Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Idaho governor candidates square off"

Here's an interesting news article from a newspaper that has been rather tough on Jerry this election season.

Idaho governor candidates square off

Betsy Z. Russell
Staff writer
October 31, 2006

It was Democrat Jerry Brady – not GOP Congressman Butch Otter – who garnered the sole outburst of applause during the final debate in the race for governor of Idaho on Monday night.

In a partly filled auditorium at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, the two, along with third-party candidates Ted Dunlap and Marvin "Pro-Life" Richardson, shared their views on everything from environmental regulation to taxes to their political heroes.

But a question about air quality regulations, an hour into the 90-minute debate on KTVB-TV, prompted the enthusiastic outburst from the audience. Otter responded first, saying he'd trust the Idaho Legislature even if it defied the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations.

"I believe that the state Legislature probably has a lot more wisdom on what happens in Idaho and should happen in Idaho than any bureaucrat in the EPA sitting on Independence Avenue in Washington, D.C.," Otter said. "My trust is with the Legislature, and I would work with them to maintain a standard whether or not it fit the federal government mold. I believe we can do what we want to in the state of Idaho."

Brady responded by citing a proposal by an out-of-state energy company to build a coal-fired power plant in the Magic Valley. "A California utility came here, said, 'We want to bring Wyoming coal into this valley, we want to burn it, we want to pollute your air, pollute your water, leave all of our ash behind, and ship the electricity out to the West Coast.' I opposed it," Brady said. "My opponent supported them, took their side, and took $6,000 from them."

The Legislature supported Magic Valley residents who pushed for a moratorium to block the coal plant, Brady said, but then, when a federal program threatened to allow more mercury emissions in Idaho – the very issue that raised concerns about the coal plant – the Legislature didn't respond.

"I said no, Gov. (Jim) Risch later said no, but the Legislature said yes," Brady said. "Now, I do not believe we can be sure that the Legislature will make the right decision without a governor who is committed to keeping mercury out of our state."

The room erupted in applause.

It was a key moment in a campaign that's become increasingly tight as the election approaches. An independent poll sponsored by the Idaho Statesman newspaper and KIVI Channel 6 TV in Nampa, released on Sunday, showed the governor's race in Idaho a dead heat, with Otter leading Brady by a single percentage point, 44-43, with 12 percent undecided.

Jasper LiCalzi, a political scientist at Albertson College of Idaho, said the mercury issue went to the heart of the message Brady's been pushing in his campaign, that he'd be more diligent than Otter in protecting Idaho's quality of life. That's embodied in Brady's campaign slogan, "Idaho is not for sale," which refers back to Otter's sponsorship of legislation in Congress to sell off Idaho public lands, which Otter dropped and apologized for after criticism from Brady and others.

"That's the strongest piece he's had all along," LiCalzi said, "and he keeps on using it." The issue is somewhat reminiscent, he said, of the issue Cecil Andrus first rode into the governorship, when he opposed a mining operation in the White Clouds mountains.

Otter took on the land sale issue head-on in the debate, saying, "I did make a mistake and I admitted that mistake. I think when you're in politics your burden is even heavier – when you make a mistake you stand up and say so."

He followed that up with digs at Brady, accusing Brady of wanting to "tear out the dams" and let wolf populations go unregulated, "let 'em run, let 'em howl." Brady denied both, and also rejected as false an Otter jab suggesting he favored amnesty for illegal aliens.

LiCalzi said, "What was surprising to me was he (Otter) was much more negative than Brady was."

Otter came out with a major new proposal on property taxes that he hasn't mentioned in recent interviews, saying he now favors freezing assessed value and allowing it to rise only at the rate of inflation until a home is sold. "I believe we can do that," he said. "I've talked to a lot of legislators about it."

But Libertarian candidate Dunlap said he lived in California when that state's Proposition 13 froze values until sale. As a result, he said, he paid $2,800 a year in taxes while his next-door neighbor, who had a bigger, fancier home, paid only $500. "That's the sort of inequity that develops when you do this sort of meddling with the property tax," he said.

Idaho's state constitution requires that like property be taxed alike, so any such change would require amending the constitution.

Constitution Party candidate Richardson offered an opening prayer instead of answering the first question posed to him, and later said if people keep turning to government for health care and other services that he believes churches should provide, "We're going to wind up in hell."

Brady and Dunlap were debating for the second night in a row – on Sunday night, they faced off in the traditional League of Women Voters-Idaho Press Club debate broadcast live on Idaho Public Television. Otter declined to participate in that debate on what he called "government television," but he clearly watched it – when Brady said his political hero was Abraham Lincoln, Otter pointed out that the night before he'd also mentioned Jimmy Carter. He didn't mention that Brady also had mentioned Thomas Jefferson, whom Otter named Monday night as his own political hero.

Otter said, "The strength of this state is in the families, I would do nothing, nothing to interrupt that great strength, in fact I would do everything I could to encourage that great strength, because I truly believe that Idaho can become what America was meant to be."

Brady said, "I talked in this campaign not just about me, but about we, how we can do things together, how we can bridge Democrat and Republican and do what's best for Idaho down the middle. I intend to bring balance back to our state."

The election is on Tuesday.

Monday, October 30, 2006

"One of a kind"

This homemade YouTube video cracks me up: Especially the part at the end where the narrator says in a menacing voice, "FOR SALE BY OTTER IDAHO!"

Makes me giggle every time I see it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Why Mormons should vote Democratic"

Why Mormons should vote Democratic
By Fred Voros
Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated:10/28/2006 03:55:02 PM MDT

"Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of all major political parties," declared the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is certainly true of the Democratic Party.

Mormon descriptions of a just social order read like a Democratic manifesto. The Book of Mormon decries a society in which every man prospers according to his genius, and every man conquers according to his strength (Alma 30:17). It condemns those who ignore the plight of the hungry, needy, naked and sick (Mormon 8:39).

This brother's-keeper principle animates government programs pioneered by Democrats. In 1937, Franklin Delano Roosevelt saw "one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished" and acted.

LDS scripture warns incessantly against economic stratification: " . . . it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin" (D&C 49:20). Yet Republican tax cuts on one end of the economic spectrum and aid cuts on the other have widened the gap between rich and poor. Thanks to our Republican Congress, the world lies a little more in sin.

LDS scripture also calls us to "renounce war and proclaim peace" (D&C 98:16), and condemns offensive wars (Alma 43:45-47; Mormon 3:8-16). Yet the Republican administration misled America into invading Iraq, a nation that had not even threatened the U.S. Nor does LDS teaching justify the administration's fall-back rationale that the invasion was justified by our attempt to impose democracy.

In 1942, Church President David O. McKay declared, "Nor is war justified in an attempt to enforce a new order of government . . . however better the government . . . may be."

Astoundingly, the Republican Congress is borrowing money - from China, Saudi Arabia and federal trust funds - to cover the war, lavish tax cuts and their own profligate spending.

Even on abortion, the Democratic position is friendlier to LDS Church teachings. Mormonism does not teach that life begins at conception. President Gordon B. Hinckley declared that abortion inevitably brings "sorrow and regret."

Yet Church policy makes allowance where pregnancy results from rape or incest, where the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or where the fetus suffers from fatal defects. In such cases, Latter-day Saints are to consult with priesthood leaders and seek confirmation of their decision in prayer before proceeding.
The 2004 Democratic national platform says Democrats uphold Roe v. Wade; "strongly support family planning and adoption incentives"; and believe abortion "should be safe, legal and rare." This position grants Latter-day Saints freedom to follow the prophet.

The Republican position does not. The 2004 Republican platform declares that "the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed." In other words, it would prohibit all abortions. Consequently, a Latter-day Saint's decision to seek an abortion may be allowed by church policy, approved by priesthood leaders, confirmed by the Lord in prayer, but forbidden by the Republican Party.

We need both parties. As the First Presidency foresaw in 1891, "The more evenly balanced the parties become the safer it will be for us in the security of our liberties; and . . . our influence for good will be far greater than it possibly could be were either party overwhelmingly in the majority."

This will never be achieved in Utah, however, until Mormons see the light and vote their values. By which I mean, of course, vote Democratic.
* FRED VOROS is a lawyer living in Salt Lake City.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Homebrew Brady Ad

A supporter of Jerry's made this YouTube video. It's pretty funny and fun!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Stay the course

This is the new DNC ad poking at the White House changing their catch phrase.

Here is the text of the interview that should put this ad into perspective.

My opinion on Iraq? Probably the same as everyone else's. I don't like the rationale we used to go in. I think that now that we're there we have to stay to help stabilize the region. I don't believe our current course/strategy/plan is effective.

I haven't seen the Democrats offer an alternative. However, I do believe Democrats would be able to have greater influence on the international stage and be able to put together a stronger coalition.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Stem cell research

What does everyone think about the federal government funding embryonic stem cell research? Many scientists say that stem cell research could be the tool used to cure many diseases.

I admit, I'm not particularly knowledgable about stem cell research and it's relationship with the federal government. What that also means is I have not made up my mind. This is your chance to bring me to your side.

Here's an interesting website that pretty much sums up what I know. It's not particularly reliable, but it articulates this subject well. If you visited the website, the idea that I know little about stem cell research should be solidifed.

Here are some thoughts to consider when presenting what you know about stem cell research: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I am an active and faithful member, does not have a stance on this issue.

As far as I know the Church does not have an official position on when the soul enters the body. Although, elective abortion at any stage of pregnancy is considered a sin.

Can a petri dish or a test tube get pregnant?

I cannot find a reliable source on the Church's opinion on in vitro fertilization, if such an opinion exists.

After 8 weeks, an embryo ceases being an embryo and becomes a fetus. A pregnancy typically lasts 40 weeks.

I don't know why, but I think it's worth mentioning that President David McKay said that an abortion is not the same as murder: "As the matter stands today, no definite statement has been made by the Lord one way or another regarding the crime of abortion. So far as is known, he has not listed it alongside the crime of the unpardonable sin and shedding of innocent human blood. That he has not done so would suggest that it is not in that class of crime and therefore that it will be amenable to the laws of repentance and forgiveness."

That statement should not be used to downplay the sin of abortion.

What role will adult stem cell research play?

Please do not take anything on this post as my personal feelings on stem cell research or abortion. There will be times that I will play "devil's advocate". The only people who know how I feel about abortion are my wife and the Lord.

On a different note, Rush Limbaugh accused Michael J. Fox of acting in this commercial. I think Rush went too far. The commercial was made to take advantage of Fox's celebrity status and his disease. This is evident.

However, I can't judge whether Fox was acting or not. So, I'm going to show sympathy and say he was not acting. Rush went too far.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Larry Grant's recent ad

Even though I'm not in Larry Grant's district, I've been following his campaign with some interest. As far as I can tell, his opponent, Bill Sali, is barely supported by his own party. It's interesting to me, that in Idaho, the Idaho Republican Party would have put up such a weak opponent.

Just from working for Jerry Brady, I heard that the latest poll numbers were 42 Grant (D) and 44 Sali (R)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Santorum reinforces position that crazies really do have a place in the U.S. Senate

Rick Santorum, the junior Senator from Pennsylvania, has really out done himself this time. And having out done himself is no small matter, considering this is the man who said that it was "no surprise" that the sexual abuse scandals involving Catholic priests occured in Boston, considering its liberal culture. Any how, here's an excerpt from a recent interview with Pennsylvania's Bucks County Courier Times:

Embattled U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said America has avoided a second terrorist attack for five years because the “Eye of Mordor” has been drawn to Iraq instead.

Santorum used the analogy from one of his favorite books, J.R.R. Tolkien's 1950s fantasy classic “Lord of the Rings,” to put an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq into terms any school kid could easily understand.

“As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else,” Santorum said, describing the tool the evil Lord Sauron used in search of the magical ring that would consolidate his power over Middle-earth.

“It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S.,” Santorum continued. “You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States.”

Holy crazy. A three-term United States Senator folks. And coming up next, we'll hear from vice president Dick Cheney as he likens Kim Jong Il to the stinky cheese man.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I think that we can all agree that Fox News has a conservative bias to it. So I was caught off guard when I read this article, which was linked to from the Fox main page. It is an opinion article about Ann Coulter, and it is an extremly negative one at that. While this does not sway my opinion about Fox's leanings, it was the last thing that I expected to find on it today.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dragging it back up

I found what I thought was an interesting analysis of the Clinton/Wallace spat that aired on Fox. Here it is. Thoughts? Comments?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

An Interesting Read

While reading the recent edition of The Economist (a London based buisness and politics magazine) I came across an article that should be of interest to all members of the Church. It discusses how Mitt Romney would be an ideal Republican candidate for President, but questions whether or not being a Mormon will prevent that. The article can be found online here, or can be found in a September 30th-October 6th editionof The Economist.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lesson in Credibility

(I was going to post this as a comment, but just to make sure that everyone gets the point I’ve posted it here.)

To all, but especially Jensen and Cameron,


I’m sure that all of us here have written at least a handful of research papers in our academic careers. And in writing those papers, I’m sure our teachers told us that in citing information we must only use credible sources. No matter which way you may consider their political leaning, the most credible sources in news reporting are the NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, LA Times and most major metro papers. Here are some sources that ARE NOT credible: Newsmax, TownHall.com and The Drudge Report.

So in the same sense that you wouldn’t use a quote from a blog on MySpace in a research report, please don’t use any of the above mentioned sources to support your claim on this blog. Just because something is written on the internet, or even in print, doesn’t mean that we can just take it at face value for fact. And Jensen has been so kind to have given us our first example of why we shouldn’t believe everything we read…

In one of his previous comments, he gives a link to an article written by Dick Morris on TheHill.com to support his claim that Clinton is and was nothing but a terrorist-loving, crazed, lunatic. However, if you knew the history behind Dick Morris you’d know that he has about as much credibility writing about Clinton as Hitler does writing about Judaism. You see, ol’ Dick here was a former Clinton advisor who had to resign in 1996 after getting caught in a long-time extramarital affair with a hooker who he had shared classified information with and had allowed to listen in on calls to the President. After resigning, he basically sold his soul to Fox News, where he is a constant guest (more than 400 times in a single year) often speaking out against both Bill and Hillary Clinton. In fact, Morris’s hatred for the Clintons goes so deep to have written three (yes, three) books criticizing them (one of them includes an account, which he later contradicted, about Mr. Clinton attacking him and Hillary having to desperately pull him off). Sounds like someone has some sour grapes about ending his own career after desperately seeking the approval of a prostitute.

So knowing Dick Morris’s past, a past in which he basically made a living Clinton-bashing, you, Jensen, want to quote him as a credible source to discredit former president Bill Clinton? I’d suggest that next time you check your source before you make your claim. And that goes for everyone (here’s the public service announcement): ALWAYS do a little research before you tout something out as your smoking gun.