Saturday, April 02, 2005

SL Co. Corruption: worse than thought

Those of you who have been following the story are hardly surprised, but for the rest of you here is a quick snap shot. A few years ago, SL county government switched over to a mayoral system, the idea being that would be more effecient method of governance. Under the first county Mayor (Nancy Workman-R), there were a series of scandals: "Guzzlegate" where co. employees used the gas cards to fill up their family's SUVs, drove the co. cars far and wide for personal use. Then there was the scandal that Workman defeated in court but lost in the election--deverting money to SL Boys and Girls Club where her daughter worked. Before that, there accounts of overpaid assistants and ghost employees.

Now the SL Trib has gotten its hands on an audit revealing another scandal-- at least $100,000 in tax dollars wasted on de facto loans to co. employees who may or may not have actually been taking classes. The idea was to give employees an incentive to get that post-secondary or graduate degree by giving them 75% off tuition if they maintianed a C average. The trouble was, they gave the money upfront, and did no checking to make sure people enrolled or stayed enrolled (or maintained their grades). Worse still, those in charge were lax in enforcing deadbeats.

*Three appointed officials had more than $3,500 in tuition debt forgiven by former Mayor Nancy Workman. "The waivers were all provided verbally, without even a memo to the file as backup," the audit says.
*Post-Its were found in employee tuition files with scrawled notes such as "needs more time," "will bring in check," and "dropped math; owes $355.34."

The auditors and new Mayor Peter Corroon promise to change things. "...the auditor's office recommended that the county shift to a reimbursement program, which was in place before 1992...A study of 33 other [Utah]counties showed 24 offer tuition reimbursements. None Caroon would require "employees to earn at least a B grade to qualify for reimbursement. ...workers who quit within two years of taking a class - up from one year - [will have] to repay the county for the reimbursement."

Carroon came in on the mantle of reform, or at the very least, the stench of Nancy Workman's reign. I am glad to see he is following up with his pledges by saving taxpayers money by consolidating co. cellular plans (which was costing the country about $20K a month) and being tougher than the auditor on this latest financial scandal. All of this stuff is obvious, but this is the kind of things Democrats should be talking up: that GOPers are bad steward's of your tax dollars. Peter's cousin Howard Dean had a good talking point.

Friday, April 01, 2005

follow the "leader"

My Caption: Christain Conversatives ask Bush and fellow GOPers in Congress to save Terri Schiavo.

The White wine and Mercedes Set

Dear Readers,

My father [and I by implication] have been labeled as the "white wine and Mercedes set" of the Utah Democratic Party by ex-State AFL-CIO president Ed Mayne, now a [Democratic] state senator. [OK so he called my Dad that in 1989, but I didn't know until now]

Personally, we don't drive/own/lease Mercedes. I rarely drive at all these days since I am within walking distance of the law school. Also, I can't remember the last time I had white wine, and that's not because I have blackouts. Also, I don't accept the implication that we are elitists, limousine liberals, who hate labor. Both of us have spent summers delivering linens and picking up dirty sheets and towels around the Salt Lake Valley. I have worked for a 100% rating [from every labor group] state Rep in Massachusetts and my dad is supportive of unions through his work as an attorney and his previous jobs in the political arena.

The whole article is pretty lame, especially given that US Rep. Jim Matheson is backing a labor leader to be state party chair and not an "upper-cruster." But then again, what do you expect from this guy? Bob does no research and bases his stories off calling one person. He is one of the least informed, laziest political columnists I have ever read. And that's saying something.

Oh how the mighty have fallen

Gen. Tommy Franks, once in charge of two wars at the same time, best-selling author and speaker at the GOP convention, has been nominated to join the board of directors of Outback Steakhouse Inc. "No rules. Just right." I am sure that is a nice high paying job. But what does he know about Austrialan cooking?

On to contestant #2 "You know whose birthday it is today? Al Gore, 57 years old. They had a birthday party for him. He blew out the candles and everyone yelled, no speech, no speech!"-- Jay Leno. Well, I guess that is the second funny thing I have heard from Leno, he is on a tear. Poor Al...I wonder if he will try to be the ersatz Dean in 2008.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

International Diplomacy

Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero talks to Noemi Sanin, the Colombian ambassador in Spain upon his arrival in Bogota, Colombia, Wednesday, March 30, 2005. (AP Photo/ Fernando Vergara)

Wow, they just do stuff differently down there in Colombia I guess.

And a second photo of the day:

And in all seriousness, May Terri Schiavo rest in peace.

House Maj Leader Tom DeLay, on the death of Terri Schiavo: "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior"

What not to do

So we are reading Roe v. Wade for class today. In oral arguments, the FIRST thing the Texas AG says when it's his turn before the supreme court is "Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court: It's an old joke, but when a man argues against two beautiful ladies like this, they are going to have the last word."

And he was going against a lady who was about 1-2 years out of law school. Man, it is amazing how either of these people got to argue this case.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

great moments in reading case books

"Fairall, a man of obvious sensitivity, smashed all the windows of her automobile, slashed the tires, and dented the body. Not quite mollified, he kicked in her locked door, scattered her belongings in the bedroom, and broke an aquarium, freeing her snake. (It was scotched, not killed. See Macbeth, W. Shakespeare.) Ms. Downes advised appellant of Fairall's behavior; he apparently took umbrage. On the fateful night in question, Fairall, having quaffed a few, went to the garage he called home and then to bed, a mattress laid upon a lofty perch in the rafters. He was rudely awakened by a pounding on the garage door accompanied by appellant's request that he come out so that appellant might kill him. Fairall wisely advised him that they could exchange pleasantries in the morning." People v. Gleghorn, 238 Cal. Rptr. 82, 83 (1987).

handy chart on corruption

Thanks NY Times!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A bad day for bad people

So I am sure you have all heard about the straight employee of the Boy Scouts that liked child pornography. The irony is just so thick.

Second to bat, Johnnie "if the gloves don't fit, you must acquit" Cochran died at 67.

And Third up is the Reverend Jerry "I outed tinky winky" Fallwell is in critical condition.

On a strange note, Rev. Jessie "I had a love child and need to get back in the limelight" Jackson has resurfaced a bit late on the side of Terri Schiavo's parents.

To end happily, O'Conner and 4 other Justices said the right of whistleblowers to sue for Title IX rights (who aren't themselves women athletes) is fundamental to the statute.

Fun facts of the day

All thanks to Hotline's Wake-Up Call!

A 1993 letter has "emerged" in which TX Gov. Rick Perry (R) called Hillary Rodham Clinton's efforts at health care reform "commendable"...I guess I should call him ex-Governor Perry. This fact will sink him for sure, even though those rumors of his homosexuality did nothing.

"Republican" NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg is going to endorse Hillary. The Rev. Al is going to try to sink the NYC democrats again by not endorcing the front runner and playing the race card.

Funniest Celebraty quote "I always dreamed of having that voice mail" -- ex-CBS anchor Dan Rather, on his new recording that begins "Howdy, this is Dan Rather" and concludes, "for now, adios." How is that your dream if its your voice? Couldn't he have made a cool message like since they invented the answering machine?

Funniest Jay Leno quote (I know it is hard to find funny ones, since Jay is UNfunny) "To give you an idea of how low [Bush's] approval rating is, only 3 out of 9 Supreme Court justices would now vote for him"

And finally, lamest threat to a politican: "Ms. Gregoire I have decided to kick you in your nonexistent nuts" –- a woman charged with sending "a series of increasingly threatening e-mails" to WA Gov. Christine Gregoire (D), who won her election in a excruciatingly close recount.

Monday, March 28, 2005

DeLay=Double Hypocrite

I am sure most have you have heard (thanks to the LA Times) that Tommy's papa Charles died when his family decided to deny his father kidney dialysis since his father was in a vegetative state and had not wanted to be kept alive like that. His championing Terri Schiavo's case is bad enough.

But it gets even better when you learn that the DeLay's sued companies who made the products involved in Charles DeLay's horrific accident that lead to the vegetative state. "The DeLay family litigation sought unspecified compensation for, among other things, the dead father's "physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and trauma," and the mother's grief, sorrow and loss of companionship." This is the same guy who voted for and aggressively push caps on pain and suffering damages in Congress just this term.

One rule for DeLay, and another for the rest of us. This guy acts like the Kings of England we freed ourselves from in 1776. That gives me an idea. Instead of just playing the tape back on the "Contract with America" and comparing 1994 to 2006, Democrats should compare Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence's list of grievances with those against Bush and DeLay (and Co.). Enough with the divine right of President Bush and Republican Congressional Leaders.


"You hear about the big issues we are dealing with everyday on the Senate floor through conventional media. But this morning I want to let you know about an issue we are hitting head on ... the Boy Scouts" -- "Dr." Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (VOLPAC update email).

um, with Terrorist buying weapons in the US, with more and more Americans without health insurance, the dollar losing value, the economy in the crapper, and Iraq still unstable as Jello in an earthquake, the BSA should be at the bottom of that pile (yes even less pressing than steroids in baseball).

And just to be fair to both sides, he's a money dumb quote from the Hollywood left:

"I so agree with your prime minister that the European Union should not remove the ban against selling arms to China" -- Richard Gere, promoting "Shall We Dance?" in Tokyo (Reuters).

How many different ways do we have to tell actors that we don't care about their politics? When was the last time people were influenced by what Gere thinks we should do policy wise (let alone the EU or Japan)?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Utah agrees with Michael Schiavo

Despite how the Utah Congressional Delegation voted, Utahns oppose such intervention of state's rights and interference of the government in a married couple's relationship:

Dan Jones polled more than 400 Utahns 3/21. He is by far the most reputable and reliable pollster in the state.

Question: "If you were in Terry Shiavo's position, what would you want those making medical decisions to do?"

17% say insert feeding tube, 69% say do NOT insert a tube.

The final say: who decides?

the spouse 73%
the parents 8%

the courts 3%
Congress less than 1%
other 11%
do not know 4%

Nicki Heitz/ Salt Lake City Resident: "When you're married to someone, you tell them a little bit more of what you think than you tell your mom and dad."

Greg Wilson/ Sandy Resident: "As a general rule, certainly the spouse should have the first say."

Intervention of Congress/President?

support 34%
oppose 54%
do not know 12%

Vic Groves/ West Jordan Resident: "I think that it needs to be resolved locally rather than having Congress jump in where they don't belong."

Nicki Heitz/ Salt Lake City Resident: "There's so many other people that are in this situation, and it's hard to know who they should help or not, and I don't think they should be getting into it."

Dorothy Urbom/ Salt Lake City Resident: "I just think they're making it a bigger issue for their own political gain."

Greg Wilson/ Sandy Resident: "If it's just this one case or individual cases, they need to stay out of that kind of thing."

No blood on their hands

Every Good Friday/Easter, I think about the whole "it's the Jews fault that Jesus was crucified" thing, especially since Mel Gibson's movie. To me, Jesus needed to sacrifice himself in order for us to be able to approach God, to atone for our sins etc. The Jews on that day in 30something AD had their role to play in God's preordained plan. I don't think we need to consider them "guilty" of murdering Jesus. After all, Christ willingly gave himself up and knew this was the deal from the get go, even if he had his human moment on the cross ("Father, why have you forsaken me?"). Plus, he came back from the dead right? No harm, no foul.

The story of their guilt, like the story of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute were both means to an end: to marginize and discriminate against Jews and Women in Europe since about the Middle Ages.

I would have to ask some theologian about this, but I wonder if Jesus' body died that day but the Holy Spirit and his essence or what have you was what the disciples and Mary saw. After all, don't you think it was odd that they didn't recognize him? After all, these 13 people had hung around him for years 24/7. You would think they would recognize their Rabbi? No has ever adequately explained that one to me.

On a personal note, we are off to see my grandma, aunt and uncle, and parents for Easter dinner. Have a great day.