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Posts published in “Day: September 14, 2015”

The Stuck Pendulum

We've made a few low-key mentions about it, but now we're running it out formally - our new eBook, The Stuck Pendulum, about Idaho's political history over the last quarter-century.

And it's free, as you can see from this visual. Best place to immediately grab a copy for your e-reader - pretty much any e-reader - is at It'll be up on too, soon, but Smashwords allows access to all readers. And the book is, for now at least, free.

A quick notes about what it is and isn't. Although it works as a standalone book, it's aimed mainly at readers of Paradox Politics by Randy Stapilus, a book about Idaho politics published in 1988 and covering several decades of history leading up to that point. Things have changed a lot since, and copies of Paradox continue to sell, so this book was intended to bring the story up to present. It isn't hugely detailed or a source for a whole lot of new information for people who have been tracking the state closely in the last couple of decades; for those who have, much of what's here will be familiar. For those who haven't, but are interested in the subject, we think it may be helpful.

And it is, after all, free. At least for a while.

Dear Apple


Apple Inc.,
c/o General Delivery
Cupertino, California

Dear Apple:

We have gone through our biennial wireless contract renewal with Verizon, and in process decided to upgrade our coal-powered 4s iPhones to the less-obsolete pellet-burning iPhone 6s. This we were able to accomplish without great expense by promising to consign our great-great-grandchildren to a Verizon contract.

Verizon's service has been for the most part reliable, being the only cell-phone carrier to operate seamlessly during Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in Florida and Louisiana, and during fire, flood, snow and heat in northern Idaho. "I can't get a signal," is a frequent whine of the urban-dwelling tourist visiting Wallace. "Here, use this. It even works at the back of the bar," we say as we hand them ours.

We're also umbilical-corded to Verizon by virtue of its virtual phone book. Who wants to hand-transfer 1,200 contacts to another carrier?

That said, the most disagreeable aspect of the "upgrade" is Apple, Inc.'s insistence that it redesign, for every iteration of the iPhone, the bloody charging jack. That $160 you've got invested in cords and wall and car chargers from the last time you bought a new phone? Worthless, all because of a two-bit jack.

Maybe Apple makes its trillions by engineering into its phones this no-backward-compatibility feature. There's certainly precedent for it. Every time Apple does a major operating system upgrade, the iMac you've been happily using is rendered suddenly an unsupported boat-anchor.

There are five pin-outs on each end of a micro-USB cable. You only need two to charge the damn battery (plus and minus, just like a car), and those DC charging connections can carry a totally unrelated alternating current signal on top of the charging current. That leaves three pin-outs for whatever nefarious uses Cupertino has in mind.

C'mon guys, I know there's been a drought down your way but torturing your international clientele with new incompatible connectors isn't the way to make it rain.

Quit jacking us around.

Bill Gates

First take/the sheriff

It really is a little different when a law enforcement officer is accused of impropriety. This is from an Oregon attorney general's press release from Friday:

The Oregon Department of Justice today announced the indictment of Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah in Klamath County. The Klamath County Grand Jury charged Sheriff Skrah with a total of nine counts, including three counts of harassment, three counts of official misconduct in the first degree, one count of attempted assault in the fourth degree, one count of assault in the fourth degree and one count of strangulation.

At today’s arraignment, Sheriff Skrah appeared with counsel and he did not enter a plea. The conditions of his release include, but are not limited to, no patrol and no conducting of or participating in traffic or criminal stops. He can also have no direct physical conduct with suspects or inmates.

“All law enforcement officers, including Sheriff Skrah, are sworn to uphold the law in Oregon. The grand jury has determined there is a basis to bring charges based on his actions, including the use of excessive force and the failure to perform required duties. As with all persons charged with a crime, he is innocent until proven guilty,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.

Sheriff Skrah was arraigned on the indictment in Klamath County Circuit Court at 1:30 P.M. His next court appearance will be October 19, 2015.

Given what Skrah is barred from doing, and what the nature of his office is, shouldn't there be a way of placing him on leave and turning the office over to someone else? Seems like a gap in our structure of office holding. - rs