Thursday, February 10, 2011

Who's on First?

I don't know who irritates me most, the Utah legislature, which seems to have more than its share of gooney birds, or the news media, which seems to have more than its share of vultures. I'm coming to think, though, that the legislature is mostly sincere people who do their homework, try to keep the good of the state in mind, and generally are worth their salt. We do have the zingers in there who want to to legislate away evolution, hand out guns on the street corners, and make pi a flat 3.000; who are unwilling to accept anything that science tells us if it interferes with their beliefs, and who are always willing to speak into any microphone, mug before any camera, collar any newsperson.
These are the ones that we read about in the newspaper, see on TV, watch on Yahoo!
So, whose fault is that? It's gotta be the news media, who see no news value at all in sober, hard work, and lotsa news value in oddball antics. A case in point: One legislator wants to make the Colt model 1911 the state firearm. Not a bad choice, actually. It was designed by one of the foremost firearms geniuses in history, a Utah resident. Not only the 1911, but a plethora of other firearms that served our country well in a number of wars, saving the @#$ of many a serviceman.
But it's no big deal, really. It's a footnote to the business we are conducting in the legislature. So, why is it in the paper every day? Well, there's always the "any gun is evil" chant spit out by people who have no experience with guns at all, but in this case I think that it's simply that the news media think it's worthy of some sort of campaign, a "let's show the legislature being concerned with insignificant things" push. Take a small item, make a big thing of it, and wa-la (for those of you who can't pronounce voila), we have a legislature we can snigger at.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Idiots in the Legislature

I wonder about the members of the Utah Legislature a lot. Of course, I have only the daily newspaper to go on, so I freely admit my sources may be biased.
Mark Twain said, "Suppose you are a member of congress. Suppose you are an idiot. But I repeat myself." Is this true? We have a member of the legislature who seems to fit this mold, and he is not averse to showing us. He is against evolution. I don't mean that he is against evolving, though that might be true, but he is against teaching the theory. It's not just that he's against it, but that his public pronouncements indicate that he doesn't even understand it. Hasn't a clue.
I see three ways this could go: A) He is truly ignorant of the data available; B) He is dumber than a post and will never get it no matter what, or C) He knows all right, but his politics dictate that he fight against it.
I have a sneaking suspicion that it's option C. I don't think he's stupid. The guy has the casual arrogance of a safe seat in the legislature. He's sure that his way is the right way. Not only the right way, but the righteous way. Given those those conditions, he's free to say any dippy thing he needs to in order to get his way.
A guy like that is even liable to opine that he knows how the schools should be run better than the people who've worked at it all their lives.