Anonymous users are allowed to read content and comments. To be given the opportunity to post comments and stories, and be allowed other access, please register with our site.
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!
Leif Skyving literally fighting for you! See Leif's Facebook page for more photos of of him in action.
"After a long, testy debate last week, the Caldwell School Board voted 3-2 to retain its membership with the Idaho School Board Association," reads an editorial in the September 18 Idaho Press Tribune.
Those who follow the Caldwell School Board know Skyving is also among the board’s more liberal members. He ran as a Democrat for a seat in the Idaho Senate against former Sen. John McGee and staunchly opposed key components of Idaho Schools Superintendent Tom Luna’s Students Come First education plan. ...
So when the ISBA encouraged Idaho lawmakers earlier this year to adopt key elements of failed Proposition 1 — limiting conditions of teachers’ salary contracts to one year, giving districts permission to reduce salaries and shorten teacher contracts, and allowing school boards to operate under the district’s “last, best offer” if negotiations stall — Skyving was not amused. He and Amy Rojas voted to end Caldwell’s affiliation with ISBA, and he cited the endorsement of that legislation as a major reason. ...
If Skyving and other board members believe they can get by without ISBA services, they should come to a rational, deliberate, thoughtful conclusion and end their affiliation. But terse, emotional arguments based on policy disagreements shouldn’t play a role in the ultimate verdict.
I was disappointed to see the Press-Tribune editorial board on Sept. 18 question my motives for making a motion to save the Caldwell School district $10,000 per year by withdrawing our membership from the Idaho School Board Association.
Turning the editorial in to a partisan issue by using politically charged phrases such as “Skyving is one of the more liberal members of the school board and has run as a Democrat against John McGee,” the IPT claimed that I made my decision on a “rash” and “emotional” basis because I was known to oppose the parts of the defeated “Luna Laws” that the ISBA had helped usher back in using lobbyists paid for with tax dollars.
Had the editorial board members actually attended the school board meetings in question, they would have heard my complete statements. Yes, I was opposed to the “Luna Laws,” as were the majority of voters, and yes, the ISBA’s use of taxpayer dollars to nullify the will of the people did offend me.
They also would’ve heard me say that this action had: “awakened me to take a close look at what we are paying the ISBA and what we are getting in return” and that when I found we were paying $10,000 per year for services that we already receive through two law firms that we employ, I believed we could use that money for something that would actually benefit the kids.
As a trustee, I don’t see saving the Caldwell school district $10,000 as a “liberal” or “conservative” issue; I see it as common sense.
To further the irony, the reason the IPT gave for not endorsing my candidacy when I ran for state senate was that I opposed the state of Idaho borrowing $900 million and paying a whopping $50 million per year in interest for road construction. The IPT did not agree with me that we should “pay as we go” so as not to burden Idaho taxpayers with this huge debt and interest payments.
Being fiscally conservative seems too “liberal” a concept for them to accept.
And in true tag-team form, local educator Bob Solomon hopped in the ring today:
The IPT editorial board had no right to personally tar Caldwell School Board member Leif Skyving with those terrible words: “Democrat” and “liberal.” Had they reviewed the agendas for the last several months, they would realize that a long-planned policy decision was being made after strong debate.
Skyving pointed out that the ISBA “services” had not been used for over two years, that some of the “services” were duplicative, and that the $10,000 could be used for other pressing needs. Sounds rather conservative to me.
Then he proposed (what audacity!) that the board adopt “benchmarks” (it refused) by which to evaluate whether the board’s experience with the ISBA helped the citizens of Caldwell. Note: everything in education today is evaluated by benchmarks.
So in what way does it make sense for the IPT to attribute partisanship to a public servant, serving in a non-partisan office without remuneration, who questions excessive government expenses and insists on accountability? In the old days this was called “good government.”
For more information see facebook.com/ILikeLeif and be sure to support and vote for this terrific candidate for District 10!
"Working hard to lock down the baby vote!" - Leif Skyving
If you throw me from the window, I'll leave a grieving wife. Bring me back, but through the door, and you'll see someone giving life! What am I?
If you want the answer, simply make a contribution to the IDLCC Victory Fund by CLICKING HERE. The answer will come to you in our thank you note for your contribution! Thanks for your support of Democrats in Idaho.
IDLCC is on your side.
Senator Elliot Werk
Click here to donate online:
Would you rather write a check?
Our mailing address is:
PO Box 445
Please refer to this message in the memo line of your check.
Paid for by the Idaho Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, Dan Schmidt Treasurer
Sen. Branden Durst’s recent op-ed critiquing Superintendent Luna’s “end around” the Idaho legislature, and his subsequent analysis of GOP political genealogy, has merit, especially as it relates to a newly minted news organization called Idaho Education News (IEN).
Funded by The Albertson Foundation, IEN started seven months ago in order to advance the school privatization agenda of Chairman Joe Scott. They bought the Boise State University name, where IEN is housed, simply by donating millions of dollars. Strategically, Albertson hired away established reporters Kevin Richert, Jennifer Swindell and Clark Corbin to do its messaging work, under the auspices of their new identity. Albertson uses the B.S.U. trademark as a PR gimmick to expedite credibility within Idaho.
Albertson and IEN blur the arena of ethical journalism, which situation is different from Boise State’s relationship with National Public Radio, where Boise State Public Radio, an NPR affiliate, is housed. In this case, NPR is an already-established news entity with decades-long experience and an international reputation for quality and unbiased reporting. IEN is far from achieving NPR’s status.
While I wouldn’t say IEN produces “pseudo journalism,” as Sen. Durst suggests, I will say they have work to do. If IEN is not careful, they will be seen as the propaganda arm of Scott and Albertson, much like IdahoReporter.com is seen as the propaganda machine of The Idaho Freedom Foundation and Executive Director Wayne Hoffman (and whomever else funds the IFF, as Hoffman refuses to publicly disclose its corporate master).
I queried Betsy Russell, president of the Capitol Correspondents Association, as to why IEN received full press credentials as an upstart news organization and IdahoReporter has not. Her response, that “All three of their reporters are B.S.U. employees. The grant from the Albertson Foundation went to B.S.U. No one involved with the operation is involved in lobbying, which is key to credentialing. That is why IdahoReporter.com doesn’t qualify; it is a lobbying organization headed by a registered lobbyist.”
In a recent IEN article, cross-published by the Idaho Press-Tribune on July 19 titled, “Nampa, Vallivue among districts chosen for Idaho Leads program,” such a disclosure was not placed. Whenever IEN reports on projects associated with The Albertson Foundation it is, essentially, reporting on itself. Not to disclose such a conflict of interest is entirely unethical. The Idaho Press-Tribune, and news outlets statewide, need to be cognizant.
While IEN does a decent job allowing for a diverse cadre of op-eds, they have much work to do regarding selection of news topics and the angle and trajectory from which they report on these topics.
IEN reporters tend to report fairly on education issues occurring within Idaho state government (legislature, Idaho state school board, Idaho Department of Education, and within a handful of school districts). However. Idaho’s public schools, teachers and students are doing amazing things, especially in the current political environment rife with policymakers who despise Idaho’s public school system, its teachers, and its outcomes. IEN needs desperately to broaden its content and reporting to include the many successes occurring within Idaho’s public schools – not just charter schools – both large and small, across the state, especially rural schools, and especially regarding traditionally underserved populations.
This bias towards charter schools and against public schools casts a long shadow across IEN’s early body of work.
Finally, IEN has not examined how the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is drafting many of Idaho’s so called education reform laws behind closed doors with legislators, lobbyists and politicians at the table – but not the public – which practice circumvents democracy.
Idaho Education News needs to report on the elephant in the room.
Travis Manning is executive director of The Common Sense Democracy Foundation of Idaho and can be reached at email@example.com.
Idaho State Rep. Mat Erpelding will raise money for the Idaho Redside Foundation this August. He will attend to hike the nearly 1,000 mile Idaho Centennial Trail in 40 days. He hopes to raise money for a nonprofit cause. He is also attention to Idaho’s rural economies and the value of our public lands.
Did you know that in 2012 the Idaho Outdoor Recreation Industry reported $6.3 billion in sales? That compares to $7.7 billion in sales for Idaho’s crops and livestock. Everyone knows how important agriculture is to Idaho’s rural communities. Few understand that Idaho’s Outdoor Recreation Industry, which is heavily reliant on public lands,
has similar impact.
The Idaho’s Redside Foundation is a new organization that supports Idaho’s guiding and outfitting workers. These workers are often Idaho’s only ambassadors to visitors from out of state. Yet, this working population struggles with the ups and downs of seasonal work. Redside offers health care assistance, financial counseling, and much more to these adventurous, brave, and hearty workers.
Mat believes that Idaho’s rural communities benefit economically and socially from the commercial outdoor recreation industry, and that guiding and outfitting are integral to long-term economic wellbeing in Idaho. Therefore, Mat strongly believes in Redside’s mission to preserve the health and vitality of Idaho’s commercial guiding community.
Donate now to support Mat’s ambitious goal and spread awareness of The Redside Foundation:
A little more about Mat…
Mat Erpelding is a high-altitude climbing guide, an educator, a business owner, and a member of the Idaho House of Representatives. In 1993, Mat moved to Idaho to attend Idaho State University, and now lives in Boise. A vibrant and healthy community with exceptional access to wildlands drew Mat to Boise, and it is why he loves Idaho.
Mat is a co-owner of Experiential Adventures, which he founded in 2004. Experiential Adventures LLC specializes in leadership development, group facilitation, and teaching collaboration using experiential education as its foundation. EA has grown over the years to include clients such as the military, higher education institutions, and corporations seeking to improve their organizational culture.
Until December 2012, Mat was an instructor at the College of Western Idaho Dept. of Physical Education, specializing in training teachers to use experiential education in the classroom. Mat is an adjunct faculty member in the Leadership Studies Minor at Boise State University.Mat has also worked in the Division of Student Affairs at different colleges and universities including Boise State University, California State University, Chico, Evergreen State College, and Texas Tech University. Mat recently co-edited a textbook for outdoor leadership programs called Outdoor Program Administration.
In addition to being elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 2012, Mat has served as the Vice Chair of the Ada County Democrats, and was named “Activist of the Year” by the Idaho Democratic Party at the 2012 Frank Church Banquet. Mat understands the challenges faced by Idaho legislators. He worked hard to support the members of both the house and senate by organizing and preparing the 2012 Idaho Jobs and Opportunity Blueprint during the legislative
session. He has pledged to devote much of his career to public service to help build sustainable urban and rural communities in Idaho.
Studies Minor at Boise State University. Mat has also worked in the Division of Student Affairs at different colleges and universities including Boise State University, California State University, Chico, Evergreen State College, and Texas Tech University. Mat recently co-edited a textbook for outdoor leadership programs called Outdoor Program Administration.
He is the Past President of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE), and in 2006 was awarded the Jim Rennie Leadership Award for outstanding service and dedication to the Association. In 2010, Mat was awarded the Wilderness Education Association’s Instructor of the year for bringing innovative and substantial curriculum improvements to the organization. He ranks among the Idaho Business Review’s “40 Most Accomplished Under 40.”
As a high-altitude mountain guide, Mat has reached the 20,320 ft summit of Denali (Mt. McKinley) in four out of five attempts while helping more than twenty clients reach the top as well. Mat approaches mountaineering much as Willi Unsoeld did as a member of the first American Everest expedition in 1963. Willi said, “The final test for me of the legitimacy of the [mountaineering] experience is ‘How well does your experience of the sacred in nature enable you to cope more effectively with the problems of mankind when you come back to the city?’” Mat’s passion for wilderness has shaped his belief that civic engagement is essential to living in our community.
In addition to being elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 2012, Mat has served as the Vice Chair of the Ada County Democrats, and was named “Activist of the Year” by the Idaho Democratic Party at the 2012 Frank Church Banquet. Mat understands the challenges faced by Idaho legislators. He worked hard to support the members of both the house and senate by organizing and preparing the 2012 Idaho Jobs and Opportunity Blueprint during the legislative session. He has pledged to devote much of his career to public service to help build sustainable urban and rural communities in Idaho.
Last year, 93 percent of the nation's growth was African American, Asian, and Latino. The other seven percent were white immigrants. Republicans are losing every single one of those groups by wide margins.
A party that wants to keep getting elected would do something about this.
House Republican leadership’s outreach to the Hispanic community ran smack into a tea party wall on Wednesday.
Outside the Capitol, a tea-party-fueled rally on immigration put the spotlight on the dilemma facing Speaker John A. Boehner. The Ohio Republican met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Wednesday and hopes to cure his party’s huge demographic challenge with Hispanics by passing an immigration overhaul this year. But the tea party energy on display outside the Capitol, which catapulted him into power in 2010, has turned on the speaker.
The contrast was on full display at an ill-timed news conference held by GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington outside the Capitol in the House Triangle, competing with the larger, daylong anti-immigration-bill news conference and rally on the East Front.
McMorris Rodgers had gathered faith-based leaders of the Latino community on Capitol Hill to, she said, talk about “our shared goals for America” with a half-dozen of her colleagues as part of a larger outreach effort.
Deaths exceeded births among non-Hispanic white Americans for the first time in at least a century, according to new census data, a benchmark that heralds profound demographic change.
There was still a net increase in non-Hispanic white people because of, ironically, immigration. But by railing against immigrants, Republicans are pissing those white people off too.
These developments were unexpected.
The disparity between deaths and births in the year that ended last July surprised experts. They expected that the aging white population would eventually shrink, as it has done in many European countries, but not for another decade or so.
So we're 10 years ahead of schedule of the extinction of the white race, or the "demographic winter" as the white supremacists see it. Boy will this give them reason to freak out even further! And you want more irony? Demographers speculate that the reason for the accelerated timeline is ... people have no money.
He attributed the precipitous shift in part to the recession [...]
The transition will mean that “today’s racial and ethnic minorities will no longer be dependent on older whites for their economic well-being,” said William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution. In fact, the situation may be reversed. “It makes more vivid than ever the fact that we will be reliant on younger minorities and immigrants for our future demographic and economic growth,” he said.
The viability of programs like Social Security and Medicare, Dr. Frey said, “will be reliant on the success of waves of young Hispanics, Asians and blacks who will become the bulwark of our labor force.” The issues of minorities, he added, “will hold greater sway than ever before.”
Known as Navajo Code Talkers, they were young Navajo men who transmitted secret communications on the battlefields of WWII. At a time when America's best cryptographers were falling short, these modest sheepherders and farmers were able to fashion the most ingenious and successful code in military history. They drew upon their proud warrior tradition to brave the dense jungles of Guadalcanal and the exposed beachheads of Iwo Jima. Serving with distinction in every major engagement of the Pacific theater from 1942-1945, their unbreakable code played a pivotal role in saving countless lives and hastening the war's end.
This stirring young adult tale recounts how a group of Navajo marines came to become major players in WWII victory in the face of horrendous racially biased treatment.
After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages during World War II in their native tongue.
In the measured tones of a Native American storyteller, Bruchac assumes the persona of a Navajo grandfather telling his grandchildren about his World War II experiences. Protagonist Ned Begay starts with his early schooling at an Anglo boarding school, where the Navajo language is forbidden, and continues through his Marine career as a "code talker," explaining his long silence until "de-classified" in 1969. Begay's lifelong journey honors the Navajos and other Native Americans in the military, and fosters respect for their culture. Bruchac's gentle prose presents a clear historical picture of young men in wartime, island hopping across the Pacific, waging war in the hells of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and Iwo Jima. Nonsensational and accurate, Bruchac's tale is quietly inspiring, even for those who have seen Windtalkers, or who have read such nonfiction works as Nathan Aaseng's Navajo Code Talkers (Walker, 1992), Kenji Kawano's Warriors: Navajo Code Talkers (Northland, 1990), or Deanne Durrett's Unsung Heroes of World War II: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers (Facts On File, 1998). For those who've read none of the above, this is an eye-opener. - School Library Journal
Bruchac is a highly acclaimed Abenaki children's book author, poet, novelist and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. Coauthor with Michael Caduto of the bestselling Keepers of the Earth series, Bruchac's poems, articles and stories have appeared in over 500 publications, from Akwesasne Notes and American Poetry Review to National Geographic and Parabola. He has authored more than 50 books for adults and children.
Code talkers were people who used obscure languages as a means of secret communication during wartime. The term is now usually associated with the United States soldiers during the world wars who used their knowledge of Native-American languages as a basis to transmit coded messages. In particular there were approximately 400-500 Native Americans in the United States Marine Corps whose primary job was the transmission of secret tactical messages. Code talkers transmitted these messages over military telephone or radio communications nets using formal or informally developed codes built upon their native languages. Their service improved communications in terms of speed of encryption at both ends in front line operations during World War II.
The name code talkers is strongly associated with bilingual Navajo speakers specially recruited during World War II by the Marines to serve in their standard communications units in the Pacific Theater. Code talking, however, was pioneered by Choctaw Indians serving in the U.S. Army during World War I. These soldiers are referred to as Choctaw code talkers.
Other Native American code talkers were deployed by the United States Army during World War II, including Cherokee, Choctaw, Lakota, Meskwaki, and Comanche soldiers. Soldiers of Basque ancestry were used for code talking by the U.S. Marines during World War II in areas where other Basque speakers were not expected to be operating.
Choctaws in training in World War I for coded radio and telephone transmissions
Six-year-old Ned Begay leaves his Navajo home for boarding school, where he learns the English language and American ways. At 16, he enlists in the U.S. Marines during World War II and is trained as a code talker, using his native language to radio battlefield information and commands in a code that was kept secret until 1969. Rooted in his Navajo consciousness and traditions even in dealing with fear, loneliness, and the horrors of the battlefield, Ned tells of his experiences in Hawaii, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. The book, addressed to Ned's grandchildren, ends with an author's note about the code talkers as well as lengthy acknowledgments and a bibliography. The narrative pulls no punches about war's brutality and never adopts an avuncular tone. Not every section of the book is riveting, but slowly the succession of scenes, impressions, and remarks build to create a solid, memorable portrayal of Ned Begay. Even when facing complex negative forces within his own country, he is able to reach into his traditional culture to find answers that work for him in a modern context. Readers who choose the book for the attraction of Navajo code talking and the heat of battle will come away with more than they ever expected to find. - Booklist
"They were a small band of warriors who created an unbreakable code from the ancient language of their people and changed the course of modern history." read more »
If you’re familiar with Black children’s book publishing, then you might know why Just Us Books was founded. Parents Wade and Cheryl Hudson were tired of searching for books that featured little brown boys and girls, and coming up with the same handful of titles. So they combined their experience in writing, marketing and art direction and launched Just Us Books in 1988 to publish children’s books that celebrate the diversity of Black history, culture and experiences, according to the company's website.
Raising their two children in Northern NJ, Wade and Cheryl found it difficult to find quality Black-interest books for children outside of Black History month. The couple decided to fill the void themselves, and went to work developing their own children's books. But publisher after publisher turned the couple down, some outwardly doubting the viability of the Black children's book market. After founding their own publishing company, with their signature brand AFRO-BETSR, the company's success quickly proved doubters wrong. This year Just Us Books celebrates its 25th anniversary.
From the start the company was dedicated to ensuring that these books would be available throughout the year—not just during Black History Month; to providing a creative venue for talented Black writers, illustrators, designers and other professionals; and most importantly to inspiring, encouraging and educating young people through reading by offering books with characters, stories and themes that reflected their lives as young Black people.
In addition to their roles as publishers, both Wade and Cheryl have cultivated dual careers as children's book authors. Wade's books include Jamal's Busy Day; Book of Black Heroes from A to Z; and Powerful Words. Cheryl's titles include Bright Eyes, Brown Skin; Hands Can and My Friend Maya Loves to Dance.
The Hudsons are also partners, with their children Katura and Stephan, in Hudson Publishing LLC, which recently founded Marimba Books, a new multicultural children's book imprint.
Over two decades ago Wade and Cheryl Hudson were parents on a desperate search for children's books that reflected the diversity of Black history, heritage and experiences. Disappointed by the limited number and their unreliable availability, the couple embarked upon a mission: to produce the kind of positive, vibrant Black-interest books that they wanted for their own two children. Combining their professional experience in marketing and graphic design, Wade and Cheryl developed a number of manuscripts including the AFRO-BETSR ABCBook, which taught the alphabet using Afrocentric themes and images. They began presenting their ideas to various publishing houses. Although most editors liked the concepts, the Hudsons received rejection after rejection. "There's no market for Black children's books," one editor said.
So in 1987 the Hudsons published the AFRO-BETSR A B C Bookthemselves. Thanks to targeted marketing and grassroots outreach, orders poured in from parents, teachers and Black bookstores before the book was even printed. In less than three months, 5,000 copies of the title had been sold.
"The response was phenomenal," recalls Wade. "We received so many letters from parents and teachers who said that the book was exactly what they were looking for." Some of the most touching feedback came from children.
We always knew that there was a tremendous need for books that Black children could relate to," says Cheryl. "But when we received letters written in crayon from 3 and 4-year old children who couldn't wait to show us that they could write the alphabet, or share drawings they did of their favorite AFRO-BETS R character, that really validated our belief and inspired us even more."
The Hudsons were so inspired, in fact, that when they published their second title, the AFRO-BETSR 123 Book a year later, they launched along with it their own publishing company. The couple had no prior experience running a company, but they stepped out on faith, believing that God was with them, withdrew all the money from their personal savings and set up shop in their home to start Just Us Books.
Move over Larry Craig, John McGee, and the rest. Idaho has made national headlines yet again.
Guess which political party is responsible ....
BOISE -- A federal judge has ruled that a state senator's wife overstepped her role as a legal assistant and had an "inappropriate" relationship with a convicted murderer who is suing the Idaho Department of Correction for sexual harassment.
In November, Renee McKenzie, wife of Republican Sen. Curt McKenzie of Nampa, was appointed by a federal court to help Lance Wood, who was imprisoned for life for his role in the 1988 kidnapping and torture slaying of a gay man in Utah. ...They had intercepted a letter the inmate wrote to McKenzie, which they determined was "clearly of a personal nature."
While not an attorney, she presented herself to prison guards as, “Renee McKenzie of McKenzie Law Offices” and was granted “unfettered access” with convicted murderer, kidnapper, and rapist Lance Wood, according to the Boise Guardian.
Wood is being housed at the Idaho Department of Corrections facility south of Boise and represents himself with no attorney in a civil case against a DOC worker before Winmill. He is a Utah inmate, serving his time in Idaho which is common when security issues arise.
Under these circumstances, prison officials determined that, at the very least, there was a strong infatuation between Wood and Ms. McKenzie, and that it would be dangerous for them to meet in isolation as they had been mistakenly allowed to do previously.
"If we can't find a way to draw sensible lines with guns that balance individual rights and the public interest, we may as well call the experiment with American democracy a failure." - Judge Larry Burns A conservative case for an assault weapons ban
The Alumni Association of
Northwest Nazarene University
invites you as our guest to a presentation by
The Honorable Larry Burns
U.S. Federal Judge for the Southern District of California
and alumnus of Northwest Nazarene University
Tuesday, the ninth of April, at 7:00 p.m.
in the N.N.U. Little Theatre
512 Holly Street
Judge Burns will share his perspective on the judicial confirmation process and how his faith influences his job.
He will also cover topics of interest likely including his most recent case that involves the mass shooting in Tucson.
Judge Burns will share his perspective on the judicial confirmation process and how his faith influences his job. He will also cover topics of interest likely including his most recent case that involves the mass shooting in Tucson.
Judge Burns attended NNU 1972-74 then transferred to Pt. Loma. He was appointed to office by President George W. Bush.
Born in Pasadena, California, Burns received a B.A. from Point Loma College in 1976 and a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1979. He was a Deputy district attorney of San Diego County, California from 1979 to 1985. He was an assistant U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of California from 1985 to 1997.
In 1997, Burns was appointed to serve as a magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. Burns was nominated by President George W. Bush on May 1, 2003, to a new seat on the Southern District of California created by 116 Stat. 1758. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 24, 2003 by a vote of 91-0. Burns received his commission on September 25, 2003.
On January 12, 2011, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit selected Burns to be the presiding judge for the trial of Jared Lee Loughner. Burns was selected, in part, for his prior experience with cases involving the federal death penalty. A judge from outside of Arizona was sought when all judges in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona recused themselves from the case due to their ties to the late John Roll, a federal judge who had been killed in the shooting.
On December 20, 2012; Burns wrote an op-ed column in the Los Angeles Times calling for a reinstatement of the federal assault weapons ban. In the article, Burns described himself as an ardent conservative and gun owner who nonetheless felt there was no "social utility" for high-capacity clips. Besides the 31-round magazine Loughner used in his Glock, Burns cited as examples the 100-round drum allegedly used by James Eagan Holmes in the 2012 Aurora shooting and the 30-round magazine used by Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Burns called for Congress to reinstate the ban without the grandfather clause of the original ban, which allowed those who already owned a weapon on the banned list to keep it. "If we can't find a way to draw sensible lines with guns that balance individual rights and the public interest," Burns wrote, "we may as well call the experiment with American democracy a failure."
Questions may be directed to the Alumni Office firstname.lastname@example.org or 208.467.8841 read more »
On Saturday, April 27th, 2013 the most anticipated cultural showcase in the Pacific Northwest returns to Boise State University. Considered to be one of the most dynamic, entertaining, and intellectually potent cultural showcases in the region, the Shades of Black Show continues to live up to its billing as a phenomenon.
This live performance explores the issues of culture and identity within the black experience through dance, spoken word and poetry, skits, stepping and song.
Created in 2003 at the University of Idaho by Kwapi Vengesayi and making its debut in January of 2004, the Shades of Black Show has become a cultural phenomenon bringing together campuses and communities from across the region.
The Shades of Black Show is a celebration of the different textures and dimensions of the black experience through the performing arts, a showcase that attempts to explore culture and identity through mediums of expression such as dance, spoken word/poetry, skits, stepping and song. This show has found a way to merge entertainment with education, tradition with contemporary values; an insightful and energetic blend of elements that has not only enriched the experience of those performing, but also the experience of those in the in attendance.
The Shades of Black Show is a celebration of a culture, not a race -
showcasing 'diversity' is one of our objectives and this is done by ensuring that each show has a universal message, and a diverse cast of participants, from performers to organizers.
Moreover, what makes this show unique is how it dedicates a lot of its efforts into ensuring that the talent showcased is a reflection of the area or campus that is hosting it.
This is done by devoting a lot of time and energy into creating a program that has strong local participation - this is could be in the form of performers, volunteer organizers, or local business sponsors.
From Boise State University to the University of Idaho, from Washington State University to Eastern Washington University and beyond, this show has enriched the multicultural experience of those who chose to participate or simply attend. In addition to this, it has not only helped highlight diversity on the campuses that host it, but has been a helpful ingredient with regards recruitment and retention objectives for those schools.
The show has had success throughout the Northwest as a way to build bridges with surrounding communities and has allowed the diversity within that same culture to inspire a sense of community within themselves.
Simplot Ballroom | Doors Open at 5pm (Seriously) | Free Admission
I first met TJ Thomson at an AFL-CIO labor day picnic in Boise a few years ago. I had felt disillusioned with the hostility and narrow-mindedness of many elected officials in Idaho's majority party.
So meeting this poised, balanced progressive was a silver lining in Idaho's cloudy sea of bad leadership.
TJ is well known throughout Idaho as an engaged citizen and respected policy analyst, program evaluator, and community organizer.
I also support TJ because he has kept his promises to you, helping to strengthen our area over the last 4 years. The list of accomplishments includes:
Added thousands of acres of open space to the protected column in our beautiful foothills.
Increased park space, including additional dog parks and expanded off-leash hours.
Expanded recreational opportunities, including the new Whitewater River Park.
Protected worker’s safety by eliminating smoking in bars.
Crime rates are at historic lows in the City of Boise.
Our bus system will soon expand services – accomplished during difficult economic times.
A strengthened recycling program, to include no-sort recycling and a glass pick-up option.
Implemented the vast majority of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies, as recommended for climate protection.
Protected all citizens from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Improved sidewalks and bicycle lanes. Increased cyclist safety on our streets.
Worked to attract new businesses to the area. Boise maintains one of Idaho's lowest unemployment rates.
Spear-headed first Living Wage Policy in Idaho. Setting a standard for local businesses to follow.
Check out all the great recognition Boise has received in recent years here: BOISE
A proud Idaho native and Air Force veteran, TJ Thomson has built over a decade of experience as a steward of fiscal responsibility at the federal, state, and private levels. TJ works for Idaho Power as a Certified Internal Auditor, promoting ethical and open business practices and efficient use of resources. As a former NASA policy analyst and program evaluator with the Idaho Legislature, TJ has valuable experience finding improvements and taxpayer savings in government programs and initiatives. An engaged citizen and active community organizer, TJ lives in West Boise with his wife Alisha, to whom he has been happily married for over a decade.
TJ has been happily married for over a decade to his wife, Alisha. Together, they enjoy the many wonderful aspects of living in Idaho, including: fishing, skiing, boating, biking and hiking in Boise’s beautiful foothills.
"Did you see the Statesman article about our Democratic lawmakers?" asks Marie Hattaway
Here is an excerpt:
Forget FDR's "Happy Days are Here Again" and Bill Clinton's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow." ... Nearing the end of the best session in years for Idaho's legislative Democrats, their new anthem is Aretha Franklin's "R-E-S-P-E-C-T."
A center-right divide in the Idaho GOP has made minority votes pivotal on key issues, including the signature accomplishment for Republican Gov. Butch Otter, the state-run online insurance marketplace he signed into law Thursday. ... House Minority Leader John Rusche plotted a pragmatic strategy. He resisted a faction in his caucus that sought to trade votes on the health exchange for rejection of two bills hostile to the party's most important backer, the teachers union.
Rusche argues that his realism will bring dividends as Democrats work with the GOP's centrists, including 14 House freshmen who risked primary challenges for sidling up to Obamacare. "Those guys were pretty brave, stepping out in front of the TV cameras. It's not wise to cut their knees off," he said. ... Added the Lewiston lawmaker, "I expect it to pay off with a health exchange that's a better deal; in relationships with the governor and with our compadres here in the Legislature; and in relationships and trust with the large number of supporters of the alliance" backing the exchange bill.They have been a powerful force in the Idaho Legislature this year. Guided by the pledge to weigh decisions by the benefit to communities, businesses and families, they have been able to join forces against the extreme faction growing within the GOP.
To be "players" in a supermajority that controls 80 percent of the Legislature is huge accomplishment. Idaho Democrats take innumerable meetings, hold many town halls, travel the state, involve constituents, research issues, reach out to media and surrender sleep.
These high quality lawmakers could not succeed without the help of Idaho Democrats, and they can do even better if they have more Democrats working in the Legislature. Show your appreciation for our hard working Democrats, support the infrastructure that builds winning campaigns! Join the DEM Club today, click here! Your $10, $20 or $50 a month will fund the ongoing resources our hard working candidates depend on.
Winning campaign start early, winning campaigns started yesterday! Donate just a little every month to support winning campaigns now. Invest now, click here!
Development Director| (208) 336-1815
p.s. If you cannot invest every month, consider making a one time donation, $25, 50 or $100! Click here.
We elect our leaders to protect our rights, not to limit them.
But just this week, the Senate State Affairs Committee passed a bill to limit our rights to petition the government with initiatives and referendums. Remember the Luna Laws? Those were rejected because of the initiative process. The bill, S1108, makes it much more difficult to get initiatives on the ballot.
Also please consider a contribution of $5, $25 or $50 to help us activate other Idahoans to preserve our rights! Click here to donate today!
If S1108 passes, it will become that much easier for our lawmakers and government officials to ignore the will of the people. It will also make so hard to get an initiative on the ballot - only well-funded and highly organized groups could afford to engage in the initiative process.
Stop the GOP legislators and powerful interest groups from taking away our constitutional rights! Your contribution will help make a difference. Click here to donate today!
You are cordially invited to join us at the Second Annual Connect the
Pieces Gala, which is themed the Roaring 2020’s: A Vision for the Future. Unlike the Roaring 1920’s of the Prohibition era, we are shining a bright light on the dangers of prescription drug abuse in our
community. We want to work together with all segments of the community to determine how we can each do our part to eliminate this epidemic! Join us for dinner, auction, live music, and interactive games.
Idaho Voices in Recovery is a group of persons in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, family, friends and allies coming together to insure that people in recovery have a voice! We want a say in policies and legislation that impacts our lives. Join us!
Public Health Crisis: Prescription Drug Abuse in Idaho
Over 142,000 Join MoveOn.org Petition Urging Congress to Pass the Violence Against Women Act Now
In a new petition on MoveOn.org's online petition website SignOn.org, Sheila Thomas, a rape survivor from Dayton, Ohio urges Congress to extend the Violence Against Women Act. The Act was first introduced in 1994, and strengthened federal penalties for repeat sex offenders, mandated that women don’t have to pay for their own rape exams, and helped communities develop law enforcement units dedicated to violence against women. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was allowed to expire in 2011, but yesterday the Senate voted to reauthorize the bill. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives where Republican members of Congress have been holding up a vote.
In the petition, which has been signed by over 142,000 people so far, Sheila Thomas shares a very personal story about her experiences and the importance of reauthorizing VAWA.
“In 1983, I was a victim of rape at gunpoint,” explained Sheila. “My rapist had already raped four women in my community, I was his fifth victim. He has never been captured. At the time, I was a single mother of a five-year old daughter and attending a local community college."
"The failure of Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act makes me feel like I'm being victimized all over again; this time, by the very people we sent to Washington DC. I'm angered that those same people will have the audacity ask us to send them back in the upcoming elections. Well, I don't think so. No one asks to be raped. No one asks to be a victim of a violent crime. It feels like our rights as women--as human beings--are not being respected, and that we are being ignored."
Sheila, a Dayton resident, is also a Community College instructor and a proud mother and grandmother.
"Fox News has bagged the first interview with the Romneys since President Obama's convincing victory in November, and the conservative-leaning network has offered a sneak preview to whet the appetite of political junkies and Romney fans," writes Ryan Spaeth. "In an interview with Politico, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace says Mitt has taken his defeat in stride, but his wife Ann "feels the pain and the what-ifs and the hurt more than he does." Wallace adds, "There's a lot of emotion that comes through in the interview, and she's more open about it — the 'what might have been.'"
Changing regulations and the prospect of fewer federal dollars mean wastewater treatment and solid waste management are critical concerns for today’s city planners, commercial developers, elected officials and facilities operators nationwide. That’s why the University of Idaho’s President’s Sustainability Symposium is focusing on “Community Stewardship For Economic Benefits: Wastewater Treatment and Waste Management” on March 19-20.
Registration is now open for the two-day event, for which the University of Idaho is partnering with North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene and the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls to host the symposium on their campuses.
“Our goal is for people to leave the conference with new ideas and names of people to call for more information,” said Priscilla Salant, event organizer and director of the University of Idaho’s Office of Community Partnerships. “We want to connect communities with the resources that will help them make informed decisions.”
The symposium will be offered both in Coeur d’Alene and Twin Falls, which will be connected by video-conference. Participants can attend at either location, which allows for high quality presentations and networking opportunities for people across the state.
The main portion of the conference will occur on Wednesday, March 20 and is designed for local and state decision makers responsible for managing infrastructure and services. Attendees will explore upcoming wastewater treatment and solid-waste management trends, high- and low-tech solutions and financing options. read more »
California voters rejected Prop 37, which would have required retailers and food companies to label products made with genetically modified ingredients, according to Huffington Post.
Millions of dollars, mostly from outside of California, were poured into campaigns both for and against Prop 37. But the donations that came in weighed heavily in favor of Prop 37's opponents.
Companies like Monsanto and The Hershey Co. contributed to what was eventually a $44 million windfall for "No on Prop 37," while proponents were only able to raise $7.3 million, reports California Watch.
Nontheless, Leslie Stoddard, co-founder of GMO Free Idaho, offers six "reasons why we are STILL winning!"
#1 – California Right to Know and Yes on Prop 37 raised $7.3 million in support of GM labeling. When you put into perspective that No on Prop 37 spent $45 million to defeat this initiative it makes you realize just how much everyone’s hard work really paid off. What would the “initial” results have looked like if Yes on Prop 37 had raised $45 million? It would have been a blow out! This my friends, is the power of grassroots! This is the power of TRUTH! And this is NOT defeat.
#2 – The entire country united for this cause, including many Idahoans who attended a screening of Genetic Roulette and helped to raise $400 for the Yes on Prop 37 campaign. States from the East and West did their part in raising GMO awareness and making contributions to this campaign by donating and phone banking. If only there was a way to count how many people heard the term GMO for the first time just because of this initiative. So, not only did the nation unite, but Prop 37 opened the eyes of countless individuals who will take into consideration what they are putting in their mouths. Big win here!
#3 – During the Yes on Prop 37 campaign a coalition of 23 states (and counting) was formed. This coalition is dedicated to providing support for each state that plans to pursue a legislative measure or ballot initiative (like Idaho plans to do). We have been sharing ideas, making calls to action, and helping to build the numbers in each state. I’d like to see Monsanto drop $8 million in 23 states at one time when each state decides to roll out their own labeling legislation. The labeling initiative in California was critical to the formation of this coalition…..Winning!
#6 – Even if Prop 37′s “final” results prove to not be enough for a victory, the “Right to Know” movement will not stop. Prop 37 was the start of something BIG and this initiative is proof that we cannot be bought and we cannot be broken. The truth will prevail and our consumer rights will be restored. The non-GMO movement is a holistic movement. It’s about preserving what is sacred. It’s about bringing communities together. It’s about nourishing our loved ones. And it’s about leaving a legacy for our future. We have our war paint on and what determined warriors we are! Is this battle easy? No. If it was, would it be worth fighting for?
As Woodrow Wilson said, “The history of liberty, is a history of resistance.” We are the resistance and history will be made, one way or another.
My heart goes out to everyone for their passion and hard work on Yes on Prop 37. Nothing is more fulfilling than being part of this movement and bringing our communities together. I thank each and everyone of you!
Idaho Democratic lawmakers are calling on all Idahoans to help stop Senate Bill 1108, which will weaken our constitutional right to petition our government.
S. 1108 comes just months after voters went to the polls and rejected the Luna Laws. This bill damages urban and rural areas alike by raising the bar to place initiatives or referenda on the ballot. Idaho voters need a voice. This tool allows voters to check legislative power. Idahoans have a history of using this power wisely. As Sen. Michelle Stennett said: “This bill is part of a troubling trend that makes it easier for lawmakers and government officials to ignore the will of the people.”
Call, write, email, or visit your legislators and tell them you didn’t send them to the Idaho Capitol to take your voice away!
Statement Regarding Voting Rights/Initiative Process Read at Feb. 20 Press Conference by Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett:
Idahoans only have a few ways to directly participate in the democratic process: testifying before committees, through an initiative or referendum, and by voting.
Idaho Democratic lawmakers are united in our strong opposition to any effort that will impede the People’s constitutional right to directly petition their state government. We stand aligned with the people of Idaho in protecting our constitutional voting and initiative rights.
Today, we call on Idahoans of all political affiliations to speak out against Senate bill 1108.
This bill is part of a troubling trend that makes it easier for lawmakers and government officials to ignore the will of the people.
Right now, this trend is playing out in the Legislature in a variety of ways.
Idaho Democrats have introduced a slate of bills, the VOTE Initiative, seeking to modernize and make our voting system easier for Idahaons to access. Four of those bills have been dismissed by the majority. Only two of those bills remain alive: the Online Registration Act awaits a hearing and the Early Voting Opportunity Act is being modified to create an incentive for counties to set up additional early voting centers.
We introduced the VOTE Initiative bills because Idaho Democrats listened to voters. They asked us to make voting more convenient for people who have to work. A new generation of voters asked us to utilize modern tools and allow Idahoans to register to vote online or register at the same time they get their driver’s licenses.
As you can see, those bills have received a chilly reception from the supermajority in the Legislature.
HB 176 would prevent Idahoans who are living overseas from voting in their local elections, unless they are servicemen and women. This bill discourages Idahoans from being active members of their communities and simply takes away their right to vote.
Last November, 370,000 Idahoans rejected the top-down education mandates commonly called the Luna Laws.
Idaho Democrats heard the message: Idahoans value their children’s futures. Idahoans do not believe their children get a World Class education when teachers are silenced and bullied. Idaho parents want a voice in the policies that shape education—they don’t want dictates from lawmakers.
Because we listen to voters, Idaho Democrats also endorsed Gov. Otter’s wise decision to create an education task force to look at those failed laws and to give parents, students, educators and local people a say in how our children are educated.
Just a couple months after voters soundly rejected them, the Luna Laws are back as a series of bills that resurrect Proposition 1. This is the same legislative process that the People rejected in November.
Not only is this Legislature ignoring the People, but Senate Bill 1108 seeks to restrict the People’s ability to reject bad legislation, such as the Luna Laws, and ensure that the majority Party need not face such a stunning rebuke of their process and policies in the future.
Idaho voters must be allowed to exercise their constitutional right to petition their government. They have every right to expect that their elected officials will listen to them or pay the price at the polls. They must have access to an initiative and referendum process that gives them a loud voice in the laws that they must live by.
Idaho Democrats will dedicate ours efforts to defeating these pieces of legislation and assure that the voice of the People is not stifled. But we cannot do this alone. We call on every citizen of our state to contact your legislators. Write letters, send emails, make phone calls, or come on over and meet with your legislators. Make your voice heard loud and clear. Tell your legislator that you do not want a handful of politicians to take away your rights to participate in the governance of our great state. Demand that they listen to you.
Idaho Democrats have heard you. We’re working for you. And we’re asking for your help to make sure your voice is not silenced.