Saturday, March 05, 2005

Huntsman focused on problems real and fake

Scanning the headlines from today's Salt Lake Tribune, I see a mixed bag from Gov. Huntsman. First the good: the state recognizes reality and the best way to save money: stick it to Big Pharma's profits.

Utah will be joining Maine's bulk purchasing program and creating a list of "preferred drug list" saving the the Beehive State $1.4 billion.
"It won't be a fixed list, like a formulary. So if an individual needs a certain medication, we can grant an exception. But we believe a lot of expensive drugs are prescribed unnecessarily," said state Health Department Director David Sundwall.

With ex-Governor Mike Leavitt heading HHS, I doubt the feds will interfere.

On to the bad: The governor is enjoining a suit to reopen a road in Canyonlands National Park that weaves around one of the biggest sources of water in that parched part of te state.

Of course, the Bush administration is for it too. Anything so that fat people can drive their Hummers up to Angel arch.

A federal judge ordered Salt Creek closed to traffic in 1998 in a ruling in a lawsuit brought by Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, which pointed to damage caused by vehicles. But the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2000 ordered the court to reexamine the record. Then last June the Park Service closed the road because of damage.

The next day, San Juan county found an obscure 1866 rule to claim broad rights-of-way across unreserved federal lands, arguing that the road predated the area's designation as a national park. The entire state of Maryland used to belong to the Earl of Baltimore, but you don't see his relatives trying to claim the right of there do you?

Now I like the idea of the feds working more closely with the states and local community when it comes to land and land use, and I don't think locking land up forever is a good idea everywhere. But this is a national park, not some random BLM land out in the boonies.

If the state offered money to make it a real, paved road to protect the surrounding environment and kept off-roaders on the asphault, then I would feel a bit differently. I love the land down in Southern Utah, I have been 4-wheeling on slickrock and dunes before and it is fun, but I don't think those things should be done in national parks.

Congress has designated these lands as protected and the President and the states don't have the right to undermine the will of the legislature through stuff like this.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The abortion fight that never was

According to PoliticsPA, ex-Treasurer and ex-GOPer Barbara Hafer has decided not to run for Senate in 2006, nixing an all out fight over reproductive rights in the keystone state.

According to his press release current Treasurer and son of popular ex-governor Bob Casey Jr. (D) "said today that he will run" for the seat, and "will make a formal announcement of his candidacy at a later date." Citing trade and health care policies, Casey said DC GOPers "views the results of the November election as a mandate to increase the speed and severity of their push to undermine policies that protect middle-income working families. Their actions since the election played a large part in my decision to enter the Senate race. ... As Senator, I will fight everyday to put middle-class families first. ... I will fight to protect and strengthen Social Security and will oppose any privatization plan that cuts benefits, requires massive borrowing from foreign countries or does nothing to improve the solvency of the Social Security system"

Notice no talk of Abortion, as Casey is pro-life. To Rendell and co, this would be primary battle would have been a nasty one. EMILY's list had already sent up operatives to PA and about to raise money and have staff for Hafer. The one thing I really dislike about EMILY's list is that it effectively makes all their candidates seemingly one-dimensional. They are good at raising money for democratic women who otherwise went ignored pre-blogs, but I think women candidates should be considered much more than being just pro-choice and/or democrats.

Lest we forget, longshot ex-campaign strategist current-Professor Chuck Pennacchio is running in the primary as well. He is running a grassroots/netroots campaign, AKA he is kissing up to MyDD and others hoping to get some cash and recognition. Best of luck.

I wonder what Barbara got in return for not running against Casey? The promise of appointment to the Treasurer's job if Casey wins? A spot on the ticket as LG?

Meanwhile, the pro-choice zealots will now move on to their next intramural battle for 2006 senate race: Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Rep. Jim Langivin is being recruited by Sen. Schumer to run against Sen. Chaffee. The other Congressman from RI, Patrick Kennedy (son of Teddy) realizing he was too young and too dumb, decided to pass up this race. RI is 80 something percent Catholic, who are at least nominally pro-life. Personally, I believe in challenging incumbents with the best your side can offer.

If Democrats regain control of the Senate, their won't be votes on Abortion to worry about how these guys stand. Bush may nominate anti-Roe judges in his last two years, but Democrats can quash these nominees in the judiciary Committee and keep Jim and Bob off those committees. So cool your jets EMILY's listers.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

heading for the hills

The blogopshere is most effective in times like these, where the media is only semi-focused on politics. This is where an effective push on groups like USA Next, and issues like Social Security work in our favor. Being hyper technical and the press being hyper lazy, they look for press releases and little summaries. The blogosphere provides these through the prose posters provide for their readers. Plus, there are people like Josh Marshall who won't let go of an issue and tracks stuff that the media doesn't care about.

It's only March and it seems like Social Security "Reform" is doomed at least for this year, the mainstream media have picked up on the Glannon story, etc.

We even have Tom DeLay running scared in his district. He won with 55% of the vote by a candidate funded solely by the Blogosphere. He is now taking time out to campaign in his new district instead of raise money for more candidates or the GOP committees. Hopefully he will be in jail soon and we will have 1994 in the reverse in 2006.

The blogosphere also completely out manuvered Washington establishment types like ex-Rep. Tim Roemer and even Pelosi and Reid for the DNC chairmanship.

Keep up the good work folks, we got them all right where we want them.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

read the fine print

that was the first lession I supposedly learned in law school. To read everything I signed and make sure that the contract wasn't crap first. Yet I still got snookered today thanks to Yahoo! and Baskin-Robbins.

The fine print in question said that my "free scoop of ice cream" was limited to the first 300 servings at a participating store, or "while supplies last" which ever comes first. Meaning, on a random tuesday B-R could claim they are all out of ice cream when you walk in with your Y! coupon. Or they could just put up a sign saying they maxed out on their scoop quota, like the one I went to did.

Happy birthday indeed, Yahoo! So to spite them, we went to squirell brothers, which used to be a Snelgrove's chain but lost its franchisee lincense for doing atypical things and decided to stick it out. But the man at the counter was too busy flirting with two girls, so we went to B & D Burgers (for Big and Delicious, of course) and got ourselves a "oreo and peanut butter" milkshake. Turned out it was oreo, butterfinger, and whole peanuts and vanilla soft serve. oh well, it tasted good, but made me thirstier than a Camel in the middle of the desert with his humps all used up.

Oh and while I am at it, Alias is a show I have been watching since about it went on, but I deeply dissipointed with this season. Since "lost" has been such a sucess, JJ Abhams has seemingly devoted all his time to it and lest Alias for dead. Every episode is in its own bubble with excitment but no continuous overarching storyline. Bring back the Di Vinci/Nostadamus guy stuff, back to the cliff hangers, more Sark! Everytime a writer works two shows, one always suffers, like Ally McBeal and The Practice (now Boston Legal) and later Boston Public...what is it with Boston?


So right now I should be 1) doing my hundreds of pages of reading 2) revising my mock appellate brief 3) writing an article about my Pro Bono experience that goes out of 400-500 people 4) interviewing High School students for Brown 5) writing up those interviews and sending them to Brown 6) helping out with the wedding 7) playing basketball twice a week with my 1L intramural team 8) working on my outlines 9) going to my grandma's birthday party....OK enough whinning. I am just feeling a bit behind in just about every catagory.

Duncan Black over at Eschaton is going after my DLC friend Ed Kilgore, basically for not going with the Liberal line that DLC=Lieberman and Lieberman=GOP-lite. We all know Lieberman is a conservative, pro-business Democrat who WAS the chairman of the DLC in the late 1990s and who ran the Democratic majority into the ground in 2002 and decided to follow that up with an equally embarrassing presidential run in 2004. Now it seems that Lieberman wants to make himself a dealmaker extraordinniare on Social Security. He is even risking a primary challenge funded solely by liberal groups and bloggers who hate him.

My problem with Joe, as I have said many times before, is not his politics, (as much as I dislike his holier than thou attack on Hollywood, they do need to curb the glorification of violence) but his tactics. He thinks he is being diplomatic, being senatorial, but all he does is fuel the GOP fire.

There is no compromising with this White House. They won't play nice back with you, they see it as a weakness to expoit. They need your vote, Joe, but use moderate to conversative Democrats like tissue paper. Haven't you learned from 4 years of this crap? I guess not.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

No more death penalty for 16-17 year olds

So says the US Surpreme Court in Rooper v. Simmons today. This was a topic that I have mixed feelings about and especially when it comes to teens who do really terrible wanton acts.

Justice Kennedy really gets to write all the big opinions of late on social "wedge" issues. First it was Lawrence v. Texas (eleminating sodomy laws), now this case. In both opinions, he has writen marvelously and actually semi-convinced me of his arguments by the end. Especially amazing to me was that we are the ONLY country that has the death penalty for people under 18, and that the US and Somolia are the only ones to not sign the UN treaty on the rights of children (which come up during Bush I's term, so it was us and the warlords we ended up fighting in 1993 for death penalty for minors). Naturally, Kennedy pointed out that many states have banned the practice (30 or so including the "no death penalty at all" states)

Justice Scalia of course, was miffed at the mentioning of international law and other countries. But what really gets him the most is Gingberg and Stevens' concurring opinion where they state:

"Perhaps even more important than our specific holding today is our reaffirmation of the basic principle that informs the Court's interpretation of the Eighth Amendment. If the meaning of that Amendment had been frozen when it was originally drafted, it would impose no impediment to the execution of 7-year-old children today. See Stanford v. Kentucky, 492 U.S. 361, 368 (1989) (describing the common [*63] law at the time of the Amendment's adoption). The evolving standards of decency that have driven our construction of this critically important part of the Bill of Rights foreclose any such reading of the Amendment. In the best tradition of the common law, the pace of that evolution is a matter for continuing debate; but that our understanding of the Constitution does change from time to time has been settled since John Marshall breathed life into its text. If great lawyers of his day -- Alexander Hamilton, for example -- were sitting with us today, I would expect them to join JUSTICE KENNEDY's opinion for the Court. In all events, I do so without hesitation." ROPER v. SIMMONS, 2005 U.S. LEXIS 2200

I like the idea of the constitution as molding to our times to some extent, yet I think we shouldn't stretch the 18th century document completely out of the Founders' intentions without an amendment. Like the the 2nd amendment, what does that mean? Well I would look to what they said at the time about it and history etc around it, not in light of modern-day guns and school violence.

On a side note, I welcome back my college friend and groomsman (there is no best man FYI) Anthony to the Blogosphere. He is a Linc Chafee GOPer, meaning socially liberal yet fiscally conservative/libertarian. Oh and Brandon a co-college friend and groomsman is also joining the Blogoshere, welcome to you too.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Quote of the day

"Certainly Respondent does not intend to argue here that, just because the President states that Petitioner's detention is 'consistent with the laws of the United States, including the Authorization for Use of Military Force' that makes it so. Not only is such a statement in directcontravention to the well settled separation of powers doctrine, it is simply not the law. Moreover, such a statement is deeply troubling. If such a position were ever adopted by the courts, it would totally eviscerate the limits placed on Presidential authority to protect the citizenry’s individual liberties."--
Padilla v. Hanft, ___ F.3d ____ (D. S. Car. February 28, 2005).

Finally, some one looking seriously at the Bush administration's line of reasoning and laughing it out of the courtroom. Judge Henry Floyd, you rock my world. He was even nice enough to give the Administration 45 days to take action. After all, he was only confirmed 09/22/2003 by a GOP controlled Senate and appointed by Bush for a district court in one the most conversative states in the Union. Still, I am guessing that Floyd won't be getting a christmas card or invite to the White House this year.

FYI here is what Bush's lawyers argued:
Even if there were any doubt about whether the AUMF [abreviation for the congressional resolution that authorized the War on Terror]encompasses combatants seized within the United States, such doubt would be resolved in favor of the President’s determination that Congress did in fact authorize petitioner’s detention. President’s Order, Preamble (declaring that petitioner's detention is 'consistent with the laws of the United States, including the Authorization for Use of Military
Force'). Respondent's Opposition at 26.

They must really believe their own spin, eat their own poop, drool over their own press releases. It is so facist to think that whatever the executive says IS the law. We are a nation of laws, not men, and certainly not of men like George W. Bush and his pals.

Oscar thoughts

I thought it was better this year, really moved but there were no real surprises. Gone were most of the sanctamonius speeches, except for the phony-seeming thanks to the troops crap. Really, if Hollywood wants to look good, they should cut the montages, speeches by the director of the Academy, lifetime achievement guy, and just show some clips of stars on USO tours (especially Robin Williams). Oh and cut the songs too, unless you have Beyonce sing all of them, since she is so great. But lose Andrew Lloyd Webber and write some good songs next year.

Poor minor awards winners, they had to either all stand firing squad style on stage or sit in their seats and walk two-feet to a mike to speak. Still an Oscar is an Oscar. I used to like seeing little clips of the movies while they walked up.

Some of them must of really been drunk, like Dustin Hoffman, who slurred all the words for Best Picture and hogged the show from Babs. And the Country Crows, who's heart wasn't in singing this song again (I love their first two albums by the way).

Oh and for the love of humanity, get rid of Joan Rivers and the rest of the vaccuos people that interview celebraties on the red carpet. Laura Linney was trying to say something important about Human Sexuality and Dr. Kinsey when the interviewer said "you look great, who's dress is that?" As if he was really saying, "Damn it, stick to the talking points that your publist gave us!"

Oh and the next time a song is by Hispanics or other groups, don't do what they did this year or in the Sidney 2000 closing ceremonies: look there's all the famous people of this national origin idiots in middle america would recognize. The winner of the Che song did an awesome a cappella that made you wish had had sung it.

That's about it. Oh and what happened to the best custume fashion show? That was a funny experimnet.

Pundits: not worth a cent

"I think she's being advised secretly by Bill Clinton." -- NYT's Bill Safire revealing that Hillary Clinton may talk to her husband about politics, "Meet," NBC, 2/27.

Gee, how did you figure that one out, Bill? Which inside source did you have that a husband and wife whose whole marriage started around politics (and some would say only exists because of politics) would talk to each other about politics? What a moron. I guess this at least a fact, instead of his endless Hillary ramblings or other crap he puts in his column like his thoughts on grammar that pass as authoritative.

I am tired of hearing about who they think will win. After all, Chris Mathews showed how they were 100% wrong about Howard Dean and John Kerry. I am glad that I don't listen to them anymore. What a waste of time.

Now I should get to studying Property, which I really don't get. Why does it have to be so archaic and confusing?

Sunday, February 27, 2005


That was the vanity plate of the bright yellow Hummer H2 in front of me today on South Temple and 7th East. My first thought was, "that is disgusting." Then I grew to respect the man's (I am sure it was a man) honesty and not pretending he bought the car for any other reason. Thank you Tom Delay. I am sure this guy is using his Hummer for "business purposes."

You know, my Dad's cousin used this same loophole to buy himself one of those BMW SUVs, what are they called the X5? Something like that. This guy's wife, I believe I told you before, voted for Bush "because he made her feel safe." Not that it mattered in Utah, where 71% voted the same way, but it is basically why Kerry lost. He didn't get enough moderate married women to trust him with national security. And don't get me wrong, these relatives are very nice and the wife has even offered to hold a bridal shower for us sometime. Although I have no idea what we would do there and whole concept of me being at a "shower" wierds me out a bit.

Speaking of wedding stuff, we went to Pottery Barn today (one of the places we are registered, hint hint) for a special morning bridal thing they were having. No, I wasn't the only guy there. It was 3 couples and a mom and bride including us and like 8 salespeople. I really hope that people had canceled because all those bored sales people orbiting us was insufferable. It was nice to have the store all to ourselves and to get some fresh fruit, juice, and a taste of a wedding cake for free, but I am glad we left after an 45 minutes or so of combing the place repeatedly to make sure we had scanned every last thing we could possibly want there. They had allotted 2 hours for us.

After that, we tried to go to Costco, but they open at 10 on Sundays, so we cruised 3rd West and 21st South until I found a place that served coffee that wasn't a Burger King or Seven-Eleven. Sconecutter was our stop, which was open 6AM to midnight every day. So we got a scone and coffee and I reminisced about how much I used to love the joint when I was in the single digits.

Costco as usual was fun; by the time we got out of the store at 10:45, the parking lot was already full. What an amazing place, they must make a killing every weekend. And I must compliment our "boxer" whose name I didn't catch, he neatly packed all our things into 3 boxes in like a minute, very impressive.

Well, its back to working on my mock appellate brief for legal methods. If you are ever fired/discriminated against because of your religion in the 10th Circuit, you might want to read it. Otherwise, only if you like to be tormented.