Saturday, January 13, 2007

And in this corner

Only a fews on the job, and Lohra Miller has already pissed off her predecessor.
An aggravated assault charge was dismissed Friday against Granite School District Police Lt. Richard Todd Rasmussen, who shot and wounded an unarmed man after a chase in October 2004.
Newly elected Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller said it would be difficult to prove Rasmussen did not fire in self-defense.
It was Miller's first major decision as the new district attorney, and it drew immediate fire from her predecessor, David Yocom, whose office filed the charges against the officer.
"It should have been decided in a courtroom, rather than for political reasons," Yocom told The Tribune on Friday. "Let a jury make the decision. Especially when a law enforcement officer is involved, it should go to trial."

Here is the trust of his 'political reasons' charge
Miller said she reviewed the case - filed in January 2005 and set for trial next month - at the request of "a number of police officers."
One of Miller's campaign slogans was "Ask a Cop," and heading into the election, she had the support of the 700-member Fraternal Order of Police.

Dave Yocum was an awesome DA and I loved how tenacious he was. But I have to say there isn't much there there...unless you have built in assumptions. But I have no dog in this fight, I am just reporting it.

The worst part of the whole thing though, is that it puts Wally Bugden on the same side as Miller. Bugden is also currently representing former FBI 10 most wanted Warren Jeffs for a pretty penny (jetting to St. George etc.).

"These decisions are made in pressured circumstances," Bugden said. "They are split-second decisions made in dangerous and stressful circumstances.
"Sadly, people get shot with a Coke can in their hand," he added. "But the common denominator in officer deaths is an officer who hesitates."

How much do you want to bet that on another day, Bugden would argue the opposite thing for another client? Nah that's like betting on Payton Manning to choke during the playoffs. Too easy.

Friday, January 12, 2007

the real cost of Bush's pride

Rather than admit his lost and move on, Bush wants to double-down on his pair of twos with someone else's money.
Hundreds of soldiers, including some Utahns, will have their tours of duty in Iraq extended to support an increase in troop strength announced by President Bush on Wednesday.
"The clock has been reset, folks," said Brian Tarbet, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard. "All soldiers are available again today. All of them."
That includes soldiers from units, such as the 115th Maintenance Company, that have recently returned home from Iraq.

Rather than complaining, these national guard troops seem resigned to their fate: "I kind of figured it was going to happen - they're not going to start drafting people," said Troy Steen, who returned from Iraq with the 115th less than a year ago. Oh and for those of you who just want to cheer these people on without thinking about the conserquences of this mindless war, this is his third tour since 9/11 and he has a new wife. But that doesn't matter, Bush can't be wrong, he can't lose, so we are stretching our nation's military to its breaking point.
More than 80 percent of current Utah Guard members have deployed since the 2001 attacks, according to state Guard officials. Pentagon rules limiting how long reservists may be called into active duty had, until this week's policy change, left many of those ineligible to redeploy to war.

"Even 12 months is hard, but it's a cycle," Rich Miller, who recently returned from a tour of duty in Ramadi, Iraq, where he led the Utah-based 222nd Field Artillery, said "You miss one school year . . . you're not away for your child's junior and senior year."

The more I think about it, the madder I get.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Buttars than ever

After trying to bring religion into the school via teaching "intelligent design" last session and failing, cultural warrior Utah State. Sen. Chris Buttars (R-West Valley) is at it again.
His bill, SB111, is titled, "Free Exercise of Religion Without Government Interference." It would require government entities to demonstrate "clear and convincing evidence" that any action taken to curb free exercise of faith "is essential to further a compelling government interest" and is the least restrictive way of doing so.

His idea is to allow students to wear t-shirts with religious themes like "CTR" (Choose The Right, an LDS-phrase) and for said students to be able to pray at graduation. Of course, the court has repeatedly said that even a moment of silence amounts to an unconstitutional establishment of religion. And would Buttars be ok with kids wearing Satanic shirts?

Moreover his belief that being gay is amoral, and his bill to ban gay clubs in high schools, will be in direct conflict with SB111. What a moron.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

clueless in Salt Lake City

Photo Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News
How shameless is the Utah Republican Party? My quote of the Day:
Last year, Dayton and GOP House members came under criticism for making the pre-legislative fund-raiser a "speed date." Using a format adopted by some adult dating services, lobbyists paid $100 and got several hours to move from one small table to another, talking to individual Republican House members.
"We took some flak last year, and we never fully understood why," said Kat Dayton, who heads fundraising for the Utah St. Rep. GOP PAC, adding that she thought the "speed dating" format "was done just for fun, just for a change."

She added, "I don't get why they compare politicians to prostitutes." OK well that was my attempt at a Daily Show style quote.
Instead of getting into the House Republicans' reception for $100 — as was the case with the speed dating format last year — individuals will have to pay $300 a pop. Groups can also pay $2,500 or $1,500 for tables at the event.
Dayton said House Republicans hope to raise more than $30,000. Senate Republicans are anticipating collecting about $80,000 at their breakfast event, which carried a price tag of $1,800 a table.
There's one more twist to this year's event: It is being held at The Point, a reception center/restaurant on the top floor of the Huntsman Cancer Research Center at the University of Utah.

In other news, the bill to give Utah a 4th seat and DC a vote in the House has resurfaced. No word on when it will come up for a vote.

The Bush Matrix

Remember the first Matrix movie, you know the good one? When they explained that Deja Vu was the Matrix changing something and was a software error? Well Bush will speaking about Iraq tonight for upteenth time and I hereby boldly predict that the media will fuss about how great a speech it was and speculate that it might move opinion, but that no ones minds will be changed in Bush's favor. I mean, look at this:
A poll by The Salt Lake Tribune conducted last week showed that Bush has lost majority support on Iraq from Utahns. Just 41 percent approve of the president's handling of the war, with 45 percent opposed.
Utahns were split on the question of a short-term increase in U.S. troops in Iraq, with 44 percent in support and 42 percent opposed.
A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found three of four Americans disapproved of how Bush has handled the situation and only 17 percent called for an increase in U.S. forces in Iraq.

If Utah, the reddest state in the nation have 41 approval of Bush's Iraq policy, adn only 17% nationwide want an increase in troop levels, how is Bush going to get any support for 21,500 more men and women to go to Iraq?

He isn't, and I don't think he really cares anymore. He will do just about whatever he wants, signing statements and all, since it will take a long time for the Democratically-controlled Congress to get through all the crap he has already done and all the legal battles over Congressional subpoenas etc.

Just like Neo, Americans have discovered that Bush has Potemkin Village of an Iraq Policy (wait until they figure out the same is true with the War on Terror and domestic policies). Now that we have all swallowed the Red pill, are we willing to deal with the consequences and seriously reign in this madman? Or will we mutter something about "commander in chief" and let more people die needlessly?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

bad day

This morning, before leaving the house, I thought our checkbook had been stolen (it fell out of my bag and into the backseat of the car). Then I spent all morning prepping cases for the wrong week. Then I learned that I screwed up a memo to the number two guy in my division. Then I was late to class because I chatted with a classmate 30 seconds too long (TRAX left without me). Then I went home and walked the dog twice and only mananged to have one slice of pizza before I had to fix my memo and send it back. Then I found out they changed the bus schedules and was late to the next class. Oh and I resprained my ankle rushing down some icy steps. Then I went back to work and wasted more time on said cases. Then I got home and iced my ankle, only to have smoke billow out of our stove and ruin my dinner (pizza) and make the whole house a hazy chocking mess. So while the oven self-cleans, my wife and dog and I are holed up at my grandmothers, and her excessively hot house.

So now I am hot, with a headache from the fumes, and a sore ankle.

But other than that, I have had a great was yours?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Monday round-up

  • Could someone please remind me why the legislature wants armed students, faculty, staff, and other persons on the University of Utah campus? Last time I checked, it wasn't a high crime area, let alone an area with lots of violent crime requiring a gun for ones own protection. And apparently, I am in the vast majority about this one:
    The Deseret Morning News/KSL-TV poll shows 64 percent of those surveyed think guns should definitely or probably not be allowed on campus. That's compared to 36 percent who think concealed weapon permit holders should be allowed to carry guns.
    The poll, conducted by Dan Jones and Associates on Jan. 2-4, has a 5 percent margin of error.

    Why does state law then force the U to accept guns on campus? Because they are more interested in appealing to the NRA lobbyists than actual constituents. They are trying to out conservative each other.

  • Sign number 234 that Gore will not be running for president but is still popular and trying to start a movement around global climate change:
    After about 1,500 tickets were snapped up in 10 minutes for former Vice President Al Gore's speech later this month, Boise State University has moved the speech to a larger venue and is offering more tickets.
    Gore is now scheduled to appear at Taco Bell Arena to give the keynote speech of a conference sponsored by BSU's Frank Church Institute. The speech is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 22 and is titled ''Global Warming: Beyond the Inconvenient Truth''

    That's right Boise, Idaho. No disrespect to Broncos fans [what a game!] or people from Idaho, but if you are running for president, you don't give speeches in Idaho, you give them in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada, Michigan, etc. But if you care about your issue and aren't just posturing for the cameras, you go to places like Boise.

  • Allow me to join the crowd and applaud SPEAKER Pelosi for setting term limits on Committee Chairmen. This was, as Ed Kilgore points out, the only good idea Newt had. True change cannot come without abandoning the chairman for life mentality. All of the major incoming committee chairmen just waited out the Republican majority for 12 years to get their gavels back. As Sen. Obama said on Oprah, those who are in DC too long start representing Washington to their constituents rather than their constituents to Washington. How much of a reformist can one be if one can indefinitely weld power? Chairman Waxman is a "Watergate baby" i.e. Class of 1974. John Dingell has been a member of the House since 1955, longer even than Ted Kennedy. Dingell has written major legislation, like the Clean Air Act, but he also has stymied improving fuel economy for cars to "help" Detroit Automakers. Just ask them how much they were helped when you compare Toyota's hybrid sales to their own SUV sales. It's time for a change.

  • And lastly, a store that was never open finally closes its doors for reals this time.
    Amy's Antiques in the 9th & 9th district, an attractive old brick building literally shuttered with plywood for more than 10 years, is approaching its final transaction.
    Lou Diston, who owns the building and ran the resale shop for 20 years, is finally unloading what's left of her decades of picking up remnants from estate sales she managed.

    I remember in middle school and high school walking past Amy's and wondering how one could get away with such a fake "business" where one bought crap and pretended to have a store but never sold anything. I haven't taken a tax course in law school, but I always assumed there was some pecuniary reason for this setup.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

selfish vs. selfless

If you ever wanted to know how many Democrats there are proportionally in Utah, it is better not to ask the party affiliation question but this question: would you rather have a tax cut, or an increase in government services?
The Dan Jones & Associates poll of 400 Utahns conducted this past week shows that 38 percent of Utahns want a $100 million tax cut, as suggested by GOP Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.
Nineteen percent favor a $300 million tax cut, a number already approved by Utah House Republicans. Together, 57 percent of Utahns told Jones they want some kind of tax cut in 2007.
But 37 percent said they don't want any tax cuts this year. They favor just spending the extra cash on state programs, Jones found.

Thirty-seven percent. That is what Utah Democrats are up against these days. But people's selfish tendencies have been overcome before. Look at TRAX where, although it took a decade or so to get light rail, once implemented, the public was willing to raise their taxes for it.

If somehow the public can see the benefit to its high tax burden, they will be willing to pay for it. But when it just goes to adding more roads and irrigation, without less traffic or better agricultural production, they aren't willing to let the state government have their cash. Spend it on education Pre-K to 12, and post-secondary. Get more teachers more classrooms more books. Make college tuition completely tax deductable and more affordable.

But whatever you do, don't give the wealthy a useless tax cut.