April 12, 2017: What to Know 

  • Bingo Barnes
  • All eyes are on Moscow, where U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is talking tough with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The New York Times reports that the Trump presidency's "unpredictability" with the Russians, marked by a "shift from coziness to confrontation," has given world capitals a case of "geopolitical whiplash." Whether Russian President Vladimir Putin meets face to face with Tillerson during the visit remains to be seen. The Kremlin said earlier this week that Putin did not plan to meet with Tillerson on Wednesday, but a Putin spokesman seemed to suggest otherwise, stating the Russian may meet with Tillerson later today after all—provided "top diplomats decided it would be useful," Reuters reported. Indicative of the "whiplash" noted by The Times, Putin awarded Tillerson a medal of friendship in 2013, after Tillerson—an oil executive—signed major deals with a state-owned Russian oil company.
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has some free advice to embattled White House spokesman Sean Spicer: Don't invoke Adolf Hitler. Spicer caused a mini-uproar this week when he started comparing Syrian chemical attacks to Hitler. "Here should be a general rule for anybody involved in public life," Christie told Fox News. "Don't bring up Hitler—ever. There's no winning in bringing up Hitler. Write that down."

  • Meanwhile, it's not as if Christie is winning any popularity contests. A new poll from Morning Consult indicates Christie is the most unpopular governor in the United States. Morning Consult reports 71 percent of New Jersey voters disapproved of Christie. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker was rated the most popular governor, with a 75 percent approval rating. Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter surfaced in the middle of the pack with a 58 percent approval rating.
  • Speaking of Otter, the Gem State's chief executive is getting criticism from both sides of the political aisle after announcing Tuesday he would veto the Legislature's repeal of the Idaho grocery sales tax. "The costs of this particular proposal are too high and the potential for imminent financial need too great for the small amount of tax relief it would provide," Otter said. For his part, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little—who has announced he'll be running for Otter's seat in 2018—has already indicated he's in favor of eliminating the sales tax on groceries and even urged Otter to sign the bill into law.
  • The morning rush hour on eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 between Boise and Mountain Home was a mess this morning. Both lanes were closed for a time after a semi crashed and overturned near Milepost 62. The driver was reportedly rushed to a local hospital and both lanes were eventually reopened after crews hauled the wreckage from the scene, KTVB reported.
  • The Boise River is becoming even more dangerous as managers continue to push more water from Lucky Peak Reservoir into the river. As of this morning, the river near the Glenwood Bridge in Boise was running at 8,280 cubic feet per second and approximately 10.9 feet high.

  • Fans are mourning the passing of guitarist John Geils Jr., whose J. Geils Band was responsible for a number of 1970s and '80s-era hits, including "Centerfold," "Love Stinks," "Come Back" and "Freeze-Frame." Geils was found dead in his Massachusetts home on Tuesday. He was 71.

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