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Posts published in “Day: February 28, 2014”

What happened to common sense?

carlson CHRIS


So now what do the governing bodies of Idaho’s private colleges--- Northwest Nazarene University, the College of Idaho and BYU-Idaho--- do? The Idaho Legislature, taking leave of all common sense, and abetted by a governor who approaches all issues from a purely ideological standpoint (One doesn’t have to think when ideology has all the answers.), swallowed whole hog the latest gambit by the National Rifle Association to make the Second Amendment an absolute right as opposed to the qualified right the Supreme Court has ruled it is.

By over-whelming majorities they kissed the NRA’s ring and passed legislation allowing students over 21 who have taken an eight-hour enhanced training course to carry concealed weapons on a public college campus.

Even the patron saint of the NRA, Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion in the precedent-setting case (District of Columbia v. Heller) establishing the individual right to keep and bear arms in order to defend one’s home or self, and separated that right from the Constitutional language appearing to tie the right to keeping and maintaining a militia, even the great Scalia wrote that it was a qualified right. He then went on to state that government could in the interest of public safety restrict carrying and bearing arms from high use public places such as courts and schools.

So the NRA pooh-bahs decide to push legislation that will further restrict the “qualifications” Justice Scalia says government can impose in the interest of public safety even when it runs counter to another sacred belief, that of local control. You see NRA executive director Wayne LaPierre, sincerely believes that had their been an armed and trained in proper firearm use one individual in the building when a Virginia Tech student went on a killing rampage that took 38 lives, the perpetrator would have been shot dead and many lives saved.

One can neither prove nor disprove it. All those in Idaho charged with the in loco parentis role of providing a safe learning environment in our public colleges and all those charged with providing police protection in those places believe otherwise. (more…)

Otter, Little review the Idaho scene

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter converses with Dakota Bates, who chairs the ISU College Republicans, as Mike Webster, Otter’s eastern Idaho field representative, listens. (photo/Mark Mendiola)


mendiola MARK


Top elected Idaho Republicans did not fritter away their time on the Friday afternoon before the evening Bannock County Republican Lincoln-Reagan Banquet Feb. 21 at Pocatello’s Clarion Inn, which drew about 250 of the party’s faithful, including the state’s GOP elite from Boise and Washington.

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and Lt. Gov. Brad Little discussed education issues at Idaho State University shortly after U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo warned business people at a Mystique Performing Arts and Event Center lunch in Chubbuck of the nation’s worsening fiscal crisis.

Questions about the controversial “guns-on-campus” bill wending its way through the Legislature in Boise were among several questions fielded by Otter and Little in the ISU Student Union Building ballroom. On the previous Thursday, they spent time with Dr. Arthur C. Vailas, Idaho State University’s president.

Vailas told them he had been notified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it does not allow nuclear research and development on campuses where guns are allowed because of security concerns. “I had never heard that,” Otter said, noting about 60 percent of ISU’s R&D is nuclear-related.

Another complication if guns are allowed despite the opposition of the state’s university presidents and law enforcement officials is ISU’s Meridian campus is shared with a high school, and state law forbids guns to be carried at high schools, the governor said.

Asked if he would sign a “guns-on-campus” measure if it is passed by legislators, Otter says he never signals his intentions as lawmakers finalize a bill’s provisions, mentioning he has been a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.

Little defended the controversial Common Core curriculum being implemented by school districts nationwide that is supported by governors and superintendents. While the U.S. Department of Education puts money into it, it’s really driven by the states, the lieutenant governor said.

In November 2010, the Idaho State Board of Education adopted Common Core standards. In January 2011, the Idaho House and Senate Education Committees gave final approval to adopting Idaho Core Standards in mathematics and English. Some Idaho school districts have implemented those standards, Little noted.

Many Idahoans are concerned that Common Core is part of a national curriculum and the federal government is developing a massive data base on each student in the United States, Little said, noting his father and grandfather had to meet standards to graduate from high school.

Otter noted that of Idaho’s $2.85 billion budget, 68 percent of it goes toward K-12 programs. The State Board of Education has set a goal that 60 percent of Idahoans 24 to 35 will get a degree or certification by 2020.

Right now, Idaho boasts a high school graduation rate that is relatively high at 88-89 percent, but only 38 percent of high school graduates go onto college and even fewer graduate, making Idaho’s college graduation one of the nation’s lowest. (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)

Quiet negotiations over 'add the words' (Boise Statesman)
Magic Valley water curtailment stopped (Boise Statesman)
Board of Ed criticizes campus guns (Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal, Moscow News)
Idaho Democrats seek FBI look into CCA (Lewiston Tribune)
Debate over proposed Lochsa land exchange (Lewiston Tribune)
WA Supreme Court on text privacy (Moscow News)
Tom Dale will run for Canyon commission (Nampa Press Tribune)
Dispatch fee funding okayed by Caldwell, Canyon (Nampa Press Tribune)
Legislator: 'Add the words' efforts ineffective (Pocatello Journal)
Panida Theater board fires staffer (Sandpoint Bee)
Ski season running longer (Sandpoint Bee)
Campus gun bill protests (TF Times News)
Bill on eminent domain, irrigation districts (TF Times News)

Vaccination efforts, low turnout (Eugene Register Guard)
Florence mulls 1-year moratorium on pot shops (Eugene Register Guard)
Moore candidacy for Klamath commission (KF Herald & News)
Campaign on Jackson County GMOs organizes (Ashland Tidings)
Merger of White City, Mountain View schools (Medford Tribune)
Foothills developments advances (Medford Tribune)
Wolf population rises in Oregon (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Debate over wedding services initiative (Portland Oregonian)
Effects of OR pot revenue on kicker (Portland Oregonian)
Cover Oregon tax credits extended (Salem Statesman Journal)

Why did Everett school bond fail? (Everett Herald)
Hanford tank waste an issue for Inslee (Kennewick Herald)
Layoffs after Umatilla chem plant demolished (Kennewick Herald)
Court says text messages are private (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Longview OKs zoning for pot (Longview News)
Strong smelt harvest expected (Longview News)
Supreme Court on biomass plant pollution (Port Angeles News)
Nippon Paper mill stopped over tech issues (Port Angeles News)
Seattle viaduct work won't finish till 2016 (Seattle Times)
Seattle regulates car service driver numbers (Seattle Times)
ID Democrats seek FBI review of CCA (Spokane Spokesman)
Chambers Bay may get new development (Tacoma News Tribune)
Oil transit companies won't attend new forum (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima job picture improving (Yakima Herald Republic)