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Andi Elliott: Shocking Lack of Animal Cruelty Laws in Idaho

February 6th, 2014 by Halli

By Andi Elliott

Our animal cruelty laws in Idaho are a sham and too many law enforcement agencies turn a blind eye to those we have. Our legislators in conjunction with the Idaho Department of Agriculture have designed the system so that production animals may even be treated more horrendously than companion animals. We certainly wouldn’t want our farmer/rancher legislators being held accountable for cruel practices.

Now the Idaho Dairy Industry headed by Idaho’s largest dairy, Bettencourt, is today introducing an “Ag Gag” bill designed to keep people from filming acts of animal cruelty on farms. It even goes so far as to make it a first time felony by merely filling out an application for employment for the purposes of doing such. But animal cruelty itself requires three convictions before it becomes a felony.

In 2012 Bettencourt employees were charged with the most egregious animal cruelty. The video is sickening. Needless and wanton acts of animal cruelty on cows that were confined in milking stalls. One employee spent 102 days in jail; others fled, I’m told. Bettencourt Dairy owner says, “I love my animals and I’ve been in the dairy business since I was a kid. Animal care is a number one issue in our facilities.” Really, then why support an Ag Gag Law? What do you have to hide?

Bettencourt is a supplier of milk for Kraft which makes cheese for Wendy’s, MacDonald’s, etc. Call you reps and the companies and tell them “No institutionalized animal cruelty in Idaho!”

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Posted in General, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Property Rights | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Our Devolving Language and Culture

January 8th, 2014 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

Regrettably, our language seems to be devolving much like our social mores have been. In our increasingly morally relativistic culture, our language is morphing, adapting, and redefining each day, with fewer and fewer absolutes, and increasing laxity and less and less conviction.

This is not a surprising development, for in many ways, our language and speech not only mirror, but also magnify what is occurring culturally. Psycholinguists argue inexorably about whether language reflects our perception of reality or helps create it. It appears empirically that they’re concomitant.

American linguist Arika Okrent, has said, “The job of the linguist, like that of the biologist or the botanist, is not to tell us how nature should behave, or what its creations should look like, but to describe those creations in all their messy glory and try to figure out what they can teach us about life, the world, and, especially in the case of linguistics, the workings of the human mind.” If that is correct, contemporary language reveals a vacuous, illogical and slovenly collective human mind in this twenty-first century.

I have marveled for years at the unintelligible gibberish that passes for communication today. Kids who use “like” every third word as if it means something, while in reality, it seems to represent little more than a mental vacuity that exists in the mind of the speaker who can muster nothing more substantive to fill their sentences and paragraphs with. The same seems to apply to the use of “you know,” as employed ad nauseam by people of seemingly equal mental acumen.

I used to tease my children’s friends when they’d say, “It’s, like, cold outside.” I’d respond with, “Good thing it’s just ‘like’ cold, instead of just plain cold, otherwise you may need a coat, or, like, something.”

I’ve not heard anyone on the contemporary cultural stage capture this concept quite as concisely as comedian Taylor Mali, who has a laconic monologue dedicated to the principle. Says Mali, “In case you haven’t realized, it’s become uncool to sound like you know what you’re talking about. Or that you believe in what you’re, like, saying. Invisible question marks, and parenthetical ‘you knows’ and ‘you know what I’m saying,’ have been attaching themselves to the ends of our sentences, even when those sentences aren’t, like, questions.

He continues, “Declarative sentences, so called because they used to, like, declare things to be true, as opposed to other things that are so totally, you know, not. They’ve been infected by this tragically cool and totally hip interrogative tone, as if I’m saying, ‘Don’t think I’m a nerd just because I’ve like noticed this, okay. I have nothing invested in my own personal opinions, I’m just inviting you to join me on the bandwagon of my own uncertainty.’

Mali takes the concept to the next level applying the linguistic vacuity to our relativistic society. He says, “What has happened to our conviction. Where are the limbs upon which we once walked. Have they been chopped down, like the rest of the rainforest, you know? Or do we have, like, nothing to say? Has society just become so filled with these conflicting feelings of nya nya, that we’ve just gotten to the point where we’re the most aggressively inarticulate generation to come along since, a long time ago?”

He concludes with a plea, “So I implore, you. I entreat you, and I challenge you, to speak with conviction. To say what you believe in a manner that bespeaks the determination with which you believe it. Because, contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker, it is not enough these days to simply question authority. You’ve got to speak with it, too.”

This is perhaps not just symptomatic of American English and culture, for Terry Crowley in his book on historical linguistics observed, “It seems that in almost all societies, the attitudes that people have to language change is basically the same. People everywhere tend to say that the older form of a language is ‘better’ than the form that is being used today.”

Words are the communicative devices utilized by mankind to render meaning and common understanding to the mundane as well as the esoteric. Many of the words we use represent absolute concepts and principles, and cannot merely be redefined or altered in practical application without changing the absolute truths upon which they’re based. Words like truth, marriage, and liberty cannot simply be redefined by popular acclaim without vitiating the social conventions, legal institutions, and verities they represent. Otherwise, they become unintelligible gibberish, like the “you knows” and “likes” that are the bane of our contemporary communicative culture; meaningless, trifling, and relativistic.

Perhaps no truer words were uttered by Gore Vidal than, “As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too.” As with societal decadence, perhaps the only recourse for language purists is the heuristic “clinging” to absolutism; standing on linguistic and ethical solid ground while the rest of the world devolves to nihilistic relativism.

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Posted in General, Guest Posts, Pocatello Issues | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Wow! Wisdom from Hollywood

August 27th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

When something substantive emanates from Hollywood, it’s worth taking note of. While so much of the celebrity world, and the pop-culture media, is egocentric, self-aggrandizing, and self-absorbed, infrequently does someone from that environment offer something visionary, insightful, inspiring, and non-hypocritical. Yet Ashton Kutcher did just that as he proffered some wisdom and hope to a youthful crowd this week.

Sunday evening at the Teen Choice Awards, Kutcher was presented the Ultimate Choice Award. His take on the significance of the award may have been implied by his joke about it, as he referenced it being the “old guy award.”

He then said that he wanted to share three things that he thought important for his young audience. And frankly, in retrospect, they’re three important concepts for people of any age.

His first point was, “I believe that opportunity looks a lot like work.” He described the various jobs that he’d had before he succeeded in acting, including helping his dad carry shingles for roofing jobs; a dishwasher at a restaurant; working in a deli at a grocery store, and sweeping the floors of a factory. He continued, “I never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. Every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job and I never quit my job before I had my next job.”

There are so many of all ages today who believe that certain jobs are beneath their dignity, so they choose to not work at all, refuse to accept responsibility for their own lives, and subsist in a state of dependency. But especially with those of Generation Y there seems to be the pervasive expectation of entitlement. They feel entitled to all the comforts their parents worked for years to acquire, but they want it now, and are convinced they’re entitled. Those of Generation Y, especially, must come to realize the self-worth and satisfaction that comes from hard work, and what it does to build character as well as provide for needs and wants, and that there is no job that is “beneath” them, and no perks to which they are entitled.

They’re not even entitled to opportunity, which, as Kutcher explained, looks a lot like “work.” They have to assume responsibility, exhibit discipline, and be trustworthy to earn a shot at a job. Each job, regardless of pay or station, is an opportunity to improve skills, improve character, become more responsible and accountable, thereby preparing for the next opportunity.

Kutcher’s next point appears cavalier, but it conveys much more depth than evident at first blush. He said, “The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful and being generous. Everything else is crap. I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it. Be smart. Be thoughtful and be generous.”

How refreshing! To have someone from the Hollywood in-crowd promoting character and intelligence as “sexy, as opposed to the superficial and physical attributes touted by his entertainment contemporaries! He’s right; everything else is “crap;” the hairdos, the tattoos, the plastic-surgery-enhanced body parts, etc. ad nauseam.

Kutcher’s final point was obviously inspired by his most recent acting role of portraying the inimitable Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, in the just-released movie “Jobs.” He said, “Steve Jobs said when you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is, and that your life is to live your life inside the world and try not to get into too much trouble. Maybe get an education, get a job, make some money, and have a family. But life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing: everything around us that we call life was made up of people that are no smarter than you. And you can build your own things and you can build your own life that other people can live in.”

While not all of us may have the ability to technologically build our world or our life as Jobs did, we can all build our lives, and do more than simply subsist. We build our lives each day by the decisions we make, the volition we exercise, the character we infuse, the judgment we exercise, and the people we serve.

The fact that Kutcher would use his elevated pop-culture status, and such a venue, to promulgate such verities is encouraging. But perhaps even more significant is the fact that video clips of his comments are going viral on the internet. That such positive, elevating, and ennobling rhetoric would resonate with so many around the country is not just a good sign, it’s an indication that there may be room to hope that the heart and soul of our society have not been terminally infected with the debilitating notion of entitlement.

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Posted in Family Matters, General, Guest Posts, Pocatello Issues | No Comments »

Andi Elliott: Animals Never Treat Humans Like This

January 10th, 2011 by Halli

By Andi Elliott

You know…I’ve rescued animals for decades now…and I’ve never known one to be cruel or neglectful towards humans no matter how poorly it had been treated or cared for. Never have I seen a cat leave a human to survive on its own dealing with parasites, disease, and never-ending pregnancies all while expected to provide for its own food and shelter.

Not one horse have I known expected a human to live in a small pen standing in their own filth year after year and with absolutely no shelter from the bitter cold and snow or blazing hot sun and inadequate food and water.

Having dealt with hundreds of dogs, not one of them chained a human up leaving them exposed to the elements with crappy food (have you checked what you’re feeding your dog…if it is loaded with corn and wheat, maybe you should feed it to a cow), and periodic water (yes, animals become dehydrated in cold weather as well as summer). Nor have I seen a dog chain a human and allow, as my cousin says, “any male who happens to wander by” to rape her.

Perhaps we should learn some lessons from the creatures over which we’ve been given dominion.

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Posted in Family Matters, General, Guest Posts, Property Rights | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Boy Scouts of America Hundredth Anniversary

April 12th, 2010 by Halli


By Richard Larsen

While most of us have been preoccupied with events and developments in Washington and the around the world, a first class organization dedicated to the development of character, leadership qualities, citizenship and personal fitness in youth achieved a landmark recently. Praised by parents whose children have been groomed and nurtured by it and loved by the boys who learn so much from it, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) celebrated its centennial in February.

Robert Baden-Powell was concerned with the lack of direction manifest by young men 100 years ago and resolved he had to do something. He founded the Boy Scouts with a vision of teaching boys the codes of chivalry and Victorian virtues, a la King Arthur’s Round Table. He was convinced the reason that story resonated with young men was because it represented the convergence of strength and goodness.

Baden-Powell stated that the aim of the new organization was “…to develop among boys a power of sympathizing with others, and a spirit of self-sacrifice and patriotism.” His Scouting manual, according to historian Paul Fussell, is a “book about goodness,” as it taught fundamental acts of selflessness, service and citizenship. The original manual was replete with dicta of chivalry. “A Scout is friendly, courteous, kind, cheerful, brave.”

“When in difficulty to know which of two things to do, [the Scout] must ask himself, ‘Which is my duty?’ that is, ‘Which is best for other people?’—and do that one.”

A Scout is “polite to all, especially to women, children, old people, and the weak and helpless.” He must obey an ironclad law of personal integrity: “If a Scout were to break his honour by telling a lie . . . he would cease to be a Scout—he loses his life,” Baden-Powell warned.

The positive impact the BSA has had on the nation is inestimable. In 2000, the BSA achieved the landmark of 100 millionth Scout since its inception in 1910. Just last year they celebrated the two millionth Eagle Scout award, which represents the pinnacle of youth advancement. To receive the award a requisite mastery of skills, knowledge and character development must be attained.

Today, there are over three million Scouts and 1.2 million adult leaders nationwide. In Eastern Idaho, there are 21,000 youth and over 10,000 adult leaders associated with the BSA. Over 600 young men achieved their Eagle Scout award last year, providing over 45,000 service hours to Eastern Idaho communities in the process, according to Clarke Farrer, Scout Executive for the Grand Teton Council.

Research conducted and compiled by Harris & Associates indicates conclusively that “Young men with strong Scouting backgrounds maintain higher ethical standards, attain higher educational levels, and show less antisocial behavior than do those with no Scouting background.” The research concluded that such positive results are due to Scouting effectively addressing what experts consider to be the “…six critical elements of healthy youth development: (1) strong personal values and character, (2) a positive sense of self-worth and usefulness, (3) caring and nurturing relationships with parents, other adults, and peers, (4) a desire to learn, (5) productive/creative use of time, and (6) social adeptness.”

In today’s climate of self-destructive, antisocial and violent behavior among our youth the goals of Scouting seem anachronistic, like a beacon of light and hope for young men. Any organization that strives to inculcate values, character, and teach valuable skills in a fun and safe environment deserves our individual and collective support.

Some may scoff at the idea of the “safe” environment in light of some regrettable events in recent years. As long as mortals are involved, there is a chance of error, regardless of how good the institution and the precautions taken to prevent problems. Yet according to the Harris research, 98% of young men feel safe in the Scouting environment. Statistically, that’s probably much higher than how many young people feel safe in their own homes.

Perhaps not surprisingly, those most critical, and who seek to do the most harm to Scouting, are the same ones who do all they can to put the youth more at risk by forcing the BSA to allow avowed homosexuals into the program. But we have learned to expect that from the ACLU and others who, rather than create organizations to their specifications, strive to destroy that which is good and noble.

Scouts promise, “On my honor I will do my best. To do my duty to God and my country…” How refreshing in this day and age! The BSA, our local council, and our local units deserve our support, financial and otherwise. There are so many destructive forces working on our children, we need all the positive reinforcement we can get, like we get from the Boy Scouts of America.

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Posted in Family Matters, General, Guest Posts | No Comments »

An Opportunity to Help Senior Pet Owners and Their Companions

December 29th, 2008 by Halli

Thanks to Andi Elliott, president of the Humane Society of the Upper Valley, charitable pet lovers in the area can help sponsor pets belonging to senior citizens, as well as special needs pets.

Many seniors are on fixed incomes and especially in difficult financial times may struggle to feed and care for their pets. In many cases, they have rescued these pets.

And some pets currently in foster homes have special health needs or circumstances that prevent them from being adopted. This stresses the resources of their foster “parents”.

Both situations can be addressed with tax-deductible donations to For the Love of Pets, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Humane Society of the Upper Valley.

Donations can be directed to the vet or distributed using vouchers for pet food, depending upon the need. Both one-time donations and monthly contributions are greatly appreciated. Visit the website for contact information.

Please consider financial support of this worthy cause!

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Posted in Family Matters, General, Idaho Falls Issues, Taxes | No Comments »

Guest Post: The Importance of Not Taking Things for Granted

December 3rd, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Those things we take most for granted are often the things for which we should be most grateful. Especially in this privileged country where the blessings enjoyed by all have come through the sacrifice of others, and the blessings enjoyed by many come because of the absence of limitations prevalent in other countries.

Our freedoms are often taken for granted, and consequently, we assume they will always be there. But as we observe the trends granting increasing power over our lives to governmental authority, we can only pray and hope that the day will not come when we look back longingly at the freedoms once enjoyed here.

Those who wear and have worn the nation’s military uniforms are often taken for granted. But it is imperative that we acknowledge that at this time of no conscription that they wear the uniform and shoulder the attendant responsibilities of their own volition. We are not just free because of the wars and conflicts they fight or have fought, but also by their very presence and vigilance they ward off other threats to our liberty and our very existence. We are direct beneficiaries of their service. We can only surmise how differently we may have emerged from the cold war had we not maintained such a powerful global military presence.

As the nation struggles through the current financial difficulties, we realize how generally good the economy has been for the past eight years. Something we have again taken for granted. The media have painted a different picture during that time of how bad the economy was. Every report from employment to GDP growth rate was scrutinized to the point where, regardless of the positive elements, it was somehow twisted to where miniscule pejoratives eclipsed the positives. It could be that there was an agenda behind such uniformly negative reporting, or perhaps it’s just that bad news sells better than good. But then again, maybe we’re just too gullible as a people and swallow the headlines rather than reading, digesting, and thinking through the details on our own.

Sometimes what we take most for granted are people whom we love and assume will always be there for us. Then when they are not, our hearts yearn for their return, whether they departed of their own volition or because of the frailty of mortality. Even eighteen years after my mother’s passing from breast cancer and five years after my father died there is still not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them, long for their insights, wisdom, and their nurturing encouragement.

These are but a few examples of what we sometimes take for granted, but perhaps the best thing for each of us to ponder what applies most. What blessings, privileges, and relationships do you most treasure and would be most bereft of if they were no longer in your life? Tell those who most profoundly touch your life how you feel, and then have the wisdom to bask in the warmth of those relationships as often and as much as possible. For those blessings, both tangible and abstract that are not relationship based, do as the early Pilgrims did. According to William Bradford, “he did fall down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing.” Ultimately, since all blessings are bestowed by God, we express our deepest gratitude to him for our country, our state, our families, and the blessings that are ours to enjoy.

Chuck Swindoll made a statement years ago that has profoundly shaped my attitude about life, and about gratitude itself. He said, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

The realization that we have control over our attitude will not only significantly enrich the quality of our lives, but it will lead us to what Eniko Jordan last week called the “attitude of gratitude” which we celebrate this week. That same attitude precludes the possibility of taking things for granted and causes us to acknowledge our dependence upon each other and upon God for the blessings that are ours.

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Posted in General, Guest Posts | No Comments »

Guest Post: The Ugly Treatment of Sarah Palin

September 4th, 2008 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

The left’s reaction to Sarah Palin should remind our friends of another dark moment in recent history: the “electronic lynching” of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Because Palin and Thomas both represent fundamental challenges to liberal orthodoxy – one can only imagine that the attacks on Palin will become ever more frantic, ever more vicious, and ever more hypocritical.

Within moments of her announcement, the Obama campaign launched a classic sexist attack on Palin’s “lack of qualifications” for Vice-President. In doing so, they reminded voters of their treatment of Hillary Clinton during the primary campaign; they also scratched the scab of Obama’s infamous remarks about “angry small town America” while being feted by the elites of San Francisco.

To his credit, Sen. Obama moved quickly to squelch such dismissive treatment of a sitting governor. A couple days later, Obama made it clear that he would not stand for attacks on Palin’s children as part of his campaign. (It may be one of his finest moments). Unfortunately, his fellow-travelers will not be leashed.

Palin represents a substantial and direct threat to modern feminism. She is an intelligent, powerful woman who has thought her way free of liberal orthodoxy. She is a woman, of course, but a woman who has rejected the destructive principles of feminism. For that she cannot be forgiven. For that she must be destroyed.

Just as racist rhetoric and tactics have been used by the Left in their efforts to destroy conservative blacks like Justice Thomas and Secretary Rice – so sexism will be used by feminists to keep a powerful woman like Sarah Palin from becoming an American icon of a different value system.

If there is a silver lining to all this, it may be that Americans will get a hard lesson in the hypocrisy and deceits of the Left.

We urge our readers to be in serious prayer for Mrs. Palin and her family. They are certain to be tested in ways that will hard to believe.

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Posted in Family Matters, General, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | 1 Comment »

Idaho Falls Newspaper Can’t Have It Both Ways

August 14th, 2007 by Halli

In a previous post, I pointed out that the Idaho Falls newspaper appears to be losing it’s grip. It failed for several days to report important local news about convicted former county and city prosecutor, Kimball Mason. And it placed the story about the Minneapolis bridge collapse on page 5 the morning after it occurred.

In response to complaints about their coverage, the newspaper’s acting executive editor, Monte LaOrange, states that:

While the Post Register strives to have a complete, daily balance of nation, world, regional and local news, we will almost always run local stories and stories of local interest in the most prominent positions.

Yes, remember that the above-the-fold story on August 2nd, the day after the bridge collapse, concerned an Idaho Falls High School graduate working to overcome bacterial antibiotic resistance. This is a story that, while well-written, had probably been completed and in the hopper for several days, if not weeks. Not really “new” news.

Yet today we find on the front page articles entitled “NASA conducts tests to assess shuttle gouge” and “Rove was good, bad and did it smugly”, both fresh national stories. (Granted, neither was “above the fold”.)

Come on, newspaper. You can’t have it both ways.

Why don’t you just admit that you hate to mess up the front page when you have it “put to bed” after deadline?

And admit that when there isn’t much local news, you grab some national headlines and stuff them on the front page. The make-up of your front page is driven to a large extent by what is already written, and what fits the available space.

Perhaps there’s a little laziness revealed here.

And your readers will admit that you are becoming much less relevant – and much more like the weekly “feature” newspaper that has very little to do with daily life in southeastern Idaho.

Local television stations are doing a much better job of keeping up on local news, though they are unable to deliver the depth that a newspaper can.

It’s tough for a newspaper to be shoved aside by more immediate news sources. At least you have company, as newspapers across the nation shrink in advertising revenue and readership.

But, then again, you could always offer another “75% off” sale on subscriptions to some of your readers, while the rest pay full price.

That’s sure to keep ‘em happy.

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Posted in General, Idaho Falls Issues, Politics in General | 9 Comments »

Contact Congressman Bill Sali with Words of Support

August 13th, 2007 by Halli

I join with Bryan Fischer, of Idaho Values Alliance, in urging all who support Rep. Bill Sali’s principled stand against Hindu prayers in Congress to contact one of Sali’s offices to offer support.

The vitriol leveled at Rep. Sali has been a bit surprising, given the fact that most unbiased observers still call the United States a Christian nation.

To contact Rep. Sali, call his Boise office at 208-336-9831, or visit his website for other options.

It is critically important that the distinction be made between freedom of religion, as guaranteed by our Bill of Rights, and prayers offered in Congress. As Rep. Sali correctly observes, our nation was founded on the belief in one God, the God of the Old and New Testaments, not a multiplicity of gods revered by Hindus.

I believe his concerns for our nation’s future are justified. Neither Hinduism, Islam nor any religion but Christianity have resulted in such freedom and prosperity as seen in the United States.

I urge you to take a moment and contact Rep. Sali with your words of support.

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, General, Politics in General | 13 Comments »

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