So long (for now). And thank you all.

I’ve saved my toughest column for last.

I am stepping down as Statesman editorial page editor, to take a writing position with Idaho Education News. I will start my new job on Monday, Jan. 21, and my last day at the Statesman will be Friday, Jan. 18.

Let me start with a few words about Idaho Education News — and the exciting adventure that awaits.

Batt, Andrus remain steadfast on nuclear shipments

On New Year’s Day, a federal government deadline came and went without action.

But unlike the fabled “fiscal cliff,” this blown deadline passed without fanfare. The feds failed to meet their deadline to remove 900,000 gallons of liquid high-level radioactive waste from tanks at the Idaho National Laboratory. This deadline is one among hundreds, spelled out in a 1995 nuclear waste cleanup agreement with the state of Idaho.

The explanation Mike Crapo owes Idahoans

Here's a draft of our Friday editorial.

When Mike Crapo appears in court today on a drunken-driving charge, what will Idahoans hear from their senior senator?

Based on what we’ve heard so far, we don’t expect excuses and alibis. Within hours of his arrest, Crapo issued a statement admitting his mistake and assuming responsibility. Contrast that to Butch Otter — then Idaho’s lieutenant governor — who blamed a 1992 DUI arrest on whiskey-soaked tobacco and a cowboy hat that had blown off his head, causing him to swerve. Jurors were unconvinced.

After 'Stalin-gate,' Baker voted to head ACHD board

Normally, the presidency on the Ada County Highway District board would be ho-hum stuff.

Perhaps, in this case, it still is.

But perhaps too, times have changed considerably. On Wednesday, ACHD commissioners voted unanimously to name Sara Baker the commission's president.

Raul Labrador's lonely leap from the fiscal cliff

When it came time to confront the “fiscal cliff” Tuesday night, Rep. Mike Simpson reached for a parachute.

Rep. Raul Labrador took the plunge, alongside other members of the House GOP’s tea party wing.

The votes — and their post-game comments — speak volumes about the way Idaho’s two Republican House members view the nation’s budget crisis, and Congress’ more fundamental governing crisis.

More deadline dysfunction from Capitol Hill

A sneak preview of our Tuesday editorial, updated to reflect the news that the House won't vote Monday on a fiscal cliff solution:

Will they or won’t they? Will President Obama Congress cut a deal — or send their constituents and a fragile economy over the fiscal cliff?

That was the big question Monday. With New Year’s Day fast approaching, and with it a pastiche of tax increases and spending cuts, our elected officials spent New Year’s Eve governing by deadline and dysfunction.

When words cannot explain the unexplainable


That’s the one word I keep coming back to today, since no other word seems to apply.

When so many lives – including so many young lives, cut so tragically short – are lost in a hail of senseless violence, our language falls short on adjectives.

Heartsick, then, it is.

Heartsick for the victims. Especially the youngest victims. Twenty students. Shot dead in a grade school. When the facts are so unfathomable, is it a wonder our language proves inadequate?

A question of right and wrong: Risch condemns use of torture

The new movie “Zero Dark Thirty” suggests that waterboarding yielded key information that led U.S. forces to Osama bin Laden’s hideout.

Idaho Republican Sen. Jim Risch gives the Hollywood account mixed reviews.

'Just bad management;' Risch rips colleagues over fiscal cliff mess

When he was managing the comically inept expansion-era New York Mets, Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel was once heard to lament, “Can’t anyone here play this game?”

Casey, meet Jim Risch.

Otter: Idaho's powerful but reluctant health exchange salesman

Butch Otter — the young, brash conservative legislator of almost 40 years ago — is known for rising to the House floor and famously casting a vote of “hell no” on an anti-pornography bill.

On Tuesday, Otter voted, “Meh.” Yes, the governor voiced support, again, for a state-run health insurance exchange. Yes, he’s on the right side on an emotional issue.

But he couldn’t be any less enthusiastic or more conflicted about it.

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