A group of breast cancer survivors gathered at Capitol Park in Boise today for a press conference to criticize congressional candidate Bill Sali for his continuing efforts to promote a causal link between abortion and breast cancer. The organizers also announced they have launched a petition to object to Sali's campaign of misinformation.
It's well known that Sali brought the Idaho Legislature to a halt last spring with his insistence on promoting his claims. But Sali continues to argue his case: Just last week, he told the Washington Post he maintains there is a link. "If you have an abortion, you are at increased risk," he said.
The fact is, however, that the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute say no cause-and-effect relationship exists between abortion and breast cancer, and long-term studies have established that no link exists. "It took me two minutes and a Google search to determine this was absolutely false," said Kris Troxell.
"We're here to set the record straight," said Idaho House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet (in the photo, at left), herself a breast cancer survivor. Jaquet charged that Sali is using the issue to drive conservative Christians to the polls, and that he is wrong to stigmatize women and play politics with people's lives.
"Bill Sali refuses to accept the science," Jaquet said. "Basically, he's scaring women who are trying to make this very complicated decision. He lets his ideology get in the way of his politics." Marty Durand of the Idaho Women's Network noted that the only groups making the claim are those opposed to a woman's right to choose whether and when to have children.
"Imagine instead of spending billions on the war on Iraq, if we spent it on cancer eradication research," suggested cancer survivor Sharon Van Slyke (in the photo, at right). "I'm still sick," she said. "I'm sick of Bill Sali's rhetoric and I'm sick of Bill Sali's lies."
UPDATE: Chris at Liberal Idaho watched tonight's KTVB debate and has posted a good recap here.
UPDATE 10/31/06: Alan at Idablue has a write-up, too. And Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesmanwent to a debate-watch party with a bunch of Boise professionals representing the full partisan spectrum. Their consensus seemed to be: advantage, Brady. Finally, of note: master political prognosticator Charlie Cook has placed the Idaho gubernatorial race in the toss-up category. This one's gonna be a nail-biter, folks!
You know you're a political junkie when you watch the Idaho Debate for the governor's race even though only one of the two major candidates bothers to show up. Yes, I did tune in to see Democrat Jerry Brady and Libertarian Ted Dunlap preserve the state's 30-year tradition of political discourse on Sunday night. The Idaho Debates are by far the best because they allow the candidates to question one another. That makes for a less-scripted event, and helps voters understand better how would-be officials think on their feet.
Well, there's another gubernatorial debate planned tonight, this one airing from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Mountain on KTVB. Butch Otter gave his blessing to this one. How magnanimous of him. The debate is supposedly going to air on other stations around the state and at other times on KTVB's cable news channel 24/7, but a visit to its website doesn't make plain what those alternate stations and times are. In any case, with polls showing Brady and Otter in a virtual tie, this will be must-see TV, not just for the junkies but for Idahoans who are just starting to think about the big day a week from tomorrow.
America is on the verge of great political change. Some political prognosticators (including the estimable Stu Rothenberg) are now predicting an upheaval of historic proportions, with Democrats poised to win anywhere from two dozen to more than fifty seats a week from next Tuesday. People are fed up, they want change, and they're going to vote for it ... even in Idaho.
If we see history made November 7, there's still a chance that maverick Idaho 2nd Congressional District candidate Jim Hansen will be part of it. Jim finally had his moment in the spotlight today, with a big Idaho StatesmanPage 1 piece of his race against incumbent Mike Simpson. Unlike the lame-ass Boise Weekly story published earlier this week, the Statesman piece did a good job telling why and how Hansen is refusing to play the political game by its usual rules.
However, both the Statesman and BW missed a crucial part of Jim's story. While they dutifully reported the raw figures of contributions from individuals (about $111,000 as of September 30 for Hansen, compared to $126,755 for Simpson), both Rocky Barker and Shea Andersen failed to note that Hansen - with his self-imposed $100 contribution limit - has had many more individuals contributing to his campaign than Simpson can claim.
Jim Hansen doesn't have TV ads, but he has met face-to-face with thousands of Idaho voters, and he has the enthusiastic support of people across southern Idaho. On Saturday, he'll wrap up his 95-town tour of all 26 counties of the 2nd District with a whistle-stop tour through downtown Boise aboard the Boise Tour Train.
Stop into the old Mode Building at 8th and Idaho between 10 a.m. and noon for some hot spiced cider and a ride on the tour train, where Jim and supporters will be serenaded by Boise jazz great Kevin Kirk and his band. Jim will hold forth at a 10:45 a.m. press conference, telling how he will include his constituents in the democratic
process by revisiting all 95 towns and more in his first year if voters
send him to Congress.
Two weeks after adding Larry Grant to its list of "emerging races" (about two months late, oh well), and after two weeks of incessant national media attention to Grant's race, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today nudged Larry Grant into the "From Red to Blue" category. As it says on the D-trip site:
The Red to Blue program is designed to provide financial and structural aid to the strongest Democratic candidates across the country. The program will introduce Democratic supporters to new, competitive campaigns in order to help expand the fundraising base for these campaigns.
So come on! The National Republican Congressional Committee and the Club for Growth have dumped about $750K into Bill Sali's campaign just this month, and it's all going for attack ads and robocalls that distort Larry Grant's positions on the record.
Larry Grant needs whatever help we can muster for him. You can give via the DCCC Red to Blue page, or via the red-hot national Netroots page (where about 400 people have raised more than $12,000 for Larry today), or even via my little ol' Turn Idaho Blue page. But please do what you can today, when it will still help.
Theocon Bryan Fischer is ordering his minions to vote yes on the marriage amendment poll at the KBOI website. So let's head on over there and have our say ... Idaho says NO to discrimination.
Remember, HJR 2 would mean that a one-man, one-woman marriage would be the ONLY legal union in this state. It would not just disallow same-gender marriage but also civil unions for gays and lesbians and domestic partnerships between two heterosexuals. It's overreaching, it's unnecessary (same-gender marriage is already illegal in Idaho), it's unfair - and it's probably unconstitutional, which means we'd face time- and money-wasting lawsuits defending discrimination in court. Say no now - and on November 7, too.
Since I am on the topic of HJR 2, click here to read Dan Popkey's searing column on the topic. A snip: Twenty states have adopted bans on gay marriage at the ballot box.
Idaho, with its unique history, has a chance to make a once-and-for-all
statement that we are broad-minded folk. It would be a message heard
round the world.
Also noted in the Statesman: "Young people are more tolerant of same-sex unions than older folks.
Friday night, high school students from around the Treasure Valley will
rally in opposition to HJR 2. They’ll be on the Statehouse steps from 6
p.m. to midnight. For more information, call Ryan Sinclair at 229-0084."
That's tonight. Good for them. Are all the 18-year-olds in your life registered to vote?
If you're like me, you are getting slammed with requests for assistance from the likes of MoveOn, DFA, the DNC, the DCCC, the Progressive Patriot Fund, etc., etc. Most want money; some, like MoveOn, want your time to make phone calls to help elect candidates in the battleground states.
Just say no.
Whatever time, money, and energy you have, invest it here in Idaho. Sure, in 2004, we could afford to spend our time and treasure helping in more "blue" areas. I myself managed a phone bank to Oregon for about three weeks.
But this year, our own beloved Idaho is a battleground. The governor's race and the 1st Congressional District race are truly neck and neck, and other races are well within range of victory. The very best thing you can do to help elect Dems up and down the ballot right here in Idaho is to volunteer with your local coordinated campaign; call your Democratic Party county office to help. If you still have money to give, you can donate here (via my ActBlue page) to Larry Grant and Jim Hansen, who both need it way more than someone 500 or 1,000 miles away, or here to Jerry Brady. If you do nothing else, write a letter to the editor on behalf of your favorite candidate, and get it in by the first of next week.
We are all of us living in Battleground Idaho. Do whatever you can to help here at home - and do it now.
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer is in town today to help Jerry Brady share some great news: A recent internal poll shows the Democratic gubernatorial nominee edging ahead of the GOP's choice, Butch Otter, 42 percent to 40 percent. The poll of 400 registered voters was taken Oct. 13-15 and has a plus-minus 5% margin of error.
Schweitzer - one of the nation's most popular governors and the first Democrat elected to that post since the 1980s - said Idaho and Montana share many parallels. For one thing, he said, "We ain't Texas. We don't pay to fish and hunt," and applauded Brady's strong stand on keeping public lands in public hands.
Montana also is an emerging national leader in developing alternative energy sources ranging from wind to biomass to clean coal-to-gas technology. "I don't believe we ought to send another nickel to those dictators in the Middle East, not when we can produce our own energy, and Jerry agrees," Schweitzer said.
The new poll was taken by the same firm that found Brady down 19% in June and 11% in September. But Otter's recent missteps - including refusing to take part in the Idaho Debates and flip-flopping on key issues including canned hunts and education funding - have given Brady fresh momentum heading into the campaign's final stretch. From the campaign press release:
On big ticket issues of public lands, family values and education, Brady has pulled far ahead of Congressman Otter. When asked “Who will protect our public lands,” Idahoans trust Brady over his opponent at a rate of two to one (Brady 46 percent–Otter 23 percent). On questions of “Who is more family oriented” and “Who will do a better job helping public schools,” Brady’s leads were comfortable at 15 and 16 points respectively.
As you can see, Brady's campaign manager, Matt Hurm, is growing this fine beard - something he's done during every campaign he's ever worked on, he says. With Election Day less than two weeks away, we say go, Jerry, go and grow, Matt, grow.