Friday, December 15, 2006

Had Enough?

Too much has been happening.

I cannot believe, well, yes I can believe, that Lawrence Denney, the REPUBLICAN Speaker of the House (ID Legislature), not only has no respect for math, but blatantly disregarded additional Democratic caucus numbers and disregarded any respect for Idaho State Legislature tradition by appointing only two Democrats to JFAC (the joint budget committee). The full story can be found here at New West Boise where Jill Kuraitis pursues more answers from a Speaker so arrogant that he obviously takes his cue from Resident Bush.

I'm very sorry to report that racism and hate crimes still exist in north Idaho. In Bonners Ferry, a young man at a party overheard a teenage girl tell her friend that although her father is Catholic, her mother is a practicing Muslim. The young man decided that combination meant she was a Jew and let her know that Jews are burned here (sic) and dropped her into the bonfire. She suffered second degree burns. The case went to trial and the prosecuting attorney brokered a deal with the judge who decided that this was a case of misdemeanor battery rather than a hate crime. The Bonners Ferry Herald has a statement about the case from the Prosecuting Attorney here, but the latest paper edition of the Herald has an excellent letter from Grace Siler, a friend, and long time member of the Bonners Ferry Human Rights Task Force, who makes very good points about why this should have been considered a hate crime.

So tell me, when is it not a hate crime, based on racism, to call someone a Jew and then drop them into a bonfire? Like what more did the judge want? Did the girl have to be tied to a stake and thrown into the fire? Did she need pictures? Did more teenagers have to corroborate the story to make her consider it a hate crime? Why do kids who go through the Boundary County school system still believe that black athletes have an "extra muscle" in their legs, or that it's okay to call an Arab a "towel-head," or that nothing more than "misdemeanor battery" is the only charge you'll get for telling someone that "we burn Jews" and then dropping her into a bonfire? I guess it's because racism exists here in some of its more hideous forms. This is not to say that all the people in Boundary County are racists, many are not, some actively fight this kind of racism, and the Boundary County Human Rights Task Force is terrific. But the actions and remarks of this one young man and the actions and remarks of the court reveal a telling picture of racism and hatred that simmers beneath the surface of some citizens in north Idaho. Having lived in New York, New Jersey, and California as well as traveling throughout the U.S., I believe that this kind of racism is pervasive throughout the country and is one of those topics about which we dare not speak.

Finally, in my "had enough" week, I read this excellent investigative report by Mountain Goat on the $63,800 that EnergySolutions spent on Butch Otter's recent election campaign. Mountain Goat's research allows for the obvious conclusion that not just nuclear energy, but possibly the reprocessing of nuclear waste in our great state is behind this corporate purchase of our next Idaho governor. Never hear of EnergySolutions? Well, if you're a fan of the Utah Jazz, then you'll have noticed that they no longer play at Delta Center, they play in the EnergySolutions arena. Catalyst Magazine also has a long article on EnergySolutions' owner, Steve Creamer, who happens to own a site for nuclear waste just outside of Salt Lake City. Everyone wants to get rid of their nuclear waste, privately-owned EnergySolutions has one place for all that disposal, so the profits should be phenomenal.... Hmm, what is that large contribution to Otter's campaign going to buy? A place for re-processing or perhaps another disposal site. Any other ideas?

As I said, too much has been all non-nuke, non-racist democrats, please move here in droves.

1 comment:

MountainGoat said...

I just updated my EnergySolutions post to include some more interesting stuff from DOE, if you're interested.