Book Review | This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — plus plenty of valet parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital by Mark Leibovich

If you needed any reason to be cynical about American politics, then Mark Leibovich’s This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — plus plenty of valet parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital is the book for you. I guarantee that you will not put it down with a single breath of hope and optimism  about the future of our country remaining in you. Unless, of course, you’re one of the few wealthy or connected enough to be one of the elites. On the other hand, maybe some healthy skepticism about government is…

Holly Richardson enters race for Senate 14, calls for leaders “who look for solutions”

Former state legislator Holly Richardson has joined the race for Utah Senate District 14. The seat is currently held by Al Jackson, who will not seek reelection. “Over the course of this campaign, we will have many opportunities to talk about policy, but today, I want to share the type of leader I believe we need,” said Richardson. “We need leaders who look for solutions, not just the next soundbite. We need leaders who understand that diversity and differences make for a richer, more robust conversation and are to be…

Utah GOP Chair James Evans letter spells out legal basis for SB 54 dispute: Certification to Utah Supreme Court next?

In a letter Friday (embedded below), Utah GOP Chair James Evans responded to two previous letters from Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox relating to issues of disagreement between the Utah Republican Party and the Utah Elections Office over SB 54. In the letter, Evans highlights areas of disagreement with the LG and spells out the Republican Party’s analysis of the dispute, request possible certification to the Utah Supreme Court for final resolution of the issue. With filing period opening in early January for candidates to begin collecting signatures, all parties to…

Mark Twain on the statistics of indiscriminate mass shootings in 2015

As the debate over how public policy should respond to mass shootings whips into a heated fury of facts, figures, statistics and memes, I can’t help but remember Mark Twain’s insight on the media: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” The last few days have seen a proliferation of examples of this. You’ve heard, repeated ad nauseam, that we’ve had more mass shootings this year than ever, more even than there are days in the year! If your internal BS radar doesn’t go off, then…

Rep. Craig Hall: Time for justice court judges to be “licensed to practice law”

With a recent report on Utah’s judicial system finding that many defendants appear before judges inadequately represented–if at all–perhaps it’s time that we take another look at another problematic area of Utah’s judicial branch: the courts not of record, or “justice courts.” Rep Craig Hall (HD 33) wants justice court judges to be licensed to practice law in Utah. Having fair, effective, and knowledgeable judges are a crucial part of just and equitable judicial system. Where other courts issues decisions and rulings of law and fact, keep a record to allow for appeal and evidentiary matters, and are subject…

Is a focus on stunts instead of policy hurting the Alliance for a Better Utah?

The Alliance for a Better Utah has a problem keeping good people on staff. After losing long-time Utah politico Maryann Martindale last year and then Rob DeBirk this year, ABU is rapidly becoming an extension of the Utah Democratic Party. Given Utah’s proclivity for conservative government, it can be hard to be a progressive-leaning advocacy group like the ABU. Republicans dominate in the state House, Senate and the governor’s mansion, and there’s no sign of that changing soon. Utahns tend to prefer a more conservative approach to government, both in style and…

Lieutenant Gov’s office responds to SB 54 questions from Sen. Todd Weiler

It’s been a busy week for the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office. On Friday, Mark Thomas, the LG’s Chief Deputy, responded to a series of SB 54 related questions from Utah State Senator Todd Weiler. Thomas’ letter spells out a legal line of reasoning at odds with the Utah Republican Party’s arguments that Judge David Nuffer’s decision guts SB 54. Find the letter below. Thomas’ letter Friday comes on the heels of LG Spencer Cox’s letter to Evans laying out similar arguments, as well as Cox’s personal apology for some of tense words exchanged during the dispute.…

Utah LG Spencer Cox extends olive branch to GOP Chair James Evans, explains state’s SB 54 legal position

Can a soft answer turn away wrath? In a letter yesterday, Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox responded to a letter from Utah Republican Party Chair James Evans with an apology and an explanation of the state’s legal position on SB 54 issues. In the letter to Cox, sent earlier this month, Evans requested that the LG’s office identify differences of opinion regarding the application of SB 54. The exchange of letters comes in the wake of a court decision allowing the Republican Party to close the Primary to unaffiliated voters.…

The “unseriousness” of Donald Trump

Who, asks George Will, should Americans trust on national security? Donald Trump, who creates his own version of reality out of whole cloth? Ben Carson, with only limited experience or knowledge about foreign policy (if any at all)? Among other things, George Will points to how the GOP candidates’ response to the attacks in Paris is distinguishing between candidates and serious contenders for Commander-in-Chief. He saves his most stinging description for Donald Trump, who creates his own version of reality…separate from reality. For an example of pluperfect unseriousness, consider this Trump claim, which is amazingly absurd…

The candidates to replace Justin Miller in HD 40

With Justin Miller’s resignation in effect on November 11, Democrats will gather to select a replacement, choosing from four candidates to send one to Governor Gary Herbert for appointment to fill out Miller’s term representing HD 40. Early on, prior even to Miller’s resignation, former HD 40 Representative Lynn Hemingway let it be known that he wanted the seat back and was seen as a favorite for getting it. Insiders watching the race have place attorney Amy Fowler and accountant Chris Stout in a competitive position, speculating that delegates may…