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Idaho Voices

NY Times skewers tea partiers

Sun., March 7, 2010

Charlie Brown never seemed to learn that Lucy always yanked the football before he tried to kick it. And Idaho conservatives never learn that they aren’t going to catch a break when New York Times reporters come calling with race issues on their minds. Last week in this space, I mentioned that front-page Times story about the Tea Party movement, which began and ended with comments by retiree Pam Stout, who’s president of the Sandpoint Tea Party Patriots. Reporter David Barstow’s article was informative. And not much of a hit piece. But that doesn’t mean that North Idaho Tea Partiers escaped the close encounter with the NYTimes unscathed. Columnist Frank Rich did the work of putting them in their place later with this comment: “Anyone who was cognizant during the McVeigh firestorm would recognize the old warning signs re-emerging from the mists of history. The Patriot movement. ‘The New World Order,’ with its shadowy conspiracies hatched by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. Sandpoint, Idaho. White supremacists. Militias.” Sandpoint, Idaho? Bottom line, Charlie Brown? Lucy pulls the football. The Times bashes North Idaho. Any questions?

Lightest green

Depending on your view of such things, Idaho’s congressional delegation either did well or poorly environmentally last year. If you mine, log, graze cattle or snowmobile, the national scorecard of the League of Conservation Voters shows that Mike Squared, Jim and Walt voted the way you would want, with a score of 32 out of 100 in the House and only 18 out of 100 in the Senate. The league bases its scorecard on votes on clean energy and global warming, as well as public lands, water quantity and quality, forest management, offshore drilling, wildlife conservation at home and abroad, chemical security and population. Terry Harris of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance suspects the Idaho delegation (which the National Journal picked as the nation’s most conservative recently) would have finished lower still without its votes for the omnibus public lands bill, which among other things created the Owyhee Wilderness in southern Idaho. Seven states scored lower than Idaho in the Senate, including Oklahoma, which registered 0 out of 100, while nine states scored worse than Idaho in the House, including Wyoming, with the other congressional goose egg. Sighs KEA’s Harris, who views Idaho’s environmental glass as two-thirds empty: “There’s always next year.” Ah, be careful what you wish for, Terry.


Among the 10 reasons the Pocatello Tea Party gives for its claim that Idaho needs a militia are: Attacks by international “terrorists,” invasion by illegal immigrants and infusions of illicit drugs. But my Berry Pickers weren’t impressed. Eighty-one percent of them said a militia isn’t needed in Idaho. … After reading that a suspected Lewiston DUI driver crashed through a kitchen while engaged in a sexual activity, former colleague Kevin Taylor deadpanned on my blog: “I’m guessing the moral is ‘if you can’t stand a driver in heat, get out of the kitchen.’ ” … If you’re a county jailer, you know it’s going to be a rough day when you can’t get a prisoner out of his handcuffs, even with bolt cutters. It happened recently.

Parting shot

Jim Brannon can’t catch a break. Last week, he learned he’d have to post a $40,000 bond if he plans to continue his long-shot bid to overturn his five-vote loss to incumbent Mike Kennedy in the 2009 City Council elections. And his quest to find questionable absentee voters has soured. A private investigator has searched for such voters who may have cast votes for Kennedy, including Army Sgt. Gregory Proft. The former Post Falls resident voted in the Coeur d’Alene election, even though he’s never lived in the Lake City. By state law, Proft’s address is listed as the county courthouse in Coeur d’Alene. Recently, the Mideast war veteran returned an affidavit to Brannon attorney Starr Kelso to show that he’d followed the rules while voting – and that he’d voted for Brannon, not Kennedy. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Kelso to ask that the vote be removed from Brannon’s side of the ledger.

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