Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Never Should Have Happened

The reporter for the Times never should have asked the IDP for a comment in the damn first place...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Smorgasbord Saturday

The federal candidate financial reporting period ends with this month, so now is the time to show your support for our federal candidates here in Idaho. Walt and Larry need your help! Follow these links to ActBlue pages for Walt Minnick and Larry LaRocco. Contribute today!

Joan Mellen, the author of Farewell to Justice, has a new book being released by JFK Lancer Products & Publications. Jim Garrison: His Life and Times, the Early Years proves to be the definitive work on Garrison, the New Orleans district attorney most known for prosecuting the only case brought in the assassination of our 35th president. Mellen's new book is available directly from the publisher (note the new look of the site) or from Amazon.

An interesting blurb in the coming week's Newsweek says that a soon-to-be-released study says that bloggers are happier than non-bloggers. True story, they say that in general an individual's mental health is vastly improved by blogging. Pick up the June 30th issue of Newsweek and read for yourself what Jessica Bennett says about blogging and mental health. Surely the study didn't take into account those of us bloggers who have been listening to a racist, bigoted radio show for several weeks...

Word this morning from the LaRocco campaign shows Republican Jim Risch is not only avoiding the issue of debate, he is completely ignoring the younger voters of Idaho. Brian Rich experienced this first hand in contacting both Risch's campaign and LaRocco's for a story. LaRocco's campaign got back to Rich in 15 minutes. Risch's people informed Rich that Risch was not available. Go read Rich's story here.

I got an email from the Bannock County Democrats mailing list (not from the party itself, but from an individual speaking for himself) asking me to sign a petition being sent to Faux News telling them that their racism and prejudices are not okay. Go sign, too. I'm beginning to wonder why the fine people of the Mini-Cassia area haven't started a similar petition for their most bigoted and loud-mouthed local radio pundit.

While I'm on the topic, I have been desperately trying to reach Benjamin Reed, a DJ in the Mini-Cassia area. Either he isn't getting my messages or he is simply ignoring them. Either way, if any of you know how to reach Mr. Reed or if Ben is actually reading this, please contact me!

Hopefully this post will halt the one-sentence posts I've been famous for this week. I worked my guts out on a piece for another site and then ended up in an awful writing slump. I'm currently working on a lengthy post that will go up tomorrow or Monday.

Until then, happy Saturday!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Data Sources

Not sure where these people come from, perhaps from under a rock, but one thing is certain: They ALL support Zeb Bell...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Albion's Campus Grove

This Friday and Saturday the former campus of the Albion State Normal School will be on display with a ribbon cutting ceremony, festival, and music.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"The most dangerous moment in human history"*

One Minute to Midnight author, Michael Dobbs, will be at the Washington Post today at 3 p.m. (EST) answering questions about his new book.

(*Quote attributed to Arthur Schlesinger.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ezra Taft Benson Eat Your Heart Out

And they say the Church doesn't meddle in politics...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Proof

LTE in the Times-News today re: Zeb Bell's bigotry.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Smorgasbord Saturday

As I said yesterday, probably more than once, the article running atop the MountainGoat Report deserves a second of your time. It says what two weeks of my writing only hoped to and what I've said doesn't hold a candle to MGR's post. Go read MountainGoat Report's "Why Zeb Bell Matters" now.

The June 16, 2008 issue of Newsweek magazine had interesting, albeit frustrating, article by Jessica Bennett and Jennie Yabroff about nerdy girls. Not just nerdy girls, but girls who are making being nerdy sexy. Despite the title ("Revenge of the Nerdettes"), the article is actually about geeky girls--the smart ones that have techie skills. The upside of the article is that it addresses the breaking down of barriers for girls who want to go into math, the sciences, and the more tech-savvy fields. It is always good to see traditional stereotypes being torn down, especially those that previously impacted the career decisions of millions of young women who chose job in nursing or teaching because those were fields thought to be appropriate for women. However, I don't see the need to sex up these girls and unduly glorify their brains just because they are not traditionally geeky in appearance.

I suppose that recent films have done this for nerdy, young men--think Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad, Knocked Up and Juno--it just doesn't seem the same. The difference being, the nerdy, young men aren't GQ guys in sophisticated pinstripes and sexy specs, they're nerdy, young men with curly hair and acne. Not at all the same image being portrayed as the bright young women in short skirts and glasses.

No idea where that was going... Just saying the article annoyed me.

The Idaho Democratic Party has a news article on their website about a little meet-and-greet the progressive bloggers took part in this past Friday. I can't seem to get the IDP website to load, so I will send you to Sisyphus who will take care of you from there. Worth a read if you're interested in the bloggers behind the blogs and what our status within our own party is (though sometimes I'm not even sure what this is).

Happy Saturday! Proceed with caution.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Community In Chaos

(Update: Friday's Times-News has an update on the charges filed against Mr. Luker.)

With charges being filed today against former Minico High School ESL teacher Dan Luker for mutilating the American flag, I can't help but shake my head at the absolute chaos ensuing in the Mini-Cassia area recently.

As you might remember, in May, Minico teacher Clint Straatman caused quite a stir when he took a small, Mexican flag from a student and threw it in the garbage. Both publicly and privately Straatman said the flag was a disturbance in the classroom and that he did not intend to disrespect the student or the Latino community. Later that day, in the administrative offices, Luker, who has since resigned, reacted to the Straatman situation by throwing an American flag on the ground, breaking it from its wooden stem. Luker is being charged with defacing the American flag, a direct challenge to a previous ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Luker contends that his growing frustration with the unequal treatment of Hispanic students at Minico High School resulted in his "inappropriate" actions.

The fact that Luker has since resigned over this ordeal and Straatman received nothing more than a slap on the wrist speaks volumes to the unequal treatment of the Hispanic community in the Mini-Cassia area. Imagine my surprise when I read "teacher charged in flag incident" and the man being charged wasn't Straatman.

After all, it was Straatman's actions and the suggestion of Kim Lee, of the Lee Family Broadcasting Company, that caused the silent protest of nearly fifty Hispanic students, the arrest of one student, and the subsequent absence from school of some white students. Luker was merely voicing his continued frustration that Scott Rogers, superintendent of the Minidoka County School District, and other school administrators were allowing for continued inequity among the district's students.

The existence of contempt between these communities and the continued hatred being thrown back and forth appears to be more evident now than when I was a young kid growing up in Burley and Declo. It appears to be fueled by an irresponsible radio station owner, Kim Lee, who continues to allow for hate speech to be aired and community sponsors who pay for the air time that allows for that very hatred to be spread throughout our communities.

For all its complexities, this situation in south central Idaho stopped being about free speech and expression when racial epithets started being thrown around and our youngest community members' educations began being threatened.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Derailed: Zeb Bell & Free Speech

A colleague of mine asked today why I, the constitutional guru, don't find the Zeb Bell situation to be first and foremost a free speech issue. How can I fervently request his sponsors pull their advertisements when his words are protected by the first amendment?

It's easy, really. He may have the constitutional right to preach from his bully pulpit whatever smut, hate, and trash he cares to, but we have a right to say no. This is about our communities, our families, and why we don't have to let that hatred and bigotry into our lives. If we disagree with the words that are broadcast from the home of Zeb Bell via the air time he leases from Lee Family Broadcasting, we have every right to go directly to Kim Lee and the dozens of sponsors who pay to put Zeb Bell on the air. We may boycott their businesses and we may use whatever means necessary to spread the message that Zeb Bell, his sponsors, and his faithful listeners are responsible for the infiltration of hate in rural Idaho.

His pride may prevent him from admitting it, but Zeb Bell knows that what he said and what he allowed his guest to say on last Monday's broadcast was wrong.

Case in point: On Mr. Bell's Thursday morning show, after stating that there had been "a lot of turmoil in [his] life with false accusations and trumped up charges" recently, in the same breath he stated that he fully supports Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. What makes a person jump from a statement about the turmoil in their life to a statement of support for two African-American individuals? Only a man who has taken the heat for incredibly racist and inexcusable statements that proved both he and his guest are guilty of bigotry.

Had I not heard it with my own ears, I don't think I would have believed the way the show progressed from there. Bell's statement of support for African Americans, or at least that is what I assumed his mentioning of Dr. Rice and Gen. Powell was intended as, would be followed by a monologue saying why he believes it would be a mistake for Condoleezza Rice to turn down the offer of vice president if John McCain did in fact offer it. Listening to Zeb Bell's show is much like watching a train wreck--you see it all going downhill quickly, but you can't turn away. Zeb's next caller immediately called General Powell disgruntled, went after the idea of Dr. Rice accepting the vice presidential spot, saying she practices and supports globalist philosophies (insert anti-Council on Foreign Relations tirade here), and then conceded to the notion that "in the short term she'd be good because she's black."

At the point in which Zeb Bell allowed that comment the show was pretty much off the tracks and skidding to an unfortunate mangled mess. He didn't ask his guest to please rephrase his statement, didn't ask him to clarify, or anything remotely resembling an ounce of control of his own show. In fact, Bell, after defending his reasoning for supporting the idea of Rice on the ticket and finishing his discussion with the caller, stated: "It's too bad we can't have debates like that with other people." Obviously, Bell would still like to "face his accusers" as he stated earlier in the week.

Another caller would bring the conversation back to possibilities for the vice presidency, the suggestion was Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, again mentioning the individuals minority status, to which Bell responded: "I don't care if the candidate is green and a martian!" Like I said, off the tracks.

This isn't about freedom of speech and expression, it's about using common sense and restraint to prevent the spread of hatred. Clearly, Mr. Bell lacks decency and common sense.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ArmchairGM: The Game I Love

I have a new post up at my other writing haven, armchairgm, here's a snippet:
Maybe it was the brawl between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. Maybe it was the firing of Willie Randolph. Maybe it was Roger Clemens on 60 Minutes. Maybe it really was Barry Bonds passing up Hank Aaron as the home run king. Whatever it was, the game I love doesn't feel the same.

Go read "The Game I Love" in full at my page on armchairgm.

Bell Wants to Face Accusers

In an interesting continuation of the Zeb Bell story, Bell is now claiming that local Democrats have refused to meet with Bell face-to-face and will not come on his show to air their grievances.

From the Times-News:

Local conservative AM talk show host Zeb Bell, who for a week has faced accusations of pushing racism on his show, didn't get the chance to confront his accusers. And he is furious.

Bell said Idaho Democrats - his accusers - declined to meet with him on Tuesday's show, as planned, to mull over their differences. Local Democrats say they don't have time.

Meanwhile, Bell's guest who was scheduled to apologize Tuesday for racial remarks he made last week, instead apologized a day early. Some Democrats described Monday's as falling short of even minimal expectations.

Any hope that a mutual understanding might have been reached this week is for now suspended.
Bell's friend and self-professed Democrat Bob Powers was scheduled to be interviewed on Bell's show on "behalf of the Democratic platform," but declined the invitation saying that he and other Democrats were busy.

I cannot state emphatically enough that this story is NOT a partisan story. It has nothing to do with Republican or Democrat and everything to do with hate and bigotry. The media outlets that broke this story sought a comment from the Idaho Democratic Party, that was their mistake and it was the mistake of the IDP for not flatly stating that this was not a partisan matter. It would not have mattered an iota more had they been speaking about Alan Keyes rather than Barack Obama.

This hatred should not be tolerated on our airwaves, period. No political party should be receiving phone calls asking for a comment on a pundits use of the term "Negroid" in reference to a candidate for the presidency of the United States. This should not be tolerated.

Democrats are not Bell's "accusers." The people accusing Bell of being a racist and allowing derogatory comments to be aired on his show subscribe to any number of political philosophies. Even those responding to the letter written by Mr. Eller, however off-point and illogical they may be (follow the comments and you will find one blaming Oprah for the feminization of America), have the sense to state they are not publicly defending Bell, his comments, or the comments of his guests.

Intelligent, thoughtful Idahoans are accusing Bell of spreading hate and bigotry throughout our state. It has nothing to do with the Democratic party as Bell suggests and everything to do with Bell not owning up to his own mistakes. Pride, Mr. Bell, you are well aware, is one of the cardinal sins.

(More on the Zeb Bell story here, here, and here.)

*Update: Julie has a write-up at RSR with an LTE from years ago when she was living in the Magic Valley. Take a gander.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


There seems to be a how-to manual for everything these days. Need to create a spreadsheet? Sure, the internet can teach you how. Need to know how to hook up your DVD player and the instructions are in French? The internet. Building a pergola? I hear there are some good looking pergolas out there and plenty of people to give you some tips. The internet is limitless when it comes to learning how to do something.

Still don't believe me? Typed in "bubblegum addiction" earlier today and sure enough, up popped "How to Give Up Bubble Gum" via the WikiHow website. Dead serious.

Turns out the trick to giving up bubblegum is finding a replacement. So says the internet. Who am I to dispute that? Wonder what advice they'd give to people who started chewing bubblegum as a way of stopping chewing on other things. I mean, really, what about the straw chewers of the world who have turned to bubblegum as a safe replacement? Bubblegum is better than straws, toothpicks, pens, fingernails, etc. At least I think so. What about those chewers? How do they quit all of the above?

WikiHow says carrots. Carrots, radishes, dry fruits. The problem with this is, they are a short-term chew. A couple bites and they're gone. WikiHow says 'do something else.' They suggest reading, walking, shopping. Okay, but what about the people who need the gum to chew for those activities? What about the people who need the bubblegum to keep them focused? The people who can't accomplish a damn thing without the gum to chew on? Tell me WikiHow!

You laugh now, but when you start chewing gum there is no end to it. One piece isn't enough. You need two or three--at once. It isn't about the size of the piece either. The author of Words For My Enjoyment pointed this out some time ago when he addressed the issue of gum size. With Orbit you need at least two pieces. Trident requires about four. Bubblicious requires only one at a time, but you can easily go through five pieces because the flavor disappears after a good, hearty five-minute chewing. And then there is Big League Chew. That gum is wonderful for those of us who like having the power of choosing how much gum we want in our mouth at once, but again with the flavor. Gone as quickly as you get the gum workable. Before you know it, you've picked up a multi-pack-a-day habit.

Of course like any other product, they are constantly trying to offer you something more with a stick of gum. Jolt and Mad-Croc both offer products that offer gum with the added bonus of caffeine. Personally I don't see the need for this. Who says you can't have a caffeinated soda while you're chewing gum? I don't know about Jolt, but Mad-Croc has a nasty after taste that lasts much longer than the original flavor. The added caffeine isn't a draw for me, either. Too Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for my liking. You don't need a meal in a piece of gum. It's a piece of gum. You just need that, nothing more.

All of this said, today I had a simple piece of Dubble Bubble. You know, the gum that barrel-shaped gum with the twisted wrapper ends. Simple, original, perfect.

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. And WikiHow says you shouldn't quit cold turkey and refuse yourself the stuff 100%. Now they tell me. Where were they when I gave up gum entirely? They could have prevented my Sunday afternoon binge--the whole Orbit pack in less than two hours. One piece every now and then won't hurt anybody. Oh, what a slippery slope...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Growing the Hell Up

Yesterday, for the first time in over four years, I called my father to wish him a happy Father's Day. If I truly learned anything this past week it is that holding on to bitterness and anger only makes you a chronically bitter and angry person. I don't want to be that person. I have Zeb Bell to thank for that wisdom, though I suspect he doesn't consider himself a bitter or angry person.

Saturday morning I was supposed to attend the state central committee meeting at the IDP convention, I didn't. It wasn't about being irresponsible. Years ago I may have bailed on the meeting in favor of sleeping in. Not now. I didn't attend the meeting because I was caring for my stiff and sore back. I was being responsible for my health, something I've never been particularly good at.

Wednesday evening I faced a mistake I had made head on. Instead of hiding from it, instead of trying to explain it away, I owned up to it. Maybe my honesty lessened the consequence. I would like to think that being honest brings with it its own reward, however, there were still consequences and the only thing being honest gave me was the ability to say so.

Earlier in the week I was having lunch with my younger brother and we were discussing our aging grandparents. We have taken for granted the blessing of having our grandparents with us for so long. They have been our support, our biggest fans from day one. And they aren't always going to be with us. Both my brother and I are recognizing this and I think it speaks volumes to how much he and I have both grown in the last year that we are savoring our time with them now and recognize it as such.

Friday night I was sitting around a table with my fellow bloggers and it occurred to me that despite my frustrations with them in weeks prior, I truly am respected in that circle. Maybe my knowledge of Idaho history, Gracie Pfost aside, is worth something to them. It also occurred to me that a few of those people at that table are people I talk to more frequently than some of my own family and they are becoming exactly that--family.

This morning I realize that none of the things that have happened this past week define me. They are all a part of me, all a part of the learning experience that is life. They are all large parts of who I am, but the person I am today is still being molded. I'm twenty-three years old, far from being completely grown up, but day in and day out I am growing the hell up.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fell Off the Wagon

I've fallen off the wagon. From Mountain Home to Twin Falls I chewed an entire pack of bubblegum. Why? I'm not even hooked on the damn stuff anymore... I blame alliteration. Orbit has named their newest flavor "fabulous fruitini." How could I pass that up?

Driving Tunes

What I've Learned This Week

There are reasons President Kennedy adored his rocking chair. Some chairs are brutal on the back.

When Richard Stallings resigned as chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party, he left very big shoes to fill. The man that took his place is doing an impressive and admirable job of filling them.

Being responsible often requires simply showing up.

There are people you will be thanking daily for the rest of your life. Come to terms with that now.

Financial audits are a superb source of historical data. When a society doesn't care to keep track of some of its own people, you'd be surprised how much they do care about keeping track of the money of those very people.

Our biggest failures come at times when we've become so comfortable with what we are doing that we forget to take risks. Equally important, the fall is hardest when we take unnecessary risks.

There is a hell of a lot of difference between the eighteenth and twenty-first presidents of the United States.

Never doubt how much can change in a week.

The Idaho GOP may actually be capable of eating their own young.

I'd rather be trusted than loved.

Each of the Idaho progressive bloggers has a niche; Idablue in the campaign finance realm, MountainGoat in tracking down the smallest shred of information, and, Sisyphus in exposing hypocrisy and hate. I don't know where my niche is.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Smorgasbord Saturday

There are few journalists that bring charisma and brilliance to the screen the way Tim Russert did. Russert collapsed Friday while at work in Washington and died shortly there after. Without question, Russert's personality will be missed both in Washington and the political world as a whole. Watching Russert is what first let me in on the secret that the question is just as, if not more so, important than the answer. Tim Russert was fifty-eight.

With political conventions taking place in Sandpoint and Garden City this weekend, the bloggers and reporters all over the place. Heard from a friend who is in Sandpoint and he said that connecting to the internet is like pulling teeth. That's what happens when you book the fairgrounds for a political convention, I suspect. Here in Boise the internet connection seems to be just fine, word seems to be making it out from the bloggers in the know. Funny how lost we feel when we aren't "connected."

Earlier today I received an email from a reader who suggested I take a look at this piece by Tim Wise. First of all, I don't know who Tim Wise is, but he's right about the sting of Clinton's defeat still being new. I still cringe when her name turns up in a conversation and I can't say I've let the truth settle in with me altogether. Regardless, this piece is ridiculous. There are people out there who aren't pro-Obama for reasons other than race or gender. Really! Believe it or not some of us have legitimate concerns about what November will bring. Some of us actually wonder about that little thing called experience. Not everything is about race or gender.

And I wonder how long I'll continue to be associated with Clinton because I was one of few bloggers in my state to endorse her...

Because I have been on an extended break from my job, I've come to appreciate a few things, the first being, I don't have a curfew. I know that seems weird. I'm twenty-three years old and I have a curfew. My night job requires me to be there between certain hours though it is technically my home and I can sleep or whatever it is I choose to do when I'm not sleeping. For the past several nights I haven't had to be anywhere at ten o'clock at night. It's a strange feeling. For the past three years I have always had to be somewhere at precisely ten o'clock. It has never really bothered me--I'm a home body. But, now that I have all of this freedom, I can honestly say I haven't stayed out past ten at all. Not even once. How boring am I?

Funny thing is, I never had a curfew growing up. I could have stayed out until two in the morning whenever I wanted to. Didn't then, either.

A colleague of mine underwent an eighteen hour surgery yesterday to remove her jaw and part of her tongue. Word today is she came through just fine, they removed a bone from her shoulder to rebuild her jaw and she is "resting comfortably." I don't know why doctors say that--there doesn't seem to be anything comfortable about eighteen hours of surgery. Despite that poor phrasing, I am happy to know she is okay and that she'll be with us for many more years. This woman is a straight-shooter. She'll tell you just exactly what she thinks and never apologizes. She's tough, but gentle, a quality in her that I admire more than I can explain. She's bigger than the cancer that has clouded her life for the last several months and I have complete faith that she'll pull through.

As much as I'd rather not mention the Braves complete collapse this week, to the Cubs of all teams, I want to make sure and mention that Wrigley Field is back on the market. Seems that Wrigley will be sold to the highest bidder as soon as possible and the unspoken truth of it all is that the name will change. Cubs fans and baseball fans in general are outraged. Wrigley is a national landmark and one we don't want to part with, even if in name only. My only suggestion is that all companies with 'goat' in their title keep their money in their wallets. You hear that Goat, Inc.? You're totally out of the running!

No more Wrigley? What's next? It's a slippery slope, watch out "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" fans.

Whenever I return home I hope to sit down and post some thoughts on two very unique experiences I've had in so many days, two experiences that I needed more than I probably grasp at this moment. It's strange to me how, sometimes without even having any idea, people around you can sense you need direction and gently guide you. Fortunately, the two people I speak of are people I deeply admire and respect and I was perceptive enough to realize 'hey, this is big and this is something I'm going to remember for a very long time.'

That's about it from me. Feeling in the foot and leg comes and goes, back pain seems constant. The kid brother leaves for leadership camp tomorrow. My fantasy baseball team is sucking canal water. Seriously, sucking. Graduate school applications are moving slowly. Stallings' papers are, well, stalled. Progress may continue again beginning on Monday. But it's Saturday and I'm going to bask in that for a minute or two.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Where Does the Hatred End?

Either Steve Mitton, of KBAR (an associate of Zeb Bell), is trying to say something or he isn't. Funny thing, he isn't defending or denying Zeb Bell at the moment. Just pointing out that us "liberal bloggers" take lies and run with them. Actually, it's the truth we run with, but that's beside the point.

I would like to know how this photo is any less absurd and derogatory than the comments made on Mr. Bell's radio show Monday.

Both Steve Mitton and Zeb Bell have shows broadcast by KBAR, a station of the Lee Family Broadcasting network, based in Rupert, Idaho. Both are inflammatory and should be yanked off the air.

If Lee Family Broadcasting won't do it, those who choose to sponsor this racism and hatred should do something about it. In the comments following this post by Sisyphus, you may find contact information for those who are monetarily contributing to spreading hatred in our communities.

Racial Slur Broadcast In South Central Idaho

An update to this story (3:28 pm): Please read Sisyphus' excellent rundown on this "situation."

Not surprisingly, Zeb Bell's big mouth has gotten him into hot water once again:
Just to clarify, the racist remark was broadcast by a Rupert station, the actual radio show of said Bell comes directly out of his house in Murtaugh. And yes, this is how the man talks, no, not a chance this was misheard.

One thing that continues to bother me about this story is the continuous headline at the Times News: "Comment irk Democrats." Zeb Bell's comments aren't about Democrat or Republican. Everybody with a pulse should be irked about his comments.

Follow this link to my full write-up on the racism of Mr. Bell or simply continue scrolling down.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Racism on the Airwaves

It seems, as the song goes, today anger plays on every station. There is a line between anger, justifiable concern or disagreement protected by the first amendment, and blatant bigotry, racism, and hatred.

On the Monday broadcast of Zeb Bell's radio talk show, that line was irrevocably crossed.

Bell, a conservative radio pundit who leases air time from the Lee Family Broadcasting company based in Rupert, has produced his arrogant, closed-minded ravings from his home in Murtaugh since 2000.

On Monday's broadcast, a broadcast that coincidentally was not taped by Bell or KBAR (the Rupert-based AM radio station), Bell reportedly referred to the Democratic presidential nominee as "black Negroid Barack Hussein Obama" and his guest, one Frosty Wooldridge, referred to Senator Obama's mother as "trailer trash" drawn to African-American men.

This is not the first time that comments made my Bell or his guests have been met with criticism. Bell's controversial tirades have ranged in topic from xenophobic attacks of the Hispanic populations of both Cassia and Minidoka counties; unprovoked denouncements of the public education system; and, the constant belittling and berating of local residents with whom Bell disagrees, does not philosophically align with, or outright doesn't like.

Enough is enough. The people of the Magic Valley who listen to Bell's show, the advertisers who sponsor the air time he leases, and the company that has chosen to broadcast this show for the past eight years are just as much at fault for Bell's racist comments as Bell himself.

Lee Family Broadcasting, the same broadcasting company that only weeks ago was forced to apologize for fueling racial tension at Minico High School when they encouraged Minico students to wear the colors of the Mexican flag in protest of a teacher throwing away a students' Mexican flag in class, has allowed this nonsense to go on for too long and should not allow Bell to continue leasing airtime from their company.

In an area where the Hispanic population is more recognizable than in most parts of Idaho, Lee Family Broadcasting has served as a conduit for hatred, prejudice, and now racism. They have fueled the immigration fire and they are now allowing a man to go on their airwaves, making racial slurs as he continues to feed the proven-false rumor that Senator Obama is a Muslim. This fear-laced, disrespectful attempt at disparaging Senator Obama will not work nor will we stand by and allow for it. Additionally, we should not and cannot allow the usage of any word, Negroid, or otherwise to be broadcast across our public airwaves, reversing decades of progress in race rights and relations.

The first amendment of the United States Constitution may in fact protect those who openly seek to spread hatred, prejudice, and racism through our state and nation, but 'we the people' should not allow it. The first amendment may protect Mr. Bell from any action on the part of the FCC, but it will not protect him from loss of sponsorship.

For those of you who do listen or have listened to Mr. Bell's radio show I have the following comment: You are supporting the spread of hatred in your homes and in your community. You have facilitated a mean-spirited campaign against what is right and good in rural Idaho. Instead of embracing the tight-knit communities we are offered in small Idaho towns, you have created fences higher and more hurtful than any our government could build on our southern border.

To Mr. Bell and his Monday guest I have this to say: We find ourselves in perilous times. Our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and friends are fighting and dying in a war we shouldn't be in. It takes an unbelievable amount of courage to step up to the plate and offer to lead your country in a time like this. Senator Obama, whether or not you support him, is offering more courage than you, Mr. Bell, will ever have. While you sit at the bully pulpit in your home, spewing this hatred and racism at Senator Obama, African-Americans, Hispanics, public servants, teachers, and anyone else you feel the need to berate, my generation is fighting and dying in a war that perhaps has more to do with hatred, xenophobia, racism, and prejudice than any of us care to recognize. You, Mr. Bell, are a coward for hiding behind your microphone. You are a coward for blaming your guests for their comments, but taking no responsibility of your own.

There is a line between anger and hatred, bias and bigotry. We may dispute when and how, but we cannot dispute that Zeb Bell crossed it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Music & Perpetual Stalling

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." (Aldous Huxley, Music at Night, 1931)
This afternoon I sat down at the piano and pounded out nearly every frustration I had been holding on to for many, many weeks.
I would like to say all that pounding led somewhere, but that experience merely served as a release, the release of tension in my shoulders and jaw. We hang on to tension in strange ways.

Been thinking about faith today. Been thinking about the stalling of goals. Been thinking about regret. Been thinking about that line, "your best friend always sticking up for you even when I know you're wrong," in Train's "Drops of Jupiter." Been thinking about what happens when parents raise their children to hate all evidence of diversity. Been thinking about how long is too long in a comfortable situation. Been thinking too hard, again, about everything but politics.

Middle of the Week Mélange

First and most important, the latest issue of the state history journal, Idaho Yesterdays, is in print. The Spring/Summer 2008 issue focuses on folklore topics in Idaho history and is a real masterpiece. I don't say this as someone who knows the real nuts and bolts of it, I say this an a real admirer of the journal and as a ardent fan of Idaho history. The Idaho Yesterdays website has the latest issue posted, you can preview a few sections of the journal there, or it should be available through the Idaho State Historical Society and on the shelves of your local public and/or university libraries soon.

It didn't occur to me the importance and insanity of what was taking place over at The Unequivocal Notion this past week when Bruce Skaug, member of the Nampa Public Library Board left this comment anonymously. It goes without saying that I've been a little out of the loop here and not as up on my daily blog reading as I should be--kudos to Chris at The Unequivocal Notion for sticking with this story and forcing the resignation of this imbecile.

One of the tabs in my internet browser gives me the days latest headlines from the BBC. Why the BBC? I'm not entirely sure and I'm sure my buddy d2 could explain this to me, however, it doesn't bother me much and I actually appreciate a different perspective since the three papers I read daily are the Idaho State Journal, Washington Post, and Idaho Statesman. Anyway, today I ran across this headline about Canada cracking down on American deserters. There is so much to this story that is unfathomable to me, most importantly the fact that we were deceived by our President in going to war in Iraq, and I won't elaborate on that here and now, but I wanted to point out the quote from Corey Glass: "I should have been in New Orleans after Katrina, not in Iraq." The more time this quote sits with me the more significant it seems to be. I wonder how many in the National Guard feel/felt this way about Katrina and didn't speak up.

On an unrelated note, Chipper Jones, the third baseman for the Atlanta Braves is taking a few games off after irritating an ongoing quadriceps injury. I feel for Chipper because he has had too many injuries in far too many seasons. The crazy thing is, even with taking a few days off (Bobby Cox isn't saying anything about the DL as of yet), Chipper sits with a very comfortable and nearly unheard of .420 batting average, hit his 400th career homer, got his own space in ESPN Magazine this week, and was named last week's National League player of the week. Some sort of statistical equation crunches the numbers and shoots out a .579 average for his player-of-the-week plate appearances. It is insane! Maybe I'm the only one who worried that when Andruw Jones left the Braves, the excitement of the Jones' boys would decrease, and Chipper was quietly fade away into retirement. Who knew! Andruw Jones is beyond slumping and Chipper is having the best season of his career! Now, he just needs to get healthy so us Braves fans can have something to be excited about--the Smoltz news has been a blow.

Some interesting news came via the JFK Lancer newsletter today regarding the November in Dallas Conference. The conference usually schedules one big speaker and this year, on the forty-fifth anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, the speaker will be a guy who actually served on President Kennedy's security detail. You can read more about the NID and this year's speaker at the JFK Lancer website.

On the topic of Kennedy, I know how old "Quote of the Day" posts can become and I have had two of them recently, but I just can't say enough how phenomenal the Ted Sorensen memoir is that was recently published. There is so much out there written about Kennedy, much of it not worth the paper it is printed on, some of it so far removed from reality that it gives an awfully skewed sense of the man and the myth, and then every five to ten years a work that deserves to be read and applauded. This book is the book I've been waiting for in the five years since Robert Dallek published his Kennedy biography. Ted Sorensen, a man who has unbelievable control of the English language, is able to write about Kennedy in a way that few can. There is a line at the close of the ninth chapter that to me encompasses the purpose and tone of the entire book: "For eleven years I loved him, respected him, and believed in him, and I still do." Firsthand experience, unyielding loyalty, and immense respect do not betray the facts and the history of Sorensen's time with Kennedy. He does not shy from addressing Kennedy's womanizing, though he admits he had no knowledge of any details. Most importantly though, Sorensen writes like a man who is still grieving for his mentor and friend. It is an amazing book.

The Jakob Dylan solo album has dropped and I am not all that impressed. I wanted it to be something it just isn't. He sounds like his father and the world really only has room for one Bob Dylan. Sounding like his father isn't his problem, though. He doesn't sound like the lead singer of The Wallflowers that some of us fell in love with. The sound isn't the same. And he is trying too hard. His lyrics are strained, despite the fairly decent music. Maybe my perspective isn't the clearest because I was so impressed by the solo effort of former Bush front man Gavin Rossdale. And sometimes anticipation ruins releases like this. Sort of along the lines of the Faulkner quote about failing to match dreams of perfection, I'm trying to rate the release based on its failure to do the impossible. Solo albums for guys with established bands aren't always a great plan and rarely work out well. Jakob, sorry it wasn't perfect, better luck next time?

Another one of those 'probably goes without saying' comments: I've been single-handedly keeping both and iTunes in business lately. I figure July will be a dry spell in terms of really good, new books and music being released, so I can build up the bubble gum fund then.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Neither [my father or JFK] placed politics above principles; both were men of great wisdom and calm in crisis; neither complained about his own own pain or disappointments. Both died before I had learned all they had to teach me."
- Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History by Ted Sorensen (p. 48)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Back Into the Swing of Things

I know, I know, I said I wouldn't be posting, but here I am. Late last night I had one of those moments where everything seemed very clear and meaningful. Today I'm not sure anything is all that clear, but I finally feel like I can write again.

With that said, I don't write quite the way I used to. I was reading over some of my posts from a couple of years ago and I'm wondering what happened to that philosophical, driven person. She'll be back. I hope.

Until I can get back into the routine of writing semi-often about political things, I thought I would point ya'll in the direction of the things I was reading this morning:

Chris at unequivocal notion has a nice write-up (with pictures) from Beer Fest; Like always, mcjoan is a step ahead of me on commenting on Biden's response to McCain and wiretapping; Idablue mentions the ever-packed schedule of U.S. Senate candidate Larry LaRocco; Eye on Boise takes note of Bill Sali's problem with those damn "radical environmentalists"; and, something I've been meaning to mention, Digby had an awesome post about Bobby Kennedy that deserves to be read and then re-read until it all sinks in.

At some point this week I'll make it to Boise for the state convention and will surely have things to say about that. My kid brother leaves this week for two weeks at the National Youth Leadership Training camp he's involved with, so that is one less distraction from my writing, though he is a pleasant, albeit obnoxious, distraction. Before he leaves we might be able to catch the new Adam Sandler flick, if I can sit through a movie, which I am not convinced I can. And the movie is getting horrible reviews. It is Adam Sandler, though. That's pretty much my life in a nutshell right now.

And thank God there will be no more physical therapy for me until next Tuesday!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Letting Go

It is in the darkest times of our lives that we grasp the meaning of true friendship.

This past Sunday, a dear friend of mine passed away after a long and courageous battle with cancer. She was forty-four.

When I met this woman she was a pillar of strength. In my eyes she was stronger than any other person I'd ever met and she was in no uncertain terms the stability and strength in my own life at that time. I was a teenager when I met her, living in my own personal hell, a hell she allowed me to escape. Her home and her family became my second home and family. Even after I had left the area, there was a guest room waiting for me whenever I returned.

Tonight as I was looking for a misplaced contract in a file cabinet, I found a letter this woman wrote me seven years ago. Seven years ago while I was attending a church camp. Each of the campers were given letters from their parents on the last night of the camp, for whatever reason my parents hadn't written a letter, and I received a beautiful letter from this woman that even tonight reminded me of who I am and where I am going. Seven years later, I remain awestruck by her simple observation that we may not know why all things happen and that sometimes they take longer to understand than others. Be patient, she said. Seven years later and I am just as impatient as I was the night I received this letter. The letter points out that our friends can help us stay strong or they can tear us down. Seven years later and I am still learning that lesson. Make good friends, she said.

She never told me what to do when those friends you cherish are no longer here.

Looking back at the friendship I had with this woman, it amazes me how little advice she actually gave me. She didn't offer any magic words or any earth shattering formulas for living, she merely offered her love and her kindness. There were many hours that we sat in her basement talking about everything and nothing. Many hours where all that mattered to me was to be there and all that mattered to her was to know I was safe. Seven years later, I can't put into words what that means to me. As children we are sometimes left in terribly difficult situations, sometimes situations no child should have to endure, and yet we survive some how. I survived because of this woman and I don't think I ever told her that.

From Out of Solitude:
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
When my family left the area, I lost touch with this woman. I missed her kindness and her support daily. I missed those quiet moments where she never asked me if was okay, but offered that silent hand of strength in the event that I wasn't. Two years later when I found myself in an equally dark part of my life, living with mere strangers, trying to graduate from high school, this woman called me up one day just to remind me that she still cared and that this, too, was something I would survive.

Her shoes were awfully big ones to fill, but a wonderful high school history teacher filled them for a time.

She was right. I did survive. I went on to graduate high school, I've made it through the first phase of my college education, and am now applying to graduate programs. She was right about being patient, as much as it kills me sometimes, and she was right about the friends we choose. I have amazing friends that don't get reminded of that enough. And I didn't tell her enough.

Last Sunday three boys lost their mother, a man lost his wife and best friend, and I lost the woman who seven years ago signed a letter to me-- "Love always, Kathy, #2 Mom."

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Smorgasbord Saturday

This may be the only post for awhile, so savor it for all its randomness.

There are two things I never doubt myself on: Idaho history and the Kennedys. Whatever intellectual intuition I have there, it is never second-guessed. Or I should say rarely. Not since I was old enough to start reading Kennedy books by the truckload. And not since I started doing some work with the state history journal. However, about two weeks ago I started second guessing myself. All over some whack job who thought he knew something about a little-known congresswoman from Idaho that I've looked up to my entire life. It wasn't actually this guy that caused my undoing, I wouldn't give the bastard the satisfaction, it was in part my fellow bloggers who didn't stand up for me. Needless to say, the second guessing has not ceased. In terms of Idaho history, the Kennedys, or much else.

Doesn't help much that I'm on my third round of steroids for a back problem that doesn't seem to be getting much better and I am increasingly grouchy and frustrated by the day.

So, I didn't say anything about the fortieth anniversary of the Robert Kennedy assassination. However, as sageword pointed out in the comments on my last post of substance, NPR had a great interview with the LIFE photographer who followed RFK into the kitchen where he was shot in the Ambassador Hotel. No other story I've ever read nor listened to made it more clear to me that most historians become historians by chance, not choice. And it gave me chills. Writing about it now gives me chills.

I have no intention of posting anything between now and the convention. The state convention next week, not the national convention in August, though I wouldn't mind taking a break from life until August... I may do some live blogging from the convention, depending on how much of it I can sit through once I even make it there, but I will have some sort of follow up to the convention when I return home next Sunday. If I return home. I'm thinking about running away to Maine.

The rest of this post will be a rundown of the stories I've kept my eye on or saved for whatever reason. Like I said, randomness.

There's been an ongoing project by the home deputy editor of the Washington Post centered around the cleaning out of her attic. I don't have an attic, but I do have a similar problem--I can't part with books. She blames the problem on her husband, I don't have one of those either. No attic, no husband, no problem. Just books and lots of them.

Scary unemployment numbers are being reported everywhere. I spotted this story on the CNN Money site, and not to detract from the seriousness of the growing number of people out of work in this country, but one of the guys mentioned in the story had a job as a part-time chess instructor. I'm not job hunting at the moment, not that I know of anyway, but I wouldn't mind a job as a part-time chess instructor. Where do you think I would find that gig? Coincidentally, Monday will mark the three year anniversary of me taking one of my jobs, I have two at the moment that I'm being paid for, and another one that just floats in and out. It is the one I don't get paid for that I like the most. I digress, three years in a job that has had lots of ups-and-downs. Most of which have been worth it. Some of which still boggle my mind and leave me wondering why I'm still here. Add that to two and a half years on the Stallings' papers and I think I'm ready to move on. To be a professional chess instructor...

What goals I have. I am running away to Maine to teach chess and write poems. Good Lord!

Headed to Idaho Falls for the day to hang with the 43rd State Blues boys and Chris of unequivocal notion at the Beer Fest. Hopefully the back can survive the trip. Hopefully I can survive the trip. No beer drinking for me, but it should be a great time hanging with the guys. Oh, and there is always Barnes & Noble...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Frankly, I'm tired of blogs and bloggers. Particularly this blog. Not that you couldn't tell by my lack of posting of significant or even original material this week. I did warn you. I'm kind of tired of politics, too. Believe it or not, I didn't watch any of the Democratic nomination hoopla yesterday. Partly because I'm not excited about our nominee--yes, I'm the demographic that should be--and partly because I had a rough go at physical therapy, leaving me fairly immobile and incredibly grumpy. Once I got home yesterday afternoon I did very little aside from watching tv downloads on my laptop and listening to my new Gavin Rossdale CD.

You might have noticed some changes to the sidebar. I added, in place of the previous section 'Books I Am Reading,' my summer reading list. I've made some progress, despite the huge list. And I haven't decided if I'll read Goethe in the original German or if I'll stick to the English translation. That particular work is pretty far down on the list, though. Check out the new addition to the sidebar on the 2008 campaign, complete with candidates' sites. Also on the sidebar, you'll notice I removed my Hillary Clinton head shot and quotation. I suppose that isn't worth much now, but I'll miss the idea of Hillary Clinton and that'll have to do. I tried to update my profile, but I wasn't quite sure what to say there. I seem to be "floating" at ISU right now and until I get accepted into graduate school somewhere, I will continue to float through this part of my life without a cohesive plan.

I want to be excited about the state convention next week. I can't seem to get excited about it, though. I'd be thrilled with the idea of going to Boise for five days if it meant I would just magically wake up there one morning, without having to sit in a car. As I mentioned previously, I am having back problems. I should say problem, singular. An L5/S1 disc problem. Numb foot, tingling leg, incredibly sore hamstring, tailbone pain, and now lower back pain. I didn't have lower back pain until yesterday even though I haven't been able to feel all of my left foot since Easter. No cohesive plan for fixing the problem either. Physical therapy twice a week, steroids, pain pills, ice therapy, and bizarre stretches that make me feel like a human pretzel. Oodles of fun.

It doesn't look like I'll be able to do much research while I'm in Boise, either. Too much sitting. I wonder how the state historical society would feel if I dragged my massaging lumbar chair attachment into the archive. Better yet my ice pack and slippers...

Anyway, like I said Monday, don't expect much out of me for awhile. I don't have much to say and what I do have to say isn't very nice right now. Blame the steroids. It'll pass, eventually.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday, Monday

A couple of things I spotted over the weekend in the local papers are worth mentioning.

First, the genius Perry Swisher had a great piece in the Idaho State Journal's Sunday edition paying tribute to the late J.R. Simplot. Swisher can be hit and miss, but I particularly enjoyed his piece, "My Thoughts on the Kid from Declo." Maybe because I'm a kid from Declo, myself, or it could just be that I appreciate Idaho history more than most. Thankfully the piece made it to the ISJ blogs, so this link should remain active for awhile.

The Times-News had a small write-up in the Sunday edition about the Western Days parade and the controversial entry that I mentioned at length Saturday. Evidently there were protesters, a bunch of high school students sitting at the city park, but I missed that, we were sitting about a block down from the Five Points/Shoshone Ave. turn. The protesters felt they were a success, which maybe they were, because the parade organizers say that the Southern Idaho Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Community Center is free to participate again next year as long as they stick to the rules and mind their p's and q's as they did this year. Ridiculous.

Also from the ridiculous category, Richard Larsen, a fellow who writes op-ed pieces here in Pocatello for the Idaho State Journal has another idiotic tirade about the "whitewashed Camelot presidency." I'm not sure what this guy's problem is, I'm not the only one that finds him insulting and down right wrong, but here he is again with a piece titled "What Really Happened When Kennedy Met With Khrushchev." He evidently has degrees from ISU in history and political science. We quite obviously weren't taught by the same people...

Today Senator Ted Kennedy will undergo brain surgery to remove the tumor that doctors discovered a few weeks ago when he suffered a seizure at his home. Keep him in your thoughts.

Things might be a little crazy around here this week as I have much to accomplish before I can leave for the state convention the middle of next week. With the time I'll have to spend at physical therapy this week, the time I really need to devote to the women in Idaho history article I am co-authoring, and my usual daily schedule at the ISU library, I'm going to be short on time and energy.

Don't expect anything too serious...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Disillusioned American citizens today are filled with cynicism and mistrust about presidential politics; most young people today assume that all modern presidents have deceived or disappointed the American people. Perhaps it is worth reminding them that it is possible to have a president who is honest, idealistic, and devoted to the best values of this country. It happened at least once--I was there."
(From the preface to Ted Sorensen's recently published memoir, Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History. Sorensen served as special counsel and adviser in the administration of John F. Kennedy, most notably as Kennedy's speech writer, and served for a short time in the early days of the Johnson administration.)