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Posts published in “Day: November 3, 2014”

Don’t screw it up this time



If one believes the polls, Republicans will take control of the U.S. Senate next week, and retain the House of Representatives.

For the Republic, this may or may not be a good thing. As astronaut Alan Shepard, Jr. famously prayed, muttering into his microphone, on the launch-pad of America's first space-flight in May of 1961, “Shepard, don't f**k this up.”

We've had six years of a Democratic Senate and White House and seen the horrors of their monopoly. Harry Reid has been the hockey goalie blocking debate. I get his emails. On the other hand, Republicans didn't behave much better under Newt Gingrich. Comity evaporated. The sensible consensus is that regardless of party we are governed by greed-heads.

They Rs better make good use of their time, and they've only two years to show their stuff.

Hello Senate Rs. Shove bill after bill onto Obama's desk, passed by both houses. They should include, among many other things, mandatory up-or-down votes on regulations adopted by federal agencies now run amok.

For our purposes here in the Coeur d'Alene Mining District, such review ought to include the EPA's tawdry interpretation of the Clean Water Act. While Congress specifically confined the agency's authority to the navigable waters of the United States, EPA bent the rules to give itself authority over every molecule of H2O in the U.S.

Examples of “mission creep” are rampant in nearly every branch of the U.S. government and need to be stopped. We've come a long way from Richard Nixon's Council on Environmental Quality to Jimmy Carter's lame-duck Superfund, which is now on v 2.0 and slobbering for an upgrade.

Sen. Mike Crapo, who is not up for re-election this year, was in town the other day. The evening before, we blew the froth off a few with one of his long-time staffers, a personal friend from newspapering days, at a local pub. We introduced the staffer around and asked the miners – not CEOs or managers, just the people who do actual mining – what they'd like of the Senator.

To a man (and woman) they said, “Get the EPA and MSHA (the Mine Safety and Health Administration) off our backs and let us do our jobs.” Again, these were not corporate guys. They were mostly union guys and one shift-boss.

The working men and women of this nation have woken up to the perils of Progressivism, which unfortunately some of their unions at the national level have not. The working people have discovered the annoyance of a bureaucrat, uneducated in the nuances of the craft they perform, peering over their shoulders, citation books and lawsuits in hand.

It didn't used to be that way. The early EPA guys, even from Region X, were engineers and scientists: decent people. The early MSHA inspectors were experienced miners. They've all been replaced by MBAs, pencil-pushers and busybodies.

A decade or so ago, we shared an afternoon wine with Paul Glavin, who was at that time head of the United Steel Workers union's Northwestern U.S. region. It was Paul, a true gentleman, who posited that labour and management had common cause against the federal government's agenda. It is our common enemy if we want jobs and prosperity, and labour and management had better start talking to each other about this. There is evidence that this conversation has begun. (more…)

In the Briefings

Middleton signage

A cluster of political signs (and one commercial sign as well) posted on November 1, on a farm just outside of Middleton in Canyon County. (photo/Randy Stapilus)

As last week ended, political campaigns began to fold their tents – along with some strong final-weekend activity – and everyone prepared for absorbing the results on the evening of November 4. A large chunk of the news revolved in one way or another around those elections.

Watch here for election analysis on Tuesday night.

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)

Washington may lose clout in Congress (Lewiston Tribune)
Reviewing elections in Washington (Moscow News)
New logo planned for West Valley Humane (Nampa Press Tribune)
Canyon Co big businesses looking to hire (Nampa Press Tribune)
Twin Falls deals with many potholes (TF Times News)
Idaho coosts for broadband may drop (TF Times News)

Health insurance exchange fed site on track (Eugene Register Guard, Corvallis Gazette)
Lane County elections prepare for count (Eugene Register Guard)
Reviewing Rogue Valley groundwater contamination (Medford Tribune)

Bremerton apartment complex underway (Bremerton Sun)
Kitsap reviewing mental health issues (Bremerton Sun)
Voters considering competing gun issues (Bremerton Sun, Port Angeles News)
Reviewing the new Everett port director (Everett Herald)
Washington could lose clout in Congress (Yakima Herald Republic, Longview News)
UW breaks through in anti-aging research (Seattle Times)
Expecting a low voter turnout (Spokane Spokesman)
Delta Air Lines brings more to Spokane (Spokane Spokesman)
Reviewing oil disaster preparedness in area (Vancouver Columbian)