Editorials

March 05, 2008

GENERATING OPTIONS FOR ENERGY SECURITY

As Idaho digs out of an historic winter and gas prices approach record levels, energy is our minds. Our energy demands must be met with a firm, long-term commitment to research and development, conservation and promoting alternative technologies through tax incentives. At the same time, it's critical that we don't walk away from our nation's well-developed, traditional energy resources such as oil, natural gas and coal-based electricity. If we decrease domestic conventional energy production or … Continue Reading


February 27, 2008

THE PLACES YOU'LL GO

The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.                 -Dr. Seuss Theodore Seuss Geisel, known better by millions as "Dr. Seuss," was the son of German Americans. Geisel attended Dartmouth College where he served as editor of the humor magazine, and it was at Dartmouth where he began to use the name "Seuss" on illustrations and articles. He briefly attended Oxford University in England and then toured Europe. Upon… Continue Reading


February 20, 2008

IDAHO BEEF--A SOURCE OF PRIDE

For over a century, Idaho cattle families have been providing high-quality beef products to consumers at home and, in recent decades, markets abroad. With the exception of a few large operations in southern Idaho, most of those in the Idaho livestock industry are small, independently-owned ranch or feed lot operations. Cattle are raised in every county in the state-in Idaho, cattle outnumber people. The recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Class II recall of beef from a processing plant … Continue Reading


February 13, 2008

A TRILLION AND ONE WAYS TO FISCAL DISASTER

What's a trillion? National Public Radio's Science Friday calculated that one trillion dollars would buy 1,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies for every person in the United States. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher calculated that a trillion grains of Morton salt would fill an elementary school classroom. Salt and cookies, in reasonable amounts, are not bad things. The same goes for federal budget expenditures. But a $3.1 trillion dollar budget for Fiscal Year 2009 exceeds compreh… Continue Reading


February 06, 2008

THE RIGHT TO VOTE IS A POWERFUL PRIVILEGE

Last week, 22 states held political party presidential primaries. This historical event followed early primaries and caucuses in seven other states. Such events help states determine the delegates to send to the national political party conventions and the candidates those delegates support. The Internet and 24-hour news cycle have contributed to an increased awareness of our political process and issues of interest to voters. The fact that we are engaged in a war overseas has also heightened in… Continue Reading


January 31, 2008

ONE FOR THE HEART

February 1 was National Wear Red Day, a day to wear red in order to raise awareness of heart disease, and February is American Heart Month, a time when many national, state and local agencies and organizations work to educate the public about this number one killer of men and women in the United States. Heart disease is a disorder of the blood vessels of the heart that can lead to a heart attack, but it is a disease whose risk can be strongly mitigated by healthy lifestyle habits. Some facts ab… Continue Reading


January 23, 2008

TEEN DATING VIOLENCE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION

Over the past eight years, I've made the crime of teen dating violence a legislative and public awareness priority. Today, dating violence is a definition of domestic violence under federal law, which allows organizations and agencies to use federal dollars to help victims of dating violence. This year marks the third year that the Senate has unanimously agreed to my resolution declaring the first full week in February "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week." A number of or… Continue Reading


January 16, 2008

WELCOME TO MY VIRTUAL OFFICE

According to the Census bureau in October 2003, 69 percent of Idaho households had a computer and 56 percent had Internet access. Since that time, Internet use has only increased, resulting in even greater demand for immediate, accurate information online. The explosive growth of information gathering via the Internet has made the acquisition speed and reliability of websites crucial to the consumer, requiring website sponsors to adapt or be left behind. This is as true for government as it is f… Continue Reading


January 09, 2008

DINNER WITH THE FAMILY

As we begin 2008, many people have "lose weight" on their resolution lists. For some, these extra pounds are the result of more than one family dinner of traditional "comfort food" and celebrations from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. While it's important to shed extra weight for our health, what's even more important is that we continue the practice of spending meal time with our families, the focus for many of us during the holidays. Time and again, studies show that children of families … Continue Reading


December 12, 2007

SNOWBALLING TAX TROUBLES

Procrastination is rarely a good thing. It's especially troublesome when it's the U.S. Congress and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Most people now know the history: The AMT was an income tax formula passed in the 1960s to address the problem of a small percentage of high income taxpayers who were legally avoiding paying any income taxes.  Congress has had numerous opportunities to index the AMT to inflation: a major reform effort in 1993 was rebuffed by the majority; and, in the late 1990s, … Continue Reading


December 05, 2007

A WINTRY FORECAST FOR ENERGY

The early season snows that have come to parts of Idaho this year are generally a good thing, but they also bring home the hard reality of rising energy costs. We're already experiencing considerable discomfort at the gas pump; with winter's arrival, heating bills are also increasing. Congress has been working to reconcile differences between House and Senate versions of important energy legislation passed this summer. The best compromise will encourage conservation with incentives, promote cost… Continue Reading


November 28, 2007

THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT-IDAHO STYLE

 "Here, then, there was a cessation from toil, from hunger, and alarm. Past ills and dangers were forgotten. The hunt, the game, the song, the story, the rough though good-humored joke, made time pass joyously away, and plenty and security reigned throughout the camp."                          -Description of Captain B. L. E. Bonneville's trapper's camp, Stanley Basin,                                                December, 1832 (Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series)   In 1832, … Continue Reading


November 21, 2007

HEALTH CARE: CHOICE, ACCESS AND AFFORDABILITY

Not too many years ago, Idaho doctors still made house calls, spending considerable parts of their days (and nights) visiting patients and getting to know their families. That era is gone-today's health care often requires patients to visit the doctor, virtually or in person, not the other way around. What hasn't vanished is the sentiment that health care is extremely personal. We want to choose our doctors and medical professionals and we want them to know us. Almost as compelling is the issue … Continue Reading


November 14, 2007

A STORY OF HOPE

Although verifiable facts about our first Thanksgiving are few, they have proven fertile ground for myths, stories and traditions that have taken root over the past 386 years. Greater insight into our Thanksgiving tradition and our uniquely American spirit can be derived by examining events that occurred in Plymouth, Massachusetts, from the time a disparate group of entrepreneurs and religious dissenters landed that bleak December, to their famed celebration with a local Native American tribe a … Continue Reading


November 07, 2007

FREEDOM'S DEFENDERS, PAST AND PRESENT

 "A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."                         -John Stuart Mill   At the 11 th hour on the 11 th day of the 11 th month, 89 years ago, an armistice, or "cessation of hostilities" went into effect between the Allied nations and Germany. Although fighting in … Continue Reading


October 31, 2007

SUCCESS FOR U.S. AGRICULTURE

For almost 75 years, the federal government has worked with U.S. agriculture producers to keep domestic food supplies robust and affordable, preserve food security and promote a globally-competitive commodity market. Major agriculture legislation occurred a few times every decade from the 1930s through the 1970s. In 1973, it took the form of an omnibus "farm bill." The 2007 Farm Bill is the latest iteration of this multi-program legislation that provides policymakers the opportunity to comprehen… Continue Reading


October 24, 2007

IDAHO'S WILD OUTDOORS

This time of year, many Idahoans take to the woods and fields to fill their elk, deer, bear, or mountain lion tags as well as hunting waterfowl and upland game. Whether bow or rifle hunting, Idahoans pack up gear, ammunition and supplies to spend time enjoying breathtaking natural resources with family and friends-the very reason why many choose to call Idaho home.    Teddy Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway are just a few of the famous figures who have joined us locals hunting or fishing in Idaho… Continue Reading


October 17, 2007

TRUE THEN, TRUE TODAY

 "The history of taxation shows that taxes which are inherently excessive are not paid. The high rates inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw his capital from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities or to find other lawful methods of avoiding the realization of taxable income. …capital is being diverted into channels which yield neither revenue to the Government nor profit to the people."             -Andrew Mellon, Treasury Secretary for Presidents H… Continue Reading


October 10, 2007

OCTOBER: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month; the perfect time to highlight progress we've made and the rough road ahead in our march against domestic violence.    We've come a long way in the past few decades concerning public discussions of domestic violence. Women, men and teens are joining community efforts to talk about domestic and dating abuse; slowly, but surely, reducing society's tolerance of these terrible crimes. Violence committed in homes against mothers, children, fathers, or in… Continue Reading


October 04, 2007

GROWING RETIREMENT SAVINGS

Did you know that nearly half (49%) of the half-a-million households in Idaho own at least one mutual fund? That is approximately $35 billion in mutual fund assets for those households. If you are in one of these households, you already know that current law requires you to pay annual capital gains taxes on these investments, even if you don't sell any shares and capital gains distributions are re-invested into fund shares? Even though you own a mutual fund that includes individual stocks, tax… Continue Reading

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