Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Finally, a possible illegal! (KSL.com heaven)

The past few weeks have been very frustrating. As we all know, nearly all crime in Utah is committed by illegal immigrants. If you don't believe me, just wander over to KSL.com and read the comments. Granted, KSL doesn't always say that a suspect is illegal (what are they hiding?), but come on--like we can't tell? Latin surname? Duh. Brown skin? Illegal until proven otherwise. It's not racist. Assuming that everyone with an Hispanic name or appearance is an illegal crime-committing immigrant from Mexico is just covering the bases.

For the past few weeks, though, KSL has been wasting our time with so-called "crime" stories that don't involve the real problem. Hence, we've been getting pictures like this:

SEND HER HOME! Sorry--instinct. Or we get this:

Van Dyke? Is that German? Send his grandparents home!

What's so interesting about that guy? Or this one:

So the wife of a big-time BYU basketball player is DUI on prescription drugs. Like that's news.

By our count, 21 mug shots in a row were for people who did not appear to be illegal. One of them was named Orozco -- an admission of guilt if ever there was one -- but he turned out to be a legal resident (which some liberal judge probably used as an excuse not to deport him). We were almost giving up hope that KSL would start covering the real story until tonight, when we saw:

SEND HIM BACK TO MEXICO! Is he from Mexico? Well, just look at him! Is he illegal? Just look at him! Unfortunately, by the time I saw the mug shot and rushed over to KSL to urge that he be sent back, I had already been beaten to the punch by other giddy commenters. Oh, well. I'll have more chances. I'll just check back tonight and--

Damn it. Well, some illegal probably put them up to it.

Larry Miller: full frontal nudity for Christmas

Once again, we want to thank Larry H. Miller for keeping his theaters open on December 25. And we want to thank him for offering a Christmas movie with full frontal nudity (male and female), a hero who cheats on his wife with anyone and everyone, including a male band member, and does every kind of drug imaginable. After Miller pulled Brokeback Mountain two years ago, claiming that the lead character's infidelity bothered him, we thought he might have a problem with some of this stuff in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (which is actually quite funny). But hey, Larry is a happenin' kind of guy--as long as two men don't fall in love.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Regulating the D-News' sleazy behavior

In the biggest "Duh" of the season, the Trib reports that "The Utah Judicial Council on Monday approved a draft of a rule prohibiting news photographers from taking courtroom pictures of exhibits or documents that are not part of the official public record."

There shouldn't have to be a rule so basic, but the Deseret Morning News decided to be slimy and photograph a note written by Warren Jeffs at the defense table during his trial. The newspaper should have disciplined the photographer, but instead it enlarged the picture and hired a handwriting expert. Unethical much? What's next, having to issue a rule that the News can't rifle through attorneys' files and snap pictures during breaks in the trial?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New study: Jazz fans smarter than LDS Christmas Concert fans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: A new study reveals that persons who attend Utah Jazz home games are smarter than persons who attend the LDS Christmas Concert. The study, conducted by local blog Voice of Utah, consisted of two separate phases: the first undertaken at the corner of 400 West and South Temple over a 16-year period, and the second completed from a private passenger vehicle over two consecutive evenings this week.

"We didn't go into this with any preconceived notions," the blog said, "but the dumbass-to-nondumbass ratio turned out to be much higher for the Christmas Concert than for Jazz games. For example, Jazz fans show a 198 percent greater capacity to recognize objects such as left-turn signals and crosswalks. Likewise, association of red lights with a cessation of forward movement was 107 percent higher among Jazz fans."

Study results were unequivocal, the bloggers declared. "After eliminating non-dumbasses from our study (Sutherland Institute™), we found that one hundred percent of Christmas Concert goers were dumbasses."

The study bodes well for his city's upcoming soccer stadium, House Speaker Greg Curtis said, but the researchers said their results would not necessarily carry over. "Remember, those people in Sandy will be on their way to a Real Salt Lake game."

Friday, December 14, 2007

At last, some Taser guidelines for Utah

Now we won't have to hold our breath waiting for the Utah Highway Patrol to clarify its Taser policies. This week, our federal appeals court did it for them, issuing a ruling that should help Jared Massey's lawsuit, and put a stop to the use of Tasers as a first resort.

On Monday, the Tenth Circuit issued Edward Casey v. City of Federal Heights. Casey alleged that he was tackled and Tasered in a Colorado parking lot while walking toward a courthouse to return a court file that he had improperly taken out to his car. Applying the Fourth Amendment, the Tenth Circuit first noted that removing the court file was a low-level misdemeanor, "not a severe crime." Nor was it a violent offense. Jared Massey's offense? Speeding, a low-level, non-violent misdemeanor. (Refusing to sign a ticket is not a separate crime; it simply allows an officer to arrest you for the original speeding offense.)

The court then said that the officer did not have reason to believe that Casey posed an immediate threat to anyone's safety. The fact that he was upset and argumentative in court a few minutes earlier was nothing out of the ordinary, and did not suggest dangerousness. Jared Massey being upset and argumentative when stopped for speeding? Nothing out of the ordinary, and not suggestive of violence. Check.

"Officer Sweet grabbed and then tackled Mr. Casey without ever telling him that he was under arrest. Nor did he give Mr. Casey a chance to submit peacefully to an arrest. . . . [A] reasonable officer should, at a minimum, have ordered Mr. Casey to submit to an arrest or used minimal force to grab him while informing him that he was under arrest." Trooper McTaser not giving Massey a chance to submit peacefully to an arrest, and refusing to provide even a basic explanation? Check.

The court concluded:
"[I]t is excessive to use a Taser to control a target without having any reason to believe that a lesser amount of force — or a verbal command — could not exact compliance."
Use of Taser without reason to believe that he couldn't exact compliance with a lesser amount of force, or a specific verbal command other than just yelling? Check.

Under Casey, before law enforcement hit the zapper for a non-violent misdemeanor, they'll actually have to communicate with people, you know, like tell them that they're under arrest. They'll also have to consider using lesser force or a verbal command first. Hope they remember how to do all that.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Well, of course Mitt's speech didn't make any difference

Gee, Mitt's "faith" speech didn't assuage the Mormon-suspicious contingency of the Republican party? Well, duh. If anything, it probably raised more questions, because it came across as defensive. "Hey, don't vote against me because you think my religion is weird," he said, when -- if he really believes it -- perhaps he should have said, "My religion isn't weird."

People wanted Romney to educate them -- to comfort them -- about basic Mormon beliefs. It's an unfamiliar religion in many parts of the country, so people genuinely want to know what it's all about. And before someone says he shouldn't have to do that, I agree. But Republicans can't argue that a person's religious beliefs should be irrelevant, not with how our current president has played the religion card (and not when Mitt himself says that you have to go to church to be a real American). You can thank George Bush for your current predicament, Mitt.

If a presidential candidate were a Jehovah's Witness or a Scientologist, would LDS voters wonder about his beliefs? Yes. Well, to many outside of Utah, Mormonism is thought of along those lines. Instead, Mitt came across in that speech as if he's embarrassed to be Mormon. How was that supposed to reassure potential voters?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Real Salt Lake topping out? More like topping off

You know when you're at the gas station and the pump clicks to indicate that the tank is full, but some people go ahead and press the handle anyway, wanting to squeeze every drop of gas into that tank? That's what Dave Checketts and Real Salt Lake remind us of.

Yesterday, Real Salt Lake held a "topping out" ceremony, celebrating the placement of the last piece of steel on the Greg J. Curtis Memorial Soccer Stadium. It should have been called a topping off ceremony, though, because Checketts is still trying to squeeze every drop of taxpayer money into his tank.

Salt Lake County has already been forced by the Utah legislature to hand over $35 million in hotel taxes that could have been used to promote tourism and etc. Now Checketts wants it to fork over another $4.6 million in future sales tax. If it won't, RSL will also lose $3 million from Sandy taxpayers and $1.2 million from the public library system. Aw.

"That's a really important part of the stadium financing - it has been from the beginning," Checketts whined yesterday. RSL needs $10 million more in tax dollars to come in "on time" and "on budget." On your budget, you mean. It's not our fault if you counted on money that wasn't guaranteed. Considering the unenthusiasm with which you got the first $35 million, why did you think the County would voluntarily give up another $5 million? Because it's been treated so well by Sandy?

Better tell Curtis to start dialing, Dave; you'll have to make up your budget shortfall somewhere else.

Utahns, now we can run all those naughty searches again

Remember how Utahns are No. 1 in Google searches for words like "pornography," "striptease," "naked girls," "topless," "nude," "strip poker," "lingerie," "blonde" and "brunette"? That could have been a little embarrassing. Fortunately, Ask.com is announcing a feature that allows users to erase their search data, and is pressuring other search engines to follow suit. Utahns, keep your fingers crossed (when you're not using them to type "strip Twister"). Our reputations may soon be restored--as soon as the data isn't.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Miss Utah 2008: not your father's Sharlene Wells

This is Miss Utah 1985 (later Miss America), Sharlene "Not Vanessa Williams" Wells.


This is Miss Utah 2007, Jill "Lock and Load" Stevens, featured yesterday on FoxNews.com. (She's a National Guard medic.) We might actually have to root for this woman, if we can figure out how to do it without having to sit through a Miss America pageant.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Wow, Utah Republicans have a sense of humor!

Got this invite from the Salt Lake County Republican Party recently, and it's pretty darn funny. First, the event itself (trust me, it's worth clicking on to read full size):

And then the donor card:

Mitt's Mormon problem: Lee Benson gets it right (but Romney's still a hypocrite)

This morning, Lee Benson has an interesting column titled Weirdness, not religion, real issue. Noting the comparison to John F. Kennedy's speech that Mitt likes to hear, Benson writes:

[F]or the most part they both used their forums to appeal to the good conscience of the American people to not count them out because of the church they belong to.

Still, for all that, in comparing and paralleling himself to Kennedy, Romney did rather dance around the real issue surrounding Mormonism.

His problem is way different than Kennedy's.

His problem is this: 160 years since they drove us out of Nauvoo, people still think Mormons aren't normal.

They think we're weird.
True. In my experience, the most common concern expressed by out-of-staters about Mormons isn't that they're religious, but that they are, well, weird. Spend time with someone who has the slightest clue about Mormon doctrine (or thinks he does), and it doesn't take long for the golden plate / magic underwear / polygamy / Kolob jokes to start in.
This is perplexing to us who are actual Mormons, and not just because it bugs us that our beliefs, rites and rituals attract a great deal of ridicule when other religions can have their chants, creeds and ceremonies and no one seems to look twice.
Again true. Every religion has components that are head scratchers on paper, but Benson is right: If it's a 'strange' Catholic or Methodist belief, no one thinks twice. If it's a 'strange' Mormon belief, it's a cult. I guess that's what happens when one religious demonination outnumbers another.

And, ironically, that's what Romney himself did when he basically declared that a person cannot be a good American unless he goes to Church. That's why I don't feel sorry for Mitt. He seems just as willing to impose his religious view on others as evangelicals are with him. What goes around comes around.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Why Mitt supporters don't care about illegal landscapers

Big surprise, Mitt Romney's landscaper still hires illegal immigrants, even after Romney took heat for it last year. It's a fun story, but does it really bother his supporters, or any GOP diehards, for that matter?

I had lunch with a political observer last week who said, "Republicans don't care (about hiring illegal immigrants). They all do it." It sure seems like it. One GOP friend and Mitt supporter flips houses on the side, and the first thing he does is round up illegal immigrants at one of the local gathering places. At least two others -- also Mitt supporters -- have housekeepers they know aren't legal. Another has a nanny who wouldn't be happy to see ICE.

So, are these guys hypocrites, or are fewer Republicans really upset about illegal immigrants than media coverage would have us believe?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Pollution from commercial jets? How about those KSL helicopters?

An article in today's Trib raises concern about pollution generated by commercial jets:
In Utah, an analysis based on Federal Aviation Administration numbers found jet fuel consumption in 2005 translated to 2.9 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, said Brock LeBaron, a technical analysis manager in the Division of Air Quality. That was 4.2 percent of the state's total output of the gases widely blamed from global warming.
Tack on another fraction for the traffic helicopters that buzz around our capital city every afternoon reporting on--traffic! On our roads! Every day, there it is, the KSL newscopter, zipping around, burning hundreds of gallons of fuel, proving to people who are home watching TV that there really is traffic on the highway.

Complain all you want about commercial jets, eco-groups, but leave our beloved newscopters alone. Because how will I know if there's traffic at rush hour if I don't see it with my own eyes?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Marathon dreams: Half-way there!

VoU1 here. Back in March, I announced that I was going to get off my bloggerbutt and train for a marathon. The body was weak but the mind was willing, and this weekend, after nagging knee and achilles injuries, I ran completed a half-marathon.

I'm not very fast...


...but I did make it across the line 45 minutes under goal. (Granted, my goal for the half-marathon was the same as my running partner's goal for the full marathon, but that's beside the point.) Salt Lake Marathon, you will be mine!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Potpourri of Utah politics

Geez, you go out of town and all sorts of things happen back on the farm. Some quick observations about local stories:

Porn task force halts abuse - from clues on computer photos, detective Steve Gamvroulas helped identify a 15-year-old rape victim and catch the perpetrator. Forget consensual stuff (by adults for adults); this is the kind of thing we should focus our anti-pornography efforts on.

Mayne hailed as champion of underprivileged - we're still upset about the death of Ed Mayne. He was friendly, compassionate - just everything. Heck, any man whose own wife runs against him for senate is our kind of guy. It's hard to say this, but I'm going to, because we both had the same thought when we first learned of Ed's lung cancer: the union hall. If you've ever been out there, the smell of cigarette smoke is overwhelming. We're worried that a lot of those guys are at risk. We hope not, but...

New law would let legislators with conflict get out of a vote - How about letting them get out of the committees where they have the conflict?

Utah's home prices looking better than other states' - of course, none of them are selling, but at least they look better.

Use of Taser 'reasonable' - the officer who Tasered the traffic-ticket guy felt "threatened," UHP says. We've seen the video. The driver may have been an idiot, but if that cop really felt threatened, then he's just a big old wimp.

Crunching Byrne - a letter writer notes that Patrick "Give Me Vouchers or Give Me Death" Byrne's Overstock.com has never seen a profit. Here's one summary of why Byrne is legendary in the business industry. Here's another, with actual excerpts from the famous "I'm not a gay cokehead" conference call. (For more, just Google "Sith Lord" and "Patrick Byrne." Seriously.)

3 arrested in stabbings at Halloween party in Sandy - glad to see Sandy City taking time out from writing tickets to, like, arrest someone. I wrote a post making fun of Sandy for not catching the Village Inn shooter (after announcing twice that they were about to), but VoU2 says it's in poor taste, so it hasn't gone up (yet...).

Short-handed Jazz get hot, rout Lakers - missed the game driving 35 mph in a snowstorm, but Jazz win, Lakers lose! Life is good.