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Posts published in “Day: January 31, 2014”

Homophobic trash

rainey BARRETT


“No one should watch sausage or laws being made.”
That old joke has been around for many, many years. It was probably funny when first used. But time and wide-spread law making incompetence have proven at least the second part of the phrase too often very unfunny. The latest example of that has cropped up in the Idaho Legislature.

Idaho is often called the nation’s “most red state.” It’s probably not. I’d call it a “mooshy crimson.” But the current, right wing edition of the Republican Party has been in nearly complete control for a long, LONG time and shows no signs of fading. Want to get your collie into Idaho politics? Call it a Republican and it’ll get elected to something.

Comes now proof that not all the players in the political game of Idaho legislative politics have 52 cards in their personal decks. This week’s award to someone a few cards short - who’s managed to wrap homophobia, paranoia and irrational thought into legislative sausage - is one Rep. Lynn Luker. Republican? Certainly. By today’s standard. Responsible and wise? Not by any measurement known to rational people.

In what he calls a “pre-emptive strike” for God-knows-what, Mr. Luker has scraped two bills off the sludge at the bottom of the legislative barrel - HB426-HB427 - deciding citizens of Idaho should stand squarely behind new laws codifying homophobia and discrimination. Absolutely. Put ‘em on the books.

One would keep the state from revoking any professional license if the licensee withholds services - or refuses services - on the basis of a “personally held religious belief.” So, if a cab driver cited “personal religious belief” for not transporting a gay couple in sub-freezing temperatures, said driver could just say “My religion keeps me from taking these people in out of the cold.” And that would be that. They might freeze to death by the side of the road, but the cabbie would - in his head - be square with God. And - in Mr. Lukerls world - the State of Idaho.

Luker’s other badly tarnished gem of ridiculousness is in a similar vein. It would amend the Idaho Religious Freedom Act to allow an employer to fire someone for being gay, then hide behind a claim of “religious belief.” “I can’t abide those people,” he/she could say. And that would be that.

Luker - who somehow has his own license as a lawyer - says he’s worried about the future and wants his legislation adopted now because “this is pre-emptive - the issue is coming.” He cited a Gresham, Oregon, baker sued because he wouldn’t bake a wedding care for a gay couple. And the New Mexico photographer who wouldn’t take pictures of a gay wedding, arguing “free speech” and some sort and “artistic freedom” - whatever that is in this instance.

Rep. Luker’s backup in this trashy effort is something called “Cornerstone Family Council Advocacy Group.” A spokesman for the “council” claims governments are increasingly passing or interpreting laws to “keep people from living their faith” - a double standard against people of “traditional religious faiths.” (more…)

Running from different sides

mansfield DENNIS

In the many years that I've worked in politics, I've never quite seen a more curious start to a race for Governor than this year - in Idaho.

Both candidates appear to be running against Barrack Obama - from two different sides. Both want to be more pro-life than the other, as well.

One candidate is an incumbent who joined a small group of three Republican governors embracing Obamacare by developing/supporting a state run health exchange.

All other GOP governors in the US refused to do this.

Another candidate is wrapping his opponent in Obamacare, preparing - as it were - for a political burial at sea.

The sea is an apt description - for we may be about to observe a major sea-change regarding the incumbent's tenure.

Yesterday's exchange on abortion between Butch Otter and Russ Fulcher is a telling case in point. With Obama's partial-birth aborting of his own political "signature-law offspring", Butch Otter unwanted-ly could become an accessory to his own politi-cide - and Russ Fulcher knows it.

Senator Fulcher has regularly attacked Governor Otter, over these past few months, for the incumbent's role in failing to stand with the other Republican Governors in direct opposition top Obamacare. Governor Otter sided with the insurance industry lobbyists in developing the state health exchange. The pro-life community asked him not to do it. He chose a different course.

Yesterday, the Governor attacked Senator Fulcher, attempting to wrap the most pro-life senator in the state Capitol as someone who would be inviting Planned Parenthood into the state to determine policy within a federal health exchange.

Hmmm, what?

Something is happening within the Otter camp - something is unnerving its handlers.

Otter doesn't bother with political slap-fests. In many ways he's always been above it. So this response by his camp is somewhat awkward to watch.

Having run against him, myself, for US Congress, I can tell you that he's cool, calm and collected - always in control of events, causing things to happen without himself appearing to be struggling. He also makes things happen without it looking like he did anything to his opponents - in a sense, above the fray.

But Idaho's demographics are changing - younger people who don't think of Governor Otter as their friend are shying away from elected officials who were against Obamacare before they were for it - and they may see their new premiums as too huge to pay. My guess is they just may vote with their past-due premium notices, tucked inside their depleted checkbooks.

And it won't be for Obamacare's state exchange champion in Idaho. (more…)

On the front page


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Boise conference space proposal (Boise Statesman)
Charges of fraud in Meridian firm's trial (Boise Statesman)
Federal broadband funds withheld till legal issues resolved (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune)
Snow getting plowerd (Moscow News)
Search on for new Nampa school leader (Nampa Press Tribune)
Thick inversion clearing (Nampa Press Tribune)
Marsing school lockdown procedure questioned (Nampa Press Tribune)
Cassia costs for Gateway West (TF Times News)
Mental health program issues (TF Times News)

Evictions at Corvalla apartments (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
Georgia trailer maker starts in Coburg (Eugene Register Guard)
Kitzhaber: Misled on cover Oregon (Portland Oregonian, KF Herald & News, Pendleton East Oregonian)
Klamath looks at expanding jail (KF Herald & News)
Pot boom predicted (Ashland Tidings)
Teacher negotiations continue (Medford Tribune)
Umatilla goes after junky property (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Business offers new Salem school (Salem Statesman Journal)
Legislative preview (Salem Statesman Journal)

Family of rape victim sies state (Everett Herald)
Jail to cap population (Everett Herald)
Post Office scales back in Everett (Everett Herald)
Prescription med deaths continue (Longview News)
Business groups still organizing (Port Angeles News)
Sea stars turning ill (Port Angeles News)
Senate Republicans back Dream act (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Microsoft about to choose new CEO (Seattle Times)
Comcast opposes rate changes (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacoma gets 1st charter school in state (Tacoma News Tribune)
Teacher evaluation considered (Tacoma News Tribune)
Oregon wrestles with CRC (Vancouver Columbian)
Dispute over high school artwork (Vancouver Columbian)