Saturday, November 20, 2004

get out the Tortilla chips...

because the Utes are going to the Fiesta Bowl! Well, most likely, (after all, the official were handing out thousands of sombraros to people in the stands) maybe they will go to the Cotton Bowl, but a BCS bowl for sure. The Liberty Bowl is trying to extort as much money as possible from the Conference and the team because they are contractually supposed to get the Mountian West Champions Utes automatically.

After beating BYU and having a perfect regular season (with no teams coming within 14 points of them) while other teams around them struggled the last two weeks, Utah is locked into the 6th seed and an automatic BCS birth. We're crashing the party and I couldn't be happier for the team and the University...especially since it came at the expense of BYU who had a crappy season and whose coach is going to be canned.

Who cares if Urban leaves next year? We can worry about that later. Let's enjoy tonight Ute fans. Some of my favorite signs: "U bring the salsa, we'll bring the bowl" "Hey [BYU head coach]Crowton, we hear Wall-Mart is hiring" and the all time meanest..."Where Is Your God Now?"

I had a great time tonight with my female 1L friends, what a hoot they are. Maybe I should have camped out in the cold overnight to get tickets to the game, but I am glad I stayed warm and yuked it up with the ladies. Stacy's mom's 7-layer bean dip is slaying me though right now...but it was worth it. Oh and readers don't worry, the future Mrs. was there and enjoyed the revelry with me. GO UTES!

Friday, November 19, 2004

The $15M question

Why did Kerry have so much left over? And what was he saving it for? I doubt another ad in OH or FL would have made any difference, but maybe a few more vans, a few more hired guns to get people to the polls might have. Maybe he could have spent more in ads in AR NV or WV, or again GOTV, which he likes to remind us "doesn't mean Get On TV"

Was he hoping no one noticed the big pile he had left over? Was he planning on using it to get his people installed at DNC and give out the leftovers to ensure a smoother 2008 campaign?

After a few days of tremendous pressure, advisers say that John Kerry will donate a "substantial amount" of the "more than" $15M remaining from his campaign to '05 and '06 Democrats. But what exactly is a substantial amount- $10 million? $5 Million? If you ask me, John Kerry just blew his shot to run for president again.

IA Dem Chair Gordon Fischer, on the Kerry money: "Several million dollars left over -- it seems like that shouldn't happen. It should be much closer to zero." Lots of other Democrats agree.

The party and anti-Bush sympathizers gave him enough much money to tackle Bush. It was amazing that the Democratic nominee was on the same financial footing as a sitting pro-business president. Three billion dollars were raised for federal elections this year, and over half a trillion of that was just the post-primary presidential election. Kerry had large leanway to do whatever it took to dethrone the hated George W. Bush, and he didn't do it. He got more votes than Al Gore, but George W. Bush got a lot more vote than he did, and in key states like OH and FL.

So the 15 million (plus) question is: why did Kerry do it? There were so many close elections in the house and senate that could have made the difference, especially KY maybe NC and certainly SD. What does Kerry expect to do next? If he really wants to be the nominee again, he best lead the oposition and be a vocal critic of the President and not dissipear like Albert Gore, Jr. That poor guy dissipeared so well that he got pulled over for speedinig in Oregon and the cop didn't even know it was him until he saw the driver's license (maybe it was the bead phase or the fat phase too).

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The "holidays"

Something about this time of year really gets to people. I never understood until recently, before then I was too naive to notice all things happening around me.

This is the second year in a row that a grade school classmate of mine has committed suicide. Both happened leading up to Thanksgiving. Both were fun guys to hang around with whom I grew further and further apart as time went by, but I still felt like I knew them, or at least the child in them went we both were younger.

Patrick was one of the shortest boys in the class while I was one of the tallest, yet his personality was huge and everyone loved hanging out with and talking to him. I still remember one of our mutual friends, who is about my height, went to the movies together once. The man in the booth said, "Oh isn't that nice, you are taking your little brother out the movies." My tall friend had to correct him saying, "He's isn't my brother, he is my friend"

Colin's death was equally sad and tragic. Colin and I were best friends up until 4th grade. I can't tell you exactly what happened, maybe it was the pursuit of coolness (and trust me, I wasn't it). Colin was an amazing drawer, a brilliant mind, but his lust for fun-loving and popularity made him pass up other schools to go to UVM with his friends; he was a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. Soon there after, he realized that he wasn't happy there and went on and off to the U and waited tables at Bacci in downtown Salt Lake. From what I heard he was happy, but clearly I was wrong.

One of his best friend and relative of mine, John, is still shaken up by it. I couldn't bring myself to go to the funeral, and I don't think I was necessarily invited.

Sorry to leave everyone with such a sad, depressing post of the day, but I guess it serves as a reminder that as bad as your family or life in general seems around this time of year where the sun doesn't come out much, there is still much to live for and to keep trying. I haven't always been the happiest of souls, but I never got even close to where Patrick and Colin found themselves. And I am glad for it because I would have never found myself with my fiancee and where I am today. I am surrounded by smart people who care about the issues I care about, although many have different opinions than me, it is still exciting.

As tired and stressed out as I am right now, I am looking forward to the weekends and to next semester and really to my wedding in June. There is so much live out there yet to live. So watch out for yourselves and your friends and family this holiday season; make sure they don't head down the road that Colin and Patrick took.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The best rivalry

ESPN has a live poll asking people to rank the top 15 rivalries in college football. Personally, I think Utah-BYU trumps them all because of the underlying religious battle which defines the whole state. This clearly makes is more important than Florida v. Florida State or the Texas rivalries even though more people watch either of those.

Where you stand on Utah-BYU says a lot about who you are and where you stand politically, or where you live, or what you believe in your gut. The hatred for each other is friendly yet strong. Why else would they call it "The Holy War?"

Obviously, I have always been a Utah Man, even if I never went to school there until law school. The campus was in my neighborhood until 4th grade. As a non-Mormon, I always identified with the Utes even if many of the players had to miss whole seasons because they were off on LDS missions.

I would rank Southern rivalries higher than the Midwestern ones (but Midwestern over Pacific Coast rivalries and certainly higher than New England rivalries) because football is so fundamental to live in many small towns in places like Texas. Just watch "Friday Night Lights" to see that.

As dumb as college football is, I am happy to have a the team I root for to finally be good. Brown really only could beat places like Forham and occationally an fellow Ivy. The whole time they were any good and won a co-Ivy League championship, it turned out the school and the late Dave Zarconi violated the Ivies recruiting and scholarship rules.

Dave by the way was a great man, and treated me to a awesome lobster dinner I will never forget.

Party leaderships and a good idea by a bad GOPer

So the big squabble out in the bloggosphere is who should be the next DNC chair: Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack or ex-VT Governor Howard Dean or NDN head Simon Rosenberg.

Today, the new Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said that Vilsack would be a "real good person" to chair the DNC. Most on the internet are not too hot on Vilsack, and I agree with them, but for other reasons. They think Vilsack is an insider who is opposed to reform which the party needs so badly, and while that may be, you can still be an "insider" or "non-reformer" and not want Tommy.

After all, this is a guy that won Iowa for Gore, but managed to lose it for Kerry. I am all for swing state governors being in positions of power in the party, but not when they blow it like that. Ditto for Richardson, he should have had New Mexico in the bag for Kerry.

Plus, Vilsack's main motivation is to keep him hope state newspaper reporters and homestate legislators in positions of ridiculous power for the inane Iowa Caucuses. I don't care that much that they are first, but it should at least be a real primary.

Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Dole "says she is confident she will win today's election" for NRSC chair, which is something her and Norm Coleman are fighting over.

And by the way, thank you Chuck Shumer for putting your party ahead of yourself and being DSCC chair instead of a fruitless campaign for governor. Spitzer owes you one.

On to my good idea from a bad GOPer: Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) "is trying to prevent Congress from ever again naming things after sitting members of Congress"

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Judge Cassell in da House!

Judge (and still Utah Law professor) Paul Cassell had on his docket a case he really wished to rule otherwise: a young adult (a few months younger than me) who he sentenced to 55 years (and one day) in prison because of a mandatory minimum (28 USC sec. 924(c)). His fellow law professors and judges filed amicui (more than one amicus, or friend-of-the-court brief) trying to pursuade him to rule that this minimums were an unconstitutional encroachment of the legislative branch on the judicial branch (and the whole Due Process, Equal Protection, and Cruel and Unusual clauses). Instead, Cassell gave the man the smallest sentence allowable and begged President Bush, who just appointed him a couple years ago, to commute the sentence to a more reasonable 18 years.

All seriousness of this person's future aside, I had to laugh a the first paragraph of the facts section, per Cassell:

Weldon Angelos is twenty-four years old. He was born on July 16, 1979, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was raised in the Salt Lake City area by his father, Mr. James B. Angelos, with only minimal contact with his mother. Mr. Angelos has two young children by Ms. Zandrah Uyan: six-year-old Anthony and five-year-old Jessie. Before his arrest Mr. Angelos had achieved some success in the music industry. He started Extravagant Records, a label that produces rap and hip hop music. He had worked with prominent hip hop musicians, including Snoop Dogg, on the "beats" to various songs and was preparing to record his own album.

If you want, you can read the whole decision (via the SL Tribune article) and the rest of Angelos' gun-toting Marijunia-smoking life, but this was the most entertaining part for me. But really, read the case. It really makes a solid case why, mantatory minimums, or at least section 924(c), should be amended or repelled all together.

Traffic spikes and your real job

Stirling pointed me to a NY Times story about a Delta flight attendant named Ellen Simonetti who was fired for having a blog in which she showed a little leg and cleavage. Delta claimed they didn't sanction that kind of picture with THEIR uniform. Of the potential salaciousness of Ms. Simonetti's photographs, Tim Kirkwood, a veteran flight attendant and author on profession, doubt it. "I think this has been blown up out of proportion," he said. "So we saw a little bra strap, big deal. Compared to what the passengers wear, she's overdressed."

This being America, Ms. Simonetti sued for sexual-discrimination "with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and is threatening to sue Delta for $10 million, claiming other employees, primarily men, have their photographs posted on the Web in uniform and are not fired for it."

This article probably represents the second wave of traffic spikes she has gotten on her website. I have a bit of experience in this field, but of course I never got a news article about me, let alone the New York Times. But I too experienced fleeting fame with the Gay Marriage Debate in the Massachusetts State House. And like her, my employer was not happy with what I posted on my blog. I just hope all this traffic doesn't go to her head like it went to mine. My boss was very understanding and reasonable about it and didn't fire me.

Her position is much for defensible than mine however. First of all, the photos aren't anything close to risque, I believe I have seen more in the course of a normal flight than that. Secondly, I betray confidences, all Ms. Simonetti is doing is writing about her personal life and posting some flattering pictures of her. I don't think it even depicts Delta in a bad light.

It even makes being a flight attendant seem glamorous: see the world, meet interesting people, etc. I have a hard time seeing what the fuss is all about.

But the law professor from UVA claims she is pretty screwed as an at-will non-union employee. "I'm pretty darn certain that taking that kind of photograph in the cabin of a plane, there's several policies that that would probably violate," he said.

The article goes on to talk about the airlines and Ms. Simonetti's job used to be sexist, which Ellen helpfully posts on her site:

And while really should be getting to homework for Wednesday, I wanted to share with you my blockquote of the day, from New York Magazine April, 26, 2004 (via Kos):

A pressing issue of dinner-party etiquette is vexing Washington, according to a story now making the D.C. rounds: How should you react when your guest, in this case national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice, makes a poignant faux pas? At a recent dinner party hosted by New York Times D.C. bureau chief Philip Taubman and his wife, Times reporter Felicity Barringer, and attended by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Maureen Dowd, Steven Weisman, and Elisabeth Bumiller, Rice was reportedly overheard saying, “As I was telling my husb—” and then stopping herself abruptly, before saying, “As I was telling President Bush.” Jaws dropped, but a guest says the slip by the unmarried politician, who spends weekends with the president and his wife, seemed more psychologically telling than incriminating. Nobody thinks Bush and Rice are actually an item. A National Security Council spokesman laughed and said, “No comment.” [all emphasis mine]

Our future Secretary of State has no family other than the Bush family and no life really either. She is willing to do just about anything (see 9/11 commission hearings) for her "man" and is a bit emotionally/psychologically unstable. Welcome to the Cult of Bush.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Clean Sweep

Before you starting hummng the tune of that JC song, I will spoil the fun and say it has to do with Bush's cabinet.

The Journal reports that Powell is leaving, probabbly before the Iraqi "elections" in January. Here's my favorite quote of the article: "Iraq has dominated Mr. Powell's attention during his nearly four years as secretary of state. Mr. Powell will perhaps be best remembered for that U.N. Security Council appearance on Feb. 5, 2003, during which he argued that Mr. Hussein must be removed because of Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction. There's no evidence that those claims had any foundation. Mr. Powell has maintained all along that the use of force of by the American coalition in Iraq was justified." Now, that's what I call a legacy. Remembered for the biggest lie on the international stage except Bush and Cheney. How does it feel? Oh and no progress or action on Middle East Peace while in charge, that's pretty bad too.

I don't entirely fault Powell though, afterall, he was "just following orders." After reading books and articles about the Gulf War and Clark's book about Kosovo, he fits in with the late 1980s to 2000 culture of the Pentagon: don't do anything. The whole place would drag their feet on every military action, be as cautious as possible to actually make the wars faught longer, more expensive and dangerous.

Do you really think Clinton said, "No causulties, let's fight this one at 30,000 feet"? No, it was the Secretary of State and all the E-ring brass that didn't want to look bad for losing people.

Now Bush's people just ignore what these people say and have gone full out. And the results of completely ignoring military advice has been equally disasterous.

Meanwhile, AP is reporting that, besides Powell "resignations were confirmed Monday included Agriculture Secretary Ann ["Mad Cow"] Veneman, Education Secretary Rod ["faking the Houston Miracle"] Paige and Energy Secretary Spencer ["I love bunker busters"] Abraham...The resignations announced Monday bring to six — out of 15 — the number of Cabinet members to decide so far to leave."

I wonder just who is going to replace all these clowns. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

I like Gov-elect Huntsman

While I didn't vote for him, today's SL Tribune article really made me glad he is going to be there over other GOPers.

"With moderate public statements in favor of the failed open space initiative, promises to push legislation to guarantee legal rights for unmarried people with shared financial interests and plans to soften the hard edge of Utah's liquor regulations, Huntsman faces a potential political problem."

It goes on to blab about how conservatives voted for him overwhelmingly and Moderates and Liberals overwhelmingly for Matheson (guess who outnumbers whom in Utah).

Huntsman will support school vouchers unfortunately, but hopefully they will be as limited as possible. Despite what the supreme court said in the Cleveland case, I think they are unconstitutional and bad social policy on top of that.

Vouchers were made an issue so that he could get out of the primary, where each ticket tried to out crazy-right wing the other. Smart GOPers knew that Hunstman stood the best chance against Matheson who raised $2M for the race.