Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Super Dell: You So Crazy!

Hat tip Tom Grover

Superdell has, and I was praying he would, started a blog. In his inaugural post has describes his vision for his first fundraising event:

"Hello fans and curious others. Thanks for visiting. This is where you will be getting the inside story on all the latest. Fear not, my fundraising events will be worth their ticket if merely for entertainment value to the sceptics:). We are going to have some serious fun in Utah. I'm already working on my first event. I'm looking for acrobatic aircraft, base jumpers, powered skydiving pilots, helicopters, race cars, monster trucks, pyrotechnics and everything wild and imaginative you can come up with. If you have an awesome talent you would like to donate please let me know. I can assure you nobody will be falling asleep at any of my rallies.More to come..."

I think people will sure take Superdell serious with fundraisers like this. When I think of leadership I think fireworks, air shows, and monster truck rallies. Superdell you are a breath of fresh air to Utah politics!

It appears that he is at least honest in one respect -- he doesn't care or have any idea what the issues are in the upcoming election. Maybe he thinks that being Governor is like being prom king. I've got it! Somebody call MTV "Made" (it is show that usually takes undesirable teens and tries to help them become cheerleaders or prom queens) they could get Jesse Ventura to be his mentor and maybe with some luck they could turn him into a viable candidate. At least it would produce a bizarre hour of reality TV.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Moderation in Utah Politics

Some of the events of this past legislative session have made me reflect heavily on my party affiliation, and the ways that public policy decisions are (or should be) made. I have been officially affiliated with the Republican party since my 18th birthday, I was picked as a delegate to the state Republican convention that year (in that convention we started Merrill Cook on the road to his short jaunt in Congress). During the past 12 or more years I have drifted from politically apathetic to interested and somewhat between. My views have likewise varied -- I have been near the point of right wing extremism, and have drifted back to the center of the isle. This last session has made it very clear that we need to take a much harder look at the individuals we elect as our local legislative representatives.

One major problem that Utah Republicans have is their tendency to view public policy debates only through the lens of their own moral and religious views. While it is good to be moral and religious, using such a narrow lens to establish public policy may tend to produce harsh and punishing results for anyone whose moral scope falls outside that of the pious policy makers. The phrase "moderation in all things," and "(do not) run faster than you have strength" would be helpful in forming Utah policy towards social and moral issues. Do not let the morals of the masses create tyranny towards the (religious affiliation) minorities of this state.

Another issue Utahn's have is stereotyping politicians by party affiliations. My former employer related a story of going to dinner with a new member of their LDS ward, the conversation waxed political and to his disbelief he discovered that they were Democrats. "How can you be Mormon and Democrat?" has asked incredulously. Needless to say the discussion didn't harbor closer Christ-like relations among ward members. My employer's opinion is far to prevalent in our state. As a Mormon I find issues to which I can and cannot reconcile my religious beliefs per party platforms on both sides of the isle just as I can find fault with many politicians from both sides of the isle. The point is voters who stick solely to party lines waste their opportunity to have a say in the affairs of our government -- pure party line voters create regimes that stray from representative leadership to tyrannical rule.

I'm removing my Republican affiliation from my voting records, the likes of Buttars, Dayton, Utah Eagle Forum, and Ruzicka have become too much for me. I'm not ready to join the Democrats either, the likes of Billary and Pelosi and issues like abortion keep from going towards that party. I think I will best perform my civic duties by keeping myself unspoiled from the two national parties. We need to care less about whether a D or R is by the politicians name, and more about the character and qualifications of the individuals asking for our votes.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Buttar's Quoted on a White Supremacist's Blog

Hat-tip Salt Lake Crawler:

I hope fellow 10th State Senate District voters take note, Chris Buttars' gaffe is being fondly quoted by white supremacists. The Alaskan white supremacist blogger referred to Buttars as his "favorite" state senator while quoting the infamous "This baby is black" comment. The blogger was discussing his contempt for Jews and the US Holocaust Museum in the referenced post.

Buttars' comment may not have had racist intent, but the comment (and it appears the Senator) sure struck accord with racists. My guess is this disturbed fellow would be quite fond of Margaret Dayton as well. I think we all can be proud of the image that (some of) our state representatives are portraying of our state -- kudos Buttars, Dayton, and Utah Eagle Forum.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008



Mortgage Crisis -- Bernake, and Negative Equity

I caught a few moments of a Ben Bernake Speech while I was walking out the door, he was discussing defaults and delinquency issues and the issue that many homeowners face of negative equity. The major question he was raising is what can be done about negative equity issues? So far banks have been very willing to grant homeowners in these situations interest rate drops, but they have been rather unwilling to drop principal. If I would have been able to finish the speech his tone was sounding as if he was suggesting that principal reductions and interest rate reductions may need to be used more aggressively in order to help homeowners in these situations.

Negative equity is an issue that is likely to affect many homeowners who bought in locations where home values reached overinflated levels of a few years ago.(i.e. California, Saint George UT, and Las Vegas NV)The solution to these problems are difficult, banks that simply forgive principal may find in a few years (if and when values rebound) that they have thrown significant investments away, and homeowners who were unlucky enough to have fallen into these traps find refinancing very difficult and selling without near catastrophic results impossible as well. Bernake seemed to be advocating for banks to reduce principal where needed to allow sub prime mortgage holders to refinance into a manageable loan.

Another idea which I thought about would be a "qualified" principal reduction, reduce principal currently based on a appraisal so the mortgage can be refinanced. After 5 years or so another appraisal would be required, and if the home's value has rebounded than the forgiven principal would be added back to the loan. If home values haven't rebounded than the forgiven principal would remain forgiven. The tax-ability of the forgiven principal should be suspended until the 5-year appraisal. There really is no easy answer to this problem other than to learn from what has happened and make necessary reforms. I believe the mortgage meltdown will likely turn into the mortgage industry's Enron, Enron gave the accounting industry SOX regulations, and I anticipate the mortgage industry will end up with similar regulations. (FYI NY state is already headed down this path)