Editorials

December 10, 2008

ENROLLMENT PERIOD FOR MEDICARE PARTS C AND D

The Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons are busy times of the year for many people-we are pulled in many directions fulfilling commitments to family, friends and work. Still there are a few things on the to-do list that should take priority even in this busy time of the year. If it applies to you or an aging or disabled family member, and if you have not already done so, you should set aside some time to evaluate your Medicare Advantage plan and/or Medicare prescription drug coverage to m… Continue Reading


December 04, 2008

LOOKING AHEAD TO A NEW CONGRESS

As the 110th Congress ends, we can reflect on important accomplishments including endangered species reform, the Farm Bill and improving benefits for Medicare patients. With a new President and a different dynamic in the House and Senate, legislating in the 111th Congress will require innovative approaches to policy-making. I look forward to working with my colleagues, and the other members of the Idaho delegation, Senator-elect Jim Risch, Representative Mike Simpson and Representative-elect Wal… Continue Reading


November 26, 2008

NOT HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

In recent years, many Americans have spent the holidays away from home, in defense of freedom. Much has changed for the better in Iraq over the past four years, even as our military and coalition forces as a whole ramp up efforts in Afghanistan. But, for over 200,000 military men and women in and around Iraq and Afghanistan, and tens of thousands deployed elsewhere around the world, the 2008 holidays will mean celebrating far from home. It is important to find ways to reach out to them and demon… Continue Reading


November 19, 2008

MOVING FORWARD

Bandied about endlessly now for months during the campaigns, the word "change" was used so often that it was almost rendered meaningless. What can be said, though, is that people have definite feelings about change. Whether it's a new president or the closing of a street on our normal route to work, we all deal with change constantly-as it is said, "the only thing constant is change." So, it really comes down to how we approach these daily events. What attitude do we have? Is it resignation? Can… Continue Reading


October 29, 2008

THE COMMON PURPOSE

"On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom…In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose." -President Dwight D. Eisenhower The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; simple, white headstones blanketing the Arlington hills on the ba… Continue Reading


October 22, 2008

VOTE--YOUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT

It's that time of the political year: billboards, yard signs, political ads on radio, television and the Internet all signal the imminent arrival of this year's general election. Although political ads can seem tiresome, given the alternative-no right to choose our leaders-I can live with the sometimes extreme messaging that characterizes our elections. The tone and substance of these ads should serve as a reminder that voters must be discerning and educate themselves about issues and candidates… Continue Reading


October 16, 2008

TACKLING THE COST OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Since 1997, tuition and fees at public four year institutions have increased by an average of 4.4 percent annually. Similarly, tuition and fees for private four year institutions increased by an average of 2.9 percent annually. The amount students and families paid for college after grant aid and tax benefits-net price-fell between 1997 and 2001, but has risen rapidly ever since. Between 1992 and 2003, the net price of both public and private four year institutions as a percentage of family inco… Continue Reading


October 08, 2008

A RECIPE FOR HEALTHY KIDS

The Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC) estimates that a nine-year-old boy, 53 inches tall and weighing 63 pounds, needs 1,500 calories a day, if he doesn't exercise approximately an hour every day. A 20-ounce soft drink, super-sized serving of fries and a bacon cheeseburger provide about 1,500 calories. This means this inactive child would get all his caloric (but not nutritional) needs in one typical fast food meal. The remaining snacks and meals over the course of that day make the ag… Continue Reading


September 17, 2008

ACTION ON ENERGY--NOW

Since June, I've been submitting letters to the Congressional Record from Idahoans who have written to me about how energy prices are affecting their lives. I update my website with new submissions every day that the Senate is in session. Not surprisingly, the deleterious effects of increased fuel costs over the long run are challenging people in many ways as they adjust their daily priorities to accommodate budget constraints. And, with the complexity of the fuel supply chain from extraction, t… Continue Reading


September 10, 2008

THE YEAR OF THE VOTER

In January, Time Magazine proclaimed 2008 the "Year of the Youth Vote." I would expand on that theme and say that 2008 is the "Year of the Voter." We are in the home stretch of an historic Presidential election, a highly-charged Congressional election cycle and many state and local races as well. People who have never been particularly interested in politics are tuning in to the news coverage of the campaigns and the candidates, and voters are taking an active interest in the issues on our natio… Continue Reading


August 27, 2008

MILESTONES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CANCER

How many people do you know who have been diagnosed with cancer? While one is one too many, most of us know numerous people fighting cancer and those who have won, and others, sadly, who have lost the battle. And the number sometimes includes us-in my case, I've beaten cancer twice. This year alone, the American Cancer Society predicts that over 1.4 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer. Although these statistics are unwelcome, there is progress being made. In fact, t… Continue Reading


August 20, 2008

FUNDING RECREATION THE RIGHT WAY

They get you coming and going. If you're a hunter, you pay a 10 percent federal tax on the purchase of your gun and an 11 percent federal tax on ammunition. Your hunting license includes fees for conservation and habitat. Even that tank of gas to drive into the mountains has federal tax on it. Now, after all of that, you get to your hunting spot and, surprise, surprise, you see a fee area sign. Or it's fishing season, you spend money on equipment, licensing and transportation, and you're rewarde… Continue Reading


August 13, 2008

GOING TO THE FAIR

Every August, Idahoans attend or participate in county, regional and state fairs. In some ways, the fair has come a long way from its ancient beginnings-Romans held fairs to encourage trade with conquered provinces, and medieval European fairs were held in conjunction with religious festivals. Fairs were eventually replaced by markets, but the purpose of a fair-showcasing goods, livestock and crafts-remains alive and well in communities nationwide today, thousands of years beyond the heyday of t… Continue Reading


August 06, 2008

BACK WITH A VENGEANCE

Habits are safer than rules; you don't have to watch them. And you don't have to keep them either. They keep you. -Frank Crane The deficit is back-with a vengeance. Like a bad habit, federal spending feels too good for Congress to quit. And, to borrow from Crane, the habit is "keeping" Congress-keeping it from its responsibility to be a wise and frugal caretaker of taxpayer dollars. On July 28, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimated a Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 deficit of $48… Continue Reading


July 23, 2008

KEEPING IDAHO GREEN

After the snow we had last winter, fires that have ravaged northeastern Washington and the few we've seen in Idaho to date seem somewhat improbable. Unfortunately, even the record-breaking winter we just had isn't a guarantee against wildland fires; in some cases, underbrush growth encouraged by a wet winter can exacerbate troublesome fire conditions. History has demonstrated clearly that, for Westerners, wildfire, like cyclical drought, is a fact of life for which we must be prepared. Curren… Continue Reading


July 16, 2008

POLITICAL MANIPULATION IN THE EXTREME

Millions rely on Medicare to access our healthcare system. They should have exceptional care and cutting edge treatments available to them. Reimbursing doctors so that they can serve these patients is critical-for this reason, I have consistently advocated for timely and adequate physician compensation. Systemic reform is also crucial. The Medicare system needs the strengths inherent in the market-healthy competition that provides choice, flexibility and affordability The Medicare Modernization … Continue Reading


July 03, 2008

AFFORDABLE ENERGY, BETTER FUTURE

In January 2007, a gallon of gas cost an average of $2.21. At the end of June 2008, 18 months later, the average cost was $4.15. More than any other factor, the basic principles of supply and demand for this global commodity-oil-have put steady upward pressure on prices. The plausible solution to the problem of high fuel costs is to take policy steps that affect supply and demand factors. Frankly, had Congress passed progressive energy legislation five or ten years ago, we'd likely be better off… Continue Reading


June 25, 2008

IDAHOANS ON ENERGY: RUNNING ON EMPTY

"Please listen to the less vocal majority who are pleading for drastically decreasing the restrictions and regulations on drilling and refining our domestic oil." "Who is going to pay back the tax payers when this [global warming] is proven to be a political sham?" "Instead of the U.S. depending on foreign oil, why not make the rest of the world dependent on U.S. company patents for whatever ultimately replaces petroleum as the leading energy technology?" "Our problems as usual are the … Continue Reading


June 17, 2008

FARM COMMODITIES: IDAHO'S BREAD AND BUTTER

Hummus, a dip made from cooked pureed chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice and salt, has become a popular deli item in many grocery stores. East Indian food and restaurants have grown in popularity as well, and two main ingredients used in these dishes are lentils and chickpeas. Worldwide, dried peas and beans are a nutrition staple. Barley is vital for the livestock industry-over half of the barley consumed domestically is used for animal feed. Forty-four percent is used for malt production. And the … Continue Reading


June 11, 2008

A PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Allegiance n. 1. loyalty (to a person or a cause, etc.). 2. the duty of a subject to his or her government. -Oxford American Desk Dictionary To whom or what do we claim or owe allegiance? Under the first definition, we might list some of the following: God, family, country, social, ethnic, community or even employment group. But the second definition suggests something different, carving out a specific niche for national allegiance. First of all, it dares to use the word "duty," which, in… Continue Reading

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