Am I the only one who sees the colossal hypocrisy of President Bush touting democracy overseas by saying that Syria is a "bad guy" for funding and harboring terrorists and requiring Syria to get out of Lebanon even as he himself sends suspects there to be tortured? Perception matters. People all around the world know, for example, that the United States arrested and sent a Canadian citizen to Syria. He was tortured and held for a year, then released without charge. That is not the behavior of a democracy. So what credibility do we have in urging others to be democratic? Not to mention that torture is wrong.
Sally Jackson, tell us what you really want by killing our Valley city. Most of your adult life you were either the Spokane County or Valley Democrat chair. Surely you don't want your fellow Democrats -- including superior Democrat leaders like Joe McKinnon and Howard Herman, who led the fight to create it -- to be governed by Spokane County, which is controlled by Republicans?
During your tenure, the Democrats created the Growth Management Act, which mandates that urban areas either exist in a city of their own or be annexed by an adjacent city. You want Valley citizens to help get Spokane out of its near-bankruptcy? Or instantly pay 20 percent utility taxes? Or help pay off the River Park Square fiasco? What about helping develop the West Plains? Did you know GMA forced developers to fill in neighborhoods with higher density projects? You created it, Sally.
Do you feel destroying the city would lead to a city-county consolidated "super" government, where the downtown establishment have fewer elected leaders to control, with citizens having less access?
Clark E. Hager Sr.
Spokane Valley, Wash.
In Case You Missed It
As we March Maniacs sharpen our pencils and fill out our NCAA tournament bracket pick sheets, let's recap the Gonzaga Bulldog season in relation to the three Top Ten teams they defeated earlier, which gives a little insight into how they might do at the Big Dance.
The Washington Huskies, 4-0 and ranked No. 14 (in the Associated Press final rankings) at the time of the Zag meeting, are now 27-5 and No. 8 and a surprising top seed in the Big Dance. Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech came in to their Zag games with No. 3 rankings and high expectations of repeating Final Four appearances. The OSU Cowboys, now at 24-6 and No. 6, wound up as a two seed. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets, then 7-0, have been stung hard after the Zag loss, making a tumble No. 25 and a five seed in the tournament. Gonzaga has been ranked as low as 26th and as high as 10th this season and their 25-4 record and No. 10 spot place them as a third seed, which puts them in pretty good company with their former foes.
Another small school (from the Atlantic Coast Conference), only about 700 undergraduate students larger than Gonzaga, Wake Forest has not been ranked below seventh in the nation all season and were everybody's preseason pick to reach this year's Final Four.
GU and WFU, though separated by a continent, have much in common. Both represent small cities almost equal in size (Spokane and Winston-Salem, N.C.), both have picked up some major post-season hardware in the last 10 years (NCAA Elite Eight trophies in 1999 and 1996, respectively, and a 2000 National Invitation Tournament championship for Wake Forest) and they share a religious bent, being controlled, respectively, by Jesuits and Baptists. Ironically, the last college as small as these to reach the Final Four was Providence in 1987, and the only schools so small to ever win the Big Dance marbles were Catholic colleges Holy Cross (1947) and LaSalle (1954.)
It may sound like this writer believes that only divine intervention will guarantee postseason success to small sectarian colleges like GU and WFU. One sure bet, though, is that none of these schools would reject such a blessing from above.
There are some really bad bills in the Idaho Legislature right now that would give carte blanche to hunters for killing wolves, including shooting from helicopters, poisoning, and killing them if they even give the appearance of harassing livestock. House Bill 132 was passed out of the House with only three votes against. H.B. 132 would "amend existing law to provide that all methods ... shall be authorized for the management of wolves in accordance with existing laws or approved management plans, regardless of the classification assigned to wolves."
Everyone knows how indiscriminate poisoning, leg-hold traps and snares are. I had hoped that perhaps we had evolved enough in our human wisdom to be beyond such cruelty to the creatures we share the earth with. Please let the Idaho Legislature know what you think about the continued harassment and killing of wolves, especially as outlined in H.B. 132, which is now in the Resources and Conservation Committee chaired by Sen. Gary Schroeder.
While you're writing and speaking for wolves in Idaho, please do the same for the wolves in Alaska, where they are gunned down from helicopters every day or run to exhaustion so they can more easily be shot. Wolves need the voices of humans to speak for them.
In his recent Vision of Parallel Reality, better known as the Second Inaugural Address, President "Bushy" opens with his curious statement: "At this second gathering, our duties are defined not by the words I use, but by the history we have seen together."
The way I read it, that's a disclaimer. Bush - from somewhere across the space-time continuum - is actually advising us to disremember everything he's about to say. And not without good reason.
After all, we know the real life George W. Bush only too well. The High Priest of the Haves and Have-Mores, the Defender of Corporate Rule, the Deliverer of Perpetual Tax Cuts for the Oligarchs, the Slayer of Science and Other Inconvenient Facts. We see the imprint of his handiwork everywhere.
The Bush of Parallel Reality, however, describes himself in the Prophesy of the Second Inaugural as "He Who Stands With the Oppressed for Liberty, the One Who Helps Others Attain Their Freedom, the Terminator of All Tyranny." Go reconcile.
And what about Bush's version of "the history we have seen together?" Well, try this Inaugural excerpt on for size:
"From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value..." In Bush's America, then, women got the vote at Plymouth Rock in 1620, black Americans bought up the Great Plains and became railroad barons, and Mexico has governed the Southwest to this very day.
Bush's Inaugural only gets better the deeper you delve into it. No wonder he asked us to disregard what he said.