Into a Black Hole -- This is true: $1.1 trillion is classified as "unsupported accounting entries" in the Pentagon's 2000 financial statements. That's a polite way of saying they have no idea where all that money went.
To learn more (or just get madder) about unsupported accounting entries, how these numbers were reached and how to hold government responsible for losing "your" money (as some like to call it) visit www.whereisthemoney.org, the Web site for an educational campaign launched by Solari, an investment advisory company.
By their calculations, Washington state's share of that missing money could pay for:
* Healthcare coverage for more than 526,000 children
* More than 23,000 new public school teachers
* More than 300,000 cars to be converted to use natural gas
Getting Noticed -- Howard Dean and John Kerry both made stops in Spokane earlier this week, and diehards can get a look at a third candidate, Dennis Kucinich, today, Feb. 5, at Gonzaga University. His rally starts at 4 pm at the Cataldo Dining Hall. Congressman Kucinich is a long shot, but he has attracted strong support for his anti-war stance. Check him out for yourself.
Quick on the Draw -- When Kate McCaslin announced she would not seek a third term as a Spokane County Commissioner, you had to think the organized candidates out there would rush to file, so as to scare off any other competitors. The first one out of the gate is Steve Peterson, the mayor of Liberty Lake. Peterson, in his second term, has been involved in the creation of a new city in Liberty Lake, and he is well versed in issues ranging from contracting for services to aquifer protection. "It all comes down to jobs, growth and taxes," he says.
Having a Ball -- Spokane's new mayor Jim West seems to be a man with a new lease on life. Oh yeah, as an ongoing cancer survivor, he kind of does have a new lease on life. And along with getting City Hall in ship-shape, he's taking time to stop and smell the roses, too. In that spirit, West is working with the Junior League of Spokane to host the first-ever Inland Northwest Mayors' Ball. The black tie/business attire event is Saturday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 pm at the Davenport Hotel's Pennington Ballroom. The general public is invited, and you can mingle with the decision-makers from around the Inland Northwest. Tickets are $75 per person, and you get to dance to the Big Band sounds of Tuxedo Junction and gobble hors d'oeurves. If you're lucky, you can put in a word for getting your street plowed, too.