Posts tagged: New York Times
It isn’t often that a New York Times opinion columnist holds Idaho up as a model of how to do things. But bicycle enthusiast Randy Cohen did that recently. Cohen, who writes the Times Magazine’s Ethicist column, admitted that he rolls through stop signs and stoplights and sometimes rides on sidewalks. But he doesn’t “salmon” (ride against traffic). Then, he reasoned that his “rolling stops” were legal in some places. Like Idaho. Indeed, an Idaho bicyclist is allowed to slow down and roll through stop signs, if it is safe to do so. Argues Cohen: “Laws work best when they are voluntarily heeded by people who regard them as reasonable. There aren’t enough cops to coerce everyone into obeying every law all the time. If cycling laws were a wise response to actual cycling rather than a clumsy misapplication of motor vehicle laws, I suspect that compliance, even by me, would rise.” Cohen would really wax poetic if he knew that Idaho also allows bicyclists to cross against a red traffic light after stopping, if the coast is clear. Idaho more progressive than New York? Who woulda thunk it?/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.
Other SR weekend columns:
Question: How else is Idaho more pragmatic than New York?
On the New York Times opinion page, columnist Randy Cohen holds up Idaho — Idaho! — as an example of reasonable bicycle law when it comes to stop signs. (Bicyclists can treat them like yield signs and roll through them if the coast is clear.) Writes Cohen: “I am not anarchic; I heed most traffic laws. I do not ride on the sidewalk (O.K., except for the final 25 feet between the curb cut and my front door, and then with caution). I do not salmon, i.e. ride against traffic. In fact, even my “rolling stops” are legal in some places. Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group of which I am a member, points out that many jurisdictions, Idaho for example, allow cyclists to slow down and roll through stop signs after yielding to pedestrians. Mr. White e-mailed me: “I often say that it is much more important to tune into the pedestrians rather than tune into the lights, largely because peds jaywalk so much!” If my rule-breaking is ethical and safe (and Idaho-legal), why does it annoy anyone?” More here. (AP file photo: Two bicyclists ride through New York streets)
Question: Should Idaho continue to allow bicyclists to roll through stop signs, if it's safe to do so?
A reporter from the New York Times recently asked me about a piece of Nanny Government legislation and, with childlike innocence, conveyed his belief in fairy tales that might include fields of frolicking unicorns, pots of gold at the end of rainbows and the “the conservative Idaho Legislature.” The reporter asked me to predict the fate of a bill to ban minors from using tanning beds—a bill that we very much opposed. “But that bill doesn’t stand a chance, right?” posed the reporter. “After all, Idaho’s Legislature is the most conservative in the nation.” “What makes you think it’s the most conservative in the nation?” I asked.“Well, it’s the most Republican,” the reporter replied.“What makes you think it’s the most conservative?” I prodded. Of course, you can’t blame the reporter in this case. Many in the state, too, have heard the Myth of the Conservative Idaho Legislature. We almost believe it is true/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: If the Idaho Legislature isn't conservative, what the heck is it?
Here, the lawmaker who has spent eight years working for what might seem far less controversial goals is the only openly gay member of the Idaho Legislature. Now with the session well under way and a gay rights bill again showing little sign of getting a hearing, the senator who has been its champion, Nicole LeFavour, plans to become the former only openly gay lawmaker in the Idaho Legislature. Ms. LeFavour, 48, has decided not to seek re-election, for what she says is a very painful reason: she has had enough and she expects things to only get harder. “My partner Carol has put up with a lot of stress and has stood by me as I dealt with a lot of loss,” Ms. LeFavour wrote in a blog post last month. “She’s so smart and keeps me laughing through the hardest times but you can only ask that of someone for so long”/William Yardley, New York Times. More here. (Betsy Russell 2009 SR file photo: Nicole LeFavour asks a Senate committee to introduce her bill to expand state human rights protection to gays but is rejected)
Question: What will be state Sen. Nicole LeFavour's legacy?
Huckleberries knows how to settle the fight over the radical online education plan forced on Idaho’s schoolchildren by Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna and legislative accomplices last year – and subject to a November referendum. Stage a winner-take-all cage match between Luna and Post Falls instructor Ann Rosenbaum. In one corner, we’d have Luna, a former school board member who got his college degree online. In the other corner, Rosenbaum, a former Marine military police officer who escaped a car bomb in Iraq. New York Times reporter Matt Richtel featured Rosenbaum and two other teachers in an article about the controversy Tuesday. Rosenbaum told the Times: “This technology is being thrown on us. It’s being thrown on parents and thrown on kids”/D.F. Oliveria, Huckleberries, SR. Rest of column here.
Other SR weekend columns:
Question: Who would win a cage match featuring Post Falls instructor Ann Rosenbaum and Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna?
This week's story, “Teachers Resist High-Tech Push in Idaho Schools,” featured a Post Falls dateline and quoted three teachers: Ann Rosenbaum of Post Falls High School, Doug StanWeins of Boise High and Stefani Cook at Rigby High. Idaho Senate Finance Committee Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, also weighed in, telling the Times the legislature was “dazzled” by lobbyists for high-tech companies who gave to Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's 2010 re-election campaign. “It’s almost as if it was written by the top technology providers in the nation,” Cameron told the Times. “And you’d think students would be excited about getting a mobile device, but they’re saying: not at the expense of teachers.” In letters to the Times published Thursday, three readers echo those sentiments and critique the role of technology/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Betsy Russell SR file photo: Tom Luna)
In the New York Times Tuesday, reporter Matt Richtel spotlights the rear-guard action of Idaho teachers against Superintendent Tom Luna's push for online classes. Richtel begins his support by focusing on Post Falls teacher Ann Rosenbaum of Post Falls: “Ann Rosenbaum, a former military police officer in the Marines, does not shrink from a fight, having even survived a close encounter with a car bomb in Iraq. Her latest conflict is quite different: she is now a high school teacher, and she and many of her peers in Idaho are resisting a statewide plan that dictates how computers should be used in classrooms.” You can read the rest here.
Question: What do you make of the ongoing reluctance of Idaho teachers to march lock-step with Luna, Gov. Butch Otter, and the Idaho Legislature in embracing online education?
Columnist Gail Collins links the historic collapse of the Boston Red Sox with the withering of challengers to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination, most recently Texas Gov. Rick Perry. In a column titled, “The Curse of the Mitt,” Gail Collins writes, “Maybe Mitt made a pact with the Baseball Gods and traded the pennant for his nomination.” Collins suggests that Romney's Faustian bargain could explain his remaining above the fray while opponents like Perry, Michele Bachman and Newt Gingrich self-destruct. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the latest potential rival to Romney's front-runner status and is apparently revisiting his Shermanesque statement that he will not enter the race. Could Otter step in if Christie disintegrates? “The Republicans are running out of governors to put up against Romney. This week the cry has been for Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey to get into the race, although I am personally rooting for Gov. Butch Otter of Idaho because of his strong record of fiscal conservatism and the fact that I really enjoy writing 'Butch Otter' over and over and over”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Can you picture Butch Otter at the head of our nuclear arsenal?
The New York Times last weekend posted a map showing which parts of the country are overall at higher or lower risk of disasters, and the Northwest is much the lowest. The safest metro area in the country, it turns out, is Corvallis. And of the eight safest metro areas in the country, seven are in either Washington or Oregon (Corvallis, Mt. Vernon, Bellingham, Wenatchee, Spokane, Salem and Seattle). The lone holdout was Grand Junction, Colorado/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
Question: Will people move to the Northwest because it is a safe haven from most natural disaster?
The Environmental Protection Agency has become, for some of libertarian or Tea Party convictions, something of an embodiment of government run amok. Environmentalists see the agency, at its best, as the defender of people’s health and the environment’s welfare. It is instructive to see what happens when these two worldviews are superimposed on the construction of one single-family home that is either in (from the E.P.A’s point of view) or near (from the property owners’ perspective) wetlands in the woods of the Idaho panhandle/Felicity Barringer, New York Times Green Blog. More here.
Question: How do you view the Environmental Protection Agency?
State schools Supt. Tom Luna now says it was a “misquote” when the New York Times quoted him this week saying that he'll ask the state Board of Education to require four online classes for graduation, though he then repeated that. “I was very comfortable with four,” he said. “That will be the starting number. This decision is going to be made after a lot of research and a lot of discussion through the work of the state board. I am confident that we will have some number. And we have many states that are beginning to adopt graduation requirements when it comes to online credits. … I think four is a reasonable number”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
“I have no doubt we’ll get a robust rule through them,” (Luna told the New York Times). Four online courses is “going to be the starting number.” Full New York Times story here.
Question: I can't figure out why Luna would bother to claim he was misquoted — especially when the Times reporter told Betsy Russell that Luna said exactly what was printed — when Luna then repeats the same thing. Can anyone help me decipher this?
Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna couldn't get lawmakers to agree to require online courses in high school, but he told the New York Times the State Board of Education will back a mandate. In January, Luna proposed mandating that eight of 46 required high school courses be taken online. In the face of opposition from lawmakers, he scaled that back to six, then four. But lawmakers removed the provision in Senate Bill 1184, deferring the decision to the unelected State Board of Education. In a story published in the Times on Wednesday, Luna said he will propose a rule this summer and the board will back him/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you have the impression that Superintendent Tom Luna wants public school in Idaho to become all virtual academy?
William Yardley of the New York Times reports today on the fruitless effort by the FBI to find the individual who planted the sophisticated bomb along the Martin Luther King parade route a month ago in Spokane: “Nearly a month after a cleanup crew found the live bomb along the planned route of a large downtown march honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the F.B.I. is investigating the incident as an act of domestic terrorism. And Spokane has cycled from shock to relief to reassessment: have the white supremacists who once struck such fear here in the inland Northwest returned at a new level of dangerousness and sophistication? “We don’t have that kind of intelligence level to make that kind of explosive,” said Shaun Winkler, a Pennsylvania native who recently returned to the region to start a landscaping company and a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.” More here. (SR file photo: A rally in Spokane, Wash., on Jan. 17 before a march to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Most people were unaware of a bomb found along the route until later in the day.)
Question: Izzit just me, or does the New York Times appear to have a propensity for tying all things Inland Northwest to the Aryan Nations and related racist groups? Is that fair?
In the New York Times, reporter Tom Zeller Jr. spotlights the growing controversy re: the possibility that ConocoPhillips and other oil companies will transport ha-huge loads of oil refinery equipment over rural Highway 12. Zeller’s feature story includes this paragraph: “But to Mr. Laughy’s dismay, international oil companies see this meandering, backcountry route as a road to riches. They are angling to use U.S. 12 to ship gargantuan loads of equipment from Vancouver, Wash., to Montana and the tar sands of Alberta in Canada. The companies say the route would save time and money and provide a vital economic boost to Montana and Idaho. The problem, said Mr. Laughy, is that the proposed loads are so large — and would travel so slowly — that they would literally block the highway as they rolled through.” More here.
Question: Do you think Gov. Butch Otter and other Idaho officials will back off on this proposal? Or will they try to push it through despite considerable opposition?
The New York Times took notice of Idaho’s governor’s race on its political blog today, referencing a Wall Street Journal story over the weekend headlined, “In Idaho, GOP Incumbent Sees Wide Lead Erode.” That story, datelined Idaho Falls, where the WSJ reporter caught the first debate between Gov. Butch Otter and Democratic challenger Keith Allred, reported, “Thanks in part to anti-incumbent sentiment, Democratic challenger Keith Allred has been steadily chipping away at Mr. Otter’s wide lead in the polls. … While few pundits expect Mr. Otter to lose, they say his opponent is proving surprisingly strong in a state that last elected a Democratic governor 20 years ago”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: What odds do you think Las Vegas would give re: Demo Keith Allred knocking off incumbent Gov. Butch Otter?
At least a handful of Democrats in the 40 districts are no longer considered to be as vulnerable as Republicans had hoped, largely because their preferred candidates were defeated by more conservative candidates in primaries. Representatives Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, Walt Minnick of Idaho and Zack Space of Ohio are among the Democrats no longer seen by Republicans as easy targets/Jeff Zeleny, New York Times. More here.
Question: Will the conservatives help Democrats hold Congress by succeeding in nominating right-wing Republican candidates who don’t appeal to the general population?
Item: In 3-on-3 event, all of Spokane is inbounds/John Brunch, NYTimes
More Info: And so began the 20th annual Spokane Hoopfest, the world’s largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament, and the numbers were more staggering than ever: 6,701 teams, 26,253 players and an estimated 13,000 games covering 40 city blocks and two sun-drenched days. Hardly an original idea — 3-on-3 basketball tournaments have been around for decades — Hoopfest has grown unlike any other. Just how an out-of-the-way city of 200,000 people became the 3-on-3 capital of the world says a little about Spokane’s hoop madness (it is home to the former professional star John Stockton and to the college basketball powerhouse Gonzaga University) and a lot about a little city’s penchant for pulling off big events.
Question: Did you participate in Hoopfest as a player, volunteer, or observer over the weekend?