by Inlander Staff

A Question of Perspective- "Spokane is really cool if you look up. The problem is, most people are always looking down."

- A friend, while walking downtown, looking up.

A Sure Thing - While the state budget deficit looms somewhere around $1.6 billion and legislators ponder cuts in social services, they might make a closer inspection of the state's payroll.

In 1994, the state employed about 108,000 people full- and part-time, but now the number is closer to 170,000, according to the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a conservative Washington policy group. The state, in other words, is losing money and hiring people at the same time.

The EFF reports having studied employment documents and conducting interviews for three months, trying to determine exactly how many people work for Washington. The answer they came up with: "Nobody really knows for sure."

Ichthys and Darwin Coexist - Is this a trend? There have been three fairly high-profile intersections of ethics and science in Spokane recently: A conference on the Human Genome Project at Sacred Heart Medical Center in November; an early-April meeting of the Society of Christian Philosophers at Whitworth College, involving philosophers from around the country talking about DNA, astrophysics and God; and, Gonzaga University's second annual conference, also next week, "Physics and the God of Abraham."

Faith is good. Science is good. Critically thinking about them together? Real good.

Packin' Heat - Some 17,214 people have concealed pistol permits in Spokane County, according to the state Department of Licensing, which collects police gun records.

In Kootenai County, there are 4,518 permits, says the Sheriff's Department. In both counties, that translates into about one person in every 24 is authorized to carry a concealed weapon. The male to female ratio of permit holders is roughly four to one.

Spokane's Best - The "On the Street" poll on page 7 of this week's Inlander asks what's best about Spokane. We offer a few of our own thoughts:

- World-class parks and natural areas, from Dishman Hills to Riverside State Park to the Japanese Garden in Manito Park.

- A walkable downtown.

- Excellent colleges.

- As fine a combination of four-seasons weather, wilderness and adventure possibilities as any other metropolitan area in the U.S. Probably better.

Christmas Tree Elegance Holiday Luncheons @ Historic Davenport Hotel

Tue., Dec. 6, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and Wed., Dec. 7, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
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