Show of Strength -- Citizens for Sensible Government, the Spokane group that's seeking a spot on the May 20 ballot to rescind the strong mayor form of government, is plugging right along, with nearly 5,000 of the 6,200 signatures needed.
The group also got an endorsement from an unlikely place -- Councilwoman Cherie Rodgers says she thinks the council-manager form of government is best for Spokane. Despite being a harsh critic of the most notorious creation of the last council-manager regime, the River Park Square parking garage, she is behind the effort because she says the new system is costing too much money and has led to a rift between the city staff and the council.
French Revolt -- As French President Jacques Chirac stymies the Bush administration's plans for war in Iraq, some are enjoying the chance to bash France. Politicians wonder aloud about slapping new tariffs on wine and bottled water, Letterman and Leno are back with the wimpy-French jokes and a talk radio host in Nashville is organizing a boycott of French goods. We agree, the French are a self-righteous lot (like we're not), but perhaps a little perspective might shed some light on where that bunch of beret-wearing whiners are coming from:
Dropped Out -- Why, the French might think, should we join the Americans' party when they refuse to join ours? While it got some play in U.S. media, France and the rest of Europe were outraged when Bush, early in his administration, torpedoed the Kyoto accord on global warming by pulling the U.S. out of it. Similarly, Bush refused to endorse the international criminal court.
Friendly Advice? -- Maybe the French are just trying to talk some sense into an old friend? It's ancient history, but maybe now is a good time to recall there would be no U. S. of A., no land of the free, home of the brave without the French, whose support during the American Revolution turned the tide against the British. Oh, and that symbol of America, the Statue of Liberty? The French gave it to us as a gift of friendship.
Speaking from Experience -- Or perhaps they argue against war as anything but a last resort because they have lived through it. In World War II, 563,000 Frenchmen and women were killed. In World War I, the nation lost 1.4 million people. (Russia, another European nation counseling against quick strikes on Iraq, lost 18 million people during World War II.)
So it's somewhat accurate for talk radio jocks, conservative columnists and right-wing politicians to call these people sissies. After all, that's just another way of saying they're pacifists. On that point, at least, the French would probably agree.
Publication date: 02/20/03