Friday, October 01, 2004

Everybody's Workman for the Weekend, continued

Another Friday, another bad poll for SL County Mayor Nancy Workman.

As the Salt Lake Tribune writer Thomas Burr points out, "Corroon, Cook and 'Undecided' all have substantial leads over the embattled county mayor."

Here's a poll trendline via the Tribune to help you get an idea of the race:

Despite spending $125,000 into new campaign commercials, attacking SL County District Attorney Dave Yocum, blanketing the airwaves with ads and interviews, she still finds herself in a big, big hole.

The Tribune's poll reports that "Republicans are splitting their votes among the three candidates, with Cook garnering slightly more than his opponents. Corroon has 70 percent of the Democrats' backing and nearly half the independent voters. LDS voters back each candidate about the same."

"I don't think there is much chance for her to get her numbers up and even come close to a win," Bart Barker, a former GOP Salt Lake County commissioner, said. "Regardless of what happens in the courts, the damage has been done and is permanent."

Cook's take? "Right now, there's still a lot of question of what could happen to Mayor Workman. Our momentum will really begin when people understand this race is between myself and Peter Corroon." You better hope so buddy.

Meanwhile, Peter Carroon is finding his niche and offered a ethics plan, something the county really needs.

  • In-depth and timely audits of all county departments.

  • Permanent independent, bipartisan ethics panel.

  • Ban on all gifts from outside sources.

  • Detailed conflict of interest disclosures for all employees, officials and board members.

  • Registration of all lobbyists.

  • Prohibition on vehicle perks for top officials.

  • Open meetings - with few exceptions - in executive branch.

  • Mandatory ethics training for employees.

  • Annual employee oath.

  • Additionally, Corroon wants to cap campaign donations ($5,000 for countywide races, $2,000 for district races), forbid donations from county vendors, file bank statements with campaign disclosures and bar campaign funds for personal use.

Thursday, September 30, 2004


A few thoughts on the debate tonight before I turn in. Unlike Gore in 2000, Kerry won the body language war. Bush, partially because of the vast gulf between reality and his rhetoric, looked very cornered, flummoxed and nervous the whole time. Defensive would be the catch-all word for the president's performance.

And unlike 2000, the networks didn't call the debate for Bush. First they tried to say it was a draw, but when they were pushed, they admitted that Kerry did a great job of getting himself over the hurtle of being viewed a legitimate commander-in-chief. Even FoxNews thought Kerry won and that the race will tighten. Man, if Bush can't get them to sing is praises, you know it's not just be being partisan.

ABCNews did a snap poll, which show that Kerry won the debate according to voter-viewers, but the overall horserace didn't shift. Thankfully, they explained that is very natural. Interestingly Democrats were much more sure than Republicans 89% to 67% that their man won. Even better, Kerry won self-described Independents two-to-one.

But of course, Democrats can just sit back and smile, the next 48 hours are key to solidifying this impression that Kerry won and would make a good/decent Commander-in-Chief. JK really did a good job at being clear and forceful, but not combative, unlike Bush.

Back to the real world war on Terror, a Judge today ruled that the infamous section 505 (the FBI can read your library books and look at what you surf online section) was unconstitutional. And Hamandi is about to let go from his "detainment" and no charges have been filed. I am glad we can violate Habus Corpus with no real positive results. The one court victory on the war on terror was overturned because the Justice Department withheld evidence bad for their case. And the FBI has thousands of hours of untranslated tapes of conversations between suspected terrorists.

The important thing to note here is that America got to hear how each candidate stood on very important issues to the safety of this country. Being an International Relations major, I am privately pleased that Americans are focusing on foreign policy now more than ever and that major topics were discussed in clarity without too much name-calling. Anyone who saw the debate can't claim they don't know where Kerry or Bush stand on Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and the general war on terror. For that I am grateful to both candidates.

As a side note, the House Ethics committed wagged its finger at Majority Leader Tom DeLay for trying to bribe a member for his vote. By the way, all the GOP members of the committee have accepted tens thousands of dollars from DeLay's PAC. I am sure they are fair and balanced.

GNC Swallows

In Utah's Second District, a race that once was on everyone's hit list has been fading from the spotlight as incumbent and Democrat Jim Matheson has a 31 point lead on GOP nominee John Swallow. Many have wondered why its happened, given that Matheson won by a whisker last time. I happen to think that most of it is due to Matheson's hard work in the new part of his district and his conservative stances on many cultural issues (even though he votes with his party over 60 percent of the time).

However, it might also be Swallow's "ties to the dietary supplement industry" could be hurting him in his bid, according to Roll Call. Swallow was formerly "in-house counsel" to Basic Research, maker of "diet pills and weight-loss creams," which is under "investigation by the" FTC "for its marketing and advertising practices." And he "has raised about $44,000 from industry executives as of June 30." "Initially, Basic Research told the FTC that part of Swallow's duties included reviewing ad copy for the products" under investigation. "A company spokesman then backed away from that claim." Swallow camp. manager Tim Garon, on the investigation: "I don't think there is any issue here." He also said "he sees no problem with Swallow accepting donations from individuals associated with the dietary supplement industry."

"Despite a trickle of recent newspaper articles," Swallow's connections to "an industry that does not have the best reputation" have "yet to become a major issue" in the campaign, but they are "clearly hurting" his standing with voters. "An independent poll conducted Sept. 6-9 showed Swallow trailing Matheson by a surprising 31 points, 61 percent to 30 percent."

Utah State University's Mike Lyons: "The revelations have coincided with Matheson widening his lead at a time when it should be getting closer." So far, "neither the Matheson campaign nor any third-party groups have sough to paint" Swallow's connections "as a negative," and "Democratic campaign officials were reluctant to discuss the subject this week." Garon says if they do make it an issue, "it will be a sign of ... desperation."

"Swallow's contributions from the dietary industry are not the only ones raising eyebrows." He has also received $118,000 in donations from "a group of donors who run homes for troubled teens that has been the subject of three separate abuse investigations by the state." Another "Swallow donor," Cameron Lewis, "is accused of defrauding public schools out of millions of dollars." Lewis "gave $12,000 to Swallow's campaign" All doped up and no where to go, what a shame.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

T-shirt of the day

Trouble with the Times

I had a peek of the headlines of the cover of "All the News that's fit to print" and I was already annoyed. PressThink is right that the media has its own GroupThink ala "1984."

Why the hell are we concerned with reporters being deposed in the Plame scandal? The issue isn't their beloved freedom of press, and it might be about the abusive use unnamed sources (see Miller, Judith), but what it really is about is that some one in the White House purposely leaked the name of an undercover intelligence agent in order to chill dissent about the Administration's line on Iraq.

Below the fold is a small blurb about in that intelligence assessment that Bush got in January 2003 not only told him that the intelligence was questionable, it also warned him about the problems we currently now face: a growing insurgency, safe haven for terrorists, greater insecurity, etc. Why isn't this big news? This is another point where Bush either lied to us, or genuinely believed that all these experts were wrong. And thus a handful of hard right wing hawks must be right, in which case he is not only delusional, but an incompetent leader. You could blame bad intelligence, but when the commander in chief tells them to find what he is looking for and ignores all else which goes against what he believes, then Bush doesn't deserve to sit in the big chair.

I do like the article pointing out that if you want to see Bush, not only do you have to pledge to vote for him (and have voted for him in 2000) you have to pledge to phonebank, door knock etc. He is so pro-Business that even his campaign has become a company that engages in bait and switch tactics.

FBI translation backlog
article buries a key point, that they fired a translator who retranslated pre-9/11 stuff which gave some major foreshadowing to what ultimately happened, and then told the world about it. Basically, the FBI needs to go; they have repeatedly shown (like Bush) that they are incapable of waging the war on terror, they can't adapt to the times. They were great at catching people before computers, they are still good at stopping the Mafia, kidnappers, bank robbers, serial killers and the like, but not at gathering and interpreting intelligence. They should be demoted to the national police/detective force they are, and not promoted to "domestic CIA."

But the biggest laugher of all is Al Gore giving John Kerry advice on how to debate George W. Bush. This from a man that inflated expectations, came off as arrogant, signed, then sedated, and blew his September lead. Well I guess Kerry can learn from Gore's mistakes. However, I have to give it big Al for showing his funny side, like Bob Dole, after he lost. Here's the great closer that made me laugh:

"Comparing these grandiose promises [Bush made in 2000 debates] to his failed record, it's enough to make anyone want to, well, sigh."

Workman v. Yocum, part deux

The Salt Lake Tribune today reveals that acting SL County Mayor Alan Dayton has signed an affidavit stating that Yocum told him he was going to "get" Workman here's the meaty part of the exchange:

Yocom: I can get her.
Dayton: On what?
Yocom: It doesn't matter. A mere investigation can ruin someone. I've seen it happen before.

For his part, SL County AG David Yocom says the conversation did not happen in that "context" and flat out denies that he is on a mission to take out Workman. "That was not the conversation I had with Dayton," he said Tuesday night.

Maybe this will move Workman a bit higher, she has since recovered from the 12% low I showed a while back, and it up to 23%, but Carroon still is up 42%, Cook is at 21% and 21% is undecided, but I doubt most of them will go towards the incumbent. I would say, a good chunck will go towards Cook and then Carrooon, but most won't even vote.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Sign they're scared, number 257

OK, so I haven't been counting, but you get the idea.

Despite Gallap saying that Bush is steamrolling Kerry (even though every other poll shows him up by about 3-5 points, all within the margin of error.) 52%-44% among LVs and 54%-41% among RVs [In a 3-way race, Bush has the same 52%-44% lead among LVs with Ralph Nader receiving 3%. Among RVs, Bush is leading 53%-42% with Nader at 3%.], there are other real signs that Bush's re-elect team is not so Viva.

My example today is an RNC website describing why Kerry is wrong for LDS voters (Mormons) to vote for in Novemeber, called Mormons are some of the Republican party's most loyal voters; sure there are many who are Democrats, like Nevada Senior Senator Harry Reid, but the vast majority vote Republican on social issues like Abortion, Gay marriage, etc. This is akin to the DNC having a website saying why Bush is wrong for African-Americans, who vote a bit more loyally for Democrats than Mormons for GOPers (they vote for Civil Rights and Economic issues). Read the details on the article and GOP spin here.

Yesterday Slate's Chris Suellentrop points out Bush is trying to seem invincible again, which is another sign that they are worried. Didn't Bush "seem" unbeatable in late 1999, before getting smashed in New Hampshire; and didn't he "seem" invincible in October of 2000, and he lost the popular vote (and controversally won the electoral college by 2 votes, one if you count the US Supreme Court 5-4 decision).

And in other political news, A "cluster of political Web sites" and the NY Post has suggested that gay-bashing IL SEN's Alan Keyes' (R) 19-year-old daughter, Maya, "has herself come out as a lesbian"

Finally, my quote of the day from former Saddam visiting, human bomb shield, and Academy Award winning Sean Penn "I've been in Cleveland and it has been my secret destination many times when I've rented cars from New York and said to somebody, lets go to Cleveland" -- Sean Penn, campaigning for Kucinich

BONUS: Headline of the Day! "Cemetery Hopes For Bush Visit" -- Daily Oakland Press headline (9/28).

Monday, September 27, 2004

'Tis the season

Take a deep breath in...can't you smell it? It's that time of year again, no not fall, but DEBATE SEASON!

Yesterday morning, when a whole two people were watching (the rest were at Church remember?), the three major SL County Mayoral candidates dabated each other. [Republican incumbent Nancy Workman, Independent Merrill Cook, Democrat Peter Corroon]

Lucky for you and I, the Salt Lake Tribune's Thomas Burr was there and has a nice summary of the proceedings:

County corruption?
  • Merill Cook: Says there is "significant corruption" in county government that needs to be addressed.

  • Peter Corroon: Wouldn't call it corruption, but says that all county workers need to know policies and more stringent rules, such as a gift ban, are needed.

  • Nancy Workman: Says the county is not corrupt and that problems are surfacing because the new form of government is flushing them out and cleaning them up.

Slashing spending
  • Cook: Vows to cap the mayor's office budget at $1 million and proposes a 10 percent average cut in other departments, even if workers lose jobs.

  • Corroon: Agrees his administration could limit the mayor's office spending to $1 million and wants to look at each department for further cuts.

  • Workman: Promises to not raise taxes and adds that, "You can always look at making cuts."

Living wage
  • Cook: Does not support a proposal to give preference to county contractors who pay at least $9 an hour.

  • Corroon: Supports a county proposal for that preference, but would affect contracts only where there is no other discernible difference between the bidders.

  • Workman: Does not support the living wage proposal.

Overall, Cook came out the best. Caroon sounds nice and progressive for my taste, but then again most voters might see that as too liberal. Cook and Caroon nicely ganged up on Workman, who really came out on bottom, she sounded like a shrill defender of the status quo. You can't claim there is no corruption when there has been lots of scandals in County government and you were in charge (and you are facing possible jail time yourself for such scandals), you have to propose changes. Caroon played it safe here, trying to keep his lead over Cook and Workman until election day. The less he has to mention things that he supports that favor unions and environmentalists (and other things to tie him to SLC mayor Rocky Anderson), the better for him.

And of course, let us not forget THE DEBATE that is happening Thursday night. BOPNews' Chrisopher Lydon wonders which Kerry will show up, the 1972 Kerry, the 1996 Kerry, or the 2003 Kerry? I personally hope it is '72+'96+9/04 Kerry.

Slate's Will Saletan points out that the current Kerry is on the right track for Thursday I happen to agree with most of that, but I still would like a rehash of the old "How can you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" question towards George W. Bush: How can you ask our young men and women in uniform to keep dying because of your mistakes and your unwillingness/inability to fix them? I love how Bush now has high expectations on him instead of on Kerry. The more Kerry's people can play up the boring, wonkish, senatorial side to the media before the debate, the more the media will (in theory) gush about how Kerry sounded like a human being.

This week will be filled with mere speculation and no real substance as the candidates hone their message and debate phony versions of their counterparts. Maybe it is the week of the VPs. Everyone knows Democrats want Edwards to be out there and more agressive against Bush/Cheney, now's his chance to shine. Shine on you Crazy Diamond.

PS this is a funny animated GIF:

Sunday, September 26, 2004

What Would Jesus [really] Do?

I can't believe I am going to quote scripture again today but I just got to thinking what Jesus would be like if he was around today. He would be in southern Africa helping the orphaned children with AIDS, our plague and scourge of the late 20th/early 21st century. He would be Dafur in Sudan, telling the nations of world that they still have a problem on their hands, with millions of people displaced and ehtnically cleansed. He would be in Chechnya and South Central Russia, negotiating between the Chechens and Russians for some sanity. He could be in Iraq attempting to fight for peace between the US occupying forces and radical Islamics.

Jesus would not be saying "The terrorists will win if you don't..." or trying to ban gay marriage. The guy hung out with the low-lifes of his day, the people no one liked, and today the people calling themselves Christians are filled with Self-Righeousness and Hatred towards their fellow man, whether it be because they are gay or because they aren't conservative or aren't Christians.

Now on to my passage, the one that inspires me to continue doing non-profit/government jobs and obsess with public policy, it is from I Timothy 6:6-12:
"Of course, there is a great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness godliness, faith love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight..."

Happy Sunday everyone. I am trying to be as American as possible by going to church and watching football in the same day. If I had a yard, maybe I would do some work out there too.