Risch is the face of Republican complacency

When a courtroom artist caught Idaho Sen. Jim Risch asleep in what appears to be the front row of the Senate chambers during the opening day of the Impeachment Trial, while Congresswoman Val Demings prosecuted the case, Americans got a good picture of what it seems Idaho contributes to national governance and the preservation of Constitutional democracy..Our 76-year-old junior senator is now also the face — eyes closed and cheek in hand — of Republican complacency.

Perhaps some actual testimony from direct witnesses to President Trump’s thuggish self-dealings and extortion would be sufficiently stimulating for Mr. Risch. To begin, John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney would seem to have a lot more to reveal about Trump’s abuses of office. Likewise, the relevant notes, correspondence, and full transcripts that the White House has illegally blocked from review: I imagine more there is eye-opening.

Mechanisms, like impeachment, to safeguard against autocracy might be firmly foundational to our nationhood, but they are corroded by representatives who are uncritically partisan and who, worse, cooperate lockstep with the coverup of high crimes.

The “greatest deliberative body” deserves, at least, someone deliberately awake. And Idaho deserves better. Risch is no less disrespectful to his constituents than he is to Congresswoman Demings and his obligation to be a fair juror. Any Idahoan who has written to Risch about a concern or cause gets the same one-line autoreply, with no followup or accountability. I myself have received it 13 times. The truth is, the senator has been asleep for years.

He faces no Republican primary opponent, surprisingly; but Nancy Harris, Travis Oler, and James Vandermaas are all compelling Democratic contenders with a strong case to make later this year that if Senator Risch wishes to shut his eyes a while, well then, Ok boomer, bedtime.

Brian Blanchfield


Deregulation and the Boing 737 Max

Terence L. Day, I very much applaud your call for us to become much more responsible in our voting. However, I want my legislators to be enabled to respond to specific situations rather than to be so “one size fits all” as your deregulation label would make them.

From articles and from a family member working close to the aircraft industry and also from a flight instructor who did fly similar planes, I hear that the base problem with the 737 Max is changing the position and power of the engines. The flight instructor told me that you can still fly out of a stall and other emergencies with these changes, but it takes a unique understanding of what you have and how to use it to do so.

In other words the pilots needed more training to use this very much new plane. All report that Boing management misrepresented the 737 Max as the “same as the old plane” not requiring training other than what was given for others in the 737 series. It appears that if Boeing had been honest a through process would have ensued which would have resulted in more training and likely eliminated the deaths.

Apparently this was a problem of corporate dishonesty.

I believe the potential problems with this plane were understood at the time the ideas to build it were conceived. But those who see themselves as “in power” tend to squelch anything they see as threats to profits often with deadly shortsightedness. And so we have the tragedy as it is today.

I hope that we become more mindful in our voting and also in our learning to work together to build and do great things.

Tod Merley


A good time to recognize your school board members

By proclamation of the governor of Washington, January is School Board Recognition Month. It’s a great time to recognize our elected community members who selflessly give their time and energy in support of high-quality public schooling for our youth.

School board members in Pullman Public Schools are entrusted by this community with responsibility for an annual budget of approximately $37 million, 3000-plus students, 350 employees and nine buildings.

School boards are charged with making decisions that can sometimes be quite difficult, or require sifting through a great deal of information. They also bear responsibility for developing a vision that will guide the school district for years to come.

Through collaboration as a team, and with school district staff, their governance and advocacy are building the future of education in Washington state.

This January, we’re encouraging all members of the community to thank a board member. Please thank them for volunteering their time and playing a critical civic role that helps form the bedrock of our democracy — public education. As a crucial bridge between the local community and the school district, their efforts are instrumental in helping all of us realize the hopes and dreams we have for the children of our community.

The individuals serving Pullman Public Schools and their years of service are:Jim Evermann, 14 years; Allison Munch-Rotolo, 10 years; Nathan Roberts, two years; Amanda Tanner, two years; Susan Weed, 14 years.

For more information about the Pullman Public Schools School Board, visit www.PullmanSchools.org

Bob Maxwell, Superintendent

Pullman Public Schools

Recommended for you