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Posts published in “Day: March 7, 2014”

A dangerous larger picture

rainey BARRETT


“From sea to shining sea” across our national landscape, we are awash in unnecessary, racist, homophobic and outright despicable efforts to legislate against us and our neighbors - to control what we think and do. It’s being done in the name of someone’s “God” or someone’s corporate interests or others with self-serving, underhanded - often dangerous - attempts to prolong their worthless political lives at the public trough.

We’ve been inundated by media coverage of one of the worst of the crop that made it to a governor’s desk. A piece of legislative trash - sponsored mostly by a Colorado group calling itself “christian” - to allow “religious beliefs” to trump citizenship rights of those whom the “believers” disapprove. While the media made it mostly a matter of sexual orientation, it was, in fact, an effort to legislate absolutely any person’s activities if those activities ran counter to someone providing a public service or product. That’s all of us.

The governor vetoed the bill. Not, I think, because it was the right thing to do. Which it was. Remember, this is someone running for re-election. I’d bet she suddenly realized overwhelming public - and corporate - opposition was a prime indicator of Arizona political winds and that she’d be better off temporarily angering her right-wing base than running afoul of possibly a much wider - and likely corporate “contributor” - constituency.

But her political fortunes aren’t the issue here. What IS the issue is eight other states are dealing with the same piece of phony moralistic garbage. Legislatures in Oregon and Idaho appear to have bottled up those bills in committee. For now. But they’ll be back. You can count on it. What the other six states will do is anyone’s guess.

This is just one area in which wrong-headed, narrow-minded, moralistic minorities are trying to do through law what they can’t do any other way - infringe on the rights of the rest of us by making our conduct in various issues illegal if our conduct flies in the face of their “moral beliefs.” There are many, many more similar legislative land mines out there..

Whether it’s gay rights, voter rights, abortion rights, access to medical care, privatizing schools or the post office or prisons or other public institutions of choice, a network of these ideologically vacant “moralists” has been created to raise havoc with our society. We hear and read so much about their efforts that it’s hard to keep in mind they’re minorities. But they are.

It’s no secret who’s behind them. James Dobson and other fundamentalist church leaders, the Koch brothers and their various 501(c)3 and (c)4 fronts, the John Birch Society, Family Forum, the NRA, Heritage Foundation and dozens and dozens of small, tin-hat groups and billionaire self-appointed keepers of the national moral flame. Some are new- some aren’t. But the Internet and other recent technologies have given them the means of spreading their societal undermining so they seem much larger and more important than they really are.

I tangled repeatedly with the little Idaho nest of the Birch Society in the 1960's. The message then was the same as the message now - this country is “going to Hell in a handbasket “ because of (insert your favorite conspiracy). The focus 50 years ago was mostly on “Communists” hiding in our government. But abortion and subjugation of the rights of minorities were - and are - also Birch menu items. (more…)

Cracks in the armor?

carlson CHRIS


Idaho Senator Jim Risch’s cruise to easy re-election just may not be the lock Republicans would like to think.

A poll of 773 Idaho voters (the margin of error is +/- 3.5%) during late February by Public Policy Polling revealed some potential problems for the often acerbic, staunchly conservative senator who is the 15th most wealthy member of Congress.

The numbers have to be heartening for Risch challenger Nels Mitchell, a successful Boise raised attorney seeking his first public office.

There are two key numbers that incumbents, pundits and lobbyists give careful scrutiny: the favorability number and the re-elect. Both in the case of Risch signal potential problems.

Risch’s favorability number was 47% (22% very favorable, 25% somewhat favorable). An old and venerable political rule of thumb is that anytime an incumbent’s number is below 50% there’s trouble on the horizon.

Even more troubling for Risch was the so-called re-elect number. The question can be posed several ways: “If the election for the U.S. Senate were held today, would you vote for Senator Risch?” Or, “Given what you know today regarding Senator Risch and his record, would you return him to office or would you consider someone else?”

According to the PPP, only 36% of Idaho voters are solidly committed to Risch while 48% think it is time to consider someone else. Like many Republicans, Risch is especially in trouble with women voters, particularly independent women voters, as well as Democratic women voters and pro-choice Republican women. (more…)

On the front pages


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)

Otter's role in straight-to-video western (Boise Statesman)
Guns-on-campus passes House (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal, Moscow News, Sandpoint Bee)
Tribal police can go after a little more (Lewiston Tribune)
Clarkston developing business park (Lewiston Tribune)
WSU forum considers tobacco ban (Moscow News)
Albertsons-Safeway merger ahead (Nampa Press Tribune)
Juvenile Corrections suit moves ahead (Nampa Press Tribune)
Payday loan regulation bill advances (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Muslim invication at Pocatello council (Pocatello Journal)
NIC-Sandpoint gets some state expansion funding (Sandpoint Bee)
Inquiry done on shooting of Filer dog (TF Times News)

City, union make agreement (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Albertsons, Safeway merger ahead (Eugene Register Guard)
Obama budget has Eugene bus funds (Eugene Register Guard)
Strong salmon run in Klamath (KF Herald & News)
Legislature hit final budget items (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal, KF Herald & News)
SOU faculty make no confidence vote (Ashland Tidings)
Zoning issues threaten port development (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Senate rejects class action bill (Pendleton East Oregonian)
National labor board blasts longshoremen (Portland Oregonian)

Machinists get new leader (Everett Herald)
More radioactive waste found from tanks (Kennewick Herald)
More surface water set for Odessa area (Kennewick Herald)
Debate over huge fish catch by Pasco man (Kennewick Herald)
Albertsons, Safeway merger ahead (Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Longview News)
Work on Olympic dam delayed by rain (Port Angeles News)
LaPush harbor may get dredging funds (Port Angeles News)
Boeing pensions plan adjusted (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune)
Veteran tuition bill may fail despite broad support (Seattle Times)
March rainfall hitting record (Tacoma News Tribune)
Commissioners review state of Clark County (Vancouver Columbian)
Inslee weighs on teacher reviews (Vancouver Columbian)
More water for Yakima basin (Yakima Herald Republic)