Sisyphus's blog

Idaho Republican Candidates Suggest Violence to Stop Bullying

In this audio, Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC tells congregants to break the limp wrists of effeminate boys and essentially "beat the gay away" from their kids.

The violent admonition is pretty extreme for a man of the cloth whose profession is to spread the word of the Prince of Peace. It makes for an odd juxtaposition to the popular national anti-bullying movement, most notably from the LBGT activists in the It Gets Better Project. And lest you think such violent advocacy is isolated to some redneck preacher in North Carolina, Idahoans need to take a hard look at what Republican candidates are saying in our primaries right now.

On Tuesday, April 24, 2012, Senator Patti Ann Lodge (R-Homophobia) basically agreed with Pastor John Harris.

Sen. Patti Anne Lodge of District 11 said boys could be allowed to settle their differences in a boxing ring like they did when she was a teacher, and that they are no longer taught to protect themselves.

“In the old days when I was teaching just 12 years ago we knew how to take care of it,” Lodge said about bullying. “We’d get those kids in a ring and let them box it out and they came out friends.

“I think our males are being feminized.”  read more »

Candidate Ultrasound Position

Kevin Richert of the Idaho Statesman published this list of candidates in SW Idaho and their stated position on the Ultrasound legislation.

Here's where I place the 70 Ada and Canyon county candidates facing contested primaries on May 15:

• Twenty candidates, all Republicans, support the bill or are leaning in that direction.

• Forty-one candidates — 27 Republicans and 14 Democrats — are opposed or are leaning in that direction.

• Three Republican candidates said they are undecided or did not voice an opinion.

• Six candidates — four Republicans and two Democrats — did not respond to requests to interview with the Statesman editorial board, and did not fill out an online voter guide.

Of course, there is a lot of gray in the candidates' positions. For example, candidates who expressed a desire to work on some sort of ultrasound bill fall under the "leaning yes" category. Candidates who question the need for an ultrasound bill, or government's role in this decision, fall under the "leaning no" heading.

The list is here. Use the comment section to identify the stated position of the candidates in your region of Idaho.  read more »

Fox News Win

Ultrasound Publicity Stunt by Brandi Swindell and Other Extremists

After the senate vote on the state rape bill, Senator Nuxoll stated:

Stanton Health Care, a crisis pregnancy center, will sponsor a live ultrasound demonstration in the state Capitol on Wednesday afternoon entitled, “Voices from the Womb.” Three Stanton clients, one in each trimester of pregnancy, will participate, Nuxoll said. “Idaho will be the first state in the nation to have a live ultrasound display in the Statehouse,” she said....

Betsy noted that, actually, Ohio did this last year. While not novel, both stunts suggest a coordinated national campaign to the additional cost for the unnecessary procedure. So who is this Stanton Healthcare sponsoring the stunt? The answer is right in this video.

Its clear by Brandi's breathless recitation, that 1) despite God providing her a "medical facility" she has no interest in performing science based health care; 2) ultrasounds seem to be the single most critical item in the facility; and 3) the most "amazing" thing about the space is that God put it right next to Planned Parenthood.  read more »

"Welcome to Idaho Where You Can Almost Taste the Crazy"

Kudos to my friend for this gem about the Gem State. As we're both natives, it pains us to acknowledge this.

Idaho is the Latest Front on Republican War on Women

On March 19, 2012, the Idaho Senate passed SB 1387, mandating a medically unnecessary ultrasound procedure for anyone contemplating an abortion in Idaho. In debating the legislation he authored, Idaho State Senator Chuck Winder (R-Chauvinistan) argued:

“Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this. I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that's part of the counseling that goes on.”

Winder said, “I believe the state does have an interest in the life of the unborn. That's what the debate's about. Does it add cost? Yes, it does. I would just ask you to consider the pricelessness of the unborn.” He noted the Senate's recent commemoration of military members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past year. “Each person has a life story,” Winder said. “Those were cut short. Let's not choose to cut others short.”

The inherent assumptions underlying the Senator's comments are currently making national news here on HuffPo and here on Addicting Info. John Miller further inquired of Senator Winder in a piece published in the Washington Post. The article contains some outraged responses to Winder's argument from State Representative Cheri Buckner Webb (D-Boise).

After a rape, Buckner-Webb said, a doctor should be performing medical procedures to ensure a woman’s health, gathering evidence of a crime and taking measures to assure that she has the necessary support.

“Those are the things they should be checking — not the context. That’s an affront,” Buckner-Webb said. “Let me tell you, a comment like that is very painful. A comment like that is what keeps women from coming forward” when they’ve been victimized by a violent attack.

Senator Winder's campaign Facebook page is replete with commentary from detractors on the matter. Butch Otter is a self described libertarian and its anybody's guess whether those credentials will present themselves to veto the ultrasound legislation.  read more »

First District Democratic Candidate Arrested

Nearing the close of the candidate deadline for this year's races, many political observers expressed surprise to see a locally infamous, yet politically unknown, name pop up as a candidate in the hope to challenge incumbent Raul Labrador for congress in Idaho's first congressional district. Cynthia Clinkingbeard is a doctor who lost her license to practice in Idaho in 2005, reportedly for mental health issues. Approximately a week after filing she was arrested on three counts of aggravated battery for brandishing a weapon at a Boise area Staples store. She was arraigned on the felony counts Monday with her attorney seeking to get her hospitalized.

Clinkingbeard’s attorney, Bret Shoufler, told the judge his client was likely in a “hypo-manic state” when she went into the store and felt that a better place for her would be in a secure medical setting, like a hospital, instead of a jail cell.

Fourth District Magistrate Michael Oths decided to set bond at $100,000, but also told Shoufler he would be willing to approve a furlough from the jail for Clinkingbeard when arrangements could be made for a secure room in a medical facility.

Her candidacy was/is dubious and filing for the position may have been one of the erratic events the College of Western Idaho cited as a reason to suspend her employment last week.

Dr. Clinkingbeard's arrest emphasizes the limited and shrinking resources available to the mentally ill in Idaho. Last year Idaho Republicans slashed Medicaid funding by over $100 million and at the cost of 4000 Idaho jobs. Moreover the cuts were pound foolish merely shifting the burden to other budgets like Corrections and the CAT Fund. This year, Chief Justice Burdick noted that since 2006 there has been a 151% increase in mental health court filings. Ignoring the warning signs of this growing problem will not make it go away.  read more »

Maddow Highlights Greenwald's Vandersloot Story and Connects Citizens United


Just last night I was discussing the Greenwald story with a friend and colleague, making the connection to the Citizens United decision and the corrupting power of money in politics. My friend didn't really get the connection. Lo and behold a few hours later, as Serephin notes below, Rachel Maddow makes the case for me.

Jody May-Chang has the transcript. Not all corporations are happy with the decision in Citizens United.

The iconic ice cream company, Ben & Jerry’s sure is not. The founders of Ben & Jerry’s, Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield launched their “Get the Dough Out of Politics” campaign on February 13 on the MSNBC show, the Dylan Ratigan Show.

Ben & Jerry’s is using its considerable clout as a beloved ice cream company to raise awareness about the Citizen’s United decision, a Supreme Court decision that, in my opinion, guts democracy. While appearing on the Dylan Ratigan Show, Greenfield said, “We have to get massive grass roots activation.”

The campaign is definitely doing what it can to get massive grassroots activation. The campaign has a website,, which asks people to sign up to campaign against Citizen’s United. Information about the campaign appears on the Ben & Jerry’s website. The campaign will have Scoop Trucks this summer at the Bonaroo Music Festival, which in addition to serving ice cream, will ask people to sign postcards.

Glenn Greenwald reports that, contrary to my earlier speculation, they have received no contact from legal representatives for Frank Vandersloot and/or Melaleuca, Inc. All's quiet on the Idaho Agenda front as well, and further notes that the story is underscores the need for Idaho to Add the Words. Recall that Idaho Agenda author James Tidmarsh was scolded for referring to Frank Vandersloot for being anti-gay. I think Frank's record of being "anti-gay" might be overblown. After the jump is a video of Frank Vandersloot and Mitt Romney with Idaho's "I'm Not Gay" Senator Larry Craig at Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls a few years ago.  read more »

Glenn Greenwald Takes On Frank Vandersloot


Salon author Glenn Greenwald exposes Frank Vandersloot's pattern of using his wealth to insinuate himself politically and to hire lawyers for purposes of intimidation of anyone daring to criticize him, his company, or his practices. If you don't know Glenn:

Glenn Greenwald [] is a former Constitutional and civil rights litigator and is the author of two New York Times Bestselling books on the Bush administration’s executive power and foreign policy abuses. His just-released book, With Liberty and Justice for Some, is an indictment of America’s two-tiered system of justice, which vests political and financial elites with immunity even for egregious crimes while subjecting ordinary Americans to the world’s largest and most merciless penal state. Greenwald was named by The Atlantic as one of the 25 most influential political commentators in the nation. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and is the winner of the 2010 Online Journalism Association Award for his investigative work on the arrest and oppressive detention of Bradley Manning.

Of course, publishing such an article will be inviting the very thing he's exposing, legal confrontation with Frank Vandersloot, and his company Melaleuca, Inc. As a result, one can safely assume that this has been already carefully scrutinized for accuracy by Salon's legal department, in addition to Greenwald's own experience as an attorney. As a national publication, Salon has the resources necessary to take on such threats, and be insulated from such intimidation. I expect communication among attorneys has already commenced.

The entire article is a must read for any observer of Idaho politics, but this section is no small amount of vindication for us here at

These national magazines are encountering what small local journalists and bloggers in Idaho have confronted for years. The website 43rdStateBlues is written by a collection of Idaho Democrats and they all write under pseudonyms. In 2007, one of them (“TomPaine”) wrote a critical post about VanderSloot, and then quickly received a letter from Melaleuca’s in-house General Counsel at the time, Ken Sheppard, threatening a lawsuit if the post was not removed within 24 hours. The website complied by removing the post, but wanted their readers to know why the post was removed. So another poster (“d2″) explained that they had received a letter from Melaleuca’s lawyers demanding its removal, and then posted the lawyer’s letter.  read more »

Idaho Republicans Refuse to "Add the Words"

On Friday, February 10, 2012 the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee refused to even print legislation which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Dan Popkey wrote a observant column documenting the drama and the emotional plea of Senator Edgar Malapeai begging the committee to have the bill printed.

Midway through his pitch, the Pocatello Democrat stopped speaking for 25 seconds to collect himself, to the discomfort of the seven committee Republicans. Custom holds that lawmakers’ bills, especially those brought by members of leadership like Malepeai, are printed as a courtesy. This was an exception, in significant part because Republicans fear right-wing reprisals.

What Malepeai finally finished saying was this: “In my opinion, it would be profoundly disrespectful not to afford those tens of thousands of families affected by this legislation to give at least — at least — a printing of the bill ... (and) allow them to speak of the harm that’s been done.”

Five minutes later, the bill was dead on a party line vote. After the hearing, recently retained Senate Republican Caucus Chairman John McGee addressed reporters.

“This is not a new issue,” McGee said. “Nobody here believes in discrimination or discriminating against anybody.” But, he said, “I don't think we want to continue to create separate groups and separate categories for this.” He said, “I don't think that the piece of legislation that was brought before us today … changes whether or not somebody is going to discriminate. … The fact is we don't think that bill is the right thing to do.”

Idaho's existing Human Rights Act bans employment and housing discrimination on the basis of race, religion or disability. The “Add The Words” bill would have added sexual orientation and gender identity. “There's lots of groups who don't have that ability as well, so the issue becomes, where does it stop? Where do those special categories end?” McGee asked.

Ironically Senator McGee received ignoble attention last June when he got piss drunk at a Hillcrest Country Club Golf Tournament, wandered six miles barefoot, commandeered a stranger's truck, and jackknifed the truck and trailer in a neighboring driveway.  read more »

The Occupy Boise Double Standard in the Idaho Senate

::Crucial update below 2/10::

So this happened.

Boise Weekly was there.

The Idaho State Senate leadership today pulled a dozen members of Occupy Boise out of the Senate Gallery to discuss cloth, dollar-store American flags pinned to each individual's shirt. In the Minority Caucus room on the fourth floor of the Capitol, Idaho Falls Sen. Bart Davis asked them to remove the flags.

"We have asked many people over the years, people I have agreed with and I have disagreed with," said Sen. Davis. "To not wear buttons, and to not wear hats, and we're asking you please to be similarly sympathetic to allow us to do our business in that fashion."

Ten minutes prior to the meeting of the full Senate, a dozen members of Occupy Boise entered the public gallery, checking in with security to comply with increased security proceedings related to bags. At the desk outside the doors, they safety-pinned American flags to their chests, a protest against the proposed amendments to House Bill 404, which sits on the 14th order awaiting consideration.

What was that Senator Davis? You've consistently applied this rule to friend and foe alike? Well certainly the House hasn't. A large group of hostile hot headed nullification advocates, interested in fighting the Civil War all over again, entered the House hearing room wearing "yellow stickers to show their support of the "nullification bill." There's even video depicting lots of protesters wearing badges.  read more »

Conservative Students Threaten UI Law School Accreditation


Several days ago I received reports of a flap brewing on the University of Idaho College of Law campus about conservative students outraged at the mandatory attendance requirement for a diversity training seminar. Diversity training is often required by employers and schools to help avoid liability in discrimination litigation, such as happened to the law school in George v. University of Idaho. Thereafter I received a copy of a letter dated February 3, 2012 addressed to Dean Burnett, a former Idaho appellate judge, signed by 21 Idaho lawmakers, including, Speaker of the House Lawerence Denney, House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, and House Majority Leader Mike Moyle. The scolding letter acknowledges the importance of diversity training but takes issue with the mandatory attendance requirement and the consequences of failing to attend, a memo noting lack of attendance to be placed in the student's permanent file. The letter is silent with regard to the the underlying reasons for the training or the attendance requirement, only that the consequence of failure implies that the student might be characterized as a bigot which is "unacceptable".

On February 6, Dean Burnett responded acknowledging that the legislators lacked the underlying information regarding the necessity of the training. Burnett cited to the rules applicable to law schools one of which requires, through "concrete action", that the school provide an opportunity for education for all, particularly for those underrepresented. For accreditation, the law school must promote a diverse legal profession representative of the population. Moreover the rules of professional conduct preclude attorneys from manifesting through words and conduct bias or prejudice towards people on the basis of race, sex, religion and the classes of people historically disadvantaged and protected by law. Then Burnett proceeds to diplomatically inform the legislators that these rules were violated.

In October, 2011, a joint team from the ABA and AALS visited the UI College of Law as part of a review process that occurs every seven years. The team included lawyers as well as academics; three of its members were or had been law school deans. Several of them had conducted site review visits at up to ten or more law schools. During a four-day visit to Moscow and Boise, they had many scheduled and casual interactions with students, staff, and faculty. During their exit briefings with me and with University administrators, the team referred to these interactions and stated emphatically that the College of Law needed to focus additional attention upon professionalism and diversity.

Emphasis mine. I've conversed with two students who confirm that the "interactions with students" included one who expressed the opinion that women should not be enrolled in law school. At one of the meetings, when the suggestion of diversity training came up, several 'conservative' students objected to having that "diversity shit" shoved down their throats.

Dean Burnett continued his schooling of the legislators with information about the "training" he had scheduled:  read more »

Of Smoking and Freedom

On February 5, John Miller had an interesting article published in the Idaho Statesman that led with fact that Representative Bob Nonini, chairman of the House Education Committee, is the last 'open' tobacco smoker in the legislature, a fact he tries to conceal. The article examines the juxtaposition of lawmakers who have incorporated the message that tobacco is a dangerous product, yet have such an ideologically entrenched aversion to raising taxes, they won't consider it as a method to discourage people from smoking.

Most Idaho conservatives have a stronger aversion to government overreach and tax hikes than they have to cigarettes, even ex-smokers such as Challis Republican Rep. Lenore Barrett.

"What we're doing is whipping on folks who are making stupid choices," Barrett says. "They have a right to make those stupid choices."

Highlighting how deeply those sentiments run, Democrats last year failed to win even a hearing when they proposed raising cigarette taxes from 57 cents to $1.25 per pack.

This sentiment was echoed in a recent debate in Boise when it passed additional restrictions on areas where smoking is allowed than the state restrictions already in place. Opponents of the ban bleated that such restrictions were an encroachment on their freedom to using a "legal" product, while utilizing the lofty, yet ignorance based, terminology reminiscent of the the Tea Party movement. This isn't about freedom. Its a defense of a toxic product heavily marketed by a powerful industry.  read more »

John Foster to Lead Efforts to Defeat Education Reform Referendum


At the beginning of the 2011 legislative session, Idaho Education Superintendent Tom Luna surprised the state by unveiling legislation designed to accomplish a draconian overhaul of public education, by diverting a significant portion of students' school time to online course from private entities, in essence swapping live teachers for one on a laptop. While vociferous opposition to the so called "Students Come First" legislation was prompt, education stakeholders had little time to mobilize against a coordinated Republican effort to shepherd the legislation to Governor Otter's desk. Realizing the fix was in, opponents concerted their efforts into an initiative putting the Students Come First legislation to a public referendum. Both Otter and Luna have vowed to fight these efforts.

The money behind Idaho education reform is prodigious, with at least two lengthy expensive newsletters already sent to every Idahoan via mail and/or newspaper outlet extolling the virtues of the legislation. Some of Idaho's wealthiest and most powerful business interests are behind education reform, notably Albertsons heir Joe Scott, who has significant ownership interest in K-9, Inc., a private education outlet. In contrast, one prong of the Students Come First legislation was designed to gut the primary loser in the legislation, Idaho's public educators, and their union the Idaho Education Association, mirroring Republican efforts in other states.

The referendum on Students Comes First will take place on the date of the general election, the first Tuesday of November, 2012. Word on the street is that John Foster has been tapped to lead the political efforts for Republicans against the initiatives, and in favor of leaving intact the draconian education reform legislation. John Foster is the former executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party. Foster is most notorious for his role as a staffer for Idaho's blue dog Congressman Walt Minnick, and leading Minnick's 2010 re-election campaign to an ignoble defeat. Since then, Foster has headed the office for a lobbying group. Foster's move makes this passage look almost prophetic:  read more »

Football as an Allegory for the Economy

Bill Maher - Irritable Bowl Syndrome from Fraser Davidson on Vimeo.

Bill Maher makes an excellent point regarding wealth disparity that should actually connect with people who spend most of their time pouring over the latest fantasy football stats.  read more »

Shoeless Fibber McGee Faces the Press

Republican Senator John McGee on his first on-camera interview since he was arrested for DUI in an incident that caught wide attention when he was found by police in a pickup truck that was not his. He weaves in and out more than he was able to do on the night in question. Background here.

Newt's Video on Romney the Republican Establishment Wants To Pull

As this video makes clear Romney's the kind of guy who would sell Yosemite and the Grand Canyon to pay down the debt. This video is upsetting the Republican establishment and Steve Benen explains why.

Gingrich’s Super PAC is slamming the likely Republican presidential nominee with this brutal video and it’s doing so in a way that reinforces and validates liberal arguments — about Romney, about excessive greed, about the politics of income inequality, and about the ruthless, screw-the-workers style of capitalism Romney relied on to get rich.

The party establishment doesn’t want their nominee damaged before the general-election phase begins, and they especially don’t want him damaged in such a way that says concerns about Romney’s vulture capitalism is bipartisan.

Let’s also note the target audience. Ed Kilgore noted the video is “a heat-seeking missile aimed directly at the white working class id.” This is incredibly important in a 2012 context — if Romney is going to win the presidency, he’s going to need to crush President Obama with white working-class voters who tend to support the GOP anyway. This short film, with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, tells this constituency that Romney is not only indifferent to their struggles, but he and people like him caused their economic plight.

Its a half hour long but you can quickly see what's upsetting them. This will be very useful to share with your friends when the Republican Convention makes Romney the party candidate. We agree, putting this guy in charge is pretty scary.  read more »

Stop Internet Censorship

Seriously, they're going to censor the internet. Moneyed interests are again trying to fix it in Congress by getting a law enabling them to dictate content on the internet so they can line their pockets. They have a fleet of lobbyists in Congress right now whispering in your Senator's ear. Give three minutes of this day to fill out this form and they'll guide you on how to do the rest.

Do it!

To learn more, watch the video after the jump.  read more »

New Member Video for Occupy Boise

This is the beta. Any comments and criticisms will be delivered to the Working group who produced this.

Occupy Boise Solidarity Rally

Even though the ink wasn't dry on the Seattle City Council's resolution in support of the Occupy Movement, the Seattle Police pepper sprayed Occupy protesters in downtown Seattle, including the 84 year old woman above. The photos of the incident are astonishing. The police action reportedly also incapacitated a priest and a pregnant woman.

This isn't an isolated incident with evictions starting in Wall Street's Zucotti Park and occurring nationwide in what some are saying are a coordinated effort. After the jump I post a video with Rachel Maddow providing some important historical context for the Occupy Movement and the free speech rationale for the 'occupy' tactic. Tomorrow, November 17, Occupy Boise will hold a solidarity march with the other Occupy movements worldwide.

The significance of this action is now amplified and the timing critical, with many Occupations around the country being wrongfully evicted and brutalized in the last couple of days. Occupy Boise stands in solidarity with the global Occupy movement in calling for JUSTICE. Join us on Nov 17 to raise our voices for all to hear!

PEOPLE OF BOISE: Rise up with the Occupy movement on this international day of action to RESIST austerity, RECLAIM the economy, and RECREATE our democracy.

11:00 Meet at the Occupy Boise Encampment to eat, make signs, talk, and prepare
12:00 Mass March begins
12:30 Rally at Main St and Capitol Blvd

If you want to keep the country talking about the corruption of money in politics, or are simply outraged by the police action against peaceful protesters, make your lunch time tomorrow extra special.  read more »

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