Posts tagged: Lewiston Tribune
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, Congressman Raul Labrador gives jeers to …
… to Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. Being part of the eight House members from both parties hammering out an immigration reform bill got Labrador a seat next to “Meet the Press” host David Gregory and “This Week's” George Stephanopoulos. Of course, Idaho Education News' Kevin Richert and the Associated Press' John Miller can't get their calls answered. But, hey, his time is limited. Until Wednesday, when Labrador turned his back on the immigration reform negotiations just as his seven colleagues got some traction. Labrador objected to giving newly legalized residents access to public health care. Maybe that's a deal-breaker for Labrador, but not for the remaining Republican members of the panel - Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, John Carter and Sam Johnson, both of Texas. “We have found a way forward,” Carter told The Hill newspaper/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Was Congressman Labrador looking out for his best interests when he bailed out on other House members trying to hammer out immigration reform?
If Congressman Raul Labrador's re-election campaign lost a quarter of a million bucks, the Idaho Republican would be down to his last $472. For Congressman Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, misplacing $250,000 would leave him $183,509 in the hole.Even U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho - one of the wealthiest people in Congress - would have only $17,707 left in his campaign war chest if somebody walked away with $250,000.U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho? He's rolling in cash.So much in fact that when a young campaign staffer mishandled $250,000, Crapo didn't notice for two years. Once he did, Crapo waited another three years before alerting the Federal Election Commission — and you. Last week, Crapo's campaign acknowledged that a twentysomething at the helm of his 2010 re-election organization took $250,000, invested the money with a friend and lost it/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Should we be a little more upset about this than we are?
Idaho is a one-party state caught between two elections. One election overwhelmingly repealed the Luna laws - the 2011 school overhaul package championed by state Superintendent Tom Luna that targeted teacher employment rights, imposed a clunky merit pay program and substituted technology for teaching. But the other election retained the same legislators who enacted the Luna laws in the first place. Is it any wonder that, when lawmakers got back to work this year, they reversed the voters by re-enacting some of the Luna law's features?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: How can Huckleberries do a better job reminding voters which legislators bucked them and helped restore Luna Laws, prior to the 2014 GOP primaries and general elections?
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?
Leave it to Idaho Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, to spill the beans. When it came to last week's Senate vote to open northern Idaho's highways to city-block-long, double-trailer trucks weighing 12 tons more than the current legal limit, Nonini made it clear who has his ear. “On one side of the scales we have government entities, and for the most part they're in opposition,” Nonini said. “On the other side we have industry, and they're supporting this. As I weigh those comments, tipping the scales towards government or industry, my scale tips toward industry. We need to help them.” The people Nonini discounts answer to voters. They listen to taxpayers.They're county commissioners, highway district officials and city leaders. They know what roads and bridges cost. They have more than a vague sense of what 129,000 pounds will do to bridges and road surfaces/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Only once have Idaho voters repudiated any law passed by the Legislature and enacted by their governor and that was nearly 80 years ago. Now is the time for Idahoans to take that step again.On the Nov. 6 ballot are the three Luna laws — measures schools Superintendent Tom Luna steamrollered through a compliant Idaho Legislature in 2011 over the objections of teachers, administrators and many parents. By waging political war on Idaho's teachers, the Luna laws would add to the burdens of a public school structure already buckling under the weight of budget cuts and a neglectful political elite/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Whenever the legal equivalent of a black bag job is required, Christ Troupis is the lawyer hired to deliver it. When the ultra-partisan fringe of the Idaho Republican Party chose to evict independent and Democratic voters from the GOP's primary election, leaders such as former Chairman Norm Semanko and former state Sen. Rod Beck relied upon Troupis to take the matter to court. When he prevailed, Idaho's traditionally open primary - the make-or-break election in a one-party state - was sealed off from anyone unwilling to register as a Republican. For the privilege of resisting that effort, Idaho taxpayers were forced to hand over $100,000 to Troupis to cover his costs. Earlier this year, Troupis struck again/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Had you heard of Christ Troupis before now?
I heard a scientist on television say that the human brain is about the same consistency as tofu. That explains a lot about the limits of human thinking. Too many of us have tofu for brains. We prove the limits of the human brain when we choose tofu - and zucchini - for dinner. I mention zucchini in the same context as tofu because both are nearly flavorless foods that are eaten for reasons other than flavor or excitement. I was reminded of that by a newspaper recipe urging us to cook tofu in hot Mexican sauce. That is a desperate and revealing attempt to impart flavor to a tofu dish. Tofu is not eaten because it tastes so great, or because it tastes at all. It is eaten for two reasons - because it is a large, healthy dose of the protein vegetarians need in place of meat and because it makes the people who eat it feel morally superior to meat eaters.Zucchini, by contrast, is not exactly brimming over with nutrition. You could eat tons of it every day and starve to death if you didn't also consume something like meat, tofu or maybe a five-gallon latte/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Anyone out there regularly eat tofu? Really?
That emotional, knee-jerk reaction you're hearing to the massacre of a dozen people and the wounding of five times as many in a Colorado movie house isn't coming from the gun-control crowd. Oh, you'll hear a few scattered voices arguing that had the Brady bill not been allowed to lapse almost eight years ago, suspect James E. Holmes might not have carried an assault weapon equipped with a 100-round drum magazine into a crowded theater. But Republicans are wedded to the National Rifle Association, Democrats are scared witless of the gun issue and many Americans aren't sure laws already on the books function adequately. No, what really stands out is the number of people who are willing to use this rampage as a springboard for even fewer restraints on guns/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you consider the answer to the Aurora massacre to be more guns?
If you discovered the United States was spending less per capita on defense than 49 other nations, you wouldn't be doing cartwheels. If you watched your company earning less money than virtually all its competitors, you'd lose some sleep at night. What if you saw Idaho ranked 50th out of 51 states and the District of Columbia in terms of the dollars it puts behind each of its school children? You'd yawn. Old story. Irrelevant data, you'd say. Don't worry about it. Shrug it off. That's what the man Idahoans elected to safeguard and promote their public schools says and does. “If the amount of money you spend per child equals a high-quality education system, then Washington, D.C., would have the best schools in the country by far because they spend more than anybody else, and none of us would send our children to a public school in Washington, D.C.,” said Tom Luna/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question (for those who voted for Superintendent Tom Luna): Would you vote for Luna again?
Who gave Grover Norquist, pictured, head of Americans for Tax Reform, authority over what, if any, tax can be raised to bring the country back from the brink of financial disaster? Ask your member of Congress. Ask Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. Ask Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, both R-Idaho. Ask Reps. Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson, also both R-Idaho. They are among 238 House members and 41 senators who at some point in their careers gave Norquist their signature in blood, pledging to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and businesses; and … oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”Woe to the GOP politician who violates that pledge. Norquist will unleash an assault from the right, defeating the incumbent in his next primary election battle/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (Wikipedia photo)
Question: Had you heard of Grover Norquist before now?
How will Idaho ever survive without Rex Rammell? Says the itinerant politician who abandoned eastern Idaho for the promise of elective office from north central Idaho: You'll just have to try. After this region turned thumbs down on his legislative ambitions in the May 15 primary, Rammell decided to head into the sunset - make that, sunrise - and go east, young man, to Torrington, Wyo. He's lined up a new career as a veterinarian at the Torrington Livestock Auction. “I've kind of given up on Idaho, to be right honest with you,” Rammell told the Tribune's Kathy Hedberg. “Nothing's ever going to change here and people are just going to continue to suffer and I don't want to be a part of it.” Nor is this the first batch of sour grapes from Rammell/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (SR file photo of Rex Rammell in Sandpoint)
Question: Now that Rex Rammell has left Idaho … who do you think is the most annoying current Idaho politician?
Take your time reading correctional health expert Dr. Marc Stern's report to U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill about how contractor Brentwood, Tenn.-based Corizon is managing health care in the Idaho prison system. But you'll eventually realize the state isn't spending enough to safeguard the health of the men and women in its custody. Maybe you'll get there by page 8, where Stern reports finding inmates who waited five weeks before health care providers responded to their requests for help. Or how about page 12, where staff failed to resusitate an unconscious, barely breathing man who later died of cardiac arrest?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Is health care for Idaho prisoners a matter that concerns you?
In his editorial today, Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune harkens back 18 years when the Idaho Republican Party was led by such stalwarts as Phil Batt (pictured), Tom Boyd, Mike Simpson, Bruce Newcomb, the late Jerry Twiggs, Mike Crapo, and Jim Risch. Trillhaase appreciated their ethics and collegiality. That was then. Here's what he sez about the current crop of Idaho GOP leaders: “This is not your father's Idaho Republican Party. In the second decade of one-party rule, Idaho's GOP serves its own interests, not yours. It arrogantly dispatches questions about cronyism, ethical lapses and front-page embarrassments. The GOP brand has been tainted. Not enough to give Idaho's under-financed and poorly organized Democrats an opening to exploit. But that day is getting closer”/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (SR file photo by Jesse Tinsley)
Question: Are any current Idaho GOP leaders in the same mold as Phil Batt, Bruce Newcomb, and the late Jim McClure?
Rick Santorum has seen Idaho at 35,000 feet. He knows Idaho is a conservative bastion. He reads about a place seething with resentment toward federal agencies restoring wolves to the wild and choking off logging. He hears the antipathy toward Washington, D.C., that Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter regularly expresses. From these factoids, Santorum has concluded Idahoans are ready to throw off the yoke of their federal landlord. The federal government owns about 33.7 million acres of forests and rangeland, about two-thirds of the state. By stoking the fires of the Sagebrush Rebellion, Santorum believes he can peel off a sizeable number of votes in the March 6 Idaho Republican presidential caucus.So Santorum parachuted into Boise last week and promptly said: “We need to get it back into the hands of the states and even to the private sector. … And we can make money doing it.” Now why didn't somebody think of that before? Fact is, they have. Idahoans have spent a lot of time thinking about this/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (AP file photo of Santorum visiting Coeur d'Alene earlier this month)
Question: What do you think about Santorum's idea, espoused during his trip to Idaho, to sell off federal land to states and private individuals?
Here's what you don't know about last week's Idaho Supreme Court rejection of the GOP insurgency against the citizen redistricting commission. The insurgents couldn't shoot straight. Which is rather funny when you consider how many times they've said that about Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.Their latest challenge to Wasden followed the Supreme Court nixing the commission's original plan to realign Idaho's population growth to its 35 legislative districts, sending the panel back to work on a new mock-up. House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, and Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko tried to fire their appointees, former state Reps. Dolores Crow, R-Nampa, and Randy Hansen, R-Twin Falls.After Denney and Semanko lost, the six-member panel went back to work and adopted a new plan. But the court didn't say Denney and Semanko were wrong. It tossed the case because the attorney representing the speaker and the chairman dropped the ball/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Whose opinion would you trust move on a legal issue involving the Idaho Legislature — attorney general Lawrence Wasden of House Speaker Lawerence Denney?
Anybody who subscribes to Woody Allen's notion that “80 percent of success is showing up” wasn't watching Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter's State of the State address Monday. Otter was present to deliver his sixth session-opener of Idaho's Legislature. Like his predecessors, it's his job to set an agenda. Some governors offer a detailed blueprint for governing. Others issue a call to action on a handful of initiatives. But Otter's six-page, 28-minute address was devoid of either. He offered a porridge of feel-good slogans — jobs, education and tax cuts - that was thin on passion and weak on detail. Filling in the blanks will be lawmakers who at the end of a 90-day session likely will find a governor willing to sign most anything they put on his desk/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Were you inspired by anything in Butch Otter's State of the State address?
JEERS … to Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter. As columnist Chris Carlson so aptly put it this week, Otter has been “mailing it in.” The evidence is starting to pile up. For instance, Idaho's elected leadership gathered in Boise Thursday for the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho annual conference. Traditionally the opening round of the legislative season - lawmakers formally convene Jan. 9 - the ATI forum telegraphs what's ahead. With the state's top echelon attending, governors use that platform to at least foreshadow what they may have in mind. After his office last week merely announced there would be “no public events or meetings scheduled,” Otter left Tuesday for Orlando, Fla., where he is attending a meeting of the Republican Governors Association. Reports the Idaho Statesman's Dan Popkey: The RGA is paying for the trip. Good thing, too, considering Idaho's too broke to pay Otter's dues to the National Governors Association/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Complete Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Is it such a bad thing that Gov. Butch Otter appears to be semi-retired this early in his second term?