Monday, February 26, 2007

Terry Wood and Divine Strake Fallout

Paul Rolly Reports in the SL Tribune:

Divine Strake fallout? Watch for KTVX, Channel 4 co-anchor Ruth Todd to disappear from the air within the next few days. Her contract expires this week and, reportedly, it won't be renewed. In a few weeks, according to rumblings among TV news types around town, the other Channel 4 anchor, Terry Wood, will be demoted to weekends.


The scuttlebutt around town is that KTVX's owner, Texas-based ClearChannel, went into a tizzy over the station's editorializing against Divine Strake, an idea that came out of the administration of George W. Bush, a particular darling of the redder-than-red owners of ClearChannel. And does it matter that the administration finally caved to public pressure and canceled the megabomb test just outside Utah's borders?

Apparently not.

I hope, if this indeed is what is happening that ClearChannel gets inundated with complaints. For your convenience, here is their contact information...

Clear Channel
200 East Basse Road
San Antonio, TX 78209
Phone 1-210-822-2828

Lisa Dollinger

Clear Channel Website:

Station Listing
Phone: 1-210-822-2828

Odds and Ends in the Kitchen

I sewed the valences and got them up (although they somehow turned out to be different lengths, so I'll have to fix that at some point). We shopped around for several hours looking for things to decorate with, and I think it turned out pretty good.

I'm not big on fancy "decor" so part of me feels a little funny in there still. I'm sure I'll get used to it, and eventually it won't feel like I'm sitting in a (very small) home-show dining room.

Now we just need to get the cabinets all finished.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

One Day

If you work hard, you can change a lot in just one day... Sanding and scraping to get rid of the sand on the walls (never dump sand into paint for texture, I don't know what the previous owners were thinking!)...then dark paint first...

Next, the lighter paint which is "ragged off".
Finally, the wall board and trim.

Just a little more to finish up on monday...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Do you have your documents?

If you look hispanic anyway, you might need them with you at all times.

With HB 105, state and local police officers could take on some new immigration responsibilities.

When my Mister was on his mission in Peru, he had to carry his passport (or "documents") with him everywhere he went. Is that where we are headed? Will anyone who looks remotely hispanic have to worry about proving to any police officer they run into, that they are indeed citizens of the US?

This bill will make people who are not here legally even more unlikely to report crimes than they already are, and it will put extra strain on state and local police officers who should be spending their time protecting the public from CRIMINALS.

We're putting putty in a sieve. These petty little attacks on other human beings are not going to solve our immigration problems. Why in the world hasn't the federal government done anything about it yet?


This morning my three-year-old ran in to the living room and said "I want to poop on the potty" I was so excited, usually he just wants to wash his hands. We ran to the bathroom where I noticed the smell.

He had just pooped in his diaper. Bummer. At least he's starting to make a connection. He knows he gets a treat if he does something on the toilet, so he'd climb down, look in the toilet and climb up again.

It's progress.

Here he goes again...

Does Rep. Donnelson really think all of his bills to make life more difficult for illegal immigrants will make them go home?

According the this Salt Lake Tribune article, Rep. Donnelson wants to take away their ability to drive legally. Is it going to stop people from driving? Of course not, we'll just have that many fewer insured, trained (as far as you can call utah drivers education "training") drivers among us.

Another good idea by Mr. Donnelson!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fighting Naps

Sometimes we all just need a nap. Ten minutes ago this little boy was throwing a huge tantrum. Nine minutes ago he was grudgingly climbing into his bed to have a nap because he needed one. Five minutes ago, he came upstairs to tell me he was done napping. Two minutes ago he fell asleep on the couch.

Life is hard when you are 5 1/2.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More Abortion Discussions

I've been having lots of discussions about abortion lately. People have strong views on it, so it can get to be a fairly intense discussion. There are a few things that I have not been able to resolve in my mind, until recently, maybe (I'm still working on it).

Abortion discussion from The World, According To Me

And discussions from Jen's Green Journal

It's interesting to think about being pro-choice and anti-abortion. I'm not sure where I fit in there yet. I've always felt like I couldn't say I was pro-choice or pro-life. (that's why I just say pro-responsibility).

The thing that I have been thinking about lately, is that people use the killing a life argument, but they want to include the exceptions for health and life of the mother and rape and incest. A life is a life no matter how it was created, so being against abortion based on the "killing life" exception doesn't make sense to me. However, even a very tiny fetus moves, and looks like a small person. I had an ultrasound with my current pregnancy around 12 weeks. It looked like a little gummy bear and he was waving his arms.

I believe that Heavenly Father will work things out and that an aborted fetus has not lost its "chance" for a body. I can't see Heavenly Father punishing something so innocent for the choices of its parents.

I think we have to learn to be responsible with out bodies and the choices we make. We know what can happen when we have sex, so to be responsible, we use some form of birth control if we don't want to have children, but we go into knowing that having sex can lead to pregnancy so we must take responsibility for the results of our choice.

I know that if I touch a hot oven I will be burned, so it would be irresponsible of me to not use a hot pad to take something out of that oven. I have to be careful to avoid the undesirable consequence. It would be irresponsible (and ridiculous) of me to touch the oven and then be angry that the oven burned me, because I knew that ovens were hot.

I think women should choose to be responsible (although I realize that some people veiw abortion as a responsible choice).

So in LDS views, is abortion a sin because it is murder or because it is being irresponsible with a power that should be sacred? I'd tend to go with the later, but like I said, I'm still trying to figure out how to view the issue consistently.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

You don't deserve it...but we might force it on you.

Excerpts from the Salt Lake Tribune:

As expected, state lawmakers Wednesday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment intended to provide access to affordable health care for all Utahns.

"Proper health care is essential to the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the citizenry," McCoy said. "Some of us don't live quite as well as we should. But at least we should be coming to the conclusion that we need to create a system where people have access to affordable, medically necessary care, in spite of themselves."

A Salt Lake Tribune poll in January found that 67 percent of Utahns supported amending the Utah Constitution to declare affordable, accessible health care a basic right.

But Kelly Atkinson, Director of the Utah Health Insurance Association, argued that the amendment would put the state on the hook for a massive bill. "Should that be the public policy of the state?" Atkinson asked. "Is health care a right? We don't think so." Health care might be expensive, Atkinson said, but those uninsured Utahns who need treatment can get it in emergency rooms.

Some members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee also balked at the prospect of providing health care for Utahns who don't take care of themselves - including smokers and the obese.

The bill failed in a vote along party lines.

Despite that defeat, low-income advocates still hope legislators will put some of the state's $1.6 billion surplus toward health care for poor Utahns. They offered a pumpkin pie to House Speaker Greg Curtis with just a sliver cut out - representative of funding for health care programs. "If he and the governor can partner to save soccer, they can put away some money for health care,"

67% of Utahns favor access to health care for all, but our politicians are not listening to us. Who are they listening to? Apparently to Kelly Atkinson, director of the Utah Health INSURANCE Association. I wonder why they are against affordable health care for all? What does it cost taxpayers for all of the uninsured Utahns to get care at emergency rooms? What a joke.

I find it amusing (in a sad, pathetic way) that the same newspaper has an article about a bill that would "force all Utahns to purchase catastrophic health insurance for themselves and dependents - policies tied to huge deductibles and health savings accounts - or something better." The bill was pitched as a "way to stop the uninsured from freeloading and forcing everyone else to pay their health costs."

After all, all those uninsured Utahns are uninsured because they aren't responsible.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Buyer's Remorse (The Costco Version)

I just put two wild-thing boys to bed. I'm hoping they stay there and maybe even fall asleep before morning. To settle my nerves I had a (small) dish of vanilla bean ice cream with too much chocolate syrup. It was good, and relaxing, and I'm feeling much better (although I am shivering under my blanket and may need to go warm up my heating pad).

The bad news is that the ice cream is almost gone. And there won't be any more until March. The problem is Costco. I allow myself one "big" shopping trip a month and other trips are only for things like milk (and maybe some sort of fruit or lettuce or something like that, but that's it, really!). This month (I actually went January 28th and decided to count it for February since I had already been in January) I spent way too much. It's a common problem with shopping at Costco. It's nearly impossible to get out the door with less than $100 worth of groceries (unless you only buy milk), and it is much too easy to spend quite a bit more than that.

The last trip, I (and my Mr) spent nearly the entire month's grocery budget. Then Winegars had a case-lot sale of sorts (which I find impossible to resist) and there went the rest of the grocery budget. My Mr. has challenged me to make it through the entire month without buying anything else but milk. That means once the current jumbo-costco-sized bag of lettuce is gone, no more salads. Sadly, that also means no more ice cream.

The good news is that from our recent food-shopping-sprees, we are well stocked and since this is a short month, we'll probably survive. I need to make yogurt though (and some hermits) so that I don't feel too deprived.

Go have some Ice Cream

The last few days of warmer weather are making me excited for spring. (Punxsutawney Phil said it will be an early spring this year!) I've been watching the front flower bed for the first tips of crocuses to pop up through the soil. I'm feeling the need to go to the garden center to pick up some pea seeds (I have to plant them before my neighbors do, you know- and now that I'm thinking about it, the new raised bed in the front yard that didn't get bulbs planted in it last fall would be a great place for peas- then pumpkins...).

My blog has been fairly well consumed by politics lately, so I thought it would be nice to have a post about something else.

Spring is wonderful all by itself, but spring also means that summer is coming, and what does summer mean (besides fresh tomatoes from the garden)? Ice cream! I can eat ice cream without shivering under a blanket. I suffer, because I love ice cream, but summer is much nicer. Here's a picture of the then-two-year-old enjoying an ice cream cone in the backyard last summer.

Health care for children, Medicaid not top priorities

I'm so glad that our legislature keeps busy with "message" bills. What would they do without those? Hmmm, maybe talk about things that would actually improve life for the residents of Utah?

An article in today's Tribune says that funding to expand CHIP is likely to only get half of what Governor Huntsman wanted.

What will it take to convince our government to stop wasting time and money on morality bills (and I'm all for morality) when we have children and families who don't have access to health care.

Access to quality health care for all SHOULD be a priority, shame on our legislature for thinking otherwise.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


It's amazing what happens when you take some time to think about something (really, I encourage everyone to try it!). I was thinking about what might happen if elective abortions were suddenly made illegal in Utah.

I think that there would be a lot of desperate women who really feel like abortion is their only choice seeking other methods of ending their pregnancies. I'm not using this as a justification for allowing abortions, but I think before we make something illegal we need to think out the consequences of doing so.

M.A. commented in my earlier post on the abortion bill that ideally people would always be conscientious and responsible, but that real life doesn't always work that way. I don't know what the statistics are on abortions in Utah or why women seek an abortion, but obviously there must be women who feel like it is their only choice. I'm disgusted that there are still insurance companies who will pay for drugs like viagra but not birth control.

So, it seems to me, that before we go banning something, we ought to work a little harder to reduce demand for it. Spend the 2-4 million dollars on education and health care reform so that all women in utah know what their options are, and that those options are accessible to everyone. Reduce the demand for abortions, give women options and information, then talk about challenging Roe vs. Wade.

Until all women in Utah have some basic level of sex education and accessible options for pregnancy prevention, banning abortion would only shift the procedure into a much less-safe black market.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Weightier Matters and the Abortion Bill

I remember reading this article by Dallin H Oaks when I was a student at USU. It has stuck with me ever since. I used to feel really conflicted about the abortion issue, after all, shouldn't a woman be able to choose? It's her body.

Yes, she should be able to choose, and she can. Aside from rape and other circumstances where the choice has been taken away from her, a woman can choose whether to have sex or not. A woman can choose to use some form of birth control. It should not come as a surprise to any woman that having sex can result in pregnancy. If it does, then we need some major education reform in Utah (either in the home or in schools, I'm not picky). It would be nice if males had a more direct consequence from having unprotected sex. They don't though, and using that as an excuse for a woman to avoid responsibility for her choices is ridiculous.

Somewhat as a side note, I learned something new recently. On my gardening/composting discussion forum (obviously we talk about other things too) someone posted an article about a woman who was arrested after she had taken the first part of the Morning After Pill. The jail's nurse for whatever reason did not allow her to take the second pill. I don't think the original story had anything to do with moral objections by the nurse, but on my discussion forum, that's how it was brought up. I didn't know anything about the morning after pill, although I did do some reading about RU486 in college. I had always assumed that the two were the same. I was wrong, and I think a lot of people make the same assumption. The Morning After Pill (also known as Plan B) is not an abortion drug. It prevents pregnancy much in the same way that birth control pills and IUD's do (and it is supposed to be available at pharmacies without a prescription for women over 18 years old). Anyway, back to the main issue- I just thought this was interesting.

Abortion is a responsibility issue, not a choice issue.

That said, I'm not sure how I feel about the bill to ban abortions. I'm glad to see that the bill includes the exceptions that it does, but I'm unsure about the financial cost of defending the bill. Who decided to change it from the original trigger bill anyway?

Voucher Discussions with Paul Neuenschwander

I sent an email to Sheryl Allen and Paul Neuenschwander asking them to vote No on vouchers. I heard back from Sheryl Allen within a day or two. She encouraged me to email Paul Neuenschwander, which I found amusing (she voted no, he voted yes).

After the voucher bill passed, I heard back from Paul (we've had quite the email conversation lately, so I can call him by his first name). Here's what he had to say:

Thank you for writing. You likely know by now that the bill passed and I voted in favor of it. Let me give you my reasoning. As I examined the matter and stripped out the emotions, my decision came down to a pure business decision. We have 150,000 students coming in the next 10 years and that is on top of the 550,000 students we
currently have. We need to fund the students in some way or another. I found this to be a partial answer of that funding. If I can move a student out of the system in which the tax payer has a $8,000 burden for only $2000 (the amount the fiscal analyst thinks will be the average) that makes sense for me. We can save many thousands each student by building this private/public partnership. The fiscal analyst also thinks not more than 4000 leave the system. Even at 4000, if we save $5000 per student, that would amount to about $20,000,000 in savings. This would be good for the system. I hope that helps you understand where I am coming from. I know it will not satisfy everyone, but I did receive numerous emails from other constituents that wanted me to vote for them. Thanks for writing and please feel free to keep me informed of your opinion. I will be happy to share my thinking process. Paul

I emailed him back:

Thank you for your reply.

I am disappointed in the way you voted. Tax money should not be spent to support private, for-profit businesses. In business, the higher the demand, the higher the cost. With more children able (although I have serious doubts as to how many children this bill will actually "help") to attend private schools, the cost of private schools will increase. Supply and demand. Pure business.

It will be interesting to see what happens.

I was surprised when I got another email from him...

Thank you. We have numerous public/private partnerships. Most of the health delivery system is provided by companies in the private sector. They can provide the services to those who need them better than the state can do it. It is the second largest budget item. Historically only tax money has been used to fund public schools. With this public/private cooperation, we are hoping that some of the services (in this case education) can be provided less expensively than just funding the public schools. It will certainly relieve the situation. It is not the only answer and in fact the fiscal analyst said only 4000 students will take advantage of it. Given our current enrollment that is less than 1%. But, if we had to finance them in the system it would be upwards of $28 million. With this partnership it is about $8 million. No matter where we have them, we have to pay for them. I for one want to make sure we do all we can to help educate our kids in the best possible way and I think this partnership is one step. Paul

And my final email back to him (you never know though, he might email me back again- if he does I'll edit this post to include it)...

Like I said, it will be interesting to see what happens. I truly hope that vouchers are able to help the education system. I have my doubts, but we will see.

I do find it rather amusing that you use health care as an example of sucessful private/public partnerships. Our health care system is probably more messed up than our education system.

Thank you for the discussion. :)

He has voted completely opposite of what I would have liked for him to vote. I realize that my views are more moderate than many of the conservative voters of Davis County, so I can't expect to always feel represented, but his voting record has been frustrating for me. It's nice to have civil discussion with him about an issue, even if we disagree. It helps me to remember that he really probably is a very good person. It's been interesting.

Friday, February 02, 2007

What Number Do I Call For This?

I'm not sure what the outcome was, or if there has been one yet, but it seems like someone was proposing a bill to allow anonymous reporting of bad driving. I really could have used that number the other day. My family was driving home from visiting with Grandma and Grandpa on a Sunday evening. The car ahead of us was veering in and out of three different lanes, obviously not just intending on changing lanes. The driver wasn't speeding, and my Mr. made the comment that the person must be aware enough to know they were drunk. It would have been nice if there was some number I could have called to report that driver and have a UHP officer get them off of the road.

Along the same lines, I think it would be nice to have an anonymous tip line that we could call and report idiotic legislation. Then if one legislator gets enough complaints, we could have them removed for being incompetent.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Are We Ready to Face Facts?

No one is asking for radical changes, but if we don't stop pretending that what we do doesn't matter, they might be forced upon us (or our children).

PARIS (AP) - The world's leading climate scientists said global warming has begun, is "very likely" caused by man, and will be unstoppable for centuries, according to a report obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
The scientists - using their strongest language yet on the issue - said now that world has begun to warm, hotter temperatures and rises in sea level "would continue for centuries" no matter how much humans control their pollution. The report also linked the warming to the recent increase in stronger hurricanes.

"The observed widespread warming of the atmosphere and ocean, together with ice-mass loss, support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years can be explained without external forcing, and very likely that is not due to known natural causes alone," said the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - a group of hundreds of scientists and representatives of 113 governments.
The phrase "very likely" translates to a more than 90 percent certainty that global warming is caused by man's burning of fossil fuels. That was the strongest conclusion to date, making it nearly impossible to say natural forces are to blame.

What that means in simple language is "we have this nailed," said top U.S. climate scientist Jerry Mahlman, who originated the percentage system. The 20-page report, which was due to be officially released later in the day, represents the most authoritative science on global warming.

On sea levels, the report projects rises of 7-23 inches by the end of the century. An additional 3.9-7.8 inches are possible if recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues. But there is some cold comfort. Some, but not all, of the projected temperature and sea level rises are slightly lower than projected in a previous report in 2001. That is mostly due to use of more likely scenarios and would still result in dramatic effects across the globe, scientists said. Many scientists had warned that this estimate was too cautious and said sea level rise could be closer to 3-5 feet because of ice sheet melt.
Nevertheless, scientists agreed the report is strong.

"There's no question that the powerful language is intimately linked to the more powerful science," said one of the study's many co-authors, Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria, who spoke by phone from Canada. He said the report was based on science that is rock-solid, peer-reviewed, and consensus.

"It's very conservative. Scientists by their nature are skeptics." The scientists wrote the report based on years of peer-reviewed research and government officials edited it with an eye toward the required unanimous approval by world governments. In the end, there was little debate on the strength of the wording about the role of man in global warming.
The panel quickly agreed Thursday on two of the most contentious issues: attributing global warming to man-made burning of fossil fuels and connecting it to a recent increase in stronger hurricanes. Negotiations over a third and more difficult issue - how much the sea level is predicted to rise by 2100 - went into the night Thursday with a deadline approaching for the report.

While critics call the panel overly alarmist, it is by nature relatively cautious because it relies on hundreds of scientists, including skeptics. "I hope that policymakers will be quite convinced by this message," said Riibeta Abeta, a delegate whose island nation Kiribati is threatened by rising seas. "The purpose is to get them moving."

The Chinese delegation was resistant to strong wording on global warming, said Barbados delegate Leonard Fields and others. China has increasingly turned to fossil fuels for its huge and growing energy needs. The U.S. government delegation was not one of the more vocal groups in the debate over whether warming is man-made, said officials from other countries. And several attendees credited the head of the panel session, Susan Solomon, a top U.S. government climate scientist, with pushing through the agreement so quickly.

The Bush administration acknowledges that global warming is man-made and a problem that must be dealt with, Bush science adviser John Marburger has said. However, Bush continues to reject mandatory limits on so-called "greenhouse" gases.

Enough is Enough

Representative Glenn Donnelson is at it again. Now he wants to make local police officers play the part of ICE too. Now, instead of just trying to keep up with KEEPING US SAFE FROM REAL CRIMINALS, local police officers will also have to take on the role of immigration officers.

People live here with out documentation. They are part of our communities, their kids go to school with our kids, they go for walks around the block pushing strollers, just like I do. They are witnesses to other crimes, just like the rest of us could be. Do we really want them to NOT report crimes because the local police could have them locked up and deported?

Sounds like a grand idea Mr. Donnelson.

I am so tired and frustrated with people who spend so much time and energy attacking people, when they should be attacking the real problem. The immigration system in our country has some major problems. If we could get it fixed, we wouldn't have to worry about paying for emergency room care for undocumented workers or their families, we wouldn't have to worry about whether it is "legal" for undocumented students to get instate tuition, and we wouldn't have to worry about "those darn illegals" stealing our identities.

We all need to contact our representatives and our senators and our congressmen and tell them to stop dinking around with immigration bandaids when they should be curing the illness.