Editorials

April 11, 2007

KINDNESS COUNTS

Many have heard about the disparaging remarks made recently by a national talk radio host about a university women's basketball team. From the media to Capitol Hill to work and school, public and private discourse has steadily deteriorated. What was once considered uncouth, impolite or unspeakable has become disturbingly commonplace in words we use to talk to, or about, others.We need only look as far as our children to see this. According to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), 43 … Continue Reading


April 04, 2007

FINANCIAL LITERACY

In 2005, the average personal savings rate of Americans dropped into negative numbers, to minus .5 percent; in 2006, that doubled to minus 1 percent. The last time that the national savings rate was negative was during 1932 and 1933â??the Great Depression. These and other statistics indicate disturbing trends in the personal financial literacy of Americans:â?¢ 14.5: Percentage of disposable personal income that went to paying interest on personal debt in the second quarter of 2006--setting a rec… Continue Reading


March 28, 2007

FAILING OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure. -Mark TwainLast week, Mark Twain's words rang true in Congress. The confidence with which the majority of the U. S. Senate passed its Fiscal Year 2008 budget resolution corresponds directly with the level of ignorance as to the hard facts of revenue, spending reduction and tax relief that we've seen over the past four or five years. Without a wake-up call in Conference committee debate, this "success" … Continue Reading


March 22, 2007

OBSERVATIONS ON THE LENDING INDUSTRY

Recent fluctuations in the subprime mortgage lending industry, stemming, in part, from a rise in foreclosures nationwide, made news headlines over the past few weeks. (Subprime lenders have the ability to extend credit to borrowers with less than perfect credit histories.) In the midst of some mild panic, including calls for more mortgage lending legislation and oversight, benefits of a vital housing industry are sometimes obscured. As a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urb… Continue Reading


March 14, 2007

TIME TO TALK TAXES

As April 17 approaches, some might be scrambling to file 2006 taxes. As liabilities or refunds are calculated, three important tax reform issues bear consideration. Thankfully, Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) limits and 15 percent rates on capital gains and dividends remain in effect temporarily. But, the future of these important tax reductions is in jeopardy if Congress doesn't act now to permanently fix the AMT and extend the 15 percent cap on tax rates for capital gains and dividends. Ofte… Continue Reading


March 07, 2007

DIVERSITY, OPPORTUNITY AND RENEWAL

Management of the Owyhee Canyonlands has been characterized by decades of conflict with heated political and regulatory battles. Diverse land uses co-exist in an area of intense beauty and unique character. The conflict over land management is both inevitable and understandable--how do we manage for diversity and do so in a way that protects and restores the quality of that fragile environment? In this context, the Owyhee County Commissioners and several others said "enough is enough" … Continue Reading


February 28, 2007

FROM ROCK OIL TO SWITCHGRASS

Innovation lies at the heart of the American penchant for successful enterprise, as evidenced in our energy history. In 1859, Americans were feeling a financial pinch from the cost of whale oil. Used for lamps and lubricants at the time, whale oil was becoming increasingly unaffordable. A Pennsylvania company became interested in extracting "rock oil" from the ground. When the company was seeking financial backers for its proposed drilling project, historians note that one banker scoff… Continue Reading


February 22, 2007

COMMON MAN, UNCOMMON LEADER

February is a great month to talk about Abraham Lincoln's roots as a common man, a man of the people. Lincoln lived a timeless example that provides no less leadership for America today than when he was at the country's helm 150 years ago.Lincoln had tragedy and challenges early in life. When he was nine, his mother died. When his father remarried, the new blended family of eight lived in a log cabin. As a youth, Lincoln became very close to his stepmother, a tender and strong relationsh… Continue Reading


February 14, 2007

THE BUDGET BALLOON

If you've ever watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, you've seen the multi-story balloons floating through New York City. The federal budget is like one of these massive balloons, and Congress' responsibility is similar to that of balloon handlers. Right now, that balloon is threatening to break free of its tethers. Controlling it requires many adjustments (weather and skyscrapers make this all the more challenging). My colleagues and I on the Budget Committee will be revie… Continue Reading


February 07, 2007

MATTERS OF WAR DESERVE FULL DEBATE

Like my fellow Idahoans, I'm troubled by the violence and bloodshed occurring in Iraq. The United States should never send forces into combat unless it's to protect our national security and unless we provide our service personnel resources and support necessary to succeed. Despite principled disagreement occurring in this country, I'm concerned about the message we send our troops on the ground and others by failing to adequately consider different proposals for Congressional action… Continue Reading


January 31, 2007

TIME FOR IDAHO TO TAKE THE LEAD

Idaho and other Mountain West states are home to amazing natural resources. We work hard protecting and conserving these resources, including abundant native wildlife, in correct balance with our livelihood and recreational pursuits. Weâ??re fortunate to have science and technology resources to accomplish the best for wildlife and the people and communities that interact with these animals. Last week, the Fish and Wildlife Service started a 60-day comment period on a proposal to de-list the Gray… Continue Reading


January 24, 2007

BEHIND THE FACES IN THE CROWD

The next time you notice a group of teenage girls at the mall or at a high school event, think about this alarming fact: one out of every three or four who is involved in a dating relationship fears for her personal safety in that relationship. When you see groups of teensâ??boys or girlsâ??it might surprise you to learn that recent national statistics cite that fifty percent of teens in a serious relationship have compromised their beliefs to please their dating partner. And, back to the girlsâ… Continue Reading


January 17, 2007

A KNACK FOR NUMBERS

According to the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, George Washington â??displayed a gift for mathematicsâ?? from early in his life. The essay continues, â??This knack for numbers combined with his quiet confidence and ambition caught the attention of Lord Fairfax, head of one of the most powerful families in Virginia.â?? Young Washington worked as a surveyor for Lord Fairfax; these forays into the wilderness undoubtedly laying groundwork for his skill in later years… Continue Reading


January 10, 2007

A TIME TO GROW

Winter might be an odd time to talk about job growth. The harsh reality for many rural Idahoans in natural resource-based economies (especially this year where parts of Idaho have had bouts of extreme weather) is that winter is a time when some people may have to rely on unemployment benefits to get through a few lean months. Thankfully, there is usually abundant work in the spring, summer and fall months and, from what the numbers are showing, even more than there has been in years past. Accord… Continue Reading


December 20, 2006

A MILITARY CHRISTMAS

Not too long ago, a friend of mine told me a story about when his father served aboard ship at Christmastime during World War II. The ship was in the South Pacific and the Captain, who enjoyed having music played over the shipâ??s public address system, gave an out-of-character order that the new song written by Irving Berlin and sung by Bing Crosby, "White Christmas," wasn't to be played anymore. He had become worried when he noticed that it was making some of his toughest, most s… Continue Reading


December 13, 2006

CRAPO HIGHLIGHTS KEY PROVISIONS OF BROAD END-OF-THE-YEAR LEGISLATION

Effective legislation can sometimes travel a difficult road to passage. Tax policy extensions, health initiatives and trade negotiations languished throughout the year, held up by partisan debate and unpalatable amendments. In the final days of the 109th Congress, the House and Senate passed a bill encompassing many of these outstanding issues. The final bill (H.R. 6111), soon to be signed into law, extends important tax relief measures, ensures access to vital medical services, expands trade op… Continue Reading


December 08, 2006

DECIPHERING THE LANGUAGE OF LEGISLATION(Full Length Article)

A quick look through any article about Congress may wind up confusing many people because of the jargon used. For example, here are a couple of quotes describing legislative activity from a recent congressional news magazine: â??â?¦a clean stop-gap measure.â?? â??â?¦Senators who have blocked a conference committee on that measureâ?¦to prevent it from becoming an earmark-laden omnibus spending package.â?? â??â?¦leaders have eliminated some of the most promising vehicles for carrying smaller bills… Continue Reading


December 06, 2006

THE LANGUAGE OF LEGISLATION

A quick look through any article about Congress may wind up confusing many people because of the jargon used. For example, here are a couple of quotes describing legislative activity from a recent congressional news magazine: â??â?¦a clean stop-gap measure.â?? â??â?¦to prevent it from becoming an earmark-laden omnibus spending package.â??Legislative vernacular includes words and phrases like recess, earmark, continuing resolution, cloture and others. Like many organizations, government has devel… Continue Reading


November 29, 2006

HEARTS AND HANDS FOR SERVICE

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"-The GrinchYou may have heard about the Boise woman who recently gained national attention for her organization, Chefs to the Rescue, that distributes food to the hungry in the Treasure Valley. Formerly homeless and a mother of five, Sue Cobley took a difficult personal situation and turned it into a blessing for others in the same plight. Hunger in Idaho is not… Continue Reading


November 21, 2006

HERE'S TO GOOD HEALTH

A New Yearâ??s resolution to exercise and eat more fruits and vegetables or the dreaded â??diet resolutionâ?? arenâ??t exactly foremost in our thoughts as we prepare butter and gravy-laden meals and treat ourselves to â??just one more pieceâ?? of chocolate at work. For many, healthy eating from Halloween to New Yearâ??s Eve can be difficult. However, healthy eating and staying active are especially important during the holidays. Men, in particular, need a little extra urging when it comes to pra… Continue Reading

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