Friday, August 18, 2006

requiem for the summer

Normally, I hate the summer. First, it's hot, so I sweat and get sunburned. Second, I don't see my friends from school as much. Third, I am not in school so there is less learning and more monotony. But this summer went by pretty fast. I saw many friends, visited my sister, remodeled my kitchen, and had interesting work.

Of course, there were dull and down times, like when a insect bite got infected and traveled up my arm, or when I was begging for a project at work. Next year I am sure will fly by, with all the applications, classes, and goodbyes. If I stay in Utah, I will see most of my classmates occasionally. But if I get some job out of state, all bets are off. Right now I am applying to the FEC, DOJ, scores of firms in Utah and the Baltimore-Washington area, as well as judicial clerkships and hoping for an opening to a job here at the DA's. I am also applying for a fellowship that would take me to Germany for a year to work in legislative, judicial, or executive branch (or the media or industry or private law firms), how cool is that?

School starts on Tuesday and on one hand I am glad to get back into it, and on the other, I am afraid of all the changes to come and would like to continue my life as is for a little longer. After all, it is comfortable. But I am excited to see everyone again, learn new things, and start a new phase in my life: as a working stiff.

I have given some thought to getting more education, but I think it is a pretty selfish move because it would be purely for self-enrichment and not for the sake of providing for my family to be. I like teaching and learning but I don't want to actually be a high school teacher...maybe a college professor, but those are extremely competitive.

Only a few days remain before responsibility kicks back in, but it was fun while it lasted.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Corrupt and idiotic to the core

Joe Cannon, Credit: AP.

Chris Cannon, Credit:

Joe and Chris Cannon, brothers and major shareholders in ultra-poluting Geneva Steel, did another stupid and unethical thing.
"Three times this year, a lobbyist sought help from Rep. Christopher Cannon [(R-UT)] for his clients and got it. The lobbyist was the congressman's brother, Joseph Cannon.

"The Utah lawmaker acknowledges helping his brother's clients, including pressing Congress last month to intervene in a business dispute over an Internet contract estimated to be worth as much as $1.3 billion. . .

"Cannon has a financial interest in his brother's success: The lobbyist owes him more than $250,000, according to the lawmaker's financial disclosure reports."

Rep. Cannon denies the aid he gave his brother's clients was improper. "The rules really come down to disclosure," he told AP. "It's easy to make the connections you made between me and my brother."

Yes indeed it is easy, which is why the head of the state party shouldn't be related to a member of congress. Nor should a relative be a lobbyists, let alone a lobbyist to said relative. It gives, at the very least, an appearance of impropriety.

"If my wife decided to lobby, then we would probably say, 'No talking to my office.' I just don't see my brother in the same category," Cannon, R-Utah, told The Associated Press.

Do you really think that Haddassah Lieberman or Mrs. Tom Daschle are such sucessful lobbyists because they are good at it, or is it because their husbands were powerful Senators? Even worse are Curt Weldon's kids, whose company pretty much exclusively lobbies him and makes millions, or John Doolittle wife, who gets a cut of every dollar raised. Or Bill Richardson's family, who were paid hansomly in lieu of Dollar Bill himself until Bill discovered his freezer.

The Cannon boys take the cake. Chris is one of the most idiotic, vote in droves Republican out there. And his brother is a terrible chairman. In the reddest state in the union, he has yet to find a mildly appealling alternative to Jim Matheson.

Meanwhile, Orin "hypocrite" Hatch is pulling off his best Lieberman/Cheney Impression:
Hatch was quoted in Tuesday's Tooele Transcript Bulletin as saying Middle East terrorists are "waiting for the Democrats here to take control, let things cool off and then strike again."

BOO! Now vote for me. That is the GOP 2006 platform appearantly. Have you ever heard a dumber argument? Terrorism is thriving under the Bush Administration because of their terrible policies. I mean, bin Laden filmed a campaign video for Bush in the fall of 2004. They love Bush and his GOP accolytes because those morons drive recruitment.

Can't people in this state see through the utter lunacy and corruption that is the leadership of the Republican party, both nationally and in Utah?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What a difference Carroon makes

If Jim Matheson were ever to lose an election, I thought back in 2002 and 2004, Utah Democrats would be screwed. He was our last best hope. But now, I think we got another waiting in the wings, thanks in part to Howard Dean.

Dean's cousin, Peter Carroon, worked his butt off and got lucky in his 2004 race for Salt Lake County Mayor. But now, Carroon is one of the most popular politicans in the most populous county in Utah. He keeps making smart moves that make him appealing to those beyond his Avenues/9th and 9th base.

Even though a soccer stadium is going forward, Carroon showed that he isn't a push over, and doesn't like to waste taxpayer dollars. He got a big boost in popularity while taking on the Speaker of the House, Sandy's mayor, and other GOP big wigs. Instead of showing up to the cerimonial first shovel, Carrroon kept it real by being at his son's soccer game/practice.

Now he gets to use Rocky as a foil on the left. Salt Lake City's outgoing (thank goodness) mayor grandstanded...I mean protested against the war in Iraq by protesting the American Legion conference. American Legionniares are all old vets, I doubt any more than a handful of those there were in the Iraq war. And it probabbly offended a great many of them. So this year, Carroon will be the official greeter instead.

I think Peter has a decent chance to run for Governor or Senate one day. If I were him, I wouldn't go for the House. First though, get reelected by a big margin in 2008. Still, Utah Democrats now have a real bench. And if a decent Democrat gets elected mayor of Salt Lake City, then we might have another seat open up on the bench...behind the squeeky clean County Mayor.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Buttars than Erza

Utah's most demagogic State Senator is at it again:
Chris Buttars - the state senator who last session championed instruction on divine intervention and banning gay clubs at schools - now proposes giving him and his Senate colleagues the power to fire judges whose rulings they don't like.

Right now, our system is appointment by the Governor, confirmation by the Senate, and periodical retention votes by the public. Personally, I think our system is the best of all possibilities. Judges are mostly insulated from the public and will do what they believe is right under the law, but if they act very egregiously, the people can organize a campaign to oust them. Only a few have not been retained, and that was for truly biased decisions. I am sure if one of them got caught doing drugs or went insane, the voters would can those judges too.

Buttars, who I am sure never went to law school or read the Federalist Papers, said "That is the only way to make the public aware of some of these terrible decisions. ... I don't know where some of these decisions are coming from. Some judges just go in there and wing it." You don't know Senator because you don't understand that they go by statutes and the common law, not the Bible and/or Book of Mormon.
Richard Schwermer, assistant state court administrator, said Buttars' idea has constitutional problems.
"The (Utah State) Constitution says the governor has his role to play, in nominating. The Senate has its role to play, in confirming," he said. But nowhere in the constitution does it say that the Senate gets another shot at a judge in the retention process.

Oh and both Governor Huntsman and Chief Justice Durham agree with me. Yet scarily enough, Buttars has chair the Judiciary Committee for 4 years.
"This is a really bad idea," said Scott Daniels, a former president of the Utah State Bar, former Democratic legislator and former 3rd District judge. "This goes in the wrong direction. We want to keep judges away from political pressure, not closer to it."
Besides any constitutional concerns, "from a practical matter you would not get very qualified people to even apply to be a judge."

Who wants to be a judge at the whim of a couple idiots on Salt Lake’s Capitol Hill? I sure wouldn't and neither would most attorneys. Federal judges can't be removed so easily. "The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office." U.S. Const. Art. III, Sec. 1. Good behavior basically means criminal activity or insanity, I can only think of one federal judge that has been impeached, John Pickering in 1804, and that was because he had gone insane. Buttars is just trying to do his best Dobson impersonation. Leave the demagoguery to professionals Chris.

Monday, August 14, 2006

CW, meet reality

Before I begin, let me just say that I really respect Dan Jones. His polling in Utah is top notch and the only one I really trust. In fact, I almost considered going to this event at the UCC where he talked about why Utah is so red.

And maybe the reporter from the Deseret News was an idiot and just focused on the CW stuff, that's very possible. But I must dispell several MSM lines of CW here.

  1. "Democrats have no clear policy on immigration."

  2. Yes they do. They have passed several bills in the senate immigration. And McCain has signed on to this sensible solution. It is the GOP that is divided. A good chunk of them support the Sensenbrenner lock-em-up type legislation, others support the Senate Democrats position. I will say this over and over again in this piece, but Democrats don't control anything in DC. This makes it very hard to pass bills and without the high level of staff it is hard to further articulate your positions, yet Democrats have a bill that would get support from the majority of Americans but the House won't take it up. Even President Bush would sign this bill.

  3. failure to articulate an exit strategy in Iraq

  4. This is similar to the above point, but slightly closer to the mark. There are still a few Democrats that debate about when we should pull troops out of Iraq, and some of the Joe Lieberman camp that are still refusing to admit their mistake in cheerleading the war, but Lieberman and his followers' days in electoral politics are numbered (negatively). Democrats have united on Iraq for the most part. We all agree that it is going terribly right now, and we need to change the situation by strategically redeploying troops elsewhere. Both those who supported the war, like Joe Biden, and those who opposed the war, like Nancy Pelosi, signed on to this letter.

    Unlike the immigration issue, Democrats have yet to issue a hard, definative policy on Iraq. It is however, a question of when, not whether we should get out of there. Some say the end of the year, some say another Friedman (AKA six months) after that. Iraq is an even more difficult policy issue than immigration. However, it was entirely preventable had we not elected to wage this unnecessary war. The situation has gotten increasingly worse as the President and his supporters have gotten increasingly obstinant in their support of this ill-fated adventure. And again, as the minority out of power party, we don't have to and shouldn't be expected to issue a white paper on what to do. Even if we did and took over Congress on that white paper (which only in punditland happens), we couldn't impliment it until 2008, because Bush is the Commander in Chief. We have a general policy that Americans can understand (and 55% of them support), and that is plenty.

  5. Failure to pass the minimum wage bill

  6. I don't know if Jones actually read the bill, but the GOP attached a poison bill amendment to further cut taxes for America's Paris Hiltons. Sure, GOP leaders can claim they voted for the wage hike and that their opponents voted against it, but Democrats have a great new line on the Estate Tax: Paris Hilton tax. And I think your average voter knows who supports increasing the wage and who doesn't. In fact, in several states across the country, there are ballot initiatives supported by Democrats and their union allies because the federal government won't raise the minimum wage.

  7. "Utah wasn't always so red"

  8. This is the one of the stupidest comments in the whole piece, and I assume Mr. Jones was misunderstood by the reporter. Red state does not mean Republican, it means conservative. The article claimed that Utah used to support Democrats for a long time. But let's remember that prior to the 1930s, the Democrats were a pretty conservative party, and it was still pretty conservative until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Moreover, the Republican Party was founded on its zeal to eliminate "the twin barbarisms of our time" namely slavery and polygamy.

    The GOP was filled with such hatred towards Mormons that is not surprising that Utah was a one party Democratic state for a long time. But remember, the last Democrat to carry Utah was in 1964 with LBJ's huge sweep.

    I would say that the parties have changed overtime, and Utah really hasn't. It has always been a pretty conservative place, opposed to gay marriage, abortion, etc. And as the Democratic party grew to support such things on a national level, so too did the party's prospects wither in the Beehive state.

  9. The inability of the state's Democrats and independents "to relate with a Democrat at the national level."

  10. I don't think we Utah Democrats need to relate to the national party. Kansas, Arizona, Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Virginia (along with probably Colorado, Ohio, Alaska, and Kentucky in the up coming elections) all are states with a majority of Republicans in their delegations, which went for Bush in varying degrees in 2004 and most in 2000, yet have strong Democratic parties and popular Democratic governors.

    These folks often distinguish themselves from the national party on abortion, or gay rights, or guns, etc. but they do just fine on a state level.

    So why does the modern Democratic Party fair so poorly in Utah?
    Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "feel that Democrat policies are counter to church positions."

    And not just that it is counter, but that Democrats are somehow immoral and untrustworthy because of these positions.

    The cultural link between the GOP and the LDS church is so strong that many members who are Democrats feel ashamed to admit it or talk about their feelings personally. Culturally, they are pressured to follow along with the "dogma" that Republicans are virtuous and righteous while Democrats are downright evil. "You don't have to be LDS to win in Utah," said Jones. "You've got two chances: slim and none. But you've got a chance."

    This is despite the fact that the official position of the church is that both parties have elements that fit the teachings of the LDS faith. Democrats have their social justice issues (poverty, health care, etc.) and Republicans have their culture war issues (gays, abortion, sex).

    As I have said before, many a good Mormon was also a good member of the Democratic Party. Democrats also don't require its members to agree with everything in the platform. LDS Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid is pro-Life. Tenn. Rep. Lincoln Davis is anti-gay rights. Senate Candidate Bob Casey is so pro-Life that his dad is the Casey in last landmark abortion case Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Before I ramble off too much on this well-trodden ground, let me address another lame CW myth: "I promise you, he'll gain 5 percentage points, five," Jones said of Bush's popularity after the foiled London plot.

Let's look at the polls, shall we?
The arrests in Britain have not helped President Bush's popularity so far, the CBS poll finds. His job approval remains exactly at 36 percent, where it was a month ago. Even the president's rating for handling terrorism – his strongest suit – remains unchanged at 51 percent.

So much for that five point bump? The only other poll I have seen that was conducted on the issue had Bush at 38 percent, up a whole 3 points from the last Newsweek poll.

Oh and Dan? Three points in a month is within the margin of error. Shall I explain that concept to you as well?