Writings and observations

This probably isn’t one of those business stories Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter will want to play up, though it concerns one of Idaho’s better-known companies (historically emblematic) – the Coeur Mining company, based in Coeur d’Alene.

Or, it has been. From the company’s press release out today:

Officials from Coeur d’Alene Mines Corporation (NYSE: CDE, TSX:CDM) today joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Pat Quinn’s administration to announce that Coeur will move its corporate headquarters to downtown Chicago.

Coeur is currently headquartered in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the company’s home since 1985, and employs nearly 2,000 people worldwide. The company expects to complete the move to Chicago in the third quarter of 2013 and to hire at least 60 employees at its downtown headquarters by the end of 2014. In addition, Coeur intends to change its name to Coeur Mining in mid-­‐May following its Annual Meeting.

“Coeur could have chosen any number of cities for its home, but they chose Chicago because Chicago gives the company its best opportunity to grow, expand and thrive,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Coeur needs a global city with a deep talent pool and access to international markets. I am proud that the city worked to put its best foot forward and attract this vital company. I look forward to working with Coeur as they make Chicago their new home.”

Share on Facebook

Idaho

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

The first headline:

COMMANDANT TO AFGHANISTAN MARINES
“MAKE EVERY SHOT COUNT”

A day or so later, the second headline appeared:

GUN SHOPS RUNNING
OUT OF AMMUNITION

The next day, another:

DEATH THREATS CANCEL
MICHAEL VICK BOOK TOUR

Taken individually, each of those headlines stands alone as events in today’s news. Taken together, they tell a different story of a nation stagnating under political failure, citizens arming themselves against their own government and each other and a society where fear of lawlessness – steeped in ignorance – interferes with the conduct of our daily lives.

While the first story seems to be about the top general in the Marines passing along some common sense combat philosophy – probably already learned in basic training – it’s really more a tragic statement about our current national political failures.

The real reason for the general’s admonition is the sequester! The self-inflicted “let’s-play-political-chicken-with-our-national-economy-and-our-national-defense” idiocy our “representatives” have created in Washington. What the commandant was really telling the troops was “We’re running out of money to buy the ammunition and other weaponry you need to beat the enemy while trying to get yourselves out of that damned country alive.”

In fact, all our military services are being crippled by politicians – not all politicians – just the idiots who’ve absolutely no idea what the hell they’re doing in elective office. The army is cancelling training maneuvers and other preparedness activities. Including weapons use. The air force has curtailed training missions and many routine operations. The navy has called some ships back to port, limited flight operations because of the costs of aviation fuel and is foregoing certain readiness activities. The coast guard has reduced its sea-going drug interdiction missions. All services have begun laying off civilian support workers. Because our Congress has taken a meat axe to make indiscriminate cuts in our entire national budget.

The second headline is also a dreadful commentary on this country at the moment. A country slowly being paralyzed by paranoia and fear. Gun sellers are running out of weapons and the ammunition for the first time in our nation’s history because a bunch of scared people are hoarding it all to use on their government. Or their neighbors. Or each other.

New polling shows most Americans don’t own a gun and they’re not the one’s out there buying one for the first time. Today’s buyers are more likely to be people who already have guns and now are buying still more while putting dozens more boxes of ammunition into the crawl space under their homes.

The third headline – Michael Vick and his book tour – is really connected to – and an outgrowth of – the gun craziness and speaks to irrational fears and our personal safety. For all of us.

I’m not a big fan of Michael Vick. The savagery of his dog fighting years is repulsive – a stain he’ll carry for life. But he was convicted – served his time – has engaged in some extensive charitable work regarding animals – has rededicated himself to responsible animal care – and has resumed his professional football career in fine manner. The way I was raised, he did the crime – he did his time – he’s trying to make amends. That should square him with society. Those are our normal expectations of someone who’s done something wrong. As the anti-gay crowd is fond of saying “Love the sinner – hate the sin.”

Now he’s written a book about his experiences – and his growth – as a lot of people in public life have done. But his publisher has had to cancel all his book-signing appearances because of repeated anonymous threats to kill him if he appears in certain cities. For a book signing? In a book store?

In nearly all instances, threats against Vick are anonymous. That’s the curse of the blessing of technology today. The Internet. Cretins with the mental acuity of moss can lob their threats with no personal responsibility. But several police departments have taken it seriously enough to ask Vick to stay away. So he has.

Is it too much to connect the dots here? From cowards among us who use anonymity to foist their irrational hate on the rest of us so our normal behavior is changed to avoid violence? To national paranoia and more irrational fear that causes thousands of Americans to create personal armories to use against any of the rest of us who might appear to be a threat to them? To our very national defense which is hamstrung by politicians irrationally who fear the size of their own government and, in that fear, are putting our national security and those who provide it in jeopardy?

I don’t think so. Fear seems to have become our common national theme. It’s manifest in nearly everything we do. We’re being consumed by it nationally – in politics – in our personal relationships – in groups trying to divide themselves from the rest of us in what used to be a united country.

But if you really want to feel fear – to be afraid – put yourself in a fox hole in Afghanistan – 20-years-old – and your commanding general has just told you to be careful with your ammunition because politicians have made it impossible for the Marines to buy more.

Now THAT’s fear!

Share on Facebook

Rainey

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

Shame on State Senator Bob Nonini. It was bad enough that the ethically-challenged state senator from District 3 went unpunished by the Senate Leadership for his role in helping to secure contributions and contributing himself to Tea Party challengers to Republican incumbent state senators like Shawn Keough from Sandpoint and Dean Cameron from Rupert.

The latter two are two of the hardest working members of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee and are veteran, reasonable, caring listening legislators. Nonini last year, in an apparent effort to curry favor with the then House Speaker Lawrence Denny, and the Tea Party types conspired with among others Avista lobbyist Neil Colwell to secure and send some substantial contributions to challengers to incumbents in his party.

Nonini had to know he was putting at risk his ability work with his future colleagues should he fail, but apparently didn’t care. Colwell at least received a dressing down from his superiors at Avista and CEO Scott Morris drove to Sandpoint to meet personally with and apologize to Senator Keough and Representatives Erik Anderson and George Eskridge for the perfidy and stupidity of their lobbyist.

Rumors circulated before the session that the GOP Senate Leadership, capably led by Senate Pro Tempore Brent Hill and Majority Leader Bart Davis, planned to deny Nonini any committee assignments and ban him from the Republican caucus. Nothing of the sort happened, however.

Unlike Nonini, Senators Hill and Davis are honorable men. Shame on them, though, for letting Nonini’s stupidity go unpunished.

Now Nonini is pushing a bill that would divert $10 million from the already underfunded budget for education. The funds instead would be directed to parents and others as a tax credit for scholarship monies they may have paid to send a child to a private school.

Nonini says taking a kid out of the public classroom and incentivizing parents to send to a private school would save money. Come again? The operations and maintenance cost for the school remain the same whether there are 25 students in the class or 24.

Nonini should find a copy of Idaho ’s State Constitution and carefully read (I started to write “reread” and realized I was making a heck ‘uv an assumption) Article 9, section 1 and 5.

Section 1 says the State Legislature is obligated to establish and “maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.” Nothing in there about private schools is there?

Section 5 says no public dollars shall be allocated “in aid of any church or sectarian or religious society, or for any sectarian or religious purpose to help support or sustain any school, academy, seminary, college, university
or other literary or scientific institution controlled by any church, sectarian or religious denomination whatsoever.” Sounds pretty clear to me?

One wonders just who Nonini is carrying water for on this kind of thing. Such cynicism is not warranted, you say? You might be correct.

I don’t use the phrase “ethically challenged” lightly. Look for yourself at the record contained in the Idaho Supreme Court Data Repository. Here are the case numbers: CV 1996-0006260, Bonner Properties vs. Robert P. Nonini; CV 1992-0089158, Coeur d’Alene Adjustment Bureau vs. Robert Nonini; CV 1992-0088598, Met Mortgage Finance, Inc. vs. Robert Nonini. Go yourself to the Courthouse, look them up and peruse the contents, then draw your own conclusions.

Too bad the Senate Leadership did not see fit to punish him for his perfidy. A good starting point would have been to let him know that no bill he sponsored was going to go anywhere this session. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about his diverting $10 million from public education for private education, would we?

Share on Facebook

Carlson Idaho