by Inlander Staff $200,000 -- That's how much, according to the New York Post, the Pentagon is paying Hollywood set designer George Allison (of Good Morning America fame) to create a backdrop in Qatar for Gen. Tommy Franks to appear before as he briefs the press on the war in Iraq. No word yet on whether the White House will require that he place subtle messages in the background, as many a presidential appearance has featured. Perhaps "Saddam, Osama... What's the Diff?" would be just right.
For the Record -- Speaking of Sadd... er, Osama, you might recall the story we did in our Feb. 20 issue, "Patty, George and Osama." In it, writer George Howland listed off some of the comments made about Sen. Murray's remarks on Osama bin Laden, including one by our region's very own D.F. Oliveria, in which his knee jerked to the right, calling Murray's comments nutty.
It has come to our attention that Oliveria's paper, the Spokesman-Review, did join rational voices at other newspapers in "Murray backlash a hollow exercise," published as an official opinion of the paper on Dec. 27.
Our bad. We missed that, so we're setting the record straight, that Oliveria was speaking for himself, not the newspaper. The Review's Ed Board argued that "polarization... is the crack of politics," concluding that we should "put down the political crack pipe." Now if only there was a way for the Review to really contribute to this effort to de-polarize political rhetoric. Hmmm...
Three Days in Purgatory -- Remember the days when we had the luxury of wallowing in the relative security and self-involvement of the River Park Square controversy? Ah, those were the days. You might recall there was something called "mediation" thrown into the mix, in which all parties would choose diplomacy instead of all-out war in court in the middle of next year. Somehow that approach doesn't sound all that promising these days.
But that's apparently not a feeling shared by Lonnie Suko, the mediator appointed by judge Edward Shea to help sort out the mess. Now it looks like he might be ready to spring a solution on the parties to the federal lawsuit.
All would have to agree, but according to a letter filed with the court, he has ordered all parties, including representatives of their insurance companies, to come to Yakima on April 14-16. And he wants all parties to be empowered to agree to a settlement. It's a genius plan, really: Three days and nights in Yakima can focus anybody's attention.
Passing or Failing? -- "One of the tests of a leader is to convince your allies what's right and what's wrong. And that's what a leader does. A leader builds up alliances." -- candidate George W. Bush on ABC's This Week in January 2000.