Saturday, April 16, 2005


So on Friday, there was a Brown Club event here in Salt Lake. A professor of Sociology came to talk [people claimed that was the first time they remember this happening in Salt Lake] about her paper on Providence's renewal and how urban revitalization really works. It was neat to talk about how great Providence has become especially to meet a guy from the class of 1934!

But the real treat for my family was that the talk was hosted at an alum who amazingly enough lives in the house I grew up in on (you guessed it) 3rd Ave in Salt Lake City. The last time I was there was 1989, but not that much had changed. The hosts were gracious enough to let my family wonder around ever nook and cranny of their house (my parents were there since my Dad is class of 1967). My parents enjoyed saying, oh look our overhead lamp is still here! Or, we put in that tile in the bathroom. Cool changes to the house: the turned the "attic," which in our days was just support beams, a swamp cooler, and insulation into a playroom for the kids. They even made it accessable from the kid's closet via a rock climbing wall.

Coming on the heals of another birthday, I felt old telling the children who gave me a tour of their rooms that I used to live there when I was their age. I guess it happens to us all. Oh I also wanted to point out that I do nearly everything approximately 35 years apart from my Dad: Birth, College, Law School, Marriage, at this rate, I will also have a second kid when I am about 35 as well. It is a bit creepy don't you think? Maybe 35 years from now, I will go to a Brown event and look at the house I lived in for 11 years and where I raised my kids. [OK that's the last time I watch Father of the Bride II, stupid accidentlly free HBO]

Friday, April 15, 2005

John Morrison for Senate

This is a preemptive endorsement by the Third Avenue to hopefully be the first or at least one of the first bloggers to support John's candidacy, should he actually announce that he is running against Conrad Burns. [he's got a campaign website that has the MT GOP's panties in a bunch]

As a staffer for the DLC, I wrote pieces on him and his good work for Montana. I also was lucky enough to meet him, very cool guy. Morrison chaired the 2002 DLC National Conversation group on Western Issues. The great part about the session was that you could tell not only that he gets what it takes for Democrats to succeed in the Rocky Mountain West, and just as important, knows how to explain this all to people on the coasts who control the party. [read the 2003 version]

From the Campaign site, a bio snip: "Prior to his election [as State Auditor], John practiced law in Montana for 13 years. He represented Montana in the state’s tobacco case, represented the New York Times and other media organizations in the “Unabomber” case, and handled many complex insurance cases in federal and state trial and appellate courts. He previously worked as a legislative aide and legal counsel in the U.S. Senate." That sounds like he would know what he was doing if he won, which seems likely given Burns' unpopularity.

What's not to like? He has been re-elected statewide, he is a nice man, a smart man, and his name is very close to being the lead singer from the Doors.

Ever true to Brown!

Loyal readers know that I dislike Rep. James Langevin because he is A) a coward and B) hires rude self-important staffers. Now Assistant Professor Jennifer Lawless, who spokethe harsh truth, announced she is running against him the primary!

She is doing so because he pro-life but she has a slight problem: she doesn't live in RI's 2nd district. A Brown senior will be her campaign manager in her 1st run for office. Cool. Thanks ProJo. (reg. req.)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Non-news: Matheson not running for Senate

Finally squashing rumors sprouted by the Hatch campaign, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-02) "I just wanted to tell him [Senator Hatch that I wasn't running against him] and not put it in the press first. I value the relationship and look forward to building on it. People in politics gossip more than any other vocation I know, and it's not productive and I just wanted to put an end to it right now." Smart move. Hatch replied semi-nicely "It was a very nice thing for him to do. Whatever he decided would have been fine. I was pleased that he came to see me." Maybe when Hatch retires, he won't campaign that hard against Matheson if/when he runs for the open Senate seat.

On a a hopeless note, ISP XMission pres. Pete Ashdown (D) is going challenge Hatch. State Rep. Pat Jones (D) "was also asked to run, but she quickly turned it down." smart move.

Outgoing state chair Donald Dunn had the best line of the day: "Senator Hatch has a promising career in songwriting." adding that Matheson certainly could have beaten Hatch, but that he understands Matheson still wants to do more for his District. Dunn went on to say that there will be other candidates and that after 30 years, Utahns are tired of Hatch. Thanks Tribune!

even more SL co. corruption

An ex-employee blew the whistle on yet another scandal in Salt Lake County Government. When it rains it pours: "Besides the timecard questions [ex-employee who now works for the state Auditor claims there was a big scamming of the time cards], she also alleges widespread hiring abuses under Personnel Director Felix McGowan in which job standards often were lowered to employ friends and family members of county employees."

The Salt Lake Tribune found out a spot audit of timecards has begun.

Maybe this whistleblower just has a beef with McGowan, who isn't talking. She claims "McGowan knew of tuition abuses nearly 18 months ago, yet verbally threatened the employee to keep it quiet." If true, this not only looks bad, but sounds criminal to me.

LeAnne Sarver, the Auditor's chief payroll person said she brought up the pre-paid tuition issue to McGowan back in 1995. "I was told in no uncertain terms that that's the way it is and don't bring it up again," she said.

Sounds like this guy was up to his armpits in this scam. Maybe they should find how many times he wrote on the post-its, how many of his relatives/employees were "taking classes" and see how far down the rabbit hole this goes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Enough hate to go around?

State Sen. Michele Bachmann (R), who is running for MN’s open house seat and authored an anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment, was caught scoping out a gay rights rally. Some say she was hiding in the bushes, and there are pictures of her hidden by shrubbery. The Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Sven Lindquist, however said Bachman was merely sitting on a curb. Bachmann said "I had high heels on and I just couldn't stand anymore. I was not in the bushes." She was there to check a tip that "I was going to be a focus of the rally." She found "it was fairly personal," including a sign reading "Go to hell, Michele."

After running away after two woman confronted her in a restroom (even though those feet were killing her), Bachmann called the Sheriff’s office and some have claimed that she hired a bodyguard, which she neither admitted nor denied. Michele claims critics are tracking her public appearances and even putting the description of her car on the internet. So she has removed her home phone number and address from the phone book, even though she is running for high office.

I don’t know who looks worse here, the lady who is afraid of gays and snooping around gay rallies (here’s a hint, send a staffer to check it out) OR the gay rights activists who are threatening her (if that is even true). That’s not the way to win the argument that gay marriage shouldn’t be banned.

Oh and according to the Star Tribune, "The state Senate on Thursday rejected an effort to force a floor vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage as thousands of ban opponents rallied outside the Capitol. Sen. Michele Bachmann, the Stillwater Republican who's led the push for the ban, said Senate Democrats have denied her repeated efforts to get the bill heard. Senate leaders countered that Bachmann, a candidate for the U.S. House, is flouting Senate rules to advance her own political career. At the same time, about 2,500 gays, lesbians and their supporters attended a rally on the Capitol grounds just a few hundred yards away, organized by OutFront Minnesota."

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Buchannanities strike back

Kos points his readers to an ad by a group that calls Sens Kennedy and Kerry (and Pres. Carter) part of the "Blame America First" crowd (without even crediting Peggy Noonan, tisk tisk) and praises patriots Col. North, Pres. Reagan, and Sen. Lieberman. Of course, Kos and his crowd of Lieberman haters have another bow in their quiver over Lieberman being associated with extreme right groups.

But my favorite part of the ad is that it is for John Bolton, a known UN-hater and anti-diplomat. [Here's another example of Bush promoting some one who screwed up, in Bolton's case, see North Korea and their nuclear weapons program]

On an adjacent ad, this same group says that UN coddles terrorists and criminals, "Blames America First," and that we should get the UN out of the US. The group also claims that we spend the most money on the UN than any other country. While I don't know if that is true, we do have by far the largest economy and GDP of any country and many countries contribute much more than us percentage wise.

Don't get me wrong, there are tons of problems with the UN: corruption/cronyism, anti-Israeli sentiment, the Security Council that is frozen in 1945, their utter inability to get anything done outside of UNICIEF and making great acronyms...

There were some good ideas inside then-Senator Jessie Helm's UN reform package and some bad ones. But why should anyone take advice on a UN ambassador appointee from a group that despises the UN? The whole thing just makes no sense.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Over before it began

Well it is sad to say that Senator Russ Feingold bid for the Presidency just collapsed, a mere 3 years and 6 months away from Election Day.

Why? Because "he and his wife, Mary, are getting divorced." according to a statement by the Senator and the Madison Capitol Times. "We are separating amicably and intend to remain very good friends," says the statement. Both of them brought in two kids a piece from their previous marriages, and so if they Larry King it once more, those kids will have 2 step fathers or 2 step mother's each.

We all know divorce is a death knell for presidential aspirants, but being single while running is even worse. So marry some one quick Russ; just make sure it isn't an intern or staffer.

[would-be nasty caption: "This is my ex-wife"]

Carroon's first 100 days

The man works too hard. So says a staffer I talked to this weekend who was actually an old Governor Walker appointee (AKA a “Reformed GOPer”). She loves Carroon because he is down to Earth, goes to every chicken fry, and is honestly trying to make things better for the county and the county employees. And the recent Tribune article supports what she told me.

They used to have Nancy Workman's name on everything--their own business cards, their office door, the buildings, etc. It was as if she thought she was the Mayor of Chicago or something.

So is his administration, as aides insist, "a breath of fresh air"?
Republicans seem to think so.
County Councilman David Wilde has no complaints, while colleague Mark Crockett is encouraged.
"I'm very pleased. He seems to be a good-government guy," Crockett says.
Even former Mayor Nancy Workman, who ditched her re-election bid before being acquitted of two felony charges, mustered praise.
"He's doing great," Workman says.

Carroon is getting the AG's office and the Auditor's office to work well with him too, one is GOP and the other Democrat (and the AG didn't get along too well with Nancy).

The only real fights on the horizon are with city mayors within his county. Again, it is refreshing that these fights have nothing to do with ideology or anyone trying to use their office to as a stepping stone for higher office-- it is about trying to get the most for their city/county.