Cheers and Jeers

Jeers: To the National Football League for the replacement ref debacle that is unfolding before the nation's eyes.

OK, we feel a little guilty piling on this one, but it's hard to look past the Monday night game in which the Seattle Seahawks quarterback threw, as one pundit put it, the only winning interception in the history of Monday Night Football.

For those of you who may not have seen the game or the endless coverage that followed its bizarre ending, the "interception" on the last play of the game — and in the end zone — was declared a touchdown, allowing the Seahawks to defeat the Green Bay Packers 14-12.

It was far from the only bad call of the night, with Seattle also getting stuck with a few critical referee mistakes, but this one decided the game and was so egregiously wrong that even the Seahawks fans on the Mail Tribune editorial board concede it was an error.

The NFL compounded that error Tuesday by saying the refs made the correct call. Sorry, guys, but you must have forgotten that several million people were watching and saw the interception. It was laughable, if you weren't a Green Bay fan.

The NFL is a multi-billion dollar operation. The $18 million the league pays the refs is a relative pittance — not enough green bills there to cover the embarrassment of Monday night.

Jeers: As long as we're on football, the viewing audience would be better served in almost all NFL games, and in many college games, if the football were just placed at the 20- or 25-yard line instead of going though the charade of kickoffs into and out of the end zones. Rule changes that moved the kickoffs farther upfield have also benched one of the most exciting plays of the game. Borrrrring.

Cheers: To Eliza Schaff, who is headed back to the college classroom after being shown the door in 2010. Schaff, who has Down syndrome, was asked to leave a Southern Oregon University class because the instructor felt that she required too much individual time. While there's no doubt that crowded public universities don't have the luxury of providing much individual attention, the ham-handed expulsion angered many in the community.

Now Eliza is enrolled at Highline Community College near Seattle, Wash., which has a program specifically for developmentally disabled students. It seems like a good fit and good news for Eliza, her parents and her many supporters.

Cheers: Posthumously, to Patricia Ann Mills-Spencer-Bemis-Adams, who penned her own obituary, filling it with humor, hope, a few frank details and a lot of personality. Ms. Mills-Spencer-Bemis-Adams died Aug. 27, but, save for the date, had written her own obituary before passing. It was published in Sunday's Mail Tribune. If you missed it, it's worth digging out your Sunday paper to read, or check it out online at

Hmmm: No cheers, no jeers for incoming District Attorney Beth Heckert, who along with her husband owns some low-income rental units in Phoenix. It's unfair to label them slumlords, as the tenants and city officials our reporter talked with had no complaints. But Tuesday's story included these descriptions of the units: patched windows, old pipes, tattered siding, peeling paint, water damage and mold. And a photograph showed a front door on one of the units that was beyond repair.

Credit to the Heckerts for fixing things up, including replacing the door; but it's worth noting the repairs are being done in the wake of a TV news story prompted by complaints.


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