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CONFERENCE EXPLORES SEXUALITY IN A DIVERSE SOCIETY

Gays in sports, hermaphrodites, the neosexual revolution and cross-dressing heroes in myth and art are just a few of the subjects slated for discussion at "Point of View 2004: Sexuality in a Diverse Society."

The academic conference, presented by Boise State University Student Activities, takes place Nov. 16 and 17 in the Special Events Center.

The conference kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16 with a juried art exhibit reception and awards, followed at 7 p.m. by "The Performance of Pink" by Joanna Frueh, a professor of art history at the University of Nevada, Reno. This theatrical production examines the role of the color pink in erotic play.

The academic portion of the conference on Wednesday, Nov. 17, consists of a number of presentations from professors and students from across academic disciplines. A full schedule of events will be available at sub.boisestate.edu. Admission is free and free parking is available in the Student Union Visitors Lot. Many of the events may not be suitable for young audiences.

JUDGE DISMISSES IDAHO PRESS CLUB LAWSUIT AGAINST STATE LEGISLATURE

A 4th District judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Idaho Press Club against the Idaho Legislature for holding closed committee meetings.

Judge Kathryn Sticklen ruled that since only the full House and Senate do official business, legislative committees, such as the House and Senate resources, tax, local government and judiciary committees, don't do the business of the Legislature, and therefore aren't constitutionally required to keep their official meetings open to the public.

"If you look at how the business of the Legislature gets done, it gets done in committee," said attorney Debora Kristensen of Givens-Pursley LLP in an Idaho Press Club press release. "That is the only place the public has an opportunity to have input." Kristensen and attorney Allen Derr are representing the Press Club in the case.

Legislative committees take public testimony, while debates in the House and Senate chambers are strictly between legislators. Bills are introduced by legislative committees in both houses, hearings are held there, and they are voted up or down. With very rare exceptions, only legislation approved by official committees passes on to be considered by the full House or Senate.

Derr noted that legislators themselves recognized the fundamental role of their committees when they enacted the Idaho Open Meeting Law, which states in part, "Open legislative meetings required. All meetings of any standing, special or select committee of either house of the legislature of the state of Idaho shall be open to the public at all times."

Though sponsors of the Idaho Open Meeting Law said they intended it to implement the state Constitution's requirement that the Legislature conduct all its business in public and not in secret session, legislators in the past two years have said they're not bound by the law, and have held seven closed-door meetings of official legislative committees.

The Idaho Press Club will appeal the ruling.

Both sides have predicted from the start that the issue ultimately will be settled by the Idaho Supreme Court.

THIS WEEK ON THE PROGRESSIVE VOICE

Downwinders' ills are the topic of this week's "The Progressive Voice" radio show.

Jeremy Maxand of the Snake River Alliance will be the guest on show, which airs from 8 to 9 p.m. Thursday, November 11, on KGEM 1140 AM.

Maxand joins co-hosts Chris Struble and Gary Allen for a discussion of the downwinder issue and how Idaho's top elected officials failed to take timely action to protect Idahoans suffering ill effects from above-ground nuclear tests. The show can also be heard online at www.qualitysourcenetwork.com.

IDAHO

GEM STATE DEM TRENDS

Depressed about the election? Take heart. While Idaho, one of the nation's most conservative states had one of the largest margins for the presidential election this year--Bush received 68 percent of the votes--we may be seeing a shift in the Gem State's voting trends. There were 42,986 more votes cast for the Democratic presidential candidate this year than in 2000. However, conservative voters crawled out of every nook and cranny across the state to also vote in record numbers for the Republican presidential candidate--72,872 more votes were cast for Bush this year than in 2000. Another Idaho trend: support for third parties practically evaporated.

Overall, there was an increase of almost 104,435 voters in Idaho from the 2000 election--a 21 percent increase. A county-by-county analysis, however, shows a significant left-leaning shift (greater than 3 percent change and in some case a double-digit percentage change) in 16 of Idaho's 44 counties. The Republicans showed a positive shift in only nine counties. Unfortunately, the percentage vs. population voter turnout of residents increased only slightly this year totaling 43.6 percent of the state's population. Hey, it's better than 2000 when only 38 percent turned out to vote. Nationwide, the voter turnout average was 52.3 percent.

WAR IN IRAQ

U.S. CASUALTIES: As of Tuesday, Nov. 9, 1,139 U.S. service members (including nine Idahoans) have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 877 in combat and 262 from noncombat-related incidents and accidents. Injured service members total 8,458.

Last week 20 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq.

Since President George W. Bush declared "mission accomplished" aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, 1,001 soldiers have died and 7,916 have been injured.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS: Estimated between 14,284 and 16,419.

Source: www.iraqbodycount.org

COST OF IRAQ WAR: $144,314,000,000.

Source: costofwar.com :

--Compiled by Cynthia Sewell and Bingo Barnes