Blue-shifting the Gem State, one blog entry at a time.

Pundits: GOP must move to the center. Krugman: Obama shouldn't budge.

Tom Cohen at CNN:

Listening to Republicans try to explain what went wrong in
their worse-than-expected election thumping reveals a party struggling
to define itself amid continuing change in the nation it seeks to lead.

"We have to allow for a period when it's going to be messy and in which
there's going to be an attempt for the Republican Party to find it's
soul," noted Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow in economic studies at the
Brookings Institution. "It's a divided party, it seems to me right now."
The well-known division pits a loud and powerful conservative base,
fueled in the past three years by the tea party movement, against a
once-prevalent moderate faction now relegated to wing status.

The Bloomberg editorial board:

Republicans have two options. They can join the White House
in shaping immigration reform, all the while knowing that the president
will get the lion’s share of credit. This is politically unappealing in
the short term, which is certainly one reason Republicans have resisted
it. However, the alternative promises even more dispiriting political
consequences.

If Republicans again oppose immigration reform, they risk cementing
their reputation as obstructionists and, in the process, tightening the
Democrats’ hold on a large and rapidly growing constituency. This is
tantamount to political surrender, if not suicide. It would be a
terrible outcome for the country and a self-inflicted wound that could
hobble national Republican campaigns for years to come.

Michael Gerson at The Washington Post:

The 2012 election was a substantial victory not only for
President Obama but also for liberalism. Obama built his campaign on
abortion rights and higher taxes for the wealthy. He was rewarded by an
electorate that was younger, more pro-choice and more racially diverse
than in 2008. The Obama coalition is not a fluke; it is a force.
Some conservatives have reacted in the tradition of Cicero: “Oh, the
times! Oh, the customs!”Rush Limbaugh concluded, “We’ve lost the
country,” which he described as a “country of children.” “There is no
hope,” Ann Coulter said. And Bill O’Reilly: “It’s not a traditional
America anymore.”

As a matter of strategy, it is generally not a good idea to express disdain for an electorate one hopes to eventually influence.  read more »

Obama Tearfully Thanks Volunteers.

And I couldn't say it better.

Idaho Democrats Play Key Roles in Obama Victory

Nobody in Idaho suffered any delusion to whom the state's four electoral votes were going, but few are aware that two of Idaho's prodigal sons were influential in achieving victory for Obama.

Jim Messina, who grew up in Boise and graduated from Boise High School led Obama’s reelection campaign that observers said used a mix of behavioral science and technology to identify and get out to vote a new crop of voters to the coalition. He has now kept his election victory record intact since he ran a campaign for former Missoula Mayor Dan Kemmis in 1993. The sky seems to be the limit for his future.

Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff Bruce Reed grew up in Coeur D’ Alene, the son of environmental attorney Scott Reed and former Democratic Senator Mary Lou Reed. He was credited by former President Bill Clinton as co-author of his powerful convention speech that energized Democratic activists.

Jim Messina's star couldn't be higher right now given this quote from last week: "We have the math. They have the myth." And to underscore the ludicrous nature of Obama's liberal/socialist tag of which the right wing media is so fond, Messina was formerly the chief of staff to blue dog Senator Baucus of Montana. Even with these conservative credentials, Messina's fact based pragmatism who helped shepherd Obamacare through his senate committee and eventually the full congress before Obama brought him on board in the White House. I cannot think of anyone who has been a more influential force in this administration and thus the country in the last four years.

Bruce Reed formerly headed what's left of the DLC, a centrist Democratic organization, before being asked to be Vice President Biden's Chief of Staff. His efforts at assembling persuasive facts for Clinton's convention speech earned Clinton the internet title of "Secretary of Explaining Shit", a sanitized version of which later became his preferred title by the Obama campaign in later speeches. If Republicans can't find common ground with these two Idahoans, then it's the Republican party playing politics. Or they have become so ideologically extreme in their epistemic bubble, they can't be reasoned with.  read more »

And Indeed He Was

This guy opted for some last minute electioneering in front of the Idaho Statehouse on election day. A facebook capture shows him walking away from Mitt Romney's Idaho co-chairs, Governor Butch Otter and Senator Jim Risch (I can't confirm if that's the angry little gnome but it looks like his bald spot). I chatted with the man as I asked for his picture. He stated he wanted to exercise his civil rights before they disappeared. He was still shaking from a confrontation with the Idaho State Police just twenty minutes before who threatened him with a felony. They strongly encouraged him to leave the area, the most visible and politically, if not socially, appropriate one in the state. I shared with him my concerns regarding the backfiring of his methods of political persuasion but have no doubt that the first amendment protected him where he was. Despite the police confrontation, he laughed getting flipped off by nearly every grey haired white guy who drove by.

“Was last week a head fake, or were they just not that smart?”

*UPDATED 11/8/2012*

Republicans believed their own spin

Mitt Romney will win. The tie in the polls goes to the challenger. Here’s why:

Enthusiasm. It matters enormously, and it’s disproportionately on the Republican side, in good measure because of an intense desire to defeat President Obama. True, enthusiasm doesn’t guarantee an edge in turnout, but it’s certainly a key indicator. “In these final days, turnout is driven by intensity,” says Republican pollster Ed Goeas. The nearly half the electorate that strongly disapproves of Obama’s performance in office “will need little else other than the opportunity to vote against President Obama to motivate them to go to their polling place.” Goeas conducts the bipartisan Battleground Poll along with Democrat Celinda Lake.

In 2008, self-identified Democrats led Republicans in turnout by seven percentage points. Gallup’s projection is that Republicans will have a 49-46 percent edge this year. “The political environment and the composition of the likely electorate strongly favor Governor Romney,” Goeas says. The Battleground Poll’s “vote election model” projects Romney with 51 percent.

The words above are from a Weekly Standard article written the day before the election.

And get a load of this bold prediction:

Uh! OK Steve.

But reality settled in: Before Republicans went looking for answers Tuesday night, some of them went looking for the remote, according to CNN in a story called Analysis: Why Romney lost.

When it became clear about midnight that President Barack Obama was safely on the way to re-election, a handful of cranky and inebriated Republican donors wandered about Romney's election night headquarters, angrily demanding that the giant television screens inside the ballroom be switched from CNN to Fox News, where Republican strategist Karl Rove was making frantic, face-saving pronouncements about how Ohio was not yet lost.

Romney's 'all' proved not enough

Rove was wrong, of course.

Congratulations to President Barack Obama, the first Democratic president since FDR to win more than 50% of the popular vote in two elections.

The election finally "was a great night for pollsters, too! Well, maybe not so much for Jonathan Paleologos," wrote blogger deminva.

On October 10, 2012, Paleologos told Fox’s "The O’Reilly Factor.

“I think in places like North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, we’ve already painted those red, we’re not polling any of those states again,” " “We’re focusing on the remaining states.”

deminva snarked:

"Jonathan Paleologos, the political scientist with his finger on the pulse of his own state, Virginia."

Story: Pollster pulls out of Fla., NC and Va., says Obama can’t win there

___

According to the Washington Examiner, what was striking after Fox News called the race for Obama, at about 11:15 p.m., was how stunned so many of Romney’s supporters were. Many said they were influenced by the prominent conservatives who predicted a big Romney win, and they fully expected Tuesday night to be a victory celebration.

“I am shocked, I am blown away,” said Joe Sweeney, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “I thought I had a pretty good pulse on this stuff. I thought there was a trend that was going on underground.”

“We were so convinced that the people of this country had more common sense than that,” said Nan Strauch, of Hilton Head, South Carolina. “It was just a very big surprise. We felt so confident.”

“It makes me wonder who my fellow citizens are,” said Marianne Doherty of Boston. “I’ve got to be honest, I feel like I’ve lost touch with what the identity of America is right now. I really do.”

___

In response to the wide reaching enthusiasm of Romneyites, one source questioned:

“Was last week a head fake, or were they just not that smart?”

Congressman Labrador's Twitter Page Gets Naughty ... AGAIN!

Crossposted on Daily Kos

"I think all of America can get behind (in front of?) this sort of bi-partisan advocacy." - Alexandra Grande (Facebook comment)

_____

Looking for a wild time?

Well just be sure to regularly check the Facebook page of Congressman Raul Labrador.

First, we had Labrador Retweets Endorsement from Fictional 1960s TV Character, prompting Huckleberries Online to ask:

Which fictional TV character would you want to be endorsed by?

DFO wrote:

The Twitterverse and liberal The Daily Kos are having fun with a R/T by Congressman Raul Labrador's crew — of Dr. Alfred Bellows' endorsement: “I'm supporting @Labrador4Idaho, and you should too. The man has delivered on his campaign promise of fiscal responsibility.” If that name sounds familiar, you're probably a fan of the old TV show: “I Dream of Jeanie.” Dr. Alfred Bellows was the psychiatrist in the 1960s comedy. Tweeter Sharon Fisher may have been the first person to spot the R/T — and hilarity that went with it.

And this in today From Tony Shallat:

At about 11:30 MST:

If you want a quick laugh today go to

https://twitter.com/Labrador4Idaho/favorites

Look at what tweet he favorited. Yes this is real.

Then an hour later:

Well Labrador fixed his twitter account....but I have a screenshot....can't escape naughty behavior in the iPhone generation:

"I didn't realize he was such a health fanatic." - Ben Wilson (on Facebook)

Vote No on Hunting/Fishing Amendment to Save Hunting and Fishing

Growing up in Idaho, parents engendered a love for the outdoors often through sharing productive past times of hunting and fishing. If parents didn't, exposure came through friends, other relatives or simple proximity to the outdoors. Many received hunter safety classes in seventh grade and a hunting trip with dad might be an excuse to miss a day of school. Pickup trucks with gun racks were for the rifle and/or a fishing rod, in case you crossed a stream around sundown with a cloud of caddis descending on the water's surface dimpled with fish rising. The walls of many an Idaho household are adorned with photos of a mess of fish or a prized buck, if not the animals themselves.

So I view with no small amount of amused perplexity anyone who would politically posture constitutional protection for activities under zero threat of majority vote restricting them. As usual when the skeptical hackles rise, the devil is in the details. The text of the amendment will likely be dismissed by the ordinary Idaho voter in favor of its statement of purpose, to protect hunting, fishing and trapping. However, the proposed amendment may actually harm the ability for successful hunts, would protect some inhumane methods of take, and actually takes aim at killing fish, not protecting them.  read more »

Canyon County Democrat Travis Manning Endorsed by Idaho Press Tribune and Idaho Statesman

Crossposted on Daily Kos

Canyon County has not sent a Democrat to the capitol since the early 1980s when Terry Reilly unseated a Nampa Republican.

Times have changed.

And one overriding and particularly heated issue through this entire election season has been the education reform referendums. See Audios: Did Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction Grab and Curse Out A Legislator? Idahoans will vote to keep or trash Propositions 1, 2, and 3. These laws, ironically called "Students Come First," would reduce the number of classroom teachers in favor of technology purchased under questionable circumstances. They also virtually eliminate collective bargaining.

Travis Manning is currently an English teacher at Vallivue High School where he has taught for seven years. He is Executive Director of the Common Sense Democracy Foundation of Idaho, an Idaho grassroots think tank formed in June 2011 in response to radical education reform measures in Idaho. He is a member of the Idaho Council of Teachers of English and active participant with the Boise State Writing Project. Travis is active in his local teacher’s association where he has led and been engaged in numerous committees. He supports all of his fellow teachers and all of the hard work they do. In 2011 he spoke out at the Idaho House and Senate Education Committee hearings in support of Idaho public schools, and has since published a number of editorials across the great state of Idaho supporting the voices of all Idaho citizens in the legislative process. He supports the needs of all learners in public schools and works hard in his teaching to reach out to help struggling students. He is an advocate for parents and teachers, believing they are critical stakeholders in the success of Idaho’s children.

Here is an excerpt from the Manning endorsement in the Idaho Press Tribune:

Republican Brandon Hixon has been a good party worker, even leading the charge for the county GOP caucus.

But in a period where elected officials have disgraced the Grand Old Party — particularly in Caldwell where then-Sen. John McGee twice brought shame to the Legislature, and a long and expensive legal battle (on the taxpayers’ dime) involving former Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak, voters may be more inclined to vote for candidates with untarnished records.

When answering this pre-election question: What standard should elected officials be held to, Hixon said this: “Much higher standard than average, with the understanding that even elected officials are imperfect humans.” ... Many people have a few mistakes that could haunt them if running for office, but only one candidate – 31-year-old Brandon Hixon – has five misdemeanors, 15 infractions and three civil actions for financial failings. Hixon says his court history is not a reflection of what will happen in the future. But let’s face it, his standard of expectations is low. That’s not the way to start a political career.

I wrote more about this troubled young man here: Candidate Brandon Hixon: The Newest Face of Canyon County Republican Corruption.

From the Idaho Statesman:

Manning was drawn into this race because of Students Come First; he is a teacher opposed to the laws. But Manning, a Democrat, isn’t a one-issue candidate, and we were struck by one difference between Manning and Republican Brandon Hixon.

Where Hixon downplayed ethics issues, saying most of the complaints are coming from Democrats, Manning says the issue resonates with Canyon County constituents who have followed the McGee case and the saga of former prosecutor John Bujak. In this open race, Manning offers a stronger command of the issues, and gets our endorsement.

All the pundits now agree. Travis Manning is the right choice on November 6.
 read more »

It's the Deception, Stupid

We are the recipients of an email which attaches an Americans for Prosperity flyer, Serephin posted below, soliciting students of Madison and Rigby High Schools to man a Melaleuca call center in order to campaign against Obama in swing states prior to election day. The email is from concerned parents of a Madison High School student who confirmed the flyer is being distributed to school students as well as being discussed in school. The parents expressed concern that the flyer is deceptive in advancing Americans for Prosperity as a "non-partisan" group. Indeed their student indicates that "kids have been instructed to say it doesn't matter what your politics are--come join the non-partisan fun of making phone calls." The flyer promotes a contest between two high schools in closest proximity to the Melaleuca Call Center where the electioneering is to be conducted.

Superficially the flyer encourages students into political activity which many would agree is laudable. A cause for skepticism regarding the parent's complaints is that we are deep in the election silly season where passions run high and often trump better judgement and rational thought. As a result many tend to view campaigning complaints more cynically than at other times of the year. So what is it about this right wing solicitation effort to Idaho high school students which causes concerned parents to react as if a laws were broken? The answer lies in Americans for Prosperity utilizing deception and money to entice children to do their bidding. Worse, ASP asks those children to also participate in further deception.  read more »

Koch Bros. funded Americans for Prosperity recruiting Idaho high schoolers to badmouth President Obama

UPDATE 10/25/2012: Sisyphus has a post up above, "It's the Deception, Stupid" that rips into the scheme by Americans for Prosperity as the push poll it really is. You definitely want to check it out.

Americans for Prosperity (a Koch brothers-spawned political outfit) appear to be working with Mitt Romney national finance co-chair Frank VanderSloot's company Melaleuca to recruit Idaho high-school kids in Jefferson and Madison counties to make anti-Obama calls in return for cash. The kids are handing the fliers out to their fellow students at the schools (but who exactly is providing them to the kids in the first place?).

Oh, and if you believe Americans for Prosperity is non-partisan, I have a 50-story office building in Bone, Idaho I'd like to sell you -- cheap!

Labrador Retweets Endorsement from Fictional 1960s TV Character

Update 10:20p.m. MST

As of this post, you can still go to Raul Labrador's Twitter page and see his wonderful endorsement. It has been on there (and all over the web) for more than 10 hours.

I know that Raul was busy debating Jimmy Farris tonight.

I wonder when he will realize this.

Or maybe Raul is just proud of the vote of confidence!

UPDATE 4:33 p.m. MST

Huckleberries Online picked this one up:

The Twitterverse and liberal The Daily Kos are having fun with a R/T by Congressman Raul Labrador's crew — of Dr. Alfred Bellows' endorsement: “I'm supporting @Labrador4Idaho, and you should too. The man has delivered on his campaign promise of fiscal responsibility.” If that name sounds familiar, you're probably a fan of the old TV show: “I Dream of Jeanie.” Dr. Alfred Bellows was the psychiatrist in the 1960s comedy. Tweeter Sharon Fisher may have been the first person to spot the R/T — and hilarity that went with it.

Question: Which fictional TV character would you want to be endorsed by?

_____

Crossposted on Daliy Kos

Check Raul Labrador's Twitter page Right Now!

Sharon Fisher explained:

The screen shot below is from 3:32 p.m. MST:


Here is Alfred's page:

Who is Alfred Bellows?

Col. Alfred E. Bellows, M.D. is a fictional character in the popular 1960s situation comedy I Dream of Jeannie, which ran for five seasons. Dr. Bellows was portrayed by Hayden Rorke from 1965 to 1970. Rorke reprised this role in the 1985 TV movie I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later before his passing in 1987.
Overview

From the first season onwards, Dr. Bellows is the psychiatrist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). I Dream of Jeannie is set in the town of Cocoa Beach, Florida. Dr. Bellows is a colonel.

Dr. Bellows is a shrewd and cautious man who is inevitably used as a scapegoat. He becomes fixated on Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman) and Roger Healey (Bill Daily) when they are caught in a web of inexplicable situations resulting from the magic of a genie, appropriately named "Jeannie". He observes, records and ponders their activities, determined to uncover the cause.

Throughout the series, Bellows tries to prove that Tony is up to something. Generals Hadley, Peterson, Stone, and Schaeffer in turn reluctantly accompany him when he attempts to prove Tony's strange "tricks". Fortunately, thanks to Jeannie, none of these generals witness the strange events and Tony is saved from being fired from the space program. This means that the generals are more wary of Bellows than Major Nelson or Major Healey. In some cases the trick can extend to the generals, such as Jeannie's mother trying to court Bellows and dressing him in the robes of a pasha (and causing Jeannie to scold her mother for going after a married man). Bellows' appearance causes one general to worry he is suffering from hallucinations by seeing Dr. Bellows in pasha robes, and Bellows in turn saying the vision is real but he has no clue how he acquired such exotic clothing. Nevertheless, Dr. Bellows relentlessly devotes his entire life to "figuring out" Major Nelson. At one point Bellows tells Nelson and Healy that the moment he brings in General Peterson it all goes away, so he is forgetting this is brought up.

Click here for photos of Alfred Bellows.

And be sure to congratulate Congressman Labrador on this big time endorsement!

Fuhgeddaboudit

When you absolutely, positively have to forget the stupid shit you said previously...

Naughty Dinesh

Conservative big gun author Dinesh D’Souza did a real hatchet job on Blacks in his book: The End of Racism.

Now it appears that African Americans are not the only one's he's been ... well ... sticking it to.

From World: Today's Christian News

After a meteoric rise in the evangelical world, The King’s College president Dinesh D’Souza now faces his board’s likely questions about his relationship to a woman not his wife.

David Waldman. points out that D'SOUZA'S MISTRESS:

"In a post on a conservative blog, rails against feminists and “RINO men” for ruining marriage and traditional morality. “Feminists/liberals who intended to destroy and transform that sacred cornerstone of American society—the traditional family” she explains, adding that today’s state of the family proves that “the 19th Amendment was never the best idea ever.” She blames feminist academics for increases in adultery, failed marriages and cohabitation, and even goes on to say that America’s children “are going the way of black ghetto society” thanks to feminists and Ke$ha."

And commenter Empty Vessel added:

Had to check ...

and yes, the woman half his age that has become D'Souza's soulmate does also, just as it happens, seem to be very good looking.

Odd how older men's newfound soulmates always seem to be half their age and hot.  read more »

Meet Travis Manning

About Travis Manning,

Child Advocate

Travis Manning is currently an English teacher at Vallivue High School where he has taught for seven years. He is Executive Director of the Common Sense Democracy Foundation of Idaho, an Idaho grassroots think tank formed in June 2011 in response to radical education reform measures in Idaho. He is a member of the Idaho Council of Teachers of English and active participant with the Boise State Writing Project. Travis is active in his local teacher’s association where he has led and been engaged in numerous committees. He supports all of his fellow teachers and all of the hard work they do. In 2011 he spoke out at the Idaho House and Senate Education Committee hearings in support of Idaho public schools, and has since published a number of editorials across the great state of Idaho supporting the voices of all Idaho citizens in the legislative process. He supports the needs of all learners in public schools and works hard in his teaching to reach out to help struggling students. He is an advocate for parents and teachers, believing they are critical stakeholders in the success of Idaho’s children.

Community Builder

Most recently, Travis gave up coaching high school wrestling, one of his passions, in order to advocate for parents, teachers and students in Idaho governmental affairs. Travis, an Eagle Scout himself, has recently been a Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop in Caldwell, Idaho, and has been involved in Scouting in some capacity or other his entire life. From being a Den Chief and Patrol Leader in his younger years, to being a merit badge counselor, district commissioner, Scout camp counselor or Scoutmaster, among many other duties, in later years. One of the highlights of his Scouting experiences was working on the media staff at the 2001 National Scout Jamboree in Fort AP Hill, Virginia, with his younger brother. Travis believes passionately that youth must understand their local environment — neighborhoods, city, people, culture and natural world — so they might become young ambassadors for the communities in which they live.

Man of Faith

Travis has been involved in numerous school, community and church sports leagues over the years. He takes the lessons he learned in sports and Scouting to heart and has been active in numerous political campaigns and community advocacy activities. He is a freelance writer, active in his church congregation, and has served in a variety of church leadership roles throughout his life. In college, he worked for his university newspaper as a beat reporter. His most recent athletic accomplishment was completing the Boise Half Ironman Triathlon in 2010. He served a two-year mission to Philadelphia in the early 90′s and enjoys traveling, camping, bicycling, reading, and spending time with his wife and three children, Eliza having been adopted from China in June 2012.

Happily Married

Travis is married to Ann Ellison, who stepped down as a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey when the family came along. They are avid supporters of the Caldwell YMCA and believe this partnership between an organization and its citizens greatly benefits the community in which they live. Ann currently serves on the Caldwell Bikeways and Pathways Committee which works to protect pedestrians, bicyclists, joggers, children attending school, and to encourage a healthy lifestyle filled with exercise.

Quote of the day: from Branden Durst

From the Facebook page of Branden Durst:

I love it when I am at a door and the voter says something like, "You know, to be honest, I voted for your opponent last time, but I won't make that mistake again." Happens regularly and makes me smile!

More info: Durst for Idaho

Who is Branden Durst?

In November 2006, Branden Durst was first elected to the Idaho House of Representatives by beating a long time incumbent. The race was never considered to be in doubt until Durst pulled out the surprise upset of the year. The campaign and what has followed demonstrate Branden's tireless devotion to public service.

Background
Branden Durst was born at St. Luke's Hospital in Boise, Idaho in January of 1980. He was raised in Southeast Boise and attended the local public schools through high school, where he became a third generation graduate of Boise High School. Branden went on to attend Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), where he studied political science, economics, and communication. While at PLU, Branden earned a scholarship for speech and debate. Additionally, Branden worked throughout this time to assist in paying for his college education.

After graduating from PLU, Branden went on to graduate school, first at Kent State University and then to Claremont Graduate University (CGU), studying public policy analysis and international political economy, respectively. Prior to completing his degree at CGU, Branden returned to Boise and began working at Micron Technology in the strategic communication division. He completed his graduate coursework at Boise State University (BSU). During his time at BSU, Branden was awarded a research assistant position in the Department of Economics.

In July of 2006, Branden and his wife Jaime were married in Bayview, Washington. Branden is the proud father of three boys, Nicholas (10), Broden (7), and Carter (4) and one daughter, Graciana (3). Branden is the managing partner of Rational Strategy Consulting, a market and policy research firm he operates along with his business partner. The Dursts fellowship at Vineyard Boise where they are puppeteers for the Children's Ministry. Branden enjoys going fishing, and watching international soccer.

Innovative Leadership
Branden's time in the Idaho House of Representatives was marked by his unique ability to think of new ideas to challenges that plague state government as well as his ability to think independently. Branden's supporters and critics agree that his approach to policymaking is unique and thoughtful. Branden credits this to his professional and academic background in policy analysis and a desire to make the right decision, not necessarily the popular one.

In his first legislative session, Branden was the only member of the House Business Committee to oppose legislation that would have mandated that individuals give results from DNA tests to insurance companies so that they could be used against them in setting rates. Despite being a relative newcomer, Branden's independence and thoughtfulness were on full display as he led the charge in the House to defeat this intrusive policy. This was only one of many other examples where Branden has shown his unique qualities that make him an innovative leader.

In the 2010 legislative session, Branden once again demonstrated his knack for innovation. In this case, Branden was the co-author and co-sponsor of the Mastery Advancement Pilot Project (MAPP). MAPP was designed as a completely voluntary program to assist gifted students accelerate through course curriculum at their pace. The program was widely accepted and acclaimed as, "the most innovative education concept to hit the Statehouse since the late 1990s (Idaho Press Tribune Editorial, March 7, 2010)." MAPP was passed with large, bipartisan margins in both the House and the Senate. The process Branden went through in the development of MAPP is a perfect illustration of his commitment to bipartisanship.

Branden served on three standing committees in the House; Education, Business, and Health & Welfare. In addition, Branden's expertise in the technology sector was utilized as an appointed member of the Information Technology Resource Management Council, the State of Idaho's primary IT strategy group.

For more information, including Durst on the issues, see: durstforidaho.com

Twitter: @DurstforIdaho

Donate Here and help Idaho's working families have a voice in Boise!

Never Challenge an Idaho Democrat

While this state is governed by mob rule, a liberal, progressive or even a true libertarian from here is no one to be messed with. We've already seen it all and then some. You have nothing.

Evidently I need 75 words, or something. So much for a pithy statement. So, um, Butch Otter sucks. Jim Risch sucks too. Tell me how he's been more effective there than the night shift janitor.

Thank you. This has been a public service.

I should post here more. Has it really been 2.5 years? Damn ...

Luna Cronin City Club Debate Video Discloses Battery

Update 10/5: Thanks to swingitjack, we have an edited version disclosing the actual physical altercation at the debate. I've placed it up top and bumped the whole debate below the jump and encourage everyone to watch when they get time.

Here's the first half of [edited segment disclosing the physical altercation between the advocates at] the Luna Cronin City Club debate regarding the controversial Luna school reform legislation. Please observe the 28:20 0:44 mark and the Luna Cronin exchange that the media was anxious to question them about afterwards. At 28:29 0:48 Luna's second grab was clearly done with animosity. Popkey chronicles the event as follows.  read more »

Did Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction Grab and Curse Out A Legislator?


Tom Luna

UPDATE 6:11 p.m. MST: Truth Seeker Sisyphus wrote:

Here's the first half of the Luna Cronin City Club debate. Please observe the 28:20 mark and the Luna Cronin exchange that the media was anxious to question them about afterwards. At 28:29 Luna's second grab was clearly done with animosity. In the law, an offensive touching is called a battery.

___

Crossposted on Daily Kos

Audios of fiery exchange: from Tom Luna toward Brian Cronin.

You decide!

According to Besty Russell: Here's how fiery the debate between state schools chief Tom Luna and Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, got at the City Club of Boise today: After the debate, Cronin accused Luna of grabbing his arm after his opening remarks and berating him. “He grabbed my arm rather forcefully and got in my face and said, 'That's the biggest bullshit I've ever heard,'” Cronin said. “I looked at the people at the lead table and I think they saw that I was visibly alarmed, shaken, but that's what he said. He grabbed my arm hard enough such that I spilled my water. … When he tried to touch me again, I told him not to touch me.”

Luna's spokeswoman, Melissa McGrath, said, “He never used that language. That's completely inaccurate.” Supposedly, the exchange wasn't picked up on the event's microphones.

Russell wrote that Luna denied afterward that he'd become angry with Cronin at any point during the forum. “I think we both were passionate,” he said.

Here is Betsy's audio of the exchange.

I also have this enhanced MP3 of the exchange. Luna's voice is bassy so you may need headphones. The cuss is between 1 second and 3.5 seconds in this one.

What do you hear?

The "Vote Yes" folks are lying about e-textbooks

Crossposted on Daily Kos

This article by Clayton Trehal references the Vote NO on Propositions 1, 2, 3 movement of parents, teachers, and supporters of public education across Idaho, working together to reject the three harmful "Luna laws." These laws, ironically called "Students Come First," and are implemented by Secretary of Education Tom Luna.

This morning I heard a “Vote Yes” ad on the radio that began with a line that ran something like,“Voters are being misled about the facts” and after all the usual talking points, the narrator explained that efficiencies gained by Luna's laptops would pay for the technology without any tax increases. She pointed out that traditional text books cost as much as eight times the price of e-books, which is a patently false statement that I'd like to debunk.

One would think that an ebook would be considerably cheaper than a physical textbook, but at this point, ebooks are actually significantly more expensive than physical texts. In order to verify what the vote yes folks said, I looked up an AP US History text book I know is one of the more popular texts across the nation and compared the price of physical vs e-copy, and here's what I found: A new copy of The American Pageant, 14th edition runs $183.57 if you buy the physical copy, which is a steep enough price to make anyone want the ebook, which it turns out only runs $59.00. At first glance, it appears that one has saved a fortune going electronic, but as always, the devil is in the details. You don't actually buy e-textbooks like this one, you rent them for a period of time, and the $59.00 cost covers a 180-day period.

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Bad for children. Bad for teachers. Bad for Idaho.

Now let's compare the two versions of this book side by side from the perspective of a purchasing school board to see which is cheaper. A physical books lasts 4-8 years, depending on how well it's taken care of, so we can break down the price this way. If the physical copy of this text lasts 8 years, the cost to the district works out to $22.95/year vs $59.00/year for the ebook. If physical text only lasts for 4 years, the cost is $45.89/year, vs $59.00 for the ebook. Here's another way to look at it: If the district can get 5 years out of the physical text, its total cost for that period on a physical text is $183.57 vs $295.00 for the ebook over the same period. This is just one text, but I strongly urge readers of this to look up any textbook and you will see the same story. The bottom line is that currently, ebooks are actually significantly more expensive than physical texts because the textbook publishers want it that way.

Like so many other parts of Luna's laws, downloading textbooks on the laptops doesn't seem to have been too well thought out. If you consider that a typical Idaho high school student has somewhere between 6-8 courses, buying ebooks at 70%-200% higher prices than physical texts is certain to drive up costs for school districts quite a bit. Often the “Vote Yes” folks assert that we citizens are being misled, and indeed we are. The bit on their commercial about e-books being cheaper than physical texts is completely incorrect and seems like a pretty blatant lie to me. This is the only lie I feel like debunking today, but I personally hope some of our journalists and media outlets will take a look at the Vote Yes campaign and the misinformation they are spreading.

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James Mace Calls Out Chuck Winder on Governor's Mansion Debacle

Crossposted on Daily Kos

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D20 Senate candidate raises concern about enormous government waste

"Chuck Winder is the chair of the committee that approved $177,000 a year for upkeep on the 'Governor's mansion' that the Idaho Governor doesn't live in," wrote James Mace, yesterday, on his campaign Facebook page. "Idaho, is this the best use of your tax dollars? You have the opportunity to TELL Winder what you think today, and to SHOW him what you think on November 6."

He cited this Oct. 2 article:

Idahoans will get to weigh in on what to do with Idaho's official governor's mansion, the former J.R. Simplot home on a grassy hilltop in north Boise, topped by a giant American flag. The Governor's Housing Committee, chaired by Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Meridian, will meet in room WW55 of the state Capitol from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.; you can see the agenda here. There'll be a presentation about the history and operation of a governor's residence in Idaho, followed by public testimony. There's more info here.

The state has justified that cost by saying the mansion is frequently used by government departments and the first family, accroding to Emilie Ritter Saunders of a project by NPR. But data show the mansion has been used just 42 times in three years.

For more info see James Mace for D20 Senate on Facebook.

For more about his opponent, Chuck Winder, click here.

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