Opinion

Guest Opinions

Free speech includes right to criticize the courts, president

I have never been a supporter of President Donald Trump and probably never will be. I do believe, however, there is at least one thing he has a right to complain about. The national press and talking heads have recently seized on the president’s attacks on the courts. Some have said his tweets will create a constitutional crisis. Calm down. We are nowhere near a constitutional crisis — at least not yet. In fact, the only decision we have is on an interim order pending trial.

Guest Opinions

The voice of an ‘American Conscience’ remains relevant today

Reinhold Niebuhr, a Christian ethicist who died in 1971, was one of the most important American thinkers of the past 100 years, though his tremendous influence is largely unknown. His list of accomplishments and protégés stretches across American life past and present. He authored the famous Serenity Prayer: “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.” It became a staple in American life through its inclusion in the GI prayer book during World War II and through Alcoholics Anonymous’ adoption of it as a motto.

Guest Opinions

First-year U of I law school in Boise broadens accessibility for students

Excellence in public legal education has been a University of Idaho strength for many years. A survey of Idaho law, industry and public service leaders would find no shortage of talented professionals who chose the school’s College of Law for an affordable, high-quality education that prepared them for success. This month U of I took another step toward making that outstanding career training more accessible for students from Idaho and beyond as the State Board of Education approved a first-year curriculum in Boise.

Letters to the Editor

Bauer letter: Betsy DeVos

The historical confirmation of billionaire Betsy DeVos as secretary of education represents not only the embodiment of partisan politics but also a classic example why Washington is broken. Senators were overwhelmed with e-mail, phone calls from their constituents to not confirm DeVos. There were also petitions signed by tens of thousand opposing DeVos. Sen. Mike Crapo attended the committee hearings in which DeVos demonstrated her lack of knowledge and experience in terms of public education. It was also discovered she may have plagiarized material she submitted for her vetting process. Despite the fact that DeVos was demonstrably not qualified or fit for the position, Crapo and Sen. Jim Risch supported her confirmation. Politicians are quick to point out that they know what the American people want. In this case it was ignored. Instead, it was money that talked, and Crapo and Risch listened. Support works two ways. If our senators cannot respect the will of the people and support those they represent, maybe the voters should consider who they support.

Letters to the Editor

Mattison letter: Crapo and Risch

Recently I sent emails to Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, asking them when, if ever, they will set aside their loyalty to the Republican Party and their desire to flex political muscle and begin to protect American institutions and the American people. Each of them must know, in his heart of hearts, how much damage President Trump is doing and will continue to do until and unless he is stopped by Congress or by the courts. Those two bodies are the only bulwarks against Trump disassembling our government. Frankly, I do not expect a response from either senator, nor do I expect either to change his behavior.

Letters to the Editor

Hinson letter: Critical thinking

This letter is in response to the article printed on Feb. 5, by Mark Rudin on education at BSU. It is an excellent article. I want to expand on his informative article by calling attention to the curriculum in use at the Barbara Morgan STEM Academy. This elementary school, in the West Ada School District, is a superb example of this approach to teaching on the elementary school level. My daughter is a member of the 5th grade faculty at that school. She not only devotes extra hours to being prepared to teach her students in a science-based curriculum, but is keenly aware that her teaching is intended to help her students engage in critical thinking. Recently, her teaching related to the constitutional principle of the separation of powers in our federal government.,which is now a special concern of our citizenry. The emphasis, then, is to encourage students to apply the principles of critical thinking to all arenas of thought, not only to the sciences. At this juncture we need support be given to the role of public education, and to the forward-looking principles espoused by Mr. Rudin, his colleagues at BSU, and the Meridian public schools.

Letters to the Editor

Harvey letter: DeVos confirmation

Our senators voted to confirm an incompetent Betsy DeVos for secretary of education. They have confirmed a person who has no idea how public education functions. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have sold out the children of Idaho and the rest of the United States. When will they vote for a better America and not blindly vote party lines? They had a chance to Keep America Great and they failed us. SHAME on them.

Letters to the Editor

Gregory letter: Bus riders

Regarding “Boise’s population booms, but people not riding bus.” This is a mark of sprawl development. Sprawl residents almost always end up driving their private car to work, to shopping, to doctor’s office, and all the other errands of life. Sprawl destroys natural heritage, fragments remaining natural areas, increases air pollution and surface runoff, and increases the cost of living while ruining the quality of life ratio for everyone.

Letters to the Editor

Fisher letter: Fish & Game

Jan. 27, Rep. Marc Gibbs, R-Grace, addressed the Idaho Fish and Game Commission — yet another attempt by a gang of legislators making demands of the commission that aren’t supported by sportsmen. They’re intent on forcing the commission to double ($750,000 to $1.5 million) the current annual set aside available to landowners for crop damage by wildlife. Funded by hunting license sales, the fund goes unclaimed most years since landowner claims rarely total $750,000. Gibbs wants the fund doubled for undisclosed reasons. Last year Sen. Bert Brackett authored and passed bill S1344, mandating IDFG hire a contractor to manage controlled hunt drawings. S1344’s estimated annual cost of $100,000 starkly contrasts the current annual in-house cost of $3,000. The actual cost of S1344 is $2 million annually. During 10 years without a fee increase, IDFG’s purchasing power has reduced from inflation by 20 percent. 2017’s price-lock fee increase proposal would generate approximately $2 million annually. S1344 and the depredation increase will cost almost $3 million annually, nullifying the added benefit of the proposed fee increase. Perhaps it’s time the Legislature passes the sportsman supported fee increase for IDFG and quit saddling us with unjustified increased costs.

Letters to the Editor

Brown letter: Chicago snow

This letter is in support of Barry Betlock: I was born in Chicago and lived there until 1979 and remember that fiasco well. During that folderal, Michael Bilandic actually said on camera, “Snow? What snow?” Thus he handed the mayoral job to Jane Byrne, who also only lasted one term. In fairness, however, those years saw huge records set. The winter of 1976-77 we set the all-time Chicago record for cold. The next winter (1977-78) we set the all-time Chicago record for snow, and the following year we set the all-time record for both cold and snow.

Letters to the Editor

Bianchetti letter: Immigrants

I did extensive research on immigration and refugees and found the most interesting facts. Yes, you guessed it ...We are all immigrants or refugees. National Geographic and the Smithsonian teamed up to find out the very same question. They discovered a skeleton of a young woman who they named “Naia” who fell into a hole. She crossed over to the Yucatan Peninsula from Beringia bridge, which was connected but submerged underwater after the next ice age. They extracted DNA from a tooth in her skull and sure enough ... she was Indian, which became the American Indian. Then lo and behold, the Europeans were the first immigrants in Europe ... 1509 comes around and the Pilgrims leave England to flee “religious persecution” to America. We are all immigrants or refugees, just from our ancestry alone proves that. Why are some of us so hung up about them coming here? This is the land of the free, home of the brave. They have the right to be here. I would suggest that Trump and his Cabinet contact Ancestry.com and get kits to find out who their ancestors were. That would open their eyes ... maybe. Let’s love one another. OK?

Letters to the Editor

Wilson letter: Legislators

It is almost laughable that the Legislature will have a hearing on a bill to protect Idahoans from the imposition of foreign laws, such as Sharia Law. In contrast, Republican leadership has indicated they would not schedule a hearing if a bill should be re-introduced to remove the special exemption that allows some former legislators to gain full-time retirement benefits for years of part-time employment. The special exemption enables a select few to unfairly benefit at the expense of everyone else in the retirement system. The special exemption for legislators is an existing injustice, and it should be repealed.

Letters to the Editor

Thacker-Harford letter: Medicare Advantage

Recently, Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch signed a letter with 64 other senators stating their support for Medicare Advantage and encouraging the president to protect the program. As a senior that depends on Medicare Advantage, I wish to affirm the critical role that the program plays in my own life. During this time of great debate over the future of the health care system, it’s critical that Idaho’s representatives join their colleagues in the Senate in supporting this program and the seniors like me who depend on it for low-cost, comprehensive coverage.

Letters to the Editor

Lyons letter: Immigrants

This past summer I was able to visit New York City. While I was there I was able to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I saw very visibly the effects immigration has on this country. The stories I heard of people who came to the United States and made a life for themselves is quite amazing. My stepmother was able to see pictures and see the name of her grandfather, an immigrant from Sweden. She was so grateful to be able get a better understanding of her roots. There are millions of examples just like this, yet President Trump has attempted to put heavy restrictions and stoppages of immigration. The United States is a melting pot and a place for people who need to get out of terrible situations to come and find a new life. We are a country that should have open arms to those who need our help and not put walls between us. Something needs to change.

Videos

Interior Secretary Jewell recounts events that kept her up at night

United States Interior Secretary Sally Jewell speaks with the Idaho Statesman Editorial Board on a visit to Idaho Jan. 3, 2017 in the waning days of her administration overseeing federal lands. She responds to the question of what events kept her up at night.
Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com
Interior Secretary Jewell recounts events that kept her up at night 4:17

Interior Secretary Jewell recounts events that kept her up at night

Why the Idaho Statesman endorses political candidates 1:48

Why the Idaho Statesman endorses political candidates

Boise Sanders supporters hold firm 2:32

Boise Sanders supporters hold firm

Leon Panetta on public service 1:44

Leon Panetta on public service