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

Nuttier than squirrel poop

Jim Hightower, writing for AlterNet, has got the Bushwackos pegged:

The Nuttiness of King George the W

After years of studious analysis and sober reflection, I've come to this measured conclusion about the Bushites: These people are nuts!

When I presented this blunt conclusion in my latest book, Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush, several peers of establishment punditry said, Oh, Hightower, surely you don't mean "nuts." Robust corporatists, yes. Even exuberant empire builders for their conservative worldview –- but surely Bush-Cheney-Ashcroft-Rumsfeld & Company are not, you know, extremists who would try to superimpose their own Orwellian, Strangelovian, AynRandian, Jerry Fallwellian ideology over America's democratic ideals and institutions...right?

Wrong. They're insane –- loopy zealots fueled by their own extremist fumes to implement their plutocratic, autocratic, imperialistic vision of America – and it's time we stopped beating around the bush about it.

Click here to read the full AlterNet article. Kudos to Bill over at Coyote's Tale for the catch.

"I am my brother's keeper"

Now let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued and they must be defeated. John Kerry knows this. And just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men who served with him in Vietnam, President Kerry will not hesitate one moment to use our military might to keep America safe and secure. John Kerry believes in America. And he knows it's not enough for just some of us to prosper. For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga.

A belief that we are connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief — I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper — that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.

Barack Obama. Remember his name. You're going to be hearing a lot about him in the future.

Someone on DailyKos explained it something like this: "That speech was so good, I had to have a cigarette afterwards!" What I can tell you is, that speech went to 11.

If you have RealPlayer, watch the speech here.

To me, it's like watching Michael Jordan come out on the court for his first professional basketball game. The first time you see him do his thing, your mind shifts 90-degrees and all you can say is "whoa!"

This guy's got game.

Howard Dean and others speak tonight at Convention

Last evening's lineup at the Democratic National Convention was terrific -- VP Gore, Presidents Carter and Clinton, Senator Clinton and more. And the speech by Reverend David Alston, a swiftboat crewmate of John Kerry in Viet Nam, was compelling and moving.

Tonight we have Governor Howard Dean, M.D., Senator Ted Kennedy, up-and-comer Barack Obama of Illinois giving the keynote speech, Ron Reagan and Teresa Heinz Kerry, just to name a few.

I recommend viewing the convention on C-SPAN -- more coverage, less babble.

Here's the lineup -- remember, all times are Eastern.

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm (Other events happening here but not listed. For full list click here.)

The Honorable Edward Kennedy

United States Senator, Massachusetts

Honorary Chair, Democratic National Committee

Satellite feed from Chicago, Illinois

The Honorable Richard Gephardt

U.S. House of Representatives, Missouri

The Honorable Tom Daschle

United States Senate, South Dakota

Democratic Leader

Satellite feed from Des Moines, Iowa

The Honorable Carol Mosley-Braun

Former United States Senator, Illinois

9:00 pm to 11:00 pm  read more »

Want to make more $$ and pay lower taxes? Vote Democrat!

Financial expert Andrew Tobias, from his speech last night at the convention:

If you're like my friend who gets $3.2 million a year in dividends from a stock he inherited, you are saving $800,000 a year in taxes, which is $800,000 a year he never asked for, $800,000 a year he doesn't need, and -- because we don't have it -- $800,000 a year we are borrowing from our children. If you're like him, you're doing great.

But if you're like most folks, you didn't get $800,000. And the tax cut you did get was offset by higher local taxes and rising tuition and health care costs.

John Kerry will keep the cuts for people making below $200,000 and cut taxes further for 98 percent of Americans. But he'll roll back the cuts for the wealthiest Americans, because with a half trillion dollar deficit, those are cuts we can't afford.

Now let me say something else. It's a historical fact: the stock market does better under a Democrat than a Republican. The job market does better under a Democrat than a Republican. And you can bet both will do better under John Kerry than under this Republican. So if you care about your money -- vote Democrat!

As goes Boise Cascade, so go other Idaho industries?

Randy Stapilus at Ridenbaugh Press breaks down what the changes to Boise Cascade really mean to the Boise area. As they sell off their wood and paper division and move to Illinois, it begs the question: is this an isolated incident, or the possible beginning of an industry exodus?

Click here and look for the article titled "A twisting good-bye."

Idaho food stamp program managed in India

By Sen. Clint Stennett
and Rep. Wendy Jaquet

It is disturbing that part of the work managing Idaho's food stamp program is being subcontracted to a company in India.

An Associated Press story recently reported the fact that Idahoans who have questions about their food stamp debit-style cards, call in to an automated system which if unable to answer, directs these calls overseas. According to the story the system fields about 150,000 calls per month and about 1,100 are sent to the call center in India.  read more »

The GOP doesn't bother to give before taking it away

Remember the story about the tigers who chased each other around a tree until they eventually turned into butter? If Sen. Larry Craig and his buddies in D.C. keep this up, we're gonna have to whip up a big ol' batch of flapjacks:

Few projects in the current deeply divided Congress have had the support of 63 senators, including 27 Republicans and 12 committee chairmen, only to still end up blocked by the Senate majority leader.

Yet that's just what Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) did this month with a modestly useful little immigration bill. Fearing a reaction from the extreme conservative wing of the GOP, the White House asked the measure's sponsor, Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho), not to offer it up. And for good measure, it asked Frist not to let it come to a vote if Craig did present it.

Needless to say, the measure died

Click here to read the full editorial from the L.A. Times (free registration required).

Craig says he'll re-introduce the bill this fall. Maybe he could also scrape up enough money so the children of those migrant workers could go to school instead of being stuck in the fields.

What do Idahoans do when high-paying jobs disappear?

Good article in yesterday's Idaho Statesman on the loss of jobs that pay well here in the Gem State. Too many Idahoans are sinking in debt, filing for bankruptcy, and without the most basic of health insurance.

There are lots of questions that have to be asked to determine how we got to this point, and to help Idaho decide which direction to take for the future.

Unfortunately, I don't think there are going to be any easy solutions.

But in Idaho and other states, good-paying manufacturing jobs are disappearing, and they're being replaced with service industry jobs that don't pay as well and offer few, if any, benefits.

Idaho has lost more than 8,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000. The top 7,000 of those jobs had an average annual wage of $40,939. Over the same period, more than 22,000 service jobs were created, but two-thirds of those had an average salary of just $19,278.

As a result, 34 percent of the state's working-age population went without health insurance during all or part of 2002-03, and lingering credit problems forced many families deeper into debt and contributed to a record 9,000 bankruptcy filings in 2003.

...  read more »

The Official Convention Website plus New & Improved Idaho Democratic Party site

They'll also have gavel-to-gavel webcasts from the convention floor. If you can't get to a TV, or if it's not on the tube, it's the next best thing. Click on the image to go there.

The Idaho Democratic Party has updated the design of their website, and it looks good! Executive Director Maria Weeg is in Boston and will be blogging live during the conference. Be sure to click on the IDP graphic above and keep up to date on our state delegates' adventures in Beantown.

Stenseng for Senate Campaign Endorsements

Ian Stenseng's Senate campaign has recently been endorsed by:


National Association of Social Workers

Unity -- all for one, one for America

During the primary, we Democrats fight like lions over the last wildebeest at the water hole. That's the way it should be -- the last man standing has shown he's tough enough to take anything that can be thrown at him. John Kerry has proven himself to be that man.

Next Thursday, Senator Kerry will accept his party's nomination for President of the United States, and every one of his Democratic challengers will be giving him their full support, including the man who wrote this a few days ago:

For the past two and a half years, I have led a national effort for peace, for social and economic justice and health care for all. My campaign reached every state and territory. We participated in every primary and caucus. We pointed our party towards new directions. I am here to say that the next critical step we must take is to help elect John Kerry the next President of the United States.

Today I am happy to endorse the Kerry-Edwards ticket. And I look forward to helping to lead the way to elect John Kerry President and John Edwards Vice President of the United States.  read more »

Article to go in the CDA Press

Let’s talk facts.

I keep hearing folks on the right say that Sept. 11th “changed everything.” But what does that really mean? Sept. 11th changed our lives in many profound ways, but it sure didn’t change “everything.” Sept. 11th did not give this administration a blank check to fabricate evidence for war with Iraq. Nor did it allow muzzling of disagreement and dissent.

So let me say loud and clear, Mr. Wood, I disagree with you. And so does the 9/11 commission.
According to the commission’s report, there was no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda. “We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."  read more »

Time for Friday's edition of "Bury the News"

When people and organizations are forced to release news that might not be flattering to themselves, they usually do it late on a Friday afternoon. That way it won't get much attention over the weekend, and come Monday morning will have been largely forgotten.

Today's topsoil-covered tidings come from none other than the Bush Administration. This afternoon the White House announced that Dubya's military records -- the ones they said a few weeks ago had been accidentally destroyed -- suddenly re-appeared.

The Pentagon on Friday released payroll records from President Bush's 1972 service in the Alabama National Guard, saying its earlier contention the records were destroyed was an "inadvertent oversight."

...  read more »

Rant and Roll!

As I reviewed the local newspaper editorial sections, wow, did I read some amusing articles. I find it engaging to try to understand the minds of people who sit in front of Victoria's Secret and protest.

I note that Idaho Representative Lenore “why can’t I take a gun on the plane” Barrett is taking the hard line. Gee, that’s a shocker! Lenore is known for her no taxes stance, which also means no education, health and welfare, road repair, and of course, her love for the minorities. In her article, she gives the Disney version of the Alamo as an example of hard line. “The volunteers refused to retire from their exposed position. (Talk about hard line!)” If my feeble remembrance of history is correct, what actually happened is that General Santa Ana would not let them surrender. They tried to negotiate with the General, but he took the hard line and decided to slaughter them as an example to the rest. I think that’s the same way the state workers feel every year as Lenore votes down any raises.  read more »

Overtime Pay in Danger

Here's an alert we received from Working Families e-Activist Network:

The Bush administration's overtime pay take-away will be a huge windfall to Big Business and employers‹and a pay cut for millions of working families.

In fact, a new study from the Economic Policy Institute predicts that 6 million workers stand to lose their right to overtime pay beginning Aug. 23, when the Bush Fair Labor Standards Act changes are scheduled to take effect. The Bush Administration went forward with the new rules despite widespread concern over its impact from Republicans as well as  read more »

New campaign video up at

short video introducing my candidacy, and a bit about my background. Check it out!

A Berger, Shake and Fried...

As the 9/11 commission releases its report today, the Republican party is trying a smear campaign on former Clinton national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger.

Back on October 2nd, Berger was reviewing papers at the National Archives. He had previously been there in September, but little did Berger realize that on his return the staff was having him watched. They had even coded the papers he had requested. Employees contacted Berger on October 4th and said some of the papers, concerning Clinton’s fight on terrorism, were missing. Berger searched his files, found the papers, then called the National Archives and returned them the next day.

So if all this happened back last October, then why is it a big deal now, and why two days before the 9/11 report? This is a smoke screen for the bad review of the Bush administration's handling of terrorism. This stinks all the way to the top. How can you not see it?! I had a really hard time watching the Republican goons line up and demand an investigation on Berger, but I did laugh as Hatchet Man Tom Delay was out there. Here is one of the biggest crooks in the nation, under investigation himself for far worse -- talk about calling the kettle black.

Here we have one of the most important reports of our time and the Republican radicals are trying to downplay it with slander and cheap politics. It shows how desperate and how low their party is. As you scroll down 43rd State Blues, you see blog by blog how deceitful, abusive, and down-right foul the GOP right-wing is, both local and national. They will do anything, illegal or no, to hold on to power!

Important times are ahead, bloggers. We must keep up the fight against this suppression of facts by Bush and his administration.

Also, its pretty darn fun...

Latino Voters go to Kerry, Democrats

Bush was really counting on the Latino vote this coming November to help pull him over the finish line. According to the Washington Post, it's not going to happen.

Kerry Has Strong Advantage Among Latino Voters

Majority of Hispanics Surveyed Disapprove of Bush's Handling of Economy and Iraq War

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) holds a strong lead over President Bush among the nation's Hispanic voters, with a majority rejecting the president's handling of the economy and the war in Iraq, according to a survey by The Washington Post, Univision and the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute.

At a time when Bush and Kerry are running about even among all registered voters, Kerry enjoys a 2 to 1 advantage over Bush among Latino registered voters. Hispanics give Bush lower approval ratings than the overall population does, and the poll shows that the bulk of the Latino community continues to identify with the Democratic Party.

The findings suggest that, at this point in the campaign, Bush is falling short of his goal of notably improving on the 35 percent share of the Hispanic vote he received four years ago, although his advisers said they believe he is still on track to do so. Kerry advisers, in contrast, said they are determined to keep Bush from winning as much of the Hispanic vote as he did in 2000.

Latinos understand what so many who call themselves Republicans don't -- unless you're already in a high income class, when you vote for Bush and the right-wing agenda he leads, you're voting against your own best interests. The Bush/Cheney crowd want your vote and the power it confers, but other than mouthing platitudes, they really don't give a damn about you. They've got theirs, and lots of it, and if you don't, well, too bad.

The American way isn't about giving those who need help a handout, it's about giving folks a hand up. Democrats and moderate Republicans understand this, and the Bush administration never will. That's why, come November 2nd, they're gone.

On being a conservative – or not

Here's a great letter to the editor by Stephen Watts, a former Democratic candidate for the Idaho Legislature and Bonneville County Sheriff.

Hey, you Dems in Bonneville County -- get this guy back on a ballot.

Bush Admin goes after Migrant Children

In Idaho, if your livelihood is agriculture, you'd probably have an even tougher time getting by if not for the use of migrant workers. And lots of these workers have families and children traveling with them.

Rather than having these kids work in the fields to help out their families economically -- to the detriment of their own education -- the U.S. has for years funded a federal program that pays these children minimum wage if they stay in school. But, yet again, George Bush has chosen to yank needed assistance away from those who can least afford it.

School Funds Cut for Migrant Workers' Kids

Funding is being eliminated for a federal program that pays the children of migrant workers across the country to stay in school instead of working in fields.

The Department of Labor program pays some young people minimum wage to stay in school while migrating with their parents, who travel across the country looking for seasonal farm work.

Coordinators in 31 states and Puerto Rico were told there was no money to operate the program this year, leaving them to find alternate sources, petition Congress or drop the program.

"This is a remarkable abandonment of the most vulnerable youth," said David Strauss, executive director of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs. "I don't know what's going to happen to those kids."

Repeated telephone messages left this week for Labor Department officials weren't returned.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Idaho agriculture relies on migrant workers to survive, yet Bush and the radical right have no qualms telling those whose labor is so necessary to us that the education of their kids is of no regard.

Republican politicians constantly profess their concern for children, yet when it comes time to put their money where their mouths are, they habitually claim poverty. Strange, when it's one of their pet pork projects, they can always find the dough they need, but when it come to the needs of children -- especially dark-skinned ones -- they're unable to come up with a lousy $10 million for funding.

I hope the next time one of the radical right sits down to a meal harvested with the sweat and effort of migrant labor, they think about those kids toiling in the hot sun instead of getting the education they need. Maybe, if they have even a modicum of feeling, they'll find it difficult to swallow.

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