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It's no secret that in recent years the EPA went from being the Environmental PROTECTION Agency to the Environmental PROFITEERING Agency. During the Bush years, many regulation were loosened to allow more pollution. Bush isn't done, though. From the Colorado Independent Newsroom:

The Environmental Protection Agency seems on the brink of issuing a new regulation that would make it easier for power plants to operate longer hours - and emit more pollution. Under the proposed rule, power plants would be able to measure their rate of emissions on an hourly basis instead of their annual total output.

As long as the hourly emissions stay at or below the plant's established maximum, the plant would be treated as if it were operating cleanly - even if its total annual emissions increased as plant managers stepped up output. The proposed power-plant rule marks a final attempt by the Bush administration to radically revise the way are applied, especially the Clean Air Act.

More EPA "Duh" News - the EPA is finally taking public comments about whether it should be regulating carbon dioxide and other heat trapping pollutants. Isn't this one a no brainer? Why have an EPA if they aren't going to even lift a finger on major environmental concerns?

For those that feel this is a valid and important issue for the EPA, you can make comments until Friday at http://www.repoweramerica.org/page/s/epa

My feeling is that if the EPA is not willing to protect the environment and the health of human beings related to the environment, let's get rid of it. There's no point in having an agency that refuses to do it's job, and we could reduce the deficit by millions by getting rid of a useless government agency (and yes, that is a bit redundant . . .)
Should one person's religious beliefs take precedence over another's basic rights? If gay-rights advocates had insisted that gay marriages be given more rights than straight marriages, the "pro" folks might have a case. The simple solution if you don't like gay marriage, is not to have one -- no one will force you to.

I have yet to see a compelling case from the Pro-Prop 8 folks -- as this contentious YouTube clip illustrates clearly (Thanks to Cliff at One Utah for the link)

So I've noticed comments, letters and from news stories that the right-wing of this country is convinced that Obama is  far left, a Marxist,  a Socialist, a Communist at best and a terrorist at worst. I think the right-wing spin machine has been working overtime spewing a lot of ridiculous statements -- so much so that those who gobble up such nonsense wouldn't recognize a true socialist if they met one.

So here it is - plain and simple. Obama is no socialist. Obama is a centrist with a slight left leaning. What that means is that Obama is a lot closer to the right politically than George Bush was to the left. In reality, it's been generations since there was a true lefty in the White House, and that's not going to change any time soon -- mostly because true lefties are hostile to the corporations that buy the elections.

But by all means -- please continue with the hysteria-producing hype. My prediction is that such spin will eventually lose creditability as many on the right tire of the constant fear that never materializes as a real threat, or those die-hards who believe everything told to them by Rush, Coulter, et al. will self-explode from the frenzy doing us all a favor.

Congrats Obama Supporters

Even thought I didn't support Obama for president  (I felt he was far too centrist and too willing to cave on important issues such as FISA and nuke energy, for example), I still feel a sigh of relief.


The past eight years have been so unbelievably bad that many otherwise progressive people have started to forget how  politicians like Bill Clinton or the roll-over Dems of Bush's early years actually hurt many of the things that we value. These politicians who would normally be condemned for harmful policies started to look like angels next to the person that will probably go down in history as the worst president that the U.S. has ever had.

With Obama in the White House and the Dems controlling the Senate and most likely the House as of this writing, we can again focus on the issues that are really important. Third parties will again have a chance to gain some traction, and we the people will have a lot more influence on policies that concern us.

Best of all, we can stop the backwards movement of the past 8 years and hopefully be able to at least tread water, if not make some cautious returns in the forward direction.

My Day as a Poll Worker

This was my first time as a poll worker -- and I enjoyed myself very much. I worked with interesting people and had a lot of fun socializing with my fellow poll workers and a few of the voters that came in. I am definitely interested in being a poll worker in the future and recommend the experience to anyone.

*We seemed to have a high percentage of young and brand-new voters at our precinct. It was heartwarming to see their excitement about voting for the first time.
*We were spoiled at our precinct -- treated to fresh coffee, tea and baked goods throughout the day.

*When factoring in early, absentee, regular and provisional ballots, we had roughly 50% participation at our precinct. We had about 10 voters the final two hours the polls were open, when we expected our biggest rush. The only time we had a significant line was at about 7:30 in the morning. We were located in the heart of SLC, and I expected a high voter turnout rate.
From Glenden over at One Utah, quoting Open Left:

  • ACORN has implemented the most sophisticated quality-control system in the voter engagement field but in almost every state we are required to turn in ALL completed applications, even the ones we know to be problematic.
  • ACORN flags in writing incomplete, problem, or suspicious cards when we turn them in. Unfortunately, some of these same officials then come back weeks or months later and accuse us of deliberately turning in phony cards. In many cases, we can actually prove that these are the same cards we called to their attention.
  • Our canvassers are paid by the hour, not by the card. ACORN has a zero-tolerance policy for deliberately falsifying registrations, and in the cases where our internal quality controls have identified this happening we have fired the workers involved and turned them in to election officials and law-enforcement.
  • The rate of incomplete cards for the drive was 5 percent (about 65,000 cards) and the rate of “suspicious” cards was 1.5 percent (about 19,500 cards).

. . . in the past few weeks alone, ACORN staffers have received death threats in Ohio and Rhode Island, and offices have been vandalized in Washington and Massachusetts. Numerous threatening and racist phone calls have been made to ACORN offices across the country. As the Right’s actions have made plain, what’s at stake here is not simply what happens on November 4th, but whether or not American citizens will be able to exercise their most basic right: the right to vote.

Friday October 24, 7-8:30pm - Salt Lake Art Center - 20 S. West Temple - Free of Charge, Open to the Public
ACLU Freedom Files - "Freedom to Vote: Protecting the Ballot"
In partnership with the ACLU of Utah, the Art Center will present a 26-minute documentary, Freedom to Vote: Protecting the Ballot, followed by a moderated discussion with community panelists and audience members on issues of voting rights and its impact on Utah residents and the upcoming election.  Differing and respectful viewpoints are encouraged to join the dialogue on this important topic.

The film highlights how laws requiring photo I.D. to vote (laws being proposed across the U.S.) are threatening to disenfranchise low-income individuals, elderly and disabled people, and people of color. Such laws also tend to impact voters disproportionately by party affiliation. This is a non-partisan event (the ACLU of Utah and the Salt Lake Art Center do not officially endorse any candidate in any election); however, we invite you to speak freely as necessary with regards to how these laws impact members of different parties differently. Watch a clip from the documentary at: http://aclu.tv/vote  
Discussion Moderator: Chris Vanocur, ABC Channel 4 News
Panelist: Erika George, University of Utah Constitutional Law Professor, ACLU of Utah Board Member 
Panelist: Laura Polacheck, AARP of Utah, Associate State Director
Panelist: Andrew Riggle, Disability Law Center, Public Policy Advocate
Panelist: Marina Lowe, ACLU of Utah Staff attorney
For more information, contact:
Anna Brower
Development Director
American Civil Liberties Union of Utah
801-521-9862 ext. 100
Granny D (Doris Haddock) -- you may have heard of her. At the age of 89 (or 90 as it says here) she walked across the U.S. for campaign finance reform. Here's a snipet from a speech this nearly 99 year old woman (her birthday is in January)  recently gave with my added emphasis.

From Dee's 'Dotes:


(talking about the Great Depression)
Imagination! Let me suggest that a generation raised on books and storytelling, where one’s own imagination had to fill in the colors and details, made us a generation quite able to imagine marvelous ways to fill our family dinner table in those years. Let me suggest that the power of imagination was essential to the rise of all the grand improvements we achieved for each other and called our New Deal. Imagination allows the citizen and the politician to connect with people of every situation and condition.

I have often heard it said that the more right-wing members of our present political order will not bend on a difficult issue -- say stem cell research -- until someone they love needs that bit of medical magic. Well, I think that suggests that the foundation of right-wing politics is a grand absence of imagination. If you cannot imagine what people need until it happens to you, then I suggest you have never read a mystery book under your covers by flashlight. I do not mean to pick on my more conservative friends, but imagination and its product, empathy, are necessary in a democracy, if it is to survive and prosper as a just and happy system of life. Imagination, empathy, education and moral leadership are the essentials of a good and humane democracy.

Nine years ago, at the age of 90, I walked 3,200 miles across the United States. I was promoting a specific political reform that did in fact pass Congress later. I was also cleaning out my heart after the death of my husband, Jim, and my best friend, Elizabeth.

I met the old America along that road – the America I hadn’t seen since the 1930s and which I had almost forgotten.
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Proposition 8, a bill in California meant to codify discrimination of LGBT persons looks set to win -- but a recent poll that asked likely voters how they would vote after seeing ads from both sides shows that if the ads for the "No on 8" could be seen, then Prop 8 would be defeated. Problem is, there isn't as much money on the No side as for those pushing for this law, an awful lot of which is coming from Utah.

"“Proposition 8… would eliminate the fundamental right to same-sex marriage. The very act of denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry – traditionally the highest legal and societal recognition of a loving commitment – by definition relegates them and their relationship to second class status.” Los Angeles Times Editorial, August 8, 2008

Regardless of how you feel about this issue, we should guarantee the same fundamental rights to every Californian. Vote No on 8."

I'm far from wealthy, but I feel the need to help cancel out these donations of fear.

I've just put my money where my mouth is and contributed $20. I'd like to challenge anyone who reads this to contribute half of that - $10 - no matter if you are gay, straight, or both or neither. I'm further challenging progressive/lefty Utah bloggers to match or exceed my donation amount.. Go to http://www.noonprop8.com/ and click on the "Donate Today" button.

Let's get Utah to donate as much to fight this discrimination as Utah is sending to promote it. Let's cancel out the donations of fear!

I just went to my poll worker training yesterday. The trainer warned us that this election is predicted to be unprecedented in Salt Lake County, with projected line waits of about an hour. If you don't vote by mail, it's probably a good idea to vote early to avoid the expected wait time. Early voting is available at the following locations:

In-Office Early Voting Schedule

In-office voting will take place in the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office (County Government Center, 2001 South State Street, South Building, Room S1002) 

Weekdays beginning October 13 through November 3

Hours 8:00 am - 5:00 pm and on

Saturday, October 25 and Saturday, November 1

Hours 10:00 am - 3:00 pm 

Early Voting Schedule

Weekdays beginning October 21 through October 30

Hours 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm and on

Friday, October 31 from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm

  • NW Multipurpose Center - 1300 W 300 N, SLC
  • Murray City Hall - 5025 S State St, Murray
  • Holladay City Hall - 4580 S 2300 E, Holladay
  • Kearns Improvement District - 5350 W 5400 S, Kearns
  • Taylorsville City Hall - 2600 W Taylorsville Blvd (5330 S), Taylorsville
  • University of Utah Olpin Union Building - 200 S Central Campus Dr, SLC
  • Sandy Fire Station #35 - 8186 S 1300 E, Sandy
  • Sandy City Hall - 10000 S Centennial Pkwy (170 W), Sandy
  • Gale History Center - 10300 S Beckstead Ln (1600 W), SJ
  • Draper City Hall - 1020 E Pioneer Rd (12425 S), Draper
  • West Valley City Hall - 3600 S Constitution Blvd (2700 W), WVC
  • Riverton City Hall - 12830 S 1700 W, Riverton
  • Midvale City Hall - 655 W Center St (7720 S), Midvale
  • WJ Fire Station #53 - 7602 S Jordan Landing Blvd (3900 W), WJ
  • Magna Chamber of Commerce - 9145 W 2700 S, Magna 


Sunflower A
Jennifer Killpack-Knutsen
I'm on Common Circle.net


This blog is an ever evolving project. I write about local and national politics from an independent-left point of view. I'm also exploring ways to live with less impact on the planet and trying new ways to be an involved and active citizen.

I welcome your feedback. If you comment to one of my posts and you are not a livejournal user, please sign your name at the bottom of your comment. Thanks!
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