Is it the economy, stupid?

It takes some aggressive spinning to stare at a 15-point poll deficit and declare victory.

U.S. Senate candidate Larry LaRocco did just that last week, issuing this press release touting results from a poll conducted in May.

One opinion about the future of opinion pages

The e-mails these days read partly like wakes, partly like a group therapy
sessions.

Across the country over the past couple weeks, too many editorial writers
are leaving this profession we love to practice. They're either layoff
victims or unwilling participants in budget-driven newsroom reassignments.

On the National Conference of Editorial Writers' e-mail listserv -- the
ongoing online chat that connects a skeptical and curmudgeonly editorialist
community -- there is no consensus about whether to mourn or vent or question

Statehouse renovation: A look inside

The Statehouse construction zone is a swirl of the finished and the unfinished, a mix of evolution and restoration.

Pillars of scagliola, the imitation marble, have already been restored. Some are covered with brown paper so they will be unscathed as the flurry of work continues around them.

In the west underground wing, a large committee room is taking shape; when finished, it will feature 200 seats and a sloped floor resembling a movie theater. The fourth-floor Gold Room — the scene of so much Statehouse political theater over the years — will give way to office space.

A breaching bill: Salmon advocates look to up the ante

This summer, salmon advocates hope to raise the ante in the dam breaching debate.

They hope to introduce a bill that would authorize funding to remove the four dams on the lower Snake River in Washington, funding for improved roads and rail lines for regional shippers, and funding to build new power sources to replace the dams' hydropower.

Playing to the mob mentality?

Bryan Fischer, the executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, stepped close to the ledge of playing to mob mentality at his site Wednesday.

Here's what Fischer had to say, in reaction to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declares unconstitutional the execution of child molesters.

Can Otter ride herd this go-round? (UPDATED, 1:54 p.m.)

An actual quote from Gov. Butch Otter, courtesy of Eye on Boise, the blog from Spokane Spokesman-Review writer Betsy Russell.

In comments prepared for a Tuesday speech to Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry members, Otter restated his case for additional funding for Idaho highways: "It is affecting how and where you do business. And it truly is a statewide issue. We have to cowboy up and muster the political will to act now.”

Cue the theme from "Rawhide!"

Tanks for nothing — or today's gridlock roundup ...

Wonder why your gas prices keep rising, and help seems nowhere on the way?

Consider these headlines from press releases that crossed my e-mail path this morning:

• From House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio: "With gas prices soaring, Dem plan for political cover collapses as Americans seek real energy reforms."

• From Idaho First District Rep. Bill Sali, following Boehner's theme: "Sali calls for real solutions to high gas prices — votes against vague legislation that won't help solve America's energy problems."

That's all we need ...

From a waggish e-mailer, responding to this morning's editorial urging legislators to reject a proposed 5 percent pay raise:

Based on the soon-to-be-adopted "No Constitutent Left Behind" initiative, the performance records of legislators' will be judged by voters in their respective districts two weeks after adjournment.

Legislators who fail to receive a majority vote will be replaced by the usual gubernatorial appointment process.

Wasden, other a.g.'s stand up for reporters

Forty-one attorneys general — including Idaho's own Lawrence Wasden — support a federal shield law for journalists.

And on Monday, they wrote a letter to key senators, urging them to get moving on a shield law.

As the a.g.'s point out, shield laws that allow reporters to protect the anonymity of unnamed sources "advance a public policy favoring the free flow of information to the public." Idaho and 48 other states already have shield laws, but a.g.'s make a strong argument on the need for a federal law.

Careful who you cc ...

Somebody may need to give Mayor Dave Bieter a little refresher course in running the office e-mail.

On June 13, the mayor received an anonymous e-mail asking about an audit of the Capital City Development Corp., Boise's urban renewal agency.

"Whatever happened to that Forensic Audit of the CCDC you promised everyone about 8 Months ago during the Election? Is there a critical shortage of Forensic Accountants we've not heard about?"

Bieter sent out this rather tepid reply Monday — and oddly enough, cc'ed it to a host of local news media: "Thank you for your recent email regarding the proposed CCDC audit. The City Council and I have been exploring this issue and will soon announce the steps we're taking to ensure that CCDC will be able to continue its support of important redevelopment efforts in Boise."

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