Sisyphus's blog

The Aurora Bolealis

The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

You'll wanna go full screen on this. Almost as ethereal as whatever is going on inside Dick Harwood's brain only much more worthwhile.

Also, too, make sure you read up on Fort Boise's rundown of the debate in the senate on the third leg of Education Deform. It'll become law for sure now. Its all over but the mobilizing you need to be doing. Turning our education system from public to private, from retail to wholesale, treating our children as fungible goods, paints a dark Orwellian future for Idaho, needless to say what killing a thousand jobs and sending millions of our tax dollars out of state will do to our economy.  read more »

Idaho's Self Perpetuating Idiocracy

The Idaho Senate debated severe cuts to Idaho's higher education with Republicans seeking to slash those budgets to 2000 levels. Popkey observed the debate.

The fiscal 2012 budget includes a 3.5 percent cut, bringing the decline over three years to $75 million, said Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise. Werk said higher education's accumulated 26.4 percent cut is the largest of any state agency.

The bill includes a general fund reduction of more than $7.6 million from the fiscal 2011 budget.

"This is our economic development engine that we are starving of resources," Werk said.

Werk and Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, each debated the bill three times. At one point, Davis objected to Werk's use of the word "spurious" in describing an argument made by Davis. Davis said "spurious" is a violation of the Senate rule against "exceptional language."  read more »

The Consequences of Nullification

The California carpet bagger (with strident tea accents) has resurrected nullification from its demise in the senate. This video (above) is part of a new outreach by the White House in filling the ignorance and confusion void on the PPACA (health care reform). The outreach focuses on the immediate help all Americans now enjoy as a result of the PPACA. Foolhardy efforts to combat PPACA benefits are what I wrote about here.

Unfortunately Kevin Richert keyed in on a typo on the White House press release. Such efforts, of course, portray reform proponents as inept, instead of accomplishing something meaningful for the country. I call that misdirection poor journalism worthy of Fox News. Randy Stapilus redirected the press release to the proper focus for politics in Idaho. This ain't tyranny, that ain't a tyrant, and the future doctor seems pleased with the plan.  read more »

Idaho Republican Rapist Protection Act

UPDATED 3/18: News today of the discovery in Republican federal legislation to turn the IRS into abortion investigators.

The proposed law, also known as H.R. 3, extends the reach of the Hyde Amendment—which bans federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at stake—into many parts of the federal tax code. In some cases, the law would forbid using tax benefits—like credits or deductions—to pay for abortions or health insurance that covers abortion. If an American who used such a benefit were to be audited, Barthold said, the burden of proof would lie with the taxpayer to provide documentation, for example, that her abortion fell under the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother exception, or that the health insurance she had purchased did not cover abortions.


Randy posted this disturbing assessment by the Attorney General on Idaho Republican's latest effort to make abortion inaccessible in Idaho.

The legislation in question is Idaho Senate Bill 1148, aimed principally “to prohibit the abortion of an unborn child of twenty or more weeks postfertilization age.”

One of the provisions of the bill (section 18-508-1), not highlighted in the statement of purpose, says this: “Any woman upon whom an abortion has been performed in violation of the pain – capable unborn child protection act or the father of the unborn child who was the subject of such an abortion may maintain an action against the person who performed the abortion in an intentional or a reckless violation of the provisions of this chapter for actual damages.” (emphasis added)

Senator Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, had a question for the attorney general’s office: Does that mean a rapist could sue an abortion provider. The reply (in an informal but researched opinion): “Section 508(1) is unambiguous on this score and, as currently drafted, provides a private right of action to the biological father without exclusion. The answer to your question is therefore in the affirmative.”

Idaho Republican legislators will interfere in the most heart wrenching personal matters involving the most vulnerable people, unless, of course, those people are actually alive and who line up to talk to them personally. In that case they will pat themselves on the back for providing due process as they send them packing.  read more »

Japanese Devastation


MeAndG is documenting the scary situation with the nuclear reactors which is far from over. The spin meisters are losing credibility fast after every "all's well" they issue, which is eerily similar to the Chernobyl meltdown, despite the assurances to the contrary. Meanwhile the world is coming to grips with the full scope of an 8.9 9.0 earthquake and consequent tsunami. My favorite nerd site is doing a bang up job in getting the best of the net.

This analogy is already getting worn, but having rabidly consumed all science fiction growing up, particularly Godzilla movies, the video footage coming out of Japan today is eerily similar. I remember laughing at how cheezy the miniature sets looked. I easily imagined the set director tipping over water tanks to flood a city some poor set designer painstakingly created. Its no longer funny because those look very reminiscent of what happened here. Check out these first hand videos from folks watching their homes go bye bye. TPM also has a great collection. And to wrap your head around the scope of this devastation here are videos and google map stills before and after.  read more »

Idaho Citizens Rally to Defend the American Dream

WHAT: Rally to Defend the American Dream

WHO: Workers, public servants and their supporters

WHERE: Boise City Hall

WHEN: This Tuesday, March 15, 5 p.m.

5 p.m., gather in front of Idaho Historical Museum at Julia Davis Park; march to Boise City to begin rally at 5:30 p.m.  read more »

Japan 8.9 Quake and Tsunami

Holy shit. Call your friends on the Oregon coast.

[Ed.Note 3/13/11: to view this video, click here. The damned thing kept autoplaying every time the site refreshed, so we moved it to its own page.]

Mas aqui. Also, too, Salon has a great video collection and live blog. No damage was noted on the Oregon Coast. What the Coast Guard did observe was how orderly and organized the evacuation that took place. Interesting that one of the "discretionary" spending cuts targeted by Republicans is Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.  read more »

What Teacher's Make

I wasn't familiar with Taylor Mali until Spousiphus sent me the previous video. This related skit by Mr. Mali is excellent and very appropriate in light of the vindictive legislation against Idaho teachers. How are we gonna replace guys like this with a computer?

"On the Bandwagon of My Own Uncertainty"

"Education Bills Pass Without Regard for Citizen Outcry"

Updated 3/10 with the full text of Brian Cronin's speech.

Betsy Russell SR photo

Idaho Republican efforts to de-professionalize the public education system are a couple steps closer to reality with today's vote in the House to implement the second prong of Education Deform and adopting a "merit based" compensation program. This came on the heals of yesterday's vote (McJoan's front page post) to allow for the arbitrary dismissal of teachers and kill teacher's collective bargaining rights. My Representative, Brian Cronin (D-19), railed eloquently against deform:

“I've come to the inevitable and irrefutable conclusion that this bill has nothing to do with student achievement,” Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, told the House, debating against SB 1108. He said, “One person's medicine is another person's Kool-Aid, and I refuse to drink it.” Cronin said, “Let's stop pretending that SB 1108 has anything to do with” improving student achievement. “The bill intends to dismantle the Idaho Education Association, put teachers in their place, and make sure that teachers are effectively silenced … where frankly their expertise ought to be welcome.” As proof, he pointed to the section in the bill about notification of liability insurance, and said he'd not heard of a problem in Idaho with “underinsured teachers.” The comment prompted some laughter, both on the House floor and from the gallery, prompting Speaker Lawerence Denney to bang his gavel loudly. “If that continues, I'll clear the gallery,” he warned.

Cronin said, “This bill is flawed 17 ways from Sunday.” He said, “We're not going to get better teaching by punishing our teachers. We may achieve our political aims, but this doesn't help our children.”  read more »

Blow the Whistle On Risch

Senator Risch has made repeated calls for transparency in government which apparently doesn't include whether he secretly killed a bill providing protection to whisleblowers. Help be a part of the sleuthing to see if Senator Jim Risch single handedly and deceptively killed whistle blower protection.

Last December, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act—a popular, bipartisan bill that would have protected public workers who exposed corruption, waste, and illegality—died a sudden and surprising death, not by vote, but by a legislative tactic called an anonymous hold. Basically, one senator killed that bill, and doesn't have to be publicly accountable to his constituents for doing so.  read more »

Republican Reverse Robin Hoods

From the CAP

Republican Dog and Pony Shows

Tea baggers should be embarrassed. In addition to Fox just making shit up, trumpeting election year lies, leading to a woefully misinformed electorate, talk shows like Rush, Sean or Glenn, merely stage the call ins. Its a cottage industry. So when Rush says he's just an entertainer, he ain't kidding. But please, while you may be salivating over your next tea bagging experience, don't repeat that shit like you know what you're talking about.  read more »

Idaho Needs a Strike!

The Wobblies commissioned these prints in anticipation of a widespread work walkout in Wisconsin, or the Middle East, or wherever working people are getting unfairly penalized for an economic disaster they did nothing to facilitate and everything to avoid.  read more »

These Men Are Not a Threat to Marriage

They are a model for it. Yet Republicans in Congress are endeavoring to circumvent President Obama's decision to quit defending the Defense of Marriage Act on the grounds that it unconstitutionally discriminates.

 read more »

Blaming Teachers for the Economy

We are living in a topsy turvy world where Republicans actually believe that the reason so many won in the last election was because of the bullshit rhetoric they were espousing. The reality based world knows that Republicans didn't win, but that Democrats were voted out because of the sputtering economy and lack of jobs. Now Republicans want to focus on deficits and debt, NOT because it will help the economy, but so they can punish their political enemies. The bonus in this scenario is that pursuing these policies will prolong the economic crisis and will enable their uber wealthy patrons to use government to further exploit the middle class. In reality, while people want to cut deficits and debt, here is how they want it done. All of this takes a back seat to creating jobs however.  read more »

The President's Speech

Idaho Shame

Today tea baggers in the House debated passionately against authorizing legislation which would extend unemployment benefits to Idahoans without work. Not only was such advocacy cruel, it is a sure fire way to further denigrate the economy in Idaho.

How successful is the Republican war on the middle class?  read more »

Idaho Freedom Foundation Denies Lobbying

Congressman Sali's aid and campaign spokesman, Wayne Hoffman, started the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) weeks after losing a bruising campaign against Democrat Walt Minnick. The not-for-profit corporation is organized pursuant to 501(c)(3) of the tax code making it exempt from taxation. Indeed, in an amendment to the Articles of Incorporation, Directors clarified.

No substantial activities of the Corporation shall consist of carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempt to influence legislation....

These self imposed restrictions enable IFF to escape paying taxes. It further allows any and all donors to IFF get a deduction on their tax returns for the full amount of the contribution. The IRS defines it as follows:

The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.

The IRS further explains:  read more »

Federal Court Declares Open Republican Primary Unconstitutional

Chief Judge of the District Court for the District of Idaho, Lynn Winmill, a Clinton appointee, found that the Republican Party is deprived of its first amendment right to assembly by Idaho's open primary system. Pursuant to the Republican party's request, Judge Winmill declared that Idaho Code section 34-904 is unconstitutional. He can't do more than that since Republicans didn't request it in their complaint. Depending on appeals, I expect the legislature to close primaries forthwith this session. If so, this should add to a fascinating dimension to politics this May obligating anyone wishing to participate in selecting a party candidate to declare their affiliation to a party when voting. Independents will have to choose between teabaggers and a rational choice.  read more »

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