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Guest Post: Queenie

January 31st, 2009 by Halli

From Andi Elliott, President of the Humane Society of the Upper Valley

Finally, Mom had said “yes”. We could have a puppy! Saturday took forever to arrive and that morning we all climbed into the car and off we went to acquire a puppy.

Her name was Queenie…a tiny 6 week-old Shepherd mix. Queenie spent the weekend in the house with the family and we all had a great time playing with her. Dad spent Saturday building a doghouse. Sunday evening, Mom said we had to take Queenie out to the doghouse. Sadly, we carried the tiny puppy outside and fastened the chain to her collar.

I can’t remember how many weeks or months Queenie whined and cried to rejoin her family. We would go out and play with her but after awhile that lost its attraction. How much fun was it play with a dog when we weren’t allowed to unchain it?

We began leaving for college and on our home visits, I don’t remember any of us ever going out back to say “hi” to Queenie. Sometime after graduation, Dad told me during the course of casual conversation, that Queenie had died. I choked thinking back to that puppy on the chain and realizing that she had spent 14 years on that very same chain without anyone doing any more for her than giving her food and water once a day. I vowed that it would never happen to a pet of mine again. I often think of how Queenie would have much rather had one day of freedom than a lifetime of captivity.

So, just how cruel is it to condemn a dog to a life on a chain or in a pen? According to Idaho law, only food, shelter, water, and needed veterinary care are required and many of our county dogs don’t even receive this basic care.

Dogs are pack animals and to deprive them of this basic need is inhumane…it’s akin to solitary confinement for a human. Chained dogs are responsible for the deaths and mauling of hundreds of children as they become isolated and protective of their tiny space. There have been a couple of very sad cases in the news lately where children have been killed by tethered dogs.

And how many chained dogs don’t have adequate shelter and receive minimal food? Water in our climate freezes in a matter of hours during the winter. How many of us go out and offer them water 4 to 5 times day? How many hours would you want to go between drinks? That rug or blanket you put in the house froze solid way back in November and the poor animal must spent the remaining winter lying either outside exposed to the cold or huddled in a shivering ball trying to maintain body heat. Poor quality of food decreases their ability to even keep themselves warm and adds to their misery. Isn’t this just another form of torture?

And how about summer time? The heat is blistering and a doghouse in the sun is akin to an oven. Yet, how many chained dogs have no access to shade and fresh water? This is simply another form of torture…it’s animal cruelty.

Those of us in rescue are well aware that all across our nation is a movement to limit and prohibit the chaining of dogs. Our neighbor next door, Idaho Falls, is also stepping up to the plate and such a measure will be introduced to the City Council this month. I urge everyone who knows of a “Queenie” to attend and support this measure. Perhaps we can begin to institute measures in Jefferson County to prevent more “Queenies” . With enough concerned citizens, we can prevent this form of cruelty and improve the life of a lot of dogs. And, in doing so, prevent more children from being injured or even killed by a chained dog…a dog that is powerless to prevent this cruelty perpetuated upon him by his owner.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Falls Issues, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

Guest Post: Inauguration Day

January 31st, 2009 by Halli

From Andi Elliott

Don’t understand this one darn bit. You say I ‘m suppose to support this Hussein fella. Why would I do that? (Sounds like some foreign enemy of my country, if you ask me.) You want me to support someone whose ideas are ’bout as far apart from mine as the head and tail on a horse. That’s like wanting me to support another man’s business that’s competin’ with mine. Where’s the sense in that?

From the goin’s on I saw today on TV…it was an exclusive event all right (and expensive) …exclusive of the culture of the majority and brimmin’ with minority culture. That ain’t drawing me into the fold.

The only thing that I can see that makes people think this guy is so swell is his color. I don’t bet on horses because of their color. I place my bets on proven performance and “community organizer” ain’t no training ground for the presidency… even if it’s working with Chicago thugs.

I judge a man by the company he keeps. The friends of Barack (or Bill) have caused trouble before. Do ya’ wonder how our Treasury Department with a tax evader at the helm is going to stay afloat…bet this ship is grounded in short order. Looks like we have a “lamp totin’ ” Secretary of State. Wonder what she’ll throw when she doesn’t get her way in some sub-Sahara hut.

Well, common sense tells me that I’m keepin’ my guns, freedom, and money…you can keep “the change”.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Guest Post: Another Pro-Life Battle on the Senate Floor

January 30th, 2009 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

Sen. Orin Hatch went to battle again yesterday morning on behalf of preborn children. This second battle of the week involved a heroic effort to save President Bush’s policy of allowing preborn children to qualify for benefits under the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

That provision was created by an Executive Order in 2002, and is expected to be scrapped by President Obama. Over the past six years, 14 states have taken advantage of the opportunity to provide greater help to women faced with crisis pregnancies.

Unfortunately, Idaho is not one of them. We narrowly lost a fierce battle in the 2003 legislative session to expand protections of preborn children. With yesterday’s defeat of the Hatch Amendment, Idaho has lost the opportunity for the foreseeable future.

Sen. Hatch was supported by both of Idaho’s senators, Crapo and Risch, in trying to codify the preborn provision in federal statute. The amendment was defeated 39 – 59.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

Guest Post: Pro-Life Senators Wage Battle to Defend Life, Taxpayers and America’s Honor

January 29th, 2009 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

An honorable battle was waged yesterday morning on the floor of the United States Senate by pro-Life legislators hoping to save this nation from the ignominy of exporting abortion to foreign countries.

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) offered an amendment to protect the Mexico City policy inaugurated by President Reagan but recently overturned by President Obama through an Executive Order. The Mexico City Policy prohibits the use of U.S. tax dollars from being used overseas to fund or promote abortions.

The Martinez Amendment was defeated on a 37-60 vote. Idaho’s pro-Life champions, Sens. Crapo and Risch, supported Sen. Martinez’ effort to protect America’s honor.

“Taxpayers should never be forced to pay for the destruction of human life, here at home or overseas,” said Sen. Jim DeMint. “President Obama campaigned on a platform of reducing abortions, yet one of his first official acts was to force millions of American taxpayers who find this practice immoral to pay for more abortions overseas.”

DeMint went on to observe that the new Obama policy may force countries with strong pro-Life laws to reduce their protection of preborn children in order to receive U.S. foreign aid.

We commend these senators for their willingness to resist the new order of moral tyranny.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Idaho House Highlights: January 28

January 28th, 2009 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher

There are a lot of fascinating things that happen in life and every so often you even get to experience them if you are just paying attention. It is no different around the Idaho House but to experience some of this stuff you have to really be paying attention.

As the activities on the House Floor begin each day there are a number of routine matters that occupy the first few minutes. Sometimes members are busy reading their mail or checking on personal items and they miss what goes on in the first few orders of business. There are two of these times I like to listen carefully, the introduction of bills and to which committee a bill is referred. An interesting one happened the other day when a bill was read across the desk and it caught my attention quickly. It was a personal bill of a North Idaho legislator repealing all sales tax exemptions except for medical bills and prescription drugs. I looked around and saw that few noticed that little (or not so little) item. Even more noteworthy was to hear it referred to a committee (Ways and Means) where it is not likely to see the light of day. In a nutshell that kind of legislation would cause such a huge tax burden that it would have serious consequences to the economy of Idaho.

The rules reviewing we do at the beginning of each session is another one of those places where it pays to pay attention. This can be a little more difficult because sometimes the intent of the agencies can be unclear to legislators. After all they do this all year long and we have but brief encounters with some of this stuff. Legislators sometimes don’t become aware of rule problems until they adversely affect our constituents.

I was assigned to review a set of rules in a Health and Welfare subcommittee dealing with child protection and foster care. As I started to study the rules in depth I found some processes being put in rule that concern me. The length of time a child can be kept in foster care as described in these rules is much too long. To a child in this type of situation even sixty days can seem like an eternity and the rule provides for up to two years, with mandatory reviews every six months. This one definitely needs some work.

One thing that is different this year than others is that everyone seems to be paying more attention to what is going on with the budgeting process. The usual mode of operation is to leave these matters to JFAC. On what we would call normal years there is not a lot of attention until the actual budget is done. This time members are getting more calls and e-mails about proposed budget cuts so they seem to want to know more about how we are going to make ends meet.

Another area where more folks around here seem to be devoting more attention is the Fish and Game request for higher fees. And mixed up in these discussions is what is going on with wolves and predators of all kinds. One friend commented to me that Fish and Game would probably have all the revenue they could ever use if they just had more product. And now Fish and Game has come full circle. I can remember reading news accounts of when they were eagerly supporting wolf re-introduction and now they are requesting permission to kill wolves in North Idaho.

As we have now completed the work of the first two weeks of the session, the committees are up and running with rules to complete and all kinds of new laws to consider. So you might say we are paying attention to our work but the real question is yet to be answered. Will we be paying attention to detail?

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Idaho Legislature, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

Guest Post: Crapo Votes to Confirm Tax-cheat Geithner, Risch Votes No

January 27th, 2009 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

Timothy Geithner, a tax-dodger who pocketed money he was paid to take care of his self-employment tax, was confirmed yesterday on a 64-30 vote in the U.S. Senate. We now have a certified and self-confessed “tax cheat” – to use liberal Republican Susan Collins’s words – in charge of the IRS.

While Sen. Crapo voted with the majority to confirm Geithner, freshman senator Jim Risch exercised a bit of independence and voted against confirmation. The minimum we should expect from the overseer of the IRS is a guy who pays his own taxes without being forced to cough them up as a result of background checks.

Speaking of independence, freshman representative Walt Minnick has some conservative fiscal instincts – he voted against the boondoggle stimulus package – and may actually and remarkably pull Rep. Mike Simpson in a more conservative direction on economic policy.

At one point, Simpson got a rating of just 4% for fiscal restraint during the last session of Congress from the Club for Growth, at a time when the average Democrat graded out at 20%. (Former Rep. Bill Sali, a true friend of the taxpayer, graded out at 94%.)

I predict that the Democrats will let Minnick go off reservation on any number of fiscal votes because they know he needs to paint himself as a fiscal conservative to hold his seat in 2010, and because with the huge majority they have in the House they won’t actually need his vote very often.

Simpson can hardly afford to let himself be painted as more liberal on tax-and-spend policies than his Democrat counterpart, and so it’s likely that he will be paying a lot of attention to Minnick’s voting record over the next two years. In fact, his vote on fiscal issues may be influenced more by what Minnick does than anything else.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

Guest Post: Pelosi’s Outrageous Bailout of Planned Parenthood

January 27th, 2009 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

The details are all too sketchy – an important enough outrage when talking about elected “representatives” spending public tax dollars – but it appears that Speaker Pelosi is about to give billions of dollars to her pals at Planned Parenthood under the guise of “economic stimulus”.

The first report of this scam came from Rep. John Boehner, who complained last week that Pelosi and President Obama were preparing to spend “millions on contraceptives” as part of their secret stimulus bill, now pending on the House floor. A search of various media on the internet produced little detail about exactly what Pelosi and Company are up to. How much money? How will it get spent? The best information we’ve discovered so far comes from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle (01.26.09).

That paper reports that we are not talking “millions” for Planned Parenthood – or even “hundreds of millions”, but probably billions. The specific provision at question is the one in the “stimulus” bill that would provide $87 billion in new money for the states to spend on Medicaid and expanded “Family Planning Grants”.

This money would be in addition to the roughly $350 million in current Congressional funding for Title X grants – most of which goes to Planned Parenthood.

It is difficult to nail down the specific numbers because Pelosi & Co. will, apparently, provide the $87 billion to the states in the form of a special block grant, with only general direction that it be spent on Medicaid and Family Planning services. Thus, President Obama can escape most of the political fall-out for providing a 200% – 500% windfall to his political allies at Planned Parenthood. The money will filter into Planned Parenthood’s coffers via one un-elected bureaucrat after the other in the various states, leaving Obama free to pursue his personal charm tour.

As bad as all this seems, Speaker Pelosi made matters worse with an interview over the weekend. George Stephanopoulos (of all people) challenged her on the notion that expanded access to contraceptives was somehow related to emergency economic development spending. Her answer reveals the contempt with which she holds human life:

“Well, the family planning services reduce cost …. [O]ne of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception will reduce costs to the states and federal government.”

Not only is there a not-so-subtle infusion of eugenic philosophy in that statement, Pelosi reveals a terrible grasp of economics. It is not stuff or government or raw materials which matter most in building a strong economy: It is people. An economy is built by and for people; we give value to those raw materials through our ingenuity and labor.

Just ask the Japanese, who are begging couples to have enough children to sustain their economy and culture. Things have gotten so precarious that Canon has announced two mandatory short days each week, so employees can go home to be with their families. Company leaders are explicit in their hope that more personal time will lead to bigger and stronger families.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

Guest Post: The Truth Bush Critics Don’t Want to Accept

January 26th, 2009 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

There is a segment of our population that considers itself superior in intellect, tolerance, and compassion. Yet they almost universally display a regrettable characteristic when confronted with an ideologically contrary view. Their actions, words, and dispositions become antithetical to their avowed values.

That fact is made clear by the intellectually dishonest, intolerant, and mean-spirited fashion by which they treated our former president. By all accounts, those who know George W. Bush or have worked with him have nearly unanimously expressed appreciation for how respectful, genuine, and likable he is. Unlike most who lust for leadership, he is uncharacteristically not full of himself, doesn’t take himself too seriously, is not egocentric, and doesn’t minimize others to advance himself. In short, he is a good, honest, and decent man by firsthand accounts, which is a far cry from what is said by those who don’t know him.

During his eight years as president, he faced more calamities, crises, and major decisions than most, and made intensely difficult decisions with regularity. There is no evidence from eight years of service that he did anything for his own aggrandizement. Contrary to empty claims to the contrary, there is no empirical evidence Iraq was about oil for his “oil buddies” or Haliburton. He wasn’t peddling text books tuned in to the No Child Left Behind Act. For all intents and purposes, it appears he made all decisions based on what he felt was right for the country.

I remember listening to an interview of then Secretary of Education, Rod Paige during the first term. Paige, a Democrat in a Republican administration, was asked what it was like to serve with President Bush. Paige replied, “You don’t know what a thrill it is to work with someone of his caliber who makes all of his decisions based on principle rather than political expediency.”

Freedom and liberty were central themes and values to Bush, both domestically and globally. They were evidenced in economic policy, foreign policy, and his social orientation. The two areas of criticism most frequently hurled his direction that to a superficial mind might seem in opposition to those principles were regarding abortion and anti-terrorism tactics. But even in those areas, higher principles governed, for protection and preservation of life trumps the freedom to kill the unborn, and the primary constitutional requirement of the government to protect our nation trumps individual freedom from monitoring while calling terrorists in foreign lands and funneling money to terrorist groups.

Many criticize or object to Bush’s decisions, but there is ample evidence that Paige’s perception is an objective one. The animus, abject hatred, and vilification of the man especially by those claiming to be so tolerant and compassionate is beyond my comprehension. I have always thought as people matured, they could make the distinction between disagreeing and being disagreeable; that they could honestly express opposition to an opinion or policy, and yet not be hateful and demeaning to those with whom they disagree. Obviously, that level of maturity is not attainable by many in our society, including virtually all of the mainstream media, the Hollywood effete, those who are too ideological or intellectually lazy and rely on only mainstream media accounts to shape their opinion of him, and much of academia which seems to bask in the unwarranted air of superiority created by maligning the 43rd president of the United States.

Bush actually is much more similar to Lincoln in terms of leadership characteristics, ideology, and conviction to values and principles than our new president. Lincoln’s famous comments from his second inaugural address, “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in…” fit Bush to a tee. He even refused to refute or lash out at his critics, and instead seemed to simply “turn the other cheek” in response to their denigration.

A few years ago, a couple of scholars wrote a book about the leadership genius of George W. Bush. Those experts identified the traits that made of him a great leader, even though the traits were not universally recognized. They identified his trustworthiness, his persistence in hiring the good people and scrupulously not micro-managing them, his approach to forthrightness and honesty, and his practice of always holding other people accountable.

In spite of his penchant for making up words (which Mark Twain once said was totally acceptable), and his southern drawl, there is little evidence that the man is as vapid as his critics have charged. You don’t graduate from Yale or Harvard Business School, even by Bush’s own account as an “average student,” unless you have intelligence. Perhaps the ultimate compliment came from one of his most ardent critics, Chuck Shumer, Democrat Senator from New York, who after a losing another in a series of senate votes was overheard to say of Bush, “How does he always beat us like that?” For all his presumed incompetence, he was remarkably successful in getting his way with those who thought they were the sharpest tacks in Washington. No wonder he was so “misunderestimated.”

While there were many policy issues I objected to over his eight years as president, I will always be grateful for his steady and reasoned hand at the helm of state in some of the most challenging times for our republic. And I can only hope that we will mature as a citizenry to the point where we can disagree with our elected officials without reviling and belittling them. Can we get to that point? I say, “Yes we can!”

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Posted in Guest Posts, Presidential Politics | 1 Comment »

Guest Post: Nampa Does Right Thing to Reserve “Family” Passes for Families

January 26th, 2009 by Halli

from Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

The Nampa Recreation Center has rightly rejected a “family pass” application from a same-sex couple, for the simple reason that the couple is not a “family” according to the Idaho constitution.

There is no anti-gay discrimination here, because the policy applies to all couples living together outside of marriage, whether they happen to be heterosexual or homosexual.

Plus, the lesbian couple is welcome to purchase individual passes if they choose. They are just not going to have the city of Nampa call their arrangement a “marriage” or a “family.”

The Idaho legislature went to considerable trouble in 2006 to amend our state constitution to define marriage exclusively as the union of a man and a woman, and to prohibit recognition of marriage counterfeits such as domestic partnerships and civil unions. The amendment was approved by an overwhelming 63% of voters at the polls.

In fact, as an entity of the city of Nampa, the Rec Center is constitutionally prohibited from granting this kind of recognition, and would be in violation of Idaho’s constitution to do so.

Private recreation centers, such as the YMCA, Anytime Fitness and the Idaho Athletic Club can do anything they want, and seem quite happy to grant “family” passes to homosexual and lesbian couples.

But political subdivisions of the state, of which Nampa is one, are honor-bound to respect the will of the people in reserving marriage recognition exclusively for the relationship of one man and one woman.

In fact, the Nampa Rec Center has actually shown the way forward for private companies by providing an example for them to follow. It would be a simple thing for private employers, in awarding privileges and benefits and so forth, to use the definition of marriage provided by the state of Idaho.

It will be intriguing to see if homosexual activists attempt to make this a cause célèbre. Since this couple can in fact get family passes any number of places, if gay groups try to pressure Nampa to capitulate it will clearly be because they are driven by an insistent demand that homosexual behavior receive society’s highest endorsement and approval and be treated as the moral equivalent of natural marriage.

To this we must say a polite, courteous, respectful and firm “No.”

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature | No Comments »

Guest Post: The First Anvil Falls

January 26th, 2009 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

A flickering hope was extinguished late Friday, when President Obama took his first decisive step toward imposing unrestricted abortion on America, and, indeed the world. His executive order allows US taxpayer dollars to be used in committing abortions against women and preborn children in other nations. It is heartbreaking to contemplate, but America is again an exporter of death.

As his first week in office passed, a flickering hope had kindled that perhaps Obama would not actually deliver all that he had promised the Abortion Lobby. But Friday’s action proves that thought more foolish than forlorn.

The first of many anvils has hit with a sickening thud. The deadly regime of Barack Obama has truly begun.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

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