Archive for September, 2008

Sep 23 2008

Skepticism in the Northwest

Published by under Idaho,Oregon,Washington

Color us among the skeptics of the Bush Administration Wall Street bailout proposal – but not just this site: Most of the Northwest, and not just one side of the political fence, either. If they were selling stock in skepticism, we’d buy.

Before going further, we should point out two excellent online posts that helped shape our thinking on this. One (becoming increasingly renowned even in mass media – Steve Duin in the Oregonian touted it today) was posted on the Daily Kos site, and called “Three Times is Enemy Action” – a review of how the financial markets got to this point. The second, lesser known, was written by New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston, who has done some of the best writing about federal tax policy in recent years: His piece is aimed at journalists, chiding them for not doing basic homework on the financial situation and strong suggesting that the economic problems, while quite real, are not as imminent a crisis as many news reports have suggested. Both posts are highly, highly recommended.

The Northwest seems to be alert to the reasons for skepticism.

Oregon Democratic Representative Peter DeFazio has had some sharp quotes on the subject, and a well-crafted statement on his web site. He points out that for many months, through all kinds of negative events, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the economic was sound, but “Then Thursday night he has a closed door meeting with congressional leadership and he says, if we don’t do a bailout plan tomorrow, the economy is going to collapse. Wait a minute. This guy has been consistently wrong and out of touch or he’s been lying to Congress and the American people about how sound our fundamentals are. Now he wants us to trust him with the keys of the treasury and no restrictions on how he would spend the money in his next bailout. He is compromised in my opinion because of his relationship with Goldman Sachs and Wall Street not with Main Street America. My small banks are not clamoring for this. They are still making loans.”

Increasingly, Northwest Democrats seem to be positioning themselves along these lines. (Note the post below on Washington’s Jim McDermott.)

There’s a voice from the left. And on the right? In the Northwest (or elsewhere), you don’t go much further right in Congress than Idaho Republican Bill Sali. Here’s his take, according to a news report today: “says President Bush’s plan to rescue the nation’s financial industry ignores the deeper troubles facing the nation’s economy, lacks public support and gives too much authority to top administration officials in charge of the plan. Sali, a conservative Republican from western Idaho, acknowledges he has yet to formalize his own counterproposal or find another he can support instead. But Sali says his biggest problem with the Bush Administration’s $700 billion bailout proposal is its failure to deal with the nation’s ailing economy.”

Not everyone is on board with the DeFazios and Salis; Idaho’s other Republican representative, Mike Simpson, actually blasted Sali for not jumping on board the bailout train: “What’s his answer, to let the economy go down?” There is, of course, another course: Pause long enough to consider what actually will work and what won’t, what caused the current problems and find ways to fix them, rather than simply jump on cue.

Sali’s office said that response from constituents has been overwhelmingly critical of the bailout. It often happens that responses in congressional offices that responses tend to back positions of the incumbent, but in this case we’d suspect the popular view is very much as Sali’s office describes it: Highly skeptical of the bailout proposal as it now is structured.

On either side of the Cascades, either side of the partisan divide. Unity may be approaching.

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Sep 22 2008

McDermott: King Henry’s quick pass

Published by under Washington

There will be a lot said this week and beyond about the mega-financial bailout, but little of it will be more instantly quotable – or more pungent – than what Washington Democratic Representative Jim McDermott had to say today.

The stunner key quote, at the end: “This is the third time we’ve done it with this bunch. First the war – that didn’t get paid for. Then the tax cuts. That didn’t get paid for. And now King Henry takes over to distribute 700 billion dollars. He’s going to be there for four months. And in four months he will make deals and then he’ll go out and he’ll be able to catch a pass he threw to himself.”

The way Washington works, how many people will lightly dismiss the allegation?

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Sep 22 2008

Land of the giants

Published by under Washington

Today’s column by Bill Virgin of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer makes an excellent point about the dysfunction in our economy through the experience of a company that isn’t dysfunctional: SafeCo Insurance.

SafeCo has been a solidly-performing, profitable corporation (and in the process, saving many of its customers a lot of money) for a long time. Earlier this month, it was swallowed by Liberty Mutual Group, a bigger insurance company. It did not sell out, however, because it was failing, and not that it was a tiny fish getting squashed by mega-market forces: It was the 16th largest insurer in the country. That’s not chump change.

Virgin: “Guess who was No. 1 on that same list, with revenues 18 times those of Safeco’s? Yup — American International Group, the insurance company you and I as taxpayers just bailed out. Which gets us to the point about the connection between the Safeco story and the current financial fiasco. AIG was deemed worthy of federal intervention because it had grown so huge, its tendrils attaching it to so many parts of the global economy that allowing it to fail would have pulled down a lot of other walls along with it. Had Safeco been in similar straits, would the other Washington have even noticed, much less roused itself to get involved?”

Virgin’s column is headed, “Will we miss the mid-sized companies?” In answer: Yeah, we will, unless we restructure our business environment to make something other than gigantism once again an acceptable business model.

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Sep 21 2008

Bailout, in the region

Published by under Idaho,Oregon,Washington

From an email received last night from a reader in the region, which maybe suggests that the enforced pause of a weekend may have some salutary effect on dealing with this month’s financial collapse. The trigger for it, of course, is the proposed $700 billion federal bailout.

I cannot believe this bailout. I cannot believe that the Federal Gov again, is spending money without paying for it – homeland security, Iraq War, prescription drugs, $600 rebates and now this. If there is such a huge financial emergency why doesn’t the industry that created the problem come up with a plan to pay for it by a tax on profits; possibly transaction taxes, or other ways I haven’t thought of. . . .

I will bet, that if there was a financial tax being levied, the problem might be of less magnitude – yes still huge – but it has always impressed me how an urgent expenditure becomes a little less urgent when the spender is spending their own money.

This industry is the same one that wanted to help privatize social security. Its greed is disgusting. The failure to pay for this is even more disgusting.

An immediate thought here is, what do the taxpayers get out of it, and who exactly gets the money – a mass of money so enormous as to be almost incomprehensible. It’s been a rule of thumb here that a sudden, massive increase in spending almost always results in a sudden, massive increase in waste, which in this case could mean lining the pockets of the well connected. Our readers’ impulse seems to be: Check this thing out before making such a massive commitment.

And remember that so often it’s the con man who insists that you have to buy right now.

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Sep 20 2008

WA GOV: Blogging the bam-bam

Published by under Washington

Gregoire and Rossi

Chris Gregoire and Dino Rossi at their first 2008 debate

Some observations from the Chris Gregoire-Dino Rossi gubernatorial debate, in a semi-live-blogged format . . . (Kudos, by the way, to the cooperative effort involving home station KOMO-TV in Seattle that made live broadcast truly statewide, even including airing on KATU-TV in Portland, so the Clark County area and beyond was hit.)

Overriding impression: Lots of attack.

9:03 Rossi opened on the attack, not getting into his own views initially, but hitting with some good material: Unemployment up to 6% higher than when Gregoire took over, and budget deficit. He took after her recent add blasting him on stem cell research: “I support stem cell research …wasn’t true then, isn’t true now. Why is she doing this? She’s trying to distract us ….” He closed with a statement that he has answers for this, but didn’t get into them.

9:05 Gregoire takes after the Bush Administration, which she said Rossi has “embraced and endorsed” – that some of the problems, in other words, are national in scope. She said some of the problems were “on the backs of our children and seniors.” And she said she “inherited my opponent’s $2.2 billion deficit,” citing problems from the budget Rossi (as a state senator) worked on. Plenty of attack here too.

9:08 Gregoire: “When he was in charge of the budget, he actually did raise taxes” Rossi: “Well, now we;re having fun” – he said that at the office there was a pool of how many times she would mention George Bush – the prediction was nine, so she had six more to go. (Gregoire certainly is going after the heavy Rossi-Bush linkage.) She took after her budget levels, saying that if spending were more modest, the deficit wouldn’t be there. And “One party can’t solve this problem by themselves.”

9:11 Gregoire: “I’m saying there is no taxes to be raised . . . Absolute nobody in the legislature is going to be raising taxes.” Rossi: “One hour after she was sworn in” she opened the door to a big tax increase, which she soon proceeded to push for. And, “She didn’t say she want not going to be raising taxes, just that now is not the time to be talking about it” – accurately put.

9:14 Rossi: “It’s sheer incompetence how we got to this point” on transportation. Cited his transportation proposal. A side note here: Rossi does have a nice informal, colloquial way of expressing himself here without losing precision, hitting pretty hard without crossing the line (so far at least). Gregoire cited the transportation effort, more than 160, her administration has completed so far. The big projects (like the Alaskan Way viaduct and the Highway 520 bridge) are, she said, underway; and cited complaints about Rossi’s proposal as a “fantasy and a fairy tale. . . . It has been panned by everybody across the state of Washington.” (Not quite everybody, but widespread to be sure.) Continue Reading »

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Sep 20 2008

Endorsements away

Published by under Washington

The newspaper endorsement season for the general election is just getting started, and on the early end kicked off effectively with the big one from the Seattle Times: In the presidential, for Democrat Barack Obama.

The key line: “American optimism has been wracked by President George Bush and a previous Republican Congress. If you want change, you do not keep what is essentially the same team in power. You try something different. You vote for the stronger matchup, Obama and Sen. Joseph Biden, a smart and steady hand on foreign policy and other matters.”

We’ll be following the endorsements as they roll.

ALSO Apparently the only other major national paper to endorse in the presidential so far is the New York Post, which went for John McCain, putting the two candidates 1-1 so far.

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Sep 19 2008

The Palin exception

Published by under Idaho

There’s pretty consistent polling out now showing approval/disapproval numbers for Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin getting steadily worse by the day; polling for the Daily Kos site (which has been both most detailed and transparent on this) has shown a drop of +17 to -5 (that is, comparing favorable against unfavorable numbers) over the last eight days. The decline is stunning.

Palin appears to remain strong, however, in some places – Alaska, for one (at least to a point), and Idaho, where the John McCain lead over Barack Obama seems to remain at 62%-33%, much stronger (to judge from earlier polling results) than before Palin was added to the ticket, and an unusual result nationally.

The Research 2000 polling for Kos also shows that, while some earlier results in the 1st congressional district had put Democrat Walt Minnick within as few as five points of Republican Bill Sali, the more recent numbers show a broader spread – 46% to 35%. Kos suggests of Palin, “After all, she’s a virtual ideological twin for former ID-01 Representative Helen Chenoweth, and has the potential to reinvigorate Sali’s lagging supporters.” There’s even some physical resemblance (though their speaking styles were different, Chenoweth actually sounding a good deal more genteel).

(If accurate, that result still leaves some growth room for Minnick – it’s not dispositive – but suggests Sali has the better odds.)

The numbers look much rougher for Democrat Larry LaRocco in the Senate race, since the polling puts Republican Jim Risch, the lieutenant governor, at 56%, LaRocco at 33%, and independent Rex Rammell at 3% (suggesting he’s not much catching on – which would seem to be prerequisite to LaRocco’s hopes). Kos again: “LaRocco appears to have topped out his support, while the undecideds from the last poll have moved over en masse to the Republican Risch. Last poll, McCain led 53-37 in this solidly Red state, this time, it’s 62-33. Palin has definitely fired up the wingnut base in Idaho, to the detriment of down-ticket Democrats.”

Our guess is that the margins soften a little in Idaho between here and November. But we don’t see at this point what would change them dramatically.

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Sep 19 2008

Medical anti-trust

Published by under Idaho

Unsure what to make of this as yet, but it feels highly interesting: Word that the federal Department of Justice is looking into questions of whether Idaho physicians have run afoul of antitrust law – colluding improperly.

The Boise Idaho Statesman is reporting: “The investigation involves unnamed orthopedic surgeons and the Idaho Industrial Commission, according to a Sept. 11 memo from the Idaho Medical Association to its physician members that was obtained by the Idaho Statesman. The commission pays doctors to treat patients as part of its worker’s compensation program.”

The article seems to suggest the investigation grew out of a payment-level dispute with Blue Cross of Idaho earlier this year. But we’ll be intrigued to see where this goes.

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Sep 18 2008

Real money

Published by under Washington

The Washington state revenue picture had been darkening for a while, but news today makes it positively rough: An additional $529 million that the state now is expected not be receiving.

That’s just one element of the shortfall, of course: The shortfall now is expected to hit $3.2 billion. Put in context: The state budget overall is a little over ten times that, so Washington has lost a tenth of its revenue.

Next legislative session may be the most difficult in Olympia in close to a decade.

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Sep 16 2008

LNG thumbs down

Published by under Oregon

Bradwood LNG

Bradood LNG

Not that there was any great doubt about local attitudes on this, but the politically-minded now have statistics to go along with the general observation: On the Oregon coast, people do not want liquid natural case developments.

The measure came in Clatsop County (the Astoria area), where the votes are being counted tonight on a referendum. As the Astorian describes the measure, voters are asked “to change an ordinance to conditionally allow cable and pipelines to cross open spaces, parks and recreation areas. If the measure fails, cable and pipelines will only be allowed on land zoned for open space, parks and recreation if they serve an approved use, such as a golf course.”

Not all votes are in, but presently the referendum is failing 32.7%-67.3%. You can take that as an expression of attitude.

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Sep 16 2008

Presidential numbers

Published by under Oregon,Washington

Best, we maintain generally, to bother will polling sparingly and then cautiously, especially in the telling of individual polls. Best of all to remember what many pollsters say of their own product: They’re snapshots in time.

So it is with the current and relatively new polls in Washington and Oregon, which over recent months have polled Democrat Barack Obama typically leading Republican John McCain by double digits, sometimes substantially so. Some of those high leads, simply, seemed too much: These states overall are blue, but not by all that much. They lean clearly in one direction, but not by so much that they’re foregone conclusions.

Similarly, we wonder if some of the recent polls – like one in Washington released last Friday from Rasmussen Reports putting Obama’s lead at 2% – aren’t swinging a little hard in the other direction. What would have made for such massive changes?

Our sense is that reality is likely somewhere in the middle, Obama wins in both states but by margins well shy of, say, the winning margin McCain can reasonably expect in Idaho.

Or, as Jeff Mapes at the Oregonian suggests, If the candidates aren’t scheduling a lot of face time in Washington and Oregon (and they don’t seem to be) there’s probably a reason for that. And, “put it another way, if Obama loses Oregon and Washington, I think the electoral college won’t even be close.”

Pending, of course, ongoing changes in a political season already well stocked with shifts – nationally strong for Obama a couple of months ago, a shift toward McCain post-convention, another course change in recent days . . .

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Sep 15 2008


Published by under Washington

WaMu Center

WaMu Center

The nation’s largest savings and loan, Washington Mutual of Seattle, used to be known for the slogan, “Friend of the Family,” which it recent tried to update to, “Simpler Banking, More Smiles.” But that it had held to either one: The phrase used in association with it in Wall Street now is, “Junk.”

It has been a stunning fall. Only a year ago, WaMu (its preferred designation for all purposes other than formal – as if there was something wrong with spelling out something sounding relatively human, like “Washington Mutual”) had 336 home loan office and about 12,000 employees. If our count of the subsequent cutbacks is right, then almost all of those home loan offices are now gone, along with close to half of those 2007 jobs.

Today, Standard & Poor’s investment ratings downgraded WaMu to BBB-, three steps under the standard investment grades – just about as low as they go. Bloomberg’s financial reports say that the S&L “had its credit rating cut to junk by Standard & Poor’s because of the deteriorating housing market.”

You could probably say that, at least compared to Lehmann Brothers and Merrill Lynch, WaMu is still standing, and S&P at least didn’t indicate a collapse is imminent. But it’s not standing steadily, and that has big implications for the Northwest.

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Sep 14 2008

Shutting down oversight

Published by under Oregon

If you want to tape a phone conversation in Oregon, the basic rule (bear in mind here that your scribe is not a lawyer, so this is not legal counsel) is that you need the permission of at least one party to the conversation to do it. The law (see here, under the section .540) is a little more complicated than that, but this is the core principle. And it applies generally to making an electronic record of a “communication”.

Now consider this, from the Portland Mercury blog: “Independent videographer Joe Anybody has filed a tort claim with the city of Portland seeking just $100 in damages, but more importantly, he feels, to get the cops to change their policy on people videoing their actions. Joe, whose real name is Mike Tabor, had his camcorder confiscated by cops on March 27, after he recorded an arrest. The cops appear to still think they have the right to seize a camera from anybody video recording their actions . . .”

You’d think that someone interacting with government officials would have the right to record those interactions. Tabor’s attorney does: “Sanctioning people under ORS 165.540 for recording stops and arrests is a violation of the First Amendment because it prevents people from recording a matter of public concern and communicating that information to others. A person who witnesses a stop or arrest will be far less able to express what they have seen and heard to others if they are deprived of the option to make a video recording and show the events to others.”

As you may have guessed, suit has been filed on all this by Tabor. Consider the broader implications if a court winds up deciding he’s wrong . . .

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Sep 13 2008

A little extra effort

Published by under Washington

Roger Goodman

Roger Goodman

Washington state Representative Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, pretty clearly is guilty of what he was charged with: Posting (or, the posting by staffers) of press releases from his office on his legislative web site during campaign season.

The board’s description: “A legislator’s use of legislative press releases, prepared with the facilities of the House of Representatives, through the posting of those releases on his campaign web site is a violation of RCW 42.52.180 – use of public resources to assist a campaign.” Goodman stipulated to the violation, the board said.

The releases have been removed, and we haven’t seen them. So we can’t really judge a key point – legally irrelevant but logically of concern: Were these news releases relevant to regular legislative or constituent business, or were they aimed at campaign benefit? They apparently were a legal violation either way, but if they reflected general legislative business, this kind of violation, maybe, shouldn’t be.

The Olympia Dispatch blog (of the Tri-City Herald) quotes one board member, Representative Jamie Pedersen (who was onthe minority side in the decision), D-Seattle, this way: “Once prepared, press releases drafted for legislators are public records under the Public Records Act and should be broadly available to the general public, even (or especially) in the context of campaigns. There is no question that a member of the public who made a public records request for those press releases would be entitled to receive a copy of the releases and the state would expend resources in the form of staff time to make those available. Here a legislator’s campaign, at its expense and no additional expense to the state, proposes to make public records more broadly available to the voters to help them make an informed decision at the next election.”

It seems a generally reasonable point. A number of state web sites (Oregon is another like this) are awfully restrictive on what lawmakers can post; Washington legislators of both parties have been snared by what seem like over-restrictive rules. There’s good reason for taking care that taxpayer funds aren’t being used in support of campaigns, but there should be some way of allowing legislators to do part of what they’re supposed to do – communicate with the public – during the whole course of their terms.

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Sep 12 2008

Standards of proof

Published by under Oregon

Just how politically dangerous are the allegations that Oregon Republican Senator Gordon Smith‘s frozen food company has employed many illegal immigrant workers isn’t totally clear. The charges – in a lengthy article in Willamette Week – that his company has disgorged pollution probably changed few votes. Possibly, the question about the workers is different, since a substantial part of Smith’s base is strongly, emotionally, anti-illegal immigrant, and we’ve already seen some angry responses from that quarter.

That the Smith campaign takes it very seriously could be gauged from the fact that a press release pushing back against the charges is posted on the Smith campaign web site. A non-dangerous allegation probably wouldn’t merit that response.

Smith’s official response runs this way: “Today’s Willamette Week article is false. It is wholly comprised of unsubstantiated and ridiculous allegations from a liberal tabloid whose purpose is to advance a left-wing agenda rather than the truth. Smith Frozen Foods has fully complied with all laws related to the employment of workers and no amount of speculation or second-hand rumors from disgruntled parties can change that. Willamette Week got one thing right in the story – Smith Frozen Foods has never been fined for employing illegal immigrants.”

The core of the response is that the “offers literally ZERO evidence of the claim .”, but that is problematic. Smith is right that WW didn’t prove the allegation in the sense that they could win a criminal conviction in court with what they had. But to say there was no evidence is simply wrong.

Read the article, and you’ll find item after item – from workers who talk about illegals, to the accountant who does taxes for illegal in the area – which do effectively make the case, and it adds up to a highly substantial case. Not ironclad, not conclusive, but strong.

From a political standpoint, that may be enough. Any driving around the Tri-Cities/Walla Walla/Pendleton region can’t help but notice the high Hispanic population and the large number of workers in businesses where illegal workers often are found. Ask someone in that region – or even well outside it – about the probability that illegal workers were employed at a random food production plant in the area, and you’ll probably draw a general assumption that some of them are.

The WW article, politically, amounts to confirmatory evidence of what a lot of people probably have assumed anyway, and it makes it highly public at the worst possible time for Smith.

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Sep 11 2008

Indicating mindset

Published by under Idaho

As of a month ago, if you work for the state of Idaho and become seriously ill – enough that you’re placed on disability status – the state would keep your job open for you for six months. As of August 24, by order of the state Division of Human Resources (which reports to Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter) that amount of time is cut roughly in half, to 12 weeks.

The point here isn’t where along a time line that disability period should run. It’s to draw attention to two quotes, from a Spokane Spokesman-Review article, about the policy, and what its most important effects may be.

The chair of the state Senate committee that deals with state employees, Senator John Andreason, R-Boise: “I have people calling me telling me how difficult it is holding onto their highly qualified employees now. With this kind of a change it’s going to become more difficult.”

From Alex Neiwirth, of the Idaho Association of Government Employees Local 687: “Who wants to be the person that tells someone, ‘OK, well, good luck, I hope your cancer treatment goes well, but your job’s not going to be here if it takes you more than three months’?”

Neither perspective invalid, but representing quite a difference in the way you look at things.

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Sep 10 2008

Your tutor from India, in India

Published by under Idaho,Washington

Here’s an outsourcing story that may interest parents sending their kids, as it were, to Washington Virtual Academies and the Idaho Virtual Academy (BTW, compare their website designs): They evidently have been tutored, and their papers checked, not by American educators, but by residents of Bangalore, India.

These schools, like a number of other virtuals around the country, rely heavily on a company called K12 Inc., based in Virginia, for large chunks of its professional work – curriculum and much of the educator assistance students get. On August 25, a blogger in Arizona (where another of the K12 virtuals is located) posted something interesting: “In the fall of 2006, AZVA began sending papers from middle school students to India to be “marked.” K12 Inc., the parent company of AZVA, contracted with Socratic Learning, Inc., a company based in Plano, Texas. The actual work was completed by Tutors Worldwide (TWWI). According to TWWI’s Who we are page: ‘Incepted in January 2004 as a fully owned subsidiary of Socratic Learning Inc.(USA), we are among the first companies in India to provide online educational support in English Language Arts, Science and Math to educational districts, schools and the student community worldwide.'”

David Safier, the blogger (and a retired English teacher), goes on: “AZVA [the Arizona virtual] didn’t inform parents that their children’s papers were being sent to India. When the first assignment was returned, some parents noticed that their children were being referred to in the comments using the wrong gender and that the language used in some of the comments didn’t sound like it was written by a U.S. resident. The parents used an electronic communications platform provided by AZVA to complain among themselves about the outsourcing of papers. Then some of them complained to AZVA. AZVA gave parents some kind of assurances that the papers would no longer be sent to India.However, middle school papers continued to be sent to India for the entire 2006-2007 school year, then high school papers were sent during the 2007-2008 school year.”

Of relevance to the Northwest, those schools whose work was outsourced across the close include the Idaho and Washington virtuals.

K12 has taken issue some parts of Safier’s post, but the outsourcing of the education work evidently is undisputed. (The biggest point at issue seems to be exactly what information about the students, in addition to their actual work, was or wasn’t sent to India.) The outsourcing has been noted in national education journals and apparently was ended after Safier’s post got attention.

Education Week also notes this: “K12’s recent experiment with outsourcing to India is not the only example of an education company using the expertise of people in other countries. At least one other company has enlisted personnel based overseas for educational support. Smarthinking Inc., which helps colleges, universities, and some K-12 schools connect students with tutoring services in a variety of academic subjects through the Internet, employs tutors living in Canada, Chile, India, the Philippines, and South Africa, according to Burck Smith, the chief executive officer and co-founder of the Washington-based company.”

(Hat tip to our Idaho correspondent who follows education issues closely.)

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This will be one of the most talked-about Idaho books in Idaho this season: 14 years after its last edition, Ridenbaugh Press has released a list of 100 influential Idahoans. Randy Stapilus, the editor and publisher of the Idaho Weekly Briefing and author of four earlier similar lists, has based this one on levels of overall influence in the state – and freedom of action and ability to influence development of the state – as of the start of 2015.
100 Influential Idahoans 2015. By Randy Stapilus; published by Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 202 pages. Softcover. List price $16.95.
100 Influential Idahoans 2015 page.

100 Influential Idahoans 2015
"Essentially, I write in the margins of motherhood—and everything else—then I work these notes into a monthly column about what it’s like raising my two young boys. Are my columns funny? Are they serious? They don’t fit into any one box neatly. ... I’ve won awards for “best humorous column” though I actually write about subjects as light as bulimia, bullying, birthing plans and breastfeeding. But also bon-bons. And barf, and birthdays." Raising the Hardy Boys: They Said There Would Be Bon-Bons. by Nathalie Hardy; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 238 pages. Softcover. $15.95.
Raising the Hardy Boys page.



"Not a day passes that I don’t think about Vietnam. Sometimes its an aroma or just hearing the Vietnamese accent of a store clerk that triggers a memory. Unlike all too many soldiers, I never had to fire a weapon in anger. Return to civilian life was easy, but even after all these years away from the Army and Vietnam I find the experience – and knowledge – continue to shape my life daily."
Drafted! Vietnam in War and in Peace. by David R. Frazier; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton OR. 188 pgs. Softcover. $15.95.
The DRAFTED! page.


Many critics said it could not be done - and it often almost came undone. Now the Snake River Basin Adjudication is done, and that improbable story is told here by three dozen of the people most centrally involved with it - judges, attorneys, legislators, engineers, water managers, water users and others in the room when the decisions were made.
Through the Waters: An Oral History of the Snake River Basin Adjudication. edited by the Idaho State Bar Water Law Section and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 300 pages. Softcover. $16.95.

Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh died on July 20, 2014; he was widely praised for steady leadership in difficult years. Writer Scott Jorgensen talks with Atiyeh and traces his background, and what others said about him.
Conversations with Atiyeh. by W. Scott Jorgensen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 140 pages. Softcover. $14.95.

"Salvation through public service and the purging of awful sights seen during 1500 Vietnam War helicopter rescue missions before an untimely death, as told by a devoted brother, leaves a reader pondering life's unfairness. A haunting read." Chris Carlson, Medimont Reflections. ". . . a vivid picture of his brother Jerry’s time as a Medivac pilot in Vietnam and contrasts it with the reality of the political system . . . through the lens of a blue-collar, working man made good." Mike Kennedy.
One Flaming Hour: A memoir of Jerry Blackbird. by Mike Blackbird; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 220 pages. Softcover. $15.95.
See the ONE FLAMING HOUR page.

Back in Print! Frank Church was one of the leading figures in Idaho history, and one of the most important U.S. senators of the last century. From wilderness to Vietnam to investigating the CIA, Church led on a host of difficult issues. This, the one serious biography of Church originally published in 1994, is back in print by Ridenbaugh Press.
Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church. LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 800 pages. Softcover. $24.95.


by Stephen Hartgen
The personal story of the well-known editor, publisher and state legislator's travel west from Maine to Idaho. A well-written account for anyone interested in Idaho, journalism or politics.
JOURNEY WEST: A memoir of journalism and politics, by Stephen Hartgen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, here or at (softcover)



NEW EDITIONS is the story of the Northwest's 226 general-circulation newspapers and where your newspaper is headed.
New Editions: The Northwest's Newspapers as They Were, Are and Will Be. Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 324 pages. Softcover. (e-book ahead). $16.95.
See the NEW EDITIONS page.

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The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter.
OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through (softcover)


by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers.
IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through (softcover)

without compromise
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho.


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The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story.
See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.

Medimont Reflections Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping.
See the Medimont Reflections page  
Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.

Idaho 100 by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson. Order the Kindle at For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.