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

Vandersloot Sues Mother Jones in State Court

As was widely anticipated, news broke that Frank and Belinda Vandersloot, together with Melaleuca, Inc. filed suit for defamation regarding a February, 2012 article which Plaintiffs allege depicted them as "gay bashing". Apparently Plaintiffs are confining their claims to Mother Jones and the individual writers and editors. But for context you need to read the Salon piece (first link above) by Glenn Greenwald. Idaho Agenda has some background links and my pieces on the subject are here, here, here,and here. So far I've not heard of any Defendants outside of Mother Jones.

The action is filed in Bonneville County, in the seventh judicial district for the State of Idaho and caps the damage claim at $74,999, despite Vandersloot's assertion in the press that Plaintiffs lost millions. Vandersloot asserts that: “It’s not about (money). It’s about clearing my reputation.” Questionable, but clearly Vandersloot likes his chances in state court in Idaho Falls rather than risking have it removed to federal court and a less friendly venue. $75,000 just happens to be the required amount in controversy which must be pleaded in order to remove a case to federal court for diversity jurisdiction. The pleaded amount was no accident. Vandersloot doesn't want the case anywhere but Idaho Falls.

The jury pool in Idaho Falls is a stacked deck for Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs reside there, employ thousands in call centers, are name throwing philanthropists, routinely buy full page ads in the region's largest newspaper,and finance multiple causes sympathetic to the right wing politics of the area. When pitted in a court room against the liberal Mother Jones, Defendants will have an uphill battle, or as the legal profession puts it, they'll be home towned. Just as significant is a sympathetic judiciary. Vandersloot's history is set forth in this well sourced Wiki entry:

VanderSloot has generally been a major donor to Idaho Republicans,according to Popkey, who described him as the state's "most boisterous conservative financier” and by America Online’s Eamon Murphy, who called him "perhaps the single most influential campaign donor" in the state of Idaho.  read more »

Updates from Rep. Sue Chew

SueChew_color_pic

Susan  B.  Chew (D)     

Legislative Term: 4
Born in Oakland, CA; bachelor's degree in biology & natural resources, UC Berkeley; Pharm.D., UC San Francisco; professor; member United Vision for Idaho and Women in Government; 2003 Women Making History Award, 2006 Cultural Center Service Award.

From her Facebook page:

"There is testimony before the Joint Education Committees this Friday from 8-10am. Please come and listen. Please share far and wide. Testimony accepted. 3 minute max. If submit written, will be added to the record. Am checking to see if emailed and otherwise sent can be added as well."

From her website:

It was my pleasure this month to attend the American Heart Association’s Youth Lobby Day - and to search with five Filer high school students for solutions to the health problems facing Idaho children. Budget cuts to schools and social services have limited the opportunities our youth have to develop life-long, healthy habits. Children may be resilient, but their health issues shouldn’t be treated lightly. “Several studies,” warns the American Heart association, “have indicated that this generation of youth may be the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.”

Read Chew's full story Health Problems Facing Idaho's Youth

E-mail Sue Chew  read more »

Swan Lake to grace the Nampa Civic Center

Perhaps the most famous ballet in the world, Swan Lake is elegant, exciting, and breathtakingly beautiful. Along with its music, the choreography has been recognized as a masterpiece of the ballet world.

With museum-quality costumes and the perfection of classical choreography, Swan Lake has earned a reputation for being a production distinct to this company. On Feb. 28, the Eugene Ballet company will bring this beautiful choreography and musical score to the Nampa Civic Center Brandt Auditorium.

A story of rivalry for love as the black swan, Odile, tricks Prince Siegfried into being unfaithful to the white swan, Odette. Powerful and passionate dancing exposes the sorcery of Von Rothbart the evil mastermind behind the mystery.

Swan Lake was composed in 1875–1876 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales. The ballet was premiered by the Bolshoi Ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, billed as The Lake of the Swans. Although it is presented in many different versions, most ballet companies base their stagings both choreographically and musically on the 1895 revival of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, first staged for the Imperial Ballet in 1895.

About this production, Deen Speer of Ballet Dance Magazine wrote that Eugene Ballet's Artistic Director Toni Pimble:

is to be praised for pulling a small ballet miracle, as this ballet is typically done by much larger companies, yet Eugene Ballet never seemed spare or bare – either in terms of numbers or of quality. ... Excellent and tight ensemble work cut through all levels – from the 12 corps and “big” swans of Act II’s lakeside scene to the character dances of the ballroom setting of Act III. One staging difference to note is the entrance of the swans. In many productions they come on in a limpid way, low hopping their arabesque, emboité motif but in this one, they employed a full-out flying sauté arabesque with a very vigorous jump for the emboité.

Speer continues:  read more »

More from Cherie Buckner Webb

Hello All,

Committees have been diligently engaged in rules review the last couple of weeks. JFAC has been hearing budget requests, legislators have been preparing personal bills for submission and I am pleased to say that legislators have been devoting considerable time to listening to stakeholders. Following a predictably slower start, the pace is picking up rapidly.

Education Week

Institutions of higher education presented their budgets and shared visions for the futures of their institutions:

Education Committee presentations:

University of Idaho - President Duane Nellis
Idaho State University - President Arthur Vailas
Lewis and Clark State College - President Tony Fernandez
Education Update - Tom Luna, Supt. Public Instruction
Workforce Issues Affecting Public School Teachers -
Rakesh Mohan, Dir. Office of Performance Eval.

Superintendent Luna announced his request for a 3% increase for the public schools budget for 2013-14, which equals about $38 million more than the previous year. The devil is in the details though, as $33.9 million of that is going to unspecified changes to the education system. He expressed interest in continuing to funnel funds into technology, but this is not unheard of as money has been appropriated toward technology since the 1950s in Idaho’s public schools budget.

On February 1st from 8:00-10:30 a.m. the Senate and House Education Committees will be conducting a joint hearing in the Senate auditorium. The session will provide the community with the opportunity to share their suggestions on the next steps for education in Idaho. Testimony will be limited to three minutes per person. You may submit more detailed comments to the committee in writing via email to hedu@house.idaho.gov. Committee members will have access to all written comments. As a member of the Senate Education Committee, I look forward to hearing from you.

One highlight of the week was a visit by the fourth grade class from St. Joseph’s School. The students were a delight; very knowledgeable about Idaho history, they asked and answered great questions and beautifully executed an impromptu musical selection calling out all of the counties in Idaho. These amazing kids provided a poignant reminder of the importance of the work we do today and its impact on tomorrow.

Human Rights

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Human Rights celebration at the Capitol rotunda kicked off the week on January 21st. I was honored to unite with folks from every walk of life to honor the legacy of Dr. King. Most of you know that the day is of major significance for me. And as I stood with my granddaughter in my arms, I was overwhelmed by the importance that it holds for generations to come. Our children and our children’s children must not forget the struggle and unwavering perseverance of those who came before us to obtain basic equal rights. And yet there is much work to do. Many Idahoans are still denied basic human rights. And so it is that Representative Grant Burgoyne and I are hosting a Human Rights Act Education Panel on February 6th from 12:00 -1:00 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium. The panel will be moderated by David Adler of the Andrus Center for Public Policy. Panelists include:

· Pam Parks, Executive Director, Idaho Commission on Human Rights

· Maryann Jordan, Boise City Council

· Rev. Marci Glass, Pastor, Southminster Presbyterian Church

· Kevin Settles, Idaho Business Owner

· John Reuter, Former Sandpoint City Council President

Please join us.

Gun Violence

Gun violence is top of mind for many Idahoans. The tragedies of recent events touched the hearts and souls of us all. And while I will continue to defend 2nd Amendment rights, I support responsible gun ownership and policies that serve to protect the safety of our citizens. I join the Democratic caucus in committing to give cautious consideration to any proposed legislation on this topic.

Additionally the State of Idaho must be aggressive in attending to the needs or those with mental illness. We reaffirm our pledge to take proactive leadership in support of appropriate care for those with mental illness.

Increasing Voter Access

In response to the concerns from members of our communities, the Democratic Caucus is pleased to present a package of bills that is crafted to protect fundamental voting rights. This collection of bills, the Voting Opportunity and Trustworthy Elections (VOTE) initiative, was developed to encourage participatory government and increase access to the voting process.

· The Motor Voter Act

· The Online Voter Registration Act

· The Early Voter Opportunity Act

· The Voter Convenience Act

· The Private Election Taxpayer Compensation Act

Details of the VOTE Initiative will be presented at a press conference on Tuesday, January 29th, at 10:30 a.m. in Room WW-17 at the Capitol. You may access the audio via Idaho Public Television (click on the WW-17 link under “notices”).

Meet Caitlin Lister, Attaché Extraordinaire

I am pleased to introduce my Senate Attaché, Caitlin Lister, a native of Washington with great skills and talents and an amazing professional background. Caitlin spent six years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving two tours in Iraq as a helicopter mechanic and three years as a U.S. Embassy Guard. She moved to Idaho upon completion of her military service, and earned her BA in Political Science at Boise State University. Caitlin worked on Mayor Bieter’s campaign, managed Sen. Elliot Werk’s campaign and is now in her second year working for the Senate Minority Party. She was honored as the Idaho Young Democrat of the month in January. Caitlin and her husband, Dan, have a 10 year-old daughter and are expecting their first son in May. Caitlin is an invaluable asset and consummate professional who assists me with all aspects of my work at the Capitol and can reach me at any time. Please feel free to contact her at 208/332-1416 or clister@senate.idaho.gov.

Town Hall Meetings

I invite you to join Representative Mat Erpelding, Representative Holli Woodings and me for upcoming District 19 Town Halls this session. The first will take place on February 19th at Longfellow Elementary School from 7-8:30 p.m. and the second is on March 13th, location to be announced in the near future. We will send out reminders as the events approach. Please join us – we want to hear from you (and share our perspectives).  read more »

Caldwell City Councilman David Clark Resigns

There will be an open seat on the Caldwell, Idaho City Council.

Since David Clark just announced this last night, it appears that the news outlets haven't picked up the story yet. (as of 9:50 a.m. MST)

From his Facebook page:

Dear friends and family, life is full of adventures and challenges and I am going though an adventure right now. For the past few months, I have been communicating with a company called www.web.com. They build websites, social media and SEO for businesses. It has been a great partnership and they have recently offered me a permanent position in their Houston, Texas office as a Sales Branch Manager, responsible for the entire Houston area. I will have many people under my wing and this is a big step for me.

Normally it would take a lot for me to tear up my Caldwell roots for a move like this, however web.com delivered. The offer was too sweet to say no. Therefore, I accepted their offer and I am moving to Houston Feb 11. I know this is a shock to some of you, but this is a natural progression in my career right now. Life here in Idaho for the family will remain somewhat the same. Marcee will run the event center and the social media business will be ran out of Houston. Another major change for me is resigning from my passion, the Caldwell City Council. This was the most difficult decision to make, but it needed to be made in order for the Citizens of Caldwell to be served right. My last council meeting will be February 4th.

Follow us at http://twitter.com/123idaho

Big party for Democrats, quiet reflection for GOP

For many Republicans, this is a good weekend to get away from it all.

With hundreds of thousands of Democrats traveling to nation's capital for President Barack Obama's inauguration activities, Republicans and supporters of last fall's GOP presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, are leaving town, or staying put and trying to avoid the crowds.

After failing to recapture the White House for a second straight presidential election, many are not exactly in a partying mood.

"It's a good time to lay low," said John Feehery, the president of Quinn Gillespie Communications and a former top congressional aide.

As Democrats prepare to mark Obama's second inauguration on Monday by bundling up along the parade route or dressing up for balls, Republicans are spending the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend with quick vacation getaways, quiet time at home or trips to the movie theater.

Read the full story.

Follow us at http://twitter.com/123idaho

"  read more »

God, Spoogeflower Seeds, Idaho GOP Lawmakers, Hookers, and Blastocysts

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/jan/16/idaho-lawmaker-compares-abortion-and-prostitution/

According to Biblical scholars, a man cannot ejaculate his penis if it is in the vagina of a prostitute. His penis will stop his hot creamy load of seed before it is "planted in the barren and cold soil of a harlot" (Corinthians 17:1).

So, using the Logic of God (All Rights Reserved) if man cannot cause an unwanted pregnancy (because a man cannot cause an abortion as abortions are the same as prostitution) then a man cannot cause an abortion. Thus, all abortions are pregnancies caused by the dark seed of Satan. Ipso facto and vis a vis, a woman who gains an abortion is a witch. And we shalt not brook witches. Well, we can "brook" witches if that means drowning them in brooks.

God has always had this figured out. It is our duty, not His, to live by His unerring code.

Amen.

Idaho's Universities Celebrate Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King's message is ringing clearly through higher education in Idaho. To begin, Boise State University is hosting a Day of Greatness March and Rally, 9am, Jan. 21.

Stop in for poster making in the SUB Jordan Ballroom from 9-10:30 a.m. Meet representatives from local nonprofits and sign up to volunteer for future projects.

Then at 10:40 a.m. there is a March down Capitol Blvd. followed by a rally at the statehouse. At noon the State of Idaho officially recognizes the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The speaker is Rev. Happy Watkins from New Hope Baptist Church, Spokane, WA. This is presented in part by the Idaho Commission on Human Rights.

The University of Idaho will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with an on-campus showing Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 12:30 p.m. of his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, filmed in 1963. The screening will take place in the Teaching and Learning Center, attached to the Idaho Commons, in its Student Diversity Center, room 229.

He delivered his stirring remarks on Aug. 28, 1963, before 200,000 civil rights marchers gathered at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The marchers expected to hear strong words but likely never expected King’s speech to become a part of history that still echoes in today’s culture.

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s famous ’I Have a Dream’ speech,” said Leathia Botello, program coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which is sponsoring the event. “Many students have heard it at least once but it is important that the words never die. We have made progress in the last 50 years, but it was hard fought. We need students to be inspired and keep up this important work for the generations to come.”

The celebration will continue with “The New Faces of America,” a one-woman show about how college students live and thrive in a multicultural America. It is set for Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Building Ballroom.

The stage show is part of a groundbreaking contemporary series that examines issues relating to people all across the country. It is based on interviews and research on today’s young Americans and the issues that concern them.

“This production covers a wide range of racial, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, ability and religious issues with monologues taken from interviews of college-aged students. We hope that the individuals who attend will be open-minded to the issues covered in the performance and how will begin to explore how these issues relate to them,” said Botello.

“The New Faces of America,” presents seven different characters from seven different backgrounds. The 65- minute live show will showcase the stories of a female biracial college student, a Southern gay minister, a young female Iraq War veteran, a Native American teenager, a young migrant worker, an Appalachian college student and a deaf African-American.

The show creates a multi-media experience merging video presentations with its live performer. Following the performance, a post-show discussion will provide audience members a chance to discuss the show’s themes and issues.

The show is written and performed by Will and Company. For more information, visit www.uidaho.edu/oma.  read more »

A night in the ER without insurance.

Medically we are definitely a country of haves and have nots. My friend, who has no health insurance or job, slipped and fell on the ice. Some wonderful people took her to the ER. I was called because I was in the phone book and I am her friend. I went to the hospital and was at first told her bone was not broken. Then the doctor came in and he ordered more xrays. Turns out the bone was broken.  read more »

Why Idaho is a Political Bloggers' Dream State

Crossposted On Daily Kos

"Yeah, I you know when I drink alone/ I prefer to be by myself." - George Thorogood.


(NOTE: It could also be called a nightmare)

So you think you can blog?

You call yourself a progressive, a liberal, a Democrat or something along those lines?

Do you live and blog outside of Idaho?

Ha!

Come join us.

Here's why:

As I wrote in my recent entry: UPDATED: Idaho Senator Mike Crapo charged with drunken driving:

Idaho:

One large land mass.

One small population.

One political party filled with more screw-ups than you can fit in an average class at the Betty Ford Center.

Nice going!

Great family values!

Way to set an example for our children! (triple snark)

Yeah, there is not much out here, except for one thing: a target rich environment to bust on Republicans!

Can your state beat our list of anti-GOP blogging topics?

Just when you thought it was safe (or if you were ready to be bored), Crapo, for example, recently plead guilty to drunk driving. The senator said he felt like he owed people a full explanation of his behavior and took questions outside the courthouse.

Idaho's GOP: the gift that keeps on giving.

Crapo gave an apologetic statement where he acknowledged that he been drinking alcohol on occasion for the past year or so, in violation of the tenets of his Mormon faith.

Crapo said he had been drinking vodka and tonic at his Washington home on the night of Dec. 22, became restless, couldn't sleep and went out for a drive.

.

Crapo said he was not with anyone at the time, was not going to see anyone and was not coming or going from seeing anybody.

Well that covers just about everybody (gay, straight, male female, and other) doesn't it?

"In recent months, and for less than a year, I have on occasion had alcoholic drinks in my apartment in Washington, DC. It was a poor choice to use alcohol to relieve stress—and one at odds with my personally-held religious beliefs. However, on the night of Saturday, December 22nd, I made another even worse decision to go for a drive to get out of my apartment and try to wind down. I left my apartment, driving out past the monuments. I was alone during this drive and never left my vehicle. After driving around for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, I realized what a mistake it had been for me to drive and decided to return to my apartment. I approached a multi-street intersection and mistakenly turned against a red light. It was at that time that the police pulled me over.

On Daily Kos, I asked: You think you can have more fun blogging about Republicans in your state?

Take at look at these jabs:

Sisyphus Idaho:

I'm feeling restless. I think I'll go for a drive. --not said by a drunk 61 year old at night ever.

And

... Interesting that he was now drinking vodka tonics. So let me get this straight. The senate adjourned on December 21 due to return December 26. His family is in (Idaho Falls). He's still in DC 48 hours later, drinking, alone and restless. Not passing the smell test.

Spitball:

So you think your Republicans are more twisted, demented, and downright backwards that ours here in Idaho?

Who is your Larry Craig, your John McGee?

Where is your Rex Rammell and your Bill Sali?

In about a month we are going to have another topic which is sure to disconnect readers from any imaginable reality.


Tag.

You're it!
 read more »

A motley cast of characters rule the world

Crossposted on Daily Kos

News recently broke that Senator Mike Crapo will not contest his DUI:

Police have said Crapo registered a blood alcohol level of 0.11 percent when he was pulled over early Sunday in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Va., after running a red light. But a secondary test performed after Crapo was brought to the jailhouse - the one that will be used in court - registered at 0.14, nearly twice the legal limit ... .

The Idaho Statesman goes on to report that the 61-year-old's arrest two days before Christmas stunned colleagues and constituents alike, not only because of his squeaky-clean image but also because the senator, a Mormon, had said previously he abstains from alcohol, in accordance with his church's practices.

While no one will ever mistake Bill Clinton for a leader held up on a Holy Roller pedestal, I am reminded of this book by George Stephanopoulos during this quasi-epic fall of Crapo:

All Too Human is a new-generation political memoir, written from the refreshing perspective of one who got his hands on the levers of awesome power at an early age. At thirty, the author was at Bill Clinton's side during the presidential campaign of 1992, & for the next five years he was rarely more than a step away from the president & his other advisers at every important moment of the first term. What Liar's Poker did to Wall Street, this book will do to politics. It is an irreverent & intimate portrait of how the nation's weighty business is conducted by people whose egos & idiosyncrasies are no sturdier than anyone else's.

I like what reviewer Rebekah Warren said about Stephonapolous book:

Written with the jittery cadence of a bookie, All Too Human is a lively look at the complex and motley cast of characters who rule the world.

Crapo's "arrest two days before Christmas stunned colleagues and constituents alike."

Which brings me to a fundamental question.

Why are we surprised?

Rumours swirled around Larry Craig for years. One day, he got caught. Did it really matter, or was it just fun to knock him off the pedestal?

Trivia question: How many DUIs exist between George W. Bush, Idaho Governor Butch Otter, and former Vice President Dick Cheney?

Shock?

Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner is:

... sitting on a $4.5 million campaign war chest — is mulling a bid for citywide office next year and “seriously considering” a mayoral run, multiple sources told The Post.

I hope he wins.

While DUI is a serious crime and perpetrators deserve all the resulting hits that come with it, there is a separate dialogue that needs to be addressed.

The excerpt below, by Nampa, Idaho blogger Amy Larson, speaks to her experience on the editorial board of the Idaho Press Tribune.

I loved going to the Editorial Board meetings on Thursdays. ... The Editor was a savvy, strong woman who knew who she was and offered no excuses. A great role model for me. I observed how she masterfully cut off comments that droned on for too long, changed the subject when necessary, and her overall leadership of the group. I enjoyed the members of the Board, too, how each one of them brought a different perspective to the items of discussion.

We got to meet VIP's, politicians, and other newsmakers. For the most part, I was surprised to find myself unimpressed. One or two politicians stood out here and there, due to their seeming rather genuine, but I thought I would be more wowed by those in the public eye. It was a bit of a let-down. They were ordinary people, just like me. Many of them lost track of their tone when they got overly-passionate about a topic. Some of them talked too much. One very well-known public figure showed up wearing a shirt that looked as if it had been slept in. It being an election year, we were invited to the paper-hosted public forum. This is where I had my eyes opened when it came to how imperfect we all are, with few exceptions. Tempers flared, basic rules were ignored, and the Editor/ Moderator had to quite forcefully demand that a man in the audience sit down and remain silent.

Those on the stand who retained their maturity level made an impact, but they were the minority. I'd always envisioned community leaders as a composed, well-controlled lot. That forum changed my mind.

Nice reflections, Amy.

I guess I've simply outgrown the surprise factor, and have been emotionally past it for a long time.

What expression would you use to describe the people who run the world?
 read more »

Fiscal Cliff Could Affect State Courts Already Faced with Budget Constraints

Follow us at http://twitter.com/123idaho

Efforts to save the nation from going over a year-end "fiscal cliff" were in disarray as lawmakers fled the Capitol for their Christmas break. "God only knows" how a deal can be reached now, House Speaker John Boehner declared.

President Barack Obama, on his way out of town himself, insisted a bargain could still be struck before Dec. 31. "Call me a hopeless optimist," he said.

The nation’s decision makers continue to wrestle with the consequences of going over the “fiscal cliff” at year’s end, which may translate to cuts in federal funding in many state budgets.

The trickle-down effect could cause more problems for state courts that have fallen victim to massivefiscal cliff budget shortfalls during the recession, according to G. Alan Tarr, a professor of political science at Rutgers-Camden.

“When revenues decrease as they have during the recent recession, states have to look for places to cut in order to balance their budget,” says Tarr, an internationally noted constitutional scholar. “Some states cut across the board and others pick out areas in which funds aren’t being well spent. In any case, state courts tend to get hit, which precipitates concerns about the administration of justice.”

Tarr opines on the issue in his article, “No Exit: The Financial Crisis Facing State Courts,” recently published in the Kentucky Law Journal.

Tarr directs the Rutgers-Camden Center for State Constitutional Studies. He has consulted with numerous state legislatures and Supreme Courts on the complexities of state constitutions. says a majority of funding for state courts – which makes up about 2 or 3 percent of a state budget – accounts for salaries for judges, clerks, and other core personnel. Therefore, Tarr says budget cuts to the courts tend to take the form of reducing personnel.

“The cuts in turn have forced state court systems to adopt measures to reduce costs, such as cutting hours and employees, which jeopardizes the administration of justice,” Tarr says.

In his article, Tarr notes that in fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011, state budget shortfalls have totaled more than $530 billion, leading to dramatic reductions in funding for state courts.

If cuts have to be made at the federal level as a result of the so-called fiscal cliff, they will include funding that goes to the states, creating more of a burden on entities like the courts, Tarr says.

“The problem for state courts is that there are many other worthwhile uses for this revenue within the state budgets,” he notes. “The courts are competing against education, Medicaid, and other state functions.”

Tarr says the American Bar Association became very concerned about funding for state courts and in 2011 formed a task force to look at the fiscal issues affecting the courts and what could be done about them.

“There are two possibilities,” he says. “The states can increase the portion of the state budget that goes to the courts, or can increase the pool so that they get the same percentage, but there’s more revenue.”

In any case, Tarr says there is no light at the end of the tunnel for underfunded state courts.

“The state courts are, for the foreseeable future, going to continue to face declining funding,” he says. “They’ll have to find ways to work more expeditiously to continue to deliver the administration of justice.”  read more »

Crapo charged with drunken driving

Crossposted on Daily Kos


UPDATE 10:14 p.m. MST. HERE IS THE MUGSHOT

UPDATE

8:22 PM PT: According to the Associated Press:

"Police said Crapo, who was alone in his vehicle, registered a blood alcohol content of .110. The legal limit in Virginia, which has strict drunken driving laws, is .08."

(I.e. He was hammered)

Merry Christmas Mike!

Well, at least he cooperated with police.

This is just in, from Politico:

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) was arrested and charged with drunken driving in Alexandria, Va., early Sunday morning, according to local police.

Jody Donaldson, a spokesperson for the Alexandria Police Department, said in an e-mail that Crapo was arrested at 12:45 a.m. Sunday. An Alexandria police officer noticed Crapo’s vehicle run through a red traffic light, and after the vehicle was stopped, the officer conducted field sobriety tests, which Crapo failed, Donaldson said. Crapo was arrested and taken into custody without incident, Donaldson said.

Idaho:

One large land mass.

One small population.

One political party filled with more screw-ups than you can fit in an average class at the Betty Ford Center.

Nice going!

Great family values!

Way to set an example for our children! (triple snark)

UPDATE:

In a statement, Crapo apologized for his actions.

“I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance,” Crapo said. “I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter.

“I will also undertake measures to ensure that this circumstance is never repeated.”

His BAC is not yet available, and there is a very interesting side note:

Crapo, a 61-year-old Republican, is serving his third term in the U.S. Senate. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and has said publicly that he abstains from alcohol.

The Tragedy in Conneticut...

My head reels at yet another tragedy that probably could have been prevented or at least been less horrific. I cannot try to get into the head of someone who would do such a thing. I can't imagine an entire Kindergarten class murdered by the teachers psychopathic son (or anyone). Beautiful children, just starting their lives....

Flashback to the summer. A bunch of people watching the latest batman movie.... A violent movie, yes but on the big screen... 12 dead....

A mall in Oregon full of holiday shoppers....

Can we do anything? Do we always have to play the victim?  read more »

The Money May Have Run Away from Boise State's Big East Future

Crossposted on Daily Kos

In many people's eyes, the Broncos were the best thing that ever happened to Idaho. This little sandlot of a state was now on the big screen, in the big time. Bronco pride and fever ran deep, and so did sales of tickets, paraphernalia and other goodies.

The giddiness was not lost on the BSU administration. Eyeing the big paydays of the New York area television market, the Broncos were set to leave the Mountain West Conference and join the much more lucrative Big East, after this season.

And to those who said that the miracle finish in 2007 when Boise state beat Oklahoma was a Cinderalla story -- a one hit wonder -- the team went on to rattle off multiple championship and bowl victory seasons in the following years. They compiled some of the best winning statistics in all of college football.

But the big dance may finally be over; for now, at least.

Boise State's future of playing football in the Big East could be in severe jeopardy. Today, the seven basketball-playing Catholic colleges of the Big East announced their decision to leave the league, according to the USA Today.

Marquette, Villanova, Seton Hall, St. John's, Georgetown, Providence and DePaul have made the decision to defect from the league based on the football moves the Big East has made.

Jeff Landers, Sports Director of LocalNews 8 is reporting that the league could be dissolved.

According to ESPN.com, the conference still doesn't have a television contract, which is only estimated between $60 million and $80 million with the basketball schools as a part of the package. ESPN is reporting the value could drop 15 or 20-percent with the loss of the seven schools.

That would affect BSU's television revenue as a football-only member of the Big East.

And here's a fascinating take from a blogger on D.F. Oliveria's Huckleberries:

Sometimes when you’re chasing dollars and swing for homeruns you strike out. Same applies to (University of Idaho); independence chasing dollars by staying in WAC as long as possible to maximize their share of the payout the defecting schools owe the WAC and body game bag payouts.

BSU chasing the higher dollar TV contract they thought was inevitable by going to the Big East. Tough spin job for (Boise State President Bob) Kustra on this one.


Money hungriness. Win at all costs. Bigger is better. The trend can be deadly. But is it reversible?

A Local 8 commenter wrote:

Boise is not in a tough spot. They just stay in the open arms of the Mountain West and forget this ever happened. It was a colossal blunder than can still be undone, remarkably easily. No court in the world would hold them liable for any breach of contract with the Big East as it is about to be constituted.

I hope they do.

Winter Carnival in a Western Town: Identity, Change and the Good of the Community

Crossposted on Daily Kos

Held annually, the McCall, Idaho, winter carnival has become a modern tradition. A festival and celebration, it is also a source of community income and opportunity for shared community effort; a chance to display the town attractively to outsiders and to define and assert McCall's identity; and consequently, a source of disagreement among citizens over what their community is, how it should be presented, and what the carnival means.

Though rooted in the broad traditions of community festival, annual civic events, often sponsored by chambers of commerce, such as that in McCall, are as much expressions of popular culture and local commerce as of older traditions. Yet they become dynamic, newer community traditions, with artistic, informal, and social meanings and practices that make them forms of folklore as well as commoditized culture.

Winter Carnival in a Western Town: Identity, Change and the Good of the Community (Ritual, Festival, and Celebration), is the first volume in a Utah State University Press series that began in 2011, titled Ritual, Festival, and Celebration.

Author Lisa Gabbert, an associate professor of English at Utah State, is a specialist in Folklore Studies. Her research includes study on landscape and place, festivals and play, and medical folklore.

Cookie traditions? Family reunions? Snipe hunting? Jell-O recipes in Utah? These are just a few of the topics that Gabbert's undergraduates research for projects in her Introduction to Folklore class. They cover:

an amazing variety of offbeat subjects. These topics may seem superficially unimportant to many scholars in other fields, and they usually are overlooked in the serious halls of academe (although undergraduate research in folklore often finds its way into professional books and publications as scholars use materials deposited in folklore archives, a recent example of which is Elizabeth Tucker’s 2007 book Haunted Halls). In fact, undergraduates’ folklore research projects document everyday practices that are the staff of local community life. These projects offer insider interpretations of local traditions, providing insight into the cultural dynamics of arenas such as family organization and the teen cultures of high school and early college. These arenas can be difficult for outsiders to study since the nature of such materials is ephemeral and rarely recorded. For these and other reasons, undergraduate research in folklore contributes to knowledge of contemporary social and cultural life.

Gabbert's students are required to go out into the community to document folklore using anthropological fieldwork techniques, and they analyze their findings in the written portion of the project.


Lisa Gabbert

Her book serves as a classic and user-friendly sample of a research product, for her students as well as anyone who interested in folklore. James P. Leary, editor of Journal of American Folklore called Winter Carnival a first rate ethnographic study:

Whereas other folklorists have scrutinized festival in relation to cultural and social systems, Lisa Gabbert offers the first fully developed study of festival in relation to work and place. Her contribution is distinguished by its engagement with environment, the industrialized backwoods, winter, and tourism in the American West.

"Without recourse to jargon, and always at a comfortable pace, the author takes us into the heart of McCall's winter festival yet always returns to key questions: how does community take shape or fragment around festive activity?" writes John H. McDowell, author of Poetry and Violence: The Ballad of Mexico's Costa Chica. "How does festival respond to changing social environments?"

"In sum, undergraduates’ folklore research benefits both students and the discipline," Gabbert writes. "Students learn about and come to more deeply appreciate community traditions; they acquire basic ethnographic skills; and they learn critical thinking by analyzing materials they have collected while they are writing up their research. In turn, folklore studies benefits from these student projects by having an ever-expanding and constantly updated archive materials upon which to base future study."

There is tremendous value in helping students see the relevance of folklore to their every day lives. I highly recommend this work for its wonderful blend of writing, theory, teaching, and practice.

Boise State Bronco Win Over Creighton: Biggest Win in History of Basketball Program

Crossposted on Daily Kos

"Boise State basketball coach Leon Rice and his players knew enough to get out of Derrick Marks' way. The sophomore guard did the rest," according to the Idaho Statesman. Marks scored a career-high 35 points, leading Boise State to a stunning 83-70 upset No. 11 Creighton, on Nov. 28. This result is the greatest victory the team has ever scored. Just take a look at these facts:

Marks hit 18-straight in the second half, 28 of his overall points in the second half before 16,364 shocked fans at CenturyLink Center Omaha. The Broncos, who played No. 13 Michigan State within four points on the road a week earlier, beat a ranked opponent for the first time in four seasons; and on the road for the first time since March 2005.

Creighton came in with all six of its wins by double figures, and the Bluejays were impressive in weekend wins over Wisconsin and Arizona State in Las Vegas. Creighton hadn't lost a regular-season November home game since 1989, a span of 42 games.

The Bluejays are the highest-ranked team Boise State has ever beaten. Prior to this game the best victory was over a No. 15 Washington team in 1998. Boise State was 1-18 against ranked teams on the road entering the game. The lone win was against Nevada in March 2005. It was Boise State's first win over a ranked opponent since they beat Utah State in February 2009. The Broncos were 5-34 all-time against ranked teams.

"The players and coaches did a great job of figuring out that Derrick was the hot hand. We kept running different plays for him to get the ball in his wheelhouse," Rice said. "And credit Derrick, he made some tough shots." Boise State shot the lights out in the first half, making seven straight three-pointers after an initial miss and would lead by as much as 39-28 with 3:10 remaining before the break.

Boise State led 39-33 after shooting 64 percent from the field in the first half. The Broncos made seven straight 3-pointers and were 9-of-13 from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.

Marks 35 points are tied for 10th-most by a Bronco in a game in school history. Rice showed his team the film from the end of the close loss to Michigan State, before the Creighton game. "I was just in the zone," Marks told the Idaho Statesman. "I just felt like I had to do that so we could win the game. We reviewed the mistakes we made. I knew we'd have to deal with that again," he said. Boise State did not trail after the first minute.

At one point late in the second half, Boise State "came apart and they answered a little bit. But we put ourselves back together. It's something we didn't do against Michigan State," Rice said. "I'm proud of how they finished."

"We just had no answer for them on the defensive end of the floor. I thought they outhustled us, I thought they communicated better than we did," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. "If you're watching that game tonight, it was obvious who the better team was tonight, and it wasn't us."

Marks' 35 points were 10th-most in school history and 11 more than his previous best. Boise State's nine three-pointers at halftime were the most by a Bluejay opponent in a first half in at least 10 years. Boise State outrebounded Creighton 31-19.

Nonetheless, with all the honor and glory that comes with this accomplishment, Rice kept things in perspective. "It's a great win for our program," he said. "But we don't want to be defined by one win in November."

Buht it'z in da Constahtooshun...

If Idaho State Sen. Sheryl Bangs Nutball were to breed with Sen. Chuckles Winder, can you imagine the children they'd spawn? Maybe they could open an End of Days daycare.

Gonna be a long Legislative session next year...

Post-Election Analysis of SOME WICKED ASS KICKING YEAH!

I've had literally tens of my Idaho friends and fans ask me about the recent presidential election, knowing full well I am always a balanced and fair interpreter and some might even say bellwether-man of the winds of ideological change.

So, first let me say to the devoted and focused supporters of Willard "Mitt" Romney - NEENER NEENER FUCK NEENER! Idiots

Really?

Really?

You actually thought this insectile cyborg-hate machine would win? Seriously? Look at those red/blue maps of the USA. Population Density, IQ, Racial/Ethnic Diversity, Nice places to eat out, Museums, Symphonies, etc etc

The Great White Shark of Dominant Culture America is beached and twitching in the multi-hued sand of this ass kicking nation.

The GOP pushing itself even FARTHER to the right is so brilliant. Wow. Stay hitched to Karl Rove's obvious superior political strategerianesque brilliance. So smart. So unstoppable. More Jesus. More Vagina Management by Caucasian Middle Aged Men. More safety net slashing. So scary! Can't wait for the midterms.

Oh yeah, the etch-a-sketch positioning was SO COOL. Just.so.cool. And brave!

Stay anachronistic. Stay angry. Stay anhedoniac

So here we go, here we go. Socialism! Islamic Indoctrination Centers in every major US city. Death panels. Destruction of small businesses. Chinese overlords. I can't wait! love love love to watch this nation be destroyed by DEVILCRATS and NOBAMA. Because, that's why we voted for him!

Smoking pot and marrying your drinking buddy is NOW LEGAL IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIK OF WASHINGTON! Here weeee go!

Really though, I think we'll be ok. Except for those teabaggers in their sad, droopy tricorns and their muskets either empty or fulla teardrop soaked gunpowder. Sorry, y'all. Guess you've been fucked right out of relevance by normal America. BUMMER.

So the Hippie Days of Halcyon America are here again and I, for one, am dancing with the devil and pleased as punch.

Garfield Elementary Teachers Will Not Receive a Performance Bonus

... nor will the teachers at Frank Church High School, Boise's alternative school.

"Virtually everyone agrees that designing and monitoring a Merit Pay program would be a bureaucratic nightmare of almost epic proportions," writes Beth Lewis.

Lewis continues:

Success is difficult, if not impossible, to define and measure. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has already proven how the various unleveled playing fields in the American education system inherently set up a wide variety of standards and expectations. Consider the diverse needs of English Language Learners, Special Education Students, and low income neighborhoods, and you’ll see why it would be opening a messy can of worms to define standards of success for American schools when the stakes are cash in the pockets of real teachers.

In Idaho, the nightmare has become a reality. According to Betsy Russell:

Idaho state schools Superintendent Tom Luna has announced that under the now-repealed “Students Come First” laws, teachers in 499 schools across the state will receive bonuses for their work last school year, while those in 155 schools will not. Data for 12 schools still is in the works. The bonuses are going out on the basis of student achievement by school, measured partly by test scores. In the Boise School District, for example, teachers at North Junior High will get $234,955 in bonuses, while teachers at South Junior High will get nothing. Teachers at Highlands Elementary School will split $78,000 in bonuses, while those at Garfield, Whitney and Hawthorne elementaries will get nothing. Every high school in the district qualified for bonuses for its teachers, except for Frank Church High School, the district's alternative school.

JamesGatz offered an interesting response:

Garfield Elementary School received nothing. Garfield Elementary, a Title 1 school serving poor students, immigrant students, students who speak English as a second language, homeless students, and in general a lot of students who just have tough row to hoe in their young lives received absolutely NOTHING under Luna’s so-called pay for performance scheme. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Bupkis. Nada.

Garfield School received nothing In spite of being one of nine schools to be singled out to receive a Distinguished Schools Award for 2012. One of nine out of all Idaho schools.

Here’s the Boise School District press release about the achievement of Garfield School:

Boise, ID — 10/25/2012 — Boise School District’s Garfield Elementary School is one of only nine schools in the entire State of Idaho to earn the Distinguished Schools Award for 2012. During an awards ceremony held on Thursday, October 25, 2012, Mike Rush, Executive Director of the Idaho State Board of Education, presented Garfield Principal Debbie Donovan and District Superintendent Dr. Don Coberly with the award for 2012.

“We are honored to have received this award,” said Donovan. “It symbolizes the hard work of our staff, students and parents to create a positive and effective learning environment for students here at Garfield.”

The award is given by the State Board to schools in Idaho that meet the following criteria:  read more »

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