Early Afternoon Take on Last Night’s News — May 7, 2015

• Dan Liljenquist makes some excellent points about the intersection of freedom of speech and religion — basically that the two shouldn’t intersect. One nit to pick, though, Dan. You write: “While many of all faiths are disgusted, including myself, that Mormons are fair game for such public ridicule…” I disagree. Perhaps one can be disgusted at the words used. But to be disgusted that someone is fair game? That’s being disgusted at the concept of free speech itself. And throw away the key… I’m starting to think we just…

Double-Dipping or Talent Retention? A Look at HB 77.

A bill proposed for the 2015 Utah Legislature will reallow public employees to return to state employment after retirement and continue to draw  retirement check in addition to a new salary or wage, a practice that was ended by the 2010 Utah Legislature. The bill’s sponsor says it is an effort to keep talent in the hiring pool, but others see it as a return to pre-2010 double-dipping practices. Dan Liljenquist has built his political reputation on saving Utah’s pension systems during 2009 and 2010. In the wake of the housing…

Why I’m Running for Utah’s 3rd Congressional Seat

When in the course of human events, if an opponent rises unchallenged, it is incumbent upon one of the citizenry to rise to the occasion, to give the people choices in their election. After watching Jason Chaffetz destroy and dismantle Brian Wonnancott in a debate for Utah’s 3rd Congressional seat, I decided then and there – or a few days after; who’s counting? – to throw my hat in the ring to make this race a little more competitive. If the Democrats aren’t going to try, let’s have an Independent…

President Obama has become a constitutional squatter

During my first year at the University of Chicago Law School, while wading through painfully obscure court decisions from hundreds of year ago, I learned that under English Common Law individuals who had no ownership rights in a piece of property could establish “squatters rights” by taking exclusive possession of the property and staying there for a long period of time. The courts of those days reasoned, correctly, that if a rightful property owner did not seek to exercise and enforce his rights within a reasonable amount of time, then…

The Healthy Utah Poll: Pushing Public Opinion, not Finding It

Released on June 17th, a poll shows massive public support for Governor Gary Herbert’s Health Utah Medicaid expansion plan. In fact, if the poll numbers are to be trusted,  legislators with any kind of political self-interest should be scrambling to accept the Medicaid expansion. On a second look, though, the poll isn’t so helpful as it looks and may actually have methodology problems. Utah policy makers should be wary before accepting the results of the poll. Utahns have a lot still to learn about Medicaid expansion before a decision is made to accept…

Utah’s Energy Revolution

When the history of the great recession is finally written, I suspect that America’s domestic energy revolution will be credited for pulling us out of it. As a country, primarily through the application of new extraction techniques and technologies that are unlocking heretofore inaccessible oceans of oil and natural gas, the United States of America is transforming itself into the dominant energy producer in the world. Within the next few years, America will not only become energy independent, but could also become the world’s largest energy exporter. Once again, American…

Don’t do stupid stuff is not a policy, it is a justification

On Sunday, Politico reported that the Obama administration has made a concerted effort over the past several weeks to publicize a new foreign policy doctrine. First reported by the Los Angeles Times in April, and later parroted by both the Chicago Tribune and New York Times, the West Wing’s new foreign policy strategy is: “don’t do stupid stuff” (but, as each of these papers point out, with “stuff” replaced with a four letter expletive). Apparently, we are all supposed to be impressed. The revelation of such a sophomoric, frat-boy attitude…