Thursday, May 31, 2007

connect the dots


Deseret News May 31, 2007:, a California-based nonpartisan group that says it seeks to illuminate connections between money and politics, looked at donations from payday lenders nationwide. But it focused on seven states where it said the percentage of overall donations that came from payday lenders was higher than elsewhere: Utah, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
"We found that during the last eight years, as total industry campaign contributions in these states increased, state laws allowed the industry to continue operating without significant restrictions," it said in a new study.
It said payday lenders gave $76,200 to state-level candidates in Utah between the 1996 and 2006 elections. ...a higher percentage than was given in most states.
...about a dozen bills were proposed but failed in the Utah Legislature in that time either to cap the high interest rates the industry charges or to more tightly regulate it.
(The study numbers may indeed have problems — but payday lenders may have actually given more than it said. The Deseret Morning News in a quick, noncomprehensive look at databases Tuesday, identified at least $95,000 that such lenders gave in Utah in the period. About 20 percent came of that from out of state. But the study identified only about $76,000, and said 85 percent of it came from out of state.)
The Morning News found in 2005 that Utah has more payday loan stores than 7-Elevens, McDonald's, Burger Kings and Subway stores — combined.

Deseret News May 27, 2007:
a Deseret Morning News review of all bills introduced in the 2007 Legislature shows, is that a fourth of the session's legislation came with clear or possible conflicts of interest involving the measures' sponsors.
Insurance agents sponsored bills on insurance regulation. Police officers carried bills on criminal penalties. Contractors sponsored bills on construction. Teachers carried bills on education.
The percentage of lawmakers' conflicts of interest may actually be even higher than 25 percent because some lawmakers reveal little of their real conflicts in their personal disclosure forms, using only broad or vague wording.
And Utah lawmakers can't escape their conflicts of interest when it comes to voting on bills. Unlike members of Congress or other state legislatures, Utah's legislators, due to internal rules, must vote on a bill even though they may have a clear conflict of interest.
Kirk Jowers, head of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics, says there is great value in having a part-time, citizen legislature.
But, he adds, there is a hidden conflict of interest on legislation that few people talk about: Legislators' legal ability to take cash out of their own campaign accounts and spend it any way they wish.
"It is almost legalized bribery," said Jowers, "if a lobbyist or special interest group gave money to a legislator's campaign account" in hopes of getting special treatment. "If they gave you $10,000 or $20,000, that is the ultimate conflict of interest."
At the very least, legislators should pass a law that says they can't use campaign cash for personal use, Jowers said.

Deseret News May 31, 2007:
It is "disingenuous" for Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. to call a special session on vouchers before the Nov. 6 public vote, says House Speaker Greg Curtis, who vows to "vigorously" fight against repealing HB174 if such a session is called.

KSL April 12, 2007:
In the House there was a similar show of loyalty to the side that gave the money -- 96 percent who got money from the pro-voucher group voted for and 78 percent who got money from the other side voted against.
Pro-public school money generally went to Democrats. Pro-voucher donations generally went to Republicans, including GOP House Speaker Greg Curtis, who by many accounts used his considerable clout to pressure some members to vote Yes.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I am happy despite being a Democrat

(Photo Credit: © 2004 NASA)

Recently there was an article that did a study showing that GOPers are happier than Democrats (from Teagan Goddard's Political Wire)
A new Pew Research poll finds that Republicans are happier than Democrats. This finding has been consistent since the survey began in 1972.

"Republicans tend to have more money than Democrats, and -- as we've already discovered -- people who have more money tend to be happier. But even this explanation only goes so far. If one controls for household income, Republicans still hold a significant edge: that is, poor Republicans are happier than poor Democrats; middle-income Republicans are happier than middle-income Democrats, and rich Republicans are happier than rich Democrats."

"Might ideology be the key? It's true that conservatives, who are more likely to be Republican, are happier than liberals, who are more likely to be Democrats. But even controlling for this ideological factor, a significant partisan gap remains. Conservative Republicans are happier than conservative Democrats, and moderate/liberal Republicans are happier than liberal Democrats."

The jerky response would be that ignorance is bliss. Those who watch Faux News know far less about what is going on than those who watch the Daily Show. And the partisan make up of those audiences are skewed heavily.

But despite my anger about what Bush and his allies have done to my beloved country (and what local Republicans are doing to my beloved state), I am still personally happy. I am blessed to have a great marriage with a smart, caring and loving wife. I live comfortably with a nice job, nice house, nice car, and nice pet. I have support from great friends and family members. And generally speaking, I am in excellent health.

So while I am personally at peace, I cannot rest while I see injustices around me. That's why I rant on this and other blogs, why I contribute my time and treasure to candidates, and why I try to get other people to join me in this fight. It is why I went to law school, so that I would have the tools to fight back.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

the school board got it right

Today the state school board, after hearing from the Attorney General for hours, voted not to implement a vouchers program for the next school year. The ruling sets up a court battle at the Utah Supreme Court. Look for the court to avoid controversy and narrowly rule on the statutory interpretation, not the constitutionality of vouchers in Utah.

"This to me is the way to get it before a court and get it heard by somebody who can make a decision so we can go forward," said board member Dennis Morrill of Taylorsville. "Everybody ought to be cheering who wants this decided once and for all."
Shurtleff, of course, urged in his opinion letter that the Board should start "a voucher program based on a second law that was drafted to amend the original voucher act but accidentally re-enacted entire sections and completely omitted others."

The very title of the bill is "Education Voucher Amendments" meaning that it relates back to HB 148, which is subject to repeal this November. Mean that HB 174 will be mooted if the voters repeal 148. If that weren't enough, those who voted for 174 who didn't vote for 148 (those making it referendum-proof) did so thinking they were fixing 148, not creating a new bill.

We were ensured it was cleanup legislation — there was confusion among senators and representatives," said Rep. Rosalind McGee, D-Salt Lake. "HB174 is a muddle policy fragment— please don't make state policy based on muddled policy."

For those of you doubt my legal reasoning, here is a primer from the most recent Utah Supreme Court case I can find:
When interpreting statutes, we look first to the statute's plain language with the primary objective of giving effect to the legislature's intent. Savage v. Utah Youth Vill., 2004 UT 102, P18, 104 P.3d 1242. "We presume that the legislature used each word advisedly" and read "each term according to its ordinary and accepted meaning." State v. Barrett, 2005 UT 88, P29, 127 P.3d 682 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Statutes should be read as a whole and their provisions interpreted in harmony with related provisions and statutes. Miller v. Weaver, 2003 UT 12, P17, 66 P.3d 592.

When the language of the statute is plain, other interpretive tools are not needed. Adams v. Swensen, 2005 UT 8, P8, 108 P.3d 725. However, if the language is ambiguous, the court may look beyond the statute to legislative history and public policy to ascertain the statute's intent. Utah Pub. Employees Ass'n v. State, 2006 UT 9, P59, 131 P.3d 208 (Parrish, J., concurring). When viewed holistically, a statute is ambiguous if duplicative, yet plausible meanings are not eliminated from possibility. Id. P60. Martinez v. Media-Paymaster Plus/Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2007 UT 42, PP46-47

"My duty to my client is to tell them to obey the law ... sometimes what we say our client doesn't want to hear," Shurtleff said. However Shurtleff didn't do that, because his ultimate client is the Utah GOP, and their out-of-state donors want this bill to be valid, even if the people of Utah don't.

darned whippersnappers

Now I know I am a few years yet from Thirty, but I feel old when I begin today's rant:
Longboarders -- who get their thrills on extended, low-riding, speed-designed skateboards -- say they can share the streets with motorists and pedestrians.
Drivers "get really pissed when they get scared," rider Nic Adams says. "They're just not used to people moving on a longboard on the street with them."
But valley police officers and city officials fear the fad -- illegal in some locations -- threatens public safety.
"Some of the boarders come down that hill [SunCrest Drive] pretty quick, and it's surprising drivers," Draper City Councilman Bill Colbert says. "They have to take evasive action or are afraid they're going to hit one of these kids. I'm worried someone is going to get hurt or killed."
Lynn Rohland, spokeswoman for the University of Utah Police, says longboarding has been rampant across campus for years. Boarders often start at the U. and pick up speed heading downhill on 100 South and into downtown.
"This is everywhere on our campus," Rohland says. "It's a big issue, and we take it seriously."

(photo credit Keith Jacobs)

Note the lack of helmet or any other protective padding. Also note that these idiots tend to weave down a lane to slow down and because they want to go as fast as possible (without cars in the way), they ride down steep streets in the dark with no reflectors or lights in the middle of the lane.

I am sure it is fun to ride, but under those circumstances it is incredibly dangerous. Riders get going up to 60 MPH and have no real brakes other than their feet and if a car driver cannot see them (and riders rarely slow down let alone stop at stop signs or lights), they could very well hit and kill them.

Of course, almost all of these morons are male, teens to 30s. I see them on my street that is quite hilly and South Temple all the time, including well after dark. I can't count the number of times people have almost hit them.

If you want a similar thrill, go skiing or surfing. Or go on a private road. Join an X-games type league that closes off the streets when you long board. But get the heck off public roads, day and especially night. And wear a freaking helmet and reflectors. Ridiculously large headphones don't count.

Monday, May 28, 2007

never forget

while you are out having a nice iced tea and doing your gardening or putting together IKEA furniture like I did this weekend, remember why you aren't at work/school today:

America's armed forces are losing their lives for a failed policy and failed war. But their lives cannot be lost in vain, even if Iraq becomes worse than 2001 Afghanistan.

We must remember their sacrifices and pledge never to let any more lives be lost for one man's pride and another man's greed.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

voucher confusion made simple

Pro-voucher forces are trying to muddy the waters. Here's why:
Today's Deseret News
An editorial column in Thursday's paper mixed up the two private school voucher bill numbers. HB148, the main voucher bill, is the subject of a citizen referendum vote on Nov. 6. HB174, an amendment bill to HB148, passed the 2007 Legislature by two-thirds vote and by law is not subject to referendum repeal.

The leading story in that newspaper? Another high profile Dan Jones poll:
Republican legislative majorities to do what those leaders don't necessarily want to do.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates found that 64 percent of Utahns would want Huntsman and the Legislature to repeal a second voucher law should voters reject vouchers at the polls Nov. 6.
Even worse for the Republicans, 76 percent of Utahns want Huntsman to call a special session this summer during which legislator's could "fix" the two-voucher bill problem — clearing the way for an unimpeded, simple up-or-down vote Nov. 6 on vouchers.
But even with those overwhelming numbers, Huntsman says he won't call a special session this summer. And it's possible that, should voters reject vouchers, Utah would still have a voucher law and the controversial program would go forward — for GOP legislators could refuse to repeal a second voucher law.
Meanwhile, it's hard to tell where Utahns will side in November. Forty-three percent of 410 Utahns surveyed May 21-24 say they favor vouchers, and 47 percent oppose them. Considering the error margin of plus or minus 5 percent, public opinion is a virtual dead heat, just as it was earlier this year before legislators passed the voucher program.

I really hope voters remember how anti-democratic Utah's state leadership--Gov. Huntsman, Speaker Curtis, Sen. President Valentine--all have been throughout this session in particular, and especially on this issue. Next November, throw as many of those bums out as you can.

Friday, May 25, 2007

we're number 50!

(Photo Credit: Bunch of Losers)
Aren't you proud that Utah beat out Mississippi again?
The Census Bureau analysis of state education funding differs slightly from data from the National Center of Education Statistics released in April. Yet both reports list Utah as last in the nation for spending $5,257 per student in fiscal year 2005. The second-to-last state, Arizona, spent $6,261 per student that year.
The results surprise few policymakers, who've all but given up escaping last place. Members of the Utah State Board of Education, legislators and tax watchdogs say it's nearly impossible for Utah to rival spending in other states. Income taxes from Utah's relatively small and low-paid workforce get stretched paying for the state's large population of school children.

To paraphrase Robert Kennedy/George Bernard Shaw, some see things as they are and ask "why," Utah's education policy makers ask "why bother?"

(as an aside, vouchers will only put the state further behind by definition, but PCE couldn't care less about that)

Here's an example of what this last in the nation standing means for Utah children:
Ogden School District says it's cutting projects to save money.
The school board passed a revised building plan that they say will save $23 million.
Two building projects are being deferred. Those are construction of the district campus elementary school, which should save $11.4 million. And the board voted to hold off on the renovation of Ogden High School's science rooms. That cut another $11.8 million.
Voters approved $95.3 million last June for construction and renovation plans to fix the district's aging school buildings.

That's just buildings, what about arts programs, school trips, books, school supplies, teacher salaries, staff salaries, school buses, etc.?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

thursday round-up

Nothing especially was enough to get a post, so you all get mini-posts within one...enjoy.
  • The best summation I have heard of the legal arguments for and against the DC-Utah bill: "Make no mistake: We are on uncharted territory," Patricia Wald, former chief judge of the U. S. Court Appeals for the District of Columbia, said in testimony submitted to the committee. Still, she added, "In such a landscape, Congress is justified in concluding the balance tilts in favor of recognizing for D.C. residents the most basic right of all democratic societies, the right to vote for one's leaders."

  • More posturing on vouchers:
    Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said Thursday he and legislative leaders are putting together a letter pledging to honor whatever decision voters make about private school vouchers at the polls in November — even if Utahns reject the funding program.
    The letter, which Huntsman said may also be signed by Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, "will essentially state that whatever the vote is in November will be respected as a vote up or down on vouchers."
    [...]The governor said there wasn't the "political will" to deal with the issue in a special session.
    Last time I checked, Huntsman, you were the one of the most popular governors in the US. Why don't you use some of your political capital to hold a special session and deal with it like a man? Does this mean that if the voters vote vouchers down that BOTH bills will be scrapped? Or will the AG's opinion rule? Or will you just let the courts decide?

  • speaking of which,
    A pro-voucher group will announce legal action this afternoon regarding the two voucher laws on Utah's books. Parents for Choice in Education has scheduled a press conference for 1:45 p.m. today in the lobby of Salt Lake City's Matheson Court House.
    The legislature created this mess by voting for this stupid bill that had no real native grassroots support and now want to have their cake and eat it too. I hope all who voted for it lose their seats in the Legislature.

  • Is there anything that Romney does that the local papers won't cover in a positive light?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Start with the obvious

Once again, the local press plays dumb:
Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee seemed to have agreed on a single script: defending the former administration official and denouncing the Democratic-led inquiry.

Have you ever watched any cable news? Compared your interview with a national Republican or local Republican on a national topic with another interview of a Republican on the same topic? I am assuming the answer is no, otherwise, why the "seems"?

At least the reporter remember to include the latest edition of "How has Chris Cannon embarrassed his state today?" in the headline.
Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, was so peeved by the proceedings that he asked no questions during his first five-minute round. Instead, he read a Los Angeles Times editorial berating Democrats on an unrelated matter involving ethics and spending earmarks.

It is well worth pointing out as a law student, that normally Goodling would have never been hired by any prosecutor's office, let alone be the DOJ's White House Liaison. Why, because Regent University College of Law sucks. "Regent Law was ranked in Tier 4 by U.S. News, the lowest ranking and essentially a tie for 136th place out of 170 schools surveyed." "According to statewide and national statistics, Regent's four-year average Virginia bar pass rate is 51.5%, which is 21.5% below the statewide average of 73%, and the lowest in the Commonwealth of Virginia." The school used to be named after Pat Robertson's cable channel: CBN [Christian Broadcasting Network] University. Yet Bush's White House hired 150 Regent grads.

For the record, the SJ Quinney College of Law has crept into the second tier but I fully expect it to be back in the top tier soon. Our bar passage rate is high and about average for state averages (but there are only 2 law school in Utah and the bar passage rate is higher than other states).

Slam of the week

McCain on Romney May 21, 2007:
"In the case of Governor Romney, you know, maybe I should wait a couple of weeks and see if it changes, because it's changed in less than a year from his position before. And maybe his solution will be to get out his small-varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off his lawn. I don't know."

I have to say, the first line was the most effective, the second, a bit obscure and racist and angry. The whole thing to me says that McCain is thinking: "I am losing to this guy?!" And indeed he is in the low double digits with Giuliani in Iowa, either fighting for second without Fred Thompson, McCain's friend, or for third with Thompson included in the polls.

McCain has been running for President for something like 10 years and finds himself in bad shape in the first and most important state. But if he wants to turn it around, he is going to have to tear down Romney and Giuliani and then F. Thompson.

Romney's biggest weakness is his lust to pander so much that he makes switch grass seem constantly still. Giuliani's is that he is corrupt and has liberal social positions. F. Thompson's is that he is a lazy man who never did anything in the Senate. McCain's is his anger, his support of campaign finance reform, and his support of immigration reform...two giant pet issues with the GOP base that are as big as Iraq and Health Care on the Democratic side.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

compare and contrast

Or a tale of two bad articles

Here's Thomas Burr's article about the Utah's lone Democrat in Congress, Jim Matheson, on May 19:
Rep. Jim Matheson, a Utah Democrat and self-described fiscal conservative, spent the largest percentage of his office allowance compared with his congressional colleagues in 2005, a new report shows.
Matheson used 99.97 percent of his congressional office budget that year, leaving only $375 unspent, according to the National Taxpayers Union, which compiled office budget data from published House reports.

Now for today's article by the same reporter, this time on brother of the rival daily newspaper, Rep. Chris Cannon:
Rep. Chris Cannon voted against reauthorizing a federal program to put more cops on the street, saying it's a local responsibility.
Cannon pointed to a recent report in USA Today of an internal audit showing that 3 percent of the COPS grants reviewed found some $277 million was misspent. Additionally, the report says, tens of thousands of jobs funded by the grants were never filled or weren't filled for long.

Now Burr allowed Matheson to explain why he used all but $375 of his budget--his Alabama-size district--but the lede of the article was I repeat "Matheson, a Utah Democrat and self-described fiscal conservative." The Cannon article does not say he is a Republican or call him a "self-described as pro-police."

The article lets others, namely a New York City Democrat (and it does point him out that way), to claim that COPS is a very successful program, but it burries the fact that local municipalities support it and would have more officers if the funding was most assured. And the article fails to mention studies that prove that Bush's defunding of COPS (because it is a Clinton program) has resulted in higher crime rates across the country, TIME magazine did a story on this, using Milwaukee, WI as the example.

JM Bell points out that Cannon's vote happened on May 14th, yet Burr didn't cover Cannon's slap in the face to Utahns until today. "Tommy Burr is one of the best reporters in the country so, what the hell happened? I have a hard time believing that Burr just waited to write it." I think he didn't want to write it until he found his Matheson story to "balance" it with.

Truth over Balance. Progress over ideology.

Monday, May 21, 2007

the house of cards

Republicans believe, since the days of Kennedy's 1960 election by the narrowest of margins, that Democrats use massive voter fraud to win elections. Conversely, Democrats believe that Republicans attempt to intimidate racial and ethnic minorities from voting and that if only more of such groups would vote, Democrats would win.

Both are urban legends, with some truth but mostly falsehood. While some dead people might have voted for Kennedy in Cook County and similar things might still happen today, the margin of such errors is not enough to swing elections. More importantly, it is not based on some plot hatched by liberals in some lair.

Democrats need to turn out more single women of all colors to win elections, not just minorities who might be scared or confused into not voting. Again, no vast conspiracy here there either.

But don't put away your tinfoil hat just yet. It seems that bloggers have stumbled onto a pretty vast conspiracy: the US attorney purge. The purge is indelibly linked to the aforementioned voter fraud myth. Karl Rove and many others believed that in places in swing states like New Mexico, Milwaukee, and St. Louis, massive voter fraud was taking place. And what do you know, they pressured the local US Attorneys in those locals to bring indictments against Democrats for voter fraud. Because there was little to no evidence, the US Attorneys either refused and were sacked, or followed orders only to see their indictments tossed out. In fact, only a tiny percentage of all the voter fraud cases brought by the Bush Justice Department have been successful, despite Rove's push for prosecutions.

Now that the Congress is in Democratic hands and has started asking pesky questions and requesting damaging documents, not only have lots of Justice Department officials resigned, but their outside counterparts have vanished into thin air.
the American Center for Voting Rights, a group that has literally just disappeared as an organization, and for which it seems no replacement group will rise up. With no notice and little comment, ACVR—the only prominent nongovernmental organization claiming that voter fraud is a major problem, a problem warranting strict rules such as voter-ID laws—simply stopped appearing at government panels and conferences. Its Web domain name has suddenly expired, its reports are all gone (except where they have been preserved by its opponents), and its general counsel, Mark "Thor" Hearne, has cleansed his résumé of affiliation with the group. Hearne won't speak to the press about ACVR's demise. No other group has taken up the "voter fraud" mantra.

So who was ACVR? And doesn't it remind you of that scene from "1984" where Winston, working at the Ministry of Truth incinerates photos of handshakes between Eurasia and Oceania "We have always been at war with Eastasia..."?
the group was founded just days before its representatives testified before a congressional committee hearing on election-administration issues chaired by then-Rep. (and now federal inmate) Bob Ney. The group was headed by Hearne, national election counsel to Bush-Cheney '04, and staffed with other Republican operatives, including Jim Dyke, a former RNC communications director.

Consisting of little more than a post-office box and some staffers who wrote reports and gave helpful quotes about the pervasive problems of voter fraud to the press, the group identified Democratic cities as hot spots for voter fraud, then pushed the line that "election integrity" required making it harder for people to vote. The group issued reports (PDF) on areas in the country of special concern, areas that coincidentally tended to be presidential battleground states. In many of these places, it now appears the White House was pressuring U.S. attorneys to bring more voter-fraud prosecutions.

What a coincidence! And their reports ended up as fodder in the WSJ? What are the chances? Let's overlook for a moment that arguing by anecdote is faulty, or that polling-place fraud is way more trouble than it is worth if you are trying to steal an election. The fact that this group is trying to pretend it never existed just as Democrats in Congress start to shine a bright light on the voter-fraud motivated firings of US Attorneys raises eyebrows, to say the least.

Personally, I think these party hacks saw the house of cards begin to fall on the use of the DOJ as political arm of the White House and left like rats fleeing a sinking ship. The name Department of Justice was slowly but surely being turned Orwellian into Winston's employer, the Ministry of Truth.

signs of the times

Today I decided to finally evaluate the many lawn signs that SLC mayoral candidates have sticking in the yards of my neighbors. What follows is not to be viewed as an endorsement of any particular candidate. Rather, the idea is to give them all some advice on graphics and visuals. In no particular order...

Ralph Becker
Having learned from earlier black writing on forest green background lawn signs in earlier state house races, Becker opts for bright contrasting colors. The black silhouette of the city and county building is excellent, especially when one notes that he had the same motif with the state capitol last fall. GRADE: A-

Jenny Wilson

Jenny's sign uses the same schema that her father used when running for Mayor. Jim Matheson used the same color and slogan as his father's for his 2000 congressional race, but it didn't seem dated. Jenny's seems very 1992. Maybe it is the gray star, I don't know. But good for her for having the word "Democrat" on there. GRADE: B-

Dave Buhler
[I will have to take a photo]
Buhler's sign is a enlarged campaign button, round in shape. The top half is white, the bottom is red. The top says "I like Dave," the bottom says "mayor" First off, the shape looks stupid. Secondly, who cares if you like Dave Buhler, it doesn't mean you will vote for him or even support him. "I like Ike" works because the name rhymes and well, Eisenhower was a darned popular ex-general, having saved the world from Hitler etc. "I like Dave" is just lame. GRADE: F [Plus, his website is still not up, really pathetic.]

Keith Christensen

Not bad. I cannot recognize this as the SLC skyline, but then again our skyline is not all that memorable. Maybe it is supposed to say I will be the mayor of downtown and where you live. That's nice too. The colors aren't the greatest and the whole thing is a bit cartoon-y. GRADE: B.

I won't even bother with the rest because either they don't have websites or they have no chance. I saw Nancy Sexton's the other day for the first time and they are pretty lame too. The cursive "Nancy" reminds me of Nancy Reagan, not exactly something you want to evoke in the Democratic strong hold in a super-GOP state. Maybe I will take a photo of that too to show you what I am talking about, since those signs will be even harder to see in person.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

silly establishmentarians

Charlie Cook is an astute non-partisan poll reader whose judgment is without reproach inside the beltway. Not because he is right all the time, but because he has a reputation for being right. Official Washington trusts him.

But why? Especially when he gives out such drivel as a successful Bloomberg-Hagel independent ticket (independent is DC for two moderate Republicans that could never win their party's primary nationally, and maybe even in their own state).

Here's his DC "bipartisan" wet dream:
Most believe it would be exceedingly unlikely that the House would elect an independent president. That being the case, an independent would most likely need to win from 38 percent to 40 percent in a three-way race to reach the tipping point, winning a sufficiently large number of states by small margins.


Initial polling suggests that Bloomberg could make a respectable run as an independent and pull evenly from the two major parties. But getting from respectable to upwards of 40 percent would require cutting into the marrow of at least one, if not both, parties.

This would mean that his candidacy would likely be contingent upon each party nominating either badly flawed or damaged candidates. After all, with his money, Bloomberg wouldn't need to decide until late February, after the nominations are likely to be determined.

The most interesting scenario would be if Bloomberg were to win a plurality of the electoral votes and siphon off enough votes from the left to push the Democratic nominee into third place. Could a Democratic House really pick a third-place finisher to be president, or might they opt for a politically compatible independent who finished first?

Um let's look at those "respectable showing" polls:

Rasmussen Survey of 800 Likely Voters April 2-3, 2007
["If you had a choice between Republican Rudy Giuliani, Democrat Hillary Clinton, and Independent Michael Bloomberg, for whom would vote?"] Rudy Giuliani: 37%; Hillary Clinton: 46%; Michael Bloomberg: 9%.

["If you had a choice between Republican John McCain, Democrat Hillary Clinton, and Independent Michael Bloomberg, for whom would vote?"]
John McCain: 37%; Hillary Clinton: 46%; Michael Bloomberg: 9%

Nine percent is not respectable, although better than Bill Richardson is doing in the Democratic primary. Nine percent is "I don't know" plus or minus a few people upset with their choices of Hillary or Giuliani or McCain. And nine percent also will not get you the top stop going into the theoretical House election of the president, rather the third place. A Democratically controlled House would have no problem voting for a number one finishing Democrat as would happen in this poll.

More importantly, the last time an election went to the House was 1800...208 years ago and before the 12th amendment tried to avoid that from ever happening again.

There is not a chance that the 2008 presidential election will go down to the House, nor if Romney is nominated, that Republicans will win the presidency. The 3-poll average gap is: Clinton +14.0%, Obama +23.0%, Edwards +27.3%.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

song of the day

heck, it is one of my favorite songs of all time.

But seriously, ex-Sen./ex-AG John Ashcroft may have been a terrible senator and terrible Attorney General, but at least he can sing:

back in town

Thank you to the two outstanding local bloggers that offered to keep this ship afloat while I study for the Bar. Unfortunately, I only have one of your email addresses (because it was publicly available) so only one of you has been invited to guest blog so far.

I had a great trip and I was amazed I handled my internet withdrawal as well as I did. I would put up pictures but we accidentally left the camera in my parents car when they picked us up from the airport.

Anyway, I wanted to write today about my motto and AW's problems with it. "Truth over balance" is in reference to the fact that many times, in fact most times these days, reporters seek to "balance" their story by giving equal play to two sides, when they instead could easily find an objective reality. Now it is true that the truth is complicated, and some times relative but I would rather delve into that then listen to spin, be it from the left or right. And further, some times there is more than just a left and a right way to view something.

The truth used to come out via balance, but reporters have been slow to adapt to a new no-holds-bar environment that started when Bill Clinton came to the swamp. DC pols became so caught up in winning that they really couldn't care less about lying or distorting facts. In fact, more bold the spin, the better the press secretary was perceived by pols and reporters. Rather than create a era of civility [by "changing the tone in Washington"], the Bush Presidency brought the spin to a high art and new low. Dick Cheney goes on TV and while not literally lying, he creates such a distorted view of reality that you wonder what all those heart medications are doing to him.

Other adversarial system are able to get at the truth much better than the journalistic "balance" story. In a court of law, for example, the rules of evidence don't allow for a simple "he-said-she-said" unless that is all that is there. Perjury, slander, etc. are prosecuted; victim's and defendant's have rights to avoid topics that will bias the jury unfairly; prosecutors and defense attorneys cannot say whatever they want in their opening and closings; and all witnesses are subject to cross examination that they have to answer, not softballs or evasive answers.

Conventional journalism has not adapted to the last 20 years of evolving tactics of public relations. Bloggers like myself have attempted to fill in this void, not by seeking balance, but by seeking the truth. Who leaked Valerie Plame's name to the press? Why? Who is responsible for the WMD's lie? Who is responsible for firing 8-10 US Attorneys? Why were they fired? Why is the government illegally wiretapping our phone calls without a FISA warrant? Why did we go to war with Iraq? Why are we trying to go to war with Iran? Why are we torturing people? Who exactly is in GitMo? Why are we ignoring Afghanistan and Pakistan and Somalia and Sudan and Israel and Palestine? Why are people trying to teach creationism in school? Why are people trying to teach children that America is a Christian nation and that the Bible is as much of a constitutional source as the Federalist Papers?

These are the questions that bloggers have sought to ask and answer. Other bloggers have critiqued articles and stories and headlines of media bias, for and against conservatives. But to say that the current MSM system is working is to ignore objective reality. It took years before the media stopped being afraid of Bush to actually critically examine his policies. It took blogger prodding to get Scooter Libby convicted, and for the US Attorney purge to get investigated by Congress.

I wish I could just go back to dreaming up good policies, debating with people, supporting candidates, and studying law, but the media have gotten too cozy with those in power and as a citizen, I can't stand by and watch the US piss away its prestige and power for the glory and profit of the few. I have to speak up.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Dear Readers,

Tomorrow I graduate from law school, and my grandmothers, two aunts, and an uncle will be on hand, so I will very busy with family events. Saturday I will be on my way to St. Thomas for a week, thanks to a free hotel stay from my mortgage broker and free airfare thanks to my copious use of my AmEx. This means that in all likelihood, this will be my last post until the 21st.

I will miss you while I try to unplug from the world for a week. When I get back to Utah, BarBri (a Bar Exam prep course) will start up and I will be fairly busy studying for the two-day test until the end of July.

Accordingly, I am accepting applications for guest blogger. By "application" I mean you post a comment saying you are interested. Consider yourself invited to "apply."

foreseen yet again

(Credit: Mythical blog)
At the beginning the year, I said Cannon will face a stiffer primary challenge in 2008 than in 2006, pointing to A) his chilly reception at the Utah state Legislature B) the amount of support that a cook like Jacob could get. Once Republicans saw how soft Cannon's support was, they decided to pounce. With his brother out of the chairman's seat, it just got that much easier to be congresman.

Five months later, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:
...just five months into his new term the opposition for his next race is already forming.
At least four other Republicans are considering running against Cannon.
They are former Juab County prosecutor David Leavitt, who is also former Gov. Mike Leavitt's brother; Jason Chaffetz, a former chief of staff to Gov. Jon Huntsman; John Jacob, who Cannon beat last year in the Republican primary and Merrill Cook, who came in third in that primary.

I don't know who among these guys is the least bad, but I think Jacob is probably the worst choice.
The failings of Mr. Cannon are so evident, obviously there is going to be a number of challengers," Chaffetz said. "All I can do is put my best foot forward and see if I'm the right messenger with the right message."
Each believes Cannon is vulnerable at the Republican convention with delegates who are more conservative than Republican primary voters.
Last year, Jacob actually beat Cannon at the GOP convention, 52 percent to 48 percent. The result forced a primary, which Cannon won, 56 percent to 44 percent.
Chaffetz decided Cannon must be replaced after observing him as Huntsman's liaison to Utah's congressional delegation.
"He has not instituted good conservative practices," Chaffetz said, pointing to fiscal discipline, limited government and ethics and personal responsibility.
Cannon defended his conservative credentials. He has the highest rating among Utah members of Congress from the American Conservative Union and the highest rating in Utah from Americans for Tax Reform.
The biggest issue in the 3rd District remains immigration. Challengers old and new paint Cannon as soft on illegal immigration and in favor of amnesty, a charge Cannon vigorously denies.
Leavitt returned to private practice after losing his 2002 re-election campaign for Juab County attorney by 22 votes. With his wife, he started the Leavitt Institute for International Development.
"Now that the Democrats have taken control of Congress, I believe we need a congressman that has a skill set that is able to work with a different political landscape than we've had the last 12 or 14 years," Leavitt said. "It's time for a re-evaluation of who we send to Congress."

Leavitt lost his job in Juab after successfully prosecuting infamous polygamist Jeff Green. It would be interesting to see how the polygamist vote goes in the primary.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

they still don't get it

In today's edition of me bashing the local-DC press corps, I start off with a willfully blind headline: "As presidency nears end, Bush reaches out to Democrats"

Let's get things straight. Bush is reaching out to conservative Democrats like Jim Matheson, not because he is interested in compromising his position, but because he is hoping Matheson and others continue to compromise theirs. Bush's idea of compromise is to pretend like he is giving something up, but issue a signing statement saying he is pocket vetoing that provision. Or giving up something rhetorically, but not actually. The man thinks compromise is caving in.

So example, Bush vetoed the last Iraq supplemental, which included withdrawal time tables (which he supported in 1999 for Kosovo) and presidential sign offs on impossible things like a new oil law. After failing to override the veto, Democratic leaders drafted a "short leash" bill that purportedly drops the time tables, but keeps the sign offs, and requires multiple votes to keep the funding going.

In response, Bush said he would veto that too. And then someone leaked this:
Military officials now say it will be several more months before they can determine whether the "surge" in troops authorized by Bush is helping quell sectarian and other violence. In announcing new troop deployments, top commanders said the increased troop levels may need to last until next spring -- a timetable that could clash with congressional sentiment in favor of a quicker troop withdrawal.

Prominent bloggers have all pointed out this is definitive proof that September won't be the magic pony month we all wish it would be. That is, Republicans won't join the Democratic plan to end the war in droves. Maybe a few will peal off, but not the 70+ needed to override the President's veto in the House or 17+ needed in the Senate.

I tend to believe that two (or three?) things are at play: Bush is desperate to keep the helicopters leaving the Baghdad embassy image on another president's watch and Congressional Republicans don't want Iraq to be an issue in 2008 like it was in 2006, but don't want to be too disloyal to the man that got them there.

I like the idea of the short leash because it forces repeated votes by "moderate" Republicans in favor of an unending war. But I don't know a practical solution to how we end the war before 2008. What happens after the Congress approves the short leash, and Bush vetos it?

Some time in the fall, the Pentagon's money is going to run out. Assuming no funding bill gets passed by Congress that Bush likes, that means the Pentagon will have to start trimming some things and shifting money around. Some think that will force the troops to come home. I think it will just make things worse, more cuts in armor and health care while more troops get sent over there for more time.

Democratic leaders understand Bush much better than Blue Dogs do apparently. There is no compromising with this man.

four's a crowd

(Credit VCU center for psychological services and development)

After Enid was shoved out the door, it looks like there will be a shoving match to see who gets the UT GOP chairmanship. I say -manship because it will be a white man for sure.
Steve Harmsen, former GOP Salt Lake County councilman, and Stan Lockhart, former Utah County GOP chairman and current IM Flash public affairs official, have both filed for the open chairman seat, state party officials said Tuesday.
Also filing for the office are Aaron Bludworth and Bill Conley, GOP staffers said. Any registered Republican can run for party posts, the deadline being Thursday at 5 p.m. Chairman, vice chairman, secretary, treasurer and national committee members will be picked by state GOP delegates in convention June. 9.

If this is what I had to choose from, I would choose Harmsen. At least he was elected county-wide before, even if Jenny Wilson beat him in 2004. But I hope they choose Lockhart:
Lockhart is the husband of Rep. Becky Lockhart, R-Provo. Like Harmsen, Stan Lockhart also has been active in GOP politics. He is currently one of the better-known lobbyists on Utah's Capitol Hill, routinely spending thousands of dollars yearly entertaining lawmakers.
Current U.S. House Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, was a lobbyist while GOP chairman, often seen on the Hill lobbying for gun rights advocates. And former GOP party chairs Frank Suitter and Joe Cannon (now Deseret Morning News editor) both were state registered lobbyists during part of their chairmanship tenures — although neither man was often seen on Utah's Capitol Hill.
"We have a tradition in this party" of chairmen being registered lobbyists, said Lockhart. And that is a good thing, he added, because respected lobbyists have the "unique ability to blend (together) party officeholders (like legislators), donors and the party's grassroots." Forming strong coalitions is what party-building is all about, he said.

Ah yes, what a grand tradition, to be a corporate shill. To be fair, "Salt Lake County Councilman Randy Horiuchi served as Democratic Party chairman in the 1980s while a lobbyist." Since then however, no lobbyists have been Democratic state party chairmen.

I don't know about you, but I going to get some popcorn ready and watch the fur fly.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tuesday round-up

Due to the utter amazingness of the Jazz-Warriors game last night (Dee Brown was my game 1 MVP), I could not sleep and thus will be only good for paragraphs of coherent thoughts. Ergo, a round up.
  • Elections have real consequences on the lives of people, even if it takes 3 years for the effects to be felt. Here, women in Utah in need of a particular medical procedure soon will no longer be able to utilize it thanks to 5 catholic old white men picked by 3 white old men who were Republican presidents
    Utah has filed to have an injunction lifted so a state law banning partial birth abortions can go into effect immediately.
    The Legislature passed a bill banning such abortions in 2004. But the Utah Women's Clinic and the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah sued the state over the law.
    A federal judge imposed an injunction putting the bill on hold pending a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
    Last month, the Supreme Court ruled bans on partial birth abortions do not violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.
    In light of that ruling, the Utah Attorney General's office has filed a federal petition asking the injunction on Utah's law be lifted.
    Unless the Women's Clinic and Planned Parenthood fight the lifting of the injunction, the law could take effect immediately.

  • Hatch and Matheson have big warchests. Matheson's isn't surprising: he finally won by a big margin, and his party is in power. Plus, he is on a big committee. People are tripping over themselves to give to Matheson since he will actually need it more than any other Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee (save Charlie Melancon, LA, John Barrow, GA, and Baron P. Hill, IN). But why does Hatch have $2.4M?
    For example, the senator is keeping his campaign manager — Dave Hansen — on salary at $10,000 a month for the "indefinite future," as Hansen puts it. That's $120,000 a year managing a Hatch campaign six years away. Hansen is an experienced fund-raiser and strategist who once was the political director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
    Hatch also continues to pay "Mr. Mac" Christensen, of local clothier fame, and longtime GOP activist Stan Parrish $6,000 a month ($72,000 a year) for "fund raising and other items," Hansen said.
    Hatch's campaign cuts a check to C&C Advisors — which is a firm run by Christensen and Parrish — who served as Hatch's chief of staff in the early 1980s. And how those two men split up the money from there is up to them, said Hansen.
    Those accounts have given $81,400 so far this year to other politicians and local arms of the GOP. That includes donating to eight incumbent U.S. senators and presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
    Hansen notes, "He also wants to support good causes, like local (nonprofit) organizations."
    Hatch donations along that line included $250 to the Utah Humanities Council, $500 to the Utah Division of Veterans Affairs and $160 to the NAACP. He also gave $1,000 to the widow of a soldier killed in Iraq. Hatch "knew she needed some help, and he wanted to help," said Hansen.

    How about giving $1,000 to every widow(er) of a US solider killed in Iraq thanks to your vote and vociferous continued support of Bush's escalation policy? Instead of to Mr. Mac? That would only cost you $3,378,000...and counting.

  • Lots of people watched (and blogged about) the Hannity-Rocky "Debate." Personally, I didn't because I thought the whole thing was a waste of time. No one in that hall or watching changed their minds on Bush or Hannity, or Rocky. At least, that is true with me: I still respect but dislike Rocky. I still have no respect for Hannity. I still think Bush is a misguided train wreck of a president and person.

  • Rep. Chris Cannon, who did exactly nothing to get the Utah-DC bill passed, now is going to claim credit if it gets through the Senate.
    Rep. Chris Cannon says there may yet be a glimmer of light for a plan to give Utah a fourth House seat, based on a discussion the congressman had with Vice President Cheney during his recent flight to Utah.
    Cannon raised the issue of the legislation...when he was aboard Air Force 2 with Cheney as the vice president traveled to deliver a commencement speech at Brigham Young University.
    Cheney characterized the concerns as something at the staff level, but said there are some key senior-level staff who support the legislation, Cannon said.
    "I can't imagine that the president would veto a bill like this," Cannon said in an interview. "I think when push comes to shove, the president will sign it."

    Here's why the President should sign the bill: "A presidential veto on this would consign the Republican Party in perpetuity to 8 to 10 percent of the black vote."-Jack Kemp, 1996 GOP VP candidate.

Monday, May 07, 2007

'The Mormons' beat the Jazz

I know this is fairly old news. But I just finished watching the 4 hour documentary the other day.
...more Utahns tuned into KUED Channel 7 and KBYU Channel 11 for the first episode of "The Mormons" Monday night than watched KJZZ Channel 14 and cable's TNT simulcast of game 5 of the Utah Jazz playoffs.
"It's the highest [ratings] we've ever had," said KUED General Manager Larry Smith. "This is very phenomenal and very unusual." He said KUED likely will re-run the series in mid-summer.
According to Nielsen Media Research, Monday's episode on the history of the LDS Church drew a 17.9 rating and Tuesday's segment earned a 17.7. Normally, KUED's weekly nighttime ratings are between 1.8 and 2.
Nationally, the series was also was a relative hit. At a 3 rating, the documentary captured nearly double the viewers of a normal PBS weeknight, said KBYU spokesman Jim Bell.

I wonder what would have happened if 'the Mormons' was on the same night as game 7.

The show was really well done I thought and gave sound voice to LDS skeptics and faithful alike. It also explained the various portions of LDS dogma that so many non-LDS folks find so unusual and confusing. And it explained polygamy well, which is the number one thing people "know" about Mormons.

When I met people in college, I would say that I was from Utah. The next thing out of my mouth would be "but I am not Mormon." and then the part after that would be "only a handful of crazies are polygamists still, the Church hasn't been polygamous for over hundred years."

Consider this yet another thread where I can be educated on LDS theology, and people's views on the documentary (especially if there were errors or offensive material).

foreseen again

It looks like it is time for another edition of "I called it" ala Stephen Colbert. Nearly a year ago, I said that because of the way he handled the RSL stadium deal, SL County Mayor Peter Carroon could run for statewide office and have a legitimate shot at winning.
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.

Flash forward to today's Salt Lake Tribune:
The more Real Salt Lake's reputation slips, the more Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon's rises - so much so that pundits say this once-obscure Democrat, who killed a stadium-funding package only to see the governor resurrect it, could become a viable contender for statewide office.
Does this mean a Gov. Corroon or a Sen. Corroon could emerge?
Probably not, at least for now. But "I can't think of any Democrat that would have a better chance than he would," said political pollster Dan Jones, president of Dan Jones & Associates.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

please don't tell me the news

a funny thing is happening these days: newspapers in general are losing circulation. That is, large national ones that cover the important news of the day, like Bush's signing statements, "extraordinary rendition," CIA "black sites," the Pat Tilman/Jessica Lynch fabrication, etc.

But local papers, especially the ones that focus on local news, are actually going up. Please like to hear about local sports, deaths, marriages, events, etc. When the world seems to be spiraling down the drain, maybe the local stories are easier to focus on. Moreover it is particularly easier for the papers to do as well, not because it isn't easier to put in wire stories that they didn't write, but because it is their solemn duty.
"I'm so frustrated with seeing local stories on the front page! Particularly 'special interest' ones that could be printed anytime (i.e. international adoptions). They don't belong there, they really don't, and every editor in the world knows that. Local news shouldn't be on the front page unless the news is so huge, it is of national importance."
Almost all those medium-circulation dailies (we are one) put local news on the front page because readers buy local newspapers to get local news. People can get world and national news 24-7 now on broadcast TV and cable news networks. News that reflects what goes on in Utah, what trends are hot here, what's funny, what's unusual and what will cause tax bills to jump belongs on the front page so that readers can find the local news they want - whether they buy the paper from the rack or have it delivered to their homes.

So there, don't tell me how to do our jobs, silly people who pay my salary. Oh the arrogance never leaves the newspaper business.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Is Utah's referendum law constitutional?

"Utah Const. art. VI, § 1. Article VI, section 1 is not merely a grant of the right to directly legislate, but reserves and guarantees the initiative power to the people." Gallivan v. Walker, 2002 UT 89, p23, 54 P.3d 1069 (citations omitted). "The power of the legislature and the power of the people to legislate through initiative and referenda are coequal, coextensive, and concurrent and share 'equal dignity.' " Id. (citations omitted).

Brad Swedlund, who lead the anti-RSL stadium referendum signature gathering effort, said the law doesn't match up to Gallivan's rhetoric, "The way the requirements are currently written, the Utah Legislature is more interested in 'absolute power' for themselves than empowering the people to occasionally challenge decisions made."

Gallivan overturned a version of the statute that mandated the 10 percent threshold in 20 of Utah's 25 counties. The current version is 15 counties. It is still too high. Why are rural voter's signatures worth many times more than urban voter's signatures? Isn't that what Reynold v. Sims was about?

In theory, rural voters should be madder about the RSL giveaway more than urban voters, since people along the Wasatch front could actually attend a RSL game in the new stadium, while people from Bullfrog, UT probably won't be able to.

"Although state legislators passed the bill, the issue is certainly not a statewide issue," Swedlund wrote. "That, in fact, was one of the reasons we initiated the referendum process. We believe a county's decisions about its tax base should be left to the county, unless it specifically conflicts with state or federal legislation."

Requiring 15 counties means rising the cost of getting something on the ballot only to pre-existing, well-funded interest groups and not spur of the moment grassroots efforts like Get Real Utah.

This is bad for democracy. While I want to see some level of support for referenda before they make our ballots as long as California's, I think the 15 county method is a disingenuous means to achieve that goal.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

like shooting fish in a barrell

I just couldn't resist pointing out the latest embarressing quote from Rep. Chris Cannon. (H/T TPM Muckraker)
Cannon said, that after "thousands and thousands of documents" have been turned over to Congress and "over more than half a dozen interviews" has been shown to be "a fairly thoughtful, competent process." So what's all the hullabaloo about? Cannon just wants us to "get beyond this."

Should I even bother with the facts that pretty much everyone besides George W. Bush, his Press Secretary, and Senator Hatch think the US Attorney purge was handled horrifically badly? Or that several conservative Republican Senators have called for Gonzales' resignation? Or maybe just objective reality? Nah. I will just let Rep. Cannon hang himself with his own noose.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

getting serious about climate change

all the Democratic candidates for president, and John McCain (who will be virtually out of the race if he can't raise some serious--$20M--money by the second quarter, talk about climate change and ways they will go green. They all talk about some vague "Appolo Project" type effort to reduce our dependance on foreign oil.

Here are some ideas on how to get there for real, and not just take little feel good steps. These are things the next President and next Congress can do that are feasible, not overregulatory, and as market-based as possible.
  1. Adopt a solar energy bill that will pay Americans who produce such energy a garunteed set rate of a long period of time above the current market rate for electricity in their area. Within this bill, add in massive R&D funding into battery technology (to store the excess daytime energy), and solar panels itself.
    Germany adopted something like this a while back and not only are they well on their way to making solar power a third of their total electricity portfollio, but also they have created thousands of jobs designing, producing, and installing solar panels. If you give folks a set profit, they can go to banks and get loans to put up solar panels on their rooves and vacant property. Creating your own solar panel is concrete step towards true energy independence and gives people a realistic thing they can do that is in their immediate interest.

  2. Adopt high (45-50 MPG) CAFE standard for vehicles, and give consumers (including businesses) tax credits for every MPG over the CAFE standard their entire fleet is. This will give car makers the push to build more effecient vehicles, and car buyers incentives to scrap older vehicles for newer, more effecient ones.
    The Federal government can lead by example. As every car in the federal fleet expires, it would be replaced by a plug-in hydrid. The purchasing power of the federal government will also bring down the costs of such vehicles and further help create a market for them. (The later idea is Sen. Boxer's)

  3. Currently, the US is third in wind energy production, Germany and the Netherlands, which are tiny by comparision, generate more. We should be far and away the biggest producer of wind energy. Again, inventivize consumers (via tax credits) and producers (by giving them interest free loans to build the turbines) to beef up the wind energy market.

  4. Give up on Ethanol. I know the caucus goers in Iowa will be upset, but politicans have to stop sucking up to them by trying to make corn into fuel. It isn't effecient, and the air quality is worse than conventional gasoline.

  5. Move trucks from desiel to biodesiel to plug in hybrids as much as possible, and try to make rail shipping more affordable than trucks.

  6. shut down previously grand fathered in dirty coal plants in places like Texas and California. Replace them at least with new CCT (clean coal technology) plants at least. Better yet, try to supplant them with solar and wind.

  7. At least try a cap and trade carbon emission system. Matt Stoller says it hasn't worked in the EU, but if our market and theirs were merged, things might change. A carbon tax is a last resort. Try to incentivize, rather than regulate people into finding ways to reduce their carbon output and sequestering the carbon they have to produce.

Some candidates talk about some of these items, but I have yet to hear any of them push for Germany's solar laws. The whole package would make a huge impact, at least, a lot more than just switching out one light bulb for a CFL. I have put in 3 for this year's Earth Day, and my wife hates them so much--because of the dimness and light quality--I may find them all switched back when I am not looking.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

a gentleman's agreement gone awry

Yesterday I pointed out that lame-duck UT GOP chair Enid "Joe tricked me" Greene was shoved out the door unceremoniously the other day because a "gentlemen's agreement."

The best part is, today news came that in one of her last acts of power, Enid canned the guy who was quoted as saying the "gentleman's agreement" line--Executive Director Jeff Hartley. Watch the fur fly:
"Jeff went substantially further into debt than I would feel comfortable with," Greene said. "That is the source with my disagreement."
Hartley doesn't buy it.
"This isn't about the debt," he said. "This is just personal, petty and vindictive."
Greene said she wanted to fire Hartley a few months ago. She held off because the governor's office asked her to. The governor and the state's two U.S. senators routinely take turns backing a candidate for party chairman. This year is Huntsman's turn. He wanted Fred Lampropoulos to lead the state party and Lampropoulos wanted Hartley to stay on as executive director.
But in the past week, Lampropoulos has backed out of the race, removing Hartley's protection.
"I was not going to have on my conscience passing someone along whom I don't think is right for the job," Greene said.

Ouch! Of course, we all know Enid is lying, she has a reputation for flibbing from the last time she got caught and blamed criminal activities on her ex-husband and campaign treasurer Joe Waldholtz.

Still, it is fun to see two horrible people beating each other up. It is the only time you can really get pleasure out of such a thing without feeling the slighest bit guilty.

Tuesday round-up

  • Congrats to voucher opponents and supporters of direct democracy (and accountability) everywhere "For the first time in more than 30 years, Utah residents will get to decide whether to repeal a new law." And for those who argued that this was just big city teacher's unions gone wild, check this out: "Support for the voucher referendum was weakest in San Juan, Summit, Washington and Weber counties. Juab, Kane, Millard, Rich, Sevier and Wayne counties showed the strongest support, with petitioners collecting more than twice as many signatures as needed. Beaver County boasted nearly three times the number of required signatures."

  • Sadly, the stadium decision was apparently not nearly as unpopular as the voucher one. "Of the 91,966 signatures needed, only 12,343 were certified. In addition, only one county — Daggett County — submitted enough petitions to meet one of the state requirements." This was an organic no-budget attempt to hold the legislature, the governor, and Sandy's mayor accountable.

  • Two members of Utah's delegation to DC won't vote for a bill that would give Utah a fourth seat--and they are both republicans.
    The bill passed the House last month — without the support of Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah — but still faces constitutional concerns from some lawmakers and a potential veto threat from the White House.
    Bishop supports Utah getting a fourth seat but did not like the way the bill has changed since it was first introduced. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, also supports a fourth seat for Utah but will study the Senate bill once it's introduced, according to his office.
    "Study" is code for vote against.