Saturday, February 9, 2008

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Saturday Thumbs

Saturday, February 9, 2008 6:03 AM PST

North Kelso's man of the year - Jesse Coombs

(thumbs up) We've talked to absentee landlords who could be fairly called "slumlords." We've found them more concerned about having their names in the newspaper than the problems their neglect creates for neighborhoods. With this in mind, we could hardly believe reading (Feb. 3) about Corvallis resident Jesse Coombs, who bought an apartment complex in North Kelso that was so troubled it was known as "Felony Flats." As Daily News writer Amy M.E. Fischer reported, Coombs cleaned up the apartments with the same gusto he shows as a professional kayaker taking on waterfalls. Coombs doesn't live in Kelso, but he's earned consideration for citizen of the year.

Shame on whom?

(thumbs down) We knew al-Qaida lacked humanity. Now we know it lacks a sense of irony. Al-Qaida in Iraq member Abu Anwar al-Obaidi confirmed this week that an al-Qaida video showing boys as young as 10 training to kidnap and kill was authentic. He told the Washington Post that al-Qaida may strap bombs on children or animals and send them to checkpoints. Said Obaidi: "They will be forced to kill kids, animals, which will bring shame on the American forces."

Democracy in action

(thumbs up) Kudos to all voters who have made the effort to be informed and will take the time to participate today in presidential caucuses. Attending a caucus won't be as convenient as mailing a primary ballot. Although interest is high, the turnout today will be a small percentage of eligible voters. But citizens will have a chance to interact at caucuses. If you go, you might learn something from your neighbor.

An easy target resurrected

(thumbs down) In the tradition of courageous editorialists during the Cold War era, we're giving the Kremlin a raspberry. An international election monitoring organization said this week it will not observe Russia's presidential election next month because of severe restrictions imposed by the Kremlin. If Russia continues to retreat from democracy, the Kremlin again will become the go-to target for editorial writers.

Reading is fundamental

(thumbs up) Any effort to promote literacy gets an enthusiastic hurrah from us. Daily News reporter Carrie Pederson reported (Feb. 2) about efforts to teach young parents how to stimulate their children though conversation, reading and singing. There are a lot of people involved at the Longview and Kelso school districts, and the Kelso Public Library. The Thrive by Five Washington foundation contributes. It's a smart investment in creating a smarter country.

Candidates, come on down

(thumbs down) Republican Mike Huckabee made it as far south as an Olympia IHOP, but that's as near as any candidate got to Southwest Washington before today's caucuses. You can't blame presidential candidates for spending their short time in Washington in the Seattle area. It's frustrating though not to get in on the fun. There's still nine months left before Election Day. Here's hoping that sometime before then there will be a campaign rally - for whichever candidate - that reminds us of the day in 1996 when President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and Hillary and Tipper campaigned with R.A. Long High School as a backdrop.