It's that time of year again. What have been the highlights - political and non-political - of 2007 for you? What were your favorite books, blogs, films, music, and more of the year? And what are you most looking forward to in 2008?
"Editor's note: The Statesman cannot verify the accuracy of statements made in letters to the editor or guest opinions. However, the Statesman will not run letters that contain statements it knows are false. We should not have run Clarice Wright's Dec. 14 letter to the editor regarding presidential candidate Barack Obama. The Statesman regrets the publication of the letter."
David Keyes, the Publisher of the Bonners Ferry Herald in northern Idaho, issued this statement on December 13th:
Last week the Herald ran a letter titled: “Don’t elect a Muslim.” The letter writer railed on presidential candidate Barack Obama. There were many falsehoods in this letter. I contacted North Idaho resident Andrea Ohman, who volunteers for the Obama campaign, to ask her to clarify the letter. It appears Janney Chandler is regurgitating action points sent out by a group trying to defame Obama. “These malicious, irresponsible charges are precisely the kind of politics the American people have grown tired of, and that Senator Obama is trying to change by focusing on bringing people together to solve our common problems,” Ohman said. The writer claimed Obama is a Muslim. He is not. He is a Christian. This paper will do a better job screening inaccurate letters and will not use the excuse of the political season to lower our standards. I want to thank everyone for their input on a matter we take very seriously. I apologize for letting such a ill-informed, hate-filled letter run in our community newspaper.
On behalf of Obama supporters in Idaho, THANK YOU for having the guts and integrity to admit it was a mistake, and for ensuring that your readers know the truth.
Barack Obama IS Christan, NOT Muslim Barack Obama was not raised a Muslim. Barack Obama is a committed, baptized Christian who has been a member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ for over twenty years. Obama never attended a “radical Muslim school.” Obama attended public elementary school for two years in Indonesia, not an Islamic madrassa. Obama held his personal Bible when he was sworn-in as a U.S. Senator, not a Qur’an. Obama reads the Bible and finds time to pray on the campaign trail.
Some of the many sources that confirm these statements:
The boards of directors of United Vision for Idaho and United Action
for Idaho today announced the recipients for awards for Idaho's
Environmental Leader of the Year, Labor Leader of the Year and
Progressive Administrator of the Year. The awards will be presented at
the 10th Annual Progressive Celebration & Awards Dinner on Friday,
January 11, 2008.
Leader of the Year Justin Hayes exposed the cause of one of the most
serious public health issues to face Idaho in recent years: mercury in
water and food. His work with the Idaho Conservation League exposed
that Nevada’s gold ore processing plants were emitting far greater
mercury than even a coal-fired power plant, but were not reporting this
potent neurotoxin. Thanks to Justin’s work, Nevada was forced to change
its previously voluntary system and federal agencies also changed the
way they oversee mercury emissions. Justin’s work also helped ensure
that Idaho remained at zero in the national mercury cap and trade
Labor Leader of the Year Rian Van Leuven has never
given up over the past 30 years fighting for the right of Idaho’s
workers to organize for better wages, benefits and working conditions.
The Lewiston City Council recognized that leadership in the union
movement is synonymous with good citizenship when it awarded Rian one
of its Citizens of the Year awards. Rian has held leadership positions
in the movement and currently serves as vice president of the Idaho
State AFL-CIO president of United Steel Workers Local #608. Progressive
Administrator of the Year Suzanne Woodcock has strengthened several
social justice organizations with her administrative skills and her
passion for civil rights. In particular, she has been ACLU of Idaho’s
administrator since 2002. Marty Durand, former Executive Director of
the Idaho Women’s Network (IWN) said “her ability to focus on the
essential and minimize the trivial makes every organization she touches
stronger.” Suzanne has also applied her administrative skills to help
IWN and the Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
Hayes, Rian Van Leuven and Suzanne Woodcock join three other award
recipients announced last week: Human Rights Leader of the Year Vivian
Parrish, Progressive Youth Leader of the Year Breanne Gratton, and
Progressive Blogger of the Year Julie Fanselow. More information and
photos of these amazing people can be found at United Vision for
Awards for Grassroots Leaders of the Year and Progressive Elected Official of the Year will be announced on January 2, 2008
All the streets are filled with laughter and light And the music of the season And the merchants' windows are all bright With the faces of the children And the families hurrying to their homes As the sky darkens and freezes They'll be gathering around the hearths and tales Giving thanks for all God's graces And the birth of the rebel Jesus
Well they call him by the prince of peace And they call him by the savior And they pray to him upon the seas And in every bold endeavor As they fill his churches with their pride and gold And their faith in him increases But they've turned the nature that I worshipped in From a temple to a robber's den In the words of the rebel Jesus
We guard our world with locks and guns And we guard our fine possessions And once a year when Christmas comes We give to our relations And perhaps we give a little to the poor If the generosity should seize us But if any one of us should interfere In the business of why they are poor They get the same as the rebel Jesus
But please forgive me if I seem To take the tone of judgment For I've no wish to come between This day and your enjoyment In this life of hardship and of earthly toil We have need for anything that frees us So I bid you pleasure And I bid you cheer From a heathen and a pagan On the side of the rebel Jesus.
The Idaho Statesman in Boise and the Post Register in Idaho Falls have added David Sirota to their line-ups of op-ed columnists. Sirota - a fearless young progressive populist who knows the West (he lives in Denver) - is a welcome addition to the papers.
Alas, the Statesman doesn't seem to run its national op-ed columns online, and the Post Register is behind a firewall. But if you don't take the dead-tree versions of either paper, you can always read Sirota right at his website. And if you missed RSR's write-up of Sirota's speech at last month's Ada County Democratic Party JFK Banquet, you can read that here.
Idaho Speaker of the House LawERence Denney apparently has no plans to tone down the arrogance that marked his first year in the post. The Associated Press reports that Denney sent a letter to GOP leaders beseeching them to plan for a short session once the state legislature reconvenes next month. "His letter was not circulated to Democrats," the report noted. You'd think that common courtesy would dictate that the letter be sent to the minority leadership, at least.
The fact is, everyday Idahoans have cause to be more wary than usual about the coming session. Not only are reactionary Republicans intent on handing off energy policy decisions to local yokels and passing draconian legislation gussied up as "family values" hoo-ha; the plutocrats will be doing their work largely out of public view, since the legislature's temporary quarters in the old Ada County Courthouse won't easily accommodate visitors who want to keep an eye on the proceedings. The Repubs seem intent on skirting the public in other ways, too; note, for example, how the controversial Family Task Force has posted none of its minutes on the legislature's website.
The following is an endorsement for Barack Obama by Jerry Brady, the Democratic nominee in Idaho's gubernatorial race last year.
For a full listing of recent Idaho endorsements of Barack Obama, please visit our Endorsement Page. ________________________________________
Why Obama? A Statement by Jerry M. Brady
Democrats have a host of qualified candidates who could win in November and be exceptional presidents. However the person best suited to our times is Barack Obama. Why?
The next president must reverse the catastrophic decline in America’s moral leadership in the world, a decline that has made us among the least admired nations in the world. Barack Obama can do that. The next president must cut through the partisanship and divisiveness that have poisoned our public life for 30 years to achieve the unity craved by most Americans. Barack Obama can do that.
As a legislative assistant to Senator Frank Church in the l960’s, I had a front row seat for the cascade of critical legislation that followed the death of John Kennedy. Something on the scale of Lyndon Johnson’s accomplishments is needed today. If anyone could do that it would be Barack Obama.
The Bush Administration has placed America in a deep financial hole. Any responsible Democrat must reverse the catastrophic rise in the national debt piled on our children while mobilizing a national consensus for universal health care. Those who dug this hole and oppose health care for all will use the filibuster rule in the Senate to resist. In my judgment, Obama has the best chance to rally the nation to override this resistance and renew our country.
Some say Obama should have waited his turn. I say we cannot afford to wait. On many of our challenges, the hour is late and conditions dire. Obama offers the best hope for a breakthrough. Bush, Clinton, Bush and—once again—Clinton does not.
Rickie and I are packing our bags to work for Obama in Nevada come January. We hope Idaho Democrats will do all you can as well.
Julie Fanselow, Breanne Gratton and Vivian Parrish to receive awards
The boards of directors of United Vision for Idaho and United Action for Idaho today announced the recipients for three progressive leadership awards. The awards will be presented at the 10th Annual Progressive Celebration and Awards Dinner on Friday, January 11, 2008. "Once again, many impressive people from across the state were nominated to receive Idaho's progressive leadership awards," Chuck Vogel, President of UVIs board announced from Idaho Falls today. "The three award winners we are announcing today are amazing Idahoans who made huge contributions to the progressive movement in Idaho, particular in the area of human rights, youth leadership and communications through blogging."
Progressive Blogger of the Year Julie Fanselow started one of Idaho's first blogs, Red State Rebels, in the fall of 2003 and has mentored dozens of people who are discovering the importance of this critical new form of policy discourse. She has written more than 1,500 posts covering virtually every social and economic issue on the state and national level. Julie's motto (inspired by Stephen R. Covey) is "find your voice and help other people find theirs." In 2007, Julie became the online organizer for the Study Circles Resource Center (soon to be Everyday Democracy), a national organization to help communities organize dialogue-to-action projects on such issues as racial equity, growth and sprawl, immigration, education, and more. Youth Leader of the Year Breanne Gratton is a senior at Boise High School and has organized more people to join in the struggle for peace than most people five times her age. In 2007, Breanne was a key organizer of the Idaho Peace Coalition's activities, including the rally commemorating the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, a series of peace vigils in August, and bringing over 100 Idahoans to Salt Lake City in October for a national demonstration against the war. Breanne was one of the speakers at the event. "Many songs this time of year speak to Peace on Earth," Vogel said, "but to Breanne they are not abstract. She believes we can have neither Peace nor the Earth unless we actively work for both." Human Rights Leader of the Year Vivian Parrish is the principal organizer of the Idaho Interfaith Roundtable Against Hunger. She has worked to fight hunger and poverty in Idaho for over 25 years ever since she founded the Nampa chapter of Bread for the World, organized CROP Hunger Walks across southern Idaho and secured a breakfast program in the Nampa School District. "Vivian Parrish approaches Idaho's unacceptably high rate of hunger as a human rights issue, as a moral issue, and by this year she inspired 33 different faith groups to join the struggle against hunger with effective changes in public policy," Vogel said.
Hey those of you that support Edwards (fyi I do but have a meeting at that time) you can join a local Idaho call.
the following is a partial cut-n-paste from my email today -
19 at 7:00 p.m. MT for an Idaho grassroots supporter conference
During this call, we will talk about our "Road Trip to One America"
strategy, which is helping to match volunteers with important key
early states, and we'll also discuss our plan for victory in the
Idaho caucus on February 5.
Please RSVP by Tuesday, December 18, 7:00 p.m. MT, to take part in
this important conference call with senior campaign staff and others
in Idaho like yourself who support John Edwards.