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home : opinion

Are you ready for fire season?
Last year our friends and neighbors in Okanogan County endured the worst wildland fire in the states history. It matters little what your political views are on the place fire should have in managing our forests, or in who was to blame for the disaster of that event. It's over and we must all come together to help our neighbors recover from that tragedy.

We also must recognize we live in harms way when it comes to fire. We have chosen to build our homes and our communities in the heart of fire country. What happened in Pateros and Brewster could easily occur in any of our rural communities.

Have you considered what you can do to make your home and property less vulnerable to fire if it comes to a forest near you? Do you have a plan to evacuate? Are you aware of the resources that are available to help you prepare, or if disaster strikes to help you get the assistance you might need?

Thursday, April 16, 2015 More...

Home is where the hell isn't
Sometimes, rarely, I wonder why I ever came to North-Central Washington. But then, every couple of years I take a trip back east. 

Why would I ever do such a crazy thing? Well, one has kids and grandkids and old friends to visit not all of whom can fly across the US to visit me more than once every few years. 

So, it's airline time again. I have to go first class, see, because I'm big, old and a crank. That means I can't tolerate being crammed in a coach seat between two 360 lb prison guards on their way to a seminar on transgender pathological murderers. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015 More...
"How did my state lawmakers vote in Olympia?
Thursday, April 16, 2015 More...
Three Iraqs
I want Americans to write, email, or call their congressman and senators and advocate for a "three-Iraq" solution to stop the violence and the need for yet more American troops, i.e., blood and treasure, in the future and possibly for decades to come (can you say Korea?).

Let our friends and loyal allies, the Kurds, have the north. Let the Shia, with their Iranian buddies, have the south. Allow the Sunnis to have the rest.

Americans are famously ignorant vis-a-vis world geography, history and culture so allow me to illuminate the origins of modern day Iraq. Google "Ottoman Empire" and you'll see how much of the Middle East was invented out of whole cloth by the Europeans. The dissolving of the Ottoman Empire has led to several made-up countries and a power vacuum and they in turn have been the scene of sectarian strife ever since.

Thursday, April 16, 2015 More...
Corporations still have gobs of cash
For years, one of the things that excited me most about the potential of our economy was the giant amount of cash sitting on corporate balance sheets. My rationale was that someday all that cash would start to trickle into the economy. A little bit here and there to hire more employees, or buy new machinery, or upgrade software... And then that snowballs into even more jobs, and more money, and more investment - and world is a happy place.

That's how this Capitalism thing is supposed to work, but it hasn't happened yet. The economy is growing solidly, but all that cash is still sitting there. According to FactSet, corporate cash piled up to $1.4 trillion dollars at the end of 2014. That means there is still a huge ball of economic potential just sitting there waiting to be put to work. In fact, if you assume money has feelings, this becomes a question of social justice. I firmly believe every dollar bill should have a chance to reach its full potential. This is just one more way the corporate world is stomping on morality.

If all that wonderful money started to pour into the economy, we could be talking about a legitimate economic boom. But it's not happening. So why is all that money sitting around doing nothing? Can't our corporations come up with a better use for money than sticking it in a piggybank? I see two key things going on here:

Thursday, April 16, 2015 More...
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, April 9, 2015 More...
Spring Sensations and A Taste of Leavenworth
One of the benefits of our dynamic tourism economy is that it is not limited to just the summer months. The Christmas season is filled with a brilliance that continues through the New Years revelry and into spring. We often look at ways to bolster our slower business months toward creating a more vibrant year round destination. With the help of Steven's Pass the chamber has added phenomenal weekend and midweek Ski & Stay Packages for January thru March. We follow that with an April culinary promotion. And why not? Spring is always quite beautiful. It includes spring break and already has some great events with Ale Fest, Choral Fest, and often Easter. And since the upper valley is the largest national exporter of organic pears, second in regular pear production, we chose to highlight the burgeoning culinary scene in Leavenworth and honor the pear! Who wouldn't want to come?
Thursday, April 9, 2015 More...
Corruption crosses demographic lines
Human fallibility on display everywhere

Consider the following recent news facts:

1 - U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, staunch Cuban-American anti-Castro ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee being charged with corruption for taking bribes over many years from a rich Florida eye doctor for nefarious favors.

2 - New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, prominent in that state's Jewish lobby, arrested for corruption for taking bribes for years from a law firm involved in asbestos litigation.

3 - Eleven teachers, all African-American, found guilty of forgery, fraud and racketeering in Georgia for falsifying student's test scores which caused them to get bonuses and raises. They will be imprisoned.

My friends, I am not anti-politician, teacher or government, but the above three examples are exactly what I am against - unchecked power and money hungry people in positions of trust who display their human failings and allow greed to govern their actions at taxpayer expense.

Thursday, April 9, 2015 More...
Addentures in Elderland
Oh, the joys of aging. Laugh it up, young people, your time is coming.

Alright, so we mummies walk goofy, have complexions like Shih-tzus, and dress like aliens from another planet, but mark my words, your day in the old-folk barrel is coming. If you think we dress funny, wait til the first tattooed 70 year-olds show up wearing backwards ballcaps, gauged ear-loops, Che shirts, and basketball shorts hanging below their underwear ... if they're wearing any. Ponder that vision.

You won't notice aging at first because you think it isn't going to happen to you or at least if it does you'll be so medicated you won't know it. But nay. The bell tolls for thee too, youngster.

Thursday, April 9, 2015 More...
Democrats wage war on small business
In July of 2012 Barack Obama declared, "If you've got a successful business, you didn't build that...someone else helped you do that." While it angered many small business people at the time, there is at least an ounce of truth in his comment. Small businesses succeed because of dedicated employees and loyal customers. The problem is Obama and the Democrats have since declared war on businesses across America.

Listening to the political rhetoric coming from President Obama and his Democrat apparatchiks, business people are the "one percent" sucking wealth from the "middle class". They make $250,000 per year while the middle class is forced to subsist on a minimum wage that forces hard working families to live on food stamps and government welfare. While there are undoubtedly bad actors in any group. Painting all business owners as wealth sucking parasites is nothing short of bizaphobia.

Thursday, April 9, 2015 More...
How did my state lawmakers vote in Olympia?
Senate Bill 5735, to provide incentives for carbon reduction investments. Passed the Senate on March 9, by a vote of 26-23.

Senate Bill 5735, amendment stating that human activity may contribute to climate change. Passed the Senate on March 9, by a vote of 29-20.

Senate Bill 5899, to address small loans and consumer installment loans. Passed the Senate on March 10, by a vote of 30-18.

Thursday, April 2, 2015 More...
Life is a precious gift
In a guest editorial by Dr. Robert Olvera, he voices a compassionate opinion in favor of "Aid in Dying". He seems to base his opinion using his credentials as a Doctor and a Catholic, yet he really gives no medical or religious reason for his conviction. So his opinion is really no more sound than his emotions, which seem to be based on the horrible experience of watching an adult daughter die.

I am sorry for Dr. Olvera's loss but on a topic this serious shouldn't we look for a better foundation for law than emotion?

Let's clear up the terminology first. If I needed a loaded gun to end my life and you provided the weapon I'd call that assisted suicide. If someone voluntarily ends their life prematurely that's suicide and anyone who helps is an accessory. This should be clear enough; they want it legal to commit suicide to avoid the pain of dying. Fair enough, but let's not pretend it's anything more glamorous than that.

As much as I despise the idea of suicide, assisted or not, doctor assisted suicide will become law because man no longer cares about the authority or prerogative of God. The Giver of life has the final say but man, in the pursuit of making himself to be god, has usurped God's authority in so many ways already this is the next logical step following abortion I suppose.

Thursday, April 2, 2015 More...
Why this Catholic physician supports medical aid in dying
Inspired by the public advocacy of terminal brain cancer patient Brittany Maynard, lawmaker in Washington, DC, and at least 16 other states - from California to New York - have introduced bills that would authorize the medical option of aid in dying.

This legislation would allow mentally competent, terminally ill adults in the final stages of their disease the option to request a doctor's prescription for aid-in-dying medication that they could choose to take it if their suffering becomes unbearable.

As a Catholic and a physician, I feel compelled to dispel the myths about these bills perpetrated by the Roman Catholic Church, some disability groups, and the American Medical Association (AMA).

The Oregon law that is the model for this legislation has a stellar 17-year track record, with no scientifically documented cases of abuse or coercion. Dying adults who go through the lengthy process of obtaining the medication in Oregon hold onto it for weeks or months, as Brittany did, before taking it, if they take it at all.

Thursday, April 2, 2015 More...
Not-so-strange bedfellows
What do Koch Industries and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have in common? Prison reform. Together they are the main sponsors of "Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform". It took place last week in D.C. with a laundry list of discussions about sentence reform, the criminal code, recidivism and restoring personal freedom to the "criminal class" in America which numbers in the millions.

Individuals make mistakes. Our so-called Christian-based society ought to forgive those that have paid their due. Give them the second chance to become part of the American dream, not remain a burden to taxpayers.

Millions sit behind bars in federal, state and county prisons and jails around the country. Average cost each for one year is $24,000. Millions more are on probation or parole.

Thursday, April 2, 2015 More...
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, March 26, 2015 More...
Just bluffing?
Today I signed my name as "Jeb Bush" and my signature was accepted by the computer keypad at the retail establishment where I was making a purchase. It was an insignificant purchase for a petty amount, but the point is this, the computer "safeguard" requiring a signature was meaningless. In the past I have signed "my" name as Micky Mantle, Sofia Loren, Muhammad Ali and a dozen other names just for the fun of it. The signature keypad is almost always facing away from the cashier so even if you just signed Malcolm X they wouldn't know nor would they care. The keypad is apparently just used as a decoy so that the consumer thinks the computer somehow magically recognizes the signature that should go with the credit card being used.

My friends, this is a bluff. Call the bluff and the world is your oyster. How many other modern devices are just bluffing? Cameras are everywhere, but how many are operational? It is a fact many retailers have cameras and cutesy signs that say "smile you are being videotaped", but how many of these cameras are functioning? I once bought a "beware of dog" sign and put it in the front living-room window of my house just to scare potential burglars. It had a picture of a German shepherd on it. A friend of mine, who was deathly afraid of dogs, knocked on the door once and hesitated to come in until I assured him the sign was just a hoax. He laughed, but still was wary upon entering.

Thursday, March 26, 2015 More...

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