You can no more have a functional democracy with a deluded population than you can have a functional monarchy with a retarded king. You're stuck with an incompetence that feels entitled to just keep on f'ing up.
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ABOUT OUR SITE: 43rd State Blues: Democracy for Idaho is a website of, by and for Democrats and those who lean towards Democratic, progressive causes. If you do not fit this broad category, or are simply anti-Democrat, we suggest you find a website more suitable to your ideology. Our house, our rules. Enjoy!
... running a photo gallery of the 25 members of Congress with the lowest net worth in 2010 and Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador is No. 25 on the low list. Labrador's net worth is between a negative $130,993 and a maximum of $66,997, averaging out at minus $31,998 according to the Center For Responsive Politics, which tracks personal financial disclosure statements filed by members of Congress and offers a free, searchable database. The statements require reporting assets, within broad ranges, so exact figures are not available.
Labrador was faced with a "move up or move out" of politics situation before the Republican Congressional primary, in which he won a surprise victory. The word around the statehouse was that he couldn't afford to live on the legislator's paltry salary, perform his work as an Idaho legislator at the time; and still maintain his law practice.
Today is World AIDS Day and here is my latest column. I talk about an essential new perspective on HIV/AIDS and on the lessons that must be learned if we are to avoid provoking another pandemic in the future.
The Origin of AIDS by Jacques Pepin presents and develops an elegant hypothesis and is nicely documented. The theories are thoughtfully stated without finger-pointing or shame. Just brilliant!
This book is a must read for anyone who cares about humanity. Thank you, Jacques Pepin. read more »
After several months of rancourous and rigorous debate, Boise’s city council approved two smoke-free ordinances last night, the Idaho Press Tribune reports.
The first, which passed unanimously, will ban smoking in bars, private clubs, near transit areas, on commercial outdoor patios accessible to children or on public property, at the Grove Plaza, on 8th Street from Bannock to Main Street, within 20 feet of any city-owned building, in outdoor ticket and service lines, and other public locations.
Echoing the sentiment of many conservatives, among others: "Yay for people losing freedoms!" wrote Omar Banat on Facebook.
"Or gaining the freedom from breathing others smoke," responded Deb Spindler.
Can the government tell someone not to smoke in a private business? How about in a public park. Since ordinances such of this have passed and are enforced in other places, such as Oregon, the simple answer is yes.
Anyone that cares for individual rights should disagree with this. Our City decided for us what's best. No vote of the people. Just a unilateral decision on how businesses can operate. This is no victory for the people.
“I will tell you something about stories . . . They aren't just entertainment. Don't be fooled. They are all we have, you see, all we have to fight off illness and death.” ― Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
"Within one story there are many other stories coming together," Leslie Silko has said of the cultural traditions of her tribe, the Laguna Pueblo Indians. To borrow an image from another culture, "Yellow Woman is a Chinese box: story within story within story. The Yellow Woman stories the narrator has heard construct her sense of self and her actions. In turn, she makes them on her own. When she decides at the stories end that she will tell her family a story about how "some Navajo had kidnapped" her, she claims the cultural inheritance the story explores. She becomes the storyteller, passing on the stories in her own voice. As the stories have shaped her, so will she shape them; they must evolve to respond to her particular experience and point of view. The story "Yellow Woman," yet another telling of her abduction by a mountain spirit, constructed from many Yellow Woman stories, becomes only the most recent telling in an ongoing tradition.
Graulich follows Marmon's invigorating literary contributions in this substantial and exciting anthology. Women’s writing has been closely allied with the quest for not only women’s rights but also universal human rights and justice, as well as literary exploration and excellence. Graulich’s book takes measure of the great reach and splendid variety of Marmon’s writing; how it has illuminated America’s continuing transformation; and how such literature helped shape the dialogue on literature as a whole.
“He watched her face, and her eyes never shifted; they were with him while she moved out of her clothes and while she slipped his jeans down his legs, stroking his thighs. She unbuttoned his shirt, and all he was aware of was the heat of his own breathing and the warmth radiating from his belly, pulsing between his legs. He was afraid of being lost, so he repeated trail marks to himself: this is my mouth tasting the salt of her brown breasts; this is my voice calling out to her. He eased himself deeper within her and felt the warmth close around him like river sand, softly giving way under foot, then closing firmly around the ankle in cloudy warm water. But he did not get lost, and he smiled at her as she held his hips and pulled him closer. He let the motion carry him, and he could feel the momentum within, at first almost imperceptible, gathering in his belly. When it came, it was the edge of a steep riverbank crumbling under the downpour until suddenly it all broke loose and collapsed into itself.”
― Leslie Marmon Silko
Melody Graulich is a Professor of English and serves as the American Studies Graduate Director at Utah State University. She is editor of the journal Western American Literature and teaches a variety of courses focusing on interdisciplinary approaches to the literature and culture of the US West, including graduate courses such as Introduction to the Theory and Practice of American Studies and Seminar in the American West, and undergraduate courses such as Western American Literature and US Nature Writers. Particular interests include gender studies, visual culture, US art and photography, film, borderlands. She is a member of the Western Literature Association, American Studies Association, Rocky Mountain American Studies Association (Vice-President), and the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment.
On "Saturday Night Live," even the devil was offended by the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. "SNL" cast member Jason Sudeikis reprised his role as Satan, appearing with red horns and pitchfork. The devil was informed by "Weekend Update" host Seth Meyers of sex charges against a former defensive coordinator and allegations that university officials failed to report the abuse.
Even he was disturbed by the news. Addressing Penn State students who protested football coach Joe Paterno's firing, the devil spoke directly into the camera, asking, "Do you know how bad that made you look?"
And other judgements are already being handed down. Tangible impacts of scandal starting to become clear.
In a commentary today I discuss how Barack Obama, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner reached a deal to solve the debt ceiling crisis back in August. But the rest of the cutting will be done by a "Super Congress" made up of six Republicans and six Democrats.
We are being asked to believe that a committee of 12 will, effectively, run our nation.
There is a reason that so many of them need to support a Pizza guy, with no political experience, for President of the United States
"MeandG, I don't know if you've seen this or not. But I was interested in what your perspective was on it." Idaho State Journal Columnist and bannock County-based Republican Richard Larsen messaged me.
A club of College Republicans at the University of California-Berkeley is making a lot of enemies this week for its plan to hold a bake sale in which customers will be charged based on race and gender. Prices of baked goods are as follows: $2 for white men, $1.50 for Asian men, $1 for Latino men, $0.75 for black men, and $0.25 for Native American men; all women will get $0.25 off those prices.
The bake sale is a form of satirical protest against pending affirmative action legislation that would allow California universities to consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin during the admissions process. Minority students get "preferential treatment" at the bake sale just as they do during the admissions process.
Here is my response:
When I served on the faculty at Utah State University in 2003 - 2004, the College Republicans had a table doing this. They said that their purpose was to spur a debate about Affirmative Action. I'm all for debate, but there are better ways to create them, such as publicizing a formal debate and inviting voices from both sides. Granted, it is acceptable and desirable on college campuses to create tension and even confusion on controversial topics, and it is a common practice for professors to dress up to appear as something they are not (punk rockers, homeless people, etc.) to provoke student thought and conversation about stereotypes.
However, I didn't walk over to their table to debate, because I sensed a certain hostility, and Utah State College Republican's strategy that afternoon did nothing to dissuade that perception.
Simply put, the Republican Party, as a whole, has a problem:
Current and former elected officials also back Quintana
Boise City Council candidate Ben Quintana announced endorsements from Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and several other current and former elected officials.
"Initially, I had not planned to weigh in on the Council races, and in particular the open seat,” said Mayor Bieter. “But having had the opportunity to get to know Ben Quintana better in the recent weeks and having looked closely at his positions on the key issues facing our city, I've come to conclude that Ben's vision for Boise is very much in tune with my own vision and priorities as Mayor. I heartily endorse Ben's candidacy and look forward to having his passion, energy, and commitment to promoting livability on the City Council."
Additional endorsements from current and former elected officials who support Quintana include: Boise City Council Member, TJ Thomson; State Senator, District 14, Chuck Winder; Ada County Sheriff, Gary Raney; Garden City Council Member, Kathleen Simko, State Representative, District 18, Phylis King; Former State Senator, District 19, Mike Burkett; Former Democratic National Committeewoman, State Senator and Assistant Democratic Senate Leader, Gail Bray; and Former State Representative, District 18, Branden Durst.
Boise City Council is a non-partisan office. Quintana is running a non-partisan campaign and has drawn broad-based support from the Boise community. For a full list of endorsements and testimonials, please visit www.ben4boise.com/endorsements read more »
So far, Monday is shaping up to be a long day for Herman Cain amidst the sexual harassment claims against him that have surfaced, and his misfortune at having public events scheduled for today, writes Barbara Morrill.
Cain has already appeared at the American Enterprise Institute, where his hosts helpfully blocked any questions about the Politico report about Cain's alleged "sexually suggestive behavior" toward two women during his time as the head of the National Restaurant Association, but dodging the bullet may be more difficult at his next stop: the National Press Club.
Cain's campaign manager, Mark Block appeared on MSNBC earlier today and stated that Cain had "never sexually harassed anybody ever, period, end of story," but followed that up with a classic non-denial denial:
I am not personally aware of any cash settlement relating to sexual harassment charges to Mr. Cain.
Further entertainment is scheduled for later today, when Cain will appear on Fox News and, no-doubt, spout off further complaints about the "liberal media."
También publicado en español. Véase el texto a continuación.
The current "guest" worker programs, temporary visa programs, have been termed "close to slavery" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. We must be wary of the value of any piece of legislation that is proposed by Tea Party Congressman Raul Labrador. I wouldn't elevate these suggestions or their sponsors as 'interesting,' rather as bait to divide the movement for immigrant rights." - Fred Hirsch
With Congress unable to agree on a comprehensive immigration overhaul, and with states taking immigration matters into their own hands, Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho thinks he has an idea that can draw bipartisan support, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Labrador, 43, who spent 15 years as an immigration attorney before riding the Republican wave to Congress last year, one of five Latino Republicans elected -- is right on the mark about some things:
Labrador said his party's immigration rhetoric is a turn-off for many Latino voters who might otherwise be inclined to vote Republican on social and fiscal issues.
"They don't feel welcome in the party, and I think that's a shame," he said. "I think we can change this."
Labrador said that if the party wants to remain relevant, it needs to welcome people of different backgrounds.
"I think it's happening nationally," he said. "We need to continue to have this conversation."
Labrador, a Republican, recently introduced a bill that would speed up applications for permanent residency to foreign-born graduate students who are offered jobs by U.S. employers in high-tech fields.
"Many of these students actually leave," he said in an interview. "They go back to their home country or to our competitors."
Not only would his legislation help boost the U.S. economy by keeping highly educated workers in the country, Labrador said, but it also would help encourage more American students to pursue math- and science-based careers. Labrador said his bill aims to shorten the waiting period for approval of work visas, which can take several years and can discourage talented workers from staying put. While the legislation wouldn't change the process, it would enable students to obtain visas once they've completed their paperwork, which should take no more than two years. read more »
"In Nampa the Gang of 4, (Mayor Tom Dale), (Councilwoman Pam)White, (Councilman Martin) Thorne and (Councilman Curtis) Homer have voted for every tax increase they could legally get away with including Urban Renewal which caused the 5% increase to 2012 taxes," writes Ronald M. Harriman on the Idaho Statesman website. "(Councilman) Stephen Kren is the only one who stood against these efforts and singly tried to stop the now infamous Bujak contract."
Here is some background.
According to the Idaho Press Tribune:
(Former Canyon County Prosecutor John) Bujak won over the hearts of voters and his fellow county officers with his sharp campaign to reorganize and improve county prosecutions followed by a first year in office where he appeared to do everything right and nothing wrong.
The idea of saving taxpayer dollars using economy of scale to prosecute Nampa misdemeanor and traffic cases seemed too good to pass up. Although the Idaho Press-Tribune and critics raised concerns about his plan to put proceeds into a private account, the law stood on his side.
In that context, county commissioners and the majority of the Nampa City Council agreed to the Bujak-controlled trust fund — the one that’s almost broke now even though he owes the county six figures.
But what is Kren's real and complete voting history on Bujak?
Nampa’s Nov. 8 city election ballot is dotted with well-known names. Incumbent Stephen Kren has spent 16 years on the council. Curtis Homer is a four-year council veteran who had been police chief for a dozen years. Some of the challengers should be familiar to voters as well: Bob Henry and Lance McGrath are making their third and second council runs, respectively. ... We believe McGrath and Homer provide the best combination of practical city experience and leadership, and get our endorsement. With nearly four years’ experience on Nampa’s Planning and Zoning Commission, McGrath would come to City Council with some valuable experience.
Kren has cultivated a reputation as a contrarian in his four terms on the council. There is certainly a place for a skeptic on any legislative body; for example, Kren wisely voted against Nampa’s ill-advised and poorly structured contract with former Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak. But for us, the edge goes to McGrath, because he has better ideas for the future. read more »
As your newly elected Boise City Council Member, I will focus on strengthening our local economy and supporting job creation initiatives – key ingredients that will make Boise the most livable city in the country. City leaders have the ability to assist in these efforts by building a great environment that allows businesses and communities to thrive. By working in partnership with key stakeholders, crafting innovative policies and legislation, and planning smart for the future, we can create a better tomorrow.
Through experience, I’ve learned that a small group of hard working citizens can accomplish anything. When people come together, ideas spread and solutions emerge. By working as a team with the City Council members, Mayor and citizens of Boise, I believe we will continue to discover new solutions to our unique challenges and implement plans to strengthen our local economy and create high paying jobs.
Over the years, I’ve spoken to thousands of citizens, businesses, and community leaders and listened to their concerns about our future. I’ve become passionately involved in the ongoing success of our city and want to do everything I can to preserve and enhance the qualities that make Boise unique. Below are just a few of the ideas I’ve developed and gathered by listening to our citizens. As I work to implement our ideas, I encourage you to continue sharing your thoughts on city issues and communicating your vision for a better Boise. This is our city. Let’s make it great.
I will work aggressively, yet diplomatically to strengthen our local economy and support job creation initiatives by:
Attracting new companies to Boise
Developing new and existing companies
Growing local businesses
Turning ideas into reality
Connecting people and pooling resources
Attracting more dollars into and circulating within Boise
In addition to strengthening our local economy, we must also continue working to make Boise the most livable city in the country. To work toward accomplishing this vision, I will focus on:
Building on Boise’s strengths
Expanding Boise’s public art and cultural diversity
Strengthening our commitment to quality education
Improving our transportation system
Encouraging more leaders
Tapping into new ideas and energy
Yours in service, Ben
Vote Ben Quintana for Boise City Council
PO Box 7734
Boise, ID 83707
These are Ben's ideas. What would you like to see? Share your ideas for Boise below.
GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain came down hard on immigration Saturday on the campaign trail, telling crowds in Tennessee that part of his policy would be to build an electrified fence on the Mexican border that could potentially kill anyone trying to enter the country illegally.
The New York Times relays Cain's description of the fence: "It's going to be 20 feet high. It’s going to have barbed wire on the top. It’s going to be electrified. And there’s going to be a sign on the other side saying, ‘It will kill you -- Warning.'"
He backed away from that proposal Sunday morning, however, saying he wasn't serious about the idea.
"That's a joke, David," he told NBC's David Gregory on "Meet The Press." "That's not a serious plan."
As you know, I will have no opponent in the election for Boise City Council. This good fortune is due to your early support and the impact of the strong campaign work we undertook over the summer. Thank you.
The fact that I do not have an opponent offers me a rare opportunity that I intend to maximize. I didn’t choose to lead to win elections. Short-term political victories are not the ultimate goal. Rather, advancing issues and policies that will have a positive impact on this great City is what really matters.
To that end, I’ll keep talking about these things and working hard to make my vision a reality. Boise’s future is too important to sit idly by just because I don’t have an opponent. In the weeks leading up to the election, I will be talking about Boise’s future – and what it takes to make us a model City in the West, creating a livable community that compares to no other.
The track record for Lauren McClean speaks for itself. She's worked to protect Boise’s foothills. McLean has worked hard to increase funding for schools. She has helped make new bus routes to meet neighborhood needs a reality. McLean has encouraged sustainable growth, community economic centers, urban agriculture and strong arts in Boise’s Comprehensive Plan. read more »
"Earlier this week, I predicted that Romney would not confront notoriously bigoted AFA radio host Bryan Fischer this morning when the two shared a stage at the Values Voter Summit."
Brooks continued, "I was wrong. And I'm glad."
Rather than taking a characteristically pragmatic and passive response to Fischer's anti-Mormon (and anti-everyone-else) rants, Romney said:
Almost all Americans live for a purpose greater than ourselves. Our heritage of religious faith and tolerance has importantly shaped who we have become as a people. We must continue to welcome faith into the public square and allow it to flourish. Our government should respect religious values, not silence them. We will always pledge our allegiance to a nation under God.
Our values ennoble the citizen, and strengthen the nation. We should remember that decency and civility are values too. One of the speakers who will follow me today, has crossed that line. Poisonous language does not advance our cause. It has never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind. The blessings of faith carry the responsibility of civil and respectful debate. The task before us is to focus on the conservative beliefs and the values that unite us – let no agenda, narrow our vision or drive us apart.
And I'm most inspired by the response of Pocatello's Tamara Code:
"What I can't figure out is why either issue is an issue. Who cares about color and you can be whatever religion you want. Who cares!!!!!!"
A preview story describing Portland Center Stage artistic director Chris Coleman's approach -- including casting African American actors -- to Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" ran in The Oregonian and on OregonLive.com last month.
Several online commenters charged the production with racist discrimination against white performers.
Several online commenters charged the production with racist discrimination against white performers. "If a casting call went out for white actors only, all negroes including Al Sharpton would be marching up and down NE MLK," wrote a commenter using the name "kedsokedso." "That's For Sure" wrote: "the black community should be up in arms." Others took it as politically correct, politically motivated or gimmick.
Was this simply an overt expression of the covert racism that plays out daily in the corners of progressive Portland's psyche? After all, though Oregon opted not to become a slave state when we joined the Union, we also made it illegal for African Americans to live here (a law that stayed on the books until 1926). And while communities back East were forced to have difficult, sometimes violent, conversations about how to develop a more equitable society in the 1960s and '70s, Oregon was able to delay that conversation a lot longer, largely because of our more homogeneous makeup (our African American population today is still only 6.4 percent of the whole).
The director continues:
Was it the idea of this very traditionally "American" (re: white) musical being handed over to a different population that felt so offensive?" he continues. "You couldn't really argue that it was somehow "unfair" to cast African Americans in roles traditionally offered to whites. After all, there are about 100 productions of "Oklahoma!" mounted in a given year, with ensembles ranging from 18 to 30, which means that about 150,000 white actors have had a shot at the roles since 1950 (subtracting the first seven years of the play's life just as a handicap). But something clearly bugged this commenter.
Others noted how there have been all-white productions of The Wiz and Dream Girls for years. So what's the big deal? Why not just enjoy the theater?
And that pesky little thing called historical fact also pops up. Coleman cites that, of the 1.4 million residents of the Oklahoma Territory the year before it became a state (1906, the year the story is set), 137,000 were African American. William Loren Katz's book Black People Who Made the Old West speaks of how there were 50 all-black towns. A third of cowboys were black. There was a move to make Oklahoma an all-black state and Tulsa boasted the highest concentration of African American wealth in the country.
And if you dont think that black couple in the White House is bad enough:
CNN reports that though Daniel Craig is about to embark on his third adventure as 007, speculation already abounds as to who will replace him. One name that has been the subject of intrigue is Idris Elba, the English actor best known for his role as intellectually fierce drug king Stringer Bell in HBO's landmark series "The Wire." That would make him the non-white James Bond -- an idea which Craig himself first suggested after Barack Obama was elected president back in 2008 -- and something Elba endorsed, if mildly, in an interview.
"I got what it takes to do it. I can run around, flirt with ladies and drink. Plus I'm English," he said.
Chris Christie’s political advisers are working to determine whether they could move fast enough to set up effective political operations in Iowa and New Hampshire in the wake of a relentless courtship aimed at persuading Mr. Christie, the governor of New Jersey, to plunge into the race for the Republican presidential nomination, according to operatives briefed on the preparations, the New York Times reports.
I am more and more convinced that the whole Republican presidential contest is actually just a sanity test -- anyone who thinks that any of the people running are qualified to be president of the United States is certifiably nuts!
The latest jobs report from the labor department was dismal for a lot of reasons, but perhaps most striking was the picture it painted of racial inequality in the job market.
While high unemployment is affecting all sectors of the population in this tough economy, African-Americans are by far the hardest-hit demographic, the Star Ledger reports. Nationally, black unemployment reached 16.7 percent last month — the highest level since 1984 — even as the jobless rate for whites fell to 8 percent, according to the U.S. Labor Department.