"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson (appears in the Jefferson Memorial)

Lawrence Wasden

Lawyers like to sue; it’s what they do when they’re exercising their professional muscles. (Writers write. Dentists drill.) That’s point A.

Point B is that political figures in Idaho can never lose by “taking on the federal government” – just throwing a big ol’ middle finger at ’em. Idahoans love that.

But the syllogism breaks down in this case.

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden was speaking (about his department’s budget) to the legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, which writes the budget. A member, Senator Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, was interested in the new developments over federal involvement in wolf population controls; there’s a strong feeling among many Idaho policymakers that the effort should be led by the state, not the feds. That question is up in the air with rule changes by the new Obama Administration. So, he wanted to know, would Wasden sue the feds to keep Idaho in the driver’s seat?

Wasden said that “We are actually engaged in the process . . . I’ve been working right now to have a meeting with the Secretary of the Interior on wolves.”

Then he also said, “The opportunities for litigating the federal government might make us feel good, but they do little more than waste taxpayer dollars.”

He is likely right. But less anyone think his response may have come from a lack of stomach for the fight, be it noted: Took a lot more guts to say what he actually said. Wasden continues to impress. (Hat tip: Idaho Statesman legislative blog.)

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Some days will pass and there’s no reference in any of the usual public sources about the Sam Adams – that is, mayor of Portland – scandal. And it seems to be going away.

But it’s not going away yet. Not, at least, as long as someone can make some coin out of it . . .

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