Saturday, April 09, 2005

School of Rockin'

OK two points don't usually make a trend, but there is something funny going on with 70-80's nostalgia (and I am not talkiing VH1). School House Rock-eque flash presentations are showing up to pitch everything from saving the fillabuster to fancy hard drives for the next generation of portable music devices.

Take one look at the drawing style and you will see what I mean.

Anyway, watching ads are fun, especially when there are cute characters and fun songs. Enjoy

Smoke-Free please

I don't go to bars that often in this state, in fact, I bet I could count that number on one hand since I moved back for law school/good. Part of the reason is that smoking is permitted still in most clubs.

This year the legislature phoned in an attempt to ban smoking in these "private clubs for members only" and instead hold promos for bars that have banned smoking. [State Senator Waddoups' bill, which would have banned smoking in all Utah private clubs, passed the Senate by one vote but never even came up for debate in the House.]

The fun part about this is you get liberals like SLC mayor Rocky Anderson and public health groups rubbing elbows with the hyper-conservative UT legislators.

Everyone can agree that there is a major second hand smoke problem for employees and state inspectors, not to mention the guy that delivers the beer, or non-smoking patrons who want to get some booze.

They managed to do it in Massachusetts, and the whole state is better for it. The amount that Utah would loose in cigarette taxes is pretty minor considering only a few hundred thousand people smoke here (out of 2.2+ million people or about one12 percent ["thanks" Brian Watkins]). And really, I doubt that bars will be that poorly effected, we can even have them convert into cigar parlors that serve alcohol, and they would make even more with gourmet cigars and brandy, instead of cigarettes and beer.

"A lot of people told us we would never make it if we were smoke-free, but it's done nothing but help us," Red Door owner Louise Hanning said. ...Oyster Bar general manager Mark Robbins, [said his]... businesses is booming [sic] since the bar went smoke-free..."People are coming up to shake my hand and thanking us and saying 'way to go.' "

Friday, April 08, 2005

Much to do about nothing Redux

It seems Bob Brigham and Kos have done what they think is a tag team on the DLC and really set them back. Really is it pretty pathetic to pick on low level staffers like I was or poor interns.

So the database hadn't been updated, big deal, I forgot to get rid of people after November and these politicans don't exactly call the DLC to tell us they would like their name removed. While they admit "many of these names are people who have left office or where defeated" they claim that these people haven't been replaced and thus the movement is losing its influence.

But before they put on their dancing shoes for the tombstone, they should remember that ALL Democrats have been losing in the last four years, so one would expect them to lose many too. Of course, they will reply with a comment that says that this proves that the DLC method is no better (or actually worse) than the Wellstone method.

So let's go to the meat: Gavin Newsom. During the run up to his campaign for mayor, the campaign manager told me that they had to tread carefully with us because San Francisco Democrats hate the DLC and, as liberal as Gavin was nationally, he was the conservative in this race. I wrote an article about his "Care not Cash" campaign for Blueprint (the DLC's magazine) and made him New Dem of the Week once too.

To be honest, politicians use the DLC like the DLC uses them. They want the DLC for the contacts, fundraising, and yes good policy ideas. The DLC wants them to show they are still important post-Clinton and claim that they have their finger in rising stars and can tell the DC establishment who will be the next Governor, Mayor, Senator, or Congress[wo]man. Some politicians use the DLC and then throw them away when the heat from liberal groups like MoveOn gets to big.

And for another thing Bob and Kos have criticized the DLC for wanting to "purge" groups like MoveOn "from the party's ranks." Yet in the same breath, they cannot wait to pump the flames of the blogosphere's/their attempt to purge the DLC from the Democratic Party. There's that old saying about pointing figures, so I won't repeat it. I just want them to stop patting themselves on the backs long enough to realize how pathetic their "victory" was.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Did you ever wonder how Senator Mel Martinez's (R-FL) legal counsel's memo [PDF] on the political benefits ended up in the media? The right wing wants you to believe the Democrats fabricated it. But the truth is, Mel gave it to fellow Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). "Unbeknownst to me, instead of my one page on the bill, I had given him a copy of the now infamous memo." --Mel told the Orlando Sentinel.

That's got to be the funniest dumb move I have heard all week.

Phill A[d]. Buster

The Alliance for Justice as a School House Rock chic bullhorn they have named after the most famous procedural rule in the Federal Government.

Let's compare:

The live-action version though is pretty lame:

Or maybe it just makes Teddy Kennedy look even whiter and older.

As much as I think the filibuster should remain, I would like to remind people that those who are supporting now are descendents or even the same people that wanted to do away with it when the filibuster was holding up laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Voting Rights Act.

Fun Fact: Strom Thurmond still holds the record for the longest filibuster of 48 hours against letting freedom ring.

Oh and on an unrelated note, check out Google's Maps. They now have incorporated their aquizition of Keyhole to give you a satilite view of your neighborhood. I looked at my old apartments in DC and Boston, as well as my parents house. It looks like they were taken in the spring or fall, I can't tell which. So much fun and so distracting

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Brown U v. Matt Brown and other RI Democrats

On little watched Cox Cable TV, Brown Univ. prof. Darrell West says '02 GOV candidate/ex-AG Sheldon Whitehouse (D) has immediately become the frontrunner for the Dem nomination. Even though Sec/State Matt Brown (D) has a head start on organization and fundraising, Whitehouse will catch up quickly because of name recognition and "excellent connections." said West, terming this race "experience versus a newcomer." He anticipates an "actively contested primary."

As an unpaid unasked strategist, Professor thinks the victor should make "the campaign into a referendum" against GOP dominance of Congress, rather than a direct assault on Chafee.

Meanwhile, his junior colleague at the Political Science Department took the time to point out the obvious: that Kennedy and Langevin acted selfishly weren't really looking out for their constituents. "These statements might be plausible" if the Dems "had a chance of taking back control of the House in the next decade. But let's be realistic: They don't." Thanks to their decisions, Democrats "also now have no chance to take back the Senate." Prof. Jennifer Lawless went on to tell the ProJo (sub. req.) "They are so confident in their prospects for re-election that they never even considered that they might be held accountable for failing to close the party gap in the Senate. ... They failed the people of their party. And they became poster children who embody the national party's weaknesses. I can only hope that each will face a contested primary, if for no other reason than to be forced to justify publicly their decision to value their own job security over the interests of the citizens they allegedly represent." Laying the smack down like the WWE.

I am proud of, and agree with my alma matter's professors, even if I never took classes from them or have any other ties to them other than the excellant University that is Brown.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Boiling beneath the surface

One of the biggest issues that both sides left untouched in 2004 was immigration, specifically illegal immigration. Undocumented workers, as they are termed, have evoked a massive debate and tension in our society, especially in states where Hispanics are growing in numbers and political power. Bush’s immigration reform policy was shelved because it was moving his xenophobic bloc against him and wasn’t moving Hispanics towards him enough. Kerry couldn’t tell which way the wind was blowing.

In the Old Confederacy, Hispanics are moving in to take scare jobs, underbidding poor whites and adding fuel to the fire. CNN’s Lou Dobbs tried to make immigration a big subject with his specials and guests on his show. “Lou Dobbs Tonight” was originally a stock market program, but now has become his venue for venting his xenophobic, anti-trade, anti-corporate corruption views.

Meanwhile, the news media has prominently covered developments in Arizona where there are “citizens brigades” of state-blessed vigilantes [that’s what President Bush called them] patrolling the border line to spot and catch people who sneak in.

“"We can ask them if they'll wait," explained Magnotto, 61, in a red, white and blue windbreaker, "but we can't touch them."” Of course, this is all in theory, they haven’t spotted anyone yet.

Part of this latest bout of anti-immigrate feelings in the US is driven by the tough economic conditions in certain parts of the US, part by subconscious racism, part by rule of law/fairness sticklers. But think about this: “the estimated seven million or so illegal immigrant workers in the United States are now providing the system with a subsidy of as much as $7 billion a year.”—New York Times

These people are seeking a better life for themselves and their families, and are willing to pay taxes they might never benefit from, face discrimination, learn a new language, and still send money home. There needs to be a solution to this problem one that all sides can agree upon. I don’t like people sneaking across the border, but it is going to happen no matter how many old white people with binoculars are out there in the desert.

Ex-Texas Governor George W. Bush was supposed to have the solution in hand. He was good friends with Mexican President Vicente Fox from their days as neighboring international governors. Why hasn’t a guest worker program worked? Why can’t we find a way for these seven million people to get legal and join the rest of American society as full-fledged members?

Carroon to DA: catch tuition cheats

Today's SL Trib reports that the SL Co mayor's office ordered the investigation, which requires the DA to individually screen roughly 2,800 applications submitted over the past four years. Older case files are exempt because of the statute of limitations. There are 4,000 county employees.

"Our fear is that the audit was just the tip of the iceberg," said Doug Willmore, the county's chief administrative officer. Here are some audit highlights (or lowlights, depending on your perspective):

  • On six separate occasions, the tuition coordinator - the employee controlling the tuition account who was not named in the audit - approved her own applications for more than $2,800. Grades for the classes were never submitted.

  • Some employees were paid twice for the same class.

  • Handwritten "IOU's" were discovered in tuition files. 3 Workman appointed officials had more than $3,500 in tuition debt verbally forgiven by the former Co. Mayor (which she naturally denies)

Since this ammounts to falsifying timecards, it is not only a "fireable" offense, it is criminal, according to Willmore. I say let the heads roll.

Monday, April 04, 2005

John Paul II 1920-2005

I have mixed feelings about the passing of the Pope. I disagreed with him on lots of things, especially how he handled the sex abuse scandal at the end of his pontificatcy.

But I still feel bad with immediately dissing people like John Paul II shortly after their death, unlike some of my colleagues. The Pope did do a lot of great things and at least he stood by what he believed it, I think U2's Bono put it best, calling John Paul II "The best front man the Catholic Church ever had."

It will be interesting to see if they elect a moderate to liberal pope, who will take a second look at celibacy of the priests, contraception, gay rights, and other hot topics like pacifism and the death penalty. Somehow I doubt this and expect an equally if not more conservative pope being elected by the cardinals, yawning the gap between the majority of lay Catholics and their clergy (and the Mel Gibsons of the laity).

And speaking of lay Catholics and conservatives, ex-US Rep. Rick Lazio sounds like he is thinking of challenging Hillary again for NY senate. Lazio "had lunch" today with NY GOP Chair Stephen Minarik and exec dir Ryan Moses. Hillary should be dancing in the streets. Or if he is thinking of running for governor, cheers all around for Spitzer are due as well. In short, Lazio is a joke.

RI, the most Catholic state in the Union, has a key US Senate race on hand. Ex-RI AG and Democratic candidate Sheldon Whitehouse pledged to "work my heart out, from one end of the state to another." Boy, that’s not much of a commitment, because you can drive from one end of the state to another in an hour or so. Whitehouse always was a schmuck; but then again, all the Democrats there are pretty pathetic. You’ve got Patrick Kennedy, who is dumb as a post, Jim Langivin, whose staffers are a bunch of pretentious jerks, and a string of losers who can’t win the Governor’s seat after decades of GOP control.