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Posts published in March 2013

A parting gift

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

University of Idaho President Duane Nellis left a parting gift for Governor Otter, his State Board of Education and all those Republican legislators who have consistently underfunded higher education as well as public education during his four years at the helm of the State’s major research university.

The message was contained in one word in Nellis’ terse statement that he would be leaving to take the helm of Texas Tech University , a school three times the size of the University of Idaho. The dunderheads who robotic-like sign off on the Republican’s slow strangulation of state support for higher and public education will undoubtedly miss the word. It was too subtle for them.

Boise State University President Bob Kustra and his government affairs aide, former House Speaker Bruce Newcomb, won’t miss the word, however, since it was aimed directly at them.

So what’s the word that symbolizes the entire message of Nellis’ disgust?

Flagship.

As in Idaho’s “flagship” university, a modifier stripped from the University of Idaho ’s mission statement last year with malice aforethought by Bob Kustra who wanted to drive home the message that Boise State was now the true flagship university in Idaho. A gullible, naïve, asleep at the switch, compliant, lazy board of education bought Kustra’s orchestration of this symbolic demotion of the University of Idaho hook, line and sinker.

Notice how Nellis’ farewell statement (Don’t hold your breath waiting for a longer statement when it is official in three weeks) referred to Idaho ’s “flagship” research university?

Read between the lines, folks. That one word said it all. Bob Kustra will get the message that his hubris and vanity contributed to a solid if not spectacular colleague leaving the state. University of Idaho boosters, both on campus and off campus, will get it. Current University of Idaho students, paying an ever higher percentage of their college costs, will understand it.

Whether Governor Otter and his hand-picked set of pawns that has been rubber-stamping declining state support for all of public education and pretends to be a Board of Education gets it is highly debatable.

One can hardly blame Nellis for leaving and I have to doff my hat for the clever way he sent the message as to why.

The unfunny

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

Have you noticed that comics in what’s left of our newspapers aren’t funny anymore? They’re really not. Some deal with families and kids. Others have weird characters appealing to narrow audiences. Even my favorite - “Doonesbury” - uses mostly unfunny political issues - but does so with wit and savagery. I love it.

I was brought up with “Dick Tracy,” “Terry and the Pirates,” “Smilin’ Jack,” “Li’l Abner,” “Smoky Stover,” “Little Orphan Annie” and dozens more. Funny and adventurous and memorable for well-drawn characters and good storylines. Even some laugh-out-loud stuff. All gone.

So, what’s a guy who likes daily doses of the humorous do for giggles? Well, I turn to the right wing of what remains of the old Republican Party. If you don’t take the characters therein as seriously as they take themselves, you’ll get lots of laughs. And much of the time, those characters are no more real than a good comic strip. But nearly always laughable.

I used to watch folks on the Democrat left, but they weren’t much fun. Even going back to the ‘60's, they’d pick a spot and usually stay put. Maybe anti-war. Maybe anti-Wall Street. Things like that. Pretty predictable stuff. No fun.

Ah, but the GOP right. The far right is the amoeba of American politics - always moving, shape-shifting, splitting, re-splitting. Then splitting again. Always predictable - but always different - because that’s how the right was born. Folks who were afraid and distrustful. It hasn’t changed in decades. Fear and suspicion are in the DNA. People drawn to the right move far out on that political limb because they fear government - they fear foreign countries - they fear the United Nations - they fear any monetary currency except gold - they fear people of color - they fear chlorine - and sooner or later, they come to fear each other. Always! More predictable than gravity.

And, because they’re the most fearful of any of our native political movements, easy pickin’s for the Karl Roves, Rick Perrys, Gingrichs, Bachmans, Koch Brothers and all the other hustlers that come along. Full of fear, the far right’s accepted them But, then, they’d trust anyone who talks like they do or “thinks” like they do or says things they want to hear.

Take the Tea Party scam. “Grassroots,” right? “Just we ‘average’ Americans in the street,” right? Yeah, right. Wrong! In spades!

The whole scheme was created several decades ago by the Koch boys and others in the tobacco and fossil fuels businesses. National Institutes of Health - in particular it’s National Cancer Institute of all places - discovered the long-term strategy to promote anti-science and anti-government agendas going back to 1971. Here’s a direct N-I-H quote from the research. (more…)

First take: Tax hikes, university presidency

news

TAX RESTRICTIONS The big governmental news story of the week, the Washington Supreme Court's overturning of an initiative requiring a two-thirds vote of each legislative chamber to pass tax or fee increases, may have long-term effects. But it likely will have only marginal effects for the time being. Half of the Washington legislature effectively is in Republican hands, and tax increases are a no-starter there, for this term at least. At the same time, expect plans for a two-thirds-based constitutional amendment to be, similarly, a no-starter.

NELLIS HEADING TO TEXAS University of Idaho President Duane Nellis apparently has been all but formally chosen for a university presidency in Texas. Nellis has been at UI for about four years. So: How high will be the proposed salary to be dangled at the next president, with the idea of ensuring long-term loyalty and stability?