Saturday, October 16, 2004

Poor Nancy, poorer Sherie

Today was female politiican victimization day at the Deseret Morning News. First, we got a sob story of an interview with ex-SL County Mayor Nancy "I'm not a crook" Workman (R), where she talks about her sleepless nights and high stress that's now gone because she quit the race. "The stress was more than I ever imagined," Workman told reporter Alan Edwards. "My nerves were shot. It was affecting my family, everybody around me ... It just built up." Yet her family was "furious" that she dropped out of the race, even the nitwit daughter that ultimately caused the scandal. What dumb and unsupportive family.

Why the interview? Well she spent most of the time talking about how unnevered she was and about her visit to the doctor:

"He said, 'What in the world are you doing? You're extremely stressed, your blood pressure is up. Why have you not called me before?' " Workman said.

In fact, Workman said, the physician had thought about contacting her himself several times, to the point of picking up the phone to call her.

Well what do you know, it all goes to establishing that she really was sick and that her removal from the ballot (and Ivory's replacing her) is all on the up-and-up. Funny how the Deseret News couldn't bother to find the doctor. [Carroon by the way is setting up Republicans for Carroon to try to get back the momentum]

Meanwhile, in the local section of the paper (Nancy got the front page, top fold), SL County Clerk Sherie Swenson (D) got sympathitic treatment from the paper as well. Talking about the deluge of voters registering or reregistring (sorry Sherie, I moved)the same Alan Edwards noted: "The clerk has brought in numerous temporary employees to help with the situation. Her regular employees and aides are working overtime. She herself is, shall we say, just a bit busy. At the end of the day Thursday, she realized that between one thing and another, all she had had to eat was a protein shake and a candy fireball." On top of that Edwards notes, Swensen has that whole Ivory controversy to deal with. UT democratic party chair Donald Dunn came by, not to give her a hug, but a letter warning her that if she went ahead and put Ivory's name on the ballot, the party would sue. Wisely, Swensen has left it up to ccunty lawyers to decide if Workman's excuse is valid and Ivory can go in her spot. But those lawyers have kept her waiting.

Either way, voter turnout is going to be huge: "In the past four days, the county clerk's office has received more than 34,000 mail-in voter registration forms. Hundreds more people have come to the office personally to register." For a state with almost no competitive races, that is a sign of higher turnout this year in general.

One of those competive races is the governor's race. I got a call from Scott Matheson last night, and no we didn't talk shop sadly. But he did give me some advice about Law School, which is a good thing since he is the dean. Of course, in reality he was just trying to talk to my Dad, who is advisinig him and his brother Jim.

Jim, by the way, had a nasty debate with his nasty opponent, John Swallow. The Congressman and the ex-state Rep. traded barbs on Jim's votes and Jim's support of John Kerry. Matheson had a good answer for the Kerry question, pointing out that Kerry has pledged to stop nuclear testing and dumping in Nevada (in an attempt to win that state's 5 electoral votes), while Bush wants to build new "bunker buster" nukes which Jim fears will be tested in Nevada and end up hurting Utahns too. Jim was also out explaining his change on partial-birth abortions, his votes for Bush's tax cuts (but against making them perminant), and so on. He pointed out that, according to the National Journal, he is the 16th most conservative Democrat in the House of Representatives right now.

Amazingly, it was Matheson, not Swallow who was attacking Bush's two attempts at swing voters: No Child Left Behind and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit under Medicare. This just goes to show how much of a loser those two bills were for Bush if even his own Rubber Stamp boy, who uses his mug in campaign ads) doesn't like them. Unfortunately for Swallow, this debate will air at 8AM on Sunday on Channel 4 (local ABC affiliate), which means almost none of his kind of people- AKA church going Mormons- will see it. Personally, I am going to TiVo it and sleep in.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Xenophobia strikes the nation

We all know Lou Dobbs hates immigrants and moving jobs oversees. In fact, he is CNN's only successful show.

The night after the debate, he whined that when Bush and Kerry got asked about Immigration, they both dodged the issue. He supports the ill-touted notion that illegal immigrants take away jobs from Joe-sixpack, your average American blue collar worker. In fact, they take away jobs that Joe wouldn't even touch (like picking produce in Southern California and Florida). And because they make less than minimum wages (b/c they can't exactly complain to the government that they are being cheated), they have no effect on wages either.

But that didn't stop Lou from singing the praises of a GOP congressional candidate in Kansas that is trying to scare white voters into voting for him over immigration. Even TIME did an issue recently where it talked about how loose the borders are, and Kerry followed up on that point from a Homeland Security angle, arguing that terrorists can blend in with Mexicans coming over the boarder. Even in little old Utah, we have candidates running on fear of Mexicans, even against a Clinton Impeachment Manager according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Utah [GOP] Congressman Chris Cannon's views on immigration continue to haunt him in the 2004 election.

Already a force in the Republican primary, where immigration restrictionist Matt Throckmorton came closer than anyone ever has to defeating the four-term incumbent, immigration surfaced again Thursday during the taping of a debate at KUTV.

Only this time, it was Cannon's Democratic challenger Beau Babka stirring the pot, and with a new twist.

Babka, a South Salt Lake police captain, framed immigration reform as a homeland security issue, arguing that Cannon hasn't done enough to protect America's borders.

And he criticized Cannon for doing nothing to stop the overseas outsourcing of American jobs.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a supporter of opening the floodgates and allowing just about anyone into our country. I think we need stronger borders and tougher enforcement of people who violate their visa etc. But the whole "immigration Reform" issue plays into peoples fears and hatred of foreigners, especially those of darker skin tones. The same people that start these issue groups tend to be the same people that are associated with white supremacists.

Canada's economy isn't so hot either, and I am sure lots of Canadian people "sneak over" the boarder to work in the US; there's no one up on our side of the boarder (or not nearly enough) to protect us from terrorists coming over. In 2000, we got lucky that a terrorist was caught with explosives while driving from Vancouver to Seattle. Our neighbor to the north is more scary to be than Mexico.

I think we need to work out a proper guest worker program so that Mexicans can be seasonal workers in American fields, as long as they go home during the off-months. And for those who have lived here a number of years, have a clean record, paid their taxes, sent their children off to Iraq to die for this country, they should get to become naturalized citizens and not worry about the INS anymore.

Ebony and Ivory

OK this post has nothing to do with Stevie Wonder or African-Americans, but it DOES have to do with Ellis Ivory.

The Peter Corroon campaign sent me a little email (asking for money of course) saying "Ellis Ivory is dumping $400,000 of his own money into the Salt Lake County Mayor's race - all in the last three weeks of the campaign. Is it right to 'buy' the election with private wealth without addressing the issues? To whom would he be held accountable? While this is not illegal - it does distort the process." The email goes on to point that out that Ivory was the honorary co-chair of Nancy Workman's campaign until the local GOP forced her to drop out.

For a local race, $400K is alot, especially in the final month, perhaps that's why Ellis is up in Cook's private poll. This is the most entertaining race I have seen in ages. It's like a soap opera.

On a personal note, this weekend I am watching the parent's estate and using their nice tickets to see the Utes play the Tarheels on national TV (in football). The end of the break is coming so I won't be able to post as much for afterwards. However, I do appreciate whomever it is that is spreading the word and those new visitors to my Blog. Welcome, I hope you stay awhile.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

SL Co. Race: it just gets keeps getting stranger

For some unknown reason, Independent SL Co. Mayoral candidate and former GOP Congressman Merrill Cook has told reporters about his own polling, which shows up-start write-in candidate Ellis Ivory 10 point up on Democrat Peter Carroon, who is up 10 points over Cook. Translation: Cook's getting whooped by 20 points. What the heck happened? I guess voters will go for anyone as long as they are GOP. I am surprised that they haven’t had ads reminding voters who Carroon is related to (hint: “We’re going California and Texas…YEEEAGH!”).

I don't have the details of Cook's poll, since he just blabbed to the 10 o'clock news. But why would he do this? Well Cook is the losingist candidate in Utah political history, as far as I know. He ran for SL city mayor, governor, congressman all a number of times. He finally won the lotto in 1996 (because then Rep. Enid Greene was in trouble for $2M in campaign finance violations) and stuck gold again in 1998. But then employees complained that Cook had a temper and lashed out at them. He ended up dropping out in 2000, and Jim Matheson won his seat (an update on Jim to follow).

So maybe Cook is crazy, but the UT Democratic Party isn't: they are challenging Ivory's attempts to get his name stickered over Workman who feigned "medical reasons" for dropping out (she got a bad case of LOSING), which the party contends is in violation of state law. If Ivory has to be written-in, then Corroon will probably win. Either way, Cook is toast. He was always UT's conservative Ralph Nader, ruining it for the GOP.

On to Jim Matheson, who holds Cook's old seat. Finally, after a week or so of clone attack ads from the NRCC and Swallow, Matheson struck back. In the latest ad I saw during CSI, Jim's voice over guy pointed out that Swallow's GOP primary opponents called him a dirty campaigner and a liar. No surprise, this guy in another life would have been a used car salesman. Next, Jim points out he voted to ban partial birth abortion and for both Bush tax cuts (the background is him talking in Southern Utah with voters huddled around him) Next, they use a clip of Jim walking with a lady from his hard-hitting nuclear testing ad, ending with Jim standing on some red rocks doing the "I'm Jim Matheson and I approve this message." I wouldn't call it an attack ad, or a "contrast ad" (soft attack ad) but rather a "correct the record ad" with a dash of "my opponent lies ad" thrown in.

I guess I like the ad, truthful but not too negative, while still making Jim out to be the victim of a vicious attack (which he is). I personally wouldn't have voted the way he did, but then again I am not a two-time Democratic Congressman whose district is over 60% Republican. It’s a miracle he is even there. Or is it?

Jim is one of the hardest working congressmen on the Hill. And I should know, I worked for him as an intern and talked to other interns. He totally does whatever he wants indenpendently of his party, unlike Rubber-Stamp Swallow.

Quotes of the day

George Bush, after claiming victory in spite of every poll saying he lost, today said about his performance: "My spirits are high. I'm enthusiastic about my chances"

Whatever he's taking, we should make it illegal.

Now for something completely different, via Craigslist:

"Any of you Republicans want to fight. Street brawl, bodies only, no weapons.

I will not be merciful. I'm sick of this tough guy shit. Let's see what you got.

I'll be waiting in the CVS parking lot across from the Fitness First gym on Wisconsin Ave. in Bethesda. I'll be wearing a blue sweat shirt, with black gloves.

TONIGHT, [posted 2004-10-13, 12:39PM EDT] between 8 and 9pm. One on one only, but you can form a line.

this is in or around No joke
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests"

Not so poor any more

For those of you who didn't know, my fiancee and I have been living off our savings since we moved out to Utah in August. In the meantime, we have paid for a car, 2 months of high (for the area) rent, and other cost of living expenses, including our recent trip to Moab.

Often, we passed up going to movies or out to dinner because we felt so poor.

But no longer. She got a job offer today! She will be working with an advertising firm in downtown SLC (yes there are some in Salt Lake) that specializes in technology. The founder is the guy who came up with "Intel Inside." My poor wife to be has been looking for months on end and worked so hard to network and keep hope alive despite Utahn's apparent fear of her Harvard Masters degree.

I would like to thank Wellesley College for this, because it was a Wellesley woman that got her the interview and ended up hiring her. Those Wellesley Alumnae have so much solidarity, it is awesome. Of course, my fiancee is qualified, with her education in psychology and two summers worth of work for advertising firms in Chicago, but every little bit helps.

She starts in two weeks because on Monday, her mother is coming to town and that weekend she is off to San Francisco for a cousin's wedding (I was invited but I have too much work for school to do). So this is very exciting and I am sure she will write all about it on her blog once she gets home and stops bouncing off the walls ;)

By the way, I want to point out, in case I haddn't made myself clear, that I am extremely proud of her and very happy for her (and me too). Now back to reading a researching common-law marriage in's for school, really it is.

SL Co. GOP does a 180

After pretending that they could mount what would be the first successful write-in campaign that I know of in Utah history, Salt Lake County GOP want Ivory on the ballot. Clearly they figured out he couldn't win as a write-in, but now they have to some how remove Workman from the ballot even though she wouldn't budge in her Captain Edward John Smith of the HMS Titanic-like sucidial re-election campaign.

Workman tried to get herself off the ballot (no doubt after much pressure from party officials) by pretending to be sick or crazy, as the law requires for her removal. SL County Clerk (and Democrat Sherrie Swensen does plan to submit Party Chairman Coleman's request to the District Attorney's Office and to the state elections office to ensure it matches with Utah law.

There are sure to be lawsuits by the Democratic Party and folks like Merrill Cook, who have the most to gain from no GOP candidate on the ballot.

"I hope if there are any challenges, they get it done soon," she said. "Right now, we're in limbo."

Swensen told reporters that it would take at least 120 hours to replace or cover up Workman's name on the ballot, because there are more than 700 precincts in the county and thousands of voter machines. It sounds like a remake of Broward County Florida 2000. With all these messed up ballots it could be weeks before we know who won the governors race, the 2nd congressional race, and the SL county mayor's race (president and senate races won't be affected).

Remember, SL County is the largest in Utah, with nearly one million residents (almost half the state's total population). I smell a disaster in the making. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Just in Time

My fiancee and I just got back from Moab in time to watch the final Presidential debates. I am a Red Sox fan too, but my first love is politics.

Couple of impressions: in the first debate, Bush blinked and twitched; in the second debate, Bush yelled (at times at nobody except maybe a voice in his ear); in the third debate, he smirked, smiled inappropriately and pounded on the lectern with a microphone on it (bad moves all). Again, I think Kerry won this debate. The folks CBS polled thought so too, to the tune of 39% Kerry, 25% Bush. Kerry wasn't as good as the first one, but better than the second. There were times when he could have done something more with the debate, like with the last question about strong women.

He should have pointed out that he has already placed strong women high up on his team (ex-Sen. Kennedy CoH Mary Beth Cahill and fmr. NH Gov. Gene Sheehen). In his cabinet, Kerry should have added, women will take a much more prominent role than they did in Bush’s. He should have talked about issues that were important to women; especially the swing women- married ones, besides abortion. Whoever gets the majority of married women will probably win.

Bush's worst moment- as my friend Rob pointed out- was when he was asked "what do say to a worker who's just lost their job to someone who works for less oversees?" with "go to college." I had to make sure I was hearing right, what with all the red sand still in my ears. It is pretty out of touch and insensitive to tell a 50 year old person who's mill just go shut down to go back to college. With what money? With what hope of landing what job? The president is right that in the long term, improving education, especially post-secondary education is the key to keeping Americans competitive in the global economy. But in the short term, unemployed workers need help paying the bills and finding appropriate work. Kerry touched on this but didn't shove in the President's face like Rob wanted him to.

The fact is, every time they asked a jobs question, Bush had no answer. Instead he talked about No Child Left Behind, which he under funded. In fact, NCLB is incredibly unpopular in "Red" regions of the country, because it is draining school budgets with an unfunded mandate and labeling many good schools "failing," which in turn lowers property values. Personally, I hate mandating testing. I can't take a standardized test to save my life, yet I did well in High School, did fine at an Ivy League college, and got into a top tier law school.

The best part for Kerry tonight for me was when he said there are two different school systems in this country, one for the rich and one for the poor. This is so true, and what makes it even worse is that it also trends along racial lines. Our country is just as segrated now as we were before Brown v. Board of Education, if not more so. Black school children are a hell of a lot better off than they were in the 1950s, but they haven't advanced as much as their white counterparts. Why is that? well lots of reasons which I don't care to go into right now but I am glad that Kerry brought it to our attention, something that folks in those GOP exurbs want you to forget about.

Before I go (I promised myself I would finish my CivPro outline tonight), I wanted to share with you a glimpse of my mini-vacation and Delicate Arch near Moab, Utah, which is in the post below...

 Posted by Hello

Monday, October 11, 2004

Bon Voyage

I am leaving tomorrow for Moab, but I wanted to give you all a little something to chew on while I am gone.

The Atlantic Monthly had an interesting article a while back about how Bush's diction and speach has steadily changed over the past 10 years. I thought the summary was that Bush is dumbing down his talk to appeal to Joe Six-pack, but this video's summary is that Bush is slowly becoming mentally ill.

Something to think about.

Also, on a local note, the "Miller High Life" ad-voice is doing anti-Matheson ads for the NRCC. I am sorry, but tort reform just isn't the issue that republicans think it is. Maybe for the rich business types, for conservative doctors, but not for your average Utahn, who is by-in-large poor. Same goes for Judicial appointments. It is such an abstract issue. I guess if you push it in the culture war aspect, but saying a senator blocks appointments, I really don't see someone coming out to vote for someone.

Monday's weekend roundup

Quote of the Day
CO GOP Senate Candidate Pete Coors on Terrorism and Axis of Evil: "Clearly, we should be more worried today, actually, about Iran and North Dakota than we are -- North Korea -- than we are about Iraq" (Meet the Press, 10/10/04)

Gee I didn't know North Dakota was something to worry about. I guess this is why the state wants to drop the "North" in its name, so idiot potential senators don't confuse it with a communist dictatorship.

Another fun quote from the debate: "You see no inconsistency between sponsoring male nude revues and fetish balls, and opposing gay adoption and gay marriage?" -- NBC's Tim Russert, to Coors

On a more serious and sad note, Christopher Reeve (who had a child in my college graduating class) died Sunday of heart failure. A publicist said Reeve "fell into a coma Saturday" after going into cardiac arrest. He was 52. He gave so many hope and courage for his stance. I think he became Superman after the accident that left him paralyzied.

Don't forget Poll[and]!

An AP/Ipsos poll shows John Kerry leading Pres. Bush among LVs 50%-46% with Nader receiving 2% (release). A Time poll shows Bush leading Kerry 47%-46% among LVs and Kerry leading Bush 44%-43% among RVs. Meanwhile ABC shows the exact opposite, I will have to check out Ruy's site to find out which one is more accurate. In the meantime, I will just take the average and say 48 a piece.

An ABC News presidential tracker shows Bush leading Kerry among LVs 50%-46%, with Ralph Nader at 1%. Among RVs, Bush leads 48%-47% and Nader has 1%. An ABC News poll of RVs shows 44% believe Kerry won the debate, compared to 41% who said Bush. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll also of RVs shows 47% believe Kerry won compared to 45% for Bush.

Update on UT's 2nd Congressional District

Matheson put out a second ad on the same theme: he's the only memeber of the Utah delegation that opposes new nuclear testing. It was a good ad, but I personally like the first one better. The first one has him with a scientist testing the water and Jim out in Southern Utah looking around vigilantly, to represent in a second or two what he does in congress years on end- look out for his constituents. He seemed firm and resolute in both. The second one is more scary if the 50's nuclear testing stock footage and horror-movie piano soundtrack.

Jim is running against the delegation in his ad, there is no mention of Swallow or his party or anything. Swallow by contrast, is a cookie-cutter conservative running a cookie-cutter campaign, and he is down 32 points because of it.

Even though they are more conservative than he is, Southern Utahns like all the hard work Matheson has done for them in the last 3 years, despite being in the minority party and all that.

Update on UT Governor's race

A couple days ago I asked how it was possible that the Governor's race could swing by 15 points in a matter of days when nothing really happened on the outside? Well it didn't. Valley Research pulled a Gallup (and oversampled GOPers) to get different numbers. The whole Gallup thing is like USNews' college rankings; they tweak the model every year so there can be a new number one to sell more magazines, just like how USATODAY et al do that for the Presidental race.

From now on, I am going to only trust Dan Jones when it comes to Utah races. I always thought he was the best, but was willing to give other polling firms a try. Well, blew their wad.

Bottom line: the race is still tied or with very slight Huntsman lead. It still means it will be an uphill battle for Jim's brother Scott, but at least it isn't over already.