Saturday, June 23, 2007

Global Climate Change... Could your "Carbon Footprint" be off the hook?

Using the Internet that Al Gore "created", I ran across an interesting series of well founded articles on "Global Climate Change" completed by Dr. R. Tmothy Patterson, a professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Center, Department of Earth Sciences at Carleton University in Canada.

Canada is extremely interested in forecasting what the weather is going to do with regards to Canada's ability to feed their population through their national focus on farming and providing for themselves (self sufficiency). Much of Canada's farming belt is very close to the freezeline where farming just won't exist were that freezeline move too far south.

Dr. Patterson has taken many studies based on recent scientific studies performed since 2002 and put together a time line of climate change with overlapping information based on findings from studies showing why and when the climate changed in history.

The outcome of this multi-study overlay is very interesting, here is a paragraph out of some very easy reading of his summary:

"In a series of groundbreaking scientific papers starting in 2002, Veizer, Shaviv, Carslaw, and most recently Svensmark et al., have collectively demonstrated that as the output of the sun varies, and with it, our star's protective solar wind, varying amounts of galactic cosmic rays from deep space are able to enter our solar system and penetrate the Earth's atmosphere. These cosmic rays enhance cloud formation which, overall, has a cooling effect on the planet. When the sun's energy output is greater, not only does the Earth warm slightly due to direct solar heating, but the stronger solar wind generated during these "high sun" periods blocks many of the cosmic rays from entering our atmosphere. Cloud cover decreases and the Earth warms still more."

For the full summary of the study, click here: Read the Sunspots... (it's a quick and easy read with all the links available to the a series of articles and studies if you want to continue to dig into the results to validate the study)

Does this mean the "Hummer" off the hook? Well, it's very possible since this overlay of studies also explains why climate change on Mars seems to correlate to the sun's output of solar winds and the Earth's climate changes as well. Don't take this out of context, it's not saying it's going to solve the cost of a barrel of oil or resolve the fact that "change" happens, but it is an excellent explanation of what is happening to our planet and why. Leaders have an obligation to understand factual information to make good decisions for their constituents, regardless being business or government.

I would hope that Al and his followers would use his new invention (the Internet) to update his "the science is settled" movie in influencing the people of the planet to think that purchasing and menipulating "carbon credits" might be something they need to do... while he puts more and more money in his pocket with his involvement in selling carbon credits.

My Dad taught me that a salesman is a person that convinces you that you have a problem and then sells you something to solve it, while a GOOD salesman is a person that works to understand your needs and works to match his product to your requirements. Al Gore is a salesman, and not a very "GOOD" one...

The climate is changing, as it has always done, but likely not because of "your carbon footprint" that we have been "convinced" is a problem we "have" to solve.... and as the climate changes, humans and animals adapt as they have also always done....

Just my two bits,

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Life Lesson #4,386,297... "Weldburn"

Welding... don't do it in shorts!

Nothing political here, just one more of those humorous "life lessons" we all learn through time about those little things that will come up and bite you.

Was out in my shop the other day working on beefing up the stand for my grinder and needed to weld an old tire rim I had to the base of the stand for more weight. I laid the grinder stand down on the floor, welded on the rim and was pleased with the results... until I got home that night.

I learned that the UV rays from welding gave me one heck of a sunburn on the inside of my legs while I was squatting down over the job! I guess I should be thankful my Carhartt shorts weren't that baggy!

... Time to use the results of Life Lesson #487 (falling asleep while inner-tubing down the St. Joe River as a kid): Aloe and aspirin...


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Consolidation of Idaho Elections...

I recently received a letter from a concerned and upset citizen of Meridian regarding our elections. She was livid, as were many, about the fact that there were 3 local elections and all three had different election voting locations and one was on a different day than the other two. The elections I'm referring to were the Community College, a school bond and a new Library bond... and the voting process for each were held in different locations and 1 of the 3 on different days within a couple weeks!

While I was voting in the Library during that bond election, a gentleman came in and really dressed down the ladies working the election regarding why "they" were doing it again and not letting anyone know about the bond election AGAIN.

He was telling them that "because the last one failed, they were trying to pull a fast one and getting only those who were for the new bond to vote by only letting them know". I hung around to make sure that the gentleman didn't get out of hand with the ladies and wished that this type of thing wouldn't happen... but I'm afraid it does and has all over the state. Folks are getting frustrated and apathetic towards a system that doesn't seem to represent or reflect their desires. Sadly, this apathy causes fewer and fewer of us to go to the polls...

It appears that it's just too easy to keep "pushing the bond" almost monthly until people are so tired of seeing it (or don't know about the election) that it seems only 3 people show up for the vote, when 2 of the 3 vote aye, it's then passed for the rest of the tax payers to pay for.

House Bill H0040 would have required a mailing to every property owner regarding the proposed tax details and cost to that property owner allowing them to understand the cost to benefit of the upcoming election. This bill didn't make it out of Committee, so was not heard on the floor.

Senate Bill S1243 will require only new taxing districts to notify property owners of the all the details and full cost of the new taxing district for a reasonable chance to understand the cost to benefit of the newly proposed tax. This bill becomes effective on July 1st of this year, any votes prior to this bill becoming law, the promoters of that election were not required to supply all of the information to the property owners prior to the election (the rush on the Community College election comes to mind here...)

People are getting tired of not knowing about the bond elections or any elections that might be planned that will impact their property tax or who represents them on a local board. It's very common for local special elections to happen while only advertising the election to a focused group.

In the 2007 Legislative session, this was recognized and tackled with minimal success. House bill H0196 was passed in the House that would have consolidated all of the elections to two days per year and limited the number of elections that could be scheduled per year. Recognizing that when a bond election fails, it seems to take little time for supporters to get another scheduled, this bill required that limits were placed on these types of elections. If you take a look at the bill, you will be able to see the details of the changes, but for a summary look at the bottom of the bill.

H0196 was sent to the Senate for discussion and vote, but was put in a drawer and left there....

Arguments against the bill were that districts like sewer, water, irrigation, schools and others would have to move their place of election and coordinate with the Secretary of State in scheduling their bond elections. And it was argued that the timing of the elections would not work with the timing of the districts scheduled budgeting process... in my mind these seemed to be weak arguments for maintaining the current system.

All elections cost money, our state currently has a good and fair process for holding elections via the Sec. of States office who has all of the equipment to properly hold elections. We should enable the Sec. of State to help educate folks on elections impacts and costs to all citizens. Consolidating elections would reduce our state and local government costs, increase voter participation in ALL elections held to ensure proper numbers of folks are represented during those elections.

It is sad that a good bills like H0196 gets placed on the back burner and not even considered in the Senate. I'd recommend you take a look at this bill and let your local Representatives and Senators know your feelings about it. I'm convinced it will come up again, it just makes too much sense....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

It's important to remember...

Today Idaho has National Guard, Navy, Army, Air Guard, Marine Reserve citizens deployed around the world. From Iraq, Afganistan, Korea, Japan, Guam, Iceland to at/under the sea and in the air, they all serve.

Lest we ever forget those that volunteered for Active Duty. All dedicated Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen that are "on watch" around the globe. Regardless if they serve one "hitch" or make it a career...

Every day, every hour one of our Idahoans is watching out for us back home. They live in the sand, snow, sea, forest, tundra... in tempratures from 135' to -80'... wherever they are needed to show and defend the flag and freedoms of the United States of America.

Thank them every chance you get. They could just as easily be home on the couch playing video games or doing a 9 to 5 job in Meridian, Post Falls, Blackfoot or Grangeville, but they choose to serve you and our way of life.

This is a touching tribute by a 15 year old high schooler that recognizes their value. It's dedicated to those who have served and are currently serving our country...

To the best of the "Next Greatest Generation" who keep the bad guys out of our back yards... Thank you for what you do so well.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Put a Fork in Me.... I'm Done!

I'm done waiting for the Federal Government to come to our aid on the illegal immigration issue...

Idaho citizens spend millions of dollars and a ton of resource "bandwidth" every year on services needed by those people that come to our state illegally. Dollars that could have been spent on education, transportation (both highway and roads as well as public), health and welfare and many other services needed by our legal citizens. Every year we spend more and more taking care of those that put little back into the "bucket of money" that supports the infrastructure for their needs. Yes, illegals do pay sales tax on some of the goods they purchase but do not pay income tax, federal income tax, social security tax and the list goes on. Idaho receives millions of dollars from the Federal government to help offset some of these infrastructure costs and those that are using the infrastructure are not throwing in.

The bottom line is illegals do not pay their fair share and it's time to send a strong message to them, the companies that hire them and the Federal government... it's time to stop this free ride for all of them.

I believe Sheriff Joe Arpaio in AZ has it right. He created a low cost "tent city" in AZ where low risk inmates are housed in pink underwear and stripes. Inmates are fed low cost meals, no TV or weight rooms and his jail has become one of those that have fewer returning inmates. Idaho could create it's own "tent city" on state lands to temporarily house the illegals that are found here in Idaho prior to deportation.

It's time to send a clear message to our Federal government that we are done waiting for them to resolve this issue. As they continue to flounder, it has to cost them money (our money by the way!). The Federal pocketbook needs to start feeling the pain as we are here in Idaho.

It's time to send a clear message to those that want to come to Idaho illegally to work, that we will not tolerate the presence of those not following our laws.

It's time that we send a clear message to those that hire illegals to work for them, that they must change the way they do business.

It's time for a change in the way Idaho reacts to issues impacting our state. It's time to stop waiting for the Federal government to "help us", let's be proactive and take care of our own issues.

ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) now pays $54 per day to the Ada county Jail to use any empty beds to temporarily house illegals prior to deportation. Why not use this same method to financially support our own Tent City as a temporary holding cell prior to deportation of those that are sucking the sap out of our tax supported services? Ada County Jail has 966 beds and as of the last report had less than 100 available for illegals limiting the numbers that ICE can pickup for deportation. A low cost "Tent City" should not only pay for itself, but maybe even help offset some of the costs of other Idaho law enforcement needs as well if it was run like the one in AZ.

I'm done waiting for the Feds to come up with a solution, are you? I have discussed this issue and idea with Gov. Otter's office. They had funding in their budget last year for some temporary shelters to provide for more inmate housing. It was not funded in the JFAC Legislative Committee.

If you are done waiting like I am, contact your district's Representative and Senator and ask them to fund a program like this in the next session.

We can either lead or follow on this issue, let's show the country that Idaho is a Leader and we aren't going to wait for someone else to come resolve our issues.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Closed Primary's... why the issue?

The Republican party voting this weekend to close their Primary is not a new surprise to many of us. My legislation this past session was to avert this vote in the party and to allow for either party to set the rules for running their spring primary. It's unfortunate that we were not able to pass this legislation due to folks believing it was "the Republican's trying to pull something".

As a matter of fact, we were trying to change the Idaho code to ensure that the state's election process for ALL parties was designed to provide for the most effective use of our states dollars used to run these primary elections.

Any party is now allowed to set it's own rules for running their primary elections as decided by the US Supreme Court in 2000 in a case brought by the Democrats against the state of California.

Stratigic cross over voting impacts the results of a primary election, although the Executive Director of the Idaho Democratic Party touts "this is nothing but urban legend" is either not being honest or is really uninformed about his own party's primary elections. It has so much of an impact that the National Democratic Party will not have a 2008 Presidential Primary in the State of Idaho becuase we don't have controls regarding stratigic cross over voting. They have not had a Presidential Primary for years in this state. Saying that he is "not aware it happens in Idaho" is just a faultshood or he is not aware of what his own party is up to.

Is stratigic cross over voting happening in Idaho? It is alive and well, I have received letters and have the following links as proof....

"Tuesday, I voted the straight Republican ticket
Jim Fisher, Lewiston Morning Tribune
Page: 3F

As an Eagle Scout, I did my good deed last week by helping the Grand Old Party of Idaho select its general election candidates.

No need to thank me, you Republicans. It was nothing really. The Democrats didn't offer me much reason to go to the polls.

Besides, I have a lot of practice at this. I'm a native Washingtonian.

Washington readers may or may not know that they and Alaskans share the distinction of conducting the nation's only blanket primary elections. Under a blanket primary system, voters may cross from party to party on the same ballot to help choose nominees, and
as long as they don't vote in more than one party for any one race, their ballots are perfectly acceptable.

Idaho, like several other states, has what's called an open primary. That means you must choose which party's primary you are going to vote in, and stick with it throughout the ballot. If you cast one vote in any other party, your ballot is thrown out.

Even though it is more restrictive than Washington's system, an open primary still offers the ability to pick and choose depending on the election. If the Democrats offer the more interesting choices this year, you can vote in the Democratic primary. And if the Republicans offer the better array two years down the road, you can move over to their column.

Closed primary states do their best to prevent this. In those states, you must be a registered member of a particular party to vote in its primary.

Closed primary proponents, otherwise known as party regulars, say that system is best because it keeps members of other parties from crossing over and sabotaging their ticket. And I know what they mean by that. Time was when I was more mischievous than I am now.

I was a Washingtonian at that time, and that state's ballot gave me full opportunity to help one party pick its strongest candidate when it needed my vote and to help the other party pick its weakest when I thought my vote would do some, er, bad.

And I could do both on the same ballot. If, say, I wanted to re-elect the incumbent Republican governor, as I invariably did when Dan Evans was governor, I could skip his primary, which he was assured of winning, and vote for the Democrat it would be easiest for Evans to beat. At other times, I would be rooting for a Democrat with a safe or no primary race, and would vote for the goofiest candidate on the GOP ballot.

The trouble with voting that way, aside from the fact that it drives party regulars up the wall, is that sometimes goofs get elected. That's possible in every state, even Washington, but it's even more likely in Idaho. So as an Idahoan, I consider it my duty to help whichever party whose primary I participate in choose its best horses.

I'll give you an example. If I were Larry EchoHawk, the Democratic nominee for this year's race for governor, I would rather go up against Republican Larry Eastland than Republican Phil Batt. Eastland takes more extreme positions and is easier to paint as a reckless character than Batt, who is more moderate in his approaches to issues and in his temperament.

But I'm not EchoHawk. I'm an ordinary Idahoan who will have to live with whichever candidate gets elected. And I would rather live with a Gov. Batt than a Gov. Eastland. So I cast my vote for Batt on Tuesday.

I followed that same impulse down the ballot: in the races for Larry LaRocco's 1st District House seat, for state school superintendent, for state auditor, for lieutenant governor and for a few local offices.

The Democrats didn't offer me anywhere near that many choices. There was the lopsided contest between EchoHawk and Ron Beitelspacher, and what I trusted (mistakenly) would be an equally lopsided race among incumbent Latah County Commissioner Dana Magnuson and two opponents, but that was about it.

So last week at least, I was a Republican. And a sincere one to boot. Come November, I might vote for some or none of the candidates I supported Tuesday. But that's my business. It is, as they say, a free country."

Other examples:

Cross over letter 1 from Bingham county

Cross over letter 2 from Bingham county

Boise Weekly Recommending Cross over voting from Boise

This is not about one party trying to "get one up" on the other party, it's about closing loop holes in our state's primary election process to allow the parties to run their primary in the way that they believe will provide them with the best representative candidates of their party for the fall election. It doesn't matter what party... it does matter that it's not diluted by people that don't have that party's best interest at heart when they cast their ballots.