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George takes dare at Polar Bear Plunge

Thu., Jan. 8, 2009

You need look no further than Kootenai County Democratic chief Thom George, if you want to know why Democrat Walt Minnick dumped Republican incumbent Bill Sali in the 1st Congressional District race. At one of those hush-hush Republicans-for-Minnick gatherings last year, a female voter who is known as MamaJD at Huckleberries Online told ThomG she’d vote for Minnick, if he’d jump in the lake. Not only did Thom jump in the lake, but he did so on New Year’s Day. Can you say Polar Bear, baybee? The ex-New Yorker joined dozens of other cuh-razies, to win MamaJD’s vote. MamaJD jumped in the lake, too, as is her custom. She described the experience on her blog (http://mamajd. as “invigorating, tingling, refreshing, full of adrenaline and an absolute blast.” I’ll take her word for it. MamaJD contends that she got the better of the deal because she has more, ahem, insulation than Thom. Also, she said she’d have voted for Minnick regardless. The usually loquacious Thom didn’t say much about submerging himself in the frigid lake. But he changed the avatar illustration for his Huckleberries comment posts to one of a coupla tiny walnuts. Brr.

Don’t get comfy

Pity new Congressman Minnick. The Demo’d hardly set up his new private digs in Washington, D.C., before respected insider paper The Hill dubbed him as the second most vulnerable freshman in Congress (behind Louisiana Republican Joseph Cao). Quoth The Hill: “Minnick won in large part thanks to outgoing Rep. Bill Sali’s (R) inability to play nice even with members of his own party. The incoming Democrat will attempt to hold down a district that voted 69 percent for President Bush in 2004, and he has shown the fundraising prowess to do so. Minnick would be well-served if Sali ran again, but, even in that case, the GOP primary would be no cinch for the one-term former representative.” Randy Stapilus, the veteran Idaho political observer, agrees with the assessment. But contends Minnick could be helped in 2010 by another blood-letting, free-for-all among Repubs vying for their party’s nomination, including Sali. Idaho Statesman editorialist Kevin Richert offers another scenario in which Repubs follow the “Jim Risch formula” – jump in early, line up support, intimidate other wannabes. Either way, Minnick won’t be resting on his laurels if he hopes to be more than a one-term congressman.


Poet’s Corner: I wish you good fortune/and rest from your worries,/wish you laughter and love/and no snowbutflurries/The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“A New Year’s Wish”) … As hard as it may be getting tickets to Barack Obama’s presidential ball, it may be harder finding lodging anywhere near Washington, D.C. Nathan Empsall, a Coeur d’Alene High grad, had food and lodging covered, as only a poor college kid can. The Dartmouth student told fellow Huckleberries commenters: “I know many poor recent grads in D.C., so will crash on a friend’s floor for a few nights” … Huckleberries hears – that veterans Linda Ball and Tom Greene were among the casualties during the Christmas holiday layoffs at the CdA Press. Which occurred without severance pay. And that Hagadone Corp has ordered 10 percent salary cuts for all managers – 5 percent for worker bees … On a brighter note, Huckleberries Online ( blogs/hbo) finished the 2008 year with more than 2.5 million page-views and now has a local sponsor, John Beutler’s Century 21.

Parting shot

News that Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne OK’d a $235,000 upgrade of his agency loo had one Huckleberries Online reader pining for now-former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig. Tongue firmly cheeked, Thawtful Reader said this re: Kempthorne spending beaucoup bucks for bathroom refurbishments, which included a new shower, a refrigerator, a freezer and monogrammed towels: “You didn’t see Larry Craig wasting this kind of taxpayer money on a private bathroom, Larry preferred public restrooms; he was a true patriot and fiscal (conservative).” What are we going to do now that we don’t have Larry Craig to kick around any more?

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