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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: In battle of wits, Barbieri fell on his own sword

Last week wasn’t an easy one for uberconservative Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens. He made headlines from the Northwest to the New York Times for a question he asked during a hearing on an anti-abortion bill. Remember? In a battle of wits with a pro-choicer, Barbieri asked if women could swallow a pill containing a camera for gynecological exams. Social media went nuts. Quickly, the question-heard-round-the-USA made Wikipedia.

Quoth: “On February 23, 2015, during testimony from Dr. Julie Madsen, Barbieri learned that if a woman swallows a pill, it will not end up in her vagina.” Hours later, the entry was changed: “Barbieri came to widespread attention on February 23, 2015, after asking a doctor giving testimony if a woman could swallow a camera in order to undergo a remote gynecological exam, with the implication that Barbieri thought that the gastrointestinal tract was somehow connected to the reproductive organs.” Barbieri claims his question was taken out of context. Maybe so. But he’s still lucky he comes from a safe Red Zone district.

Expletive deleted

How many curse words can a high-profile executive get in an email of 50 words or less? If you’re Alex LeBeau, president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, the answer is eight.

You may have heard already about his profanity-laced email sent to cyber buddies. In the email, he denounced Sen. Jeff Siddoway for holding a tax cut hostage unless the Legislature raised teachers’ pay. Since this is a family paper, Huckleberries offers a sanitized version of LeBeau’s rant a la Richard Nixon’s White House: “Expletive deleted (derogatory play off Siddoway’s name) can eat (expletive deleted) and hug a teacher. How (expletive deleted) stupid. Let me see – make me and my committee completely irrelevant for the foreseeable future. (Expletive deleted!) People have no (expletive deleted) vision or forethought. (Expletive deleted.) Regardless we will drop some (expletive deleted) in his lap – just to be (expletive deleted).” Seems LeBeau doesn’t think much of teachers either.


Quotable Quote: “Ultimately, I’m not in favor of dividing us by religion, I’m in favor of uniting us by freedom” – Precinct 52 Committeeman Bjorn Handeen, after he torpedoed that resolution before the Kootenai County GOP on Tuesday to declare Idaho to be a Christian state … Now that we have an upgraded waterfront park/field in downtown Coeur d’Alene, what should we call it – McEuen Park? Or McEuen Field? … The battle over displaying the words “In God We Trust” in the Clark County (Vancouver, Washington) Courthouse reminds Huckleberries of a sign once posted in a Coeur d’Alene biz: “In God We Trust – Everyone else pays cash” … Poll: Rep. Barbieri insists that his infamous question about female exams was taken out of context. But 87 percent of my blog readers, many of whom heard the audio posted on Huckleberries Online, say he was quoted accurately, in context … Sign on the Coeur d’Alene sewer plant fence: “Gas venting area, permission granted for personal venting.”

Parting shot

The death of former Associated Press reporter Quane Kenyon last week was noted by Dean Miller, a former S-R colleague and former executive editor of the Idaho Falls Post Register. In an email to Huckleberries, Miller said of Kenyon: “Yes, Boise, Idaho, is a punch line to snarky New York comedians: far from the center of the universe, his stories may not often have set off alarm bells in newsrooms outside the AP region served through Salt Lake City. But for all those years, the AP’s reputation for solid reporting and dispassionate observation was safe in his hands.” RIP.

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