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Posts tagged: Rocky Barker

Kjellander’s Painting Tells Media Role

Paul Kjellander’s paintings hang in places like Bardenay and the homes of and offices of the notable Idahoans he has captured in oil. Now a painting of the Idaho Public Utilities Commissioner hangs in the State Capitol. Kjellander hopes it will be the first in a series of paintings that tell the story of the legislative process that will hang permanently in the hallowed halls. First I will tell you my conflict. I’m in it and I was born in the same Galesburg Illinois hospital as the artist. Kjellander, a former Republican lawmaker and director of Gov. Butch Otter’s Office of Energy Resources, appropriately painted the two chairman of the Legislature’s Interim Energy Committee, Republican Rep George Eskridge of Dover and Republican Sen. Curt Mckenzie of Nampa as I and Spokesman Review Reporter Betsy Russell were interviewing them. The painting, named “The Media and the Legislature,” is designed to tell the story of the press and its role/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Idaho Statesman photo)

Question: What kind of special paintings do you have hanging in your house?

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Barker: Idaho To Have Voice In D.C.

Rocky Barker/Idaho Statesman (pictured in inset) is correct when he posts that cherry-red Idaho has a great deal of influence at the table in the next administration of Barack Obama:

Two Idahoans have very large seats at the table of executive power after Tuesday. Jim Messina, who grew up in Boise and graduated from Boise High School led Obama’s reelection campaign that observers said used a mix of behavioral science and technology to identify and get out to vote a new crop of voters to the coalition. He has now kept his election victory record intact since he ran a campaign for former Missoula Mayor Dan Kemmis in 1993. The sky seems to be the limit for his future. Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff Bruce Reed grew up in Coeur D’ Alene, the son of environmental attorney Scott Reed and former Democratic Senator Mary Lou Reed. He was credited by former President Bill Clinton as co-author of his powerful convention speech that energized Democratic activists. More here.

Question: Did you know the most influential political figures in Idaho are Democrats?

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Barker: Wolf Delisting Deja Vu

The Republicans had Clint Eastwood.Maybe the Democrats should invite Bill Murray to their convention this week. Because the Obama administration produced its version of “Groundhog Day” Friday by removing wolves from the endangered species list in Wyoming. Just like in the movie, the early-morning alarm clock went off for the Northern Rockies and Sonny and Cher began singing “I Got You Babe.” In this case, the environmental rhetoric machine cranked up and brought back disappointed wolf lovers’ favorite lines. “This administration is rewinding the clock and setting wolf recovery back at least a decade based on the numbers alone,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife and a former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The goal should be to sustain a fully recovered wolf population, not put it right back on life support”/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: I believe the reintroduction of wolves into Idaho, Montana and Wyoming was one of the worst environmental moves ever foisted on the states by the federal government. But that's probably the dairy kid in me talking. What do you think?

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Barker: Respecting Whitewater Again

Floating the Boise River is a great way to spend a hot weekend afternoon with the family. When done right, it’s safe and easy. But as the Boise Fire Dive Team found out last month, it can turn hazardous fast. The dive team’s raft capsized as its members were rescuing two girls stranded on a log near Veterans Memorial Park bridge. It all turned out well, in part because of the team’s skills and the life jackets the girls were wearing. I, too, was reminded recently of how quick a leisurely float can turn into a similarly scary episode. I also saw the cooperative spirit of rafters and other floaters when one of their own gets into trouble. I was floating in my fishing pontoon boat that I had recently patched. It was the shake-down cruise before I went back to evening fishing floats that I had not done for years. The float started out OK/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here.

(SR file photo:

Question: Have you ever had a near drowning experience?

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Barker: Hatfield Got Things Done

The death of retired Oregon Sen. Mark Hatfield this week reminds us of a time of bipartisanship that has long past in Congress. As a Republican Hatfield often challenged the positions of his own party to raise questions about the involvement in Vietnam and at the end of his career as the one vote that stopped the Senate from passing a Balanced Budget Amendment in 1995. But he joined with members of both parties to pass the environmental laws that remain the foundation of protection today of our air, water, wildlife and public lands. He could stand on principle to the most powerful people and forces when he thought it was the right thing to do. But he also knew how to compromise and get things done/Rocky Barker, Statesman. More here.

Question: Is there anyone in Congress today that you'd call a statesman?

Toilet Paper, Court Clog Megaloads

This has not been a good week for the Lochsa River but it isn’t the familiar megaloads controversy that has grabbed the limelight. Officials are in the Kooskia area today trying to decide the best way to remove tons of unprocessed toilet paper that was dumped in the river when a semi-trailer overturned earlier this week. They are trying of finding a way to keep it from dissolving into a cloud of pulp that would clog the river in the height of whitewater season. Yes, a Montana judge has halted the shipments of giant loads of mining equipment bound for the tar sands region of northern Alberta. District Judge Ray Dayton’s order blocking the Montana Department of Transportation from transporting the loads Idaho courts allowed, presents Imperial Oil, a Canadian subsidiary of ExxonMobil, with an interesting decision/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Lewiston Tribune/AP file photo/Barry Kough, of reduced megaload)

Question: Rocky sez ExxonMobile has a tough decision — modify megaloads or go back to court to fight Montana decision. What do you think the oil giant should do?

Rocky: A Hack Looks Back From 2030

It’s 2030 in Idaho. The Tea Party is the majority party in America. The budget crisis was solved by selling off tens of millions of acres of public lands, mostly in the East. Idaho is a different place than it was at the turn of the century. I’m still standing at the age of 77. I attribute my condition to medical miracles and the fact that the movie I produced — “Firestorm: Last Stand in Yellowstone” — became a cult classic, generating millions for my retirement. I have been asked by the Idaho Historical Society to describe what has happened during the last 30 years/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: What will things look like in 2030?

Wanted: An Idaho Wolf Biologist

Rocky Barker/Idaho Statesman discusses that job opening in Nampa for a wolf biologist: “What it does not say is you have to take crank calls from hunters who blame you for allowing these “Canadian wolves” to decimate elk populations and keep them from bagging their elk. You also will be called a wolf slaughterer every time a wolf has to be killed for management purposes. You will get the occasional rancher who will blame you for all his livestock losses right after the call from the wolf lover who says you are not doing enough to help him see wolves in the wild. More here. (SR file photo/Kathy Plonka: Wolf hunt protester Patti Watts, right, of Cocolalla, displayed her signs just across the parking lot from pro-wolf hunt folks at Idaho Fish & Game in Coeur d’Alene last Aug. 28)

Question: Would you want to be a wolf biologist in Idaho?

Barker: Getting Kids Into Nature

My grandson Alex and I fished at ParkCenter Pond last weekend at a fishing derby that attracted dozens of families to one of Boise’s urban outdoor spaces. Lots of kids caught lots of trout, but just as importantly, they were exploring the reeds, running around and watching the ducks and geese for hours on end. This kind of opportunity for children to get into nature is far less available in the 21st century. Even before computer games became so dominant in children’s lives, the experience of life outside had dropped in significance for many. But today it has growninto a pandemic of what “Last Child in the Woods” author Richard Louv calls nature deficit disorder. This societal malady doesn’t benefit conservatives or liberals/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Is it a priority of yours to get your children outside into nature?

Rocky: Wassmuth Showed Way Out

This will not be an easy task. The demonization of political opponents has turned into a cottage industry of hate that benefits many. And the emotions of regular people have been raised to a frenzy by the politics of fear from all sides of the debate. But Idaho can offer a model for taking on the worst elements. No matter what the motivation of the shooter, who killed six and wounded Giffords and more than a dozen others, the incident has prompted a national discussion that is long overdue. There was a time not long ago when Idaho was viewed as the center of the right-wing hate movement in the United States. But even as our politics has become more conservative, we have excised the hate-mongers and our image as a refuge for neo-Nazis. We had become a base for these people because of our tolerance and our basic “leave-us-alone” attitude. But when we as a state realized where it had taken us, we shifted gears led by leaders like Phil Batt and Bill Wassmuth/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here. (SR file photo of Bill Wassmuth at 1997 NIC Popcorn Forum)

Question: What have you done personally as a blogger and online commenter to reduce hateful rhetoric and inflamed political commentary online?

Barker: Idaho Pols Will Take Fed $$$

Republican Senate President Pro Tem Bob Geddes, is like a lot of Idahoans today. His retirement plans were changed when his “401 K turned into a 201 K plan.” He thinks too much spending, not just by government but by many of us who overextended our credit, is what put us in this place. So he’s very skeptical that spending will get us out. But he resented the suggestions that these views meant he and other state leaders wouldn’t spend the money if it came or that they would be hypocrites to spend it/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Are Idaho political leaders being hypocritical by stating their opposition to the stimulus package while being willing to spend the money coming to the state?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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