Friday, October 10, 2008

Bill Who? sends me mail

Bill Who? Dew sent me a piece of campaign advertising (great targeting of mail Bill, I am sure the Avenues is a voter rich target for culturally based attacks) that pretended to be a newspaper "Congressional Times" it called New York Times style font. The "cover story" was that a month ago, Mitt Romney endorsed Dew. There's a shocker. Too bad Mttt's kid was too chicken to run against Matheson, then we might have had a real news story when he endorsed his own son.

Anyway on the back there are a series of votes where Dew claims Matheson voted against "Utah Values" and that were Dew in Congress, he would have voted the other way.
A review by The Salt Lake Tribune of the votes Dew cites, though, show the Republican's allegations are in many ways misleading.
Dew's mailer - which cites the wrong dates for two congressional votes - uses several protest votes offered by House Republicans to cast Matheson as against "Utah values."
When cornered with this fact, Dew spokeswoman has a retort on the ready.
"Just because a vote is procedural doesn't mean it is inconsequential," said campaign spokeswoman Tiffany Gunnerson. "These votes tied the hands of the House Republicans trying to bring tax cuts and energy drilling to the floor by any means possible. Voters deserve to know that Bill Dew would have helped these efforts while Jim Matheson did not."
In other words, voter should know that a Republican would vote with his party on procedural party gimmick moves, while a Democrat didn't.

The mailer could have been a lot shorter if he had just had his face next to an equals sign next to a GOP logo and Matheson's face next to a equals sign next to a Democrats logo. Because that is all he is saying, not how Matheson stands on the issues. Afterall, Matheson voted the way Dew claims he wishes Jim had on things like drilling.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

a monologue about gay marriage

As you might have learned from the comments on my previous post, the Sutherland Institute is hosting an event to scare the crap out of social conservatives and guilt them into phone banking, donating, or door knocking in California on behalf of their ill-fated Prop 8 to ban now-existing gay marriages in the Golden State. This proposition has nothing to do with Utah as we already passed our anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment four years ago, unless you hate gays so much that you are a-feared that them gays will have their California marriages recognized in Utah. Which somehow will lead Utah's divorce rate even higher.

The speakers are all those in favor of Prop 8, although they are sure than a few anti-Prop 8 audience members will try to shout rhetorical questions at them. Kind of like how Sean Hanity shows are really informative and provide equal platform to those who disagree with Mr. Hanity.

Back when I first started law school, my student group hosted a debate about Utah's gay marriage ban, which was I believe at the time on the ballot. We managed to get the guy who argued in favor of the scoutmaster in the Supreme Court case of gay scoutmaster versus the Boy Scouts of America. On the other side, we got some clown from the Sutherland Institute. I say clown because he was not even in the same league as the gay scoutmaster attorney. To be fair, he was taking up the reins for some BYU professor that chickened out at the last minute. Nevertheless, I started to feel sorry for the guy, even though I totally disagreed with his "arguments." As hosts of the event, we felt bad that we couldn't get a fair debate going because the pro-gay marriage side was apparently intimidated by this super lawyer.

It seems the Sutherland Institute learned the wrong lesson from our event and is content to present their same case but in a completely one-sided fashion. But if you want to hear what you believe or shout at the Sutherland Institute folks and get some Avenues hippies to clap with you, feel free to attend.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

moderate the moderators

So I watched the debate, and my overall impression was that Tom Brokaw got in the way and the candidates played it safe (but again, Obama won). Another thing that I noticed was McCain's odd body language.

The debate was supposed to a "town hall meeting." The normal definition is that the people get to ask whatever questions they want, but the candidates get to call on them. There will be crazy people and booing and cheering. Here, Brokaw got to pick out the questions that the voters had writen, they didn't get to ask follow ups. But Brokaw got to ask "follow ups."

Rather than hone in on the candidate's non-answers, he asked whatever the heck he wanted that was vaguely related to the question that he picked from. Brokaw would complain that the candidates were not keeping to the time limits, but his questions themselves took at least half that much time, including stupid name dropping. Go back into retirement Tom. I used to love Brokaw, and his was the nightly news program I would watch. Now, I can't stand him.

Moderators need to move the discussion, get the candidates to answer the questions and engage with the issues. Jim Lehrer did that. Brokaw covered no new ground, and spent most of his time oscillating between complaining about the rules which he himself ignored and bloviating in his questions.

There is a lot of really bad things happening at the same time...the stock market is collapsing, we are losing two wars, health care costs are exploding, the climate is radically changing, food prices are exploding. And the candidates want to talk about sternly worded letters they wrote to some administrative official. They are both Senators and leaders of the their party. Why aren't they taking any bold stances on anything? One of these Senators will be president in 3 months, when are they going to step up to the plate?

Back to the debate, though. John McCain looked really old when standing near Obama and he got a little too close for comfort for those in the audience. You could see how awkward the guy felt whom McCain touched. After the debate was over, Obama stayed in the hall and talked to voters. McCain bugged out. Obama tried to shake hands with McCain, but John instead had Cindy shake Obama's hand for him. Odd behavior, and as weird as his referring to Obama as "that one." It seems pretty obvious that McCain has a personal dislike of Obama...but it shouldn't be. One of these days, I have to write a post about how incompetent the McCain campaign team has been. It really is quite stunning. Anyway, have a good night.

why i love the fall

If you are a long-time reader, you have read my complaints about the summer, and I love this Slate article about how terrible August is.

But for the same reasons that I dislike the summer and especially August, I love the fall. Let me count the ways:
  1. Cool temps=great clothing options and no worries about sweating too much or sunburns.

  2. School's back. Yes, I really am a nerd at heart. I miss going to school now, it is my second straight fall without school and fourth fall in my life without school since age 7. Should I get another degree?

  3. Campaigns are in full swing. Lawn signs abound, the public finally starts paying attention to the election. Door knocking, literature drops, and GOTV begin in earnest. With my current job, I will miss out on being involved by a week. But still, it is fun to watch.

  4. Harvest time! Is there a better time to eat fruits and veggies in the Northern Hempisphere? I think not. My favorite fall dish: butternut squash soup. I puree it myself and add some kick to it.

  5. Great Holidays. Christmas is nice and all, but Thanksgiving is hands-down the best American holiday. There is no real commercialization other than the sales the day after, which are really "hey your relatives are in town, ask them what they want for Christmas and get it now" sales. Oh and good movies come out that weekend. Other than the annoying travel stresses, it is great. Who can top a holiday about family, friends, and neighborliness, which is combined with lots of great food and football?

  6. Which brings me to sports. The baseball playoffs are in full swing (I am a member of the Red Sox Nation since 1998, but have always disliked the Yankees), NFL football and college football has started, basketball starts (as does Hockey) and it is still warm enough to sit outside and watch the game without fear of frostbite.

  7. The foliage. Even though I turn 30 on Easter next year, I still love to kick up my feet when piles of leaves have fallen onto the sidewalks. Raking isn't that bad, and I remember jumping into the piles of leaves and stomping on the bags of leaves (to help pack more in) was a blast. I am sure my little one will enjoy that as well in the years to come. Also, before they fall, the leaves are pretty to look at. While New England still has the best ones to enjoy (which is partly why I went out there for college), you can drive up the canyons right now and see some leaves changing colors.

All in all, fall is great. Enjoy tonight's townhall-style debate (as close to the real thing as a "mexican-style" restaurant is) with this bingo game. If you chose to turn it into a drinking game, drink responsibly.