Friday, February 20, 2009

Salt Blog is Dead - Long Live Salt Blog

[Big News] Salt Lake City Weekly has launched an all-new website at, replete with its own blog section. The Salt Blog as been reborn as an aggregation of the latest entries from separate News, Food, Music, Movies, TV and more blogs. This BlogSpot will remain for the time being as an archive of our January 2007-February 2009 entries; now, join us at:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Homophobes Wimmer Doesn't Want You to See

In case anybody is curious about those wingers who brought their Proposition 8 placards to Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s office last week—and who are so nutty Rep. Carl Wimmer didn't want them at a 'phobe hootenanny last week because "they make a lot of us [homophobes capable of tying our own shoes] look bad"—they have their own 1994-rrific Website, a gift that keeps on giving. Here's a sample of the kind of brainpower that goes into whipping up the 'phobes into a self-righteous fervor:

Do Not Be Fooled By Equality Utah and The Common Ground Initiative They are using intimadation to gain ground and are lying to the public, ALL THEY WANT IS MARRIAGE RIGHTS to valdite their relationship of the same-sex!!! THEY ALREADY HAVE THE RIGHT to Marry, a gay man can marry a gay woman!

(Sic, sic, sic.)

Apparently, the sanctity of marriage is so sacred to them, they recommend making a mockery of it with hopelessly mismatched faux-nuptials. Also, love the Web 1.0 retro site design. Best viewed using Netscape. I'm pretty sure if you look around long enough, you'll find a Dancin' Baby and probably even a Hampster Dance page.

(Brandon Burt)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Shades of Green

[Book signing] It seemed auspicious to attend "ecopreneur" Scott Cooney's Feb. 17 book signing at Sam Weller's Books on the same day as Obama's stimulus bill signing. Cooney was in town hawking his book Build a Green Small Business, and the former co-founder of Salt Lake City's ReDirect Guide is living, breathing proof that there is some green to be made riding the green wave. At the very least, there could be a book deal.

Cooney, now living in "green-central" San Francisco, is a soft-spoken personable fellow who seems rather pleased with himself for recognizing early on that having an MBA and a love for the environment are not mutually exclusive. He launched and sold three green business in the past five years and now serves as a consultant for big corporations and even individuals searching for their own environmental niche. He also writes for several green business blogs, including his own at

A bit circumspect when asked how much opportunity would trickle down to small business via the stimulus bill, Cooney did suggest that energy efficiency (i.e., retrofitting buildings to be green) was where it was at, both in terms of a particular skill set and starting a business. He also stressed the importance of networking with other green business owners while the industry is young.

If you'd like to hear more from Cooney, you can catch him here.

Thursday, February 19

7 p.m.: Golden Braid Books, 151 S. 500 East, downtown SLC.

Friday, February 20

7 p.m.: The King’s English, 15th East and 15th South. Informal reception to follow. (Jerre Wroble)

Ken Starr Outlines Obstructionist GOP Strategy to Mormon Lawyers

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Angry Anglers

(Legislature) Angry angers and kayakers are slated to take over the Capitol rotunda tomorrow to protest a bill that would limit which river sections can be used by the public for fishing and other recreation. House Bill 187, sponsored by Rep. Ben Ferry, R-Corinne, was passed Wednesday to the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee for an as yet unscheduled hearing.
The bill is a response to this summer Utah Supreme Court decision granting the public access to play in all river waters, even where rivers run through private property. HB 187 would limit such access to sections of around 14 state rivers and prohibit recreational river use near homes.
Tomorrow’s rally, at 10:30 a.m., should be a scene. The Website of the Utah Rivers Council, one of the groups fighting HB 187, advises, “feel free to bring your waders, rod, boat, paddle, life jacket, whatever...” City Weekly previously wrote about the river battle here and here. (Ted McDonough)

Madrid by Moonlight

[Late Night Snack]  Following last night's Salt Lake Magazine Dining Awards, where once again I was snubbed, we trooped over to Cafe Madrid for a late night snack. I tend to forget how marvelous Madrid is, even though it won the Best SLC Restaurant award in 2006 from Salt Lake Magazine. 

We were greeted by Cafe Madrid's dazzling owner, Gabriella McAfee, who promptly placed plates of entremeses in front of us: Serrano ham, lomo, and chorizo, along with imported Manchego cheese. 

A wine-savvy server named Dominique introduced me to a fabulous Spanish red wine from the Ribera del Duero, called Abadia Retuerta "Rivola." It's a fruit bomb with gorgeous cocoa and chocolate flavors, sort of like a cherry-coated alcoholic malted milk ball. Yummy! 

We munched on tender, tasty shrimp ceviche with red onions and mixed greens while taking in the wonderful artwork of J.C. Pino, Gabriella's talented painter brother, who also works at Cafe Madrid, spreading joy and good vibes wherever he goes. Another young Cafe Madrid server, with the cool name of Skyler, also has the makings of a real restaurant pro. 

Needless to say, I highly recommend dropping in to Cafe Madrid for a long, leisurely dinner or just a light snack. (Ted Scheffler)  

Homophobia and Assholism: Are They Connected?

[Anthropology] I can see why somebody might want to be a homophobe. It's probably fun to have a whole group at your disposal to sneer at and feel morally superior to. Even better if you think you don't personally know any members of that group.

And it's probably best if you can somehow make it a part of your religion. That way, you don't have to take responsibility for your own dislikes and prejudices—just say God hates the same people you do. That way, you're simply doing God's will.

"Them there gay homos are eviller than the Mooslims, hyuck-hyuck!"

What I don't understand is why homophobes can't just sit around feeling all hate-y and morally superior; why do they have to be so swinish? Why are homophobes so often assholes?

It's not enough that they promote constitutional amendments and blindly support even the dumbest laws, as long as they can further restrict the rights of gays and lesbians. (A law making it illegal for gays to buy ice cream? Bring it on; those queers are a threat to our families' ice-cream consumption!)

No, they also have to say cruel, senseless things about me: That I'm a greater "threat" to America than a terrorist is, that I'm liable to harm children, that I'm really, really mean and I have no morals.

Maybe they don't intend to be assholes. Maybe they're just deluded.

Buttars, apparently, even thinks that there's some new perversion sweeping the gay and lesbian community, something that's so bad the ABC 4 Utah Website wouldn't publish it. I can't listen to the recorded interview without throwing office equipment, but my guess is Buttars watched the Family Research Council scare-video from years ago that makes gross and incredible claims about, er, massive coprophilia.

Shows how gullible homophobes are. It isn't the gays who are full of shit.

(Brandon Burt)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jenny Wilson Did It

[Finally, Benefits] Today, the Salt Lake County Council approved benefits for domestic partners of Salt Lake County employees. The plan will cover committed same-sex partners, and other long-term dependents of county employees. The change will cost taxpayers about $300,000.

 Thank you to the sponsor, who kept pushing for three years in a row. Councilwoman Jenny Wilson never gave up. Wilson, by way of the usual disclosure, is my stepdaughter.  Bravo. The council approved Wilson's plan 6-3, including the approval of Councilman Max Burdick, a newcomer who decided to let common sense trump impassioned arguments swirling around about the death of the traditional family.

On the same day the county passed Wilson's measure, the Utah Legislature killed in committee two more bills related to gay rights. A bill allowing for gays and lesbians to foster and adopt children died a quick death, as did a proposal to outlaw employment and housing discrimination against gays and transgender people. Now I know why I'll never leave Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City. It's great to live on an island of growing tolerance toward all. I'm counting on change throughout the state, though. It's going to happen. (Holly Mullen)

Very Special-Needs

From the Trib Website Tuesday afternoon.

Hey, teacher! Leave them (dead) kids alone!

(Brandon Burt)

Dead Port: Week 2

(Bill Frost)

Dead Goat: Week 111

(Bill Frost)

Dead Zephyr: Week 275

(Bill Frost)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wina, We Saw You in the Times

[Utah Sports Go Big] Props to Wina Sturgeon, veteran Utah sports writer and dynamite masters-level ski racer. The New York Times published her weekend story rounding up many of Utah's moneymaking sports events (Dew Tour, extreme skiing, Youth Archery Championships etc.) and the state's amped-up effort to attract more sports and recreation fans to our big, beautiful outdoors. Sturgeon has slugged it out among Utah freelancers for decades, and writes occasionally for City Weekly. Her work shows up regularly in the Times and Sports Illustrated, among other national media.

In her Times piece, Sturgeon (that's her in the photo) quotes our ever-hip Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.:

“There is no question that making Utah the top spot for adventure sports will help the state. Whether young people do these sports or just watch them on television, when they see it coming out of Utah, it plants a seed in their mind that Utah is a hip destination unmatched anywhere else in the world.”

(Holly Mullen)

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Ethics Land Mine

[Legislature] Utah's first standing Ethics Committee met today amid modest fanfare to talk about their new task of cleaning house. The historic moment was ushered in by a pair of proposed bills both by Rep. Brad Dee, R-Washington Terrace. The first, H.B. 345 is meant to instate a cooling off period between when legislators can become lobbyists after leaving public office.

That's the idea at least.

The bill as it turns out would only instate a one year cooling off period for legislators who want to go to work for a lobbying firm--that is a firm that only does lobbying. If however a legislator leaves office and gets hired by, say, Zion's bank and his only job is to go and do lobbying at the legislature for Zions, then he or she doesn't have to worry about the whole cooling off period. This because "there are a myriad of businesses in Utah with a myriad of problems" explained Dee.

Most committee members quickly recognized this loophole but still conceded the merits of the bill.

"There's no perfect solution and no perfect language in dealing with ethics," said committee member, Rep. Kevin Garn R-Layton. "We'll always have that problem."

The next item was H.B 346 which would do some tinkering with candidate's campaign disclosure filings. One change would keep legislators busy by requiring them to report all contributions they receive within five business days of receiving them instead of one of the five annual filing deadlines.

"The public would like to know now, and not at the next reporting period," Dee said of the language.

Hooray transparency!

But then it was explained how the bill would also make it so that candidates would no longer need to disclose the monetary value of in-kind campaign contributions. These donations refer to services a donor provides a candidate such as website design, mailers, billboards etc... Dee explained the candidate should not be burdened with appraising the values of the services. So the language would require only that a candidate list that they had received an in-kind donation and give a brief description of what it was.

The contributor would still have to list the monetary value of their donation but that would be only listed on their separate report.

Rep. Tim Cosgrove, D-Murray also on the committee worried special interests might take advantage of that loophole. "I'm concerned with the amount of interest groups that may just end up funding an entire campaign, free of charge."

Regardless, both bills passed out the committee unanimously, with most committee members sounding off on progress being made. Dee for one picked up on the various committee members latching on to the expression that "the ball has been moved" and sounded off his presentation with this thought:

"We haven't scored a touchdown yet, but we have got a couple of first downs," he said.

That metaphor was a popular one during the meeting, but I think one offered by Rep. Brad Last, R-St. George, really summed up the challenges of doing ethics legislation. In regards to H.B. 364's letting candidates get off the hook for not listing the monetary value of in-kind donations, Last said the measure would keep legislators from stepping on ethics "landmines".

"We want the public to know what we're doing," Last said. "But we don't want to place landmines for us [legislators] to have to navigate around."

(Eric S. Peterson)

Survivor: V-Necks Ahoy

[Locals on Reality TV] Survivor: Toncantins premiered on CBS last night, and guess what? The Utah guy isn't the most annoying contestant! (That would be "Coach.") Lindon's Tyson Apostol does, however, have a penchant for V-neck shirts which is either 1. a clever ruse to hide his true he-man abilities, or 2. just plain disturbing. Meet Tyson:

(Bill Frost)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gone Fishing

[Legislature] The worst fears of anglers are coming true on Capitol Hill in the form of a just-filed bill that purports to take away river access recently granted by the Utah Supreme Court.

The “Recreational Use of Public Waters” bill written by Rep. Ben Ferry, R- Corinne, not only undoes this summer’s 5-0 decision granting the public recreational use of state rivers, it would make river access worse than before the ruling. So complain the Utah Rivers Council and the Utah Council of Trout Unlimited, which are gearing up to fight the bill.

“We don’t want the Legislature to take away what the court has given,” says Bob Dibblee, chairman of the Utah state Trout Unlimited chapter. He’s hoping a healthy showing of some of the state’s 400,000 anglers on Capitol Hill will help lawmakers see that House Bill 187 isn’t the compromise between private-property rights and river access Trout Unlimited thought it was negotiating with lawmakers.

HB 187 and a companion bill would rewrite state trespassing law, making fisherman criminals for crossing some lands traditionally used for gaining access to rivers. Many currently-fished river sections would be made inaccessible by that provision alone. The bill also says fishing won’t be allowed on rivers within 500 feet of homes.

The widest restrictions come in a provision of HB 187 that purports to limit public river access to 17 river sections throughout the state. Few river forks or tributaries are included on the list.

Critics argue that undoing the Supreme Court’s decision misses the boat on new money-making tourism opportunities, not to mention the hundreds of millions the state Division of Wildlife Resources estimates anglers already spend each year in Utah. (Ted McDonough)

Lincoln Logs

[Feb. 12] Two hundred years ago today, both Abe Lincoln and Charlie Darwin were born, Lincoln to hard-shell Baptists in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kent., and Darwin to a mostly Unitarian family in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. Both ultimately let go of religion, with neither one affiliated with a church when he died.

Their bicentennial birthday parties are low-key affairs here in the Beehive State (except for a few university celebrations, such as the Humanists of Utah's Darwin Day event featured in this week's Five Spot)—not surprising since,
during their time, both either acted or espoused views that rubbed many of the Utah faithful the wrong way.

Both men were also contemporaries of LDS Church founder Joseph Smith. And, it should be noted, some Mormons believe with a surety that Lincoln and Smith had occasion to meet in Illinois, which, nowadays, gives rise to many good vibes toward Lincoln. Some draw comparisons between Abe and Jo, suggesting they each had divine missions.

But this latter-day Lincoln love may be misplaced. Lincoln was mostly wary of the Mormons of his time. His Republican Party believed that slavery and polygamy were the "twin relics of barbarism." We know what he did about slavery, and as for the Mormon multi-wife tradition, he did sign an anti-polygamy bill in 1862 and went on to establish Fort Douglas, ordering federal troops to keep an eye on what he once called a "strange, new sect."

Lincoln compared Mormons to the obstinate logs in the fields he remembered from his youth. Sometimes a log was "too hard to split, too wet to burn, and too heavy to move," so he plowed around it. That was the message he had for the Mormons back in Utah: "You go back and tell Brigham Young that if he will let me alone, I will let him alone," Lincoln conveyed to Thomas B.H. Stenhouse, an LDS representative to Washington, in 1863.

Many Mormons now seem to deify Lincoln, ostensibly for letting them be, never mind him comparing them to unmovable logs. And they're quick to point out that in 1840, while in the Illinois legislature, Lincoln did vote for the Nauvoo Charter.

Before the "log" speech, however, Brigham Young was distrustful of Lincoln (calling him "King Abraham") since, as an Illinois state representative, Lincoln did nothing to help Mormons during their troubles in Nauvoo. And Lincoln went on to send three federal judges to Utah, two of whom were anti-Mormon.

But blood atonement was so 19th century, and all can be forgiven when it comes to dead presidents. According to Lynn Arave in a Mormon Times September 2008 posting,
on the first centennial of Lincoln's birthday, Lincoln was presidentially sealed in the temple, along with his wife and his first girlfriend (yes, even Lincoln can enjoy Big Love in the afterlife!):
On Lincoln's 100th birthday in 1909, former apostle Matthias F. Cowley participated as proxy in a Salt Lake Temple sealing for President Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd. Lincoln was then sealed to his former sweetheart, Ann Mayes Rutledge, too. Rutledge's untimely death from a typhoid fever in 1835 at age 22 broke Lincoln's heart.

On a related note, on this day in 1870, women gained the right to vote in the Utah Territory (but not to hold office). So now you have at least three good reasons to head to the bar. (Jerre Wroble)

The Real World: It's Still On

[Locals on Reality TV] Due to the presence of Utahn Chet (who last week found out he couldn't be the next host of TRL, 'cause it was canceled--thanks for that heads-up, MTV), we've tried to keep up on The Real World: Brooklyn ... but gawd is it dull. The Real World After Show is usually more entertaining, thanks to the rapt attention to detail the faux-hawked douchebag of a host and his random panels pay to said dull show. Here, Chet goes into the minutae of whatever the hell happened recently; see how long you can watch ...

(Bill Frost)

Let's Talk About Rape

[Free Community Forum] Bestselling author Alice Sebold ("The Lovely Bones") was raped in May 1981. She was just ending her freshman year at Syracuse University. Nearly 20 years later, Sebold published a harrowing memoir of her rape and of her journey through the legal system. She titled the book "Lucky." This is the first paragraph of the book:

In the tunnel where I was raped, a tunnel that was once an underground entry to an amphitheater, a place where actors burst forth from underneath the seats of a crowd, a girl had been murdered and dismembered. I was told this story by the police. In comparison, they said, I was lucky.

Tonight at 7 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Salt Lake City Main Library, the Rape Recovery Center launches the first of five community forums, built around popular books that have tackled the subject of rape in our society. The series runs through November. The book for discussion tonight is "Lucky." A panel of five experts on sexual violence will talk about their own real-life experiences in the criminal justice system and beyond. Representatives from the Salt Lake City Police Department, the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office and District Attorney's Office will be there, as will a rape survivor who now volunteers for the Rape Recovery Center's Hospital Response Team. I will be the moderator.

If you've read Sebold's riveting account of her rape and its incredibly long shelf life in every aspect of her existence, or even if you haven't, please join us. I promise it will be an important and lively discussion. For more details on the entire free-and-open-to-the-public forum series, go here. Or call the RRC at 467-7282. (Holly Mullen)


[V-Day Dine O' Round] Please, no more calls or emails asking where to take your beloved, betrothed, sweetie, honey, ball-and-chain to dine on Valentine's Day. I've tried to avoid the Trib-and Des News-ish obligatory annual roundup (i.e. regurgitation of PR releases) of V-Day options in the paper. But if you still haven't found the perfect table to find lust and love this Valentine's Day, here's a list of eateries I'm aware of doing special Cupid cuisine on Saturday. 

Bambara: a la carte "World of Flavors" menu "designed for sharing." 
Blue Boar Inn & Restaurant: 4-course prix fix menu, $75 pp. 
Fresco Italian Cafe: Special V-Day a la carte menu
Harvest Restaurant at Thanksgiving Point: V-Day dinner-dance $90 per couple
Log Haven: a la carte Valentine's Day menu
Metropolitan: 6-course menu, $75 pp. 
Paris Bistro: 5-course "Magnifique" menu $69.95 + tax + 20% service charge
Tucanos Brazilian Grill: V-day lunch $15.95; dinner $24.95
Zucca Trattoria: 5-course "Romantic Modern Italian" dinner, $45 pp.

I'm sure there are others; these are the places that contacted me. 

(Ted Scheffler)