Saturday, July 14, 2007

Who is spinning whom?

The Tribune reports, "The Office of Legislative Research has until Aug. 20 to submit an impartial analysis of the voucher program for the pamphlets The Office of Legislative Research has until Aug. 20 to submit an impartial analysis of the voucher program for the pamphlets that will be mailed and placed in newspapers around the state."

But meanwhile, both sides of the voucher debate offered 250-rebuttals to each other's arguments. First up, fellow blogger State Rep. Steve Urquhart, Republican:

It's simple. A vote for vouchers is a vote to improve education.
If you vote "Yes,"
* school funding will improve
* children's options and opportunities will increase
* academic achievement will go up
* parents will gain a stronger voice within the system

Why is there such a fuss over 0.0025% of the education budget?
Because some people think the status quo is good enough.

Let's do better. Vote FOR Vouchers to improve education.

Now, the teachers unions:

* Reasonable Choices Are Available
Utah already offers many good choices through "open enrollment" and charter schools. Taxpayers can't fund every choice.
* Proposed Voucher Laws are Inadequate
Even with last-minute legislative "patch work," voucher laws authorize schools with too little oversight, no real coursework or attendance requirements, lax standards for teachers and minimal accountability to taxpayers. Risk of inadequate and unstable schools is high.
* Whom Would Vouchers Help?
Probably not the disadvantaged. Even with vouchers, parents with a modest income couldn't afford to send their children to good private schools.
* Is There "Additional Money" For Public Schools?
No. For five years, transferring students would be double funded by taxpayers - in the private schools and the public schools they left behind. Thereafter, public school funding would be cut to reflect lost enrollment.
* Would Vouchers Prevent Tax Increases?
Unlikely. Subsidizing students now privately funded creates a projected deficit of almost a half billion dollars. These dollars would come from other worthy projects like health care, public safety and roads. If we have extra taxpayer money, it would be better spent reducing class sizes and improving Utah's public schools.
* "Bureaucrats and Liberals"?
Who are they? Not the 29,000 dedicated, caring and underpaid teachers in our neighborhood schools; also not Utah's commonsense conservative citizens who oppose another entitlement program. The real "bureaucrats and liberals" are the subsidy advocates and out-of-state voucher pushers looking for Utah to save their faltering national movement.

One at least alludes to facts, the other just makes blanket statements without facts. If you want Rep. Urquhart, I would be happy to get into a "study war" where we each show a study of the vouchers working and failing. No points for you if you use a conservative think tank, no point for me if I use a liberal/moderate one. Since I have a Bush Administration Department of Education study showing they don't work, I think I win already, but I look forwards to battling you.

Romney used you, Utah GOP

In 2002, Romney swooped in and claimed credit for "saving" the olympic games, even though he did really nothing other than give SLOOC a clean face. Now in 2007, he had treated the Beehive State like his personal piggy bank, raising $4M already.

Here's what Mitt really thinks of Utah Republicans, and Republicans in general:

If you can't watch the video, here are his words:
  • "I'm not convinced that a state would be better off with all Republicans. As a matter of fact, I've been in a state like that for the past three years. Not a good thing."

  • "It is a very clear thing for the people across the commonwealth (of Massachusetts) that my R doesn't stand so much for Republican as it does for Reform."

  • "I'm not running for the Republican view or a continuation of Republican values. That's not what brings me to the (governor's) race."

  • "I lived in a place that was a one-party state that was primarily Republicans and I thought, 'Oh, won't that be nice?' The answer is no."

  • "it is always a burden for someone to run with R for Republican after their name. Surely I have many friends who are Republicans and Republican voters."

"It was in the context of a gubernatorial race" in Massachusetts, not in Utah, said Romney Spokesman Kevin Madden. Right the context for what Romney says always changes, and by context you mean audience. When he is running in Massachusetts, he is a liberal. When he is running for the GOP nomination he is a conservative.

Let's find some more Romney flip flops caught on tape, shall we?

In 1994 he said this:

Tucker Carlson points out Multiple-Choice Mitt:

Friday, July 13, 2007

growing by leaps and bounds

(graphic credit: © 2005 Deseret News)

When I was still a toddler, Utah had only 2 congressional districts. A few years ago, a new ago, Utah got a second area code, and imposed it on all non-SLC/burbs people (except for Park City and their suburbs). Now we are getting another area code next year.
[T]he Utah Public Service Commission opted Thursday to bring on the new 385 telephone area code through an "overlay" rather than through a geographic split of the existing 801 area. The new code takes effect next year.
With an overlay, the 385 area code will be assigned to new phone numbers throughout the five-county Wasatch Front region after the 801 code is depleted. One result is that existing customers will keep their phone numbers. Another will be that callers will need to dial 10 digits for local calls.

I am sure someone would complain either way (10 digits versus changing your number).

(graphic credit: © 2007 Deseret News)

Of course, another question to be asked is why we have region-based phone numbers now anyway? With the increasing ubiquity and range of cell phones, the area code system seems very anachronistic. Most people my age that I know don't even have a land line. This is partially due to the fact that they are more likely to be in an apartment than a home, and partly due to the local telephone monopoly's outrageous fees. I chose getting cable over DirectTV because I didn't want to get a land line.

Nowadays, one needs a land line for alarms, Direct TV, and it helps with 911. Even with 911 though, new cell phones have GPS built in that will give 911 operators your exact locale without having to triangulate your location from nearby cell towers.

If you don't want to ever miss a call or tell people about your new phone number ever again, check out GrandCentral. Since Google just bought them, I am sure the free service will stick around as long as Google does and could develop lots of new features beyond what the offer now. Another great feature is one voice mailbox for ALL your numbers, which you can access in any order online. No more remembering all those changing codes and missing a message because someone called your work instead of your cell. Check it out.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What a difference 4 years makes

In 2004, you couldn't pay a Democratic candidate for president to come out here, and that race was much closer than the 2008 one. But already, we will have had Edwards, Dodd, Richardson, and Obama come out.

On the Republican side, I don't think Bush came out for a fundraiser here either. But Utah has already hosted McCain Romney and will soon Giulliani.

Why is this happening? Perhaps the need for money is so high that Boston, NYC, Chicago, LA, Houston, Austin, Dallas, etc. have already been maxed out this early (a frightening thought) and big money places like Park City are the natural next pit stop. Or maybe the race really is more competitive and on going than we thought. In 2003 at this time, Lieberman was on top still, but Dean was having concerts in Central Park.

This time Obama is having Dean like rallies all over the country, but is also turning them into fundraisers and list gathering tools. For Obama's sake, I just hope he doesn't give all of his Iowa volunteers special hats to wear as they annoy caucus-goers.

Candidates: spend your money on holding rallies, making pamphlets, signs/buttons/stickers, lists, vans, gas, and food/lodging. Don't spend it on polls, pollsters, consultants, broadcast TV ads in prime time (try niche cable channel ads, radio ads, and flyers), or white papers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

you've been served

I thought you might want to enjoy this trip to the woodshed. [The original post is here]
Oldenburg said...

However, none of Clinton's pardons were for people involved in any scandals of his White House, but were scandals in themselves.

GW Bush, like his father, has "pardoned" (he will pardon Libby later on) person who would or could otherwise sing to prosecutors about a larger crime. That is called obstruction of justice, one of the impeachment charges against Clinton.
July 11, 2007 3:06 PM
Mike said...

Here, folks, we see a classic argument from a degenerate.

You say "none of Clinton's pardons were for people involved in any scandals of his White House"...

Sure, they were just drug dealers (the president's brother being one of them), tax evaders, embezzlers, etc. Why would you justify the pardoning of such individuals?

And since you brought up "White House scandals" let's not forget some new words the Clinton administration coined:
Lewinsky-gate, Perjury-gate, Billary's Impeachment-gate, and let's not forget Whitewater.

(And please don't make me bring up the 73 House and Senate witnesses who have pled the 5th Amendment and 17 witnesses who have fled the country to avoid testifying about the Clinton's Democratic campaign fundraising)

No scandals in Clinton's White House, huh?...
July 11, 2007 3:37 PM
Oldenburg said...

Did I say that there were no Clinton scandals? NO
Did any of your references allude to pardons based on Lewinsky, etc.? NO

The fact that Roger Clinton was addicted to drugs (I don't know that he was a drug dealer) is really besides the point and just slander. Bill Clinton didn't pardon his brother.

Do I agree with Clinton's pardons? NO

But they are not the moral equivalence of the de facto pardon of Scoter Libby.

You can slime the Clintons or me all you want, but you never addressed my actual point.

A classic argument from a degenerate. [Welcome to the blogosphere by the way, I found you via SLCSpin]
July 11, 2007 3:42 PM
Mike said...

I see.

Like you, I never said I agreed with the decision to commute anybody. Current facts seem to confirm that Libby broke the law. But the purpose of this somewhat facetious article is to call attention to the hypocrisy steaming from the left.
July 11, 2007 3:49 PM

But But! Oh that terrible logic trap of logic. Oh and by the way, there is no hypocrisy is complaining about a commutation that obstructs a criminal investigation about why a CIA agent was outed. I don't remember Bill Clinton doing that.

Provo Republican LG agrees that lobbyist "reform" bill is worthless

A few months ago, when our dear legislature pretended to give a hoot about how had their appearance of corruption is, I pointed out the numerous loopholes that were so wide a truck could drive through. I blamed those loopholes on Utah Republicans, because they have a massive majority in both houses of the legislature. The Utah Republican party "Senate Side" blog complained that I was just saying that all Republicans are bad and all Democrats are good. Then it turned out that their blog allows posts from lobbyists.

Now, the former Provo big wig and now LG agrees with me.
"So far it doesn't seem to be making any sense," said Joe Demma, chief of staff of the lieutenant governor's office, which oversees lobbyist regulation. "I can't tell you what the point of the law is."
Take Craig Peterson, former Senate majority leader, who is a lobbyist for hire. His report includes a $630 dinner with Utah House and Senate leaders in Washington, D.C., on May 6.
But he only paid one third of that amount. ...
The law as written would allow lobbyists to hide spending as long as they could get a colleague to claim the entire expense. Peterson believes the report should include that he only paid for part of the bill and who picked up the rest of the tab.
This reporting period also marks the first time lobbyists must disclose the name of a legislator who accepted a sporting event ticket, regardless of the cost. Previously, the names were only included if the cost of the ticket was over $50.
On just about everything else, lobbyists have become masters at getting costs under that $50 threshold.
A lobbyist for the Utah Home Builders Association paid for five rounds of golf for legislators that cost between $47.77 and $49.34.
A Utah Restaurant Association lobbyist filed a disclosure for $650 and the purpose was listed as "activity."
She provided no other information.
A Johnson & Johnson lobbyist spent $360 on "interim discussions," without any indication of what that money was spent on.

Lack of disclosure means lack of accountablity. And when that lack of disclosure is "a feature not a bug" of the bill, it raises a presumption that legislators have something to hide. I would make the same criticism of Democrats if they where in charge. In the US Congress for example, some old House and Senate Democrats want to prevent true lobbyist reforms and they are dead wrong. I call on Pelosi and Reid to go over the head of folks like Conyers and Murtha.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

has Vitter been emasculated?

Compare and Contrast:
"I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary. If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me."

-- Wendy Vitter, when asked by an interviewer in 2000 whether she could forgive her husband, Sen. David Vitter, if she learned he'd had an extramarital affair, as Hillary Clinton had done.

"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible," Republican Sen. Vitter (La) said in a statement yesterday after his telephone number appeared among those associated with an escort service operated by the so-called "D.C. Madam." "Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there - with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way."

So either one of them is lying about forgiveness, or he had to give some "consideration" in exchange for Wendy's continued support. And I think you know what I am talking about without me spelling it out for you.

Monday, July 09, 2007

get ready to get spun

A new Deseret News/Dan Jones poll on the vouchers issue came out, and the results are the same:

"We do have quite a bit of education to do in the community, and that is why our plan revolves mostly around grass-roots efforts and really taking the time to explain the true merits of the voucher program," said Leah Barker, spokeswoman for Parents for Choice in Education. "We feel that when we are faced with that 57 percent and we have an opportunity of three to five minutes to sit down with them and explain certain things, then they are more likely to change their mind and say they will be voting for vouchers," Barker said.

And by "education" and "sit down with them and explain," she means TV ads funded by rich ideologs from out of state filling with lies and distortions. "I think that it is in line with the value system that Utah families have — when families really understand what the voucher program is about, then they are going to vote 'yes' because it is right in line with their value and belief system," Barker said.

Their value and belief system? You mean the Book of Mormon said that thou shalt use public monies for private schools and that private schools should go away? Funny, I don't see ANY LDS private schools, in Utah or any other state.

Such heavy handed tactics are bound to flop. Just look at how "Utah values" were used against Jim Matheson over and over again, with increasingly diminishing returns. Just ask not congressman John Swallow.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sunday local round-up

Here's the stories that caught my eye this morning (after idiots with fireworks kept me up at 3 AM last night)...
  1. Chris Cannon is an idiot...again. Because he has been taking a beating on the immigration issue from his base, the sage of Provo came up with this:
    His idea: show the public that the immigrant-blocking fence along the U.S.-Mexico border is going up, and soon workers will not just be able to stroll into New Mexico, Arizona, California or another border state.
    "When millions map their trips online or view their own neighborhoods on Google Earth, making it possible for concerned citizens to see for themselves where the fence has been completed, where it is being built and where it is scheduled to be built, updated in real time, is not a Herculean task," Cannon said.
    If the all-knowing search engine isn't going to create Google Border, you can always create your own visual map of the immigration problem. The directions will come back something like, "Leave Mexico City, head north," 500 miles. "Climb fence," 12 feet. "Enter Arizona."

    Don't you think Mexicans could use "Google Boarder" to know where NOT to cross the border and where they could better avoid detection? This would be the very definition of a waste of money, since it could only make the problem worse. Oh and why would Google do this and put their butts on the line if the Senate won't?

  2. Keith Christensen realized that the Republican brand in toxic in Salt Lake City in the mayor's race, so he is adopting the Monty Python approach: RUN AWAY!
    Suggesting his Republican status is a stigma and pronouncing Utah's GOP "scary," Keith Christensen is jettisoning his Republican label and abandoning the state's predominant party in a bid to win the Salt Lake City mayor's seat.
    "I'm sick and tired of being labeled as a Republican. I've always been fiercely independent," Christensen said...

    Political observers say Christensen's move is a desperate attempt to court Democrats in left-leaning Salt Lake City - some tag it a "Mitt Romney flip-flop" ...
    Christensen, who has been leading in fundraising but lagging in the polls, says even though the race officially is nonpartisan, it seems to be "the most fiercely partisan race in the state."

  3. The Utah Republican Party Morning News say that you are too stupid know how to vote judges out of office. "Some lawmakers worry many voters aren't even bothering to look at the information on judges." Yet, they sure don't want voters to know about how they are in the pocket of lobbyists. And our system is far better than say Texas.
    "Since 1988, Utah's judges have run in uncontested retention elections. Legal experts say this was the best solution to avoid having judges run in contested elections where they may be influenced by people or groups who contribute to their election campaigns. National studies show there are indications of bias among judges in states where they run in contested elections."

  4. Ethan is back blogging. I have to say thank you to Freddy Adu for dogging it at RSL games so that we get to hear more from this local voice. If only we could get Ethan more pissed off about other things...