[Vision2020] Intolerable

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Fri Nov 8 04:26:24 PST 2013

Courtesy of today's (November 8, 2013) Lewiston Tribune.

Marty Trillhaase
JEERS ... to U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, both R-Idaho. Thursday, they voted to tolerate subjecting gays, lesbians and transgendered people to discrimination on the job. They were on the losing side of the 64-32 passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
That put them at odds with 10 of their fellow Senate Republicans - including Utah's Orrin Hatch and Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey - who voted with Democrats to adopt the measure.
It leaves them out of step with seven Idaho cities, which have implemented ordinances banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt last week called on legislators to make that the law throughout the state.
Plus Idahoans think it's the right thing to do. Commissioned by the Idaho chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Republican pollster Bob Moore found:
67 percent support ending discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
93 percent said skill and ability, not a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, is what matters on the job.
81 percent said it should be illegal to fire people just because they are gay, lesbian or transgendered.
Why did Crapo and Risch take this path? Had they voted yes, they had all the political cover required. Surely, this vote does not reflect what is in their souls.
Does it?
JEERS ... to Idaho Republican Party Chairman Barry Peterson. Because Idaho lawmakers have refused to act, seven Idaho cities - including Boise, Coeur d'Alene and Moscow - have passed their own ordinances making it illegal to deny a job, refuse housing or decline public accommodations to someone on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
But Tuesday, Peterson emailed to state lawmakers a reminder that the GOP Central Committee has endorsed legislation "that would make unenforceable any municipal ordinances that would seek to expand categories of prohibited discrimination beyond current state anti-discrimination laws and policies."
Added Peterson: "It is our hope that you will give due consideration to the lack of need for special laws being passed by some municipalities."
This comes on the heels of Peterson threatening to yank the state GOP convention from Moscow next summer because he didn't like the way Latah County Republican Chairman and Moscow City Councilor Walter Steed treated him.
Is Peterson some kind of a control freak?
CHEERS .... to U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill. Aghast at the Occupy Boise protest movement that sprang up outside the state Capitol in 2012, the powers that be in Idaho sought to stop it. They wound up in court and the latest dispute involved this item: The state imposed a seven-day limit on such encampments.
Unless, of course, the state happened to like what the group was doing. Then Administration Department officials could waive the limit.
In other words, protected speech for the powerful; something less for the disaffected.
"The court finds it troubling that if a private organization has political connections to state officials, or is considered worthy of attention by the state, the department has the authority to waive all rules for that organization, while an unpopular or unconnected group would have to adhere to all the rules," Winmill ruled.
Leave it to Winmill to remind Idaho's power brokers they still answer to the First Amendment.
CHEERS ... to David Adler. Director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University, Adler this week added another compelling argument in favor of expanding Medicaid to more than 75,000 Idaho adults who earn too little to qualify for subsidized health care insurance under Obamacare.
Writing in the Idaho Statesman, Adler referred to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is pushing Medicaid expansion in his state.
Kasich is as conservative as they come. But on this point, he answers to a higher authority.
"Now, when you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he's probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small," Kasich has said. "But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor. You better have a good answer."
Adler added Kasich "... denounced the cruel stereotype that the poor are 'shiftless and lazy.' Some simply can't help it, Kasich explained. He said those who complain about those on the lists of the unemployed should ask themselves if 'their grandparents worked for the WPA,' the Depression-era program that employed millions of Americans."
Because the federal government would cover all of the costs for the first three years and never less than 90 percent thereafter, expanding Medicaid would save Idaho taxpayers about $80 million a year, Idaho businesses an estimated $18 million a year and Idahoans who purchase private health care about $482 million a year.
If economics won't sway Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter and his fellow Republicans in the Legislature, Adler's appeal to conscience should.
JEERS ... to Idaho Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Russ Fulcher of Meridian. In the midst of a "listening tour" to gauge his chances against Otter in next spring's GOP primary, Fulcher got sideways with his own record.
At issue is the state's new Common Core program. That's a bugaboo with the right wing crowd Fulcher needs if he's going to de-throne Otter.
But Fulcher has a problem: He voted for it.
You wouldn't know that from the way Fulcher handled the issue in Pocatello. There, he told the Idaho State Journal's Debbie Bryce lawmakers hadn't acted on Common Core yet.
He knows better. A five-term lawmaker, Fulcher served on the Senate Education Committee when the issue came up two years ago. As Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News reports, Fulcher joined in the discussion and, on Jan. 24, 2011, voted for rules adopting Common Core.
Did Fulcher think someone wouldn't check? - M.T.

Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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