John Laird: Last call, and the piano player wants to thank the band

By John Laird July 28, 2013 6:02 a.m.

After years of planning and months of preparation, I'd like to think of myself as somewhat of an expert on retirement.

John Laird: Political piranhas cut funds, then criticize performance

By John Laird July 21, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Many people ask why anyone who hates government would ever want to actually work in government as an elected official. The answer comes so easily, a columnist need only rest his hands on the keyboard and wait for the explanation to magically materialize on the monitor.

John Laird: People of Clark County deserve separation of powers

By John Laird July 14, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Imagine the current train wreck of a Congress operating without the checks and balances of a liberal president and a conservative Supreme Court. Imagine also our state Legislature functioning without the veto power of the executive branch (the governor) or the oversight of the judiciary (the state Supreme Court).

John Laird: Probst reluctant to discuss nastiness of today's politics

By John Laird June 30, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Tim Probst told me Friday that he hadn't been interviewed by the media in months. Still, he didn't sound surprised by the call and my curiosity about his views on Don Benton's increased buffoonery since Probst lost to him in last year's race for state senator.

John Laird: Cockroach crawls, Boss goes ballistic and fun anagrams

By John Laird June 23, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes while wondering if national Republican Party leaders will choose to embrace immigration reform (and alienate the Tea Party) or obstruct immigration reform (and alienate Hispanic voters):

John Laird: First Citizens consistently support transportation projects

By John Laird June 16, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Ever since Meriwether Lewis plopped a paddle onto the banks of the Columbia River 208 years ago near today's Washougal, a segment of our community has dedicated itself to complaining. Fortunately, the naysayers have been more bark than bite. Meanwhile, countless other optimistic and honorable leaders have helped Clark County become the best place in America to live, work and play.

John Laird: Even Texans are acting weird about transportation

By John Laird June 9, 2013 6:01 a.m.

Floodgates are opening in Texas, and I'm not talking about an end to the drought there. I'm talking jobs, and the construction boom was evident as soon as I landed recently at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

John Laird: Foxy Don wears ALEC badge in environment henhouse

By John Laird May 26, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Putting Don Benton in charge of Clark County's environment is kind of like asking Boss Hogg to chair the Hazzard County Ethics Commission.

John Laird: Geezers, grouches, gay marriage and going in circles

By John Laird May 19, 2013 6:01 a.m.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes while wondering how Don Benton plans to pay for and build a bistate third bridge without the other state's permission:

John Laird: Community's embarrassment rooted in voters' inaction

By John Laird May 12, 2013 6:01 a.m.

Don't blame Republicans for the statewide and even national embarrassment that David Madore has brought upon our beloved Clark County.

John Laird: Focusing the fire extinguisher on complaints about CRC

By John Laird May 5, 2013 6:01 a.m.

Today's accompanying mug shot illustrates the horrid consequences of repeatedly setting one's hair on fire. Like Obama, I'm not the strapping young Muslim socialist I used to be and, alas, growing bangs is out of the question.

John Laird: Does Clark County remind anyone else of Rock Ridge?

By John Laird April 28, 2013 6:02 a.m.

The meeting took place in a crowded saloon in 1913. But, ideologically speaking, many of the folks in the room were still stuck in the 1800s. This crowd was a throwback to the rowdy Rock Ridge residents in "Blazing Saddles." The 20th century hadn't even entered their minds.

John Laird: You don't have to be a music virtuoso to soothe the savage

By John Laird April 21, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Some columns write themselves. And so it was, near the end of an excruciating week for all Americans.

John Laird: Cockroaches, taxes, grammar and other despicable topics

By John Laird April 14, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes while wondering how the gas-tax haters propose we pay for new roads and bridges:

John Laird: We should all live as long as the Third Bridge Cockroach

By John Laird April 7, 2013 6:01 a.m.

Much like the indefatigable insect that crawls out as the lone survivor of some nuclear holocaust, the Third Bridge Cockroach refuses to die.

John Laird: Wrong side of history: humiliating, but you're never alone

By John Laird March 31, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Snickering Democrats would be wise to contain their delight as Republicans continue nursing self-inflicted wounds. Politics is cyclical and -- just as I have learned to never mock another man's hilariously errant tee shot until after I hit my own down the fairway -- gloating can backfire if it's poorly timed.

John Laird: From the fury of a campaign, to the real need to govern

By John Laird March 24, 2013 6:01 a.m.

Rick Scott, David Madore and Bill Turlay are learning there's a big difference between complaining and actually governing. Each man used a raucous condemnation of Big Government to win elections to their respective offices of Florida governor, Clark County commissioner and Vancouver city councilor. But after taking office, each has discovered that, while squawking might work in campaigns, it doesn't accomplish much when the real work begins.

John Laird: Passion of the people must not obliterate the rule of law

By John Laird March 17, 2013 6:03 a.m.

Beware the fickle supermajority requirement. It can be your BFF one moment, then that second F — "forever" — vanishes, and suddenly a mere one-third of the voters can ruin your life.

John Laird: Praying politicians, vindictive voters and transit taxes

By John Laird March 10, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes while wondering what we do if some folks in one state oppose a bistate bridge but more folks in the other state support the same bistate bridge:

John Laird: Confession: It's time to pull a switcheroo on term limits

By John Laird March 3, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Last Wednesday marked the 62nd anniversary of the ratification of the 22nd Amendment, which restricts the president to two terms. Nowhere else in our city, county or state government are voters forbidden to vote for an incumbent.

John Laird: Answering the call of grandkids, golf and gardening

By John Laird February 24, 2013 6:01 a.m.

Now seems to be the proper time to inform readers that, after 45 years in journalism, I will retire at the end of July.

John Laird: It's a shame when 'BFF' turns into 'Bitterly Fought Feud'

By John Laird February 17, 2013 6:02 a.m.

For years, most of us thought the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and Pearson Air Museum were friends, partners in promoting two things everyone loves: history and aviation.

John Laird: 40 states ignored during 2012 presidential campaign

By John Laird February 10, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Our nation's Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they created the Electoral College. Their noble, intended purpose was to keep heavily populated states from running roughshod over small states while selecting what would become the world's most powerful leader.

John Laird: Some folks still ignore the value of women in politics

By John Laird February 3, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Isolated cases of colossal cluelessness about women continue to weaken America's claim to being one of the world's most advanced societies.

John Laird: Magic solutions, pandering, and wanton data spinning

By John Laird January 27, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes while harboring no interest whatsoever in Lance Armstrong or Manti Te'o:

John Laird: Here's a perfect new leader for frustrated conservatives

By John Laird January 20, 2013 6:02 a.m.

While city officials meet in Pawnee, Ind., to discuss cost-cutting measures, a gunshot rings out and everyone flinches — except one man. Reaching for his cellphone, Ron Swanson calmly tells his petrified cohorts, "So sorry. New ringtone." He stands and begins to leave the room to take the call, then turns and pleads, "Don't cut anything without me."

John Laird: Ignore the doom-slingers; America's best days are ahead

By John Laird January 13, 2013 6:02 a.m.

When you're talkin' about your kids' accomplishments, it ain't braggin'. It's timely reporting of critical news that everyone needs to hear.

John Laird: Rest assured, less-government crowd is alive and kicking

By John Laird January 6, 2013 6:02 a.m.

Last month, I speculated about the demise of the Tea Party. Recent departures from elected office of pit bulls Jim DeMint, Allen West, Joe Walsh and others seemed to signal the movement's fade into irrelevance. Then came the fiscal-cliff bill, and now the Tea Party is livelier than ever. After reviewing my Dec. 9 column, a confession is in order:

John Laird: Heck of a rally, bullet-proof incumbents and false alarms

By John Laird December 30, 2012 6:01 a.m.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes while wondering how many people who despise publicly subsidized transit systems will change their minds when they get too old to drive:

John Laird: Labor leaders: mad in Michigan, seething in Seattle

By John Laird December 16, 2012 6 a.m.

Union issues are heating up across America — especially in Michigan but also here in Washington — and it doesn't take a labor-law expert to understand the basics of what's going on.

John Laird: Tea Party: R.I.P., or just reloading for next showdown?

By John Laird December 9, 2012 6 a.m.

Correctly assuming in the spring of 2009 that the name "Yelling Party" might stifle recruiting, reformists opted for the more patriotic brand "Tea Party." They breached the fortress of civility around the time of the April 15 federal income tax deadline.

John Laird: After an election, lose yourself in the San Juan Islands

By John Laird December 2, 2012 6 a.m.

Four weeks ago I wrote about temporarily escaping pre-election tensions by taking a walk in Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver. Refreshing as that experience became, it was a walk in the park compared with my post-election sabbatical: three days in the San Juan Islands.

John Laird: Red-faced Rove, red-leaning counties, and rising boats

By John Laird November 18, 2012 6 a.m.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes while wondering if Karl Rove has called Ohio yet:

John Laird: Frantic finger-pointing in the losers' locker room

By John Laird November 11, 2012 6 a.m.

C'mon now, let's not be so critical of Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. At least the boys were half-right. They were right about 300-plus electoral votes.

John Laird: Election-related tensions can be buried in autumn leaves

By John Laird November 4, 2012 6 a.m.

Camaraderie seems to be in short supply these days as tensions tighten leading up to Tuesday's big election.

John Laird: Multiple Prop. 1's, balanced opinions and calming advice

By John Laird October 28, 2012 6 a.m.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes about the Nov. 6 election, the one we thought would never arrive:

John Laird: Nov. 6 offers striking changes, even by our standards

By John Laird October 21, 2012 6 a.m.

Only once in this column will you find the word "progressive." I make this promise out of concern for the safety of household pets. Every time I use that word in a column, half of the readers roll up their newspapers and start swatting violently at the nearest living thing. Fido flees panic-stricken and, sadly, the rest of the column goes unread.

John Laird: Your ballot made a long trip; don't you dare ignore it

By John Laird October 14, 2012 6 a.m.

Many moons have passed since my last scoop, but I suspect the following is an exclusive, brought to you by the investigative work of the fine folks at Trivia Only Laird Cares About, Inc.

John Laird: Big bucks at home, ballots overseas, and insults to 47%

By John Laird October 7, 2012 6 a.m.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes while marveling at how many of the anti-union folks suddenly changed their tune when it came to NFL officials:

John Laird: Clark County could play huge role in presidential election

By John Laird September 30, 2012 6 a.m.

Don't get too excited about that headline. The Clark County I'm talking about was indeed named after a William, but this other William was a scandalous tycoon of the late 19th century, not our noble explorer of the early 19th century. And this other Clark County is almost 1,000 miles away, in a state that (unlike Washington) actually matters in the 2012 presidential election.

John Laird: Forget Romney's 47%: We're all a bunch of moochers

By John Laird September 23, 2012 6 a.m.

I've never been very good at mooching, except for those not-so-rare occasions when I intentionally leave my wallet in my golf bag before we head to the 19th hole for nachos and beer.

John Laird: Our state's evolution draws both 'Yippee!' and 'Yikes!'

By John Laird September 16, 2012 6 a.m.

Perhaps next year in our state, a legally married gay couple will smoke marijuana without breaking the law, while a heterosexual couple will violate the law by smoking traditional cigarettes indoors in a public place.

John Laird: Checking facts, ignoring 41 states, and cheating in golf

By John Laird September 9, 2012 6 a.m.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes while wondering if same-sex marriage opponents believe allowing women to vote weakened the institution of voting, and if allowing blacks to serve alongside whites in the armed forces weakened the institution of the U.S. military.

John Laird: Hey, whaddya expect from an 82-year-old cowboy?

By John Laird September 2, 2012 6 a.m.

Many men who are in their mid-60s will say Rowdy Yates helped them endure the traumatic entry into their teen years back around 1960 or so. And several years later, Blondie helped usher that same group of young men away from home and into the dark dangers of adult life. Count me in this group.

John Laird: Transportation options - A lot has changed since 1995

By John Laird August 26, 2012 6 a.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 1995, might not be memorable to you, but for light rail critics, it was the day Excalibur was pulled from the stone. And they have brandished their sword for 171/2 years since that fateful day when Clark County voters rejected light rail.

John Laird: Women thrive at Olympics, not so much in GOP

By John Laird August 19, 2012 6 a.m.

With one glaring exception, 2012 is shaping up as a banner year for women, and we've still got four months to go.

John Laird: County commissioner races remain highly unsettled

By John Laird August 12, 2012 6 a.m.

Caution No. 1! Do not misinterpret what happened Tuesday as an election. It was a primary. Big difference.

John Laird: Dizzying definitions, Scout secrets and online adventures

By John Laird August 5, 2012 6 a.m.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes while wondering why some folks give a president -- any president -- all of the blame when gas prices go up but none of the credit when gas prices go down:

John Laird: Despite systemic woes, light rail ridership is increasing

By John Laird July 29, 2012 6 a.m.

Anyone who believes Vancouver can insulate itself against the ultimate arrival of light rail would do well to review light rail systems in other cities where folks believe it's good to expand transportation alternatives.

Laird: Bicyclists and motorists, there's no need to get snippy

By John Laird July 22, 2012 6 a.m.

Anyone who knows me very well knows I love to drive -- the farther, the better. And through the years, I've learned to treat bicyclists like truckers. I go out of my way to help both groups. A bicyclist is too slow and working too hard for me -- the monstrous motorist -- not to adopt a cooperative attitude. And a trucker's rig is too big and too unwieldy for me -- the skittering car-driver -- not to help clear a wide berth and flash my lights to encourage a lane change.