The voicemail question was fairly easy to answer, but the conclusion the caller jumped to was tougher to explain.
The call came in at some point on Monday when I wasn't near the phone. The caller wanted to know why the Miner had no coverage of Whitney Houston's untimely death, and casually questioned if it was because of racism in the community.
The caller wasn't harsh. I took it that her view was that some subtle pressure was being exerted on the Miner, not that we were a pack of racists. And never mind that subtle racism doesn't carry over to the sports pages, the news or even the opinion pages, where two black columnists are regularly featured.
I called her back and pointed out that a story about the singer's death was on Page 4 in Monday's Miner.
I carried on this conversation in my non-racist (regular) voice. She sounded pleased and relieved that the obituary was in the paper.
I have a lot of faults, and apparently not believing a wide majority of people are racists is one of them. True, I haven't spent the time in someone else's shoes, but I do know times have changed since I was a boy.
I'm skeptical a local bar turned away paying customers because of the color of their skin, a claim made online by someone who wasn't there but was told about it. If it's true, then shame on the business in question. If you're the victim, give us a call and we'll talk about it. It might turn into a story.
At some point we all need to remember that a majority of voters elected a president with dark skin, so that ought to say something about the tolerance level of the average American. To me, it's far more worrisome that critics of the president - who sucks at his job, in case you haven't noticed - are being accused of racism simply because they are critics.
The Miner's What's on TV! listings in the Friday edition had a little bit of a new look: The Cable Stations are listed alphbetically now rather than numerically. Some are unhappy with the change.
If you have feedback on the listings, let me know. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Put the word "listings" in the subject line so it won't be accidently discarded.
As one who rates as being less than sophisticated, I was surprised to learn that Susan G. Komen for the Cure provided funding for Planned Parenthood. Being less sophisticated, I foolishly believed all money donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, after paying for the lights and the employees, was devoted to finding a cure for breast cancer and helping people with the disease.
So I guess I could say I was shocked when I learned recently that the Komen crowd did donate to Planned Parenthood, an abortion mill that performs around 330,000 of the procedures a year. If you do the math, that's one million every three years.
And I was even more surprised when Komen stopped giving the money - less than $700,000 a year, a drop compared to the federal money Planned Parenthood receives - and a public uproar largely orchestrated by the media ensued.
Let's be honest. If Susan G. Komen for the Cure was giving $680,000 a year to some national anti-abortion organization and decided to stop doing so, do you think the Associated Press would give it a second thought?
The AP followed up with a story of women who might not donate to Komen again because of the flap, even though the breast cancer cure outfit has reinstated its funding to Planned Parenthood.
Another angle might be this: How many people won't continue to donate to Susan B. Komen for the Cure because they know it funnels money to Planned Parenthood? How will Kingman respond?