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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 »

A Week at Scout Camp

August 13th, 2007 by Halli

If you’ve detected a slow-down in posts, you are very perceptive. I’ve just returned from a most wonderful week spent on the staff of “Akela’s Trail”, our Grand Teton Council’s adult Cub Scout leader training. I left a few posts to appear automatically, but was unable to write anything current.

But it was a week well-spent, serving with the world’s greatest (really!) Cub Scout leaders, getting to know many good people, and helping 5 camp participants learn more about this program for 7-10-yr-old boys. The weather was even great, though very warm.

My preparation for the camp was time-consuming, but every minute I spent beforehand was well worth the pay-off. Funny how helping other people works out that way.

Both the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs are gearing up for September when they kick off for the new school year. If you serve in a Scouting program, I applaud you. If you don’t, I would urge you to volunteer. It’s a great way to give back to the community and help assure our nation’s future by training tomorrow’s leaders.

By the way, Boy Scouts of America turns the ripe old age of 100 this month.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BOY SCOUTS!

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Posted in Education, Family Matters, General | No Comments »

Idaho Falls Newspaper Losing Its Grip?

August 2nd, 2007 by Halli

It’s a paper – but is it “news”?

Idaho Falls newspaper readers used to expect to read actual news in their paper – you know, events happening locally, in the nation and around the world. Recently, discriminating readers who have access to other news sources must ask if the paper has abandoned it’s traditional role.

Two cases in point:

Recently the Idaho Falls paper neglected to report a request for leniency by former county and city prosecutor Kimball Mason, convicted of corruption, until several days after the fact. The Pocatello television station apparently broke the story at least one if not two days earlier. (Though KPVI has the story dated July 25, I read it on their site on July 24. The paper reported it on July 26.) See related post.

And today, when national news stations and internet news sites are crushed under burgeoning stories of the 6:10pm, MDT, Minneapolis bridge collapse, the Idaho Falls paper relegates the story to minimal space on page 5.

Huh?

I can hear the newspaper editorial staff now: a bridge collapse in Minneapolis is hardly news in Idaho Falls.

I beg to differ, for a variety of reasons.

First, every motorist in the nation drives over bridges every day, with nary a thought to their structural integrity. We trust our government engineers implicitly. Failures like this are only supposed to happen in third world nations. Perhaps we are not safe on our roads and bridges.

Second, every American must admit to at least the fleeting thought that this disaster may have been caused by terrorists. We are currently being assured that this is not the case, but certainly in-depth investigations will take months, if not years.

It is possible, indeed, likely, that some Idaho Falls residents have lived in Minneapolis, and/or have friends or family there. They, of course, are very anxious for news on the tragedy.

And finally, there is the basic human interest element when cars, pedestrians and cyclists are unexpectedly plummeted into a large river, and the resulting rescue operation commences.

In defense of the newspaper, today’s front page stories are of some local interest: a graduate of an Idaho Falls high school works to conquer bacterial antibiotic resistance; the police department takes bids on firearms in the evidence room (since Kimball Mason is no longer helping himself to them), and – SURPRISE! – the Boy Scouts are 100 years old. (The newspaper has a long-standing history of hatred of the Boy Scouts of America.) But nothing with the urgency of a bridge collapse. These stories were written and submitted hours or days before last evening’s disaster.

Still, many Idaho Falls residents must be scratching their heads this morning. Is it laziness on the part of newspaper workers, who must “put the paper to bed” before they themselves can go home? Is it misjudgment? In the case of the Kimball Mason story, is it failure to adequately gather the news? Is it simply an acceptable liability of printing an early morning newspaper? Or are newspaper employees so insulated from the outside world that they failed to gauge the enormity of the Minneapolis catastrophe?

Whatever the cause, more and more local residents will be turning to other sources for their news. And perhaps that is a good thing.

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Posted in General, Idaho Falls Issues, Politics in General | 2 Comments »

Guest Opinion from Rep. Bill Sali: Congress Should Not Get a Pay Raise

August 1st, 2007 by Halli

By Congressman Bill Sali (01-Idaho)

Recently, I voted against a bill not only because of what it contained but what it DID NOT contain: The bill did not put a stop to the automatic annual increases in congressional salaries. I think most people would agree with me that members of Congress should not get a raise when many of the people we work for — the people of the United States — do not.

In addition, Congress does not deserve a raise today because spending remains out of control. Since January, the new Democrat majority has authorized billions of dollars in new spending. With all that new spending — much of it on new programs or existing programs that don’t work — your taxes are sure to go up. It will likely be the biggest tax increase in the history of our country — more than $400 billion. I’m doing everything I can to stop this tax increase, but as you can tell, there’s a tough fight ahead.

I’m also concerned about the toll current economic conditions are having on you and your wallet in the 1st Congressional District. Gas prices are up. Food prices are up. Despite boom economic times generally, many middle-income families are fighting their own budget battles every week. Because I believe Congress must be fiscally responsible, my “no” vote was an easy one for me to make. Government must live within its means, and there is no better place for your Congress to start than by keeping its own salaries where they are.

What’s more, most Americans believe Congress collectively is not doing a very good job. I too want Congress to do a better job for our country. Here are some ways I believe Congress has come up short:

* Congress has failed to cut the role and size of government in the lives of Americans. This Congress has only continued to increase spending and authorizing new programs.

* Congress has failed to address the immigration problem. In fact, today we have Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff telling us that he has a “gut feeling” that a terrorist attack is imminent here in America this summer. The Administration has taken significant yet still insufficient steps to better secure our borders. Still, there are 12-20 million illegal aliens in America today. We don’t know where they are or what they’re doing – whether they are here to work or whether they’re here to commit crimes that put our friends and families in harm’s way. Of course, the great majority are here to earn income for their families. But some are not – they mean us ill. That makes securing our borders all the more critical.

* Congress has failed to address America’s energy problems. In fact, Congress is gearing up to pass an energy bill I believe is a “no-energy” bill and, in some cases, even penalizes the use of our own domestic energy resources. This legislation will likely result in fuel shortages and higher prices the likes of which we haven’t seen since the 1970s. We will be left importing more than 60 percent of our crude oil and essentially letting OPEC set the price we pay at the pump.

* Congress has failed to do a good job supporting our troops, fighting the war on terror and providing the resources to end the war in Iraq. It took Congress far too long to approve the money needed to get the job done in Iraq and fight against the jihadists who want us dead. Additionally, Congress decided that foreign policy is a horse-trading affair; in one instance, in order for me to vote to protect the troops and win the war, I also had to vote to raise the minimum wage. What does the minimum wage have to do with the war in Iraq?

Many of my colleagues voted in favor of the legislation which will result in the annual pay increase for Congress.

I bear them no ill. Many of them have families; most all of them maintain a home in their district and in Washington, D.C. U.S. Representatives often sacrifice a lot to be in Congress. But I believe my constituents hired me to represent their interests and do what’s right for our country and the state of Idaho. What’s right for Idaho and America is a smaller government and lower taxes. That means Congress needs to cut spending, and Congress is the perfect place to start the cuts.

Congressman Bill Sali

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Constitutional Issues, General, Guest Posts, Taxes | No Comments »

Incredible Discovery Shows Our Solar System is NOT from the Milky Way

July 27th, 2007 by Halli

“Hi! I’m Fred from the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy!”

Think Fred is crazy?

Actually, our entire solar system, including planet Earth, is from the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy – we just never knew it. (Hat tip to David Hay.)

A big thanks goes to ViewZone for focusing attention on a study published in Astrophysical Journal which shows the overlapping orbits of two galaxies.

We once thought Earth and her Sun belonged to the Milky Way. Now we know we have been “stolen” from the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy by the greater forces of the much larger Milky Way.

And it appears that we are approaching a critical moment in that process, when the Sagittarius Galaxy will finally be ripped apart. As might be expected, this phenomena is causing many observable changes in our solar system, including temperature increases on every planet (not just Earth) and growing atmospheres on Mars and our Moon. (So much for “man-made” global warming.)

The phase we are entering may actually be the reason for the discontinuation of the Mayan Calendar, long held to be the most accurate on Earth. Apparently it could not advance past the point where the Pleiades Star Cluster ceases to be a constant, which will take place during this apocalyptic transformation.

Be sure to check out the ViewZone article and click on the animation links to get a better idea of how two galaxies interact.

And get used to your new place in the universe!

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Posted in Education, General, Politics in General | 11 Comments »

GLENN BECK COMING TO IDAHO FALLS

July 23rd, 2007 by Halli

It appears that Idaho Falls is “on the map” to stay as the city continues to attract big names this summer.

Yes, Glenn Beck, star of radio and television, will be the headliner at the Idaho Region 7 Republican annual summer barbecue to be held at Riverbend Ranch in Idaho Falls on August 4.

Beck, rising from teenage disk jockey to nationally ranked radio talk show host with the Glenn Bock Program, is now also seen as well as heard nightly on CNN Headline News. He is also a contributor to ABC’s Good Morning America. Locally, Beck’s radio program airs on KID 590 on AM. Beck is also the founder and editor of Fusion Magazine.

Glenn Beck takes often-controversial positions on such issues as the war in Iraq, political correctness, Islam, President George Bush, and stem cell research. Beck is pro-gun, anti-abortion, and delights in skewering liberal hypocrisy. His opposition to the theory of global warming was recently the subject of his live appearances in his “Inconvenient Tour” in June.

For tickets to the Idaho Falls event, or for more information, email to mick.webster@yahoo.com or call 542-2502 after 5pm.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, General, Idaho Falls Issues, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, National Sovereignty, Politics in General | 2 Comments »

It’s Flag Day: Fly Your Flag and Anger a Liberal

June 14th, 2007 by Halli

It’s Flag Day – time to hoist Old Glory aloft! It only takes a moment to slide that flag pole into the holder, or to run the flag up the pole. What better way to remind your kids, your neighbors, and any passersby that the flag stands for freedom, and it’s worth celebrating.

While we’re at it, flag etiquette tells us it is also appropriate to fly the flag on Fathers Day, as well as all other holidays. If you don’t have a flag appropriate for outside display, pick one up at your local store today. Even a paper flag looks great in a window!

And take just a moment to reflect on the blood that’s been spilt over the last two centuries to keep that flag floating on the breeze.

Posted in Family Matters, General | 1 Comment »

Pro Athletes and Dog Fighting

June 12th, 2007 by Halli

It’s difficult to imagine the self-justification of one who raises and trains dogs to fight each other. But it appears high-profile NFL player Michael Vick has been caught in the act. While an investigation is ongoing, it is reported that a complete dog fighting operation was present at a home owned by the Atlanta Falcons quarterback, according to a Sports Illustrated article.

Associates claim Vick has long been involved in the dog fighting culture, frequently betting on his own dog. He asserts that he has been set up in a smear campaign, that relatives living in the home were actually responsible for the blood-covered “pit” where dogs fight, the 30 or so pit bulls found around the property, and the other accoutrements of the “sport”. But exoneration may not come so easily for Vick, as law enforcement is now involved.

According the president of the Humane Society of the US, Wayne Pacell, there is a definite “sub-culture” of dogfighting in the NBA as well as the NFL. He implied that having someone of Vick’s stature fingered for dogfighting would bring welcome attention to the problem.

Imagine the scene as dogs, some valued at as much as $40,000, square off with each other in the “pit”, then commence tearing each other to shreds while the supposed “intelligent” humans on the sidelines cheer them on, savoring each crunching bone and mutilation.

But famous multi-million dollar pro athletes don’t have a corner on animal fighting. Cock fighting is a “cultural” aspect of some Middle Eastern countries, as well as Central and South American nations, many of whom have brought it to the US as well. Illegal in 49 states, cock fighting nonetheless takes place in many hidden corners of the US.

Until each state legislature and every level of law enforcement recognizes animal fighting for what it is – a serious crime of animal cruelty (with implications for human relationships as well) worthy of heavy penalties – this inhuman practice will continue. Where pro athletes think wealth and privilege excuse their participation, where immigrants, both legal and illegal, refuse to leave a barbaric practice in their home country, wherever law enforcement or neighbors turn a blind eye, these despicable practices will continue.

It is imperative that every thinking person take a stand against animal fighting and all its trappings. Check your local and state laws to be sure there are hefty penalties for anyone found to be involved in the practice. Where lacking, join with your local humane society to plug the gap,and help spare countless animals a horrible existence and ultimate death.

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Posted in Family Matters, General, Idaho Falls Issues, Idaho Legislature, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General | 2 Comments »

WikiFoia: Invaluable Tool for Freedom of Information (FOIA) Requests

June 6th, 2007 by Halli

A brand new tool is available for those seeking information from government, from city to federal. WikiFoia is designed to start you on your quest for information with links to your state Freedom of Information laws and contacts and even templates for phrasing requests. Don’t miss the great quotes regarding open government, such as this gem from Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor:

A fundamental premise of American democratic theory is that government exists to serve the people. … Public records are one portal through which the people observe their government, ensuring its accountability, integrity, and equity while minimizing sovereign mischief and malfeasance.

And when you’re successful with your FOIA request, be sure to return to WikiFoia to add your own experience and tips. That’s the beauty of a “wiki” site, of course.

You’ll also want to check out the associated blog, State Sunshine and Open Records for fascinating articles and links. If you wish, subscribe to their feed. Your eyes will be opened (if they aren’t already) by the ways government tries to conceal its actions and associated facts.

For instance, the State Sunshine and Open Records blog cites a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report detailing the efforts of the student loan office employees, costing $409,000, to hide their expenditures on luxuries for board members.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency lost a 19-month legal battle in February and was forced to release records showing that its board, composed mostly of state lawmakers, spent $860,000 on expenses such as facials, pedicures, culinary classes, fly fishing, expensive wine, falconry lessons and a $491 limo ride to shopping outlets.

Of course, Pennsylvania taxpayers will be hit twice, as they pick up the tab for the luxuries and the cost of trying to conceal that figure.

With few exceptions, government officials will conceal their actions if possible. Even where FOIA laws are strong, the request for the information must be made before it becomes public and citizen action can be taken.

Make your government more transparent – access and utilize WikiFoia, a new tool for achieving open government.

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Posted in Education, General, Idaho Falls Issues, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, National Sovereignty, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

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