Archive for December, 2012

Dec 31 2012

Will the Oregonian remain a daily?

Published by under Oregon

So here’s a question the executives at the Oregonian ought to answer sooner rather than later, if they want to do right by a community that relies on them:

Will the Portland Oregonian end 2013 as a daily newspaper?

There’s been persistent chatter that it won’t, that it will be cut back, maybe to three days a week, and the staff may be cut by something like a third – a massive transformation, even after the many slices and dices of recent years. If the people at Advance Publications are planning to do something like that, they owe it to their readers, advertisers and other economic and social partners to say so before it becomes a fait accompli (assuming it isn’t already), to allow for some feedback, alternatives and suggestions.

This isn’t idle rumor or speculation. There’s plenty in the recent record to give cause to, at least, wonder.

Advance Publications, based in New York and owned mainly by the wealthy Newhouse family (the papers in the group used to be known as Newshouse Newspapers), traditionally has done relatively well by the newspapers it owns, giving them some flexibility and allowing many of them to become as successful journalistically as economically. The Oregonian has been (my view) for years the best paper overall in the Northwest, doing more things better than anyone else. (The O is Advance’s only daily in the Northwest.)

The economic climate, and the hard hits to the newspaper industry, have hit Advance as much as other newspaper companies. The company has owned eight daily newspapers, generally small in size, and in 2009 cut them all to three or four times a week, with commensurate big staff cuts; the move was called “digital first” by corporate.

This year the New Orleans Times-Picayune, a 175-year-old institution, was hacked down from daily to thrice a week. (The news was broken by the New York Times, not by the paper itself.) An article in a Cleveland publication by a former Times-Picayune reporter recounted how “The following four-and-a-half months were a blur of protests, rallies, petitions, letter-writing campaigns and yard signs. The New Orleans Saints billionaire owner Tom Benson offered the buy the newspaper, while everyone from liberal actor Ed Asner (TV’s newspaper editor “Lou Grant”) to conservative suburban Congressman David Vitter publicly condemned the changes. But Advance was unmoved. “We have no intention of selling, no matter how much noise there is out there,” Advance.net Chairman Steven Newhouse declared to The New York Times in mid-June. About 30% of the newspaper’s total staff was cut, including almost one-half of its newsroom. Beginning Oct. 1, the previously daily newspaper began being printed on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.”

The same thing happened about the same time, to less widespread note, to Advance’s three dailies in Alabama, at Mobile Huntsville and Birmingham.

Cleveland was interested because its daily paper, the Plain Dealer, is also an Advance paper, and is going through … changes. They are large scale, and seem to be falling into the “digital first” pattern.

Rebecca Theim, the New Orleans reporter, outlined the pattern to observe in Cleveland, starting with: “Yes, you know something bad is coming, but The Plain Dealer’s management still has a lot of sensitive and emotional decisions to make, including who will be fired and who will be spared, when it will happen and how everyone will be told. Based on the New Orleans experience, expect off-site, super-secret meetings from which employees — even those not in attendance — may end up divining their own fates.”

So, yes: Is the Oregonian on the chopping block?

Or is Portland’s journalistic future going to be crafted behind closed doors as it was in New Orleans and is in Cleveland? Resolution for 2013: Don’t let that happen.

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Dec 31 2012

Briefing pic of the week

Published by under Briefings,Washington

briefing pic
TREES ON US 2: Falling trees laden with heavy snow and ice create hazardous conditions on US 2. (Photo/Washington Department of Transportation)

 
This week’s front cover from the Washington Weekly Briefing. It seemed timely, as snow is actually falling outside where we are (just south of Washington).

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Dec 30 2012

10 sorta, semi-predictions for Idaho in 2013

Published by under Idaho,Idaho column

idahocolumnn

Some highly hedged predictions (observations anyway) about Idaho 2013 …

1. As legislators hit the Statehouse, the health insurance exchange urged by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter looks like Topic A. Best guess now is that they pass something that Otter would approve – but make that a highly hedged bet. There’ll be plenty of pressure as well to re-up nullification efforts from sessions past; there’s a strong never-say-die element. Topic B: A partial Luna Law resurrection.

2. No gun-related legislation this year, other than reaffirming more guns in more places.

3. The 2014 governor’s race should take on clearer contours by the end of 2013. By then, incumbent C.L. “Butch” Otter ought to – fellow Republicans will insist – clarify whether he’s on the ballot once again. He has said he plans to run, but there are reasons for saying that (political strength, fundraising, etc.) that may not translate to ballot status. A year from now, we should know who the major candidates are and aren’t. Note: An Otter candidacy doesn’t necessarily preclude a primary challenge.

4. Don’t expect other major non-incumbent candidates to surface during the year (unlike most recent off-years). Apart from the governor’s race, 2014 isn’t looking very exciting in Idaho.

5. But: Better than even odds another fairly high profile ballot issue, on some topic, arises for 2014. Non-conservatives had their biggest statewide win in many a moon in 2012 with the ouster of the three legislative “Luna laws.” There’d be a lot of political sense in going back to the electorate to challenge other things the Idaho Legislature may do next session, whatever those might be.

6. There are no partisan general elections in Idaho in 2013, but cities will be electing. One of the most interesting contests could be in Pocatello, where in 2009 Brian Blad came out of nowhere to defeat incumbent Roger Chase. What kind of opposition will he draw this time? Watch too the city races in Coeur d’Alene, where an emotional ideological battle in 2012led to a (failed) recall effort, and is likely to yield hard-fought, even bitter, races for some of those same offices in 2013.

7. A correspondent points out that in the coming year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals likely will decide whether the Idaho Roadless Rule stands or falls. He suggests: “If it stays it becomes a success story in collaboration with the support of some conservation groups like Trout Unlimited and the Idaho Conservation League. … If the 9th Circuit strikes it down the victory goes to the Wilderness Society and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition who were hold outs and did not want to work with the state on a state-based rule.” Real poliltical implications could emerge from all that.

8. Looks like a pretty good water year. As 2012 ended, every one of Idaho’s water basins had above-average snowpack (the Little Wood River was at 172 percent of normal accumulation). As 2011 ended, most of Idaho’s river basins were below-average; the Weiser River area, for example, was at 72 percent.

9. Chances are good that the Snake River Basin Adjudication may actually wrap up this year: As 2012 ends, it’s getting close. In the context of big water adjudications, that would be a speedy success.

10. Overall in the change department: Don’t expect a lot to shatter the earth. Idaho is not likely to be a great deal different as it approaches 2014.

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Dec 29 2012

How much change in 2013?

Published by under Rainey

rainey
Barrett Rainey
Second Thoughts

As a nation, it would seem the best we can say about the year 2012 is “It’s over.” I doubt few of us will recall it fondly. But the problem is it doesn’t look like 2013 is going to be much different.
I don’t recall another 12 month period during my long lifetime that whip-sawed this country so completely – top to bottom – as did 2012.
Few of us have escaped being touched by events – being shaken by some – disgusted by some – traumatized by others. It’s been an emotional year. It’s been a time when the direction of this country was fundamentally changed forever. Even our weather seemed to repeatedly conspire against us.

Perhaps the largest change – one easily documented – has been a recognition by most of us in 2012 that we’re no longer a white, Anglo-Saxon majority nation – that the racial pot simmering for the last 200 years has finally boiled over and we’ve become a multiple ethnic stew. Evidence is everywhere. From our city streets to corporations to our nation’s presidency. We’re a nation of color – of different languages – of different traditions. That should be a good thing in a nation in which all of us are – or are descended from – immigrants.

But, in 2012, for some unexplained reason, this has come as a shock to a lot of folks. Maybe that should read “frightening shock.” Bigotry that used to be whispered is now shouted from the front pages. Acts of racial bigotry in some of our nation’s legislative bodies have resulted in laws attempting to stop non-white citizens from voting – from qualifying for government assistance – from receiving health care. Some things they’re trying to legislate out of existence are freedoms going back to the end of the Civil War and the adoption of civil rights and voting right laws of the ‘60′s.

In those states and elsewhere, we’re seeing fear on a scale larger than ever before as millions of citizens clean out the shelves at gun stores and arm themselves against some sort of perceived threat from people who look “different.” Homes that have never seen a gun are being turned into arsenals. Requests for permits to carry concealed weapons are at an all-time high. And you can bet the farm thousands and thousands more people are simply keeping a gun within reach – law or no law – permit or no permit.

Mass killings are no longer rare. We’ve got ‘em regularly in shopping malls – elementary schools – movie theaters – college campuses – city streets – police stations – neighborhoods – doctor’s offices – roller rinks – high schools – play grounds – churches. There’s no sanctuary. There’s no city – no town – no place safe from armed destruction of human life. And we’re doing nothing. Not in 2012. Since 20 children were cut down in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, more than 280 Americans have been killed. By guns.

Also in 2012, while that esteemed private enterprise politicians delight in talking about was beginning to restore our national economy, those same politicians spent much of the year doing their damndest to kill it. With one manmade crisis after another – ignorant attacks on government – personal political savagery directed at a president of mixed color – roadblocks deliberately placed to stop lawful efforts by those trying to solve issues – we’ve got a Congress actually undermining our way of life.

It’s also a Congress that’s turned its back on its own constituency and the majority instructions issued by that constituency in November elections. In 2012, we’ve found “representative government” is not that at all. We’ve told ourselves for 200 years those we elect “serve at the will of the people.” In 2012, more than any other time, we’ve found that is not true. The difference is influence in the hands of a few. The difference is money and terribly gerrymandered congressional districts.

We’re continuing an undeclared war for which there is no victory – only more killing until an artificial end date on the calendar in a year or two. We’re continuing to throw treasure and young lives into a bottomless pit for no national goal – with no rational meaning. Who will we send to be the last to die? And for what? Continue Reading »

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Dec 27 2012

What next for Idaho public schools?

Published by under Idaho,Reading

carlson
NW Reading

When Idaho voters in November decisively killed the 2011 “Luna laws” on changing Idaho public schools, what did they intend – to kill all of the changes in them, or just some of them, and if some of them, which? Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, one of the prime advocates of the laws, detailed his views on that question in a just-posted piece.

After voters on November 6 rejected the process, pace and policies for improving Idaho’s education system enacted in 2011, it became the task of everyone who cares about the quality of Idaho public schools to constructively continue that conversation.

My staff and I spent the next several weeks reaching out to educators, business leaders and Idaho citizens about staying engaged. Now that I’m optimistic we have a critical mass of interest, I’ve asked the State Board of Education to shepherd a statewide discussion about school improvement.

I’m asking the Board to guide the work of a broadly representative group of concerned Idahoans in studying best practices in school districts around the state and using data and experience to drive sound decision making. The group is likely to be large, but only large enough to include the diversity of opinion needed to properly study such a complex issue.

I’m not going to direct the discussion or the issues covered in any way. There must be no “third rail” in this conversation. But I am asking participants to come to the table ready to speak openly and candidly, and to bring ideas. I will not be prescriptive other than to say I remain committed to equal access to opportunity for our children and to increasing support for our educators.

The goal is to move education in Idaho forward for our students, our educators, and the businesses, colleges and universities that receive the product of our K-12 system. I do not expect this to be entirely about producing a legislative product. If participants find that best practices can be shared and schools improved without statutory changes, so be it. Continue Reading »

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Dec 26 2012

Reader preferences

Published by under Washington

An unfortunate commentary on the news diets of the reading public – even what remains of the newspaper-reading public …

A piece in the Slog recounts the 10 most-read (online) articles for the year in the Seattle Times:

“That’s six stories about death [murder celebrity, blizzard], two about the weather, one about sports, and one about Microsoft’s new logo. Those were the top ten stories in our state’s paper of record. During a presidential election year.”

Not a happy commentary.

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Dec 26 2012

More liquor adjustments to come

Published by under Washington

Preview from the next Washington Weekly Digest:

A new proposed rule from the Washington Liquor Control Board highlights some of the ongoing aftermath of the conversion of the state liquor sales system from public to private hands.

Rule 12-24-089 said that “The passage of Initiative 1183 and the privatization of spirits theft and product loss is significant and increasing. This is contributing to increased underage access to alcohol. Rules are needed to clarify reporting requirements of product loss due to theft and internal shrinkage.”

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Dec 26 2012

They also serve

Published by under Carlson,Idaho

carlson
Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

“They also serve…”

The full quote from the 17th century English poet, John Milton (1608-1674; author of Paradise Lost), is “They also serve who only stand and wait.” It’s from another of his writings, On His Blindness, made poignant by the poet’s own blindness.

It’s a reminder that most are supporting cast on the stage of life to a few star players whose light outshines others and who are more noted by historians. That said, their roles, seemingly insignificant, are necessary to fill out the drama. Every star needs a supporting cast to help them stand out in life’s movable parade.

These thoughts were prompted recently following a discussion with two of the four most noteworthy stars from the Idaho State Senate freshman class of 1961. This is the class whose stars and role players, with seasoning and maturity, four years later led Idaho into modernity by debating, then adopting and sending to the voters for ratification the first ever sales tax designed to better fund public education and meet the stated first goal of Idaho’s state constitution.

Fifty years later two of the “stars” who played critical roles in the sales tax debate and passage are still alive with sharp memories: former four-term Governor Cecil D. Andrus, who in 1961 was elected to the Senate as a Democrat from Clearwater County, and former Majority Leader Bill Roden, a Republican from Ada County.

Curious about the other lesser known members of their class and what each might recall of these supporting players, I called both recently.

Coincidentally, both Andrus and Roden started by recalling the same anecdote. It seems the Statesman’s then political editor, John Corlett, ran profiles during the session on new members from both the House and Senate. Corlett wrote up a glowing profile of Roden in 1961 in which he said Bill, at 29, was the youngest person ever elected to the Idaho Senate. Continue Reading »

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Dec 26 2012

We are one family despite the NRA

Published by under Rainey

rainey
Barrett Rainey
Second Thoughts

While trying to fight back my anger at the National Rifle Association’s contempt for civilization the other day, I got to thinking about the concept the demonic LaPierre was spewing. He didn’t use the actual words I was thinking of but there was no mistaking they formed the irrational concept he was spouting.

It’s called “Mutually Assured Destruction.” Or maybe you remember the utterly accurate acronym: “MAD.” The world lived with that MAD sword hanging over us for some 60 years. To some extent, we still do.

It began in the 1950′s when both we and the Soviets – at that time -had nuclear bombs. The idea was, if one of us decided to lob a nuke over the North Pole, the recipient would return the favor – plus a dozen, dozen additional. The concept was simple:” You kill me – I’ll kill you more.”

It was taken to the lunatic extreme of us having some 2,000 nukes in the 60′s and they had about the same. So it got to be: “I’ll kill you a thousand times but you’ll only have time to get off enough to kill me 438 times.” I’d always thought being killed once was sufficient but – since I wasn’t asked to help with national security issues – I just sorta lived with it.

In the 50′s and 60′s, I was in the Strategic Air Command – the outfit that would do all the long-range killing for this country. Adding to the MAD irony for me was the motto of SAC emblazoned on the nose of every bomber and intercontinental ballistic missile: “Peace is Our Profession.” Looking back, you gotta admit that was kinda sick. Continue Reading »

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Dec 24 2012

Why we can’t solve our problems

Published by under Peterson

peterson
Martin Peterson
From Idaho

When Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association’s million-dollar-a-year executive director, held his press conference on December 21 responding to the Connecticut school shootings, the national response was quick and largely negative. However, what was overlooked by both the
media and the public was the fact that in his response, LaPierre did a fine and concise — although entirely unintentional – job of demonstrating three of the major ills that are keeping this country from solving many, if not most, of the major problems it faces.

The first ill is to always blame someone else and ignore any contribution you may have made to creating a problem. We hear it day-in and day-out in the halls of Congress. Republicans blaming Democrats and Democrats blaming Republicans. Never accept personal responsibility for a problem when you can point the finger at someone else. Assault weapons and large capacity clips didn’t create this problem, according to LaPierre. It’s video games, movies and lack of armed guards that are the problem.

The second ill is to identify a problem and then ask the federal government to pay for it. That is the mind-set that has helped lead us to the serious fiscal problems the federal government currently faces. The NRA offices in Washington must be in a soundproof bunker. Apparently LaPierre is unaware that Congress and the President are currently dealing with serious budget issues that will likely make it impossible for them to consider his proposal that the federal government fund armed guards at every school building in the United States. If he is really serious about obtaining the support of Congress and the President for his proposal, and he really thinks that those guards will eliminate school shootings, while protecting second amendment rights, he should consider recommending the means of paying for it.

Two privileges the government gives me that I enjoy are driving motor vehicles and fishing. I drive on roads that are largely funded by persons like me who use them, with fuel taxes and registration fees. The same with fishing. I buy an annual license and those fees are used to support the state’s fisheries program. If you don’t want to enjoy the privileges of driving or fishing, you don’t have to pay. The same could be true with the proposal to protect the rights of gun owners by using armed guards at schools. Continue Reading »

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Dec 24 2012

What Crapo needs to do

Published by under Idaho

Crapo
Mike Crapo/Alexander VA police

Becoming Idaho’s senior senator has started turning into a bad-headline situation: There was the internationally-famous Larry Craig incident from about five years ago, and now the DUI arrest of Mike Crapo.

One difference between the two is that while a long-running rumor circuit made the Craig arrest a surprise but not a complete shock, it’s probably safe to say not many people saw a DUI arrest in Crapo’s future. Crapo has always appeared to be a totally observant, teetotaling Mormon; he has specifically said that he doesn’t drink, and he seems to have given no reason till now to doubt that. His name never has shown up – as far as I know – on any informal list of quiet occasional drinkers among the politically active faithful, at least outside his circle of closest friends and relatives.

Crapo was arrested early Sunday morning, and police in Alexandria, Virginia, reported he had a .11 blood alcohol level, substantially above the .08 line for DUI (in Virginia as well as in Idaho). That BAC level is ordinarily an indicator of being not just tipsy, not close to borderline sober, but being seriously sloshed.

The senator’s first statement out of this was appropriate enough: “I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance. I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter.”

He isn’t, evidently, trying to dodge, prevaricate or avoid, which is a good sign.

Two other points are worth making before more plays out.

One is that Crapo has no cause – no external reason, apart from whatever his own preferences may be – for resigning. That may sound awfully premature since no calls for departure have surfaced (that I have seen), but expect some to materialize, from anti-drunk driving activists if not elsewhere. Remember that in Craig’s case, the chorus for resignation was deafening, not least from Idaho, and Craig’s legal offense (while much more spectacular from a tabloid perspective) was lesser than Crapo’s.

Crapo is being charged with a misdemeanor, however, so there’s no legal requirement to leave. He appears ready to accept the consequences, which is all you can ask at this point. And we don’t, or at least shouldn’t, hold our officials to some standard of perfection. There’s no reason Crapo can’t, if he chooses, go on doing the job the voters of Idaho hired him to do.

There is something else, though, Crapo owes those voters, and in a looser sense (as a relatively senior senator, and top Republican on the increasingly significant Banking Committee) owes the rest of the country: An explanation.

At some point in the days ahead, as he has the chance to collect his thoughts and re-evaluate whatever needs to be evaluated, Crapo ought to open up about what’s going on in his life and what led up to his driving under the influence – and, for that matter, being under the influence. This would not be an easy thing to do, and facing this up to his fellow Mormons would be awfully tough.

If Crapo wants to retain the support and confidence than Idahoans at least (and people outside the state as well) give him that allow him to function effectively in the Senate, then he needs to come clean about what’s happening. And how he intends to deal with his challenges, so that he can do the job he was elected to.

A good deal of Crapo’s support over the years has come from the sense that this is a man of strong and upright character. Now, in this moment of challenge, Idaho will get to see more clearly than it has before exactly what is the nature of Crapo’s character – not so much in in the mistake that led to a DUI arrest, but in what he does from this point forward in response to it.

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Dec 23 2012

Personal property tax: What it is …

Published by under Idaho,Idaho column

idahocolumnn

For those who have to pay it, the personal property tax must be one of the most aggravating.

Many Idahoans probably don’t know much about it – don’t often encounter it – and may have wondered what the deal was when a report about the Idaho personal property tax was released by the state Tax Commission last week. It may be one of the least liked taxes among small businesses; under its terms, businesses have to itemize things like office equipment – furniture, computers and much more – and estimate their value, with taxes to be paid on them. The taxes have not been massively high, but in relative terms the paperwork can be extensive.

Unsurprisingly, there’s been a movement for some years to eliminate the personal property tax, and it’s picking up steam. (The lobby at the Idaho Association of Commerce & Industry is working on it, for one, following up on lobbying it did last year.) Prospects are fair or better that the personal property tax in Idaho may be amended or maybe even eliminated next session.

At the same time, not a lot has been known about it – what it raises, where it goes, what it covers.

Some of that information gap ended with the Tax Commission report’s released on December 18, and it should provide the information base around which debate will run. It’s the first report on the subject the commission has ever released. After reading it, you suspect it won’t be the last.

It tells us, for example, that the PPT brings in about $140 million a year. Split among the hundreds of local government districts (the sewer districts get $12,852), that’s a fairly small piece of the tax pie. Even so, $140 million would make a dent of some kind, especially in the cities and counties, if it abruptly went away.

A close read of the report suggests, though, that changes could be made that might ease its often onerous nature without cutting away all the revenue – and in fact the personal property tax probably due for some good review and a legal rewrite anyway. Continue Reading »

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Dec 22 2012

They know not what they do

Published by under Rainey

rainey
Barrett Rainey
Second Thoughts

Within a span of just 14 hours, we’ve been exposed to two terrible examples of belligerence, selfishness, ignorance and behavior dangerous to who we are as a nation. One was a handful of carelessly elected zealots – hellbent on fiscal destruction of our economy. The other, a tone-deaf, arrogant, in-your-face example of the dangers the existing National Rifle Association presents to the civility of our culture.

For the record, what John Boehner tried to ramrod through the U.S. House was lousy legislation – ill-conceived legislation – bad for middle class Americans legislation. It deserved a procedural death. But not the way it happened. Or for the reasons it happened.

Boehner’s “Plan B” was DOA in the Senate and stood to get a stake in the heart at the White House if it accidentally got that far. It was proposed simply as a GOP “show horse.” Toss tax issues to the Democrats and make them fall on their swords. But it blew up in Boehner’s face. The faulty legislative grenade was triggered by about three dozen members – loosely called “tea partiers.” Small “T” and small “P.”

Make no mistake. These are not “Tea Party” people in the original meaning of that title which was believed a clever nomenclature for some disgruntled Americans wanting to make a political statement to the country a few years back. These people are vastly ignorant about the affairs and conduct of the government they espouse so much hate for. They know nothing of how it’s structured – how it works – or what’s expected from people who currently hold the elected offices they do. Single-issue zealots to the core, they routinely subvert their own “causes” by stepping on their own feet.

What they’ve done is treasonous. They’ve cut the throat of an entire political party. Giving Boehner absolute benefit of any doubt, his was the only voice of the entire Republican Party in that body that could’ve negotiated solutions to our terrible financial perils. If he and the rest of our national elected voices were to find common cause to deal with the thorny issues, his voice had to be supported. Sadly, it was not. And is not.

What the ignorant have done is cut the ground out from under him. In the process they’ve created something they profess to hate: a unilateral voice of one to create an agenda – or solution – as that voice sees fit. I don’t like government-of-one. We need the best of each of the two parties we send to conduct our national affairs. The tension of two knowledgeable, reasoned, intelligent sets of hands is needed on the rope to keep us from being pulled too far in any one direction.

GOP Rep. Steve La Tourette spoke for a lot of us at the moment of failure. “It’s unbelievable, this is horrible. I’m angry, sad for my friend the Speaker and I’m sorry for the country. We deserve better.”

Hear hear.

What the GOP miscreants have done is effectively cripple the two-party system. Boehner will never have a chance to undo what they’ve done from this day forward. He will never again be regarded as the leader of all things Republican in the House. Through no special fault of his own, he’ll never be trusted to speak with an effective, unified political voice. Continue Reading »

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Dec 20 2012

If elected …

Published by under Oregon

Oregon Republicans are losing a capable party chair in Allen Alley, the former candidate for governor who led the party through difficult times, departing at the end of his term to return to relatively private life. How difficult the Oregon Republican situation may be in 2014 could relate to who becomes Alley’s successor.

In most cases it wouldn’t matter greatly. (Alley, who did reasonably well, nonetheless presided over a bad election cycle for Oregon Republicans.) But it might in this case:

The first public candidate for the job is former two-time congressional candidate Art Robinson, he of the, ah, unusual ideas about nuclear waste (sprinkle it on the ocean) and public schools (which he has equated to child abuse).

From the Democratic-supporting Blue Oregon blog: “I find it hard to believe that the money people behind the Oregon GOP would allow Art Robinson to be their spokesman in Oregon. It would basically be a sign that they’re just throwing in the towel entirely. But he’s not without his supporters – particularly in the Ron Paul wing-ding sector. And they’re fired up, feeling that they were mistreated in the convention delegate selection process. Pass the popcorn!”

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Dec 20 2012

Magnet

Published by under Idaho

This may never materialize – for various reasons, probably won’t – but you can easily imagine the turn of mind that would cause it to be taken this far.

A story in the St. Maries Gazette-Record says that a survivalist group operating at The Citadel Project has plans to set up a walled community (with amenities including schools, medical facilities, recreational outlets and an armory) housing about 3,000 to 5,000 people, with an economic base consisting mainly of gun manufacture. A rural area in Benewah County, Idaho, is proposed as a possible site. (It’s not clear how many other places may be in the running.) And, as the paper noted, “Whether backers of the effort own anything more than a website is unclear.”

Why Benewah County? The indications were that it was thought to be amenable, generally. And as for the specific site, one backer wrote, “I have walked the ground on one mountain, and you’ll have to take my word for it at the moment, the terrain favors the defender.”

(Against let us say, one wonders, drone missiles?)

The groups statement said they’d comply with the laws of the United States, but only those they deem constitutional. You can see where that goes.

Guns are a big part of this. “Every able-bodied Patriot aged 13 and older” would have to pass an annual shooting test and “Every able-bodied Patriot of age within the Citadel will be armed with one AR15 variant in 5.56 mm NATO, at least five magazines and 1,000 rounds of ammunition.”

Further developments will be awaited with interest.

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Pike Place's plans for a new waterfront entrance.

 

THE OREGON POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

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.
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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.
WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.

 

Diamondfield
How many copies?
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 NOW IN KINDLE
 
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 Amazon.com. For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.


 

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    watergates

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Randy Stapilus

    Water rights and water wars: They’re not just a western movie any more. The Water Gates reviews water supplies, uses and rights to use water in all 50 states.242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    intermediary

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Lin Tull Cannell

    At a time when Americans were only exploring what are now western states, William Craig tried to broker peace between native Nez Perces and newcomers from the East. 15 years in the making, this is one of the most dramatic stories of early Northwest history. 242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    Upstream

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    The Snake River Basin Adjudication is one of the largest water adjudications the United States has ever seen, and it may be the most successful. Here's how it happened, from the pages of the SRBA Digest, for 16 years the independent source.

    Paradox Politics

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    After 21 years, a 2nd edition. If you're interested in Idaho politics and never read the original, now's the time. If you've read the original, here's view from now.


    Governing Idaho:
    Politics, People and Power

    by James Weatherby
    and Randy Stapilus
    Caxton Press
    order here

    Outlaw Tales
    of Idaho

    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    It Happened in Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    Camping Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here