Friday, May 13, 2005

Why I won't move to L.A.

As much as I love my family that live out there, and as nice as the weather is, I just can't get over what a messed up little place it is. Where they revel in celebraties in all their phoniness, regularly watch Police Chase on TV (even if someone gets shot in the head on the live feed), enjoy hours stuck in traffic on their massive freeway system and utter lack of public transit (thanks GM), and are more concerned about appearances than reality.

Every time I go there I am astonished people can actually enjoy living in such an artifical world. I am sure people say the same sorts of things about Utah-- that it is singular and strange because of dominance of the LDS faith in state government. But at least mormons don't all get nose jobs and boob jobs and botox with fad diets and pretend to like you when they hate you. And anyway, I like the strict smoking laws and the difficulty to get alchohol and drink and drive. Utah has been way ahead of the rest of the country that way, and it has been a safer place to live to boot. We have about the lowest health care costs of any state because of the lack of smoking related illnesses.

OK off the soap box. It seems that Hill Air Force Base was saved from the ax (mostly) this morning, which to me was no surprise. We had a former congressman whose career was built on saving that base on BRAC and a united delegation working to save the biggest employeer in the state. Poor Jim got squeezed out of the frame, but then again it is not in his district. At least he got on local TV to explain what it was like during the plane scare, that was a smart move.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

searching for nonpartisanship

and I think I found a moment of humanity: Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) walked into House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)'s weekly press conference to return her shoe she lost during the plane scare the other day.
Note: these aren't the actual shoes.

Reichert even knelt down to give the lady her pink leather sling-back pumps "I'm proud to be here, and proud to present you with your shoe," he said. From what I know, this freshman congressman seems like a good guy: he caught the Green River killer as the sheriff of King County, the county which includes Seattle. I wish I had the picture.
"A moment of community," Pelosi said to laughter from assembled reporters, one of whom remarked, "There's a fairy tale about this."

Pelosi lost her shoes when Capitol police officers literally lifted her out of them to hustle her to safety during the evacuation, which was caused by a small plane that mistakenly strayed off course.

"I said I'm losing my shoe and they said that's too bad, just keep going," Pelosi said.

The shoe found its way to Reichert when it flipped up in front of him as he ran down a crowded stairway on his way out of the Capitol.

"It had bounced. I just grabbed it," Reichert said.

The congressman then tried to find its owner in the crowd that had evacuated the Capitol, looking for women clad in pink.

"I searched diligently ... there were several women I came up to," he said.
What a gentleman; his wife noticed the wire stories about Pelosi and pointed him to the Minority Leader.

"It certainly points out the fact that in times of urgency and emergency, we do come together," Reichert said. Thank goodness there are still some level of decencey in the capital and Members can see each other as human beings and collegues still, and not just the charactures they draw of the other side.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Going over the Ridge

The most quotable guy today is ex-PA Gov./DHS Sec. Tom Ridge.

"People focus too much on colors. It could be numbers, it could be animals," Ridge told New York Newsday. "The American public wants us to focus more on the information. We understood the impact of an alert."

Animals? This isn't some indicator to help you remember where you parked your car at teh airport, this is national security. "We are at rabid dog and could go to Ebola-infected monkey"

The next money quote reveals that our periodical marches from Yellow to Orange were based on politics, not actual threats.
"More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it," Ridge told reporters. "Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don't necessarily put the country on (alert). ... There were times when some people [at the White House] were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, 'For that?' "

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Reid cowboys up

The little guy from Searchlight, Nevada is turning heads in Washington D.C. by saying the unspeakable and throwing CW to the wind. And he's winning.
The Washington Post is astonished at the Minority Leader's "Sharp Tongue": calling Bush a "loser" and Greenspan "the biggest political hack this town's ever seen" was just the beginning.

Now he has told Frist to stop with the Kabuki Theater and vote already on the Nuclear Option. Reid knows Frist doesn't have the votes, and he knows Frist is running for president from the camber (and doing a piss poor job at it, just ask Rev. Pat Robertson). Reid knows that these 7 nominees are just sideshows in the real battle over Rehnquist's replacement, due out this summer. "They want a Clarence Thomas, not a Sandra Day O'Connor or Anthony Kennedy or David Souter. George Bush wants to turn the Senate into a second House of Representatives, a rubberstamp for his right wing agenda and radical judges. That's not how America works."

Harry is my hero. He knows his place and his role, and he is making Frist and Bush look like bumbling losers they really are.

Monday, May 09, 2005

While I was sleeping in

The Utah Democrats elected a new party leader, Wayne Holland Jr. Wayne and his father were extremely in the local steelworkers union. Isn't it befitting that the GOP have as their chairman the family owner of Geneva Steel, and the Democrats have the union leader at Geneva Steel?
"The optimistic winds of change are blowing throughout the West," Holland said, noting several Democratic victories in the Rocky Mountain states. "It's time to bring those victories home to Utah.

It was much closer than I thought it was going to be. "The final race was decided by just 25 votes of 729 cast." Jim seems to have been enough, but just barely. Instead of last year's boos over Jim's support of the Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage, this year was nothing but cheers and applause. We Utah Democrats are a practical bunch, but we still fight and have principle.
"We have refused to let our opponents unfairly label us and lie about us," said Matheson, who has often voted with Republicans on key issues.
"We've shown that our diversity is our strength, that we can come together and not let our opponents use wedge politics to divide us. . . . Utah Democrats have wandered in the political wilderness long enough."
Let Wayne be our shephard.