Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What's happened to Halloween? (and the 2 coolest decorations)

The VoU1 household had a whopping four sets of trick-or-treaters tonight. VoU2 didn't have any.

What has happened to this holiday? As a kid, I remember looking forward to it for a month. As an adult, I remember turning on the porch light, putting Monster Mash on continuous play, and worrying about running out of candy. Now I'm worried about eating all the candy that's left over.

Where have all the pirates and ballerinas and ghosts gone? Have parents gotten too paranoid? Are people too busy? Are they doing that lame "trunk or treat" thing? Are they more spoilsports health conscious?

At least some people still have the spirit. A lot of the decorations we saw this year were pretty cool. The best one we saw at a residence was on 78th South near 1300 East, which hosted literally dozens of these life-size stuffed zombies:


The best decorations we saw at a business were in the Fort Union Home Depot, which had do-it-yourself spiders, impaled workers, human-face doors, a mummy, and, in their most creative effort, the Headless Horseman:

Now that's more like it!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Trib cartoon crosses the line

Political cartoonists are supposed to push the envelope, and Pulitzer Prize winner Pat Oliphant is one of the best, but his cartoon in this morning's Trib was more personal attack than social commentary. (For clarity, that's nationally syndicated cartoonist Pat Oliphant, not Trib cartoonist Pat Bagley, whom we also love.)

We can understand the frustration with President Bush's veto of SCHIP, but this cartoon went too far. In it, Oliphant suggests that "The Bush-Cheney Solution for Child Health Insurance" is for Cheney to use little children for target practice:


As the most anti-Bush person we know said, "Even I think that's too far."

He's the most syndicated cartoonist in the world for a reason, but a cartoon like that doesn't add anything to the dialogue, in our view.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tomorrow in Utah: judicial intemperance day ("mind-warped queers" redux)

It has been called "the most intemperate judicial opinion of all time." It is cited as an example of what not to do in The Judicial Opinion Writing Handbook. It's one of the most notorious judicial opinions ever issued in this country, it's from Utah, and tomorrow is its 30th Anniversary.

Salt Lake City v. Piepenburg, 571 P.2d 1299 (Oct. 28, 1977), involved a theater owner convicted of showing an obscene movie. Writing for the Utah Supreme Court, Chief Justice A. H. Ellett acknowledged that the U. S. Supreme Court had set forth a minimum constitutional standard required to find material obscene, i.e., that the material, “when taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Some state courts, "acting the part of sycophants," were actually following that standard, Ellett wrote disgustedly:
It would appear that such an argument ought only to be advanced by depraved, mentally deficient, mind-warped queers. Judges who seek to find technical excuses to permit such pictures to be shown under the pretense of finding some intrinsic value to it are reminiscent of a dog that returns to his vomit in search of some morsel in the filth which may have some redeeming value to his own taste.
It wa also OK for the prosecutor to call the bishops of prospective jurors and ask if they went to church regularly, Ellett ruled. "One can be sure that the defense attorney (if he was a good lawyer) would have made inquiry among the pimps, prostitutes, homosexuals, and other members of the pornographic community to see if any prospective jurors might be favorably inclined to protect one accused of showing pornographic films."

Although the Utah Supreme Court disavowed both the language and rationale of Piepenburg in 1983, Justice Ellett remained proud of his opinion. It's one of several entertaining stories in his autobiography that lend new meaning to the concept of judicial activism.


Praise and a big gripe for the LDS Church

VoU1 here. There are two things on my mind tonight about the LDS Church.

1. Ads. Hearing one of them tonight on KSL reminded me that I really like the Church's ads about spending time with family, talking to your kids, etc. I can't quote them, but they usually end with something like, "Isn't it about . . . time?" or "No matter what you say to your kids, they'll hear love," or such. I think they're well done, and have a nice, upbeat, message without being overly preachy.

2. Parking lot harassment. We wrote about LDS missionaries confronting shoppers in parking lots before, and a letter in Sunday's Trib also complained about it, but what happened to me the other day was beyond the pale. I was leaving a south valley ShopKo when two women approached and said they wanted to talk to me about the teachings of the LDS Church. "No thanks," I said with a smile; "I'm kind of in a hurry."

That should have ended it. Instead, one of them launched into an explanation of why I needed to hear about the teachings of the Church. Still smiling politely, I explained that I am very familiar with the teachings of the Church. By now, she was walking beside me. The word is true and I need to hear it, she persisted. "You know, I'm really not interested," I said. She continued to follow me, informing me of the importance of understanding these truths. "Look, I'm not interested," I said firmly. "I just want to walk to my car in peace." She then stepped up next to the car, physically crowding me, and started in again.

That was it. "You know what?" I interrupted. "It's this kind of thing that is going to turn people with positive feelings about the Church into people with negative feelings. Do you really want that?" Well, the word is important, she said, refusing to budge. "Look, I know you're just doing what you've been told," I said, "but I would like you to relay to your supervisor that this is counterproductive, that you are generating hostile feelings toward the Church by someone who did not feel that way before. Do you see what I'm saying?" Apparently not, because she completely ignored it, instead reiterating that it was important to know the truth of the Church's teachings. I finally had to step around her, almost literally shut the car door in her face, and hope that she would move out of the way.

I don't like being approached in parking lots, but I can tolerate it if the person backs off once I have expressed disinterest. This latest recruiting "strategy" is pure harassment, though. Whoever came up with it: Please stop.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Some politically incorrect thoughts about Utah news items

This is what happens when a blogger is grouchy and the discretion filter is turned off.

Free parking coming back to downtown. Why would anyone in their right mind shop downtown these days? It's a ghost town with road closures, lousy parking, and no shopping. (I don't count The Gateway since I'm still boycotting it, but who wants open-air shopping in the winter anyway?) I don't shop downtown any more, and I work there.

Man rescued after being pinned under TRAX train. Apparently the idiot was trying to beat the train. Doofus. It's not like TRAX trains go on for miles. You have to wait, what, 45 seconds? If the state issued pedestrian licenses, this guy's would be yanked for sheer dumbness.

Deer hunter's death believed to be an accident. That's good, since KSL has been calling it an "accidental" shooting since its very first story. "William Short, 44, of Riverton, was shot in the stomach as a friend climbed a fence with a rifle slung over his back, the sheriff said. 'As he was going over the fence, he touched off the trigger and it shot his friend in the abdomen,' Edmunds said." Can't we institute an I.Q. test for hunting licenses? How many times have we heard about guns going off when someone is climbing over or through a fence with a bullet in the chamber? Sorry to sound unsympathetic to the guy who shot him, but, well, I'm unsympathetic.

Attempted abductions have authorities on high alert. Apparently, nearly being abducted is the thing to do these days; kids are reporting these (mostly unwitnessed) incidents with amazing frequency, and, at times, rather vague details. No doubt some are legitimate -- and horrifying -- but I admit that my first cynical thought when reading this was: Are all these abduction attempts real?

Governor highlighted in pro-voucher ad. Of course he is -- even the PR nightmare that is Parents for Choice in Education has figured out that people might actually like our governor. Rob Bishop is hardly an inspiring spokesman -- has the man done anything memorable the whole time he's been in Congress? -- and as for our esteemed legislature, it's amusing that references to that body are conspicuously absent from most PCE ads. If even PCE can figure out that voters are not enamored of our legislature, well, I'd like to see those approval numbers.

Romney says if elected, Church won't influence policies. Right.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

More voucher scandals, please

It has finally hit: voucher fatigue. I've read the articles, and the Sutherland Institute's educational press releases -- I particularly enjoyed the latest one, "Vote for Vouchers, PLEASE!" -- and watched the cutesy Eyres commercial, and skimmed the "I hope you die" "No, I hope you die" debates on KSL.com, and . . . I can't take one more minute. I am overvouchered.

Granted, I do read the latest polls (over and over), but otherwise, I'm on voucher overload until it gets juicy again. Could we have more pay-per-voter e-mails, please, or secret propaganda meetings held by desperate legislators? My attention span is limited; I need an October Surprise.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Stephen Colbert: destroying the environment one wrist at a time?

This post doesn't violate our local-only policy, because a Utahn reported it to us. Now that Stephen Colbert has declared his candidacy for the Democratic and Republication nominations for president*, he'll be under a lot of scrutiny. He has, of course, seen through all that global-warming b.s., but he still ought to have his, er, wrist slapped for this:

Ever since his tragic wrist-shattering incident, Colbert has been raising badly needed wrist awareness with stylish red rubber Wrist Strong bracelets, sported recently by such luminaries as Kevin Garnett, Barack Obama, and Katie Couric. Proceeds go to The Yellow Ribbon Fund.

This afternoon, an acquaintance received her Wrist Strong bracelets in the mail. The tsk tsk? See if you can figure it out from the photo...

*in South Carolina.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Utah's foreclosure investors: Leeches or saviors?

Wander over to KSL.com Classifieds and you'll see lots of ads like this (click on image):

Note the puppies. They remove any doubt that this woman is just a pet-lovin' soccer mom who wants to help you. That's how most foreclosure investors tout themselves: someone willing to help out by buying your house at a substantial discount and then re-selling it for a large profit.

We actually believe that foreclosure investors can be helpful. For example, a friend of a friend recently lost her townhome. She was relatively unsophisticated and, as with many owners, by the time she realized she couldn't dig herself out of her financial situation, it was too late to sell the property herself and she basically lost everything to the bank. Someone willing to pay off her loan and throw in some cash for her equity, even at less than market value, would have been doing her a favor.

Still, it's hard to to feel good about an industry that makes its living off of other people's desperation (think payday loans). It's even harder when these self-proclaimed saviors practically gush about it. For example, someone sent me an e-mail this week from Alexis McGee, founder of Foreclosures.com. McGee calls herself a "white knight," and says:

By helping you achieve your goal of becoming a successful and ethical investor, the growing numbers of distressed property owners are also being helped. Everyone wins, making our world a better place.

Golly, that sounds neato. But it seems a little hard to reconcile with McGee's e-mail, in which she seems almost giddy about the surge of foreclosure notices that winter brings. "I love this time of year," she says -- the "peak foreclosure buying season." (Trust me, it's worth clicking on:)


Winter desperation: It's the most wonderful time of the year . . . .

One suggestion for foreclosure investors and their gurus: If you want credibility, try giggling less when talking about all the people about to lose their homes.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Buhler's campaign strategy: a real winner

We have to admire Dave Buhler's brilliant campaign theme, which accuses Ralph Becker of being -- children, leave the room -- a planner. His website illustrates the point:

(Hmm--kind of a wide stance there, Dave...)

Becker has been hammered by Buhler's lack-of-planning credentials.


And heck, one can't fault his logic. The last thing we need in office is someone who actually plans stuff.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Saw Mitt's campaign car today...

. . . at least I assumed it was his.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hillary bags Utah, but sends a pretty good substitute

Bummer--Hillary Clinton has decided not to come to Utah on October 23 after all. Instead, Bill Clinton will be shaking hands in Park City on November 4, two days before vouchers go down in flames. Ordinarily, we would be thrilled that Bill was coming here -- we were geeky enough to go to the airport years ago just to wave at him -- but we really did want to see Hillary in person.

Oh, well. Maybe she'll stop by during one of her terms in office.

Will St. George be the next big file-sharing verdict? and the impact on anonymous bloggers

Remember that Minnesota woman who got a $222,000 bill last week for file-sharing (i.e., violating copyright laws on) 24 songs? Now the Recording Industry Association of America, which pursues these cases on behalf of its members, has filed a similar lawsuit in Utah.

The lawsuit (2:07cv00746) accuses Lorna Davis of "Saint George" of using the peer-to-peer network Gnutella to make available 10 songs for others to download. Actually, the studios say she made 321 songs available, but they only included 10 in the suit. Apparently that was how many they sampled: According to another lawsuit filed in Utah last June against "Does 1-4," RIAA finds its culprits in a fiendishly clever way: By having someone surf file-copying services like any ol' file swapper. When it finds music files available for download -- which takes, oh, about 15 seconds -- it downloads some, logs the date, time, I.P. address of the computer providing them, and then listens to be sure the songs are as labeled. (Considering some of the songs downloaded in Doe -- think Jessica Simpson -- someone isn't getting paid enough.)

So far, we don't have a problem. File-sharing in that way is illegal and, as the anti-immigrant faction likes to remind us, the law is the law. We may question whether a $9,250 fine per song is reasonable -- the Minnesota court did not require evidence of actual harm to the studios, such as proof that the songs had been uploaded by anyone -- and we may wonder about going after 10-year-olds, but it's still theft.

Our concern is this: RIAA's common practice of obtaining ex parte (no notice to the other side) court orders allowing them to get names, addresses, and e-mail addresses of Internet Service Provider subscribers. As an RIAA V.P. said in the Doe case, "Since 1998, the RIAA and others have used subpoenas thousands of times to learn the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of infringers" -- don't they mean alleged infringers? -- "for the purposes of bringing legal actions against those infringers." (Declaration of Carlos Linares, June 27, 2007, Warner Bros. Records, Inc., et al., v. Does 1-4, 2:07cv424.)

Obviously, they can't pursue their lawsuits if they don't know a defendant's real name. But the RIAA has made some embarrassing mistakes in these lawsuits (see here and here), so alleging guilt does not necessarily make it so. In our view, subscribers should always have an opportunity to resist the disclosure of their private information before it is a fait accompli.

Admittedly, we don't lose sleep over file-sharing defendants. However, suppose some angry reader filed a lawsuit against an anonymous blogger or commenter that looked legit on paper but was really just retaliatory. Some ISPs provide subscriber information without even a court order if they are notified that a lawsuit has been filed. It's easy to see how that could be abused.

In Doe, the ISP was Off Campus Telecommunications on University Avenue in Provo. The judge's order did not require OCT to tell its subscribers that their identities had been subpoenaed. It may well have done so (we didn't see a policy on its website), but it shouldn't hinge on a particular ISP's internal practice. Courts should require that any subpoena of an ISP contain an instruction to notify subscribers before handing over private info.

9 times out of 10, there will be no legitimate basis to oppose the disclosure of a potential defendant's name and address. It's that other 1 that bothers us.

P.S. We couldn't find a picture of Ms. Davis or Does 1-4, so we'll post this funny "RIAA Lawsuit Decision Matrix" instead, courtesy of BBspot.com. It's worth clicking on to read the full-size image.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

If Lohra Miller had prosecuted Warren Jeffs...

...he'd be out already. (P.S. This is the second time that this kind of thing has happened this year.)

What was it Miller said in her campaign? Oh, yeah:

The Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office needs to establish and enforce prosecution policies that are tough on crime and hold offenders at all levels accountable.

and . . . .

Lohra’s proven leadership and team-building skills, along with her strong knowledge of both criminal prosecution and municipal government law, will help implement a proactive "district-based" prosecution system. . . . It efficiently deals with cases, thus increasing conviction rates. Through such reforms, court calendars will become more manageable and individual cases will get the attention they deserve, thus ensuring that justice is always the priority.

Sounds great! We can't wait.

Friday, October 05, 2007

A reminder that doctors are fallible

Yesterday we read the appalling news that a woman in Florida underwent a double mastectomy because she was diagnosed with breast cancer--oops, lab mixup. Last spring, an Atlanta man caused international panic because the CDC said he was carrying an incurable form of tuberculosis--oops, re-testing by a different lab revealed that it wasn't that type of TB. Last summer, Derek Fisher was told by a Utah doctor that his daughter's eye would have to be removed to treat her cancer--doctors in New York said that wasn't true. Several years ago, Parker Jensen was said to have a fast-acting cancer and would die if he didn't have chemotherapy--he's still alive.
We're not knocking doctors. They do their best, and such incidents are (we hope) rare. But still, these kinds of stories are scary.

Coincidentally, shortly before the mastectomy story broke, CNN ran an article titled "5 commonly misdiagnosed diseases." The article's first suggestion: Ask for more tests. We tend to assume that labs can't get it wrong, but there is a woman in Florida who would beg to differ. She has now filed a lawsuit, and frankly we hope she gets big bucks. We all make mistakes, but we should accept the consequences when we do.

Buhler eliminates our only reservation about Becker

A while back, we offered some unsolicited advice to Ralph Becker: Don't be mushy. Our capital city needs a mayor who won't kowtow to our state legislature, even when there may be negative consequences. (The Beehive motto: "Legislate and retaliate.") VOU2's concern was that Becker was so used to being browbeaten in the legislature that he would just "roll over" for them.

We're not worried about that any more. Becker may not be Rocky Balboa, but with him we only fear that he will be too conciliatory toward the legislature. With Buhler, it's a certainty. He has essentially said as much by touting his success in getting bills through as a legislator, and slamming Becker's alleged lack thereof. What Buhler may not realize is just how skeptical voters are toward our legislature these days. For example, one friend's wife -- a diehard Republican and straight-ticket GOP voter -- is "so mad" at our legislature that she said she is considering voting for a Democrat for the first time in her life.

By touting his ability to gladhand with his legislative pals, rather than reassuring us that he can and will buck them when needed, Buhler has sealed the deal for us. Go Ralph!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Happy blogoversary to us! and a bit of nostalgia

HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY TO US! (if we do say so ourselves)

It was one year ago today that Voice of Utah first dipped its toe into the warm waters of the Utah blogosphere. 214 posts later (including this one), we have really enjoyed our interaction with everyone, even those who put us in our place at times.

Feeling a bit nostalgic, we decided to reprint our very first attempt at a blog entry instead of trying to write something pertinent or interesting for the occasion. Granted, it's not terribly relevant now -- unless LaVar Christensen decides to run for Congress again (oh, please, oh, please!) -- but if the Philadelphia Eagles can wear those hideous retro uniforms from 1933, we can relive a retro post from 2006.


October 4, 2006

LaVar's Passion

The latest word in Utah's 2nd Congressional District race: According to that mouthpiece-of-the-Left Deseret News, incumbent Jim Matheson leads challenger LaVar Christensen by 36 points. How can that be? Matheson is an avowed Democrat (on paper, anyway). Christensen, on the other hand, is a tireless soldier in the war on Utah's very way of life.

The situation is dire.


Decisive action is needed.

Yet at times he must march alone...

He knows what voters want to know.

His work is never done.


LaVar Christensen: He'll work hard to save your marriage.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

More voucher fun: Our rebuttal to the Sutherland Institute's rebuttal

We like it when people stick up for their views, so we appreciate the detailed comment left this morning by Derek of the Sutherland Institute regarding our recent post about the lack of detail in the Institute's latest pro-voucher announcement. (See also Bob Aagard's post responding to Institute president Paul Mero's comment on his blog.)

We feel we owe it to Derek to relay his concerns in full, along with our responses, since they otherwise would be buried in the comments of an old post. But first this: Voice of Utah is not independent on this subject. We have never purported to be. We think vouchers are a thinly veiled excuse for mostly wealthy people to get tax money for sending their kids to religious schools. We think the scheme lacks accountability, sets bad precedent, and is just a bad idea in its present form.

Now, suppose Voice of Utah issued a press release announcing that we had conducted "independent" research on a voucher issue and (yea!) reached a result favorable to our view, with no details about how terms were defined, who we contacted, who responded, what figures each provided, and admitting that we had to "adjust" our results a bit to reach the dollar figure we featured in our headline. Would anyone buy that? No; and no one buys it when the Sutherland Institute does it, either.

And now, Derek's objections:

I did the research that the Sutherland Institute summarized in its press release. It seems clear to me after reading this blog post that your intent had nothing to do with a rigorous investigation into truth or fact, so I will attempt to answer some of your criticisms and do the work you were unwilling to do.
The work we were unwilling to do? Did you read our post? It did not purport to be a "rigorous investigation into truth or fact"; rather, it questioned whether the Institute had conducted a rigorous investigation into truth or fact as it claimed. You guys are the ones who issued the press release, remember? You should not be surprised when skeptical readers ask for the detail behind conclusory headlines.

First a little background, the topic we were investigating at Sutherland with this research was how vouchers affect affordability of private schooling for low-income families. This leads to the research question we wanted to answer: will vouchers bring a significant number of private schools within financial reach of low-income families? For high end schools (annual tuition over $10,000), the answer is obviously no. By excluding these schools then, we are now looking at whether vouchers will bring low to medium end schools within reach.
That might fly if you didn't then use the "adjusted" number to reach figures -- percentages and actual dollar numbers -- that you featured in your headline and press release. Your headline says: "Average tuition at Utah's private schools is $4,250." No, it isn't, even under your own survey. I guess we're lucky that you didn't eliminate all unaffordable private schools and then announce that 100% of "Utah's private schools" are affordable.
If a signficant number of these schools are not within reach for low-income families with a $3,000 voucher, we can conclude that vouchers will not help low-income families. As our results show however, vouchers do indeed bring low and medium end private schools within financial reach of low-income families: 64% of low and medium end private schools charge annual tuition under $4,500.
OK, it's 64% of low and medium-end private schools, taking into account that more than a quarter of the schools surveyed did not respond. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it as the headline. Incidentally, we are legitimately interested in which schools responded to your surveys and which didn't. Any info on the 24 no-shows?
If you don't believe that this tuition level is "affordable" look at Children First Utah, a privately funded voucher program for low-income families only. Their scholarships are capped at 1/2 tuition, no matter what private school recipients attend (which is much less than would be covered by a $3,000 voucher at 64% of the low and medium end private schools). Children First Utah received over 1700 applications last year alone, giving away 375 scholarships. This shows that many low-income families expressed a willingness to pay a HIGHER proportion of private school tuition than a voucher would cover because their children don't fit the public school mold. Your "the poorest families who would qualify for the $3,000-per-child max would hardly notice an extra $127 per month out of their paychecks" criticism is a straw man argument. We never make that claim (I'm talking to you as well jennifer). Of course they'll notice it, BUT THEY ARE WILLING TO PAY IT! That is our claim; that is what the facts show. Bottom line: $4,500 is an affordable tuition rate for many low-income families.
Straw man? Here are Mr. Mero's own words: “Affordability is a subjective term,” said Sutherland Institute President, Paul T. Mero. “But consider a low-income family that receives the maximum school voucher amount of $3,000 per child. The difference between the average tuition rate and the maximum school voucher is $1,520, or $127 per month. That is less than the cost of a car payment.”

Mero did not literally say that "a family wouldn't notice" the money (we thought that was fairly obviously our characterization of his words), but do you seriously deny that he is downplaying the impact of $127 per month -- $254 per month for two kids, $381 for three kids, etc. -- on a low-income family's budget? If by "affordable," the Institute means that some low-income families would be willing to pay it even if they could not truly afford it economically, then that is a unique definition of "affordability."
As a side note, these results show that your assertion relative to Catholic schools is false. There are only 14 Catholic schools in the state, and yet 37 schools in our survey charged annual tuition less than $4,500. You do the math: the majority of "affordable" schools are NOT Catholic. I noticed by the way that you failed to do any fact checking on the tribune article's assertions (or at least you didn't mention doing any). Why is that exactly?
Because the Trib article actually had facts in it. You know, names, individual figures, etc. We looked for that stuff in the Institute's press release and its website. We actually assumed we would find a detailed study, that the release was sort of an "executive summary" and that the nitty gritty would be available elsewhere. It seemed odd to us -- really odd -- that it was not. However, in recognition of your argument, we are changing the wording of our update in which we referred people to the Trib article. See what happens when you give people actual info?
The tuition question we asked was: "How much is your annual tuition?" The counties that had private schools when we published our results were: Box Elder, Cache, Davis, Duschesne, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Kane, Salt Lake, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Summit, Tooele, Utah, Washington, and Weber. This information is easily accessible on the Utah State Office of Education's website. A newly updated private school list adds Piute county, making 18 of Utah's 29 counties with a private school in them. The Wasatch corridor includes the folling areas: Cache County, a slim portion of Box Elder County, Weber County, Davis County, Salt Lake County, and Utah County. Why do we define it this way? Look at a topographical map and maybe you'll realize why (if you still have a hard time, give us a call). Yes there are private schools in St. George, four of them in fact. You could have found this out for yourself with another quick search on the Utah State Office of Education website.
Oh, this is how it works: The Sutherland Institute issues a press release, and it's up to readers to figure out for themselves how the research was conducted, what definitions were used, etc. (assuming they have sufficient intelligence, of course, which you rightly question with us). What a novel approach!
If you really wanted to know the answers to any of the questions you raise in your post, why didn't you just pick up a phone? We aren't hiding the information; we couldn't if we wanted to (much of it came from publicly available sources like the Office of Education). It's obvious that your desire to "actually...know this information" only extends as far as it doesn't risk discovering facts that contradict your view of the world. Your accusation of our results as being "intentionally misleading" is truly ironic.
We'll take that as an invitation for Voice of Utah to call and get answers to these kinds of questions in the future. However, you still don't seem to grasp a principal point of our post: If a non-profit organization (1) claims to have conducted "independent" research; and (2) issues a press release; then (3) it should provide the minutia to back it up, or prepare to be called on it.

Remember, you issued the press release. You announced that you had conducted a study. We didn't. Yet the Sutherland Institute wants us to go do research (make that "independent" research) to figure out the detail behind its study. Talk about ironic.

P.S. We still believe your headline and results were intentionally misleading. Just thought we ought to mention that.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Fox13 poll shocker: Utahns love Bush, Romney

You'd better sit down for this: A Fox News 13 poll indicates that 58% of Utahns polled think that George Bush is doing a good or excellent job, more than two times his national approval rating, and more than a bazillion times his international approval rating. Not coincidentally, 58% of Utahns also think that we caught Osama Bin Laden handing over weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein during a "We love you, U. S. Liberators" parade.

20 percent of Utahns polled said they would vote for Mitt Romney based solely on his religion. (Are those the same Utahns who say that it's wrong for people to vote against Romney based solely on his religion?)

Among Utahns polled, Mitt Romney would defeat Hillary Clinton by 50 points, the poll showed. The figures were skewed, however, by the 58% of Utahns who asked if they could vote against Bill Clinton as a write-in candidate.

The best news of all: 0% of Utahns polled said they were not sure whether Bush was doing a good/excellent or horrendous/disastrous job. Thank goodness. If some Utahn didn't have an opinion at this point in Bush's presidential career, that would have been the most embarrassing statistic of all.