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Musical accompaniment for debate

The House was in mid-debate, when suddenly, without warning, Hayden Lake Rep. Jim Clark’s laptop computer started playing a sprightly electronic version of “Happy Birthday.” All the legislators around Clark turned to look at him, and as the music continued, Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, shook a finger at Clark, who cowered behind his computer screen. Finally, the melody stopped.

Later, Clark explained that it wasn’t his birthday. “It’s from my daughter – she’s a couple days late,” he said. “My birthday was last week.” Clark, who turned 63 on that recent landmark, showed how he’d just clicked on an email from his daughter with the subject line, “A belated birthday wish from Julianne.” But then he demonstrated how the email contained a greeting card, and he’d clicked a link that said “PLAY.” “I clicked ‘play,’ but I didn’t think it was music,” the red-faced legislator explained.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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