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Edit: GOP Thinks Plagiarism OK?

September 15, 2014 - 8:52am

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune gives Jeer ... to Idaho Republican Party Chairman Steve Yates (pictured): "He says it's no big deal that his candidate for Idaho state schools superintendent, Sherri Ybarra, got caught plagiarizing. An entire section from Democratic candidate Jana Jones' website - word for word and with identical punctuation - wound up on Ybarra's webpage. And there it remained for months until Idaho Education News' Clark Corbin exposed it. "This is plain, vanilla prose," Yates told Kimberlee Kruesi of The Associated Press. Ybarra didn't steal Jones' policies, just her introductory statement. Jones seems to be seeking "an expansive accusation of plagiarism." Is the leader of the Republican Party telling Idaho's school children that plagiarism is OK as long as it's the "vanilla prose" variety? Would he be equally forgiving to Democrats? Full Cheers & Jeers column here.

Question: Are you as forgiving as Idaho GOP Chairman Steve Yates toward possible plagiarism found on Republican superintendent candidate Sherri Ybarra's campaign site?

Edit: Educate Yourself Before Venting

September 15, 2014 - 8:43am

Maybe they think of themselves as education evangelists. Other words come to mind, though, when discussion leads to people in our community whose bitter letters to the editor or unrelenting clashes with Coeur d'Alene School District leave sensible citizens scratching their heads and wondering, "Doesn't so-and-so have something better to do?" Most communities own a contingent like this, folks whose temperament bounces between boiling and blowing up. Constructive criticism is foreign to them. Anger is all they have, and they wield it like a weapon, not a tool. We're writing on this topic today not just to share an observation, but with school now underway, to make a sincere suggestion. Before you criticize, do yourselves and your community a favor and be sure you know what you're talking about. In the case of Coeur d'Alene School District, Dave Eubanks, vice chairman of the school board, has offered not just to meet with several of the district's most outspoken critics, but almost begged them to let him take them into the classrooms so they could see first-hand what's happening -- and, perhaps, what isn't. His offers have all been declined/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Izzit just me -- or does this area have more than its share of angry people who simply want to vent at government & civic leaders as well as every public project that comes along?

Miss Idaho Reaches Pageant Finals

September 15, 2014 - 8:38am

Miss Idaho Sierra Sandison, left, celebrates after she's announced as a finalist during the Miss America 2015 pageant, Sunday, in Atlantic City, N.J. The beautiful contestant, who won America's choice, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 18-years-old. See story and short video of her swimsuit competition, wearing insulin pump, here. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Question: Did you ever compete in a beauty contest?

NFL Case Spotlights Domestic Abuse

September 15, 2014 - 8:26am

The issue of domestic violence moved front and center on the national news stage last week following the release of a video showing an NFL star delivering a knockout punch to his fiancee. Running back Ray Rice was let go by the Baltimore Ravens and he was suspended indefinitely by the NFL on Monday after footage of the February incident was released by TMZ Sports. The video also shows Rice dragging Janay Palmer, now his wife, from the elevator of an Atlantic City, N.J., casino. The Rice scandal shines a light on some of the challenges faced regularly by local law enforcement agencies, the courts, and victims advocates. Katie Coker, director of the North Idaho Violence Prevention Center, said it is common for people to blame the victim instead of focusing on the actions of the perpetrator. That parallels one of the big questions rippling through social media and other online discussion forums: "Why are we talking about why she stayed, and not why he did it?"/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (AP File Photo, of Ray & Janay Rice)

Question: Have you ever witnessed domestic abuse?

Tanker Leaking Chemical Shuts I-90

September 15, 2014 - 8:15am

ISP news announcement: "I90 has been reopened.  We appreciate the patience during this incident, as we know there were long delays due to heavy traffic."

A tanker truck leaking a hazardous chemical shut down Interstate 90 near the Washington-Idaho state line for hours Sunday and released fumes that sickened two police officers and prompted officials to advise nearby residents to stay indoors. A 6-mile stretch of I-90 from Liberty Lake to Post Falls was closed before 2 p.m. and remained deserted into the night. Officials also closed the Centennial Trail along the Spokane River and later shut down East Appleway Avenue, a detour route, as fumes from the truck spread in that direction. All freeway traffic then was diverted to East Wellesley Avenue to the north. The truck was parked at the Washington State Patrol weigh station and Port of Entry just east of Liberty Lake. At 9 p.m., an emergency alert was issued advising anyone within a half-mile of there to take shelter indoors with their windows closed and air conditioning off/Scott Maben, SR. (SR photo by Colin Mulvany: Firefighters with the Spokane Fire Department’s hazmat unit work to contain a tanker truck leaking vapors from a load of anhydrous trimethylamine)

Question: Aren't you a little nervous that trucks carrying toxic material zip by our towns on I-90. All. The. Time?

Who's The Target?

September 15, 2014 - 8:14am

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Weekend Wild Card 9.13-9.14.14

September 13, 2014 - 8:00am

Our weekends have been jam-packed lately, so I'm looking forward to just relaxing and soaking up the soon-to-be-autumn sunshine. Of course, I'll be donning my lucky Seahawk jacket and watching the Hawks trounce the Chargers on Sunday. Good times!
DFO should wander back to his desk on Monday.

Here's your Weekend Wild Card.

Parting shot: A viewtiful lake

September 12, 2014 - 5:00pm

Snapped this picture with my phone on the way home from the Arrow Point restort Saturday. Doesn't get much prettier than a sunset over Lake CdA.

TGIF Wild Card 9.12.14

September 12, 2014 - 4:28pm

We spent last weekend in the Lake City, attending my mom's family reunion. All five of the Schmidt siblings graduated from Cda High. My Grandpa Jake owned the Hayden Lake Feed Store for many years and my Uncle Jack was beloved mail carrier in Hayden for decades.

The five siblings range in age from 69 to 85 and are all fit, trim and in good health. It was so nice to see them all together and catch up with my aunts and uncles.

Have you ever been to a family reunion?

Here's your Wild Card.

Increased incarceration rate didn't lead to drop in crime

September 12, 2014 - 4:25pm

A new analysis from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that states like Idaho, which sharply increased its incarceration rate between 1994 and 2012, had no greater drop in crime than states like New York, which sharply cut its incarceration rate during the same time period. “States that decreased their imprisonment rates cut crime more than states that increased imprisonment,” the Pew Trusts reported.

New York’s incarceration rate fell 24 percent from 1994 to 2012; its crime rate fell 54 percent.

Idaho’s incarceration rate increased 103 percent during that same time period; its crime rate fell 46 percent. Idaho saw the third-highest increase in incarceration rates in the nation during that time, exceeded only by North Dakota and West Virginia. New York had the biggest drop in incarceration rates, and tied with Florida for the biggest drop in crime rates. More here. Betsy Russell, EOB

What do you make of this analysis?

NFL star Adrian Peterson charged with injuring his son

September 12, 2014 - 3:59pm

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, widely considered to be the best at his position in the NFL, has been indicted in Montgomery County, Texas, on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child.

The charges reportedly stem from an incident in which Peterson allegedly punished his 4-year-old son by beating him with a tree branch, leaving cuts and bruises on the boy’s legs, backs, buttocks and hand.

SportsRadio 610 in Houston, which obtained the police report in the case, says Peterson told police that he believed what had happened was only normal discipline, and that he didn’t realize that he was cutting the boy’s legs with the switch until after the fact, and felt bad when he discovered those injuries. “To be honest with you, I feel very confident with my actions because I know my intent,” Peterson reportedly said. He is also said to have told police, “I know how being spanked has helped me in my life.” Full story. The Guardian

Another black eye for the NFL. Were you spanked as a child?

Feds still withholding payments for Idaho school broadband network

September 12, 2014 - 3:43pm

About 18 months ago, the federal agency that provides about three-fourths of the funding for a statewide high-school broadband project cut off the monthly cash flow while it launched an investigation into the legality of Idaho's contract with the project's vendors.

The Legislature, under pressure to keep the Idaho Education Network from going dark, approved in March an $11.4 million bailout to keep the program afloat through February.

With about five months of funding left, the state is champing at the bit to get the federal "e-rate" payments restored. As of Aug. 31, the feds have withheld more than $8.5 million in payments. Full story. Cynthia Sewell, Idaho Statesman

Is there any positive news on the Idaho education front?

Read more here:

Palin: 'I owe America a global apology'

September 12, 2014 - 3:15pm

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said she owes America a "global apology" for the 2008 GOP presidential ticket's loss to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

During an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Palin spoke about Obama's long-term strategy for defeating the Islamic State -- a militant group formerly known as ISIS or ISIL -- that he laid out in a speech Wednesday night.

"As I watched the speech last night, Sean, the thought going through my mind is, 'I owe America a global apology. Because John McCain, through all of this, John McCain should be our president,'" Palin said. More here. Huffington Post

How do you imagine the world would look now if McCain/Palin had won in 2008?

War stirs mixed emotions

September 12, 2014 - 2:42pm

NEW YORK – The nation’s gathering war against a new upsurge in Islamic terror hung heavy over the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks Thursday, stirring both anxiety and determination among those who came to ground zero to remember their loved ones.

The familiar silence to mark the attacks and the solemn roll call of the nearly 3,000 dead came just hours after President Barack Obama told the country he is authorizing stepped-up airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State extremists.

“It’s an ongoing war against terrorists. Old ones die out and new ones pop up,” Vasile Poptean said as he left the ceremony, where he had gone to remember his brother, Joshua Poptean. “If we don’t engage them now, there’s a possibility there will be another 9/11 down the road.” Read more.

When will the 'war on terror' end?

World's tallest dog dies

September 12, 2014 - 2:15pm

OTSEGO, Mich. – The Great Dane from Michigan that held the title of world’s tallest dog has died at age 5.

Owner Kevin Doorlag told the Kalamazoo Gazette that Zeus made his debut in the 2012 edition of Guinness World Records as the tallest living dog. Zeus was 44 inches tall at the shoulder and 7 feet, 4 inches on his hind legs.

Zeus weighed 165 pounds and ate a 30-pound bag of food every two weeks, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.

Doorlag, of Otsego, said the entire family will miss Zeus.

What size dog do you prefer, big, medium or what I call "cat-size"?

Same-sex marrige appeal costs taxpayers $71K-- so far

September 12, 2014 - 1:47pm

Idaho taxpayers’ costs so far for continuing to challenge the federal court decision overturning the state’s ban on same-sex marriage: $71,477. In response to a request under the Idaho Public Records Law, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s office reported spending $2,569, for an appellate filing fee and for travel for two attorneys to the 9th Circuit arguments this week in San Francisco. Gov. Butch Otter’s office reported spending $68,899, including $66,920 for outside counsel. Betsy Russell, EOB

In your opinion, is this money well-spent?

Radio Shack on the brink

September 12, 2014 - 1:27pm

NEW YORK – RadioShack warned Thursday that it may need to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization if it can’t rework its debt or find another way to ease a cash crunch.

The struggling retailer said in a regulatory filing that it is in talks with its lenders, bondholders, shareholders and landlords to fix its balance sheet, but if it can’t, it will try to file a prepackaged bankruptcy.

RadioShack, based in Fort Worth, Texas, has been working on turning around its business for the past 18 months. The company’s efforts have included cutting costs, renovating and closing stores, and shuffling management. It reported another quarterly loss on Thursday on lower revenue.

When is the last time you shopped at Radio Shack?

Sir Superstar

September 12, 2014 - 1:00pm

The numbers associated with Elton John’s career are staggering.

He’s sold more than 300 million records, recorded more than 30 albums and had more than 50 Top 40 singles. Seven straight albums hit No. 1. During a five-decade career – one that’s still going strong – he’s earned six Grammy Awards and has a Tony, an Oscar, a Golden Globe and Kennedy Center Honors. His re-recording of his 1973 hit “Candle in the Wind” – released after he performed it for Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997 – went on to sell 33 million copies, and is by most accounts the second best-selling single of all time, behind only Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.”

The 67-year-old John is no stranger to these parts. He’s played Spokane a couple times, and Pullman as well, since 1999.

A review of a 2011 show by former S-R staff writer Jim Kershner summed up John’s appeal this way: “If anyone was on the fence about Sir Elton – although I saw little evidence of that – this concert probably won them over for one simple reason. John has more quality hits in his enormous repertoire than almost any other contemporary artist you can name, with the exception of another sir (Sir Paul).” Full story. Carolyn Lamberson, SR

Favorite Elton John song?

Back off on the breadsticks

September 12, 2014 - 12:00pm

People leave an Olive Garden restaurant at sunset in Foxborough, Mass., on March 20. File photo.

NEW YORK (AP) — Maybe there is such a thing as too many breadsticks.

In a nearly 300-page treatise on what’s wrong with Olive Garden and its management, investor Starboard Value suggests the Italian restaurant chain is being reckless with its unlimited breadsticks. The hedge fund notes the chain’s official policy is to bring out one breadstick per customer at a time, plus an extra for the table.

But Starboard says servers bring out more than that, leading to waste — and cold breadsticks. Starboard notes that it isn’t pushing for an end to unlimited breadsticks, just more control in how they’re doled out.

“Darden management readily admits that after sitting just 7 minutes, the breadsticks deteriorate in quality,” Starboard said in its presentation. Full story.

Unlimited breadsticks are important when you've got four hungry boys! Do you eat at Olive Garden?

Vestal: Seattle PD lawsuit justifies reason for DOJ reforms

September 12, 2014 - 11:45am

The Department of Justice went to Seattle and examined the police department.

It determined that the department had a pattern of using excessive force and biased tactics. It imposed a series of reforms, through a court-ordered agreement in 2012 with the city leadership, that limited and more clearly defined when officers could use physical force. It established more specific limits on when a cop can hit someone with a club or shoot them. The reformed policy says when officers use physical force, it must be because the circumstances are objectively threatening and the level of the force should be proportionate to the threat.

Who could argue with that? A lot of Seattle police officers.

More than 125 Seattle cops have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the reforms. Their arguments against the Seattle reforms are a chilling reminder that police oversight and reform, even when supported by the mayor and the police chief and the attorney general, can run into the biggest obstacles of all: the ones in the police cars. Read more. Shawn Vestal, SR