Monday, December 17, 2012

New town

Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others’ necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other; make others’ conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when He shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, "may the Lord make it like that of New England." For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God's sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

-Governor John Winthrop, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1630, A Model of Christian Charity.

This country, it has been said, was founded on a great experiment. It wasn't just enshrining certain political science theories into a constitution, it was the idea that this was a "New World." America was to be more than a "land of opportunity" it was to become a place to give yourself a second chance because anything was possible. It was also a place where grand social and religious experiments would take place repeatedly, flourishing in the new found freedom of religion and the dream of creating a ideal, a utopia, or as John Winthrop put it a City on a Hill.

I have no idea of the geographical layout of Newtown, Connecticut, but the eyes of world are upon it. We marvel at the horror and how a small New England town is coping with such devastating events. Even those who survived must relive the nightmare, hearing the school PA system cruelly broadcast the entire shooting throughout the school in their heads night after night. The twin sister who was spared because she was assigned to a different class than her brother that year.

We can and we must begin again. Otherwise, their sacrifice will have been wasted. The American Experiment is a constantly evolving, dynamo that turn on a dime when great leaders lead. Will Obama lead us to truly change our ways? Can we make Newtown a new town and renew other cities and towns across this country?

If we work together we can make this a beacon of hope once more rather than cower in fear when we drop our children off at school. "For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others’ necessities." Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and atheists alike must band together in order to tackle not only the might of the NRA, but also the troubling culture of violence that is all around us and our prior unwillingness to address tough problems, including mental heath. Since we all believe in the Idea of America, we should be able to accomplish this tasks if we set our minds and hearts to it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

You won already

The battle over gun control ended many years ago, I would say in 1994 when Democrats lost control of Congress for 12 years for what some blamed on the adult rifle ban in 1993. The NRA has been an incredibly successful interest group both in legislative bodies across the country and with DC v. Heller in the federal courts as well, overturning lost standing precedent.

In the past few years we have a Congresswoman shot in the head at a grocery store, people massacred at a movie theater, at a Seikh temple, at a shopping mall and now an elementary school. And yet the words "gun control" does not pass the re-elected President's lips. Oh and I almost forgot the NFL player who gunned down his baby daughter's mother, the drove to the practice facility, thanked the coaches for letting him have the chance to make it in the pros, and then shot himself in the head. That was only a week or two ago.

News alert: No one is going to take your guns away, hunters and gun rights activists, so stop trying to scare people into believing otherwise. The NRA and its allies need to sit back and pat themselves on the back. Instead, they work themselves into a frenzy because you cannot bring guns into college campuses or bars or courts or to work or people cannot get concealed gun permits at the drop of a hat. Even Scalia, Dick Cheney's hunting buddy who authored Heller, thinks there should be some reasonable restrictions on the right to bear arms. With rights comes responsibility. You should have to prove you know how to handle a gun safely and lock it up safely before you can take it home with you. So your kid doesn't accidentally kill himself or you don't set it off and kill him (it is always a boy by the way). People with mental health issues shouldn't get a weapon. Even passing mental health issues should count Like if you just got fired, you shouldn't be able to buy a gun.

And yet the conversation turns to enforcing existing laws and criminals and crazy people cannot be stopped. Don't we want to at least make it hard for the crazy, the criminal, and the jihadist to kill lots of people?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Scalp hunting

Susan Rice apparently decided that she was sick of being subject to silly conspiracy theories because someone at the CIA gave her misleading talking points about what had happened in Libya. Of course, it never had anything to do with Rice or Libya or Terrorism, it had to do with weakening Obama.

So the Kabuki dance went on and on, Obama defending her but pretending he had not decided who he wanted for the Secretary of State position since Hilary Clinton said no thanks to another 4 years. Of course he wanted Rice.

This is the reason no one wants to go into public service. There lives get put on hold while some fools in Congress, their staffers and idiots on cable TV nitpick everything the person ever did as well as what they didn't do.

The whole art of scalp hunting, as the racist term is know as, has become a sport in Washington. Democrats did it to George W. Bush because Republicans did it to Clinton, so Republicans did it to Obama (see Tom Daschle and Bill Richardson).

If the nominee were unqualified (see Harriet Myers) unethical (see Tom Daschle and Bill Richardson) or antithetical to the position the president nominates the person to (see John Bolton) or just plain way too radical (see Bork, John Ashcroft, John Yoo) that is one thing, but if there is really do good reason to make someone's life miserable (see Peter Diamond, Goodwin Lieu, and Susan Rice) then scalp hunting serves no other purpose other than partisanship and actually does a disservice to the job a Senator is supposed to do in hearings and deciding how to vote on a nominee. Not to mention the country, which deprived of that person's service.

In the case of judges, justice delayed is often times justice denied. People accused of crimes will sit in Jail longer waiting for their case to be heard, civil litigants will have to wait even longer to get their hearing, in the meantime their lives can be ruined. There must be an end to this quest to weaken a president through sullying a nominee's reputation forever. It is doubtful most Americans even knew who our UN Ambassador was until Fox News accused her of a cover up. A few nominees, like Alberto Gonzales, deserve this treatment, most do not.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

The never ending brinksmanship must end

So the election was a month ago, but somehow it is not over yet. It won't end until 1-1-13 12:00:01 when we either begin the plunge into a rescission thanks to the need to create leverage, or the Republicans cry uncle.

My prediction, which I guess is worth something since I won my office election pool, is that this will be like the TARP vote in the fall of 2008. We will pass the deadline without a deal bing passed. Maybe the House will even vote down an 11th hour deal. But then, the makers will panic, the bond civilian ties and SuperPAC patrons will call, and a remote will pass a deal.

The question is, will Obama cave as usual, will everyone agree to punt again,or will a minor deal happen with the promise of a bigger deal next spring? This time, Obama and his aides are giving off a much different vibe. As are the Congressional Republicans, who are acting like a cornered animal. Does the President have them? Or are we playing nine demential chess in our imaginations again?

More important than the tax rates in my view is taking away the debt waking as a fake crisis lever irresponsible Republicans think they should pull again and again to get what they want from Democratic presidents. That, and changing the cost of the filibuster. Now I am certain a new tool will be found, but in the meantime maybe some adults can do their jobs: running the county and those ideologs can return to what they are good at, yelling on TV harmlessly.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Honestly honesty counts

If conservatives have such great ideas on how to fix this country, how come they have disguise what their true intentions are to the American people? Romney won the first debate because he gave short answers that were intended to mislead people into thinking his policies were more moderate than they really were.

While I don't doubt that Mitt believes He is the right man for the job, why does he believe deceit is an acceptable means to an end? If Romney wins he will have a Republican House and maybe even a Republican Senate. Even if he wanted to be a moderate Republican, congress critters wouldn't let him. This is why not many conservatives care what he says in the closing days, so long as he wins. It will be tax cuts for the rich, military spending increases and funds cut for the poor women and minorities. And two conservatives justices will be put on the bench to roll back the 1960s.

And really, this guy campaigned as a moderate and governed as a conservative in Massachusetts. He compromised with democrats because they comprised a super majority and he lost a great many battles, even giving on some before the fight began.

By contrast, Obama knows it is unlikely that he will have a Speaker Pelosi to work with and can only hope that the democrats trim the power of the filibuster, having pounded their heads against the wall for 4 years straight. Only a handful of things will get done if Barack wins another term. Of all the prior pledges that might resurface, I would bet the DREAM act would pass if it only takes 51 votes to pass. Obama foolishly believes the fear will break if he wins. But this condition has been getting worse since 1992, not better. At 20 years, only a trouncing has a chance of correcting an era of error.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Poll dance

The only pollster in Utah I trust, Dan Jones, has a poll out tonight with a surprising conclusion: Jim Matheson might not be re-elected to a seventh term.

It looks like this race, like the senate races in Massachusetts and Nevada has nationalized. Utah is one of the few states where your entire campaign can be about latching onto the top of the ticket.

An interesting aspect of the poll also shows Matheson's approval rating is slightly higher than Love's, at 56 percent to 54 percent. But Matheson's unfavorable rating is also higher than Love's, at 38 percent to 31 percent.

Just like Scott Brown in the Bay State, Utahns still like Jim Matheson. Jim has not made as many mistakes as Brown has. He has not made silly personal attacks like whether Mia Love was an "anchor baby"but the policy based attacks have not stuck either it appears.

I would be curious to learn what people who are neutral thought of the performances of both candidates.

Mia Love is by far the best candidate Jim Matheson has gone up against. I am looking at you too John Swallow.

The student loans and Israel funding attack lines are the best ones Matheson has got. Disparaging Saratoga Springs does not seem to be a winning plan to me. My free advice, which is worth every penny, is to personalize what Mia Love's more extreme positions would mean for a real life college on student loans, a real life senior in a nursing home who is dual eligible and at risk under theRyan budget that Romney and Love endorsed. A regular Utahn, rather than Jim talking at a press event or another debate will be the most effective in my view.

But really giving people a reason to turnout for you and an organization to get the vote out is the most important at this stage. Democrats in Utah are not going to be all that jazzed to turnout this year, unlike 2008. Even worse, the other side will be very excited to vote for Mitt Romney in huge numbers.

Are there Romney-Matheson voters? Sure but who knows how many there are and what buttons are the right ones to push? Certainly not this highly paid consultant.

Bottom line, Matheson is a hole that he is going to have to dig out of but he still could pull out a victory. I am already having déjà vu of election night 2012 when Jim Matheson's campaign manager and my dad called me to find out what the latest returns were because the Internet was down in their hotel room. Back then, I calculated that John Swallow would have to run the table on the remaining precincts in order to capture the lead and make up the difference in the lead. I predicted that Jim would barely pull it out. I fear it will be another long night for Jim this year again.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ten Years

This year was my tenth college reunion. So I have been feeling more nostalgic than usual lately. Then I learned last night that in a decade, every cell in your body is different than the ones that were there ten years ago. So we are literally nothing like the people we were in college. My deep thought of the week.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Grading the speeches

So I have to admit, I could bear to watch the Republican convention but did manage to watch most of the headline speeches for the Democratic Convention. A day after it all ended, I still think Michelle Obama's was the best one I heard. And from what I gather, it was the best one of all the conventions. Joe Biden's was the second best.

Perhaps I am grading on a curve, but my expectations for Joe the Biden were pretty low and Obama's was pretty high. Perhaps the president knew the jobs report would suck, so he blamed the weather and moved his speech indoors, then toned down his speech. One doesn't want have soaring rhetoric if reality doesn't match. Still Biden did a good job talking loud and soft, and talking like Joe Six Pack.

Honestly I don't get what the fuss was about Bill Clinton's speech. It was same old off the program too long speech that he always gives. there were some good moments but overall I remembered why I grew tired of Bill towered the end. Still I also remembered the two times I have seen him speak in person. You could feel his charisma from all the way up on the nose bleed section where I was.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Another sign that the end is nigh

More people watched “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” reality TV show about a child beauty pageant contestant, than watched the Republican National Convention last week.

Something tells me these are the so-called undecided voters that make their choice based on stupid whims, if they vote at all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Watching Mia Love's TV ad with the sound off

Last night I was riding the stationary bike at the gym, a rarity or me, and watching news coverage of the GOP convention. Right after the local news did a story on Mia Love's speech at the convention, it cut to commercial. And guess whose ad was on first at the break? You guessed it.

Since it was the gym, I could not have listened to the ad if I wanted to. At any event, I think it was a good test to see what was conveyed to this who were not wanting to pay attention to her commercial, the median voter she and Jim Matheson are trying to woo.

The images were her face and Mitt Romney's mug over and over, some times side by side. The text was even less subtle, with the words "Love stands with Romney on" and then issue after issue scrolling by. Message received loud and clear. Interestingly, she couldn't get Mitt to spare a few minutes to walk side by side with Mia Love for her commercials.

Still, the message also plays into Jim Matheson's argument as well. "She is all about party, and I am all about Utah," said Matheson at an event today when asked about Love's upcoming not even four minute long speech at the Republican convention. Her ad says I will be President Romney's rubber stamp, but what is the point of that? And who does she vote in lockstep with if Obama wins reelection?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Oh Pioneers!

O you youths, Western youths,
So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship,
Plain I see you Western youths, see you tramping with the foremost,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

Today is the day we Utahns celebrate the Mormon Pioneers' arrival and settlement of the Salt Lake Valley. I am proud to be a sixth generation Utahn.

Still, all is not well in the Beehive State as the fireworks explode in the night's sky. The drought has brought wildfires and arsonists to torch our lands. Our elected officials love to waste taxpayer money on message bills and political lawsuits rather than the betterment of the people they were elected to serve.

The spirit of our ancestors--the ones that pulled together to survive a plague of crickets, extermination orders, and a trek across the Great Plains--is being undermined by efforts to exclude those whose views differ from the favored ideology. To make those who are different "other," despite the fact that this same kind of other-ing is what lead to the suffering of our ancestors.

There may be no more land on Earth to "discover" and settle. But we can make strives to pioneer into new fields of knowledge, into new levels of understanding and empathy, and out to the furthest reaches of space--the final frontier.

Oh Pioneers! Strive to shatter the barriers between peoples. Never give up or give in. Yearn for demand, and expect greater from those in public office. Push those holding the levers of power to do something to prevent the world from further spiraling out of control thanks to their inept handling of this interconnected planet--or let someone else have a try. This Pioneer Day, let us seek out our own frontiers and to challenge ourselves to reach higher and farther than we ever dreamed possible. Carpe Diem.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Name Change

Did you notice that after the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, the media stopped calling it ObamaCare and started calling it the Affordable Care Act? I sure did.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

They broke it, we must fix it

In this cynical age, we must look again to our ideals to repair the broken government, the hopeless press, the overburdened courts, and the abject failure of just about every institution of repute in the last ten years.

Short sighted greed is to blame for most of our troubles. This is why Wall Street sold crappy financial products they knew were crappy. This is why professional athletes took performance enhancing drugs, why college coaches looked the other way while their assistants and/or students did terrible things, why reporters made up stories or copy and pasted press releases, why compromise became a dirty word on Capital Hill and lobbyists wrote bills. Why people remain willfully ignorant of climate change. But now the future is not so far away after all, and the proverbial day of reckoning has come. and yet, it seems that most have yet to learn their lessons.

Wall Street is still egged on by callous recklessness and disregard for their supposed clients. The press still prefers to "balance" rather than report what is actually happening and prefer coziness with power over digging to the bottom of a story. Sports are still dogged with people prizing short term success over all else, including the welfare of children. And politicians prefer "winning the week" over passing meaningful legislation, regulations, or treaties that actually makes their constituent's lives better.

I don't know how to lure people from the quick high of short term rewards that come from leveraging the future. But one would have thought the last four years of a painfully slow economy, where everyone is seemingly one false step from financial ruin, would have made people think twice about how they have been acting.

Having narrowly escaped the abyss myself, I must say not only do I appreciate what I have more, but I also think about how my actions will play out several more times down the road.

As a lawyer, you realize the cheap route to victory will come back to bite you one day, and without your credibility, you are not worth much in court or in business. At least some of us do. Other lawyers saw a chance to be famous or wealthy or both, and seized it, laws and ethics be damned. and they, like the accounting firm of Arthur Anderson have became a footnote in history. a lesson of what not to do.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tuesdays for Orrin

Utah's crazy nominating system starts on Tuesday. If you beat beat Hatch before the primary, or force him into an expensive one, then the Republican caucus fun is for you.

If you want to make sure whomever the nominees are address the issue you care about most, Tuesday is your day to be heard. So go already.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Party like its 1996?

Which the presidential election year does it seem most like this time around? Obama's team seems to think it is 2004, where the opposition was very motivated to beat the incumbent, but nominated an uncharismatic guy from Massachusetts.

Many have said it could be like 1984, where the economy sucked up until it mattered for Reagan's reelection. Others have said 1988, where none of the Democratic candidates were strong enough to clear the field...and they nominated another dud from Massachusetts. Or maybe 1996, where Bill Clinton looked oh so beatable in 1993, 1994 and 1995, but utterly untouchable in 1996. Especially against a guy who refers to himself in third person and seems ancient.

But it sure doesn't feel like 1992 this time does it? Back then, a popular war president lost because the economy when south and that incumbent literally said "message: I care." The voters, however sent him a message that they thought he didn't. Perhaps if the Republicans had someone, any one, to run as their nominee who had a personality and was not an extremist, it would been 1992 in 2012.

Unless Mitt Romney suddenly changes his phony stripes and stops trying too hard like Al Gore in 2000, I really do not see Willard getting 270+ electoral college votes.

Monday, February 20, 2012


So today is the day we celebrate Washington's and Lincoln's birthday. This is also a good opportunity to explore those who wish to hold the job.

While I have been disappointed with Obama on a number of issues, Congressional Democrats and Republicans have been far more depressing in their stubborn unwillingness and inability to address all of pressing issues of the day. Climate change is a key example, as is Guantanamo Bay.

But Obama's likely opponent is either without ideas or filled with bad ones that make non existent problems worse. Romney wants to give his fellow one percenters a massive tax cut, raise taxes on the middle class and poor. And he has no desire to tell the voters what else he wants to do.

Santorum wants to tell you what to do with your lives. Freedom, he said, is not having the ability to choose how to act, but to act as Santorum thinks you should. This is known as a Theocracy, while Romney's vision is of a Plutocracy. So I will take disappointing instead.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Newton versus Willard

As much as I have enjoyed the cartoonish fight between the one preventer and the former lobbyist for the one percent, one of these clowns might become president.

John Kerry was tagged with being out of touch because he had become a creature of the Senate. Willard Mitt Romney is out of touch because he has no concept of what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck, to worry about bills, finding a job, keeping a job, or about health insurance. He literally was the guy who was doing the firing, jacking up profits at the expense of its employees and in many cases he company itself.

Willard wasn't a turnaround specialist, he was a flipper. And then he became a flopper. Romney has been willing for since he first ran for office in 1994 to say whatever he thought the electorate wanted to hear. Voters were just a tool, a stepping stone to the real power to do whatever he wanted and could do. There is a reason Willard did not run for reelection. Romney would have lost. Badly.

So the man with no shame would tell one thing to voters one day, and something completely different the next. It is as if Romney thinks he still lives in an era without video and audio recording devices that can transmit Willard eating cake and having it too.

Not that the professor who sold his wife and integrity for power, and then traded in wife number two for a newer model, then resigned in shame, and then became a shill for whoever would pay him is any better. But Newt Gingrich will not last through March while he is pummeled for a month with no money, no supporters, and no organization to defend against Willard's millions. The only thing behind the former speaker is the eighth richest man in the US. Soon enough, he too will get tired of his play thing that keeps losing and saying crazy stuff while he gets crushed.

In the meanwhile, I will try to enjoy my February as I hope you will as well.

January 31, 2012 at 10:51PM

@Saintless trying to link my tweets to my blog so I don't have to write posts and tweets. I used iftt. Suggestions welcomed.

January 31, 2012 at 10:48PM

January 31, 2012 at 10:18PM

Wish this existed when I was in high school

January 31, 2012 at 08:48PM

Utah Legislature wants to disregard the 17th Amendment and the Supremacy Clause

January 31, 2012 at 07:55PM

RT @freddoso: Turnout in FL '08 was 1.9M. This time, not looking like we're going to make it there.

January 31, 2012 at 07:19PM

RT @pandagon: Newt to the future! If Obama hadn't taken down Gadaffi, it would be a lot easier to get black market plutonium, though.

January 31, 2012 at 07:32AM

RT @TPM: POLL: Private sector experience of Romney, Gingrich viewed unfavorably

January 31, 2012 at 12:03AM

How about using that money to improve Utah's public schools instead?

Monday, January 30, 2012

January 30, 2012 at 11:34PM

January 30, 2012 at 10:55PM

OOPS: Romney ‘Proves’ Gingrich Supported ObamaCare With Three Quotes He Also Said

January 30, 2012 at 08:41PM

Americans don’t know much about Romneycare — except that it’s very similar to Obamacare the ACA has more cost-cutting.

January 30, 2012 at 12:47PM

RT @jdickerson: Late endorsing politicians of losing candidates should avoid deck chairs on the Titanic metaphors.

January 30, 2012 at 12:33AM

Saturday, January 28, 2012

January 28, 2012 at 08:03AM

January 28, 2012 at 08:01AM

RT @NewYorker: Daily Comment: What government debt did for Romney at Bain:

January 28, 2012 at 07:53AM

RT @TwistedSifter: Picture of the Day: Graffiti by the 1%

January 28, 2012 at 07:48AM

January 28, 2012 at 12:48AM

January 28, 2012 at 12:03AM

January 27, 2012 at 11:59PM

Romney’s ‘Blind Trust’ Was Not Very Blind

Friday, January 27, 2012

January 27, 2012 at 11:48PM

January 27, 2012 at 11:37PM

EBay Official: Company Won’t Move Jobs To Utah If It Doesn’t Pass LGBT Employment Protections

January 27, 2012 at 11:33PM


When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies - to be met not with cooperation but with conquest, to be subjugated and mastered.
Robert F. Kennedy, Cleveland, Ohio, April 5, 1968.

I just finished watching a documentary on RFK's funeral train and I heard this quote. Sadly, Bobby's speech seems as true in 2012 as is was in 1968.

I know I have not written here in ages and the habit has died out. But the spirit and the need have not. Do not think that I have not missed writing my thoughts to you or hearing your comments and responses. Know only that the luxurious fleeting moments of time have been spent with family and friends. Still, I regret my neglect of my online friends and the community of minds that can connect over the Internet through an idea. Like wiretapping and torture are wrong and make us less safe, that our time, treasure, lives, and international regard were needlessly squandered in the sands of Iraq. And yet we as a people need to attempt to see the world through someone else's eyes, and not immediately separate and demonize those who disagree with us.

My hope now is that these thoughts will no longer have to echo through time so that the lessons will not have to be relearned generation by generation.

January 27, 2012 at 09:18PM

January 27, 2012 at 09:12PM

S.L. Co. Councilman Randy Horiuchi suffers stroke