Friday, August 31, 2007

Snow, Sacrifices, & Resignations

Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) will be announcing his resignation tomorrow at the Boise Depot at 10:30 a.m. While I've spent a great deal of time contemplating the quick and unfortunate fall of a man who has been serving Idaho, both in the U.S. House and Senate, for more years then I have been alive, I've thought about the sacrifices our public officials make to serve. In Craig's case his sacrifice was sadly the ability to be true to himself, his sacrifice of his own privacy, in both ups and downs, ultimately brought about his downfall. Unlike Craig, is the sacrifices made my White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.

I am a great fan of Snow's ability to "spin," something this administration will surely miss and desperately needs as the week has only further defeated an already inept administration, though not a fan of Snow's politics. However, I was both happy and sad to see Snow announce his resignation today with President Bush by his side. I was happy to see that Snow was honest with the press and the American public, citing financial reasons for leaving, but I was equally saddened to see how much the physical appearance of Snow has changed in his less than two years at the White House. This surely is both the cancer treatments he is receiving eating away at his body as well as the stress of being the spin master of the most corrupt, deceitful administration ever.

Take a look at Snow over the past year:





Pictured at right with President Bush, it is startling how little hair Snow still has and how ghostlike his appearance has become, but he has not lost that brilliance he possessed on day one when McClellan left the White House. He has not lost his sense of humor and though I can't believe I'm saying this, I agree with President Bush on this--I have enjoyed watching Snow "spar" with the press. It has been incredibly enjoyable despite the lack of information (good or otherwise) coming out of the White House in the last year or so.

What was supposed to be a slow news week has turned into one of the most memorable political weeks of my life. In just one week we saw a man who has ignored the greatest legal document of our country resign from one of the highest legal positions, that of Attorney General of the United States. In just one week we saw the fall of a senator who has served the state of Idaho for many years, a man who will resign tomorrow to live the rest of his life in relative obscurity, unredeemed by his own party. At the end of this very long week we have watched the spin master bow out gracefully, nothing less than what he deserved and nothing less than what we expected from his exit.

Stallings On Craig's Resignation

From the Idaho Democratic Party:

BOISE, Idaho – According to the Associated Press, Senator Larry Craig has decided to respond to pressure from national Republicans like the Republican National Committee and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by resigning his Senate seat (Associated Press, a0267). At the same time, Governor Butch Otter has decided to replace him with Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, who is considering running for the Senate. In response to these reports, Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Richard Stallings issued the following statement:

“As Governor, Butch Otter has a responsibility to the people of Idaho to put their interests ahead of his political party’s. Should Senator Craig vacate his Senate seat, we urge Governor Otter in the strongest terms possible to put the interests ahead of Idahoans ahead of his political party by committing to not to fill this seat with anyone who has expressed an interest in running for the Senate in 2008.”

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Craig's Interview & Public Restrooms

I just listened to the the interview of Senator Larry Craig following his arrest at the Minneapolis airport in June. Surprisingly, this is my only question:

When you are in a restroom and there is a piece of toilet paper on the floor, do you stop and pick it up?

It seems to me a rather odd defense. Maybe it's just me, but when I'm in a public restroom I won't even let the bottom of my pants touch the floor--I just don't trust where the feet that have touched that floor have been and I don't trust what else may have come in contact with that floor. I certainly wouldn't pick up a piece of toilet paper off the very floor in question. Gross.

Maybe if I had dropped a piece of paper out of my pocket (or a cell phone, keys, etc.) I wouldn't have a choice, but a piece of toilet paper? No. That's why there is a janitor with protective gloves on. They don't give you toilet seat covers for the hell of it.

TDIH: Justice Marshall

On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the United States Supreme Court. The first African-American justice had previously served as the chief counsel for the NAACP and had successfully argued Brown v the Board of Education in front of the Warren Court.

Justice Marshall served for nearly a half century.

Known for his forceful stance on equal rights, Marshall once commented: "Lawlessness is lawlessness. Anarchy is anarchy is anarchy. Neither race nor color nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy." *

Not often can I marvel at particular TDIH events as I have this one. Not often can I say this particular event marked an incredibly progressive moment in the history of America.

___________

* From a speech at the national convention of Alpha Phi Alpha, St. Louis, Missouri, August 15, 1966, prior to his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Breaking...Craig gives up committee posts

Like he shouldn't have resigned from the Veterans Affairs Committee months ago??

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Larry Craig has agreed to give up his leadership posts on Senate committees temporarily following his arrest in a Minneapolis airport men's room and subsequent guilty plea, Republican Senate leaders announced Wednesday.

Craig, of Idaho, is the ranking Republican on the Senate Veterans Affairs committee and on two key subcommittees -- the Appropriations Committee's panel overseeing the Interior Department and the Energy and National Resources subcommittee on public lands.

"This is not a decision we take lightly, but we believe this is in the best interest of the Senate until this situation is resolved by the Ethics Committee," the Senate's GOP leaders said in a statement issued Wednesday. The three-term senator also sits on the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee and the Special Committee on Aging.

(SEE VIDEO)

Learn something new every day...

...No, I'm not going to say anything about tapping your foot in a bathroom stall.

Did you know that regardless of which congressional district you live in you get to vote for both senators?!?

Somehow I never knew this. Never. Me, the Idaho politics nerd. I'm shocked. I suppose I always thought you voted for those running from your own district--like with congressmen. Wow. Nope.

Good news, isn't it? I get to vote for Larry LaRocco!! Sweet!

Got thinking about this and I don't think I've voted for a U.S. Senator since I was old enough to vote. If it did happen, it would have been Crapo on the ballot from my neck of the woods and it wouldn't have occurred to me that it was a statewide race.

Wow. Thanks to Julie at Red State Rebels for teaching me something very valuable and exciting!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Craig Press Conference

Craig's Response

Below you will find Senator Craig's press release as found on his Senate page. Also, here you can find the video of this afternoon's press conference.

Statement of Senator Craig

BOISE, IDAHO - Senator Craig made the following statement to Idaho at 2:30pm:

"First, please let me apologize to my family, friends, staff, and fellow Idahoans for the cloud placed over Idaho. I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport. I regret my decision to plead guilty and the sadness that decision has brought to my wife, family, friends, staff, and fellow Idahoans. For that I apologize.

"In June, I overreacted and made a poor decision. While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of making it go away. I did not seek any counsel, either from an attorney, staff, friends, or family. That was a mistake, and I deeply regret it. Because of that, I have now retained counsel and I am asking my counsel to review this matter and to advise me on how to proceed.

"For a moment, I want to put my state of mind into context on June 11. For 8 months leading up to June, my family and I had been relentlessly and viciously harassed by the Idaho Statesman. If you’ve seen today’s paper, you know why. Let me be clear: I am not gay and never have been.

"Still, without a shred of truth or evidence to the contrary, the Statesman has engaged in this witch hunt. In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis, because of the stress of the Idaho Statesman’s investigation and the rumors it has fueled around Idaho. Again, that overreaction was a mistake, and I apologize for my misjudgment. Furthermore, I should not have kept this arrest to myself, and should have told my family and friends about it. I wasn’t eager to share this failure, but I should have done so anyway.

"I love my wife, family, friends, staff, and Idaho. I love serving Idaho in Congress. Over the years, I have accomplished a lot for Idaho, and I hope Idahoans will allow me to continue to do that. There are still goals I would like to accomplish, and I believe I can still be an effective leader for Idaho. Next month, I will announce, as planned, whether or not I will seek reelection.

"As an elected official, I fully realize that my life is open for public criticism and scrutiny, and I take full responsibility for the mistake in judgment I made in attempting to handle this matter myself.

"It is clear, though, that through my actions I have brought a cloud over Idaho. For that, I ask the people of Idaho for their forgiveness.

"As I mentioned earlier, I have now retained counsel to examine this matter and I will make no further comment."

Wednesday End of Business

In the pool at 43rd State Blues, I said Senator Craig will resign by close of business Wednesday. Now I'm beginning to wonder... Word is Senator Craig is holding a press conference this afternoon. Will he resign? Announce his retirement? Throw his hat in the 2008 ring? Evidently ABC says the press conference will be held at 2 pm mountain time and MSNBC says 2:30. Hat tip to the Mountain Goat Report for that bit of info.

Popkey Weighs In

The long awaited (and quite disappointing) article from Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman has hit the streets--see for yourself.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Senior Senator from Idaho

It is all over the Idaho blogosphere, all over the local news, and intertwined in the mainstream media with news of Gonzales' resignation and Vick's guilty plea--the Craig incident.

Senator Larry Craig has, albeit unsuccessfully, defended his actions and completely denied any lewd conduct that Americans might be believing him capable of, but this one isn't going away. Craig can't claim he dropped a piece of paper and reached down to pick it up to easily explain this away. His "wide stance," however graphic and disgusting that thought is may be, is no excuse or defense, either.

The telling signs of guilt: 1) Craig did not let his staff in on the details of the event in question until it was reported by Roll Call this afternoon; 2) Craig claims he did not speak with legal counsel as how to proceed after being charged with lewd conduct; 3) Craig quickly took away the negative attention he might bring to the campaign of Mitt Romney by stepping out of his role there; and, 4) He isn't publicly speaking on this issue.

Sure, Craig doesn't have to speak out at this point. A well timed press release would do the trick, but a press release in the form of cold, hard ink in the papers, on the blogs, all over the news, doesn't quite do what a public press conference with a loving wife and proud children behind him would do. Makes you wonder whether his family knew about the event.

He certainly didn't have to step away from his role in the Romney campaign, it was the nice thing to do. However, by stepping away he's not admitting his guilt per say, but is admitting that there is fuel to this fire and a story to tell that will ultimately detract from the Romney campaign in the West.

As for speaking with legal counsel? I have a hard time believing a bright man like Craig would allow nearly three months to pass knowing he would have to submit a plea for a crime without speaking to a lawyer. He surely has one on staff or one readily available to him. Not an excuse in my book for pleading guilty and paying a fine for a crime you supposedly did not commit.

Now on to the staff. If we have learned anything from recent events in the Bush administration it is that your staffers, advisers, etc., are your lifeline. You depend on them to feed you good advice, good intelligence, good news, and even depend on them to defend you in the darkest of times. It amazes me that Senator Craig's staff was left out of the loop on the event in June when Craig was arrested. They certainly can't be oblivious to Craig's sexuality and undoubtedly have heard the rumors. If I were a congressman I would tell my staff everything they needed to know to protect me. Not telling them seems to me a sign of guilt. Craig seems to have been looking for a way to fix the problem fast with as few people knowing as possible.

One of the bigger questions being asked tonight is why if this occurred in June we are learning about it in August, even after the guilty plea and payment of fines. Some are questioning the credibility of the officer in the Minnesota airport where Craig was arrested and quickly handed the officer a business card touting his position in the U.S. Senate. Wouldn't the officer immediately say something to the press or at the very least his wife who might then tell all her friends? My take on the officer is that if he were trying to get Craig in trouble and staged this unfortunate event in the airport bathroom stall, he wouldn't have kept his mouth shut all this time. I'm going to take the cop's word on this and believe the language of the police report.

Throughout the day I've thought a great deal about the men of this story. From the cop who must be feeling on edge with his name on the 24/7 news cycle to Craig himself. Craig's actions are unusual at the very least, criminal as his plea suggests, and worthy of ruining his political career. It's unfortunate for Craig and his family. I was reminded of this tonight on the ten o'clock news when they interviewed former Idaho Congressman and current Chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party Richard Stallings. Despite the opening this unfortunate incident may have created for the Dems in 2008, Stallings did not gloat nor pass judgement. He offered his concern for Craig's family and said kind words about Craig, whom he served with while they were both in the U.S. House. The only man in this unbelievable story I can't find a good thing to say about is Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman. Sure, he may have held his story out of respect for Craig if he was planning a retirement announcement, but once this came out today you would think Popkey would feel responsible to say something about where the hell he was for four months while he was "tracking" Senator Craig. Dan, Idaho deserves better.

In so many ways Idaho deserves better. We deserve a press that will tell us the truth (in a speedy fashion) about our elected representatives. We deserve a senior senator who pushes policies that are not hypocritical. We certainly deserve the opportunity to accept a legislator regardless of their sexuality as long as they are open with us out of the gate. And we absolutely don't need leaders of the Idaho GOP keeping hidden the truth they all know, but choose to ignore as long as their esteemed Senator does not force his sexuality and personal life in their faces. What I find most unfortunate about this entire ordeal is that Larry Craig has spent his entire career forcing himself to take positions contrary to his true self. What's worse is he has spent his entire career pretending to someone he's not and for most of that career many Idahoans have blindly gone along.

Larry Craig Police Record?

I've got MSNBC on in the background and just came in from the other room to hear the headline: Larry Craig record of arrest in Minnesota airport for lewd comments. Does anybody know anything more than what I just heard? Popkey? Anyone?

All I know is what Roll Call is telling me:

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men's public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.

Craig's arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.

A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a "he said/he said isunderstanding," and said the office would release a fuller statement later Monday afternoon.

After he was arrested, Craig, who is married, was taken to the Airport Police Operations Center to be interviewed about the lewd conduct incident, according to the police report. At one point during the interview, Craig handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, "What do you think about that?" the report states.

Craig was detained for approximately 45 minutes, interviewed, photographed, fingerprinted and released, and police prepared a formal complaint for interference with privacy and disorderly conduct.

Constitution Day 2007: A Real Celebration

As I was listening to MSNBC this morning announcing U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation, I waited for over an hour to hear a commentator make mention of the historic implications of the date in which Gonzo will step down--September 17th.

Historic implications? Yes, September 17th is, and has been since 1787, the notable date in American history in which the U.S. Constitution was adopted.

Not a single commentator made mention that the Attorney General would be leaving his post on the date in which America celebrates the 220th anniversary of its most significant legal document.

What a great celebration it will be to see the second-most offender of the U.S. Constitution in the White House leave his post to return to the real world where we can only hope federal (and constitutional) laws will catch up with him.

I even looked on Senator Byrd's website to see if he made mention of the Gonzo/Constitution Day link, but he hasn't as of yet--my bet is he doesn't find Constitution Day worthy of Gonzo, either.

More on this later.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday

A week away has given me a little perspective and hopefully a better attitude about life in general. Thought for the day: Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. I stole that...don't think I'm that brilliant. Now let us begin another smorgasbord.

News from Pocatello--Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik received life without parole this week as their sentences for murdering Poky High classmate Cassie Jo Stoddart. Click here for more from the Idaho State Journal.

While in Boise I worked in the booth at the Western Idaho Fair for UVI (United Vision for Idaho). I'm still reeling over some of the responses from fair-goers. For those of you who haven't been by the fair, the UVI booth has set out information on the cost thus far of the war in Iraq ($450 billion with $1.2 billion being the actual cost to Idaho taxpayers). Each fair-goer is given 12 macaroni pinwheels, each representative of $100 million and they are asked to vote their "priorities." Included in the options is a canister to continue to fund the occupation of Iraq as well as other uses for that $1.2 billion including improvement of roads, bridges, public transportation, schools, head start, and many others. If none of those choices strike your fancy you can write down your priorities. All of these pinwheels are counted at the end of the day, the tally of which will eventually be given to the Idaho delegation since they seem to be oblivious to real Idaho priorities. Anyway, there were a few fair-goers that had interesting things to say, a few of which need to be slapped upside the head. More on this later.

I continue to be impressed with U.S. Senate candidate Larry LaRocco. Yesterday he was in Malta working for the Senate, last night he was at the Western Idaho Fair shaking hands...what a guy!!

News from Major League Baseball--the Atlanta Braves have designated closer Bob Wickman for assignment. All I can say is it is about damn time! I don't imagine I'm the only Braves fan who has this opinion about Wickman. I've seen him blow too many games and I've always wondered what Bobby Cox was doing keeping Wickman in the rotation. Not so happy news from the Braves, word is Edgar Renteria reinjured his ankle in his return from the DL and will be out another fifteen days or more.

Straw poll question: Does anyone feel equal animosity toward Nancy Grace as that Glenn Beck fellow? What is with Headline News?

School starts on Monday at ISU and I received an email from the Vice President of Academic Affairs (now the provost or something of similar importance) stating that ISU students who are firefighters need to contact the Registrar immediately to extend the start date of their classes. The kicker? They're only giving them until September 10th, no later, to show up for classes. Are the Idaho fires going to be out by then? I think not.

Thought I'd send a shout out to my kid brother who broke his elbow in his high school season opener this week. He's going to be out for the entire season. What a way to start high school. I keep telling him he's lucky it was his left arm and not his right--he doesn't seem to see the necessity of having a working writing hand. He is after all the jock. What would his nerdy sister know about sports injuries? Oh the difference between the Rowe children...

I downloaded the official 9/11 Commission Report on iTunes recently. I own the book, but I've never made it all the way through so this was my attempt at finally hearing every last detail. If you haven't read the report, I know it's been out forever, you really should. If you think you understand 9/11, the Bush administration, and the way government agencies interact (or at least did prior to 9/11) you'll be surprised.

Just realized I haven't posted the pictures of the completed Bright Tomorrows facility. I'll do that tomorrow or early in the week. Has anyone used the new 'add video' option on Blogger? Is it as easy as using the icon for adding photos? Guess I'll have to give it a try.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Much Needed Hiatus

This past week has been a particularly rough one for me.

A dear friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer, the third incredibly close friend of mine to be diagnosed with some form of cancer in the last four years, which has really made me appreciate my health and has made me realize that there are so many out there dealing with enormous obstacles in their lives (doing so quite courageously, I might add).

I hit a speed bump this week in my academic career at ISU--my overreaction to which caused me to really examine my academic plans. It truly is a wonder I am actually still enrolled. Unlike so many political issues on campus that I find myself wrapped up in, this problem arose from a choice I made. Unlike the betrayal of the student government constitution issue or the spring officer elections, this problem resulted from one choice on my part. A choice I didn't realize bothered others so much. I feel as if I really screwed up and can only move on from here, though I can't help but wonder what my reputation is with certain members of the ISU faculty, certain members that have had my complete respect up until this week. Where my academic career is concerned I don't often think of how my decisions will impact others. It is my education after all, isn't it? Equally tormenting this past week was the way in which the ISU situation effected a friendship I have built over the last year or so.

I haven't had more than three hours of sleep a night since I returned home from my trip to Moscow.

Additionally, I've lost motivation or whatever it is I had when I started the processing of the Stallings Collection. Hopefully this returns. And soon.

Until then, I wanted to let you all know that I am taking a break from blogging for a week. Trip to Declo tomorrow, trip to Idaho Falls Tuesday, and a trip to Boise on Thursday. I need a week to get my life in order, do some writing, and get some rest before the fall semester begins on the 27th. I shall return to the game on the 25th or 26th.

Smorgasbord Saturday Snapshots








© Tara Rowe

Friday, August 17, 2007

Parade of Homes Details


A little more information on the Parade of Homes so you all can go see the new Bright Tomorrows facility in Pocatello:
Friday, August 17 1pm-9pm
Saturday, August 18 10am-9pm
Sunday, August 19 10am-6pm
Contact any of these Pocatello sponsors for more information:
Citizens Community Bank
2000 Flandro Drive
238-8378
or
280 S. Arthur Ave.
232-5373
Franklin Building Supply
1951 Flandro Drive
237-7700
Intermountain Gas Company
12584 W. Tyhee Road
637-6400
Merlin's TV
150 E. Quinn Rd.
232-1655
Stock Building Supply
955 W. Alameda
237-7100

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bright Tomorrows Grand Opening

Today marks the
beginning of a four-day event
in Pocatello, the Parade of Homes. The Parade of Homes showcases the craftsmanship of the local building contractors. This year one of the entries in the Parade of Homes is the Tuscany House, the new facility for Bright Tomorrows on the corner of Washington and Walnut.

I've watched carefully over the last couple of days as the contractors have put the finishing touches on the Bright Tomorrows facility. It is truly amazing how quickly the entire facility has gone up and even more amazing how receptive the community has been to the entire project.

I have commented on the facility numerous times (see the link on my sidebar to all posts on Bright Tomorrows), but I have learned new things about the facility in the last couple of days and I want to encourage all of you to take advantage of the Parade of Homes as it is the official grand opening of the facility.

The beginning of this project stemmed from a grant that was awarded to Kathy Downes and the Bright Tomorrows crew clear back in 2005. The $48,000 grant was set aside for the facility. The Pocatello City Council then approved a lease agreement between the City and Bright Tomorrows for the property at 409 Washington Avenue in April of 2007.

Keep an eye out for new pictures of the facility before the weekend.

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, God-Awful Day

I have had the most god-awful day (yesterday? It is after midnight).

You ever have one of those days where you'd be further along had you just never left the house? Yep, that was today for me.

It all started with numerous computer problems. The reason for which nearly all of the links on my Bill Sali post don't work. I've given up on them for now. Maybe tomorrow I'll give it another whack.

Nothing got better by days end. In fact it was just a few minutes ago when a friend called to agree that we'll put this awful day behind us officially.

The highlight however of my night, a night of dealing with the inner-workings of higher education, was that I didn't have to think about Bill Sali's bigotry for a good six hours.

It's a good thing I enjoy my fellow bloggers and had the opportunity to correspond a bit with them today. Also a good thing my little brother is awake at all hours of the night for me to call and bother with my random play-by-play analysis of the day.

Best thing of all? I'm going to bed now.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sali: Where Does the Madness End?

As if Idaho firefighters don't have enough on their minds with a large number of wildfires raging throughout the state and unions in general taking heat as the Crandall Canyon mine disaster continues to develop, they are worrying about their freshman congressman, Bill Sali, as well.

On the website of the Professional Fire Fighters of Idaho, you can find an article about Sali's comments on the Hindu prayer offered in the U.S. Senate as well as the text of the actual prayer offered by Rajan Zed. The man even had the decency to pray for the family of the late former first lady Lady Bird Johnson.

If this is indeed the prayer Sali objects to, I find it quite ironic that he's objecting to a Hindu who is not only an educator, but a Westerner. The Congressional Record has the exact introduction of Rajan Zed to the Senate as given by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
Let me say a few words about the guest Chaplain. Mr. Zed is a resident of Reno, NV. He serves as director of interfaith relations of the Hindu temple in Reno and is a spokesman for the Indian Association of Northern Nevada. He serves as the Hindu chaplain in northern Nevada and northern California hospitals. He teaches at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno.

In addition to his tireless work in the Hindu faith, he is also active in the community doing many different activities . He serves on the governing board of the Northern Nevada International Center, is a member of the Reno Police Chief Advisory Board, and is a member of the Diversity Action Plan Committee of the Washoe County School District.

Mr. Zed was born in India. That is where he studied to become a Hindu chaplain. He holds degrees, including a master's degree from San Jose State University, in mass communications. He has a master's degree in business administration from the University of Nevada Reno.

[....]

I think it speaks well of our country that someone representing a faith of about a billion people comes here and can speak in communication with our Heavenly Father regarding peace. I am grateful he is here. I am thankful he was able to offer this prayer of peace in the Capitol. I say to everyone concerned, think of Gandhi. If you have a problem in the world, think what this great man has done to bring peace and nonviolence to a troubled world.

For Senator Reid's complete comments, please visit this link to the Congressional Record.

I wonder which part bothered Sali more, the simple fact that we had a Hindu offering the prayer in the Senate, the fact that a faithful Mormon introduced the Hindu who then offered the prayer in the United States Senate, or that the Hindu, introduced by the Mormon, offered a prayer in which he blessed the family of a woman who belonged to the Disciples of Chirst? If you ask me, this is all beginning to sound a little bit like the old lady who swallowed the spider to catch the fly...

As for Sali's latest defense, er, lack thereof, of his earlier comments on One News Now, I am beginning to side with the AU (Americans United for the Separation of Church and State) -- Congressman Sali must have flunked history! (See: Flunking History: Idaho Congressman Misunderstands America’s Heritage Of Religious Pluralism)

Middle of the Week Mélange

Keep an eye out for another post here on Bill Sali later in the day. And don't forget the Parade of Homes in Pocatello begins tomorrow!!

Scary news in the Washington Post this morning about the embattled U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- evidently Gonzo is going to get "expanded powers to hasten death penalty cases under new regulations being developed by the Justice Department." Yikes! Just what the man needs, more unchecked power. Helluva job you're doing, Gonzo!

Looks like I'm going to be helping out at the United Vision for Idaho booth at the Western Idaho State Fair on the 24th of this month. The fair runs August 17th through the 26th. From the UVI press release:
United Vision for Idaho is coordinating a booth at the Western Idaho State Fair to ask interested fairgoers to join thousands of other Idahoans who are calling for an end to the occupation of Iraq and for public funds to be re-invested into Idaho families and communities.

UVI will have an interactive game that illustrates Idaho’s share of the huge costs we have paid not only in lives lost and families torn apart but also in huge losses to Idaho families as public funds have been shifted away from our communities to fund the occupation. (Idaho's share is $1.2 billion, and growing every day).

People who care about helping Idaho families recover, about re-investing in Idaho communities, about restoring America's moral standing in the world, are encouraged to volunteer.

If you're available I would also encourage you all to volunteer some time. Contact UVI for more details!

All sorts of records in baseball are flying around these days, none so quietly as the lead up to the breaking of the record for most ejections for a major league manager. Bobby Cox, with twenty-three non-consecutive years as manager of the Atlanta Braves, was thrown out of yesterday's Braves/Giants matchup in Atlanta, his 132nd managerial career ejection. Something about Cox that always amazes me is that every time I've ever seen him thrown out of a game it has been for a logical reason. He doesn't pick fights for the thrill of being a grouchy old man, he does it to protect his players and when a fight is required. Last night was no exception when he got up to argue a third-strike call on Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones.

The Braves came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Giants 5-4. No doubt the Braves won this one as a result of being riled up from the Cox ejection. No thanks to Bob Wickman, I might add.

A bit of news from Special Olympics Idaho: The second annual 'Breakfast with Champions' in Coeur d' Alene is scheduled for September 25, 2007 at the Coeur d' Alene Inn (Troy McClain, former contestant on The Apprentice and brother of a Special Olympian will be the keynote speaker)

For more information, please contact either Corby Goade at 208-323-0482, ext. 22, or Laurie La Follette at 208-323-0482 ext 12 or by email goadec@idso.org or llafollette@idso.org.

Also from ISO:

Special Olympics Idaho and the Boise Co-Op are proud to announce that Iron Chef IV will benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Idaho! If you've never seen this competition before, you won't want to miss it now! It's a fast paced, high energy style event that will have you hooked! The date is set for October 22nd in Boise! More information will follow.

If you'd like to see a preview of the event, log on to: http://www.kivitv.com/Global/SearchResults.asp?vendor=wss&qu=iron+chef and click on: 'Defending Iron-Chef Champion Wins Again'

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Scooter & I Don't Mean Libby

When I heard that Phil Rizzuto had died I couldn't help but think of this...

"Uh-oh, deep to left-center, nobody's gonna get that one! Holy cow, somebody got it!"

________________________

Philip "the Scooter" Rizzuto: 1917 -2007

Bill Sali Article @ RSR

Not to copy The Mountain Goat Report, but really, every one needs to go read this post at Red State Rebels. Way to go, Julie!

Idahoan's Body Returns Home

The body of Sargent Nick Gummersall will be returning home to rest in Pocatello this afternoon.

Sargent Gummersall was killed August 6th in Baqubah, Iraq by an IED explosion near his patrol.

This is the second Idahoan killed in Iraq that I've felt in some way connected to. Gummersall's brother (and best friend), Casey, sold me my car.

The thing is, regardless of how well I know these young men and women dying in a war we shouldn't be in, it is incredibly hard for me to write about the war and about the casualties. Perhaps that is the historian in me--the inability to write effectively about the present or the recent past.

Something tells me it isn't the historian in me that can't write about these brave young men and women, but the fear and humble admiration in me that can't write about a man, a mere year older than me, who gave his life for our country.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday

It is getting a bit late in the day for a smorgasbord, but I'm game.

Right now I'm dealing with a really crappy dialup connection at home because we are between providers and well, I'm no computer whiz. Hence the reason I'm slow responding to email and even slower getting this post up today.

In game show news, Merv Griffin the brain behind so many of the great game shows has been battling cancer for awhile now and has evidently taken a turn for the worse. For those of you who know me well, 4:30 p.m. is strictly reserved for Jeopardy! at my house. I'm a big fan of traditional game shows in general (except for Wheel of Fortune) and have always been a fan of Merv Griffin.

For those of you who, like me, think the Idaho quarter is the ugliest piece of currency being produced, please check out this great letter to the editor of the South Idaho Press. I absolutely can't believe I agree with Jared 100% on something, but I do in this case! Good work, Jared.

Received my first purchase from the great Hesperus Press when I returned from vacation. Yes, I bought Shelley's novel Zastrozzi. Haven't had the time to sit down and enjoy it, but hopefully soon. As I've said before, I am absolutely in love with this press and every last one of you who love books should take a look at what they have to offer. Do it.

My fantasy baseball team has moved up this week which is a welcome bit of news for me. I had to trade away Derek Lowe and Edgar Renteria to get myself a decent first baseman (Teixeira). I had a first baseman, but don't get me started on how irritated I am with the Braves sending Julio Franco back to the minors. What a good sport though. How would it be to have a 20+ year career in the majors and at the age of 48 (he'll be 49 on the 23rd of this month) head back to the minor league?

While we are on the topic of baseball, did anyone catch the clips of Ichiro last night? I don't know who the batter was, but they homered and Ichiro is seen in the corner of the clip on top of the wall. Just jumped right up there even though the ball was clearly out of his reach. I just say there and thought about gravity for a moment. Love the guy. Too bad he's not on my fantasy team...

I've been watching MSNBC today waiting to hear news from Utah in the mining story that's been going on since early Monday morning. However, no news. I did however catch the story about Romney's victory in the Iowa straw poll. I'm not a fan of Romney, I'm actually not a fan of any of the contenders at this point. May have been misleading with my Obama bumper sticker commentary, but I'm really not on the Obama wagon. Or any other candidate's wagon for that matter. Interesting that Romney is doing so well in Iowa, though.

That's all I can think up for this Saturday. Maybe tomorrow I can post some news on the Bright Tomorrows progress. Until then, peace be the journey.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Stallings Calls for Sali's Resignation

In a press release from the Idaho Democratic Party today, Chairman Richard Stallings has called for a public apology from or the resignation of Congressman Bill Sali (R-Idaho).

From the release:
“I call upon Bill Sali to either publicly apologize to the Americans he has insulted with his bigoted remarks, or resign his congressional seat and let someone who understands basic human dignity and the right of religious freedom to take his place,” Stallings said.

“Today, Bill Sali is belittling Hindus and Muslims. Tomorrow, will he do the same with Roman Catholics and Buddhists? Or perhaps Jews and Mormons? Who will pass the religious purity test and be able to serve in Congress; or even pray out loud in the nation’s Capitol?”

Stallings' call for Sali's resignation came as a direct result of earlier statements made by Sali (and not defended by his staff) to the website One News Now:
“We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes -- and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers,” asserts Sali.

Sali also said that the only way the U.S. can continue to survive is under that protective hand of God; and that a Hindu prayer addresses a “different god” and that "creates problems for the longevity of this country."

In my own opinion, Representative Keith Ellison deserves a personal apology from Sali. As for his resignation? Does the man really deserve to be there in the first place? I suppose we could ask the nearly 1.5 million Hindus living in the United States that question. Or better yet, let's talk 11,909 Idahoans to get out and vote for Larry Grant in 2008 (that's the exact, and impressive, number plus one that Grant lost to Sali by in 2006). Something tells me with Sali's constant no-vote and his religious bigotry it won't be very hard to do the convincing...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

TDIH: President Ford

On this day in history, Gerald R. Ford took office. Upon taking the oath of office he addressed the American people:

"Mr. Chief Justice, my dear friends, my fellow Americans:

The oath that I have taken is the same oath that was taken by George Washington and by every President under the Constitution. But I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances never before experienced by Americans. This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts.

Therefore, I feel it is my first duty to make an unprecedented compact with my countrymen. Not an inaugural address, not a fireside chat, not a campaign speech--just a little straight talk among friends. And I intend it to be the first of many.

I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers. And I hope that such prayers will also be the first of many.

If you have not chosen me by secret ballot, neither have I gained office by any secret promises. I have not campaigned either for the Presidency or the Vice Presidency. I have not subscribed to any partisan platform. I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman--my dear wife--as I begin this very difficult job.

I have not sought this enormous responsibility, but I will not shirk it. Those who nominated and confirmed me as Vice President were my friends and are my friends. They were of both parties, elected by all the people and acting under the Constitution in their name. It is only fitting then that I should pledge to them and to you that I will be the President of all the people.

Thomas Jefferson said the people are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. And down the years, Abraham Lincoln renewed this American article of faith asking, "Is there any better way or equal hope in the world?"

I intend, on Monday next, to request of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate the privilege of appearing before the Congress to share with my former colleagues and with you, the American people, my views on the priority business of the Nation and to solicit your views and their views. And may I say to the Speaker and the others, if I could meet with you right after these remarks, I would appreciate it.
Even though this is late in an election year, there is no way we can go forward except together and no way anybody can win except by serving the people's urgent needs. We cannot stand still or slip backwards. We must go forward now together.

To the peoples and the governments of all friendly nations, and I hope that could encompass the whole world, I pledge an uninterrupted and sincere search for peace. America will remain strong and united, but its strength will remain dedicated to the safety and sanity of the entire family of man, as well as to our own precious freedom.

I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our Government but civilization itself. That bond, though strained, is unbroken at home and abroad.
In all my public and private acts as your President, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end.

My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.

Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor Him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy.

As we bind up the internal wounds of Watergate, more painful and more poisonous than those of foreign wars, let us restore the golden rule to our political process, and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate.

In the beginning, I asked you to pray for me. Before closing, I ask again your prayers, for Richard Nixon and for his family. May our former President, who brought peace to millions, find it for himself. May God bless and comfort his wonderful wife and daughters, whose love and loyalty will forever be a shining legacy to all who bear the lonely burdens of the White House.
I can only guess at those burdens, although I have witnessed at close hand the tragedies that befell three Presidents and the lesser trials of others.

With all the strength and all the good sense I have gained from life, with all the confidence my family, my friends, and my dedicated staff impart to me, and with the good will of countless Americans I have encountered in recent visits to 40 States, I now solemnly reaffirm my promise I made to you last December 6: to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right, and to do the very best I can for America.

God helping me, I will not let you down. Thank you."

On August 9, 1974, America changed. A "long national nightmare" was indeed over, but the questions were certainly not over. This day in history represents a lot to me personally due to my deep admiration of President Ford. Throughout the day as I've noticed the flags across town lowered in respect for the latest Idahoan killed in Iraq and due to the many years I spent watching those very flags wondering if Ford has passed, have found myself thinking of President Ford and his service to this country.

My Mother the Republican

My mother claims to be a Democrat.

She says she has voted for every Democrat on the ticket for many, many years, though I think that has something to do with the fact that in Cassia County she only has the option to vote for a Democrat every once in a great while. And when there is not a Democrat on the ticket I'm sure she votes for the Republican or writes in some random person's name.

She is pro-life, pro-death penalty, claims to support unions, but don't get her started on the Idaho Education Association, and opposes gay marriage (she firmly believes that being gay is a choice -- an aspect of your personality that you can simply turn on and off).

The point I am getting to, bear with me, is that my mother has put a Barack Obama bumper sticker on her summer car (i.e. her old, beat up, 1990 convertible that she drives in the summer months).

You would have to understand how adamantly supportive she has been of Mitt Romney in the last several months to fully see the magnitude of this bumper sticker placement.

She, the woman who told me that Larry Echohawk lost in his bid for the governorship because there were more important things in store for him and that he would one day be the prophet of the Mormon church, refuses to admit that there is any sort of racist undertow in Idaho politics.

You would have to understand the man my mother is married to. He voted for George Hansen every last time, even after the four felony convictions. He voted for Tom Luna, would have gladly voted for Bill Sali had he been in the right district, voted for Steve Symms against Frank Church, and God only knows who else.

She, the woman married to the man who voted out Frank Church in favor of Steve Symms, has a Barack Obama bumper sticker on her car!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Governor Dean in Pocatello

This afternoon in Pocatello, Idaho Democrats united and welcomed Governor Howard Dean, now chairman of the DNC.

In place of the annual Stallings Banquet, honoring former Idaho Congressman Richard Stallings, a formal reception was held at the home of Mark and Eva Nye followed by a picnic at rally at Bonneville Park.

The rally was somber with a moment of silence for Sargent Gummersall, the most reason Idahoan killed in Iraq.

Governor Dean spoke of the great success of the 50 State plan that has been greatly helpful to Idaho Democrats -- the DNC plan has paid for three positions in Idaho (including the press position now held by Chuck Oxley and a couple field coordinator positions). Dean praised state party chairman Richard Stallings for the 44 county plan -- a plan to put money and support into each of the counties (red, blue, or purple), a plan that has been greatly beneficial in gaining Democrats a few seats in the state legislature.

The picture above isn't great as my camera was malfunctioning, but I promise to post a great pic of myself with Congressman Stallings and Governor Dean later on. Richard was gracious enough to introduce me.

It was a great rally, a great time to catch up with the local Dems whom I have missed in my absence from county/city politics, and always a great chance to see a few of the local bloggers (d2 and Serephin I'm looking at you)!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bonds Makes History

I was just sitting here about to head to bed, watching a bit of the Giants/Nationals game and there it was. Barry Bonds has passed Hank Aaron as the homerun king.

Barry Bonds has passed Hank Aaron.

Wow. I wish I liked him. I love history. I love baseball. I would in almost any other case be loving this moment. I wish I liked him. I wish steroids hasn't ruined so many of the greats. I wish steroids in baseball wasn't the issue.

The commissioner isn't there. Hank Aaron isn't there. The video doesn't take the place of the man who held the record for thirty-three years.

Something that struck me as Barry rounded the bases was the lack of applause on the part of the players on the field. If you remember when Mark McGuire passed the record for season homeruns, the players on the field (his team and the opposing team) were cheering. What has suspicion done to the game?

756 came and went. 435 feet came and went.

Willie Mays is on the field. Barry's kids are on the field. And the asterisk is on the field.

Home At Last

I'm not good at vacationing. I've never been good at it. I've never been good at breaks from school, long holidays, or long stints away from home. That's just how I am and have always been.

I left a week ago for what I was hoping would be a time to clear my head, refocus, and relax. None of the those things occurred. I was able to relax a bit on the home stretch of my trip, in Boise, but the beginning days of the trip were more stressful than anything else.

We left Wednesday morning, drove through Boise, McCall, Grangeville, Lewiston, and finally arrived in Moscow. The drive was longer than I expected it to be. Having never driven that long stretch to northern Idaho, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Once there we got semi-settled in, as settled in as you can get when you're in town for a wedding, and saw what was there to see.

I visited the University of Idaho campus in Moscow as well as the Washington State University campus in Pullman. Neither of which I felt compelled to attend. I had always thought I wouldn't mind attending WSU after my time at ISU, but all in all I didn't feel like it was right for me. I certainly wouldn't be interested in attending U of I after my time at ISU given that they don't have a program for me. I've always thought my friend (the one who got married this past weekend) and I have been experiencing college in very different ways--my trip to Moscow only reaffirmed that belief.

We visited Spokane one day, got horribly lost trying to get back on the road to Pullman, but all in all enjoyed the day trip. Fortunately, the trip to Spokane was the only time we got really lost. Pretty impressive for me given my inability to understand directions or find my way around any new place.

The wedding was beautiful. My bridesmaid duties were attended to. Hopefully I won't be asked to be a bridesmaid again! For those of you that have done this bridesmaid thing, I'm sure you understand what I mean. And I got a bit of a sunburn...

Driving through Riggins turned out to be the most exciting, or I should say eventful, part of our entire trip due to deer along the road. I can't tell you the entire story without giving some embarrassing details, but I can tell you that I now know I am capable of screaming like a little girl.

Once we got to Boise we took a day just to chill. We went and saw I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, my brother is a huge Adam Sandler fan, visited the Boise Mall, and spent a lot of time at the hotel resting up from the very long drive.

Yesterday I was able to meet up with some of my fellow Idaho bloggers, always a wonderful time, and stuck around for a portion of the Obama meeting at Pengilly's. The Obama meeting got me thinking about throwing my support toward a candidate and I just can't do it. I'm still on the fence. The Obama meeting made me wonder what would have happened if we all would have written checks to the Vilsack camp when he was running. He was the only candidate I could really get behind.

We caught a Boise Hawk's game last night--a nice break from the Bonds watch commentary in the MLB right now. Yes, Bonds has tied Hank Aaron, but that doesn't mean I have to like him.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about the trip once I've had some sleep.

Don't forget Howard Dean in Pocatello tomorrow!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007