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Boise Weekly

Boise Weekly - Idaho's only alternative weekly newspaper. Boise's best source for news, arts and entertainment, classifieds and upcoming events.

Published: Mon, 19 Feb 2018 00:00:01 -0700

Last Build Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2018 09:00:00 -0700

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How Political Pessimism Helps Doom Tougher Gun Laws

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 04:00:00 -0700

(image) Saying ‘nothing will change’ has empowered the NRA and ignores its declining punch. It's predictable after every new mass-shooting horror: The political right’s reflexive call for “thoughts and prayers,” which is then mocked by people who favor more gun restrictions for lacking any accompanying ideas for preventing future killings.But there’s an equally predictable refrain on the center-left and in the media, too: “Once again, nothing will be done.”Barely had the death toll of 17 been announced last week after the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida than The Washington Post declared, “The gun debate is going nowhere quickly after Parkland.” CNN offered: “Amid continued string of mass shootings, gun control going nowhere in Congress.” After 59 concert-goers were mowed down in October, former Democratic congressman Steve Israel put to rest any hope for reform in a New York Times op-ed column titled “Nothing Will Change After the Las Vegas Shooting.”This fatalism is borne of hard-won experience. Congress has failed repeatedly to pass any gun-control measures after past calamities, even the 2012 massacre of 20 first-graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.Yet this world-weary defeatism is self-fulfilling in its own way, and helps explain why Washington hasn’t taken action to address the killing.For one thing, such pessimism demoralizes, and dismisses, those who are motivated to fight against gun violence, such as the network of angry moms that sprung up after the Sandy Hook massacre and the organization led by former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords, which have managed to achieve a series of state-level successes even as reform stalls at the national level.For another thing, it lets off the hook those who are opposed to stronger gun laws. Declaring preemptively that any new effort at gun-law reform is doomed spares opponents from even having to make their arguments for protecting the gun lobby.Most importantly, liberal fatalism on gun control overstates the strength of the opposition. The National Rifle Association’s influence depends heavily on the perception of its power. By building up the gun lobby as an indomitable force, pessimists are playing directly into its hands.No doubt, the NRA is influential. Not so much because of the campaign contributions it makes to candidates, but because it can count on an energized grass-roots base of gun-rights supporters to turn out at the polls and badger elected officials with calls and emails. But that influence has limits, and there are plenty of reasons to believe that it is on the wane.For…

The CFPB's Declaration of Dependence

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 04:00:00 -0700

(image) Born as a fiercely independent agency meant to protect citizens, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has quickly been subsumed into the Trump administration. Banks, student-loan agencies and payday lenders are the winners. In early February, the Federal Reserve delivered its most significant punishment of a major bank in a generation, sanctioning Wells Fargo for its pattern of customer exploitation.A few blocks away, meanwhile, another of the giant bank’s regulators, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has recently displayed a different attitude: It has been softening on scandal-inundated Wells Fargo. After an edict about data handling from Mick Mulvaney, the man Donald Trump installed as acting head of the agency late last year, the bureau’s enforcement lawyers suddenly found their hands tied, according to three CFPB staffers. The attorneys weren’t permitted to upload information the bank supplied about its auto insurance business, one of the areas in which Wells Fargo has been accused of malfeasance.Another probe of bad behavior — this one involving Wells Fargo’s treatment of its checking customers — has bogged down, ProPublica has learned. And a third investigation of the bank (for mortgage abuses) that was about to yield tens of millions of dollars in fines, according to Reuters, now languishes unresolved. Staffers fear they will be ordered to reduce the penalty that Richard Cordray, the previous head of the agency, approved before he left, according to people familiar with the probe.The CFPB’s multifront retreat comes despite a December tweet from Trump — two weeks after he named Mulvaney to head the agency — in which the president proclaimed that “fines and penalties against Wells Fargo Bank for their bad acts against their customers and others will not be dropped.”The enforcement slowdown isn’t just good news for Wells Fargo. Mulvaney’s team recently asked enforcement lawyers to prepare for a potential settlement of its lawsuit alleging that Navient, the gigantic student-loan servicer, abused borrowers, according to a high-level CFPB official. Pulling back before the case proceeds to trial would mark a stark reversal in one of previous regime’s marquee legal efforts. And the agency has recently dropped cases against multiple financial institutions it previously accused of harming customers.In just over two months at the helm of the CFPB, Mulvaney has launched a sweeping set of initiatives. The agency is conducting a comprehensive internal review of enforcement and supervision. Mulvaney ordered a survey of financial firms to get their sense of the “burdens” that the CFPB’s investigative process places on them. He split the fair lending oversight operations in two, putting the heads of the office under his direct control. And he requested…

The Trump Administration Goes to War - With Itself - Over the VA

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 04:00:00 -0700

(image) The infighting has left vets frustrated, Congress confused — and a key piece of legislation stalemated. David Shulkin, the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, showed up to what he thought would be a routine Senate oversight hearing in January, only to discover it was an ambush.Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., was the sole holdout among members of the veterans affairs committee on a bill that would shape the future of the agency. The bipartisan bill had the support of 26 service groups representing millions of veterans. But Moran was pushing a rival piece of legislation, and it had the support of a White House aide who wields significant clout on veterans policy. Neither proposal could advance as long as there was any doubt about which President Donald Trump wanted to sign.Moran blamed Shulkin for the impasse. “In every instance, you led me to believe that you and I were on the same page,” Moran said at the hearing. “Our inability to reach an agreement is in significant part related to your ability to speak out of both sides of your mouth: double talk.”There were gasps in the hearing room. It was an astounding rebuke for a Trump appointee to receive from a Republican senator, especially for Shulkin, who was confirmed by the Senate unanimously.Clearly ruffled, Shulkin hesitated before answering. “I think it is grossly unfair to make the characterizations you have made of me, and I’m disappointed that you would do that,” he said. “What I am trying to do is give you my best advice about how this works.”Moran dug in. “I chose my words intentionally,” he said. “I think you tell me one thing and you tell others something else. And that’s incompatible with our ability to reach an agreement and to work together.” Moran then left the hearing for another appointment.The exchange exposed tensions that had been brewing for months behind closed doors. A battle for the future of the VA has been raging between the White House and veterans groups, with Shulkin caught in the middle. The conflict erupted into national headlines this week as a result of a seemingly unrelated development: the release of a lacerating report on Shulkin that found “serious derelictions” in a taxpayer-funded European business trip in which he and his wife enjoyed free tickets to Wimbledon and more.The underlying disagreement at the VA has a different flavor than the overhauls at a number of federal agencies. Unlike some Trump appointees, who took the reins of agencies…

At a New Cabin Workshop, Words Can Change the World

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:50:00 -0700

(image) The workshop will take place on the third Thursday of each month at The Cabin literary center. Francisco Salinas learned about the power of words at a very young age. "My name is 'Francisco Salinas,' but in kindergarten, my name was 'Frank,'" said the Boise State University director of Student Diversity and Inclusion while discussing Anglicization—changing non-English words and names to make them fit more easily in the minds and mouths of English speakers. Salinas offered his insights at the Feb. 15 meeting of Words in Action, a drop-in workshop hosted by The Cabin literary center, which he co-presented with Frank Church High School Writer-in-Residence Danny Stewart. The workshop, which will take place on the third Thursday of each month, pairs an activist in the Boise community with a local writer to discuss issues around social justice and prompt attendees to incorporate those issues into their own writing. At the Feb. 15 event, more than a dozen attendees listened as Salinas offered insights into how two people with different viewpoints can have a productive conversation, and Stewart, a poet and essayist who teaches writing to incarcerated youths, talked about how writing helps people from marginalized backgrounds express and define themselves. "They have the ability to control their message," Stewart said. "They are understood the way they want to be understood." Stewart then directed the class in a reading of a Danez Smith poem, "CREAM," which touches on intersections between race, class, sexual orientation and capitalism, and asked them to write and share responses to the poem. The workshop was organized by The Cabin Program Manager Katie Fuller, who briefly interviewed Salinas and Stewart to kick off the evening. In an email, Fuller wrote the workshop is an extension of a class Salinas participated in following the terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, and is meant to explore the role "creative writing plays in opening important and difficult dialogues."…

Simpson Tops Idaho Members of Congress in NRA Donations

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 12:10:00 -0700

(image) How much has the National Rifle Association donated to representatives and senators in Idaho? Nikolas Cruz, 19, killed 17 people and injured dozens more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14. It was only the latest event in a long series of school shootings in the United States. There have been repeated calls for some kind of legislation to more effectively regulate firearms, but they have ultimately been blocked by Congress. Below is a list (in alphabetical order) of Idaho members of Congress who have received donations from the largest firearms advocacy organization, the National Rifle Association. The original list (updated Feb. 15, 2018) was compiled by The Washington Post and shows NRA donations for every state since 1998. Sen. Mike Crapo—$29,300 Rep. Raul Labrador—$8,100 Sen. Jim Risch—$13,900 Rep. Mike Simpson—$43,750…

Old Movies, New Tunes: Composer Ben Model to Bring Four Classics to The Egyptian Saturday

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 09:26:00 -0700

(image) "You're really experiencing what people experienced 90 years ago ... Silent film is an experience as well as a form of cinema." For as long as he can remember, Ben Model has loved silent movies. "Some kids like trucks or trains," he said. "For me, it was Charlie Chaplin." Model grew up to become one of the greatest champions of the medium. For more than three decades he has written and performed scores for hundreds of silent films. He is also the resident film accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as with the Library of Congress Packard Campus Theatre. His production and distribution company dusts off aging silent films on celluloid and converts them to a digital format. Model travels extensively to educate and perform, which is what will bring him to the Egyptian Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 17, for Silent Movies with Orchestra, a presentation of four silent films accompanied by live music composed by Model and performed by members of the Boise Philharmonic. The films include Buster Keaton's One Week (1920), Laurel and Hardy's Wrong Again (1929), Oh! What a Day (1918) featuring comedian Marcel Perez and Number, Please? (1920) starring Harold Lloyd. Part of Model's passion for silent films comes from what he calls "audience preservation." At the dawn of the medium, films were screened in movie palaces and set to live music. Silent Movies with Orchestra will reintroduce audiences to the century-old tradition of going to the movies. "You're really experiencing what people experienced 90 years ago," Model said. "Silent film is an experience as well as a form of cinema." Performing at the Egyptian Theatre, he said, an important element for moviegoers. The downtown cinema has a classic Pharaonic motif, and has one of two theater organs in the Gem State—a working 1927 Robert Morton Theatre Pipe Organ, which Model will play Saturday evening. "Playing in a historic venue is icing on the cake," Model said.…

Feb. 16, 2018: What to Know

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 08:23:00 -0700

(image) Mitt Romney launches a U.S. Senate campaign, a rough morning for Team USA, Boise makes another Top 10 list and McDonald's takes cheeseburgers away from its Happy Meal menu. At a Thursday night vigil in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman shot and killed 17 people Feb. 14, a woman said of her daughter, "I hope she didn't die for nothing." Nikolas Cruz, 19, appeared in a Florida courtroom Thursday where investigators said the young man had confessed to the shootings. In the New York Times this morning, columnist Dan Barry writes, "Deadly shootings in schools—that is, the killing of children in sanctuaries of learning—have become a distinctly American ritual. The Rote responses as familiar as a kindergarten recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance." Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is launching a run to represent Utah in the U.S. Senate with a dig at President Trump. The BBC reports that Romney's Facebook page is taking aim at the Trump White House effort to limit immigration. The Romney campaign says the Trump doctrine sends a "message of exclusion" to immigrants. Romney once said Trump's "promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University," while the President has called Romney a "failed candidate" who "choked like a dog." The City of Boise is on yet another top ten list. Lonely Planet magazine has published its eighth annual "Best in the U.S." rankings, putting Boise at No. 2 in the nation, right behind California's Redwood Coast. Boise is "what cool looks like before the rest of the world has figured it out," according to Lonely Planet. This has already been a rough morning for Team USA at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Skier Mikaela Shiffrin came in fourth in the woman's slalom while figure skater Nathan Chen fell repeatedly during his short program presentation. Hopes are high for later today when downhill gold medalist Lindsey Vonn returns to the mountain to compete in the woman's Super-G. McDonald's has decided to pull cheeseburgers from its main Happy Meal menu. In addition, it's offering smaller portions of french fries if kids choose Chicken McNuggets for their Happy Meal option. The Washington Post reports that beginning in June, McDonald's Happy Meals will contain less than 600 calories and less than 650 milligrams of salt. The chain is also working on a new chocolate milk formula that contains less sugar. While Coca-Cola undergoes a redesign of labels affixed to its iconic cans and bottles, Business Insider asks, "Why is the company's famed logo red?" The actual shade of red that Coke uses is trademarked as…

Feb. 15, 2018: What to Know

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 08:24:00 -0700

(image) President Trump says there were "so many signs" that the Florida gunman was "mentally disturbed," Mikaella Shiffrin grabs another gold, a third James Beard Foundation nomination for Kris Komori and the Berlin Film Festival says "no" to a black carpet. Wednesday's mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school was one of the deadliest in U.S. history and the 17th school shooting in 2018. More than 430 people have been shot in 273 school attacks since the 2013 incident at Sandy Hook Elementary. Three of the ten deadliest shootings in modern American history were in the past five months. The New York Times reports that 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who had been expelled from the Florida high school and described as a "troubled kid," has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. President Trump took to Twitter this morning to say there were "so many signs" that Cruz was "mentally disturbed." After a spell of mild temperatures, wintry driving conditions returned to the Treasure Valley Thursday morning, causing multiple  crashes on Interstate 84. Idaho State Police responded to at least four accidents on I-84 near Gowen Road. One of the worst accidents was on westbound I-84, east of Boise, blocking traffic through much of the morning rush hour. Sports fans can add one more gold medal to Team USA's collection of honors at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Skier Mikaela Shiffrin won the gold in today's giant slalom. She'll be back on the mountain Friday morning to defend her Olympic title in what many say is her strongest event, the slalom. Diet is a major factor for Olympians, so Food & Wine magazine visited some of the 24/7 food service operations at 13 different sites around the PyeongChang Olympics. Food & Wine says on any given day, 180 chefs are preparing and serving nearly 7,000 meals. An 18-page menu for Olympians to browse includes a variety of options: Western, Asian, Korean, religious (Kosher and Hala), vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan. The James Beard Foundation unveiled its short lists of restaurant and chef semifinalists for the 28th annual James Beard Foundation Awards today. Kris Komori, chef at State & Lemp in Boise, garnered his third nomination in three years in the category of Best Chef: Northwest, the region that includes Idaho, Alaska, Oregon, Montana, Washington and Wyoming. A total of 20 northwest chefs are in the running, but Komori is the only nominee from the Gem State. The foundation will cull the list of semifinalists to final nominees on Wednesday, March 15, and the ultimate winners will be honored at a gala in Chicago on Monday, May 7. The Berlin Film…

The Sound and the Fury: Inside the Mystery of the Havana Embassy

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:19:00 -0700

(image) A ProPublica investigation reveals the many layers to the mystery — and the political maneuvering that is reshaping U.S.-Cuba relations. It was a cool night for Havana, with the temperature falling into the mid-70s, and the diplomat and his family were feeling very good about their assignment to Cuba. They were still settling into their new home, a comfortable, Spanish-style house in the lush enclave that had been called “el Country Club” before wealthy families abandoned it in the early years of the revolution. “We were just thrilled to be there,” the diplomat recalled. “The music, the rum, the cigars, the people — and a very important moment for diplomacy.”Eight months earlier, in March 2016, President Barack Obama had swept into town to commemorate the two countries’ historic rapprochement, vowing to bury “the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas.” Now, weeks after the election of Donald Trump, that entente was suddenly doubtful. Fidel Castro had just died, opening a new chapter in the Cuban saga. The diplomat could hardly have imagined a more fascinating time to arrive.As the sun slid into the Florida Straits on that late-November evening, the diplomat folded back the living room doors that opened onto the family’s new tropical garden. The warm night air poured in, along with an almost overpowering din. “It was annoying to the point where you had to go in the house and close all the windows and doors and turn up the TV,” he recalled. “But I never particularly worried about it. I figured, ‘I’m in a strange country, and the insects here make loud noises.’”A few nights later, the diplomat and his wife invited over the family of another American embassy official who lived next door. Around dusk, as they chatted on the patio, the same deafening sound rose from their yard again.“I’m pretty sure those are cicadas,” the first diplomat said.“Those are not cicadas,” his neighbor insisted. “Cicadas don’t sound like that. It's too mechanical-sounding.”The colleague had been hearing the same noises at home, sometimes for an hour or more at a stretch. After he complained to the embassy housing office, a couple of Cuban maintenance workers were dispatched to look around. They checked for electrical problems and scanned the yard for strange insects, but they left without finding anything out of place. In February, the nightly racket finally began to fade. Then it went away altogether.It was not until a Friday in late March that the diplomat realized he might be facing something more dangerous…

Colson Whitehead at The Egyptian: Slavery, the Truth and "MacArthur Park"

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 13:11:00 -0700

(image) "When I was writing the book, I wouldn't stick to the facts—I'd stick to the truth." In a talk that had a packed house at the Egyptian Theatre in stitches Tuesday evening, the author of The Underground Railroad  Colson Whitehead explained how his love of genre fiction and "the jerk gene" contributed to his becoming a writer, expounded on working (briefly) at The Village Voice in New York and played a snippet of Donna Summer's cover of "MacArthur Park" that got everyone singing along. "This song poses an enigma," he said, earning laughter from those in attendance before drawing a parallel between his early manuscripts rejected by publishers and Summer's cake left out in the rain. Whitehead has a dry wit and an understated style of delivery, so it was jarring when he began to read from The Underground Railroad, his story of an escapee from slavery who rides a literal railroad across the antebellum south. The book is serious and critical: It won a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Moonlight Director Barry Jenkins has signed on to adapt it into an eight-part miniseries for Amazon. It was the reason for Whitehead's visit to Boise as part of The Cabin's Readings & Conversations series. Whitehead, however, is a jokester with a penchant for genre fiction and a wariness of being pegged as a beacon of social consciousness or activism. "You get cast as a spokesman for black America, and really you're just a spokesman for yourself," he said. His reading Tuesday evening—a selection of pages that described the protagonist's experiences in Georgia—stressed the true violence of American slavery. In it, several slaves are forced to dance and two are viciously beaten. In other chapters, however, Whitehead cleaves from the particulars of history: There were no steam engines on the Underground Railroad, and Great Society-esque education and economic programs for African-Americans didn't actually appear in the South prior to the Civil War. His aim, he said, was for fidelity in depicting white supremacy. "When I was writing the book, I wouldn't stick to the facts—I'd stick to the truth," Whitehead said. "I wanted to be realistic, and that means showing the depravity of slavery as it actually was." The Underground Railroad and Whitehead's comments drew numerous questions from the audience, and during the Q&A that concluded the evening, The Cabin Director Kurt Zwolfer summarized several of them when he asked whether the "scar of American slavery" would ever heal of be forgotten. Whitehead's response was brief: "Not in…

Visiting Linguistics Professor to Speak on Endangered Languages at Boise State

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 10:12:00 -0700

(image) "When you lose diversity, including diversity in how people think about the world and how they talk about the world, then more of the population is committed to a more homogeneous strategy of dealing with the things that we're all challenged by." Advocacy has become a popular pastime in the current political climate, but what Dr. David Harrison, a professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College, strives to protect isn't likely to be covered in national marches or protests. Harrison has dedicated his career to the preservation of endangered languages, and when he isn't lecturing, he travels the world to meet fellow linguists and indigenous speakers in places as far flung as Siberia, Mongolia, India, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia and Vanuatu. Now's he's returning to Boise, and will bring his experience to bear at Boise State with a public lecture on Friday, Feb. 16, slated for 3 p.m. in the Student Union Building Special Events Center. Harrison's visit is the result of a collaboration between two colleges and a host of staff and student groups, including the College of Western Idaho Anthropology Department, the Boise State Anthropology Club, the Boise State Archaeological Student Association, the Boise State Linguistics Club and the Boise State Anthropology and English Departments, with funding coming from the Associated Students of Boise State University. Professor John Ziker, the Boise State Department Chair of Anthropology, said that the idea was originally proposed by CWI, but his connection with Harrison, and the fact that Harrison had visited Boise State in the past, brought Boise State student groups on board. "I've known David for 20 years," Ziker said, "He worked in Siberia for his dissertation, and I also worked in Siberia for my dissertation...[CWI staff and I] talked to the students, and they said 'Yeah, we'd be interested in trying to support this.'" Before the lecture, Harrison will also join the Linguistics and Anthropology Club members for a smaller round-table discussion. In a joint email, Boise State Anthropology Club President Sue Roberts and Boise State Archaeological Student Association Officer Julie Julison said they have high hopes for both events. "The round-table discussions will give club members who are in the fields of anthropology and linguistics the opportunity to have direct interaction with Dr. Harrison," the duo wrote, adding that students will be able ask questions about how Harrison chooses which languages to investigate, and how they can get involved. Harrison is a heavy hitter in linguistics and anthropology circles, considering his past projects include co-directing the National Geographic Society Enduring Voices Project, and co-starring in the PBS documentary The Linguists, which followed Harrison and fellow linguist and Director of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered…

In Ketchum, Food Writer Ruth Reichl Says Gen Z Can Fix the American Food System

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 10:07:00 -0700

(image) "If you know anyone under the age of 25, you undoubtedly know that they are the first generation of truly ethical leaders our nation has ever raised ... And they are the ones who are creating the most hopeful innovations in food." When Ruth Reichl—famed food writer, author, former Gourmet editor in chief, New York Times and Los Angeles Times restaurant critic and holder of six James Beard Awards—stepped up to the podium at the Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum, darkness was just beginning to fall outside its peaked wall of windows. The pews of the church held a full house of foodies, mainly middle-aged and elderly women with the occasional husband or student thrown in, there to hear Reichl’s lecture, “Protect What We Eat.” Her talk was part of a series of events put on by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts focused on bees, the American food system and how both are being threatened, and many of her remarks centered on dysfunctional food production and consumption in the United States. Reichl finished with a spark of hope, however: the promising developments in food that are on the horizon thanks to a new generation of eaters. Reichl kicked off the lecture with a quick look back at her own life story, spinning anecdotes of the early interviews, chance encounters and life-changing reads that led to her rise as a prominent U.S. food critic. Then, she got down to the nitty gritty, reeling off a list of facts, figures and studies on obesity, foodborne illness, factory farming, fast food and more. “While we were reveling in all this deliciousness, horrific things were going on behind the scenes,” Reichl said. She detailed factory farming, which “treat[s] living creatures as if they’re widgets” by squeezing hundreds of cows, pigs and chickens into unsanitary warehouses, and produces lakes of manure that turn “once-lovely vistas into nightmare country.” On the obesity epidemic, she said, “while half the world goes hungry, the other half is killing itself with calories.” She reported that the average American tosses 1,250 calories into the trash per day, and that 48 million Americans, one-sixth of the population, contracted food poisoning last year. Just when the dire statistics seemed endless, Reichl changed her tone. “Okay, after all that bad news, it’s time for some good news,” she said, “The first is about our kids. If you know anyone under the age of 25, you undoubtedly know that they are the first generation of truly ethical leaders our nation has ever raised. They understand how much their food choices matter. They care about the fate of the earth, and they know…

Feb. 14, 2018: What to Know

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 08:35:00 -0700

(image) Trump's lawyer admits to paying hush money to a porn star, a Mountain View High School teacher is arrested, Shaun White faces controversy in the wake of his gold medal win and there's a new top dog at the Westminster Kennel Club. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer admits that he paid $130,000 of his own money to porn star Stormy Daniels, who says she had an affair with Trump. The payment was made prior to the 2016 election. The Washington Post reports that Michael Cohen, who has been Trump's attorney for years, had initially dismissed stories about the hush money. Cohen says neither Trump nor his campaign reimbursed Cohen for the payment. A Mountain View High School teacher is behind bars, accused of having sex with a student. KTVB reports Meridian Police said the arrest came after the West Ada School District received an anonymous email Tuesday about a possible relationship between the teacher and a 17-year-old student that reportedly began in August 2017. Rebecca Mason-Cales, 26, is behind bars at the Ada County Jail, charged with six felony counts of sexual battery of a minor child. She's scheduled for arraignment at the Ada County Courthouse later today. Shaun White is on top of the snowboard word again. White won his third gold medal early today at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, performing a "frontside double cork 1440 followed by a cab double cork 1440" that earned him some fabulous scores from the judges. This is White's third gold medal in four Olympics, but controversy is casting shade on his achievement. ABC News says White deflected questions about a sexual misconduct lawsuit which ended in an out-of-court settlement, calling the allegations "gossip." But in an appearance this morning on NBC's Today Show, White apologized for using the word "gossip," adding, "It was a poor choice of words to describe such a sensitive subject in the world today. And you know, I'm just truly sorry. And I was so overwhelmed with just wanting to talk about how amazing today was and share my experience." Flynn, a bichon frise, won the top prize Tuesday night at the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The Associated Press reports that Flynn won the Best in Show, beating out Ty the giant schnauzer, Lucy the borzoi, Biggie the pug, Bean the Sussex spaniel, Slick the border collie and Winston the Norfolk terrier for the title. By now, most Americans have heard of (and possibly seen) the Oscar Meyer weinermobile. But what about this 2,400-gallon cocktail shaker on wheels? Food & Wine magazine says the giant mixer is over 27 feet long, 13 feet tall, 8…

Meet The Idaho Climate Justice League: Battling for Revised Science Standards

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:02:00 -0700

(image) "There are students in other parts of the state where teachers are afraid to teach climate change because of political pushback." UPDATE: Feb. 14, 2018, 6 p.m. Once more, a steady stream of Idaho citizens stood before Idaho legislators, this time the members of the Senate Education Committee, to testify in support of revised science standards, including language referring to fossil fuels impact on the environment. Following the February 14 testimony, Committee Chairman Sen. Dean Mortimer (R-Idaho Falls) said he would delay the committee's vote on the proposed standards. If it chooses, the Senate Education Committee may approve the standards and override a previous vote from the House Education Committee which decided to approve the standards, but only after taking out a section referring to fossil fuels, intended to be part of the basic standards for 4th grade students. ORIGINAL STORY: Feb. 14, 2018, 6 a.m. The high school students admonished for using the words "climate change" during a House Education Committee hearing on science standards said they felt "disrespected." Don't think for a moment, however, that they're deterred. "It's not about us. We're fortunate to go to school in Boise. This is about students from across Idaho," said 17-year-old Emily Herr, a senior at Timberline High School. "There are students in other parts of the state where teachers are afraid to teach climate change because of political pushback in their community." Throughout the hearing on Feb. 2 and 3 at the Idaho Statehouse, committee Chairwoman Rep. Julie VanOrden (R-Pingree) chastised anyone who dared use the phrase "climate change." "When she cut me off, I was talking about how climate change and biodiversity had been included in the new standards. So, I was taken aback when I was interrupted," said 17-year-old Therese Etoka, who is from the Democratic Republic of Congo and is a senior at Boise High School. "But I had to keep pushing on something I'm about very passionate about: our education. When I returned to school, a lot of my fellow students asked, 'How did it go?' I told them what had happened, and I made a point of returning to the hearing the next day, just to show the committee I wasn't afraid. They were not going to take away something that I really care about." Herr said during her testimony, she was admonished for saying "climate change" but oddly enough, not for using a related term. "That was kind of weird," Herr said. "I was talking about how biodiversity and climate change were both referenced in…

Deeper and Truer

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:01:00 -0700

(image) Musician David Robert King brings it all home on Idaho David Robert King remembers the moment he knew he'd lost his passion for music. It was November 2010, and the Idaho-born songwriter's album Midnight in Gloryland (self-released, 2011) hadn't come out yet. "I was in San Francisco and playing a couple shows," King said. "Thanksgiving Day, I was like, 'I just want to go home.' I think ... I needed to rest, and I didn't know that's what my body was telling me. So I gave up instead. I just kind of threw in the towel." Following the release of Midnight in Gloryland, King wouldn't write or play music for almost four years. He moved to Boston with his wife Marita and enrolled in graduate school, but when they moved to Decatur, Georgia, so Marita could attend Emory University, King "got the itch a little bit again." Around that time, King met one of his musical idols: Nashville-based folk-country artist Mary Gauthier. His music impressed Gauthier so much, she asked him to be her lead guitarist. "I saw she was doing a songwriting workshop in Nashville, where she was," King remembered. "And I asked my wife, 'Hey, can I spend a little money and [go] on up there?' I went up there and connected with Mary and reached back to the muse and started writing seriously again—and I haven't stopped." Due out Friday, Feb. 16, King's new album Idaho (self-released, 2018) offers ample proof he has reconnected with his muse. The album features understated production by award-winning producer Darryl Neudorf and guest vocals from The Blind Boys of Alabama, and its spare melodies, intimate lyrics and other-worldly vocals make it King's most powerful work to date. Mary Gauthier called Idaho "a stunning soundscape of whispered confessions and poignant observations." On Jan. 22, Glide Magazine premiered the video for "Are You Thinking About Leaving?" from Idaho, praising King's "ability to conjure beautifully haunting Gothic folk tunes." King will bring Idaho to Idaho, with an album release show at the Sapphire Room on Saturday, Feb. 17. Earlier in the day, King will host a songwriting workshop at the Riverside Hotel. (Attendees get a ticket to the show that evening). Idaho might take some fans of Midnight in Gloryland and King's 2009 self-released EP Take Me Home by surprise. Throughout the new album, King's voice is so low and raspy, he almost sounds like a different person. "Over those seven years, my voice…

Local Barber Shop Offers Memberships for Unlimited Cuts, Caters to Veterans

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:01:00 -0700

(image) Craftsman offers monthly memberships for unlimited haircuts and beard trims. Plus, a range of membership tiers allow clients to cash in on head massages, steam towels and even free beer. Cory Albertson, 32, and Stephen Thomas, 27, embody what every parent hopes adolescent sibling rivalries blossom into. Not only are the brothers friends, after their military careers, they embarked on a business venture together. Craftsman Unlimited Haircuts (1308 S. Maple Grove Road) offers monthly memberships for unlimited haircuts and beard trims. Plus, a range of membership tiers allow clients to cash in on head massages, steam towels and even free beer. The number of haircuts the brothers received during their military careers gave them the idea to open a barbershop with a focus on affordability, convenience and quality—and the membership model is great for the client who gets a haircut every six weeks, as well as the one who wants a touch-up every day. "Once I lose the velvet feel, I don't like it," said Thomas. "Most guys generally keep it pretty short, and after a week or two it doesn't look 100 percent. In this day and age, why not look 100 percent?" Albertson, a former UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot, and Thomas, a former combat engineer, have cultivated a military tradition from the top down. In addition to Craftsman being veteran-owned, several veterans are employed as both barbers and stylists. Nearly everything in the shop has been installed or made by local veterans, from the lighting, shelving and ironwork to the employees' toolbox workstations. Craftsman also offers special membership perks to veterans and first responders, like half off beverages and apparel, and an invitation to tag the "Army wall." "Instead of putting a pin on a map of all the places you've been, it's all the units ... and all the deployment locations," said Thomas. Since Craftsman opened in August 2017, hundreds of veterans and first responders have left their mark with patches, deployment dates and personal tributes. And with more than 400 memberships in the books and new locations in Meridian, Eagle, Nampa and downtown Boise on the horizon, Albertson in confident in the success of Craftsman Unlimited. "It's not your normal shop," he said. "With the price per cut and the environment, there's nobody that can touch us on price ... I promise you that."…

Boise-based Dream Chocolate Makes Hair-strengthening Candy Bars, Vagina Pops and More

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:01:00 -0700

(image) Local artisan chocolate bar maker Dream Chocolate is home to more of the sweet stuff than any person could reasonably expect to see in one spot. In the one-room factory of Dream Chocolate Company (2127 Century Way), employees in hairnets and white aprons catch molten chocolate in molds or wrap bars in gold foil. Along one wall, a ton of German-chocolate bricks is stacked on a plastic-wrapped pallet, and rows of metal racks lined with trays of finished chocolates, from creamy white rectangles dotted with cocoa nibs to glossy dark squares stamped with flower designs, fill the rest of the space. The Boise-based artisan chocolate bar maker is home to more of the sweet stuff than any person could reasonably expect to see in one spot. Through the controlled chaos stride company founder Kay Johnson and Vice President Jason VanQuill. The two men are the brains behind the operation, which distributes its own products but also takes custom orders from high-profile clients nationwide. Johnson—a former broker for food giants like Hormel, Sara Lee, McCormick and General Mills—brings years of experience to the table, while VanQuill is the "flavor alchemist" who works one-on-one with clients to make their visions reality. "I'll work with them and either take their ideas and incorporate it into our process and different types of chocolate...[or] we'll bounce ideas off each other and come up with new flavors or ingredients for bars," VanQuill says. Also on the factory floor is a kind flavor lab: a desk surrounded by bottles and bags of ingredients. VanQuill takes items from the shelves one by one, explaining how he has used them to make a range of "healthy chocolates" that are all the rage with holistic-minded customers. "[One of our clients] was looking for Ayurvedic-type properties, with Chinese herbs and an alter native sweetener. So basically we developed a chocolate bar that was cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, sweetened with honey, and then it had cashews, cranberries, cardamom, cinnamon, maybe even nutmeg and some Ayurvedic herbs: shatavari and ashwagandha," VanQuill says. He picks up a bag of hydrolyzed collagen, adding, "This is sort of a trending, newer [ingredient], in the last year and a half or so. That's something that we're playing with right now; It's really good for your skin, it helps your cells hold in moisture ... strengthens hair, promotes nail growth, that kind of thing." Still, VanQuill says, the best-selling Dream Chocolate bar is more traditional. It's 70 percent dark chocolate with Bali sea salt and California almonds, ingredients hand-mixed into the bars…

Enter the 2018 Red Carpet Movie Awards

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:01:00 -0700

(image) Presented by The Flicks and The Sun Valley Film Festival. This year, The Sun Valley Film Festival and The Flicks are joining Boise Weekly in adding a bit of red carpet revelry to our 2018 Red Carpet Movie Awards. We've got some amazing prizes: a pair of all-access passes to the Sun Valley Film Festival, with priority admission to unlimited films and exclusive parties ($1,000 value); plus we'll give away an unlimited movie pass to the Flicks for a full year ($250 value). Entry couldn't be simpler. Register at You can also text "boiseweekly" to 77948 and have the ballot sent to your smartphone. Make your picks and share them with your friends. Voting is open until 5 p.m., Saturday, March 3. Winners will be chosen Monday, March 5. Here's the scoop. You don't have to be an expert to win. Yes, you'll need to pick your choices, but the prizes will be awarded via a random drawing from all entries. So have fun with this. I've made my own picks on the ballot on the right. I'm also hedging my bets: guessing who will win and also choosing who should win. Your guess is as good as mine. [pdf-1]…

Vanessa Isiguen and Chaz'men Williams-Ali

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:01:00 -0700

(image) "The original is the tragic beautiful story as told by the greatest opera composer of all time: Puccini." Vanessa Isiguen was a teenager when she first heard some of Madama Butterfly, the classic, early 20th-century opera penned by Giacomo Puccini. Isiguen's high school choir was performing a selection from the opera's famed humming chorus. "It was gorgeous," said Isiguen. "I ran home and asked my mother to play the full opera on our record player. I thought, 'Wow, this is incredible.'" Chaz'men Williams-Ali was even younger. "It was fourth grade for me. It was epic," he said. "Fast forward to when I was in college and I had a full appreciation of the opera. But it comes full circle back to the fourth grade for me." And now, both accomplished singers who have performed on some of opera's grandest stages, Isiguen and Williams-Ali will portray Madama Butterfly's star-crossed lovers in Opera Idaho's next production, slated for Friday, Feb. 16, and Sunday, Feb. 18, at The Morrison Center. Dozens of works in popular culture have borrowed from Madama Butterfly: the play M. Butterfly, the film Fatal Attraction... Williams-Ali: And of course, the Broadway musical Miss Saigon. But the original is the tragic beautiful story as told by the greatest opera composer of all time, Puccini. Madama Butterfly was first presented in the early 1900s and seen through a western lens. Talk to me about presenting this to first-time, 21st-century audiences. Isiguen: It definitely can be a challenge. But if you look at the underlying themes of love, sacrifice and betrayal, and the ultimate tragedy of Cio-Cio San's existence, it doesn't seem that far removed. She loves Pinkerton. She's even offered in marriage to other people when Pinkerton goes away, but she stays devoted to him, believing he'll come back to her. Williams-Ali: I think Pinkerton has had the biggest shift in how people view him. In the 20th century, it was the norm for American soldiers and sailors to marry women in regions where we fought wars. A character in Miss Saigon called it, "playing house." Pinkerton was doing what a lot of men were doing, but Puccini wanted us to see Cio-Cio San as a real person with real emotions. Most productions in the 20th century were criticized for being "whitewash productions," where primarily white performers played the lead roles in Madama Butterfly. But you're both people of color. Williams-Ali: Indeed. My grandmother was Irish, my dad was mixed race. But I'm most definitely an African-American male. Isiguen:…

Unforgettable Actress, Forgettable Film

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:01:00 -0700

(image) Annette Benning portrays faded femme fatale Gloria Grahame. Count me among those who will happily pay full admission for any film starring Annette Bening. From her best movies (20th Century Women) to the ones that were just OK (The Face of Love), Bening never disappoints. How it's possible she hasn't yet taken home a Best Actress Academy Award is beyond me. Her turns in American Beauty, Being Julia and The Kids Are Alright were all Oscar-worthy. Bening's latest is Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, and for dyed-in-the-wool fans, it's a must-see. For anyone else, I'm afraid to say, it's a push. The main problem here is Bening plays a rather unseemly character who is difficult to root for. Film Stars is based on a 1986 memoir about Gloria Grahame (Bening) penned by a lover nearly 30 years her junior. The story, set in the 1970s, explores the final days of the Oscar-winning but long-forgotten Grahame, known for playing the femme fatale in 40s and 50s films (It's a Wonderful Life, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Big Heat), but who can't adapt to an ever-changing world. For example, the aging actress can't understand why the Royal Shakespeare Company won't cast her as an ingenue in Romeo and Juliet. By the late '70s, Grahame had been married four times. One of her husbands, director Nicholas Ray, filed for divorce when he reportedly found her in bed with his 13-year-old son who, 10 years later, became Grahame's fourth husband. Then they were divorced, too. Film Stars concentrates on Grahame's final fling with a blue-collar British man, when she was 54 and he was 26. Grahame was riddled with cancer, but refused to acknowledge her diagnosis and continued to work in third-rate stage shows in the United Kingdom. Because "film stars don't die in Liverpool," her young lover, against her wishes, packs her up and sends her to New York City, where she died six days later. The supporting cast of Film Stars is lovely. The performances of Vanessa Redgrave, Jamie Bell (the all-grown-up boy from Billy Elliot) and the always-wonderful Julie Walters are swell. Unfortunately, the combination of a sloggy screenplay from Matt Greenhalgh (Nowhere Boy) and uninspired direction from Pat McGuigan (TV shows Scandal, Smash and Designated Survivor) make this movie instantly unmemorable. Sigh. But rumor has it Bening has three more film projects in the works: contemporary dramas Life Itself and Georgetown, and an adaptation of Chekov's…

'Abortion-Reversal' Bill Surfaces at Idaho Legislature

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:01:00 -0700

(image) Planned Parenthood said the measure is already opposed by the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The next abortion fight in Idaho is expected to hit the floor of the state senate in the coming days. The debate swirls around Senate Bill 1243, which would require health care providers to tell patients how they might access a so-called "abortion-reversing" medication—a procedure that some health care providers say has no basis in science. In addition, the bill would require the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to publish printed material regarding abortion-reversing medication. The bill co-sponsor, Sen. Lori DenHartog (R-Meridian) told the Senate State Affairs Committee, "Women deserve this access. They shouldn't be stopped from knowing their options should they change their mind." Planned Parenthood calls DenHartog's proposal "reckless," adding that that the bill was "a clear indication that legislators need to leave the practice of medicine to medical professionals." "Reversing a medication abortion is an unproven procedure," said Mistie Tolman, Idaho Public Affairs Manager at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii. "Everybody deserves accurate information and comprehensive medical care and this bill does the exact opposite." Planned Parenthood said the measure is already opposed by the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. But DenHartog said abortion pill reversal, which gives a woman extra doses of progesterone, can help keep an unborn baby alive even if the process of a chemical abortion has begun. The "reversal" doses of progesterone would be administered "halfway" through the full procedure of a two-step chemical abortion, according to its proponents. "[Planned Parenthood] has engaged in a years-long campaign to discredit this protocol," said DenHartog. "But it can't change reality. Using this protocol, many women who changed their minds, have carried their babies to term." The State Senate Affairs Committee voted along party lines to advance the bill—all Republican members were in favor of the "abortion reversal" bill while the panel's two Democrats opposed the measure. SB 1243 is expected to be considered by the full Senate by month's end.…

Mostly Muff

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:00:00 -0700

(image) Feb. 17, VAC Though local supergroup Mostly Muff spawned as a hair-metal cover band many years ago, social awareness has always been as much a part of the MM philosophy as its commitment to the era that gave us neon-colored Spandex and acid-washed denim. Whether because band members are busy (they are), or it's to maintain the Muff mystique (it does), MM doesn't play live often. When it performs, however, it's like the snake-on-a-spring in a joke can of nuts: surprising, fun and bursting with energy. It's also an opportunity for MM to support an important cause, and the Saturday, Feb. 17, MM show at Visual Arts Collective is no exception. Proceeds benefit the International Rescue Committee, which "provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture and immigrants seeking citizenship to thrive in America." In an email, MM member Gia Trotter wrote, "With the state of our nation we really feel it necessary to [help] IRC ... and our local refugee families." Plus, MM is covering just one classic band, hinted at in the new MM T-shirt design, so this promises to be a Mostly Magnanimous Mysterious Muff show you don't want to miss.

Killswitch Engage/Anthrax

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:00:00 -0700

(image) Revolution Concert House, Feb. 16 Massachusetts-based five-man band Killswitch Engage rode the "new wave" of American metal to its crest in the early 2000s, pumping out a series of successful albums, including seminal releases Alive or Just Breathing (Roadrunner Records, 2002) and The End of Heartache (Roadrunner Records, 2004). KSE also carved itself a niche at metal music festivals nationwide, and racked up a host of accolades including Grammy and Loudwire Music Awards nominations, and Boston Music and Metal Hammer Golden Gods Award wins. KSE is coming to town behind its latest album, Incarnate (Roadrunner Records, 2016), sharing the stage with veteran metal monolith Anthrax, a "fire-breathing, thrash-spitting, multi-headed beast," that released For All Kings (Megaforce) in 2016—more than three decades after its 1984 debut, Fist Full of Metal (Megaforce).

Boise Public Library Half-Gig Sessions

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:00:00 -0700

(image) New concert series brings a little NPR flavor to BPL. If you listen to NPR or browse its podcasts, there's a good chance you've come across at least one of its Tiny Desk Concerts, a series of interviews/jam sessions with musicians from around the world. Legend has it the concerts began in 2008 when NPR host Bob Boilen and music editor Stephen Thompson got fed up with having to parse through the deafening noise of the club scene to hear good music; As a compromise, Boilen invited the act of the night, singer-songwriter Laura Gibson, to play live at his office desk for listeners—and she did. Out of that moment of spontaneity came a popular program and podcast that has aired over 500 concerts to date. Now, the Boise Public Library is jumping on the music-loving bandwagon with its own concert series, Half-Gig Sessions. So far, the series comprises performances by seven local bands and musicians across a range of genres, including Dan Costello, Laura Geier and Igor Iachimciuc, Cindi and Lee Walton, Cardamom Hill, Red Light Challenge, Ana Lete, and Bards of the Morning Star. The short sessions, recorded in the fourth-floor studio of the Boise Public Library and uploaded to its YouTube channel, are perfect for when you feel like watching a tiny concert at your desk.…

Rediscovering Merlot

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:00:00 -0700

(image) The much-maligned merlot has made a comeback. The much-maligned merlot has made a comeback. In my opinion, it makes for the best red wines from Washington (with the exception of a few syrahs). Merlot has always been a lead grape for right-bank Bordeauxs like Saint-Emilion, and that includes cheval blanc, the ironic favorite of merlot detractor Miles Raymond (Sideways). The panel's top merlot picks bore out the quality of both regions, with two from Washington and one from France topping the list. 2015 Chateau des Landes Lussac-Saint-Emilion Cuvee Prestige, $39.00 This is a wine that starts out really good and just gets better and better. The floral aromas are highlighted by dark cherry fruit backed by anise, chocolate, vanilla, spice and just a kiss of oak. This is a well-structured wine with a silky core of raspberry, currant and cassis lingering nicely on the long, velvety finish. It's pricey but definitely worth it. 2015 Crossfork Creek Merlot, $18.99 In this second label for renowned Sheridan Vineyard in the Yakima Valley, the pedigree shows. Blackberry liqueur aromas lead off, followed by touches of coconut and chocolate. There's a nice hit of oaky vanilla on the palate, but it's well integrated, blending with the creamy fruit flavors. Just a hint of dill comes through on the finish. 2015 Seven Hills Merlot, $25 This is a rich but well-balanced fruit bomb of a red—a quintessential Columbia Valley merlot. There's a light minerality to the spicy, ripe cherry and berry aromas. It's definitely fruit-forward, with bright blueberry and dark stone fruit flavors, balanced by racy acidity. Seven Hills has vineyards dating back to 1980, making it something of a pioneer in Eastern Washington.…