Monday, January 22, 2007

A story that warms the conservative heart

The film version of Edward Abbey's liberal environmental epic "The Monkey Wrench Gang" will not be filmed in Utah because the state didn't offer the producers a large enough tax break. Instead, it will be filmed in New Mexico.

One does wonder how the producers managed to get the film rights to Ed Abbey's book without agreeing to film it in Utah. It's kind of central to the whole premise.

[ - Utah's Online Source for Local News & Information "The Monkey Wrench Gang" to be Filmed in New Mexico]

On a related note, I have read Ed Abbey's "Desert Solitaire" and came away with the following conclusion: convservatives want culture to remain unchanged, liberals want the environment to remain unchanged. The liberal position is a little uncomfortable if you plan to build on or use things built on land that was previously undisturbed. But if you already own your vacation cabin in the mountains, the liberal position isn't too bad.

In-state tuition for students here legally

Anthony asked a very reasonable question in a comment. Do non-US students here legally for school get in-state tuition?

I believe the implication is that if they do not, then it's mighty odd for students here illegally to get favorable treatment compared to people who kept the law. It's a good point.

The key difference is that a child of an illegal immigrant brought here at the age of 4 didn't choose to come. It seems unfair to punish that student for a choice made by their parents. For example, children of crack dealers still get in-state tuition even though their parents broke the law. That seems reasonable to me.

Here's what the Utah Law says (from The University of Utah - Admissions): "Aliens who are present in the United States on visitor, student, or other visas which authorize only temporary presence in this country, do not have the capacity to intend to reside in Utah for an indefinite period and therefore are classified as nonresidents. ... Aliens who have been granted immigrant or permanent resident status in the United States are classified for purposes of resident status according to the same criteria applicable to citizens."

The summary is that if you intend to reside in Utah for an "indefinite period" then you get in-state tuition. If you are here on a temporary visa, then you can not intend to say indefinitely.

I believe Anthony also suggested that a person who is (a) brought here illegally (b) attends school here for 3 years (which meets the residency requirements established for everyone) (c) graduates and (d) gets admitted to college should be (a) nationalized then (b) given a tuition break based on existing law.

I like that idea, a lot. I'd support it.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Vote against Utah HB224

HB224, which repeals in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants, made it out of committee Friday. HB224 is a bad idea.

If a child is (a) brought to the United States illegally by their parents (b) graduates from High School after attending for at least 3 years in Utah and (c) gets into college, then they ought to get a tuition break.

To penalize children brought in illegally by their parents is a form state-sponsored punishment of children for their parent's illegal behavior. If children of convicted drug-dealing US citizens aren't sent to jail with their parents, why should children of illegal immigrants be penalized?

In 2005-06, there were 182 students taking advantage of the tuition break. At $5000 of tuition lost per student, that comes to almost an opportunity cost of almost $1,000,000 to support keeping these students in school. To put that in perspective, if we took 1/3 of the budget surplus, that would be about $100M in round numbers, for 2005-06 and spent it on covering lost tuition for these students, we could fund the program for 50-100 years depending on how many students use the program.

[Salt Lake Tribune - Undocumented kids' tuition break takes hit]

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hey, that's the person that runs with my sister!

KSL has a piece on Joy Postma and running marathons. My sister runs with Joy and we met Isabel and her parents and my sister's New Year's Eve shindig. Joy et al. had to go home before the midnight run but it was fun to meet Isabel and her parents.

Reading the article also reminds me why I quit running marathons after my first and last running of the Logan marathon. I have a low tolerance for pain.

Donut Falls open again

The city bought the canyon containing Donut Falls for $1.284M in order to preserve the watershed. And that means that Donut Falls is now open again winter travel. Donut falls is one of two places where I've been out in weather cold enough to make my snot freeze. The other was Aspen Grove while snow caving with the scouts. [Salt Lake Tribune - Treat time: Donut's for all]

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Way to go Democrats!

Rob over at Utah Amicus has posted the The Letter to the NNSA from Utah Democratic Chair, Wayne Holland Jr.

The Democrats and Utahania (and many other) agree on this one. Not a good idea. The point about "do it when the wind blows toward Utah" and the similarity with the same directives in the atomic tests is uncanny and well argued.

The University of Utah is conducting a project on the simulation of accidental fires and explosions called C-SAFE. Maybe it could be tweaked to include intentional fires and explosions, like say, Divine Strake?

Interesting to note that the above mentioned letter includes the Grand-Staircase Fiat of the Clinton era as an arguement against Federal action without public comment in Utah. In that case (in my reading of the letter) the ends justified the means. In this case, the ends don't. I disagree (with the Escalante part). I think the ends never justify the means when the Feds act by fiat.

Nice work Democrats, seriously.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Rashaun Broadus' Bad Day

Broadus is a great BYU team player. Lots of hustle and brings much needed energy to the court. Assuming these charges hold up, I'm hoping this works out well for Broadus in the sense that he realizes BYU is serious about the Honor Code and he re-commits to follow it more carefully. It could also be that he decides BYU isn't the place for him after all. Hopefully the former but if the latter, then Utahania's college sports editorial board wishes him the best.

Salt Lake Tribune - College Basketball: Y.'s Broadus arrested on four charges

Friday, January 05, 2007

Big Box and Daybreak

As correctly reported at slcspin almost 2 years ago, Daybreak does not and likely will not contain a cornucopia of neighborhood stores inside the friendly confines of the planned community. My sister, a Daybreak resident, and I were talking about it over New Year's and she independently (she doesn't read SLCSpin, but she just got a mac, so maybe she'll read RSS feeds now) claims that there's no neighborhood stores because of all the big box right outside the gates. Her hairstylist says there's just no market for neighborhood stores (like his) inside Daybreak because all of the shopping is outside. (We also did a midnight run on New Year's eve at Daybreak in which we ran uphill in 2006 and downhill in 2007. Just as 2007 officially started, we were able to say "it's all downhill from here." My other sister and I crossed the finish together in a sprint to win before I looped back 50 yards to re-finish with my wife.)

It's complicated, but if people want neighborhood shopping and living, then they'll quit shopping at big box stores--even if they are just right outside their neighborood.

Meanwhile, Ikea's going to open the next big box soon... Salt Lake Tribune - Big name stores committing to Utah market. Funny how Ikea's big box is a "give ourselves a pat on the back" event while other big boxes are the targets of neighborhood protests (followed by neighborhood shopping.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Unusual Sunset

As I mentioned before, I've got a camera in my office window snapping pictures of Timpanogos at various times of day for a project on rendering terrain under time-varying lighting conditions. Last night it captured the attached time-varying lighting effect. Not bad.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Apocalypse must be near.

Because the CIO of the LDS Church has created a blog on which... 1. He posts frequently. 2. The posts suggest that he stays on top of technology and 3. The Church's CIO is genuinely concerned about using the best technology and practices to further the mission of the Church.

As a supportive lifelong member of the Church I am thrilled to see the new blog, hopeful that it will lead to good things and hopeful that I can contribute to the discussion.

Joel Dehlin, you get the Utahania gold star of the day!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2 and 0

That's the stat of the day because that's the record for non-BCS schools against BCS schools in BCS bowl games. With a record like that, it's no surprise that the BCS doesn't want to allow non-BCS schools into the game.

This win was significant because OU was actually a good team. Utah's win over Pitt two years ago wasn't a big deal because Pitt wasn't a good team. But isn't that another problem with the BCS? Mediocre teams in the right conference always get an invitation while everyone else has to go undefeated.

We were fortunate to have some bona fide Boise State fans over for the game yesterday (one drove down from Boise all day Monday--for other reasons, our house was just a good place to watch the game). The game was more thrilling than BYU's win over Utah last month. In the BYU-Utah game, I only lept off the couch to my feet once. In the BSU-OU game, I lept to my feet twice.

It's time for a playoff.

Monday, January 01, 2007

My Return to Blogging

I've got a serious problem with life Utah County that compels me to return to Blogging.

While preparing for a snowshoing trip with my 3 1/2 year old twins and their neice, I became aware of a serious issue facing the average citizen of Utah County. The problem first appeared when we went to WalMart to buy inexpensive snow boots for the kids. I get clued into it while at Target looking for boots then it gots serious at Big 5 and Sports Authority.

The problem is that both Big Box and Sports retailers quit selling snow boots in about early December! Walmart and Target were busily stocking sandals (this was December 29) and I am not sure what Big 5 and Sports Authority were trying to do. They did have lots of softball equipment though.

So we had to tape plastic shopping bags around their feet up to their knees, but their tennis shoes on top of that and go play in the snow like poor white, um, people. The bags worked great and cost less too.

The second problem was that, while Boise State U. rents children's size snow shoes, BYU (and every where else we called in Utah County) does not. So we went sledding instead. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all.