Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Bargin at Those Prices

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan: "The Democrats have lost their leader in the Senate, Tom Daschle. I do not know what the Democratic Party spent, in toto, on the 2004 election, but what they seem to have gotten for it is Barack Obama."

Thanks for making us laugh out loud, Peggy Noonan. Welcome back.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

"How am I hurting your marriage?"

The most common and difficult question to answer from proponents of gay "marriage" has been this: "How does the state recognizing my love and marriage lessen your love or marriage. An article in the Salt Lake Tribune, by Paul Mero, provides a succint answer: "During the audience question period a young lady pointedly asked me why her 'two moms' were considered a threat to traditional marriage. Great question!

This young lady seemed to be bright and healthy and clearly informed about the world around her. She looked like the beneficiary of two moms. She looked loved. And so I responded honestly - as far as I knew, her two moms were no threat to my family or anyone else's family. But then I told her that such sentiments have nothing to do with Amendment 3.

Amendment 3 is only concerned with the public policy of marriage. It represents the state interest in marriage. It has nothing - nothing - to do with the personal relationships with which we all live. Proof of this is most obvious when we consider that homosexuals may freely marry in all 50 states, in any of the churches or belief systems that bless such relationships, and that homosexuals, just like any other two individuals, are free to enter into private, legal contracts sharing their personal and economic lives. Amendment 3 is not about those relationships. It only regards the state interest in marriage."

Rove is the Devil? Show me the brimstone.

The Salt Lake Tribune had an article written by a high school classmate of Karl Rove. Of course Rove spent some time in high school here in Utah. I eagerly jumped into the article, hoping to gleam some interesting insights. While I did learn some things about Rove I hadn't known before, I didn't get anything meaty from the piece. Instead, the author falls back on silly claims. His only solid accusation of a Rove "dirty trick" was this : "For Karl, winning is the only goal and the tactics used have no ethical, moral, factual or even legal restraint. The latest edition of Rove's smear campaigns came in the form of the Swift Boat Veterans' now totally discredited version of John Kerry's Vietnam service. It did what smear campaigns always do. It diverted attention away from what really matters. "

Dr. Brian Moench, the author of the piece, really owes his readers something more substantial. I was looking forward to the meal that never arrived.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

KSL debate between Beau Babka and Chris Cannon

Cannon was asked about the record deficits. He responded that we just need to make government more efficient. Is he kidding? That’s not going to put much of a dent in a budget composed largely of entitlement spending. That can’t be the answer he really believes. Is this where it has to lead as the majority party pushing the pork?

Babka hasn’t said anything very impressive thus far. Particularly, his answer about the Federal Marriage Amendment was weak. He started picking on the proposed Utah amendment (Amendment 3) and showed that he doesn’t seem to understand the ramifications of the amendment very well.

Babka does present himself well. I haven’t agreed with one of his stated positions yet, though I think he seems like a credible contender. I didn’t have that impression before this debate. He advocates strengthening out borders and was willing to denounce illegal immigration. Many are unwilling to do so. Cannon’s answer on this question was just to say, “75% of people agree with my position when it is explained to them.” But what is your position?!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Apology of Teresa Heinz Kerry

Yahoo! News - Statement of Teresa Heinz Kerry

"I had forgotten that Mrs. Bush had worked as a school teacher and librarian...As someone who has been both a full time mom and full time in the workforce, I know we all have valuable experiences that shape who we are..."

Brad pointed out that she gets cast as the wicked witch, so everything she says gets spun that way. So, to continue to give her the benefit of the doubt (I don't always, although I should), she basically misspoke. She does that a lot, do I. I'm just not on a national stage.

Teresa Kerry attacks teachers, librarians? - The real running mates - The real running mates
(I know this has nothing to do with Utah politics, but it ticked me off just the same.)
From USA Today's interview with Teresa Heinz Kerry: (emphasis mine)

"Q: You'd be different from Laura Bush?

A: Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don't know that she's ever had a real job — I mean, since she's been grown up. So her experience and her validation comes from important things, but different things. And I'm older, and my validation of what I do and what I believe and my experience is a little bit bigger — because I'm older, and I've had different experiences. And it's not a criticism of her. It's just, you know, what life is about."

Excuse me? NRO's Kerry Spot gives us this information from the White House:

"Inspired by her second grade teacher, she earned a bachelor of science degree in education from Southern Methodist University in 1968. She then taught in public schools in Dallas and Houston. In 1973 she earned a master of library science degree from the University of Texas at Austin and worked as a public school librarian in Austin [until 1977]."

I have a sister, two aunts, and who knows how many friends employed as public school teachers. I teach two classes at the state college down the road. It's not easy work--and working full time trying to teach eight-year-old ESL kids how to construct a sentence is a ton harder. But then again, what do I know? I've never had to slave away at managing up to $1 billion dollars in trusts and accounts.

Then again, to give Teresa the benefit of the doubt: maybe she wasn't slamming teachers. Maybe she honestly didn't know that is what Laura did.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Ivory not on ballot

KSL News: Ivory's Name Will Not Be on Ballot

This announcement just broke while I was watching KSL Evening News--the county clerk has ruled that Ellis Ivory will not be allowed to be on the ballot to replace Nancy Workman. "Until a vote and certification...(by the Republican committee)...he can't be on the ballot." (very rough transcription)

Despite the post below about my dislike of part of Ellis Ivory's campaign, I'm actually not against him winning. (I really don't care much one way or another.) But I've been against the replacement action, mostly because it seems a little sleazy and underhanded. As a write-in candidate, he has, at least in my opinion, an honest chance.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Ellis Ivory--Rich Man for Mayor?

Salt Lake Tribune - Opinion: "Nevertheless, Ivory can claim with a straight face that he will be an independent mayor because he will not accept any campaign contributions, will not take a salary and will not drive a county car or use a county credit card. Though any candidate is beholden to his party, and Ivory will be no exception, he will, in fact, be free from the influence that comes of campaign contributions."

On the face of it, the idea of a candidate refusing to get paid, and refuse to use county credit cards or cars, is a great one. It's not like Salt Lake County is the richest county in the nation, and the extra money that could be saved could be used for great programs or events (or whatever).

But...once I gave it a little thought, I started to feel uncomfortable about it. It is a wonderful idea, but an impractical one for most of the citizens of the county (or of any county). Most of us can't work for free for a term of office--we have to support families, pay bills, etc. I'm not sure the other two candidates for mayor can afford that--and that doesn't make them greedy. It just makes them normal.

Ivory's pledge, while good-hearted, may have the effect of raising the bar of office to only those who are rich enough--not just rich enough to run, which is an entirely different problem--but rich enough to serve.

Diversionary Tactics: The wacky argument against Amendment 3

The Salt Lake Tribune published a piece today by Jim Allred opposing Amendment 3, the Utah Constitutional Amendment to define marriage and deny any other union the same privileges as marriage. His argument? There's no good way to tell who is a man and who is a woman. "While taking some of the innocent joy out of the application process, stripping for verification is inevitable."

This statement is so silly it is hard to believe that Allred is serious, though he must be. There really is no hint of irony or satire in his piece. While it may be true that there are people with genetic qualities that make gender determination difficult on that level, this argument is a red herring.

Let's leave the determination of gender to doctors. If there is question, the opinions of doctors can be entered in a court of law and a judge can make the determination. That is the point of having judges after all, to make the judgment calls when the law can't be so specific.

To say we shouldn't enact amendment 3 because Allred doesn't know how to tell a man from a woman isn't a very compelling argument. Why doesn't he give us his real reasons?

Hannity Insanity

What a rip-off! Outrage over a planned visit of Michael Moore to Utah Valley State College, where Keryn teaches geology occasionally, prompted a visit by Sean Hannity. Hannity agreed to waive his speaking fee to come and rebut (in advance?) Moore's speech. He only asked that the school's donors cover his travel expenses. When the tab came to $50,000, a lot of people, including me, were furious. He charged the school for three legs of a journey that included his travel to the third presidential debate in Arizona. He was coming here anyway. It would have been reasonable to charge for the accommodations (if any) while he was here and for the price of his flight from Utah to Arizona. Asking donors to pay for his debate coverage travel is shameful. I'm told the money didn't come from student fees, but that's no excuse for this outrage.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

In a bubble

President Bush has been accused of ignoring the news and listening only to a small group of close advisors. There ought to be more candid debate and discussion. Eliot Cohen, writing at Opinion Journal, had this to say:
    "Political leaders, except those of the very first order, can and do become detached from the realities of the world around them. Surrounded by sympathizers and sycophants, subjected to a ceaseless torrent of criticism, consumed by an unending stream of work, deprived, for the most part, of the spontaneity of unstructured debate, the danger is not that they will say things that they do not believe. It is, rather, that they will come to believe things because they have said them, and to act accordingly."

Perhaps it isn't always enough just to want to be a truthful politician.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Jim Lacey on al Qaeda on National Review Online
I've always thought it funny when I read in history books about people overestimating their enemies--ten-foot-tall man-eating Germans, or whatever. But I never really thought that we could possibly be doing that with al Qaeda, until I read this article. I don't know if Jim Lacey is right, but it is a thought-provoking read all the same.

Monday, August 23, 2004 - Writers - Swift: Despite judging error, Hamm's gold shows no tarnish - Monday August 23, 2004 6:55AM: "So why not a second gold medal? Why not accommodate the upset Koreans and send everyone home happy? Well for one thing, you can make a pretty good case that, if you're going to go to the videotape, Yang shouldn't have won. Yes, the videotape of the parallel bars showed the judges erred by assigning a 9.9 start value. But it showed something else, too. In the course of his routine, Yang had four holds on the bar, when the rules allow for a maximum of three. The deduction for that mistake? Two-tenths of a point."

Good point. (No pun intended.)
Hadley Arkes on Stem-Cell Research on National Review Online
Wow. Finally a little information on stem cells that I could understand. Awesome article.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Democrats peddle their own unique truth

A well written piece on John Kerry and Cambodia, with a little more information about the actual situation at the time in Cambodia, and the exterme unlikelyhood that John Kerry was there.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Daily Herald: Your town. Your neighbors. Your Newspaper. - 0718 midwives:
(This was in the Utah County Daily Herald last month.)

"Although she has attended to 450 home births, her experiences delivering her own two children, Taylor, 7, and Sawyer, 5, were anything but comforting.

Complications during labor forced Smith to deliver both boys in the hospital via Cesarean section.

'I will always mourn those experiences. I'll always grieve the fact that they were C-sections and not vaginal births. I'll always be affected by the question of, 'Is there something wrong with my body?' '

She compares having a C-section to being awarded a gold medal as an Olympic athlete without participating in the event.

'I have my two gold medals and didn't get to compete,' she said. 'It will always be that way.'"

Wow. I feel really sorry for this woman--not because she had to have hospital birth, but that she "will always mourn those experiences"--the births of her sons. I hope that she doesn't think that makes or breaks her as a mother. Because that is really sad. I really don't think it matters how the child came into your life--home birth, hospital birth, adoption, marriage--it's how you raise you child.
New York Daily News - Ideas & Opinions - Zev Chafets: Kerry's Cambodia question
An interesting proposition: Kerry has said that he was in Cambodia in Christmas 1968. His commanding officers and other gentlemen (Swiftboat Veterans for Truth) who served beside Kerry have said that he was most definitely never in Cambodia, at Christmas or otherwise. Zev Chafets believes that whichever side turns out to be telling the truth will "win" this particular battle--i.e., who can you trust in recalling what happened in Vietnam?

Now, I have no earthly idea how easy it would be to find out the truth. Chafets seems to think it won't be too hard. So, let's play out both senairos. First, Kerry is telling the truth. He was in Cambodia on a top secret CIA mission (I think it was a CIA mission he claims). Then the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth are at best misguided and at worst despictable liars out to smear a man they disagree with. Then I would considered them no better than Michael Moore.

Second, the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth are telling, well, the truth. Kerry never was in Cambodia. Then he has used the fact that he did serve in Vietnam to political advantage, disregarding truth for exaggeration and lies when it will give him attention, votes, publicity, respect, whatever. (Incidentally, this wouldn't be the first time (if the second senairo is true) that he has done this. It can be argued that this is the exact same thing he did when he testified before the Senate right after he came home from Vietnam thirty some-odd years ago.) Then I would consider him a man that at best has a tenuous hold on the truth and at worst a flat-out liar who would do anything to gain political advantage. Not exactly someone I want leading the country.

(Disclaimer: It should be known (if it isn't already) that I will not be voting for Kerry, anyway. I don't agree with him on far too many subjects, abortion and gay marriage being two of the most prominent. But I would like to think that he is a good man, that if he wins he'll be a good president. However this Swiftboat Veterans for Truth hoopla plays out will have a large bearing on my opinion of the man.)

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson on Bush and Kerry on National Review Online: "B"Here is an article about the world situation from National Review that I'd like to be able to refer to again in the future.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The $100 Terrorist Insurance Plan - A better way to screen airline passengers. By Steven E.�Landsburg
An intriguing idea that will never happen. I'm sure there are problems with it. But I actually kind of like it.
California's SUV Ban - The Golden State has outlawed big SUVs on many of its roads but doesn't seem to know it. By Andy�Bowers

I have my own issues with huge, gas-guzzling SUVs (except when you are using them on dirt roads for the sake of geology!). I thought this was very interesting, especially since Brad and I have talked about the road damage large vehicles do.

Now, I'm not saying I'll never have a SUV (although it's doubtful). But if that day ever comes, I hope I'll still believe that an extra tax to help pay for the damage is fair. Because, you know, it is.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

The New York Times > Science > By Accident, Utah Is Proving an Ideal Genetic Laboratory (free subscription required)

This is a very fascinating article on studying Utahns' DNA--because we tend to stay put, tend to stay married, and tend to love researching our genealogy. Pretty cool.
Firehouse Rot - John Kerry's cheapest shot. By Christopher�Hitchens

An interesting, and rather telling article. If sanctions are bad, and war to remove a dictator is bad, than what can we do? Nothing? If that is the case, so much for the compassion of the Left.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

First Presidency Issues Statement on Marriage

Well, can't say that this is unexpected. I support a constitutional amendment to preserve marriage, but I have to admit to being skeptical of success in that arena. We'll see what happens, now that the Church has chosen to speak out at this time. / News / Politics / Presidential candidates / It's time to quiz Kerry

So, yeah. I sure don't understand Kerry's position on abortion at all. He says that he believes in his heart that life begins at conception, and yet he can't "legislate it on a Protestant, on a Jew, or an atheist who doesn't share it." Isn't that the point of laws? To legislate what we believe is right? As a society, we believe that murder is wrong, and we have laws against it. Laws are there to legislate morality--the public moral values--and it is our responsibility to vote our conscience on this subject.

An entirely different situation would be if you were elected to a position and were required to uphold the laws the public and courts had already determined. Then I think it would be your moral duty to follow the law, even if you worked to change it in the meantime. But that is not what we're talking about here. This just shows that, in this issue at least, John Kerry is either confused or a hypocrite.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Yesterday (March 24, 2004), Utah held party neighborhood caucus meetings (what is the plural of caucus?), and Brad, Ezra, and I participated. For all three of us, it was our first such event. Our caucus was held at the local high school, Mt. View, just down the street.

We are in the 49th Precinct of Orem. This was practically the only thing I knew as we went in. The meeting turned out to be a combination of what I expected and what I never expected. Our precinct met in Mr. Cooper's Spanish classroom--a typical sized room with desks attached to chairs. By the time we arrived, most of the seats were already taken. We managed to get one seat, and Brad sat on the floor. Although there were already 40-50 people there when we arrived, at least 40 more came after us. We were spilling into the hallway, and people were sitting on the floor, file cabinets, bookcases. It was also very hot in that room. (Thank heavens for nice, thick campaign literature! They make marvelous fans.)

The meeting was far more relaxed than I anticipated, despite the "second the motion" and "move to close". Although it took more than two hours, I was never bored. (Of course that may have had more to do with playing with Ezra than anything that was said at the meeting.) The main question to the delegate nominees was about school tuition vouchers, and there was a lot of discussion about that topic. Our precinct gets four county delegates and two state delegates, and three of the county delegates are from our ward.

So what did I learn? Well, I'm really glad we went, because now I understand what a delegate is, how they are chosen, etc. I'm also glad we went to support the political process, especially after the First Presidency asked us to go if possible. I'm not sure I'm more educated for this upcoming election, but I do think I'm more prepared for future elections.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

MSNBC - 'Scarborough Country' for March 17 (2/3 down the page)

"RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, SPIRITUAL ADVISER: OK, Jennifer, the fact is that The Passion does not follow the Gospels, because without getting too theological, Luke Chapter 3 says that the rabbi saved Jesus' life. That's 3:31. It says that Pontius Pilate, 3:1, was a brutal monster and murderer. "

Is it possible that he is a little mixed up? Luke 3:31 is simply part of the recitation of Christ's lineage, and Luke 3:1 mentions that Pontius Pilot is the governor--no mention of his character.

Either he is mixed up (probable), has a different Bible than the KJV (possible), or is lying (hopefully not). At any rate, I'm trying to withhold judgment until I know.
New York Daily News - Daily Dish & Gossip - What it's really like to work for Trump

Brad and I are hooked on "The Apprentice", the reality TV show that is billed as a "sixteen week job interview". Donald Trump gives tasks to the contestants and then disappears, depending on his viceroys (tm Miss Alli, from Television Without Pity) to watch the performance of the interviewees. One of the viceroys is a man previously known only as George--and Brad and I love George. He's just awesome, doesn't take any fluff from the contestants, and funny.

So imagine my delight when I discovered his last name is Ross. Yes, everyone, he has the same name as my father-in-law. Makes me feel giddy!