Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Special: Dave Barry’s Year in Review

As 2013 dawns, maybe, just maybe, the new year will be better; and this will be the year when we finally break the cycle of perpetual idiocy... then again maybe not

"It was a cruel, cruel year — a year that kept raising our hopes, only to squash them flatter than a dead possum on the interstate," sez Dave Barry, the world's second funniest humor columnist.  As our WCF readers ramp up to bring in the new year 2013, read the rest of Dave's boffo 2012 retrospective, linked straight from the Miami Herald website:
"As 2013 dawns, maybe, just maybe, the new year will be better; and this will be the year when we finally break the cycle of perpetual idiocy..." then again maybe not.

Hopefully this will keep our readers' humor hunger sated, at least for the moment, until we've heard something on this topic (we're keeping our fingers crossed) from the world's funniest humor columnist.

Have a safe and same New Year's Eve, folks!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune: Ogden Family Distraught After Police Mistake Husband for Wanted Man - Updated

So what's wrong with the the Ogden Keystone Kops, we ask?
One of the officers made a comment about her husband coming to the door with a bat, saying that had it been a gun, the officers would have "blown you away."
Reporter Jessica Miller - Salt Lake Tribune
Ogden family distraught after police mistake husband for wanted man
December 12, 2012

It was a split decision to grab that bat. They could have killed him in his house for no reason in front of me and my kids. There should be other tactics to handle this kind of situation.
Melanie Hill - Salt Lake Tribune
Ogden family distraught after police mistake husband for wanted man
December 12, 2012

OK.  Ogden cops show up dressed in black with assault weapons at some Ogden resident's door @ 2:30 a.m. in the friggin morning, banging on the door to serve a federal warrant to "apprehend an AWOL US service member," believe it or not. When the homeowner asks "Who's knockin on my door" (and this is important) NOBODY from the crack OPD night assault team even makes a peep. Next thimg you know, the OPD has an innocent guy in handcuffs, who fortunately didn't get blown away.  Turns out they hadn't done their homework... and get this!  The guy who got his door kicked down and held at gunpoint... in the wee hours of the night? Wrong guy, people!  "Ooops! Sorry about that! Shit happens," sez OPD police Lt.Will Cragun.
Your blogmeister's distraught to even be reporting this major screwup.

So what's wrong with the the Ogden Keystone Kops, we ask?

Update 1/1/13 9:00 a.m: The Standard-Examiner is carrying the AP story, too:

Friday, December 28, 2012

In Memoriam 2012: Remembering the "Legends" We Lost This Year

As we stand on the cusp of the 2013 New Year, we'll post this fine embedded video, indirectly furnished via FaceBook by the soon-to-be legendary Ogden Bluesman Brad Wheeler:


Please consider this to be the first of several Weber County Forum 2012 retrospectives planned for our WCF end-of-year agenda.

So whaddaya think, O Gentle Ones? Will these lost cultural icons make a permanent dent in our ever-adaptive American culture; or will new personalities pop up to fill the gaps, conveyor-belt-wise, like ever-replaceable shark's teeth?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Standard-Examiner Editorial: Our View: Airport’s Growth a Positive

General aviation community griping: frivolous or legit? 

Chirpy editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, playing down the grousing of some of the "good old boys" (long-time pilots) headquartered at Ogden-Hinckley Airport over "new fees, parking changes and security regulations" recently enacted  by the Ogden City Council and the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the wake of the arrival of Allegiant Air as an Ogden-Hinckley-based commercial carrier:
"[T]he new fees are especially hard to swallow, considering the city waived certain fees to bring Allegiant in. With all of the new fees we’re charged, I feel like I’m supporting them (Allegiant); and I don’t like it,” sez general aviation guy Gary Kopecky.

The Standard argues that we should consider these new burdens upon the general aviation faction to be "an investment in Ogden’s airport that helps it grow."  "Such growth will always be a positive," the S-E editorial board intones.

So what about it folks?  Shall we accept the Standard's blanket judgement that Ogden-Hinckley Airport growth will be a hands-down positive?  Or do the long-time long-time general aviation community who've kept Ogden-Hinckley afloat for almost seventy years have something legitimate to gripe about?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

This pretty much covers it, wethinks...


Merry Christmas AND Happy Holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Standard-Examiner Letter: Thanks to Many Who Made Mt. Ogden Course a 'Crown Jewel'

Dang.  Do we ever miss our ole buddy Bill C., especially at times like this

Notable letter to the editor in this morning's Standard-Examiner, thanking Ogden City mayor Mike Caldwell, golf division manager Todd Brenkman, superintendent Jeff McFarland and golf professional Jon Fister, Jr., for the "astounding year" experienced at Mt. Ogden Ogden Golf Course, which Ogden resident Jeff Campbell labels "our town’s greatest natural asset":
"Instead of publicly tearing Mt. Ogden down at every opportunity and threatening to sell our assets at pennies on the dollar to fund nonsensical, ego-driven schemes, the city chose to support the course and the positive returns are undeniable," Mr. Campbell sez.

Great innit, to have an Ogden City Mayor in a town which promotes recreation with a rah-rah "high adventure" lifestyle to actually support and promote the recreational assets Ogden already has? Looking back to Boss Godfrey, Caldwell's light-hand governance comes off as a neck-snappiing political segue, wethinks.

Nice tribute to dearly departed regular Weber County Forum contributor Bill Critchlow too, by the way.

Dang.  Do we ever miss our ole buddy Bill C., especially at times like this [sniffle].

Sodden Reminder: Only the good die young.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune: Affair Leads to Less Power for Brigham City Mayor - Updated

Heck, he's still drawing a city paycheck; and that's all that's important, right? 

More blowback in Brigham City, Utah government this morning, as the Brigham City townsfolk roundly rebuke their philandering Mayor Dennis Fife, and his city council colleagues vote to "strip him" of "of his powers to hire, fire, supervise and discipline city officers and employees":
Nary a good word was spoken of the politically out-of-touch mayor at last night's council bitch session; yet the tone-deaf little feller remains stubbornly resolved to "hang in there," if only as a mere figurehead, we guess.

Heck, he's still drawing a city paycheck; and that's all that's important, right?

Update 12/22/12 9:00 a.m.:  The Standard's all over the story this morning, too:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune: Congress Votes to Scrap Hatch Act Restrictions - Updated

And no, Gentle Readers... Congress (unfortunately) DID NOT vote to "scrap" Utah Senator-For-Life  Orrin Hatch

Good news for politically ambitious state and local public servants this morning, as the Salt Lake Tribune reports that "Congress gave its final approval to a bill Wednesday that would allow local officials who oversee some federal funds to run for public office, legislation that is in part based on the ouster of former Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner":
This action comes too late of course to save Chief Greiner's political neck; but looking down the road, this common sense congressional legislative tweak will no doubt eliminate much of the silliness which has unnecessarily sullied the political dialogue in recent local Utah election races.

"The new law maintains the prohibition on federal employees running for office but won’t stop people who work in other organizations that receive federal grants for running for partisan offices," according to this morning's Matt Canham story.

And no, Gentle Readers... Congress unfortuntely DID NOT vote to "scrap" Utah Senator-For-Life Orrin Hatch, which probably wouldn't have been a half-bad idea however, now that we think about it.

Update 12/21/12 9:00 a.m.: This morning's Stamdard-Examiner carries the story too:
The only remaining loose end?  The president's signature.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Standard-Examiner: Response to Brigham City Mayor's Affair: Bill for Recall Election

Sadly, we'll not be holding our breath

Intriguing story from yesterday's Standard-Examiner, reporting that "State Rep. Lee Perry is preparing a bill for January’s legislative session to create a recall election law in response to concerns expressed by Brigham City residents about the lack of a way to remove [the philandering] Mayor Dennis Fife  from office":
Here's the fundamental question, wethinks.  Does the GOP-dominated Utah Legislature have the guts to set up even a narrow legal process to oust creepy sickos like Fife from their duly-elected political offices?

Sadly, we'll not be holding our breath.

And what say you, O Gentle Ones?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Standard-Examiner: Ogden Trails Open -- For Now -- Despite Fencing

It would be delightful to see some community minded citizen (or outdoor recreation-oriented group) file a test lawsuit seeking a judicial determination of Peterson's property rights vis-a-vis those of the general public, no?

Ogden City's neighbor to the east, Chris "Gondola Boy" Peterson, is back in the local news again after a long lull, with yesterday's Standard-Examiner story, reporting that "[f]ence structures that have been popping up along trails in the Ogden foothills have the hiking community worried, but the landowner [Peterson] who put them there says he’s keeping his property open to the public":
Ogden trails eyesore
Although Peterson attributes his ghastly new fencing and signage to "littering, tagging, destruction of natural landscape and other irresponsible trail behavior," odds are that Peterson's action has as much more to do with long-standing technical legal issues than the current trail user behavioral problems he's complaining about, inasmuch as the lingering issue of whether the public owns a prescriptive easement upon the trails of his Malan's Basin property remains yet unresolved.  In this connection, this thorny subject has been broached on Weber County Forum in the past, and is neatly framed by an earlier reader comment, posted beneath this 6/8/2010 WCF article:
This Land is My Land: Hate to break it to you "observer from the south," but Peterson's Malan's Basin and westerly trails property likely remains subject to long-standing "public prescriptive easements" which went into effect long before Peterson acquired these properties.
His "predecessor in title," i.e., the Malan family, basically gave "carte blanche" to otherwise "trespassers" for over 100 years, a period far exceeding the period required for adverse possession under Utah law.
The poor schmuck Peterson will no doubt have a hard time, legally, shutting the public out from prescriptive easement rights which were perfected no later than the early part of the 20th century.
If this Peterson idiot tries to impair my public easement rights in any way... he'll have to see me in court.
“Our interest is obviously in keeping these trails open and easily accessible to the community..." Says Mayor Mike Caldwell. Caldwell's right, of course, at least insofar as he recognizes that unrestricted East Bench Trail access is indispensable to Ogden's recreational needs.

For those WCF readers who'd like to "bone up" on Utah real property rights in general, and the legal effect of prescriptive easements in particular, check out the below-linked Utah Department of Commerce manual, which addresses the issue of prescriptive easements thusly: "You have no right to prohibit public use of a trail or road across your private property as a thoroughfare if the public has created the thoroughfare without permission and without interruption for a period of ten years as a prescriptive easement":
It would thus be delightful to see some community minded citizen (or outdoor recreation oriented group) file a test lawsuit seeking a judicial determination of Peterson's property rights vis-a-vis those of the general public, to settle the "hanging"  "prescriptive easement problem" once and for all, no?

So who'll be the first to chime in on this subject?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Casper Star-Tribune: Casper Downtown Plans May Include Former Ogden Mayor Reprimanded by State Auditor

Didn't take John "Pureheart" Patterson long to get in hot water with the lumpencitizens of Casper, did it?

Tantalizing December 13, 2012 story from the Casper (Wyoming) Star Tribune, which we stumbled upon this morning whilst Googling.  Here's the lede: 
The Downtown Development Authority’s current preference for development coordinator is a former mayor of Ogden, Utah, who was reprimanded by that state’s auditor for failing to comply with city and state laws.
Matthew Godfrey, current president of the Better City consulting group, served as mayor in Ogden from 1999 to 2011. John Patterson was Ogden’s chief administrative officer from 2005 to 2011, when he became Casper’s city manager.
In a report released last summer, the Utah State Auditor’s Office found the city administration failed to receive City Council approval for expenditures on three projects. City administration improperly spent $434,000 between 2007 and 2009 for an ice climbing tower, rail car renovation and river restoration projects, according to the report.
“We are concerned about the Administration’s attitude toward the importance of the City Council’s approval,” the document states. [Links added].
Check out the full story here:
Here's the referenced Utah State Auditor's  August 18, 2011 report:
No surprises here, we guess.  It didn't take John "Pureheart" Patterson long to get in hot water with the lumpenctizens of Casper, did it?

Be sure to check out the Star-Trib's reader comments section, folks, where one Star-Trib reader sez, "Come on now, the citizens of Casper are not illiterate hicks. We even know about the Internet and we know how to use the search engine Google."

Looks like the cat's outta the bag, alright.

We'll keep ya'll all posted, of course, as this fascinating story develops.

Friday, December 14, 2012

27 Dead in Connecticut Shooting, Including 18 Children

Another heavily-armed and mentally-crazed jackass abuses OUR 2d Amendment constitutional rights

Whoa! Looks like another heavily-armed and mentally-crazed jackass has abused OUR 2d Amendment consitutional rights and has blown away a whole kindergarten class in Newtown, Connecticut, of all weird targets in all politically-inexplicable places:
Speaking as a die-hard 2d Amendment advocate, your blogmester would like to open the discussion:

If we're to protect the Second Amendment, and allow average citizens to "keep and bear arms," is there any way that we, as a society, can ever prevent extreme abuses of the Second Amendment, such as this?

Just axin'

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune: Salt Lake City Attorneys Take On Ogden Activist’s Quest for Envision Ogden Records

Citizen activist Schroeder takes his protracted government-records battle all the way to Utah’s Supreme Court

Encouraging news this morning in Dan Schroeder's Envision Ogden GRAMA request matter, as Salt Lake  Tribune reporter Cathy McKitrick reports that "citizen activist Dan Schroeder said he will take his related government-records battle all the way to Utah’s Supreme Court to piece together the whole story on what occurred with Envision Ogden, an organization launched in early 2007 to boost business in Ogden":
Ms. McKitrick's story goes on to report that "Jeff Hunt, David Reymann and LaShel Shaw — attorneys with Salt Lake City-based Parr Brown Gee and Loveless — recently took on Schroeder’s case and plan to argue the appeal pro bono in the state’s high court."
 

"The case raises some significant issues regarding the intersection between the Utah State Constitution and the Government Records Access and Management Act [GRAMA]," Hunt said of his reasons for hopping onboard.

That's it for now, O Gentle Readers.  We'll continue to follow this story, of course, as the case progresses, in the hope that all essential facts of this case will be ultimately revealed.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Residents Respond to Brigham City Mayor’s Adultery

Stick a fork in the deluded little dude; he's done
You are a disgrace, sir. And your chief of police is too.
Brigham City resident Ron Aldridge
Residents say Brigham City Mayor’s affair creates ‘a wedge’
December 7, 2012
...I am concerned that we have people in this city of ours that you were involved in them being released from their positions. And now you have done the same. And you stand there and say you will retain your position.
Brigham City resident Flora Reiter
Residents respond to Brigham City mayor’s adultery
December 6, 2012

As a followup to this week's earlier stories, we incorporate this morning's lead paragraphs from the Salt Lake Tribune
City Hall was packed in this small northern Utah city as residents hoped to weigh in on whether Mayor Dennis Fife should remain in office or resign.

Earlier this week, the 67-year-old mayor, husband, father and grandfather wrote a letter of confession to constituents, explaining he had had an affair with a woman he once counseled as a Mormon bishop.
GULP... Major screw-up!
Both the Trib and the Standard offer a taste of the flavor of future Brigham City council sessions, as the philandering Mayor Dennis Fife digs in his heels and stubbornly refuses to tender his resignation:
Seriously.  What did Mayor Fife expect? A standing ovation?

Stick a fork in the deluded little dude; he's done.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

New York Times: An Overview of Corporate Welfare in the USA

US Crony Capitalism 101: A series examining business incentives and their impact on jobs and local economies.

Fantastic three-part article series from the New York Times this week, exploring the nuances of government subsidization of  private business in the United States, and revealing some of the dynamics and troubling pitfalls arising in our massive American corporate welfare state. Times reporter Louise Story has truly done a yeoman's job on this blockbuster project; so we're delighted to link these heavily-researched stories on what might otherwise be considered a slow Weber County Forum news day.

Check it out, O Gentle Ones... a humdinger of an investigative journalistic series which we'll endearingly subtitle "Crony Capitalism 101":
As these articles reveal, these corporate welfare public-private "partnerships" often don't prove to be, shall we say, the cash cows they're proposed to be.  Left-leaning Daily Kos's opening paragraph summary is even a trifle more harsh in its judgment:
It was the story of the weekend. A searing three-part investigative report by Louise Story at The New York Times describing in detail the gigantic rip-off that corporations across America extract from state, county and municipal governments when they start shopping for a place to land, expand or just stick around. "Rip-off," is not a word that Story or her editors chose, but that's the reality behind her exposé of all those tax breaks, land deals, infrastructure upgrades and assorted other arrangements desperate governments offer to lure companies to their turf or keep them in town.
You can check out the full Daily Kos writeup here, of course, if you'd really like to "get an earful":
Of course as all regular WCF readers already know, both The State of Utah and and our own Ogden City have been (and remain) fully geared-up for similar expressions of local and state government pro-corporate largesse.  In this connection Ms. Story drills down to the Utah numbers, distilled from the impressive "searchable" database which she's assembled:
We Utahns can breath a sigh of relief, we suppose.  It could have been a lot worse, we guess. Having said that, we'll add that it would no doubt have been enlightening to have been able to drill down to the Ogden City numbers by themselves.

We'll issue Ms. Story a WCF Tip O' The Hat for her most impressive work; and for WCF political wonks, the floor's now open.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Breaking: Brigham City Mayor Admits to Extramarital Affair - Updated

Mayor Fife hopes to remain in office despite questions over his ability to lead

According to morning stories in the Standard-Examiner and Tribune, a reckless $100,000  excess of government largess isn't the only problem facing Brigham City, Utah government officials these days, as both Northern Utah newspapers reveal yet another whopping lapse of judgment on the part of of Brigham City's Mayor Dennis Fife:
While Utah does not appear to be among the states which criminalize clergy sexual relations with adult congregants, nevertheless as a Ward Bishop, Fife not only admittedly occupied a position of ecclesiastical authority over his erstwhile paramour, but was also was cloaked with an additional special fiduciary role as her spiritual counselor.  It would thus follow that  Fife was probably bound by a similar fundamental ethical responsibility to this woman in his care as therapists generally owe to their current or former clients, notwithstanding the lack of specific Utah penal sanctions.

As a result, his ethics and fitness for office naturally come into question.

Fife is now exerting extreme effort toward damage control; and we'll be closely following this story to find out whether it'll sell with his ultra-conservative constituents (and government colleagues) of Brigham City.

So whaddaya think, folks, will Fife succeed in sweeping his admitted adultery under the rug?

Update 12/5/12 8:00 a.m.:  Looks like we can add hypocrisy to the fast-growing list of "endearing" traits of the wonderful Mayor Fife :
Don't forget, folks. This A-1 screw-up Fife is Matthew Godfrey's chief cheerleader in Brigham City government.

Monday, December 03, 2012

KSL News: Powder Mountain Sold for $40 Million - Updated

Breaking news from another sharp-eyed and alert WCF regular... looks like the long-rumored Summit Series Group's proposed Powder Mountain acquistion is coming to full fruition. Here's our sharp-eyed and alert gentle reader's submitted story from KSL.COM:
Sodden question:  The Local Experts at Ogden Valley Forum already reported weeks ago that our rabidly pro-business/fresh air/water issues agnostic Weber County Commission was already set up to slam dunk this fait accompli (or should we just call it a coup de gras), with "new" zoning guidelines, which weren't all so different form the ones that Ogden Valley residents fought against for over five years.
Attention Ogden Valley Citizens AND concerned Weber County Forum Readers.  There's absolutely no reason to fret, now that the  pro-corporate 100% bought and paid for Republican County Commision has unleashed potential dog-eat-dog development in our heretofore semi-prisitine Ogden Valley, right?.  Buy your antipollution "gas masks" here, by the way, for this Katy-Bar-the Door new development in Ogden Valley:
Hopefully, once Ogden Valley residents strap on their gasmasks, the little eyeholes won't "fog up" and obscure the erstwhile breathtaking Ogden Valley panoramic views.

So what say you, Weber Couny Forum readers, other than this is an exceedingly sad time for our friends in Ogden Valley?

Update 12/4/12 7:43 a.m.:  The Standard carries a followup story this morning, revealing the Summit Group's apparently user-friendly future development intentions:

Standard-Examiner: Brigham City Residents Have Plenty of Questions at Forum

"A fool and his money are soon parted," according to the old folk ax
I’d like him to tell me why it cost $100,000 to do this study. What’s the deal?
DeLoy Mecham, Brigham City resident
Brigham City residents have plenty of questions at forum
December 2, 2012

In this forum, everybody gets a different answer to the same question.
Ron Germer, Brigham City resident
Brigham City residents have plenty of questions at forum
December 2, 2012

The Standard provides a brief report this morning, concerning Wednesday night's Matthew Godfrey public Dog & Pony Show. Surprise of surprises. When Brigham City residents showed up to ask hard questions and express their concerns, all they apparently got for their effort was a canned Godfrey sales pitch:
It should come as no surprise to Ogden lumpencitizens, that Ms. Hyatt's Standard-Examiner story reports that "unasked questions" left Brigham City residents "disappointed' and  that "residents weren’t allowed to speak publicly." These "public forum" tactics come straight from the well-practiced Godfrey playbook, of course. It's "deja vu all over again," we swear.

Brigham City residents and elected officials had better wake up fast, and learn from the painful experience of Ogden City residents, wethinks.

"A fool and his money are soon parted," according to the old folk ax.

"$100,000 to analyze economic clusters, or groups of related businesses in specific industries whose collective experience and collaboration can provide a competitive business edge" ? What gibberish! Give the Brigham City lumpencitizens a friggin' break! 

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Science Saturday 12/1/12 Overflow Edition

See if you have what it takes to claim #1 WCF Science Geek bragging rights

Just what the doctor ordered for another slow news day; another Science Saturday special, consisting of three items left in queu after publishing last week's Science Saturday feature

1) A 14-year-old New York student was named "America's Top Young Scientist" for inventing a solar-powered water jug that changes dirty water into purified drinking water:
Leave it to a highly talented kid to do what the scientist "grownups" ought to be doing.

2) Was Albert Einstein's great brain special?  This is interesting. Read up:
Too bad they hacked it up into little pieces.  Otherwise modern science would surely have been able to reactivate it, sooner or later, no?

#1 Science Geek Challenge
3) Attention Science buffs, here's a chance to earn your WCF science props! It's a robust mixed-bag Christian Science Monitor quiz to test your overall science knowledge:
Special challenge to our WCF readers:  Your blogmeister, who fancies himself to be a bona fide science geek, miraculously scored a respectable  88% score on this... even though he hasn't slept through a college level science course in over forty years!

Try your hand at this quiz, people. See if you have what it takes to claim WCF #1 Science Geek bragging rights.

Don't be shy.  Take the test and report your score.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Tina DuPuy Column: It's Time to Upgrade Our Presidential Elections

Time to finally level the U.S. federal election playing field, once and for all?

Thoughtful Tina DuPuy column this morning from the Standard-Examinar's "Currents" digital edition section, making a strong case, wethink, for the abandonment of our archaic locally-administered "electoral college" system of electing U.S. Presidents.  We've heard arguments for the abolition of the electoral college many times in the past, of course, but this morning's proposal presents a creative and novel twist...  Here's the gist on Ms. DuPuy's clever idea:
There were long lines, lost ballots and chaos on Election Day. Different voting precincts with different rules and sometimes different philosophies on who should cast their ballots we’re highlighted in the national media. What it all leads to is a voting result which have a whisper of illegitimacy. There’s a lingering doubt as to if the elections were fair and therefore the result valid. And it’s partisan: The Left will say that of George Bush stole the election, the Right about Obama.
 We could solve this issue by modernizing elections. Not only tossing out the Electoral College and letting Americans directly vote for a president, but making the requirements uniform (i.e. universal suffrage). This would make voting in Oregon just as relevant as a voting in Cuyahoga County.
 A census is constitutionally required every ten years and we don’t leave it up to each state to compile it.
 But we leave our national elections up to (in some cases) the county officials?! Federalize federal elections. We have national standards for schools and milk safety but we can’t vote the same way in every state?
 We can change this. And there’s no better time than three years and 11 months before the next presidential election begins.
Check out Ms. DuPuy;s full column here:
As an added bonus, we'll also take the liberty of embedding this morning's accompanying political cartoon, which not-so-subtly  illustrates Ms. DuPuy's point:


So what about it O Gentle Ones? Isn't it time to finally level the U.S. federal election playing field, once and for all?

We say Ms. DuPuy has come up with a danged good idea; but what say you?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Standard-Examiner: GEAR:30 Opens in Ogden Riverbend Project Area

Taxpayer inducements?  A question left oddly unexplored

Encouraging news this morning on the Ogden City economic development front, as the Standard announces the arrival of a new player for the Ogden Riverfront Project.  Here's the lead:
OGDEN — While Ogden city continues to promote itself as a world- class outdoor-recreation destination, owners of a new retail store near downtown hope to ride that wave.
GEAR:30, a premier mountain equipment shop, is now open at 1931 S. Washington Blvd., positioned as one of the centerpieces in the Ogden Riverbend project, right between Kneaders Bakery & Cafe, Slackwater Pub & Pizzeria and the Bingham Cyclery.
Check out the full Mitch Shaw writeup here:
“We all became kind of tired of having to drive down to Salt Lake (City) to find decent gear,” GEAR:30 co-partner Jeff Young said. “There was really no place in the entire Ogden area where you could get quality stuff, and that meant that you had thousands of dollars leaving Ogden, which is a shame.”

Looks like this new operation will fill a heretofore un-filled retail marketing niche, we'll cautiously observe; and it would appear that this new outfit won't step on any other existing busuness's toes, thank goodness.

Conspicuously absent from this morning's story, of course, is any information concerning any Ogden taxpayer subsidies or other financial inducements which might have been responsible for luring in this new business, an issue which, taking into account Ogden City's track record,  we do believe S-E reporter Shaw ought to have fully explored.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune: Experts Weigh Stewart's Defense in Fatal Ogden Police Shootout

Sodden reader query: What are the odds that Stewart will ultimately get a fair trial in this case?  

In the interest of keeping our WCF readers informed of the latest developments in the Matthew Stewart shootings case, we'll direct our readers' attention to yesterday's Salt lake Tribune story, wherein Jessica Miller reels out a series of "expert opinions" about possible defense theories which Defendant Stewart might assert once the case goes to trial, probably late in 2013.  For those readers who've been closely following this story, yesterday's Trib writeup provides an interesting and informative read, wethinks:
So what do you think, folks?  Given the state of the underlying law regarding available affirmative defenses, and taking the extensive pre-trial  publicity into account, what are the odds that Stewart will ultimately get a fair trial in this case, particularly if it's tried in Weber County?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Standard-Examiner: Brigham City Seeks Public's Opinions at Special Forum

Hold on tight and wait for the "developers in the wings but we cant tell you who" line of buffalo chips.

By Smaatguy

Anyone else nauseated by the article today on ole Matt taking the fine folks and taxpayers of Brigham City to the cleaners to the tune of $100 k?
Sounds like a re-run of  North Ogden, Morgan and Ogden.

Hold on tight, Brigham City residents and wait for the "developers in the wings but we cant tell you who" line of buffalo chips.

Looking at the bright side, it appears that a few Brigham City residents are already "onto" Godfrey's heavy-handed, developer-friendly ways, such as  Becky Maddox, Deanna Hardy and Sherry Phipps, the latter of  whom points out that the constitution “doesn’t give government the right to pick and choose businesses.”

Interesting sidenote: Godfrey's original private sector entity, American Municipal Consultants, has now vanished from the web.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Science Saturday - 11/24/12 Edition

Five science stories, each with its own slight post-election political twist

In the interest of keeping our intermittently-published but ever-popular Science Saturday feature alive, here are a few science-related items which we've rounded up since our most recent Science Saturday article.  Following closely on the heels of the 2012 general election political season, each of these items, coincidentally enough, includes at least its own slight political twist

1) Scientists identify another possible planet where Earthlings might be able to escape, once greedheads like the Koch Brothers finally succeed in destroying our planet's habitat:
2) Some scientific experimental video raw data worthy of note.  Capuchin Monkeys don't like being screwed over, same as humans, we guess:
If monkeys reject unequal pay, shouldn't "Walmart "associates", we ask?

A couple of links from Scientific American, which also overlap into the political realm:

3) Like the honey badger, "math has shown itself to be quite the badass of late":
Yep. "There are many complicated reasons why people react with 'math anxiety,' but one of them might be the fact that math is just so damned unyielding, the enemy of wishful thinking, dashing our most cherished hopes with its cold hard facts. And is it sorry? It is not! Like the infamous honey badger, math don’t care. Math don’t give a s$%."

4) "U.S. voters must push candidates and elected officials to express their views on the major science questions facing the nation or risk losing out to those countries with reality-based policies," says SA contributor Shawn Lawrence Otto:
The larger question of course remains unanswered: "What has turned so many Americans against science—the very tool that has transformed the quality and quantity of their lives?"

5) And last but not least, here's yet another encouraging science-related article, with a further, even more practical political twist, picking up where the previous article left off:
Tantalizing prospective development (in theory, at least). But knowing our Republican "friends" as we do, we suppose (sadly) that we won't be holding our breath, awaiting an early revised edition of the GOP Big Book.


That's it, folks. The floor's open for your ever-savvy comments, WCF Science Nuts!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday 2012

A few select topical pieces for your consideration before you set forth lemming-like to risk life and limb this morning

Well the BIG DAY has finally arrived.


Rudi's sentiments on this topic
A select few topical pieces for your consideration before you (well some of you, we suppose) set forth lemming-like to risk life and limb this morning:
Happy brawling shopping everyone!

Meanwhile, your blogmeister will be holed up in the plush offices of Weber County Forum, spending the first day of the traditional American Crass Commercial Christmas Holiday Season doing what God really intended... watching college football on TeeVee, of course.

Update 11/23/12 11:23 a.m.: Hey! Here's another alternative for Black Friday shoppers who don't want to put up with all the brick-and-mortar holiday hassles:
Just another great idea, wethinks.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Have a safe and sane holiday; and we'll see you back tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Standard-Examiner: 149 Malnourished Dogs Rescued from One Ogden Home - Update

An animal rescue back-breaker... exacerbated by the impending long holiday weekend

As we stand on the cusp of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we'll provide a quick heads up on an animal hoarding crisis which developed yesterday in Ogden.  The Standard has two stories on the topic, reporting that "animal rescue volunteers and the Weber Animal Shelter worked frantically Tuesday to take care of 149 dogs, most of a chihuahua mix, that were rescued from a private home beginning Monday night":
This situation would be an animal rescue back-breaker under any circumstance; however the difficulties are exacerbated by the impending long holiday weekend.

Contact Pack ‘N Pounce Animal Rescue or the Weber County Animal Shelter if you'd like to make a donation, or otherwise lend a helping hand.

Update 11/22/12 8:00 a.m.:  Ogden's own American Nutrition comes to the rescue:
Bravo!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Duelling Editorials: The Legalization of Pot in Colorado and Washington Creates a Sticky States Rights Policy Dilemma

Shouldn't proponents of state-based immigration and land rights policy experimentation and reform be cheering on the Obama administration to lay off interfering with "statewide regulation of the emerging [marijuana] industry" in states like Colorado and Washington?
If Colorado and Washington are allowed to defy federal law, the federal government will lose moral standing in its efforts to enforce its primacy in areas such as immigration and land rights. Why should Utahns who wish state control of federal lands give pause to federal intervention if marijuana legalization is deemed a state’s right? Also, why would federal courts defer to the U.S. government on issues of immigration or land rights if the federal government abdicates its responsibility on enforcing drug laws?
Standard-Examiner Editorial
Our View: Pot clashes with the feds
November 18, 2012

“It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system,” Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote (in dissent) in 1932, “that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Not one but two courageous states have chosen to serve in this way. President Obama should do everything in his power to allow them to do it right.
Ethan Nadelman - Via Alternet
5 reasons the feds shouldn’t crack down on pot
November 16, 2012

There's an interesting juxtaposition of philosophies emerging in the national political discussion over the past couple of days, in the wake of the November 6 general elections, wherein two states, Colorado and Washington, became the first states to legalize marijuana. It comes as no surprise, of course, that the generally conservative-leaning Standard-Examiner, in yesterday's strong editorial, enunciates what appears to be the knee-jerk conservative philosophical position. "The feds can easily quash these new laws; hopefully that will be a priority next year," says the Standard-Examiner:
In contrast, here's an interesting set of counterarguments, which we stumbled upon on on the liberal-leaning salon.com, whilst feverishly googling this morning. To our great fascination, this thoughtful op-ed piece adopts a well-reasoned position which favors a "policy of [federal] restraint regarding the new laws in Colorado and Washington":
Oddly enough, Mr. Nalderman's liberal argument, which proposes federal deference to the "clearest expressions of the will of the people," looks suspiciously to be a "states rights" argument, doesn't it? And the Standard's position, which urges the full exertion of the federal government's prohibitory powers, doesn't even remotely resemble the pro-10th amendment argument which we would expect from a conservative Utah newspaper which would view "immigration" and "land rights" reform to be among the rights at least implicitly reserved to the states under the U.S. Constitution.

Proponents of state-based immigration and land rights policy experimentation/reform ought to be cheering on the Obama administration to lay off interfering with "statewide regulation of the emerging [marijuana] industry" in states like Colorado and Washington, or so it seems to us. Federal deference to the states on the issue of local marijuana regulation will only create the kind of precedent that state "immigration" and "land rights" regulators in states like Utah  have long been looking for, no?

Maybe the Standard editorial board and needs to "rethink" its Sunday editorial.

So what do YOU say folks? Has the Standard-Examiner jumped aboard the wrong bandwagon?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

WSU Game Day Thread: Weber State v. Idaho State - Updated

Not much left for either of these cellar-dwellers  to play for except pride; but as every red-blooded American football fan is well aware, pride can still be a powerful motivator

Our struggling Weber State Wildcats (1-9, 1-6) are back on the road this afternoon, for their final game of the Big Sky Conference season,  where they'll face off against an equally downtrodden Idaho State Bengals (1-9, 0-7) football squad at 4:00 p.m. in Pocatello.  There's not much left for either of these cellar-dwelling teams to play for except pride; but as every red-blooded American football fan is well aware, pride can still be a powerful motivator.

Here's the pre-game setup from the Salt Lake Tribune and Idaho State Journal.  (For reasons unknown, our usually trusty Standard-Examiner doesn't have a stirring pre-game story up on it's website this morning, so we'll take whatever we can get):
Tune into the game audio via KROCK FM 106, or catch the online video on America One Sports.

We'll keep the lights on for anyone who'd like to comment on the game.

Go Wildcats! 

Yes! Weber County Forum will continue to support our WCU Wildcats, come hell or high water!

Update 11/17/12 6:46 p.m.: Final-final... WSU over ISU 40-14!

Update 11/18/12 9:00 a.m.:  The WSU Athletics site and Standard-Examiner provide the post-game stories:
Congrats to the Wildcats for closing out the season in style!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Standard-Examiner: Hostess Announces Liquidation, Will Layoff All Employees - Updated

Good bye, relatively well paid Ogden union jobs

Bad news for the Utah economy this morning, as the Standard announces that "Hostess Brands Inc. says it's going out of business after striking workers across the country crippled its ability to make its Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and other snacks":
Hostess employs about 570 people in Salt Lake City and Ogden, which are "home to two of its 36 regional bakeries," according to this morning's Salt Lake Tribune story:
Click to Enlarge Image

Good bye, relatively well paid Ogden union jobs. 

It's a sign of the times, we guess, in a crippled US economy and market where a union labor-produced product like Wonder Bread demands a buck per loaf premium over a nearly identical white bread product produced in a non-union shop.

And for those fanciers of Hostess's more delectable and exotic products, (Twinkies and Ding Dongs, for instance), don't make the mistake of thinking you can rush down to your local grocery and fill your pantry with a product which will last on your food storage shelves forever.  The myth that a Hostess Twinkie (or a pack of Ding-Dongs, for that matter) will remain edible for "anywhere between fifty and one hundred years" has been thoroughly debunked:
But look at the bright side, Twinkie fanciers.  We've scoured the net and have come up with a home kitchen recipe for those who don't wish to go totally "cold turkey" on Twinkies.  Drumroll... here it is:
Does Weber County Forum cover the Ogden Lumpencitizens' backs on every important issue? Nevermind answering; we already know the answer to that.

Update 11/16/12 5:15 p.m.:  This was inevitable, we suppose, with the increasing popularity of the White House citizen petition site:
Update 11/16/12 6:13 p.m.: Fox 13 News is now running a video story on this, which includes an interview with rarely-seen Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, who's possibly barely recognizable to most Ogdenites sans his usual bicycling apparel:


Who knows?  Maybe with a little luck, and some help from Ogden City's vaunted Economic Development Department, Mayor Mike might be able to hook up a few displaced Ogden Hostess employees with nice minimum wage jobs at Ogden's very newest bakery outfit.

So what say our gentle readers about all this?

Update 11/17/12 9:00 a.m.:  And so begins the inevitable post-mortem exam:
Of course the right-wing media is quick to blame the unions, but in the end the union members would have lost more if they had capitulated to the vulture capitalists demands. By this move, they can hope to salvage the retirement plan, while if they’d given in they would have lost it all. $2 billion is a lot of money to just “give away” in negotiations. Of course the unions were expected to surrender despite the fact that the management company was asking the bankruptcy court to give their outgoing CEO up to $5.5 million. All of this was in addition to the 80% raises the executives were being treated to.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Congressman Ron Paul's Farewell Speech to Congress - Updated

America definitely missed the boat on this great American, wethinks

Listen up folks, to one of the greatest speeches of American history, delivered by none other than Dr. Ron Paul, as he caps his 44-year political career with his farewell address this morning on the U.S. House of Representatives chamber floor:


America definitely missed the boat on this great American, wethinks.

Update 11/15/12 10:25 a.m.: Writes Daniel Woolley: "It appears that creating petitions on the White House site is all the rage these days. Here's one that will really get them mad - a petition to have the administration answer all of the questions Ron Paul posed in his farewell address. Now that would be entertaining!"

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day Federal Holiday 2012 Special

Thanks for your service to your country, U.S. military veterans and active duty and national guard/reserves personnel

In honor of today's Veterans Day federal holiday, Weber County Forum offers a heartfelt salute to all Americans who've served our country in the U.S. military, past and present.


And speaking as a vet, here's how your blogmeister would earnestly hope to see this holiday celebrated, if not now, in years soon to come:


Our deepest thanks for your service to our country, U.S. military veterans, active duty and national guard/reserves personnel.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Standard-Examiner: All Over the "Matthew Stewart Shootemup Case" This Sunday Morning

If the Standard desires to provide the grounds for a change of trial venue, due to a tainted jury pool,  they couldn't be doing a better job... or so it seems to us

In a circumstance of exceedingly odd timing, the Standard-Examiner is all over the Matthew Stewart shootemup case this Sunday morning, with a series of stories, insets and diagrams splashed all over the front page of the hard-copy edition. Here's a link to the main story, which is accompanied by the diagram linked directly beneath it:
And here are links to a couple of companion pieces, the first of which delves into possible search warrant defects, and the latter of which consists of a very brief thumbnail sketch of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, the multi-jurisdictional law enforcement agency whose January 4, 2012 raid unleashed this tragic event, which has forever drastically and tragically altered the live of scores of friends, family and colleagues, both in the law enforcement community, and on the defense side of  Judge Hyde's 2d District Courtroom aisle.
While we'll concede that these items are newsworthy, inasmuch as they're designed to satisfy the curiosity of the Standard's Northern Utah readership, we do wonder about the Standard's news judgment in publishing this material, inasmuch as there exists substantial overlap between the folks who read the Standard-Examiner and those who'll ultimately comprise the jury pool, once this case comes to trial, probably sometime in the year 2013.

If the Standard desires to provide the grounds for a change of trial venue, due to a tainted jury pool,  they couldn't be doing a better job... or so it seems to us.

And what say you about this, O Gentle Ones?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

WSU Game Day Thread: Weber State v. Northern Colorado - Updated

Don't let the 'Cat your tongues; and remember to don your woolie-woolies

There's college game day excitement in Ogden this afternoon again, as Coach Sears' Weber State Wildcats football squad squares off against University of Colorado Bears at 1:30 p.m. in Stewart Stadium.

The Standard-Examiner and UNC campus newspaper, The Mirror, provide the pre-game story.  (Sorry folks, the Greeley Tribune is under pay firewall lockdown):
It's a glorious football weather for true football fans, following last night's snow; and while we simply can't imagine any genuine WSU football fans resisting the chance to plant their butts in Stewart Stadium's plush and comfy seating for a few hours of old fashioned winteresque football, we do nevertheless provide the online game audio broadcast link, for the "weather averse," or anyone else who inexplicably can't make it to the stadium:
The game video will also be live-streamed online; so here's something special for Wildcats fans who'd like to catch a high quality game broadcast from the comfort of your living room or work cubicle, as the case may be.  Simply click the link, follow the instructions to register or login.  You'll also have to install a couple of support apps, which takes all of a minute or so:
And sorry, folks, America Sports has their system jiggered so we can't simply embed a video player, as we've done in the past.

We'll keep the lower comments section for anyone who'd like to chime in before, during or after the game.  So don't let the "Cat your tongues; and don't forget to don your woolie-woolies.

And yeah... Go Wildcats!

Update 11/1012 2:33 p.m.:  Here's the video link for this afternoon's WSU  video... assuming you're logged in to America One Sports
Update 11/10/12 4:56 p.m.: Via the WCU athletics FB site: "It's a final. No. Colorado wins 42-34 for their first win ever over Weber State. Wildcats close season next week at Idaho State."

Whattabumer, no, Wildcats fans?

Update 11/11/12 9:00 a.m.:  The Standard provides the post-game story:

Friday, November 09, 2012

Deseret News: Will Huntsman Re-join Obama Administration As Secretary of State?

Gets interestinger and interestinger, dunnit

Fascinating morning speculation from the Deseret News:
Huntsman definitely has the requisite diplomatic and administrative experience... and for a 2016 Huntsman presidential run, this would seemingly be the ideal stepping stone.

We swear that these are the kind of political stories we couldn't make up!

Gets interestinger and interestinger, dunnit?

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Senate Republicans Elect New Leader; House Retains Speaker

Looks like corporate America continues to enjoy the most effective Utah legislative representation that money can buy

I actually feel that [closing caucuses] creates some transparency that we wouldn’t have otherwise.
Wayne Niederhauser - Senate President
Utah Senate Republicans elect new leader; House retains speaker
November 8, 2012

Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
George Orwell
Brainyquotes - George Orwell Quotes
25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950

The Salt Lake Tribune this morning reports that a short two days after Tuesday's election, the Utah state legislative majority, after meeting in closed caucus session, has already elected new legislative "leadership":
In a nutshell, here's the new state legislature's 2013 leadership lineup:

Senate:
Senate President: Wayne Niederhauser
Majority Leader: Ralph Okerlund
Majority Whip: Stuart Adams
Assistant Majority Whip: Pete Knudson

House:
House Speaker: Becky Lockhart
Majority Leader: Brad Dee
Whip: Greg Hughes
Assistant Whip: Don Ipson

Significantly, Trib columnist Rober Gehrke notes, Niederhauser "is also is Utah co-chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate-backed group of conservative lawmakers from around the country that has been criticized for its influence in formulating policy around the country."

Looks like corporate America continues to enjoy the most effective Utah legislative representation that money can buy, and that back-room politics will remain the Utah legislature's modus operandi, while Utah lumpencitizens continue to play second fiddle.

Standard-Examiner: Matthew Stewart Pleads Innocent to All Charges

Happily for the Stewart defense team, Judge Hyde rejects prosecution efforts to unreasonably jam an early trial date

For archival purposes, we'll put the spotlight on the latest development in the Matthew Stewart case, with yesterday's Standard-Exaaminer story, reporting that Defendant Stewart has entered not guilty pleas to all criminal charges:
In yet another aggravating exhibit of prosecution discourtesy, the Standard reports that the prosecution pushed for an early trial date, even though "ballistic tests are still to be completed for bullets and casings from police firearms in the Jan. 4 exchange of gunfire."

Happily for the Stewart defense team however, Judge Hyde rejected prosecution efforts to unreasonably jam an early trial date, with so many loose ends still hanging loose, and opted instead tor a February 13, 2013 preliminary hearing date, where he'll entertain further pretrial motions.

Comments anyone?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

2012 Election Day Plus One - The Aftermath

Predictably, a big day for Utah GOP incumbents

The final 2012 General Election results are tallied, WCF readers.  Click the link below for Weber County Clerk Ricky Hatch's post-election tally sheet for those races which appeared on Weber County ballots:
The Standard is all over the post-election coverage; so we provide these selected stories, drilling down on the election aftermath.  Predictably, yesterday was a big day for GOP incumbents:
In the single surprise of the evening, it looks like GOP rising star Mia Love, who'd been leading in the polls through the pre-election runup, got edged out in the 4th District Congressional race by incumbent Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson:
The Standard also provides these stories concerning the important national races, for those GOP readers who may be living under a rock:
As an added bonus, here's a cranky graphic sent by one of our Libertarian friends:

Ron Paul sez what's already obvious
That's it, folks. So who'd like to throw in their own 2¢, now that the 2012 Dog&Pony Show is over?

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Utah 2012 General Election: WCF Election Day Special

You know what to do... do it at your neighborhood polling places

It's Utah General Election Day 2012, folks.  You know what to do... do it at your neighborhood polling places.  Utah polls are open from 7am to 8pm, by the way. Unsure of your polling place location?  Click this handy link, provide by the ever-helpful folks at vote.utah.gov:
Regular Utah voters might want avail themselves of the above link to double check.  This year, many regular polling locations have been changed, to accommodate today's anticipated heavy voter traffic.

And here's today's mission, as we see it, people:


No lame excuses, please, from those who fail to exercise their voting rights. As the Standard-Examiner sez, "Get out to the polls and cast your ballot as a U.S. citizen. It’s not only a right, it’s an obligation, a show of respect for your nation."

Still undecided about candidates in the various races?  Check out our right sidebar "election module," for a plethora of information about candidates in today's election.

And as is our tradition here at Weber County Forum, we once again provide the link from the Utah Lt. Governor's website, where you can check out the real-time tallies, as the votes roll in after 8:00 p.m.:
And here's C-SPAN's live-streaming video link, for those folks who'd like to more closely follow tonight's ever-excellent 2012 Election Night Coverage:
 The floor's open, folks, for anyone who'd like to comment before, during or after today's balloting.

Update 11/6/12 7:50 a.m.:  Four more Standard-Examiner items, to whet your political appetites on Election Day 2012:
Update 11/6/12 8:00 p.m.: It's now 8:00 p.m. and Utah polls are now technically closed. Keep your eyes on the Utah Election Results link above; but please be patient, as over the years we've learned that the tote board sometimes doesn' even light up for over an hour after the Utah polling place closings.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Free & Equal Final Third Party Presidential Debate

Possibly more interesting than viewing the 3-5 Philadephia Eagles and 2-5 New Orleans Saints

Hey everyone!  Here's something for those hardcore political wonks who'd like to watch the very last US Presidential debate of the 2012 election cycle - Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson v. Green Party Jill Stein.  (The live stream has now been replaced by and on-demand video recording):
The debate "airs" online At 9:00 PM Eastern.

Possibly more interesting than viewing the 3-5 Philadephia Eagles and 2-5 New Orleans Saints on Monday night football; but we suppose that's all up to you.

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