Idaho Hanging by a Thread 

Idaho is on the cusp of another political season with the legislative session beginning Monday, Jan. 11, followed by a primary election in May and general election in November. And that means the time for prophesying is nigh.

Just ask gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell, who feels ordained by a Latter-Day Saint prophesy to save the U.S. Constitution.

"We are in America's second Revolutionary War to save our freedom, which we paid for with blood. We need God's help and I am not ashamed to ask for it!" Rammell declares.

Though the Mormon Church has distanced itself from Rammell's campaign, the large animal veterinarian is meeting with LDS elders to share his interpretation of a former church president's interpretation of a statement attributed to Joseph Smith.

We can help him with one thing, though. The Constitution is housed at the National Archives, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. Go save it, Rex, but don't sneeze.

Another thing not to sneeze at: the debt ceiling. As the U.S. Senate passed a historic but subpar health insurance reform bill, Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch scoffed at the way this legislation raises the debt ceiling.

"It is time the federal government learns from the states and balances its budget instead of placing an ever-growing burden on the backs of future generations. There is a growing sense of fear and anger among Americans," Risch stated.

Crapo, for his part, did not resort to threats: "My hope is that 2010 will bring better cooperation, wiser decisions and policies that restore fiscal responsibility," Crapo wrote.

Even Idaho Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter jumped on the insurance bandwagon.

"I question the wisdom as well as the constitutionality and legality of these bills and will explore all my options, including legal action, to protect Idaho and the U.S. Constitution should Congress adopt and the president sign compromise health care legislation," Otter wrote.

But they were not the only ones decrying the health reform effort. Reformers at the single-payer advocacy group Physicians for a National Health Program wrote to Congress as well:

"We have concluded that the Senate bill's passage would bring more harm than good," the group said in a statement signed by its president, Dr. Oliver Fein, and two co-founders, Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler. "We ask that you defeat the bill currently under debate, and immediately move to consider the single-payer approach--an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program--which prioritizes the advancement of our nation's health over the enhancement of private, profit-seeking interests."

So we reiterate: don't sneeze.

Over at citydesk, we will ring in the new year with a live blog of Otter's State of the State speech, starting just before 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 11. We promise it will be both informative and entertaining. And we will have more news for you in 2010, more often and in more digitally enhanced ways.

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