Thursday, September 21, 2006


Mapmaker, mapmaker, make me a map...
Draw it up so one party wins, forget those Constitutions...

OK so maybe I am making a terrible parody of "Matchmaker" from "Fiddler on the Roof," but I do have a point. Here it is:

Huntsman, House Speaker Greg Curtis and Senate President John Valentine - all Republicans - endorsed a map Wednesday for four congressional districts, in which Matheson would represent northern Salt Lake County and Summit and Morgan counties.

Even in that super GOP year of 2002, Jim got 60% from his portion of Salt Lake County. By "Northern Salt Lake County" they probably mean: Rose Park, West Valley, Magna, Salt Lake City, and a few otherwords, the most Democratic parts of the state. Add to that Park City and Morgan country for fun and you have a super safe Democratic seat. I haven't checked, but I bet if you look at the Utah Democratic Party's 2001 redistricting plan, this district would look awefully similar. Jim proposed a more consolidated district based on areas of interest, not voting patterns in 2001.
Matheson's spokeswoman Alyson Heyrend refused Wednesday to comment on the new proposal.
"This is the governor's map, and the Republican leaders' map," Heyrend said. "They're going to have to answer questions about the map. It's not Matheson's map."
In a statement, Matheson said there was a compromise bill that took partisanship out of the formula, "until one member of Congress blocked the bill's progress. If it gets unstuck, I look forward to voting for it. But clearly, the ball is in the majority party's court."
Heyrend did say that Matheson will vote for the bill to give Utah a fourth seat - with or without the at-large provision - if it makes it to the House floor.

Good point Alyson. But I disagree with MD Rep. Steny Hoyer who thinks that having Congress drawing up their districts is a bad idea. Right now, they delegate that to their cronyies in their local state houses, while giving them input on what they actually want. What Congress should do, is set up minimal conditions for a fair district and then let localities decide. For example, they should be as compact as possible, using town/city and county lines, with "communities of interests" kept in mind.

That is, Utah could have one rural district, one district centered around Utah County/Southern SL County, one based around Davis/Weber/Morgan/Toole County, and one based around Salt Lake/Summitt County. This would help everyone, all districts would be 55-60% Republican, addressing the needs of the communities and not playing favorities or ignoring certain areas.

Will Utah get a 4th district? Maybe. Will this scheme be challenged in the courts? Probabbly if it passes. Will Jim happily take his safe seat, or mess up the GOPs plans and run in the 4th (with S. SL County, which loves him, and St. George which is starting to love him, and Iron County, his ancestral home)? I could really see Jim running in the 4th, winning and giving another Democrat (please no Rocky) a chance in the Democratic-leaning new 2nd.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

35,000 hits

I know sites like DailyKos gets this many hits in a hour or so, but I just reached a milestone.

Thanks to the readers who have kept me in check.

Today I want to talk about Iraq. In northern Iraq, the Kurdish controlled areas have outlawed the Iraqi flag and only flag a flag of Iraqi Kurdistan. Something that I am sure Turkey just loves (they have Kurdish majorities in Eastern Turkey). Meanwhile, hundreds are being murdered every day in that country, and Bagdad is being walled off. The nominal head of Iraq is trying to get as tight with Shia-mullah controlled Iran.

So to recap, as a result of this war, we have created a civil war between Shia and Shi'ite with Kurds seeking their own country. This battered and divided country is now closely alligned with Iran, who is 5-10 years away from a nuclear weapon. Iran is now the new head of the middle east. Although Saudia Arabia has the money and Mecca, Iran leads the new ideological mindset of the Arab world.

We made one of our axis of evil more powerful (by assuming Iraq), as well as North Korea (by letting their nuclear program accellerate). We spent hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis lives.

Oh and the Taliban has regrouped and about to take back Afghanistan, Al Qaeda has grown more amorphous and harder to crush, bin Laden is still loose. And I got 35,000 hits.

Monday, September 18, 2006

How to win as a Democrat in Utah

Have Rocky critize you. SLC Mayor Ross Anderson is very unpopular and a boogy man to the right. It looks like Jim Matheson just lucked out. But SLCo. GOPers think this was coordinated:
"I think it's coordinated with Matheson's campaign. He's helping Matheson win re-election," Evans told a University of Utah communication class this week. "It's another cynical ploy. It's vintage Rocky. He operates like [he's playing a game] in three-dimensional chess."
Both Matheson and Anderson dispute the conspiracy theory.
"That's crazy talk," Matheson said.
And Anderson called Evans "paranoid and looney."
But Evans' comments reveal the political implications of the spat. Conventional wisdom would say that anything the mayor does or says boomerangs outside of Salt Lake City. If he advises "Don't vote for Matheson," conservative Utah voters might give the congressman a second look. Rather than pushing voters toward Brister, Anderson's criticism of his fellow Democrat could pull voters away from Republican candidate LaVar Christensen and guarantee a Matheson win.

I discussed earlier today how LaVar has terrible signs, and previously how he has no money. But now with Rocky out there doing the reverse physcology for Jim, it is all over.

The article claims that having Rocky go after a Democrat helps that Democrat with conservatives who lean GOP. But really, it helps them with Democrats too. Afterall, Rocky isn't running for reelection is he? And Jim's support amoung Democrats is around 90%.
Ex-SLC Mayor and father of 2007 candidate Jenny Wilson, Ted Wilson has a more apt analysis about what's going on:
"It is almost more about Rocky than it is about Jim," Wilson said. "Rocky's deepest conviction is that we're all too timid in what we say. There's a tendency in Rocky to say whatever's in his mind.
He's the most unfiltered political leader I've ever known."

I applaud Rocky for cutting the city's green house gas levels, and I like the public art around, but other than that, he has been a complete disaster.

I think Rocky has a future as a reverse lobbyist at the State Legislature. All he has to do is go up there and proudly support or oppose something...and watch the opposite happen. It is smart politics for any Democrat this year to pick a fight with Rocky. Smarter still to have Rocky pick a fight with you.

America needs better billboard slogans

Over the weekend I was running some errands and saw several poltical billboard for big candidates running this fall. I will tell you the slogans, then take them apart, and give my vote...but I would love to hear yours.

"America Needs Utah"
"Justice First"
"Experience Matters"
"The Real McCoy"

These are two Democrats, two Republicans, two terrible slogans and two not so bad ones.

St. Rep. LaVarr Christensen wins the prize for worst slogan: America Needs Utah. What does that mean? You are driving on the freeway or a state highway like 700 East and you see this sign, what are you supposed to think? He represents "Utah values" (aka LDS dogma)? Jim Matheson doesn't represent his state? I just don't understand what LaVarr is trying to get at. Moreover, the photo they chose is terrible...he looks like a cross between a horse and chipmunk. Grade: F-

Second to last place is St. Sen. Scott McCoy, or "the Gay" as Sen. Buttars calls him. His attempts at being clever fail miserably as cliched as they come. there was more to the slogan, but I can't even remember it...something like "people over politics" or something. And I am one of the most informed/interested voters in his district. That shows you something. He also gets a demotion for his campaign literature with the title "You've got issues." I really hope he didn't know they alternative meaning of that line. Grade: C--.

Attorney Loha Miller comes in second in a tight race for best slogan. The republican nominee for DA, Justice First is a pretty good slogan. But is that a subtle jab at the current DA, saying that politics comes first, or what? The reason she got second place was the "ask a cop" logo over a badge, in apparant reference to her endorsement to current SL Co. Sheriff Aaron Kennard [R](who is also up this year) least that is what I could come up with. What does ask a cop mean? Was she endorsed by a policeman union? If so, that would have been better than ask a cop. Every time I see her signs, I wonder what that means. Also, the colors are not compelling. Grade: B+

SLC Attorney Sim Gill wins for the best billboard. Sim's is simple: white background, read and blue letters. "Experience Matters" clearly says "i have relevant experience that my opponent doesn't have" which is true. Sim was an DDA here before he got ELECTED as the City Attorney, she contracts out misdemeanor cases for small municipalities within county limits. He has tried many more cases, more complex cases, than Loha. That complex message is boiled down to "experience matters" without losing much of the punch. Grade: A-