Thursday, August 31, 2006

Rally Coverage

I wanted to post a link to some more pictures of the massive rally's in Salt Lake and steal a couple of the ones I liked the most. (These are from Dee's 'Dotes)

I really think this is the dawning of a sea change of public opinion.

I really don't think people realize how significant seeing this in Utah is. This is massive and important and it will be remembered as a turning point in the Bush administration. I hope so anyway. I don't even know if the guys in the Bush White House even read what happens in the newspapers. I'm sure as far as they're concerned, it's just part of the filter.

Also, Steve said he has some pictures he took at the protests that he'll be posting in the next day or two.

I also want to point everyone who hasn't already seen it to Pete Ashdown's remarks in response to Orrin Hatch and George Bush. It's a really good read and spine tingling at moments. I was going to link to it, but I couldn't find it online, but I got an email of the press release, so here is the release: (click link below to read more)

SALT LAKE CITY, UT--Pete Ashdown, Democratic nominee for the US Senate in Utah, released the following statement in response to the comments of President Bush and Senator Hatch today at the American Legion Convention and the fund-raiser.

"First of all, I welcome the President here. As I have said before, I wish the President would come here more often and more Presidents would come to Utah. However, I believe the President is wrong when he says that Orrin Hatch is doing an effective job for Utah. I believe Senator Hatch has done good things, but has not represented Utah well in the United States Senate and that I would better serve the people of Utah. I represent a Utah that wants to win the war on terror, but does not believe that freedom itself must be sacrificed on the altar of freedom. I believe that our rights to privacy, to free speech, and to dissent are not negotiable and our sacrificing them is not a necessity to achieve victory. I believe that our national dignity should not be compromised by those who believe that torture is sometimes acceptable, as my opponent does.

"I believe the people of Utah and the United States want a clear plan to win the war in Iraq: I present that plan. That plan is simple: let the Iraqis vote on how long they want the US to stay, then do what they say. If they vote for us to leave, then the military has a mission: within sixty days, move to friendly countries such as Kuwait and Qatar to prevent Iranian invasion until the Iraqis can stop it on their own. If they say stay, then there is a mandate. Whether the result of this vote is a mission or a mandate, both should be executed with maximum transparency to the American people and the rest of the world. Another US President, John F. Kennedy, who faced similar challenges, stated in the Salt Lake Tabernacle: ' and nations will pursue a variety of roads, that each nation will evolve according to its own traditions and its own aspirations, and that the world of the future will have room for a diversity of economic systems, political creeds, religious faiths, united by the respect for others, and loyalty to a world order.' We must give the Iraqis the opportunity to evolve, and a referendum on our involvement will allow this. The President is wrong when he ignores all the polls on Iraq. There is only one poll that should decide the Iraq policy in the war on terror; that is the ballot that the Iraqi people themselves should cast.

"I believe the people of Utah and the United States want to get off foreign oil; they do not want to pay $3 or $4 or $10 for gasoline, especially when most of that money goes to dictatorships and oppressors. They do not want mercury poisoning their fish and fowl; they do not want to see our beautiful valleys clouded over with toxic smog. My opponent does not want to see America end its addiction to oil; he wants to push us into the false hope of oil shale. The majority of Utahns believe that government should take a stronger role in lowering energy emissions; that can only be done when we balance our energy policy. That means no more tax loopholes for big oil and more incentives for wind, solar, geothermal, and research into nuclear fusion.

"I believe the people of Utah and the United States want to have health insurance, but too many of them do not. We learned Tuesday that 46.6 million Americans, over a million more in a year, were uninsured in 2005. In 2005, the number of Utahns without health insurance rose by over 5000. My opponent believes that tort reform is the end all be all of health care reform; I agree reform is a good idea, but it is not enough. As someone who actually runs a business in Utah, I know that tort reform is not enough. Senator Hatch's own Health Care Task force recommended that Congress should 'Establish a national program that ensures coverage for all Americans.' I will fight to do that; Senator Hatch will not.

"The people of Utah have a choice this November. I will fight for democracy, independence, and prosperity for all Utahns and all Americans. The opposition is someone who will fight only for those who can pay $500 or more for influence. My door is open now and will be open throughout my term in the Senate. My calendar is available for anyone to see and will stay that way. I have pledged to: uphold democracy; have open and honest government; fight for fair elections; encourage fiscal responsibility at my own expense; and stop nuclear testing. The people of Utah deserve a new Senator, for a new century."

Strong stuff.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bush in SLC

I just wanted to point a couple of things out.

First: This pictures above. These are pictures of a protest of George Bush. They weren't taken in New York. They weren't taken in Berkeley. They weren't taken in Los Angeles. They were taken in Salt Lake City. The reddest of the red states. And there were massive protests against George Bush.

It is certainly indicitive of the shift in public opinion on the war.

Even the headlines and editorial pages of local conservative papers have been filled with headlines like: Rice, Rumsfeld deliver equally deluded visions (SL Tribune), Unsuccessful mission: Bush fails to sell war: A year since his last visit, even Utahns are increasingly skeptical about U.S. odds of success in Iraq (SL Tribune), SLC Mayor: Bush is the worst president in history (KUTV news (this site also has video of the marches and Rocky's speech)), and so on. A simple google news search of the words "Bush Salt Lake" yields thousands of results like these.

This is Utah.

See? We're not all morally bankrupt war mongers. (click link below to read more...)

In other news about opponents of the morally bankrupt, Pete Ashdown held a charity dinner in direct response to Orrin Hatch's $500-a-plate campaign fundraiser. Ashdown's event raised almost $10,000 for charity (non of it going to his campaign). Hatch's dinner, on the other hand, will benefit his campaign to the tune of an estimated $100,000. The way Ashdown is running his campaign is the way I think campaigns should be run.

Damn. Damn, damn.

Well, I missed the protests, which makes me feel bad. My brothers car got messed up, so we couldn't go. (His starter got jammed in the on position.)

So, I want pictures and stories and I would very much like to see if someone would be able to get me some signage from the Ashdown campaign.

If you want to email me some protest stories and pictures, I'll post them.

Check my profile for my email address...

Monday, August 28, 2006


I would like to know what everyone is doing for Wednesday's protest. I'm still working out arrangements so I can be up there, but I'd like to know where the cool kids are going to be hanging out.


Let me know.

And thanks for the spirited religious debate. It's been really thought provoking.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Religious Debate

I had thought of a statement and was hoping that we might debate it here.

My thought is this:

Organized religion works because it focuses its attention on personal salvation in an effort to harmonize an individual with ideals to treat himself and other people with the unconditional love and respect that all of the prophets and scholars of all religions preach.

Organized religion ceases to work when it becomes focused on encouraging its members to dictate certain behaviour to others. It ceases to work when the mission of the religion is to force it's perception on everyone, not just its members. Organized religion actually causes damage when it shifts its focus from helping, loving and caring for people in an unconditional way and to a dogma that segregates those actions and feelings from certain types of people. (For example, mainstream Christianity's stance on homosexuals.)

This is why I believe the founders of this country sought to build a wall between theology and politics, because there would always be the over-zealous preacher, bishop, prophet or reverend that would take things too far, get into politics and legislate discrimination against certian types of people whom they don't agree with. The separation between church and state offers a barrier from these religious witch hunts and it pains me to see politicians pandering to the religious factions of their parties calling for them.


Let's talk about this.

Or not. I'm used to getting ignored.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

New Short Story

I have a new short story (sort of) up on his short Story Blog. It's actually a script for a comic.

Check it out here.

Read everything else that's on there, too and be sure to tell me how much you like or dislike it.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

BYU has been running a new ad campaign for it's football team this year. The billboards are all over the valley and they are quite a sight to see. A picture of an offensive lineman (or so I'm told, I wouldn't know an offensive lineman from a hole in the ground) is in his ready position next to the words "Weapons of Mass Destruction."


I think the sign is not only stupid, but very telling of the conservative paradigm at BYU. No WMD found in Iraq? Well, we'll just downgrade the definition of WMD. Now, all you have to be is mediocre at tackling another guy and you've got yourself a whole team of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

At their best, the ads are laughable, at their worst, they're disrespectful.

It also plays in to my theories about sports causing aggression in people. It seems as though BYU and it's footbal fans would mustard gas an opposing team if it meant winning.

I suppose that at the very least in that situation there'd be a victory, which is more than I can say for the conflicts the U.S. is engaged in with our irresponsible use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (real ones, not fake ones like linebackers.)

NOTE: I tried to take a picture with my phone, but it was too high up to turn out well.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Sorry about the lack of posts, I've gotten busy again. I've been heavy into another round of editing on "The Fleapit Three" and trying to put together a day of reshoots and pickups. The more we shape it in the editing room, the more excited I am about showing it to people.

I've also been doing a shitload of writing. A number of pitches for various projects, I wrote a couple of issues of a comic book, I've written some shorts, I've been working on a couple of short film scripts and still chugging along with 2-5 pages a day on my novel.

So, it's not anything personal that I haven't been posting with as much frequency as I like, I just truly am busy.

So, I'll try to come back and post tonight.

In the meantime, I wanted everyone to know that I've been invited to be an admin on the UVSC Democrats Blog that can be found here. We're going to be working on ousting Orrin Hatch and getting Pete Ashdown elected.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine and the Road to Guantanamo

My brother and I drove up to Salt Lake City last night for a double feature. We started with "Little Miss Sunshine" and then "Road to Guantanamo."

First: Little Miss Sunshine.

The one word review? Meh.

I tried holding it up to the standard of Noah Baumbachs amazing "The Squid and the Whale" (I would describe the films as "in the same league" as far as comparable budget, cast and intended audience) but the characters and situations were just paper thin and too focused on being edgy. The two high points of the film are Steve Carrell and Alan Arkin, but they're underused and it's sort of annoying. The plot revolves around a "Little Miss Sunshine" beauty pageant and it really feels like a structure forced upon the characters. I would have much rather seen a movie about Alan Arkin (a grandfather kicked out of a nursing home for being a porn-addled drug fiend) and Steve Carrell (A suicidal homosexual scholar) coming home to live with Greg Kinnear (a dickhead of a motivational speaker) and his family. All of those scenes with that dynamic worked really well, the problem was that there were only three scenes in the picture with that dynamic.

At the end of the day, I didn't feel like I got to know any of the characters and I didn't learn anything about myself or other people by watching the film (something that did happen with "The Squid and the Whale.")

(click on link below to read more...)

There was also the most obnoxious jackass sitting right behind me in the theatre, so that may have contributed to my distaste for the film as well. He laughed (loudly) at every joke, whether it was funny or not (mostly not), clapped (loudly) every time there was an actually funny joke (perhaps five or six times through the picture), loudly repeated funny one-liners for all in the cinema to hear and also tried predicting what was going to happen next (sometimes he was right, mostly he was wrong.) He also repeatedly kicked my seat and kept his feet up on the chair next to me. Nothing ruins a movie faster than having to watch it with an obnoxious asshole.

These people should be banned from the cinema.

So, after the film, we decided we had enough time to make it over to the Broadway for the 9:20 "Road to Guantanamo." Going into this film, I knew I was going to leave disgusted and pissed, but afterwards I was both horrified and physically ill.

The film follows a group of British Muslims (all ranging in age from 20 - 25 or so) who go to Pakistan for a wedding, hear that there might be some good they can do, helping war victims in Afghanistan and end up getting picked up as Al Quaida and spending two years at Guantanamo. Since their stories about who they were and what they were doing checked out, they were eventually let go, but that doesn't change the fact that we robbed them of two-plus years of their lives. The filmmakers made an interesting choice in recreating the treatment the "Tipton Three" endured and it was certainly powerful and effective.

All of this torture and abuse is occasionally juxtaposed with press conferences of Bush and Rumsfeld explaining how there's only killers in Guantanmo and how it's just a bunch of terrorists and how all of the detainees there are being treated appropriately.

Detainees live, quite literally, in dog kennels. They get five minutes of exercise per week. They are subjected to torture and interogation on what seems to be a daily basis. They are abused by their guards. (In fairness to the Marines, the filmmakers did depict a couple of soldiers with souls and feelings who were actually nice to the detainees, but these were the exception, not the rule.) They were beaten severely if they even spoke at times. They weren't allowed to pray. Soldiers would abuse their Korans.

It was disgusting and it made me realize how immoral those who supoprt torture are.

Torture is not a traditional family value. Denying people their due process rights, regardless of combat status, is not an American ideal. Holding people indefinitely without charging them for a crime or letting them speak to a lawyer is a totalitarian measure.

The founding documents of our country describe the American ideology as all men are created equal and have the inalieable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is no distinction of ethnicity or culture or religion or country of origin. In our own Constitution, we have also laid the backbone for a system of justice free from tyranny of rulers who beleive that they can decide what is best for the country without the due process of law. Yet, people like George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld ignore these ideals in a way that is both disrespectful to the American people, unpatriotic and is every bit as immoral as anything the "terrorists" have done to us.

Terrorism is using fear and terror tactics to control a populace. If you have any doubt in your mind that what the politicians in leadership positions in our country is not, by that definition, terrorism, then you are as unpatriotic and immoral as they are.

The great thing about the movie, despite it's being extremely hard to watch without squirming, is that it sparks this discussion in people. My brother and I spent an hour and a half after the film trying to figure out how things got this bad.

That's a good thing.

What the immoral hawks in the government are doing is a bad thing.

If you support either torture or someone who supports it, then you can't possibly call yourself a Christian or a patriotic American.

Just a friendly reminder: Orrin Hatch supports torture.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sign War

Well, over at the Ashdown campaign, all of their signs in the Salt Lake Foothills area have disappeared including a 10 foot banner that was zip-tied to a brick wall. All of the signs, including the banner, were on private property.

I can only imagine how frustrating that would be to someone on a budget as limited as the Ashdown campaigns is.

You would expect more out of people who are hitting the pavement for a guy with as upstanding family values as Orrin Hatch.

You would expect, however, this sort of behavior out of high school students though. In fact, when I was a junior in high school, I worked with the schools Young Democrats club stumping for Bill Orton. On the day of the election, we drove around the city replacing Chris Cannon signs with Bill Orton signs. It didn’t do much good to change anyone’s minds, Orton lost anyway, and it was a pretty juvenile thing to do, but hey, we were juveniles.

The Ashdown camp is also offering a reward for pictures of people stealing his signs.

I need to get a couple of Ashdown signs myself but I’m never in Salt Lake City during business hours to pick one up and I don’t have any type of online money bartering account to pay for one online. So, any of you that are in the Salt Lake area and manage to be near the Ashdown campaign headquarters, would you be so kind as to grab me a few signs and stickers? That would be awesome.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Hatch at it again

In his continuing effort to devolve his political campaign into a case of "vote for me or die," Utah Senator Orrin Hatch tied an increase in Democrats into an increase in terror attacks. (In the same article, Dick "We're all gonna die" Cheney does the same thing.) You can read about it here.

Hatch says he doesn't remember saying it, but his spokesperson offers a direct quote from Hatch which is tantamount to the same thing.

According to the article, this isn't the first time Hatch has used such preposterous tactics, quoting him from a 2004 Washington Post article where he said, "Terrorists are going to throw everything they can between now and the election to try and elect Kerry."

Why would someone of any party want someone so clearly partisan and divisive representing them? It doesn't take someone with very much intelligence to realize that a political candidate that says, "If you vote for my opponent then, most likely, terrorists will attack again," is obviously a pompous windbag trying desperately to stay in office.

Pete Ashdown said the senator continuously goes too far. The comment "is a further example of the demonization and the divisiveness Senator Hatch uses to win campaigns."

It's true.

When are people going to realize it?

(click on link below to read more...)
It's baffling to me that people don't seem to understand how bad Hatch is for them. (Or Even Sen. Bennett who, during his last campaign, promised to work to lower the minimum wage and still won handily.) Orrin Hatch is personally doing damage to this country, not just by spewing rhetoric as vile as this "Democrats = Terror" business, but with his dealings in the senate. He's one more vote that keeps us in Iraq. He's one more vote that keeps us away from raising the minimum wage. He's one more vote from Universal Health Care. He's one more vote that keeps us from being great as a nation again. He's one vote closer to the stifling of free speech and human rights.

He might be a wonderful and congenial person. I'm sure he's the nicest guy in the world. But the fact of the matter is this: He's a horrible politician entrenched in the "K Street" style corruption of politics that are hurting America. If he lasts any longer, the damage to our country might be irreparable.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

UVSC still too liberal

Apparently, there's another stir at UVSC, this time it's about teaching a proposed global/intercultural understanding course. Affluent community members and donors decided that this class could be too liberal, they decided to send it back to the drawing board.

I read about this over at Joe Vogel's blog where he wrote an editorial about the situation, posted it to his blog and sent it to all of the newspapers.

What kind of a world are we living in where it's okay for the wealthy and narrow minded to decide how college students are educated in public institutions? The answer baffles me.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Tarentino - Rodriguez panel posted up a ton of footage from the Tarentino - Rodriguez panel. I was actually sitting right behind (literally right behind) the camera that shot this.

Anyhow, watch these. They are fascinating as all hell.

"Does Ashdown Have a Chance?"

I was corresponding via email with the illustrious General JC Christian, Patriot of the Jesus' General blog the other day and I mentioned how the Ashdown-Hatch race was going to be intersting. His only reply? "Does Ashdown have a chance?"

This got me to thinking. Does Pete Ashdown have a chance?

It's a good question and I've been thinking alot about it in the last couple of days. The answer I've come up with is mostly. I think he mostly has a chance. It depends on a lot though and it depends on how he runs his campaign.

The first thing I'd like to point people to is this: In November, KSL News reported that "when asked if given the choice between re-electing Hatch or giving someone else a chance, it's a tossup with 45% supporting a Hatch reelection and 48% saying it's time to give someone else a shot." (Deseret News also reported about it here andI wrote a post about this then, as well.) Granted, that was a full year ahead of the election, but it's a good indication that people are ready for a change.

Will they choose to change? I think that, in large part, has to do with how the Ashdown camp runs their campaign. What I think they need to do is paint Orrin Hatch as the entrenched Washington politician who has been in the broken system so long he's part of the problem. It's not hard to do. It's how Hatch won his first election. (He also promised to run a limited number of terms, a promise he didn't keep.) People now, of both political stripes, are fed up with how the system is working and it won't be hard to convince them that if we get enough new blood in Washington things can change. (Sadly, in another, more postive piece about Ashdown run in the St. George Spectrum, a BYU poll had Hatch at 55% to Ashdown's 27%, but that was also with 87% of the people saying they'd never heard of him.)

I think the Ashdown campaign will only stand a chance if they can paint Pete as a moralist. He needs to get out there and make speeches explaining how his positions are relevant to morals and family values. As corny as it sounds, people around here vote on a "family values" agenda. Pete Ashdown has a family and, I beleieve is a moral man (certainly more moral than Hatch).

I see the campaign doing these things. If any of you have read my posts recently about the debate on Saturday that Ashdown invited Hatch to, then you'll see that they are going out of their way to paint Hatch as out of touch and out of Utah. If he cared about Utah, he should be here debating. Ashdown has been going out of his way to describe his yearning for a Lincoln-Douglas style series of debates instead of just one or two highly scripted affairs that Hatch usually attends. He's associating his desires with those of a very well-respected and legendary figure and it will help him out.

He also needs to sell his integrity. He sent out a copy of all of his campaign promises to the Head of the Republican National Committee and a number of other offices (including Hatch's) so that if he was elected and failed to meet a promise, they could be sure to call him on it.

But in order to do the selling, he needs to do some fundraising. The thing is, he hasn't been whoring himself out to do it. He doesn't want to. Hatch has already put together $2 million to Pete Ashdowns $18,000. (Deseret News - April 16) That in and of itself should be a campaign tool against Hatch. It proves he's got his head so far up the ass of the establishment that he could care less about real problems pissing off Utahns.

I'll write more about this, but at the end of the day, not only do I think Pete Ashdown has a chance, I think Utahns are frustrated enough by "Hollywood Hatch" that they'll actually give him one.

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Review: Free Speech 101

I just finished reading Joe Vogel’s book, “Free Speech 101: The Utah Valley Uproar Over Michael Moore” and I must say it was a terribly interesting read.

Now, I imagine all of you who read this know that I care about politics and the goings-on in the world and I happen to like Michael Moore. You probably all know that I am also what some people call (in a negative connotation) a “liberal.” You also all know that I worked for a long time on “This Divided State” and am quite outspoken. I just wanted that out of the way before I get into explaining why this book is a “must read.”

Joe Vogel is a self-described “conservative.” Joe Vogel doesn’t exactly agree with Michael Moore. Joe Vogel is probably someone that I would get into very friendly but fierce debates about politics if we were to come upon the subject. As it stands, I’ve only spoken to him a few times, interviewed him with Steve a couple of times and I interviewed him at the premiere of the film. I’m only guessing we’d get into debates since he doesn’t actually talk about his personal politics all that much in the film beyond his admission of being generally conservative. (On a side note, who cares what people label themselves as, really?) But, at the end of the day, you get the impression that no matter how much of a lunatic you are and how preposterous your ideas and opinions might be, Joe Vogel is the sort of guy that would listen respectfully and answer with thoughtful care. He’s the type of guy you’d have fun talking politics with, no matter how radically your opinions differed.

Anyhow, the book takes us through the decision making process behind bringing Michael Moore to Utah County and the intense pressure that Joe and Jim Bassi went through to make sure the event happened. This Divided State is a very public look at the controversy, but Free Speech 101 takes us behind the closed doors and shows us how bad things really got. Really: if you thought things were bad by watching our film, this book will turn your hair white.

I was surprised at how much opposition was faced, not from the community, but from within the school itself. Reading the book, you get an anxiety-filled taste of the extreme pressure that Joe was going through. Perhaps my perception of the pressure was augmented by a couple of things, though. First, I had intense pressure and stress stemming from the same issues but to different ends and second, I spent a year of my life watching and re-watching every little bit of vitriol and each of the characters in the book (with few minor exceptions) I was able to assign faces and voices, too. Having been there, I was able to truly relive it through Joe’s words and to say that it caused a stir in me is an understatement.

The book made me want to get up and do something about politics again. It reinvigorated my disdain and disgust for the whole “UVSC-Michael Moore” situation and the current political situation and climate. I feel like I’ve been phoning in my involvement in the mid-term elections, largely through this blog and reading this book made me want to change that. Any apathy that I may have developed in the last few months has been erased completely by Free Speech 101. (Seeing a book in print written by what I would consider a peer (hopefully not arrogantly so) also lit a fire underneath me to redouble my efforts to finish the novel I'm working on.)

The best thing about the book, however, was that none of that was what the book was about. The book was about the personal trials Joe went through to protect the very soul of free speech. The book illustrated how fragile a thing it is and hinted at the idea that we should be out there doing what we can to protect it, whether we agree with what people have to say or not. It was a refreshing thing to read, despite having to relive a taste of Joe’s stress.

I had talked to Steve briefly about the book, he’d received an advanced copy to read, and he had mentioned to me what he felt was a glaring omission in the book. That omission being the reconciliation between Jim and Joe. I would have to strongly disagree with Steve about this. I don’t think the point of the book was Joe’s travails as a person. The book was about Joe’s travails as a steward of free speech and adding in something ancillary to that would have side-tracked the book. I’m sure Joe could have ran off on tangents throughout the book about how this strained his personal and professional relationships, but they would have been distractions. I admired the fact that Joe didn’t use this book as a personal soapbox for people being mean to him or angry or unfair or how they made up afterwards. The book kept a razor-sharp focus on the issues of free speech and I think it benefits for it.

Everyone on both sides of the political spectrum would benefit from reading this book. Even though the “detractors” of free speech in the book are conservatives, it’s not hard to imagine similar reactions from the opposite end of the spectrum against a “conservative speaker.” The book, as I hope “This Divided State” is, is an excellent means to learn how you shouldn’t go about communicating your ideas. As such, the book is a valuable learning guide and I would highly recommend that all who read this blog read Joe’s book.

(On a side note, I found it ironic that a book about freedom of speech and expression in an open society has all of the naughty words dashed out. It seemed silly, given the subject matter of the book. One letter was even “edited for vulgarity.”)

(I must also say that I apologize for any glaring mistakes in my writing. I'm always conscious about mistakes and fix them when I catch them. I don't have an "editor" so I do my best.)

UPDATE: Joe emailed me to explain that he's a self-described "independent." I want to apologize for the confusion. I was referring to a moment in the book where he calls himself "personally" conservative. Didn't mean to give anyone the wrong impression.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Senatorial Debate

So, on Saturday, August 12th at 10:30 am most of the candidates in the senate race for the seat currently occupied by Orrin Hatch will be debating for the public at the Salt Lake City Public Library.

Sadly, I cannot be there.

If there is anyone who is going, would you be interested in sending me notes about what happened that I would be happy to publish here on the blog?

Also, you should read this business about Orrin Hatch on Pete Ashdown's campaign blog. He gets more and more sinister with every thing he does (or doesn't do.)

Alice Cooper

Usually, I leave the posts about music, bands and the state of the industry to the Steve Greenstreets, Elias Pates and Neal Shaffers of the world but I read an article in the Salt Lake City Weekly that I thought was an excellent essay about Alice Cooper and what he believes the state of the industry is.

Here is the link.

I think it's a good read. It's a very well written piece if you ask me and I think the thesis of Coopers argument is excellent. I actually sort of agree with it.

Read it and let me know what you guys think.

Free Speech 101

Joe Vogels book is out and I wanted to shine a light on it. You can order it online following the links on his website here.

I haven't read it myself yet, but Steve says it's amazing and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

There are also some appearances Joe will be making:

  • August 10, 2006- Sunstone Symposium, Salt Lake City, Utah- 3:30pm
  • September 6, 2006- Utah Valley State College, Orem, Utah-12:00pm
  • September 11, 2006- University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, 12:00pm
I'll be posting frequent updates about Joe and his appearances and my thoughts on the book as soon as I read it. Be sure to support him and the book. It makes the perfect companion piece to "This Divided State."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Radio West

Joe Vogel, one of the principal players in the events that unfolded in "This Divided State" was on KUER's Radio West with Doug Fabrizio today. Steve also made a brief appearance at the tail end of the show.

You can download it here or you can listen to it again when it is rebroadcast on FM 90.1 at 7:00 pm tonight.

It was a very good hour of radio and I would suggest you all listen to it.

Also, I should give you a heads up, apparently, "This Divided State" is still playing all over Free Speech TV. So. There's your chance to go see it for free.

(on a sidenote: I don't know if it was the overwhelming presence of comments spoiled me, but their sudden disappearance has made me feel a little like this blog has become irrelevant. Let me know if you're still reading or if I'm just less interesting.)

Monday, August 07, 2006

War Bonds

So, I was doing some thinking about how we're going to pay for our blunder in Iraq. (Literally, not figuratively.)

Then I got to thinking, what about War Bonds? They did swell in WWII. That's how we paid for the war. People sacrificed what money they had and loaned it to Uncle Sam for a cause that was greater than themselves.

Then I got to thinking... Why don't we sell War Bonds to all of the conservatives who think the war is a good idea. That way, they can put their money where their mouth is and really support the war.

Then I got to researching and I found that they already have war bonds for the "global war on terror." (The whole war on terror thing still makes no sense to me. That means that literally anyone can be a terrorist if they decide to use a terror tactic, from threatening a country to do something or face military reprisal (Bush's tactic in Iraq) to the rebels fighting in 3rd world countries, the Bush administration has declared war on them all.)

Then I really got to thinking. Why haven't we heard about this? Why hasn't Bush made impassioned pleas on the airwaves for everyone to pitch in and pay their patriotic duty the way we did in World War II? Why isn't there a modern day Abbot and Costello team, travelling across the country asking Americans to do the same for the war effort?


I don't know.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Who Killed the Electric Car?

It's a good question. It has a complex answer and in order to get the answer, you need to see the film. I saw it today and it was very good.

My brother and I drove up to Salt Lake City because we had to pick someone up at the airport and decided to see the film up there beforehand (because it isn't playing anywhere in Utah County) and we accidentally picked the matinee that the Salt Lake Film Center had chosen for an event. So, in attendance were SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson and Orrin Hatch's opponent Pete Ashdown.

The film was quite informative and frustrating to no end. It wasn't as doomsaying as the recent "An Inconvenient Truth" but it was still enough to have you clutching your arm rests in frustration the entire time.

It outlines plenty and I want to harp about all of it and how much the Bush administration is culpable in the stupidity causing this preposterous switch to hydrogen fuel cells, but you should see the movie anyway.

It's very short and taught, the narration was generally unobtrusive, the filmmaker only makes two brief appearances and the facts are shocking.

It really does want to make you do something.

A perfect double feature for action would be this and "An Inconvenient Truth" on the same bill.

You'd certainly have a hopping mad audience by the end of the second feature.

(Note: In reading up on the film, I noticed that GM posted this up and is sponsoring the link on Google.)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Civil War (not the Marvel kind)

Well, it's gone and happened. US military leaders have finally admitted that Iraq is sliding into a Civil War.

Isn't that what everyone predicted would happen in the first place?

Rumsfelds response? He said this: Several times during the hearing, Rumsfeld expressed concern that the committee's back-and-forth would aid the enemy. "They're waging a psychological war of attrition," he said at one point. "They want us pointing fingers at each other rather than pointing fingers at them."

This is just too far-fetched to be believed.

Rumsfeld is saying this, essentially: "We're letting them win by discussing this. They're methods of war are so complex, even discussing them publicly is a victory for them. So, by questioning me, even in the slightest, you're letting the terrorists win."

What a jack ass.

We need to get the hell out of that situation. We need to pull back into a support role in surrounding countries and set up a Federated Iraq, wherein each of the major parties there (Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites) each hold a third of the country and can govern themselves. That's been the whole problem in the first place. The US wants to meld them all together and it's not going to work.

But, at the end of the day, I'm aiding the terrorists because I'm discussing it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

We need to be done

I read this in the news today and the things that are going on in Iraq are enough to make one cringe in disgust. It looks like the soldiers responsible for the Haditha massacre might finally see some justice. The problem is, we also need to hold those accountable who put them in that position.

There's a wealth of other information about the crazy shit that's going on there, too.

I read in this article in Newsweek that said the first soldiers in Fallujah came in on horseback and on chariots in togas. The Newsweek article also has a good rundown on some of the information about what is known and what is in question about the Haditha massacre.

It seems as though this conflict has turned into what Vietnam was in the closing hours of the war. It's like Apocolypse Now.

It boggles the mind that shit like this actually happens.

I really sort of feel like we just need to get the hell out of there. It's obvious we're not doing any good, our goals are flawed (we need a Federated Iraq, not a Unified one), we're killing copious amounts of civilians and we're inflaming the region and fanning the flames.

We are losing in Iraq and thusly we are losing the entire middle east.

And we're probably not doing much in the war on "terror." (Which doesn't make sense anyway. How can you have a war against a tactic?)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Political Shell Game

For the last 10 years the Democrats have trying to get a minimum wage increase for the working poor of this country only to see it shot down repeatedly. In a country where the cost of everything has gone up except for labor, it's good to see that a light is finally being shined on it.

But, the Republicans are playing a dangerous political shell game right now. In hopes of scoring points with the rich and the poor, they are setting the Democrats up for a fight. Hopefully people see through it.

Basically, what's going in is this: The Republicans have set forth a bill marrying the preposterous and ill-conceived abolition of the estate tax (I wrote about this some a couple of months ago) with a much needed increase in the Federal minimum wage.

The Republicans do not want the minimum wage to increase and sane human beings with an eye on fiscal affairs realize that aboloshing the estate tax would be decidedly stupid, especially in these times of Republican over-spending. What they are gambling on, is that the Democrats will shoot the bill down in order to keep the estate tax and then run out to the campaign loudspeakers and shout from the top of the highest mountain that the Democrats are against raising the minimum wage, vote Republican.

It's a cheap trick.

It angers me to no end to see politicians playing with the welfare of our working class with such a cavalier attitude. The working class, those who vote and need the minimum wage hike are being used as pawns in this devlish (admittedly clever, but decidedly immoral) game of politics.

My suggestion? Call your Senator and have them call out their elected representatives on it. Tell them that dirty politics will get them a one-way ticket back home.

Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, you have to admit that it's dodgy political manuevering like this (from both sides) are the reason real progress in our country can't be attained.