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

Immigration rights marchers begin trek to Labrador’s Meridian office

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WILDER — About 20 people gathered Monday near Chula Vista Acres in Wilder to begin a three-day, 30-mile walk from that spot to Meridian City Hall in the name of immigration reform, today's Idaho Press Tribune reports.

“The walk is symbolic,” said Ruby Menendez, a member of the Idaho Community Action Network. “We are collectively taking a path, current voters and future voters, to recognize that real change, lasting change to our immigration system will build a future together.”

The event is a collaborative effort between the ICAN, the Coalition for Immigrant Rights of Idaho and the Community Council of Idaho. The group walked to Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church on Monday and held a vigil Monday night and will continue walking to Nampa all day today.

On Wednesday, they plan to arrive by 1 p.m. at Meridian City Hall for a press conference and rally, and will deliver “thousands of petitions” to Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador’s office to pressure him to vote in favor of the immigration reform bill.

And Labrador sees any compromise at this time as "pandering to Hispanics."

“In fact, the biggest mistake we can make as conservatives is to pander to the Hispanic community and to think that the only way we’re going to get votes is to vote a certain way on immigration,” Labrador said at the monthly ‘Conversations with Conservatives’ event. “Because what we start doing is, we start pandering and we start giving goodies out to people, then we’re going to get into a bidding war with the Democratic Party.”

Labrador said that inciting a bidding war with Democrats over issues such as immigration would only result in Republicans losing because “Democrats are always more willing to give goodies to a certain group than we are.”.

The congressman went on to say he wishes that Republicans would stop basing legislation and policies off of politics because the American people want immigration legislation based on the principle of a secure border.

A bit of history:

On June 5, Labrador, a former immigration attorney, informed his colleagues that he was leaving the bipartisan group negotiating a House immigration bill because he was not satisfied that taxpayers would not have to foot the bill for immigrants in the country illegally in their legislation.

Rather than agree to detailed language on healthcare, the group decided instead to essentially punt the issue and hew to the contours of the Senate Gang of Eight legislation, which makes clear that undocumented immigrants in a provisional legal status cannot receive federal benefits from the 2010 healthcare law.

We will be reliant on younger minorities and immigrants for our future demographic and economic growth

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.

And the GOP kinda wants to. But not really:

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.

And as Markos points out:

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.”

The Empire Strikes Back: VanderSloot to buy Pocatello TV station?

Word going around the Gate City today is that Frank VanderSloot, CEO of Melaleuca, Inc. and former national finance co-chair of 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, is preparing to expand his corporate and media empire by buying NBC-affiliate KPVI-TV channel 6 in Pocatello, Idaho. KPVI broadcasts throughout Southeast Idaho.

KPVI is currently owned by Intermountain West Communications Company. IWCC's CEO, James Rogers, bought the station in 1996.

VanderSloot's media arm, Riverbend Communications, owns radio stations KLCE, KCVI (Kbear), KTHK (The Hawk), KBLI and KBLY in Eastern Idaho. VanderSloot also owns businesses involved in ranching, land holdings and construction. His net worth has been estimated at more than a billion dollars.  read more »

Young Peoples Pavilion: Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two

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.

SOURCE: Official Site of the Navajo Code Talkers

This memorial day, I feel compelled to share Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two, by Joseph Bruchac.

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 »

Sorry State of Local Idaho Journalism on Display in GBAD Election

UPDATED BELOW

This weekend, Idaho news outlets were busy congratulating themselves about their self serving awards ceremony, in which everyone seemed to get a prize, while potential corruption brewed under their very noses without so much as a question. After I posted a detailed report on Friday regarding what appeared to be deceptive electioneering practices in the GBAD election, only two local media outlets chose to raise questions regarding the election financial disclosures, and both dropped the ball after getting what they apparently thought was a plausible explanation. Sven Berg's report in the Idaho Statesman buried the lede when it stated:

Tway, Berch and Walker recently questioned reports showing incumbents Peter Oliver, Rob Perez and Stephanie Astorquia had received no contributions and spent no money on their campaigns. That seemed impossible, since the candidates published a joint brochure in early May promoting their candidacies.

But the reports in question, which were due May 14, covered contributions and expenditures between Jan. 1 and May 5. Contributions hadn't started coming in by then, and the candidates hadn't received the bill for the brochure, said Jason Lehosit, who helped the incumbents' campaigns.

"How are you supposed to report something when you don't know what the cost is because you haven't got a bill from the printer yet?" Lehosit said.

Perhaps Mr. Berg is unfamiliar with Mr. Lehosit's checkered past in running Republican campaigns.

In Idaho's inner Republican Party, the name Jason Lehosit is as familiar as any in the past 10 years. A consultant, fundraiser and campaign manager for several high profile Idaho politicians including Gov. Butch Otter in his 2005 campaign and now, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, is in jail after allegations of violating his DUI probation. Court records show that 33-year-old Jason Lehosit's possible probation violation was for his fourth DUI. Attorney David Leroy says, if Lehosit did in fact violate his probation, a judge won't take his sentence lightly.

Lehosit doesn't work for free, so how he can order up a several thousand dollar print job unless he's on the clock. Lehosit's cost to the campaign surely should have shown up in a sunshine disclosure if he's working for them in early May. More importantly, how would Lehosit persuade a printing business to extend him credit for a job costing several thousand dollars, particularly when he had zero in the way of contributions. The fact that Jason Lehosit is involved in this campaign at all is worthy of investigation and reporting.  read more »

Something Smells Bad at GBAD

UPDATED BELOW X3

Recently the Idaho Statesman profiled the May 21st election for the Greater Boise Auditorium District membership on the Board of Directors and what's at stake in this election.

Candidates Steve Berch, Jim Walker (both running for six-year terms) and George Tway (seeking a two-year term) have the same campaign manager and are endorsed by GBAD board chairman and Idaho House member Hy Kloc, who was endorsed by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, who endorses a new baseball stadium. Berch-Walker-Tway were the only candidates among the eight to advocate for a multiuse sports facility (not to the exclusion of convention enhancements) during a candidate forum May 9. They did not spell out baseball specifically, but emphasized "multiuse." They claim they are not a "slate," but they espouse a common anti-incumbent message.

Stephanie Astorquia, Rob Perez (running for six-year terms) and Peter Oliver (running for a two-year term) are incumbents, though Perez and Oliver are relatively new appointees (one year ago and four months ago, respectively). These three share a campaign flier and none advocated specifically for a multiuse sports facility at the candidate forum. They see their strength and their future as operating, and perhaps expanding, the district's convention business. Expansion plans could include a 50,000-square-foot exhibition area that consultants recommend.

The remaining two candidates, John May and Noah Bard, both have industry experience. May's is in the hotel business and serving in community development capacities. His parents have both served on the GBAD board - May's late father, Larry, and his mother, Gail, who left the board in January. Oliver was appointed to the seat Gail May left at midterm.

This is a non-partisan race with strong partisan overtones. With cursory mention, the editorial references bad blood in previous GBAD deliberations with prominent local Republican, Judy Peavey Derr, a GBAD Board Director not up for re-election, occupying center stage in the fracas. Local Democrats will remember Judy Peavey Derr's recent effort to unseat Democratic incumbent Senator Eliot Werk making some vicious personal allegations in the campaign. Werk handily defeated her.  read more »

Young Peoples Pavilion: Just Us Books celebrates the diversity of Black history, culture and experiences

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 ABC Book, 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 Book themselves. 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.

Further reading: http://celebritiesandstars.blogspot.com

Well, You Asked . . .

What the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation Doesn't Want You to Know about Charter Schools, Hedge Funds, Tax Breaks, and Andy Smarick

by Kevin S. Wilson

For nearly two years, the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has been a primary sponsor and promoter of the ED SESSIONS, a monthly speaker series featuring what the foundation bills as “national / international education reformers who are promoters of civil discourse about school improvement and wholesale reform.” Advertised at various times as “an invitation to begin a dialogue” and as “a conversation,” the ED SESSIONS are aimed at “parents, educators, policymakers, and everyone in Idaho”—unless, apparently, you are a parent, educator, policymaker, or an anyone in Idaho who asks inconvenient questions.

If you are, then you’re likely to find that your questions receive no answers, but elicit only the sound of chirping crickets. Ask enough inconvenient questions, and you may find yourself banned from the ED SESSIONS page on Facebook and find that all of your inconvenient questions have been deleted.

That’s what happened to me, after the social-networking social engineers at the ED SESSIONS solicited questions for an upcoming speaker, Andy Smarick, a partner at Bellwether Education Partners, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the conservative think-tank the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Adjunct Fellow at the equally conservative American Enterprise Institute, and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Though he’s never taught and has no academic background in education, Mr. Smarick has emerged as one of what the Albertson Foundation describes as “thought leaders” in education reform, with his thoughts these days focused on tearing down so-called “failing” schools and replacing them with chains of public-funded charter schools, in a process described in his latest book, The Urban School System of the Future: Applying the Principles and Lessons of Chartering.  read more »

Idaho lawmaker's wife had 'inappropriate' relationship with convicted murderer/rapist

Crossposted on Daily Kos

"Has somebody been doing the horizontal mambo in the state hoosegow? More shenanigans from Idaho's arbiters of moral decency? Bring forth the popcorn!" writes 43rd State Blues Blogger Serephin.

H/T to Silly Rabbit for this relevant video: (insert smile)

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."

according to the Associated Press.

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.

Here is my editorial analysis of the matter ...

Ouch!

A conservative case for an assault weapons ban, at Northwest Nazarene University tonight

"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 alumni@nnu.edu or 208.467.8841  read more »

Why we should end the "War on Drugs"

This was shared on the Facebook Page of the NAACP

Shades of Black Show at Boise State University 4/27/13 - Free Admission

Crossposted on Daily Kos

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

Shades of Black Show on Youtube |
Shades of Black Show on Twitter |
Shades of Black Show on Soundcloud |

Hosted by Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity Inc. and Sponsored by the MLK Committee.

For more information, visit shadesofblackshow.com or send an email to shadesofblackshow@gmail.com

Re-elect TJ Thomson to Boise City Council

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.

Read more at TJ's new campaign website.

The Idaho Senate's New Right Wing

The Idaho State Senate changed control last election. The change did not manifest itself overtly or immediately. The change evolved with the session, with a couple self serving factions coming together for mutual gain in tapping majority power. The change happened recently by way of a a turf battle championed by Senator John Goedde, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and joined by Idaho's extreme wing of the Republican Party. And to celebrate the event, many of them gathered at a downtown Boise bar on the eve of a delayed sine die.

When the secretary took the roll, Senators Hagedorn, Bayer, Goedde, and Nuxoll were in attendance plus Rep. Anderson from Priest Lake. Each of these senators voted nay on the education budget forcing the extended session. The connection between Goedde and Anderson is well known, but Goedde and Hagedorn don't often hang, yet shared a private conversation at the arrival of Goedde and Anderson. Like Anderson, Goedde is reviewed typically as a moderate but no stranger to ideological extremism, especially when education is concerned. Of major interest was Taliban Barbie who dominated the center of the group. Yet the ring leader appeared to be Phil Hardy, who once famously said that "regressive is the new progressive". Mr. Hardy was recently let go after an unfortunate tweet on his boss's twitter account (Congressman Raul Labrador) which stated "Me likey Broke Girls" during the Super Bowl which was airing a risque ad.  read more »

Words are buzzing about Idaho Democrats!

Crossposted on Daily Kos

"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!

Thank you!

Marie Hattaway

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.

The development of North Ada Co. and other stories

Spent way more effort than you'd imagine to come up with this little story about urban renewal, just because Mike Moyle weighed in on Dave Bieter's supposed "power grab." I didn't follow the urban renewal thing when it was hot in the 2011 legislature, and haven't kept close track of all the development ideas for N. Ada since the real estate bubble popped.

If there is more I should know (or say), tell me.

Remember the Luna Laws?

Crossposted on Daily Kos

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.

Help us spread the word about this bill!

Contact your representatives in the House tell them to vote no on S1108!

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!

Larry Kenck

Chair

Idaho Democratic Party

You are invited! 2013 Connect the Pieces Gala

Marie Hattaway writes:

Dear Friends,

I am passing along an invitation to a great upcoming community event~ The 2nd Annual Connect the Pieces Gala, themed the Roaring 2020's: A Vision for the Future.

This event is put on by Supportive Housing and Innovative Partnerships (SHIP)* and proceeds from this event will benefit SHIP's Connect the Pieces campaign, which is shining a light on the dangers of prescription drugs in our communities.

Evening includes dinner, auction, live music, and interactive games!

When: Friday March 22, 2013 from 6:30 PM to 11:00 PM MDT

Where: Riverside Hotel, 900 W. Chinden Blvd, Boise, ID 83714 (Click here for map)

Tickets: Click here for more information or to purchase your ticket today

Inquiries: If you have any questions about tickets, donations or sponsorships, please contact,Chris Thomas, Connect the Pieces to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse ~ 208-914-3940

The Roaring 2020's: A Vision for the Future


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.


Featured Speaker: Ada County Sherriff Gary Raney





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



 read more »

Rape Survivor Demands House GOP Stop Blocking Protections for Women

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.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

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."

Sheila continued,

"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.

Ann Romney has not gotten over losing the election

"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.'"


Full story here from THE WEEK.  read more »

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