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Posts published in “Day: April 1, 2015”

Nothing new here

peterson MARTIN

Recent actions by some of Idaho’s politicos have attracted attention and comment both within Idaho and, in a couple of instances, in the national media. But the truth is that individuals who have followed Idaho politics over the years may not have liked what they saw, but certainly shouldn’t have been surprised.

The first was Representative Vito Barbieri’s lack of understanding that the female reproductive and digestive systems are not one and the same. It was the statement that launched a thousand jokes across the country, making it one of the most far-reaching actions to take place in the Idaho Legislature this year.

But Barbieri wasn’t the first Idaho legislator to be confused about female reproduction. In the early 1980s, Bill Moore served a stint in the Idaho Senate. Like Barbieri, he was a California transplant who moved to Kootenai County and gained election to the Legislature. During debate on an abortion related bill, Moore famously stated that there was no reason for an exemption for cases of rape, since a woman who had really been raped couldn’t become pregnant. Given their similar backgrounds hopefully the fault lies with their California roots rather than being a reflection of the thinking of their Idaho constituents.

Next comes the outcry over Idaho’s two U.S. Senators, Crapo and Risch, affixing their signatures to a letter to Iran’s leadership concerning the Obama administration’s negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. The letter originated with Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas and was co-signed by 47 GOP Senators.

It’s not the first time that southern cotton has divided our country. But for Idahoans, there should be little surprise about members of Idaho congressional delegation being involved. The stage was set for this decades ago.
In 1977, Idaho Congressman Steve Symms, travelled to Libya to negotiate with Libyan dictator Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Qaddafi was known as the “mad dog of the Middle East” and an enabler of international terrorism. Symms and Qaddafi both wanted things that they thought the other could help them get. Qaddafi wanted to gain access to a shipment of U.S. military planes for his armed forces. Symms wanted to gain access to Libyan markets for Idaho agricultural products. Both efforts failed.

Speaking of Iran, let’s not forget about Idaho Congressman George Hansen, and his solo diplomatic efforts with Iran. In 1979 revolutionaries took control of the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage. Similar to the feeling of today’s 47 Republican Senators concerning executive branch negotiations with Iran, Hansen didn’t like what the Carter administration was doing to free the hostages. In fact he proposed that President Carter be impeached over the issue.

So Hansen made a solo trip to Iran to negotiate with the Iranian government for the release of the hostages. He wasn’t successful and, for the most part, was viewed as something of a nut, which shows how times have changed. Following in the footsteps of Idaho’s two congressmen, 47 Senators now see it as the role of Congress to get directly involved in executive branch negotiations with foreign governments. Who knew that eventually Symms and Hansen would be setting the stage for future actions in U.S. foreign policy?

And, finally, there is the refusal of three Idaho senators, Nuxoll, Vick and Hartog, to sit through a prayer offered by a Hindu cleric. Again, no surprise here. Religious intolerance is nothing new in Idaho. (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)

BLM heavily repairing fire-ravaged lands in west (Boise Statesman)
Supreme Court backs Idaho Medicaid reinbursement (Boise Statesman)
Legislature passes civics test bill (IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune)
House road tax bill dies in Senate (Nampa Press Tribune)
Tribes protesting cleanup by FMC when windy (Pocatello Journal)

IT project in state called understaffed (Astorian)
State school budget clears House (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Pendleton E Oregonian)
UO hires anti-assault officer (Eugene Register Guard)
National Guard units come home to KF (KF Herald & News)
Klamath Co's shortfall estimated at $2.4m (KF Herald & News)
Medford considers in-city historic district (Medford Tribune)
Tuition increased at SOU in Ashland (Medford Tribune)
AG files suit on subscription deal at White City (Medford Tribune)
Some electronic devices of Kitzhaber staff held (Portland Oregonian)
Planning for statehouse gun hearing (Salem Statesman Journal)

Bellingham port gives OK to developer (Bellingham Herald)
Ferndale considers rules for park district (Bellingham Herald)
State GOP includes no new taxes in budget (Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Bellingham Herald, Olympian)
Kitsap 911 first in WA to accept texts (Bremerton Sun)
Legislators now have conflicting budgets (Everett Herald)
Workers voting on KapStone dispute (Longview News)
Many vaccinations over measles (Seattle Times)
Seattle minimum wage law effective today (Seattle Times)
Tacoma's Clock broadband may be leased privately (Tacoma News Tribune)