September 7, 2005 

Editor's Note • The Times they Aren't a Changin' • Hero or Huckster? • "W" WAS HERE • So long, Alby's? • The art of Statements •

Editor's Note

We've received several fine letters concerning Hurricane Katrina, what was done, what wasn't done and what should have been done. Unfortunately, they were all several times too large to fit on the opinion page. Heed the guidelines and keep your rants concise, you chatty little monkeys.

The Times they Aren't a Changin'

To those at the Idaho Center who yelled at me to "Get a job, hippie," and "Move to Russia, commie," I must respond with a resounding, "Huh?" Clever. Oh, and to those who gave me the one-finger wave, thanks, but no thanks.

I respect and admire people who dedicate their lives to protect our country. I'm not a pinko or peacenik. I am a politically independent, native Idahoan. I believe there are times when war is necessary. But this thing in Iraq ain't one of them.

Why do military members and ultra-conservative Idahoans take such angry exception to my concern that W., for various, always-changing reasons (none of which hold water), is getting them killed? I understand W. is the commander in chief, and your superior officer. But why treat me and my free-speech opinion with such contempt?

Of course our soldiers can't just be yanked out of Iraq (not at this point), but W. needs to get on with it and let you guys kick some ass and finish the job. Seriously, I never thought I would miss his dad. So, OK, I give up. Go, have a great time. I truly hope you all make it home safely.

--Angie Calligan Tucker,


Hero or Huckster?

I heard on the radio yesterday that some outfit that tracks CEO compensation vs. stock performance has rated Albertson's CEO as the most outrageously overpaid--at $80 million dollars per year. Their HQ is here in my hometown of Boise. Their offices are a stone's throw from a pond where my son and I gather crawdads for dinner. Following a year of hundreds of store closures, with the remaining stores struggling to maintain profitability, I can't conceive of what this one man does that makes him worth that kind of an annual salary.

I wish I knew more about the stock market than I do, but don't a company's stockholders have a vested interest in a company's performance AND the excessive compensation of senior executives? Who decides to give someone this much money every year? Trying to wrap my mind around this cosmic figure--based on a 40-hour workweek--that's $38,461 an hour! How can anyone personally justify taking that much money from a company they only manage for the stockholders?

Can someone explain to me again how we all benefit from the actions of greedy money-mongers like this? How are our lives better? Our food cheaper? Our jobs more secure? Explain to me why I shouldn't have a problem with corporations and the conspicuous wages earned by their "top" people at the expense of working-class folks who struggle paycheck to paycheck just to keep kids in diapers and food on the table? How can any working person observe a CEO's conspicuous consumption and greedy worldview and not have a problem with it? Why do we make these hucksters out to be heroes?

--Jim Peterson,



Well, go ahead, mark your calendar, "W" was here in beautiful Idaho!

About six years ago, another man, a real leader, with real values and intellect visited our fair state. When he came rolling into Idaho, to give a pep talk to our forest firefighters (a more noble cause than vacationing, fishing and mountain biking while our soldiers suffer in desert heat and constant fear for their lives), our nation was experiencing its first budget surplus since Reaganomics. Gasoline was, on average, $1.16 per gallon and we were not living in fear of the next 9-11.

But for the news coverage and the peace rally attended at the Capital Tuesday evening, Mr. Bush would have come and gone with no real notice by my neighbors or me. Fact is, in these past five or six years since Bill left and George came, our great nation has fallen from grace. We are more at risk now than ever of terrorist attacks. After we lied about the reason for going to war, other nations are unlikely to ever believe us again. It will take no less than a miracle to restore our credibility. Bill may have used bad judgment in his personal life, but our current leader's bad judgment and dishonesty go far beyond indiscretion in the Oval Office. It has affected our nation and our world

Despite all this, I still believe we're blessed to live in this wonderful country where the First Amendment of our constitution provides us the right to speak our mind, as I have done here, without fear of retribution. We sleep comfortably each night under the blanket of freedom fought for and preserved by devoted individuals, like the son of Cindy Sheehan and so many others before him, from the Civil War to WWII, Vietnam, and every conflict in between. Oddly, a nation founded on Christian values, yet, at times, blind to the commandment: "Thou shalt not kill."

This being said, most among us will continue to gas up the old SUV, wait to see who the next presidential contenders will be, and hope for the best, all the while wondering how we will pay for prescriptions and health care, get along in our retirement and leave the world better upon leaving than we found it upon being born (if that's even possible). As for me and mine, I can only pray that more sound minds will lead us as we embark upon the unknown future. God bless America!

 --Lisa Shultz,


So long, Alby's?

Should Albertsons go bye-bye, what will become of that fine school in Caldwell? Will it become Taco Bell University--or Simplot University, because Simplot sticks to the Idaho ground and soil? Simplot may be a possible name (at least until the old boy hangs it up and the company is bought by ADM).

You know, I'm glad my alma mater, Boise State, didn't adopt a name like Ore-Ida pickles, Boise Cascade forests, or Agee's ruin: Morrison-Knudsen. As it is, I'm curious to know what's going to happen to all those buildings when Micron moves to Elbonia. For that matter, what's to happen when Taco Bell actually moves to Mexico? I sure as heck hope nothing is named after HP. We'll have to learn Chinese.

--Joe Bejsovec,


The art of Statements

As an artist, I want to address something that drives me to distraction. Nah, it drives me effing crazy. It's this business of so-called "artist's statements." Recently, I received e-mails calling me to task about using my Boise Weekly cover space, reserved for the artist's statement, to advertise a gallery show. There are, as far as I know, no restrictions at BW regarding the content of the artist statement.

Every issue of BW is put together by writers. To my knowledge, no writer has ever been asked to paint a "writer's statement," and I think it would be absurd to ask for anything like that. Why, then, are artists asked to explain in writing, a discipline they are neither trained for or taught to produce, an artist statement? Does that make sense to you?

Hey, Cope, paint me some explanation of your Red character. You're fired.

The really good gobbledy-gookers at writing these artist statements excel at getting the grants, and sure, I'm envious! Wish I could write the gobbledy-gook, talk the talk, get the money and walk, walk, walk.

Good writing, like good art, isn't easy. I'll bet BW's editors are having fits about the way I'm putting together this rant. But that's the point! I'm not a writer, and while some of you may argue about whether I'm even an artist, it simply doesn't matter.

I propose that everybody who would like to write professionally be put to the same odd-ball test that artists are. If you want to write professionally, please paint a 4-by-8 canvas explaining graphically, in understandable technique, color and subject matter, why you should be allowed to do so. And if, Jeebus forbid, you want city, state or federal grants and you can't paint ... well, learn to paint, loser.

--Mike Flinn,


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