My Moxie Moment

December 1st, 2022 by Ken

 Moxie is a Yorkshire Terrier, a five-pound male Yorkie.  He was the runt of the litter, but he never let  his size stop him from being the Top Dog.  He would take on every squirrel, every rabbit, most cats and some dogs twice his size.

Once he took on a mother raccoon and ended up in the hospital for four days.

A year after we got Moxie, we adopted his half-sister – Minnie, who weighed nearly twice Moxie’s size.  But, because she was a female, she never challenged Moxie for Top Dog status.

Two years ago, during that 100 degree hot spell, my brother invited us to spend time at his house.  He had recently installed air conditioning and thought we could use a break from the heat.  “Bring along your dogs,” he said.

When we arrived at this house, his daughter – my niece – was also there.  And, she had brought her dog.   A Big Dog, who must have weighed 60 pounds and stood as tall as my waist.

Moxie was impressed.  So impressed that he curled up in my wife Jan’s lap and  lay there for most of the day.  Big Dog stiffed him a couple of times, and Moxie returned the favor.

After a few hours Moxie left Jan’s lap, jumped down to the floor, walked over to Big Dog laid down and exposed his belly.  Moxie was acknowledging that he was no longer the top dog.  That honor had befallen Big Dog.

I call it a Moxie Moment.

Because a few months later, I had my own Moxie Moment.

I belong to a poker group which plays monthly.  I have for more than 50 years.  While players have come and gone, a few of us old-timers have been with it since its inception.

I always considered myself the best poker player in the group.  Hell, I’ve always considered myself the best poker player in the room wherever I played.  But recently I’ve been on a losing streak.   I mentioned to the coordinator of the  poker group, who keeps the record of whose turn it is to host the game, that I had lost for the last four months.  His  -retort – -“You’ve been the loser for the last eight months.”

That was my Moxie Moment.  Age has crept up on me.  We usually play until midnight or later, but I’ve noticed that by 10:30 pm I have trouble staying awake and trouble concentrating.   I am no longer Top Dog at the poker table.



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The roots of Homelessness

November 21st, 2022 by Ken


The roots of homelessness run deep – and shallow.

The Christian Bible tells us that “the poor shall always be with you.”  That idea has held constant since the caveman forced his brother-in-law out into the cold because he was too weak to go hunting.  (OK, enough of that.)

The poor and poor housing has been prevalent in this country since the beginning.  But, there was always enough land and those without a house, could venture to the next county or the next state and build their next house.

In the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, as immigration filled city streets with people, language and customs, many of them were forced into tenements and many other forms of cover that would keep out the cold.

In the rural areas, the working poor, farmers and sharecroppers lived in whatever would keep the rain off their heads.

It wasn’t until the Great Depression of the 1930’s, that the average American began to see the rotten fruit of capitalism.  Right here in Thurston County, more than a thousand people crowded into shacks, shanties and lean-toos, around lower Budd Inlet (later Capitol Lake.)    There they stayed until the economic boom of World War Two found them work.

But, where were the mentally ill and those who engaged in criminal activities?   For the most part they were in mental institutions or in jails and prisons.

Following the war and to save capitalism, the government engaged in such social programs as the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the Square Deal and the War on Poverty. The blight of the homeless from the depression was to be wiped from the minds of the new America and the New Americans.

Any country that won a world war and had become the world’s greatest power, should not have poverty and homeless wandering the streets.  Government was going to make things right.  Echoing the calls and cries of the Baby Boomers – – government determined that no one was to be left behind.  Even the poorest among us had the right to be free of hunger and be sheltered from the cold.

Government embarked on a program to eliminate sub-standard housing  in the United States.  Local government, echoing the trend, began to use zoning as a way to rid their cities from shacks and shanties.

Gone were the old-dilapidate buildings that used to provide cheap rent for the working poor.  Shunted aside to the suburbs were the trailer parks and overnight camping areas that gave the mobile poor a place to stop.

Zoning ordinances kept out apartment complexes and duplexes.  Again shuffling them out to the suburbs and even into the rural areas.  Places where many people didn’t want to live.

Later, to make certain that all new housing construction was 100 percent safe, city ordinances determined what kind of houses could be built and what accruements they must have – – all adding cost to a basic house.  Affordability was sacrificed to make certain that every house was safe from everything but an “Act of God.”

Banking rules and regulations also helped set the price of new homes.  The value of a house must conform to the value of the land.  Bankers felt that was the only way to assure that their loan would be repaid.

Then came the Better Living through Chemistry.

Pharmaceutical  companies had come up with drugs, which would help alleviate many of the mental conditions that had confined thousands of individuals to mental hospitals.   The conditions in those hospitals had become a national disgrace and government officials wanted them emptied and closed as quickly as possible.

Besides – all patients had the right to self-determination and could make their own decisions. These new drugs would do the trick.  Take your meds and leave confinement.

And, by the 1980’s, most of the government-run mental hospitals were closed.  As long as those with mental problems took their meds, they were welcomed back into society.  But, many didn’t take their meds.

Since the beginning of the 21st Century, crime on our streets had been increasing on a regular basis.  With the prevalence of drugs on our streets, petty crime made living in an urban area an exercise in restraint.

The legalization of marijuana and the decimalization of small amounts of other drugs has forced society to make some hard decisions.  Should police arrest and charge all those engaging in illegal drug sales and those engaging in crime that just borders on being petty, in order to buy the drugs.  Doing so makes law enforcement officials into targets of those who see little harm with property crime.   No bail also makes it difficult for police to make decisions to arrest.

Not arresting the violators means that our streets are not only filled with those who are homeless, but those for whom  homeless is just a way of life.

In Thurston County, right now, there are more than three-dozen groups, non-profits and government agencies involved with the homeless situation.  For the most part, those who are temporarily homeless, through job loss or domestic abuse are being house at  a rapid pace.

But, the problem for our society is deeper and longer lasting.

Do we, as Americans, have a responsibility to care for everyone living in our community, or are there people who are unable or unwilling to be helped and just want  left alone?  Does public safety trump every thing else?

And do we have the patience and the money to solve a problem that has always been with us?

The answer lies with us – and those we elect to govern us.


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2022 Election Observations

November 11th, 2022 by Ken

Voters in Thurston County made a wise move this election year when they voted to increase the number of Thurston County Commissioners and Port of Olympia Commissioners from three members to five.

It passed by a greater majority for Thurston County, but it did pass for the Port.  I’m not certain why the port vote was less, because the cost for the county commissioner increase was far greater than for the port.  But it passed and that’s  a  gold star for voters.  By approving the increase (and with it new commissioner boundaries) they assured better representation, communications and accountability.

We also elected ourselves a 28-year old sheriff (who will be 29 before he is sworn into office.)  Derek Sanders is probably the youngest elected sheriff ever in Thurston County, and maybe in the entire State of Washington. Was the final outcome a way of voters telling the incumbent sheriff that it was time he stepped down, or was it because Sanders was so qualified that it was impossible not to vote for him.

At 29, he is the most powerful law enforcement official in the county.  That’s a tremendous responsibility. I gasped when I realized how young he was, and then I remembered I was running Lacey’s only newspaper at the age of 30.  I also remembered how many mistakes I made in learning my job.  When I made mistakes it hurt people’s feelings.  If he makes mistakes it ruins people’s lives.

We’ll know shortly, how mature he is.  He has said he will appoint an under sheriff who will be his manager.  But, some of the people he has suggested he might appoint are light-weights and incompetents.  Sanders needs to make the right decisions early on and his first appointment will tell us of his level of maturity.

Thurston County is the most liberal county in Washington State.   The recent election, as well as longtime observation, shows that Thurston County is about three percent more liberal in its voting record than any other county in the state, including those to the north.

In all of the partisan races on the ballot this year, Republican candidates took about 35 percent of the vote.  That margin has held strong for nearly two decades.    The only race that exceeded that margin was Vivian Eason who garnered more than 40 percent in her race for county commissioner against Tye Menser.  In Thurston County, that’s a  moral victory – for all  that means.


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Who’s a good boy?

October 24th, 2022 by Ken

As usual, the City of Olympia has blamed its problems on Lacey and are surprised when Lacey doesn’t agree.

In this case, the City of Olympia dedicated money for a housing project in Lacey, without getting the approval of the Lacey City Council.  We’re talking about the Olympia council’s decision to allocate $3 million of funding for low-income housing.  (Not really  low cost when we’re talking $3 million for five single-family homes.)

Olympia mayor Shelby Selby took to the media to voice her concern that Lacey wasn’t playing nice and that the two cities had agreed to work cooperatively on funding housing needs.

But Mayor Selby, forgot to tell the City of Lacey that it was going to do the projects in Lacey.  The move took Lacey officials by surprise.

Mayor Selby also criticized Lacey for possibly using some of their housing money towards construction of a new police station in  the city.

Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder was recently quoted in “The Olympian” that no Lacey officials were at the table when Olympia made the decision, but Lacey might still be willing to contribute some funds to the housing project using city reserves.

(I think the City of Olympia still hasn’t grasped the concept that it is no longer the big dog in the neighborhood and that it cannot take unilateral action on regional problems without at least talking with the leader of the pack.)

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Too much Sky

October 8th, 2022 by Ken

It’s changed, this neighborhood of mine

Gone are the tall Doug Fires which used to block out the sky.

Gone to the windstorms of November and the chain  saws of urban foresters.

In their places are the Dogwoods, the Flowering Plum, the Japanese Maple,

the people friendly trees with their splashes of spring color.

Gone as well are the two-bedroom houses with their one-car garages;

replaced by the needs of growing families.

Now asphalt driveways go nowhere.

Garages have been turned into spare rooms and cars park on the street.

Gone to0 are the blond-haired couple with their blond-haired children

who lived next door.

Gone to new neighborhoods with new houses, on cul de sacs,

with their three-bedroom homes,

whose yards are guarded at night by concrete lamp posts

and little dogs that bark and yip.

Also gone are the neighbors on the other side

who often proved that Good Fences do make Good Neighbors.

The family that lived directly across the street has moved on.

I watched their children grow from tots who rode their Big Wheels on the street

into teenagers who roared up and down the road at all hours of the night.

The man who lived across the back fence is still there,

but he has cut down the decades old apple trees that used to hang over my fence.

Now, the only thing that separates my yard from his

is the view of his camper, covered most of the year by a blue tarp.

But, just like people, neighborhoods change with time.

And just like people, change in a neighborhood isn’t all bad.

New neighbors have moved in now.

They’re of two types – young and old.

The young ones bring enthusiasm, energy and young children,

who again fill the streets with laughter and large smiles.

The older ones bring a sense of finality as though they settling in

and aren’t planning to move again.

They dig up old lawns, composed primarily of old grass and  dandelions,

and replace them with new grass, dark green and smelling sweet.

The plant rhodies and roses and roots.

They introduce themselves when they see you outside working on a project

they deem too much for one.

It’s changed this neighborhood of mine.

When I think of what’s gone, I think of what’s been added and say,

This is a pretty good neighborhood,

Even if there is too much sky.




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Government unions lose membership

October 3rd, 2022 by Ken

The four largest government unions in the United States, have lost nearly a quarter of a million members, since the Supreme Court, in its 2018 Janus decision ruled that non-members were not required to pay mandatory contributions towards political action.

The four – AFSCME, SEIU, NEA and AFT had a peak membership in 2021 of nearly 7 million members.  Since then, 218,000 union members have dropped their membership.

Private sector unions have lost far fewer members, but those representing government workers, including teachers, have seen the largest decreases in membership.

These government unions, have a major say in political matters and most often influence partisan stands taken by the Democratic Party.  In many communities, these government unions exert tremendous control over the election of local officials, who owe their election to the union’s monetary contributions and their ability to turn out workers to wave signs, doorbell and make phone calls.

Whether or not the decline in membership will result in a decline in union political activism is yet to be seen.  But, if membership continues to fall, its influence on politics will continue to decline.

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Who runs the Port of Olympia – staff or commissioners?

September 26th, 2022 by Ken

“It’s Deja Vu all over again.”  This quote from Yogi Berra about sums up the recent flap between the staff of the Port of Olympia and KGY radio, over the historical significance of the KGY Building.

The Olympia Heritage Commission had proposed that the 60-year old KGY building on port property be added to the city’s heritage register.  All members of the commission were in favor of such an action, when a last minute e-mail from Port of Olympia staff, objected to the inclusion of the building.

The argument (from the staff) centered around who had the authority to control the use of the building.   KGY owns the building.  The Port of Olympia owns the property on which it sits.  Port staff were concerned that including the 60-year old building on the heritage register would complicate staff efforts to use the property when KGY’s lease expires in 2024.

Complicating matters even more is that not one single member of the Olympia Port Commission knew anything about staff’s action in regards to KGY.  But they should have been notified and they should have had input.  Because it has a major impact on their political future.

Lets go back to 2006.

KGY’s lease on the property was expiring.  The station’s owners wanted a renewal.  Port staff said no.  The building did not fit into the future use the port had for that property.  At the time, a developer was eying the property for construction of a “hotel”.  The hotel fit into the future plans of the port.

When word went out to the community that KGY was being ousted, an out-cry of community support for keeping the station at its present site galvanized the public.  Port Commission Steve Pottle, who had supported the hotel, resigned his commission seat.  Bill McGregor, a KGY supporter was appointed to fill that seat and elected to that seat in 2007.  Port Commissioner Bob VanSchrool, ran for re-election and was defeated by George Barner, also a KGY supporter.

Economic conditions led the hotel to be unworkable and KGY was granted a lease extension.  Several lease extension have followed.

None of the three current port commissioners had even heard of staff arguments against putting the building on the heritage register until the article appeared in the pages of “The Olympian” last Sunday.

There is and continues to be great community support for KGY, the oldest radio station in the State of Washington and one of the oldest in the country.  KGY is owned by the Kerry family and the fourth generation is now running the station.

When you think of community Icons for Olympia, only three stand out – – the state capitol, the old state capitol and KGY radio which has been on the waterfront in its current location for 60 years.  The building is an Icon representing continuity and stability to a city in constant change.

The Olympia Heritage Commission was right to see the historic nature of the KGY building and to place it on the Heritage Register.

Staff, from the port, have taken it upon themselves to make a political decision that affect all three current port commissioners. While no port commissioner is in danger of being ousted like 2007 – – they are responsible to the citizens of Thurston County.

I ask two questions – – Why didn’t executive director Sam Gibboney see fit to notify port commissioners about the potential for conflict with the community?   And, why are staff so set against putting the building on the Heritage Register?  After all, even if KGY leaves the building, the building is still a historical icon and should be on the register no matter who owns it.

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Can humans really be happy?

September 24th, 2022 by Ken

Is it true, that human beings can never be happy?  Is it true, that no matter how much we say we want happiness, and no matter how hard we search for happiness – – that we can never be truly happy?

There is no part of the human brain that contains the “happiness” center.  There is no genetic link between human beings and their ability to be happy.

It follows that happiness is a “made up ideal” fostered on humans as a means to keep them searching for the unknown ability to be happy, and keep them from attaining such a state, while exercising physical and mental effort that uses their time and energy.

It’s stated in our Declaration of Independence that all people are endowed with the right of happiness.  Never mind that the word was added in rewrite to limit the right of property ownership.

Why can’t people ever, really, be happy?

Goals, objectives, expectations, dreams, hopes, desires – – all get in the way of individual happiness.  For every goal we reach another takes its place.  For every dream we have, the next night brings a new one.  Our expectations can never be mer.  Our hopes and desires can never be fulfilled.

As we near the end of our lives, many people say they have found happiness in the small things – – a soft rocker, a good book, a brilliant sunset, a grandchild’s smile.

But, they don’t have happiness.  What they have is contentment.  They have given up on attaining happiness and are using what mental, emotional and physical abilities they still have, in order to be content with their place in society.

You may rage against the dying of the light – but you’ll never find happiness.  Just be content.

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Sayings to savor

September 23rd, 2022 by Ken

You can walk on water, until someone tells you, you can’t.

If you want audience questions after your talk, give a half-assed presentation.

In peace time, no one wants a war hero.

Luck is the best friend of a lazy parent.

Is the sun shinning?  Are the clouds out?  Is the wind blowing?  It all depends on your point of view.

Stupidity should be painful.

Whenever there’s change – there’s opportunity.

The most important element of a conversation is what’s not being said.

An empty page presents opportunities.

Unless you write it down, words are lost forever.

Not winning doesn’t make you a loser, if you learn from your mistakes.

Don’t let the fact that you can’t do something, stop you from trying.

You can’t die from too much living, too much loving, too much laughing – can you?

If you can’t be interesting, at least be funny.

(Editor’s note:  None of these original with me.  I’ve been collecting interesting sayings for years.  I’ve discovered that humans want short, one line answers to all of their problems.  So, have at it. One of these should fit your situation.  If not, I have a hundred more.)

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The Port should hold back on renewal of Weyerhaeuser lease

September 14th, 2022 by Ken

For more than a decade, I’ve been in favor of closing down the Marine Terminal at the Port of Olympia.  Years of following the port, reviewing documents and talking with people in the know, has convinced me that Thurston County taxpayers aren’t getting the value from their taxes from marine shipping.

Many friends of mine, who favor keeping the terminal, have made the case that much of what the terminal does is not translatable to finance.  That a port is not a port without a marine terminal, and for the Port of Olympia to remain an asset to the community, it needs to keep the marine terminal functioning.

I bring up this decade-old dagger because of the pending renewal of the Weyerhaeuser lease.  For a decade, this “tree growing” company has leased land at the port to store and ship its raw logs to Asian ports and Asian business – – most readily China and Japan.

While the company pays leasing fees to the port, we have no way of knowing how the costs have been determined and whether or not, the current lease is in the best interests of the taxpayers.  With  the lease coming due, it appears that the port is anxious to sign it and continue its relationship with one of the largest lumber companies in the state.

While I don’t think any under-handed deals are being made, and while I trust the port commissioners to make the best decision, their hurry to sign the contract seems to me as a means to avoid public scrutiny and public comments.

That said.  If the lease is signed for another 10 years, the Marine Terminal cannot be closed for at least another decade and Thurston County taxpayers will be on a hook for their share of operations by way of their property taxes.  Take a look at the distribution of your property taxes. School funding takes the most, but port funding isn’t an insignificant amount.

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Two decades ago our world changed

September 6th, 2022 by Ken

Two decades ago this month on 9-11, our country – America – changed.  What had been a free-flowing country concerned with freedom, privacy and individual rights, is now a country where those kinds of activities have been shunted aside in favor of security.

The events of 9-11, changed police and law enforcement agencies around the country.  Officer Friendly was replaced with those more concerned with security.  it was helped by a federal government which called upon the neighborhood police officer to become a militarized supporter of anti-terrorism.  Blue and brown uniforms were replaced with all black uniforms.  Weapons now carried looked as though the officer was going off to fight some foreign war, instead of providing security in the neighborhood.

Where once we had open access to our civic buildings, we now find them surrounded by fences often topped with barbed wire.  And, security systems at every entrance point which the average citizen must transverse if he/she wishes to speak to a public official.

And every employee, in every government office, must now wear the ID which is often hanging from a cord around the neck.

As school started this week I realized that none of our students know what the world was like before this country determined that it was a dangerous world and that danger permeated every aspect of our life.  They now know that gates, barbed wire and police carrying military style weapons is a normal part of life.  I’m happy for them and for their innocence.

But, I mourn our loss of freedom, our lack of respect for our government and its institutions and the support we once had for individual liberties.

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State Historical markers to get review

August 24th, 2022 by Ken

The movement to review historical monuments and public art has now reached the shores of Washington State.

Thanks to a $142,000 federal  grant to the Washington State Historical Society (headquartered in Tacoma), the group will begin a study of the monuments and roadside markers in the state, to make certain they meet the new standards of accuracy and inclusion.

The Society was able to identify 43 historical markers put in place around the state with its help from 1900 to 1950.  Some of them mark battlefields where the military engaged in conflict with native tribes.  Some just recognize that certain explorers camped at certain sites in the state.

As a spokesman for the organization was recently quoted “”Many of the monuments identified have been dormant, undisturbed and essentially ignored for decades, just sitting by the roadside or in some out-of-the-way spot”.

With the federal funds, the Society has hired Polly Olson who is the director of Diversity, Equity, Access, Inclusion and Decolonization as well as the tribal liaison for the Burke museum in Seattle.

She estimates that not a single one of the monuments will be exempt from potential change.

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My “smoking” affair

August 22nd, 2022 by Ken

 I smoked my first cigarette at the age of 11.  My brother and I stole one from mom’s purse.  We had a hard time lighting it, because neither of us knew exactly how to start, but we succeeded although we coughed and hacked our way through.

I started smoking on a regular basis in my early teens.  Most of the boys we hung out with smoked.  It was usually only one or two a day, but we did it pretty much every day  As time progressed I began smoking more.  My first cigarettes I managed to obtain from a store were Menthol.  It made the smoke going down my throat more “refreshing.”

We had no option.  Our black and white television screen was filled with advertisements of movie stars, doctors and athletes, all smoking.

When I joined the army at 17, my smoking accelerated.  Cigarettes were only 25 cents a pack, and it seemed like everyone was doing it.  We had “cigarette” breaks from training.  The barracks had “Butt cans.”  These were gallon cans, painted red and filled with water, in which we extinguished our cigarette butts. We had weekly “Butt Patrols” where everyone lined up and  cleaned up any cigarette butts thrown on the ground.

The army PX didn’t have a great choice in brands of cigarettes and I began smoking Camel Straights, without a filter.  We even had cigarettes included in our C Rations during training.

But, it wasn’t until I began working in my civilian job that I became hooked.  I was working as a reporter for a weekly newspaper.  The day was 24 hours long.  Cigarettes and coffee were the motivation it took to keep alert and to keep going.  There were times when I would come back from a city council meeting and sit down to start writing a story.  “This is a two cigarette story” I would say, meaning it would take concentration and time to get it done.  it wasn’t long before two packs of cigarettes and 20 cups of coffee (Camels straight and coffee black.) became the standard of the day.

This routine went on for years, even after I had left the newspaper business.  Coffee and cigarettes were my standard.  When I began to experience stomach problems, my doctor recommended that I switch to decaf coffee.  I did.  I tried to quit smoking often.  Sometimes I was able to get along without a cigarette for a day or two, but always went back.  I switched to filtered cigarettes with the expectation that it would decrease the need.  It didn’t.

What would take me off my addiction?

A woman.

When I met the woman who is now my wife, she didn’t like smokers, but she tolerated me – – to  point.   I couldn’t smoke when I was at her home, and to make it even more difficult, i couldn’t smoke at my house when she was going to be there.

When we decided to get married, I knew it was going to be a struggle.  So, I had no choice.  I quit smoking.

It’s now been 32 years since I last had a cigarette.  I estimated that in total, I probably smoked for about the same number of years.

Has smoking for that long had an impact on my quality of life.  My new doctor seems to think so.



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What’s in a Name?

August 11th, 2022 by Ken

What do these names mean to you – – Bragg, Benning, Gordon, AP Hill, Hood, Lee, Pickett, Polk and Rucker?

If you said Confederate generals and officers during the Civil War, you’re right.  They are also all traitors to the United States of America.  And yet, they are also all names of military bases in the United States.

A federal commission has been working on renaming these bases, with that to start at the beginning of 2024 – little more than a year and a half away.

From 34,000 names suggested by the public, the commission has come up with suggested changes.

Fort Bragg would become Fort Liberty (the 82nd Airborne’s song).

Fort Benning would become Fort Moore (Lt. Gen. Hal Moore who was immortalized in the movie and book ” We Were Soldiers Once – and  Young.”)

Fort Gordon would become Fort Eisenhower.

Fort AP Hill would become Fort Walker (after Civil War field physician Mary Walker)

Fort Hood would become Fort Cavazos (Korean War hero Richard Cavazos.)

Fort Lee would become Fort Gregg-Adams (after two black World War Two Army  logisticians Arthur Gregg and Charity Adams)

Fort Pickett would become Fort Barfoot (after Medal of Honor recipient Van Barfoot)

Fort Polk would become Fort Johnson (after Medal of Honor recipient William Henry Johnson)

Fort Rucker would become Fort Novosel (after Medal of Honor recipient Michael Novosel Sr.)

These may or may not be the final names selected by the Secretary of Defense.

I support cleansing the military’s infatuation with the Civil War and Confederate names.  It isn’t right that traitors be honored by having their names memorialized by the US government.  On the other hand, I’m not certain that these suggested name changes are the right ones.  It’s obvious that the commission tasked with changing names has tried to encompass every minority group and every gender available.  Woke consideration ran amuck.  Why was one Medal of Honor recipient selected over another?  Was it based on race or gender – or did that individual stand out so much that it was impossible not to give him or her the honor?

The names eventually selected will bring recognition to those individuals and to the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces.  I believe that race and gender should be a factor – but not the over-riding reason to be honored.  I would ask the commission to take a closer look at those selected and make the determination on the basis of pride in country and love and sacrifice for the Unites States of America.

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Don’t force me to vote for Trump

August 10th, 2022 by Ken

My recent Facebook post about the partisan movement on the part of the FBI, to swarm President Trumps home, looking for “something”  received a warning from Facebook, that the post would be deleted because it “Violated Community Standards”.

My post said that the United States government was looking like a Banana Republic which replaces losing president candidates by throwing them in jail.  In this case I said “Why not have a show trial, then take him out in the courtyard and shoot him”.

In retrospect, I can see how suggesting someone be shot could be a violation of community standards – – but the thought is still the same.

I voted for Donald Trump twice.  I was hoping not to have to vote for him a third time.

But, if the Democrats (a party of which I have belonged for more than 40 years) continues on its present course with a vendetta against the former president – I can see nothing but re-election for Trump.

Sometimes presidents have to shake up the establishment and put the country on a different course.  The first to do so was Andrew Jackson.  He was the first president not from the original 13 states. He was from the backwoods and brought about a new perspective on what government’s role should be.  He also founded the Democratic Party.  The next president to do so was Abraham Lincoln – who not only saw slavery as wrong, but help found the Republican Party.  For all of his faults, Donald Trump hit a nerve in the American public.   More nationalistic, more self-contained  more introspective.

The January 6 Committee is a partisan committee with no desire to understand the events of that day, but to fix blame and try to  connect the president to the events as a co-conspirator.  Many people believe that was the reason for the invasion of Trump’s home.  Every other reason expressed by the current government is just a cover-up.

Democratic efforts continue in many Blue States to bring Trump to heel and punish him for his words, his demeanor and his personality.

They are driving the American public to embrace the embattled former president.  They are looking like a Banana Republic which punishes former president and they are continuing to force me to vote for Trump again, when I’d much rather vote for someone else.

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Bread and circuses

July 29th, 2022 by Ken

In order to keep the restless masses under control Roman emperors often resorted to a combination of bread and circuses.  With full stomachs and bloody  entertainment, the problems and concerns they once had often faded into the background.

There is a correlation to ancient Rome and today.

To keep the masses satiated, the current emperor has pumped more than three trillion dollars into the economy in the form of government grants, subsidies and outright monetary bribes. That’s the bread.

The circus comes in the form of entertainment.  Our television screens are filled with murder, blood, gore, catastrophes and mayhem, all brought by the government lackeys the national news media.

And, to top it all off, is the public trial of the former emperor, live and in living color and in our living rooms courtesy again of the spokesman for the emperor, the national news media.

The current emperor has just tried and failed, to pump another three trillion dollars into the economy, while minor emperors in some states have managed to return to the masses, some of their own money to pay for the high cost of transportation.

It’s all bread and circuses.  Feed their bellies with food, and their heads with mindless dribble and the huddled masses will be too full of both to change emperors and the legislative body which is intent only in keeping themselves in power.

Had enough yet Roman citizen?

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A story with no title

July 26th, 2022 by Ken

It was a typical summer morning.

A heavy thump on the outside of the house at 4:55 am was the signal that the day had started.  The paper carrier delivered my copy of The Wall Street Journal as regular as the clock.

The thump woke up Jan, who stretched and sat up on the side of the bed, trying to get her senses working.  Soon she had gotten up and went into the bathroom.

I laid there, in the bed, still in that dreamy state – not asleep and not quite awake.   It’s at that  stage, my mind begins to put forth my coming day into some kind of calendar.  It’s also at that time, that I usually start thinking about my next story.  It  comes to me so clear, that if I had my computer right there, I could write the whole story down.

But, by the time Jan is finished and the bathroom is left to me, those thoughts have partly disappeared and all I’m left with is an outline of a story and a few random lines that will make the story – stunning.

I try not to take much time getting up and getting dressed.  I want to get down the hall to my office and get the words down before my mind loses them.  I pour myself a cup of coffee and go into my office – all the time trying to remember all of that great prose I had discovered in my brain just a few minutes earlier.

By the time I sit down to my computer and start writing –  –  it’s all gone.

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Too much money causes problems

July 23rd, 2022 by Ken

What a problem to have.  Too much money to spend and not enough time to spend it.  That’s the problem facing the Thurston County Commission.

The county received more than $56 million in Covid relief money.  So far the county has spent $36 million of the federal money but still has $20 million left to spend.  And it has until the end of 2024 to spend it.  It has currently allocated $10 million but hasn’t spent it yet.

County Commissioner Tye Menser said the county was just going to run out of time.  He was recently quoted by The Olympian as saying, “It’s not like they can just go out and buy a hotel” talking about the Prosecuting Attorney’s office having trouble spending its allocated money.

That was a joke on Menser’s part because the commissioners just authorized the purchase of two hotels to house homeless people – – both of them by the way in the greater Lacey area.

This whole process is a joke.  The  federal American Rescue Plan, from which this money comes, has distributed trillions (that’s right trillions with a T) of taxpayer money around the country.  That is one of the major reasons we have the inflation that is currently sweeping our costs of living to new heights.

Much of the money allocated has gone to worthy and worthwhile projects.  But, a substantial amount is still trying to be spent, or has been spent foolishly.

And, we the taxpayers of the country are to blame.

Had Enough Yet?

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Busy time at the County

July 18th, 2022 by Ken

It’s a busy time for the Thurston County Commissioners.

Not only are one-third of them up for re-election this year (OK only one) but that’s one-third of the commission, but they’re also in the process of moving.

The entire administrative staff of Thurston County are moving out of their current offices atop Mottman Hill, and are moving to Lacey.  (OK, only on Pacific Avenue near Lacey, but close enough)  All administrative offices – the commission, auditor, treasurer and assessor – are moving to their new digs on Pacific Avenue across from the old Boone Ford location. The actual move is scheduled to begin in September.

The other offices, clerk, coroner and prosecuting attorney will join the sheriff and remain at the current location, while renovation and remodeling will start in converting the existing county courthouse into the new Law and  Justice center.

The commissioner have also placed a proposition on the fall ballot to increase the number of county commissioners from three to five.  They will join with the Port of Olympia which has agreed to work with the commission to also increase its commissioners from three to five as well.  (I’ll have more information on that in the near future.)

Everyone is anxious to see how things works out, particularly the residents of Thurston County whose county business will be impacted.

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Stop a significant power rate increase

July 14th, 2022 by Ken

Electricity, natural gas and other generating and distributing products are controlled by the State Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC).  When the power company wants to increase your rates, they petition the UTC for permission.   The UTC then requires utility companies to notify their customers.  If there isn’t major concerns expressed by users of the power, the state then authorizes the power company to increase the rates it charges customers.

Currently Puget Sound Energy(PSE) has asked for a rate increase across the board of about 17 percent over the next three years with about 14 percent of that increase coming next year.

PSE is required to notify customers and allow them to have a say in those increases.

A 14 percent rate increase is a significant burden for many customers of PSE.  If you want to have your say, you can contact the the UTC at   You can also contact PSE at – –  It’s also possible to submit written comments to Customer Care PO Box 97034, Bellevue,WA  98009-9734.

If significant consumer comments are opposed, it’s possible the UTC will lower the proposed increase.  If not, you will pay significantly more next year and for two years after that.


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