Idaho will get new redistricting panel
Committee tasked with redrawing political boundaries across stateBOISE — Officials are working to name an entirely new panel of people to define Idaho’s political boundaries after the previous redistricting effort failed last week amid bitter rancor between Democratic and Republican members. Secretary of State Ben Ysursa told reporters Monday that he has asked Idaho Senate and House leaders, and the chairmen of the Democratic and Republican parties, to name new members to the six-person redistricting committee by Wednesday, with meetings to begin Monday morning. That’s after the Idaho Supreme Court on Friday rejected an appeal by Ysursa and GOP commissioners Lou Esposito, Lorna Finman and Evan Frasure to reconvene the commission that adjourned last week. According to an Idaho law modified in 2009, six new commissioners must be named because panelists from previous commissions are forbidden from serving again, except when courts intervene. Ysursa was optimistic that the foundation the previous commission laid — it met for 92 days before going home empty-handed — will help a new panel complete its work more quickly. “There’s been a lot of work done. Hopefully, the new commissioners will see that and complete their work expeditiously,” Ysursa said, adding that he hopes a fresh commission will avoid the animosities that developed between the previous commission’s partisan sides. Republican redistricters accused Democrats of trying to snatch away areas from the GOP, calling it “greed at its worst.” Democrats said the Republicans used “bait-and-switch tactics” to poison the process and prevent an agreement. “There were some obviously strong personalities on the commission, and the vitriol sometimes got away,” Ysursa said. “Hopefully, that won’t happen again.” The boundaries of the state’s 35 legislative and two congressional districts must be reconfigured every decade to reflect population growth and shifts identified in the U.S. census, to preserve the one-person, onevote principle. Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill learned only Monday morning that he’d be naming a new panelist and said he had been making phone calls “all morning” to round up a new panelist. “I don’t know how quickly I can name my person,” Hill said. Ysursa can’t simply call up the old commissioners and ask them to get back to work, as he originally wanted, because the Idaho Supreme Court indicated that a 2009 state law warrants a new commission. That year, former Sen. Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs, and House Speaker Lawerence Denney sponsored a measure that forbids former commissioners like Republican Dean Haagenson of Coeur d’Alene and Democrat Tom Stuart of Boise, members of the 2001 redistricting panel, from ever serving again. That was largely because many Republicans in the Idaho Legislature blamed Haagenson and Stuart for a map with which GOP lawmakers disagreed. But now that 2011 redistricters — including Democrats Allen Andersen, Julie Kane and George Moses — adjourned last week without agreeing to a plan, the restriction on commissioners serving again suddenly applies to them, too. “It’s the law of unintended consequences,” Ysursa said of Geddes and Denney’s measure.
So, here's what really happened. The Republicans wanted to Gerrymander districts so they could continue to control the legislature. The Democrats just said NO. Gerrymandering is an old, old use of redistricting to aid one party or the other in gaining votes unfairly. It was first used by a guy named Gerrymander and was found to be illegal and is banned in all states and even on the federal level. It is not surprising the Republicans tried to do it in Idaho. The Republicans have a tendency to think people who are not Republicans are stupid and wool can be pulled over our eyes easily. Nice try you criminals. It didn't work. Ha, Ha, Ha. :-()
Decreasing Social Security benefits would harm seniorsI am getting increasingly upset that some Washington politicians are proposing cuts to Social Security benefits or raising the retirement age to reduce the deficit. They seem to lack a critical understanding of how important the program is to millions of people. Since 1935, Social Security has kept countless retirees, widowers, children and people with disabilities out of poverty. Social Security belongs to the workers and their families who have worked hard and paid taxes to earn its benefits. Social Security’s benefits to more than 50 million people average just $13,000 a year, but they are a majority of the income for more than two-thirds of American seniors, lifting 20 million people out of poverty. Social Security is also vitally important to millions of children and disabled workers. In Ada County alone, Social Security provides benefits to 65,340 people a month, including 43,975 retired workers, 8,750 disabled workers, 4,970 widowers and 4,870 children. Some politicians in Washington are proposing to cut Social Security benefits or increase the retirement age in order to tackle the federal deficit, even though Social Security did not cause the deficit. At a time when millions of middle-class people are struggling to make ends meet, we cannot afford to remove a vital lifeline and throw millions of people into poverty. n Patty Jones, Meridian
Dear Patty, you have every right to be nervous and upset. Once the Pols start dipping into and legislating the SS plan, nothing good can come of it. My belief is Social Security should be sacrosanct and nobody should be able to mess with it...negatively. Don't mess with my money, that's my position.
(Reuters) - Top Republicans in Congress on Tuesday criticized President Barack Obama's proposal to pay for a job creation plan by eliminating $467 billion in tax breaks for wealthier Americans and corporations.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell blasted Obama's plan to pay for job creation through "permanent" tax increases.
"What the president's proposed so far is not serious. And it's not a jobs plan," McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor. Obama sent the job legislation to Congress on Monday.
Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, made similar comments to reporters. He complained that Obama is seeking "permanent tax increases ... to pay for temporary spending."
Obama's proposal faces tough going in Congress and at least parts of it could face defeat in the Republican-controlled House. Boehner said: "I just don't think that is really going to help our economy the way it should."
In the early days in the fight over Obama's new jobs proposal, Republican leaders were clearly staking out their initial negotiating stances.
While their criticisms were blunt, the Republican leaders also tried to keep the door open to some elements of Obama's plan and were calling for bipartisan work.
"We need to work very hard to peel off the things we can agree on," said Representative Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House. "We'll have to agree to disagree" on some other issues, he said.
Cantor also said Republicans would not back the tax increases Obama wants and suggested the issue may not be able to be resolved until after the 2012 elections.
"Maybe the issue of taxation, maybe some of these other issues, will have to be left for the election," Cantor said at a job creation forum.
The Republican leaders said Congress and the White House needed to look for a way to find common ground to get the economy moving and to create more jobs.
"The president knows raising taxes is the last thing you want to do to spur job creation," said McConnell.
Like Cantor, McConnell said Obama needed to put the proposal for tax hikes aside and consult with both parties to work on a plan "which actually has a chance of attracting bipartisan support."
(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro, Richard Cowan and Andy Sullivan; Writing by Deborah Charles; Editing by Jackie Frank)
The party of NO is after it again. Let's not create jobs. We've been for it forever, but now, let's not. God they piss me off. I'm disgusted by these nut jobs. Hypocrites, and worse. They take great ideas and just say No. No reason...just NO.