Shooting fish in various barrels

Well, it's that time again, folks. The in basket is full of little items that need to be addressed, Godden bullet style. So here goes:* Hey, the Washington election for governor is finally over. Almost seven months to the day since the polls closed. You gotta love those guys and gals at the state Republican Party for wanting to have it all. They picked the court, the county and the judge and still couldn't get Cleano Dino in Olympia's Big House.

* On that note, sorta, recent studies published in The New York Times, and not written by Jayson Blair, show that thanks to Li'l Georgie Bush the .01 percent of Americans making $3 million or more a year turn out to be the folks who gain the most from Li'l Georgie's "economics policies."

Hey, but we're almost at peace in Iraq?

And now Grandpa Bush, the old George, thinks his son Jeb oughta be president, too.


Oh, well...

* Do you feel safer here in the Land of the Free after reading this very paper two weeks ago and learning all about the FBI-Homeland Security raid on the Mecca Café. Seems some drunken regular was talkin' trash inside a bar and was overheard by a solid new-type Seattle citizen. Guys with guns and weasels with cellphones calling the guys with guns is a lovely combination. KGB for everybody!

* In a similar vein, some kids in Colorado learned that joking around in high-school yearbooks ain't no joke. Seems the caption under one kid's photo picked him as the student "most likely to assassinate President Bush."

The Secret Service, no jokesters there, swooped down and began an investigation of these crazed youth out there in the same state that hosted Columbine. High-school authorities recalled the yearbooks featuring the offending passage.

"They kinda ruined our yearbook," a kid was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. But on the bright side, only three more years and they can move west, drink at the Mecca and get investigated for talking silly under the influence of their favorite bevvies.

* Tom DeLay, that other Texas stalwart, who, it turns out, never met a lobbyist or a trip to foreign climes on the lobbyist's dollar he didn't like, feels he was "slurred" by a television show.

Evidently a character on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" mentioned Tommy's name in a kinda negative fashion. The network laughed off DeLay's delayed sensitivity.

Still, it's good to know that Tommy is watching the tube a bit. That's at least an hour a week when he isn't mucking things up for folks who don't agree with him. Or aren't rich.

* And for those of my readers who occasionally check in and out of the King County Jail ... take heart, you could be locked up in Baltimore.

Six guards at the state-run Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center beat and stomped an inmate to death in his cell the other day. The state medical examiner has ruled the death of the stompee a homicide.

Since 2002, according to the ubiquitous Associated Press, 27 inmates have died while in custody at the Booking and Intake Center, evidently Baltimore's answer to Dachau.

Somebody ought to tell all those Iraqi whiners complaining about how their holy books get treated in federal jails about Baltimore. It could be worse, fellas.

* Finally, close to home - in fact, just a crosswalk away - 24 Seattleites have been killed in car-pedestrian accidents in the past 24 months. That's one of us a month. Fifty-six other folks were seriously injured, many of them while obeying traffic signals.

The columns I wrote here a year or so ago about the dangers of walking around Lower Queen Anne, even inside the lines of the crosswalks, generated more mail from you guys that anything else I've ever done.

But the columns didn't change anything, and Fat Greg's new toothless public-relations campaign, which features signs that say drive carefully above line-drawings of pedestrians flying like ten-pins, won't change anything either.

What the ever-expanding Billionaire Lover at the helm needs to do is to transfer some meter maids to crosswalk patrol, and -instead of ticketing folks who park a tad too long at a meter, or park without a sticker - start arresting or at least citing the people who run roughshod over those of us on foot.

Just last week, a portly, suited-and-tied, middle-aged tyro in an SUV ran through a red light at Queen Anne and Mercer without stopping so's he could make his turn.

Yours truly and a friend were entering the crosswalk.

Mr. Red-in-the-Face came so close to hitting us he saw clearly the little bird I flipped him. He actually stopped a ways down the street, as if debating the idea of getting out and defending his arrogant stupidity.

The smile on my face and the joy in my heart as I squared up must have given him second thoughts. He took his chubby, cellphoned self elsewhere quickly.

He didn't receive the ass-whippin' he deserved. He didn't even get a ticket.

But if he parks for 31 minutes somewhere he ain't supposed to, he's toast.

The only place that's more dangerous than a Seattle crosswalk in the past two years is the Baltimore Central Holding and Booking Center.

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