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April 01, 2007
Berth III Construction
Berth III, looking
from Tongass Narrows. New City Float Dolphin.
Front Page Photo by Terri Jirschele
The week in review By THOMAS HARGROVE - Bombings
escalate in Baghdad
More than 180 Iraqi civilians
were killed or found dead in and around Baghdad Thursday in one
of the bloodiest days of the U.S. occupation. Worst hit was the
Shiite neighborhood of Shaab, where two suicide bombers attacked
a public market, killing at least 80 and wounding more than 100
others. On Friday, radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr issued a statement:
"I renew my call for the occupier (the United States) to
leave our land. The departure of the occupier will mean stability
for Iraq, victory for Islam and peace and defeat for terrorism
and the infidels."
Captured British sailors apologize
Two of the 15 British sailors
and marines captured by Iranian forces last week have apologized
for straying into Iran's territorial waters. "We trespassed
without permission," Royal Marine rifleman Nathan Thomas
Summers said on state-run television Friday. "Obviously
we trespassed into their waters," said sailor Faye Turney
in a broadcast Wednesday. Britain vigorously denies this. "All
it does is enhance people's sense of disgust. Captured personnel
being paraded and manipulated in this way doesn't fool anyone,"
said Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Pentagon admits mistakes in
reporting Tillman's death
The Pentagon said Monday that
mistakes were made by nine high-ranking Army officers in how
the death of former NFL player Pat Tillman was reported to his
family. No criminal acts were committed, officials said. Tillman
quit football to become an Army Ranger after 9/11. He was killed
by U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2004. Tillman's family first
was told that he died from enemy fire, and didn't learn the truth
for five weeks. "We as an Army failed in our duty to the
Tillman family, the duty we owe to all the families of our fallen
soldiers: Give them the truth, the best we know it, as fast as
we can," said Acting Army Secretary Peter Geren. Family
members want Congress to investigate.
Gonzales was involved in firings,
former aide says
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales'
former chief of staff told the Senate Judiciary Committee on
Thursday that Gonzales was wrong to deny involvement in the dismissals
of eight U.S. attorneys last year. "I remember discussing
with him this process of asking certain U.S. attorneys to resign,"
said Kyle Sampson. He said the eight were fired because they
were not "loyal Bushies." Gonzales said Friday he doesn't
"recall being involved in deliberations." President
Bush still supports his longtime Texas friend. "The president
believes the attorney general can overcome the challenges that
are before him," said White House Deputy Press Secretary
White House spokesman Tony
Snow has liver cancer
White House press secretary
Tony Snow's cancer has returned and spread to his liver, a tearful
colleague announced Tuesday. "He told me that he beat this
thing before and he intends to beat it again," said shaken
deputy press secretary Dana Perino. Doctors operated on Snow
Monday to remove a cancerous growth in his abdomen, only to discover
the disease had spread to his liver and elsewhere. "My message
to Tony is, 'Stay strong; a lot of people love you and care for
you and will pray for you,' " President Bush said.
Ambassador nominee sunk by
President Bush withdrew his
nomination of businessman Sam Fox to be U.S. ambassador to Belgium
on Wednesday following a wave of angry criticism by Democrats
over Fox's $50,000 contribution to the Swift Boat Veterans for
Truth group that undermined Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential
bid. The group ran TV spots accusing the lawmaker of lying about
his Vietnam War record. "The White House made the right
decision to withdraw the nomination. I hope this signals a new
day in political discourse," Kerry said. - More...
Sunday - April 01, 2007
Washington Calling: Furtive
evildoer ... puppy program ... cost overruns By LISA HOFFMAN
- Despite the nation's post-9/11 scramble to protect America
from sophisticated chemical and biological attack, it remains
possible for an evildoer to assemble a fertilizer bomb on U.S.
soil and wreak destruction of the magnitude Tim McVeigh did 12
The common fertilizer ammonium
nitrate - which McVeigh and his accomplice mixed with fuel oil
and packed into a rental truck that brought down the federal
building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 - still is unregulated
by the federal government. The fertilizer industry and farm interests,
among other lobbies, have successfully batted away multiple attempts
to do so.
This past week, a bipartisan
alliance of House lawmakers decided to try again, introducing
a measure that would give the Department of Homeland Security
the power to oversee the sale and purchase of the fertilizer.
This version is a watered-down sequel to earlier bills, but its
odds of passage are likely little better.
Speaking of homeland security,
one of the feds' cutting-edge programs is under attack on Capitol
Hill. At issue is the "Puppy Program" of the Transportation
Security Administration, which is selectively breeding canines
with exceptional sniffing talent to produce a long-term dog force
for use in detecting explosives or other nefarious items at airports
around the country.
This has raised the hackles
of Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who says the government should get
its nose out of this multimillion-dollar business. "I've
got nothing against puppies," Flake said, but "surely
this is a job better suited for the private sector."
The Coast Guard has caught
a lot of flak lately for cost overruns and defects in a new fleet
of patrol vessels, but one new piece of technology worked just
as billed recently. When a cruise-ship passenger went overboard
30 miles off Fort Lauderdale, a computer model called the Search
and Rescue Optimal Planning System was able to pinpoint his likely
location. Despite powerful Gulf Stream currents that carried
him more than 15 miles from where he went in, he was rescued
in good shape within eight hours.
Yoko Ono will flit into town
next week calling on one and all to hang "wishes" on
10 trees across the city and "imagine peace." She'll
be at the Hirshhorn Museum, where she will demonstrate how to
write a wish on paper and then tie it to a tree. The widow of
the late Beatle John Lennon says this is a way for the public
to participate in the "art-making process." This is
part of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, but "public
artists" should be warned that tying a wish or anything
else on one of those sacred pink trees will get you a trip to
the petal-pokey. - More...
Sunday - April 01, 2007
Columns - Commentary
Grocery Shop Therefore I Am - You can date a local by how
they refer to Ketchikan grocery stores.
For example, I tend to immediately
think the name "Wingren's" when I think of local grocery
My mother, on the other hand,
still occasionally refers to something Downtown as "near
If my great-grandfather were
still around, I'm sure he'd patiently explain that some place
was "a couple of doors down from 'Clark and Martin.' "
So it goes.
I have a friend who calls the
store next to the mall "SeaMart." Another friend calls
it "Carrs." Only a real cheechako would call it its
current name "Safeway."
It's probably no surprise,
then, that I tend to mark life changes by grocery stores.
Growing up in the West End
of Ketchikan, I have fond memories of the two West End stores,
:"Wingren's" and "Log Cabin," as they were
called in the 1960s. They were both located on the bottom floors
of the two 10 story, concrete bunker apartment buildings that
towered over our daily lives (they were the "Wingren"
and the "Austin" buildings then). - More...
Wednesday - March 28, 2007
Eye on Capitol Flora and Fauna - Readers who join us here
each week, know that I was on Capitol Hill recently, listening
to the Iraq debate in the U.S. House of Representatives. I also
paid a visit next door. I wasn't prepared for what I saw - it
was a jungle in there!
Literally. Since I didn't have
a pass to the Senate chamber, I crossed First Street and toured
the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory. It was my maiden voyage
through this myriad of flora from all corners of the planet,
and quite a few interesting niches as well. My flight was the
last one to Nashville, so I had time for a three-hour tour, a
Although there is a fascinating
World Deserts exhibit - featuring numerous cactus species with
more barbs than the House debate - this is no uncharted desert
isle. I grabbed a map at the front desk, and made notes on it
as I explored this haven from the politically rough weather across
In the West Gallery, it is
your sense of smell that does most of the exploring. Seeds of
all kinds are grouped in displays that tell the story of spices,
such as Asian curry with its blend of turmeric, coriander, cumin,
fenugreek, cloves and fennel seeds. I have often wondered how
roots and seeds of less-than-tantalizing plants (except for fennel
- I love fennel) ended up as key ingredients to delicious entrées.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew (in some ancient
kitchen) tandoori ovens probably wouldn't be so popular in London.
Wednesday - March 28, 2007
Thing About Trains . . - I received an email recently from
one of my two loyal readers asking when I was going to write
another article about the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, which used
to be my home away from home before my company put me on the
road. Case in point, I just came back from three wonderful days
in Minnesota where I had the opportunity to experience a blizzard.
You know, I'm almost positive that when I hired on with my company
I distinctly told them that I did not want to go north Interstate
40 in any month with an "R" in it. They must have forgotten.
But, getting back to the Blue
Ridge Scenic, this is the start of the railroad's 10th season,
as well as my 10th year as a conductor. However, I work as a
brakeman most of the time. I find that stubborn locomotives or
cranky engineers are easier to deal with than 400 impatient passengers.
Besides, a conductor is really just a brakeman who can read and
write. In fact, the definition of a conductor is "a brakeman
Many of my fellow volunteers
enjoy dressing up in their conductor uniforms and hob knobbing
with the passengers, whereas I, on the other hand, get infinitely
more enjoyment emptying the sanitary tanks. That is a job requiring
skill and coordination, as well as a stomach made of iron. I
think I'm beyond iron though because as I look in the mirror
these days I see lead. - More...
Wednesday - March 28, 2007
Kids & a 50-pound Rock - I recently took my daughter's
pet bird to the veterinarian's. As I waited in the vet's office
for Tika's appointment, I picked up a Science Diet book and thumbed
through. It was then I discovered the stark similarity between
they way Americans take care of their pets and the way they take
care of their children and themselves. I was also struck by an
obvious (to me) contrast. Science Diet is committed to formulating
the absolute best possible food for your pet cat or dog throughout
the various stages of life that the spectrum of a dog or cat's
longevity requires. Human "food" manufacturing companies
are primarily interested in profit and offering a huge amount
of choices, some of which are healthy and many of which are not.
Wisdom is the ability to discern proper choices and make them
and this pet food book seemed to display wisdom that should be
applied to human lives as well.
The section of the Science
Diet book that caught my attention was "Obesity Facts".
I thought, 'Here's a health concern Americans share with their
pets.' The book stated that 50% of dogs & cats are overweight
or obese. I thought, 'A recent study shows that in just 4 years,
overweight & obese American children will increase from the
present level of 25% to 50%.' It is scary for me to see this
feeder system generation face such obesity risks, not just for
them as children, but also for the adults, which they will become.
If the present epidemic levels of diabetes, heart disease and
stroke are alarming now, the next generation will be far more
disposed to premature death and disability than the present generation
of adults. That is VERY alarming! - More...
Wednesday - March 28, 2007
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