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Posts published in January 2024

Save us from ourselves

Given the conservative nature of the Idaho Legislature, you’d think that a resolution calling for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution would sail through with flying colors.

Not so. There’s no dispute that federal spending is out of control, but there are several concerns surrounding a constitutional amendment. Is it possible, or even practical, to balance the federal budget? What would happen in the case of a national emergency – such as the 9/11 terrorist attack on America 23 years ago? Do we shut off aid to Israel and Ukraine because of lack of money? Do we say “sorry” to the agents battling immigration problems at the southern border, for lack of money?

Perhaps the biggest concern is what would happen if there were a constitutional convention. The fear is that it could open the door for anything, including tinkering with everything else in the Constitution, including the Second Amendment – the most sacred of cows in Idaho.

Twenty-seven states have signed on to calling for a constitutional convention to consider a balanced budget amendment – seven short of what’s needed to force action by Congress. Although a budget amendment has some momentum nationally, getting to that magic number of 34 won’t be easy.

But according to our congressional delegation, a balanced budget is a “must.” All four members of the delegation have given up on the ability of Congress to contain federal spending, or make headway on eliminating the $34 trillion debt. Three of the members – Sens. Mike Crapo, Jim Risch and Congressman Mike Simpson are co-sponsors of balanced budget resolutions. Congressman Russ Fulcher is an avid supporter.

“With the U.S. debt (at) $34 trillion, it is obvious that there is a serious problem,” says Risch. “A constitutional amendment provides the only option to return fiscal sanity to Washington.”

It’s easy to fault President Biden and the Democrats for this mess, and the delegation is not shy about pointing fingers at the president. But former President Trump, the pride and joy of the Republican Party and Idaho’s delegation, was hardly a budget hawk. The debt soared by $8 trillion during his four years in office. Risch, for one, thinks there is plenty of blame to go around.

“As much as I have often railed against the excessive spending habits of Democrats, I also acknowledge that Republicans have done a poor job in getting our nation’s fiscal house in order,” Risch says.

Crapo, in addition to supporting a budget amendment, has promoted zero-based budgeting – a failed concept from the Carter administration. It shows he’ll try anything, even old ideas, to force fiscal responsibility.

“A balanced budget amendment to the Constitution would go a long way toward reining in runaway federal spending,” Crapo said. “Balancing the federal budget would require a careful scrutiny of all programs funded by the American taxpayer. We cannot spend ourselves into prosperity and it is past time to put our fiscal house in order.”

Says Simpson: “Like many Idahoans, I am alarmed by the increase in government spending and its impact on our growing national debt. Having a balanced budget is a step in the right direction to get our budget crisis under control, and to ensure our children and grandchildren are not saddled with trillions in debt.”

Says Fulcher: “One of the primary responsibilities of any legislator is to wisely spend taxpayer money. America’s $34 trillion debt load is testament to the level of collective wisdom exhibited by Congress in this area over recent decades. Businesses have to. Families have to. The difference with the U.S. government is that it has the ability to legally deficit spend. Predictably, that ability has been abused because it enables legislators to vote for more services than they have direct responsibility to pay for.”

The delegation’s push for fiscal responsibility is laudable. The grim reality is that a budget amendment is a longshot, at best, and the debt will continue to rise by a couple trillion dollars a year regardless of who occupies the White House.

Idaho’s aging delegation may not be around long enough to see the dire consequences of congressional inaction.

Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at


The crap shoot

One of the best teachings during my long-ago childhood was "count the day lost you don't learn something new."

We live in the heart of Oregon wine country. North, South, East and West. We are surrounded by row upon row upon row of vines. And, tasting rooms. It's a wine lover's paradise. Pinot Noir is the single largest product flowing from the neatly kept fields. It's the life "blood" of our community.

But, not all is "peace and quiet" in our lush valley. Several large legal cases have been filed in multiple counties, charging smoke from wildfires a few years ago ruined both grapes and the wine made from them. Smoke. See? You learned something new.

The villain, if there is one, is Pacific Corp. Apparently, several years ago, some power lines touched during high winds and set off large fires. Other utilities turned off power transmission during those storms. Pacific Corp. did not. So, there are multiple lawsuits.

It's the vintners alleging fires tainted crops and the resulting wine was ruined by smoke. They claim at least a year's worth of lost production and sales. And, they're looking at Pacific Corp to "make them well." Pay for the "damages" as it were. We'll see.

When I was a kid, we lived on a very large apple ranch in the Wenatchee Valley of Washington State. We had wildfires. We had floods. We had record freezes. In the '40's, we had several years of back-to-back freezes.

But, whatever the disaster - and there were some - nobody looked to the government or any other entity to "make 'em well." That's just the way things were. You either replanted and carried on or you went to work for your neighbor.

Basically, if you were a fruit rancher, it was a crap shoot. You did the best to care for your trees - apple, cherry, cots or peach - and you took your chances.

For me, that was more than 75 years ago. I remember, back then, we had a stretch of back-to-back late freezes that wiped out everything. But, the crap shoot continues to this day.

As you drive around our upper Willamette Valley, everything looks just like it's supposed to. Long lines of vines, neatly spaced, carefully trimmed and well-tended.

But, each day, there could be a wildfire, or some other "act of nature" and growers would be back to "square one." Oh, there are a few owners who are "well-heeled" and have big pockets. They could "take the hit" and start over. But, there aren't many.

That's the way it is. We consumers shop at the store, we buy the fruit of the wines and we don't give it a second thought. We don't because, whatever we're shopping for, it's always there.

We don't think about freezes or long stretches of bad weather or smoke from wildfires. Everything's just "always there."

It'll be interesting to see the current legal effort works out. Crap shoot. We'll keep you posted.

(image/Public Domain Pictures)


Domestic terrorism

Idaho’s landmark Terrorist Control Act (TCA) will be rendered useless by passage of a bill recently introduced in the Idaho Senate.

Among other things, the TCA makes it a serious felony for two or more people to conspire to threaten or intimidate any citizen in the enjoyment of any constitutional right by the use of violence. Senate Bill 1220 would decriminalize any violent conspiracy that was not done in cooperation with a “foreign terrorist organization.” Violent acts like the bombings carried out by the Aryan Nations hate group in northern Idaho in 1986 could no longer be prosecuted under the TCA.

Aryan Nations members exploded a pipe bomb at Father Bill Wassmuth’s home in Coeur d’Alene on September 15, 1986, and set off three other bombs a few days later. Father Bill was shaken, but not physically injured, and there were no injuries sustained in the other blasts. The bombs were designed to intimidate and silence those like Father Bill who were exercising their constitutional right to speak out against the dangerous white supremacist group. Because the bombs did not result in bodily injury to Father Bill or others, Idaho law could not adequately punish the bombers for their violent actions.

It was clear that Idaho needed to take action against violent domestic terrorists. As Idaho’s Attorney General, I proposed tough legislation in 1987, which failed in the House due to opposition from the National Rifle Association. I worked with the NRA and we were able to agree on strong language for the TCA, which remains on our law books today. The NRA proposed adding language from the federal Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which primarily targeted violent conspiracies by KKK members to prevent freed slaves from voting, speaking out, holding office and exercising other constitutional rights. The KKK Act language significantly improved and strengthened the TCA.

The sponsor of SB1220 is a level-headed legislator who seems to have the misconception that the TCA, as written, could be used to prosecute school patrons. It simply would not happen, unless the patrons engaged in a violent conspiracy to deprive others of their constitutional rights. The KKK Act has been on the federal books since 1871 and I’m unaware of any case where non-intimidating, non-conspiring, non-violent school patrons have faced federal charges under that law. No inappropriate charges have been filed in Idaho under the TCA. In fact, the entire purpose of the TCA is to protect the constitutional rights of all Idahoans from violent conspiracists. That purpose is repeated throughout the present law.

The problem with SB 1220 is that it would require a prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, even in an egregious situation like the Aryan Nation bombings in 1986, that the violent acts were “done in cooperation with any foreign terrorist organization.” Without that proof, the conspirators could not be held to account. The U.S. currently lists about 70 foreign terrorist organizations, including Hamas,  al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Boko Haram and ISIS-Mozambique. The chances that any of those groups would team up with conspirators in Idaho to commit violent acts is almost nil. The foreign cooperation requirement essentially guts the Terrorist Control Act.

On the other hand, domestic terrorist incidents have increased dramatically in the United States in recent years. The Government Accountability Office reported last year that domestic terrorism-related cases increased 357% from 2013 to 2021. These are not cases involving foreign terrorist organizations.

The 1986 Coeur d’Alene bombings finally awakened the entire state to the serious threat the Aryans posed to the safety of those in the area and to the image of the Gem State as a whole. Out of concern for the economic impact on commerce, the Idaho business community rose up in opposition to the group and its poisonous agenda. The TCA was enacted in response. With the growing threat of domestic terrorism in the U.S. and the consequent endangerment to the constitutional rights of Idaho citizens, this is not the time to neuter the TCA. That law was passed to rid our beautiful state of violent white supremacists. Let’s not put out the welcome mat for them.


Review: Tyranny of the Minority

Authors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt put the risks squarely on the table in their 2018 book How Democracies Die, published just at the new Trump Administration started taking aim at the American version. Their newest, Tyranny of the Minority, is not exactly the same but close to a followup. and uses some of the same approaches - notably, comparing conditions in the United States to some of those in other places and times - again to call out a warning.

But this one isn’t even so much a warning about where we may go, so much about where we already are.

At the time of the first book, one of the authors said in an interview, they didn’t see the Republican Party as speficially an anti-democratic organization: “we didn’t consider or call the Republican Party an authoritarian party. We did not expect it to transform so quickly and so thoroughly.”

But, they said, it has now. Any doubt about that should be easily dispelled for anyone paying attention to these pages, which do talk about the Trumpian GOP, and how it has gone full authoritarian (read: pro-dictatorship) in recent years.

They place more attention on dissecting the elements of our political and governmental system that threaten to enable - rather than stand in the way of - a loss of the democracy this country has had for more than two centuries. If the American system held during the Trump presidency, they say, it was a near thing, and the guardrails are weak. A creaky presidential election system that twice in the last generation has elected presidents who got less than half of the popular vote is one culprit. So is a Senate that gives vastly more power to the voters of certain states than to others, along with outdatd tools like the filibuster that chamber insists on keeping.

These self-imposed shackles make us, the authors argue, unacceptably vulnerable to attack - more than most western Democracies, which today rank as freer than the United States.

The set of solutions may come across as frustrating, because many of them (such as eliminating the electoral college, which would be a good idea but requires a nearly impossible constitutional amendment), are unlikely in the near future. Some can be launched sooner and more effectively, though, and all point in the direction we need to move.

If we value our freedom and liberty, that is.



The Idaho legislature has its seasons. Old hands know this, and young bucks and does have figured it out too. You, the interested public should also know it.

I don’t communicate this like I’m a wise old sage. Many are far wiser and have seen more seasons than me. But we should get this out there so we can all have a sense of what’s going on.

When I went hunting with my daughter this fall, she commented on how she’d heard rifle shots in her drainage. She was worried the elk had been spooked. “They don’t pay much attention to shots. They move when an animal falls.”

Here in the early season of the Idaho legislature we are hearing the shots.

The “antiwoke” bill proposed to change all the words in Idaho code that said “fetus” would be changed to “preborn child” got introduced for us all to be shocked and appalled. Then, the sponsor said it would go no further. It will be held in committee at her request.

Maybe the sponsor was shooting at something. Maybe she was just letting her fellow hunters know where she was. She didn’t harvest. Harvesting comes later in the season. These early weeks of the legislature are for location shots, not harvesting.

Similarly, we have the long, complicated bill from Representative Redman that would essentially repeal Medicaid Expansion. It has so many clauses, it makes my head spin. Don’t try to read it. It’s not worth your time. It proposes so many restrictions that it would accomplish repeal of the Medicaid Expansion that 63% of Idahoans favored in an initiative vote. Why is he so out of tune? These early season shots are important to let the rest of us know just who we are hunting with.

You see, our elected representatives are not our hunting camp buddies.

It was always fun to come back to camp and hear what the others had seen, build up the fire, eat the food.

You have to understand that our elected representatives aren’t sitting around the fire with you. They are in their own camp.

In my fifth year of Idaho State Senate service, I went to a presentation from the local Soil Conservation Districts. Their goal was to inform state legislators about the work they did. A colleague from north of me commented to the presenters about how, when he discussed this with constituents, he didn’t think this was a reasonable use of tax dollars. I asked him over lunch just which constituents expressed these ideas. “I just meet with my Republican Central Committee.”

These early shots reflect what they are talking about around their campfires, not ours.

Little will be harvested. But it’s something to brag about back in camp. But maybe someday they will harvest.

The middle season of the Idaho legislature is when the menial work is done. Simple budgets get passed; repair bills fix up the sloppy bills from years before. There are always the lingering hot button bills that are held late to consume some drama. Abortion, libraries, pornography, some other issue might fill this middle season when we should have harvested much earlier.

But the harvest is always late since Speaker Moyle has risen to power.

These early bills might garner support back in the Central Committee meetings, whether they pass or fail. But the real juice comes at the end.

And then, at the end of the long hunt, there’s little time to direct the shot.

These last two sessions have seen tax bills proposed in the last week, rammed through committee, transferred long past the deadline for such, and approved. The hero took the final shot and dropped the harvest.

Are we so eager for meat? We should want more.

(image/Wikipedia Commons)


How do you feel?

The Boise State University public policy survey has been undertaken, in one name or another, going back into the last century, and one question often seems to be the cornerstone of it: Is the state heading in the right or wrong direction?

The easy and typical take on the opinion poll is to point out how different the views of Idahoans are as reported in the polls compared with those of their legislators. For example, in a column in January 2017 I asked how the views of the polled would match with those of the people on the third floor of the Statehouse during the legislative session. (The spoiler is: They don’t match up well at all.)

This year, the venerable survey (it’s almost a surprising the legislature hasn’t tried to ban it) got a little extra attention because, in contrast to every year previous, the prevailing answer to the standard right direction/wrong direction question was - 43 percent to 40.7 percent - leaning to the the wrong direction.

But what does that mean?

Based on recent statements, both a hard-line Republican like party Chair Dorothy Moon and, for example, an abortion choice activist realistically might say “wrong direction,” but what each of them intends by that would be completely different.

Why did that 43 percent contend Idaho was headed the wrong way? About 15% of them blamed Republicans and conservatives (this accounted for 23.2 percent of Democratic respondents), but 7.9 percent pointed to liberals and Democrats (20.4 percent of Republicans chose this). (I’m not sure how that second problem area is supposed to work as a practical matter in the context of Idaho.)

Another 11.8 percent blame politicians and the legislature, apparently indiscriminately; and 6.7 percent took issue with “abortion issues/women’s right,” but without a specific indication of which side was right and which wrong. Another 12.1 percent didn’t like Californians and other immigrants arriving, but that could represent a mix of negative attitudes aimed at conservatives, liberals, people from another country or something else.

And so on. So what we get is that a lot of Idahoans are dissatisfied, but there’s not a lot of clarity as to why.

We do get a little more clarity in other areas.

The survey asked what the top legislative priorities should be - not exactly what the answers are, but where action is needed. Education came in first, followed by jobs and the economy, housing, health, taxes, and the environment. Tht roster held more or less evenly across partisan ranks, which doesn’t offer a lot of explanation for the legislation that has dominated attention at this year’s session so far.

The closest thing to a clear through line here may come from another attitude question: “Over the next two years, do you expect the economic condition in Idaho to get better, worse, or stay about the same?

Put aside that what better or worse may mean to various Idahoans is likely to vary, and consider this: While the largest portion (37.8 percent) figured things will stay about the same, that was closely followed (36.2 percent) by those who estimate things will get worse. A paltry 19 percent think economic conditions in Idaho will be improving.

And here’s something that ought to be notable: Republicans were the bears on the upcoming economy, while Democrats were the bulls. The people who have controlled the state are a lot more pessimistic than the people complaining from the outside. Not only that, while the Democratic take on optimism/pessimism has been relatively stable in recent years, Republicans have cratered in their optimism in the last two to three years.

A majority of Idahoans evidently have taken their stands on one side in the political-culture wars. But there remain plenty of others who aren’t joining them there. The divisions within Idaho - as demonstrated by feelings - remain real.



I had this conversation with my wife yesterday about Idaho’s abortion laws. I have told this before, but she said I needed to say it again. She didn’t remember. Maybe you don’t either.

The Idaho antiabortion statutes are so confusing, even Boise State couldn’t get it right. Up here in Moscow, we are not surprised. “Who do we hate, Boise State” has not been a chant heard here for a long time, but it echoes still between the grain elevators.

In their recent poll of Idaho residents, BSU prefaced a question with the statement “Currently in Idaho, abortion is banned after six weeks of pregnancy…”. That prefacing has no basis in statute. All abortions are banned, unless the doctor can positively attest the life of the mother is in jeopardy. There is also the exception for rape, if a police report has been filed, but my State Senator is trying to remove that. The BSU professors gulped when a reporter pointed this out to them.

In my previous column, I pointed out how these laws, no longer subject to Supreme Court protection, would make me a criminal. I guess I might be spending the last of my days in Idaho Correctional facilities. I ask the local prosecutor to come knock on my door.

I’ve told this story before.

A young woman didn’t want to be pregnant. But she was pretty far along when she came to me. It turned out her baby had a deformation not compatible with life outside her womb. It was anencephalic. The baby’s brain had not developed. She also had excessive amniotic fluid. Her cervix was ripe, meaning, I thought she could soon go into labor. I explained the situation to her, that her baby would not live, but in my opinion, she should deliver. She agreed.

The next day, I ruptured the membranes that surrounded her fetus, excuse me, “preborn child”. If the Idaho Legislature has it’s “Anti-woke” way, those are the words we now should all be using.

So now I want you to read the text of Idaho statute defining an abortion:

the use of any means to intentionally terminate the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman with knowledge that the termination by those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the unborn child…I.C. § 18-604(1)

I ruptured the membranes… “any means”.

The child will die outside of the womb… “cause the death”.

I could not attest that the condition of excessive amniotic fluid would cause the death of the mother, though it does carry a risk. I am guilty.

So, all women in Idaho carrying an anencephalic “Preborn Child” will need to leave the state, unless they are comfortable having their baby without medical intervention. For that doctor could go to prison.

Maybe the frequency of this condition is so rare we should just ignore it to protect all the other “Preborn” that could be murdered. There were probably only 5-10 anencephalies in Idaho last year. But there were a few Potters Syndromes, some other chromosomal aberrancies. It’s not up to the mother, the family. The legislature knows best, don’t they?

That is where our legislature, the people we have elected, have put us. I pity the women. I feel for the families. This is a tragedy. But our representatives do not have the compassion to consider their condition. Maybe they just can’t be compassionate.

But maybe we Idahoans can. The responses to that poorly prefaced BSU poll showed that 58% of Idahoans favored offering exceptions to the misrepresented restrictions. Remember, Boise State said you could get an abortion in Idaho before six weeks of pregnancy. Legally, you cannot. Ever.

It doesn’t really matter to our elected officials just what we think. I can’t tell who the heck they are listening to.


Balancing the budget

Loren Enns describes himself as “a normal average Joe” from Florida who has never run for public office with “zero” political experience and “zero” name recognition.

He’s not a household name, for sure, but he’s getting plenty of name recognition in political circles through his efforts to promote the passage of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. A host of Republican office holders – past and present – are listed on his website (Balanced Budget Now!).

He adds former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig and former Gov. Butch Otter to his army of supporters. Earlier this month, Enns spent a couple of weeks in the Gem State, braving the snow and talking with legislators about the importance of a balanced budget amendment.

“Sen. Craig was on about 80 percent of our calls, and there’s something a little different when he’s on the call,” Enns told me. “He was a senior senator for so long, a congressman and he was at the forefront of this fight when I was in elementary school.”

Craig, in 1979, was among the state senators voting for a constitutional convention to consider a budget amendment and continued promoting the issue through his congressional career. Craig was a staunch ally of President Reagan, who spent two terms arguing for a balanced budget amendment.

With Reagan’s push, 32 states agreed to have a constitutional convention, but it was two states short of what was needed to force a convention. Since then, according to Enns, 21 states rescinded calls for a convention. Over the last decade, Enns has gotten 16 states back on board. He, along with Craig, are hoping that Idaho will be added to the list.

The budget amendment also is on the docket for the Constitution of States initiative, which has 19 states on board. Enns’ idea is to have a budget amendment as the only item for consideration in a constitutional convention.

We’ll see what happens on the issue in the Idaho Legislature, but there is plenty of political support for the cause – and plenty of urgency, with the national debt cracking the $34 trillion mark. Gov. Brad Little called for a budget amendment in his state-of-the-state address, and Idaho’s all-Republican congressional delegation backs a budget amendment.

A constitutional amendment would leave Congress with no choice but to put the nation’s fiscal house in order. Everything would be on the table – including cutting spending, reforming “entitlement” programs such as Social Security and Medicare and taxing the rich.

Enns says a balanced budget would not occur in a year or two, even with an amendment in place. Seven to 10 years would be a more realistic time frame, but work could begin immediately.

It’s all doable, he says.

“The entire federal budget is around $6 trillion, and there’s $2 trillion that has been negotiated with the debt ceiling,” Enns said. “That means you’d have to cut $200 billion a year for 10 years on a $6 trillion budget. That would amount to cutting 3 percent of the federal budget each year. I’m sure Congress wouldn’t be happy, but 3 percent of the federal budget is not that painful.”

It’s still a tall order, but as Enns sees it, “Congress would have to do what states do, and that’s prioritize. Up to this point, they (members of Congress) have been like spoiled rich children that have their own credit cards.”

Enns gladly will leave it to Congress to hammer out the details if a budget amendment goes into effect. He has a few ideas, though.

“The military, as we all know, could be slashed by 25 percent and we wouldn’t lose any of our readiness. If it (the military) were a private company, whoever is running that show would be fired,” Enns said. “Everyone says we would have to raise taxes. Why not spur the economy and create economic growth? People aren’t talking about that. But it would increase revenue, and the budget cuts might not have to be so drastic.”

Oil drilling, he says, would be one option for spurring the economy. Craig mentions lifting government restrictions on businesses, a longtime complaint from Republicans, as another possibility.

One thing is for sure – a budget amendment would change the scope of debate in Congress, and it might be a refreshing one. Instead of arguing over the debt ceiling, members would have to figure out how to make ends meet.

Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at


The boomer factor

Aside from current political wars tearing this country apart, other forces are at work changing our entire society.  They're seldom talked about but they're very, very real.

I'm about to make some generalizations.  You may find fault with those comments if they pertain to you.  That's O.K.. And, if they do, I'd appreciate some feedback.  But, for the moment, let's deal with these - generally.

Across our nation, we're seeing a rapidly declining rate of participation in traditional practices - mainstream religion, service clubs, social organizations, volunteerism in traditional activities and more.  All are losing members/workers and not seeing the usual influx of new people to carry on the tradition of free labor.

Granges have all but disappeared.  Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, Eagles, Masonic bodies, Knights of Columbus and other civic and/or fraternal groups have declining memberships and, in some cases, have forfeited their charters.  Had some not taken in women a few years ago, many would likely be gone by now.  Many small Chambers of Commerce have expanded boundaries to include nearby communities to keep membership up.  Some small chambers are just about gone.

Barb and I live in a small community of about 35,000.  Much of what might otherwise be done by paid city employees is done by volunteers i.e. parks and rec duties, swimming and golf operations, security, beautification, etc..  All groups - and I do mean ALL - are losing volunteers and not seeing enough new ones.

Here's one of those generalizations - though where we live, we're seeing plenty of specific evidence.

Boomers - born in the mid-forties through about 1964.  They're retiring now.  But their unique societal habits and lifestyles are drastically changing life.  Here and everywhere.

Many Boomers, generally, tend not to join existing groups.  They often go their own exclusive way about things.  They sometimes start their own clubs rather than joining existing ones.  They're the first retirement generation for which computers are basic to their way of life.  They seem to prefer electronic social connections over face-to-face groups i.e. service clubs, mainstream churches, etc.

Now, I'm not finding fault with that.  It is what it is.  But, to think life is going on "as usual" is to ignore this large societal shift going on under our feet.  And to ignore even larger changes ahead.

If you don't think huge change is out there, I invite you to check those three teens in that fast food joint as they text each other at the table rather than talk face-to-face.  They're the advance party for generations to come that will be largely unable to interact in business, political, societal or any other direct form of interpersonal communication.

"Rainey," you say.  "You're all wet!"

Maybe.  But, we're steadily moving in our communities from volunteerism - which is disappearing - to hiring people to do the same tasks.   Dues/fees have to be raised and that may price some elderly, who retired here and elsewhere many years ago, out of their homes.

Leadership recruitment pools are shrinking in size.  In a community in which we used to live, there was a large managing board election a year ago for an organization that runs a $20 million annual budget. Three seats open.  Election advertised for months.  Three folks volunteered in a community of nearly 35-thousand.  Thirty-five-thousand!  No election.   Just appointments.

As our aging demographics change, there's less participation - less involvement - less volunteering.  But, the fastest growing group here - and elsewhere - is the Boomers.  Example: they've organized several exclusive duplicate clubs - limited to Boomers - taking members away from other groups who're starting to feel the loss.

And, when you reach an age of about 70, you find yourself not always being included in Boomer activities or on mailing lists.

These aren't isolated instances for just this community.  Sociologists are finding growing evidence of these Boomer trends all over the place.  Changes are subtle - very subtle.  But, they're becoming more apparent and more important to the fabric of our society.

We'll talk about this again.