Saturday, February 28, 2015

Science Saturday Special

Science is totally mind-boggling, ainnit?

Ok folks. We've let a little too much time lapse since we last posted our last  Science Saturday topical post. So without any further ado, we'' "get on the stick"  Accvordingly here's the "best of the best" latest science stuff we've sniffed up since then :
    1) This one has distinct political implications, we think:
    If only scientists could implant US GOP politician/rodents with human brain cells, "all would be well," we think.

    2) Here's another:
    Take that, evil Koch Brothers!

    3) Here's another good one:
    Wanna live forever trough a "mind clone"experiment? Helpful hint: We don't think that's a good idea, either.  If you do this, make sure you've written youself out of your own will..

    4) Scientific accidents happen!
    Thank Gawd for the "scientific screwups," we say. Einstein, for instance...

    5) Here's one more, just for good measure:
    Science is totally mind-boggling, ainnit, LOL?

    Remember! You're just a fluke of the universe. You have no right to be here.., and the Universe is laughing behind your back:
    Comments anyone? Ferris?

    Thursday, February 26, 2015

    Breaking: Medicaid Expansion May Be Dead This Session - Updated

    Tyannical House leader on Medicaid expansion: ‘We’re done’

    Via Utah Policy, there's bad news for fans Utah health care reform this morning, folks, as these various Northern Utah media sources report that Governor Herbert's Health Utah medicaid expansion plan is likely dead in the water:
    • The Utah Senate passes the Healthy Utah plan, but House leaders say the plan is dead [Utah PolicyTribune, Deseret News].
    • Sen. Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund says there's a good chance the 2015 session will end without lawmakers taking action on Medicaid expansion [Utah Policy].
    Once again... The Trib's Pat Bagley "nails it":

    Update 2/27/15 8:30 a.m.: Just like clockwork, House speaker Hughes is receiving serious blowback from our highly disappointed Governor Herbert, who's spent the past year and a half nailing down federal concessions to craft his Healthy Utah Plan:
    Tightwad Senator Allen Christensen's alternate "Frail Utah" alternative to Healthy Utah has been killed in the Senate, BTW:
    Our take?  Healthy Utah ain't quite dead yet.

    In that connection, here's an online petion for those WCF readers who'd like to roll up their sleeves. engage in active citizen action and throw in their own 2¢:
    Comments, anyone?

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015

    Salt Lake Tribune: Study: Utah’s Mike Lee Is Most Extreme Senator

    As to today's WCF history lesson... You're welcome

    In the interest of provoking a "wee" bit of WCF discussion, perhaps, we'll highlight Interesting pair of stories, which have been floating around the internet over the course of the past few days, concerning Utah's tea-party (crackpot) champion Mike Lee, who'll be standing for election again in 2016.  In the context of our continuing Weber County Forum discussions of Senator Lee, we're certain that nothing contained below will be a surprise to anyone:
    Just to add a little addition intigue, however, we'll highlight this fascinating background info from the latter story, wherein our Gentle Readers mayevebn  yet find a few surprises in store:
      Lee’s score of .991 makes him the most conservative Senator ever from Utah. Barber said that, to find the next most conservative Utah Senator, one must go back to the state’s founding.
      “The next closest legislator was actually the first senator who ever served from Utah or one of the first (since there were two), Sen. [Arthur] Brown,” he said. “He served from 1896 to 1897. He had a score of .812.

      And here's the kicker, folks, which might bring along a few surpises.  Seems that, unlike esteemed "conservative" Utah Senator Arthur Brown, Senator Lee has not yet been murdered by his mistress:
      As to today's WCF history lesson... You're welcome, Gentle WCF Readers

      And... speaking about ultra conservative, wing-nut Senator Mike Lee?  We'll be keeping our ear to the ground, awaiting future "conservative" news developments.

      Wednesday Morning 2015 Utah Legislative News Roundup

      Count My Vote delay falls in the Senate. Healthy Utah wins Senate approval, but there's not enough support in the House. Lawmakers may sidestep a vote on relocating the prison.

      Via Utah Policy, here are this morning's "top ten headlines," folks:
      • The Utah Senate kills a proposed delay to the Count My Vote compromise [Utah PolicyTribuneDeseret News].
      • Gov. Gary Herbert's Healthy Utah plan wins preliminary support in the Senate, but House leadership says there is not enough support in their body to pass the Medicaid expansion alternative [Utah PolicyTribuneDeseret News].
      • Lawmakers may let the prison commission make the final decision on relocating the Utah State Prison, allowing them to sidestep a politically risky vote [Utah PolicyDeseret NewsTribune].
      • Gov. Herbert says he's still optimistic that lawmakers will go along with his proposal to pump $500 million into public education coffers [Deseret News].
      • A new poll finds 55% of Utahns support the fight to win control of public lands from the feds [Utah Policy].
      • The Utah Senate passes a bill giving the Utah Attorney General 18-months to file a lawsuit laying claim to public lands within the state's borders [Tribune].
      • Gov. Herbert is worried a proposed death with dignity bill could turn into a "Kevorkian scheme" [Tribune].
      • A Senate panel approves a bill setting campaign contribution limits clears a House committee [Deseret News].
      • Registration fees for alternative fuel cars could see a huge jump under a bill approved by the Senate Transportation Committee [TribuneDeseret News].
      We're toying with idea of making this a regular daily feature during the final 15 days of the 2015 Utah legislative session.  What do you think about this, folks? 

      Tuesday, February 24, 2015

      Salt Lake Tribune: Senate Stands by ‘Count My Vote’ Compromise, Rejects Delay

      Kudos to Senators Bramble and Weiler, for keeping the State legislature on the "straight and narrow" course.

      Uh-oh.  It appears that tea-party nitwit State Senator Scott Jenkins's bill to "kill" the Utah legislature's 2014 Count My Vote "compromise," has just now gone down in flames.  Here's the hot-off-the press Salt Lake Tribune story:
      "Count My Vote would start gathering signatures again if the Legislature approved Jenkins' bill," Weiler warned.Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, author of the compromise, called SB54, said having the new law in effect for the 2016 elections was always a key part of the deal. 'To vote for delay would directly violate that agreement'. "Bramble also contended the party does not need to change its bylaws to qualify for the ballot under the new law."

      Nice to see our state legislature behaving ethically for once, ainnit?

      Kudos to Senators Bramble and Weiler, for keeping the State legislature on the "straight and narrow" course.

      Tuesday Morning 2015 Utah Legislative News Roundup

      Utahns overwhelmingly support plan for massive school funding boost. The Senate advances proposed constitutional amendment to kill Count My Vote. Non-discrimination legislation coming later this week

      Via the hard-working folks at Utah Policy, we're delighted present this boffo collection of WCF-topical morning news stories, reflecting pending action in the 2015 Utah legislature, as of this morning:
      • Capitol Hill sources say legislators should unveil their non-discrimination and religious liberty proposals later this week [Utah Policy].
      • Utah legislators are now taking applications from outside lawyers tho want to aid the state in the fight over control of public lands [Tribune].
      • Senators kill a bill allowing the state to adopt tougher clean-air standards than those set by the federal government [Deseret News].
      • A Senate panel approves a bill clamping down on anonymous campaign donations [Deseret News].
      • A Senate committee holds a measure banning those under the age of 19 from entering tobacco shops on concerns it may set up some unintended consequences [Utah Policy, Tribune].
      • Lobbyists may ditch wearing nametags under a proposed bill approved by a Senate committee on Monday [Tribune].
      • A bill requiring new drivers to take an additional written test before getting their license wins final approval and now heads to the governor [Tribune].
      • The House passes a measure giving teachers a modest tax credit for buying classroom supplies with their own money [Tribune].
      Kudos to the fine folks at Utah Policy, for doing all the footwork.

      Don't let the cat get your tongues, O Gentle Ones

      Thursday, February 19, 2015

      Utah Policy Sources: Senate Has Enough Support to Pass Healthy Utah - Updated

      Needless to say, Governor Herbert's Healthy Utah plan looks like a no-brainer to us

      As a followup to our discussion of pending 2015 Utah Medcaid Expansion, we're delighted to refer to this morning's encouraging Utah Policy story, reporting that "Utah Senate sources say it's likely the votes are there to pass the Healthy Utah proposal when it comes up for a floor vote":
      With Senator Allen Christensen's laughably chintzy "Frail Utah" bill still "floating" around in the legislature, we'll be sitting on the edges of our seat, waiting to find out whether the State of Utah will still be able to reasonably lay claim to the title of "Best Managed" state in the nation:
      Via Utah Senator Jim Dabakis's highly informative Facebook page, we'll insert this great graphic to show how these competing "medicaid expansion" bills stack up, coverage-wise, at least:

      Click to Enlarge Image

      Needless to say, and taking the foregoing into acount, Governor Herbert's Healthy Utah plan looks like a no-brainer to us.

      Update 2/20/15 8:00 a.m.: Gov. Gary Herbert has taken tax increases for his Healthy Utah alternative to Medicaid expansion off the table and cut the number of years he wants to try the program from three to two, but House Republicans still may not be sold:
      Now, instead of being a three-year pilot program, Healthy Utah would be a "true two-year program so everyone who signs up knows it’s a two-year program going into it.," said Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

      Via Bob Bernick: "Healthy Utah right now is a political slippery pig for House conservatives to handle. Or will it end up handling them?":
      Don't let the cat get your tongues...

      Tuesday, February 17, 2015

      Fox 13 News: Political Experts Talk About Potential Race Between Sen. Mike Lee and Former Utah Gov. Jon Hunstman Jr. - Updated

      Huntsman v. Lee? This could get interesting...

      Tantalizing morning story via Fox 13 News:
      SALT LAKE CITY — A potential showdown in the Utah political landscape could have national implications.
      There were reports Monday that former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. could be a candidate for State Senate in 2016, running against incumbent Sen. Mike Lee.
      Political experts at the Hinkley Institute of Politics say if this campaign with both Huntsman and Lee happens, it could be one of the biggest, most watched, closely followed races in the country both locally and nationally.
      Check out the embedded video, folks:

      Read the full story here:
      Update 2/17/15 12:43 p.m.: Huntsman v. Lee? This could be interesting...
      Don't let the cat get your tongues...

      Update 2/18/15 8:00 a.m.: Alas, the Trib reports that "former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman says he's being courted to run against Sen. Mike Lee, but he isn't planning a bid to oust the Utah senator in 2016."
      "Bottom line, not likely," Huntsman said in a short email to The Salt Lake Tribune. "Maybe next time!!" he added, using two exclamation points.
      Looking at the bright side, it appears that he hasn't completely ruled it out.

      Monday, February 16, 2015

      Presidents Day 2015 Special

      Happy Presidents Day, folks!

      President Obama: Man of the People!

      Saturday, February 14, 2015

      Trib Op-Ed: The Pursuit of Knowledge Is Under Attack in Utah

      Fantastic Salt Lake Trib op-ed this morning, worthy of a long and hard look. Here's the lede, Peeps:
      I proudly plead guilty as charged.
      As an associate professor at Utah's flagship institution of higher education, I teach evolution without the "Adam-and-Eve" theory. I teach reproductive physiology without the stork theory. I teach the laws of gravity without "intelligent-falling" theory. And I teach these concepts unabashedly, regardless of whether they conflict with students' sincerely held religious beliefs — the university's ill-advised Accommodation Policy notwithstanding.
      That's the way it should be.
      Unfortunately, that's not the way some people want.
      Read up, folks:
      A Weber County Forum "Tip of the Hat" to University of Utah Professor Gregory A. Clark, who's fighting like a badger to prevent the GOP-propelled "dumbing down" of  our Utah educational institutions.

      Friday, February 13, 2015

      Count My Vote to Lawmakers: Keep Your Word

      Are the possibly gullible folks of Count My Vote engaged in a "fool's errand," in appealing to the "Angels of Utah's (dubious) Better Nature"?

      Via the ever politically savvy Utah Policy website, we'll highlight the latest salvo concerning what we've lovingly labeled the
      Utah GOP SB54 Bait and Switch
      The leaders of Count My Vote sent a letter to Utah lawmakers Friday morning, urging them to honor the agreement they made last year.
      The letter, which you can see [linked within], notes that lawmakers are considering at least four pieces of legislation seeking to undo the compromise forged between Count My Vote and the Legislature last year.
      The letter reminds lawmakers that organizers are ready to take their case to the public should lawmakers renege on their commitment.
      Read up folks; and check out the text of the Count My Vote "demand letter":
      Are the possibly gullible folks of Count My Vote engaged in a "fool's errand," in appealing to the "Angels of Utah's Better Nature"?

      Comments, anyone?

      Thursday, February 12, 2015

      Salt Lake Tribune: Senate Committee Endorses Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan

      Time for our Utah legislature to "Choose the Right," wethinks

      The Salt Lake Tribune this morning reports an encouraging development on the 2015 Utah legislative front:
      Gov. Gary Herbert's Healthy Utah plan on Wednesday got its first good news of the legislative session: a Senate committee recommended the bill that would enact his Medicaid expansion effort.
      The Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 5-1 for SB164, proposed by Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights. It would extend health insurance to an estimated 95,000 low-income Utah adults, two-thirds of whom can't get subsidies under the Affordable Care Act or qualify for Medicaid. Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, is a member of the committee but left the room before the vote. His own bill, SB153, would extend health insurance to [only] an estimated 10,000 people who are both poor and medically frail.
      "It's the first step," Shiozawa, a physician, said afterward.
      Read up, folks:
      "The difference in money coming back to Utah from the federal government is stark," Shiozawa said. "$3.2 billion under Healthy Utah over the first five years versus $300,000 under Christensen's SB153. By 2021, Utahns and Utah businesses will be sending more than $700 million in Affordable Care Act taxes to Washington each year, and Healthy Utah is a way to get much of it back," he said.

      Down in the Tribune reader comments section, Trib reader rorybreaker hits the nail squarely on the head:
      Just admit it Cons, you have a choice to do the right thing or cut off your nose to spite your face.
      Yes, indeed. It's time for our Utah legislature to "Choose the Right," wethinks

      Monday, February 09, 2015

      2015 Utah Legistive Update: Sleazy Utah Legislators Advance Bills To Undo Count My Vote Compromise - Updated

      Sodden Question: Will level-headed Utah GOP legislators like Curt Bramble have the political juice and integrity to defeat Senator Jenkins' sleazy, "back-stabbing" "end run"?

      Just like clockwork folks, and just as we've foreshadowed, it appears that slimy Utah GOP lawmakers are on track to advance a pair of bills sponsored by tea party Senator Scott Jenkins, which seek to renege on last year's Count My Vote compromise, which established a dual track (Caucus-convention/Direct Primary political nomination system in Utah:
      It'll definitely interesting to find out whether level-headed Utah GOP legislators like Curt Bramble, who engineered the original "deal," and hustled his compromise SB 54 through the State legislature in the spring of 2014, will have the political juice and integrity to defeat Senator Jenkins' sleazy, "back-stabbing" political "end run," no?

      Update 2/10/15 9:35 a.m.:  Yesterday we posed the Sodden Question: "Will level-headed Utah GOP legislators like Curt Bramble have the political juice and integrity to defeat Senator Jenkins' sleazy, "back-stabbing" "end run"?"

      This morning Utah Policy's Brian Schott provides this optimistic answer:
      Here's the gist, folks:
      "Every legislator that voted for SB 54 knew that if we passed it and the governor signed it, they would withdraw the initiative. They acted in good faith and it's important that we maintain the integrity of that," says Bramble. "If we don't then how will any group feel comfortable negotiating with this body."
      And that's the key. Most of the lawmakers who voted for the compromise last time around are still on the hill.
      "There's a critical mass up here that supported the compromise last year," Bramble points out.
      Will Utah's far right "sacrifice its honor for power"?

      We guess we'll soon find out.

      Friday, February 06, 2015

      Utah Lawmakers Set the Stage to "Tinker" With the US Constitution - Updated

      Bottom line? Once an ill-conceived Constitutional Convention might be convened, there's no guarantee that such a convention might not spin out out control

      Uh-oh. Notwithstanding the earlier wisdom of the 2011 Utah legislature, It seems, surprise of surprises, that a pair of crackpot Utah GOP legislators are set to reprise legislation to "fiddle" with the "Divinely-inspired" US Constitution.

      Specifically, we're referring to Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, and his Utah GOP House of Representatives cohort, the ever-ethically compromised House Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who is, incidentally and weirdly enough, "the Legislature’s unofficial (and apparently self-appointed) 'constitutional expert.'" 

      The Standard-Examiner carries the full story for your critical scrutiny, folks:
      Utah Policy is all over this story, too:
      Here's the big problem Peeps, as we see it:
      Bottom line?  Once an ill-conceived Constitutional Convention might be convened, there's no guarantee that such a convention might not spin completely out of control.

      We'll suppose that this is just another nitwitted Utah-style "message bill," at least for the time being, inasmuch as only three other states have passed resolutions calling for a 21st Century Constitutional Convention --so far.

      Trust us though, we'll keep keep you posted, if this crackpot bill somehow emerges from "the realm of the dead."

      Tuesday, February 03, 2015

      2015 Utah Legislative News Roundup: State Legislature Gives Needy Utahns and Public Schools "The Shaft"

      Our take? Keep keep on voting Republican, Utah Sheeple

      Via Utah political heavyweight  Utah Policy, we'll highlight a few of the more important Weber County Forum-topical stories emerging during the first two weeks of the 2015 Utah legislative session:

      1) Utah Republican lawmakers are "working" to come up with their own crackpot alternative to Medicaid expansion:
      Despite the potload of federal money that would come to Utah with full medicaid expansion, it appears that Utah GOP legislators are fully prepared to give the bulk of needy Utahns "the shaft":

      2) Notwithstanding GOP Rep. Jack Draxler's thoughtful proposed tax bill to boost teacher pay and fund school technology, a legislative committee mercilessly kills this proposal to provide more money for Utah's perpetually underfunded public schools:
      Our take:

      Keep keep on voting Republican, Utah Sheeple.

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