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The Idaho Statesman's editorial board said they made their decision to endorse Holli Woodings for Secretary of State without regard to either candidate's "experience," because they didn't believe what experience the two had was "very applicable." Lawerence Denney conceded as much in their debate in his answer to the first question. "I believe you really don't have to have a lot of experience in running an election... I think you have to have good people who have a lot of experience running elections." Our 44 County Clerks and the staff of the Secretary of State take care of everything, don't worry.
But now, in his rebuttal to the Statesman's endorsement of Woodings, Denney wants to insist that his years as a decidedly partisan legislator are not simply relevant, but the decisive factor. (He'll leave the partisanship at the door, he's said. Trust him, even though we have no experience of the non-partisan Lawerence Denney.) It's a convenient argument for him, if not persuasive.
The board expressed concerns about Denney's "past partisan dealings and future plans to tinker with voting," which I and many others share. Rather than admit he's tilting at a windmill, Denney continues to press for applying "readily available technology" (sounds better than "fingerprinting" this time) to a solve the non-detectible voter fraud we might have in this state. (Is that why Republicans hold so many of our government offices?)
"Faith, family and freedom" are lovely, as are motherhood and apple pie. Does Denney really intend to imply that he has some special claim on the three Fs over Woodings? Let's talk about fairness, first.
The last thing Denney had to do with "honest, open and fair elections" was to put his thumbprint on the scale of the bipartisan Redistricting Commission by trying to fire Dolores Crow and Randy Hansen for not doing his and (then GOP chair) Norm Semanko's bidding. The Idaho Supreme Court had to settle that dust-up. Fortunately, Idaho Public TV's archival memory is longer than the Statesman's and you can still read Kevin Richert's recap of the fiasco in which Denney, Semanko and GOP attorney for hire Christ Troupis are featured as the biggest "losers."
Joan McCarter highlights the partisan angle that Republican budget cutting nearly halved CDC's emergency preparedness since 2006. ("Government is the problem," after all.) There's also that partisan thing about approving Obama's nominee for Surgeon General just now, because... the NRA doesn't like his attitude toward guns. What would trauma surgeons, emergency department staff, spinal cord injury specialists know about gun violence, anyway? And besides, approving a nominee for Surgeon General would hand Obama a victory.
The larger point is made by Judy Stone's technically detailed and well-reasoned blog post on the Scientific American site that McCarter cites: Ebola is showing us that Politics and Public Health Don’t Mix. The whole thing is a worthy read, but the $64 billion (give or take a couple orders of magnitude) pull quote is near the end, just before the part about $1 billion less for the CDC's public health preparedness and response efforts in 2013 than there was in 2002, and tens of thousands fewer workers in state and local health departments since 2008:
"We need a health care system that cares for all, even for those without insurance, without causing them to delay seeking care until they are seriously ill, perhaps infecting others in the process (e.g., tuberculosis, more commonly)."
Everything is connected. The economy and healthcare in West Africa matters to us. Funding for the World Health Organization matters to us. People who have nowhere to go but an emergency room for health care, and who wait too long to go because they can't afford the bill and how long they have to wait to be seen by someone and whether electronic medical information systems are designed more for maximizing billing and minimizing liability than for patient care matter to us. Influenza, measles, whooping cough, Enterovirus-D68, chikungunya, dengue, MERS and bird flu all matter to us at least as much as Ebola, for as scary as that may be right now.
The December 1998 pamphlet on Infection Control for Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers in the African Health Care Setting from the CDC and WHO matters, from the design of health facility posters for the procedures of putting on and taking off personal protective equipment and building incinerators, to community education materials, to all the other continents of the world as well as Africa.
Jefferson County (Missouri) Recorder of Deeds Debbie Dunnegan was just asking... and ok, she acknowledged that she made a poor choice of words, but gosh "meant no ill intent toward anybody," and was just interested to know from "all [her] friends who have served or are currently serving in our military,"
"...I cannot and do not understand why no action is being taken against our domestic enemy. I know he is supposedly the commander in chief, but the Constitution gives you the authority. What am I missing? Thank you for your bravery and may God keep you safe."
Why bother with impeachment when you can just have a military coup?
“Something innocent and simple got twisted into a disaster because it’s an election,” Dunnegan said.
You know that story about "had nothing to do with" that whole private prison contractor scandal? That was the Governor talking about just hisself, not members of his staff. It seems that Rocky Barker and Cynthia Sewell are picking up some of the slack Dan Popkey left behind to go work for Congressman "Hablador," and brought us front page news in today's Idaho Statesman. The Governor's staff were involved in that settlement deal with Corrections Corp. of America that Otter "recused" himself from, since CCA has chipped in 5 figures for his campaigns over the last decade.
Rather a messy business getting into bed with the "private sector" to solve our public problems. Did Otter consult the Attorney General's office in this matter? They're not talking, and apparently not covered by open records law. (Attorney-client privilege, I suppose—just because taxpayers are footing the bill doesn't mean we are the "clients.")
That state took over the operation of its prisons from CCA this summer to address the most immediate free market failure, but the story is still unfolding. We do know that Otter denied the AG's request to launch a criminal investigation back in February, based on the Idaho State Police's finding no reason to pursue ... itself. Then Otter changed his mind, and the FBI took over in March, "and continues to investigate."
But mismanagement isn't a crime (such a shame for CCA's business prospects), and it wouldn't surprise me if the FBI comes up dry, anymore than if someone resurrects Ronald Reagan's catchphrase about government being "the" problem. Or how about Harry Truman? Commentor Marv Hammerman offers a memorable phrase: "The buck stops... with someone on my staff of whom I have no knowledge and take no responsibility."
What's this you say, yesterday's story that Sherri Ybarra skipped at least 15 of the last 17 statewide elections is "not new news"? Rewind all the way to September 26, when Ms. Ybarra said “We have all missed an election or two in our lifetime, and I am not exempt from that.” This neatly combines "new math" and set theory, doesn't it? "An election or two" is a proper subset of 15 of the last 17, that's true. The speaking for "all" of us in utter ignorance of any fact is a bit out of school, however. But then Ybarra is a bit of a stranger to the electoral process. Give her advance placement credit for wanting to make amends! That job with the 6-figure salary she's vying for will "repay Idaho" for all that civic duty she overlooked. Or, as the Idaho Democrats put it (not to put too fine a point there):
"Sherri Ybarra wants people to do something for her that she would never do for them: vote."
Will Idaho invest in Ybarra's remediation and rehabilitation? We've made some poor choices for Superintendent of Public Instruction in the past, using the "just vote for the Republican" algorithm, which the most recent polls (taken before the "not new news" revelations this week) suggested was still in force. Anne Fox has about faded from short-term memory (if not the web), but Tom Luna hasn't quite left yet, cleaning out his office as he prepares to take a spin through the revolving door.
And this just in, the "How I Can Help" section of Ybarra's website announces her contest to come up with a "catchphrase" for her campaign. This sounds original, and indeed, the rules require that (as one wag put it on Twitter) "Do as I Say, Not as I Do," which damn it, would be perfect, but now it's not original. Your ideas could win a Kindle Fire! I just submitted "You have got to be kidding me," resisting the temptation to include an expletive. Jeanette offered another:
Ybarra: prettier than her predecessor
Join the fun, kids! (The rules say you have to be over 18 to win, but take a hint from the candidate and fudge that a bit if you need to.)
Our ballot this cycle includes HJR 2, a proposed amendment to the Idaho Constitution to affirm power the Legislature already has by law, and has been practicing, regularly. It's a bit of a mystery why we're even having the discussion, let alone voting on it. Former chief deputy attorney general and counsel for the Idaho PUC and Transportation Department, and current law professor Jack McMahon makes the case for a "NO" vote in the Idaho Statesman.
"Idaho's Legislature already has the strongest power of any legislature in the United State to review agency rules. Every year, the Legislature reviews all rules the agencies have enacted in the previous year. ... But in Idaho, the legislative review process extends not just to rules enacted during the prior year, but to thousands of rules that have been enacted over the decades. Every such rule expires every year unless expressly extended by the Legislature."
Lacking a compelling reason to alter the Constitution, the answer must be to leave it alone.
Vox.com has a "card stack" of 19 things you need to know about Ebola and on the first of them, there's a datagraphic of the leading causes of death in Africa. Ebola is, so far, off the charts on the nearly negligible end. HIV/AIDS and respiratory infections are number 1 and 2, more than a million deaths each. Malaria is #4, and if ebola deaths were to increase to the alarming figure reported yesterday as a possibility, of ten thousand cases a week, that would make ebola as serious a killer as malaria.
The US population was busy freaking about the first case here (not counting the first four people to get sick overseas and come back here for treatment), and more so about the second one, a nurse in Dallas who contracted it in the course of carrying for the first patient. The death rate here is 1/5, with the 6th case TBD. (Card 5 of 20 makes some distinctions about "Americans"... as if we should not be so concerned about Africans?)
But the outbreak is unquestionably accelerating right now, and the exponential growth curve in card #8 is unsettling, as is "up to 1.4 million people infected by January." And card 12: "One problem with treating Ebola is that Ebola treatment is draconian," because "tending to the sick is exactly how Ebola spreads."
Questions of "protocol" and its breach reveal that our healthcare system's preparedness is very much an open question. At least we have resources for supplies and facilities... but training in the rigorous safety procedures has not been driven by necessity, yet.
I used to work in technology that required "clean room" facilities of various kinds, and we worked hard to make systems robust and foolproof, but failures were inevitable wherever there was a dependency on fastidious behavior. It's not easy to be careful, all the time. "Gowning" and de-gowning are tedious and the more times you have to do it, the more likely you are to get careless about the particulars. I'd imagine procedures are more compelling when life and death (rather than just hardware failure and scrap rates) are on the line, but just as the need to be wide awake while driving doesn't keep you awake, that sort of compulsion is not enough by itself.
Long story short: the epidemic will get worse, and scarier before it gets better, and our reactions to it will be more dramatic than a pareto chart of diseases would suggest they should be.
The party came off this time, about the 3rd or 4th try. People started gathering at 8 am, and with some nice singing by members of the Boise Gay Men's Chorus for starters, we were all primed for the 10 o'clock start of legal same-sex marriages in Idaho in front of the Ada County Courthouse today. There was cake, cupcakes, cookies, coffee, bubbles, banners, lots of media (and non-media) with cameras and camerphones and video cameras, a dog or two, all sorts of couples and singles, some married, some about to be married and all of them ebullient. From the Idaho Statesman's report, I see that Amber and Rachael Beierle, two of the plaintiffs in the Idaho court case were first in line. (At least six of the eight plaintiffs were there in Boise this morning.)
"Onlookers cheered and blew soap bubbles as couples of men and women emerged from the courthouse onto the plaza after receiving their licenses. ... No one who opposes gay marriage was seen inside or outside the courthouse."
The weather cooperated after an October fashion, cloudy and cool but not raining for most of the time, a brief midday shower and now afternoon sun. I'm sure there's a rainbow in the neighborhood.
Update: Betsy Russell's report for the Spokesman Review.
"Judicial temperament" would seem to be an esoteric legal term of art, but in some cases, you can see its absence without needing special training. The City of Stanley is a tiny little outpost in central Idaho's high mountains, usually noted for its views of the Sawtooths and its low temperatures in the fall, winter and spring. Its website has a frequently asked question page about its legal expenses, many of which have been incurred because of Rebecca Arnold.
Former Stanley mayor Hannah Stauts wrote a letter to the editor back in May, before the primary vote that winnowed the field to Arnold, and Sam Hoagland, who by all accounts I've seen is a suitable candidate for Fourth District Judge. (The Fourth District comprises Ada, Boise, Valley and Elmore counties; Stanley is in Custer Co., "what America used to be," according to its website. Population density not quite up to 1 person per square mile.)
My experience with Arnold has been limited to her work on the Ada County Highway District, where she was unimpressive in her assessment of Boise's buffered bike lane experiment downtown. She said she tried driving the street with the trial setup once and didn't like it, avoided it, voted to kill it before giving it much of a chance.
The other candidate for judge is Samuel Hoagland, who justifiably features the Idaho State Bar Survey results comparing the two candidates on his campaign website. The people who know the relevant factors best rate Hoagland above average (3.12 on a 4 point scale), and Arnold below average (1.88). "Judicial temperament and demeanor" is one of the four rating dimensions.
Wedding bells are set to ring tomorrow, and this time, it seems that same sex marriage really will happen for Idaho. The Idaho Statesman recapped the roller coaster play by play on late Friday: the full set of Supremes said they would not hear the case, and lifted Justice Kennedy's emergency stay from Wednesday, but since the 9th Circuit had recalled its Tuesday mandate, its previous stay was back in force, and something more was needed. That came Friday night... and finally, officially, yesterday (on a federal holiday, even), Plaintiff-Appellees’ motion to dissolve the stay is GRANTED, effective at 9 am PDT Wednesday, October 15, 2014.
It's not easy keeping track of all the lawyers making hay out of taxpayer dollars on this affair either. There's one I hadn't heard of before in Betsy Russell's story, providing a filing for Governor Otter:
[P]rivate attorney Gene Schaerr in Washington, D.C., took umbrage at the idea that the stay would be lifted before “reasonable appellate options have been exhausted,” saying, “Granting that motion would … improperly treat the sovereign State of Idaho as an ordinary litigant, entitled to no more respect than a fly-by-night payday loan business or massage parlor.”
Seriously? How do things like this pop into someone's head, and how does that someone have so little self-awareness that he would let them pop out into public?
One of the previously losing attorneys, Monte Neil Stewart, whose oral argument I found rather unimpressive last month is trying a new tack: he's claiming the Circuit court stacked the deck on him, gave him three judges bound to rule against his case through some sort of conspiracy.
“We bring the issue of bias in the selection process to the Circuit’s attention with respect and with a keen awareness that questioning the neutrality of the panel’s selection could hardly be more serious.”
So, give him a shot at the en banc of eleven judges. Could hardly be more serious?! He's found himself "an expert statistician" to produce some "sophisticated statistical analysis" that it’s highly unlikely that the judges he likes least would be picked to hear his case.
My favorite Facebook lawyer friend noted that Stewart is "flirting with contempt in every possible way" after observing that
"Litigants accusing judges or their court of bias and misconduct has always been proven a winner for those who just got their ass handed to them. The nice thing about this back handed slap is that the Plaintiffs should have a swell time when the court decides attorney fees and costs."
But all of which, most unfortunately, will be coming out of Idaho taxpayer pockets, not those of its Governor, Attorney General, or gravy train of private attorneys.
Just your run-of-the-mill confidence scam, and I usually would have deleted this sort of thing without much attention, but something caught my eye. The "Capt." in the From address, I suppose, "Capt. Carr Kate Lee." "Greetings," she begins, "I know you will be surprised to read my email."
Well, sort of.
"Am an american citizen, apart from being surprise you may be skeptical to reply me because based on what is happening on the internet world, one has to be very careful because a lot of scammers are out there to scam innocent citizens and this has made it very difficult for people to believe anything that comes through the internet but this is a different case."
Riiight. But it does take an interesting turn after the "two trunk of consignment boxes containing America $100" (bills?) when she says "To Prove my sincerity, you are not sending me any money. Because most of this scam is about sending money." That part seems genuine enough!
"I must say that I'm very uncomfortable sending this message to you without knowing truly if you would misconstrue the importance and decides to go public."
Whoops, she seems to have relied on the wrong person. But here's my favorite phrase for the day: "I will be vivid and coherent in my next message..."
You're probably getting those big glossy mailers offering to get you an absentee ballot to make sure you get your vote in? The latest one to reach our house from the Republicans seems to have taken an unusual tack, celebrating incompetence. Huh.
We can't tell what in the world is going on, but Garrett Epps has at least delineated the terms of confusion in regard to the question Why is Anthony Kennedy pausing gay weddings now? Same-sex marriage was on and off and now back on in Nevada, but off in Idaho, specifically, because our Governor doesn't want to take "no" for an answer.
"The emergency stay will be in effect only until the Court gets the plaintiffs’ reply Thursday. Kennedy can either grant or dissolve the stay, or (more likely) refer the application to the full Court for a prompt decision. The standard in either case is, according to precedent, this: How likely is it that four justices will think this case worthy of hearing? That standard was met by the three previous cases—which were then denied. But like the Kremlin seating chart, a stay in this case would mean not mean nothing."
The plaintiffs won, however. Why should they need to answer? Lyle Denniston's SCOTUSblog post notes that the "emergency" request was filed with the Ninth Circuit about the time the moon was being eclipsed by the earth, "3:30 a.m. for the state and at 5 a.m. for the governor." Unless that's Eastern time? When nothing makes sense, almost any explanation will do. But here's a better one than the alignment of celestial bodies:
"...Thomas Perry, counsel to Idaho Governor Butch Otter, has packaged his particular appeal in language that makes it possibly different from the three cases the Court denied Monday. The reason is this: In its opinion yesterday, the Ninth Circuit panel did not simply follow United States v. Windsor in its reasoning. It went further, deciding that all legal distinctions based on sexual orientation are subject to what lawyers call “heightened scrutiny”—that is, they are presumptively unconstitutional, almost like distinctions of race, religion, or sex.
"Despite numerous opportunities to do so, Kennedy has never been willing to designate a “level of scrutiny” for sexual orientation. His opinions are determinedly vague on what standard he is applying. Even if—as I suspect—Kennedy is now a confirmed vote to allow same-sex marriage, the standard-of-review question has implications for cases involving employment, public accommodations, and religious freedom. If four justices want to decide that issue, Idaho says, here’s their chance."
Update: Excellent analysis by Marc Johnson: When to Quit.
Idaho was still up in the air when the news about the U.S. Supreme Court's inaction yesterday made same sex marriage at least "effectively" legal in 11 more states, to a total of 30; today, the Ninth Circuit dropped the other shoes, for Idaho and Nevada, and the rest of the Circuit: Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Montana, Alaska and Hawai`i.
Here's one place to obtain your own copy of the ruling. Thanks to FB pal James Kent for highlighting a footnote on page 21 that I missed while wading through all three judges' individual comments:
"[Governor Otter] states, in conclusory fashion, that allowing same-sex marriage will lead opposite-sex couples to abuse alcohol and drugs, engage in extramarital affairs, take on demanding work schedules, and participate in time-consuming hobbies. We seriously doubt that allowing committed same-sex couples to settle down in legally recognized marriages will drive opposite-sex couples to sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll."
Betsy Russell's Eye on Boise post includes a quote from one of the plaintiffs, my friend Lori Watsen:
“It means so much for the courts to recognize our family and say that we must be treated equally. Our son will be able to grow up in a world where the state treats his family the same as other families.”
Update: There's still the question of what next, and when? From that same FB pal:
"Judge Dale refused to issue a stay. The Ninth Circuit Court issued an order staying Judge Dale's opinion pending appeal which I've linked up. The court expressly took notice that a stay should issue because of the stay issued by SCOTUS in the Utah case, Kitchen. The appeal in Kitchen was dismissed and the stay removed by SCOTUS yesterday.
"In short, the appeal is over and with it the stay. It's Otter's move to request another stay pending appeal, but given the SCOTUS ruling yesterday, he's not going to get it."
The state has 7 days to appeal further within the 9th, or petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court.
The one and only debate that sitting Senator Jim Risch deigned to grant his challenger will air tonight on KTVB (channel 7) at 9 pm. Not that Nels Mitchell's campaign manager is an objective observer, but Betty Richardson noted the contrast between the two from watching the recorded session.
"Nels was thoughtful, calm, and deliberate. He carried himself like a statesman. Jim Risch, on the other hand, grew ever more shrill—waving his arms, raising his voice, and either making faces or looking off camera while Nels was talking."
The other anecdote from the get-together is a real gobsmacker:
"[W]hen Risch arrived at the studio, Nels greeted him and extended his hand. Risch refused to look at Nels or shake his hand! He finally did so at the end of the debate—when the cameras were rolling!"
What a guy. Speaking of what a guy, the debate between Secretary of State candidates Lawerence Denney and Holli Woodings is on tonight, too. 7pm (MDT) on Idaho Public TV.
We went to the Medicaid expansion forum put on by Idaho Health Care for All and TransForm Idaho last night, dedicated to the memory of our (and their) friend Gene Barrett, "beloved teacher, intrepid cyclist, concerned citizen." Two of the four candidates running for Governor responded to their invitation and were there, A.J. Balukoff and John Bujack, along with Dr. Ted Epperly, physician, CEO of the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho and a member of the Governor’s recent (and second) Medicaid task force.
The first question that occurred to me was, where was the elephant that needed to be in the room? Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter couldn't be bothered to show up. I suspect there was more than one Idaho legislator in the audience, but at least Representative Sue Chew (D-19), sitting in front of us, near the front.
With 104,000 people in the state lacking healthcare insurance and in the gap between being able to afford it via the ACA exchange (or through an employer) and Medicaid as it is, pretty much everyone will acknowledge "something needs to be done," and wave their hands at the problem.
Epperly started by explaining "the gap," and the five options the Governor's task force considered:
In 2012, the first task force was unanimously in favor, and this year they voted 10-3 to expand and redesign Medicaid in the state. But the "no" votes were from the three Republican legislators in the group, so convinced of their body's inability to act in this matter that apparently no facts could persuade them. (The Governor's Medicaid Redesign Workgroup web page has a ton of linked documents, but I don't see the "final report" there, nor any evidence the Governor got the message that he didn't actually seem to be after.)
Epperly noted that the Governor's directive to the task force was to recommend the best path forward, "regardless of political viability," but members of the legislator make it their business to ignore the Governor whenever it suits them.
A.J. Balukoff provided a simple anecdote to illustrate both the problem and opportunity: a mother who didn't take her daughter to see a doctor for the ache in her gut because she couldn't afford it... until the appendicitis was acute, and the bill to treat her ended up more like $100,000 than the several $thousand it would have cost to treat non-acute appendicitis. Never mind the risk.
This was my first time to see Bujak in person, and he's interesting. Well-spoken and not afraid of hostile audiences, he's accustomed to defending his rigid, simplistic positions without much recourse to facts in evidence. In his introduction, and throughout his remarks, he made it clear that he thinks we should not expand Medicaid. The one paragraph on his campaign site might have been put on a poster at the front of the room, and he could've saved himself the trouble of showing up.
For the live audience, he didn't go off so much about how Medicaid expansion was a conspiracy of doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to make money, but instead kept emphasizing that we need to "restructure" the whole system, without ever going into detail what that would mean, or how in the world he proposes to initiate the process. (Convene a libertarian task force? Good luck finding volunteers for that.)
Bujak's other concern about expanding access to healthcare is that the wave of needy people would "overwhelm the system," ignoring the central problem of responding to catastrophe instead of need. The issue got attention, but not enough, and there was no way to hold Bujak's responses to fact or logic. At a couple points the crowd got restive and people were tossing out challenges and questions with the moderator not sure how she might control them. One fed up attendee said "time's up!" a couple times, and finally the moderator spoke up and said "we're going to move on" and everyone—including Bujak, as he sat down—got a chuckle.
Bujak did mention Washington state's plan as a model, and I see that their legislature did expand Medicaid to extend coverage to more than 300,000 people in their state, as of this January 1. From the news overview, it's not clear how this is unique and different from what the task force recommended for Idaho, or how they kept from having their system overwhelmed by the needy having more access to healthcare.
Whether our state can move on is far from clear. Our performance to date shows both a lack of political will, and insufficent skill. Bujak pointed out the unfortunately obvious: any change has to get through the legislature. "What you hear from me is some of what you're going to hear from the floor," he said. From true believers, who can afford their own healthcare, one way or another.
It's irresponsible to take back more than we put in, Bujak says, that clarion call from the Red States to stop taking more than their share from the federal government that you don't hear very often.
But it's more irresponsible to maintain the status quo when people are dying for want of care and costing everyone more by delaying needed care. Bujak's casual insistence that government can't do anything, and that the "free market" solves all problems is practically as well as morally bankrupt. The ample palaver about "restructuring" isn't worth a bucket of warm spit. His business has been in persuasive argument in an adversary system, where you don't need a solution, you just need to outwit the opposition. No one in this crowd was buying it, and there aren't enough rubes in Idaho (for as many as there are) to put him in the big chair in the Capitol.
Asked to address the parade of scandals that the GOP has been leading in recent years (a couple of which are squarely in his court, c.f. "redistricting"; Denney one of the "goodest old boys" in that story) that party's candidate for Idaho Secretary of State, told the City Club of Boise today, “Ninety seconds to explain all of those scandals is going to be a little bit difficult.”
No kidding. Denney did take the time to self-righteously invoke the state's constitution as somehow tying his hands from doing more about "the Phil Hart affair." His opponent, Democrat Holli Woodings called b.s. on that:
“...a very good friend of mine, Rep. Eric Anderson, who serves his district honorably in North Idaho, was unseated from his (vice) chairmanship for bringing ethics complaints.” Anderson filed an ethics complaint against Hart; Denney then removed him from his committee vice-chairmanship. “So to me that brand of partisanship does not belong in the Secretary of State’s office, and I hope you agree,” Woodings said.
Update: This is as good a place as any to mention that the Idaho Statesman endorsed Woodings for Secretary of State on Saturday. All of the Republican's greater "experience" lead them (and a lot of people in the state) to have more "concerns" than confidence. Some responses to the endorsement in Huckleberries Online are good, too.
Missed the City Club debate between the candidates for Idaho's next Secretary of State, but there are some busy tweeters doing the bite-sized stream of consciousness thing to tide me over until I track down an audio stream... Tuesday night at 7, or maybe here. Are hashtags case-sensitive? Let's hope not. #ccboi is your ticket.
@slfisher: Dr. Weatherby urges us not to respond other than sighing or rolling of eyes. #ccboi
@slfisher: Rep. Denney is explaining how he was nonpartisan as Speaker of the House. <splutter>
This one would have made me splutter:
@magicvoice68 Rep Denney says vote by mail compromises security, wants to remove absentee balloting (including overseas military voting).
@scott_nicholson Rep Denny, I'm a Vietnam veteran & i voted by mail.
@KevinRichert Denney: "I think that negative campaigning is suppressing the vote." 2nd District race was shameful. But negative ads seem to work.
@KathyGriesmyer Denney & fingerprinting: it's about cool voting technology. So cool that only certain ppl could vote. Like white old men
Not that there's anything wrong with white old men, just that they shouldn't be the only ones who can vote, eh. Let's talk about the state pension business, shall we? Sharon Fisher notes that Denney stands to go from $400 to $3600/mo. if he wins this election.
@slfisher Rep. Denney says if it was such a good idea, why didn't anybody else propose it after him?
@slfisher Rep. Woodings says she tried to propose the bill and she was shot down because it was "too political."
And Denney's Quixotic quest to take over federal lands, what's up with spending $61k (of taxpayer money, not his own) after the Attorney General has told you you're full of beans?
@scott_nicholson Denny not backing down from hiring outside counsel instead of going through Idaho Attorney General. I'm calling bullshit on this one.
Betsy Russell's several blog posts are at the top of the stack tagged Holli Woodings.
Update: This Wonkblog piece from Justin Levitt in August sums it all that fraud you keep hearing about in the headline: A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation finds 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast. So, 99.999999997% not a problem. But who's counting?
You read through the Wikipedia entry on Ben Carson and you can't help but be impressed by his achievements, yet since he retired from neurosurgery and went into punditry (and occasionally running for President), only the odd things come to mind. His 1996 criticism of for-profit health insurance is simple and spot-on:
"The entire concept of for profits for the insurance companies makes absolutely no sense. 'I deny that you need care and I will make more money.' This is totally ridiculous. The first thing we need to do is get rid of for-profit insurance companies. We have a lack of policies and we need to make the government responsible for catastrophic health care."
But no one stepped up to do away with for-profit anything, and "make the government responsible" hasn't been on the agenda lately. Pandering to the conservative Values Voters Summit a year ago, he called the Affordable Care Act “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery” and used a made-up quote from Vladimir Lenin for good measure, and responded to criticism by attacking critics.
He might be for a single-payer, everybody-in system, but the "solution" of giving every newborn child an electronic medical record and a health savings account doesn't quite add up either. Who built and maintains (and provides security for) this electronic recordkeeping system? And does that HSA have any money in it, or will we just be handing out piggy banks?
I was prompted to find out more about him by his name on yet another email in the NRSC/Romney for President Inc. elephant parade, this one starting with "Replacing Obamacare starts with..." etc.
"We, as a country, need to have a real conversation about how to reform our healthcare system in a way that improves quality, reduces costs, expands access, and honors America’s legacy."
I can totally agree with that, but the notion that "taking back the Senate from Harry Reid and the Democrats" will lead us to such a "real conversation" would sound deranged if it weren't so utterly disingenuous.
But wait! There's more!
Someone I hadn't heard of until she showed up on The Daily Show news last week, Joni Ernst. "Her" message is more or less generic, and features what she cares about (she's leading 48-42 by one poll... so send more money!), and the true-enough observation that "millions of Americans are disappointed" by Congress as a whole (let alone the dysfunctional half she wants to highlight).
Ms. Ernst is about more than just a chicken fight, however, get a load of this: she said she would support legislation that would allow "local law enforcement to arrest federal officials attempting to implement" the Affordable Care Act. The county Sheriff, I suppose that would be. And personhood for fertilized eggs and zygotes.
Apart from the comedy shows, probably the biggest issue of the season is the professed ignorance about climate science that seems to have a strange attractor within the Republican party. Ernst "can't say one way or another," so never mind those "job killing regulations coming out of the EPA." Jeffrey Toobin, for The New Yorker, Republicans United on Climate Change (denial, that is):
"[I]t’s virtually impossible to find any leading Republicans, including potential Presidential candidates, who will agree, without equivocation, on all of these points: that temperatures are rising, that human beings caused it, and that the nation and the world must take action to address it."
If Toobin's analysis is correct, we can thank the Citizens United decision and the Republican Party's moneyed "gatekeepers" Charles and David Koch for the elephant blinders, enforcing climate-change denial as "the price of admission to the charmed circle of Republican donors."
The Republican Governors Association has taken an interest in Idaho's race for some reason, hoping to keep their current member in his job for a third term. They make a good case for being "uncoordinated" with their party's candidate by calling the Democrat, A.J. Balukoff, a "typical politician," with a "six-figure range" ad buy. That would be uncoordinated, ignorant and tone-deaf to boot, with a creepy, chuckling basso narration.
What does the RGA know about Idaho, let alone Balukoff? You want to get
"typical," try this quartet on for size, as featured on the RGA home
A.J. Balukoff is a successful businessman with a clear statement of priorities and positions, and a political career that extends as far as being president of the Boise School District Board of Trustees. His opponent has been in and out of state politics and Washington D.C. for more than 40 years and has accumulated enough animosity within his own party to have earned a rather formidable primary challenge this year.
I wouldn't call Otter "typical," but he is a consummate politician, in rather stark contrast with his Democratic challenger.
Update: Betsy Russell's full article breaks it down. "...claims that are exaggerated, out of context or just plain wrong..." About the only thing the RGA got right is that A.J. thinks we should expand Medicaid, as does the study task force the Governor stood up to consider the question.
Tom von Alten