Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saturday round-up

    We got a dog! (see above) We haven't given him a name yet. Ideas welcome but we are thinking of something German, French, or English (i.e. Spaezel, Minion, or Dudley). Anyway, my wife and I are very excited...we adopted him in Lehi this morning.
  • If you thought our dog we cute, check out a sneezing baby panda!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Quote of the Day

If that's the kind of people we got over
in Iraq, maybe we ought to get out. I
suspect that's not the case. I suspect there
are good people, just like everywhere else in
the world. Mr. Alfatlawi is not one of them.
He is a criminal of the worst kind. He preys
on people that are minding their own
business. He robbed a store where a lady was
trying to make a new store work, in the
middle of the night. They took advantage of
a widow in the Cove area, who went out . . .
to try and give assistance, and they
terrorized her. A man coming home, unloading
his baggage in his home, they robbed. A
young woman walking down the street, who was
out of gas, in the night, coming home from
work, they attempted to rob her. She didn't
have anything, so they couldn't take it.
Random acts of violence, for example, on [one
of the victims]. This is just outside the
pizza store on 13th there. They pull up and
point a gun at him and demand money. He only
has five dollars, but he gives it to them.
And on and on and on.
This is the kind of guy that ought to be
off the street for a long period of time, as
long as I can make it. Considering his
attitude, if the Board of Pardons let's [sic]
him out in other than a box, they are nuts,
because he will do this again. It is too bad
we can't deport him back to Iraq. If I had
any say-so about it, that's exactly where he
would go, and he can deal with the situation
over there. He would last about 20 minutes,
with his attitude.
But, in any event, Mr. Alfatlawi has
earned and he gets from me a consecutive
sentence on each one of these. They all run
consecutively. By my count it is 70 years to
life. . . . This guy deserves to be in
prison for a long, long time. Commitment
forthwith. You can give him the good news,
Mr. Simms.
. . . .
. . . . Tell Mr. Alfatlawi to have a
nice life.

That was Third District Court Judge Hanson on Azharn Alfatlawi, who had just been convicted of six counts of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated burglary. I had heard of the judge's comments last year when he was sentenced, but now that the sentence has been affirmed on appeal in a publicly available opinion, 2006 UT App 511, I feel I can share it with you all.

This defendant by the way has a tattoo on his forehead that says "Iraqi Pride," try getting a solid lineup with that. What do you do, draw "Iraqi Pride" and his teardrop tattoo on people with magic marker?

Anyway, I urge my readers to spend time with family and friends this next week as I will be blogging little to none while I do the same. Happy Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus , or whatever you celebrate. I will be having a Merry Christmas. Two relatives who were not going to be here for Christmas Eve will be joining us thanks to that monster storm in Denver. It is happy for us but sad for their children and grandchildren in Denver. Still, the kids of Colorado have lots of snow to play in and probably haven't been at school for days. All this light snow in Salt Lake has me thinking of them. Also, be safe next week and if you have had ANYTHING to drink, just take a cab. I don't want to see you next time I try a DUI.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday round-up

  • People in Utah can't find their local liquor stores. Why? Because listing them in the yellowpages is deemed "advertising," which is prohibited by statute. "That's stupid," said Larry Lunt, head of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, said Wednesday at the monthly meeting of the agency that regulates state liquor sales. "People don't normally know to look for liquor stores in the Blue Pages."
    Searching online also may be problematic. An Internet check of Salt Lake County liquor stores also pulled up a grocery store and a plumbing supply outlet.

  • This week's sign the apocalypse is upon us: Sen. Orin Hatch's music goes Platinum. Who are these people that like to pay money for stuff you can listen to in the elevator?
  • I will take lame political christmas songs for $100 Alex: Courtesy of Hotline. I just hope they didn't write it themselves. Feel free to voice your opinion about the song in the comments.
    The Mormon Song
    (to tune of Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song")

    Break out the Golden Plate, here comes 2008.
    So fun to guess the fate of our favorite Mormon candidate.

    Mitt Romney has been a Mormon all his life.
    And unlike Giuliani and McCain, he's only had one wife.

    When you think like pundits in town who think it can't be done,
    Here's a list of people who are Mormon, Mitt's not the only one.

    Harry Reid's a Dem who'll lead the U.S. Senate,
    And then there are Republicans Orrin Hatch and Robert Ben-nett.

    Guess who eats together when Congress is in session,
    Senator Mike Crapo, and Congressman Mike Simpson

    George Allen's part Jewish; and he won't run in '08,
    Romney lost a foe because of Macaca-gate.

    Now on the war on terror, Mitt Romney won't be soft,
    and he can form a Cabinet with
    Chris Cannon and Brent Scowcroft -- (both Mormon)

    So break out the Golden Plate, here comes 2008
    If you go to see Salt Lake, the Marriot sure is great.

    O.J. Simpson -- not a Mormon,
    But guess who is, Governor Jon Huntsman.

    Romney's got a plan to make it to the fall,
    And if he does, he'll do better than Mo Udall.

    You may be convinced that it's not that tough a fight
    If Mitt gets help from the star of Napoleon Dynamite!

    Not many Mormons are in the news biz --
    Larry King isn't, but did you know that his wife is?

    Go tell Gordon Hinkley, '08 will be here quickly,
    McCain hopes that he'll face Hillary, but hey may not be the nominee.

    So stay away from coffee, and better not drink whiskey
    Cause maybe soon we all might see,
    a Republican President named Mitt Romney.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

2008 updates

It is amazing how fast and soon presidential politics moves these days. With the most wide-open races in a hundred or so years and a front loaded calendar on both sides, candidates are entering and leaving faster than I can get around to updating the "wannabes" section of my blog (see the bottom of the right side column). But today I got around to it. You will notice that Bayh was moved from "second tier" presidential candidate to first tier VP candidate (wherein he will never be chosen). I also added ex-VA Gov. Jim Gilmore (R), who ravaged the state budget so much that Warner had to raise taxes by over $2 billion to cover the deficits, along with major spending cuts. He sees an opening on the conservative wing of the GOP, given Romney's current troubles. Oh if only the GOP were dumb enough to nominate Gilmore, Romney, Brownback, Tancredo, or Hunter. Any of the Democrats running realistic campaigns could beat them (Hillary, Obama, Edwards, Clark, Richardson).

On the Democratic side, I added NM Gov. Bill Richardson, who has made some smart moves, to the board. I told Clark to speak out against McCain's add troops plan, and Richardson did it and got lots of praise from the blogosphere. Blogs will be the invisible primary of 2007. The winner will get lots of cash, loyalty, phone banking, and some actual on the ground volunteers. It will be interesting to see how the field shapes up.

The top of GOP race is currently McCain, but there is plenty of room on the right to run because the conservatives just don't trust him. And as McCain tires more and more to burnish his conservative bona fides, the more his moderate/independent base leaves him, and makes beating him in November easier. I think a McCain/Giuliani would be the GOP's best electoral bet, but I think a red meat conservative will get the Cheney slot.

The top of the Democratic primary is really much more wide open. Atrios sees it as a three way tie between Hillary, Obama, and Edwards. Edwards has the calendar and labor going for him. Hillary has the network of Clintonistas and loyal women behind her. Obama is the media darling, the McCain of 2008. But be warned Barrack, they love to tear down what they have created. I just hope it is McCain and not Obama, who would make an excellent VP choice. All three of these dubbed frontrunners could falter at any moment, so Clark & Richardson have a good shot and squeezing in. Both would also be good VP candidates. Democrats could realistically have a woman/black, woman/hispanic, black/hispanic, hispanic/black,or black/woman(with Sebilius as VP) ticket in 2008 and have all of these tickets with a good shot of success.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

how did this happen?

Simon Wiesenthal, the Holocaust survivor who dedicated the rest of his life to hunting down Nazis, was placed on a list of potential posthumous converts to the LDS faith. His foundation got wind of Wiesenthal's name being on the database and raised holy hell.
"We are astounded and dismayed," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the center's founder and dean, in a written statement. Wiesenthal "proudly lived as a Jew, died as a Jew and demanded justice for the millions of the victims of the Holocaust. . . . It is sacrilegious for the Mormon faith to desecrate his memory by suggesting that Jews on their own are not worthy enough to receive God's eternal blessing."

The Church reacted properly, but they have a massive problem on their hands.
"In accordance with the commitments the church made in 1995, no church ordinance was performed for Simon Wiesenthal and his name was immediately removed from the International Genealogical Index," said Bruce Olsen, press secretary to the church's First Presidency.

Mr. Olsen and his team need to figure out who put Wiesenthal's name on this list, and make a big stink about punishing them. After all, this isn't the first time it has happened:
In a posthumous or proxy baptism, a living Mormon is baptized by full immersion in water in the name of a deceased individual. Such baptism is essential for eternal salvation, the LDS Church teaches, but it takes effect only if the deceased accepts the ritual in the afterlife.
In 1995, several Jewish groups became incensed by the practice when it was discovered that Holocaust victims were among those being baptized by proxy. They drew parallels to medieval crusades to baptize them by force. Not wishing to offend, the LDS Church removed 400,000 names...But thousands of the deleted names somehow kept reappearing on the list, prompting more talks between the LDS Church and Jewish representatives... [and] In 2002, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton met with Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch to discuss the problem, although neither would discuss it publicly.

That would have been a great meeting to be a fly on the wall on. I bet Orin doesn't really hate Hillary as much as he pretends to on TV. Here is another great quote from Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Wiesenthal Center's founder and dean:
"We believe the only gatekeeper to heaven is a life of good deeds," Hier said. "He was a great Jew and will merit heaven on his own without anybody's help."

Indeed, I think Wiesenthal's deeds and sufferings merit entrance into heaven, even if he doesn't think Jesus was the Messiah. And like I said, the LDS Church has a big PR disaster here that will only get worse if the press find out who did this before Church officials do. It could be that there is some anti-Semite putting these names in the database. Or it could be someone's idea of a big joke. Or it could be a true believer, thinking that he needs to save these souls more than any others. Either way, it is wrong and the Church needs to put a stop to it once and for all. Create a list of "do not post" names of Holocaust victims so that if people try this again (and they will), the Church will be able to catch the wrongdoers in the act.

Monday, December 18, 2006

quitting and taking the ball with you

I had heard about the kerfluffle from wayward Anglican ministries in Northern Virginia that were super-conservative at there dismay that New Hampshire made a openly gay man their bishop, but I never thought they would actually do this:
Truro and The Falls Church, with a combined membership of more than 3,000, will form the core of what is envisioned as a new Fairfax-based mission of the conservative Episcopal Church of Nigeria. The head of the Nigerian church, Archbishop Peter Akinola, has voiced support for a pending law in that country that includes prison sentences for gay sexual activity.

The Rev. Martyn Minns of Truro Church, who is missionary bishop of the splinter group known as CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America), said that although the dissident Virginia churches believe that homosexuality is banned by Scripture, they do not support criminalization of gay sex.

Akinola's spokesman and his advocates have said he does not advocate aggressively pursuing the jailing of homosexuals. His advocates say he is trying to navigate an explosive cultural situation in Nigeria and appease Muslim leaders.

So who attends these churches? Truro is a veritable who's-who of Washington establishment conservatives, including Oliver North and SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas. And why do they believe it is necessary to create a schism?
Truro Church in Fairfax and The Falls Church in Falls Church plan to place themselves under the leadership of Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, who has called the growing acceptance of gay relationships a "satanic attack" on the church.

So why not just join other churches that aren't as amenable to human equality? Its the principle of the thing right? That and the $25 Million the property is worth in Virginia. Yet another round of conservative cry babies acting immaturely. If church doctrine changes from you, you should change churches. Like if you were a racist, and the LDS Church decided that African-Americans could indeed be religious officials in 1978, then you should leave the church. And not take your expensive real estate and go play with a nutbar in Africa. But I guess homophobia and logic aren't necessarily related.