"Daughters are a wonderful thing!"
--Chris Wood, online
(BW, Opinion, "Iowa (Ugh) Bound," May 15, 2013)
No to Ag Bills
"Despicable, unconstitutional, ridiculous, immature, idiotic and mendacious." And that's just how Tennessee newspapers characterized the state's "ag-gag" bill now awaiting governor's signature.
"Ag-gag" bills criminalize whistleblowing that exposes animal abuses, unsafe working conditions, and environmental problems on factory farms. Instead of encouraging whistleblowing and preventing these violations, ag-gag laws ensure that consumers and regulatory authorities are kept in the dark.
Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and Utah have enacted ag-gag laws, but such bills were defeated in eight other states, thanks to a strong outcry from the public and newspaper editors. In 2013, new ag-gag bills were introduced in Arkansas, California, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Wyoming. The language has been invariably drafted by the infamous anti-consumer American Legislative Exchange Council.
Thirty newspapers and 60 national animal protection, workers' rights, civil liberties, public health, food safety and environmental conservation organizations have recently gone on record as strongly opposing ag-gag bills.
Each of us who feels that our government must never restrict our right and obligation to know where our food comes from should urge our state legislators and governor to oppose the ag-gag bill.
Cope Hits a Nerve
I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with a series of articles, specifically Bill Cope's "Stand Our Ground" articles. After reading them through, I found that in writing them there was a complete disregard for any sort of journalistic standards.
While the intent may have been a proverbial call to arms against those who exercise their right to open carry in Idaho, the fact is that the article consists largely of direct and baseless insults, the sum of which give the impression not that the subjects of the article are frothing mad fanatics, but rather that the author and publisher of the content are.
I'm not sure how much a reader's loyalty is worth to you, but for what it's worth: if there is not some sort of effort made to raise the bar on your journalistic standards then I will ensure that my family and friends withhold their patronage both from your publication and your advertisers.
Tales from Bikeland
Boise Weekly recently ran a story outlining some of the challenges facing bicycle riders in the Treasure Valley (BW, Feature, "Rough Road," May 8, 2013). Here are a selection of comments posted online from readers.
I agree that things have been definitely improved. I commute from Boise to Nampa often, I find it crazy that there is no connectivity between counties. Emerald [Street] will get you to Ten Mile [Road], there are a harrowing four or five miles, then things get OK again. The problem lies in the lack of communication between the counties. ITD does the work in Canyon County, ACHD in Ada. I see a bike lane network between Caldwell and Boise a major goal.
Having survived two life-threatening bicycle accidents, the latter requiring life saving emergency brain surgery, my advice to anyone commuting by bicycle to:
1. Avoid motorized vehicle traffic at all costs. Use residential streets with light traffic, not major transportation corridors.
2. Drive defensively. You may have all the rights of the road, but you won't enjoy them if dead. Drive as if every motorist is out to kill you.
While riding myself, I happened upon an accident on Capitol [Boulevard] at Bannock [Street], I believe, on a Sunday afternoon. A woman riding along with her husband and child hit a large grate on the sidewalk on Capitol. It grabbed the front wheel and sent she and her bike vertical and up against the building.
The image was horrific. She was up and walking when I left with a bruised leg and face, but it really hit home, how things can change in a minute. Even if you aren't a bicycler, the safety and accommodation of those affects all of us. Those who do use that as an alternate means of transportation are reducing pollution, traffic and noise. They are improving their physical health which removes burdens from society.
It makes sense to improve the conditions of the road for bicycling. Conversely, being considerate while riding will ingratiate people and facilitate the improvements.
--Mary Jeanne Toutloff