Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pandemic: We owe former state Rep. Sylvia Andersen an apology

Although we think the current swine flu threat is exaggerated (36,000 Americans die annually and hundreds of thousands are hospitalized with 'regular' flu), it does illustrate a need for preparedness.

Which prompts a fess up. Like Karl Rove and Susan Collins (R-Maine), who ridiculed the inclusion of pandemic preparation funds in the stimulus package, in 2006 we made fun of Utah state legislator Sylvia Andersen (R-Draper):
Strangest campaign issue. Most websites stuck to the usuals, education, health care, seniors, etc. But if Sylvia Andersen, the GOP Leg. 48 candidate, is right about her constituents' primary interests, that must be one distinct district. Her three main issues? Education, health care/insurance, and pandemics. That's right, pandemics. Andersen writes: “I understand that the majority (if not everyone) in our district is concerned by pandemic outbreaks - or natural disasters.” Yeah, they'll be taking to the streets soon on that. What do we want? Pandemic preparation! When do we want it? Now!
Although we wonder how much pandemic preparation was really on the minds of Andersen's constituents, she may have been on to something. Andersen was defeated in the GOP primary last year by Lavar Christensen, and we know what he thinks the biggest threat is...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Michigan GOP to Huntsman: If we wanted your opinion, we wouldn't be Republicans

So, Utah presidential candidate Governor John Huntsman Jr. was disinvited from a county GOP fundraiser in Michigan for not toeing the GOP line on civil unions. Remember the days when individual Republicans could have differing views on things and still be welcomed into the Big Tent? Neither do we.

My take on yesterday's lovefest about Utah's judicial "fitness" requirement

A kind third party bought me a seat yesterday at a function at the Alta Club called "Interpreting the Judicial Fitness Requirement under the Utah Constitution." Other than a whopper or two by Sen. Lyle Hillyard (R-Logan) and an occasional "B.S.-alert" from Rep. Kay McIff (R-Richfield), it was more of a makeout session. My notes are fuzzy, so these may not be exact quotes:

Moderator (President of the Utah Bar): "So, how about that 'fitness' requirement, huh? And note that my question did NOT mention Judge Hilder. No, I do not have Judge Hilder in mind at all."

Sen. Hillyard: "I assume that all judges appointed by Gov. Huntsman are qualified, so I have to dig deeper to find some way to torpedo them. Not that I've ever done that. And of course I'm not talking about Judge Hilder, either."

Rep. McIff: "When I was nominated for the Supreme Court, then Lt.-Gov. Olene Walker asked me if I was a conservative or a liberal. I told her to put me down as a 'reasonable.'" (True statement; McIff said this.)

Name-escapes-me: "I'm on a nominating committee. It's neat."

Bob Yeates with Gov. Huntsman's office: "All the governor wants in a judge is someone who is smart, charming, has good people skills, can run the hundred in 10 flat, plays the trumpet, wants to work for half pay, and doesn't mind getting grilled by a bunch of nincompoops about his divorce."

Chief Justice Christine Durham: "We love the senate. Please don't cut our funding."

Audience: "Zzzz..."

Rep. McIff: "By the way, I think politics played a role in the Hilder confirmation."

Audience: "Duh."

Sen. Hillyard: "What?! Hilder who? I can't think of a single instance in which politics decided a judicial nomination."

Audience: (Looks around for lightning bolt.)

Sen. Hillyard: "We have lawyers at all our meetings to make sure that senators don't ask inappropriate things. Well, except the private meetings, of course, but we just talk about the Jazz at those. Really."

Justice Durham: "I think you're great, especially the way you fund things, but I was just wondering. I hear that the NRA had a poster up at a local gun show recently that said, 'We got Hilder - keep the faith.' What do you think about that? I like your tie."

Sen. Hillyard: "NRA? What's the NRA? I never talk to lobbyists, especially the State Bar, by the way, because nobody trusts that bunch, and heck, look at the time!"

And that is how you avoid an elephant in the room at the Alta Club.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Super Dell or Super Dole?

We weren't surprised to see that (self-named) "Super Dell" Schanze is back in court again. We were surprised to see that he apparently applied for, and was given, a court-appointed -- i.e., taxpayer-paid -- attorney.

How could this be? According to the D-News, Schanze says he is impecunious, and owes more than $1 million in back taxes. So, a tax dodger gets a tax-paid attorney? I wandered over to Schanze's blog seeking insight into this seeming irony. As it happens, just yesterday Schanze posted his favorite quotes -- literally, his own quotes that he likes -- and from the sound of them, one wonders how he ended up on the public dole.
It is impossible for anything bad to happen to someone with a positive attitude. - Dell Schanze.
Are you positive?
Everyone starts from the bottom; the sign of the true champion is the one that works his way up the fastest. - Dell Schanze
What about the one that works his way down the fastest?
It is difficult having a lot because you want to share but many think you are arrogant for assuming others should want what you have. Dell Schanze
The solution, apparently, is to be impecunious.
Today’s genius is tomorrow’s idiocy – Dell Schanze
You're ahead of your time! Hey, maybe this explains it:
Don’t worry too much about the future. If you put your effort into the here and now then the future will already be polished when you get there. – Dell Schanze
"And when I say future, I mean taxes."
Those that can’t call themselves stupid now and then need others to do it for them. - Dell Schanze
You're welcome.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Local media's inconsistent practice of naming names

Yesterday, KSL/the Trib/the D-News announced that Salt Lake City cops had, once again, wasted taxpayer resources done some smashing law enforcement work, arresting a bunch of would-be prostitutes and johns on North Temple. This time, though, there was a twist: "They're going to name names!"

Like the proverbial car accident, I could not look away. Might I know some of the patrons? Inquiring minds wanted to know. But when I surfed over to tonight, I got . . . one name, of a guy who was a cop years ago. Whoop-de-do.

Did our local media decline to name names because they sensed this was a victimless crime that should remain a private matter between the men and their families? Maybe, but I doubt it. With our local media, there seems to be no rhyme or reason -- other than underlying speculation -- as to when names are named.

A few years ago, an acquaintance with a somewhat high-profile job was charged with embezzling nearly $100,000 from a well known local company. The News ran a piece on the charges, but omitted her name. I was relieved for her sake, but bothered as a consumer of news. Just the day before, the News had run a story on a much smaller theft in Davis County, and had named the person charged. What was up with that?

The bozo in Clearfield who shot a Carl's Jr. toilet remains anonymous, but the bozo who shot an Olive Garden chair in Provo was named. What's up with that? I don't favor trying people in the media, but a little consistency might make me less cynical.