Responses, re. Steven Thayn

A sampling of responses to my style="text-decoration:underline;">Wednesday post about Rep. Steven Thayn — and his son Damon Thayn's guilty plea stemming from a domestic dispute.

• From style="text-decoration:underline;"> Bryan Fischer at the Idaho Values Alliance: "Note in particular the utter lack of sympathy for Rep. Thayne (sic) and his family from someone who fancies himself the very embodiment of liberal compassion.

A sure sign of the season

It happened, the day before Thanksgiving.

The first of the perennial "merry-Christmas-vs.-happy-holidays" letters to the editor arrived in the inbox.

If you need any more evidence of how the seasons run together, there you have it.

I'm of two minds here. Obviously I welcome and accommodate our readers' comments on all issues, but I have to admit I find this debate a bit overblown.

Personally, I celebrate Christmas with my family, buy a Christmas tree, enjoy Christmas carols, exchange Christmas gifts. As a Christian, I try to make sure to reflect upon what I believe to be the day's spiritual significance. But I also respect the fact that others celebrate the season differently. So I've gotten in the habit of wishing people "happy holidays," especially when I'm not sure of someone's religious orientation. I mean it simply as good tidings, not as a social statement. I've never yet had someone chew me out over it — at least not to my face.

Why I can't feel sorry for Steven Thayn

I'm trying to feel sorry this morning for Steven Thayn.

And I just can't do it.

I certainly feel sorry for Thayn's daughter-in-law, and wish the best for her and the baby she is carrying. I even feel a little sorry for Damon Mathias Thayn — to a very limited extent. Damon Thayn's domestic battery arrest and subsequent guilty plea on a disturbing the peace charge wouldn't have even made the newspaper, were it not for his state representative father.

But Steven Thayn? I can't feel sorry for him.

Thayn, an Emmett Republican, has tried to present himself as some sort of a leader of family values issues. He has headed up a House of Representatives

Sali's love-hate relationship with federal spending

As a congressional candidate, Republican Bill Sali railed against runaway federal spending. He won, in no small measure, thanks to the support of the tax hawks at the Club for Growth political action committee.

As a member of Congress, Sali seems a little more conflicted about federal spending — sometimes on the day, sometimes over the same bill.

Last week, Sali issued a press release to trumpet a pair of budget earmarks in a federal spending bill: $500,000 for a widening project on U.S. 95 and $500,000 for highway work from Banks to Lowman. In a textbook case of burying the news, the press release's last paragraph contains some oh-by-the-way fine print: "Sali voted against the overall measure because it contains a series of other unnecessary, bloated spending proposals and would hike overall spending by $7.1 billion more than current funding and $5.3 billion more than the President has requested."

Well, at least it'd be fun to watch ...

The close-the-primary wing of the Republican Party had its day in federal court Thursday — and the group's attorney didn't sound too confident afterwards.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mikel Williams seemed skeptical about the lawsuit, brought not by the Idaho Republican Party, but by a group of about 70 Republicans. The party doesn't support the lawsuit, which aims to close the GOP primaries.

Afterward, the attorney for the Republican plaintiffs sounded downcast — yet combative. Christ Troupis told the Associated Press that he sensed Williams wanted to dismiss his suit. But check out what

Pass the corkscrew; let the bad puns breathe before pouring

The Eagle City Council debated Foothills development for several hours Thursday night style="text-decoration:underline;">(see story), but took no action on the controversial M3 Eagle planned community development.

That's now on the docket for Tuesday.

With developers now style="text-decoration:underline;">studying the feasibility of incorporating vineyards into their project, let the wordplay flow.

Will Tuesday's public hearing entail equal parts wine and whine?

From the Department of Faint Praise ...

... comes this quote from Cecil Andrus. The former governor spoke Wednesday on behalf of Walt Minnick, the latest Democrat to oppose 1st District Republican Rep. Bill Sali.

"Our current incumbent in that office is ineffective and an embarrassment — not as big an embarrassment as Larry Craig, but close."

A new home for political commentary

I'd like to get you to point your mouse at our newest online political site.

We're calling it Talking Points, a clearinghouse for guest opinions and commentary from Idaho political leaders and candidates.

I hope this grows into a useful resource for voters: one stop that helps you compare what the candidates and politicos are talking about. Frankly, it also gives us an online home for the many political guest opinions we receive — far more than we can possibly publish as Reader's Views. And it should give us a little more room to accommodate Reader's Views on topics other than politics. So I think this is a winner all around.

A slow day in Wallace

Have you ever thrown a party and no one shows?

If it's any consolation, it even happens to the guv.

Gov. Butch Otter's monthly "Capital for a Day" travels took him to the North Idaho community of Wallace Tuesday. Not counting the bureaucrats, only two locals showed, according to style="text-decoration:underline;">the Spokane, Wash., Spokesman-Review's Erica Curless.

“I’ve never seen so many suits in Wallace in my life,” Mayor Ron Garitone said. “Someone drove by a little while ago and asked who died.”

Is three a crowd for Democrats? Or is it an opportunity?

A three-way congressional primary could be the worst thing that could happen to Idaho Democrats.

Or, perhaps, the best thing.

On Wednesday Walt Minnick jumps into the race to take on 1st District Republican Bill Sali style="text-decoration:underline;">(click here for the story). It sets up — maybe for the first time in years — an interesting Democratic primary. Minnick, the Democrats' U.S. Senate candidate in 1996, joins Larry Grant, the former Micron attorney who lost to Sali a year ago, and Rand Lewis of Coeur d'Alene, an international affairs expert.

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