Saturday, October 31, 2009

Creative Halloween "Treats"

Steph and her friends got some different things this year.

A toothpaste sampler to clean your teeth after soaking them in sugar.

A rolled out penny with the ten commandments printed on it.

A Drive-By Squashing

It was still dark when I got the paper this morning but I noticed the door to the mailbox was open. I thought that was odd but didn't give it much thought. Then when Kathy and I went out for a run we discovered what happened.

You Just Gotta Laugh

I had an opportunity to laugh at myself at work this week and to top it off, my workmates were there to laugh as well. I was handed a Blackberry that belonged to a person higher up the food chain and was told to get it ready for a certain application. The person giving me the BB and acting as messenger is not in IT. Well, nothing needed to be done with the BB. All I needed to do was show the person how to access it and go over it with them.

So I tried to turn it on. I have an older model and the red disconnect-the-call button serves as the power button. This was a newer model, but I figured it worked the same. So I pressed the red button.


So I held the red button down for 5 seconds.

Still nothing.

I tried the green button. Nope.

Now I'm wondering out loud how to power this thing up. My non-IT workmate and I look at and try (almost) every button on the darned thing and we are not successful. So off we went to ask two of my IT workmates. I explain the situation and one of them takes the BB and presses the power button located on the top edge.

Fortunately, the Blackberry is not one of my primary responsibilities. But if you ever need to troubleshoot one, I know just where to take it.

We're In For A Most Horrible Night

Today, the Christian Broadcasting Network web site published a piece by Kimberly Daniels, who appears to be a frequent contributor, in which she warns us about the dangers of celebrating Halloween.

What's that? The link I provided can't be found? Well, fortunately The Google can help us out here. It's the bain of all the wish-I-could-take-it-back publishers and it's known as Google cache. So here's the article. I don't understand why CBN would take back the dire warnings of this night.

Some excerpts:

Lucifer is a part of the demonic godhead. Remember, everything God has, the devil has a counterfeit. Halloween is a counterfeit holy day that is dedicated to celebrating the demonic trinity of : the Luciferian Spirit (the false father); the Antichrist Spirit (the false holy spirit); and the Spirit of Belial (the false son).


During this period demons are assigned against those who participate in the rituals and festivities. These demons are automatically drawn to the fetishes that open doors for them to come into the lives of human beings. For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches.


Mother earth is highly celebrated during the fall demonic harvest. Witches praise mother earth by bringing her fruits, nuts and herbs. Demons are loosed during these acts of worship. When nice church folk lay out their pumpkins on the church lawn, fill their baskets with nuts and herbs, and fire up their bonfires, the demons get busy. They have no respect for the church grounds. They respect only the sacrifice and do not care if it comes from believers or non-believers.


Halloween is much more than a holiday filled with fun and tricks or treats. It is a time for the gathering of evil that masquerades behind the fictitious characters of Dracula, werewolves, mummies and witches on brooms. The truth is that these demons that have been presented as scary cartoons actually exist. I have prayed for witches who are addicted to drinking blood and howling at the moon.


The word "occult" means "secret." The danger of Halloween is not in the scary things we see but in the secret, wicked, cruel activities that go on behind the scenes. These activities include:

* Sex with demons
* Orgies between animals and humans
* Animal and human sacrifices
* Sacrificing babies to shed innocent blood
* Rape and molestation of adults, children and babies
* Revel nights
* Conjuring of demons and casting of spells
* Release of "time-released" curses against the innocent and the ignorant.

How true and somewhat ironic. The danger of Halloween is not the scary things we see, but in the secret activities that go on behind the scenes. I wonder if CBN realizes that you can use Google cache to look there.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Great Montage

I don't know who to credit for this. You'll have to click on the image to download the large image to see all the pictures of protesters.

"Respect are country. Speak English."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

If Finger Guns Are Outlawed...

...then only outlaws--well, you know the rest.

You've probably heard about the kid at Mead High School who pulled a joke that wasn't received as such.

A Mead High School student found himself in serious hot water Wednesday morning after he sent the school into lockdown status by telling a teacher he had been hired to kill her.

The 16-year-old later told deputies his actions were meant to be a joke.

Well, it didn't take long for some of his fellow students to make use of the web and make their thoughts known. One Facebook group is simply called FREE GRAYSON!! and the other is FREE Grayson and LEGALIZE fingerguns!!. We talked about the incident over dinner. Josh thinks that had it been a different teacher, the student would've been taken to the front office and dealt with without calling the police. This is not to blame the teacher involved for overreacting, it's just that people react to things like this in different ways.

When I was in high school, I don't think any of my teachers would've taken it as a serious threat if a student walked into class, pointed their hands at the teacher and said, "An assassin has been hired to kill you. Bang! Bang!" and then walked out.

But these are different times. We have criminalized more behaviors and fear is instilled far too much in our society. I don't make excuses for what this young man did. Suspend him or expel him, but I really can't see charging him with a felony charge of threatening to kill.

I'd Rather Ride

I left home at 6:00 this morning to run the 8.5 miles to work. (Note: I wore shoes. I may be crazy but I ain't stupid.) I focused on running comfortably and relaxed, landing slightly more on the forefoot with the foot under my hips instead of stepping out with long strides, keeping each foot on the ground as long as possible and then peeling them away from the pavement.

The last time I ran to work was back when I was training for a marathon 18 months ago. ('Nuther Note: I'm still on track to run a marathon every 51 years.) This run to work took roughly the same amount of time as before--about 80 minutes and I'm happy with that. (Yet Another Frickin' Note: Need to buy a new watch to replace the one my sweat killed when summer started.) I'm not a racer and besides, this is meant to be fun, which it is to me. The difference I noticed is I felt less tired than before and this evening my body doesn't feel like it ran a great distance. Granted, my memories of running to work last year have diminished so this isn't exactly the most scientific comparison.

Working on technique is a constant. I had moments when I was in the groove and moving along effortlessly. And I had moments where I had to refocus on the basics. We are creatures of habit, you know, so developing new ones can take a while.

With or without shoes, I have the greatest difficulty running downhill smoothly. I'm still jarring and braking. That part is frustrating to me. So I'll be working on that for a while. (Last and Ultimate Final Note: Think of something clever to end this post with.)


How long before a person's sexual preference no longer matters? Well, after these many years with the struggles for civil rights and equal rights--more than my lifetime so far--we still hear about the first Hispanic this and the first woman that. So I imagine fifty years hence there will be an article about the first openly gay female Afro-American NHL referee.

And hopefully people will say, "So what?"

Emphasizing Community

Los Angeles Police Chief, William Bratton, published an opinion piece that explains why he did not allow the police department to participate in a Department of Homeland Security program that gives local law enforcement agencies the powers of federal immigration agents.

Some in Los Angeles have asked why the LAPD doesn't participate. My officers can't prevent or solve crimes if victims or witnesses are unwilling to talk to us because of the fear of being deported. That basic fact led to the implementation almost 30 years ago of the LAPD's policy on immigrants, which has come to be known as Special Order 40. The order prohibits LAPD officers from initiating contact with someone solely to determine whether they are in the country legally. The philosophy that underlies that policy is simple: Criminals are the biggest benefactors when immigrants fear the police. We can't solve crimes that aren't reported because the victims are afraid to come forward to the police.

The idea of engaging all members of the public in reporting crime and identifying criminals not only helps us with short- and medium-term goals of reducing crime; it helps improve relations with community members. We all have an interest in helping our young people develop into healthy, educated and law-abiding adults. Breeding fear and distrust of authority among some of our children could increase rates of crime, violence and disorder as those children grow up to become fearful and distrustful adolescents and adults. That is why the Los Angeles Police Department has not participated in 287(g) and the federal government is not pressuring the department to do so.

Americans want a solution to our immigration dilemma, as do law enforcement officials across this nation. But the solution isn't turning every local police department into an arm of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Check out the whole article. He makes some interesting points.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


You may have noticed that KREM's web site has changed. So far I think it's an improvement. However, there's a problem when you're using a mobile device to read their site. The former iteration worked great with my mobile device. Downloads were quick and mostly graphics free. The new format is slow as molasses as it downloads advertisements, images and the other unnecessary clutter you don't need to see on a mobile device.

So now they're the last news site I go to. If I have nothing else to do. And I'm feeling patient. Or bored.

Some time ago I stopped reading KXLY's web site with my mobile device because it would go into this infinite loop of downloading some javascript or something and I'd never get to read anything. I checked their site and it's nice and peppy even with the image downloads. So not only are they back on my bookmark list, but they've moved up the chain.

Yeah, it's a slow day when all I have to piddle about is news web sites viewed on my mobile device.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Multiple Bazillion Hundred! Maybe More!

Today, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) introduced a resolution, along with 75 other Republican cosponsors, to officially commemorate the 9/12 taxpayer march on Washington.

Expressing gratitude and appreciation to the individuals and families who participated in the Taxpayer March on Washington on September 12, 2009.

Whereas, on September 12, 2009, hundreds of thousands of American patriots, who refuse to sit idly by as the Federal Government advances skyrocketing deficits, taxpayer-funded bailouts, pork-barrel projects, burdensome taxes, unaccountable policy czars, command-and-control energy policy, and a government takeover of health care, came to Washington, DC, to show their

Whereas individuals also wanted to convey their displeasure with the future tax increases that will be required to pay for deficit-financed spending;

Whereas these individuals understand that the fundamental American principles of limited government and personal liberty are under direct assault;

Whereas this dedicated group of freedom-loving Americans believe in open, accountable, responsible, constitutionally based government;

Whereas hundreds of buses, multiple caravans of cars from across the country, and many individually chartered flights, as well as thousands of lone-traveling cars and trucks, brought these patriots to Washington, DC, solely for this event;

Whereas these individuals endured considerable personal expense to get to the march, including transportation and lodging expenses, as well as lost wages in many instances;

Whereas estimates of the number of people who peacefully marched from Freedom Plaza to the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on September 12, 2009, range as high as 1,700,000 marchers;

Whereas all 50 States were represented in the march;

Whereas this event is considered to be the largest ever gathering of fiscal conservatives in Washington, DC;

Whereas special accolades are due to the grassroots citizens organizations across the country who helped individuals exercise their constitutionally protected First Amendment rights in the Nation's capital; and

Whereas when the current trends of government expansion and freedom retrenchment are reversed, it will be due in large part to the efforts of the hundreds of thousands who marched on Washington, DC, on September 12, 2009: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives expresses its gratitude and appreciation to the hundreds of thousands of people who marched on Washington, DC, on September 12, 2009, to show their love of liberty and their grievance with recent government actions.

What? Nobody flew coach? I'm also thinking their numbers vary so much because they can't use "shitload" in a House resolution.

Colorado Might Need More Prisons

Last year the citizens of Colorado soundly defeated Proposed Amendment 48 which attempted to amend the state constitution so that Sections 3, 6 and 25 of Article II, when referring to a "person" included a fertilized egg in its definition.

This year, Colorado Personhood is attempting to amend the same sections of the state constitution but now "...the term person shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being."

These are the sections referenced by the proposed amendment:

Section 3. Inalienable rights.

All persons have certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; and of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

Section 6. Equality of justice.

Courts of justice shall be open to every person, and a speedy remedy afforded for every injury to person, property or character; and right and justice should be administered without sale, denial or delay.

Section 25. Due process of law.

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.

Let's have a look at "...shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being." What does this mean exactly? Every human being can be traced back to an egg that was fertilized by a sperm and the resulting zygote managed to develop into a newborn child. Does that mean every sperm and every egg--each of which could be the beginning of the biological development of a human being--shall not be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law?

How many counts of murder for a wet dream? What about the unfertilized egg passed on in the menstrual cycle? Will every miscarriage be investigated?

Pretty crazy, eh? I tell you this insanity makes me want to break out in song.

Reinforcing The Comfort Zone Wall

We have a rather aggressive panhandler at the "Y", the intersection where Highways 2 and 395 split off from Division, who creates some conflicted feelings for me. On one hand, I sympathize with people who beg for food and money. I never give money, but I have handed over food on more than one occasion. The problem I have is this person walks up to the car while pointing to his "Hungry. Need help." sign with a "How 'bout it?" expression on his face. He does this for every vehicle that's waiting at the red light. When the light turns green, he walks back to the intersection and waits for the red light to stop the next batch of potential donors.

I'm guessing he does well since he's there so often. And I've seen him standing at the intersection counting the dollar bills he's collected. But I find his method and actions have helped callous me because he gives me the feeling that those who give are merely contributing to a lucrative activity and not necessarily helping someone who is in need.

But how do I know his situation? How do I know what he uses the money for? Like I said, I'm conflicted.

To put it more precisely, I feel this guy has crossed the line from relying on the sympathy of others to preying on their guilt. Does that make sense?

Are They Undefeated?

After Sep 11, 2001, the cheerleaders at Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe High School in Georgia made paper banners displaying verses from the New Testament for the football players to crash through at the beginning of each game. This practice was recently halted by the school out of concern for potential litigation and the decision was upheld by the school board.

This appears to be extremely unpopular when measured by that all-to-important Twenty-First Century metric--comparing the number of Facebook friends supporting the cheerleaders (16,000+) to those supporting the ban (159). A blowout!

And there's no shortage of polarizing language.

"Because of the attention that this matter has received, I think that all of us understand what is at stake at this point in time," Jeremy Jones, a 1992 graduate of Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School and a Republican candidate for Congress, told board members. "And as members, as elected officials, as representatives of our community you are faced with a decision now, and your decision is simply are you going to side with the community and the community values and what we want you to represent, or are you going to side with what will ultimately be the ACLU?"

Yes, it's a binary choice. Just like duct tape, there is a light side and a dark side. But unlike duct tape, which holds the universe together, it is ripping the universe apart.

In a surprise to officials the "Warriors for Christ" now display a multitude of biblical verse signs in the stands during the games. Good for them for exercising their right to free speech. But I'm curious how they would receive a young person exercising that same right by holding a sign saying "There is no god." Hmm, can an atheist be a martyr?

But we're losing sight of something very important here. It is high school football and I think all of us understand what is at stake at this point in time. After all, we are very familiar with the life-long ramifications high school football has on each and every one of us. I finished high school 35 years ago and although I vaguely remember attending a game or two, I'm sure it had a pronounced affect on my life.

There is one thing missing from all the reportage that is really driving me nuts. Just how well is the team doing with all that divine support going for it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Barefoot Running In The Park 'n' Rain

I was keeping a close eye on the weather this morning. It was warm enough for a barefoot run but I was hoping I wouldn't have to run in the rain especially when it was so windy. It looked good a few minutes before I changed clothes but that went out the window as soon as I stepped outside. It was raining. of course, my pride refused to allow me to go back up to the office and get my shoes. So it was off to Riverfront Park where acorns stealthily concealed under leaves tried to sabotage me. I managed to avoid all but one and it got me good--right in the arch. Other than that it was an uneventful run, but it wouldn't be complete without some lighter moments.

While I was crossing the Howard Street Bridge a woman asked me, "Where are your shoes, young man?" I smiled big at being called, "Young man." Apparently running barefoot in the rain takes years off my looks so I got that going for me.

Getting back to the building where I work, three separate people asked me if I just got back from swimming. That might be an easy conclusion to make about someone who's wearing shorts and no shoes and is dripping wet--as long as you ignore the stocking cap and bright reflective running jacket. The puzzled looks were the best when I said I just finished running. "But you're...uh...where's your shoes?"

Yeah, I get that a lot.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Look What I Got At Church Today

And they'll know we are Christians by our love.

What's Sauce For The Goose...

Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers has some clear cut opinions about health care reform.

"Proposals to establish a government or public option are nothing more than an attempt to have federal bureaucrats tell you what your health care needs are..."

"...there is a push to model the government option after Medicare. This will undoubtedly shift the cost of services to private insurance companies forcing them to raise their rates or go out of business—ultimately causing millions to lose private insurance."

"I believe we must empower parents to make healthy choices for their families and choose the treatments they need in consultation with a doctor they trust. Some of the most personal decisions you’ll ever make are between you and your doctor. I would not want anyone else deciding what doctor my son can see or what treatment he can receive. Every parent should have that same opportunity."

Yet it turns out there are 151 members of Congress who are currently on the "public option" known as Medicare. Fifty-five of them currently do not support the public option for the citizens of our country.

Feel free to write our Congresswoman--or your own if you live elsewhere--and ask her to encourage members of Congress who currently enjoy Medicare to divest themselves from this government intrusion on their health care. No doubt they are unaware of the many opportunities we enjoy for determining our own health care decisions. Apparently they are not familiar with the harm caused by federal bureaucrats telling them what their health care needs are. What a travesty it is to see so many of our leaders trapped in such a nightmare. I hope Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers works diligently to educate and motivate her colleagues in the House and Senate.

Don't you?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

It's Not A Suitable Substitution...

...when you hear Samuel L. Jackson as Agent Neville Flynn on Snakes On A Plane exclaim,

"I'm tired of these monkey-fighting snakes on this Monday to Friday plane!"

No, I'm sorry. That just doesn't work.

Cyclocross Racing

The Christian Science Monitor has a pretty cool video about cyclocross racing.

I wish I could get out to Riverside State Park tomorrow and watch the racing. I need to get some video of this myself. Hopefully on Nov 15.

Planning Your STA Trip

Did you know there's a very clever web-based tool for planning a trip using STA in combination with walking or riding your bike? It's called Enroute Spokane and it's a no-brainer replacement for the STA's rather poor planner. The cleverness in Enroute Spokane is that it will give you a route no matter what address in Spokane you enter.

Here's an example for going from my house to my work. Notice I can wait a few minutes before walking down to the Park 'n' Ride to catch my bus. Or I could be riding my bike.

Nice, neat instructions and it even tells me how far I traveled on foot. I use Firefox on my iMac and get this message from the STA trip planner.

The really bothersome thing about this is that it doesn't tell you it's only for Internet Explorer until after you enter the addresses. Regardless, when I use Internet Explorer and enter the same from and to addresses, I am told that there is no bus service at the from address and to try a different address.

Enroute Spokane told me how to get to the nearest bus stop. Now how smart is that?

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of STA. But their trip planner leaves much to be desired, especially if you don't live right on a bus line.

Barefoot Running - Plenty Of Inner Chi

I managed to get some barefoot running in while I was off in Illinois and Ohio. My callouses are thickening up quite nicely.

One thing that has been helpful is Chi Running. This book has made a world of difference in my running technique. I no longer get blisters because I'm much better at landing and lifting my feet with minimum motion and no pushing off. More importantly, I'm running with what feels like less effort. Basically I run like I did when I was a kid.

Here's what I think is a good explanation most people can relate to. Remember what a child does when she first starts to walk? The body leans forward. Gravity wants to pull the body down but the child puts a foot underneath their hips to prevent that. Then they repeat the process with the next foot and continue until they reach their destination. That's basically how I run now, but without the pacifier and diaper. Instead of stepping forward, I just keep my feet under my hips while my body slightly leans forward. There's more to it besides that, but that's the essential part.

In the past I would go out and run 2-4 miles and that evening I would feel it. My quads might be a little sore and my energy level would be down. Running was a necessary evil that I tolerated for the fitness and health benefits. Now I can go out at lunchtime and run just over 4 miles every day with impunity. My legs aren't sore and I still have plenty of energy the rest of the day. But the main difference is I now enjoy running.

And the barefoot part? It's not necessary, but it sure is fun.

Bike Advocacy Workshop

This morning the Bicycle Advisory Board and Cascade Bicycle Club conducted an advocacy workshop at the East Central Community Center. Roughly thirty people attended. There were cycling enthusiasts, various board members, club officers, and even some folks from north Idaho.

I was surprised to learn just how much the Cascade Bicycle Club is involved in the political process in King County and the state legislature. With 11,000 members and a mailing group of 50,000, the club has developed a reach throughout the state but with a heavy emphasis in King County. It's great to have such an advocate for cycling issues, something we're in need of here in Spokane.

Grant Wencel, Spokane City's bike and pedestrian coordinator, briefed the group on the plans and status of the Ben Burr extension and Iron Bridge project. When that is completed, getting to the East Sprague area by bike will be so much easier.

Dan Schaffer gave an update on the paving of Fish Lake Trail. And Bob Lutz briefed everyone on how the sharrows came to be placed on 37th.

The last part of the workshop covered the steps for addressing a cycling issue, devising and implementing a strategy, and various tactics to work with and persuade people. Each group at a table was given an issue to workshop. It certainly helped our table to have a couple of people with experience in matters like this.

Thanks to Barb Chamberlain for putting this together and for the good folks from the Cascade Bicycle Club for visiting Spokane.

An interesting tidbit came out during some discussions. County Commissioner Bonnie Mager is looking to see if there's any support for a county bicycle advisory board. If you're interested in seeing that, or better yet are interested in serving on such a board, please let her know. I sent my name in.

Almost forgot to mention we took a short ride and viewed where the Ben Burr extension is planned to go in and then went to One World Spokane to eat. It's a different and curious system but the food was delicious!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Lethal Non-Lethal Weapon

In today's Spokesman Review we have an article concerning a bulletin issued by Taser International in which they advise

police agencies across the nation to avoid aiming the devices at a suspect’s chest. The Arizona-based company says such action poses an “extremely low” risk of an “adverse cardiac event.”

This seems disingenuous. If it's an extremely low risk, are police officers going to think "This might be the one adverse cardiac event" or "Low risk so it's not going to happen to me"?

Regardless, you don't have to look far to find multiple adverse events when it comes to Taser use. And in too many lethal and non-lethal cases, the Taser is used when less force will do the job.

I find it interesting that you can give a similar warning about firearms. Aiming at the chest can lead to an adverse fatal event.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

There Is No Joy In Mead-Ville

You have to go all the way back to 1987 before you find the Mead High School boy's cross country team missing from the Washington State championship meet. Unfortunately, you will find them missing in 2009. At the district meet today, Mead came up short and finished in fourth place. The top three move on to the regional meet. Needless to say, the team is pretty bummed.

On a high note, Mead's lightning fast freshman, Andrew Gardner, finished in third place today. Here he is with just under 200 meters to go just ahead of Ferris's Adam Thorne.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Last week, the Inlander did a nice job of covering I-1033.

Just to help out, I thought I'd come up with some reasons for voting YES on I-1033.

1) You want to pay less taxes.

2) You want to have more children knocking on your door selling candy, wrapping paper, etc., for school fund raisers.

3) You think the Crime Stop phone is a waste.

4) You think reporting a crime in person at the police station is preferable than having the police come to the scene.

5) You think snow removal is an unnecessary luxury.

6) You enjoy potholes and eagerly anticipate their spread and rise in numbers.

7) You're displeased that only some of the city libraries are closed on Sundays and Mondays and think all of them should be closed on even more days.

8) You think that reason #1 is of the utmost importance and have been duped into thinking it will never catch up to you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Reverse Polarity

I understood the situation perfectly. My mind had a firm grasp of every facet of the problem and I knew exactly how to solve it. I was clear on the approach, the implementation and the result, when suddenly it dusked on me and I didn't have a clue.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Back To The 80's

I took Steph and my nephew, Alex, to the Magic House over in St Louis. It's an extension of the St Louis Children's Museum. The Van de Graaff generator was a big hit.

Big hair is back.

Being Unconventional Where The Conventions Are Really Different

In search of a grocery store, I drove from the small town we're visiting to a neighboring, somewhat larger town. As I waited patiently at a red light a pickup truck passed across my view. With the observant eyes of a youngster taking in every new sight in a strange place, Steph watched the truck make the turn and proceed down the road behind us.

"A refrigerator just fell out of that truck," she said.

I looked and saw the brake lights lit up as the truck pulled over to the side of the road. A fridge lay on its side in the roadway. The truck pulled around through a parking lot, stopped near the fridge, and two men got out and hefted it back in the bed.

If there was ever a place I would see a sight like that, I knew this was it. It's a place where, just as much as when he was alive, Billie Mays is a trusted source of quality products. Where the Magic Jack is considered the latest in high tech communications. Where running along a roadway is considered an aberration and running in the roadway makes you a fair target even with that nearby billboard expressing the sanctity of life and the shame of abortion. How could anyone be stupid enough to run in a roadway? And barefoot at that.

It's a place where you're easily mocked. Your manner, your dress, and your speech mark you as someone who doesn't belong. And it's place where the easily mocked can reciprocate in kind.

I wondered out loud about why the fridge wasn't strapped down and how they were going to explain what happened to it.

In a spot-on backwoods voice, Steph answered. "It fay-ell."

I tell ya, it's like bein' in a whole 'nuther country.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's Only A Matter Of Time Anyway

The Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) has taken a puzzling stance on Referendum 71.

WSCC opposed SSB 5688 because proponents publically [sic] stated that this legislation was intended to extend existing marriage rights to same-sex couples as a precursor to legalizing gay marriage in Washington State. While opposing all unjust discrimination against any individual, WSCC upholds marriage as a union between a man and a woman, which is the foundation of our civil society.

I find it difficult to reconcile the position of opposing all unjust discrimination with not supporting a law that would eliminate said unjust discrimination simply because some of the people who want the law to pass want to use it as a stepping stone. A more logical position, at least in my mind, would be to support Referendum 71 and then oppose same-sex marriage when it becomes an issue for voters or legislators to decide. it's going to matter in the long run.

Taking The Mystery Out Of It

I'm out of here for a while so the postings may be sparse for the next week. To help some of you get by--you know who you are--I'd like to leave this courtesy of one of the best comic strips ever.

No doubt my fellow IT workers will castigate and possible ostracize me for revealing our dirty little secret.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Barefoot Running - Frostbit Phalanges

In an attempt at "winterizing" my feet I've been walking barefoot in the cold for as long as I can stand it. I'm getting some looks from the neighbors, but as long as I'm not hurting anyone I guess they'll stay off the phone. This morning I went for a short run and rather than go completely barefoot I wore the huarache sandals.

It was 22 degrees at the time. I did wear a hat, gloves and a long sleeve shirt. I figured there's no sense freezing my entire body and maybe holding in all the heat at the top would allow for more to flow to my feet. Nah! But it was a nice thought.

The sandals were very comfortable, but there was no stopping the cold as it slowly deadened my middle toes. I thought that was strange. The ones that went to the market and the ones that went "Whee, whee, whee all the way home" were fine. But the ones that stayed home, had roast beef, or had none worked really hard at becoming useful for keeping your beer cold. Yeah, I know, strange mental image. It's Sunday morning, okay?

As it was I only did 1-1/2 miles and I was okay with that. I'm not interested in pushing the envelope and requiring medical treatment. I have some ideas for keeping the callouses thickened and running in the cold which will probably equate to more laughs at my expense. So stay tuned.

In the spring I plan on running Bloomsday barefoot. EvilElf over at Spokanarama has been doing some barefoot running himself and he seems to be sold on the idea of minimal footwear. He's been enjoying that so I invited him to join me.

Note: This is definitely not a challenge to him or anyone else. I'm not throwing down a gauntlet. If you have trained and you're interested in running Bloomsday barefoot, feel free to join me.

Let's hope that in May I still have enough toes to play This Little Piggy.

Name That Tune

I tend to wake up the kids in ways other than turning on the lights and saying, "Get up." So this morning I grabbed the guitar, strummed various chords and moved around to the music which even Steph--almost 14 now--finds humorous. Then I sat on her bed with my guitar and started playing different songs and asked her to name that tune. I started playing one particular classic song that came out near the end of what my kids refer to as "my era" and asked Steph to name it.

"That's the Deadliest Catch song," she said.

More evidence as to the harm of television on our youth.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Richland Invitational

I went down to Richland today to watch Josh and the Mead boys race. Stephanie and her friend, Ericka, went with me.

Josh looks good, but he's still struggling after being sick for a week. The Mead team has been devastated by illness these last two weeks.

This young man was running in the junior/senior junior varsity race. I'm guessing he skipped all the odd number grades or something.

Another inspirational young man in the junior/senior JV race. Who said you need to see where you're going to run?

Rather than stand outside in the cold wind Steph and Ericka they opted to hang out across the street at the Atomic Bowl. They bowled a few games and I hung out with them in between races. They were on a lane that didn't reset the pins with every roll. Half the time you got a second shot at getting a strike. Here, Steph is taking a second first shot. You'll notice there's some pins down, a ball is sitting behind the pins and the light indicates it's the first roll. Remarkably, Steph rarely got a strike this way but she did roll three consecutive true strikes. Ericka did the same on the last frame of a game. Big smiles all around when that happens.

No word on a ride home after.

Barefoot Running - Huarache Sandals

After making the sandals, I just walked around in them for a few days for two reasons. (I got some of "those looks" when I went out in public.) One was to master tying them onto my feet. It's kind of like the Goldilocks story. One way is too tight. One way is too loose. You want to get them just right. The second reason was to get them comfortable. That knot in the end of the lace may be under the sole, but it can apply some painful pressure to the base of your big toe. You have to hammer that baby as flat as you can.

It takes a bit of doing, but I found that if you tie the knot just right and hammer it flat in the right direction, the knot will be in just the right place forward of that toe knuckle and you're home free.

The asphalt was a piece of cake on my first run with the sandals so I went out on some trails. I was concerned about debris getting stuck between my foot and the sandal. Having the callouses from running barefoot helped a lot so the sand and dirt didn't bother me at all. The occasional pebble that gets inside is easily removed with a slick kick out motion. Overall, it went very well. Dirt, sand, grass, pine needle covered pine cones, and packed gravel were a breeze.

The only difficulty was running over loose rocks of various sizes or landing on the lone pebble on a hard surface. The 4mm soles don't protect me from that which means the barefoot running rules apply. Watch where you're stepping. The sandals are light so it's just like running barefoot but more comfortable. You're feet still get the feedback from the surface you're running on.

With the change of season coming I'll find out how they and my bare feet do in the cold weather.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Settling The Rejection Score

Steve knew it would be the best surprise--ever! A romantic surprise. An irresistible surprise. For months now he had been corresponding with the girl he knew was the love of his life. Mara was sweet and kind and full of life. They had so much in common it was like she knew everything about him and yet they'd never met--in person. And, most importantly, she was beautiful.

Steve looked handsome in his suit. The dozen roses were nice, but the velvet-covered box concealed the real gift. They were to have their first meeting at a park. Mara had given him directions and was specific about the time and place.

Curiously, all the parking was taken up and Steve had to park a couple blocks away. His excitement was visible in every step as he was hardly able to contain himself. This was going to be the most memorable day of his life.

He paused in confusion as he approached the appointed place. His mind raced. "Who are all these people? What's going on here? Is this a wedding?"

"May I help you?" an usher asked.

"I'm here to see Mara," Steve replied.

A questioning look came over the usher's face. He looked at Steve and the flowers. He thought, "Maybe this is important."

"Follow me." He led Steve to where the wedding party was waiting behind a row of bushes.

Steve looked in amazement at the bride. "Mara?"

"Yes," answered the girl. "May I help you?"

"I'm here."

"Who are you?" asked the girl.

"I'm Steve. You know, Steve?"

"I'm sorry, I don't know you."

"What! But we've--. You said--. I'm Steve!"

"Um, I don't know you, Steve. Now will you please leave me alone?"

"But...your's you...and you here."

"Sir...Steve or whoever you are, you're starting to bother me. I think you should leave."

Bewildered beyond comprehension, Steve allowed the usher to escort him away.

"What the heck do you think that was about?" Mara asked her bridesmaids.

Amid the murmurs of "I don't know" one of the young ladies remained silent. Steve wouldn't have noticed the homely girl who contrasted with the fit physiques of the others had he even looked. A small upturn in one corner of her mouth and the glow of satisfaction in her eyes were the only signs she gave. As the scene played out, the words that were burned in her mind at her meeting with Steve a year ago replayed. Only this time the shoe was on the other foot.

Something I posted on The One-Minute Writer. But I cleaned it up a little--hopefully.

And Fresh From Coming Out Of Left Field

Whoa! Is anyone NOT surprised Obama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

The Nobel announcement was a stunning decision that comes just eight months into Obama's presidency.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it honored Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

The decision appeared to catch most observers by surprise.

The president had not been mentioned as among front-runners for the prize, and the roomful of reporters gasped when Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel committee, uttered Obama's name.

The Nobel committee recognized Obama's efforts to solve complex global problems including working toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the committee said.

Jagland said the decision was "unanimous" and came with ease.

He rejected the notion that Obama had been recognized prematurely for his efforts and said the committee wanted to promote the president just as it had Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 in his efforts to open up the Soviet Union.

According to Alfred Nobel's will, the Peace Prize should be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

Based on that, there's no question that Obama has not done enough to warrant this award. The chairman of the committee admits that with the statement "the committee wanted to promote the president" and admits to doing the same thing with Gorbachev. So this award is strictly for political purposes.

"[Obama's] diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population," it said.

The announcement caught the White House off guard. One senior administration official said "we were quite surprised."

As is the rest of the world.

Stay tuned for the hyperpartisans who will find a way to blame Obama for receiving an award he has no influence over after cheering his "failure" of not having enough influence to get the Olympics held in Chicago.

Size Matters

Just one of those conversations where one thing leads to another and now I must make an adolescent-like (I'm never gonna grow up!) comparison of spud guns with Pat who, by the way, is quite the wit.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Change Of Season

A cold, brisk wind chills my fingers and toes, reminding me to pedal hard so the rest of me stays warm. To my left the setting sun bathes me in a golden light as it falls to the end of the earth and makes ready to start a new day elsewhere.

To my right, long shadows goad and tease, "You're late. You're late."

My cadence doesn't miss a beat.

Pulling the horizon up like bed covers the sun snuggles underneath for the night. Just before vanishing, the long shadows laugh, “You're late.”

“No,” I answer, “You're early.”

Nobody Missed Me?

When I returned to work this morning I received this email concerning my being out of the office yesterday afternoon.

I mean, can you feel the love?

Bike Advocacy Workshop

I received this email from Barb Chamberlain:

You are invited to a Bike Advocacy Workshop presented by the City of Spokane Bicycle Advisory Board and Cascade Bicycle Club.

* Connect with fellow cyclists
* Learn about local bike projects, what it took to put them together, and the five elements of a complete bike plan (hint: it’s not just a map!)
* Get an understanding of the policy process and how we can be more effective as advocates for cycling interests
* Hear how Cascade Bicycle Club has become a force in the public policy arena
* Help us start to build the Spokane region’s bike agenda

Date: Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009

Time: 9am-noon, with optional bike ride after (weather permitting) to look at opportunities and issues

Location: East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone, Senior Room

Light refreshments will be served. RSVP so we have enough coffee etc.:

Forward this invitation to others who will be interested. Seating limited—reserve your spot now!

Presented by Cascade Bicycle Club and the City of Spokane Bicycle Advisory Board. Refreshments courtesy of Bike to Work Spokane and the SpokeFest Association.

Why does the weather have to permit the ride. ;-)

See ya there, okay?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

But Where Would You Hang It?

One Nation Under God is an interesting picture (The site may be slow from being overloaded by gawkers). Jesus is holding the U.S. Constitution and he is flanked by historical figures of America's past. In front of him are people representing various vocations. As you mouse over the picture, there's some text either explaining who the person is and/or what they represent. There are religious overtones to just about everything. I know, what a surprise.

Irony moment: Martin Luther King, who railed against the Vietnam war, is memorialized by placing his last name on a black soldier.

Selective remembrance of history moments: Benjamin Franklin sired numerous illegitimate children and Thomas Jefferson had relations with slave that resulted in offspring.

Huh? moment: Some of the fifty stars shine brighter than the others. It's up to you to determine which states' stars have dimmed.

If you don't have anything nice to say moment: Business Woman.

Burn in hell moment: The smug, liberal left, education-controlling, equal-to-God professor holding "The Origin of Species".

Mixed message moment: The immigrant who is shocked by the greatness of Christ and yet it's okay not to be Christian in America.

Whew! moment: The school teacher, presumably also a member of the liberal left controlling our educational system, is valued for teaching our youth.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Business Plan Takes Shape

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced that as of December 1, 2009, bloggers must disclose if they accept money or other form of payment in exchange for reviewing or endorsing products. I'd like to take a moment and assure both readers of this sorry excuse of what passes as a blog that I have never accepted any form of payment for reviewing products or endorsing a product. And the main reason is that I've never been offered any. This blog hasn't made me a single red cent which is another reason I don't quit my day job.

But I'm willing to do something about that. I just need to find the right product(s) to review or endorse and let the cash fall from the sky. I bet the Shake Weight market has already been cornered.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Women Can Vote?

There was a ceremony at the US Federal Building today marking its 100th anniversary. Of the many speakers, there was one particular stand out.

Karen Fairlee, Postmaster of the US Postal Service's Spokane Post Office, dressed in period costume and gave a historical presentation from the perspective of a postmaster opening the facility back in 1909 and finding a ledger purporting to be from a postmaster 100 years hence. She could not vouch for the veracity of the ledger because it said that not only could women vote, but the governor of the state and the representatives to both houses of Congress were women. Imagine that!

She was just as much fun as she was informative. I think people forget how much has changed in 100 years.

Re-Retranslate Thuh Bibel Gooder

There's a project over on Conservapedia to rewrite the bible and remove all the liberal (i.e. inaccurate) terms, translations, etc.

Here are possible approaches to creating a conservative Bible translation:

* identify pro-liberal terms used in existing Bible translations, such as "government", and suggest more accurate substitutes
* identify the omission of liberal terms for vices, such as "gambling", and identify where they should be used
* identify conservative terms that are omitted from existing translations, and propose where they could improve the translation
* identify terms that have lost their original meaning, such as "word" in the beginning of the Gospel of John, and suggest replacements, such as "truth"

There are several striking advantages to a conservative approach to translating the Bible online:

* participants learn enormously from the process
* liberal bias - and lack of authenticity - become easier to recognize and address
* by translating online, this utilizes the growing online resources that improve accuracy
* supported by conservative principles, the project can be bolder in uprooting and excluding liberal distortions
* the project can adapt quickly to future threats from liberals to biblical integrity
* access is free and immediate to the growing internet audience, for their benefit
* the ensuing debate would flesh out -- and stop -- the infiltration of churches by liberals pretending to be Christian, much as a vote by legislators exposes the liberals
* this would bring the Bible to a new audience of political types, for their benefit; Bible courses in college Politics Departments would be welcome
* this would debunk the pervasive and hurtful myth that Jesus would be a political liberal today

At the bottom of the page where the references are listed they have this:

The committee in charge of updating the bestselling version, the NIV, is dominated by professors and higher-educated participants who can be expected to be liberal and feminist in outlook. As a result, the revision and replacement of the NIV will be influenced more by political correctness and other liberal distortions than by genuine examination of the oldest manuscripts. As a result of these political influences, it becomes desirable to develop a conservative translation that can serve, at a minimum, as a bulwark against the liberal manipulation of meaning in future versions.

Note that their link to the NIV (New International Version) makes no mention of all the liberal bias.

The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible is a leading evangelical translation. More than one hundred scholars, beginning in the late 1960s, undertook the project of retranslating the Bible for the best extant (existing) originals in Hebrew and Greek texts. Their goal was that the translation be:

an Accurate, Beautiful, Clear, and Dignified translation suitable for public and private reading, teaching, preaching, memorizing, and liturgical use. The translators were united in their commitment to the authority and infallibility of the Bible as God's Word in written form. They agreed that faithful communication of the meaning of the original writers demands frequent modifications in sentence structure (resulting in a "thought-for-thought" translation) and constant regard for the contextual meanings of words.

Regardless, the translators of the leading evangelical translation of the bible are still "professors and higher-educated participants who can be expected to be liberal and feminist in outlook." Apparently lower-educated people don't have that "problem."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sir, Are You Aware...

Kathy and I took a quick trip to Chelan yesterday to attend a friend's wedding. Minding my own business, I was listening to music to get stopped for speeding by and a WSP trooper pulled me over, presumably because he thought I was going to arrive early. Kathy was asleep so I woke her up after coming to a stop. The trooper walked up to Kathy's window and asked me for my driver's license.

I gave it to him and he asked, "Sir, are you aware of how fast you were going?"

Now you can think anything you want about me, but I don't care for playing this game. I'm of the mind that if a cop pulls me over, they either write me a ticket or give me a stern talkin' to, but they're not going to hear me admit or not admit to anything.

"I was just listening to my music while I was driving along," I offered.

That was not the answer he was looking for. He turned his attention to Kathy because she had her seat back all the way down while she was sleeping.

"That seat belt isn't going to do anything for you if you're laying back like that, ma'am."

"I'm sorry," she said. "I'm a nurse and I should know better. I'll keep the seat back up."

"You're a nurse?"

"Yes," Kathy said. "I was an ER nurse for 17 years and now I'm in pediatric surgery."

He turned back to me again. "Sir, are you aware of the speed you were going?"

Again, I'm not one to ingratiate. "I was just following the truck in front of me."

"No, you were doing 73 until you caught up with the truck."

He asked for the registration and insurance card. Kathy's Sacred Heart parking pass was with the insurance card and he spotted it.

"You work at Sacred Heart?"


Back to me. "Sir, were you aware you were speeding?"

"I was just listening to my music and enjoying the scenery."

"I'll be right back." And he went to his patrol car.

"For cryin' out loud, why won't you answer him?" This was driving Kathy crazy, too. "It's a simple yes or no question. Were you aware you were speeding? Be nice or he's going to write you a ticket."

The trooper returned and gave me a stern talkin' to. He told me to use the cruise control and keep it at 60. "Can you do that for me?" he asked in his best authoritarian authority voice.


He returned my license and paperwork and I was free to go.

"The only reason he didn't write you a ticket was because I'm a nurse."

Maybe. But I don't see any concrete proof of that. It's just as likely he let me off because he appreciates good music.

Anyway, we went on to Chelan and celebrated our friend's wedding. It was held at Campbell's Resort which is a very nice place. I was up early this morning taking photos before our uneventful drive to Spokane--with the cruise control set.

The nearly full moon hiding behind the clouds before sunrise.

The old main street just before sunrise.

The moon ducking behind a mountain before he's seen by the sun.

A shop with the best reminder that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Interesting plants that I believe must be the envy of many others.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Shake Weight

Let your imagination run wild and the laughter ensue. I bet this could be illegal in Alabama.

Referendum 71

I went to the Protect Marriage in Washington site to see what they have to say. I was invited to watch their Marriage is Sacred video so I did. I wanted to include the video here but when I tried I got this:

That's odd. You'd think they'd want to spread the word as much as possible. Anyway, the video just stresses that God (emphasized by the narrator each time he says it) specified that marriage is between one man and one woman. I have a point of order. Since they start off with "in the beginning", shouldn't Adam and Eve be naked instead of wearing togas?

Overall, the site contains plenty of "the downfall of our society" predictions and the emotional appeals of protecting marriage and protecting children. There's a heavy reliance on religious appeal.

The sacredness of marriage is hardly under attack by same-sex couples. Such alleged sacredness has been diminished for years by divorce and adultery among opposite sex couples. And the religious have proven they don't have a monopoly on even what they consider to be moral behavior.

I'm for approving Approve Referendum 71. I see no harm in treating non-married couples fairly and giving them the same protections and responsibilities as married couples. Because even if you've taken all the legal precautions, that doesn't mean things always work out the way they should.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Time To Put A Urinal In The Garden

At last, an excuse for what could easily be interpreted as unneighborly behavior.

When it comes to cultivating a green thumb, gardeners perhaps need only look to their urinals and fireplaces.

That's because human urine mixed with wood ash can help produce bumper crops of tomatoes, new research shows.

Yes, officer, I've been drinking. But I'm a gardener first.

It's The Light Rain That'll Getchya

You never know how the weather conditions are going to affect your ride. Just a couple weeks ago I rode through pouring rain without incident except for that one submerged pothole. On this morning's ride, the roads were wet from a light rain. I braked going down the hill on Mayfair (just before you get to the WA State DOT building) and eased through the left turn at the bottom of the hill. Well, at least I thought I eased.

Near the end of the turn the rear tire acted like it didn't get the message that the turn was over. As if in slow motion it slid out to my right. I think time slows down in times like these just so it can make sure you know you are totally helpless to do anything about what's going to happen. The rear tire continued sliding--insert low frequency voiced "No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o" here--and I went down on my left side. And then I slid on the asphalt for about 10 feet.

I jumped right up and looked around to see if anyone saw me. Whew! No Nelson Muntz-like "Haw-haw!" to be heard. Then I took stock of what hurts and how bad. Since it was a cool morning, I was wearing my running gloves instead of my padded fingerless biking gloves. The asphalt wore a neat hole through my glove and the heel of my left hand. My left hip and knee felt like they were road rashed, but the bike tights were intact and I didn't see anything seeping through. My left shoulder was a little sore. So on I went. Once at work I hit the shower and discovered bright red strawberries on my hip and knee. So while I still got the road rash, the lycra saved me from having to pick out bits of embedded debris. I'm not posting pictures since some might consider it gross.

But that's not what I wanted to tell you about.

Since I'm on the subject, this is an opportunity to tell another story about being done in by a light rain. About four or five years ago the city applied a fresh coat of oil on Wall St from County Homes Blvd southward to a point just shy of where Wall and Monroe intersect. My commute route back then followed Post, Wall, and Waikiki. I was homeward bound and the partly sunny sky had a couple of dark clouds in it. One of them gave a light dousing to my route. I usually ride as fast as I can and was already doing about 20mph when I started my descent on Wall towards Cascade. The road was rutted at the time and I noticed beads of water sitting on top of the freshly applied oil. The light at Cascade changed to yellow so I thought I'd better slow down before I got there.

But before I could apply my brakes, my bike zipped out from under me. I think I caught the side of a rut. I landed on my hip and now I'm sliding at a pretty good clip on a freshly oiled road with a nice coat of water on it. Since I was wearing padded lycra shorts I figured I might as well use the padding so I sat up. There I was, facing backwards while sliding down Wall on my butt with my bike following. It slowed and stopped but I continued on my nearly frictionless slide. I watched all the cars behind me (in front of me?) come to a stop and after what seemed like an eternity, I finally came to a halt. Given that I'd just slid on my butt for about 100 feet I was afraid to stand up because I thought my butt cheeks were going to look like hamburger meat. But there was no pain so I got up and took a look. The shorts were intact except for a couple of threads on one seam. I walked back up the hill and retrieved my bike. It was fine, too, and I finished the ride home without further incident.

So watch out for those light rains.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Only One And One-Half To Five Percent

From a story in the Guardian from a couple of days ago.

The Vatican has lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was "busy cleaning its own house" and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger.

In a defiant and provocative statement, issued following a meeting of the UN human rights council in Geneva, the Holy See said the majority of Catholic clergy who committed such acts were not paedophiles but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males.

The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that "available research" showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.

He also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common.

He added that sexual abuse was far more likely to be committed by family members, babysitters, friends, relatives or neighbours, and male children were quite often guilty of sexual molestation of other children.

In a nutshell: There aren't that many, it's not just us and it's more likely to happen elsewhere.

I feel better already.

Let's see, there are something like 400,000 priests in the world. If you apply the numbers to today's population, does that mean anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 could be involved in child sex abuse? Probably not because we've seen how well the church has been "busy cleaning its own house"--well after the fact.

Proposition 4 - Community Bill Of Rights

Rather than go through the remainder of the rights, I'm going to leave it that Proposition 4 creates more problems than it solves. It expresses some wonderful ideals and most of it is better suited as guiding principles as opposed to being codified in the city charter.

Section 74.5 wouldn't be necessary if we took a clue from Mark Fenton and considered growth management, ped/bike/auto traffic, store locations, landscaping and building design, etc., as a whole in order to make neighborhoods attractive as well as profitable.

But I'm not a lawyer nor a city resident.

Proposition 4 - Right To Affordable Preventive Healthcare


Residents have the right to affordable preventive healthcare. For residents otherwise unable to access such care, the City shall guarantee such access by coordinating with area healthcare providers to create affordable fee-for-service programs within eighteen (18) months following adoption of this Charter provision.

From the Envision Spokane FAQ on this right:


Isn’t this just Socialized, Government-Run Healthcare?

No. This Right only applies to those residents currently unable to obtain healthcare from any other source, and only applies to preventive healthcare. Under the Right, the City would be tasked with working with area healthcare providers to create a program that would provide affordable fee-for-service preventive healthcare to all residents of the City. How the City creates that program in cooperation with area healthcare providers would be left up to the City Council, but it would be area healthcare providers providing that healthcare, and not the City – with the requirement that such care be affordable.

Wouldn’t this Bankrupt the City?

No. The fee-for-service provisions would enable the City to capture all of the administrative costs associated with the program.

Isn’t this Unenforceable Because “Preventive” is Not Defined?

No. The Right was drafted to give maximum flexibility to those designing the program, and thus, if the City engages in a good faith effort with area healthcare providers to define “preventive care,” then the standard within the Right will have been satisfied. In addition, the City Council would have the option to adopt implementing ordinances, which would further define the program and the standards used within that program.


I think another key issue here is the definition of "affordable". What is that based on? Also, there is nothing in the text that states "This Right only applies to those residents currently unable to obtain healthcare from any other source..." It specifically states "affordable preventive healthcare."

What determines a good faith effort on the part of the city? While establishing ordinances to define the program and standards used may be an option, the text states "the City shall guarantee such access by coordinating with area healthcare providers". Coordinating doesn't necessarily mean legislating. The city is not only being told what it must do but is also given the specific method for doing it. Coordinating with area health care providers satisfies the requirement of the law as to what the city must do even though such action may not guarantee access to affordable preventive health care. It's possible that the city and the health care providers may not be able to come up with an affordable fee-for-service program even if they act entirely in good faith. What happens if this is not economically feasible?

What will be the basis for determining the fee for the "affordable fee-for-service programs"? If we're talking about people who can't afford it in the first place, how do we make it affordable without the city or the health care provider(s) taking a loss?

Proposition 4 - Right To A Locally-Based Economy

I haven't paid much attention to Proposition 4--a Community Bill of Rights--since I'm not a city resident. Then a friend of mine asked, "What's up with that?" So I downloaded the complete text from the Envision Spokane site and perused the "Me", "We", "FAQ" and "Info" links for each right. Here's the first right:


Residents have the right to a locally-based economy to ensure local job creation and enhance local business opportunities. The right shall include the right to have local monies reinvested locally by lending institutions, and the right to equal access to capital, credit, contracts, incentives, and services for businesses owned by Spokane residents.

From the Envision Spokane FAQ on this right:


Don’t Residents Already Have This Right by Choosing to Buy Locally?

No. Everyone can choose to purchase goods and services from local businesses, but no one can exercise that choice if there are no locally produced goods and services. An individual’s right to decide where to spend money, therefore, may become meaningless unless an environment is created in which locally-owned businesses can exist and flourish. This Right seeks to create that environment by requiring a re-circulation of local capital locally, and by providing an equal playing field for competition by locally owned businesses.

Wouldn’t the City be Required to Enforce this Right?

No. Under these Charter changes, the City could choose to take action to guarantee this right, but is not mandated to do so. City government, however, would be forced to respect this right, and if City officials violated the right by creating an unequal playing field for locally-owned businesses - by establishing conditions through contracting, bidding, or tax incentives that favor non-locally owned businesses - then owners of locally owned businesses could force the City to eliminate those policies by using this provision.

Doesn’t this Require Banks to Loan Locally?

Yes. The Right would require lending institutions to reinvest “local monies” into the local economy. What constitutes “local monies” and “local investment” would be determined if a dispute arose over a refusal by a lending institution to keep local capital local. Those terms have been left vague in the Charter provisions so that their definitions can be determined on a case-by-case basis in concrete disputes, and so that those definitions can change to keep pace with economic developments. The Right would not require banks to abandon existing lending requirements – such as ability to pay and credit worthiness – but it would require banks to place an emphasis on local re-circulation of local capital.

Would a Private Business Have to Ask for Bids from Locally-Owned Businesses?

Yes, but only if there were locally-owned businesses that satisfy the needs of the private business. This provision wouldn’t require the private business to re-design their request for bids, or request for proposals, just to qualify locally-owned businesses for the bidding process, but it would require that the private business open their bidding and proposal process to locally-owned businesses that would satisfy their needs. The Right establishes an equal opportunity playing field, which enables locally-owned businesses to compete openly, equally, and fairly with non-local businesses.


While the idea being promoted here is a wonderful sentiment, there are some serious flaws. First of all, "the right to a locally-based economy to ensure local job creation and enhance local business opportunities" is not mandated but "the right to have local monies reinvested locally by lending institutions" is? That is an arbitrary position with no basis in the text of the proposition.

What conditions need to be in effect so that "owners of locally owned businesses could force the City to eliminate those policies by using this provision"? Since Proposition 4 does not create a commission, body, council, or some type of determining authority, it will be left up to the courts. Is it unfair when the city gives a big box store a tax break to build an unsightly parking lot and store? I think so and when it happens every owner of a locally-owned business should go to the city council meetings and demand the same tax break. They should use their membership in the Chamber of Commerce to apply pressure. They should band together and let the city and people know they're getting screwed. Is the big box store tax break illegal? No. Does Proposition 4 make it illegal? The only way to find out for sure will be to bring a lawsuit.

The statement "Those terms have been left vague in the Charter provisions so that their definitions can be determined on a case-by-case basis in concrete disputes, and so that those definitions can change to keep pace with economic developments." raises all kinds of warning flags. Laws of any kind should not be purposely vague so that definitions can be determined on a case-by-case basis. Where does that determination take place? Again, this will be left up to the courts. Do you want a judge to legislate from the bench? Just pass a vague law that's open to interpretation as it tries to "keep pace with economic developments." A smart judge will entertain and grant any motion to dismiss from the defendant(s) because the law is written so vague she cannot possibly determine what constitutes “local monies” and “local investment” based on the text.