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.