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

The Origins of AIDS

Today is World AIDS Day and here is my latest column. I talk about an essential new perspective on HIV/AIDS and on the lessons that must be learned if we are to avoid provoking another pandemic in the future.

The Origin of AIDS by Jacques Pepin presents and develops an elegant hypothesis and is nicely documented. The theories are thoughtfully stated without finger-pointing or shame. Just brilliant!

This book is a must read for anyone who cares about humanity. Thank you, Jacques Pepin.  read more »

Should Smoking be a Civil Right?

Debate continues to rage as Boise smoking ban passes

Crossposted on Daily Kos

After several months of rancourous and rigorous debate, Boise’s city council approved two smoke-free ordinances last night, the Idaho Press Tribune reports.

The first, which passed unanimously, will ban smoking in bars, private clubs, near transit areas, on commercial outdoor patios accessible to children or on public property, at the Grove Plaza, on 8th Street from Bannock to Main Street, within 20 feet of any city-owned building, in outdoor ticket and service lines, and other public locations.

Echoing the sentiment of many conservatives, among others: "Yay for people losing freedoms!" wrote Omar Banat on Facebook.

"Or gaining the freedom from breathing others smoke," responded Deb Spindler.

Can the government tell someone not to smoke in a private business? How about in a public park. Since ordinances such of this have passed and are enforced in other places, such as Oregon, the simple answer is yes.

Critics of the ordinance include Tim Krahmer, who wrote:

Anyone that cares for individual rights should disagree with this. Our City decided for us what's best. No vote of the people. Just a unilateral decision on how businesses can operate. This is no victory for the people.

on the facebook page of Boise Councilman TJ Thomson.

And Tim Cerami wrote:

As a nonsmoker, I think this is lame! If cigarettes are still legal to smoke, there need to be legal places to smoke them

But aren't there still lots of legal places to smoke, such as private homes, designated "smoking huts" as well as Idaho's vast wilderness?

On Thomson's page, the discussion is raging. Material reposted by permission of TJ Thomson:  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.

'Yellow Woman': Leslie Marmon Silko (Women Writers : Texts and Contexts)

“I will tell you something about stories . . . They aren't just entertainment. Don't be fooled. They are all we have, you see, all we have to fight off illness and death.” Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony

"Within one story there are many other stories coming together," Leslie Silko has said of the cultural traditions of her tribe, the Laguna Pueblo Indians. To borrow an image from another culture, "Yellow Woman is a Chinese box: story within story within story. The Yellow Woman stories the narrator has heard construct her sense of self and her actions. In turn, she makes them on her own. When she decides at the stories end that she will tell her family a story about how "some Navajo had kidnapped" her, she claims the cultural inheritance the story explores. She becomes the storyteller, passing on the stories in her own voice. As the stories have shaped her, so will she shape them; they must evolve to respond to her particular experience and point of view. The story "Yellow Woman," yet another telling of her abduction by a mountain spirit, constructed from many Yellow Woman stories, becomes only the most recent telling in an ongoing tradition.

-from the introduction to 'Yellow Woman': Leslie Marmon Silko (Women Writers : Texts and Contexts) by Melody Graulich of Utah State University.

Graulich follows Marmon's invigorating literary contributions in this substantial and exciting anthology. Women’s writing has been closely allied with the quest for not only women’s rights but also universal human rights and justice, as well as literary exploration and excellence. Graulich’s book takes measure of the great reach and splendid variety of Marmon’s writing; how it has illuminated America’s continuing transformation; and how such literature helped shape the dialogue on literature as a whole.

“He watched her face, and her eyes never shifted; they were with him while she moved out of her clothes and while she slipped his jeans down his legs, stroking his thighs. She unbuttoned his shirt, and all he was aware of was the heat of his own breathing and the warmth radiating from his belly, pulsing between his legs. He was afraid of being lost, so he repeated trail marks to himself: this is my mouth tasting the salt of her brown breasts; this is my voice calling out to her. He eased himself deeper within her and felt the warmth close around him like river sand, softly giving way under foot, then closing firmly around the ankle in cloudy warm water. But he did not get lost, and he smiled at her as she held his hips and pulled him closer. He let the motion carry him, and he could feel the momentum within, at first almost imperceptible, gathering in his belly. When it came, it was the edge of a steep riverbank crumbling under the downpour until suddenly it all broke loose and collapsed into itself.”
Leslie Marmon Silko

Melody Graulich is a Professor of English and serves as the American Studies Graduate Director at Utah State University. She is editor of the journal Western American Literature and teaches a variety of courses focusing on interdisciplinary approaches to the literature and culture of the US West, including graduate courses such as Introduction to the Theory and Practice of American Studies and Seminar in the American West, and undergraduate courses such as Western American Literature and US Nature Writers. Particular interests include gender studies, visual culture, US art and photography, film, borderlands. She is a member of the Western Literature Association, American Studies Association, Rocky Mountain American Studies Association (Vice-President), and the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment.

A Tribute to Rep. Allen Andersen

[Cross-posted at The Political Game.]

Allen Andersen's parents were buried in Arbon Valley, Idaho where they spent most of their lives farming. As a young man, Allen spent a great deal of time in Arbon Valley as well, though he attended school in Pocatello. It's fitting that Allen, the former state representative, will be laid to rest in the city to which he devoted so much of his life.

For those of us who knew Allen, it came as a great shock when he passed away last week of a sudden heart attack. If others who knew Allen were at all like me, the shock of it all left us struggling to put into words what Allen meant to us. One word that consistently came up when I spoke to others who knew Allen was kind. Allen was one of the kindest people I ever had the privilege of knowing. His sincere kindness was a constant, as was his sense of humor.  read more »

I won’t shop on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, July 4 th….. And I am Jewish….Some of these holidays aren’t mine…..

I won’t shop on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, July 4 th….. And I am Jewish….Some of these holidays aren’t mine…..

I know that people need to shop. The economy needs to recover. But…..  read more »

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 »

'SNL,' Penn State scandal offends even Satan

On "Saturday Night Live," even the devil was offended by the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. "SNL" cast member Jason Sudeikis reprised his role as Satan, appearing with red horns and pitchfork. The devil was informed by "Weekend Update" host Seth Meyers of sex charges against a former defensive coordinator and allegations that university officials failed to report the abuse.

Even he was disturbed by the news. Addressing Penn State students who protested football coach Joe Paterno's firing, the devil spoke directly into the camera, asking, "Do you know how bad that made you look?"

And other judgements are already being handed down. Tangible impacts of scandal starting to become clear.

First, A standout high school offensive lineman from Colorado has turned his back on his verbal commitment to attend Penn State, becoming the  read more »

Super Congress: Super Deception

In a commentary today I discuss how Barack Obama, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner reached a deal to solve the debt ceiling crisis back in August. But the rest of the cutting will be done by a "Super Congress" made up of six Republicans and six Democrats.

We are being asked to believe that a committee of 12 will, effectively, run our nation.

How does that sound?

Read the full story from Yahoo! News.

The Republican Party's Race Dilemma

Crossposted on Daily Kos

There is a reason that so many of them need to support a Pizza guy, with no political experience, for President of the United States

"MeandG, I don't know if you've seen this or not. But I was interested in what your perspective was on it." Idaho State Journal Columnist and bannock County-based Republican Richard Larsen messaged me.

He was referring to:

Racist Bake Sale Organizers at UC Berkeley Are Totally On to Something

A club of College Republicans at the University of California-Berkeley is making a lot of enemies this week for its plan to hold a bake sale in which customers will be charged based on race and gender. Prices of baked goods are as follows: $2 for white men, $1.50 for Asian men, $1 for Latino men, $0.75 for black men, and $0.25 for Native American men; all women will get $0.25 off those prices.

The bake sale is a form of satirical protest against pending affirmative action legislation that would allow California universities to consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin during the admissions process. Minority students get "preferential treatment" at the bake sale just as they do during the admissions process.

Here is my response:

When I served on the faculty at Utah State University in 2003 - 2004, the College Republicans had a table doing this. They said that their purpose was to spur a debate about Affirmative Action. I'm all for debate, but there are better ways to create them, such as publicizing a formal debate and inviting voices from both sides. Granted, it is acceptable and desirable on college campuses to create tension and even confusion on controversial topics, and it is a common practice for professors to dress up to appear as something they are not (punk rockers, homeless people, etc.) to provoke student thought and conversation about stereotypes.

However, I didn't walk over to their table to debate, because I sensed a certain hostility, and Utah State College Republican's strategy that afternoon did nothing to dissuade that perception.

Simply put, the Republican Party, as a whole, has a problem:

Words from Congressman Raul Labrador sum it up:

He told the Wall Street Journal that his party's immigration rhetoric is a turn-off for many Latino voters who might otherwise be inclined to vote Republican on social and fiscal issues.

"They don't feel welcome in the party, and I think that's a shame," he said. "I think we can change this."

Labrador said that if the party wants to remain relevant, it needs to welcome people of different backgrounds.

"I think it's happening nationally," he said. "We need to continue to have this conversation."

Quintana endorsed by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter

Crossposted on Daily Kos

Current and former elected officials also back Quintana

Boise City Council candidate Ben Quintana announced endorsements from Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and several other current and former elected officials.

"Initially, I had not planned to weigh in on the Council races, and in particular the open seat,” said Mayor Bieter. “But having had the opportunity to get to know Ben Quintana better in the recent weeks and having looked closely at his positions on the key issues facing our city, I've come to conclude that Ben's vision for Boise is very much in tune with my own vision and priorities as Mayor. I heartily endorse Ben's candidacy and look forward to having his passion, energy, and commitment to promoting livability on the City Council."

Additional endorsements from current and former elected officials who support Quintana include: Boise City Council Member, TJ Thomson; State Senator, District 14, Chuck Winder; Ada County Sheriff, Gary Raney; Garden City Council Member, Kathleen Simko, State Representative, District 18, Phylis King; Former State Senator, District 19, Mike Burkett; Former Democratic National Committeewoman, State Senator and Assistant Democratic Senate Leader, Gail Bray; and Former State Representative, District 18, Branden Durst.

Boise City Council is a non-partisan office. Quintana is running a non-partisan campaign and has drawn broad-based support from the Boise community. For a full list of endorsements and testimonials, please visit  read more »

Occupy Participants Occupy Dialogue

Individual participants from six Idaho communities, from all reaches of the state, join Marcia Franklin to discuss why they are taking action. Frickin' frick, when you get Harry, Rigby resident in his mid 60s, calling in support, this movement is definitely tapping a nerve. The link for these episodes is on the Dialogue website and also contains links to sites for each of these movements. The web extra segment follows after the jump.  read more »

Occupy Boise Needs Supplies For Tent City

In case you haven't heard, the fine folks at Occupy Boise helping to focus the traditional media on things that matter to 99% of us, have decided to elevate their profile by forming up a tent city on the site of the old Ada County Courthouse adjacent to the Statehouse. So far it appears there won't be much push back, but we're dealing with bright crimson state officials, so far.

Not sure how we as a society can deploy riot gear encrusted police armed with tear gas and other weapons on people whose only crime is camping. Its not like they ruined the economy. Here's the list of things they need to get going. Please note their number one need, and if that's not doable then do what you can.  read more »

Bill Moyers Puts Occupy Wall Street in Context

Longtime journalist and commentator Bill Moyers was the keynote speaker on October 20 at the 40th anniversary celebration of Public Citizen, the "countervailing force to corporate power".

A copy of the speech is here but its not a transcript. He is a great orator.  read more »

Keep Wall Street Occupied

I'm not asking for money. I'm asking you for five minutes to do what you've always wanted to do. You get loads of supplications from banksters in the mail everyday. Take a minute to establish a dialogue. Tell them how you feel about junk mail or anything else that may be bothering you.

And for those who think that none of this is gonna make a bit of difference, it already has. If you believe this is just about dirty hippies wanting entitlements, Matt Taibbi pummels that media driven fallacy. Here's a quick and dirty report on the efforts and failures of your government in holding Bankster's accountable. And if you still doubt, know that this movement isn't necessarily divisive, the one percent agree with many of the objectives. Keep your eye on the prize.  read more »

Welcome to the Big Stage, Herman

and to the Republican Party.

So far, Monday is shaping up to be a long day for Herman Cain amidst the sexual harassment claims against him that have surfaced, and his misfortune at having public events scheduled for today, writes Barbara Morrill.

Cain has already appeared at the American Enterprise Institute, where his hosts helpfully blocked any questions about the Politico report about Cain's alleged "sexually suggestive behavior" toward two women during his time as the head of the National Restaurant Association, but dodging the bullet may be more difficult at his next stop: the National Press Club.

Cain's campaign manager, Mark Block appeared on MSNBC earlier today and stated that Cain had "never sexually harassed anybody ever, period, end of story," but followed that up with a classic non-denial denial:

I am not personally aware of any cash settlement relating to sexual harassment charges to Mr. Cain.

Further entertainment is scheduled for later today, when Cain will appear on Fox News and, no-doubt, spout off further complaints about the "liberal media."

"And what better venue then Fox?" Morrill said.

Double whammy?

Now there are reports that Aides’ Corporation May Have Illegally Gotten Cain Campaign Off The Ground.

All of this reeks of a classic insider Republican hit job.

That's why the sexual harrassment allegations appeared in Politico.

Rove and Crew are scareder than Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, that this crackpot might actually win the nomination.

If that happens, it's Goldwater 1964 all over again. They needed to intervene so Shazam: opposition research is dropped into Politico's lap.

Occupy Your Head

we gave you video games
the internet
dvr recorders
kindle readers
plasma teevees
hummingbird feeders
mango salsa
online banking
orgasm faking
cable talk shows
the left, the right
high sarcasm
mega churches
surfing kites
cellular phones
gay marriage
delivery pizza
SSRIs, hydrocodone,
electric cars
many hoppy ales
IKEA black leather sofas
seahawk fails
electric guitars
remote controls
sudoko, sushi
dancing w the stars

we gave you
so much from
weak to stronger
short to longer
so why
must you occupy
anything but
a soft couch or

Raul Labrador Up To No Good / Raúl Labrador para nada bueno

Crossposted on Daily Kos

También publicado en español. Véase el texto a continuación.

The current "guest" worker programs, temporary visa programs, have been termed "close to slavery" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. We must be wary of the value of any piece of legislation that is proposed by Tea Party Congressman Raul Labrador. I wouldn't elevate these suggestions or their sponsors as 'interesting,' rather as bait to divide the movement for immigrant rights." - Fred Hirsch

With Congress unable to agree on a comprehensive immigration overhaul, and with states taking immigration matters into their own hands, Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho thinks he has an idea that can draw bipartisan support, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Labrador, 43, who spent 15 years as an immigration attorney before riding the Republican wave to Congress last year, one of five Latino Republicans elected -- is right on the mark about some things:

Labrador said his party's immigration rhetoric is a turn-off for many Latino voters who might otherwise be inclined to vote Republican on social and fiscal issues.

"They don't feel welcome in the party, and I think that's a shame," he said. "I think we can change this."

Labrador said that if the party wants to remain relevant, it needs to welcome people of different backgrounds.

"I think it's happening nationally," he said. "We need to continue to have this conversation."

Labrador, a Republican, recently introduced a bill that would speed up applications for permanent residency to foreign-born graduate students who are offered jobs by U.S. employers in high-tech fields.

"Many of these students actually leave," he said in an interview. "They go back to their home country or to our competitors."

Not only would his legislation help boost the U.S. economy by keeping highly educated workers in the country, Labrador said, but it also would help encourage more American students to pursue math- and science-based careers. Labrador said his bill aims to shorten the waiting period for approval of work visas, which can take several years and can discourage talented workers from staying put. While the legislation wouldn't change the process, it would enable students to obtain visas once they've completed their paperwork, which should take no more than two years.  read more »

Occupy Boise to Hold a FREE! Community Bazaar

Occupy Boise invites the public to a “FREE! Bazaar” on Saturday, October 29 from 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM in Capitol Park.

Occupy Boise's mission is to build community among the 99% to address the problems caused by the greed and corruption of the 1%. The “FREE! Bazaar” will be an exhibition of some small-scale, practical ways to serve human needs right now while preparing to address the bigger problems down the road. Don't miss this chance to spend time with friends and neighbors in a completely noncommercial (FREE!) setting.

The “FREE! Bazaar” will feature games, music, zombie face painting, a really free market (where all goods are FREE!), a free-speech soap box, a mass meeting, arts activities, food to share with Food Not Bombs, and educational workshops such as “Know Your Rights,” “Herbalism,” and “Consent”. To experience what it might look like to focus on human needs instead of corporate greed, come to the “FREE! Bazaar” in Capitol Park this Saturday, between 10:00 AM and 6:30 PM. The park is located at 601 W. Jefferson Street (across from the People's House) in Downtown Boise.

The event is absolutely free of charge and open to folks of all ages and backgrounds. The public is also invited to attend all Occupy Boise meetings to discuss and plan next steps. On Thursday and Friday, Occupy Boise will hold General Assembly meetings from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM in the House Majority Caucus Room on the 4th floor of the People's House, at 700 W. Jefferson St. On Saturday, our mass meeting will assemble at 2:00 PM at the “FREE! Bazaar” in Capitol Park. Other assembly times can be found on the calendar tab here.  read more »

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