Oddity of the week

So I'm sitting a red light today, and up beside me drives this lady in a small car. She has a "handicapped" mirror hangie-thing. And in the back seat is an Assistant Dog, Yellow lab...

It had a standard seeing-eye harness on and everything. The question is this: if a lady is DRIVING a car, she can likely see (we hope), so therefore this must be an assistance dog... the question is - what does this woman need assitance from a dog for?


Senate Ethics - Oxymoron

On a 67-30 vote, the Senate defeated a bipartisan proposal to create an office of public integrity, which its backers said was designed to strengthen enforcement of Senate rules and bolster voters' trust in Congress in the wake of the guilty plea in January of lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee had killed a similar proposal March 2 after current and former members of the Senate's ethics committee called the office superfluous. The top Republican and the senior Democrat on the ethics panel led the successful effort to bury the proposal Tuesday for a second time.


Senate, ethics - mutually exclusive concepts, apparently.

Is it Just Me??? The rant for the day

I’ve been away from the blog for a few days, due to other constraints on my time. Coincidentally, I’ve also been watching the debate/protests/spineless senate regarding the proposed immigration reforms. Early this week, the Senate decided to soft-pedal the House’s recommendation that people who hire and give aid to illegals should be guilty of a felony. Then the nationwide protests started.

Perhaps I am simple-minded, but I just don’t get it. On the one hand, if you are here LEGALLY, you have nothing to protest about, so we should assume that those who ARE protesting are NOT here legally, or that they have some vested interest, like, say, parents or other family members who are illegals. (note that most people view the term “illegal”, when used as a pronoun, as offensive at worst and at best, politically incorrect. I use here on purpose, because that’s the black and white of it.)

So anyway, given the assumption above, what is it that makes one think that since one slipped under the fence in the middle of the night, swam the river, trespassed on other people’s property, then when the sun rose, think they have RIGHTS??? If you are here illegally, you should be arrested, and summarily sent back to where you came from. But that’s just me, I guess.

A couple of weeks ago, before all this began taking the national spotlight, Holly Mullen of the Salt Lake Tribune ran a column about a case that was to come before the supreme court. (http://www.sltrib.com/mullen/ci_3618109) It was regarding a man who is here illegally, and has been since something like 1979, and was deported at least three times, but kept coming back (illegally). He was even caught transporting other illegals back and forth (mostly forth I would think) across the border. Then there was a law passed that makes that a felony if it happens after 1989 or so. He had been deported (I think) for the last time (and is still out of the country), as part of that law and was protesting that he should be exempt from the exercise of that law, and be allowed back into the country because he was here ILLEGALLY before the time the law went into effect. He had his day before the Supreme Court, and many of the Justices had a hard time with understanding just exactly what he thought his right should be. More than one were totally incredulous regarding the whole scenario.

It seems a few of those justices have the same view I do: If you are here illegally, you should be prosecuted under the law, just like ANY OTHER CRIMINAL activity is prosecuted.

Yes, the issues are painful, people get hurt, families separated. But if this is NOT the result, it will not stop. If you are here illegally, you will be sent away, if not to prison, then certainly back to where you came from, and your family will be hurt as a result. Shouldn’t that be enough of a deterrent? Only if it is a REAL consequence, and not one that is only given occasional lip-service. (It’s the same concept of some consequence spelled out for your kids, if you only ever TALK about a consequence as a result of some negative behavior, and never follow through, well, the negative behavior won’t ever go away. But if you actually follow through on the promised consequence, then behavior changes) The consequences need to be real, and if they are real, maybe people considering the jump n swim will reconsider their options. Employers who use illegal labor should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, just the same as those who choose to work and live under the radar.

So now we have thousands of people protesting in the streets in every major city in the nation. Why? I would think it should be pretty clear; your mere presence here does not automatically bestow upon you the rights of those BORN here, or who have taken the necessary legal steps to IMMIGRATE. Statistics show that in neighborhoods where illegal immigrants tend to congregate, there is a noticeable increase in crime, poverty, depressed property values, gang activity, poorer education (for EVERYBODY), burden on public services, etc.

Dear protesters, you have the right to protest when you abide by the laws, and want to affect change on your behalf. If you aren’t abiding by the laws you are protesting or want to change, you have no leg upon which to stand, and you should go back to your home, or wherever, and hope you don’t get rounded up and shipped out.

The Senate SHOULD be taking steps to curb this silent invasion. But it won’t. They all have to get elected this year.


This dude said it right:


"I'm mad that regardless of what the Church says, more legislators still listen to Gayle Ruzicka than Gordon Hinckley."

Panama Canal

A man, a plan, a canal: Panama.

Did you know that phrase is exactly the same when it's turned backwards?


In other news, Matthew Broderick turned 44 yesterday. I think all people who are almost exactly my age, but who are much more talented than me, and who make more money when they take a year off than I make in a lifetime, should be flogged. You hear me, Harry Connick, Jr.???

And from the Gee-Whiz file: How long does Bush let this "war" thing go along before he admits that there is NO BENEFIT to us occupying Iraq, and in fact, the longer we are there, the faster the country gradually descends into a full blown civil war. We had no business being there. Afghanistan, maybe, but not Iraq, and not like this. This has the potential to impact this country much more than Vietnam did... the economic consequences are more devastating for sure, given that fact that we are much more of a world economy, and, being at the top of that economy, it wouldn't take much to push us off the hill and let us slide down to economic disaster. Not to mention the human toll. Again.

All those poor Vietnam Vets who are messed up in the head for one reason or another are sitting in their barcaloungers screaming at the television. Talk about deja vu.

And finally, Governor Hunstman did the right thing and vetoed the HB148-Parent and Child rights amendments... Good for him. In this bigoted and backward state, where the legislators clamor to be first in line to propose some new anti-gay law, at least the governor seems to appreciate the fact that poorly conceived legislation impacts all sorts of people against whom they never meant to discriminate. "We only meant to discriminate against THE GAYS."

Really, how do these people get elected and stay there? Talk about the lowest common denominator.


Looking for a few Good Loan Officers

Since I'm the owner of this little spot, I suppose I can post whatever I want. Therefore:

Wanted: Loan Officers and Loan Processors

We are a mortgage office looking to expand into two other offices, and need help. We want you if you are a self-starter, customer oriented, ready to close at least 5-10 loans per month, and like to have fun. We have dozens of investors, a PLM, and clients to support - more loans than we can handle. Eventually you will have loans from our builders dropped on your desk like dead cats, but you will have to prove yourself worthy first. If you have a demonstrable track record, can talk to people and sound intelligent, sell money, and make friends with your customers, but remain emotionally unattached, we want to talk to you.

If you are a first-timer, freeloader, bum looking for a handout, or someone who used to sell cars, don’t bother us, but if you are a professional money-seller with a PROVEN track record and an active license, send a resume to us now. References will be checked.

Utah Legislature out of touch with public...

(KCPW News) House Minority Leader Ralph Becker says he and his colleagues in the State Legislature are out of touch with the public. He points to a lack of funding to reduce class size or create all-day kindergarten as examples of the disconnect during the last legislative session. The emphasis on tax cuts over funding for social programs as another example. He says polls and feedback from constituents statewide show the legislature acted contrary to the public's will on numerous issues.

Part of the problem, says Becker, is apathy among voters who don't take time to understand the candidates they choose. He also blames the consolidation of power within one political party on Capitol Hill for creating a quote "arrogance" and feeling of invincibility among lawmakers. Becker will discuss his views at a meeting of the Vest Pocket Coalition Wednesday morning at 7:30.

Couldn't have said it better myself.....


How are you defined??

So, been thinking about things for a while here... a few days ago I posted a story about the city of Draper here in Utah voting at the City Council level to reject plans by the LDS church to allow a Deseret Industries to be built in that city. There's been an interesting backlash toward Draper, and most people are seeing the rejection of the application as code for "take your poor people somewhere else, they don't smell good, and the labels on their clothes are on the INSIDE - gasp!!"

Of course there are defenders saying that it is more an issue of a big box retailer wanting to move into an already congested commercial district, but by and large, the public image is now one of "that's where the rich people are, and Democrats need not apply, either."

So how do we define ourselves within our own communities? What does your zip code say about you? What you you LET it say about you? What do you WANT it to say about you?

And while you're being introspective for a minute, let's do something else....

The premier of the new HBO series "big love" aired a couple of days ago. Although I haven't watched it yet - I captured it on TIVO - I have listened to several stories in the press about polygamy, Utah, Mormons, etc. There are lots of preconceived notions out there about Utah, and every once in a while they show up on the national stage.

A few days ago Pres. Bush was touring the Katrina damage, and ended up talking to an African-American man who had been displaced by the hurricane to Utah. He asked the man if he was the only black man in Utah. Moron Of The Day Award.

Anyway, taking the questions from above, about how you see yourself in this community or that, how, then, do you see yourself as a citizen of the state, as opposed to the microcosm of the zip code in which you live? Does it get your goat that Utah is seen as the bastard step child of states to whom nobody really gives the time of day? Is that really the case? There are several publications that list places in Utah as some of the best places in Utah to live. The LDS Church has expressed reservations about "Big Love" portraying the religion as being soft on Polygamy even though it was discontinued decades ago. State Attorney General Shurtleff has found the sledding pretty tough when it comes to taking steps to eradicate polygamy here, even though it is illegal. Seems we have some identity issues here with regard to how we are viewed by the rest of the country. Does that bug you at all? Or are you more of the mindset that you would just as soon have people stay away from here at all costs, leaving more room for you and your horses...

Interesting thoughts.


Julian Beever Art


Has anybody seen this guy’s art before… it’s amazing!!

There’s the “fun link” for the day. Have a ball.

Wrap your head around that one, if you can. More here:



Write your own caption contest

This story made the news last week, and I only caught half of it... But here it is:

Somebody posted a Picture of Kim Jong Il, and asked for people to write their own captions for it. The winner? read on...

The Winning Caption: Greetings Earthlings

My Entry: "I thought you said the Brazilian wax was FUN!!!? My butt feels like I slid down a sandpaper bannister!!!"

Other entries:
>>>And suddenly the dictator morphed into a constipated infant...
>>>Asia's most dangerous Muppet reacts as Frank Oz begins his work day.
I know I can force out some facial hair...
>>>"I'm rone-rySo rone-ry..."
>>>Dude this kim chee tastes rancid. I'm going to kill that chef!
>>>Today genetic engineers in North Korea announced that they have successfully crossed the ancient decorative carp with Don King. The new hybrid species has shown the ability to breath air through its gills and seems to have a penchant for promoting fights.
>>>Kim Jong-il: See if you can guess what I am now.
[blows mouthful of whipped potatoes onto a crowd of onlookers]
Kim Jong-il: I'm a zit. Get it?
Kim Jong-il: (to aide) They're not laughing. Kill them all!
>>>I'm going to hold my breath until the rest of the world lets me have nuclear weapons.
>>>Quick, the collagen injector! My lips are melting, melting, melt....
>>>Dang, Margaret Cho has freekin' AGED!!
>>>Oooooooooh, ISN'T that just speschul!
Could it be Satan?
(thanx to Church Lady!)
>>>Not getting rid of his nuclear warheads was not the only demand of G.W.'s Kim Jong-il wouldn't swallow.
>>>"Well the look I'm most famous for is Blue Steel..."
>>>Remember the first time YOU tried an Altoids?
>>>With the platform shoes and big hair getting more laughs than respect, Kim pulls out the stops with his very frightening pufferfish impression.
>>>Crazy as a rat in a coffee can.
>>>"Ah, Great Leader, you have a very healthy prostate."
>>>Digitally enhanced satellite imagery provides analysts at the CIA with the first up-close glimpse of Kim Jong-Ils top secret booger factory.
>>>OOOH This one is cherry flavour!
>>>Hail Eris!
>>>"Stop! Don't come any closer!! I'll-I'll SCREAM!!! Oh, somebody help me." Kim Jong-il was positively mortified when he learned that the android-run-amok was in fact merely Laura Bush leaning in for a kiss.


Deseret Industries trying to get into Draper, UT

So for some time now, Deseret Industries, has been trying to purchase land in the hallowed city of Draper, UT. The City Council issued a statement recently that made it clear they were not interested in having them anywhere near its lovely premium shopping spaces. Dozens of other Utah communities in Utah have a DI in the area. Even many of the more affluent areas of the state. But not in the tony neighborhood of Draper. So, thinking, what does that say about the rest of the state?

Here's what it says: it says that the rest of the people in this state are not really interested in adopting a "caste" system of social hierarchy. It says that most people outside of Draper see the benefit, and don't mid offering a kind hand to those in need, rather than a backhand across the head of the downtrodden. It says that not everybody in Utah thinks that people who shop at DI have "cooties". Most people realize that some people shop there, even though they could afford to also shop elsewhere.

It also says this: It shows that Draper, in it's refusal to allow a DI in the area, isn't really thinking about social norms, or a "class culture". What they're really thinking about is themselves and their wallets. Their fear is that property values will be impacted, and it will harder to attract the upper echelon of other retailers they are so horny to attract, in order to further their own personal objectives of establishing themsleves as the true upper crust of Utah.

MORONS of the day.

Read this poem:

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said, "Good-morning,"
and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich - yes, richer than a king -
And admirably schooled in every grace;
In fine we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

-Edwin Arlington Robinson

Why did he do that? Because he was hollow, shallow, he'd mortgaged his own soul, and forgotten what mattered most.

Hey Draper, hope you don't get left behind on the "last day" whenever that is. But, I'm sure you'll be able to PAY your way onto the train. No problem.

2 Stories In The News

I heard two different stories this morning that simply made me CHAFE.

Story 1:
Salt Lake Tribune, March 10/06. In the Buisness Section, there was a short story about a father and mother that took two sons and a daughter in law on a carribean cruise on Royal Carribean. It seems that the two sons got left behind at a port. The ship left port on time, the two young bucks were late getting back to the ship. They didn't have any of their stuff (like passports, etc.) with them, and when they found themselves having difficulty getting to the next port, everybody got their shorts in a twist.

So, naturally, the father, being an attorney, decided to SUE the cruise line. The little darlings got left behind not because the boat left early, but because they were LATE. But, from a lawyer dad's standpoint, the cruise line was to blame. A quote from a RC spokesperson noted that they had explained to this fellow numerous times that the contract provided with the tickets states very clearly that if a person gets left behind at a port, it is their responsibility to get themselves to the next port. Period. But this is somebody else's fault, because the little gems had stress trying to get to the next port.

Gimme a break! I'm so tired of everything being somebody else's fault, personal responsibility be damned. I just don't get it.

Story 2:
Report on NPR this morning. The host was talking about housing issues, interest rates, default rates projected in the next 24 months, etc. Then he introduced a guest as a housing consumer advocate in the state of Georgia. He brought up an example of a 50 year old African American divorced lady with a 14 year old son at home. He explained that she was a hairdresser, making a total of $2000 per month. She went out looking for a house, and settled on one with a sales price of $122,000. She went to a mortgage broker who told her that she would be "qualified" for a loan that would allow her to purchase the house, and the payment would be just under $1000 per month. So she said, great, sign me up.

18 months later, the house is foreclosed. The guest on the program indicated that he blamed the loan officer for this default and many others that are happening across the country and WILL be happening in the next 2 years.

Ummm... forgive me here, but WHO signed the NOTE?? Was it the loan officer? I somehow doubt it. Since when does a person become absolved of responsibility when it comes to his or her own personal budget and finances? Did she know what the payment was? well, she signed the note, she signed the first payment letter, she signed everything, and now wants to blame the loan officer and the people who invest in mortgage notes on Wall Street for accepting the mortgage. GIVE ME A FREAKIN BREAK!!!

Seems to me, one should have an idea of what can afford to pay for a payment on anything, a house, a car, a tv, a meal at a restaurant. Loan officers only whow what they are told by a borrower. If a borrower says, "yeah, that's fine", then great.

Why is a default on a mortgage note somebody else's fault? There are indeed a few instances when this is an issue, like when documents are falsified, or some other shady practice has taken place, but STILL, if a person signs a pile of papers stating what the payments and other terms are, that person should be able to say either that they CAN or CANNOT afford to take that step. She should have said, "maybe I need to find a house that give me a payment more like $X."

I'm stunned and dissappointed that we are turning toward a norm where some "company" is to blame for an individual's actions. Both these stories are symtomatic of a larger problem we have in America: "If I am successful, it was becasue of ME, if I am not successful, well, you must have done something to me to make it so that I COULDN'T be successful."

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, OVER!!!


The Many Sins of Walmart

I was looking at a resource I use in my business this morning, and I saw a conversation about walmart wanting to offer mortgage services as part of its application to the FDIC for a banking permit to be run out of a Utah headquarters. I couldn’t help myself, and I posted a long tirade against walmart in any of its forms… part of my ammunition is taken from the wakeupwalmart site (http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/), a place where they track the national actions of the company. Anyway, I just can’t help but go off on people who think walmart is the shiznit.
A quote from a recent newspaper article regarding walmart’s operations and tactics:
>>>The national movement to change Wal-Mart is not only a struggle to improve the lives of Wal-Mart's 1.35 million employees and their families, but also a struggle for a better America. It is a fight to live in a country where Wal-Mart workers, and all working people, can rise above poverty, provide their families with health care, and work free of discrimination and exploitation. The campaign to change Wal-Mart is the next big struggle for social and economic justice in America and follows in the great tradition of the civil rights movement.
As the largest employer in America, Wal-Mart has a responsibility to ensure its workers and their families have jobs that provide affordable health care, retirement security, and a safe and just workplace.
It is shockingly immoral for Wal-Mart, a company with $11 billion in annual profits, not to provide company health care to more than 775,000 of its workers and their families, many of whom are African-Americans, leaving nearly one out of every two children of its employees uninsured or on public assistance at a cost to taxpayers of $1.37 billion every year.
For the complete article


The Stromquist House


Here are the images I have found for the Stromquist House, by Frank Lloyd Wright. I have been

trying to find something worth posting here for a few days now - which would have been easy if I had enough brains to do a google search on the "stromquist house" name.

This is the house that is for sale in Utah right now. Asking price is 4 million, which, upon
investigation seemed high to me. Then, when you consider that it is a small distance up a canyon in one of the more affluent areas of Utah, and that it is situated on 10 acres of land, well, 4 Million seems about right.

Here are the best images:

I mentioned this house a few posts ago, here:


Incidentally, there is a FLW house for sale in Arizona right now that is STUNNING. $3 Million completely furnished. Take a look at it here:


an interesting fellow with no obvious conscience

Golden Palace Casino, or whatever it is, must be very proud.

This was during the curling competition at the olympics, where there were several antics by people bearing the same tattoo somewhere on their person, and the same sense of aboslutely no self-respect.

Yes, they must be proud.


An Interesting Stream of Consciousness

I wrote a couple of days ago regarding the proposed sale of a lesser known F.L. Wright house in Utah that is listed for sale. I was searching for a couple of images I could put up here with the post, and I ended up trying to research the history of the home. Although it is a valid FLW house (there are many imitations out there claiming to be original, thereby justifying an inflated purchase price), it is only listed on a few of the FLW sites out there... I've had a hard time finding a decent couple of images. Although the most recent issue of Architectural Digest shows a couple of interior images that I was unable to find elsewhere. So, fine, I was going to wait until the images post on the AD web site next month - if they indeed do that.

Then, I was watching 24 last night - the 2 hour episode, and there were several scenes shot at the "presidential retreat" house. I had noticed the design of the house earlier in several of the episodes, but hadn't really thought much about it. I noted to myself that the house was very "mid-century modern" in style, and that was that. Then last night I saw an evening exterior scene, and it hit me that I had for sure seen this house, and I thought it might be one of the FLW houses in the Los Angeles area. There was a shot of an exterior with a narrow curved pool, and I knew I had seen it before. Anyway, I got it totally STUCK in my head. Val said that she bet it was a set and not a real house. So I started searching. I found this out:

The house on the TV show is in fact a set piece. However, the set decorator used the designs of John Lautner as inspiriation for the home's design. John Lautner worked with FLW for six years before going out on his own. The home's particular design was inspired by several homes in Lautner's protfolio. He was quite prolific during his long career. Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of the home that got me thinking about all this in the first place:

More info is here, if you want it:


Frank Lloyd Wright House for sale...

Over the weekend I learned that the only Frank Lloyd Wright house located in Utah is for sale. Now, all I need is another 4 million dollars... I guess I'll need to go to the bank this afternoon and make a withdrawal. Or two.

Donald M. Stromquist House, Bountiful, Utah, 1958.When it was built, this concrete-block house was far from any neighbors. Now there are neighbors nearby. This house has been recently restored. It is sited halfway down a canyon wall.

There are a couple of nasty images of this house out there, but I haven't found anything worth looking at with regard to this house. If anybody can find something on it, I'd like to hear about it.



Polygamy in the News

While polygamy has been in the news these last months, with the HBO series starting soon, and Warren Jeffs still on the lam...

In contrast to the "glam" polygamy from Hollywood, let's not forget Mark Twain's comments in "Roughing It" about his visit to Utah:

"Our stay in Salt Lake City amounted to only two days, and therefore we had no time to make the customary inquisition into the workings of polygamy and get up the usual statistics and deductions preparatory to calling the attention of the nation at large once more to the matter. I had the will to do it. With the gushing self-sufficiency of youth I was feverish to plunge in headlong and achieve a great reform here--until I saw the Mormon women. Then I was touched. My heart was wiser than my head. It warmed toward these poor, ungainly and pathetically “homely” creatures, and as I turned to hide the generous moisture in my eyes, I said, “No--the man that marries one of them has done an act of Christian charity which entitles him to the kindly applause of mankind, not their harsh censure--and the man that marries sixty of them has done a deed of open-handed generosity so sublime that the nations should stand uncovered in his presence and worship in silence.” "Roughing It," pp 117-118

The Town That Gave Bush a 95.6% Victory


Go figure. Where's the sheep.

More Pete Ashdown fodder

Pete's a good egg. He's an effective and respectable businessperson -- I co-founded and operated a competitor to his ISP in 1995, and have nothing but respect for the way Pete grew Xmission into a huge success in an ethical and responsible manner. Even as a competitor, Pete very clearly was interested in doing the right thing for his customers, potential customers, and the people of Utah. He consistently made the best decisions to help his customers, and then figured out a way to make sure that the resulting course of action was economically viable. I may be a little simple, but that seems like exactly the kind of decision-making I'd like from more politicians. It would be great to have him as a senator for Utah.

Read the whole article here: http://dga.livejournal.com/14818.html

Why Anderson Consulting went out of business

Last week, we took some friends out to a new restaurant, and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket. It seemed a little strange. When the busboy brought our water and our utensils, I noticed he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket. I looked around and saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets. When the waiter came back to serve our soup I asked, "Why the spoon?"

"Well," he explained, "the restaurant's owners hired Andersen Consulting to revamp all our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour. If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift."

As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he was able to replace it with his spare.

"I'll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now." I was impressed.

I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter's fly. Looking around, I noticed that all the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies. So before he walked off, I asked the waiter,"Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?"

"Oh, certainly!" Then he lowered his voice. "Not everyone is so observant. That consulting firm I mentioned also found out that we can save time in the restroom by tying this string to the tip of you know what, we can pull it out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39 %."
I asked, "After you get it out, how do you put it back?"

"Well," he whispered. "I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon."

More Orrin Hatch Foolery


Speaking of Orrin Hatch, check this guy out:

Pete Ashdown is a guy I support for Orrin Hatch’s Seat in the Senate, although I would support Sid The Sloth to replace Orrin Hatch. That’s beside the point entirely.


Peter Ashdown says U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch has sold out to big media companies and he believes that is just one of the senator's shortcomings in representing workaday Utahns.

Hint: Do a google blog search on "Orrin Hatch" - like what you see?

So Ashdown, founder and president of Utah's own XMission, an Internet service provider, is working to replace Hatch in next year's elections. The 38-year-old Democrat is running for the U.S. Senate. And he's starting his campaign early, hoping to "capture the Democratic field" and keep other would-be challengers away.

"I'm serious about this race and don't plan to step aside" for any other Democratic challengers, says Ashdown, who founded XMission in 1993 while a computer science student at the University of Utah.

XMission, the official Internet host for the Utah Democratic Party and 25,000 other subscribers, took off, and Ashdown left the U. before getting his degree. But his office doesn't look bare without the sheepskin hanging on the wall; the cluttered space is covered with five separate computers, hundreds of computer parts and related stuff, and a lone picture of Abraham Lincoln — a Republican.

Recently, he posted this on his site:

By Their Works
Posted by Pete Ashdown on his website:

It has been a busy January. An impromptu trip to New York with unexpected political benefit, a nearly complete overhaul of the website, half-a-dozen speeches before groups and Rotaries, along with my recruitment by the Rotary HOC to do the website and business center for the 2007 Salt Lake Rotary International Convention. It has left little time for ruminations on my blog, but something happened today that warranted some notice.

Since my announcement, my father has been my biggest fan. He has confessed that he stays awake at night trying to come up with campaigning methods. He has served as driver in parades and mechanic in getting the ancient family motorhome functional for touring. Out of anyone involved, he has been the most consistent volunteer. I am lucky to be his son.

When my parents were starting out the family business, they exploited advertising wherever they could find it. The picture on this page is of their VW Bus with a handpainted sign across the top for the “Tutti Fruiti” juicer that was their product.
It wasn’t long into the campaign that Dad got out the plywood and made an “Ashdown for Senate” sign that he proudly hung on his Ford pickup he drives around Bountiful, Utah. One of the most conservative cities in the state. The city I was born and raised in. The city I love.

Tonight I received an email from him.
"Hi Peter,I have run into either the opposition or just vandalism. I had the sign I made for your campaign on the top of my truck. I went to the grocery store and while doing the shopping someone broke the sign off. It was gone when I came out. "

My father had his plywood sign vandalized and stolen. My 80-year-old father, who was born in Bountiful when it had less than 2,500 residents. My father, who lived in a chicken coop when Grandma accidentally burned down their house. My father, who survived the Great Depression. My father, who volunteered for dangerous submarine duty in WWII and was placed by fate on a supply ship instead. My father deserves more respect than this.

When I started this race, someone called for a boycott of my business XMission and it didn’t bother me. A few months later, someone threw a brick through a $1,300 15 foot window at the campaign office and I wrote it off as kids. This, however, this bothers me. I must be underestimating my incredible political threat for people to be so low in response.

I’ve heard all sorts of tales of political hatchet jobs from the local to the national. Some people have told me that I need to repeat these tales as fact connected to my opponent, but I refuse to. However, the beauty of what happens to me directly is that I have an avenue to turn around and report it. So keep it up chaps, I’ve got this shiny new technology that levels the playing field and presents you for what you are. Neither red nor blue, patriot or partisan, but a yellow coward who vandalizes the work of an 80-year-old American veteran.

My father closed his email with the following:
"Maybe it should be made of steel. Love, Dad"
I couldn’t agree more.

Go here and send the guy some money for a new plywood sign:

Something funny one of my kids sent me this morning


OVERSTOCK.COM / Patrick Byrne

So, I guess I’ve been saving up for a little while here, so here goes. I heard yesterday more information about the dude at Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne, CEO. Last spring/summer we held the quarterly earnings report conference call and went on a 60 tirade that included references to, among other things, a “Dark Sith Lord”, a “Vast wide-spread conspiracy”, his sexual orientation, experiences with cocaine, and lots of other stupid drivel. His comments relate to what he calls a conspiracy to hold the price of his company’s shares to low levels, through a stock trading technique called “shorting”. In particular, he is concerned about more aggressive technique called “naked shorting”. When you “short” a stock, you are betting on (and benefiting from) a downward trend in a company’s stock price. “Shorters” must have money in their trading account to be allowed to short stocks – most of the time. “Naked Shorting” is when you DON’T have the money to cover that short bet, which Mr. Byrne believes has led traders to bribe columnists and reporters to publish negative stories about the company in order to ensure a downward trend, and cover their "nakedness". That’s where the “Sith Lord” comes in. Byrne has accused columnists and reporters of accepting bribes from this “Lord” to report negatively and give negative guidance regarding Overstock’s price trends.

Oddly, the SEC and other agencies are actually entertaining his accusations, and have launched an investigation. Of course, this gives rise to Byrne’s courage, and he is ever more vocal about the whole thing. A year ago, his company was doing great, great stock price, it was basically a Wall Street darling company, and everybody was loving them. Then Byrne opened his mouth, and everything he touched started turning to Poo-Poo. Now, as if this state needed the image of containing even more QUACKS and Weirdo’s than it already does (can you say Orrin Hatch??? – more on him later), this guy has to chime in and make himself look like an IDIOT.

But wait a minute, a friend of mine sent me a link yesterday (
http://www.gary-weiss.com) to a new book being published, claiming that ENRON and friends was nothing in the grand scale of wall street scandals. This guy claims that naked shorting (at a corpoprate level - like, say, with Schwab) is out of control, and the technique is responsible for putting multiple companies OUT OF BUSINESS. With publications and other articles out there like this, along with an SEC investigation, there’s no telling now where this will lead. A columnist at MarketWatch.com has been implicated as possibly the “Sith Lord” himself, colluding with many other people. This will be fun to watch. Note that shorting, and even naked shorting isn't necessarily illegal, but the thought is that if it's a business practice of large brokerage house companies, it has te potential to entice principles toward soliciting negative press in order to maintain that short postion until it can be covered, or rewarded. Interestingly, Byrne’s father, the former CEO of Geico, (and apparently the sole reason for Warren Buffet buying that company), is also the Chairman of the Board for Overstock, and he is reportedly telling his odd child to sit down and run his company.

A year or so ago, a new dude was hired to totally overhaul the IT/tracking systems at Overstock. Byrne even talked him up with very high praise at one of his earnings calls. Three months later, there was a SNAFU that made it so the company could not upload new products, or track shipments and all kinds of crap. Then, they guy was just gone, he just disappeared. Sounds like Mr. Byrne needs to spend a little more time dealing with the issues inside his own four walls. Or, does he?



been real busy over the last few days

so I haven't had time to wrap my head aorund anything intelligent to write about here... however, I have received some emails that have made me chuckle, so here are some links:


there - that will keep you entertained until I get back.