Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Googling Tom Luna

Mr. Rural ED: Whatever Happened to Tom Luna?
A few of us have been wondering about whatever happened to Tom Luna. Some of you will remember him as the Director of the U.S. Department of Education's ...

The Sniff Test: Tom Luna
The Statesman got very caught up in the fact that Tom Luna doesn't sound like a ... I can't help thinking Tom Luna, with his penchant for state control of ...

Am I being too sensitive or is this BEYOND offensive?

UPDATE [10:50AM, 12/20/2006]:
When I started this post, I was really upset at the insensitivity of whoever designed this item and at the company for selling it. I couldn't imagine what type of person would actually PURCHASE it!

Within an hour, there were several hits on this post from the company. In less than two hours, the item "is no longer available". I don't know when/who brought concerns like mine to their attention, but the most important thing is that they RESPONDED.

Please let Oriental Trading Company know that you appreciate their prompt response to our concerns...

To those of you from Oriental Trading Post, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART for listening to us...
Original post:

As the rest of America is either slapping "Support The Troops" magnets on their cars or sending care packages to Iraq...

...while over 200,000 families prepare for holidays without their loved ones (either their soldier is deployed over the holidays or is one of the 2,952 Americans who have been killed or one of the 22,300 injured men and women)...

...while our politicians bicker over strategies for the war in Iraq...

...The Oriental Trading Company provides a PINATA in the shape of an Army Humvee filled with soldiers... !!!! What were they thinking??

And who would BUY one of these?? What kind of sick and twisted person would feel pleasure while taking a stick and pounding at this pinata? Am I missing something here??

If this bothers you, as much as it bothers me... let them know.

H/T to Steve O., for the post at Bring It On...

Luna story disputed...

Letter to the editor in the Times-News, 12/20/2006:

Source disputes reporting in story about Luna

Over the last 25 years, I have been deeply involved in education policy and politics in federal and state government, as well as the corporate, non-profit and university sectors.

During this time, I have had hundreds of opportunities to work with the media in all forms. I have had great respect for the media, as reporters have generally reported facts in an honest and straightforward manner. Unfortunately, an Associated Press story by Jesse Harlan Alderman is a stunning exception.

The story, about Superintendent-elect Tom Luna is sloppy, slanted and much ado about nothing.Simply put, there has never, ever been any question that Tom Luna was a political appointee, serving President Bush and Secretary Paige at the U.S. Department of Education. Tom's capsulation of his work in Washington, D.C., has been accurate to the letter.

Mr. Alderman misrepresents my statements in order to support his faulty premise that Luna "embellished" his resume and "misrepresented his position" with the department.

Mr. Alderman's premise is tenuous at best. Even he acknowledged he was "splitting hairs."Tom Luna is a man of integrity, and until today, that integrity has never been questioned. In fact, Tom's work at the department was stellar. He represented Secretary Paige and President Bush with honor and distinction.

The voters of Idaho have spoken, and they are anxious to let Tom get to work improving student achievement for Idaho's children.

Mr. Alderman and the Associated Press owe Tom a formal apology.

Washington, D.C.

(Editor's note: William D. Hansen, a former U.S. deputy Secretary of Education, is the senior managing director for Chartwell Education Group LLC in Washington, D.C.)

Tom Luna "embellished" resume?
Tom Luna "restructuring" Dept of Ed

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Otters for sale...?

Like many other blogs and websites, I have a counter at the bottom of my blog. I check it occasionally to see how many people have clicked on my blog and where they've come from... just out of curiosity. (Well, actually, it's because I blog so I can have some place to express my opinions and share things that I've found... and it's sometimes pretty lonely. I eagerly look for comments just to see if anybody pays any attention...)

Don't worry, it doesn't tell me WHO you are! I just know the general vicinity of your location (or at least the location of your server... it lists me in Boise!) and usually what brought you to my blog. I see locations from across the United States... some who probably just accidentally stumbled on my blog looking for something else and who knows how others found me. I wish they'd leave comments... just to see why they stopped by. I have had several hits from places like Canada, England, India, and Japan. I'm SURE they were lost! (Were you? Let me know!)

I see a lots of clicks from LeftyBlogs and my blog was mentioned at Democratic Underground, which led to a LOT of hits. I can see that people stop by after Google searches for Larry Craig, Mike Simpson, or Tom Luna--I am happy to see that because I'd like to think that my posts will provide a little bit of information which may be helpful to them as they evaluate our representatives and the job they do. I wish I'd see a few more hits on my posts about Dirk Kempthorne, but nobody really seems to be paying much attention to him.

My favorite hit is when I see that someone clicked on my grandmother's prayer after doing a Google search for "grandmother prayer". I don't know what they are looking for, but my grandmother was an awesome woman and I like to think that she is continuing to touch people with her spirit when they read her favorite prayer.

But what REALLY is strange... is ALL the hits that I get from people who Google "Otters for Sale"... they come from the northeast mostly, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts and so on. I bet they weren't expecting MY post when they stopped by! I had NO idea that buying otters is such a big business!! (I can think of a lot other jokes but I'll let you make up your own!)

So, tell me... how did you end up here? Was this what you were looking for?

First graders working 40-hour weeks...

Yeah, it's a stretch but think about it... think about how much debt we are giving our children and grandchildren. Doesn't it make you sick? Aren't we a product of a generation who tried to make our lives better and richer? And here we are... putting our children in debt before they even enter junior high.

Find out more by reading about Bush's favorite tax - The Birth Tax:

How is the overspending by the Bush administration any different than recklessly using a credit card?

Simple, with a credit card you have a spending limit, monthly payments and you can't pass the debt on to your grandchildren.

The debt of today will be passed on to the unborn generations to come. We have, in essence, a Tax the Children Plan.

How much do new babies owe the Federal government? American children are born into our society already owing the government tens of thousands of dollars.

Find out MUCH more at
Birth Tax.


Oh why, oh why don't 57% of Idahoans pay attention to REALITY? They still keep spewing out the same ol' yada yada they've been spewing for years now.

Click over here for a great quiz--it SMASHES misconceptions and the lies we've been told:

What do you really know about Iraq? Take a quiz and find out. Given that democracy cannot survive without an educated electorate, how aware are you regarding the number of casualties resulting from the U.S. attack on Iraq?

If you rely on the American "news" media for information, you probably don't have a clue. That's because the government does not provide much information, and the news media relies on the government as their primary source. Investigative journalism barely exists and, what is often presented as news is actually commentary or merely the reading of a press release.

If you are an American taxpayer, you are directly funding this war and the killing. Before voting in November, shouldn't you, as a responsible citizen, be aware of what the present government is doing in your name?

This site presents an idea of what our invasion has wrought as of the end of October 2004. The numbers are as accurate as can be found and are from sources such and the Pentagon and British military. and, when less certain, are usually estimated low. The true number is likely to be more than presented here and is increasing by dozens on most days.

Of course, if you are reading this, you will probably pass with flying colors... but you may still find a surprise or two.

If only the folks who NEED to wake up would be willing to actually do their homework... even though it is SO much easier to echo Bush-fed soundbites...


Sunday, December 17, 2006

What do they think now?


As I mentioned in a previous post, certain family members and members of my church congregation reacted negatively to the Candlelight Peace Vigil which I coordinated in Gooding, Idaho fall of 2005.

As more and more people seem to realize that this war in Iraq is NOT about terrorism, I've wondered if these individuals would react the same if I held another Peace Vigil now.

It was announced in March that this administration is denying that they ever claimed that the war in Iraq was related to terrorism. "I never said there was a direct connection between Saddam Hussein and terrorism."

Excuse me? Haven't we heard "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here" for three years? Haven't we been told that we are there to protect our freedoms and to keep America safe? How come over 70% of our military in Iraq thought that they were deployed to Iraq to protect America from further terrorist attacks? It sure makes me remember fondly when America's biggest concern was about definition of the word "is"...

So, I sit listening to Keith Obermann discuss Bush's denial of ever linking Iraq to 9/11 (as well as how Bush failed to prevent 9/11 in the FIRST PLACE!) and I'm truly wondering what those family members and church members are thinking now...

As I said before, the article regarding the Peace Vigil contained my picture and I was quoted as saying: "Let me tell you that my brother was killed in Iraq. And then let's see if you can say he died for an honorable cause." I truly don't remember saying those particular words, but my friend said that I did. Even though I wouldn't ever intend to state my opinion like I obviously did, I do confess that I don't think he died for an honorable cause. Was he brave? Was he loyal? Was he honorable? Yes, yes, yes. Was the cause honorable? NO. His life was wasted and it angers me to no end that people keep saying that he died to keep us free, to keep us safe, etc. Bullshit.

After the article was published, my cousins e-mailed me to tell me:
"Just wanted to say that [your brother] would have been horrified to see his name being used as political propaganda. Your comments in the article made me physically react and it staggers me. I am beyond words as to how you can think that your comments in anyway uplift our nation's troops ... I am saddened that you would blindside your entire family with an article that acted like a gut punch. ... I would hope that you see that all of us are affected by [your brother]'s death and treating it as solely your sorrow is purely selfish."

I received the following from a "fellow Christian" at my church:
"I have done a lot of praying about this email but ... I feel I must respond. You try so hard to sound , more knowledgeable, more moral and are more lost on topic than I ever imagined ... At first I tried to ignore it as just you seeking more attention but as you seem to feel the need to persist in attacking all of us who have children in the military, yes attacking, please don't deny, because that is what you are doing. You are attacking OUR belief system through the guise of the military and the President.... Diana, you seem to need to have to have yourself quoted and photographed weekly and that , I guess is your right, but just stop and think for a minute. How many of us are you hurting by your action and words? When did you decide that you knew more than the majority of us and especially our government? When did you get a degree in how to conduct government policy ? What do you say to all of the families of the 9/11 tragedy? That we should not have responded to the attack? That we should ignore and bury our heads in the sand? That we should just turn tail and run now because you don't believe in our government and our military? What would it look like to the enemies of our way of live, if we turned tail and ran now? What would it say to the families of the sacrifices they have made with the loss of their loved one? What does it say to our enemies? How does your actions as a "peace at all cost" help our country? Words and actions all have consequences and yours are causing many of us pain. Instead of addressing we the people with your propaganda, why don't you address the President and the military directly. I'm sure they need and would welcome your very wise and knowledgeable council. How could they not since you have all these degrees in foreign policy and seem to know what is best for all of us. Diana, you are hurting me, our community, our church, our military families and causing embarrassment and pain to your family. Is your need to be seen as more knowledgeable than most, more important that everything and everyone else? I feel betrayed and I feel you are hurting and causing harm to our country and our community. ...You are wrong to think now is the time to "turn tail" and run. It would only weaken our military by giving them another defeat, it would destroy the Iraqi people's chance for a better life, it would embolden the terrorist and it would weaken our country. Is that what you strive for? Now is the time for us to support our President, our military our families who are sacrificing all. I believe our President is a man of God. He is doing what he feels is best for our Country. We have to support and trust. We have to pull together as a nation. Now is not the time to question ,now is the time to support and get the job done. ... If you really believe in what you are doing and not just seeking attention then think your thoughts but please also think and respect all of us who disagree with your thoughts. You are causing a number of people to not even want to return to church because of your very "vocal" stand. I being one of them. It is very hard for me to even think of looking at you or have anything to do with you. You are hurting many, just understand that, you are hurting many of us. Our loyalty is to our troops, out President , our Country and to the lost soldiers and their families. I thank God every day for their sacrifices and I pray every day for this to be over soon but if it isn't then I will support and pray until the mission is accomplished no matter how long it takes. The terrorists will hit us again, I have no doubt, and I would much rather have the people who believe in our Country and the Military and the President covering my back than you. Think Diana of the pain you are causing and then pray for the people you have hurt by your words and actions. I am not expectations a response from you nor do I want one. It would be too difficult for me to be civil right now so please do not contact me."
The letter to the editor in the Times-News from my parents and sister-in-law stated:
"[my brother] would be further offended to be used as a pawn for those attempting to undermine our country's effort to combat terrorism and to bring freedom to the Iraqi people. He died for us and for all those people who may some day enjoy the freedom that we take for granted."
It has been over a year since those letters were written. Bush's approval rating is about 38% nationwide. Iraq seems to be in the middle of a civil war. Their well-publicized elections have not seemed to help our progress much. The President is denies the war in Iraq was ever directly linked to terrorists. Osama bin Laden seems to have been forgotten. The freedoms that America stands for are becoming a global joke... from the detainees and torture to wiretapping. Our citizens are suffering from lack of medical care, educational funding, energy costs, and natural disasters. Our environment (which my brother valued also) is becoming polluted and developed and sold to the highest bidder. The government has betrayed not only our citizens but also their own people. Over a two thousand more of my brother's men and women have died for this "cause".

I wonder what my family and fellow church members are thinking now... can they still say that they trust the president and that we are right not to question him? Can they still attempt to explain the so-called honorable cause my brother died for?

In honor of my brother...

This is a re-post... just in case someone needs an end-of-the-year tax write-off! For the sake of this scholarship, I have NO pride!! (except the pride I feel for my brother...)

On my blog, per my family's request, I have deliberately tried to avoid any mention of my brother, especially by name. The following request has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans, but it is to honor my brother, his memory, and one of his passions.

My brother, Major Alan Blake Rowe, was killed in Iraq on Sept. 3, 2004. It was his fourth deployment and he'd been "in country" less than a week. He left behind a wonderful wife and two precious children.

One of my brother's serious interests (along with Broncos!) was Political Science. One of our favorite family stories is about the luncheon Alan attended with my father around age 6, where he sat next to then-Governor of Idaho, Cecil Andrus. From what I've been told, he chatted with Governor Andrus throughout the meal.

In the early 1990s, Alan worked as an intern for Idaho State Senator Laird Noh:

"He was interested in natural resources and natural resources management," Noh said. "He worked under my supervision. He was a marvelous human being and extremely motivated."

"At the time, Idaho was beginning to awaken to the implications of the Endangered Species Act," Noh said. The Legislature and the public didn't have a thorough understanding of the act, he said, so he tasked Rowe with writing a research paper on the potential listing status of various plants and animals in Idaho and what the implications were because of the provisions of the law.

"He just dug into it," Noh said. "He did a very professional job. We circulated it to all the members of the committee and media. I still refer to it periodically."

"He read newspapers and was very interested in the world around him," Noh added. "He was very mature. I was kind of hoping he was looking toward a career in natural resource management. But he was also oriented to a career in the military. He was a class act and a great citizen."

Alan received his Associates at the College of Southern Idaho and his Bachelor's at Boise State University, majoring in Political Science. After his death, one of his professors at CSI started a scholarship fund, "The Alan Rowe Memorial Political Science Scholarship". The only guideline attached at this point is that it will be used to fund a scholarship for a student studying political science at CSI.

No funds have been distributed because we need to raise the balance to a $10,000 endowment level. Since my brother was killed, our first concerns were for the educational fund for the children, then a fundraiser for families of local (Magic Valley) deployed Guard members, and then another fundraiser for TAPS (for families of other KIAs), so this is our first major request for donations.

Please consider supporting this opportunity to continue my brother's memory and honor his commitment to education and Political Science.

Thank you.

Donations should be made out to:
The College of Southern Idaho Foundation, Inc.
MEMO: Alan Rowe Memorial Scholarship

And mailed to:
CSI Foundation
P.O. Box 1238
Twin Falls, ID 83303-1238

Thank you so very much,
Diana Rowe Pauls
Very Proud Sister of Major Alan Blake Rowe of Gooding, Idaho
KIA 9-3-2004 in Iraq

"What Rummy Left Behind"

Posted at Bring It On by Liberal Army Wife

We buried three young men this week. three. another is lying in a hospital, without his legs, with his young wife holding his injured hands. So while we are happy the architect of this insanity is gone, it was wrong. wrong that he got a huge parade, wrong that we were told that this jackass son of a bitch was the “greatest Secretary of Defense ever”. Wrong that he will make millions from books, wrong that he’ll be treated like some conquering hero by the idiots that will have him speak at their conventions, as a “visiting expert”. But then I have to consider the source of that head up his ass quote. Deadeye Dick.. another loser. They needed to be at the funerals, they needed to be looking in the eyes of those mothers, that young wife, the brothers and sisters. I hope he chokes on all the praise, and I just have to remember, what goes around comes around. If there really is karma, he will suffer. and then I get to stand there and say something as stupid as…. we go to war with the army we have. The army he tried to break, is breaking, the army my husband has given years to, the army that I am proud to be part of, even just as a wife.

The National Guard is fraying at the edges, they didn’t sign up for this. These young men signed up for the one weekend a month, some training, two weeks a year, the college benefits because they couldn’t afford higher education without help. GWB, who joined the Guard but couldnt even finish THAT…is trying to break it too. I’m not sure why. But he’s doing a good job of it.

Those of you who are for this war, I want you to do me one favour. Go to one of the funerals for one of the men or women who died. And look in the eyes of the family, the children, hear them tell you what a person you are mourning, how much they meant to their community. Then come back here and tell me its worth it. Our staying in the middle of that civil war, in the midst of that slaughter of innocent men, women and children by their own co-religionists, blowing job seekers up for being in the wrong place, the death of our children, husbands, wives is worth it. If you can tell me that, and mean it, I’ll try to respect your opinion.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Casualties In Iraq

Click on this map of Iraq and watch the casualties add up over the last three years.

If you toggle the box which show the "place names", you will see a flash at Al Qaim on Sept. 3, 2004. That was the day our family's life changed forever.

Ode to Idaho

Another "repost", especially appropriate after November's elections and the recent activities from our newly elected representatives.
WARNING: If you watch this video and can't figure out what the big deal is... you might be a Republican red-neck. So mosey on down to the nearest tavern, soak your tooth in a Budweiser, and complain to your pals while you eat your breakfast.
Idaho gallery slideshow
Dedicated to:
Tom Luna, Bill Sali, Mike Simpson, Butch Otter, and Donna Jones... and all those Idahoans who voted for them...
Did I forget anybody?

Rappin' with Bush

[I posted this in May 2006... what is REALLY pathetic is that it still fits TODAY!!]
Watch this!
Warning: Perhaps you shouldn't eat or drink when you watch this!
December 2006 UPDATE for picture below...
ONE DOWN, two to go...

Bye bye, Rumsfeld!

In Bush's honor...

Thanks again to Carolyn at Make Them Accountable for sharing this!
Reposting on 12/16/2006 because... well, because it still fits.

Supporting the troops...

On Friday, I was invited to speak to my daughter’s high school Speech class. The topic I chose was “Supporting the Troops”.

I began by mentioning the negative opinion by some regarding the “yellow ribbon magnets” which we see on cars everywhere. Of course, that surprised them … why would that be viewed negatively?

Because Americans slap those magnets on their cars…and that is as far as they are willing or able to support the troops.

I asked the room (most students, a few adults) if they knew the name of the young man who graduated from their high school and was later killed in Iraq. Only one person raised her hand… my daughter—because it was her uncle, my brother, who was killed. I enlightened the others about their fallen alumni, who he was and who was left behind. I told them that being aware of this loss… to never forget… is one way to support the troops.

I asked them if they knew how many Idahoans were killed in Iraq (16), how many Americans have been killed in Iraq (2,939), and how many have been wounded (21,778)… nobody knew, most were not even close. Again, being aware of the sacrifice being made by our troops… is one way to support the troops.

I discussed the need for citizens to keep open minds about what they hear. I reminded them to research and confirm “sound bites” before believing them. I told them how important it was that they develop their OWN opinions rather than blindly follow others. For an example, I read them the following quote:

“We are also here to ask, and we are here to ask vehemently, where are the leaders of our country? Where is the leadership? … Where are they now that we, the men whom they sent off to war, have returned? These are commanders who have deserted their troops, and there is no more serious crime in the law of war.”
I let them know these words were spoken during Vietnam by a soldier as he testified before Congress, then I asked if they thought the speaker was a traitor to our country… or did he support the troops? They seemed to agree that he sounded like he supported the troops… and seemed to be surprised that the words were spoken by John Kerry.

I also encouraged the students to research candidates and politicians to see how well THEY support the troops. I informed them about and how voters can learn how current politicians vote and how certain issue groups "grade" their actions. For example, I wanted them to know that our esteemed Senator Larry Craig was given a grade of D- from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. I didn’t have enough time to tell them that he only supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 20 percent and the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 42 percent. (And he's the CHAIR of the Veterans' Affairs Committee in the Senate!) I wanted them to know that being aware of how our reprentatives support the troops is yet another way WE support the troops.

I don’t know if I made much of an impact, but I tried.

We have failed our duty...

When I speak about how I feel about the war in Iraq, I am told I dishonor the military and my own fallen hero with my "lack of support for the troops". I'm told that our troops feel betrayed and insulted by people like me. I'm told that our military believes in this "noble cause" and any criticism of the war or our president is "unpatriotic" and "treasonous" to our country.

I've tried to explain my belief that our troops have no other choice but to obey their commander-in-chief. They are not allowed to disagree with their orders or express contrasting opinions or criticize their commanding officer. That is how the military is designed, that is how it should be, and that is why we have the best military in the world. Our troops have pledged loyalty to our country and they are willing to sacrifice their lives for us. Their job is to protect America and its citizens.

It is OUR job to protect THEM. It is our duty to protect them by intelligently and diligently electing ethical and diligent public servants to run our government. It is our responsibility to hold these officials accountable for their decisions and to demand honesty from them.

I named my blog "We have failed our duty as citizens..." because I believe WE HAVE FAILED OUR DUTY to protect our troops. We have failed to demand responsible decisions from our government. We have failed to demand accountability from their commander-in-chief and his administration. We failed by allowing our government to get our country into this war, by allowing them to lie to us, and by being too stupid and lazy to demand honesty and accountability. As a result, our troops are left without OUR protection while they sacrifice their lives for us. I had hoped that the election in 2004 would provide some hope for our men and women in Iraq but Americans let them down.

Now, two years after I started my blog, two years after Bush was supposedly re-elected, two years after Cindy Sheehan went public with her questions... our military men and women have finally ended up in not only fighting "them over there" but having to defend themselves from our own government here at home.

We have failed Kyle Snyder, Ivan Brobeck, Agustin Aguayo, Suzanne Swift, Ricky Clousing, Lt. Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson, Mark Wilkerson, and Katherine Jashinski. These brave and honorable men and women depended on Americans to protect them... and we failed. Now some are AWOL and some are being court-martialed. Whether or not you support their actions, it still remains that WE HAVE FAILED OUR DUTY to protect them by allowing Bush to "stay the course" despite all efforts to influence him to make changes (increase troops, etc.).

There is now An Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq which states that:
"Many active duty, reserve, and guard service members are concerned about the war in Iraq and support the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Appeal for Redress provides a way in which individual service members can appeal to their Congressional Representative and US Senators to urge an end to the U.S. military occupation. The Appeal messages will be delivered to members of Congress at the time of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2007."

The wording of the Appeal for Redress is short and simple. It is patriotic and respectful in tone:

As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.

Americans should be ashamed of themselves... we have deserted our troops, and "there is no more serious crime in the law of war".

We have failed our duty...

More "Otter for Sale"?

The MountainGoat Report has some interesting questions that Guv-elect Otter should answer to:
EnergySolutions Buys a Governor?
What does it cost to buy a governor these days? EnergySolutions and their management are hoping it's not more than the $63,800 they spent on Idaho Republican Governor-elect C.L. Butch Otter's 2006 campaign. Let's take a look at EnergySolutions and what they might hope to gain for their money.
Read the rest and demand answers.

Idaho is not for sale!
Crossposted from 43rd State Blues...
More here regarding Butch Otter and Idaho for Sale...

One degree can make the difference...

This is a powerful message... we all should watch and learn.

One degree...
One letter to the editor?
One donation?
One hour of community service?
One smile?
One helping hand?

Where can you make the difference?

Heads are rolling...

Yesterday, Dan commented on my previous post, "Luna Lied??" (about his Presidential nomination), and gave a heads-up and inside look as to what kind of games Tom Luna is playing in his new sandbox as Idaho's new Superintendent of Public Instruction now that he's firing people left and right before he's even begun his term in office...

Today's Times-News gives confirmation with the official version of Luna's actions...

Prior to the election, the Idaho Statesman published a statement which stated:
"Luna, a Nampa businessman, promised to surround himself with educators on his staff."
(I can't find a link to that article/editorial... if anybody has access to it, please let me know.)

Is it just me or wouldn't someone who has the skills and abilities to lead an agency wait until he was actually in place so he could evaluate the staff before cleaning house?

Is it just me or is anybody else worried about what kind of changes are going to be made in Idaho's schools which will impact Idaho's children (including mine!)?

Anyway, for review, it's very important that you hop over to:

Then go hug your children and their teachers...
...they'll need our support a lot more than usual for the next four years.

UPDATE [12/19/2006]:
Detailed information regarding Luna's slashing and burning at the Dept. of Education over at Royal Mountain Valice's post, Lunacy.

UPDATE (12/20/06):
Source says his statements were misrepresented...

...have you heard about the "No Child Left Behind: Football Version?"...

One way to handle a telemarketer

Thanks to Bring It On for sharing... this is a hoot!! I almost feel sorry for the poor guy!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bush's decision making process re: Iraq

Luna lied????

Headline on the front page of today's Times-News...

"Tom Luna, the incoming head of the state's public school system, misrepresented his position with the U.S. Department of Education on his resume during his successful campaign this fall."
Gee, WHY couldn't this have come out BEFORE the election???
UPDATE (12/07/06):
As referenced in one of the comments to this post, heads are rolling before Luna even starts his term in office.
...have you heard about the "No Child Left Behind: Football Version?"...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Heartbreaking story, lessons learned

Last night's episode of Anderson Cooper covered the tragic death of James Kim and the horrific experience of his family. I'd heard the bits and pieces over the news, but I hadn't seen the videos of the road, the mountains, the car, the burned tires. I hadn't seen the maps showing the location of where Kim's family was found and Kim's long trek away from the car to where, tragically, his body was located. I was able to see how they took the wrong road and could understand why they kept driving, thinking that civilization would be just around the corner. I've been on mountains like those... here in Idaho, going to California, and up in northern Idaho where it borders Washington and Oregon.

I have two thoughts I want to share...

First of all, am I the only wife who can visualize my own family in this situation? I did not know Mr. Kim and, from what I saw last night, he obviously was a devoted family man, hard worker, and extremely intelligent. So, please do not think that my comments are in ANY WAY disparaging to his devotion, wisdom, or memory. But it occured to me that I could see MY husband (also a devoted family man, hard worker, and extremely intelligent) in the driver's seat... sincerely believing that his desired destination is just around the next bend. I don't know what happened between Mr. Kim and his wife during those hours of driving in the dark snowy frigid night... or during the nine days they were trapped in the lonely unforgiving wilderness with their two small children... but I know what it would have been like for my husband and me. Oh, I'd be pissed! I would have been the nagging wife for a while during the drive ("Do you know where you are going? Are you sure? Shouldn't we just turn around?") and then I would have been silently fuming ("Whatever. Just do what you want." Well, maybe NOT so silent, I guess!). While we were stuck on top of the mountain, I can picture us both frustrated and scared, neither emotions bringing out the best in us. Would we be snapping at each other? Would we be able to be strong and calm for our children? I don't know... I just know that my heart breaks for this family. I sincerely pray that Mr. Kim and his wife were stronger than I think my husband and I would be in the same situation. If they weren't, then I pray even harder for Mrs. Kim and her children, that God will help heal the wounds that came not from the cold or the lack of food, but from simply being scared human beings doing the best they could under the circumstances.

Those were the first thoughts that went through my head last night, as I watched and learned about the Kims' experience and trauma. As I realized how easily this tragedy happened to them, I became aware that my own family/vehicle would not be prepared for such an experience.

Remember the Stolpa family? When they were lost, I heard people criticizing their decisions... but do we really know how we would handle it if we were in the same situation? Surely, the Stolpas, the Kims, and my family aren't the ONLY ones who have taken wrong turns either due to unfamiliarity with the roads, fatigue, and/or poor visibility.

I want to take a moment to ask all of you who read this to take a few moments out of YOUR busy lives (especially busy during this holiday season) and make sure you have some emergency tools tucked away in your vehicles.

Rick Sanchez, CNN Correspondent, posted the following:

Here are a few things that Ken Brinks, a ranger with the Colorado State Parks, suggests keeping in the car at all times:

  • Blanket
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Flashlight
  • Fluorescent tape (even just one piece of orange tape can be spotted by a helicopter)
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Couple of candy bars (but not chocolate -- chocolate can dehydrate you and so can, say, salted nuts)
  • Coffee can to hold the candle (and melted water)
  • CD to use as a reflector in case you see a helicopter
But the most important thing you can do, Ken says, is to tell somebody where you are going and when you expect to get there. If nobody knows where you are going, nobody knows where to look for you. Just like a pilot would, you gotta file a flight plan. [Read the complete posting here...]

I want to add that coffee cans are rarely metal any more so just look for a large metal can like V-8 or pork-n-beans come in. I also want to suggest that the matches are kept in a waterproof container, whether Tupperware or Ziplock, just make SURE it's water proof. (Not all containers really are, as proven in my husband's lunchbox!)

We MUST also remember the THREE RULES:
  1. You can survive for three hours without shelter.
  2. You can survive for three days without water.
  3. You can survive for three weeks without food.

Pass this on to those you love. One of the biggest lessons I've learned from the Kims' tragedy is that it REALLY could happen to just about anyone.

Something more to think about (from Wikipedia):

Map and route controversy
The Kim incident produced rumors that the Kims had used online mapping to find their route.[25] However, later reports derived from police interviews with Kati Kim indicate that the Kims did not consult their laptop computers, but used a paper road map.[26] According to the Oregon State Police, the map they used was issued by the state of Oregon.[27]
During the hunt for the Kims, a number of computer users tested programs such as Google Maps and MapQuest to map the shortest route between the two towns. The programs reportedly listed Bear Camp Road, where the Kims got stuck, as the most efficient shortcut. The online mapping programs have apparently changed. As of December 7, 2006, maps indicate the drive along Interstate 5 and Oregon State Route 42 to U.S. Highway 101 as the preferred route between Roseburg and Gold Beach. Google Maps does recommend Bear Camp Road, however, as the route between Grants Pass and Gold Beach.

Bear Camp Road is rarely used even by local residents due to its difficult terrain and often inclement weather.[28] Furthermore, there are three yellow road signs that state: "Bear Camp Rd. May be blocked by snowdrifts"[29]

Bear Camp Road signage
However, the road on which the Kims got stuck was an offshoot of Bear Creek Rd. that was supposed to be locked by the Bureau of Land Management during the winter. BLM spokeswoman Patty Burel said, "It's supposed to be locked so people don't make that mistake." An investigation revealed that a vandal had cut the lock.[30]

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Bush family should be very proud of its legacy...

As I've mentioned before, I find it obnoxious that this president cannot even convince his own family that his war is worth fighting for...

I find it even more insulting that while 2,932 American men and women are dying for this administration (and more every day) and the rest of us have paid BILLIONS of dollars for his war (and more every day... watch it add up at the bottom of this post)... the Bush family children party hard like they don't have a care in the world...

Check out how Jenna Bush, Lauren Bush, John Ellis Bush Jr., Sam LeBlond, George P. Bush, Pierce Bush (OH GOD I HOPE HE DOESN'T GROW UP TO BE PRESIDENT!), and Noelle Bush (where IS Ellie LeBlond?) reflect conservative Republican family values here...

Meanwhile, get out your wallet and get a second job because the rest of us have a bill to pay...

Who do you think will enjoy Christmas more this year? The families of our servicemen and women and fallen heroes? Or the Bush babies?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Let's see some OUTRAGE!

Former state legislator Ken Robison sent an email asking Idahoans to contact their representatives and write letters to local papers (South Central Idaho and/or throughout Idaho) to express their outrage over the games being played by Idaho GOP. Jump over to Red State Rebels for more...

Speak up via letters to the editor...

My opinion: posting on our blogs reaches those of us who are online and already familiar with our concerns. Writing "letters to the editor" for our regional papers can reach those without awareness and those without computer access. Yes, it makes us a bit more "public" but isn't that where we need to be?

If you aren't currently writing letters, please start!

Here are some publications to begin with...
Times News
Idaho Statesman
Glenns Ferry Gazette
Idaho Mountain Express
Lincoln County Journal
Wood River Journal
Gooding County Leader
Mountain Home News
Minidoka County News
Northside News
South Idaho Press
Owyhee Avalanche

For other locations (throughout the rest of Idaho and the United States), you can pop on over to American Friends Service Committee. They have a great set up to write letters to multiple publications, based upon the zipcode you provide. They provide a sample letter (based upon another issue) but you can write whatever letter you want to write.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

They are NOT just numbers...

I realize that many Americans don't want to think about our sons and daughters who are killed in Iraq. They are satisfied with the paragraph or two announcing yesterday's deaths of an American soldier printed in section B, page 4 of their local newspaper. They don't WANT to know the pain experienced by the families of the fallen.
From Barbara Bush's own mouth:
“Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it’s going to happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it’s, not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”
(ABC/Good Morning America)
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow's response, when asked if President Bush had any reaction to the death toll for U.S. troops in Iraq reaching 2,500: “It’s a number.”
American citizens NEED to realize these are NOT just numbers...
Each one of those red dots represents a mother's screams...

A Nation Rocked To Sleep

Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?
The torrential rains of a mother's weeping will never be done.
They call him a hero, you should be glad that he's one, but
Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?

Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?
He must be brave because his boy died for another man's lies.
The only grief he allows himself are long, deep sighs.
Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?

Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?
They say that he died so that the flag will continue to wave.
But I believe he died because they had oil to save.
Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?

Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?
The leaders want to keep you numb so the pain won't be so deep.
But if we the people let them continue another mother will weep.
Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?

[More links on the sidebar under THE COST OF IRAQ and PEACE MOVEMENT.]

My blog is getting a "makeover"...

Hey, I upgraded my blog tonight... I don't know what all I can do or what will be different EXCEPT I can now put "tags" on my posts! I've always wanted to do that! I have done some, but gee, it's getting late and I have a big day tomorrow... so I'm calling it a night.

In the meantime, if you stop by, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail. If you see something that you liked on my blog, tell me. If you think I'm missing something, let me know. If you stop by regularly, why? If this is your first time, how did you hear about it? Are you from Idaho or from farther away? My "counter" shows that some visitors are from as far away as Japan and I can only think that somehow they just stumbled onto my blog accidentally! So, if you arrived here on purpose, I'd love to hear about it!

I see the numbers rising on my counter... so, who are y'all? I'm really curious!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

News Release from Idaho's Nuclear Watchdog

Snake River Alliance
Idaho's Nuclear Watchdog

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Jeremy Maxand, Executive Director
(208) 344-9161 office/(208) 850-9334 cell

On December 1, 2006, Alternate Energy Holdings (AEHI) announced its intent to construct and operate a 1,500-megawatt light water nuclear reactor near Bruneau, Idaho. The company maintains that the bulk of the power will be sold on the energy market, primarily to Western states, with a small amount going to pump irrigation water in the Bruneau area. According to AEHI, a "binding agreement" is expected in early 2007 and plant construction will begin in 2008. The AEHI reactor would be the first commercial nuclear reactor in Idaho.

"Idaho doesn't need nuclear and Idaho doesn't want nuclear," said Jeremy Maxand, executive director of the Snake River Alliance, a statewide nuclear watchdog group. "The power and profits would leave Idaho. The nuclear waste would remain in our air, land, and water."

The company says the Energy Policy Act of 2005 creates an "ideal market atmosphere for the development of new plants." According to Maxand, "That's another way of saying AEHI sees an ideal atmosphere for taking advantage of taxpayers, since the Energy Act included massive subsidies for nuclear power."

A new nuclear reactor could put pressure on Idaho farmers and ranchers and other water right holders who are already struggling. All reactors must have substantial water available to create steam to power the turbines and to continuously cool the fuel rods in the reactor core to prevent meltdown. The exact amount of water used depends on the reactor design, but the amounts are massive. For instance, the Vogtle reactor power plant in Georgia withdraws about 64 million gallons of water a day from the Savannah River.

Because of its location, the proposed reactor could put many living downwind in radioactive harm's way. Considering the damage already done by nuclear fallout from nuclear bomb testing at the Nevada Test Site, a new nuclear threat could generate widespread public concern and opposition.
"This nuclear reactor will benefit this one company, but it has nothing to do with my family, community, and environmental beliefs," said Craig Wolfrom, a photographer and father in the Wood River Valley. "I say, 'no' to companies like AEHI that profit off their neighbors leaving them with waste and putting families like mine who live downwind in harms way."

Alternative Energy Holdings is a Nevada-based (

Link to the AEHI announcement

Link to Energy Policy Findings Report (Public opinion survey on energy in Idaho)

Link to study on renewable energy in Idaho

Link to the Snake River Alliance

The Snake River Alliance is an Idaho-based grassroots group working through research, education, and community advocacy for peace and justice, the end to nuclear weapons, responsible solutions to nuclear waste and contamination, and sustainable alternatives to nuclear power.
Other Idaho blog postings:

Saying "Thank You"...

Here is a wonderful opportunity to tell a soldier or Marine "Thank You" for their sacrifice and bravery. As many of us have stated before, no matter how we feel about the war in Iraq or the current administration, we truly appreciate and support our troops.

Stop by Let's Say Thanks and pick out one of the precious "thank you" cards (with artwork by children across America). Xerox will print it and send it to a soldier serving in Iraq. It's FREE and it only takes a second.

Here is the card that I sent...

At the same time, don't forget to send a note to your own soldier/Marine. If you don't have one, find one! Ask your friends, co-workers, local church, veteran's organization, or recruitment office etc. for the name of someone to "adopt". They are sacrificing and risking so much in the name of our country... let's all join together and show our love and appreciation for them.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Hello? Is this Mrs. Parker of Malad, Idaho? We need to talk!

Don't blame the war lobby
Who lost Iraq? Was it the keyboard warriors of the patriotsphere, the cocktail generals of the punditocracy, the courageous sycophants in Congress, or the bold and resolute Caligula from Crawford?

"None of the above," shout Kondracke, Kurtz, and Jacobs, "it was the American people."

I received this from Caro @ Make Them Accountable. When I first read it, I misunderstood the point! My own opinion is that the tragedy of Iraq IS the fault of many Americans (and considering Idaho's Presidential approval rating, it made sense to include a senior citizen in Malad, Idaho) because we ALLOWED this war to continue without demanding honesty and accountability.

To the "Myrtles" of America... SHAME on you all...

Time For A Big Ol' Cup Of 'Shut The F*** Up'

Again, Peter @ "Life In Bush Country" shared a great article which echoes my sentiments perfectly! This phrase entered my thoughts every time Bill Sali kept warning Idahoans about Nancy Pelosi and SF liberals... "Hey, Sali, just..." -- well, you know the rest!

My favorites are...
...[H]ere now is a roll call of people who must officially shut the f*** up.
  • Republican trolls who wrap up their anonymous and incomprehensible criticisms of progressives with the phrase, "and that's why your party never wins," need to shut the f*** up.
  • The cowards who so easily disregard our liberties by shrugging off the president's illegal wiretapping; the cowards who shrug off the Military Commissions Act and the death of habeas corpus; and the cowards who shrug off torture with the phrases, "I'm not doing anything wrong, so I have nothing to worry about," or, "You can't [blank] if you're dead," ought to shut the f*** up.
  • Anyone who still believes that global warming is a myth? Shut the f*** up.
  • I think it was Bill Maher who mentioned this but it stands repeating here: neocons who have made multiple rosy predictions about Iraq need to shut the f*** up and are forthwith banned from making any more predictions.
  • Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and other homophobes who use the "San Francisco Liberal" label for Speaker-Elect Pelosi must... you know. We all understand that it's right-wing code language meaning "homo-values." If that's what you mean, just say it. That is, unless you're not man enough. [Ya hear that, Bill Sali??]
  • If you still believe that Karl Rove is a genius, wizard, architect or anything short of overrated, you must shut the f*** up.

Read the full article for more!

Friday, December 01, 2006

You won't see many of these bumper stickers in Idaho...

1/20/09: End of an Error

That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway

Let's Fix Democracy in this Country First

If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran

Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.

If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President

Of Course It Hurts:
You're Getting Screwed by an Elephant

Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?

George Bush: Creating the Terrorists
Our Kids Will Have to Fight

Impeachment: It's Not Just for Blowjobs Anymore

America: One Nation, Under Surveillance

They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It

Who's God Do You Kill For?

Jail to the Chief

No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq?

Bush: God's Way of Proving
Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap

Bad President! No Banana.

We Need a President Who's Fluent
In At Least One Language

We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them

Is It Vietnam Yet?

Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either

Where Are We Going?
And Why Are We In This Handbasket?

You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.

Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too

When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46

Pray For Impeachment

The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century

What Part of "Bush Lied" Don't You Understand?

One Nation Under Clod

2004: Embarrassed
2005: Horrified
2006: Terrified

Bush Never Exhaled

At Least Nixon Resigned

Another post about my favorite bumper stickers...

Where to buy bumper stickers, posters, mugs, and t-shirts here...

Idaho Rep brags about being a "political sadist"...

His term hasn't even officially started yet, and Bill Sali is already providing moments to groan over...
Sali has few hopes that he can find much common ground with Democrats, but in an interview with the Idaho Statesman, he talked about how his "political sadism" could help him make a difference on Medicaid and other complex issues many lawmakers shy away from.
[Source: The Idaho Statesman, December 01, 2006]

Does Bill know the definition of sadism/sadist?

sa·dism (noun)

  1. The deriving of sexual gratification or the tendency to derive sexual gratification from inflicting pain or emotional abuse on others.
  2. The deriving of pleasure, or the tendency to derive pleasure, from cruelty.
  3. Extreme cruelty.

Read the full interview here...
(Is it just me or is it a little weird how he refers to himself in third person during his interview?)