Friday, October 31, 2008

Sorry, Horiuchi, you're just too - what is the word?

'Corrupt' is probably too strong. And 'special-interestized' doesn't get past my spell check. I guess we'll borrow the characterization made by a Democratic lunch companion the other day: "In the pocket of developers."

This lifelong Democrat was a little chagrined at admitting that he had voted for Horiuchi, but he had a specific reason he couldn't get out of. We understand. We used to vote for Horiuchi, enthusiastically in fact, but the list of questionable transactions just got too tiresome.

We would prefer a 5-4 Democratic majority on the council, but we can't vote for someone whose integrity we seriously question. This DeBry guy might be a novice, but right now, Horiuchi's experience is the bigger problem.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

KSL radio 1-4 p.m. -- required listening (for some)

When it comes to political pundits, VoU2 and I agree on a lot: Neither one of us can stand Keith Olbermann or Bill O'Reilly. We both like Rachel Maddow. But one area where we don't see eye to eye is listening to KSL Radio (102.7 FM) in the afternoon.

Sitting in my office this afternoon, I am enjoying my daily Sean Hannity. I love listening to him as he gets more and more panicked. It makes me laugh. VoU2, on the other hand, can't abide one syllable of his grating voice.

I have tried to explain:

VoU1: "It's pretty funny; he's just flailing around because
there's nothing he can do."

VoU2: "I don't care."

Some of today's gems:
  • An African American expresses concern that he does not feel welcome by the Republican Party, and Hannity is incredulous. After all, he says, the GOP is "the party of Lincoln."
  • A woman can't figure out why the American people "don't seem to care about Obama's past associations." Hannity admits that it's because this stuff is all b.s. Ok, not really - he agrees with her that it's "obvious" and is mystified as to why "thinking people" don't seem to agree.
  • He tells an Obama supporter that he is "getting off track" and needs to "focus with me here" when the caller starts praising Obama's tax plan.
  • Says Obama "wants to turn America into France or worse." Worse than France? Like what, Sweden?
  • Played the song "More than a woman, more than a woman to me" after a call from a male Obama supporter. See, that's why I listen--intelligent debate.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The most ironic headline for a Utahn to see

Wandering over to Google News instead of while working diligently, I had to laugh out loud at a Washington Post headline:

GOP candidates warn voters about perils of one-party rule

I look forward to Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz sounding that alarm here in Utah...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Early voting in Utah: Where are the hecklers?

We're so dull. Early voters in North Carolina get heckled as "cheaters" and ungodly and such. But when I voted early yesterday, all I got was an "Excuse me" as someone passed by on the stairs in the parking garage. Lines around the block, and not a "Nobama, ya Commie!" among them.

Lots of stuff to vote on today. Straight ticket? No, thanks. Yes, Obama . . . Yes, Matheson (pressing screen with one hand while holding nose with the other) . . . Where's the guy running against Horiuchi--there he is. Yes, Not-Horiuchi. . . . Should these 500 judges be retained? . . . Oops, didn't study that issue, but the legislature apparently wants it so better vote no . . . .

Is this your vote? Are you sure? If you change your mind more than twice, we will take away your card and vote for you. Would you like us to vote for you?

Your vote has been cast. Would you like to be heckled? Yes/No.

"You vote like a girl! My great-grandmother can press the screen harder than that!" "Took you long enough--did you stop for lunch?" "You have the fingerprint of a sex god--Give it back!"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hillary! (in Utah)

Well, we didn't get her during the primary, but on Saturday we will, apparently. Here is the website to sign up. Speaking as a couple of Clinton Supporters for Obama, we're looking forward to her appearance -- a bit mystified, but looking forward to it. We can hear it now:

"I was thrilled when I heard about this opportunity to visit Utah..."

"I know Bill wishes he were here, too."

". . . to address issues important to the voters in this state."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bill Dew: the GOP's latest wink at Matheson

A while back, local media mentioned that the GOP isn't helping much with the campaign of Jim Matheson's opponent, Bill Something. Granted, Matheson has so much cash and such a huge lead that writing checks to TheGOPGuy would be a waste. But let's face it: Jim "I Heart Guantanamo" Matheson is close enough to a Republican already, they don't need to replace him.

That's VOU2's theory for why the Republicans keep running, let's say, "unexciting" candidates against Matheson. LaVar Christensen gave up his spot as a state legislator, but was too obsessed with gay sex and Nancy Pelosi even for Utah Republicans, got wiped out in the general, and is now trying to go back to being a big fish in a little pond.

Christensen was at least noticed. Dew is just . . . out there, somewhere. We think. And we do mean out there. Check out his campaign video. His daughter says that they used to get up at 6 a.m. and "read the Constitution" together. Okaaaay.... I'm all about constitutions -- we have more than one, by the way -- but that sounds a little weird.

So, once again, it's Torture-Bill vs. The Head Scratcher if we stick to the usual suspects. Time to get out the Voter Information Pamphlet...p. 8...Matthew Arndt, Libertarian. College teacher, good...liberty brings more peace and prosperity, good..."Government's only proper role is to protect property, enforce contracts and settle property disputes"--What? Government is just a big courtroom? Glad you're not in charge of regulating our retirement funds.

Guess that leaves Dennis Ray Emery, Constitution Party.... "No Statement Provided." You had us at No...

What is with Comcast's nightly Daily Show interruption?

Utah viewers of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show may have noticed that our "weekly" Emergency Alert System test seems to have become a nightly EAS test, repeating several times a week lately. Last night, both the 9 p.m. and midnight airings were interrupted by the "weekly" test, cutting off up to a minute of timely fake news. A conspiracy? Probably not. Annoying as heck and inexplicable? Definitely.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mayor Becker sticks his nose into my lunch

Being a creature of habit -- and surrounded by fast-disappearing restaurants in the downtown area -- I tend to eat lunch at the same place most days. But can I do that tomorrow? Nooooooo, because Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker says I can't. Well, I could, but then I might feel guilty.

Not content with taking on breathable air, bicycle safety, and other non-gay-marriage issues, now Becker apparently has a problem with hunger and poverty. He has signed a proclamation declaring tomorrow World Food Day in the City. I don't quite grasp the details, but I figure participating restaurants will know what I'm talking about:
Each participating restaurant will offer a special food item that can be ordered at a reduced portion size that patrons may price themselves. A portion of the profits collected from the sale of the item will go to each restaurant’s favorite food-related charity.

In Utah, 9.7 percent of the population lives in poverty and the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 5.1 percent of residents are dealing with hunger. Observing World Food Day in Salt Lake City will be an opportunity for local restaurants to give back to community members and raise awareness about hunger and poverty in Utah.
Okay, it benefits the Utah Food Bank, etc. That's great, but the key issue, of course, is where can I eat lunch tomorrow? Options are listed below.

147 West 300 South

657 South Main Street

365 West 400 South

779 East 300 South

249 East 400 South Suite 100

390 East 1700 South

2148 South Highland Drive

315 East 300 South

473 East Broadway

2280 South West Temple

[no address given]

41 South 300 East

154 East 200 South

249 East 400 South

151 South 500 East

300 South 345 EAST

150 SOUTH 400 EAST

(so that's where these guys went!)

Mm mm good.

Carlene Walker vs. Karen Morgan in Senate 8: bummer of a race

It is unfortunate that two capable, likeable women who want to be a state senator both happen to live in District 8. Most other senate races that we're following don't have two candidates for whom we could comfortably vote.

Carlene Walker is relatively moderate, and sometimes does nutty things like focus on practical issues such as identity theft and drunk driving rather than peeking in bedroom windows. She runs a good committee meeting, doesn't automatically dismiss competing views, and is intelligent.

Karen Walker is also smart and focuses on issues that actually matter, such as education. She is compassionate but practical, and is not afraid to think outside party lines on issues such as immigration.

The tie-breaker for us? Vouchers. Walker caved to party or other political pressure and voted for vouchers, even though it was directly contrary to Utahns' wishes and detrimental for public education. Still, she says she won't do it again, and we believe her.

So basically, this bites. Senate 8 has two good candidates and only one slot. We have an idea, though: Morgan wins the race. The legislature then gerrymanders Walker into another district. The current senator in District X is caught buying "Nailin' Palin" with a state credit card, resigns in disgrace, and moves to Sandy. Gov. Huntsman appoints Walker to fill out his term. Voila! Election gods, please make it so.

Did Sandy get outmaneuvered on the "Broadway" theater?

Noticed two interesting things in the news today:

In the first article, Sandy City council member Steve Smith dared to buck Mayor Tom "almost lost my last election" Dolan, suggesting that maybe Sandy should admit that "calling the theater privately funded is 'just semantics' because ultimately Sandy would be paying off the developer's loan," while another councilman suggested that maybe the city should figure out how much it's going to cost city residents before adding more parking problems to the city.

In the second article, the Deseret News announced that Salt Lake City will announce tomorrow that a 2,400-seat Broadway-style theater is to be built downtown on Regent Street. Expected at Mayor Becker's press conference are Governor Huntsman and Bishop Burton with the LDS Church. Hmm... Did Salt Lake City finally get one over on Dolan? Can Greg Curtis intervene in time? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Dr. James Brinton - keeping Utah medicine interesting

Noticed a familiar name in a KSL story this evening: Dr. James A. Brinton, a Utah County physician. This guy is a walking headline. Ten years ago, the Utah Supreme Court upheld IHC's decision to revoke his hospital privileges based on concerns about his health care, including questions involving the death of a child. He continued to deliver babies at a less persnickety place, and branched out into laser hair removal. One of those patients suffered 2nd-degree burns, sued him and won, as verified by court records. As of a 2007 D-News article, he was the medical director of a spa that does laser hair removal and such.

A woman once told one of us that, while she was choosing an adoptive family for her newborn child, her physician Dr. Brinton told her, "I know you're going to do the right thing and give this baby to a Mormon family," and that he arranged for a priesthood blessing for her in her hospital room. (She was not LDS.) Wasn't there, can't confirm it, but ever since then, his name in the paper always catches our eye.

The latest: He was indicted this morning, along with 17 others, for an alleged illegal online prescription drug ring. But apparently he's innocent. "We talked to Dr. Brinton on the phone this afternoon," KSL writes. "He says he only supported advertising Phentermine on the Web site and would help with quality control." Well, sure, because when one thinks of "quality control," who doesn't think of Dr. Brinton?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Those false burglar alarms in Draper

Interesting article today about police in Cottonwood Heights, Draper, and elsewhere having to respond to a lot of false burglar alarms. According to the article, 98 percent of burglar alarm activations are false, caused by human error, weather, pets, etc. On average, owners have one false alarm per year (according to the burglar alarm sellers; we'd like to see independent stats). Private businesses get money from selling alarms, and police get stuck responding to them.

Some cities are considering charging for the second false alarm in a year, or requiring private guards to respond first, and then, if an actual crime is occurring, the cops will come. Supposedly that would be unpopular, sayeth the alarm sellers:

According to a 2006 study sponsored by the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, that would be a bad idea. A telephone survey of Salt Lake residents found that two-thirds of voters disapprove of their city's policy and that 60 percent would vote against a candidate that supported such a rule.
The D-News didn't say how the study was worded, but one can imagine questioning a la a Utah Dem push poll: "Do you favor or oppose a rule that puts people at risk of being robbed and murdered in their own homes?"

Let's face it: If you can afford a burglar alarm system, you can probably afford to put something in the till if you waste the cops' time with two or more false alarms in one year. And if 98 percent are false, it seems to make some sense for a private guard to respond first, as Salt Lake City and West Valley require. A qualified guard could do some good in the other 2 percent in which something is actually happening.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Back from hiatus - Utah politics as usual

Geez, you go on hiatus for a few months, and all heck breaks out in local politics. Where to start...

  • Former TV news anchor Phil Riesen (D-Salt Lake) leaks a story to TV news that Greg Hughes (R-Draper) told another representative that, wink wink, if she would vote for vouchers, she might, you know, notice a few extra OOOs in her campaign account. The unusual part: Riesen leaked it to KSL, rather than his former employer KTVX.
  • Hughes gets into a "So's your mother" with the House speaker's chief of staff, and is escorted out of a parking lot by the Highway Patrol. He also hires an attorney to defend the ethics complaint and maybe sue Riesen, KSL, and anyone who watched the news or thought about it. Re-elect Greg Hughes: He's job security for law enforcement (and ethics investigators, and attorneys...).
  • Earlier, Hughes (is this guy hogging all the ink or what?) suggested that Voices for Utah Children, Roz McGee's old organization and now Karen Crompton's, had endorsed him. Turns out that the letter he was quoting had been sent to every legislator who voted for a certain bill. But maybe Crompton sealed his with a kiss...
  • Utah Democrats launched an irritating push poll that basically asked, "Would you rather vote for Republican X, who kicks puppies, or Democrat Y, who thinks you're cute?" Well, since you put it so objectively . . . .
  • Democrat Jay Seegmiller, who is giving Greg Curtis (R-Real Salt Lake) another run for his considerable money, was also victimized by push pollers, who suggested that Seegmiller wants government to pay for abortions performed by illegal immigrants. Too little too late: looks like Curtis's days might be numbered.

  • And last: Genealogists ruin everything! According to a security expert and KSL commenters, and genealogists who post things on the interweb are promoting identity theft. Forget those letters we get monthly from our banks, investment brokers, hospitals, retailers, and internet providers telling us that they've, um, mislaid our personal data -- we were fine until Aunt Betty posted grandma's obituary.