Monday, February 28, 2011

Nampa Students Protest Luna Plan

Students at Columbia and Nampa High Schools joined students across the state in staging protests in opposition to Tom Luna's education reform plan. Hundreds of students marched through the streets of Nampa this morning shouting "Stop the Lunacy" and "Say No to Luna" as they waved signs supporting their schools and their teachers.

These students were urged by a local business to stay on the public sidewalk and out of the business's private parking lot.

A native Nampa resident stood in his driveway watching as hundreds of students marched past shaking his head and saying that in all his years he has never seen anything like this. "Things are about to change," he said.
More coverage: "Students at Idaho high schools walk out of classes to protest Luna reform plan," Idaho Statesman; "Local high school students stage walkouts in opposition to Luna's plan," Idaho Press Tribune; "High school students gather in capitol, part of statewide walkout," Eye on Boise; "Students walk out of class in protest of education reform plan," KTVB; and, "Students protest proposed education reform; HHS participates locally," Idaho State Journal.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Who I Am Today

Prior to the second vote on Luna's education "reform" plan in the Idaho Senate Thursday, Senator Denton Darrington (R-Declo) took the floor to speak against legislation that is an all-out assault on public school teachers. Darrington, a retired teacher, spoke out against both bills and on behalf of public school teachers who would be losing their ability to negotiate contracts and would begin being paid based on student performance. Darrington said, "the greatest measure of the success of a teacher is not at the moment, it's down the road."

Now, anybody who knows me personally or who has followed this blog from the beginning knows I've been critical of Senator Darrington on more than one occasion. However, he's right on this. The recent discussion about Tom Luna's dismantling of public education and Senator Darrington's comments during the floor debate have really hit home for me. I've been reminded of just how I got to be the person I am today and how much of who I am is the direct result of public education and the noble efforts of public school teachers.

Everyone has a favorite teacher; that one person who went the extra mile and made a measurable difference in their lives. Sometimes it is someone who makes you really want to learn about a particular subject, sometimes it is someone who instills in you a desire to be the best at any certain thing, sometimes it is a coach. Regardless of who that teacher was for each of us, those people are under attack in this country, especially in Idaho where influence on policy is radiating from corporations not classrooms. For me, there isn't just one teacher who made a lasting impact on my life, there were a half dozen or so who are a large part of who I am today.

One of the first teachers to really leave an impression on me was not only passionate about teaching, she was passionate about technology. In the late 90s, we were spending time in the darkroom developing film (digital cameras hadn't made it to my middle school yet), we designed the school yearbook, we were creating slide shows, and it was in that classroom that I created my first website. I'd never been challenged in this way. However, what endeared this teacher to me was not what she taught me in the four years I spent in her classroom, it was what she did when I left that classroom. She returned to teaching in a regular classroom and in that class was my kid brother. Her patience with him and her praise really helped him regain his confidence in his own ability to learn. She turned around what had been a rocky start to his education. He will graduate from high school this May.

When I think about my education, I will always think back to my sophomore year of high school and how lost I was. I lacked direction and the desire to make anything of my life. As my sixteenth birthday approached, what I wanted most was to drop out of high school. If not for my History and German teacher, I'm certain I would have been a high school dropout. Without even knowing it at the time, his active participation in my education, the challenge of learning a foreign language in his classroom, and his sincere interest in my success kept me in school and I owe my high school diploma, in part, to him. That teacher? Former candidate for Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction and former member of the Idaho Senate, Bert Marley.

High school was a trying time in many ways, but it was not without dedicated teachers who wanted nothing more than to see me succeed. There was the 12th grade English teacher who suggested a book that remains my favorite even today--The Picture of Dorian Gray. He encouraged students to seek knowledge through reading, to read for fun and to branch out from their typical reading choices. He encouraged me to apply to college wherever I wanted, not just the places that everyone else was. And he, to this day, is just as thrilled to hear about what I'm currently reading as he is to hear about my successes. His opposition to pay for performance over the years hasn't been based on any fear that he'll be impacted negatively by such a policy--his students are by and large a success inside and outside of the classroom--but, he, like many other educators (including Denton Darrington) sees the slippery slope that is Tom Luna's plan. If this teacher were paid for performance would it make any difference in his students or their future success? No, absolutely not. How do I know this? Because he wasn't paid based on my performance or the performance of my classmates and we are each successful in our own way.

For me there was my high school U.S. History teacher who means more to me than I can express here, but perhaps my B.A. in History says more than any combination of words could. Though I am currently unsure of what I want to do in the future, I hope that some day it will include teaching U.S. and Idaho History to college students and I have a very good U.S. History teacher to thank for that. What this woman taught me was not confined to the four walls of her classroom and I continue to be appreciative of the things she taught me that made me a better friend, a better student, a better sister, and an overall better person.

Another of my high school teachers, my government teacher, had a hand in the person I am today. He and his wife, another public school teacher, were of great personal strength to me. It's hard to express what it means to have someone truly looking out for you in the times when you most lack direction. They were always looking out for me. My government teacher was something almost unheard of in Declo--a Democrat. He challenged the way I thought, politically and philosophically, and didn't mind that I brought to his classroom a liberal viewpoint uncommon in his other students. He took a few of us to the Lincoln Day Banquet in Burley one year to hear Senators Crapo and Craig speak and that fed my interest in politics. Some of the best advice I've ever received in my life came from that one teacher.

It was the quiet, gentle English professor who taught me how to incorporate the things I found all around me into my writing. Our conversations about choosing something that I was passionate about and would make me happy ultimately redirected my academic career. Doing what you love and not just what is comfortable are very different things, she pointed that out to me. Her kindness and support have nourished my life, academic and personal.

Part of why it has been so hard to watch as the faculty at Idaho State University have been silenced is because several of the teachers who have had a significant impact on my life I first encountered in classrooms at ISU. Two of those professors have long since moved on to other universities where they have found success and new admiring students.

In my young life, there have been a handful of people who have offered me countless opportunities to succeed, having complete faith in my abilities. One of those people is a professor I had at ISU. Now as part of ISU's administration, she and I don't have much contact, but not a day goes by that I don't find myself using a skill she taught me or approaching a project in ways that she would be proud of. She was first my professor, I served as her intern for a time, she became my academic advisor, and finally my friend. My life has been enriched because of this teacher and I will forever be indebted to her.

When we think about what is taught in the classroom, it is so easy to cite statistics of passage or failure, but what seems to be lost in the discussion is the long term impact of the person doing the teaching. As Senator Darrington said, we may not see the immediate impact, but that doesn't mean ten years down the road a student won't point to a particular teacher and say that is precisely when things turned around, that is precisely when my life became a success.

Statistics or the simple existence of my high school diploma will never reflect what I learned in my K-12 education in Idaho's public schools. No diploma or degree can express the kind of person I am, the loyal friend, proud sister, and caring human being. And none of my successes would be considered the type of good performance my teachers would have been rewarded for had Tom Luna's plan been in place while I was still in school. Regardless of that fact, I can point to seven individual teachers and professors and say with complete certainty that who I am today is because of them. There is no benchmark for measuring the success of those teachers and there should never need to be.

Senator Jim McClure, Dead at 86

Former U.S. Senator from Idaho Jim McClure has passed away at the age of 86. I will have more to say about this in the days to come. Regardless of your political affiliation, I hope you will agree that McClure represented this state well.

A great read and recap on McClure's legacy can be found at Ridenbaugh Press.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Defend the American Dream

This video from Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films coincides with rallies across the country to show support for American workers. The details of the Boise rally come via Wordsmith:
When: Saturday, February 26, 2011, 12:00 PM
What: Rally to Save the American Dream
Where: Idaho Statehouse Steps
700 W Jefferson St
Boise, Idaho

Friday, February 25, 2011

Nullification Bill Dies in Idaho Senate

The controversial nullification bill aimed at ceasing to implement the Affordable Health Care Act has died in the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee. The Senate, apparently a bit wiser than their House colleagues, killed the bill in committee on a voice vote.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quote of the Day

"The greatest measure of the success of a teacher is not at the moment, it's down the road."
-- Sen. Denton Darrington (R-Declo) prior to his 'no' vote on Senate Bill 1110 (teacher pay for performance legislation).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Students of Luna's "Reform" Plan

"I want a bright future, not a Luna future."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The President Who Would Be King

Editor's note: The following article was submitted to the Idaho State Journal by an emeritus professor, and my friend, Leonard Hitchcock. I am told that it was rejected by the newspaper and I am happy to offer it here for my readers and any who come here looking for a succinct depiction of what has occurred at Idaho State University last week. He has generously given his permission for me to do so.

At long last, President Vailas has achieved his goal. By persuading the State Board of Education (SBOE) to disband the ISU Faculty Senate, he has managed to acquire absolute and unchallenged authority over the university. No more shall his sovereign will be thwarted by the opposition of ill-tempered and presumptuous faculty; no more shall those hired simply to teach and conduct research dare to claim a role in governing the institution. He may now gather about him those whose fealty is unquestioned – vice-presidents, provosts, deans – and rule with the assurance that it is by divine (i.e. the SBOE’s) authority that he does so, and that it is he alone who is empowered to bring to reality his glorious vision of what ISU should be.

I hesitate to introduce a discordant note into this triumphant chorus of “Long Live the King,” but I cannot refrain from suggesting that the President might profitably spend a few quiet moments reviewing the history of another illustrious monarch, Charles I of England. It is perhaps inopportune for me to mention it, but Charles was rather an unimpressive figure, a diminutive man who, “in spite of his intelligence and cultivation… was curiously inept in his contacts with human beings. Socially, he was tactless and diffident, and … in public he was seldom able to make a happy impression." (R. Dutton. English Court Life: From Henry VII to George II) Dr. Vailas may well feel some kinship with Charles in this regard, as well as sympathy for his conviction that “Kings are not bound to give an account of their actions but to God [i.e. the SBOE] alone,” and that his subjects (in this case, the faculty), delude themselves if they desire to have, as Charles put it, a “share in government… [for] that is nothing pertaining to them; a subject and a sovereign are clear[ly] different things.”

Those remarks of the King regarding his subjects’ mistaken belief in their right to share in governance were, I regret to say, among his last. They were uttered during the few moments that immediately preceded his beheading. Sad to say, over the preceding years, the King had managed to earn the hearty ill-will of the public by his persistent and unyielding quarrels with his parliaments, who refused to provide him with funding for his overseas’ adventures. He thrice called and dissolved parliaments that displeased him and finally chose to rule without any parliament for eleven years. Lacking the support of parliament, the king simply forewent its consent and invented new taxes to raise money. The public soon realized that not only the members of parliament were destined to suffer from the king’s displeasure for they, too, found their rights and property violated. Eventually their patience grew short and they rose against their arrogant, self-righteous and unyielding king. They defeated him in the civil war that ensued, imprisoned and deposed him, and then took the unprecedented and surprising step of executing him.

The consequences of President Vailas’s triumph over the faculty are only just beginning to be realized. The faculties of the other Idaho universities will undoubtedly feel threatened by the ease with which ISU’s president acquired the SBOE’s backing for the forced dissolution of a legally-constituted representative faculty body and will register their alarm. As news of this event spreads (it has already reached the Chronicle of Higher Education), it is not unlikely that the American Association of University Professors will choose to stigmatize ISU for its egregious violation of the principles of academic freedom. It is also not unlikely that ISU’s faculty will refuse to respond with supine obedience to this new autocratic order of things. The Faculty Senate was not, in truth, some clique of malcontents, as the President asserts, nor was it, as the President’s court fool, Mark Levine, alleges, bent upon engineering a union takeover of the university; it was no more or less than the faculty’s duly elected instrument of faculty governance. Perhaps there are faculty who will consider acts of resistance an appropriate response to this blatant demonstration of administrative hubris. Perhaps there are even deans who do not wish to be a part of this disenfranchisement of the faculty and will be willing to say so.

King Arthur may soon discover just how uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. He and his minions cannot keep the university functioning by themselves. If the faculty chooses to resist, the entire enterprise will grind to a halt. It’s conceivable that even the public will find the joint administrative strategy of the President and the SBOE intolerable. Is it astute management, when a group of respected, accomplished and productive public employees have a dispute with management, to simply gag them and give unfettered authority to their employer? Many public employees in Idaho will regard this as an all too familiar reminder of just how inconsequential they are in the eyes of their state’s administration.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Raise Your Hand Idaho

Please visit Raise Your Hand Idaho's website and contact your legislators today.

Despite denying the benefit to his campaign contributors if his education reform plan passes, following the money behind Idaho State Superintendent Tom Luna's proposed legislation is revealing a very disturbing connection between Luna, K12 and the Albertson Foundation.

Don't the future leaders of Idaho deserve better than this?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

SBOE Suspends ISU Faculty Senate

I can't help but believe that the Vailas administration has ruined the reputation of my alma mater. That the SBOE can't see that the discontent lies with Vailas and a super-majority of the faculty at ISU and not simply between Vailas and the leadership of ISU's Faculty Senate is pitiful.

Cabrera, La Russa vs. Union, & Heyward in the 100

Since I already jinxed the weather in my excitement about spring training yesterday, I've decided another baseball post is a-ok for this cold, winter day. Three stories didn't make it into yesterday's post, one because it hadn't happened yet, the other two because they hadn't caught my eye yet.

If you haven't followed baseball over the past two seasons, you probably don't know about the personal struggles of Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera. During the 2009 season, the Detroit Tigers had a great run and as the end of the regular season neared an end, the Tigers looked to be the runaway winners of the American League Central. But then they started losing and the Minnesota Twins quickly made up the distance and caught the Tigers. Both teams had an 86-76 record going into a tie breaker and the Tigers choked. The Twins went to the playoffs and the Tigers went home defeated. One player, Miguel Cabrera, was taking more heat from the press than any other Tiger. The reason? A few nights before the tiebreaker, Miguel Cabrera got incredibly drunk, stayed out all night and then had a fight with his wife when he got home. The police were called, Miguel's blood alcohol content was .26, and when he arrived at the stadium for a game later that day that the Tigers needed to win to stay in the postseason chase, he had noticeable scratches on his face from the altercation.

Fast forward to the 2010 season and we were all happy for Cabrera who seemed to have beat his demons in the off season. In addition to a stint in rehab, Miguel and his wife had a baby girl and appeared to have everything worked out. For much of the 2010 season, Cabrera was in the American League MVP discussion. A .328 batting average, 38 home runs and 126 RBIs, signaled what many thought was a return to form for Cabrera. He was selected to represent the Tigers in the All Star Game and there was an obvious improvement in Cabrera's defense at first base (Cabrera had spent time in left and right field and most notably at third base). The player who was once hailed as one of the best young players in the game seemed to have gotten his life back on track.

Until this morning. This morning police in St. Lucie County, Florida, came across Miguel Cabrera as the car he was driving was smoking. Inside the car was an obviously drunk Cabrera, still swigging from an open bottle of scotch. After asking the cop, "do you know who I am?" and assuring the officer that he had no idea of Cabrera's problems, he was arrested for driving under the influence. So far, the Tigers have not announced any action they will be taking against Cabrera.

Remember back in August when Glenn Beck held his rally on the Mall in Washington, D.C.? Remember when he gave out those bizarre medals of merit and invited St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa to introduce slugging first baseman Albert Pujols who would be receiving a medal for his work off the baseball diamond? Most people said then that Pujols agreed to it because he trusted La Russa and that Pujols didn't think it was at all political. Some baseball fans, including me, lost a great deal of respect for La Russa & Pujols because of the rally. And nobody ever really figured out what the motive was for La Russa & Pujols other than they were asked and they obliged.

Then something interesting surfaced during the contract negotiations (or lack thereof) between Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals, negotiations that officially ended yesterday until after the 2011 season. Tony La Russa, in defense of Albert Pujols, said that the Major League Baseball Players' Association--the player union--was putting undue pressure on Pujols to make a precedent setting deal with the Cardinals. La Russa said that the union didn't employ "arm-twisting, [but] dropping anvils on your back" and that was exactly what was happening to Albert. It is very unclear what exactly La Russa's complaint amounts to because he says the union is pressuring Albert and the union (and others in MLB circles) say that the union hadn't been involved in the negotiations between Albert and the Cards.

Even though Pujols says he has no hard feelings toward the Cardinals after not reaching a deal, Tony La Russa isn't backing off his statements about the union which leads me to wonder what La Russa's problem really is. Is it possible that La Russa, like thousands of conservatives, doesn't see the need for a union of any type? Is it possible that the anti-union sentiment that is sweeping statehouses across this country is something La Russa is intimately familiar with? I'm not ruling it out. La Russa has been around the game for a very long time (third all-time in wins by a manager) and it wouldn't surprise me to find that he still holds some animosity toward the players' union since the days of the the 1990s baseball strike.

While 30,000 people are protesting at the Wisconsin state capitol over one of the most damaging anti-union bills in the country, is it too far out of the realm of possibilities that there's anti-union sentiment in baseball circles as well? Probably not.

One last thing that I noticed today while I was looking at theGrio's 100: History Makers in the Making. The superb Black History Month project at picked Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward as one of their history makers in the making. Yep, they think that Heyward, runner-up for 2010's National League Rookie of the Year, is bringing blacks back to baseball and I have to agree with them. Major League Baseball has been working very hard to bring blacks back to the game, both to the stands and to the teams themselves. The RBI program (Reviving Baseball in Inner cities) has made great strides, but so have high profile players like Heyward, CC Sabathia, Matt Kemp, and Jimmy Rollins. As theGrio notes, the number of black players has decreased since the 1975 season when the number was at an all-time high of 27%. Today 8.4% of Major League Baseball players are black. Not only is it awesome to see a player emerge that can bring more people to the game, it really couldn't be happening to a better guy. By all accounts, Jason Heyward is credit to the Atlanta Braves and the game as a whole.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nullification Passes House, 49-20

Update (2:26 p.m.): Eye on Boise has a breakdown of the vote and Randy Stapilus has a must-read piece at Ridenbaugh Press.

Nullification legislation has passed the Idaho House by a margin of 49-20.

The following quote from Ken Andrus (R-District 29) seems to portray today's quite well and is very, very disturbing:
"I don't recommend seceding from the Union, but if Uncle Sam wants to say 'you're out of line and you're doing something that is unconstitutional and we're going to withhold all federal funding from you,' I say, 'Uncle, you bring it on! You bring it on as soon as you want.' "
This is not a proud moment for Idaho, no matter what the GOP-led Legislature says.

Reality According to McGeachin

There's a slue of quips out of the nullification debate this morning in the Idaho House, but I wanted to touch on one bizarre bit of commentary that surfaced during the floor speech of Rep. Janice McGeachin (R-District 32). The exact quote is as follows:
"Our own U.S. currency is quickly turning into a junk bond currency. France is considering not recognizing our U.S. dollar as a recognized currency. And also saw a report from the agency that ranks our currency for bond rating because our debt to GDP ratio is increasing so much. ..."
Uh, come again? It isn't uncommon for members of the Idaho Legislature to have an obsession with currency, but seriously, she believes that France isn't going to recognize the dollar period? Here's the truth of the matter: France has recently made public their proposal to move the global financial system from from a dollar-based system to one based on several international currencies. France isn't saying that the dollar is worthless and that the dollar no longer exists as France sees it. France has been contending for some time that the global financial system should not be wholly reliant on the value of the dollar (not a bad idea given the economic crash we are recovering from, a crash that threatened the entire world economy). It has nothing to do with the dollar ceasing to exist.

If only I could find something useful to say about McGeachin's comment about the "carrot dangling in our face."


Apparently the weather gods felt I was too excited about spring training...

Spring Training Rundown

The deadline for a deal between Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals rapidly approaches at 10 a.m. (EST), but talks have ended between the 3 time MVP and the Cards. Because a deal wasn't made, negotiations will cease until the end of the 2011 baseball season. One rumor about the deal that is getting a lot of attention is that Pujols wants a 10 year deal for more than $25 million per year, but less than $30 million. For followers of MLB contract negotiations, the amount isn't much of a surprise for the most in demand player in the game. The surprise is that Pujols wants a 10 year deal rather than the 8 year deal that many other top tier players have been demanding. It's hard to imagine the Cards won't pay whatever price Pujols requires. However, we'll just have to wait and hope Pujols' 2011 production doesn't suffer under the pressure of no deal.

Not meaning to be a Cardinals-strong post, I can't go without mentioning yesterday's awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Stan "the Man" Musial. I don't know many baseball fans, minus maybe a few Cubs fans, who don't hold some reverence for Stan Musial. His talent is unmatched, except for maybe in the previously mentioned fellow-Cardinal Albert Pujols, and his class is legendary. Musial, like many players of his era, left the game to serve in WWII, and returned more dominant than when he left. The Hall of Famer spent his entire career with the Cardinals, had a .331 career batting average, 3,630 hits, 475 home runs and nearly 2,000 RBIs. Even if President Obama had been a fan of the Cubs rather than the White Sox, I suspect Musial would have still been chosen for the award. Congratulations to Stan the Man and a heartfelt thank you from this baseball fan and American.

Pitchers, catcher and injured players have been trickling in to spring training camps in Florida and Arizona since Monday. A majority of these players will arrive today and tomorrow. This is when baseball fans start getting excited. It may seem like a cool fall baseball day outside lately, but arrivals at spring training always signal the beginning of the end of winter. It's an exciting time.

News came yesterday from Bernie Madoff himself, serving a 150 year prison sentence for his epic Ponzi scheme, that the Mets ownership knew nothing of his scheme. Mets ownership didn't know, but the banks had to have known... The Mets ownership consisting of the Wilpon brothers and Saul Katz have come under considerable fire recently after Mets' trustee Irving Picard attempted to legally recover up to $1 billion from the Mets ownership because of what he says they should have known or may have known about Madoff's scheme. Recently, Marc Johnson of The Johnson Post had a great summary of the case and how it came about. I remember when the Mets' Citi Field opened, many broadcasters noted that many of the luxury boxes and seats were empty and their ownership wrapped up in the investigation and prosecution of Bernie Madoff. I hadn't thought much of it then and certainly didn't know how involved with Met ownership Madoff was. As I've followed the case, I honestly have thought on more than one occasion, 'Why couldn't Madoff have been a Phillies fan?' How awful is that? And what does that say about the complete joke that the Mets have become in recent years in relation to the much stronger Phillies, at times Braves, and the growing stability of the Marlins and Nationals? Given what the Madoff situation means to the bottom line in the Mets' front office, it will be interesting to see how the negotiations with Met shortstop Jose Reyes progress through the season as he approaches free agency.

Now here's the story I really want to mention: Chipper Jones reported to the Braves' spring training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida this week and the 38-year old third baseman took grounders and a few swings of the bat yesterday. It's great to see Chipper smiling and optimistic about taking the field again. When he tore his ACL after making a fantastic play (reminiscent of a much younger and stronger Chipper) at third during the second part of the 2010 season, I think a lot of Braves fans thought they were seeing Chipper leave the field in uniform for the last time. As he sat in the dugout after his knee surgery cheering on his teammates, it was much more logical to be asking when Chipper would be in uniform as a coach than when he might be in a uniform ready to take the field as a player. When the classy San Francisco Giants applauded the retiring Bobby Cox after beating the Braves in the NLDS, many Braves fans saw the end of the dynasty that had included Cox and Chipper Jones for years. Chipper will remain a Brave for the remainder of his career, regardless of how productive he can be after his latest knee surgery. If I am at all like other Braves fans, we're happy to hang on to Chipper and the Braves dynasty that we treasured for most of the 1990s. We'll take a lack of production from Chipper for the leadership and class he brings to the clubhouse. Good luck, Chipper! With the Civil Rights Game taking place in Atlanta this year, it looks to be a fantastic season in the ATL.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tomorrow's Nullification Vote

Tomorrow the Idaho House will consider House Bill 117, a bill that will attempt to nullify federal law. Of course nullification has been ruled unconstitutional, but that's not stopping the Republican members of the Idaho Legislature. The bill was passed by the State Affairs Committee and sent to the floor with a do-pass recommendation. The House will reconvene tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.

Friday, February 11, 2011

No Confidence

News out of Pocatello: The Idaho State University faculty has handed President Arthur Vailas a vote of no confidence. The vote went as follows:
Of the 649 faculty eligible to vote:
  • Yes, I have confidence in President Vailas: 92
  • No, I do not have confidence in President Vailas: 359
  • Abstain: 44
  • Ineligible votes cast: 7
Vailas is the second member of the administration to receive a faculty vote of no confidence in less than one year.

Incendiary & Disingenous

Editor's Note: I am currently writing three separate things related to nullification, health care, and Medicaid. I am also currently glued to the happenings in Egypt. Until I can finish something of my own, the following made its way to me via the House Minority Leadership's office and deserves attention. Please click to enlarge.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Birther, Joker or Both?

Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) apparently has no qualms when it comes to cracking a birther joke at CPAC. Yep, that's my rep at CPAC alluding to his own birth certificate by means of implying that Obama may not have one. He does, here it is. Check it out, Raul.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The "Morally Disqualified" Native Americans

Just when I thought that the craziest things I'd encounter today would come from the mouths of those testifying in the nullification hearing this morning, this pops up on my radar. Apparently, the Native Americans deserved what happened to them in the 19th century because they were immoral. Yes, from the mouth of bigoted, right-wing whackjob Bryan Fischer. I don't even know what to say about it. A 17 year old student saw the problem with Fischer's rationale and readily pointed it out. Good on Elijah Friedeman. Don't even get me started on Fischer and his friends' problem with Uganda... I don't know what the image of a good Christian is, but Bryan Fischer is far from it.


Update 11:03 a.m. MST: God bless Bruce Bistline! Bistline appears to be one of the few testimonies this morning that addressed how dangerous nullification is. Betsy's headline, "Testimony: Of pills, freedom, Nazis, Fidel Castro and Rosa Parks…" really illustrates what's going on in the hearing nicely. She also has her usual play-by-play coverage, all of which is worth reading.

In the public hearing this morning in the Idaho Legislature regarding the nullification bill that has been introduced, Rep. Barbieri (arguing for the bill) admitted that he hasn't even read the latest AG opinion. Additionally, Barbieri believes that the law of the land at this moment as it relates to the Affordable Care Act is what the legislature says it is. Yes, the legislature is all knowing. More on this to come.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Smorgasbord Saturday

First, here are a bunch of links that have been open in tabs on my browser and I must get rid of a few to make room for new ones. Oh, we bloggers are an odd bunch! Always the potential for a post...
Here's my baseball commentary and yes, I think about baseball just as much in the off-season as I do during the regular season:

2010 was the year of the pitcher (and to a lesser degree the year of the rookie) so you would think that pitchers who had breakout years or accomplished something amazing would have been at a premium. Nope. Apparently if you ask the Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, and Arizona Diamondbacks they'll tell you that just because they had success with certain pitchers doesn't mean they really owed any loyalty to said pitchers. What am I talking about? Matt Garza, Armando Galarraga, Edwin Jackson, Jon Rauch, Rafael Soriano, and sort of in the same respect, Andy Pettitte. Matt Garza and Edwin Jackson threw no-hitters and were traded (Jackson before the season was even over). Armando Galarraga will go down in history as the man who had a perfect game stolen from him by umpire Jim Joyce. The Tigers parted ways with Galarraga last week. Jon Rauch stepped in to close for the Twins when their regular closer, Joe Nathan, went down with an injury. Rauch was a huge part of the reason the Twins made it to the playoffs. And then there's Rafael Soriano. He had a mediocre year with the Braves, was traded to the Rays and stepped up as one of the best closers in baseball this past season. Were the Rays rival Yankees not paying attention? Apparently they were and liked what they saw so much they signed Soriano. What will happen to Mo remains to be seen.

Finally, the last pitcher on this list is a guy who decided on his own, from what it appears, to call it quits after 16 remarkable seasons (13 of them in the Bronx). Minus the steroid cloud that remains over Pettitte and whether or not you like the Yankees, it is hard to deny the magic that Pettitte brought to the mound. With two 20+ wins in a single season and quite a few World Series championship rings in his possession, Pettitte would be a first ballot entry into the Hall of Fame if not for the steroid cloud. Only time will tell. Regardless of all that, Pettitte had a superb first half of the 2010 season going 11-2 with a 2.70 ERA. Picked as an all star, even. Then the wheels fell off and Pettitte never made it back to his pitching dominance. I'm no Yankee fan and I've cussed many a time at Pettitte (especially during the 2005 NLDS), but even I can see the talent Andy Pettitte once possessed. Even I will miss that amazing move he had to first base. I guess the Yankees aren't quite as ridiculous as the Rays or even the Tigers...

That's it. Mostly a baseball post today. Now, go check out those links.

Friday, February 4, 2011

TGIF Tunes

The newest single from 3 Doors Down -- "When You're Young." And the lyrics:
So far away from knowing where I'm going,
I'm trying hard to find out who I am,
They all see that I don't know what I'm doing,
I say they don't hardly understand.

Why can't they remember
What I'll never forget
How these dreams can come undone
When you're young.

Everything seems perfect
and everything's okay
And it will all get better now
At least that's what they say
But I don't see it coming.

You give what you give cuz they make you
Trapped inside a place
that won't take you
And they want you to be
what they make you
It's already over and done
When you're young.

Days really just seem longer,
They say it is better this way.
I hope one day I am stronger than I feel
And I hope it feels
different than today.
When you're young.

The week got off to a slow start and it never really picked up from there. The hopes I had last week for a full slate of posts vanished. Soon. I hope.

One other music note: The White Stripes have broken up. A damn shame, but really, did anyone think it could last?