Retiring minds

Intrigued that Benedict is retiring. Maybe the Mormons'll notice.

Modern medical advances increasingly make lifetime appointments fade into leaders struggling to serve after they're able, but at least the Supreme Court and Pope can be selected from younger candidates. The Mormon automatic selection of whoever has the most seniority of the Council of Twelve statistically games the system toward geriatric woes.  read more »

Yo, Raul! Stop Using Twitter!

Crossposted on Daily Kos

Twitter Villan Raul Labrador

Idaho Republican Officials...

You can dress them up, but you can't take them out.

And keep them away from your daughter; or for that matter, your son too.

And never let one near a computer.


I may have to start a separate blog just to talk about Congressman Raul Labrador's porno-sex-stripper Tweets.

They just keep coming (no pun intended).

According to today's the Idaho Statesman:

Phil Hardy, Rep. Raul Labrador’s spokesman since his upset congressional win in 2010, has been fired for mistakenly tweeting in the name of his boss about his admiration for two actresses pole dancing in a Super Bowl ad,

The tweet, “Me likey Broke Girls,” was deleted after 14 seconds but is archived on a website that collects deleted tweets from politicians.

The Idaho Republican’s office apologized Monday for the tweet, which was Hardy’s take on a CBS promotional spot featuring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, the stars of “2 Broke Girls,” dancing in revealing clothing. The pair were depicted on the show’s set — a Brooklyn diner — gyrating to a Def Leppard pole-dancing tune “Pour Some Sugar On Me.”

-- Idaho's Raul Labrador is the Larry Craig-style laughing stock of social media.

The story also made Hollywood Reporter. Did you ever think you would say "Raul Labrador" and "Hollywood Reporter" in the same sentence?

How about "Me likey Broke Girls?"

"Me likey Broke Girls," wrote Phil Hardy after seeing the show's stars, Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, eat diner food seductively and hang from a stripper pole in skimpy waitress outfits.

Raul needs to just cancel his Twitter account, period.

I wish I was exaggerating. But unfortunately I also have had the distinct pleasure of writing these two blog entries:

On Tuesday Nov. 6, 2012: Congressman Labrador's Twitter Page Gets Naughty ... AGAIN!

and from Oct. 23 2012: Labrador Retweets Endorsement from Fictional 1960s TV Character.

Social media requires responsible use. Labrador's office has shown no ability to do this. He needs to cancel his Twitter account.

It is bad for Idaho.

Labrador's Hapless Rebellion Produces Otter and Simpson's "Uh oh" Moment

Leading the way?

In Idaho, the three-ring Republican circus featuring Butch, Mike and Raul looks more like this:

"Let’s review the evidence," writes Joshua Green in Business Week.

"Right-wing conservatives are furious at Boehner for agreeing to a deal raising taxes. Never mind that taxes were going up anyway—Boehner betrayed the Tea Party credo that saying no will eventually bring everybody else around. (It actually won’t.). So they decided to make an example of him by denying him the speakership."

Raul Labrador

Dan Popkey wrote about the Idaho fallout from this silliness, today:

After their highly publicized dustup over whether Rep. Raul Labrador was disloyal and compromised his effectiveness by refusing to vote for the leader of his party and Rep. Mike Simpson's pal, Speaker John Boehner, Idaho's only House members have met face-to-face.

"I have talked to him," Labrador told Popkey Thursday night after his town meeting on immigration at Meridian City Hall.

Did you mend fences? Pokey asked.

"I don't talk about private discussions," replied a chilly Labrador, keeping the lid on his simmer.

Mike Simpson

Popkey continues:

Simpson, meanwhile, was the only member of the four-man, all-GOP delegation to duck an interview on a story I'm working on for Monday about the prospects for immigration reform. ... My guess: After Simpson's blowup in the face of counsel to the contrary, he doesn't want to risk saying anything that might be seen as a knock on Labrador, whose expertise is immigration. Despite his snub of Boehner, Labrador got the Judiciary Committee assignments he sought, where he can play the delegation's most significant role on immigration.

Green gives more background on the attempt to oust Boehner as House Speaker. He says that the first step for them was finding an alternative. It’s a lousy job. Eric Cantor didn’t want it. Paul Ryan didn’t want it. But the Washington, DC Tea Party rebels decided not to let that fact get in the way of their plans.

Next step: Plotting. This one didn’t go too well either. On Wednesday night, an amused Republican staffer called me to report that Representatives Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar, Raul Labrador, and Steve Southerland were gathered at Bullfeathers, a Capitol Hill bar, openly plotting their coup. Not exactly the Roman Senate scheming to dispatch Caesar.  read more »

Idaho Democratic Party Chair Larry Grant Resigns

Larry Grant

In an email today from the desk of Sally Boyton Brown, executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party, Grant wrote:

When I was elected Chair in 2011, nobody wanted the job. 2010 had been a terrible year for Democrats in Idaho. We had lost three seats in the state legislature and a Congressional seat. We were, quite frankly, a pretty dismal bunch.

But that has changed. The day I was elected I outlined my plan for the Party. The first phase, running from the Frank Church weekend in February, 2011 to the State Central Committee meeting in October, was the time to get the staff in place, do strategic planning, and reach out to those organizations and individuals who have traditionally supported the Democratic Party but were no longer fully participating in our organization.

I am pleased to say that, with regard to staff, Sally, Marie, Dean, Matt, and Jill have done a great job. Nobody could ever do it alone and all the things that I did get done at the state level over the last couple of years are primarily due to their time, effort and enthusiasm. But I do take credit for recruiting and directing one of the most effective state party staffs we have ever had.

On strategic planning, to be honest, I wasn't as concerned with what the outcome would be as I was with simply getting people to participate. Fortunately, as we held planning sessions across the state, folks begin to understand that the state party is exactly what we make of it and, more importantly, that we all need to be pretty much in agreement as to what our mission is in order to be effective.

The second phase of my plan, which ran from the October meeting in 2011 to the Frank Church weekend in February, 2012, was to help get the county organizations functioning at the level necessary to recruit and elect Democratic candidates. This is difficult for the State Party to do because organizing the counties really is something that can only be done by people on the local level. All the state can really do is help, advise, encourage and support. This is one of the most important aspects of the Party, since, when it comes to elections, it is the people and candidates at the local level who identify voters and get out the vote. I can't say that we are fully organized at the county level, but I do think we are further along than we have been in a long time.

The third phase of my plan was the campaign season itself. It included recruiting, training, and supporting candidates. Considering that we had more candidates running than anyone can remember in a long time, I think we did pretty well. We protected every Democratic incumbent who was running. That's not bad for Democrats in Idaho in a Presidential election year. Of great significance, of course, is that we managed to get through redistricting without getting run over by the other side. In fact, we were able to protect all our traditional Democratic areas. More importantly, we were able to consolidate almost every core urban area into legislative districts that should become more Democratic over the next few years.

Did I get everything done that I wanted to? Of course not. But I do think we accomplished a lot and that we are positioned to accomplish even more in the next few years. With that, I am satisfied I have done my part and that it is time for someone new to lead us from this point forward.

Nominations for the position are currently being accepted by and the election will be held at our annual Frank Church State Central Committee meeting Feb. 23rd 2013.


Chairman Larry Grant

Idaho Democratic Party  read more »

Vandersloot Sues Mother Jones in State Court

As was widely anticipated, news broke that Frank and Belinda Vandersloot, together with Melaleuca, Inc. filed suit for defamation regarding a February, 2012 article which Plaintiffs allege depicted them as "gay bashing". Apparently Plaintiffs are confining their claims to Mother Jones and the individual writers and editors. But for context you need to read the Salon piece (first link above) by Glenn Greenwald. Idaho Agenda has some background links and my pieces on the subject are here, here, here,and here. So far I've not heard of any Defendants outside of Mother Jones.

The action is filed in Bonneville County, in the seventh judicial district for the State of Idaho and caps the damage claim at $74,999, despite Vandersloot's assertion in the press that Plaintiffs lost millions. Vandersloot asserts that: “It’s not about (money). It’s about clearing my reputation.” Questionable, but clearly Vandersloot likes his chances in state court in Idaho Falls rather than risking have it removed to federal court and a less friendly venue. $75,000 just happens to be the required amount in controversy which must be pleaded in order to remove a case to federal court for diversity jurisdiction. The pleaded amount was no accident. Vandersloot doesn't want the case anywhere but Idaho Falls.

The jury pool in Idaho Falls is a stacked deck for Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs reside there, employ thousands in call centers, are name throwing philanthropists, routinely buy full page ads in the region's largest newspaper,and finance multiple causes sympathetic to the right wing politics of the area. When pitted in a court room against the liberal Mother Jones, Defendants will have an uphill battle, or as the legal profession puts it, they'll be home towned. Just as significant is a sympathetic judiciary. Vandersloot's history is set forth in this well sourced Wiki entry:

VanderSloot has generally been a major donor to Idaho Republicans,according to Popkey, who described him as the state's "most boisterous conservative financier” and by America Online’s Eamon Murphy, who called him "perhaps the single most influential campaign donor" in the state of Idaho.  read more »

Updates from Rep. Sue Chew


Susan  B.  Chew (D)     

Legislative Term: 4
Born in Oakland, CA; bachelor's degree in biology & natural resources, UC Berkeley; Pharm.D., UC San Francisco; professor; member United Vision for Idaho and Women in Government; 2003 Women Making History Award, 2006 Cultural Center Service Award.

From her Facebook page:

"There is testimony before the Joint Education Committees this Friday from 8-10am. Please come and listen. Please share far and wide. Testimony accepted. 3 minute max. If submit written, will be added to the record. Am checking to see if emailed and otherwise sent can be added as well."

From her website:

It was my pleasure this month to attend the American Heart Association’s Youth Lobby Day - and to search with five Filer high school students for solutions to the health problems facing Idaho children. Budget cuts to schools and social services have limited the opportunities our youth have to develop life-long, healthy habits. Children may be resilient, but their health issues shouldn’t be treated lightly. “Several studies,” warns the American Heart association, “have indicated that this generation of youth may be the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.”

Read Chew's full story Health Problems Facing Idaho's Youth

E-mail Sue Chew  read more »

Swan Lake to grace the Nampa Civic Center

Perhaps the most famous ballet in the world, Swan Lake is elegant, exciting, and breathtakingly beautiful. Along with its music, the choreography has been recognized as a masterpiece of the ballet world.

With museum-quality costumes and the perfection of classical choreography, Swan Lake has earned a reputation for being a production distinct to this company. On Feb. 28, the Eugene Ballet company will bring this beautiful choreography and musical score to the Nampa Civic Center Brandt Auditorium.

A story of rivalry for love as the black swan, Odile, tricks Prince Siegfried into being unfaithful to the white swan, Odette. Powerful and passionate dancing exposes the sorcery of Von Rothbart the evil mastermind behind the mystery.

Swan Lake was composed in 1875–1876 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales. The ballet was premiered by the Bolshoi Ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, billed as The Lake of the Swans. Although it is presented in many different versions, most ballet companies base their stagings both choreographically and musically on the 1895 revival of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, first staged for the Imperial Ballet in 1895.

About this production, Deen Speer of Ballet Dance Magazine wrote that Eugene Ballet's Artistic Director Toni Pimble:

is to be praised for pulling a small ballet miracle, as this ballet is typically done by much larger companies, yet Eugene Ballet never seemed spare or bare – either in terms of numbers or of quality. ... Excellent and tight ensemble work cut through all levels – from the 12 corps and “big” swans of Act II’s lakeside scene to the character dances of the ballroom setting of Act III. One staging difference to note is the entrance of the swans. In many productions they come on in a limpid way, low hopping their arabesque, emboité motif but in this one, they employed a full-out flying sauté arabesque with a very vigorous jump for the emboité.

Speer continues:  read more »

More from Cherie Buckner Webb

Hello All,

Committees have been diligently engaged in rules review the last couple of weeks. JFAC has been hearing budget requests, legislators have been preparing personal bills for submission and I am pleased to say that legislators have been devoting considerable time to listening to stakeholders. Following a predictably slower start, the pace is picking up rapidly.

Education Week

Institutions of higher education presented their budgets and shared visions for the futures of their institutions:

Education Committee presentations:

University of Idaho - President Duane Nellis
Idaho State University - President Arthur Vailas
Lewis and Clark State College - President Tony Fernandez
Education Update - Tom Luna, Supt. Public Instruction
Workforce Issues Affecting Public School Teachers -
Rakesh Mohan, Dir. Office of Performance Eval.

Superintendent Luna announced his request for a 3% increase for the public schools budget for 2013-14, which equals about $38 million more than the previous year. The devil is in the details though, as $33.9 million of that is going to unspecified changes to the education system. He expressed interest in continuing to funnel funds into technology, but this is not unheard of as money has been appropriated toward technology since the 1950s in Idaho’s public schools budget.

On February 1st from 8:00-10:30 a.m. the Senate and House Education Committees will be conducting a joint hearing in the Senate auditorium. The session will provide the community with the opportunity to share their suggestions on the next steps for education in Idaho. Testimony will be limited to three minutes per person. You may submit more detailed comments to the committee in writing via email to Committee members will have access to all written comments. As a member of the Senate Education Committee, I look forward to hearing from you.

One highlight of the week was a visit by the fourth grade class from St. Joseph’s School. The students were a delight; very knowledgeable about Idaho history, they asked and answered great questions and beautifully executed an impromptu musical selection calling out all of the counties in Idaho. These amazing kids provided a poignant reminder of the importance of the work we do today and its impact on tomorrow.

Human Rights

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Human Rights celebration at the Capitol rotunda kicked off the week on January 21st. I was honored to unite with folks from every walk of life to honor the legacy of Dr. King. Most of you know that the day is of major significance for me. And as I stood with my granddaughter in my arms, I was overwhelmed by the importance that it holds for generations to come. Our children and our children’s children must not forget the struggle and unwavering perseverance of those who came before us to obtain basic equal rights. And yet there is much work to do. Many Idahoans are still denied basic human rights. And so it is that Representative Grant Burgoyne and I are hosting a Human Rights Act Education Panel on February 6th from 12:00 -1:00 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium. The panel will be moderated by David Adler of the Andrus Center for Public Policy. Panelists include:

· Pam Parks, Executive Director, Idaho Commission on Human Rights

· Maryann Jordan, Boise City Council

· Rev. Marci Glass, Pastor, Southminster Presbyterian Church

· Kevin Settles, Idaho Business Owner

· John Reuter, Former Sandpoint City Council President

Please join us.

Gun Violence

Gun violence is top of mind for many Idahoans. The tragedies of recent events touched the hearts and souls of us all. And while I will continue to defend 2nd Amendment rights, I support responsible gun ownership and policies that serve to protect the safety of our citizens. I join the Democratic caucus in committing to give cautious consideration to any proposed legislation on this topic.

Additionally the State of Idaho must be aggressive in attending to the needs or those with mental illness. We reaffirm our pledge to take proactive leadership in support of appropriate care for those with mental illness.

Increasing Voter Access

In response to the concerns from members of our communities, the Democratic Caucus is pleased to present a package of bills that is crafted to protect fundamental voting rights. This collection of bills, the Voting Opportunity and Trustworthy Elections (VOTE) initiative, was developed to encourage participatory government and increase access to the voting process.

· The Motor Voter Act

· The Online Voter Registration Act

· The Early Voter Opportunity Act

· The Voter Convenience Act

· The Private Election Taxpayer Compensation Act

Details of the VOTE Initiative will be presented at a press conference on Tuesday, January 29th, at 10:30 a.m. in Room WW-17 at the Capitol. You may access the audio via Idaho Public Television (click on the WW-17 link under “notices”).

Meet Caitlin Lister, Attaché Extraordinaire

I am pleased to introduce my Senate Attaché, Caitlin Lister, a native of Washington with great skills and talents and an amazing professional background. Caitlin spent six years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving two tours in Iraq as a helicopter mechanic and three years as a U.S. Embassy Guard. She moved to Idaho upon completion of her military service, and earned her BA in Political Science at Boise State University. Caitlin worked on Mayor Bieter’s campaign, managed Sen. Elliot Werk’s campaign and is now in her second year working for the Senate Minority Party. She was honored as the Idaho Young Democrat of the month in January. Caitlin and her husband, Dan, have a 10 year-old daughter and are expecting their first son in May. Caitlin is an invaluable asset and consummate professional who assists me with all aspects of my work at the Capitol and can reach me at any time. Please feel free to contact her at 208/332-1416 or

Town Hall Meetings

I invite you to join Representative Mat Erpelding, Representative Holli Woodings and me for upcoming District 19 Town Halls this session. The first will take place on February 19th at Longfellow Elementary School from 7-8:30 p.m. and the second is on March 13th, location to be announced in the near future. We will send out reminders as the events approach. Please join us – we want to hear from you (and share our perspectives).  read more »

Caldwell City Councilman David Clark Resigns

There will be an open seat on the Caldwell, Idaho City Council.

Since David Clark just announced this last night, it appears that the news outlets haven't picked up the story yet. (as of 9:50 a.m. MST)

From his Facebook page:

Dear friends and family, life is full of adventures and challenges and I am going though an adventure right now. For the past few months, I have been communicating with a company called They build websites, social media and SEO for businesses. It has been a great partnership and they have recently offered me a permanent position in their Houston, Texas office as a Sales Branch Manager, responsible for the entire Houston area. I will have many people under my wing and this is a big step for me.

Normally it would take a lot for me to tear up my Caldwell roots for a move like this, however delivered. The offer was too sweet to say no. Therefore, I accepted their offer and I am moving to Houston Feb 11. I know this is a shock to some of you, but this is a natural progression in my career right now. Life here in Idaho for the family will remain somewhat the same. Marcee will run the event center and the social media business will be ran out of Houston. Another major change for me is resigning from my passion, the Caldwell City Council. This was the most difficult decision to make, but it needed to be made in order for the Citizens of Caldwell to be served right. My last council meeting will be February 4th.

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Big party for Democrats, quiet reflection for GOP

For many Republicans, this is a good weekend to get away from it all.

With hundreds of thousands of Democrats traveling to nation's capital for President Barack Obama's inauguration activities, Republicans and supporters of last fall's GOP presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, are leaving town, or staying put and trying to avoid the crowds.

After failing to recapture the White House for a second straight presidential election, many are not exactly in a partying mood.

"It's a good time to lay low," said John Feehery, the president of Quinn Gillespie Communications and a former top congressional aide.

As Democrats prepare to mark Obama's second inauguration on Monday by bundling up along the parade route or dressing up for balls, Republicans are spending the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend with quick vacation getaways, quiet time at home or trips to the movie theater.

Read the full story.

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"  read more »

God, Spoogeflower Seeds, Idaho GOP Lawmakers, Hookers, and Blastocysts

According to Biblical scholars, a man cannot ejaculate his penis if it is in the vagina of a prostitute. His penis will stop his hot creamy load of seed before it is "planted in the barren and cold soil of a harlot" (Corinthians 17:1).

So, using the Logic of God (All Rights Reserved) if man cannot cause an unwanted pregnancy (because a man cannot cause an abortion as abortions are the same as prostitution) then a man cannot cause an abortion. Thus, all abortions are pregnancies caused by the dark seed of Satan. Ipso facto and vis a vis, a woman who gains an abortion is a witch. And we shalt not brook witches. Well, we can "brook" witches if that means drowning them in brooks.

God has always had this figured out. It is our duty, not His, to live by His unerring code.


Idaho's Universities Celebrate Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King's message is ringing clearly through higher education in Idaho. To begin, Boise State University is hosting a Day of Greatness March and Rally, 9am, Jan. 21.

Stop in for poster making in the SUB Jordan Ballroom from 9-10:30 a.m. Meet representatives from local nonprofits and sign up to volunteer for future projects.

Then at 10:40 a.m. there is a March down Capitol Blvd. followed by a rally at the statehouse. At noon the State of Idaho officially recognizes the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The speaker is Rev. Happy Watkins from New Hope Baptist Church, Spokane, WA. This is presented in part by the Idaho Commission on Human Rights.

The University of Idaho will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with an on-campus showing Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 12:30 p.m. of his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, filmed in 1963. The screening will take place in the Teaching and Learning Center, attached to the Idaho Commons, in its Student Diversity Center, room 229.

He delivered his stirring remarks on Aug. 28, 1963, before 200,000 civil rights marchers gathered at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The marchers expected to hear strong words but likely never expected King’s speech to become a part of history that still echoes in today’s culture.

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s famous ’I Have a Dream’ speech,” said Leathia Botello, program coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which is sponsoring the event. “Many students have heard it at least once but it is important that the words never die. We have made progress in the last 50 years, but it was hard fought. We need students to be inspired and keep up this important work for the generations to come.”

The celebration will continue with “The New Faces of America,” a one-woman show about how college students live and thrive in a multicultural America. It is set for Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Building Ballroom.

The stage show is part of a groundbreaking contemporary series that examines issues relating to people all across the country. It is based on interviews and research on today’s young Americans and the issues that concern them.

“This production covers a wide range of racial, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, ability and religious issues with monologues taken from interviews of college-aged students. We hope that the individuals who attend will be open-minded to the issues covered in the performance and how will begin to explore how these issues relate to them,” said Botello.

“The New Faces of America,” presents seven different characters from seven different backgrounds. The 65- minute live show will showcase the stories of a female biracial college student, a Southern gay minister, a young female Iraq War veteran, a Native American teenager, a young migrant worker, an Appalachian college student and a deaf African-American.

The show creates a multi-media experience merging video presentations with its live performer. Following the performance, a post-show discussion will provide audience members a chance to discuss the show’s themes and issues.

The show is written and performed by Will and Company. For more information, visit  read more »

A night in the ER without insurance.

Medically we are definitely a country of haves and have nots. My friend, who has no health insurance or job, slipped and fell on the ice. Some wonderful people took her to the ER. I was called because I was in the phone book and I am her friend. I went to the hospital and was at first told her bone was not broken. Then the doctor came in and he ordered more xrays. Turns out the bone was broken.  read more »

Why Idaho is a Political Bloggers' Dream State

Crossposted On Daily Kos

"Yeah, I you know when I drink alone/ I prefer to be by myself." - George Thorogood.

(NOTE: It could also be called a nightmare)

So you think you can blog?

You call yourself a progressive, a liberal, a Democrat or something along those lines?

Do you live and blog outside of Idaho?


Come join us.

Here's why:

As I wrote in my recent entry: UPDATED: Idaho Senator Mike Crapo charged with drunken driving:


One large land mass.

One small population.

One political party filled with more screw-ups than you can fit in an average class at the Betty Ford Center.

Nice going!

Great family values!

Way to set an example for our children! (triple snark)

Yeah, there is not much out here, except for one thing: a target rich environment to bust on Republicans!

Can your state beat our list of anti-GOP blogging topics?

Just when you thought it was safe (or if you were ready to be bored), Crapo, for example, recently plead guilty to drunk driving. The senator said he felt like he owed people a full explanation of his behavior and took questions outside the courthouse.

Idaho's GOP: the gift that keeps on giving.

Crapo gave an apologetic statement where he acknowledged that he been drinking alcohol on occasion for the past year or so, in violation of the tenets of his Mormon faith.

Crapo said he had been drinking vodka and tonic at his Washington home on the night of Dec. 22, became restless, couldn't sleep and went out for a drive.


Crapo said he was not with anyone at the time, was not going to see anyone and was not coming or going from seeing anybody.

Well that covers just about everybody (gay, straight, male female, and other) doesn't it?

"In recent months, and for less than a year, I have on occasion had alcoholic drinks in my apartment in Washington, DC. It was a poor choice to use alcohol to relieve stress—and one at odds with my personally-held religious beliefs. However, on the night of Saturday, December 22nd, I made another even worse decision to go for a drive to get out of my apartment and try to wind down. I left my apartment, driving out past the monuments. I was alone during this drive and never left my vehicle. After driving around for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, I realized what a mistake it had been for me to drive and decided to return to my apartment. I approached a multi-street intersection and mistakenly turned against a red light. It was at that time that the police pulled me over.

On Daily Kos, I asked: You think you can have more fun blogging about Republicans in your state?

Take at look at these jabs:

Sisyphus Idaho:

I'm feeling restless. I think I'll go for a drive. --not said by a drunk 61 year old at night ever.


... Interesting that he was now drinking vodka tonics. So let me get this straight. The senate adjourned on December 21 due to return December 26. His family is in (Idaho Falls). He's still in DC 48 hours later, drinking, alone and restless. Not passing the smell test.


So you think your Republicans are more twisted, demented, and downright backwards that ours here in Idaho?

Who is your Larry Craig, your John McGee?

Where is your Rex Rammell and your Bill Sali?

In about a month we are going to have another topic which is sure to disconnect readers from any imaginable reality.


You're it!
 read more »

A motley cast of characters rule the world

Crossposted on Daily Kos

News recently broke that Senator Mike Crapo will not contest his DUI:

Police have said Crapo registered a blood alcohol level of 0.11 percent when he was pulled over early Sunday in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Va., after running a red light. But a secondary test performed after Crapo was brought to the jailhouse - the one that will be used in court - registered at 0.14, nearly twice the legal limit ... .

The Idaho Statesman goes on to report that the 61-year-old's arrest two days before Christmas stunned colleagues and constituents alike, not only because of his squeaky-clean image but also because the senator, a Mormon, had said previously he abstains from alcohol, in accordance with his church's practices.

While no one will ever mistake Bill Clinton for a leader held up on a Holy Roller pedestal, I am reminded of this book by George Stephanopoulos during this quasi-epic fall of Crapo:

All Too Human is a new-generation political memoir, written from the refreshing perspective of one who got his hands on the levers of awesome power at an early age. At thirty, the author was at Bill Clinton's side during the presidential campaign of 1992, & for the next five years he was rarely more than a step away from the president & his other advisers at every important moment of the first term. What Liar's Poker did to Wall Street, this book will do to politics. It is an irreverent & intimate portrait of how the nation's weighty business is conducted by people whose egos & idiosyncrasies are no sturdier than anyone else's.

I like what reviewer Rebekah Warren said about Stephonapolous book:

Written with the jittery cadence of a bookie, All Too Human is a lively look at the complex and motley cast of characters who rule the world.

Crapo's "arrest two days before Christmas stunned colleagues and constituents alike."

Which brings me to a fundamental question.

Why are we surprised?

Rumours swirled around Larry Craig for years. One day, he got caught. Did it really matter, or was it just fun to knock him off the pedestal?

Trivia question: How many DUIs exist between George W. Bush, Idaho Governor Butch Otter, and former Vice President Dick Cheney?


Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner is:

... sitting on a $4.5 million campaign war chest — is mulling a bid for citywide office next year and “seriously considering” a mayoral run, multiple sources told The Post.

I hope he wins.

While DUI is a serious crime and perpetrators deserve all the resulting hits that come with it, there is a separate dialogue that needs to be addressed.

The excerpt below, by Nampa, Idaho blogger Amy Larson, speaks to her experience on the editorial board of the Idaho Press Tribune.

I loved going to the Editorial Board meetings on Thursdays. ... The Editor was a savvy, strong woman who knew who she was and offered no excuses. A great role model for me. I observed how she masterfully cut off comments that droned on for too long, changed the subject when necessary, and her overall leadership of the group. I enjoyed the members of the Board, too, how each one of them brought a different perspective to the items of discussion.

We got to meet VIP's, politicians, and other newsmakers. For the most part, I was surprised to find myself unimpressed. One or two politicians stood out here and there, due to their seeming rather genuine, but I thought I would be more wowed by those in the public eye. It was a bit of a let-down. They were ordinary people, just like me. Many of them lost track of their tone when they got overly-passionate about a topic. Some of them talked too much. One very well-known public figure showed up wearing a shirt that looked as if it had been slept in. It being an election year, we were invited to the paper-hosted public forum. This is where I had my eyes opened when it came to how imperfect we all are, with few exceptions. Tempers flared, basic rules were ignored, and the Editor/ Moderator had to quite forcefully demand that a man in the audience sit down and remain silent.

Those on the stand who retained their maturity level made an impact, but they were the minority. I'd always envisioned community leaders as a composed, well-controlled lot. That forum changed my mind.

Nice reflections, Amy.

I guess I've simply outgrown the surprise factor, and have been emotionally past it for a long time.

What expression would you use to describe the people who run the world?
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Fiscal Cliff Could Affect State Courts Already Faced with Budget Constraints

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Efforts to save the nation from going over a year-end "fiscal cliff" were in disarray as lawmakers fled the Capitol for their Christmas break. "God only knows" how a deal can be reached now, House Speaker John Boehner declared.

President Barack Obama, on his way out of town himself, insisted a bargain could still be struck before Dec. 31. "Call me a hopeless optimist," he said.

The nation’s decision makers continue to wrestle with the consequences of going over the “fiscal cliff” at year’s end, which may translate to cuts in federal funding in many state budgets.

The trickle-down effect could cause more problems for state courts that have fallen victim to massivefiscal cliff budget shortfalls during the recession, according to G. Alan Tarr, a professor of political science at Rutgers-Camden.

“When revenues decrease as they have during the recent recession, states have to look for places to cut in order to balance their budget,” says Tarr, an internationally noted constitutional scholar. “Some states cut across the board and others pick out areas in which funds aren’t being well spent. In any case, state courts tend to get hit, which precipitates concerns about the administration of justice.”

Tarr opines on the issue in his article, “No Exit: The Financial Crisis Facing State Courts,” recently published in the Kentucky Law Journal.

Tarr directs the Rutgers-Camden Center for State Constitutional Studies. He has consulted with numerous state legislatures and Supreme Courts on the complexities of state constitutions. says a majority of funding for state courts – which makes up about 2 or 3 percent of a state budget – accounts for salaries for judges, clerks, and other core personnel. Therefore, Tarr says budget cuts to the courts tend to take the form of reducing personnel.

“The cuts in turn have forced state court systems to adopt measures to reduce costs, such as cutting hours and employees, which jeopardizes the administration of justice,” Tarr says.

In his article, Tarr notes that in fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011, state budget shortfalls have totaled more than $530 billion, leading to dramatic reductions in funding for state courts.

If cuts have to be made at the federal level as a result of the so-called fiscal cliff, they will include funding that goes to the states, creating more of a burden on entities like the courts, Tarr says.

“The problem for state courts is that there are many other worthwhile uses for this revenue within the state budgets,” he notes. “The courts are competing against education, Medicaid, and other state functions.”

Tarr says the American Bar Association became very concerned about funding for state courts and in 2011 formed a task force to look at the fiscal issues affecting the courts and what could be done about them.

“There are two possibilities,” he says. “The states can increase the portion of the state budget that goes to the courts, or can increase the pool so that they get the same percentage, but there’s more revenue.”

In any case, Tarr says there is no light at the end of the tunnel for underfunded state courts.

“The state courts are, for the foreseeable future, going to continue to face declining funding,” he says. “They’ll have to find ways to work more expeditiously to continue to deliver the administration of justice.”  read more »

Crapo charged with drunken driving

Crossposted on Daily Kos



8:22 PM PT: According to the Associated Press:

"Police said Crapo, who was alone in his vehicle, registered a blood alcohol content of .110. The legal limit in Virginia, which has strict drunken driving laws, is .08."

(I.e. He was hammered)

Merry Christmas Mike!

Well, at least he cooperated with police.

This is just in, from Politico:

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) was arrested and charged with drunken driving in Alexandria, Va., early Sunday morning, according to local police.

Jody Donaldson, a spokesperson for the Alexandria Police Department, said in an e-mail that Crapo was arrested at 12:45 a.m. Sunday. An Alexandria police officer noticed Crapo’s vehicle run through a red traffic light, and after the vehicle was stopped, the officer conducted field sobriety tests, which Crapo failed, Donaldson said. Crapo was arrested and taken into custody without incident, Donaldson said.


One large land mass.

One small population.

One political party filled with more screw-ups than you can fit in an average class at the Betty Ford Center.

Nice going!

Great family values!

Way to set an example for our children! (triple snark)


In a statement, Crapo apologized for his actions.

“I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance,” Crapo said. “I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter.

“I will also undertake measures to ensure that this circumstance is never repeated.”

His BAC is not yet available, and there is a very interesting side note:

Crapo, a 61-year-old Republican, is serving his third term in the U.S. Senate. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and has said publicly that he abstains from alcohol.

The Tragedy in Conneticut...

My head reels at yet another tragedy that probably could have been prevented or at least been less horrific. I cannot try to get into the head of someone who would do such a thing. I can't imagine an entire Kindergarten class murdered by the teachers psychopathic son (or anyone). Beautiful children, just starting their lives....

Flashback to the summer. A bunch of people watching the latest batman movie.... A violent movie, yes but on the big screen... 12 dead....

A mall in Oregon full of holiday shoppers....

Can we do anything? Do we always have to play the victim?  read more »

The Money May Have Run Away from Boise State's Big East Future

Crossposted on Daily Kos

In many people's eyes, the Broncos were the best thing that ever happened to Idaho. This little sandlot of a state was now on the big screen, in the big time. Bronco pride and fever ran deep, and so did sales of tickets, paraphernalia and other goodies.

The giddiness was not lost on the BSU administration. Eyeing the big paydays of the New York area television market, the Broncos were set to leave the Mountain West Conference and join the much more lucrative Big East, after this season.

And to those who said that the miracle finish in 2007 when Boise state beat Oklahoma was a Cinderalla story -- a one hit wonder -- the team went on to rattle off multiple championship and bowl victory seasons in the following years. They compiled some of the best winning statistics in all of college football.

But the big dance may finally be over; for now, at least.

Boise State's future of playing football in the Big East could be in severe jeopardy. Today, the seven basketball-playing Catholic colleges of the Big East announced their decision to leave the league, according to the USA Today.

Marquette, Villanova, Seton Hall, St. John's, Georgetown, Providence and DePaul have made the decision to defect from the league based on the football moves the Big East has made.

Jeff Landers, Sports Director of LocalNews 8 is reporting that the league could be dissolved.

According to, the conference still doesn't have a television contract, which is only estimated between $60 million and $80 million with the basketball schools as a part of the package. ESPN is reporting the value could drop 15 or 20-percent with the loss of the seven schools.

That would affect BSU's television revenue as a football-only member of the Big East.

And here's a fascinating take from a blogger on D.F. Oliveria's Huckleberries:

Sometimes when you’re chasing dollars and swing for homeruns you strike out. Same applies to (University of Idaho); independence chasing dollars by staying in WAC as long as possible to maximize their share of the payout the defecting schools owe the WAC and body game bag payouts.

BSU chasing the higher dollar TV contract they thought was inevitable by going to the Big East. Tough spin job for (Boise State President Bob) Kustra on this one.

Money hungriness. Win at all costs. Bigger is better. The trend can be deadly. But is it reversible?

A Local 8 commenter wrote:

Boise is not in a tough spot. They just stay in the open arms of the Mountain West and forget this ever happened. It was a colossal blunder than can still be undone, remarkably easily. No court in the world would hold them liable for any breach of contract with the Big East as it is about to be constituted.

I hope they do.

Winter Carnival in a Western Town: Identity, Change and the Good of the Community

Crossposted on Daily Kos

Held annually, the McCall, Idaho, winter carnival has become a modern tradition. A festival and celebration, it is also a source of community income and opportunity for shared community effort; a chance to display the town attractively to outsiders and to define and assert McCall's identity; and consequently, a source of disagreement among citizens over what their community is, how it should be presented, and what the carnival means.

Though rooted in the broad traditions of community festival, annual civic events, often sponsored by chambers of commerce, such as that in McCall, are as much expressions of popular culture and local commerce as of older traditions. Yet they become dynamic, newer community traditions, with artistic, informal, and social meanings and practices that make them forms of folklore as well as commoditized culture.

Winter Carnival in a Western Town: Identity, Change and the Good of the Community (Ritual, Festival, and Celebration), is the first volume in a Utah State University Press series that began in 2011, titled Ritual, Festival, and Celebration.

Author Lisa Gabbert, an associate professor of English at Utah State, is a specialist in Folklore Studies. Her research includes study on landscape and place, festivals and play, and medical folklore.

Cookie traditions? Family reunions? Snipe hunting? Jell-O recipes in Utah? These are just a few of the topics that Gabbert's undergraduates research for projects in her Introduction to Folklore class. They cover:

an amazing variety of offbeat subjects. These topics may seem superficially unimportant to many scholars in other fields, and they usually are overlooked in the serious halls of academe (although undergraduate research in folklore often finds its way into professional books and publications as scholars use materials deposited in folklore archives, a recent example of which is Elizabeth Tucker’s 2007 book Haunted Halls). In fact, undergraduates’ folklore research projects document everyday practices that are the staff of local community life. These projects offer insider interpretations of local traditions, providing insight into the cultural dynamics of arenas such as family organization and the teen cultures of high school and early college. These arenas can be difficult for outsiders to study since the nature of such materials is ephemeral and rarely recorded. For these and other reasons, undergraduate research in folklore contributes to knowledge of contemporary social and cultural life.

Gabbert's students are required to go out into the community to document folklore using anthropological fieldwork techniques, and they analyze their findings in the written portion of the project.

Lisa Gabbert

Her book serves as a classic and user-friendly sample of a research product, for her students as well as anyone who interested in folklore. James P. Leary, editor of Journal of American Folklore called Winter Carnival a first rate ethnographic study:

Whereas other folklorists have scrutinized festival in relation to cultural and social systems, Lisa Gabbert offers the first fully developed study of festival in relation to work and place. Her contribution is distinguished by its engagement with environment, the industrialized backwoods, winter, and tourism in the American West.

"Without recourse to jargon, and always at a comfortable pace, the author takes us into the heart of McCall's winter festival yet always returns to key questions: how does community take shape or fragment around festive activity?" writes John H. McDowell, author of Poetry and Violence: The Ballad of Mexico's Costa Chica. "How does festival respond to changing social environments?"

"In sum, undergraduates’ folklore research benefits both students and the discipline," Gabbert writes. "Students learn about and come to more deeply appreciate community traditions; they acquire basic ethnographic skills; and they learn critical thinking by analyzing materials they have collected while they are writing up their research. In turn, folklore studies benefits from these student projects by having an ever-expanding and constantly updated archive materials upon which to base future study."

There is tremendous value in helping students see the relevance of folklore to their every day lives. I highly recommend this work for its wonderful blend of writing, theory, teaching, and practice.

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