Thursday, October 02, 2008

Putin Overhead!

I have to question if it's Putin or Santa Claus.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Even in Magic Valley, Idahoans are starting to get the picture.

More financial woes wait in wings

While many of my fears have come true, there are some biggies waiting in the wings.

Despite propaganda about our economy "recovering," why even pretend that the White House is capable of telling the truth?

Unpaid credit card balances are more than $850 billion and rising fast - and this just for the United States. In the last quarter of 2007, Capital One wrote off $1.9 billion in bad debt. While loosening controls for the greedy allowed the sub-prime crisis, credit card debt has been handled in the same way - 45 percent of the $900-plus billion of it - packaged up and sold. How many businesses will fail because of this?

Free-market policies since Reagan deregulated banking resulted in lack of the oversight that kept Wall Street in check.

Greenspan's failure to address predatory lenders and sub-prime greed will result in a failure of our economic system more widespread than that of the Depression.

Danny Schechter writes in "House of Cards":

"Add to these failures a complicit Congress, with Democrats and Republicans alike dependent on donations from the three leaders of the FIRE (finance, insurance and real estate) economy."

The government cannot allow big institutions to fail (at least until the end of the year), because they're federally insured.

While the courts have abolished protection from usury, real estate lending is reinforced by laws which state: "Whoever knowingly makes any false statement or report, or willfully overvalues any land, property or security, for the purpose of influencing in any way the action of the Farm Credit Administration, Federal Crop Insurance Corp. or a company the corporation reinsures ... shall be fined not more than $1 million or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both."

Getting a little sick and tired of watching big business bailed out with your tax dollars?



Monday, June 30, 2008

Now this is me exercising political correction-ness in Idaho.

Correction. An e-mail to James Wright, editor of the Times-News resulted in this response:


We ran this in the paper. Did you submit it to the website, as well?"

Lord, I love that man!

Define "political correctness" for me, Idaho.

NOTE: To my one reader - this response was posted under the letter, but I guess they're tired of hearing about this as it didn't appear on the web site for reader's comments.


Quit carrying 'political correctness' to nth degree

I hope the rhetoric used by officials of the Idaho Democratic Party is not indicative of the whole.

If it is, the party deserves to lose ground this fall. I am referring to the statements made by Chuck Oxley, the party's communications director, in the Times-News regarding remarks made by a guest on the Zeb Bell talk show. Having not heard the program or the remarks in question, Oxley encouraged advertisers to pull sponsorship from Lee Family Broadcasting. Oxley went on to say, "We think those advertisers should know that he (Bell) has made this clearly racist statement and should think about pulling their advertising." If Bell didn't make the statements (he claims he didn't), then, if there is an apology due, it should be to Bell and Lee Family Broadcasting by Mr. Oxley and a recantation on urging sponsors to withdraw their advertising. Nationwide, liberals cannot compete with talk radio so they're out to destroy it. It may not have been Mr. Oxley's goal in this case but the effect is the same.

In recent years, Lee Family Broadcasting has raised $250,000 for Boys and Girls Club, The Wishing Star Foundation, Camp Rainbow Gold and funds toward the construction of a local high school track. It raised $17,000 for a Christmas dinner and party for underprivileged children. Kat Kountry and local high schools collected over 2,000 toys and presents for kids plus turkeys for Thanksgiving and has helped keep area food banks stocked. Zeb Bell is involved in Meals On Wheels. This year, Lee Family Broadcasting will once again raise money for the Rupert fireworks.

So instead of urging sponsors to pull their advertising, voices with an opposing view should be using radio to express those views and quit carrying "political correctness" to the nth degree.



(Editor's note: Allen Lee is a former president and stockholder in the Lee Family Broadcast Group).

Community Speaks
Story Commenting Forum

Sharon Metcalf (id:sleight47) wrote on Jun 29, 2008 1:17 PM:

"Thank you, Mr. Lee. Finally, someone admits that talk radio, at least, does not belong under the “liberal media” blanket. But let’s look a little closer at what you call ‘ “political correctness” to nth degree.’

Cassidy Friedman wrote in the Times-News: “Both Bell and Lee say there is no audio recording of the show, which Bell admits included unchecked racist statements by his guest. Lee said there usually is a broadcast recording, but a technical difficulty forced them to halt recordings.”

How interesting. Zeb Bell’s cries of innocence must be echoing around the studio, mixed with his murmurs of freedom of speech. I mean, Bell can’t be held accountable for statements made by his friend, Frosty Wooldridge, can he?

Of course not–even though this is an easily recognizable ploy used by corporate media. Guests who perpetuate hate-mongering are simply exercising their right to free speech. The fact that the talk show host doesn’t disagree with his guest’s curdled reasoning is all the confirmation his regular listeners need.

Rory O’Connor’s book “Shock Jocks” product description:

“The highly politicized and often factually challenged world of talk radio dominates a sizable portion of America’s airwaves. But the dirty secret of talk radio’s success is the use of hate speech masquerading as free speech. In this book, Rory O’Connor tackles the “hate talk establishment” and shows how huge media conglomerates not only make hate talk possible but make it enormously profitable. He profiles the country’s ten worst shock jocks, including Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage, and describes how they use the guise of “not being politically correct” to ratchet up their anti-gay, anti-woman, and overtly racist language. He then shows how their celebrity leads to a climate that not only tolerates but actually perpetuates racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic attitudes — making America a coarser, more dangerous place.”

...Until people realize that hate-mongering, terrorist alerts, haircuts and skin color are merely meant to occupy the unwashed masses while our “leaders” recreate an America of master and slave...And they’re well on their way.

Objecting to this sort of radio show is NOT “political correctness to the nth degree.” It’s the awakening of citizens who want the real issues addressed and the diversions stopped. "

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Take note, Idaho. Nate is great!

Sometimes it's difficult to even say the word e-e-e-election after the last 7 years. The resurrected Swift Boaters are eating money and preparing to take a BIG DUMP of you-know-what all over the Dem candidate; the flatus so far is merely a whiff.

Recently, someone whom I consider to be an exceptionally intelligent Democrat actually related one of Sean Hannity's bile-soaked statements as if it actually deserved consideration. My advice to him was to realize how many hugely important stories don't reach print in the US. Find trustworthy Internet sources and read foreign newspapers to see what this country is doing.

As for TV, I can only watch Bill Moyers, Keith Olberman, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report without totally stroking out. Note that entirely half of my TV time is meant to provoke laughter--one of the few fitting responses to the policies of this administration. It also enhances our sense of well being.

Nathan (above) is one of the youngest members of our extended family; he's an example what this next election is all about.

Nathan may be Spiderman's greatest fan. He recently saw Spiderman 3 in which Spiderman's suit changes to black. Nathan's whole-hearted embrace of Black Spiderman had some interesting consequences.

Returning home from work 2 days ago, Nathan's mom was greeted with an entirely naked child who had taken a black marker and colored his entire body, only missing the part of his back he couldn't reach.

You may wonder why Nathan's imagination was allowed to fly. His grandfather babysits while mom works. Grandpa's health is poor and Nathan quietly playing was probably a welcome experience.

He's a delightful child, but dismissed by George Bush like so many others...and he makes us laugh.

Did you know that Black Spiderman's genitals are black too? Nathan does.

Founding daughter

Friday, May 02, 2008

But, but, imported radioactive material can always be credited for Idaho's overwhelming Bush support!

Is there nothing about which this administration does not lie?

Mark Morford writes: "The truth is as sad as it is revolting: You have been
lied to, again and again, perhaps even more than you imagined...perhaps like
no other time in American history, in a more carefully orchestrated and
widespread effort than any presidential administration has managed to
attempt in the past."

George W. Bush and seven top officials made at least 935 false statements
just in the two years after 9-11 concerning the "threat" posed by Saddam

Surge success: Besides adding 30,000 more troops in Iraq, the US created
militias from at least 80,000 Iraqis, the majority Sunni militants some of
whom previously assaulted American forces, who are paid $10 a day and
operate outside the control of Iraq’s government.

Since 2003 about $20.4 billion has been approved for training Iraqi Security
Forces to take over US missions. See recent news reports on Basra.

KBR has avoided taxes by classifying its American workers as employees of
Cayman Islands shell companies for at least 4 years. There is a great loss
to the government, especially Social Security and Medicaid trust funds.

Bush’s claims of vet importance aren’t matched by his budgets. He killed
emergency funding in 2003 for $275 million for Veterans’ medical care; his
2004 budget fell $1.9 billion short of maintaining what we know is
substandard care. His 2005 budget cut funding by $13.5 billion over 5 years.

VA-provided number of suicide attempt in 2007 was 790. A recently uncovered
e-mail revealed a same-time e-mail: "Our suicide prevention coordinators are
identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among veterans we see in
our medical facilities."

Add the military experts' "support" for the Iraq fiasco coordinated by the
White House. Look it up.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Make Sense of the World? Let's Make Sense of Idaho First

Story published at on Sunday, April 20, 2008
Last modified on Monday, April 21, 2008 7:59 AM MDT

Our agenda? Helping you make sense of the world
By James G. Wright
What's our agenda?

Lots of people think we have one, though none can agree on what that agenda might be.

Last week we ran a letter from a reader who suggested that we ran another letter - actually a compilation of bad jokes at the expense of President Bush - because of some agenda he didn't bother to define. In fact, we run almost every letter we receive because we want to provide an open forum as a service to the community.

Another reader recently e-mailed me to suggest that we have some other undefined agenda that drives us to cover up news about mercury emissions from gold mines and smelters in northern Nevada. Had he done a little research he would have known that we have published a dozen stories and editorials about the issue.

We're apparently deeply conflicted souls here at 132 Fairfield St. West, if you believe some of our critics. We have a pro-dairy agenda that clashes with our anti-Holstein bias. We're anti-education yet we support public schools. We're opposed to downtown revitalization even though we support it in editorials and as a member of the downtown improvement district. We're a bunch of commies working for one-world government and maybe even dancing on Sunday while simultaneously being money-grubbing corporate capitalist greedheads who canceled "The Born Loser" just to boost profits.

So what's our real agenda?

Lean in closer and I'll whisper it in your ear…closer…closer…that's close enough:

We want to give our readers in-depth, reliable and useful news and information about their community. And we want to be their indispensable resource in making sense of the world around them.

Pretty shocking, isn't it?

In a way, I'm somewhat flattered that some people think we could have some secret agenda or be part of a big conspiracy.

That implies a laudable level of organization - one I doubt we could pull off.

Put a dozen journalists in a room and ask them about anything - even just a lunch order - and you'll get at least 18 different opinions.

Throwing around the A-word is something of a cheap shot - one that generally comes from someone unable to dispute the truth of an article and instead tries to undercut the facts with an allegation of a sinister motive or bias on the part of the author, the editor, the publisher, the newspaper owners or the vast and ill-defined "media."

None of this means that journalists don't have personal beliefs and opinions, or that we're always able to divorce them from our work.

But for the most part, we go where the news takes us and we use checks and balances to catch unintended or unrecognized failure to remain objective - a reporter writes an article, at least two editors read it and then a copy editor checks it and writes a headline. It's not an infallible system, but it keeps us from tilting too far out of balance - or from promoting anyone's personal agenda.

Community Speaks
Story Commenting Forum

Grant Uptain (id:x2ox) wrote on Apr 20, 2008 4:00 AM:
" You do a pretty good job. I have no complaints, but I am bowing out of the blogging. I wish there was a greater sampling of Magic Valley computer users. I am afraid many people of my age just fell behind the learning curve for computer use. Best wishes. "

Herman Neuman (id:herospeaker) wrote on Apr 21, 2008 9:21 AM:
" Dear Grant,

Please keep blogging if it is not too troublsome for you. Although not everyone will be in agreement with what gets posted here by anyone, it is important that you share your wisdom. "

Sharon Metcalf (id:sleight47) wrote on Apr 21, 2008 2:02 PM:
" I'm with you, Grant. It brings to mind the old "casting pearls before swine." All of the facts in the world aren't going to get some of these people to listen, and quite frankly, I find too many of their posts routinely substitute hatred for reason.

I envision the Twin Falls of the future were it up to certain unnamed people whose blogs routinely approach lunacy. "

Herman Neuman (id:herospeaker) wrote on Apr 22, 2008 7:42 AM:
" Dear Sharon, isn't it amazing how the emotions of so many people are stiffling their abilities to think clearly and objectively? What are the causes of this? "

Sharon Metcalf (id:sleight47) wrote on Apr 22, 2008 12:51 PM:
" Fear...of truth...of being so wrong there's no excuse for it...of Bush's bogeyman...of learning that basing their self-worth on just being an American won't suffice anymore...of admitting that this administration is guilty of so much destruction and manipulation that it belongs nowhere but in a courtroom; ergo what does this say about unwavering support for a bunch of crooks...of losing their claim to humanity...of realizing that freedom of speech bears responsibility...that truth, justice and the American way are just words.

I've enjoyed your posts, Herman. "

Jill Clark (id:idahoemt) wrote on Apr 22, 2008 10:53 PM:
" Grant,

I am sorry to hear that you won't be blogging anymore. I enjoy reading your posts and I have even learned from you. I hope that you change your mind.

God Bless. "

Max Hatfield (id:7623) wrote on Apr 23, 2008 1:03 PM:
" Man it sounds like you chaps are having a real readership dilemma on journalistic and philosophical objectivity. Let me see if I can help you out. Some of those issues are just beyond my MOS but with respect to your anti-dairy and pro-Holstein dilemma, I am one of the worlds foremost pragmatic experts with over 30 years of hands on experience and can give you some help. To solve the problem of objectivity, each time a journalist writes an article about industrial dairies or an editor reviews it have this person take his lunch and drive out 4 miles due south of Filer on 2200 East and pull over to the side of the road roll down the windows and munch lunch. Have them take their time and savor the wonderful bliss of Silent Spring in the pristine rural Cadillac Desert setting. Just to show you how scientific I am with sampling procedure this person can stop next to the sewage lagoon or go on another half mile and pull over next to the 40 acres of rotten manure festering as compost. From an intellectual perspective this person can reminisce about how the University of Idahos scientific excellence designed both the flush and compost systems of rural beautification. One can realize how honest and forth right our legislature is with environmental control and full disclosure of cow numbers and nutrient management programs. How hard our tap dancing Senator Craig worked to make it illegal to require industrial dairies to measure air quality around these animal factories. Yummy and pass me another sardine and some Gorgonzola cheese or is that just the beans you ate yesterday. The journalist can even get out and walk around but watch where you step and duck when that sewage spewing pivot spays out on the road next to the company car because that would be the closest you would ever come to sucking on the proboscis of a giant blow fly. A journalist is not a journalist unless he is an investigative journalist and with my formula this person and his editor will become expert purveyors of truth instead of simply being English majors with only the capability of bulimic interview regurgitation with grammatical excellence but no substance. There now see how constructive I am. "

Too Many Idahoans Watch Too Much TV; read!

Obama’s remark about small town bitterness arising from lost jobs is all
over the media. The uproar he caused by telling the truth may have caused
you to miss other equally-important news.

There were more than 90,000 March 2008 bankruptcy filings, 30% higher than a
year ago.

The true current unemployment rate is 13%, reported at 5.1% thanks to
government changes to reporting.

ABC News reported that multiple top-secret meetings were held in the White
House starting in 2002 attended by Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Cheney,
Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, George Tenet, and John Ashcroft.
Interrogation techniques for detainees approved by the group included
slapping, pushing, sleep deprivation, simulated drowning called
waterboarding. Another typical Friday afternoon "confession."

Marie Cocco reports that significantly injured Iraq and Afghanistan vets and
vets suffering from PTSD still wait an average of 6 months, alongside
400,000 backlogged cases, for disability claim approval.

Paraphrasing Mike Whitney on the financial crisis: Two years ago, over 65%
of all mortgages were converted into securities and sold to Wall Street.
When two Bear Stearns hedge funds disintegrated, there’s was a scramble to
conceal the real worth of mortgage-backed securities (MBS)–nothing.

By approving the Bear Stearns bailout with JP Morgan, the Fed went beyond
its mandate of providing liquidity to the markets and bypassed Congress'
authority to appropriate funds. The Fed isn't authorized to prevent
privately-owned businesses leveraged at 30 to 1 from defaulting.

Whitney reports that after years of smashing regulations and shoveling
campaign contributions into greedy mouths, the banking crisis was
inevitable. Instead, the public sees Fed and Treasury heroes dousing the
flames of the banking inferno with a stream of taxpayer money.

A Jack Nicholson character yelled, "You can’t handle the truth!" It’s even
harder to take when lies are so much more palatable.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wallets out, Idaho! They even want the moths.

Fear not, America! Those bankers whose push for deregulation resulted in their ability to feed their greed and create the huge subprime crisis have come up with a solution! You!

How about a Federal Homeowner Preservation Corporation they proposed recently to Congress designed to “buy up billions of dollars in troubled mortgages at a deep discount, forgive debt above the current market value of the homes and use federal loan guarantees to refinance the borrowers at lower rates.”

These are the same people who spent more than $100,000 lobbying Congress for the freedom to create this disaster. And now they want your help.

Of course, you don’t get to say yea or nay; the same guys who allowed this mess have that ability; the same ones who gave you the disastrous bankruptcy bill that will make you a servant for life to the corporate world and many of the same ones who spent $200 billion on the savings and loan bailout? Come to think of it, wasn’t there a Bush involved in that, too?

Mike Whitney writes, “The culture of corruption from 7 years of Bush misrule has spread like Kudzu to every jag and eddy in Washington. If we were really a nation of laws rather than nincompoops, federal agents would be busy rounding up every investment banker and hedge fund sharpie on Wall Street so they could get to the bottom of the subprime boondoggle....And, don’t kid yourself; Bush is proud of the damage he’s done by taking a wrecking ball to the SEC. For him, it’s like a good day at the races. He has no intention of reigning in the crooks or restoring the publics’ confidence.”