I’ll Feel Better When Idaho’s Legislators Leave Town

More than a month ago, I caught a cold. Eventually it squatted in my lungs and sat there tickling the tiny bronchioles and the alveoli, causing uncontrollable coughing, which was magnified at night when I’d try to sleep. I’d lie there, picturing the virus holding onto feathers, brushing my lungs’ inner workings every time I tried to doze off. Sleep left me for at least a week. Worse than that, the coughing was so violent, I pulled a muscle in my groin and my backside. Right now, weeks later, I still have a little cough. And, I can barely walk, what with the sharp twinge I feel each time I take a step on the right.

I’ve never been to see a chiropractor. But, with gardening season coming up, I need the full use of my back and legs. That’s my next doc appointment.

Here in Idaho, politics are just as crazy and misguided as ever. The legislators came to town and immediately began Satan’s work. They passed a bill to allow concealed guns on college campuses—in spite of the pleas against it from college administrators and presidents, the police force and students. In spite of the fact that there have been no instances of college students being shot on campus. But let’s be proactive, eh? Somewhere, the supporters of this insane law have located in the Constitution, the right of all Idahoans to tote guns wherever they want to. The proponents quote these words in defense: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Of course, in order to achieve these things, they must be able to kill someone else and rob them of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Happiness is a warm gun, I guess.

A must read is this from an Idaho professor: When May I Shoot a Student?

The looney legislators also passed the Ag-Gag bill in spite of vocal opposition. But, in the end, the Dairy Industry dragged the legislators along by the rings in their noses and the bill passed.

Ag-gag bills are anti-whistleblower bills that criminalize whistleblowing on factory farms. Never mind that whistleblowing employees have played a vital role in exposing animal abuse, unsafe working conditions, and environmental problems on industrial farms.

The agribusiness industry wants to prevent people from finding out about animal cruelty, food-safety issues, poor working conditions, among other things in factory farms.

In Idaho, last year, workers at an Idaho dairy farm were filmed viciously beating cows with canes, jumping on their backs as they moaned in distress, kicking them in the face, and even dragging sick and injured animals across concrete flooring with chains attached to their necks.

But the Dairy Industry here prevailed. And now, I will no longer support Idaho’s dairy or meat industry. Fortunately, Trader Joe’s has come to Boise—their meat and dairy products aren’t produced in Idaho.

And no way will Idaho allow silly, inconvenient regulations by the EPA to get in its way to pollute the environment. Rep. Paul Shepherd’s bill, HB 473, to nullify the EPA because of concerns from suction dredge miners about regulations is quickly making its way into the toxic waste of other “care-less-about-the-environment” bills.

Here in Idaho, our legislators are easily swayed by nonsensical testimony, like this that spews forth out of the mouth of one of our craziest legislators: “EPA just wants control, they want power,” Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, told the committee. She said veterans are “precious to us,” and many veterans find it “soothing” to do recreational suction dredge mining. “They’re trying to control us, and they’re trying to control our vets also,” she said.

And Rep. Lenore Barrett continues to introduce bills to repeal the state health insurance exchange, in spite of the fact that almost 44,000 Idahoans have signed up so far.

And HB 480 could be the law of the land soon. This bill will make all city design review rules voluntary, under legislation being pushed by Rep. Ed Morse, which means that developers in Idaho couldn’t be told to make structural changes in buildings they’re proposing just for esthetic reasons. So, by all means, sprinkle the beautiful Idaho landscape with monstrosities and pavement.

And, then we’ve got a bill proposed by Sen. Luker, sponsor of the “Free Exercise of Religion Act,” or what Bill Cope from the Boise Weekly calls the “Hall Pass to Be a Bigoted Bastard Bill.” Bigoted bastards will be allowed to refuse service to gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgendered individuals if these people violate someone’s “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

I wish I had Bill Cope’s job so that I could get paid to call people like Luker, “despicable, paltry, unfit, dumbshit cowards.”

But the one bill that will never get passed here, that won’t even get a hearing, is the one that supporters have been trying to pass for almost 8 years, in spite of the fact that 81% of Idahoans support it. This bill would amend the existing Idaho Human Rights Act (IHRA) to include workplace, housing, public accommodation, transportation, and education rights based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

Each day, Add the Words proponents have shown up at the legislature, hands over their mouths, silently protesting the refusal of this government body to even hear the bill. Police have arrested protesters for unlawful assembly, for trespassing, and for resisting and obstructing. That includes former Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavour.

Well, that’s life in a state dominated by crazy Republicans and Tea Party folks.

It’s a sunny day. I’m going to hobble over to the nursery with my mom and buy a bunch of flowers. I will gaze upon them, hoping that their loveliness will distract my thoughts from the crazy that goes on here every year from January till about April.


61 thoughts on “I’ll Feel Better When Idaho’s Legislators Leave Town

  1. Really great post and thanks for the unfortunate but amusing link to When May I Shoot A Student. I loved it. And just so you feel less alone – I’ve got the sick too. Had it last month for about 6 weeks and when it was finally almost gone, someone got me fucking sick again and I’m back at the beginning stages of the coughing and chest congestion that will no doubt last for a zillion years. sigh. Feel better and thanks for the great read.

  2. Wow! The thumbnail sketch of what your state-house is doing is appalling. I hope you get well enough to take some comfort in your garden, and that the next round of elections puts sensible people in your (all) legislative bodies.

    1. Well, El Guapo, I’m a realist. I live in one of the reddest states. Democrats rarely run for office. I have to pick the best of worst choices. And our stupid governor plans on running again because he considers it his job for life.

  3. I’m just sitting here shaking my head. I don’t want to bring you down but similar stuff is happening all over our country. All I can think to do is spend my money strategically, vote, and tell others what we see. Evil (and in this case insanity) hates the sunlight.

  4. aww hope you are feeling better…I think we all can grouse about the same with our state legislatures and their GOP ness, i.e., intent to be stupid at all costs…lol…

  5. Loved the Op-ed piece by Greg Hampikian.

    It seems that the extremists are simply trying to outdo their counterparts in those states where insanity seems to be the norm for state legislators.

  6. I think I have your cold. Severe coughing…back ache. I didn’t know you could transmit this stuff off a the nets. I used to only get sick watching Bill O’Reilly, now, all the news makes me sick.
    I have given up beer for hot brandy and honey. Does not cure you….but it numbs the pain quicker.

  7. Guess what? I live in Florida and our state government makes Idaho sound downright civilized. We have the Stand Your Ground law. That means you can shoot someone if they are black, you don’t like their music and they wear a hoodie. Next thing you know,our legislators are going to be giving 6 year olds guns so they can protect themselves when they are in school. So what if they shoot a teacher because the teacher gave them a bad grade or said something a kid don’t like. After all, that teacher was bullying the kid with an F. And the NRA will be offer those 6 year olds the ammunition if the kid can’t afford ammunition. The NRA is very charitable. And pretty soon they will be passing a bill that says rape is okay as long as it isn’t forceable. Don’t you just love it when these guys look out for us?

    1. Oh the only white people can use the Stand Your Ground Law. If you’re a black woman and your husband or boyfriend is about to beat the hell out of you, you can’t shoot him in self defense. That would be murder.

      1. Yes, Don – You, I can really say have it worse than us. I’m sorry for you. I shake my head at what Florida is up to. But I fear that Idaho takes its role models from states like yours. I really hope that the good people of Florida overturn that insane law.

  8. That gun law got a lot of play here in New York, as evidenced by the Times op-ed piece. Excellent, by the way. Stuff like this gun law goes a long way towards reaffirming all the negative stereotypes about gun owners. My brother-in-law owns a couple of guns and likes to go out target shooting. He doesn’t seem crazy at all but it’s tough not to lump them all together.

    It pained me to read about this junk. What a bunch of barbarians.

    1. It is tough not to lump them all together. Idaho has some serious issues to face – like attracting good businesses in a climate of gun love and homophobia. I’m fortunate to be living in Boise, which has a higher proportion of liberals. But it’s an oasis.

  9. First of all, your absence from the blogosphere has been noticeable so it’s good to hear from you again. That’s a drag about your cough. I’ve had a few nasty ones through the years, too, but I have yet to strain any muscles the way you did. That sounds so painful. I hope that seeing a chiropractor reaps results and you’ll be back to your regular self in time to do planting and weed-digging.

    Great piece about the half-wits running your state, but at the same time, it’s greatly depressing that people in power can be so cavalier about public safety behind the absurd shield of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I loved the Times Op-Ed piece written by the college professor illustrating just how inane this decision allowing concealed weapons on college campuses is. This country is so overrun with firearms that far too often find their way into the mitts of the mentally ill or the trigger happy that think this entire country is the O.K. Corral. Guns have no place in my life and I think that’s fine. I don’t even have the need for a water pistol.

    1. That damn cold floored me, V. I fell apart, lost my focus and my energy. I did go to the chiropractor and that was the biggest waste of a 100 bucks ever. I still can barely walk. I’m sticking to moist heat packs and Ibuprofen. I’ll hobble along until this passes.

      A lot of these native Idahoans are a crazy bunch. They seem to take pride in hating the federal government which pumps money into the state, and which they gladly take. I feel surrounded by lunatics most days.

  10. Sounds disastrous :( also, maybe a good idea to get a little bit of massage or physio before the chiropractor. Muscle tension sounds like the problem, not something being out of place. If you can get the muscles to relax – even hot baths? – you might find that things settle naturally? Trying to wrench a tense body around might make things worse? My experience, for what it’s worth. Best wishes for getting back to peak condition and out in your garden.

    1. Yeah – it’s not a chiropractor thing. I found that out after I spent the money yesterday. I am sticking with heat – moist compresses, Ibuprofen, and I’ll ask my sister if I can use her spa tub tonight. Thank you, chrysalis, for your sweet, kind comments.

  11. I live in Alberta Canada and I love your country. But even here in the heart of cowboy country we are baffled by the relationship Americans have with guns. Absolutely baffled. We do of course have some gun violence and maybe it is comparable when you consider population proportion. But, still, when we see the mass shootings, and the arrogance of the NRA, we struggle to understand.

    1. I’m baffled. Really baffled. I live in one of the safest states in the country – not because everyone owns a gun, either. It’s the damn libertarians who’ve hijacked the Republican party and infected them with the crazy virus.

  12. Oh, my good God. First of all, I hope you feel completely better soon. Second, you just made me incredibly happy that by pure luck I was born in Massachusetts. The People’s Republic of Mass is one of the last places on earth that seems to have kept its progressive head.

  13. What a bloomin’ mess! Sadly, the crazies are not relegated to just your state. They are in mine too, and in everybody else’s. I don’t know how folks can come up with these bills, these positions, these ideas and not just laugh at the absurdity of what they are doing.

    As always,I blame Ronald Reagan. Really. Before Reagan government service attracted the best and the brightest. And while they didn’t always do things that worked out for the best, it was a noble way to spend life. Now, since “government IS the problem” became the mantra, we are left with folks who are in it because they are too stupid to do anything else. It is shameful.

    1. Oops. I wrote this hours after I first read it. So sorry you’ve been sick. Glad you are on the mend — but remember that when you get upset it doesn’t help your health a single bit. I try to keep that in mind but fail.

      1. The thing that horrifies me is the utter disregard of the opposing opinion. In our legislature, the legislators won’t even HEAR a bill if they think it’s too left-leaning. They call this democracy? It’s such a joke.

  14. Recreational suction dredge mining? I don’t even know what suction dredge mining is, but it sounds far from soothing. I know I’ve asked you this before, but when are you going to run for governor?

  15. Idaho is a beautiful state with much to offer, but please can we have only liberals move here. We absolutely have to change the party in control here. It’s frightening.

    1. I know. I worry that the more these insane laws get passed, the more crazy people the state will attract. Our only hope is that businesses voice their opposition to the way the legislators are running this state.

  16. Jean, I was so happy to run into you at the nursery yesterday. I ended up planting 53 pansies and anemones yesterday!

    Some of the insane laws that get passed in this state really bring me down, and make me feel like a square peg in a round hole.

    1. 53 pansies! Wow. I bet that cheered you and Greg up tremendously. Mom and I spent a few hours outside planting, too. She can’t wait to get back to the nursery and buy more plants. Lisa, a lot of us in and around Boise are square pegs and we’re proud of it!

  17. Oh dear, I hope Mother Nature doesn’t conspire against the uplift you hope to achieve from your newly adopted flowers!

    What a year, eh? Just when we think the Idaho legislature can’t get any worse…it proves us wrong. Reminds me painfully of my previous employer.

    The ag-gag bill is one more reason to avoid foodstuffs sold and marketed through mega Agribusiness. A boon to farmer’s markets and small local producers. It’s easy to avoid meat/produce from Albertsons,Freddies, and (cough) Walmart. It’s much harder, though, to avoid agribusiness when dining out.

    Oh, just read Lisa’s comment, above. Too bad we can’t quilt together all our square pegs to create a giant hood with which we could muffle the legislative lunatics in Idaho.

    Hope you’re soon feeling better.

    1. I’m going to do my part to boycott big Ag here in Idaho, even if it means paying higher prices. I hope the opposition wins the lawsuit against this crazy piece of legislation. Here in Idaho, we can have the freedom to tote around our firearms but we definitely can’t allow freedom of speech from liberals.

  18. Sometimes you just have to shake your head – where has sanity and commonsense gone. School campuses should be gun free zones. And the Big Ag influence with bills is a big concern in many states and at the national level. I’m so tired of having to pick between the least worst choice.
    I hate those kind of cold – this year avoided one so far. It takes forever to recover. Find some flowers. That should brighten up your life a bit – hey are you keeping up with Roxie’s/Sunscribe blog? – call for illustrators


    1. Sanity and common sense don’t exist here in Idaho, a place where representative democracy is a laugh. The colleges are still fighting the gun law and there are various animal rights and free speech groups fighting the Ag Gag bill, so there’s a little bit of hope.

  19. Oh my, sounds like one should be happy they are not working the whole year round – like the rest of us. I mean the “Hall Pass to Be a Bigoted Bastard Bill” even made the news on our side of the Big Pond, that’s how crazy it is. And how does a person like Sen. Nuxoll even get elected?! I’m sure there are plenty of veterans who are or know someone dear who is homosexual and find it extremely unsoothing that they are proposed to be legally discriminated against. What a world!

    I hope you will feel better soon and can enjoy your garden in spring. If everything is as beautiful as the picture it must be bliss!

    1. Senator Nuxoll comes from a place in Idaho that shuns the light of intelligence and reason. She and her constituents live in a whole different time space. My feeling is that if they all want to act like they live in the 1800’s wild west, we should deprive them of their electricity and plumbing.

  20. I go back and forth between knowing that I should be watching our elected officials like a hawk, and wanting to turn my head away like you do when you come upon a gruesome car crash.

    I also go back and forth on the concealed gun on campus thing. We had a nut-job with a gun disobey the no-guns law (can you imagine?) at Northern Illinois Univ a couple of years ago, and he killed several students. That’s less than an hour from my house and friends of my kids went there, although none of them died, thank God. If somebody in that crowded auditorium was LEGALLY carrying a gun when the madman started mowing people down, maybe lives would have been saved. I don’t know.

    1. Because the things our legislators do here each year, it is too difficult to ignore. That stupid gun law they passed applies to a very tiny fraction of people who want to carry guns on campus. A fraction! It’s not remotely representative of the wishes of the population here. It was a law fueled by the NRA and ALEC who bought our legislators.

      This I know – a tiny few anecdotes about one person using a gun to stop an incident in no way rises to the level of evidence as to the righteousness and sense of this law. I feel really sorry for the teachers, the students and the on campus security who will have to deal with this mess.

  21. As I read this point, I empathized with the way it must feel to be on the other side of so many issues in your state. I know well how that feels. It makes me feel like an alien.

    1. Thank you, shout – I really thank you. You get it. I feel sometimes like an alien, but a lot of the time, I’m just plain frightened by the people who’ve been elected to serve. They’re the aliens.

  22. ” Common obviously thinks Assata Shakur is an innocent scapegoat the cops tried to frame, therefore he does not support killing cops. The inner conflicts of Aang and Zuko have been the main focal point of this story and no where have they been analyzed so deeply and so complexly as they are here. An interracial dating is dating between people who come from differing races or ethnicities.

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