Al is Left? -- It's not that catchy, but liberals who have long wanted to challenge the likes of Rush (who, as we know, is right), Sean Hannity and (fill in the blank) at Fox News are hoping a new radio network will give people a more balanced media diet. Venture capitalists are putting up $10 million to launch a programming network for the people who already listen to NPR. Not surprisingly, they're talking with Al Franken, author of Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot.
Backers hope to convince stations to carry their planned blend of humor and opinion. We all know Rush preaches to the choir every day, so is that all this is about for lefties? Instead, maybe they should try, oh, say, getting somebody elected! But if it hits Spokane, we'll give it a listen -- as long as their theme music is all Barbra Streisand.
52 percent -- That's how many members of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in Washington state said the state's business climate was "poor." Of those business owners polled back in December, 69 percent said they would not be hiring in 2003.
$725 million -- That's how much the Association of Washington Business estimates that it will cost Washington companies to comply with new state ergonomic workplace rules in the first year. Organizations like the NFIB are lobbying to get the rules rescinded, and Sen. Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla) introduced legislation to make compliance voluntary. Last week, the Senate passed his plan, 30-19, but it will still need to make it through the House before the governor is given the choice to sign it.
Unfinished Verse -- First Lady Laura Bush, once a librarian, adopted literacy as the focus of her tenure in the White House. So it wasn't surprising that she had planned an event focusing on poetry -- "Poetry and the American Voice." What was surprising was that the Feb. 12 event was abruptly cancelled. Why? Invitee Sam Hamill, author of 13 books of poems and Port Townsend resident, sent an e-mail out to poets asking them to submit anti-war poems for the event.
The First Lady said she didn't want to turn the event into a political forum. Still, the uproar hasn't died, and more than 12,000 poets have submitted anti-war verse, now posted at www.poetsagainstthewar.org. With their dander up, the peeved poets are just getting started -- they've declared March 5 International Poetry against the War Day.
When this is all said and done, you can bet there'll be another one of those wartime axioms. (You know, like never invade Russia during winter.) It'll run like this: Whatever you do, don't mess with the poets.
Publication date: 02/27/03