Posts tagged: cheers & jeers
In his latest Cheers & Jeefs column, Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune offers jeers to U.S. Sen. Jim Risch:
First, Congressional Quarterly Magazine ranked him President Obama's No. 1 adversary in the Senate. Risch has voted against the president 73.3 percent of the time - far and away more than anyone else. Crapo, ranked third, voted 70.9 percent of the time against Obama's agenda.Then the National Journal once again named Risch the most conservative member of the Senate. He earned the same rating last year. Crapo came in 10th. There was a time when getting labeled as an extremist would be an embarrassment. Risch trumpeted both. Complete Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Will Risch's complete resistance to President Obama's agenda come back to haunt Idaho, which is heavily dependent on federal dollars?
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune gives Jeers to …
” … Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. He has co-sponsored Georgia Rep. Tom Graves' threat to essentially shut down the government unless Obamacare is blocked. 'If the House passes it and the Senate rejects it, it will be the Senate that's responsible for shutting down the government,' Labrador says. He's delusional. Labrador and his 80 fire-breathing Tea Party colleagues — including Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. — are pushing more level-headed Republicans — including Idaho's Mike Simpson and Washington's Cathy McMorris Rodgers — toward what a spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., calls 'a Washington gimmick to advance funding goals'/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune give Jeers to …
… Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter. When it's time to dole out cash to his corporate cronies via tax cuts, the governor is a spendthrift. But when it comes to helping out the schools, the governor spontaneously becomes a tightwad. The steadily improving economy has yielded Idaho a bonus. By the time lawmakers meet in January, former Chief Economist Mike Ferguson expects they'll have an extra $162 million. Not so fast, Otter says. “There's no reason to go back to the old way of doing things; because we got a little money, let's spend it,” Otter told the Idaho Statesman's editorial board. Otter is engaging in historical revisionism here/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Is Gov. Otter's stand on keeping a tight rein on a $162M budget surplus, when schools are struggling financially, a responsible position?
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune jeers state Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene:
Nonini wants to suck $10 million from the traditional schools serving more than 95 percent of Idaho's kids - and pump it into private schools. Passed Wednesday by a 35-to-33 House vote, Nonini's bill extends credits to people who contribute toward the scholarships of 3,000 private school students. Nonini asserts this will save public schools $5.7 million by pulling more students out of their classrooms. But he glides past some realities. Hiring one teacher for 24 second-graders costs as much as hiring that teacher for a class of 25 students. Building lighting and heating costs are constant. Same goes for transportation costs.Less money for Idaho's already lean public schools means more money for religious-operated schools/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Last year, Nonini used his position as House Education Committee chairman to push the Luna Laws through the Legislature. This year, he pushes a bill that sucks another $10M from public education. Can you think of someone in the Legislature who has done more harm to public education in the last year?
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune offers cheers to an unlikely reciprient — Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona:
“When it comes to enacting one of Obamacare's most sweeping change in the Gem State, Loertscher has become the voice of reason. Under Obamacare, Idaho can extend Medicaid to low-income adults. No state has more reason to act. Under a law Loertscher sponsored in 1992, state and county taxpayers now pay the cost of treatment for anyone deemed unable to pay his medical bills.This program now costs $55 million. Factor in medical inflation and rising case loads and taxpayers could pay as much as $77 million next year. “There's no end in sight,” Loertscher says. Unless Idaho agrees to expand Medicaid. Then, for the next three years, the federal government will pick up 100 percent of the cost of covering an estimated 80,000 Idahoans. After that, the state's share would never exceed 10 percent.”
Question: Any legislator out there whom you want to give a shout out to today?
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune offers “cheers … to Fourth District Judge Mike Wetherell of Boise. Wetherell's ruling Monday compelled Education Voters of Idaho to cough up where it got $641,000 to promote the Luna laws. It also went a long way toward discouraging similar impropriety in the future.Before EVI disclosed it had collected $200,000 from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and $250,000 from Albertsons heir Joe Scott, EVI was thumbing its nose at the 1974 voter-passed Sunshine Initiative.EVI's leaders — former state Rep. Debbie Field, R-Boise, and former congressional staffer John Foster — argued their status as a 501(c)(4) trumped any obligation to disclose. Even if Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa's lawsuit ultimately prevailed, it looked as if EVI might run out the clock — and delay disclosure until after the election/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Supporters of the Luna Laws propositions have made a big deal in flyers re: a $1M contribution from the National Education Association in direct-mail flyers. Yet they have received $1.3M from Frank Vandersloot & tried their darndest to hide financial contributions to Education Voters of Idaho. Hypocrites?
Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune gives Jeers … to state Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens (pictured). Here's what Barbieri thinks of state government's primary obligation — the education of your children: “If you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and God, then pull your kids out of that Godless institution.” Barbieri deliberated over this quip, wrote it down and published it on his website. When his Democratic challenger, Cheryl Stransky, also of Dalton Gardens, pressed him about it during a debate, he didn't retreat: “My words exactly.” Then he launched into a call for a tax credit to “allow an alternative to this public school system that is certainly serving a purpose, but there are questions about the curriculum, and that's what I'm concerned with”/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Will Rep. Phil Hart replace Rep. Phil Hart as the uberconservative lighting rod in the Idaho Legislature?
JEERS … to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. He just called the Gem State a collection of moochers, victims and tax dodgers. At a fundraiser held at businessman Marc Leder's home at Boca Raton, Fla., Romney said: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That's an entitlement. And the governments should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. … My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” That's you, Idaho — overflowing with low-wage jobs and oozing with needs for “health care, food, housing, you-name-it”/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Jeers … to Melissa McGrath. To paraphrase former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, we can't tell you what campaigning on the public dime looks like but we know it when we see it. And here's what we see: McGrath is paid $69,922 as a State Department of Education's public information officer. Last week, she got caught air-brushing her boss' Wikipedia vitae. It's one thing to remove inaccuracies. But McGrath omitted the fact Luna graduated from Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey - a last-minute addition to his resume qualifying him to seek the superintendent's office in the first place in 2002 - with an online degree.When the Idaho Statesman's Dan Popkey asked her why, she said “I don't remember removing that”/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More Cheers & Jeers column here. (Idaho Press Club photo of Melissa McGrath)
Question: What do you think of the attempt by the Education Department spinmeister to tweek Tom Luna's Wikipedia info?
JEERS … to Idaho schools Superintendent Tom Luna. Defending his LunaTech overhauls against a popular uprising, he has taken hostages. Don't forget how Luna staged a sneak attack on Idaho's voters, teachers and parents. Not until he was safely re-elected in 2010 did he unveil his plan to undermine teacher tenure and collective bargaining while shifting millions of dollars from classrooms to technology and for-profit providers of online instruction. So voters resorted to the only tool left - rounding up enough signatures to put three referendum measures on Luna's deceptive package - merit pay, rolling back collective bargaining and siphoning dollars into technology - on the Nov. 6 ballot.But Luna had one more heavy-handed maneuver up his sleeve/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More of Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Did you vote for Tom Luna in 2010? Would you vote for him again? Why? Why not?
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Opinion Editor Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune jeered U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador and Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, all R-Idaho, for remaining silent when Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann slimed a loyal American diplomat. Marty: “Bachmann asserted Huma Abedin, a veteran aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 'has three family members — her late father, her mother and her brother - connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations. Her position affords her routine access to the secretary and to policy-making.'” Idaho Congressman Mike Simpon joined U.S. Sen. John McCain in criticizing the McCarthy-type attack. Marty again: “But when the Idaho Statesman's editorial board asked Labrador about it, he said: 'I think we would be foolish to think that people are not trying to infiltrate our government. … I would hope she's smart enough to have enough evidence to make a statement like that.' Crapo and Risch had even less to say. More here.
Question: Should Labrador, Risch and Crapo have spoken out against Bachmann's comments?
JEERS … to Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Larry Grant. Twice now, his organization has fallen into the Emily Litella trap — so misstating the case against otherwise outrageous Republican behavior that one is forced to say, in the words of Gilda Radner's “Saturday Night Live” character, “Oh, never mind.” First it was the case of state Treasurer Ron Crane. A legislative audit showed Crane had lavishly spent state money for his daily commute to work as well as on a series of trips to New York City to secure Idaho's bond rating on tax anticipation notes - and then failing to account for his expenses. In a Feb. 2 release, the Democratic Party wrote: “The audit noted that Crane has not used the state reporting system to track expenses for annual rafting trips.” Next came the correction: “A previous version of this press release was in error due to a reader's mistake. Crane failed to account for bond rating trips.” That's rating trips, not rafting trips, Emily/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More Cheers & Jeers here.
Question: Have you ever made an error in an news release from your organization?
Jeers … to Idaho state Treasurer Ron Crane. Crane spends lavishly. He's above the rules. He's entitled to live better than the taxpayers who cover his $93,756 salary. If he hasn't crossed ethical boundaries, he's getting awfully close. Yet voters trust this man to fly to New York City and handle hundreds of million of dollars? Here's what a legislative audit of Crane's affairs reports: Crane expects the taxpayer to buy his gas when he commutes between his Nampa home and Boise. No problem, says Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor. After auditors referred the case to Taylor, he concluded state travel policies - which bar state employees from charging taxpayers for commuting costs — don't apply to elected officials. That's only an interpretation. Even if Crane's behavior is legal, fleecing the taxpayers at the gas pump isn't right, nor is it common/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Complete Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Will recent controversies involving state Treasurer Ron Crane cause you to support another candidate when/if he runs for re-election?
In his TGIF Cheers & Jeers column this week (full version here), Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune jeers state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol. “Not only is he a tax scofflaw and a timber bandit, he's now a certified blowhard. It will be a cold day in Athol before Hart's political grandstanding makes a difference in Boise, much less Washington, D.C. But that hasn't stopped him from trying. Hart claims Congress knuckled under and pulled wolves in Idaho and Montana from the federal Endangered Species Act protection because of his bill declaring a state emergency and authorizing the killing of wolves.
Question: Who would be a good candidate to challenge Rep. Phil Hart in the 2012 GOP primary?
JEERS … to U.S. Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. Last week, they had a choice: Raise your taxes or those of the rich. Guess who won? Not you. On Dec. 1, Democrats tried to renew the year-old payroll tax cut and pay for it by imposing a 3.25 percent surcharge on millionaires. Crapo, Risch and the GOP minority blocked the idea. Crapo and Risch are not opposed to a payroll tax holiday. A year ago, they voted for it - even though it meant piling on more national debt/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune (Cheers & Jeers column). More here.
Question: Do you agree/disagree with vote by U.S. Sens. Jim Risch & Mike Crapo?
JEERS … to Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, northern Idaho's Never-Ending Story, Chapter 26: Politician who craves the power to write laws everyone else must follow while extending his middle finger anytime authority knocks at his door. Last week, federal prosecutors sought $550,000 in back taxes and moved to foreclose on Hart's Athol home - which, by the way, was built partially with timber he stole from the state of Idaho endowment lands. Hart contends taxes are unconstitutional - at both the federal and state level. Here's another reminder of a tax scofflaw GOP House leadership not only tolerates, but safeguards. If Hart insists on being an anarchist, why is he still in the Idaho Legislature? If his own GOP leadership won't boot him out, why are the voters of Kootenai County not ousting him?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Actually, Marty missed to mark a here. Rather than asking why the voters of Kootenai County don't oust Hart, he should be asking why the voters of House District 3 (Hayden, Hayden Lake, Rathdrum, Spirit Lake, Athol, & Bayview) don't give him the boot. Why don't you guys up north toss this guy?
Jeers … to Idaho schools Superintendent Tom Luna. Last week, Idaho joined only 15 states to pass on a share of a $500 million federal Race to the Top early learning grant. That puts the Gem State behind not only Washington, Oregon and Nevada, but the commonwealth of Puerto Rico as well. Luna had signaled his intentions a month ago, saying he didn't want to funnel one-time money into an ongoing state budget obligation. But Idaho's proposal was so restrained - and its need for early childhood education so severe - that you have to question what Luna means when he uses the mantra “students come first” to prop up his scheme to neuter teachers' collective bargaining rights and funnel taxes out of the classroom and into the coffers of online instruction companies. Idaho is among 10 states that spends nothing on prekindergarten programs/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Complete Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Did Luna do right thing by rejected federal Race to the Top early learning grant?
JEERS … to Idaho Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene. He doesn't think much of teachers who criticized state school Superintendent Tom Luna's plan to divert tax dollars from the classroom into online instruction. The State Board of Education will decide how many online classes students will be required to take. A subcommittee has recommended two courses. Goedde serves on that panel. Most of the testimony that committee heard was negative, but that's because only teachers testified - and what do they know? Goedde said. “I was there for the Coeur d'Alene testimony, and without exception, every person that testified was either an educator or a former educator,” Goedde said. “And I think that is just consistent with their insistence that education reform is a bad thing.” Would Geodde support health care reform opposed by 98 percent of the nation's doctors?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Other Idaho Opinion:
Question: Does Goedde deserve Marty's jeers?
In the cheers & jeers column of the Idaho Press Tribune, someone posted this comment: “Jeers for those people or developers who insist on painting their houses in drab camouflage colors. Enough already! And they are now spreading beyond the subdivisions onto the streets of our old towne, where we’ve begun to see Victorian and pioneer-style houses and stores in sickly olive green, rather than their former charming yellow, pink or blue. This must stop! New houses also look great in bright or pastel colors. Anyone who has been to Europe should remember that one of the reasons we love it is for the colorful houses and shops. Boise’s cool North End is another neighborhood full of color. Camouflage colors are for cowards! More Cheers & Jeers here.
Question: Anyone notice this happening here — residents painting their homes in camouflage colors? And/or: Which color to you prefer to paint a house?
At the Lewiston Tribune this morning, editorialist Marty Trillhaase gives House Speaker Lawerence Denney jeers in his weekly Cheers & Jeers column for waiting until Rep. Phil Hart gave him permission to remove Hart from the House Rev & Tax committee. Trillhaase chronicles Hart’s problems with the IRS, Idaho Tax Commission, theft of timber from school endowment land to build his house, and mentions that the artful tax dodger is back in court to fight the $53,000 he owes the state. He then mentions that none of this or even Rep. Eric Anderson’s demand for another ethics hearing could force Denney to do something about Hart. Denney only acted after Hart asked to be removed from the committee. Trillhaase concludes: “Long ago, any speaker worth his office would have condemned
Hart for what he is - a timber-stealing tax cheat. He’d strip Hart of
all committee assignments. And he’d be the one launching an ethics probe
instead of relying on the conscience of other lawmakers. Not this speaker.” Marty’s Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Do you think Lawerence Denney is an effective House Speaker?