The Washington State Patrol is protecting Republican gubernatorial wanna-be Dino Rossi, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to Rossi spokesperson Mary Lane. Since state law requires patrol protection for all governors-elect, the patrol began protecting Rossi after he won the first two counts in the governor's race. After Rossi lost the third and final count by 129 votes and Gov. Christine Gregoire was sworn into office, however, the patrol continued protection for Rossi because of the intensity of the political climate, according to Washington State Patrol Capt. Jeff DeVere. "We have been operating outside the playbook," says DeVere. There is no legal requirement to protect Rossi anymore, but the patrol thinks it's a good idea. Lane writes in an e-mail, "Dino has had some problematic messages from some wacky sounding people." The patrol will not release any information on the cost, according to DeVere, since that would give some idea of the staffing level and undermine the security effort. DeVere says, "It's very emotional across the state because the election was so contentious." GEORGE HOWLAND JR.
A Seattle Central Community College campus antiwar group, Students Against War, is in hot water after students chased U.S. Army recruiters off the SCCC campus during an Inauguration Day anti-Bush rally. Nobody was hurt in the incident, in which students ripped up recruiting literature and verbally confronted recruiters. Right-wing bloggers and radio talk shows across the country have gotten hold of the story and are besieging SCCC administrators with demands to discipline the students. The upshot, says Pete Knutson, the students' faculty adviser, was a letter from the administration demanding that the students apologize by Thursday or have their organization disbanded. In his response to the administration, Knutson noted that disbanding the group would be collective punishment for individual actions, that recruiters knew there would be large protests that day, and that asking the students to apologize was like "a show trial for a dictatorship." The ACLU is looking into the case, and students will announce Thursday, Feb. 3, whether they plan to apologize. Says Knutson, "Don't count on it." GEOV PARRISH
Rick Steves, the Edmonds resident best known for travel books starting with Europe Through the Back Door and seven seasons of public-television programs, is everywhere. This month, he's launching a national call-in talk show on National Public Radio, Travel With Rick Steves, which will air on KUOW-FM (94.9) on Saturdays at 2 p.m. In December, he guest hosted the Seattle Post- Intelligencer's weekly "Burning Question" feature, asking "Can We Fight Terrorism Constructively?" Steves wondered if terrorism could be countered more effectively by understanding what motivates it and addressing the source of the anger. While most responses were positive, not everyone approved. Steves regularly receives requests to "just shut up and write your guidebooks," but he says he can't. "Three decades of people-filled travel have given me a passion for helping Americans fit better into our ever-smaller planet—to not be afraid of diversity but to celebrate it," Steves says. He likes to quote Mark Twain: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." KIRSTEN DELARA