hour, so you'll have to settle for leftovers. But they're tasty:

1. Ralph Reed, the former boyish leader of the Christian Coalition who turned Georgia from Democrat to Republican, is working his magic again. Click here.

2. Liberals scream like stuck pigs when you criticize their ideas or, if they happen to be a certain Most Liberal Senator Running for Prez, their hairdo and/or votes. They'll whine: You're so mean. Well, they don't mind meanspiritness themselves. In fact, in his new digs, National Demo Poohbah Terry McAwful has a doormat with Dubya's face on it. Click here.

3. What does a hard-core Indian activist, like Russell Means, do when he realizes The Left has failed him? He turns to Dubya's party. Click here.

4. Misanthropic Florence King (one of my all-time personal favorites) figured eight years ago that gays would try to rush the altar. She's a hoot. Click here.

5. Dubya's a little ahead of Demo John Kerry in most national polls (although Zogby, the one that counts, has 'em dead even). You can find the impact that Ralph Nader's having on the race here.

Best of the Northwest (3/26/04):

The Best of the Northwest has a sports flavor today:

1. The Idaho Statesman of Boise released its state all-star teams for boys and girls basketball, all divisions, and there's a coupla Lake City High girls and a Priest River girl who made first teams. Click here and follow the appropriate links.

2. Leave it to U.S. Sen. Osama Mama Murray of Washington state to try to shoot down that measure passed by the Senate Thursday to protect the unborn. You can find her latest outrage here.

3. University of Idaho architect students have some innovative ideas for senior centers here.

4. Gov. Dirk Kempthorne signed a law that strengthens penalties against stalkers here.

5. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden wants to nearly double the wilderness area on Mount Hood and in the Columbia River Gorge. Click here.

TGIF Quick Fix Six (3/26/04):

I went for a walk on Sanders Beach last evening and came away convinced that the struggle to preserve those 500 feet for public access is a noble one. If you local folks don't believe me, go walk the beach yourself. And realize what the City Council may be willing to give away. Here's your fix:

1. Believe it or not, G- and PG-rated movies far outpace the raunchy ones in ticket sales. Yet, Planet Hollyweird continues to roll out the skin flicks. The Washington Times tells you all about it here.

2. Funny, ex-counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke would have you believe he's a neutral observer as he blasts the Bush administration for imagined sins. But J. Michael Waller of Insight notes that Clarke has contributed only to Demos over the last 10 years. Click here.

3. Last fall, The Weekly Standard published a lengthy article about the controversy involving the phrase, "under God," in the Pledge of Allegiance. You can read all about the history of the phrase here.

4. Distinguished Fellow William Rusher of the Claremont Institute believes Ralph Nader will create a big splash this fall by dropping out of the prez race and throwing his support to Demo John Kerry. Despite Nader's monstrous ego, sez Rusher, he doesn't want to be known as the man who twice elected Dubya. Click here.

5. Catholic John Jakubczyk looks at the deep symbolism of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ here. Meanwhile, the box office smash officially cleared $300 million Wednesday. Click here. And you can expect distributor Rainbow to re-release Monty Python's blasphemous The Life of Brian this year to mock Gibson's Passion here.

6. has three letters to warn seniors why they should be careful about their "free love": H-I-V. Yep, AIDS is starting to make a mark among Seasoned Citizens. Click here.

--Bruce Bartlett of the National Center for Policy Analysis explains why we tend to view everything foreign as the boogeyman, especially outsourcing, here.

--Mona Charen sez journalists allow politicians to lie here.

--Debra Saunders notes that the Viagramobile was the first to break down at the Daytona 500 here.

--George Will explains why the South Carolina U.S. Senate election matters here.

Parting Shot (3/25/04):

Another work day draws to a close in the Inland Northwest. And that almost means it's time to hang out the closed sign on Blogs R Us. But I have some random thoughts to run by you first:

--We haven't heard the last of the never-ending battle for Sanders Beach. Folks are still signing petitions. And ringleader Peter Luttrop calculates he has around 1,000 now, including 850 turned into the City Council 10 days ago. Sanders Beach lovers are planning to make themselves heard again in a unique way. But more about that later. Meanwhile, I'm wondering if this will be the time that the majority of the council misplays its hand and turns Hagadone's annexation request into a full-scale revolt ... or possible recall situation? Stay tuned.

--Henry Johnston, the Sandpoint High grad who's now attending the University of Idaho, has started an amusing blog that looks and sounds something like No Holds Barred. In other words, I find it entertaining. And check it daily ... to see what's happening at Vandalville from a conservative student's perspective. He blogs some interesting thoughts re: that recent fine-arts riot and the Vandals' drunk bus here.

--I've been told by local candidates recently that they're running from Concealed Businesses of North Idaho. They don't want the secretive group's money or endorsement. It's hard to figure who's part of Concealed Businesses, besides HagaCorp hatchet man John Barlow and Avista's Paul Anderson, who handles the filthy lucre. A lot of original members have told Concealed Biz to take a hike. I'll be watching the finance reports to see which candidates receive money from these birds. As soon as I know, you will.

--You might want to read Hot Potatoes Sunday to learn about a change in my duties that should free me up to write more and longer local commentaries.

Take, Take, Take

And more insight from the former Coeur d'Alene planning commissioner:

Duane (Hagadone) faced us down that evening red faced and fighting mad.

It happened over a planning commission hearing called to make a decision on a hotel "twin" that he wanted to build next to the other on the lake. Some commissioners were concerned that no additional parking in the plan would be a problem for this new tower. The city had passed an ordinance requiring all new projects downtown to either provide parking or pay fees to allow the city to purchase property for more public lots in that area. The city lot was free parking at that time and it was conveniently located nicely for overflow for the present hotel.

Duane had to ability to add one more course onto his parking garage to help with the parking concerns of this new tower. He angrily refused to do this because he wanted racquetball courts for that purpose. He angrily refused to abide by the spirit of the ordinance when all other property owners were required to follow by law. He angrily refused all attempts by the planning commission to put any additional parking or pay any fees to allow lots to be built. He even angrily refused to pave and bring up to city standards his employee parking lot which was located just behind Pioneer Title on First Street.. Perhaps it is still unpaved.

Angrily he told us that all we do is "take, take, take."

Steve Badraun
Seaside, N.J.

Lunch Specials (3/25/04):

If you've never heard of Pastor Rick Warren or his amazing book, The Purpose-Driven Life, I'm about to do you a favor. A story about the humble padre leads the No Holds Barred Lunch Specials today (thanks to Coeur d'Alene reader Bob Clayton for sending it along):

1. When Mel Gibson was looking for an endorsement to launch his controversial movie, The Passion of the Christ, he turned to Rev. Rick Warren, founding pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. Time magazine will tell you all about the padre who is transforming Christian living with his purpose-driven book here.

2. Altogether now, Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dear colored TV, happy birthday to you. Tim Cuprisin of Inside TV & Radio looks at Colored TV at age 50 here.

3. As you might have read in today's And Another Thing on The Spokesman-Review Opinion Page, the Plain English Campaign has set its cross-hairs on annoying cliches. Check out its latest list of no-nos here.

4. The late-night comedians are having a field day at Dubya's expense. But that doesn't mean the jokes aren't funny. Such as this one from Craig Kilborn: "President Bush has appointed a commission to answer one big question about pre-war Iraq: How did our oil get under their sand?" You always get a chuckle, from all sides, when you turn to Daniel Kurtzman's Political Jokes Web site. Click here.

5. Columnist Michelle Malkin rapidly is becoming one of my favorites. In her most recent column, she sez that everything wrong with Planet Hollyweird can be summed up in two words: Courtney Love. Click here.

More Fallout from Hot Potatoes:

I'm still drawing incoming fire from that Hot Potato Wednesday re: the protesting peaceniks at Sandpoint. You can read the Tater that set 'em off on the jump part below.

Sad comments to my mother's enlightened response to your primitive treatment of the Sandpointers. One of the world's biggest enemies is the defective, frightened thinking of fundamentalist conservatives - it exists among so-called Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others, and is the very stuff you spew. You have played well into the neo-con scheme to rule through fear and polarizing - you are fearful of others, fearful of those not like you, and the paralyzing sense of separation and a need to belong. You are textbook. This is what brings 9-11s and the ridiculous chest thumping that follows - a heinous invasion of a sovereign country. And no, most Americans do not support our attack on Iraq (stop watching corporate news). And NO, murdering thousands of innocent people (and continuing to murder them) is in no way justified by the 9-11 events. Apparently you're afraid to read All the Shah's Men. T! oo scary eh? Might just reveal something about your government that you just can't handle?

Lauren McCroskey

DFO: Lezzee ... So-Damn Insane has invaded a coupla countries and tortured and killed off millions of his own people. Hmm. Sounds like he and the bad guys had it comin'. Wonder how Missy here would be spinning this if Bill Clinton had done what Dubya did? You didn't hear any Lefties like her whining when we stuck our noses into the Balkan mess.

The Hot Potato that set them off:

"As I was driving to Naples, Idaho, for a family wedding Saturday. I saw some Saddamites flaunting their anti-war naivete by the side of the road. At Sandpoint. The local fish wrapper said there were a dozen or so. Some musta been at lunch when I drove past. For quirky Sandpoint, it was a poor turnout. Then, the move to undercut Dubya's war against terrorism hasn't reached critical mass, except among Demos and media elitists (pardon the redundancy). According to polls, 57 percent of the country believes in the wisdom of fighting Iraq -- WMDs or no. And a majority of Iraqis say they're better off today than they were a year ago. But you couldn't tell that to Sandpoint's small collection of peaceniks. Who slept better at night because Dubya's there to make sure the bad guys aren't."

Best of the Northwest (3/25/04):

In the Northwest roundup today:

1. U.S. Sen. Larry Craig defends himself against a Statesman-Review opinion questioning his membership on the National Rifle Association board here.

2. After deciding to issue licenses to gay couples, the Multnomah County (Portland) Board of Commissioners has begun hearings to talk about its action. Confusing? You bet. Read all about it here.

3. Susan Neilsen of Newhouse News Service blames the Girl Scouts for the nation's current struggle with obesity. Remember that when your co-worker sez her daughter's Girl Scout cookies have arrived. Click here.

Thursday Quick Fix Six (3/25/04):

The sun's shining this morning in The City by the Lake -- and sometimes on the take -- and it's time to tell the rest of the story on several fronts (make sure you read the scintillating columns offered on the jump):

1. If you're tired of the dire warnings from the media elite about the assassination of Palestinian butcherer Ahmed Yassin, FrontPageMag provides you with talking points re: how much better off we are without him here. (And if you want to see how Yassinites use naive Palestinian youngsters to do their dirty suicide work, click here.)

2. If you've been confronted like I have with naive peaceniks who believe So-Damn Insane was harmless after the first gulf war, you should read how he brutalized the Shiites living in southern Iraq here.

3. Jennifer Harper of the Washington Times reports that good parents provide long-term health benefits to their children here.

4. David Horowitz of FrontPageMag points the finger at the individual who fiddled while terrorists attacked and prepared to launch 9-11: Bill Clinton. Horowitz reminds us how the Left compromised America's security prior to 9-11 here.

5. Despite the open hostility by media elitists against the traditional marriage amendment, you'd be wrong to count the amendment out yet. We're a nation that believes in the rule of law -- a principle being flaunted by the public oaf-ishals in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and New York who've ignored the law to issue marriage licenses to gays. Read about the struggle here.

6. Don't look now, but the Massachusetts Supreme Court, which conjured a right to gay marriage, now sez that it's not incest for a stepfather to have sex with a stepchild. And it has ordered the Legislature to fix the law. Slippery slope? We're hurtling down it. Click here.

--Marvin Olasky sez the Taiwanese elections trump hanging chads and anything else the 2000 election had to offer here.

--Rebecca Hagelin of tells how she's smitten by talkmeister Sean Hannity here.

--Kathleen Parker warns conservative not to be too quick to embrace actor Mel Gibson here.

--Gary Aldrich tells how Richard Clarke's tell-all book about the Bush administration got far different treatment from the media than his tell-all book about the Clinton administration here.

Parting Shot (3/24/04):

I'm amused that the Coeur d'Alene Press is beating up Dick Panabaker and the rest of the county commissioners over a planned $60,000 wage and benefits study. The Commish 3 shelved the idea. But a Press idiotorialist still used the occasion to blast them about almost wasting money on an out-of-state firm -- when county employees are underpaid. All of this hubbub is a result of Panabaker's refusal to be a dupe when Hagadone Hospitality knucklebreaker John Barlow begged two years ago -- almost literally -- for $50,000 in surplus public cash to help fund Jobs Plus. (Read all about it here.) The Press/Concealed Biz/Hagadone Hospitality complex has its cross-hairs on Panabaker this spring. Remember that when you read its slanted news stories and idiotorials about him. You've been warned.

--Don't look now, but Nez Perce County commissioners are putting a local-option sales tax measure on the ballot to pay for a new jail ... and provide property tax relief. Wonder where they got that idea?

A Protester Protests:

And here's another protest against the Hot Potatoes' column, from one of the Sandpoint peace protesters:

Dear Mr. Oliveria;

As one of those "Saddamites" you disparaged in your column of Mar. 24th, & as a 27 month Veteran of the Vietnam War (with the 173rd Airborne Brigade) I feel personally offended by your calling us "naive" & w/ a poor turnout. The "event", a simple silent protest on the courthouse steps was not advertised, being only spontaneously "planned" the night before by a few members of the local Quaker Church in order to voice their displeasure with actions being done in their name to a regime (despicable tho' it may have been) which clearly, as current events now prove, did not pose a "clear & immenient danger" to our Country. The Protest's "organizer", an elderly Quaker who served with distinction flying bombers in WWII, was forced to leave early due to ill health, I myself, wearing my old military uniform (w/ Purple Heart) was forced to take frequent breaks due to ill health also. We were joined by passers-by who included at least 2 other Military Veterans besides schoolkids (God Bless 'em!). At one time app. 20 citizens stopped by to spend a few moments standing with us in order to show their support. Its with great sadness I read hateful, hurtful comments like yours. You seem proud that 57% of the public support this war (as opposed to 80% just 1 year ago) yet due to gov't propoganda it's no wonder since, despite all intelligence otherwise, that same majority thinks Saddam was somehow behind 9-1-1. Sandpoint's small collection of Peaceniks? Thank God for em, & their numbers are growing daily! Your'e right though about only one thing in your thankfully brief rant, concerning the 568 dead (so far) "The world was not worthy of them."

Joe DeForest
Cmdr./ D.A.V. Chap. # 15

DFO: I disagree with Joe on this issue. But I appreciate his previous service to his country.

Iraq: One Year Later:

Since national media elites aren't likely to provide you with ongoing reports re: progress on the ground in Iraq, I'm giving you a one-stop shopping spot. Here's a bevy of stories and links culled from that you can use to thwart the next-door peacenik who's whining about WMDs and the lack of progress in Iraq:

--Research Fellow James Phillips of The Heritage Foundation looks at "Iraq: One Year Later" here.

--You want to hear about progress in Iraq? The Digital Freedom Network tells you all about it and more here.

--Believe it or not, the economy of Iraq is booming, now that the corrupt U.N. Food for Oil program is no more. The Foundation for the National Defense of Democracies tells you about it here.

--The Ashbrook Center discusses the three great accomplishments of the Iraqi war: the capture of Saddam Hussein, the writing of the country's new constitution, and the booming economy. Click here.

--And, for goodness sake, bookmark -- DFO

Hot Potatoes Sets Off Another One:

Here's another response to today's Hot Potatoes:


Like heroes who run into burning buildings or jump into freezing water to save others, our soldiers in Iraq risk their lives everyday with very little in it for them. All the spin in the world can't change the fact that we rushed into war.
It may have been inevitable that we would have to go to war in IRaq. But Bush's impatience was for two reasons. The upcomping hot summer weather and the 04 election year.
We could have continued to contain Saddam, continue inspections for many months, and let time be our ally. There could have been a coup attempt, Saddam could have gotten cancer, if something

really was discovered, , the entre international community would quickly get behind us. Too bad politics set the timetable for war.
Showcasing numbers of dead and wounded, that are of course exponentially higher if you include Iraqi casualties, is a hollow gesture unless you yourself are willing to be one ot them. You and I get to wake up every morning and be with our families and enjoy every minute of the day. Would you be willing to have it all end this minute for the mess in Iraq? Very few of those on the sidelines cheerleading Bush and the war would themselves be willing to give their life. We are all guilty of having others do the dirty work for us.
one sidenote- a question that has been bugging me from day one- how come there has been absolutley no reporting of the Iraqi dead? Are somehow their lives not as precious? Are they so used to as a society having fathers and uncles just disappear that no onle really cares? Certainly the Pentagon does very detailed battlefield assesments and knows pretty much the number. I think it's and indictment of the whole news biz that no one have ever persisted to find out. Don't you think if the public knew that we killed 10 maybe 20 thousand Iraqis, many of whom were forced into the fight by saddam, that the whole debate about how much good we did for the iraqi people would be somewhat diffferent?
If they took two overweight, middle aged, woefully out of shape men into the military, I'm sure we would both be glad to grab a rifle and go after Osama and the Taliban. I'm not so sure many of us would want to travel the roads in Iraq. That's why our soldiers are so heroic. I would have to think twice about jumping into the lake or running into a burning building. Thank god for soldiers who don't hesitate rescuing others, the only question is did we break the first law of rescuers, dont' become a victim yourself?

Jim Spurr

DFO: Lezzee, the war killed 10,000 to 20,000 Iraqis, using Jim's guesstimates. And how about the half million skeletons that we found in Iraqi graves? I'm so tired of the anti-war crowd dripping crocodile tears for civilian war casualties and not saying a word about the 25 million who now taste freedom. A new report sez Saddam tortured and/or murdered someone in 47 percent of the Shiite families in southern Iraq. WMDs? Saddam was a WMD.

Anti-War Reader Demands Ap-hollow-gy:

(Jeri McCroskey of Harrison demanded an ap-hollow-gy after reading my criticism of protesting Sandpoint peaceniks in Hot Potatoes today. I jumped her comments because they're fairly long. But they're worth reading. And I have a brief statement at the end.)


I read your column regularly. Sometimes I enjoy it; Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I agree (Sanders beach v/The Duane). Sometimes I disagree.

But today, I have to ask, "What were you thinking (or not) when you referred to the Sandpointers carrying peace signs as "Saddamites."

You had to know exactly what you were doing with your play on words and sound. It's no coincidence on your part that "Saddamites" is pronounced the same way "Sodomites." (That is unless you are Bush I who didn't know any better.) You were not funny; you were crude to tack the label, associated with sex with animals, on people with whom you, in your wisdom, just happen not to agree.

As a patriot, I would think you would commend rather than mock, people who choose to exercise their right of free speech and assembly to become involved and express their opinion. This is what I

have always believed we were about as a country. After all, this nation was founded on disagreement. Otherwise we might be singing "God Save the Queen" before the umpire shouts, "Play Ball."

You have a right to your opinion which I respect, even though this is hard sometimes. But I have to tell you that I don't feel safer a year after the Bushites attacked the Iraqi people over non existent WMDs. Saddam by that time was a toothless tiger, depleted by Gulf I, his war with Iran and sanctions. His rag tag army, made up largely of forced conscripts with out dated weapons, with no air force, no navy fled before the best outfitted military in the world. Given just a little longer he and his government would have collapsed, from rot within. I'm not making this up: He actually was occupied with writing some idiotic romance novel and making a movie based on it and listening to lies from his frightened, self-serving underlings about his power and capabilities. But without an invasion the neo cons would not have gotten "boots on ground" to control all that oil and the Iraqi people would have f! igured out their own government and controlled all that oil themselves.. And if war had not happened, nearly 600 of our best would not have died; nor over 3000 men and women would have been physically wounded and an unknown number scarred emotionally by the experience. And what about the other collateral damage--the wives, mothers, fathers, children whose lives have been changed forever by the administration's rush to bomb a people on the other side of the world who had never done us any harm and lacked the capability to do so? What about the un named and uncounted Iraqi civilians, including children who have been killed and horribly injured? The cluster bombs and the depleted Uranium? The cost in all human lives and the cost in money and resources is criminal. Meanwhile, the real war on terrorism was shoved to the back burner and, as a result, Iraq has become a magnate for the disgruntled and terroris! m has been scattered across the body of the world like cancer after a bungled operation. No. I do not feel safer with Dubya (there to make sure the bad guys aren't ." Why? Because he and his handlers aren't sure where the bad guys are; they could be anywhere. More than ever we are dealing with an idea that physical force is unlikely to stop. It's hard to bomb an idea , even an unworthy idea, that some people are willing to die for.

I would suggest for reading a book that hasn't received a lot of attention. ALL THE SHAHS MEN which really goes to the roots of the problems in the middle east. It's about how the CIA and Kermit Roosevelt overthrew Mossedgh, the elected Pri minister of Iran, a great admirer of the United States and Democracy. His sin? He nationalized Iranian oil which had been plundered by the British. The excuse? The Russians were coming. Everybody forgot that the Iranians hated the Russians and distrusted them as much as they distrusted and disliked the British.

Jeri McCroskey

If you are still with me, thanks for reading. And I think you owe those folks at Sandpoint an apology.

DFO: There are two types of people in this country: Those who live in a pre-9/11 fantasy world and still don't believe bad guys don't fly planes into skyscrapers and bomb trains. And those who have faced reality and believe that we're fighting an insidious enemy who thrives on appeasement. I prefer to live in the real world.

Lunch Specials (3/24/04):

Before we offer today's lunch specials, please join NHB in asking a blessing: God is great, God is good, thank you, God, for our food. Onward:

1. NHB dedicates the preceding prayer to intolerant atheist Michael Newdow of California, who appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court today to argue that the words "under God" should be banned from the Pledge of Allegiance. You can find the Reuters story here.

2. Average gas prices reached a record high of $1.74 per gallon or regular, or 2 cents more than the quick stop at Appleway and Best in Coeur d'Alene is charging. Click here.

3. You should get to know the names of courageous individuals, such as Libyan patriot Fathi Eljahmi, who risk all to champion liberty and the rule of law. Click here.

Question: Dogs Or No Dogs?

In a Direct Mailing, No Holds Barred asked readers the following Question of the Week: Should the Coeur d'Alene School Board ban counselors and teachers from taking dogs to school? Here's a sampling of responses (be sure to read the e-mails in the jump portion). Please let NHB know if you'd like to be added to the Direct Mail list for questions. You won't receive spam. Honest. Onward:

No Way

The school children of Idaho do not need another distraction in their schedule, not only do they need to take the pets out of the school and classrooms, they need to take the computers as well. Most households have a computer that kids can use and those that don't can use one at the local library; most households also have pets, those that don't can always enjoy one at a friend or relative's home, not at school. The kids need to learn to use their pencils and erasers, write a proper sentence and spell correctly. Schools are no place for any pets, dogs, cats, teacher's pets or otherwise, leave them at home.

Angie Hohman
Post Falls

No problemo

There is already way too many rules and regulations - don't smoke here, don't eat this or that food, slow down, speed up, keep off the beach: private property, wear helmets, no dogs allowed, shirts and shoes required . . . . . . . I say let the animals stay . . . what's a little dog pooh on your shoe . . .

Tina Piaskowski

If Rules Are Followed

The most important thing is the safety of the children. The district's policy proposal seems to cover that very well. If it's followed as written there shouldn't be any problems and the children can enjoy the animals. If it's not followed, then the person responsible should be held accountable and the appropriate action taken.

Terry Newcomb



Why teach our kids anything good in school? Can't mention God! or nothing to do with religion, Can't punish them, like when I went! A good old fashion hack paddle may do a few of these kids good! Sure I don't have to go on and list everything the Schools don't want in them, anymore! Why not take away the chance for kids to learn about pets, maybe how too treat them right, Heck it more important to raise a generations of disrespectful drug addicts, with no morals. Sure would hate for my kid to come home and tell me about something, good, and positive, something that she may have enjoyed learning about for a change! I know on the off chance that it may irritate another student would just be a bummer, Heck lets punish the rest of them and ban anything good and wholesome from our Schools.

Missi Gregorius
Post Falls


No Harm

The school district seems to have shot first and asked questions later. The matter of dog dropping is trivial. As was stated, the children and many teachers enjoy the opportunity to bring their animals to school. The issue is who gets to clean up the dog mess. The maintenance staff should have voiced their concern to the school principal; rather than put on battle gear. Curbing one's dog is normal in many areas of the U.S. If an animal is appropriate to be on school grounds, the owner should be responsible for the results...simple as that. Then, everyone wins, kids like the animals, teachers like their animals not dumping in their neighbors yard, and the maintenance staff gets to laugh when the owners pooper scooper.

George C. Rekow
Post Falls


Good Learning Tool

I think they are a great addition and should be allowed to continue. Pets are a great learning tool for all ages. If there is an allergy problem involved that should be taken into consideration and the child moved to another class if room permits. It sounds like every precaution is being taken to prevent any problems though.

Gayle White
Post Falls


Bring on the Animals





Best of the Northwest (3/24/04):

Here's a short roundup of good Northwest stories today:

1. The European Union has slapped a $613 million fine on Microsoft and ordered the Redmond, Wash., company to change the way it does biz in Europe here.

2. The Seattle Times reports that Religious Left ministers from across Washington are supporting gay marriage. So what else is new? Click here.

3. In an editorial, The Seattle Times tells Gov. Gary Locke not to veto the state's new qualifying primary election here.

4. Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey takes a look at the 35 Repub primaries scheduled this spring around the state here.

5. Starting this summer in Idaho, grandparents and other relatives who step in to raise children cast off by slacker parents will have the same parental rights as the parents. Find the rest of the story here.

Hump Day Quick Fix Six (3/24/04):

Another day of blogging in the Inland Northwest -- and one day closer to some changes in my routine. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, here's your morning fix (with a bonus section of columns on the addendum):

1. As he runs around promoting his book, former counterterrorism official Richard Clarke insists that So-Damn Insane had no connection to al-Qaida. But he saw that connection clearly -- or at least he thought he did -- in 1999 while he was supping at Slick Willie's table. Click here.

2. The National Pork, er, Park Service wants to cut hours and service to balance its books, but it doesn't mind spending $100 million of its budget on junkets to Japan, China and other exotic places. The Washington Times tells you all about it here.

3. When did John Kerry resign from the radical Vietnam Veterans Against the War? And did he take part in a strategy session that plotted the assassination of seven U.S. senators? FBI records indicate he was at the Kansas City meeting. Kerry sez he wasn't. Judge for yourselves here.

4. No Holds Barred doesn't have to tell you that France isn't to be trusted. But Phil Brennan of reviews a book to reiterate the point here.

5. New York Post On Line columnist Dick Morris sez Dubya's ads are working against John Kerry and sees a possible blowout in the making. Click here.

6. Contrary to what you've heard, the U.S. is winning the piece via a massive rebuild of Iraq. Read all about it here.

--Charles Colson looks at our weird ideas about heaven here.

--Brent Bozell takes a look at insufferable artist Tim Robbins of Planet Hollyweird here.

--Debra Saunders looks at who's to blame for 9-11 here.

--Linda Chavez of opines on the death of "spiritual leader" Sheik Ahmed Yassin here.

'Road Map to Peace'

Yassin was old and deaf and blind.
They said he was the deadly kind.
So in self-defense strategic
they blew up a quadriplegic.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Sandi's Shining Moment?

There is one person who can make history with a Sanders Beach solution for generations to come. It is our Mayor, Sandi Bloem.

Sandi's personal friendship with Duane Hagadone gives her a unique understanding of why Duane resists this contribution to our community. She knows the value of Sanders Beach having lived near that beach during her youth. She realizes that her entire legacy as mayor may be judged by this tipping point. The question now is will Sandi Bloem put the citizens of Coeur d' Alene in front of all of her thoughts and actions when making this choice.

Duane Hagadone played a trick on us. He has known for years how important that little sliver of Sanders Beach means to the public.
He ignored Coeur d' Alene and sold the rights to others for $1, effectively locking the public out of the beach forever. It will be very tough for Duane to be convinced that his decision has caused great damage and needs to be repaired. Sandi Bloem is the right person at the right time for this very important task. We are counting on her.

Steve Badraun
Former Coeur d'Alene planner

DFO: I wished I shared Steve's guarded optimism.

Because You Asked:

Who can blame local Realtor Tom Torgerson for believing that Ron Edinger and his brothers are Coeur d'Alene natives? After all, the threesome has lived in Coeur d'Alene for almost 49 years, arriving here from Los Angeles in 1955, a few days after Ron and his twin, Dick, graduated from high school. Seems Papa Edinger was tired of the smog and traffic in the city of the angels -- even back then -- and decided to move nearer relatives in the Coeur d'Alene area. The boys were given the opportunity to return to southern California and live with relatives. But they stayed and became civic and softball fixtures. (And you thought the Edingers were running the welcome wagon when Lewis & Clark first arrived in the Inland Northwest?)

Republicans All?

In Kootenai County, the Repub battle goes beyond county courthouse and legislative races. I've had some fun looking at the names running for precinct committeeman posts. Some, like Dan Gookin who's running against Sharon Culbreath in Precinct 54, are Libertarians coming in from the cold. Here's the names and precinct races that caught my eye:

Precinct 15: Fred Gerrard (who lost the May 2000 primary to Kris Ellis) v. Mary Lou Piazza (County Commish wannabe Rich's wife).

Precinct 27: Rob Turner v. Thomas R. Macy (ex-Libertarian who fought the local-option sales tax).

Precinct 32: Donald (Son of Term Limits) Morgan Jr. v. Pamela Wallace.

Precint 33: Skip Hissong (whose wife Jodie is involved with local Demos) v. Tami Martinez (a Hispanic surname on a Repub ballot in North Idaho? Will wonders never cease?)

Precinct 57: Joy L. Seward v. Lee Shellman (a blast from the past).

Prrecinct 60: Bobby J. Robinson v. Chris Copstead (the election losing streak has to end someday).

Precinct 66: Mark D. Compton v. Ron Rankin (The Ronfather strikes back?)

Fan Mail Roundup (3/23/04):

The roundup today begins with a gracious letter from a Lands Council board member responding to Monday's Huckleberries:

Dear Mr. Oliveria,

Many times I enjoy reading your columns. Your use of fractured syllabication can be amusing. Often times you strike a chord of common sense. I understand that you have an editorial role and must comment on local "color" and out of the ordinary events. Sometimes, your bias is all too obvious.

As a board member of The Lands Council, I would like to invite you to visit with us or our Executive Director at anytime at your convenience. I would like you to meet the hard working, community minded, caring individuals that give their time and money to make our shared watershed a better place. We see nothing unusual or particularly humorous in caring for the natural systems which supports not only human life but all life. But, we don't lack a sense of humor.

Being an advocate for the environment is not easy, and requires a positive attitude and creative ideas. There are many built in conflicts within our economic and political systems. Those who profit from irresponsible behavior have a lot more money than we have to influence public perception, and politicians. Mr. Attemann's clever and amusing, attention-getting behavior on behalf of the caribou is just one example of what it takes to bring certain issues to the public's attention.

I appreciate you mentioning the incident in your column, but may I suggest that you could have investigated and reported a little bit more about the plight of the caribou. You could also have editorialized about the decisions that we face as a community regarding what we keep and what we throw away. You might also have mused about the place that freedom of public assembly has in our community. Most of all, I respectfully ask that you not to be so predisposed toward The Land's Council. We are not perfect. We are learning. We are working for you and your children and would appreciate a little help now and then.

Jim (Holly) Hollingsworth

DFO: I was turned off by the Lands Council a few years back when it decided to oppose all commercial cuts on the national forests. But that doesn't mean the organization is always wrong, or I'm always right. I'm sure there are points of agreement. I, for example, was foursquare behind the environmentalist attempt to stop construction of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe depot.

Re: Hagadone Annexation Request


Doesn't the name "Idaho" come from I Do As Hagadone Orders?

Gardner Bailey
Spokane, WA

DFO: I thought it was: I Do Anything Hagadone Orders.

Re: Thomas Sowell column Sunday

Some people just can't read. Thomas Sowell was drawing a comparison between using water for domestic needs by a growing urban population vs. subsidizing the cost of water used for growing cotton that could be grown in the southeastern U.S. without taxpayer-subsidized irrigation water. He did not complain about the cost of the water he drinks or otherwise consumes personally.

If Columbia Basin farmers had to pay the development and distribution costs of the water they use to grow crops, that region would still be growing only sage brush and jackrabbits. And I'm not complaining about it, just stating an economic truth.

Leonard Johnson

DFO: Yippee-yi-oh, my blog's first battle of the e-mails.

Lunch Specials (3/23/04):

The lunch special today includes a giant cake celebrating the 547th birthday of the first book ever printed, the Gutenburg Bible. (Okay, it's a day late, but No Holds Barred readers are never a dollar short.) The rest of today's specials:

1. Shawn Macomber of FrontPageMag spotlights Demos who are outraged that Repubs are trying to pass a fairly harmless resolution praising our troops for a job well done and the Iraqis for passing a democratic constitution here.

2. According to the Seattle Times, ex-WSU football coach Mike Price has followed through on his threat and sued Alabama President Robert Witt here.

3. Has it really been 15 years since the Exxon Valdez spilled 40,000 tons of crude oil into the Prince William Sound? Seattle Times guest columnist Marybeth Holleman looks at the legacy of the Exxon spill here.

4 The Passion of the Christ was back in first place on movie receipts Sunday after being knocked out of the top spot by the Dawn of the Dead on Friday and Saturday. Click here.

5 Mark Emmert, was introduced by the Board of Regents Monday as the U-Dub's 30th prez. See what the Dawgs are up to here.

6 Don't look now but Idaho State University is considering a move to University Place to expand curriculum offerings and raise its profile in Boise. If that sounds familiar, it is. University of Idaho is now floundering financially because it was too aggressive with its plans to expand into Boise by building University Place. Click here for the Idaho Statesman story.

Tuesday Quick Fix Six (3/23/04):

Sorry, I'm late this morning and didn't sign off properly with a "Parting Shot" last night. The Gremlins that exist out there in the blogosphere put the clamps on me late Monday afternoon. But I'm back on line, so it's time for your morning quick fix:

1. Columnist Cal Thomas points out why Americans should be skeptical of the disclosures pouring forth from former anti-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke. Find out about Clarke's red flags here.

2. Phyllis Schafly, who easily represents as many of this country's women as left-wing NOW, looks at the hubbub created in Ohio by a science curriculum adopted by the Board of Education that invites students to question the theory of evolution. Click here.

3. Washington Times Editor Wesley Pruden bids goodbye and good riddance to Sheik Ahmed Yassen, the founder of the terrorist Hamas organization who was blown to kingdom come this week by the Israelis. Click here. And for Barry Rubin's (Jerusalem Post) take on the assassination, click here.

4. In Atlanta, dozens of black ministers protested Monday against gay-marriage activists equating their cause to the civil rights movement. Click here. Meanwhile, you can find the latest development on changes in a proposed constitutional amendement to protect traditional marriage here.

5. Columnists Bill Murchison and Travis K. McShirley focus on the effort to ban the language "under God" from the pledge of Allegiance here and here.

6. Don't look now, but there appears to be a historic breakthrough in resolving the civil war that has cost 2 million lives in Sudan. And Evangelical Christians have been at the forefront of the fight to stop the killing. Mebbe that's why media elitists have ignored the U.S.-brokered treaty. Click here.

Fan Mail Roundup (3/22/04)

We begin today's roundup of No Holds Barred e-mail with Herb Huseland (remember to read on by clicking below):

Two days from now, I turn 66. This the official age of curmudgeonhood. At this point, I recieve the right, nay, the obligation to spray unsolicited opinions about, like I was watering the garden.

One that immediately comes to mind, is the outrage I feel, when a nationally syndicated journalist shows his/her butt in public. Today, to the right of the Hot Potatoes Column, of local infamy, is such an editorial, written by Thomas Sowell. Apparently an Eastern Liberal, living in the belief that food is produced on the shelf of a grocer.

In this op-piece, he bemoans that farmers get irrigation water cheaper that he does in his high rise, ivory tower, big city apartment. Boo hoo!

This idiot probably doesn't know or care about pioneered water rights. Rights obtained the hard stealing them from the Indians. The principal of first user, first right doesn't show up in his water bill. He seems to think that if users were to be charged the same, the water shortages would go away. (supply & demand)

Maybe, but more likely, he would then write another bothersome editorial about the outrage of a can of beans costing $14.95, and when will THIS end.


DFO: I got twisted around with my comment Monday re: Sowell. He's a respected economist who opines for several conservative Web sites. For some reason, I mixed him up with New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, who, indeed, is an Eastern liberal. Mea culpa.

Re: Income taxes

Enough already. - I am getting tired of all these Bush bashers claiming that the tax cut was for the rich. AND I have not seen an article in the Spokesman explaining this. -- All that you have to do is look at your income tax booklet, and check the tables for the year 2001 with the years 2002 and 2003. -- If you use the same amount for each of those years, MOST will find that you paid $600 less in 2002 and 2003 than you did in 2001. Just try it, I am sure that it will not hurt you.
Bill McFadden
Coeur d'Alene

DFO: As far as my household goes, Bill, you hit the nail on the head with that $600 figure. And I'm not all that rich.

Re: Hagadone request

Well, nuts! I went away on business for a couple of weeks and missed the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting that included the Mayor and Council tap dancing en masse to Team Hagadone's music. Erica Curless gets a huge gold star for her story reporting the dance troup's rationalizations. I hope the S-R's editors will encourage her to keep digging.
Bill McCrory
Coeur d'Alene

DFO: I'll pass the Gold Star along to Erica. The Coeur d'Alene Press apparently overlooked the story.

Re: Sanders Beach

Gee, DF, I wonder which party supports Mr Hagadone's projects? Just think, privatizing that 500 foot stretch of beach could actually bring another "high paying" job or two to Cd'A. In fact, he could probably find an employee through the "keep no foreign worker out, particularly if that worker will work for less and be subjected to deportation at the employer's whim," program being proposed by the same party. Actually it is disheartening to see Mr. Hagadone once again run roughshod over the citizens. Stringent building rules for us, exemptions for him. If he is allowed to sell those beachfront lots for the $1 price he has offered. I will be delighted to meet with the Assessor to make sure this "market value," is considered when I appeal my assessed valuation.David B. Larsen

DFO: I'd give Hagadone Hospitality a fiver for the beach -- a buck for every 100 feet.

Re: Sanders Beach

In reading all the "fan mail" it seems there are some people not understanding the difference between the part of Sanders included in the agreement with the State and the area many people think of when they hear Sanders Beach. They should understand the current flap has nothing to do with the beach owned by homeowners. I have much more sympathy for them. If the public wants their property, they should buy it. The portion under discussion re: annexation is fair game in exchange for benefits to the developer.
Ace Jones

DFO: Ace, good point. The portion of Sanders Beach in dispute here is the 500 feet that begins at the Jewett House property and extends east -- not the beach fronted by those godawful seawalls along East Lakeshore Drive.

Re: U.S. Patriot Act

There has been much bloviating in print recently about threats to civil rights posed by the USA Patriot Act. It could appear, to the uninformed, that the matter has progressed beyond mere threats to actuality, as witness the words of the head of the Idaho Civil Liberties Union, to wit: ". . . it (Idaho SJM 111) sends a signal that not all Idaho legislators are unconcerned by the abuses (my emphasis) of the Patriot Act."

But I have yet to read or hear of a single instance of an actual, documented abuse regarding which an appeal to the courts for redress has been filed. Indeed, Senator Feingold's (Dem., Calif.) request to the ACLU for documentation to back up claims of civil rights abuses resulting from the supposedly unconstitutional provisions of the Patriot Act yielded silence.

It may well be that certain provisions of this Act truly do offer opportunities for civil rights abuses, but the customary path of action for citizens who believe they have suffered harm is to appeal to the courts for redress. Have any such appeals been filed? Might some enterprising newspaper staff writer be assigned to do a bit of research on this most compelling issue of civil rights abuse? I firmly believe the American people deserve to know how badly and in what ways their rights actually are being abused, in lieu of fear-mongering speculations.
Leonard C. Johnson

DFO: Leonard, nicely argued.


A lake’s more lovely than before
when condos tower on the shore,
when traffic and a big marina
make the whole place more serene-a.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Lunch Specials (3/22/04):

Today's Lunch Specials feature cuisine from the Northwest:

1. Idaho Statesman Columnist Dan Popkey skied with Demo frontrunner John Kerry on Mount Baldy. When Kerry wasn't crashing into a Secret Service man and cussing him out, Popkey sez, he was a heckuva skier/athlete. Click here.

2. Idaho Demos made much ado about the numbers that were turning out for local caucuses for the presidential election. Yet, for the first time, they didn't field a U.S. Senate wannabe, and they're contesting only 45 of 105 legislative races. Read all about it from The Idaho Statesman here.

3. That little flap at Lake City High between Goths and Preppies made headlines locally. But it can't touch the problems that occur in the Kent School District, where school security has handcuffed students 33 times this year. J. Patrick Coolican of the Seattle Times writes about it here.

4. Inland Northwesterners aren't the only ones who wish Californians and other potential emigrants would look elsewhere. Portland stockbroker Joseph Hollack recommends bragging up Portland's annual 3 feet of rain to scare away the huddled masses who're considering relocating here.

5. John McGrath of the Tacoma News-Tribune has the answer for all March Madness enthusiasts from the Pacific Northwest who became free-agent fans when Gonzaga, Eastern Washington and U-Dub got bounced from the tournament: Nevada. Go Wolfpack. Click here.

Hagadone & Public Access II:

More from Steve Badraun re. dealing with Hagadone Hospitality on public access issues (click link below to read a John Rook poem to Steve):

There is not question that Duane Hagaone, in his lifetime efforts to enrich himself, has contributed enormously to a great economic revival of our town. Most of us point with pride to his accomplishments in our city. I am certain that his future projects will be just as dynamic for Coeur d' Alene. I have greatly admired his work in our city.

However, when it comes to Duane's promises for public access, it is important to practice the words of Ronald Reagan, "trust but verify" Public access to beaches like Sanders is so important to the many citizens who cannot afford a big house or a yacht. Securing that beach is for everyone which includes the young mother with two small children who just wants them to enjoy a day swimming. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Public access to the lake is also for the retired fisherman with a old tin boat and his wife who likes to walk. That is where Duane comes in. When the floating boardwalk was built, part of the agreement to grant him a building height of the hotel and public streets to be vacated was to allow public access to his docks. It was quite clear in the written agreement that the public citizen will be given the absolute right to park his or her boat on the inside of the floating boardwalk all the way around the walkway. Try it sometime. You will either be charged for that right or you will be pressured uncomfortably to move your little tin fishing boat out of there really fast. Also in that agreement was a written pledge that Duane would keep access open on the east side of the hotel for boardwalk strollers That went away too. The little people were just a nuisance and he slammed the east side doors shut forever.

Two agreements for public access that were part of the bargain. Two agreements for public access that Duane made to vanish without a trace.

"Trust but verify"

Steve Badraun


Thanks for reminding us in No Holds Barred,
how Dewey does it in our back yard.
To the Haga-trough they go to feed,
He asks, they give, his every need.

For so long they have lived under his thumb.
Whenever he beckons they meekly come.
Whatever he wants, they hasen to give,
little thought given to others who live.

Truth does seem to surface in time,
that's why I've written you this special rhym.
I salute YOU for tellin' it like it is.
The public's need is more important than his.

Thanks Steve, keep it up.

John Rook
Coeur d'Alene

Fan Mail (Conflict of Interest)

I read with interest the protestations of our Coeur d’Alene city leadership whenever the subject of Duane Hagadone and “conflict of interest” comes up. They all demure in the face of some very questionable conduct on their parts as though if the objections are expressed with enough vigor and repeated over and over, then we will all just quit thinking about such difficult matters and get on with our lives. Even the city attorney has grown hoarse with repeating the company line of, “No, no… a thousand times no.”

I’m sorry folks, but it just isn’t that simple. The American Heritage Dictionary (Second College Edition) defines “conflict of interest” as follows: A conflict between the private interests and the public obligations of a person in an official position. Even our Canadian brothers and sisters seem on top of this one as the British Columbia Provincial Office of Conflict of Interest Commissioner defines “conflict of interest” and the Act which prevents it as follows: The Members’ Conflict of Interest Act stipulates that a Member of the Legislative Assembly must not be involved in a decision during the course of public duties with the knowledge that there is an opportunity to further the Member’s private interests ( Please see for 5,840,00 other examples and definitions of conflict of interest…

The political standard among civilized people is that if you think you MAY have a perceived conflict of interest, then you HAVE a conflict of interest. PERIOD! Try a vote just once when everyone with a perceived conflict of interest has removed themselves from voting on a difficult issue. The result will not be fatal; it will just tell us that we have a problem. And we do have a problem. This fox has been too long in the henhouse of Coeur d’Alene city government.

Doug Burr
Coeur d’Alene

Monday Quick Fix Six (3/22/04):

I thank God for small favors, such as the fact that I had a wedding to attend in be-you-tiful downtown Naples Saturday afternoon ... and wasn't pulling my hair out watching the Zags Coug in front of a TV set. The bride was lovely as Blake Stepp's jump shot used to be. On the other hand, the Zags got us through another long winter ... and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for that. Now, it's time for your Quick Fix Six this sunny Monday morning.

1. "The Dawn of the Dead," a remake of a 1978 horror thriller, finally has pushed Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" from the top spot on the movie money-maker list. But Dead has a long ways to go to catch The Passion's overall dollar amount, which is now pushing $300 million. Click here.

2. Former U.S. senator Alfonse D'Amato is confident that the United States will win the war on terror because it is no longer a paper tiger thanks to Dubya. Click here.

3. Robert Samuelson of the Detroit News analyzes an interesting phenomenon: The wealthier we get in this country, the worse we feel. Click here.

4. Whether or not he should recuse himself from a case involving veep Dick Cheney, a duck-hunting companion, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia doesn't deserve to be treated contemptuously by Demo leaders. Click here.

5. Radical NOW regularly comes down on the wrong side of an issue. So, it was no surprise that NOW is treating Melissa Ann Rowland, the Utah Mother from Hell, as a victim rather than the brutal woman she is. Click here.

6. The White House responds to former counterterrorism official Richard Clarke here.

Parting Shot (3/19/04):

The week ends with some last minute surprises, including Don Pischner's announcement, which I've already reported. And you'll find out about Sheriff Rocky Watson's competition tomorrow morning -- a man who could make that race contentious. But here's a coupla things to tide you over.

--On Monday, Huckleberries'll tell you how U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo got his unusual surname. But you can get a sneak preview by clicking here, then going to "Biography" and then clicking on the link about his name. It's French.

--State Demos tried valiantly to find a placeholder against Crapo until the last minute, literally. And then things broke down for the lack of a notary public. A local fella was involved. If I'm cleared to tell you the story, I'll do so next week.

--I'm going to change my duties somewhat in another week. Stay tuned.

--Don't look now, but Commish Dick Panabaker's driving a Lincoln, too -- just like Ron Rankin before him. Only Dick's car is a Continental. Ron's was a Town Car. I believe. Dick got his car cheap. Put a new engine in it. And it looks dandy. Both Lincolns now have metallic signs on the side advertising Dick's re-election bid.

--Watch that GOPrimary race between incumbent Wayne Meyer and former Constitutionalist Phil Hart of Athol. Meyer bested Hart 6,705 to 3,114 two years ago. But Hart was a late entry, running as a third-party candidate. As a grass grower, Meyer's vulnerable on the field-burning issue. Stay tuned.

--If you attended the recent Hayden Chamber of Commerce banquet, please call (765-7125). I'm trying to check out a rumor.

--As Porky the Pig sez, ba-deet, ba-deet, that's all folks. See ya Monday.


Extra! Extra!

Former state representative Don Pischner has thrown his hat in the ring for a run at the spot Hilde Kellogg's vacating. He'll be running in the House District 5A Repub primary against former state representative Ron Vieselmeyer and Kootenai County GOP chairman Bob Nonini. And it'll be a barn-burner. There's no love lost between Pischner and Nonini. In the 2002 campaign, Pischner was redistricted into a primary loss to Charles Eberle, a controversial newcomer, and then lost again to Eberle in the general election, running as an Independent write-in. Nonini lambasted Pischner for running as a write-in and stood solidly behind Eberle. This could be the best legislative race in North Idaho. There are also two other candidates: Demo David Larsen of Coeur d'Alene and Constitutionalist Rose Johnson of Hauser. Stay tuned.

Mount Baldy 1, John Kerry 0:

John Kerry, vacationing at his mansion in Sun Valley, Idaho, tried to get away from his recent missteps. But he didn't count on crashing into the Secret Service on his second trip on his snowboard down Mount Baldy. Here's how David M. Halbfinger of the New York Times reported it:

On his first full day off, though, Mr. Kerry awoke determined to hit the slopes of Mount Baldy.

The image-conscious candidate and his aides prevailed upon reporters and photographers to let him have a first run down the mountain solo, except for two agents and Marvin Nicholson, his omnipresent right-hand man.

His next trip down, a reporter and a camera crew were allowed to follow along on skis — just in time to see Mr. Kerry taken out by one of the Secret Service men, who had inadvertently moved into his path, sending him into the snow.

When asked about the mishap a moment later, he said sharply, "I don't fall down," then used an expletive to describe the agent who "knocked me over."

You can read the complete stories here and here.

TGIF Lunch Specials (3/19/04):

The lunch specials today all have to deal with Iraq. After all, today is the first anniversary of the invasion that led to the removal of that totalitarian regime. And there's good news breaking out all over in Iraq (even if the national media won't admit it):

1. Fifty-six percent of the Iraqi people say they're better off today than they were a year ago. Click here.

2. Before she was gunned down in Iraq by murdering terrorists, Fern Holland, 33, was a warrior in Dubya's "army of compassion." Read all about this amazing woman and human-rights leader here.

3. An Iraqi blogger named Ali admits terrorists still can reek havoc, but they're spitting into the wind because freedom is breaking out in his country. Paul Wolfowitz talks all about it for New York Post On Line here.

4. Michael O'Hanlon and Adriana Lins de Albuquerque of the Baltimore Sun look at both the good news as well as the bad on the first anniversary of the invasion here.

5. Contributing Editor Deroy Murdock of National Review On Line talks about Iraqis who'd be unanimously in favor of the American presence, if they could speak. They're the ones filling So-Damn Insane's mass graves. Click here.

'City Council':

“Golly gee, your plans are clever,
go ahead and build whatever.
I’m pleased as punch to cast my vote,
now when can I go ride your boat?”

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Another Lesson from Steve:

And here's some more words of wisdom from my favorite former CDA nursery owner/planning commissioner:

Duane Hagadone and his corporation have never liked "public spaces". Even when agreements are drawn between he and the citizens of Coeur d' Alene for public use, He sets to work, I believe, that very minute to eliminate "the common people" from his property and nullify the deal.

One such example was a large gathering place on the grounds of the Coeur d' Alene Resort. When the city allowed him to privatize their public first street, to create the plaza surrounding the hotel, Duane agreed to built and maintain an events area near the water. The people of the city could use that arena several times a year. Duane agreed to this trade-off for the ability to eliminate a public street for his own use.

Some years later, the company came to the planning commission explaining to us that this large area was dangerous, as it had been built to be sunken into the ground by several steps. They asked if it could be raised to the level of the surrounding grass. We granted this. There was more. Later, the corporation wanted to place a semi permanent lockable tent structure over the entire arena area with sidewalls with large kitchen equipment inside the tent, eliminating for days that ability of the public to use this area. Finally they asked the planners to eliminate the entire arena, erase it forever and grass the area over. After considerable pressure on elected officials, they got their wish. There is not a trace of that public space in that plaza today.

Promises and agreements for public access between Duane and the people of Coeur d' Alene just seem to vanish over time. He gets the peoples land and the people are left with a broken promise and no access. I am certain that there have been many discussions over the years in the big corporate office on how to eliminate public access to the floating boardwalk surrounding the hotel.

Steve Badraun

Fan Mail (Sanders Beach XIII):

The e-mails continue to roll in on Sanders Beach. Here's hoping the City Council is paying attention because the response from across the community is nearly unanimous: It's the beach, stupid!


As a frequent user of Sanders Beach, I was disappointed to see the City Council take such a weak position on this issue. Hopefully the annexation negotiators will heed the voice of the public.

At the same time, the public needs to show more respect for the private property they use at the grace of the property owners. If we, the public, expect to use this property; we share responsibility for its condition. The property owners who pay taxes on this property should not have to put up with garbage and dog waste left behind by careless users. They should not have to put up with loud parties and illegal fires on their beach. If the public cannot use this land respectfully, the Sanders Beach "problem" will not be "solved" during the annexation negotiations; as implied by your reporter in her article summarizing the City Council meeting.
Kathy Smith

Keep reading ...

whatever happens I am in favor of keeping a great CDA tradition alive in allowing public access to Sanders beach. Anything less is unacceptable . Hagadone, being a CDA native must understand that even though he controls most of the town and its media, he does not control the public. We demand public access to Sanders Beach today, tommorrow, and in the future for generations to come.
I believe that if Hagadone ever sold that property, the whole idea will fall by the wayside. Better, the city of CDA should purchase the access points to the beach and have some accountability for the cleanup and security there. Even organizing a local cleanup would be great. I am not sure that the two topics have anything to do with each other, actually. Unless the beach is considered part of the golf course and there could be access from there as well. (parking would be a whole other issue). Does Hagadone own the 15th street access point??
cathy currie.gephart []
They will roll over like logs in a pond. Woody leases his Rustlers Roost from Hagadone, Sandy has taken rides on his yacht. So what is new? Jr. Chamber, years ago, cleaned the beach and the neighbors gave them money for a Bar-B-Que in appreciation. Ask Edinger
my thoughts are that this citizen is dead against loosing any more public access. Many of Duane's clients enjoy the public beach,city parks,Tubbs Hill, etc..Someone should remind Duane that CDA is not going to become his private resort. We need to coexist and to be welcomed to his facilities as most of us patronize them regularly. How can Sandi vacation on his Yacht and remain impartial??? This council shall not cave in.
Dennis Liming

TGIF Quick Fix Six (3/19/04)

It's Friday morning. and the weekend beckons. My weekend plans call for a family wedding on Saturday in beautiful downtown Naples, a hop, skip and a jump from Randy Weaver's old hacienda. But I'll think about that tomorrow. Now, it's time for your morning fix:

1. First, your Passion fix: National ADL director Abraham Foxman continues to insist that The Passion of the Christ is antisemitic despite two Jewish polls that indicate otherwise here. Meanwhile, a bank robber on the run turned himself into police after seeing The Passion, but his motive might have been prompted by something other than guilt here.

2. Your numbers fix: Suicide bombing was unknown in Iraq until the war began last March. But the terrorist-inspired wackos have killed 660 since. You can read all about it here.

3. A North Carolina couple will tell you there's a big difference between tolerance and acceptance. When their child's first-grade teacher tried to slip in a book that promoted homosexuality, the parents hit the ceiling. WorldNetDaily tells you all about it here.

4. Jonathan D. Salant of The Associated Press writes about the FCC's continuing crackdown on all things Howard Stern here.

5. Finally, stay-at-home Moms are getting their due -- from Time magazine, of all places. National Review Editor Rich Lowry tells all about it here.

6. Columnist Brent Bozell enjoys watching liberals twist in the wind when they encounter thug rappers, like 50 Cent. You will, too here.

Extra! Extra! Here's a final fix:

While our eyes are diverted to the problems in the Middle East, Fidel Castro has been doing valiant work turning South America and Central America against the United States. In a superb three-part series, tells of the growing danger in our back yard here. (Be sure to follow all the links.)

Parting Shot (3/18/04):

I close today's blog (hey, you public officials, look at the time I'm writing this in the lower lefthand corner) with a note from reader Ace Jones. And my response:

With the Sanders Beach issue bringing forward various conflict-of-interest concerns, one of the responses has been if we don't like it, to vote them out of office. Easier said than done in the lake city. Until the current election is changed to a position based process there is little chance of voting someone out. If there are three positions open and four people running all together it is almost impossible get someone out. When they run by position it provides a much more voter accountable method. Hard to change since it provides incumbent protection. -- Ace

DFO: Bingo! Dixie Reid, who will lead the charge to annex Duane Hagadone's golf course, with or without public access to Sanders Beach resolved (and probably the latter), has finished third in three straight city elections. She's beatable, one-on-one, where an opponent can make her answer for her diehard support for development. In the current horse-race approach to elections, she can skate away from bad votes because it's hard to target an individual. Post Falls and Hayden switched to running by position this year. And the Earth didn't shake. Coeur d'Alene should, too.

Badraun Counsels re: Sanders

It has been my experience as your old defrocked planning commissioner is that annexation agreements rarely see the light of day. They end up as this sort of pseudo- private written understanding between the applicant and the city. I suspect that the details will not be readily available to the people of Coeur d' Alene unless and until there is a public demand to present them in the open.

This is a perfect method for the city council to hide from having to make choices. If the people of our city believe that the changes in our shoreline and the changes at Sanders Beach is their decision and their decision only, They must act now to:

1. Be certain that a draft agreement is discussed in an open forum.
2. Be certain that each city council person is required to vote on the final annexation document in a public setting.
3. Be certain that some representatives from the public are allowed to attend the negotiations.

In addition to the Sanders Beach ownership issue, there are other critical elements of the project that will forever change the shoreline environment along the Centennial Trail. This development will be just the beginning of a wholesale commercial build-up in that area.

For all of you who value our precious assets of shoreline and public access, Now is the time, maybe the last time for you to make a difference for our city. To be accepted to be annexed to your city is a privilege, now a right. Do not just stand aside. Your city, for the sake of your children and grandchildren, needs you now.

Steve Badraun

Fan Mail (Sanders Beach XI):

While I don't really have any "insights" on this issue, I do have an opinion, and that is why I signed the petition to "try" to preserve public access to Sanders Beach. Do I believe that the Coeur d' Alene City Council will stand up to Hagadone? No more than I believe in fairy tales. However, we have no one except ourselves to blame since we put them in office, and will likely do so again next election.

The sad part is that this was a golden opportunity for Duane Hagadone to do the right thing from the start. He knew he was going to get his land annexed, why not give the community the access they want? Instead he chose to be confrontational to show the community who "really was in charge". Now a large segment of the community will again be alienated by his tactics. Hagadone chose to reward a few close cronies at the expense of the general population. There is little that the community can do, since we need his minimum wage jobs, but he certainly does tend to show his real colors at the most inappropriate time.
Carl Weik

Sanders Beach: A Compilation:

I asked in a direct mail Wednesday for your thoughts on Sanders Beach ... and 19 of you gave them. Here's a compilation of some. I'll run others separate:

I DEFINITELY believe the beach open to public forever needs to be a
mandatory condition of annexation.

Nancy Mertz
Saunders Beach home owner & resident & registered voter
Unfortunately for the general population of Coeur d'Alene, I believe the city council will acquiesce to Hagadone's desire to close access to that portion of Sanders Beach that he wants annexed. Money talks, and this is just another example of it's voice being heard over the voices of the people who still want access to Sanders Beach.
Jane Orto
Coeur d'Alene
I certainly hope I'm wrong, but, as usual, I suspect the city will cave into Mr. Hagadone's demands once again. I definitely believe that Sander's Beach should be left for the public to enjoy forever and ever!!! The lake is supposed to be for the public to enjoy and there is very little of the shore line left that is not privately owned.
June Bigelow
We all know that the city council would parade naked down Sherman avenue if Duane Hagadone asked them. My only request is that they stop insulting our intelligence by pretending otherwise. Why do politicians insist on telling us that gifts and money have no influence on them? It is laughable and contrary to common sense.
Judith Dean
Coeur d'Alene
Even thou Mr. Hagadone has done many good deeds in the area. Sanders Beach area MUST remain open to the public. There needs to be a place for us common folk to go. I feel this needs to be fought tooth and nail to retain rights to the beach.
If the mayor gets another vacation on the "yacht" and other "goodies" are handed to the rest of the city council members, yep...Mr. H. will get his way.........and even without restitutions he'll probably get his way, so it's a win-win situation for Mr. H.
Sanders Beach is an Idaho Gem! Public access should be maintained in perpetuity!
Representative Bonnie Douglas
I have never been much of a fan of DH because I think his greed is palpable; but there is something to the position that he has contributed to maintaining and reviving downtown. I would like to see some indication that he believes he has enough and the public can quit guarding the precious public spaces and focus on something else.
The Duane is getting quite a lot--he always does. The council should hold out and require him to grant public access in perpetuity. But in today's world where big money controls, the council may cave. We hope not.
Robert McCroskey
Don't go near the water!
It seems reasonable to request that Hagadone give up something in
exchange for the annexation request. Access to Sanders Beach would be a
small gift to the people of CDA that would not unduly inconvenience the
plans he has for his properties.

Mark Bauer
Hayden Lake
What Duane wants Duane gets!!!
E.T. Howe

Fan Mail (Sanders Beach X):

The issue is two fold, one moral and one just good business.

Regardless of what would appear to be just by the squabbling citizenry and completely holy and reasonable for them to be allowed the continued use of private land as public is mostly an emotional debate. I am sure that kind of use is not what the land owner perceives as his rights.

The city council will ultimately approve his bid because it makes good business sense. The council also will not press to hard to keep the beach open to the public. That is unless Mr. "H" considers it feasible and prudent or he can bargain something more rewarding in the process. Have no doubts that he is the biggest fish in our small pond and ruler of our principalities destiny. He has moved the council to adopt his view and perception of Coeur d'Alene for many years and from my humble view it has not been all that bad a thing.

So what ever will make him happy is the unwritten by-law of this cities governing body. Has been in the past and will continue to be so until the day someone with more clout or something better comes along.
Donnel Schmidt

Fan Mail (Sanders Beach IX):

I think that the city of Coeur d'Alene needs to keep all its natural areas. Too many places get swept up in the name of progress. Duane Hagadone is from this town. I don't see why he wants to take away things from the people here. I, personally, can't use Sanders Beach. I am disabled, and there is no access there for me; however, I do feel that those who have been using it should be able to continue. The access to the beach has always been a challenge. Let's not make it harder to use. My daughter and her friends had a blast at the annual Polar Bear Plunge. Would this event become a casualty? What else do we consider giving up for those who have it all? People who play at the resort golf course and who will live in the project he will be building all have a higher than average income. Why should money determine who gets to enjoy nature? Nature is the one "free" thing we should all be able to enjoy. When you take nature away from the average man, this is a travesty.
Leila Elliff

Fan Mail (Sanders Beach VIII):

My hope is that the elected City Council members (who all seemingly have some connection with Mr. Hagadone in some way or another) will NOT WAVER on this important issue by exercising high integrity in representing the best interests of the PEOPLE in our area and making it perfectly clear to Mr. Hagadone that Sanders Beach remaining open to the public is the City's only option. If Mr. Hagadone cannot comply with the granting of perpetual access to this area then the annexation should be canned along with his new high-rise project! ...And allowing the two homeowners to "purchase" that stretch of beach for $1-?? NO WAY! Just goes to show you what little regard Mr. Hagadone actually has for Sanders Beach, so it does make me wonder what his real intent and purpose might be! The people in our ! area use and enjoy what public beaches we do have access to around the lake- so don't let deep pockets influence a 'right' decision! This isn't California folks; it's Idaho!
Emily C. Smith
Hayden Lake

Fan Mail (Sanders Beach VII):

All one has to do is to look around the shoreline of Coeur d'Alene and you can see the writing on the wall. The city council will cave and give Hagadone anything he wants, why change tactics now. Does anyone in Cd'A really think that the hotel and condo's he is planning to build along the shoreline of OUR lake will be affordable to the local people of this town? How many local people can afford to play a round of golf on his golf course, at most maybe 1 round a season if you save up. It's ridiculous that the people of this community have to fight for a small strip of beach from a multi million dollar corparation headed up by a man who has more than anyone could possibly spend in a lifetime.
Gabriele Grover
Coeur d'Alene

Fan Mail (Sanders Beach VI):

Hagadone probably has no legal obligation to keep Sanders beach open. However, he has done so much good for the CdA community, I would hope that he would honor this long-standing tradition of the local swimming hole. And I do mean "local." The city beach is so packed with tourists that having the local tradition of Sanders beach is a real plus for the community. It isn't advertised and if you don't live here, you are not aware of its existence. Sure hope he has the foresight and goodwill to continue this great tradition.

Fan Mail (Sanders Beach V):

In February, after attending a Cd'A city council meeting for the first time -- during which a utility tax increase was nearly voted for, in order to budget for a storm-water maintenance system that had yet to be fully conceptualized -- I discovered that our city councilmembers can inadvertently "put the cart before the horse". Based on that disappointing discovery, I fear that our city council might now neglectfully "cave in" by ignoring its citizens' demand for Sanders Beach be officially designated as public land freely accessible to all.

Kim Long
Coeur d'Alene

Lunch Specials (4/18/04):

It's overcast up here in the view-tiful City on the Lake, but that hasn't stopped the skaters from skinning their knees across the way at Coeur d'Alene Skate Park. And that's not going to stop your Intrepid Reporter from presenting today's lunch specials:

1. The approximate 400 American soldiers who have been killed in action while fighting to make Iraq and the world a safer place have not died in vain. Karl Zinsmeister of The American Spectator On Line provides a clear view on the reasons for fighting the war and continuing to fight for the peace here.

2. Indeed, the Demos had a reason to worry about Ralph Nader. The old Greenie's presence has dropped John Kerry behind Dubya in a coupla major national polls. Click here.

3. Yo, Conservative, if you don't read flamethrower Ann Coulter on a regular basis, you should. She takes on the cowards now running Spain here.

4. The RU486 morning-after abortion pill has claimed another young female. And rather than let the abortion industry sweep this one under the rug, too ... Paul Nowak of will tell you all about it here.

5. You knew that it was only a matter of time before a stand for traditional marriage and family values would be construed as "hate speech" by the Far Left. WorldNetDaily tells of a fight by two Oakland employees for their right to stand against the gay marriage mania sweeping the Bay Area. Click here.

More Good Bard Guesses:

And the morning starts with three more good Bard guesses:

From GOP chair Bob Nonini: Jim Pierce of Java on Fourth.
From state Rep. Bonnie Douglas: Bliss Bignall (already guessed)
From Gary Ingram: Sandy Tewalt Grant (former aide to U.S. senator Steve Symms who works on computer things on Sherman)

DFO: Wrong, wrong and wrong. But it does inspire me to publish the following by my Sherman Avenue friend:

And He’s a Great Guy, Too

I worked with him for many years
and often we sat down for beers;
to brag upon it I will not,
but yes indeed I know Jack Squat.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Thursday Quick Fix Six (3/18/04):

Okay, we took care of the Irish yesterday, so you're back to dealing with Coeur d'Alene's only full-blooded Azorean (look it up). Yeah, yeah, I know there might be others. But I'd like to think I'm unique. Don't we all? Onward, for a quick fix:

1. Duncan Currie of National Review On Line will introduce you to a bonafide Cuban hero, one who is ignored by the national media because he opposes the totalitarian regime of The Left's favorite dictator, Fidel Castro. Click here.

2. With the capitulation of Spain to terrorist bombs, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman sez we're facing a dangerous moment. He analyzes what happens when the Axis of Evil meets the Axis of Appeasement and the Axis of Incompetence here. (You may have to sign in for the Times column, but it's free.)

3. Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby sez you're insulting minorities when you single them out for being the best within their demographic group here.

4. In his St. Patrick's Day speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Vice President Dick Cheney sez America's facing a clear choice in the coming election. And you'll never guess which side he supports. Click here.

5. For those of you fans of The Passion of the Christ who need a quick fix, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal interviewed actor James Caviezel after he met with Pope John Paul II. Read all about it here.

6. Writing for, columnist Brent Bozell sez the national media suffer from the same tendency to flipflop as a presidential candidate. He writes about the media's hypocrisy in reporting on Spain's involvement in the Iraqi war here.

Parting Shot (3/17/04):

There's a reason I attended the City Council meeting last night in person rather than watch it all on TV. My Junior Miss gave me the boot at 8 p.m. because she wanted to watch "American Idol." I could get a second TV. But it was fun to press the flesh and watch the body language of the nervous City Council re: the citizens request to make Hagadone Hospitality's annexation request contingent on The Company's agreement to keep its part of Sanders Beach open forever.

--As I see it, you have a 3-3 vote coming if Hagadone decides to fight that condition, with Mayor Sandi Bloem, casting the tie-breaker. Here's how I see it breaking out. Dixie Reid wouldn't vote against Hagadone if her life depended on it. Ben Wolfinger, who has political ambitions, probably will come down on that side, too. He was unusually quiet during the debate. Dunno Deanna Goodlander well, but I put her on this side, too (although she has a good record of backing parks and recreation in town). Al Hassell and Ron Edinger will be on the other side -- with Woody McEvers bringing up the rear. (Look for an interesting story involving conflicts of interest among this crew in the morning.) If it comes down to Her Sandiness casting the tie-breaker, you can forget about the beach.

--On a related note, I can't believe the council would make a full house wait an hour and 20 minutes before hearing testimony on the Sanders Beach issue. Yeah, I know councils and planning commissions do this all the time. But it's rude to the public their suppose to serve. The Hagadone Hospitality annexation request should have been first on the agenda.

--For those keeping score at home, city staff provided a figure for the total population when Coeur d'Alene's built out: 77,085. That's a little more than double the current total. I can hardly wait.

--Finally, you have some new filings for the Legislature: Constitutionalist Gary Alan Schulte of Cocalalla for Demo Mary Lou Shepherd's House District 2A seat; Demo Ian Stenseng of Post Falls for Repub Sen. Dick Compton's District 5 seat; Demo David B. Larsen for retiring Hilde Kellogg's House District 5A seat; and Demo Lyndon Harriman for Charles Eberle's House District 5B seat. Deadline is 5 p.m. Friday so stay tuned.

Fan Mail (Sanders Beach IV):

The cards and letters keep coming:

Hi Dave,

Personally, I think that the City of Coeur d'Alene, has given in to Hagadone too much over the years. I do not think that just because he does a "quality" job of everything he does, that this should give him a free pass to bend our city codes (not to mention his money influence). Let him do what he wants, but only within the rules, like everyone else. Someday we, or our children, will be sorry if we do give away the farm to Hagadone.

I think our city would be better off if we were not a "one man" owned city.
I also think our city fathers will bend to whatever Duane wants (and Jerry), he will get. They may put up some front as if to challenge him but there is no doubt he will get what he wants..unfortunately.

As to Sanders beach, I would like to see that be a firm condition of any annexation. That should be a given.
I should mention to you that I am biased as I am probably the only person in Cdal who was against the golf green out in our lake and still am. I do not think that anyone should have the right to infringe out into our lake for pure business reasons. Of coarse I am a sailing person not a golfer. But I do love our precious lake.

On a lighter note, have you noticed that many people spell Coeur d'Alene with a capital "D", rather then a small "d" which is the correct way? Just something for you to nag at.

Roy Tiefisher
Coeur d'Alene

Fan Mail (Sanders Beach III):

Been reading with interest about your Sanders Beach...

I am from Rhode Island... Grew up by Newport, R.I.
In the 50's we would go to the beach called Kings beach and we could walk around the docks zigging and zagging around the buildings ever so often and be downtown. One could go down any dock an be near the water...
Jumping ahead to 1981, when I had gone back to Newport, when I took my kids down to show them the bay.... we stood at the fence with our fingers curled around the metal, as I pointed thru to show them where we use to walk, fish and swim.... The fence? Put up the the Yachet Club and Condo's that were built in the meantime....

Hope CdA gets to keep their beach...

Cis Gors

Fan Mail (Demo Invitation):

For my 150th blog entry, I give you e-mail from Demo County Clerk Dan English, who notes that the Repub primary ledger is filling up, but there's room elsewhere:

As you know, we run the elections office on a STRICTLY non-partisan basis, so I offer this only as a neutral observation, not meant to encourage, solicit, endorse, etc., etc.....but for all those candidates who may be worried about getting lost in the many, many, many names on the Republican side of the ballot...I would just point out that there is ample, and I mean ample white space left on the "other" side of the ballot.

Your helpful County Clerk

DFO: Whatta swell guy.

Lunch Specials (3/17/04):

Although lunch is half over, it's time to present today's specials:

1. Ami Horowitz of The Weekly Standard believes the Jewish vote might be important to Dubya's re-election. Many Jews in this country believe he's the most pro-Jew president we've ever had. Click here.

2. Jon Thibalt of FrontPageMag laughs at The Left's answer to the Mallard Fillmore comic strip: Aaron McGruder's strip, The Boondooks. Never heard of it? Neither have I. But it's in 200 newspapers and you should know about it. Click here.

3. Yeeeaaaargh. If you thought Howard Dean was cuh-razy before, you were right -- so much so that even John Kerry's distancing himself from Dean's remarks. Now, Dean's blaming Dubya for the terrorist mass murder in Madrid. Click here.

Fan Mail (Sanders Beach II):

I will not forget that last time we had Duane (Hagadone) in our face concerning Sanders Beach and the golf course. Chris Copstead and Brad Jordan, I believe, were initiated with their first meeting as planning and zoning commissions that evening held at Sorensen school gym. They walked right into a buzz saw that night with a lot of angry people on both sides.

Several months before, when Duane announced the project, he called me personally and invited me for a little chat in his office. That is Duane's style. First the little chat, Then the pressure follows. Then, sometimes,some real threat seems to surface by people within his circle, David Potts, a planning commissioner at the time who was working tirelessly on a new senior citizen center was told that if he did not stop his objection to the golf course zoning, there will be little money donated to the senior center project. David resigned as the fundraiser for the senior project and kept on with his bold and honest opposition to the zoning. If the pressure and the chats and the threats do not work, the Hagadone Corporation just mows you down with any and all means at its disposal.

I simply liked the project of the golf course from the very beginning. It was his land and the only two options for that land were going to be a golf course or a private housing development. I chose the former as being a great new gateway for our city. However, I differed in opinion with nearly all of my fellow commissioners in tying the zoning to requiring Duane to allow public access to Sanders Beach. I wanted that section of Sanders Beach to be public forever in the worst way, but I felt that it was pure extortion to tie the condition to the zoning. The zoning needed to stand alone on its own merits.

Duane and I had a lot of conversations over this issue in the weeks to follow before a decision was announced by the Planning Commission, all reported to the group as required by law. I was certain that I could get him to move forward in his thinking about this little beach. He kept insisting that it was "his land" and he was not going to give an inch. He gradually started to see the reasoning in granting the public access and I felt that we were reaching an understanding.

Following a weekend trip to Canada, I picked up the papers to discover that Duane had taken out a full page ad, blasting the opposition commissioners for being anti-growth, anti- community and anti-development. He angrily pulled the project away and kept the golf course development in the county. His actions harmed a lot of great volunteer community spirited planning commissioners who had only the welfare of the community as a whole in their thoughts. I was left out of the mug shots and name calling this time. But as the years went by and I challenged other projects that were clearly not in the best interests of our citizens, Duane got me in his sights and finally drilled the bit in deep during my Mayoral run in 2001.

Duane truly believes, in my view, that his vision of Coeur d' Alene is the only vision to follow and it needs to be everyone's vision for our city. He will leave no stone unturned and apply every bit of pressure at his disposal to achieve his vision. He never forgets and he never forgives.

Steve Badraun
Former Coeur d'Alene planner

DFO: And now you know why Sanders Beach negotiations should be made as public as possible.

Fan Mail (Gun-Totin' Idaho D):

The other night at Wine, Stein, & Dine, I had a brief conversation with Bob Nonini (Candidate for state Representative, Leg. Dist. 5, Seat A, and Kootenai County Chair of the Republican Party). He feigned surprise that Lyndon Harriman ( Candidate, State Representative, Leg. Dist. 5, Seat B) would appear in a newspaper picture and article brandishing a shotgun.

I assured Bob that Yes, Idaho Democrats have and use guns. We have a broad assortment of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. We have found little need for AK-47's or other high powered, large caliber, semi or automatic weapons.

You see, we're Sportsmen, and we hone our marksmanship skills. Using those kind of weapons to hunt birds doesn't leave much bird for eating, and a bullet riddled carcass doesn't improve the flavor of Deer or Elk. Besides, we ingest a sufficient amount of lead from other sources. About all we can find that automatic weapons are used for is killing people. Now, since there is no legal season on Republicans, and we sportsman believe that if we kill it, we have to eat it, the whole idea just doesn't seem too appetizing. Besides which, they're missing most of the good parts (no hearts and very tiny brains).

We are, however, thinking about asking the Nature Conservancy to begin retaining land adjacent to Rollie and Rocky Watson's so we will have a place to practice firing our Civil War era cannons. It looks like the South is rising again in the form of a Confederate flag waving unaffiliated Presbyterian so-called minister who has staked out his "place to take over" in a strip mall in Post Falls disguised as a church. Then we thought we would apply for a zone change so we can install our Patriot Missile Battery under the "Get U.S. out of the U.N." John Birch Society sign on I-90 by State Line. A "Military Industrial Complex at Post Falls" sounds kinda catchy, don't ya think? That will protect us from an invasion of those latte lapping liberals in Washington!

Oh Yes, I thank God every morning for the opportunity to be a gun totin' Democrat in Idaho. Life is Good.

Kristy Reed Johnson
Post Falls

(Leg. 5 Chair, Democratic Party -- Not a Candidate running FOR anything, just another Democrat not running from anything either.)

DFO: And I thought Demos didn't have a sense of humor. Well done.

Another Bard Guess:

Kootenai County Clerk Dan English, the only remaining Demo in captivity at the courthouse, continues his pursuit of The Bard of Sherman Avenue with this guess: Gary Everson of Everson's Jewelry. Wrong. But, again, I admire the quality of the guesses.

Fan Mail (Sanders Beach)

I am not surprised at the outcome of the Hagadone request. City Council members chose to give broad support to the project, leaving the details on the annexation to a small group of city officials. That little lovefest over the details is where deals really get cozy. That final annexation document would be very interesting to see in the weeks to come.

This request for annexation was a right place to challenge Duane Hagadone to make a choice for the community. The people of Coeur d' Alene are committing millions of dollars in time and money to ensure the public walkways and the public spaces are for everyone. Duane Hagadone had an opportunity last night to join that effort with the little sliver of Sander Beach. But he just remains greedy and self-serving.

The Coeur d' Alene City Council , as a whole, has been and will continue to be the exclusive property of the Hagadone Corporation. The only time that will change is when our city government leans too far toward that company and commits an illegal act. Then and only then will the community realize not what it has gained from that company, but what the community has lost.

Steve Badraun
Former Coeur d'Alene planner

Wednesday Quick Fix Six (3/17/04):

For those of you who have a touch of the Irish ... Happy St. Patty's Day. However, I'm 100 percent Portuguese, so I don't have time to wear green. Gotta get back to breaking big rocks into little rocks (and trying to ignore that foreboding feeling that the City Council is about to sell out to Hagadone Hospitality on continued public access to Sanders Beach):

1. Baptist missionaries David and Carrie McDonnall are now statistics in postwar Iraq, Americans murdered by Islamic terrorists as they tried to help Iraqis put their lives back together. But the Bible has another word for them: martyrs. You can read about these 21st century martyrs and the two others gunned down with them here.

2. You can find out how and why radical Muslims can recruit suicide bombers here.

3. You want another reason to view Demo frontrunner John Kerry's candidacy with suspicion? The French absolutely love him. Click here.

4. William F. Buckley of National Review On Line wonders what's wrong with buying drugs in Canada when American pharmaceuticals charge sky high prices. Click here.

5. Some in the victim culture don't want to admit it, but racism is receding in this country (although remnants, such as racial profiling, remain). The U.S. now has fewer blacks living below the poverty line than any time in its history. Find the rest of the story here.

6. Finally, muckraker Matt Drudge tells us all about John and Teresa Heinz Kerry's little cottage in Sun Valley, Idaho, where he's retreated for five days after a bad run of gaffes and TV bloopers. Click here.

Earth -- to Janet Robnett:

Last night, Hagadone Hospitality attorney Janet Robnett told the City Council repeatedly that she didn't see how the public's request for access to Sanders Beach had anything to do with Duane Hagadone's annexation bid.

Now, I know Janet isn't clueless -- so I guess she was playing dumb. And I would imagine that the Hagadone brain trust who probably was watching on TV gave strict orders to hold her cards close to her vest and say as little as possible, so she wouldn't provoke the natives. The last thing the Hagadone wants is a public controversy over this mega-request.

In case Janet really was clueless about the "nexus" of the annexation and beach issue, however, I'll explain (using little words that even an attorney can understand). The connection is this: Hagadone's mega-project, 21st century style, is going to take away from the public the peace and tranquility of using a good portion of the Centennial Trail, with the traffic, noise and congestion spewing from the 10-story buildings on each side of old Highway 90. It's also going to take away lake view by introducing another monster building to the shoreline.

Hagadone should be required to give the public what it wants as a tradeoff for taking so much of the shoreline from the community: perpetual access to Sanders Beach.

After the dog-and-pony show at the City Council meeting, Fred Glienna said what I was thinking: If Hagadone isn't going to try to close the beach down, why is he concerned about keeping the status quo? (The answer was provided in Wednesday morning's Spokesman-Review -- Jerry Jaeger and his neighbor have the option of owning the beach for $1, once an agreement with the state that ties access to the beach to a permit for the floating green goes away. So, this is more about Jaeger than Hagadone.)

As a long time observer of this town, I saw a telltale sign that the council isn't going to (can't) play hardball with Hagadone/Jaegar/Barlow. In making her motion to approve the annexation and work out the details later, Councilwoman Dixie Reed didn't directly mention the audience's near-unanimous request to add access to Sanders Beach as a condition of annexation. Even when pressed by Councilmen Ron Edinger and Al Hassell, she wouldn't mention the SB word.

I have a sinking feeling because I've watched Hagadone mesmerize/intimidate councils and planning commissions for 20 years. City bureaucrats are no match for his attack dogs when he really wants something. The council let the public down by not voting specifically to make Sanders Beach access a deal-breaker. Hagadone needs the city more than the city needs Hagadone on this deal -- for the sewer. But you wouldn't know it by watching the council last night.

I'll be adding more thoughts about this meeting tomorrow.

Kootenai Grapevine (3/16/04):

Not much to report as I prepare to sign off tonight ... other than the debate in the newsroom re: tonight's City Council meeting on Sanders Beach.

If Duane Hagadone digs in and fights an effort to tie annexation of his private golf course to public access to his part of Sanders Beach, we figure the vote on Hagadone's annexation request will be close, possibly even deadlocked with Mayor Sandi Bloem, who's a close Hagadone friend, casting the tie-breaker.

The City Council is playing with fire here. Nothing triggers rebellion in Lake City more than having council members kowtow to the powers than be when it comes to the waterfront. Years ago, Jim Fromm headed a four-man reform ticket that swept into office when the council leaned toward allowing developer Terry Phillips to build two apartment complexes on the site where the Coeur d'Alene Resort now sits. A misplayed hand by the City Council could set back plans to redevelop the public portion of the waterfront.

Frankly, I know why the Hagadone Corp would fight this ... and it has little to do with the Head Man. But I'll let our print side tell you the rest of the story Wednesday morning. (You're going to slap your head and say, "of course," when you find out.)

At this point, I'd say Ron Edinger and Al Hassell will support the 800 people who signed the petitions to preserve Sanders Beach. Mebbe Woody McEvers, too. But I wouldn't put money down on any of the rest. Be there -- or tune into public TV tonight.


More Bard Guesses:

Ace Jones offers two more good -- but wrong -- guesses as to the identity of The Bard of Sherman Avenue: Charlie Dodson or Norm Gissel.

Lunch Specials (3/16/04):

Today's lunch specials include a little Haitian cuisine:

1. Why should we intervene in Haiti to restore order? Gene Edward Veith of WorldNetDaily sez we owe Haiti for protecting us from the French way back when. You can find a little history lesson about our links to the impoverished nation here.

2. Don't look now, Christian, but a group calling itself Messiah Truth Project Inc. is circulating a petition calling on Attorney General John Ashcroft to use hate crime statutes against Mel Gibson for filming The Passion of the Christ. Click here.

3. The attempt by gay-rights activists to paint their push for marriage as a civil rights issue angers many African-Americans. The Sacramento Bee tells why here.

Top Northwest News:

Here's four from around the Northwest today:

1. "Tre Arrow is back in the quiver," said Robert Jordan, special agent in charge of the FBI for Oregon. And with that we learned that Most Wanted eco-terrorist Michael J. Scarpitti was back in custody. The Oregonian reports all about it here.

2. Rick Eskil, editorial page editor of the Walla Walla Union Bulletin believes eastern Washington holds the keys to the governor's mansion this year. Find out why he believes votes east of the Cascades will make a difference here.

3. Former Seattle QB Jeff Kemp is leading a drive to strengthen marriage. The Seattle Times writes all about it here.

4. Doldrums, what doldrums? Spurred by growth in the Ada County, Wells Fargo Bank reports that Idaho experienced a record construction number of $2.36 billion. Read the Idaho Statesman's business story here.

Tuesday Quick Fix Six (3/16/04):

Running late this morning, but it's time to feed the blog. I'm amazed at how many folks never heard of the term "blog." Computer geeks have used it since the dawn of the R2D2 age. As a reminder, "blog" is formed by combining "Web" (as in world wide web) and "log" (as in Captain Kirk's log). So, there you have it. And it's now time for a quick fix:

1. True believers in the Demo party claim Dubya's a liar, based on our inability to find WMDs. (Note to self - wasn't Saddam Hussein a WMD?) Now, the American Conservative Union is demanding that Demo prez wannabe John Kerry back up his curious claim that foreign leaders support his candidacy. Click here.

2. It's cutting the spending, stupid -- not rescinding tax cuts -- that'll make a difference in the budget deficit. You can find an expert case for leaving the tax cuts alone here.

3. Writing for, Christian apologist Chuck Colson discusses the ill wind that's blowing in Spain as a result of the recent terrorist attacks here.

4. And for those of you who hunger for progress reports from Iraq -- or at least hunger for the national media to begin reporting them -- Steven Vincent of National Review On Line offers this take on how we're buying our way into Iraqi hearts. Click here.

5. Is The Passion of the Christ anti-Semitic? A poll shows that only 2 percent of those who saw the movie are now more inclined to believe the Jews were responsible for Christ's death. You can find the story here. And how about two more stories about The Passion? BBC News tells of a meeting between actor Jim Caviezel and Pope John Paul II here. And commentator Andy Rooney got slammed by his public for calling Mel Gibson wacko. Click here.

6. Kenneth R. Timmerman of Insight magazine tells us why Moammar Gadhafi cried uncle to Dubya here.

Kootenai Grapevine (3/15/04):

As you can see by the title of this note, I'm still experimenting with this blog. Kootenai Grapevine was the original name of my Huckleberries column. Whenever you see it in the blog, you should know that the items below are about Kootenai County or North Idaho. That'll warn Spokane and out-of-region readers about the local nature of the item. Here goes:

--In a letter to the editor that should appear soon, Hale and Jeannine Ashcraft are touting the darkhorse candidacy of Rich Piazza for county commissioner. Hale is an ex-GOP kingmaker of sorts who still pokes his oar in the water although he lives much of the time in Lakeside, Mont., along Flathead Lake. Jeannine is the former county treasurer. Piazza could sneak up on both incumbent Dick Panabaker and well-financed challenger Katie Brodie. He's retired which frees him to knock on doors at least 40 hours per week. In the 2000 GOPrimary, Rich finished second with 37 percent of the vote, about 1,000 votes behind Dick, who snared 45 percent. A third wannabe, Greg Wells, hauled down 18 percent of the vote and might have been a factor in the outcome. Stay tuned.

--According to the Coeur d'Alene Press, state Sen. Marti Calabretta, D-Osburn, was miffed that Skip Brandt used the word "abortionist" in his successful bill restricting abortion in Idaho further. She believes the word disses the, ahem, medical doctors who perform the dastardly deed. Well that's too bad, so sad, for Marti. It's a case of "if the shoe fits wear it." If abortionists - oops - don't want to be called by that name, they should opt for a legit practice.

--On the other hand, I'm thrilled by our report that the number of abortions in Idaho has dropped from 2,553 in 1980 to 738 today (which is still 738 too many). And that there are only four abortionists in Idaho, one in Pocatello and three in Boise.

--I rarely point readers to the Coeur d'Alene Press. But Ric Clarke's one of the few familiar faces on the other side of the tracks. And he wrote an interesting "Whatever Happened To" piece on former Kootenai County Commish Glenn Jackson Sunday that's a must-read. Glenn was running the courthouse when I came to town in fall 1984. We had a rocky relationship. But what else is new? Glenn did a good job and was rewarded by being beaten in a Repub primary by Post Falls hardware store owner Al Sharon, who later turned Demo.

--For all the folderol, there's no new additions to the Kootenai County candidate list. Checked at 5:45 p.m. Monday. But you can check for yourself here.

--There's some activity on the legislative side, with Demo Patty "Douglas" Palmer and incumbent Repub Shawn Keough filing for the Senate District 1 seat; Demo Steve Elgar filing for retiring Rep. John Campbell's House District 1A seat; Demo George Currier filing to take on Repub incumbent Dick Harwood for the House District 2B seat; incumbent Kent Bailey, Clyde Boatright and Mike Jorgenson filing for the Senate District 3 seat; and Demos Bonnie Douglas and Mike Gridley matched in one primary and James Hollingsworth and Marge Chadderdon in the other for Douglas' House District 4A seat. You can get all the latest filings here.

--Frankly, I believe one-third of North Idaho's 15-member delegation is weak and needs to be replaced if we're to ever have decent representation. Any guesses who?


You Say Northern, We Say North

Count Don Brown among the long-suffering Inland Northwesterners who can't figure out why The Spokesman-Review calls the five northernmost counties of the Idaho Panhandle North Idaho instead of northern Idaho. In a recent Hot Potatoes, I used northern Idaho in criticizing Repub state senators' vote on a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage and got this note from Don:

Congrats are in order. There it was on Tues the 9th for all to read, northern Idaho in your column twice, with one right at the top of the story. Boy, did that look good. But I see today, Sun., that we are back again with North Idaho. It was good while it lasted. Thanks for the one day of light.

Actually, I used northern Idaho because I included in my criticism senators from Moscow and Lewiston. In another life (1982-84), I was the news editor for the Lewiston Morning Tribune, which referred to the 10 northern counties as northern Idaho. I didn't pick up the new habit of using North Idaho until I moved to Coeur d'Alene and began work for The Spokesman-Review in September 1984. Now, it seems odd to use anything but North Idaho when referring to the counties Kootenai, Bonner, Boundary, Shoshone and Benewah. Different strokes for different folks.

Lunch Specials (3/15/04):

Situation on Northwest Boulevard at the lunch hour Monday: hazy, with a single skateboarder practicing across the way at Coeur d'Alene Skate Park. Must be a home-schooler. Or mebbe he's a post-high schooler trying to get away from the Skate Park's after-school crowds. Anyway, here's how things stand:

1. I agree with David Frum of National Review On Line who contends that terrorists scored a major victory in Spain by toppling an allied government with their bombs. When will the timid ever learn that appeasement is for saps? And those who want to give up their freedom? Click here.

2. Columnist Michael Novak takes a long look at Pope John Paul II and the longevity mark he just passed here.

3. The national media is studiously avoiding Iraqi spy suspect Susan Lindauer's connections with four left-leaning Demo congressmen. You can find out why those ties are important here.

4. Jack Kemp of sez the rising gas costs could become a major issue for the prez elections. He takes a look at how each major candidate stands on the issue of federal gas taxes here.

5. From Bruce Chapman, writing for the Seattle Post-Intelligenser, via Andrew Sullivan's blog, an upbeat appraisal of Iraq one year after the outbreak of hostilities. Click here.

Gonzaga's Road Ahead:

After Valpairiso, Gonzaga faces some tough tests in the NCAA tournament before it can fulfill a dream to meet Kentucky in the St. Louis Division finals. For instance, the Zags could face possible tough matchups with Michigan State and Georgia Tech. Of course, Gonzaga needs to take care of business first -- and that means it shouldn't be looking past Valpairiso. provides great insight into what the Zags face here.

Monday Quick Fix Six (3/15/04):

It's Monday and the work begins again. There's plenty of news to tell ... that you might not be getting from a network newscast near you. So, let's begin:

1. If you have the impression that every Iraqi wants to blow up every American, you're wrong. Or you've been reading the New York Times exclusively. You can find more proof that the average Iraqi has a different opinion of us than his ayatollah here.

2. For you addicts of The Passion of the Christ, I'm providing a 3-for-1 fix this morning. First, the numbers. The Passion is now at $264 million and climbing toward Lord of the Rings numbers. Click here. Secondly, in case you were wondering, Pope John Paul II (the great man who's now the third longest serving pope in history) sez Mel Gibson's movie isn't anti-Semitic here. Finally, provides the results of a survey that shows 83 percent of born-again Christians have seen or plan to see The Passion. Click here.

3. Demo prez wannabe John Kerry was ready to go to war with Iraq in 1997, when Slick Willie was prez, but somehow his enthusiasm has cooled since Dubya took office -- despite 9-11. You can find his latest waffling here. And you can see how John and his rich wife, Teresa Heinz-Kerry love to dish it out to Dubya (but squawk at return fire) here.

4. If you're looking for anti-Semitism, you shouldn't waste your time dissecting The Passion of the Christ. Rather, look to dear old France and our other friends in Europe. You can read about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe here.

5. Teen-agers are increasingly saying no to the bad behavior of adults and the sexual culture thrust upon them -- and eschewing sex. Pregnancy rates are way down ... and that can't be attributed solely to the teens buying into the so-called "safe-sex" message. Columnist Suzanne Fields of provides the rest of the story here.

Now, as Laura Schlessinger likes to say, Go take on the week (or something like that).

Parting Shot (3/12/04):

Huckleberries, Hot Potatoes and the Sunday editorial are all in the books. And it's time to close up shop until Monday when the Editorial Pages and blog once again will demand food. Some quick thoughts before I leave you:

--Sheriff Rocky Watson called at 4:30 p.m. to see if I was still working. I've been threatening to call public officials on Friday afternoon to see if we're getting our money's worth. Notice the time I'm posting this in the corner below.

--Demo city attorney Mike Gridley and carpet queen Marge Chadderdon will be announcing their candidacy for state Rep. Bonnie Douglas' House District 4 seat on Monday.

--One complaint I've heard re: the blog -- outside of the Demos screeching because I don't believe Dubya is Evil Incarnate -- involves repetition. Folks don't like seeing the same thing on the blog and in my print columns. That'll come to an end Sunday when I'll rerun The Bard's poem, "EWU," in the Hot Potatoes. After that, it'll be fresh stuff in each place.

--I'm flirting with the idea of running more e-mail from readers on the blog, unfiltered. If you send it, and it's short enough, you might see it in print ... or a portion of it. You've been warned.

--Sheldon Vincenti, the former Dean of the U of I Law School in Moscow, is toying with a run for U.S. Rep. Butch Otter's seat.

--Some Dems are bent out of shape that I used the adjectives "dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb" to describe Kristy Reed Johnson's statement that local D's are going to concentrate on the prez race and mebbe a few local winnable races. Then, when are the local D's not bent out of shape? The comment was aimed at the idea, but not the person. I believe the Demos should rebuild their party from the ground up by trying to help good candidates gain name recognition by winning city council and commissioner seats. But I'm not going to lose any sleep if the D's want to be mad. Watch 'em really flip out when Dubya wins re-election.

--Not all local D's are humorless, a friendly D offered this comment after learning that Ron Rankin was going to try to keep certain moderate R's from being elected this year: If Ronbo plays the independent card in the general that opens the door again. We always loved him for that.

Until Monday ... DFO

Spy v. Spy v. Spy Suspect:

You probably know that Susan Lindauer, the woman charged with spying for Saddam Hussein, is a distant relative to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and worked for several congressional Demos (Peter DeFazio and Ron Wyden of Oregon, Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois and Zoe Lofgren of California). But did you know that she once -- gulp! -- wrote editorials for The Herald in Everett, Wash? And her old Editorial Page editor sez she brought a lot of passion to the table (which is what my Opinion Page editor sez about me). Read all about it in the Washington Post story here.

Fan Mail (re. Gay Marriage):

My defense of traditional marriage wrought this:

The institution of marriage is in no danger at all, even though same-sex couples seem to be winning important rights regarding hospital visits, insurance benefits, and other civil details.

There once was a time in this very country of ours when blacks could not marry whites; there once was a time in this very STATE of ours when Mormons were denied civil treatment. What's allowed in "marriage" sometimes changes.
To me, it seems only kind and sweet if people, same-sex couples, who love each other and care for each other, are given humane treatment when they want to sanctify, bless, or otherwise highlight and announce their commitment.
If this gives you pause, on philosophical or religious grounds, remember that a "marriage" is not a marriage unless a GOVERNMENT has issued an appropriate LICENSE. If marriage is ordained by God, how does one explain this?

The STATE determines who can marry, and who cannot. For instance, a child cannot marry a sibling, a first cousin, or a parent. Many STATES demand blood tests prior to the issuing of a LICENSE. So a state can choose to allow same-sex couples to form loving unions, and I think a state can do so without any damage to the Republic or without the skies falling.

As to the sanctity of marriage, I offer two words: Britney Spears.

What you seem to be saying, or at least the undercurrent of the position you seem to be holding, is this: a man and a woman can get a quickie wedding in Vegas, after some sort of drug- or drink-induced spree, and that's okay in the eyes of the state and of God.

But a committed same-sex couple of many years--or many decades--cannot. This seems puzzling. Illogical. And unfair.

In any event, our goofy Legislature should not have been fumbling with this diversionary and divisive issue at all, at least not while our schools are crumbling, our roads need work, and while our state economy is in disarray. So I will remember at the polls, and encourage my friends to remember at the polls, those grandstanders who so cheaply ignored the needs of their constituents while trying to score obvious points with a buzzword non-issue.

Fred Glienna
Coeur d'Alene

Lunch Specials (3/12/04):

It isn't quite shirt-sleeve weather in be-yoo-tiful Coeur d'Alene. But it could be time to stroll City Beach because the tourists won't flock back for another 2 1/2 months. If only I could find someone to write my weekend stuff. Alas:

1. John J. Miller of the Wall Street Journal editorial page describes the full-scale assault on college campuses by Far Left profs and others here. (Let me know if you have trouble getting into this site.)

2. Columnist Mona Charen of sez Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry are still hiding the facts about partial birth abortion. Click here.

3. After taking some fun swipes at John Flipflop Kerry, Emmett Tyrrell of The American Spectator questions the jobless figures being bandied about by Demos. Tyrrell contends the old way of counting jobs no longer applies here.

4. Of the 120 main press reports about the arrest of possible Iraq spy Susan Lindauer, only 12 expressly mentioned her work for some of the most liberal congressional Demos, including Carol Moseley Braun and Ron Wyden. Click here.

5. Rob Crowther of Prison Fellowship applauds Ohio's decision to critically analyze evolution curriculum. So does Christian apologist Chuck Colson. Click here.

Shawn Fires Back

State Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, responded to my blog/Hot Potatoes' criticism re: her vote on a constitutional amendment defining marriage. She was one of five northern Idaho senators who voted to allow the bill die in committee. Shawn's comments are long. But worth reading:

Thank you for the blog!

Also, I know we can't always agree, the world would be pretty boring otherwise.

You also know that I can't let a comment slip by without debate, so, since I read your blog, I hope you'll consider the following points (call it Keough's Blog if you will).

1. The gay marriage issue will be with us this election cycle regardless of our work on the Senate side on the proposed constitutional amendment. That will happen because of what we did, but more likely because of what is occurring across the nation and people's reaction to that.

2. In some of the states where gay couples are getting marriage licenses and marrying, they are breaking the law, both the state law and state constitution in some cases. Idaho has a law defining marriage as being between one man and one woman which has been on the books since 1994. Would adding a constitutional amendment keep what is happening in the above mentioned states from happening here? I seriously doubt it. Those people are intent on breaking the law and equating it to the civil disobedience of the '60s and with African American civil rights. They intend to break the law to try to change our society. Changing Idaho's Constitution isn't going to keep that type of effort from occurring here.

3. If it is a good idea to change Idaho's Constitution, and it may well be, wouldn't it be better to do it correctly? I am told, by supporters of the effort against gay marriage and of HJR 9 who also happen to be attorneys, that HJR 9 places the language in the wrong section of the Constitution placing not only the change, should it pass, but the current law in jeopardy of being lost in a Supreme Court challenge. Is that what we really want to do or would we be better off doing it the right way? I am also told that our AG Wasden drafted language to achieve this goal and that the sponsors of HJR 9 refused to consider a new bill or amending theirs in an effort to achieve their goal in a better, perhaps more correct way.

4. Given that, should the Legislature pass something that is clearly wrong and will cost bunches of bucks (that we don't have by the way) to defend? Or, would it be better to back the train up and do it right? I know the Legislature has a track record of the former, but I for one would like to try the latter just once in my tenure here.

5. I am also told that the language in HJR 9 would place other unions between one man and one woman in jeopardy like common law marriages and other legally recognized relationships. Common law marriages are no longer offered/allowed in Idaho, but when the law was changed, those common law marriages in place at the time were "grandfathered" in. If the target is gays and not these people, again, shouldn't we do a better job in crafting language to hit the target?

6. Everything I said that was quoted in the paper was correct, my efforts to keep HJR 9 in the committee was about the process here. The committee considered the matter of the bill, made a majority decision against doing anything with it. All other bills die after a committee makes a majority decision that kills it. If we are going to start down the road proposed by Sen. Sweet, the days of a "part-time" legislature are over. You can bet that we will move to a full time legislature with the salaries and staff costs associated. You may think I'm over re-acting, but think about it. We usually have about 900 bills introduced in a given session. By the time we are through about 300 of those will be signed by the Governor and made into law. Can you imagine what would happen if each time one of us who had a bill that a committee killed, tried to pull it to the floor? It took almost two hours for the effort on HJR 9. Multiply that times 900. I can honestly assure you, believe it or not, that my effort to keep the process whole was not about gay marriage, it was about process.

7. For the record, I support Idaho's law defining marriage as between one man and one woman. I might even support a Constitutional amendment
- if it is written correctly and amended into the correct place of the Constitution.

Shawn Keough

Another Bush Hater Checks In:

Another local Demo Bush Hater checked in with the usual nonsense about "lies," "WMDs" and all those innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan and Iraq who died because of our aggression. I'm beginning to believe most diehard Dems have lost sight of the fact that we're living in a world where determined killers can off almost 200 people in the middle of Madrid or anywhere else at any given moment. Here's my response to the Bush Hater:

You take my breath away with the depth of your hatred for George Bush. Lies? gracious. Even Bill Clinton believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Everyone did. Bush was the only man out there who refused to look the other way after Saddam Hussein had ignored the world dictates for more than a dozen years to allow legitimate weapons inspections. If the guy didn't have the weapons, all he had to do was allow the inspectors to see that. And he'd still be free to kill his people today. i personally believe those weapons were trucked to Syria. but, hey, i have as little proof of that as you have for your slander of the president.

As far as the two wars go ... give me a break. Remember 9-11? More than 3,000 of our citizens were killed. And Afghanistan had the training camps that provided the suicidal assassins. You savagely undercut your argument by including Afghanistan in your rant. As far as the 30,000 innocent men, women and children go ... Saddam killed that many of his own people in a month -- many by using gas and other WMDs.

Iraq has a future now because we have a president, who -- unlike lip-biting, finger-wagging clinton -- had the courage to back his threats with bombs.

And as far as liars go ... no one lied more in office, including under oath before a grand jury, than William Jefferson Clinton. Remember -- I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky?

I congratulate you Democrats for preparing to nominate the most liberal senator from the most liberal state in the union as your standard bearer. Unless my guess is wrong, the American public will reject him overwhelmingly, and we'll have four more years of Bush to finish the war on terror despite the best efforts by the Far Left to undermine the effort -- DFO.

Piano Man of Woman?

I go to a Bible church in Hayden that needs a worship leader/pianist. Anyone out there know of someone who could fill the bill? The pay is lousy. Zero. But the church is beginning to grow again. And you couldn't get a much better preacher: Spokesman-Review religion columnist Steve Massey. Contact Steve at the church, 772-2511, or me at work (765-7125) if you or someone you know would be interested.

TGIF Quick Fix Six (3/12/04):

Eight more hours of crushing big rocks into little rocks and then the whistle blows ... and it becomes a 5 o'clock world and no one owns a piece of your time. (Or at least that's how I think the old song goes.) Here's today's fix:

1. Why does Europe hate Dubya? Because he made it look small and weak when he brought Saddam Hussein to his knees in three weeks. Rabbi Shmuley Botech of WorldNetDaily discusses the phenomenon here.

2. You can wear a T-shirt to high school that sez about anything, except the message one Virginia teen wore: "Abortion Is Homicide." The Thomas More Law Center of Michigan is looking into the matter. Click here.

3. Columnist David Limbaugh sez the Radical Left is winning the culture war because the dominant Christian majority isn't fighting back. He reasons that motivation, organization and unity are more important than numbers here.

4. Editor Rich Lowry of National Review On Line discusses the Anti-Christian Liberties Union's all-out assault on the Boy Scouts here.

5. Columnist Ralph Peters of the New York Post sez the mass murder by terrorists in Madrid, Spain, yesterday is a reminder that the war on terror is global. (And those that would deny we're at war are fools.) Click here.

6. Columnist Michael Tremooglie of FrontPageMagazine sez Demo John Kerry's campaign and the Far Left Web site is practicing Hitler's theory: If you tell a lie big enough, people will believe you. Click here.

Parting Shot:

Gotta few things for you Kootenai County readers to mull over this evening:

--Chatted with former commish Frank Henderson this morning. Wow! At 81, the guy's in great shape and as sharp as ever. In fact, he might be in better shape physically than when he was running the courthouse. Five morning workouts per week at World gym will do that for you. Health is not an issue for his House District 5B race against Charles Eberle. And you candidates need to listen up. If you want to know how to prepare a press release to announce your candidacy, see Frank. I can't remember getting a better one.

--Because you asked ... there's no truth to the rumor -- yet -- that City Hall is planning to use taxpayer dollars to help build the new library. Her Sandiness and other city officials are putting together an ad hoc committee to check out possible city projects. And public financing for the library may come up. But there's some key people aware of the promise by library backers (who helped torpedo the old community center) that they wouldn't build with public financing. Stay tuned.

--Huetter might move to annex surrounding property before the cities of Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls gobble everyting up around the tiny town.

--One of my spies providing this take on former Lt. Gov. Jack Riggs: "I saw Riggs a week or so ago...he is sporting a beard, and it looks pretty good on him, but he still wears sandals, even in the winter."

--Finally, one more plug for the Lake City High production of "Joseph and the Multicolored Dreamcoat," which runs tonight through Saturday night, beginning at 7. If you like theater and have never seen a Blair Bybee production, this is the one to see. Only $7 for adults. (Yeah, that cute Latino-looking gal is mine.)


Times Absolves Zag Fans:

Apparently, the spontaneous celebration by Gonzaga fans after the Santa Clara win set off some folks. Too bad. So sad. The Seattle Times Sports section sided with Jesuit U (the ballclub and fans ... not the Student Bar Association) with this short item Thursday:

Gonzaga students raised eyebrows among some message-board denizens, and consternation from TV announcers, when they rushed the court after the 63-62 victory over Santa Clara on Sunday night.

What's the big deal over their reaction? Putting aside the question of whether court-storming is advisable any time, is there some sort of threshold of misery that must be exceeded before a team's fans qualify? Gonzaga won after it had all of three leads, none until 1:40 remained.

The Broncos' gym was highly charged, and the outcome wasn't decided until Santa Clara's last-second shot bounced off. No apologies needed for a spontaneous celebration.


They’ve knocked upon the dance hall door
quite often in the years before,
but this time they will get their chance --
at last the Eagles get to dance.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Lunch Specials (3/11/04):

Both hands of the clock are straight up and the sun is shining through the haze outside. So, it must be time for another helping of No Holds Barred Lunch Specials:

1. You need talking points to defend traditional marriage? Concerned Women for America provides them here.

2. You want good news about Iraq that you're not getting anywhere else (unless you're reading certain sites on the Internet)? I'll give you good news about the tremendous economic recovery going on there. Click here (and say a prayer for our soldiers still in harm's way).

3. If you think Americans should be responsible for their fast-food choices, you're not alone. Nine-tenths of America believe the same way. Click here.

4. Columnist Claudia Rosett of National Review On-Line wonders what Kofi Annan knew about the United Nations corrupt oil-for-food program. And when did he know it? And some liberals care what the United Nations thinks of us? Click here for the rest of the story.

5. Columnist Byron York of The Hill comments on the arrest of Susan Lindauer for spying in Iraq. Lindauer? In a former life, she was a Seattle Post-Intelligenser journalist and a Demo spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and ex-senator Carol Moseley-Braun. Click here.

6. Dubya reiterates his determination to fight for traditional marriage here.

Roe v. Wade Cost Gore?

Don't blame lousy ballots and officials in Florida for the Y2K election mess. Or even the U.S. Supreme Court. Blogger Donald Crankshaw figured millions of aborted unborns cost the Demos the White House. This just in from James Taranto's terrific Best of the Web:

Quantifying the Roe Effect--II
In honor of the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers (Wednesday), blogger Donald Crankshaw spent yesterday working out an estimate of the Roe effect on the Electoral College. He offers this disclaimer:

Any statistician can point out the multitude of problems in this analysis: taking one year to be representative for an entire three decades (which ignores changes in demographics and abortion laws), assuming the rate for teenage girls is representative of the rate for all women, not accounting for population migration, etc. A lot of these would be solved if someone could point me to a simple listing of the number of abortions received by the residents of each state since Roe v. Wade.

Still, his back-of-the-envelope calculations are intriguing. Had there been no abortion, he reckons, it would produce the following shifts in the Electoral College:

+4 votes: California
+2 votes: New York
+1 vote: Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey
-1 vote: Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas

This is a net change of eight electoral votes in favor of states Al Gore won in 2000. Gore was only three electoral votes shy of victory, so if Crankshaw's estimates are anywhere close to being correct, the Roe effect produced enough of a shift to change the outcome of the 2000 election--and this is assuming a Bush victory in Florida, which the Roe effect's absence would have made less likely.

In other words, it may be that the Democrats are right when they say the Supreme Court handed the presidency to George W. Bush. They're just wrong about which case did the job: not Bush v. Gore but Roe v. Wade.

Dubya's 'Evil'?

Dubya causes some of the better thinkers of the Far Left (sorry for the oxymoron) to lose it. Here's some reflections from a Coeur d'Alene Democrat who'll remain nameless:

I took a good look again at your blog today. I don't, unfortunately, have much time to respond to all of the points, but a few struck me as requiring a response.

First, Dubya IS evil. Do some research, objectively. Read "American Dynasty," which I have cited before.

DFO: Hitler was evil. Pol Pot was evil. Saddam Hussein is evil. Bill Clinton was horny (oops, had to throw that in). Democrats who compare a president who has reacted brilliantly to the 9-11 terrorist attacks to totalitarian mass murderers aren't to be taken seriously.

Second, Liberals, at least those I know, don't hate their country. I love mine, absolutely love it for its promise, and weep for its broken promises.

DFO: Funny, I've listened to liberals on talk radio and read their letters to the editor claiming the United States is to blame for inciting radical Islamists to attack the twin towers. That's simply nuts. Some Nervous Nevilles believe we were wrong to conquer Afghanistan let alone Iraq. Not all Lefties hold these goofy views, to be sure. But enough to make the whole tribe suspect.

Third, Saddam Hussein was a worse threat when we supported him, and did his worst crimes then. Condie Rice made an odd allusion to this when she referred to his "twelve years of terror." But he was there for twenty-four, the first dozen of which he was our baby.

DFO: Times change. Situations change. In fact, the Left would be wise to dump its blind support for the ex-Haitian tyrant Jean Bertrand Aristide.

Fourth, Isn't it odd that Hussein has disappeared from the headlines? When, exactly, will his swift trial be? And isn't it ODDER that the mastermind of 911 is off the map entirely?

DFO: Osama bin Laden is subject to a 24/7 hunt as we speak. Pakistani strongman Musharraf apparently has seen the light after he's been subject to a coupla assassination attempts and given us the green light, sorta, to check his country's wilderness on the Afghanistan border. And when we bag this thug before election? Democrats, like my friend here, will be embracing the theory that we had them all along. Dubya simply can't satisfy the Left.

One stylistic point: How many wives do you have, at present? NO COMMAS AROUND BRENDA!!

DFO: My friend finally made a legit point.

Gonzaga Double Dribbles Again:

Last fall, Gonzaga University's Student Bar Association refused to recognize the Christian Pro-Life Caucus because its rules required that Christians be in charge of the club. Now, the discriminatory SBA is refusing the same rights to the local chapter of the Christian Legal Council. And, as a result, has wandered into the cross-hairs of the Foundation for Individual Right in Education again.

Gonzaga owes its very existence to the constitutionally guaranteed right to organize around its religious identity, but it is allowing the SBA to deny these same fundamental rights to its students," said Greg Lukianoff, FIRE's director of legal and public advocacy.

Read the rest of the story here.

DFO: I'll be following this one.

Thursday Quick Fix Six (3/11/04):

Rise and shine, sleepy head, it's time for the Quick Fix Six, and we have some dandies as we enter the downhill side of the week:

1. The Democrats are right re: two Americas. But they're wrong about how this country is divided, according to a blogger who writes Dispatches from the Frozen North. This country is divided between sensible people who realize that we're at war and those who believe we aren't. Click here.

2. Don't look now Tolkien fans, but Disney is gearing up in New Zealand -- where else? -- to film C.S. Lewis' classic, The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe, with Nicole Kidman signed to play the White Witch. Click here.

3. Finally, someone pinpoints what's at stake in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and New York, where government officials arbitrarily are allowing gays to marriage: the rule of law. Charles Colson sez the blatant disregard for the law is a greater danger than the matter of gay marriages because it leads to tyranny. Click here.

4. Advocates are quick to point out that Scandinavian countries have had gay marriage for years. But they don't discuss the consequences of that liberal policy: the destruction of traditional marriage. In Scandinavia, a majority of the first-born children are born out of wedlock, including 60 percent in Denmark. Stanley Kurtz discusses the failed policy of gay marriage here.

5. Crusader Ted Baehr has battled to clean up Planet Hollyweird for almost 20 years, with some effect (believe it or not). That's why columnist Jane Chastain of WorldNetDaily was surprised when Christianity Today fired a cheap shot at this Hollywood hero. Click here.

6. Columnist Ann Coulter wonders WWJK: Who Would Kill Jesus? In Coulter's conservative hands, words are weapons of mass destruction. In her latest offering, she aims them at the liberals who are condemning The Passion of the Christ. And who don't have a clue about Christianity. Click here.

Another Bard Guess:

Cis Gors nominates my lovely wife, Brenda, as The Bard of Sherman Avenue because she'd know this town and me as well as anyone. But there's one problem with that selection. Brenda doesn't work or live on Sherman Avenue.

Meanwhile, I was wondering why no one had nominated Roger Hudson of Hudson Hamburgers fame. Writes Mike Kennedy: Roger Hudson may not be a poet, but his burgers have made me sing arias in the past.

DFO: And many of you would say: Amen.

BTW, I asked The Bard whom s/he would nominate if s/he didn't know who s/he was. And s/he said: Scott Reed (although Scott doesn't work directly on Sherman Avenue). The Bard also told me s/he isn't sweating yet re: loss of anonymity.

A Closer Look at Demo Primary Numbers:

A Boston Globe story provides evidence that the turnout numbers for the Demo primaries aren't as impressive as Demo Poohbah Terry McAuliffe and the national media would have you believe. In fact, the Demo participation is the third lowest in history. Want the rest of the story? Click here.

Angry Rant of the Week:

Since The Spokesman-Review no longer has a Golden Pen winner, I amused myself by selecting the best Left Wing Rant of the Week. It'd be hard to beat the letter to the editor today from Mildred Fuoss Vance of Nine Mile Falls for this screed, which I quote in part:

It now falls only for those who take issue with Mel Gibson to start cranking out the movies which portray equally as gory and bloody the countless bloodbaths perpetrated by Christians over the centuries. For tyranny, insanity, violence, thuggery, hyposcrisy, duplicity, abuses and murderous intentions, the gold standard seems to have been set by Christians. The more dogmatic and set-in-stone their hierarchy (for hierarchy always sets the tone), the more quickly they're able to "whomp up" the peons to go out and "kill for Christ."

Millie goes on to accuse "King George" of "wooing and romancing just such bigots." And urges people to "consider what life would be like under rule of intolerant, narrow-minded fundamentalist sadists." Later, she adds her coup de grace: "In one term, King George has already torn the country asunder."

DFO: Wonder what Millie would say about the atheist governments of China and the old Soviet Union that killed hundreds of millions? I'll take government influenced by the Christian religions any day.

A Vietnam Vet Looks at Kerry:

First, I should tell you that ex-Kootenai County planner George Nadler of Post Falls and his brother, Charles of Bayview, are American heroes. Between them, they received some three dozen medals for their service during the Vietnam War.

George was an aircraft commander with 1,200 combat hours who served three war stints; Charles was a helicopter pilot who saved lives by putting his own on the line. George has had a belly full of John Kerry trying to cash in on his Vietnam service after he denounced the American soldier as a crazed, raping thug before a congressional committee. I quote George in part:

In the game of Monopoly, a person can win a free get-out-of-jail card. In the game of life, John Kerry received, after four months combat, a get-out-of-Vietnam card for three wounds he modestly says put him out of commission for a total of two days.

How many relatives of the 50,000 soldiers killed in Vietnam would have their loved ones with them today, if they could have returned from the combat in Vietnam early? Millions of GI's were required to serve a year in country. Why did John Kerry accept an early return home when his experience commanding a Swift boat certainly would have given his and any other crews he commanded a better chance of fighting the enemy and bringing those crews home safely. He continually tells the American public he is fighting for them. What about the comrades he left behind? No commander would force an officer to retun home if he demanded to stay. I know because I was given that option and refused to go home.

George Nadler
Post Falls

Lunch Specials (3/10/04):

Without divine intervention, most liberals will continue to believe that Dubya's evil, that Saddam Hussein posed no threat to us, and that the United States was to blame for the twin towers attacks (we ticked off Islamic radicals so much that they were forced to murder more than 3,000 of our citizens). Let them bleat their silly mantras. And I'll point you to the rest of the story:

1. The death of Abu Abbas in American custody in Iraq is a reminder that Saddam Hussein operated a virtual Howard Johnson's for the world's terrorists. Abbas masterminded the hijacking the Achille Lauro. He's now shoveling coal in hell. Deroy Murdock of National Review On-Line writes about Iraq's terrorist connection here.

2. Columnist Michael Novak notes that John Flipflop Kerry can't ignore his record forever. With one speech and one joke, Dubya already has painted Teresa's boy toy as a double-tongued devil. And even the media has taken notes that Kerry's on both sides of every major issue. Click here.

3. Even so-called moderate Democrats, like Christopher Dodd, can be counted on to get it wrong when it comes to choosing up sides in Latin America. The D's are crying crocodile tears because the big, bad Bush administration chased Aristide out of Haiti. Michael Radu of FrontPageMag sez good riddance to the thug and provides the rest of the picture here.

4. Columnist Cal Thomas sez the late Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun should be damned rather than praised for his judicial activism that forced Roe v. Wade on this country and introduced heresy into the judicial system. Click here.

5. Atheists have formed a political action committee with the intent of endorsing presidential candidates and others. And if the candidates don't want the group's endorsement? Then, the candidates will have the tow the atheist line or get the endorsement anyway. Click here.

We're A No. 1 Seed:

Seattle Times columnist Blaine Newnham agrees with Zag fans that Gonzaga should get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. You folks who can't get enough of the Zags should click here for a westsider's perspective.

Good News, Baghdad:

For all who have searched the networks and national media in vain for good news about Iraq, the great news can be found in the interim constitution, adopted unanimously this week. Check out the list of guaranteed freedoms, which are incredible for an Arab country, here. No Holds Barred thanks Dawn J. Shaw for sending in this link.

Should I Or Shouldn't I?

Demo Mike Kennedy knows what it's like to count the cost of a run for office. And he knows there's a high cost. In the mid-1990s he was field manager for Walt Minnick's unsuccessful bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Larry Craig. In his new blog, The Idaho Kennedys, he writes at length about what people go through to muster the guts to throw their hats in the ring. Good read. Click here.

More Good Bard Guesses:

And the good guesses re: the identity of The Bard of Sherman Avenue keep comin' in:

Kootenai County Commish Rick Currie guesses ... Don Johnston, the downtown good guy and former Coeur d'Alene mayor. Wrongo.

Mike Kennedy offers these two dandies: Steve Gibbs of Art & Spirit and Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem. Wrongo. And wrongo. But dang good.

DFO: Mebbe I should ask The Bard who s/he'd think s/he was if s/he didn't know for sure.

Wednesday Quick Fix Six (3/10/04):

It's Wednesday morning, the sun is shining, so that must mean it's time for your morning Quick Fix Six. There's some dandies today:

1. Columnist Walter Williams takes dead aim at educational goofiness including that decision by Nashville schools to quit posting honor rolls because (sniff! sniff!) some parents complained it hurt their kids' feelings. Click here.

2. For some reason, the national media are ignoring the story, over the last six weeks, that troop casualties are way down in Iraq. Twenty in February. And only five so far in March. Every loss is a tragedy. But there's good news here, and the usual media suspects aren't reporting it. Click here.

3. You can find a special report by the Washington Times about the nationwide attack against the Boy Scouts by radical gay activists and the Anti-Christian Liberties League here.

4. Columnist Doug Powers of WorldNetDaily provides 13 good reasons -- some of them funny -- to vote for Dubya here.

5. Columnist Michelle Malkin draws our attention to the venom unleashed by the Far Left against U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft as he struggles with health problems. Leftists love nothing better than to accuse conservatives of being hateful while ignoring the poison in their own systems. Click here.

6. Claudia Rosett of the Wall Street Journal watched The Passion of the Christ in Poland after visiting the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. In this well-conceived think piece, she opines that the cinematic story of Christ's suffering doesn't match the grim reality of systematic murder. Click here.

Random Thoughts (3/9/04):

Another day is fading into night in the Inland Northwest. Here's a few thoughts and insights to ponder as we wait for daylight savings time:

--Ron Rankin, the old lion, is back, doing the thing he does best. I gottaholda a letter he sent to all residents who signed a petition against the proposed Lost Creek subdivision in the Hauser area back when. On Idaho State Property Owners Association letterhead, Rankin points out who he thinks was the good guy in all this -- Dick Panabaker -- and who was the bad guy -- Katie Brodie, the developer's agent. The commissioners, who included Rankin at the time, voted unanimously to overturn the planning commission's recommendation to approve the project. Brodie, of course, is trying to unseat Panabaker. Here's some of Rankin's rhetoric in the letter:

"Katie Brodie and some of the deepest pockets in the county are determined to punish Dick Panabaker for daring to vote against the monied ingterests she represented and who now support her candidacy to run for County Commissioner in Dick Panabaker's district."

Rankin is going to be a major player in several races this spring. Stay tuned.

--Conservative Kevin Krieg picked up papers for a District 5 legislative race. But my spy didn't know if the papers were for him or someone else. Or what legislative spot they were for. Stay tuned.

--Another guess has been added to the growing list of names who might be The Bard of Sherman Avenue: Thom Robb. Wrong. But a heckuva good guess.

Until tomorrow, adios -- dfo

--County Clerk Dan English tells me that he's updating the county elections Web site whenever a new wannabe files. The filing deadline is March 19. The link for Kootenai County candidates is here(you'll have to select the "2004 Primary"). And the Secretary of State link for congressional and legislative candidates is here. Neither site has any surprises to date.


Here's some thoughts for those of you who were wondering what to call the zero when you abbreviate the new century's year. A century ago, it was called an "aught" -- although I've referred to it incorrectly on occasion as "ought," including in a recent Hot Potatoes column. Here, reader Kim Long provides his interesting take on aught-4 and beyond to 2010:

For today's column (03/07/04), under the heading of "Third Time's Charmin'" you wrote: "...But don't expect a flap if he goes for three in Ought-6, despite a pledge back when that he'd limit himself to two terms."

Back when, in '97 (read: ninety-seven), I wondered whether the general public would embrace the word "aught"; whether we would automatically engage as the ten's place-holder for nine years of the first decade of the next century/millennium.

Would we enjoy awakening an archaic word that has hibernated in our dictionaries for ninety-years? Would we gladly add it our more concocted, "cool" common usages of the day? Would we chose to spell it "aught" instead of "ought", since -- at least in this case -- older (read: old school) is better?

Aught (noun) an alternative word, resulting from an incorrect division of naught. 1: zero, cipher 2: archaic: nonentity, nothing

Cheers, Kim "Max" Long

DFO: I oughta figure this one out. Or is that aughta?

2 More Bard Guesses:

This Bard thing's getting scary. Here's two more guesses ... and dang good ones at that:

From Paul Ferguson: Jim Elder.

From Hayden Councilman Chris Beck: Jeweler Dan Clark.

DFO: No and no. But you folks have your thinking cap on.

Afternoon Delight (3/9/04):

The blog's running late ... as usual. No lunch specials today. But we do have some sites that'll refresh you as you head for working day's end. Try these:

1. Columnist Dick Morris of New York Post On-Line reminds any Dubya fan who's worried about the poll numbers that shows John Kerry ahead by 6 percent that Michael Dukakis -- remember him? -- was leading Bush-41 by 17 points before the convention. And then got blown away in the general election. Click here for an insight into Dubya's campaign strategy.

2. National Review Editor At Large John O'Sullivan argues why Martha Stewart should never have been brought to trial here.

3. Thomas Sowell of focuses on the fuzzy thinking that's driving the gay activists and their allies in the gay marriage debate. Click here.

More Anti-PETA Fodder:

After reading about PETA's attempt to coax Slaughterville, Okla., to change its name, No Holds Barred has been seeking town or site names that would be equally offensive. A few weeks ago, Canadian Dwayne Boettcher of Edmonton submitted this entry here.

Now, Les Norton offers this: Just so your readers will know there is a Buffalo Jump lots closer in Montana. The Madison Buffalo Jump is just off the freeway a little bit on the way to Bozeman. The daughter and I stopped there once years ago. Nothing really fancy, but how much do you need anyway.

DFO: Keep those cards and letters coming.

Bush? Dumb? As A Fox:

Mr. Olivera --

Your (Huckleberries) column this morning touched on a theme which Democrats have been harping on: that President Bush is ignorant, a dummy. They have even influenced many-less-than-heavy thinkers abroad -- the Canadians and the British are leaders in this group.

There is little hope that there would be any kind of common sense in a political campaign. But I still mention, for what it's worth, that to believe that anyone who has the ability to become President of the most powerful nation on earth is ignorant or a dummy demonstrates an ignorance all its own.

Or do Democrats believe that it is the American people who vote who are the dummies? (As I follow the Kerry campaign, I begin to suspect that they do.)

Jack Hols

DFO: Jack's talking about the third item down in the column: "Dubya bashing." I subscribe to Jack's views that Dubya's no dummy. But I don't know if I can say the same about the American public. Remember, before Dubya, we elected Slick Willie twice

Abstinence Plus?

Inland Northwest blogger Bob Salsbury, who writes the Unbearable Bobness of Being blog, wasn't surprised by that poll I published Monday -- you know, the one that said parents prefer abstinence-based education. Sez Bob:

Geeze, what parent wouldn't want their kid taught NOT to do it....hello? The problem is...and this huge study of 12000 teenagers proves it (link here) is abstinence pledging teens are JUST as likely to get STD's as non pledgers...They do marry later and have fewer sexual partners according to the study. But it isn't safer sex as you put it: "The only true safe sex is called abstinence only, despite what sex educators will tell you."

DFO: I wonder how many children would stop doing it, if parents and educators would quit giving them mixed messages? Despite backsliders, the abstinence-based movement has given children the guidance and wisdom to say, no. You can read about that survey again here.

The Bard (A Profile):

For the past year, I've enjoined printing short poems from an individual, whom I've dubbed The Bard of Sherman Avenue. For you folks who are new to my scribblings, Sherman Avenue is the main street of Coeur d'Alene, a block north of our beautiful waterfront and Lake Coeur d'Alene. With the new blog, I'm getting renewed interest in people trying to guess whom The Bard is. In the last week, I've fielded these very good but incorrect guesses: Dave Walker, Scott Reed, Jim Duncan, Bliss and/or Annette Bignall, and Bob Singletary. Now, former Coeur d'Alene planner Steve Badraun has developed a pretty good profile of The Bard. Happy hunting:

1. It is a man. Shakespeare was a man and the reference to the word "bard" points to a man because of this.

2. He is a "closet" poet who has dawdled in that form like a person who does crossword puzzles

3. He is most likely a professional person or a retail store owner since he has been on Sherman Avenue for quite some time.

4. He watches politics and city activities as a hobby, probably on the outer edges of some political group.

5. He has a sense of humor, probably a little dry

6. He is quiet and unassuming and does not stand out in a crowd

7. He is respected in his profession and has lots of friends.

8. His friends know who he is because he has been writing and trying his poems on them for many years. They just have not put it together yet.

DFO: Any other guesses?

Tuesday Quick Fix Six

And another day begins in the overcast, but beautiful, Northwest, where to quote my favorite radio variety show host (Garrison Keillor) the women are strong, the men are good looking and the children are above average -- way above average. Here's today's Quick Fix Six:

1. Indeed, a top-notch femme marathon runner can beat a top-notch male marathoner -- if she's given a 20-minute head start. In the city of the angels, a woman takes full advantage of political correctness to claim the $50,000 top prize from a deserving male counterpart who easily bested her time. For another view of our cuh-razy world, click here.

2. Gadzooks! The New York Times has discovered that home schools provide a direct pipeline to conservative politics. No wonder the liberal education establishment, even in Republican Idaho, is attacking home schools. Click here.

3. Yes, Demo frontrunner John Kerry has read the Bible. And, yes, the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate has an opinion on gay marriage. Click here for that opinion.

4. That front-page attack by some 9-11 survivors on Dubya's initial campaign ads isn't as innocent as it may have seemed. Teresa Heinz-Kerry's money helps fund the organization that took Dubya to task. WorldNetDaily has the rest of the story here.

5. Believe it or not, our country will be observing National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers tomorrow (Wednesday). Don't know about you, but I'll pass. Joel Mowbray provides the full story here.

6. U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft won't be celebrating National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers tomorrow. In fact, he's standing up to the abortion industry and all the defenders on the Far Left who've fought to keep even the dastardly practice of partial birth abortion legal. Click here.

Random Thoughts 3/8/04:

Still, don't know where this blog's headed. Some say it doesn't have enough zip for them. Some say that it's a great resource for conservative thought. And some say that it's like a good train wreck. They can't take their eyes off of it. Until we find out what it is, I'll continue as is. Here's some random thoughts to end a Monday of work:

--A spy told me that ex-Lt. Gov. Jack Riggs, indeed, is sporting a beard now. Quoth: "I saw Riggs a week or so ago...he is sporting a beard, and it looks pretty good on him, but he still wears sandals, even in the winter."

--County Clerk Dan English guesses that The Bard of Sherman Avenue is: Bliss or Annette Bignall. Good guesses both. But wrong and wrong. I'll give you this one hint: The person either works or lives on Coeur d'Alene's Sherman Avenue.

--Coeur d'Alene City Attorney Mike Gridley will announce his candidacy for Rep. Bonnie Douglas' District 4 seat next Monday. So, we'll have at least one Democratic primary in Kootenai County.

--For those keeping score at home, Commish Rick Currie was still working at the people's business at 5:15 Friday afternoon. Wonder how many public servants can say that?

--Sightem at Lake City High's production of "Joseph and the Multicolored Dreamcoast": Supt. Harry Amend and wastewater treatment czar Sid Fredrickson. Sez Sid of the play: "These kids can't be in high school. They're too good." The play runs again from Wednesday thru Saturday. If you haven't seen a Blair Bybee play, you should. And this is the one to see.

--BTW, Producer Sandra Seaton gave each of the "Joseph" actors a special rock to remind them of their time practicing and performing the play. The girls have put the rocks in their sports bras during the performances. I'll leave it to your imagination as to where the boys put theirs.

Abstinence Only. Period:

In case you, as a parent, believe that sex education should promote abstinence above all alternatives ... you're not an oddball. In fact, a recent poll by the esteemed Zogby service shows parents overwhelmingly want abstinence-based education in the local high schools. Some 96 percent. But the national media fail to report that. Bottom line? The only true safe sex is called abstinence only, despite what sex educators will tell you. Here's the rest of the story.

'Big League Sluggers'

Oh surely not steroids --
It was hard work and pluck
That made them the size of
A Freightliner truck.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

DFO: Btw, New Jersey reader Steve Badraun -- late, great owner of Duncan's nursery of Coeur d'Alene -- offered these three guesses re. the identity of The Bard of Sherman Avenue: Dave Walker, Jimmy D. Duncan and Scott Reed. Wrong. Wrong. And wrong. But great guesses. The Bard's anonymity lingers on.

Repub Senators Fail Base:

Social conservatives can thank North Idaho's Republican senators for denying them an opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage this fall. Five of the six voted against a move by state Sen. Jerry Sweet, R-Boise, to wrestle a proposed marriage amendment out of the Senate State Affairs Committee for a floor vote. One (Dick Compton) was absent. The final vote on the matter was 20-13. Now, imagine what the vote would have been had Shawn Keough, Kent Bailey, John Goedde and the others voted with the religious conservatives who helped elect them: 18-15 in favor of a floor vote.

Afterward, Keough and Bailey defended their votes by saying they had to protect the legislative process. Quoth Bailey: "My vote is not against or for the bill -- my vote is to support the committee. ... The committee debated it, and the committee decided." What horse feathers. Keough and Bailey and other Republicans wanted to make sure a constitutional amendment wasn't part of the fall debate as they seek re-election.

Religious conservatives, as well as all people who hold the traditional, common-sense belief that marriage is an institution uniting a man with a woman, should hold North Idaho's Republican senators accountable for this disingenuous vote. (For those keeping score at home, all of North Idaho representatives but Coeur d'Alene Democrats George Sayler and Bonnie Douglas supported the constitutional amendment in a House vote.) They'll soon be back in town, cap in hand, asking you for your support. Make 'em squirm.

Lunch Specials (3/8/04):

Sorry things have been posted late this morning. The blog's been acting up. Mebbe it's all the sunshine pouring in through my Northwest Boulevard office window. Mebbe the blog wants to trek a coupla blocks down to the lake and sun bathe at City Beach. In fact, that sounds so good that I might do so. But first ... a couple lunch specials to get you going this Monday, Monday:

1. So, where does the Hard Left get its loony ideas. Planet Hollyweird, yes. The media elite of the East, yes. But the particularly hard-core die-hard ones come from the likes of pamphleteers Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal and the P.C. crowd contaminating college campuses unchallenged. Columnist Suzanne Fields takes them on here.

2. World magazine columnist Joel Belz takes issue with the notion promulgated by Sports Illustrated, columnist Leonard Pitts and others that male chauvinist pigs are solely responsible for the sex scandal at the University of Colorado. The culture is, too, including the liberals and libertines whining about the Buffalo football program. Click here for Belz take on the matter. And check out the latest issue of World mag on line here.

3. Sorry to be redundant, but here's another take on the war against free speech on college campuses. This time, young conservatives are on the front lines against the Far Left radicals from the '60s who are now running things.

4. Debra Burlingame of the Wall Street Journal correctly points out that the 9-11 attacks happened to us all and were a defining moment for this country. That's why it doesn't matter whether survivors or the New York attacks agree or disagree with Dubya's campaign using 9-11 images. Click here.

5. David R. Francis of the Wall Street Journal argues that things aren't as bleak for Social Security recipients as Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan sez. Click here.

Huckleberries & Hot Potatoes:

You can read my print columns on line here (Monday Huckleberries) and here (Sunday Hot Potatoes).

Monday Quick Fix Six (3/8/04):

Spring's threatening to break out in the Pacific Northwest as we begin another week in be-yoo-tiful Coeur d'Alene, the city by the lake -- and sometimes on the take. No Holds Barred welcomes a new California reader to our growing Internet family, William Meyer of Redding. Onward:

1. Another look at that goofy U.S. Supreme Court decision involving the Spokane kid who wanted to go to seminary. In a 7-2 ruling, the court said he couldn't use public money for religious studies. Find out why that threatens all religious programs supported by government, either directly or indirectly, here.

2. Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ showed us what the Savior was willing to go through for us -- and also exposed Planet Hollyweird's hatred of all things Christian. According to Laura Ingraham, the reaction by Hollyweird to this blockbuster movie proves how out of touch it is. (BTW, the movie's take is now $212 million and counting.) Click here.

3. Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby explains why gay marriage isn't a civil rights issue here.

4. Rush Limbaugh surprised conservatives by coming to Howard Stern's defense after the shock jock was fired by Clear Channel. Limbaugh provides a fuller explanation of his viewpoint here

5. Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria points out that Islamic extremists are losing the support of their culture. And that their attacks against Shiite Moslems is the ultimate sign of their desperation. Click here

6. Demo frontrunner John Kerry has made hay by rattling his Vietnam War metals and by studiously avoiding discussion about his postwar comments about America's fighting men. But you can read a report about how he tried to gain a year's reprieve from the service here.

He Loves Me Not:

On Sunday, I ran this note in my Hot Potatoes column:

Right to Lousy Wages: Hot Potatoes'd like to meet the Shinola salesman who sold Idaho on the 1986 Right to Work law. Idaho wages have tanked since. The law should be called Right to Be Underpaid. Sweet Potatoes -- to the petition gatherers trying to put this lousy law on the ballot for a statewide vote.

Dear Spuds for Brains,

If you are looking for the Shinola salesmen that inflicted "right to starve" legislation on all those in Spudland, kindly attend your next Republican caucus with a group of fellow travelers, stand in front of a mirror, and take a picture. I'm sure you will capture the image of many involved in this ill-advised plot of the right-wing. You won't find too many Demos pushing for slave labor.

Pat O'Leary

DFO: But you will find Demos supporting every form of abortion, including the dastardly practice of partial-birth abortion when a child is snuffed by having its brains sucked out a breath or two away from life. I wouldn't consider myself morally superior if I were you, pal.

Random Thoughts (3/5/04):

Some final thoughts before I call it a week. And, yes, you notice I'm still breaking big rocks into little rocks late Friday afternoon. One of these days, I'm going to call around to see how many of our public servants are still on the clock this deep into the week. Random thoughts:

--Seems like every Republican in Kootenai County is running for office. But I know some who aren't. Mebbe two or so. That sez to me that a lot of folks aren't happy with the current standard bearers. And I agree with them. North Idaho has some pathetic legislators. Not all. But some. I'd name names now. But I'll wait for our endorsements later this spring.

--Coeur d'Alene City Attorney Mike Gridley and I have a common bond that's a bit strange. His surname is Gridley. And I was raised in the small northern California town of Gridley (pop. 3,500). Which prompted Mike, who's considering a run for the Legislature, to leave this phone message: "Can I tell people that you're a Gridley man?" We'll see. But ya gotta admire his wit.

--Come primary election night in May, you might see me wearing a button that Kootenai County Repub queenpins Donna Montgomery and Ruthie Johnson presented to me Thursday: "Trust Me: I'm A Reporter."

--Anyone seen ex-Lt. Gov. Jack Riggs of late? Rumors have it that he's grown a beard, let his hair grow out and lost weight. Dunno what that'd look like. Stay tuned.

--At a recent Upbeat Breakfast, I'm told, Kootenai County Commish Dick Panabaker said (and I paraphrase): "You have to have whiskers in order to do this job." Which didn't sit well with some of the femmes in the audience. And left me wondering if women who've undergone electrolysis count?

--I'm told the hottest gossip spot out there is the Friday night flight from Boise to Spokane when legislators and their entourage return home. Sez a fly on the wall: After they've had a coupla drinks, they're likely to say anything.

--No free GOP primary ride for James Hollingsworth in the District 4 (Coeur d'Alene) House race for Demo Rep. Bonnie Douglas' seat. Before he gets a rematch with Bonnie, James may have to beat Marge Chadderdon of Carpet Center fame.

--Finally, the answer is 81. That's Frank Henderson's age, for all of you who are out there guessing. Haven't seen the old Kootenai County commissioner in awhile. But he sounded hale and hearty on the phone. He keeps in shape by gardening and working out at the gym five days a week. Sounds as though he's in better shape than I am. Shaddup.

TGIF Lunch Special (3/5/04):

Mother Nature is throwing a nasty one at us this afternoon. It's snowing like crazy on the banks of Lake Coeur d'Alene. But mebbe today's lunch specials will warm everyone up:

1. Looks like Martha Stewart's going to be designing prison clothes and jail cells in the future. See The Associated Press report here.

2. Dr. Laura Schlessinger explains why men are under attack by the Feminist Left here.

3. Dick Morris of New York Post On-Line provides a 1-2-3 strategy of how Dubya can cut John Flipflop Kerry off at the knees here.

4. You want good news about the Middle East? Here's National Review Editor Rich Lowry saying that our involvement in the region has choked nuclear proliferation.

5. And here's some other truths about Dubya's strategy in the Middle East that aren't self evident if you rely on CNN, Dan, Peter and Tom for your international news.

Quid Pro Quo Cease Fire?

A cease fire proposal comes from a reader in Odessa, Wash:


Here's an idea about the Bush advertisement flap that some Democrats are so upset about: The Bush campaign won't run the ad which uses images of 9-11 if John Kerry will once-and-for-all shut up about Vietnam and his "band of brothers." I'm optimistically cautious about it.

Larry Snyder
Odessa, WA

DFO: I think some of the band of brothers want to disown JFK II.

A Response to Passion Q:

Here's a response to that No Holds Barred question about the long-term significance about "The Passion of the Christ":

I saw The Passion in Los Angeles this past weekend. Long term impact? Hmm. I think it is opening the eyes of the blind Hollywood moguls who think the world revolves around sex and foul language. Amazing how $125 million in the first week can catch their attention! They now realize millions of Americans actually care about spiritual matters (how trite). I would say there is a culture war (10 Commandments, gay marriage) in the midst of our yearning for something stable and certain in our lives (is that too intolerant a statement)?

Don Otis

Quickie Play Review:

I've mentioned this once before, but now I've seen it ... and can wholeheartedly endorse it. If you enjoy theater and if you enjoy musicals, in particular, and if you've never seen a Lake City High production, you have to see Joseph and the Technicolored Dreamcoat. After watching the opening night performance last night, I was simply stunned that high school students could perform that well. Of course, LCHS followers will tell you that Troupe d'Wolfe quit performing high school plays years ago. The cast is in another gear. Instructor Sandra Seaton deserves credit for that. Each year, she brings in Director Blair Bybee from New York. And Bybee's struck gold again with "Joseph." Remember "Footloose" last year? This one's better. See it tonight or Saturday or Wednesday thru Saturday next week ($7 adults). And thank me later.

TGIF Quick Fix Six (3/5/04):

It's Friday, and now the national media is attacking Dubya for his campaign ads. Demo wannabe John FlipFlop Kerry doesn't need Dubya's war chest, when he has the resources of the media at his beck-and-call. Wonder when the media is going to get around to reporting that the respected National Journal picked Kerry as the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate? It's going to get worse before it gets better. You might see Kerry nominated for sainthood by the New York Times before this one is over. Onward:

1. The Idaho Statesman reports today that even the uber-Republican Idaho House of Representatives is beginning to think that government has a role to play in trimming people down. Find out about the latest fat attack here.

2. The Empire Strikes Back: The Oregon Defense of Marriage Coalition has formed to fight back against the gay marriage anarchy going on in Portland. Mark Larabee of The Oregonian reports today from the front lines on the confusion caused by gay marriage here.

3. WorldNet Daily reports that a good portion of the Iranian military is waiting/hoping/praying for America to liberate its country. Click here.

4. Find out why the noose is tightening around Osama bin Laden here.

5. Religious conservatives will remember the name Marlin Maddoux, founder of USA Radio Network, and a giant in the Christian broadcast industry. He died today at age 70. WorldNetDaily reports that news here.

6. The Associated Press reports that Dubya and Flipflop are dead even in the first poll since the new, ahem, JFK banished the last Demo Dwarf with his 9-of-10 knockout on Super Tuesday. Ralphie Nader is pulling down 6 percent support, or enough to effect another election. Click here.

Dancing Bush:

Although this was sent along by a devilish Demo -- Kootenai County Clerk Dan English -- I think even R's can enjoy Dubya boogying. Click here and smile.

Here's Some Sites for You Lefties:

On Wednesday, Lakeland School District business manager Tom Taggart expressed his disappointment with this blog. He said he preferred informed debate rather than incendiary links from fire-breathing Righties, like Ann Coulter, Emmett Tyrrell and Wes Pruden. So, John Rook passed along some links for you Lefties peeking at this blog, with the note: Oh Please, give poor Tom Taggart someplace where he'd be more comfortable. Here they are:


BTW, You Righties can find quite an assortment of conservative mags at CDA's Hastings: The National Review, American Spectator, NewsMax and the Washington Times.

Bailey v. Boatright v. Jorgenson:

A birdie told me that Hayden Lake City Councilman Mike Jorgenson will throw his hat in the ring for state Sen. Kent Bailey's Senate District 3 seat soon. Mebbe Saturday. That'll make it a three-way Repub primary among the incumbent, Jorgenson and ex-senator Clyde Boatright.

And that brings to mind a statement made this morning by a good friend, who described herself as "the only Republican in the county who isn't running for office."

Lunch Special (3/4/04):

Here's three pills that will help you digest your lunch today:

1. Writing for World magazine on line, Gene Edward Veeth makes a good argument why Christians should be nature lovers and in some cases allies with the Gang Green crowd. Click here for his interesting thoughts.

2. Try to erect a copy of the Ten Commandments on a courthouse lawn, and you have hell to pay. But that's not the case for a university statue mocking the Catholic faith. Click here to read about the latest judiciary outrage against the faith.

3. The U.S. Supreme Court almost overturned Roe v. Wade in 1992, but Justice Anthony Kennedy got cold feet and the vote went the other way. And that led to another 12 years of slaughter of the unborn. Justice Harry A. Blackmun's private papers revealed Kennedy's role in the dastardly vote. Click here.

4. You can find more Free Speech outrage by the Left against the Right on campus here.

Huckleberries & Hot Potatoes:

You can get your fresh helpings of my three-dot columns this week here (Huckleberries) and here (Hot Potatoes).

Yalies All:


The Bushes, Clinton, and John Kerry
are alumni legendary,
which brings to mind the thought, alas,
that Yale may not hold ethics class.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Dirk Eyes Charter Schools:

Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne has released specifics on a new charter school proposal, including creation of a commission with the powers to approve charter schools. The plan faces tough sledding in the Legislature. Read the complete story from The Idaho Statesman here.

Demos Can't Shoot Straight on Guns:

I've been looking for a good explanation of that 90-8 vote this week in which the U.S. Senate shot down U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's bill that would have protected gun manufacturers from lawsuits. I couldn't believe Republicans had abandoned gun manufacturers and owners. They hadn't. Collin Levey of The Seattle Times explains why the anti-gun Democrats shot themselves in the foot again. Click here.

Thursday Quick Fix Six (3/4/04):

My roof has sprung a leak, just as Mother Nature decided to slap us with a skiff of snow one more time this winter. Bad timing. But duty calls. Time for another Quick Fix Six:

1. Columnist Suzanne Fields notes how how hell hath no fury like a feminist poet (Naomi Wolf) scorned. Read all about it here.

2. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. has been an ardent observer of all things Clinton for years. And he sees the dynamic duo on the move again, as U.S. Sen. John Kerry begins seeking a running mate. Here's why you can't count out a Kerry/Hillary ticket.

3. Dynamic Ann Coulter provides our daily The Passion of the Christ fix by remarking that the New York Times and other liberal publications are clueless about religious conservatives. No one beats Coulter for sticking in the knife and twisting. Enjoy her latest here.

4. Democrats have hit Dubya with their best shots for months and succeeded in bringing his poll numbers down to around 50 percent. That isn't bad when you consider that Dubya now knows who the opposition is -- and it's his time to fire back. Here's a look at February's polling numbers.

5. James Pinkerton of notes how Dubya's father had a field day pointing out Michael Dukakis's liberal record. But Dubya has to be careful. The public doesn't like negative campaigning. And Kerry, the nation's most liberal U.S. senator, will be ready for the attack. Click here.

6. Robert Moran, a National Review On-Line contributor, notes that the job picture isn't the doom-and-gloom that Democrats have painted it. Click here.

Have A Nice Day:

I'll leave you with this happy thought (picked off the Internet by Henry Johnston):

"There are a lot of folks who can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in America. Well, there's a very simple answer. Nobody bothered to check the oil. We just didn't know we were getting low. The reason for that is purely geographical. All our oil is in Alaska, Texas, California, and Oklahoma. All our dipsticks are in Washington DC."

Et Tu, Hannity:

Henry D. Johnston's back and he's abloggin'. Henry? He's the former Sandpoint High student who made headlines a few years back by insisting that his school obey Idaho law by beginning each day by pledging allegiance to the U.S. flag. Now, Henry's attending U-of-I and trying to keep up his "Idaho Politics" blog. You can see the job he's doing with it here. Henry's take on the recent stop in Spokane by conservative radio star Sean Hannity is very good:

Just Another Big Star...

My twin brother and I went up to Spokane yesterday to see Sean Hannity speak in person. Armed with the unautographed copies of Sean's books ("Let Freedom Ring" & the new one "Deliver us from Evil"), a camera and tickets, we were hoping to rub elbows with our favorite talk show host. (Well, my brother's favorite...I'm more of a Rush fan myself, but thats beside the point.)

The event was at the Big Easy, packed full enough to make you feel claustrophobic and hotter than Howard Dean's body temp after Iowa. The lights go dim, we get a huge introduction and finally Sean speaks for about 45 minutes. "OK, this is fine, as long as we get our picture" I whisper to my brother. Then Deborah Wilde (remember her from her Q6 days? I've got a story to tell about her later...) gets up on stage and says "I'm sorry, Sean will only be signing books today, no personal photographs. This after he specifically said on his radio show that he would take photos with anyone who asked. He just stands there waving like an idiot, oblivious to the boos from the crowd.

Needless to say we were both upset that we spent $19.00 + gas (which could easily translate into beer money) to listen to him say the same thing he says on the radio every day. This guy would be great for public office ... maybe he and Teresa Kerry could go on the road together...

DFO: Ouch! Tough crowd!

A Democrat at CDA City Hall?

Here's another one that you heard here first. Coeur d'Alene City Attorney Mike Gridley has been asking around for permission to run for the Legislature -- as a Democrat. Yep, he's planning to challenge first-term state Rep. Bonnie Douglas, D-CDA, in a spring primary race. And wished that someone would get around to telling Bonnie to step aside. Seems no one knows her well enough to do the dirty deed. As a side issue, most of the Republican denizens at City Hall, including Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander, are shocked -- shocked! -- that Gridley is a Democrat. No one knows how the interview process failed to uncover that fact. Heads will roll.

He Loves Me Not:

I received this from Lakeland School District biz manager Tom Taggart of Coeur d'Alene over the Wednesday lunch break:


I have been one of the 600+ daily visitors to the new blog. Morbid curiosity I guess. After watching you de-evolve over the years from an excellent reporter to a so-so gossip columnist, it looks like you might be pulling your self back into the realm of semi-respectable work. As a former democrat and current independent I have found a small percentage of your info interesting. My main objection to most of the links you provide, and this applies to most liberal commentary also, is the nasty. mean spirited tone. By resorting to name calling and hyperbole the opposition is reduced to the "enemy", rather than fellow citizens who have different beliefs. We need spirited and lively debates, not angry name calling. I know we live in troubled times (When haven't we?) but those that disagree, on either side, are not the evil enemy, but rather neighbors, co-workers, fellow members of a community. There is strength in diverse opinions vigorously expressed.


DFO: Ouch! That's harsh! I didn't realize that I'd become mediocre. And please don't tell the National Society of Newspaper Columnists that I'm so-so. That organization was fooled into awarding me second place in last year's national Herb Caen Memorial Tidbits competition -- first place in 1999. As far as the main point of Tom's criticism goes, No Holds Barred is a work in progress -- a conservative one. I try to provide the best links to conservative national commentary each day. Some of its harsh. As lively commentary sometimes is. I really don't know how this blog'll turn out. But people reading, and that's the important thing.

Lunch Special (3/3/04):

Here's the specials for Wednesday's lunch bunch and the latest box office earnings of The Passion of the Christ: $144.6 million. Onward:

1. Charles Colson, the great Christian apologist, points out how the media use episodes like the unfortunate murder of 11-year-old Carlie Brusia to scare us to death. Click here.

2. Columnist Ben Shapiro sez our youngsters are paying a stiff price for sexual freedom in terms of STDs, depression, suicide and a loss of innocence. Click here.

3. Michelle Malkin, a former Northwesterner whose now making her way as a syndicated columnist, takes a look at "The New Face of the Lawless Left" here.

Eberle vs. Henderson, Part II:

Indeed, it's going to be ultraconservative Charles Eberle versus octagenarian Frank Henderson, the former Kootenai County commish and Post Falls mayor, in a House District 5B primary race. Henderson will make the announcement in the next day or so. He's a dream candidate for the local biz crowd, albeit long in tooth. But he won't have a cake walk because the Post Falls area has some key conservatives, like Ron Rankin, who'll back Eberle.

After a successful career as a commissioner, Henderson lost state Senate races in 1990 and 1992.

In Henderson's first Senate try, Rankin came into play when Lee Knowles, a Kootenai County Property Owners Association ally, ran as an Independent in a three-way race that also included Democrat Denny Davis. Knowles pulled away enough votes (2,966) to enable Davis (9,278) to beat Henderson (8,438). The 1990 election also featured Democrat Barbara Chamberlain beating Republican Hilde Kellogg (10,331 to 10,018) and Freeman Duncan besting Independent Alice Rankin (11,910 to 7,681). 1990 was also the year that Repub Bob Horton of Hayden ended Dean Haagenson's legislative career by dumping him in the GOPrimary: 3,230 votes to 3,145.

In 1992, Chamberlain, a liberal Democrat who had the distinction of being the first or one of the first mothers to nurse her child at the state Legislature, stopped Henderson's second bid for the state Senate: 7,363 votes to 6,568.

Then came Newt Gingrich and the Republican route of 1994, and we haven't heard much of the Idaho Democratic Party since.

Mad Cows & Illegal Aliens

Big John Rook, former owner of KCDA-AM radio, was thinking deep thoughts this afternoon -- and came up with this:

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that our government can
track a cow born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where
she sleeps in the state of Washington? The government can also track her
calves to their individual stalls.

But ... this same government can't locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country.

-- JR

DFO: It's not just you, John. (BTW, John sez he's the originator of this piece, although you might have seen it elsewhere on the Web. Seems he sent it out, his friends liked it and mass mailed it to their friends, and the rest is history. The Internet is an amazing device.)

Is Dirk Eyeing Re-election?

From the Idaho Statesman in Boy-C comes word that Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne has backed off from his statement that he won't seek re-election to a third term. That's great news, if one of your two main alternatives is Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, who has no love for North Idaho. And vice versa. Kempthorne has grown into the office after a so-so first term and become a decent governor. Click here for the rest of the story.

3 Cheers for John Kerry -- Not:

In the end, Bush-hating Democrats forgot the lessons of presidential races past and picked the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate as their 2004 nominee. Here's some things you should know about the new JFK: John Flipflop Kerry:

1. The Washington Times editorial page wonders how Kerry can represent the American people when he rarely shows up in the Senate to vote. Click here.

2. Army Col. Glenn Lackey, a Vietnam War veteran, raises serious questions about Kerry's post-war, anti-U.S. troop comments before a congressional committee. Click here.

3. Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby sez the Democrats just nominated a "tedious blister" as their standard bearer. Click here.

4. Dick Morris, Slick Willie's old poll-taking confidante, sez Dubya just moved a step closer to re-election. Morris, of the New York Post On-Line, is one guy that I pay close attention to. Click here.

5. Shawn Macomber, a contributor to FrontPage Magazine and the American Spectator, illustrates how the national media have given John Kerry a pass here.

Wednesday Quick Fix Six (3/3/04):

No Holds Barred is two weeks old today -- and already it's getting more than 600 page hits per day. The blogmeister sez that's good. And then began applying his whip again: "I want more," he screamed. So, here's another Quick Fix Six to start your morning. And his:

1. John O'Sullivan, editor-in-chief of the National Interest, sez critics miss the whole point when they contend that The Passion of the Christ is anti-Semitic. It's anti-Romanism, if it's anything because it deservedly portrays Pilate and his Roman thugs in the worst light possible. Click here for his views.

2. If you've damned the Internet occasionally because much evil lurks there, you're not alone. The ayatollahs who have run rough shod over Iranians for years are having trouble controlling it, too. Luke Thomas, a fellow at Digital Freedom Network, sez the Internet has become a tremendous tool for reformers who are trying to undercut the power of the ayatollahs. Click here.

3. Johannes L. Jacobse, a Greek Orthodox priest who edits Orthodoxy Today, looks at why the National Council of Churches has lost its relevancy here.

4. Andrew Sullivan, the gay conservative blogger, opines that Dubya could suffer the fate of Winston Churchill -- you know, get dumped from office after he's been amazingly successful in leading troops into battle as commander in chief. Read his interesting take here.

5. Matt Daniels, the point man on the traditional marriage amendment, talked to the editors of World magazine here.

6. In an article for Hillsdale College's Imprimis publication, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Walter Olson explains why suits against McDonalds and other fast-food joints aren't as ridiculous as they seem. Click here.

Rumorama: Eberle vs. Henderson?

Extra! Extra! A rumor making the rounds in the Idaho Legislature down Boy-C way is this: Ex-Kootenai County commish Frank Henderson will take on controversial House District 5B rep Charles Eberle in a GOPrimary fight. Currently, Henderson is trying to help Katie Brodie win Commish Dick Panabaker's seat. Henderson, a capable former mayor of Post Falls whom the late Lois Land-Albrecht once called, Mr. Peanut, could be busy this spring. Stay tuned.

Fan Mail (3/2/04):

From the Peanut Gallery (and Rick Bright of Coeur d'Alene re: that lead Sunday Hot Potato in which Ron Rankin complained about a nude public TV scene from the Murder in Mind series):

While reading Hot Potatoes Sunday morning, I couldn't help feeling sorry for poor old Ron Rankin. It must have been terrible for "an old Marine" to witness the horrors of nude female breasts and heterosexual love-making. He should have tuned in an hour later for Frontline's report on the invasion of Iraq and spared his delicate sensibilities. As we all know, death and destruction are more suitable family viewing. We can only hope and pray that our "young Marines" in Iraq are trained in how to survive the horrors of the naked female breast.

As a former Kootenai County "commish," Mr. Rankin is probably having a hard time making ends meet due to all the taxes he must be paying. Because of this, I have decided to give up my morning espresso tomorrow and am enclosing with this letter two dollars for you to forward to Mr. Rankin. That should pretty much take care of his public television tax debt of $1.30 for the year and leave enough change to buy himself a nice cup of weak tea to calm his nerves.

Rick Bright

DFO: Rick enclosed two crisp $1 bills to cover Ron's taxes of about 80 cents per month for public TV -- and a cup of weak tea. No Holds Barred will pass them along.

A Legislature of One:

Dunno how Idaho Sen. Sheila Sorensen, R-Boise, got away with it -- you know, mortally wounding a proposed constitutional amendment to establish that marriage is the union of one man with one woman. But she seems to be succeeding.

Sorensen? She's the Senate State Affairs chairwoman who refused to hold a hearing on the amendment which passed the House on a 53-17 vote. The inaction creates a roadblock that's tough to get around. And, despite lip service, none of the other Republican leaders seem interested in resurrecting this Hot Potato. Which makes a skeptic like me wonder if the fix was in on this one. After all, Sorensen is bulletproof. She plans to retire this year which means she doesn't have to face angry voters in the fall. If I was a betting man, I'd say some Republican in a high place put Sorensen up to this to avoid a major controversy in an election year.

Which begs the question: What good are Republicans to religious conservatives if the most Republican legislature in the country can't even pass an amendment defending traditional marriage? Anyone?

DFO: For those keeping score at home, all seven North Idaho Republican reps and Democrat Mary Lou Shepherd of Wallace voted for the amendment on the House side that would recognize marriage as the match between one man and one woman. The two Coeur d'Alene Democrats -- George Sayler and Bonnie Douglas -- voted against it.

Tuesday Lunch Special (3/2/04):

Here's a five-spot to wash down your burger and fries today:

1. Good news from Iraq provides the Blue Plate special today. While the national media obsesses about the bombings and killings -- and there was more of that today -- the Iraqi governing council adopted a remarkable constitution that would put its country light years ahead of the rest of the Arab world in terms of freedom and democracy. The vote? Unanimous. Click here for the story.

2. A poll quoted by The Associated Press sez gay marriage stirs passions more than abortion and gun control -- and could be a factor in this year's prez race. Click here.

3. Canada admits it's still a haven for terrorists here.

4. James Taranto's feature Best of the Web from the Wall Street Journal is a must-read. You have to sign up for it here. But it's free.

5. Saucy Florence King explains why she's a misanthrope. Click here for great writing and a further introduction to this fascinating former Southern belle.

Gotta Question for You:

Here's a question for anyone who's seen The Passion of the Christ:

Do you think Mel Gibson's film is going to have any long-range impact? Why? Why not?

You can answer by clicking on the "send an e-mail" button on the left of the screen.

Evangelicals Lite:

I've often wondered how Jesus Christ could use 12 somewhat deficient men to turn the world upside down. And how his millions of U.S. followers make so little impact on the society around them. In an article, "Unbelieving 'born-agains,'" Cultural Editor Gene Edward Veith of World magazine provides these amazing statistics:

--26 percent of born-agains believes all religions are essentially the same.
--50 percent believes a life of good works will enable a person to get to heaven.
--35 percent doesn't believe that Jesus rose physically from the dead.
--33 percent accepts same-sex marriages.
--39 percent believes it's morally acceptable to live together before marriage.
--by 27% to 24%, born-again Christians are more likely than non-Christians to have experienced divorce.
--Slightly more born-agains believe in the devil than believe in the Holy Spirit.
--10 percent believes in reincarnation.
--29 percent believes it's possible to communicate with the dead.

Ah, I think that answers my question.

'Vacation - Not'

"The sea is blue; the sun is bright.
White beaches sparkle in the light.
But here’s a news flash for you, matey:
I doubt I’ll spend spring break in Haiti."

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Tuesday Quick Fix Six (3/2/04):

And a top of the morning to you this second day of March. How about a Quick Fix Six from the right side of the aisle?

1. Incrementally, since 1990, state laws that set a brake on the runaway abortion industry have had an effect. Reporter Joseph A. D'Agostino of Human Events On-Line reports that minor pro-life (notice how I avoid the media's negative word, antiabortion?) legislation helped cut abortion by 17.4 percent in the 1990s. Read all about it and find a link to the complete study here.

2. The current World mag on-line cover story by Lynn Vincent begins with this teaser: A four-decade assault on the meaning of family has left the traditional model in tatters, but some Christian groups and churches are working to reverse the trend. Read all about it here.

3. Ready for the next outrage from our good friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? Just before Easter, the PETA-philes will compare the crucified Christ to a pig. Coming to a billboard at a place near you soon - a pig who allegedly "died for your sins." Click here to get the picture.

4. Weird Jean-Bertrand Aristide has been toppled in Haiti. And good riddance. He was one of the American Left's favorite thugs. National Review Editor Rich Lowry opines why his departure from Haiti is a good thing for his people. Click here.

5. Don't let Democrats suck you into the WMD game. Whether or not Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, it's good that we went in there and took him out - not the least of which was to free millions of people from fear, torture and murder. Jack Spencer of the Heritage Foundation argues here that no proof of WMDs was needed to invade Iraq.

6. Demo frontrunner John Kerry doesn't like labels when they're aimed at him - like the National Journal survey that designated him the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate. But he enjoys labeling others. Click here for Washington Times story.

Bumpersnicker (3/1/04):

Bumpersnicker spotted by colleague Erica Curless on a Boundary County (Idaho) Honda on the interstate today:

"Invest in America: Buy a congressman."


Steve Eugster Responds:

After receiving an e-mail from ex-Spokane County Demo Chair Tom Keefe criticizing his on-line campaign statements about Gonzaga, Spokane County Superior Court candidate Steve Eugster sent the following to No Holds Barred:

Here is what my announcement of candidacy currently says about some of my concerns about judicial diversity:

Most of the judges come from Gonzaga Law School. This is not necessarily bad, but when, as a group, the Gonzaga graduates are considered mediocre by many, the school gets a bad name, and those who are not in the know with these people have an uphill battle. (About 8 out of 11 to 12 lawyers in Spokane County are Gonzaga law school graduates.)

One religion predominates. Is this a proper diversity issue? I think it is. First, a judge's religion seems to be important to judges in Spokane County. Some of the Spokane County judges, reporting their biographies in the main judicial biographical reference used in the United States, make it a point of saying they are "Catholic" or "Roman Catholic." I find this very odd because religion should not be important in an ideal world.

Second, it is interesting that so many of the judges on the bench seem to be of one religion and are graduates of a religiously based law school when that religion only makes up about 16% of the Spokane County population.

--Steve Eugster

DFO: You can read the complete announcement here.

Monday Lunch Special (3/1/04):

Today's special, of course, remains The Passion of the Christ. But No Holds Barred also has some side dishes that might interest you. (Sorry this was posted so late. We had some technical difficulties):

1. Oscar Emcee Billy Crystal had the best quote Sunday night re: Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ: "Mel Gibson's movie, unbelievable, hit, $117 million. Opened on Ash Wednesday, had a Good Friday, a better Saturday and Sunday, unbelievable." In fact, The Passion now surged beyond $125 million since Wednesday, the second best five-day opening in movie history. You can look at the numbers here.

2. In case you were wondering, Pastor Greg Laurie offers a Christian perspective of why Christ had to suffer His passion. Click here.

3. Columnist Doug Powers explains why "The Passion" has transformed Mel Gibson into a Frankenstein monster at Planet Hollyweird here.

4. Free-lancer Laura Bartholomew Armstrong advises Demo prez wannabe John Kerry not to play the Vietnam card. Armstrong, the daughter of a Vietnam War hero, points out how Kerry is using his Vietnam War service to mask an anti-military agenda here.

5. Jonathan V. Last may be the only critic out there who wasn't impressed with ``The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.'' "The Fellowship of the Ring," yes. But not the final film of Peter Jackson's amazing triology. Find out why here.

Survivor -- Hayden Style

Feuding Hayden City Council members remind one anonymous developer of the popular Survivor series. On one side of the island, you have the McIntire Tribe: Councilman Chris Beck and legislative wannabe Jerry DeLange. On the other side, you have the Sperle Tribe: Councilwoman Nancy Taylor and Councilman Anson Gable. Don't know who's going to be left standing. But the developer believes the Beck/DeLange tribe has Mayor Ron McIntire's backing. The other tribe, however, has the support of former mayor Mike Sperle and newly formed Concerned (aren't they always?) Business Association of Hayden, which is made at McIntire, City Attorney Jerry Mason and City Administrator Lila Erickson. Where's Nature's Child Richard Hatch when you need him to break a tie?

Monday Quick Six Fix (3/1/04):

It's March 1, and we're headed toward spring. Longer days until mid-June. And we Coeur d'Alene residents have the waterfront until Memorial Day. Does it get any better than this? How about a Quick Fix Six to get you going this Monday?

1. Dubya thought he'd struck gold with religious conservatives by proposing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. But that might not be the case because Evangelicals are ambivalent about same-sex marriage. Surprising, hunh? Click here.

2. Eighty-one percent of the sex crimes against children by Roman Catholic priests over the last 52 years were committed by gay men, according to a comprehensive study cited by The Washington Times. You can read that story here.

3. New York Post columnist Peter Brookes sez we should have thought twice about promising Osama bin Laden's head on a platter by the end of the year. Here's why an overpromise could bring dire consequences.

4. Writer Soner Cagaptay explains why the Sunni and Shi'ite divisions of Islam have created strange bedfellows to oppose Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S. drive to bring democracy to the turbulent Middle East. Click here.

5. When's Planet Hollyweird going to learn? Religious films make money. What would Monday morning be without another story about "The Passion of the Christ"? (Jill, a young Christian friend of mine, had this to say after seeing Mel Gibson's film: "It was the greatest film I've ever seen. I plan to see it again.") Find out about money-making religious films here.

6. In view of The Lord of the Rings clean sweep at the Oscars, I'm offering you a creative spoof of Dubya by Demo denizens. I certainly don't endorse what you'll find here. In fact, I don't think there's a Demo prez candidate left that's fit to tie Dubya's shoelaces. But this short comic is funny nonetheless.

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