Budget Shortfall Smaller in Utah

Governor Huntsman delivers the State of the State 2008.

Governor Huntsman delivers the State of the State

This morning the Deseret News was reporting that Utah’s budget shortfall was smaller than in many states. Indeed, the governor’s spokeswoman, Lisa Roskelley, said:

It’s important to understand that Utah, though in a difficult economic situation, certainly is in a better place than many other states throughout the country.

And the governor himself had this to say:

The environment is a tough one. Forty-five of 50 states are facing serious budget shortfalls.

For the 2009 fiscal year there are twelve states that have no budget shortfall. They are Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming. However, some of these states face a projected 2010 budget shortfall. I only list thirty-eight states with deficits so perhaps Governor Huntsman is also including projections for 2010 in his quote above. Also the reference to Arizona’s almost “25 percent budget gap” appears to be for 2010.

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Early Voting in Davis County, Utah

Standing by an early voting line outside the Layton Library.

For the information on voting in the current elections go to Vote.Utah.Gov.

I am accustomed to voting early. The process is not at all rickety and is rather simple. A few days ago I went to Leave Your Print to find a list of the times and locations where I could vote early. Here are all the remaining times left to early vote in Davis County:

Bountiful Library, 725 South Main, Bountiful
Friday, Oct. 24, 7:00am – 11:00am
Saturday, Oct. 25, 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Monday, Oct. 27, 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Tuesday, Oct. 28-30, 3:00pm – 8:00pm
Friday, Oct. 31, 10:00am – 5:00pm

Davis County Courthouse, 28 East State Street #107, Farmington
Tuesday, Oct. 21-24, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Monday, Oct. 27-30, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Friday, Oct. 31, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

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The Vice Presidential Debate: Man in the Street Answers

Meet Joe Biden.
Suppose you were stopped in the street and asked the same questions that Senator Biden and Governor Palin had to answer last night. How would you answer? Would you be smooth and coherent or so rickety you would be told to be on your way? I wondered how I would answer the questions so I found a transcript of the debate and copied the questions into a file, leaving a space between each question. I printed the file and then quickly wrote my response to each question, kind of simulating being asked the questions in real-time. Here are my answers. Remember, I answered them quickly without benefit of thought or research, so go easy on me. If you wish, answer some of them yourself in the comments. I’ve edited the questions for brevity and relevancy.

1. The Senate passed a big bailout bill and the House is wrestling with it still tonight. Is this the worst of Washington or the best of Washington that we saw play out?

This is the worst of Washington. They even added $150-billion in side-issue tax measures. Those who voted this measure in should be voted out.

2. If you were vice president, would you work to shrink this gap of polarization which has sprung up in Washington?

Just treat those who you meet with respect and value their point of view. Give credit to the opposing party where it is due.

3. Who do you think was at fault in the sub-prime lending meltdown? Was it the greedy lenders? Was it the risky home-buyers who shouldn’t have been buying a home in the first place? And what should you be doing about it?

If you want to be greedy in your lending that is your affair. If you want to take a risk and buy more home than you can afford that is your prerogative. Once you get a taxpayer funded bailout then that’s everyone’s business. Lenders, borrowers, and government are all to blame. But especially government for adding billions of dollars in debt with a foolhardy bailout.
Sarah Palin
4. Is proposing to raise taxes on people who earn over $250,000 a year not class warfare? A proposal to tax employer health benefits which some studies say would actually throw five million more people onto the roles of the uninsured. I want to know why that isn’t taking things out on the poor.

One of the best ways to tax is by everyone paying the same percentage of their income, if you must tax income. That way the poorest to the richest pay towards running their country. This is also not the time to tax health benefits.

5. What promises have you made that you’re not going to be able to keep?

I suspect there will always be promises that politicians won’t be able to keep. As for myself, I rarely make promises so there are precious few to break.

6. Last year, Congress passed a bill that would make it more difficult for debt-strapped mortgage-holders to declare bankruptcy, to get out from under that debt. Would you have supported this?

Yes. It should be difficult to declare bankruptcy. Debt should be paid off, even if it takes a long time.

7. What is true and what is false about what we have heard, read, discussed, debated about the causes of climate change?

As in the past the earth’s climate is changing today. This is probably due to natural climatic changes. More research is needed to establish if there is a man-made component.

8. Do you support caps on carbon emissions? Do you support clean coal technology?

I don’t support either. Coal should be used until there is a better domestic substitute.

9. Do you support, as they do in Alaska, granting same-sex benefits to couples?


10. Would you support expanding that beyond Alaska to the rest of the nation?


11. What is a clear plan for an exit strategy in Iraq?

An exit can begin immediately. Financial resources need to be conserved. We can no longer afford to be an army of occupation.

12. What’s the greater threat, a nuclear Iran or an unstable Afghanistan? Explain why.

Afghanistan should be left to itself. It hasn’t the resources to be a threat and any army of occupation will eventually grow weary and have to withdraw. Iran is more of a threat because of future nuclear capability. However, with the United States out of Iraq and Afghanistan the U.S. becomes a viable check against Iran.

13. Secretaries of state Baker, Kissinger, Powell, they have all advocated some level of engagement with enemies. Do you think these former secretaries of state are wrong on that?

You don’t need to talk to enemies, just defend against any malfeasance they try to inflict.

14. What has this administration done right or wrong — this is the great, lingering, unresolved issue, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — what have they done? And is a two-state solution the solution?

This administration has done no worse than prior administrations. Two separate states is the solution.

15. Interventionism, nuclear weapons, what should be the trigger, or should there be a trigger, when nuclear weapons use is ever put into play?

Each situation is different. In wartime, the use of nuclear weapons should be an option.

16. How would a Biden administration be different from an Obama administration?

It would be different, just as a Palin administration would be different from a McCain administration. Reviewing their passions and voting and governing records would give some clues as to their direction.

17. What do you think the vice presidency is worth now?

The vice president is the first in the presidential line of succession. The vice president is also the President of the Senate. Support of personal charities and good causes could be promoted.

18. Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?


19. Gov. Palin’s Achilles heel is that you she lacks experience. Sen. Biden’s Achilles heel is that he lacks discipline. What do you think it really is?

After listening to both candidates I think they would both make fine vice presidents and even presidents.

20. Can you think of a single policy issue in which you were forced to change a long-held view in order to accommodate changed circumstances?

I would think that some views would have to be changed depending upon circumstances.
Rickety signature.

The Rickety Doctrine

Sarah Palin in Kuwait.

Palin Doctrine

Recently when Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was asked a question about the Bush Doctrine, she seemed unsure about what it was. If she’d have had her own Palin Doctrine in place she could have said something like, “Forget about the Bush Doctrine, you should be studying the Palin Doctrine, which says…”

To help out Governor Palin, I have compiled the Rickety Doctrine to illustrate that it is not difficult to assemble your own statement of policy. But first we’ll take a look at previous Doctrines.

Monroe Doctrine

President James Monroe presented the doctrine during his seventh State of the Union Address to Congress in 1823. It stated that European powers could no longer colonize or interfere in the Americas. The United States would stay neutral in wars between European powers unless a war occurred in the Americas, which would then be viewed as hostile to the United States.

Truman Doctrine

This Doctrine stated that the United States would offer assistance to countries resisting Communism. The proclamation was made in an address to Congress on March 12, 1947.

Eisenhower Doctrine

In a message to Congress on January 5, 1957 the Doctrine stated that the Unites States would use armed forces upon request in response to imminent aggression to the Middle East.

Kennedy Doctrine

The Kennedy Doctrine refers to foreign policy initiatives towards Latin America. Support was voiced for the containment of Communism and the reversal of Communist progress in the Western Hemisphere. It was presented in President Kennedy’s inaugural address on January 20, 1961.

Johnson Doctrine

The Johnson Doctrine declared in 1965 that domestic revolution in the Western Hemisphere would no longer be a local matter when “the object is the establishment of a Communist dictatorship.”

Nixon Doctrine

The Doctrine was presented in a press conference in Guam on July 25, 1969. It states that United States allies should take care of their own military defense. But if a nuclear power threatens the freedom of an allied nation a shield will be provided.

Carter Doctrine

The Carter Doctrine proclaimed in the January 23, 1980 State of the Union Address that the United States would use military force to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf region.

Reagan Doctrine

This Doctrine advocated the backing of anti-Communist guerrillas against Communist governments. It was first explained in Reagan’s 1985 State of the Union Address.

Clinton Doctrine

In a February 26, 1999 speech this Doctrine was outlined as intervening “where our values and our interests are at stake, and where we can make a difference.”

Rickety Doctrine

First presented to the world on September 18, 2008 the Rickety Doctrine advocates a massive but orderly reduction of the nation’s military presence overseas. A drive to greatly reduce oil consumption, with tax credits as incentives, will result in more hydro, solar, wind, coal, and nuclear generated electricity; electric cars; and telecommuting. Entangling alliances will be terminated and deficit spending ended. Government will seek temporary special powers if necessary to accomplish these goals. Congress remained unaware of the new Doctrine.


The Rickety Doctrine will never come to pass but the Palin Doctrine, whatever it will be, may very well be talked about in the next few years. If Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is asked in some future interview what the Rickety Doctrine is, don’t be too hard on her if she doesn’t know.
Rickety signature.

Vice Presidential Questions

The Seal of the Vice President of the United States.
Yesterday the question was asked by a co-worker, “If a vice president dies, how do we get a new vice president?” We racked our rickety brains but nobody knew so I researched the question and added a few more.

How is the Vice President Replaced?

The 25th amendment provides for a replacement if the vice president dies in office, resigns, or succeeds to the presidency. In the original Constitution there is no provision for selecting a replacement, so the office remained vacant until the beginning of the next presidential term. The issue arose in 1963 when Vice President Johnson succeeded to the presidency upon the assassination of President Kennedy and was rectified by section 2 of the 25th Amendment.

Section 2 of the 25th Amendment provides that:

Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Who was the First Vice President Selected by this Method?

After the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew in 1973 Gerald Ford was the first vice president selected by this method. Ford then nominated Nelson Rockefeller as vice president.

When can a Vice President Become Acting President?

Sections 3 and 4 of Amendment 25 provide means for the vice president to become Acting President upon the temporary disability of the president. Section 3 deals with self declared incapacity of the president, and section 4, which has never been invoked, deals with incapacity declared by the joint action of the Vice President and of a majority of the Cabinet.

Section 3 has was invoked in 1985 when Ronald Reagan underwent surgery and twice more in 2002 and 2007 when George W. Bush underwent colonoscopy procedures requiring sedation.

Who is Eligible to be Vice President?

The Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that:

…no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

Unlike the president, there is no restriction of the number of terms a person can serve as vice president. To serve as vice president, an individual must be a natural born U.S. citizen no younger than 35 and have lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years.
Sarah Palin may be the first woman vice president.

Is There an Oath of Office?

The United States Constitution does not specify an oath of office for the vice president. A vice presidential oath, which has been used in various forms since 1789, is also recited by Senators, Representatives and other government officers.

What are the Duties of the Vice President?

Vice presidential powers are limited by the Constitution to becoming president should the President become unable to serve and acting as the presiding officer of the U.S. Senate. Informal roles of the vice president often include drafter and spokesperson for the administration’s policy, as an adviser to the president, as Chairman of the Board of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as a Member of the board of the Smithsonian Institution, and as a symbol of American concern or support. They may meet with other heads of state or attend state funerals in other countries, at times when the administration wishes to demonstrate concern or support but cannot send the President himself.

Where does the Vice President Live?

Since 1974, the official residence of the vice president and his family has been Number One Observatory Circle, on the grounds of the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

Has a Vice President Ever Resigned?

  1. John C. Calhoun in 1832 to take a seat in the Senate.
  2. Spiro Agnew in 1973 upon pleading no contest to charges of accepting bribes while governor of Maryland.

Did any Die in Office?

  1. George Clinton in 1812.
  2. Elbridge Gerry in 1814.
  3. William R. King in 1853.
  4. Henry Wilson in 1875.
  5. Thomas Hendricks in 1885.
  6. Garret Hobart in 1899.
  7. James Sherman in 1912.

Were any Assassinated?

  • Andrew Johnson was an unsuccessful target of the same conspiracy which murdered President Abraham Lincoln.
  • Thomas R. Marshall was an unsuccessful target of a letter bomb in 1915.
  • Dick Cheney was in the vicinity of a bomb allegedly meant for him.

Which Vice Presidents Succeeded to the Presidency?

  1. John Tyler when William Harrison died.
  2. Millard Fillmore when Zachary Taylor died.
  3. Andrew Johnson when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
  4. Chester A. Arthur when James Garfield was assassinated.
  5. Theodore Roosevelt when William McKinley was assassinated.
  6. Calvin Coolidge when Warren Harding died.
  7. Harry S. Truman when Franklin D. Roosevelt died.
  8. Lyndon B. Johnson when John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
  9. Gerald Ford when Richard Nixon resigned.

Have any Vice Presidents won the Nobel Peace Prize?

  1. Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 (when he was the President).
  2. Charles Gates Dawes in 1925.
  3. Al Gore in 2007 (after he left the office).

Rickety signature.

Utah 1st Congressional District Survey

Rob Bishop, Utah 1st Congressional District
On 14th July I received three pieces of political mail – a flier from Rob Bishop promoting his Americans For American Energy Act; a request for dues to the Republican National Committee; and a Congressional District Survey. To give you some idea of my politics I consider myself an Independent though I vote Republican about 80% of the time. I don’t have any one issue but do favor fiscal responsibility and do not favor abortion or gay marriage. I spent my first 28 years of life in rickety old England so I have some perspective on socialism and government programs. Anyway, I will comment on the survey today and perhaps write about the energy act another day. Each survey question, except for the last, can be answered Yes, No, or Undecided. I will list the question, then respond afterwards by rewording the question and adding commentary.

The Survey

1. Do you feel voters in Utah’s 1st District support making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent?

Rephrase: Do you support making all or some of the Bush tax cuts permanent?
Comment: Although I have only been affected by it once, I believe the Alternative Minimum Tax should be abolished. Eventually action will have to be taken because the AMT is not indexed to inflation. Priority should be given to reducing the deficit even if some taxes have to raised.

2. Do you support the House Democrats’ “slow-bleed” strategy to “choke-off” funding for our troops in Iraq, leading to their withdrawal and a perception of American defeat?

Rephrase: Do you support withdrawing troops from Iraq?
: Obviously very few would answer yes to the survey question, even though they may be in favor of withdrawal.

3. Should Republicans continue fighting for full implementation of a ballistic missile defense system?

Rephrase: Leave as-is.
: I don’t know much about this. It sounds like a program expansion which could be expensive.

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