Friday, April 29, 2005

Today's Letters to the Editters

Start your day off right by letting me read the letters for you. Salt Lake Tribune: We use federal law to settle important and divisive matters. I changed my kid's diapers, I should be allowed in the temple for their wedding. Socialism, communism, corporate feudalism, and religious fanaticism are better labels than liberal and conservative. Las Vegas is trying to steal our water. BLM should ban ORV's or maybe just restrict them. Pat Bagley isn't co- opting Christ, the Republicans are co- opting Christ. The Tribune is on the right side of the environmental fight. Nuclear weapons are bad. Deseret Morning News: Good job Senator Bennett for helping tsunami victims. Don't send the immigrants to Canada, we need them here. Gas prices are up because Bush is destroying the dollar (this letter ran in the Tribune last Thursday). I get a weird feeling when I drive through Utah County. Immigrants from the south won't give up their language and customs like the ones from Europe did. For Democratic Senators, conservative blacks are right race, wrong party. Salt Lake is the 12th most depressed city because of Mayor Anderson. Education in Utah is bad because of right wing religious Neanderthals. Evangelical conservatives are not the friends of Mormons. If you were illegal in Mexico, you would be deported to the U.S.. Parents should pay larger share of education costs. Erica Hansen is funny. "To cuss and discuss it [IRS] is to shoot ourselves in the foot." Toilet paper is worth more than used textbooks. Republicans are cowards and Democrats are obstructionists.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Today's Letters Were Not For Kids

I have more to say about today's letters. First, every letter published about the South Jordan tree destruction used the word bulldoze. Hey, it's a pretty good word. Second, the sexual content of today's letters caught me completely by surprise. Kate Winslet, Ann Coulter, and Britney Spears were all lusted after. The most amazing letter was from Julie Warburton in Taylorsville. Her letter condemning Bikini Cuts drifted immediately into this weird romance fantasy novel place. She said, "It is bare flesh rubbing against the back of your head. It is watching for a turn or twist to expose more flesh. Plain and simple, it is erotica." Geez, talk about desperate housewives.

Letters to the Editters

As part of my court mandated community service, I read them so you don't have to. The Salt Lake Tribune: I am sad and angry South Jordan bulldozed the habitat restoration. I was heartbroken South Jordan bulldozed the Tree Utah planting site. I am disappointed South Jordan bulldozed the Tree Utah site. Betting against an afterlife requires really good luck. The job of cartoonists like Bagley is to kill sacred cows. It is silly to say "if you have not seen Kate Winslet's breasts, then you have not seen 'Titanic'". I am appalled South Jordan bulldozed the trees. People can't admit their Christian leaders are manipulating them. The Deseret Morning News: Shame on South Jordan for bulldozing the trees. Illegal immigrants should keep moving north to Canada where there is lots of room and free government things. The newspapers didn't do a good job of covering the marathon. Illegals drive down construction wages. I took the advice of my LDS leaders and am supporting Jan Lovett at the Democratic State Convention. I want to know how much crime is committed by illegal aliens. I'm glad Utah spends less than everyone else for education. Bikini Cuts is nothing but bare flesh rubbing against the back of your neck. Don't take potshots at the Chinese. I went to high school with Frank Pignanelli. To save their roads, Kane County should behave like environmentalists. Governor can't get better work from his staff by paying them more. I don't like KALL anymore, I'm switching to NPR. Salt Lake City Weekly: We increased ticket sales at the Utah Opera through guerilla marketing. Eric Snider wrote an idiotic diatribe. I want to see Ann Coulter naked, also Britney Spears. Ben Fulton was wrong about the good news coming from Iraq. I though Ben Fulton was enlightened until he talked about Iraq's silver lining. "For Wont of a Font" by D.P. Sorensen was stupid and tasteless.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Politics and Sex Discrimination

Beverly White appeared in City Weekly's addition to the Roger Ball debate. She served in the Utah State Legislature as a Democrat from 1972 to 1990. Speaking about White, Katharine Biele described this scene. "She never did like it when some senator from Provo would cut women off in mid-sentence, dinging some bell, looking at his stopwatch, and then would take the rest of the time to make his own case. Twenty years of that kind of treatment in the Legislature taught her to take the floor." So, basically, Ms. White (or Biele, depending on how accurate this account is) has implicated the following people in a sexual discrimination accusation: All male senators from Provo who led some sort of timed debate at the legislature between 1972 and 1990. That's a lot of people. And, it was apparently a chronic problem. That's quite an accusation, and not totally unbelievable. Ms. White, tell us who it is, and we'll run them out of town on rails. I'll do it on this site. But that accusation was not made to highlight sexual discrimination in politics, was it? It was meant to show how your political opponents are bad people. And that's pretty lame. I know that's how the game is played, but still, lame.

Today's Letters to the Editters.

I read them so you don't have to. Trust me, I'm doing you a favor. Deseret News: Everyone benefits from public education, so everyone should pay for it. Frank Pignanelli almost convinced me to be a Democrat. Euthanize wild horse population to reduce deficit. Neither FDR, Jefferson, nor Jackson supported an independent judiciary, so back off DeLay. Elizabeth Smart is my hero. Salt Lake Tribune: Big Bang is a scientific fact. Mormon vicarious baptisms are a metaphor for ethnic cleansing. Don't close East Carbon Hight School. Public schools need more money. U.S. House should support alternative fuel vehicles. Big trucks are for inadequate men. Save our soldiers: walk, bike, carpool, take the bus/train. Mormons don't force their beliefs on anyone.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Frank Pignanelli Says What Others are Afraid to Say

In today's edition of his weekly column Frank Pignanelli takes off his gloves and delivers some tough love to the state's Democrats. His second point was particularly juicy: "Eliminate the anti-Mormon stigma. Bigoted conduct against LDS Church members is a cancer that has crippled my party (and infected too many Salt Lake City residents). Not only is this politically stupid but is contrary to core party principles of human rights. For the last 10 years, a coalition of LDS Democrats and nonmembers has attempted to reverse this trend, only to be rebuffed by party bigwigs and financial contributors with an agenda. The minority party has become a refuge for non-Mormons and former Mormons whose politics are focused on poking at the dominant religion. The purpose of the Democratic Party is to promote important ideas and elect Democrats, not to serve as therapy for Utahns who have issues with the LDS Church and its members. Party officials can root out this insidious disease by consistently exercising a "zero tolerance" policy against any bias based on creed." And so the debate continues. Will the Utah Democratic Party be a Mayor Anderson party, or will it be a Congressman Matheson party? Or can it comfortably be both? Or, as some would say, is there nothing wrong with the party, only with the population of Utah?

Friday, April 22, 2005

Paul Rolly Quoted Someone Who Quoted the Governor

Paul Rolly took a cue today from Brian Watkins' blog. Brian deserves credit for being quick with the pen and jotting down the essence of Huntsman's recent interview. But I'd think an actual journalist like Rolly would want to take five minutes and track down the actual conversation before he put the Governor in quotes. After all, if I could do it, couldn't a professional journalist? Here it is. Schott: "Your statement that you believe in a living wage, isn't that kind of in opposition with the fact that you signed Howard Stephenson's bill that prohibited cities from requiring a living wage?" Huntsman: "I'm not familiar with Howard Stephenson's bill, all I will tell you, there was probably more to that bill if we did sign it that went beyond the minimum wage. I would be willing to engage in a discussion about the minimum wage going beyond $5.15, and I think it's a very fair issue to be discussing. In an era of escalating costs, particularly on the health care side, if we can do something on health care, if we can do something on insurance, I think that goes almost as far in one's budget making regardless of where you happen to find yourself as a family as any other single issue does." Schott: "I'm a little bit at a loss because it was a bill that Howard Stephenson did get passed by both houses, it was a bill that was directly targeted at Rocky Anderson, what he did by passing an executive order just before this last legislative session that gave preference in contracts to providers of services to cities that had a living wage. It was a bill that passed both houses, I don't have the number in front of me right now and you did sign that bill and that was the main purpose of it." Huntsman: "Well, I don't have that bill in front of me either, I don't know the number. All I will tell you is that I would be willing to engage in a discussion on minimum wage."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

City Weekly Letters to the Editters

Since I'm on a roll with this, here's a wrap up of the City Weekly letters. SLC Pepper mural: worst public art project ever. Keep up the good work City Weekly. Bring our troops home. I left Utah because of the Republicans. Democratic party needs a makeover, Republicans don't because they have Karl Rove. City Weekly uses poor grammar. Rebecca Vernon is a good music critic. Tom Tomorrow's cartoon is uninformed stereotype of Florida. Joining the military could result in being killed. Would Jesus build a shopping mall? Jeb Bush sent agents to sieze Terry Schiavo but local police threatened a shootout so Jeb backed down- it was all congress' fault. Consumption tax is answer to tax politics and unfairness.

Deseret News Letters to the Editters

Here is a round- up of today's Deseret News Reader's Forum. The comments in parentheses are my own. Huntsman Sr. buys influence from crooked congressmen. Tom Smart and Lee Benson book is a scheme to make money(no doubt by selfishly setting a price for the book) and is 'hogwash'. Treat gay people like everyone else including being nosy about their future. Smarts should educate others in preventing religious crazies from sneaking into their houses and stealing their 14 year old girls for harem purposes. 'This community'(undefined) is now holding the government responsible and shouting down 'Limbaughites'. NCLB has nothing to do with a childs life success.

Tribune Letters to the Editters

Because I know you're busy, I've summarized today's Tribune Public Forum. Pat Bagley has poor taste. Humans are not the only creatures on the planet. Celebrate Earth Day with a vegetable(food not person). Creation and evolution happened so long ago no one was around to see it, so neither are factual sciences. The LDS Church is nothing but a business venture anyway, so who cares who they baptize. The real reason gas prices are high is the Bush administration is destroying the U.S. Dollar. The closure of Factory Butte is just radical environmentalists trying to close land to ORV's. Cooke Monster eating fewer cookies won't prevent fat kids.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Governor Huntsman's Interview Problem

Thanks to Brian Watkins for breaking this. I have heard the interview myself, and Brian's account is basically accurate. So, what does this tell us? It may say Huntsman is willing to consider livable wage initiatives, but they took a back seat to his much touted positive relationship with the legislature. It may also mean Huntsman wanted to take his own whack at the Mayor Anderson pinata. Probably it means Huntsman has no real plans for livable wages, but like a good politician, is willing to have a discussion on pretty much whatever topic. Unfortunately, he didn't connect the dots between the wage bill he signed, the resolution the Democrats passed, and the question asked him, and he tripped and fell. I know the Governor's an experienced guy, but there's so much information swirling around him, someone needs to filter it and prep him. Because he tanked that question. And it wasn't even a hard one.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

NCLB, Rod Decker, Teaching Minority Kids in Utah

This afternoon, Rod Decker did a story on the Legislature's opposition to NCLB. He had one quote by Rep. Greg Curtis about state's rights, but Decker talked mostly about the thirty point gap between white kids who pass english and math tests and minority kids who pass. Many are worried that Utah will reject NCLB under the guise of state's rights, but then make no real attempt to close the learning gap. Utah will have only dodged responsibility for not teaching minority kids. There's been some high talk about individual progress instead of group progress, but it's temporary. We don't really talk about public education like that.

West High Panthers

As was pointed out by a commenter yesterday, outgoing State Democratic Chairperson Donal Dunn was a West High Student. He was actually Student Body President. I don't know how many other West High Panthers are active in local politics. Probably many, but the only other I can mention off the top of my head is Chris Bleak, the competent and beleaguered former 2004 campaign manager for Nancy Workman. Talk about being at the right place at the wrong time.

Annuntio Vobis Gaudium Magnum. Habemus Papam.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Legislative Pensions

Bob Bernick Jr. wrote an article in the Deseret News today that got me thinking. According to his story, Utah legislators receive $10.00/month as pension for every year they serve. So, if they were to retire this year, who of our current legislators would get the biggest pension according to Bob Bernick? Senate President John Valentine has been in the legislature since 1988 and so would recieve $160.00/month. House Speaker Greg Curtis has been in the legislature since 1994 and has earned $110/month. The big winner is Senator Lyle Hillyard, first elected in 1980. $250.00/month. UPDATE: As Brian pointed out, Democratic Senator Mike Dmitrich was first elected to the legislature in 1968. If he's been in the legislature every year since then, his pension would be $370.00/month. I got the election dates of the legislators from the Legislative Guide published by The Exoro Group.

Susie McHugh

Is Susie McHugh the new Salt Lake County Democratic Party Treasurer the same Susie McHugh that I had for Social Studies at West High School? Also, Go Panthers.

New West, John Yewell, and Reporting Politics

I said the best coverage of the convention was in the blogosphere. But don't go to New West. They didn't even mention it. They did, however, make sure to cover Mark Hacking. Ra ra ra for them. Perhaps during the convention, John Yewell was too busy "sitting in a local cafe near [his] Avenues neighborhood home", talking to the "barrista".

For Salt Lake Political Junkies

If you're a political junkie, you may have been disappointed by the Sunday newspapers' coverage of the Salt Lake County Democratic Convention. They barely mentioned the actual convention. Here are the headlines. Deseret News: Demos Approve Wage Initiative- This story spent its time talking about the wage initiative and was sure to mention that someone named Kent Anderson thinks the LDS Church should back it. In the final paragraph, a token mention was made of one of the new party officers. Salt Lake Tribune: Yocom is Almost Ready to Rest- Obviously, this story obsessed over Yocom, but completely ignored the Deseret News' angle of the wage initiative. Perhaps we were supposed to read both papers, because the Deseret News completely ignored Yocom's retirement announcement. The Tribune did give a more comprehensive look at the new party leadership. The best coverage I've seen for the convention is in the blogosphere. Go to Brian's wrap- up of the day.

Utah's Progressive Democrats

Utah's progressive Democrats are working hard to organize. But Charles Kimball, endorsed by the progressive Democracy for Utah, lost on the first ballot to newcomer Megan Risbon. And active Democracy for Utah member Bob Aagard lost his bid for Party Secretary. So what does that say about the upcoming state competitions? Craig Axford, candidate for State Pary Chair and current chairman of the Utah Democratic Progressive Caucus, is running an intense and organized campaign. But he has also been called the Mayor Anderson candidate, a characterization that would make any candidate nervous. The other major candidate, Wayne Holland, Jr. has been endorsed by Congressman Jim Matheson.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

KSL Sportsbeat

To be fair to the sports savants at KSLTV, their site was updated today. That still begs the question, what happened in sports between the 10th and today? Don't go to KSL Sportsbeat.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

KSLTV Sportsbeat

KSLTV Sports hasn't updated their webpage since the 10th when Tiger Woods won the masters. In the meantime, Real Salt Lake brought in over 25,000 in their first home win and apparently the sportscasters were asleep in their Rice- Eccles suite. Losers. They didn't even link to the KSL News page, where there is a story available.

Friday, April 15, 2005

NCLB, Utah, and Racism

Ted McDonough at City Weekly served up an analysis of why Utah is objecting to NCLB. His primary source, Michael Clara, spins an interesting theory of racism. McDonough quoted Clara who quoted an unnamed school principal as saying, "They are illegals. We shouldn’t be required to educate them". Juicy quote, and believable. But third hand anonymous quotes don't bring a lot of integrity into your story. McDonough's other two sources are better. State Representative Duane Bourdeaux said “There is a perception out there, talking to different people, that these [minority] kids are not capable”. Gonzalo Palza, member of Governor Huntsman's Hispanic Advisory Committee, said “It’s creating a generation of functionally illiterate for the future. That has to have an economic impact on the state. Sooner or later, it affects everybody”. For another (credible and worthwhile) point of view on this issue, State Rep. Steve Urquhart has an interesting discussion going.

Brian's Utah Weblog

This site was inactive for a while but is now back up and running. In the current post, Brian talks about a meeting he had with Craig Axford, progressive candidate for Democratic Party State Chair.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Voting Machine Fun

Democracy for Utah has passed along a press release from Utah:Count Votes. It says among other things: "This is it — our final chance to preserve Democracy in Utah in the next 9 days!" "We all need to take time off work on April 20th and attend the Hearing on Utah's Voting Equipment." and "If any of you attended the Mock Election and were not asked to fill out a survey, weren't told that there were surveys to fill out, or you had asked to fill out a survey and were told that there were not any surveys left because they already had filled out the "required" amount of surveys, please email or call Joycelynn Straight at or 801-485-4457 because we will sign a joint letter testifying to that fact." Sounds like we'll get some good conspiracy theories out of this voting machine thing.

Steve Harmsen Moved Aside

According to the Tribune, former Salt Lake County Council member Steve Harmsen has stepped out of the race for County Republican Chair in favor of former State Senator James Evans. James Evans was clearly the frontrunner even before Harmsen backed out. Expect him to easily handle Pat Reagan and possible former snow tubing victim ???? Mike Ridgeway.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Democracy for Utah Endorsed Charles Kimball

D4U has endorsed Charles Kimball, candidate for Salt Lake County Democratic Chair. It remains to be seen whether D4U will endorse fellow progressive Craig Axford for State Party Chair.

John Yewell and the Mormon/Jewish/Baptism Conspiracy

John Yewell is turning the posthumous baptism of Jews into a conspiracy theory. He says the LDS church "notably stopped short of announcing an end to the practice". He also says: "in a religion noted for strict hierarchy and a top-down, patriarchal management structure, it stretches credulity that lower level bishops and other members are not heading [heeding] the directive of church President Gordon B. Hinckley". What Yewell doesn't say is that the church already announced an end to the practice several years ago. Also, while it's true the church is a centralized body, the membership regularly ignores "directives" of the church President, and there is no mechanism for the church to peer over members' shoulders while they fill in geneological forms. The church has always trusted its members to do the right thing and trusted they'll tell the truth about it. Yewell offers no actual evidence (even meaningful circumstantial evidence) to support a conspiracy to baptize Jews. I think this is a situation in which the LDS leadership has been put in an embarrassing position by the actions of some of its more inconsiderate members.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Utah, Gambling, Pornography, Blogging

Over the weekend, Charley Foster flexed his muscles and showed why everyone reads The State of the Beehive. Read his quality commentary of Utah's new internet porn law And his summary of gambling in Utah

Mormons and the Federal Government

A Tribune article over the weekend on Mormons in D.C. reminded me of something I heard. I have a mentor in D.C. who is wrapping up a career as an FSO. He has commented many times on the number of Mormons who work for the federal government. For example, he (and he insists others do as well) occasionally refers to the FBI as the "Mormon Police Force". I have no numbers to back up any of this, it's only what I've heard.

SLC Smoking Ban

A proposed smoking ban was in the news over the weekend. For interesting points on this topic, Check out Steve Urquhart's comments (anti- ban) and The Third Avenue (pro- ban) point of view.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Paul Van Dam and Bob Bernick

Former U.S. Senate candidate Paul Van Dam has withdrawn from the running for state Democratic Party Chairperson. Van Dam told the Deseret News he committed to perform in a benefit concert in Guyana. One week later, Bob Bernick, political editor of the same paper, said "Van Dam dropped out of the Demo chairman race last week after it was clear [candidate Wayne] Holland had wrapped up key support". So, which is it? Perhaps it's both. Or perhaps Bernick is seeing connections that don't actually exist. After all, Bennet's dead lock on his Senate seat didn't push Van Dam to claim exotic foreign commitments and bow out.


Not the longest word.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

This Just In: Rocky Anderson Is All Things To All People

The Best Of's are out. Mayor Anderson got huge press and mixed reviews at City Weekly. He gets dumped on in this editorial, Ben Fulton gives a half- hearted defense of the Mayor here, he is implicated in a story about potential state democratic leadership, recieves the Best Breakup award for his falling out with City Weekly editor John Saltas, came in 3rd for Best Utahn, 2nd for Best Insane Politician, he won Best Sane Politician, 2nd for Best Local Activist, another 2nd in Best Politician to Bury in a Time Capsule, 2nd for Best Republicrat, and he won Best Democrat. I went out seeking clarity. I quit.

Interesting Angle On FLDS, Warren Jeffs

This editorial in the Daily Utah Chronicle (University of Utah) hits the FLDS issue at an angle I haven't seen yet. It's definitely thought provoking. My linking to this editorial brings up another topic. The Chronicle is passed out free daily at the U and other points around SLC. But if you want to see it online, you have to register. In the meantime, if you don't want to register, just go up to the U and pick up one of the hundreds dropped on the ground each day. It makes no sense.

Monday, April 04, 2005

It's The End of The ... And Warren Jeffs Feels Fine.

Ben Winslow is breaking a huge polygamy story tommorrow. It sounds tasty. I heard over the weekend that according to FLDS clairvoyant Warren Jeffs, the world will end April 6. Why would anyone ever make that claim? If you're right, you can't gloat because the world has ended and no one is around to listen to you brag. If you're wrong, you just look like a fool. As far as predictions go, knowing the end of the world just seems really unsatisfying. I think there are cooler predictions you can make.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Let It Go

Please, please, please let this be the last we hear of how Roger Ball, blah blah blah, only thirty minutes, blah blah blah, so unfair, blah blah blah. Now we have former state representative Beverly White showing up in both papers today to make the same points we've all memorized now, and let everyone know that as a former member of the blah blah blah (snore) committee, she personally demands an explanation. Good for her. For everyone's benefit and Ms. White , I'll provide the explanation. Roger Ball was fired because the Governor wanted someone else to do his job. Now, move on PLEASE!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Enigmas never rest, and neither does Jesu

Do you like music? Listen. C'mon, everybody's doing it.

Friday, April 01, 2005

If It Were A Joke, It'd Be Hilarious

If someone's looking for a funny April fool's read, check out the new post at the KSL blog. The post itself is interesting and fine, but when I hit the comments, I about fell off my chair.

Oldenburg Comes Out Swinging

The Third Avenue has a message for Senator Ed Mayne and Deseret News Politican Editor Bob Bernick. It's worth reading. Bob Bernick has also appeared on slcspin here.

Paul Van Dam Withdrew

According to the Utah Democratic Party Press Release, Paul Van Dam has been withdrawn from the race for party chair. I'm sure this must have happened today, because the Tribune and the Park Record, and the Deseret News all reported him as a candidate this morning. His withdrawal is not a shocker, On Sunday, Frank Pignanelli reported that Van Dam was on an "extended sailing trip" and was expected to miss many campaign opportunities. Perhaps he chose his retirement over politics. If it meant great sailing trips, I'd do the same.