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Pot, Meet Kettle
There was an Inlander story about some council members saying that poor communication with the mayor hinders his ability to work with them ("Uneasy Relationship," 2/15/07). Isn't this like the pot calling the kettle black, when council members Verner and Stark criticized the mayor and called the relationship between the council members and the mayor "fractured"?
Those two did the same thing with beloved health officer Dr. Kim Thorburn at the Spokane Regional Health District. But they took it a step further, refusing to renew her contract. They can't do that with the mayor since he is elected. Perhaps these two members are the "fractured" ones.
As a resident of the Logan neighborhood, I've been very impressed with Mayor Hession and his staff -- particularly John Pilcher -- in their attempts to bring some quality-of-life issues to common citizens in this turn-of-the-century neighborhood. His door has always been open. He initiates conversation.
No man is an island. We all need to work together without subversion. The council itself is not above suspicion. They should remember that before throwing barbs at good people.
Support the Troops
In the Senate, 48 Democrats, one independent and seven Republicans voted to have a debate about President Bush's escalation of the Iraq war. Essentially, the rest of the Republicans filibustered to stop that debate. Their position is morally bankrupt.
First, these are the same GOP senators who criticized the Democratic filibuster of Bush judicial nominations. They threatened the "nuclear option" of invalidly changing Senate rules to stop filibusters so there could be an "up or down vote." Now they see no hypocrisy in filibustering to stop an "up or down" vote -- why are they afraid to go on the record supporting or opposing escalation?
Second, the Republicans are saying the filibuster vote is the Democrats' fault, because the Democrats won't let them vote for continued funding of the troops. In reality, the Democrats have said repeatedly that the troops will be supported and protected. And even more pointedly, there are funding votes coming up and they must be voted on.
Third and most important, where has the GOP "support" for the troops been for four years? Troops sent in harm's way, based on lies about WMDs and an Al-Qaeda connection? Not enough troops to maintain security after the invasion? Troops sent into combat without body armor? Troops riding in unarmored Humvees? No post-invasion plan? Not enough troops to secure the thousands of tons of explosives which later disappeared and are now being used against those troops? Billions of dollars of "supporting the troops" defense spending actually being sucked up and wasted by war profiteers and their investors and CEOs (remember Halliburton/Cheney, DeLay, Abramoff, Ney, Cunningham)? Inadequate care of wounded vets?
Our troops don't need any more support like that.
Bring Them Home
Hopefully, by now, you've taken note of the conditions at Walter Reed Medical Center and the host of recently returned wounded troops, as revealed by the Washington Post. The facility is so overcrowded that our service men and women with wounds (including amputations and brain injuries) are being housed in unacceptable, dilapidated dormitories with mold, rodents, cockroaches and holes in the ceilings.
President Bush should transfer custody of Washington troops back home where they can receive adequate medical and psychosocial care in our private beneficent, public, and Veterans Administration hospitals. Our returning troops are best served by receiving personal and timely medical care, regular personal contact with their families and friends, and a gracious welcome from their local communities.
Our communities need these troops to come home so that we have the opportunity to express our gratitude. When they are housed in isolation on the other side of the continent, it is difficult for us to personally feel the impact of the sacrifices made by these soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who were sent into harm's way at our behest. It is difficult for us to reach out and volunteer help to our neighbors who are so far away. Our wounded troops should come home from Walter Reed.
An indisputable mission of any newspaper in any community is not just to raise public awareness of the facts shaping important current events, but, just as important, never to pander to ignorance.
When the Spokesman-Review stooped to giving front-page play on Feb. 26 to the contrarian global-warming views of an untrained amateur and a local weekend TV weatherman, it didn't just cross the ignorance-pandering line, it got buried so deep as to never be found again. I'm betting $5 of my hard-earned wages that that amateur climate "expert" and the weekend TV weatherman won't be publishing any scientifically peer-reviewed research in any widely-respected scientific research journals anytime soon.
The S-R has apparently joined in earnest the Republican war on science -- which the far right has used with great success to gain disproportionate play for scientific nonsense contrary to literally all non-industry-funded studies. Or perhaps the S-R has elected to print just about anything anyone says as long as they're local, have some kind of title and don't offend wealthy business elites.
The S-R grows more and more like the cheap little, locally owned 15,000-circulation newspaper from my old Southwestern hometown, in which anything the Chamber of Commerce endorsed was deemed good journalism. That publisher's idea of healthy economic growth was a new open-pit mine and a new high-security prison.
Time was when even marginally competent local newspapers were valued as long as they were locally owned. The S-R's ongoing lazy news release-style journalism, absence of enterprising or investigative work (i.e., the recent smear-rumor job on Jack Lynch) and absolute dearth of legitimate consumer reporting (in place of investigations into why new car buyers pay an average of about $1,500 more here than in some other Western states, we get regular BBB brow-beatings about how uppity we local consumers are) have convinced me that even a McPaper (USA Today) would be a slight improvement.
Robert A. Ethington