Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wikipedia on Rocky

To know that this Wikipedia article was written by a bona fide Utahrd, all you have to do is read until the third paragraph:

"He is an ardent opponent of tobacco use and has supported legislative measures limiting smoking. Ironically, he has been viewed as one of the state's most outspoken supporters of alcohol use."

An outspoken supporter of alcohol use? This is Utahrdism at its finest. Advocating for a vibrant nightlife and normalization of Brigham's blue laws- which ostensibly is what this phrase is referring to - makes you a booze advocate. Why didn't the author also include a phrase stating something like "in addition, he has attacked traditional Utah sensibilities offering vociferous support to dining outside of the home, attendance of non-televised performing arts, and freedom of speech."

And how is it ironic? Smoking is very bad for your health. Moderate drinking is good for it. But I guess to a Utahrd, smoking and drinking are both intrinsically bad and are suited to be lumped into the same category from which "irony" ensues.

The bulk of the article then goes on to describe the significant insignificant non-issues of the day like the DesNews "bar tab," the Torino trip, and other trivia as if they have been the hallmarks of his administration. I know the Utahrds would like it to be, but unfortunately an encyclopaedic portrayal of the Mayor will have to be somewhat objective.

I started to edit the article but gave up after I realized I'll probably have to rewrite the whole damn thing.

Monday, October 24, 2005

District 3 is Rocky Country

Over at Ethan's there's a discussion goin' on about whether or not Janneke House is Rocky in a skirt. For the sake of discussion, let's assume she is. My questions is, who better represents the people of the Avenues and Capital Hill? Rocky or the Stake President?

Salt Lake City is not Provo. Let President Jergensen put his skills to use somewhere where they can be appreciated.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Erin Jensen and the Demon Bean

"The minutes noted Jensen's visit to a bakery to get coffee during a teacher's meeting, rumors of witchcraft and her affection for Halloween, but no other criticisms. "
If you drink coffee in Sevier County, your likely to be practicing witchcraft. If you drink beer at a soccer game, you're immoral.
Remember, Utah's backwardedness is attributable to Rocky, not the actual backwardarians that have undue influence in this state.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Rutan fails to follow the script.

Rocky is an unhinged fanatic who has engaged in unethical and possibly illegal behavior. Why does Ed Rutan fail to follow the script?

"Rutan noted that 'Deputy Mayor Rocky Fluhart consulted the city attorney's office on a variety of legal issues related to the delivery of the message to Torino. With respect to reimbursement of the expenses for the non-city employee members of the team, we advised that it was legally permissible to do so.'"
Maybe the trip would have been on firm ethical ground if it was funded by one of James Evan's cash advance businesses. That way, the moral act of charging a 500% interest rate would render the trip as ethical.

Beer = Immorality

Ah, the Deseret News:

"Real Salt Lake owner Dave Checketts' conflict about whether to serve alcohol at the team's soccer stadium in Sandy comes down to money versus morals."
This is a great example of Utah morals. Morality is what beverage you choose to drink. Whether or not you use four-letter words. What day of the week you do your shopping. It must be nice to hold oneself to superficial moral standards that do nothing to assist your fellow man.
I'm beginning to think that the people who throw around the word "morality" have no sense of what morals truly are.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ski Bingham Canyon? Hell Yes.

I've always looked at the wooded nooks hidden up there in the Oquirrhs above all Kenecott's yit yat and thought that "damn, there just may be (skiing) gold in them thar hills." There are beautiful stretches of pines and aspens up there even though Utahns are trained to think the Oqirrhs may as well be on Tatooine. But having a ski hill up there would do wonders in making the West bench seem more than a place to dump our toxic crud.

Skiing on the East, Skiing on the West. Is there anything more beautiful than that?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Lord Help Us All

James Evans for Mayor in '07? Oy. If the cash-advance king, who makes his money by charging 500% interest rates for those poor enough to have no credit, seriously thinks this city, who values politicians with heart and has suffered from his legislative shenanigans, will elect him, then maybe he is delusional enough to believe that a privately-funded goodwill trip is an unethical and illegal affair.

(My apologies to my past English teachers about my run-on sentences).

Stadium of Ire

It seems that most everyone wanted the RSL stadium downtown. So, naturally, Utah power brokers didn't put it downtown.

I'm a Salt Lake City resident and I never really cared about where the stadium would go. One of the main reasons is that we already play host to more than our share of events that draw a statewide audience. Don't get me wrong, I like having people come to town and take in a Jazz game or the symphony. I even enjoy sitting in traffic at the north end of Downtown trying to make it to my parent's house in Davis County on Sunday morningsand wathcing the armies of white shirts flood the Conference Center (or as I like to call it, the great and spacious building). My point here is that people are good, but giant, sterile, monolithic structures are bad for an urban environment.

During the modernist boom in the 50's and 60's, many downtowns, including SLC, sacrificed a century of organic growth in order to bring about the artificial convention center/skyscraper/megafreeway/parking!parking!parking!/stadium van der Rohe hellscape that was considered progress in those days. Now, what used to be blocks of storefronts, restaurants, and people (on the sidewalks) are occupied by banks, office space, parking lot rackets, nazi parking enforcement, and the unbearable heat that a conspiracy of July sun and vast tracts of paved area will perpetrate on any poor soul caught without his air-conditioned Escalade. Slowly, slowly, slowly, like evolution itself, downtown SLC is remorphing into a leafy, livable place that nurtures instead of denigrates the soul. I say, let it grow as it will. A stadium that floods cities with people for a few hours does not create vibrant downtown. Rather, it creates a few hours of Potemkinesque flurry that leaves the city even more anemic than it was before.

Pickin' those Nits

I believe one of two things is behind Megan Risbon's support for an investigation into Rocky's Torino expeditures. Either she is distancing the party from Rocky and attempting to reform it into a soulless vanilla ideological paste ala Frank Pignanelli or she is waiting for James Evans to shoot himself in his dipshit foot for raising a ruckus over nothing.

I'm willing to bet on the latter. City Council members have only questioned Rocky's selection of the Torino "team." In other words, they've found that it is appropriate for the Mayor to use his budget to send himself and a team of "ambassadors" to Italy. However, the team happened to include personal friends. That part is definitely open to question, but to portray as a Nancy Workman level of scandal is laughable.

Monday, October 10, 2005

A Proposal for a Message Bill

The Utah Lege loves their message bills. It doesn't matter if the thing is blatantly unconstitutional or not because it's stickin' it to those bastards who think abortion should be legal. Morality, morality, morality, we do it all because of morality.

Rather than taking shots at terrified teenage girls who find themselves in an impossible situation or people who have had to spend their lives being told they will be responsible for armegeddon, lets not make the upcoming Lege session about how freakin moral we are by vilifying pro-choicers or gays. For once, let's do something that's truly moral. The kind of morality where you don't get to take the high ground and tell everyone how wicked they are while you slink around in your self-rigteous slop. No, I'm talking about the kind of morality where one is compelled to right the wrongs that the more unfortunate among us are forced to endure merely because they were born into an unfavorable situation.

What I'm proposing is a State immigration bill. If you want to escape extreme poverty in Mexico or Central America, then you can come here and work. We will allow you to work. We will allow you to open bank accounts. We will allow you driver's licenses. We will let your taxed wages go to our schools, where your children will be allowed to attend. We will allow you to call the police if someone is causing you harm without the fear of being deported. We will allow you to quit your job if your employer is screwing you out of your paycheck.

All we ask is that you come here for a probationary period, at the end of which we will grant you residency and then citizenship.

Yes, we know that our Federal government calls the shots on immigration. But what are they doing about it? Nothing. Meanwhile, people are suffering and they shouldn't be. So, screw the Feds on this one. We, as the State of Utah, will take matters into our own hands. We will create our own registry of immigrants upon their submittal of a residency application and Matricula Consular card. We will provide the American dream when the rest of America fails to provide it. It's the right thing to do. And while we accept that it is unconsitutional, we can say that we committed a truly moral act.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Utah's Relentless Oppression of the White Mormon Male

This Onion article so made me think of the plight of the white, Mormon, male in Utah and their struggles against the powerless who sometimes disagree with them.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Flat-Tax

The Guv's tax plan looks to be blissfully simple and a tad less regressive than Lege-led flat-tax proposals. I'm actually agreeing with Curt Bramble on something - holy cats - and thinking that the overall proposal looks digestable. Some tweaks I'd make are as follows:
  • Kill the sales tax on food altogether or eliminate it on basics like produce, meats, grains, and other health-sustaining items.
  • The current proposal limits dependent deductions to five kids. It's gotta be scaled back to three to make any fiscal sense.
  • The proposed tax rate tops out at at 7% for households that make more than $70k. There really should be another bracket for $150K+.

An unrelated tax topic that I've gotta get off my chest: a real-estate transfer tax (RETT). Most states in the West have it. It basically is a nominal tax that accompanies real estate transactions. It should go exclusively to fund education. Why? Because, arguably, real-estate transfers are a relatively accurate indicator of a growing school-age population. This way, when you have exurbs on steroids like Saratoga Springs or Stansbury Park, we can get a head start on funding education for the kiddies who will be occupying the majority of these real-estate starter homes. Also, a RETT is not an undue burden because it only taxes those who can afford to purchase real estate and even then, it is a relatively nominal amount of money and is based on a percentage of the total value of the real estate being purchased.

My plan to get a RETT effort going is to somehow convince Rocky Anderson to vocalize opposition to it. See, the strategy is take advantage of the knee-jerkiness of the Lege and get it a bill introduced without out any legislator actually thinking about it. I bet I could even get Chris Buttars or LaVar Christensen to sponsor it as morality legislation. The "Rocky = Satan Foamed Mouth Reaction Tax Bill."

Discrimination

I'm getting the impression that some people in this state have never really been truly discriminated against. Hell, in some cases, I don't even think they've had their views challenged before the Mayor was elected. As a center-left, secular humanist living in Utah - who is routinely blamed for everything wrong with society by morally "upstanding" politicians, I'm starting to wish for their form of discrimination instead of the one I usually get. Light-hearted analogies from a single politican published in a foreign newspaper? Bring it on. Sounds like a day at the beach.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Anti-Mormonism

It's not too often that a group that dominates all things in a given society charges that it is the victim of discrimination. In Utah, LDS folks control the laws, they control the majority of business, they control most of the banking and capital investment, and they make up the largest single cultural group. For some 150+ years, they've enjoyed the relative isolation that limits challenges to the accepted values that have fermented over that time. Bigotry usually occurs when a minority group is the object of unfounded prejudices and the resulting exclusion from the benefits and participation in society.

It seems curious then that LDS folks can seriously level charges of anti-Mormon bigotry at someone in a relatively powerless position like Rocky Anderson. It seems, rather, that the majority of the people that think Rocky is anti-Mormon isn't because of truly bigoted statements, but because he says things that many rank-and-file Mormons don't like.
  • Gays and Lesbians are entitled to equal rights.
  • Churches should not use their special place in society to influence government and public policy actors while enjoying tax exemption.
  • Alcohol consumption is not intrinsically immoral.

Somehow, the ideas stated above are met with intense hostility when they come out of Rocky's mouth. I think it's because Utahns aren't used to having the above stated ideas expressed as acceptable in our society, much less by a visible politician. What is occuring here is that a dominant culture is attempting to stamp out ideas from a minority voice that the dominant culture deems as unbecoming of moral individuals.

I wrote a letter-to-the-editor to the Daily Utah Chronicle to this effect sometime ago during the brouhaha over perceived anti-Mormon bias on campus. In it, I reasoned that many LDS folks never had their worldview seriously challenged before and it's human nature to react with hostility to ideas that challenge long-held cultural norms. Under the sun, this phenomenon has happened a billion times over and it is not surprising to see it happening with an openly non-LDS politican.

  • Women are not fit to hold positions of ecclesiastical authority.
  • Women are to devote themselves to the raising of children and not careers outside of the home.
  • Pre-marital sex is morally wrong.
  • American Indians are descendants of ancient Jewish people from the Middle East. However, they are dark-skinned because of transgressions their ancestors committed against God.
  • Ten percent of your income must go to a particular religious institution in order to gain salvation.
  • Homosexuality is a concious choice made by immoral people.
  • Polygamy shall be practiced in afterlife.

These ideas above are deeply offensive to me. I understand, however, that they are deeply held convictions and bring happiness to many people. However, they are not ideas that are beyond reproach in a free society. Whenever they present themselves in a public context, I think a person of free will should be allowed to discuss his/her agreement/disagreement with them.

How can we reconcile this with the script?

The City (the one that Rocky is the Mayor of) and the Church are on the same side of this lawsuit in which they emerged victorious. But the script tells us that Rocky is supposed to tear down the Church every chance he gets. But he's on their side in the Main St. Plaza case. What the ...?

What are we to do? Surely we can't change the script!

Monday, October 03, 2005

On KCPW last Friday, Rocky, explaining the Council's drafting of their own domestic benefits ordinance, claimed that the Council was trying to "trump [him]." I have to admit, at first, it sounded like he was just pissed because Nancy and the Gang were stealing his thunder. Looking at the run-up to his executive decision however, I would have to agree that that truly was their intent. When he and Jill Remington Love were collaborating on the extension of benefits, it was agreed that the first step was to determine whether it would be an executive or a legislative decision. In other words, they punted the issue to the City Attorney's office to decide whether the Mayor could extend benefits through an executive order or if it would indeed require the passing of a City Council ordinance. The former was found to be the proper avenue for such a policy change and onward it went.

It was probably inevitable that one of the Lege's resident idiots - in this case LaVar Christensen - would begin the homophobic saber-rattling. Equally as inevitable, the Council began to kowtow. Thus, they cast a net so ridiculously wide that it would dilute the fact that it snared some dirty homosexuals along with wholesome beneficiaries like elderly parents and adult children.

Look, I'm all for extending benefits as far as they can be extended. It's the right thing to do in a country that does not have universal healthcare. But to do it simply to cater to homophobic tendencies makes it less than noble.