Ban Mormon Marriage!

Maybe we should start a blogswarm.

Stenar, on his Bloglet, makes some very good points. Read more. There are many forms of "non-traditional" marriage out there.

Let's apply the "slippery-slope" argument the other way. Suppose they ban gay marriage, then Mormon marriage, then outdoor weddings, then JOP weddings, and soon you can only get married by a white male Baptist preacher in a church in Louisiana. Hey folks, once you start restricting freedom and start taking away rights, what stops you from taking away more and more and justifying it in the name of God?

Soon you won't be able to get child tax credits unless you have the church-mandated seven kids, and any divorced family...wait, I take that back. Divorce isn't the real threat to marriage and family...gays are. Right. Sorry about that.

Maybe the Sutherland Institute will have it's way and no one will have a real family unless the wife stays home, barefoot and pregnant with the latest addition to the quiver, and the husband works hard to provide for the roost. I'm sure the extreme right wing is thinking this would be a good thing. But why should this group of people define the morals and values for the rest of the country.

Middle Americans need to stand up and say that an attack on anyone's rights is an attack on their own. After all, who's to say it won't be them next?


Live Where you Work

In Plato's Cave, the newbie Tribune blog, writer George Pyle posted on Utah, suburbs, highways, and living sustainably. I wanted to give a hat tip to a good and obvious idea that many Utahns tend to overlook. Live where you work.
Unfortunately, in our recent home purchase, the logistics of that were a little harder to work out. You see, I work downtown, but my partner works in the Fort Union area. So, we could live close to one or the other but be many miles from one or the other at the same time.
So, we compromised. We found a home in the middle, slightly closer to downtown and on a bus route. So, since my partner drives a scooter, we use less gas because I can catch the bus or, if I could ever get up on time, ride my bike to work...a mere 30 blocks from home.
And in the future, maybe when my partner gets into the police force, we can move closer to downtown. I am not afraid of living in a neighborhood where life doesn't stop at 6 pm.



Hello folks. I haven't been able to blog much lately because my second job, upcoming housewarming party, and novel-writing aspirations have sucked up all of my time. I apologize for the slowing of entries for those of you who may return looking for them (all one or two of you...or maybe none).
I did want to make an announcement! My partner and I, after three and a half years of our relationship and over a year and a half since we got engaged, have finally set a date for a commitment ceremony and send-off reception here in Utah and a real marriage in Canada! Here's to September 22 and 26th, 2007!
I already bought a dress...I suppose thinking and dreaming about the wedding has taken up even more of my time than any of the above mentioned things.
By the way, my partner is amazing...she has painted, fixed and cleaned our house until I love it more than I ever thought I would.
Oh, and apartments suck. Ours charged us $938 for cleaning and carpet. Warning: DO NOT LIVE IN BIG APARTMENT COMPLEXES.
Case in point-before moving to this particular complex, we lived in a six story building in downtown SLC. We broke our lease because we lived on the sixth floor, my partner's knee went out, and the elevator kept dying. And the landlord gave us every penny of our deposit back. Big apartment complexes just don't care...they're like Walmart or other big faceless companies...they just want your money. Trust me folks, the pool and fitness room are NOT worth it. You probably won't use them that much anyway.
Anyway, I plan on continuing my little hiatus at least through this weekend, after which I think I might come out to LaVarr Webb. He doesn't think that being an anonymous blogger is acceptable. Or at least that anonymous bloggers shouldn't be taken as seriously as those that post their names front and center. I think I'll spend the weekend pondering this move, and I'll let you know sometime next week.


A few good men

Check out the blogs for candidates in various districts around Utah:

Christian Burridge http://burridgeforcongress.blogspot.com/

Pete Ashdown http://peteashdown.org/journal/

and for good measure, Orrin Hatch's blog http://www.orrin2006.com/blog.htm (hasn't been written in for a while, but interesting reading nonetheless).


Benefits = Marriage?

Hurray for the 3rd District Court, for ruling that Salt Lake City's plan to provide health benefits to domestic partners does not constitute marriage and therefore is not in conflict with Amendment 3.

It seemed obvious to me that providing equal benefits to all employees is simply fair and just. But some consider it a slippery slope. They think all sorts of things will lead to gay marriage: allowing Gay Straight Alliances or creating legal partnerships, or even allowing stores to sell Cosmopolitan magazine without a little screen to block it's racy cover. Utah politicians have not always been the most logical. It's obvious that gay marriage is a political hot button, a wedge issue that they use to bolster their arguments for things like tax cuts or road-widening or building a huge fence along the border or some other completely unrelated thing.

I tip my hat to the founders of this country that created the judicial branch (or "Activist Judges") that are the last, and sometimes only, line of defense for minorities and others who's rights are substandard to the majority. The majority is not always right.



I blog today in protest. Protest not only of the hypocrisy of our country, and the blatant disregard for the health and welfare of downwinders, but also a protest against another accost on my beloved West Desert. It seems that it will never end.

Mr. Bush: how dare you tell countries around the world that they cannot develop nuclear capabilities, whether they be for power or weapons, then turn around and start testing again? Yes, I know Divine Strake is not a nuclear test, but in essence it is everything a nuclear test would be. It is big enough to mimic one. It will throw radioactive dust into the air that has sat dormant since the last bomb was dropped.

Which brings me to the downwinders: people have suffered the consequences of this country's actions in very painful ways. Cancer, loss of friends and family, and an inhibited chance to live the American Dream. Perhaps you aren't at fault for this, but you are at fault for insulting them again, rather than helping them in their recovery efforts.

The West Desert is not a wasteland. For some reason the powers that be seem to think they can dump, pump and blast the desert until it becomes one. I will not stand by while this happens.

Mr. Bush, I protest.

So do Dee Taylor, SLCSpin, The Utah Amicus, The World, According To Me, Utah Democrats, Liar Paradox, Jen's Green Journal, Obiter Dicta by Steve, One Utah, Part of the Plan, and Progressive Utah.


Democracy in Action

My partner and I attended the Democratic State Convention on Saturday, along with my Dad. It was a lot of fun, and surprisingly, my usually un-political partner was just as excited as I was.
I did notice that the emotions didn't really seem as sustained as they should be. I mean, people clapped and whistled and yelled and occasionally gave a standing ovation, but I thought things would be a lot more energetic, considering the opportunity Democrats have to actually make their voices heard in Utah.
We have a Republican president with a 29% approval rating, and Republican-led Congress with rates barely better. We're standing on a precipice here when even Utah has had a 14 point swing in approval for Bush, and Democrats should be seizing this opportunity. I hope that by November the lack of energy I saw will pick up and Democrats will do just that.
A few notes on some candidates I saw that made me wish I was in the right part of the state to vote for them. Chris Burridge, for instance. He was by far the most energetic of the US House candidates, and in addition he happens to be a former missionary companion to a guy from my home town. A Mormon Democrat in action! Congrats and good luck to him, especially with the news that Chris Cannon has a long fight ahead of him! Jacob garnered a bigger percentage of votes at the convention, which may well mean that in the primaries Cannon will find himself out of a job! All of this bodes well for Burridge, a young guy with a fantastic family and a bright future.
Pete Ashdown was great too! I loved his sense of humor, his tech-savvy presentation, and of course his wit and insights. Luckily, I can vote for him and will come November.
Christine Johnson, a candidate for the State Legislator, was also a wonderful and passionate voice for district 25. She will face off against Josh Ewing in District 25. Josh was great too. We heard them in the Stonewall caucus meeting. I support either candidate, though if I was in 25 I would probably vote for Christine. Not just because I'm biased (she is a lesbian after all), but because she knew what she was talking about, she was extremely passionate and intelligent, and I feel that she could get things done. It would also be great to bolster up the female minority on the hill.
Overall it was a great time and I'll be there again next round. Looking forward to the elections and more excited phone calls from my partner about Cannon's misfortunes. :)


Refusal to be ethical

It seems to me that Utah Legislators have something to hide.

Legislators have continued to deny and shut down any attempts at ethics reform that would require them to report any gifts from lobbyists and refrain from voting when there is a conflict of interest.

Our lawmakers should know that their time in office isn't about them...it's about their duty to serve the public as elected officials. They should be accountable to us above anyone else. Their opposition to these simple ethical rules tells me that something is seriously wrong, and makes me really want to know who these guys are having lunch with. I want to know who is influencing their votes. It certainly isn't me or you.

Another Republican from Utah in Congress....

A bi-partisan committee is pushing a bill that would give Washington, D.C. a long awaited representative in Congress.

It would also give Utah another seat.

Hurray. Another Republican from Utah goes to Washington.


A view from the Inside

Mitt Romney is thinking of running for president, but has one slight problem: he's a Mormon. Many wouldn't consider this a problem at all: about 5,599,177 Mormons nationwide would surely vote for him. Unless of course I am considered one of those Mormons...in which case 5,599,176 will vote for him. Which is, of course, not enough to get him into office.
So, to try and get past what some would call a major stigma, Romney plans a Kennedy-esque speech to try and reassure the American people that politicians are guided by the Constitution before the Bible...or Book of Mormon.
Problem is, I've seen the inside of the church. I've lived in a state that 1,720,434 Mormons call home. And I know that nothing guides their life more than the church. Not necessarily the Book of Mormon (as evidenced by the overwhelming number of Mormons that are still Republicans despite views in direct opposition to said Book), but by the church.
And the influence the church has over its members is overwhelming. The use of guilt and reward is such that anyone who would vote incorrectly, or stand up to something the majority of members believe in, would soon have a visit from an authority, a phone call, or a cold shoulder from the entire congregation on Sunday.
The Mormon church, unlike the Catholic church, is not just a set of beliefs. It is a lifestyle. It is a culture. For someone to say they will put the interests of the Constitution above and beyond the interests of Mormonism is hypocrisy. After all, is it in the interests of the Constitution to write in an amendment that would discriminate against at least 12.6% of American households? NO. But if Mitt Romney were to veto such a measure, that would be in direct conflict with his beliefs, and he would never do it.
So, for those of you who have not seen the inside, let me tell you now...Mitt Romney will not be able to separate his Mormonism from his politics. If you're comfortable with that, than by all means, vote for him. Or, find out more about the church here and then determine if you're comfortable with that ideology and dogma sitting on Pennsylvania Avenue. Otherwise, trust your gut and vote for the other guy.


The Washington County debacle

I lived in Washington County for one long year. In that time the county probably upped it's population by 10%, and it's developed land by as much if not more. It's a hot spot, which goes without saying.
Which is why it's so important that two major developments regarding development have occurred. First, Senator Bob Bennett and Representative Jim Matheson have introduced a bill, which can be reviewed here, that would help direct growth through the sale of some less biologically important public lands to fund conservation and stewardship of other more biologically important public lands. At least, that's what it says now. And when you think of it like that, it's a good idea. Regardless of this logic, several groups have come out vehemently opposed to any sale of wilderness areas, including SUWA, the Utah Chapter Sierra Club, and the Wilderness Society.
Everyone knows, of course, that bills will change. Over the course of the bill different interests will push for different changes. Some will be accommodated and others will not.
I hope that the interests that are accommadated are more environmental than developmental.
Everyone knows also that development in Washington County is inevitable. It will happen whether it is properly planned for or not. Which is why I hope that the Lands Bill introduced by Bennett and Matheson can be a positive force for quality growth.
In the meantime, however, the second development has occurred. Washington County commissioners, and representatives from the Nature Conservancy, the Oquirrh Institute, and Envision Utah signed a memorandum of understanding in April that would, in effect "manage Washington County's explosive rate of growth."
"The incredible growth in this area, combined with the outstanding natural features and unique landscape, make it absolutely essential that a blueprint for future growth and development be established that will protect the lifestyle unique to southwestern Utah," Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. wrote in a letter of endorsement that Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert signed on his behalf during the Utah League of Cities and Towns' mid-year meeting in St. George in April.
I hope the bill really creates a framework for positive and sustainable growth in the county, but in the meantime I applaud Washington County, the Nature Conservancy, the Oquirrh Institute, and Envision Utah for taking the lead in creating that framework themselves, rather than reacting negatively and stubbornly to the bill created by Bennett and Matheson. It shows true leadership to do something more than just react.


A while ago I posted on City Weekly's Best of Utah edition. An anonymous comment let me know the beauty of local NPR station KCPW. I have been a regular listener of KUER, which is more due to the fact that I could get it in my little hometown on the edge of the Basin.
Well, I've been listening in to KCPW, Anonymous, and I hear you. I love that I can tune into news at 10:30 at night, rather than jazz. I have nothing against jazz...but sometimes you just want more news. And BBC news at that...which is much less ethnocentric than American news.
There are a few things that bother me. KCPW seems to have a lot more "commercials" or "endorsements" than KUER...but I do like that the owners of the individual little businesses do these themselves. It's interesting to hear the voices that support local radio.
That's the other thing...KCPW just feels so much more local. You know they're just in a little studio down the street...where KUER is in this big building up on a hill that you have to have a security badge to get into. I've never tried to get into KCPW, but it seems to me that it would be a lot easier and homier. They've got MUCH better local news coverage, to boot. KUER just throws some things in the breaks between All Things Considered and other news programs.
Anyway, I wanted to give a shout out to Anonymous for tipping me in to such a great local resource!


Why do less than 50% of college students in Utah actually get degrees?

It's quite simple really...because they're not in in for a B.S. They're in it for an M.R.S.

A huge chunk of Utah higher education students are Mormon. And a huge chunk of those are female. They are told to go to college, where they will meet their eternal soul mate. Believe me, I've been there. I was lucky to have parents that told me the point of continuing your education was to...continue your education.

Become an e2 Citizen

Even if you don't live in Salt Lake City, there are some great ideas for decreasing your carbon footprint here. Myself and my partner have signed up to change a few things in our lives, including:

- Use public transportation or carpool at least two times a week.
- Keep vehicles tuned up and the tires properly inflated to increase fuel economy up to 7%
- Turn off the car while waiting. Don't idle more than two minutes.

- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact flourescent bulbs that are 70% more efficient and last longer.
- When at home, turn the thermostat down 3 degrees in winter and up 3 degrees in summer; when not home turn heat or air conditioner off whenever possible.
- Use a swamp cooler or ceiling fans in the summer rather than central air conditioning.
- Turn off lights and electrical appliances when not in use.
- Wash clothes in cold water, saving 50% of the energy consumed by a washing machine.
- In the summer months, run your dishwasher while you are away; in winter months, run it while you are at home.
- Purchase at least one block of renewable wind energy.

- Use a curbside recycling bin.
- Make the effort to recycle glass.
- Purchase recycled products whenever possible.
- Stop junk mail by adding your name to a do-not-mail list. Learn More at New Dream.
- Take reusable items to a local charitable organization or thrift shop.

- Water less frequently and only during the coolest time of the day, usually between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.
- Use a water-efficient drip irrigation system for trees, shrubs and flowers.
- Turn the faucet off while washing hands, brushing teeth, and shaving.
- Only run the clothes washer and dishwasher when full.

- Buy locally grown produce and dairy whenever possible.
- Support local farmers by joining community-supported agriculture where you can purchase shares and receive fresh veggies every week.
- Reduce consumption of meat by one serving per week.


Pete Ashdown for Senate

There have been plenty of other bloggers endorsing Ashdown rather than a Hatch re-run. See here, here , here and here.

Utah Amicus says: Everywhere I go I hear from both Republicans and Democrats that it is time for a change. Every time I attend an event where Pete speaks, I go away with a greater understanding that Pete is the man who should replace our current Senator, a man who has lost touch with the citizens of Utah.

Has Senator Hatch lost touch with Utahns? Emphatically, yes! Standing up against nuclear waste storage in Utah does not prove you truly care about what happens to us more than what happens to your major donors. For example, Senator Hatch believes:

- Warrantless wire-tapping is okay, as long as you are President Bush.
- Global warming is a farce created my Michael Crichton.
- Flag burning is a sin punishable by death...or something close to it.

On the other hand, check out Pete's blog. In it, he talks about important issues such as global warming with knowledge of the subject he gained from reading actual books and papers on it. He lists his opinions on several issues here. He talks about his reasons for his beliefs in a clear and concise manner that is becoming of a U.S. Senator. He also has a Wiki site, where he encourages voters to help influence his campaign!

His blog, his Wiki and his website in general show that Pete will be more frank and up front with his constituents and be far more responsive to and representative of the people that elected him. Hatch will continue to do what Hatch does...which is nothing that helps the people back home.

I urge you to vote for Pete Ashdown in November. It's time for a change in Washington.

The West's Hot Cities

Congrats to the Hot Cities in Utah and elsewhere, as listed on Inc.com.

Hottest Small Cities (less than 150,000)

1. Yuma, AZ
2. St. George, UT
4. Coeur d'Alene, ID
5. Bellingham, WA
8. Idaho Falls, ID
9. Casper, WY
10. Bremerton-Silverdale, WA
13. Prescott, AZ
14. Bend, OR
15. El Centro, CA
16. Logan, UT
18. Greeley, CO

Hottest Midsize Cities (150,000-450,000)

5. Reno-Sparks, NV
9. Provo-Orem, UT
10. Bakersfield, CA
11. Boise, ID
13. Tucson, AZ
17. Tacoma, WA
18. Ogden-Clearfield, UT

Hottest Large Cities (450,000 or more)

1. Las Vegas, NV
5. San Bernardino-Riverside, CA
6. Phoenix, AZ
15. Salt Lake City, UT
17. Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA
19. Sacramento, CA
20. San Diego, CA


Kanab is at it again

Though they have vehemently denied that the "Natural Family Resolution" is directed at any one group, Kanab politicians have recently taken up issue with a sticker local businesses have been posting on windows.
You see, this little sticker, which states boldly "Everyone Welcome Here," has a quintet of hand-holding rainbow people. Apparently our favorite councilman, Terril Honey, thinks that means they are gay, or, even worse, encouraging gay people to visit. According to the New York Times (THE NEW YORK TIMES PEOPLE....THIS IS GETTING A LITTLE OUT OF HAND!) he refuses to post it because he thinks it might offend some of his customers.

Mayor Lawson to the rescue! In order to bridge the sticker argument, he's decided to introduce a new sticker that is basically the same, but minus the rainbow people. The Chamber of Commerce is planning on putting out a new sticker in time for tourist season too.
So, everyone welcome here....except YOU PEOPLE!