Archive for category Scott McCoy

Thoughts on Scott McCoy’s Resignation

Scott McCoy is a decent enough person and he has a hot boyfriend. Beyond that, McCoy is a stultifyingly conventional politician – although if you push him far enough he can actually tap into his passion for justice. McCoy is described as outspoken but in Utah’s colorless politics that’s not a terribly meaningful measure.

Not for nothing, but I suspect Scott got tired of being called everytime someone wanted to ask what gay people think.

State Dems are already looking at a group of equally safe conventional pols to replace McCoy. I’ll have more to say on this later.

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The Kiss-In was cute but it’s time to get serious

Part One: Private Property Does Not Excuse Prejudice or Discrimination

Defenders of the Mormon Church claim that the church has the right to police and kick people off Main Street Plaza on the grounds that it is private property. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why are you out here walking for Ralph Becker?

From Ralph’s Site:

7. We will continue to embrace the diverse communities of Salt Lake City, and our government policies will serve as a model for justice and equality for all residents.

Both Scott McCoy and Paula Julander were walking for Ralph last night. 

The experience last night was a good one – walking a neighborhood east of downtown, I walked down a narrow street named Linden Avenue – it runs between 7th and 8th East, just north of 400 South.  Along this street is a series of older, very cute, twin homes – numbers like 754, 756, 760, 762.  A really cute Dalmatian barked a little at me before trotting up the driveway into her house. 

At the end of Linden Avenue, I ran into a woman who saw my Becker-wear and she asked, “Why are you supporting Ralph Becker instead Dave Buhler?”

I said, “There are a lot of reasons.  I think Ralph will be the kind of mayor I want for my city.  He’ll listen to the citizens.  He’ll govern in a way that puts the interests of residents of Salt Lake City first.”

She nodded and said, “That’s a good reason.”

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The Mayor’s Race (The Day Before Election Day)

As we work through the final day before the primary, I’m even more impressed with Ralph Becker and his campaign than I was before.

Becker’s campaign is using the strong team of staff and volunteers they’ve developed through a long, hot summer to drive a strong GOTV effort tomorrow. They’re doing targeted mailers – including letters from Scott McCoy to his constituents – I’m guessing other state legislators are doing the same. The Becker campaign is sticking to its strength, namely a well organized and operated ground campaign with lots of face to face, person to person contact. It’s detail oriented, but hasn’t lost sight of the big picture – Ralph is the right man for Salt Lake City mayor and we’re getting the word out to every voter we can contact.

The style of the campaign is a reflection of the way in which the candidate will govern. The Becker campaign has been detail oriented since day one – focusing on building a strong GOTV effort and ground campaign, paying attention to building support from the ground up, talking with constituents. The campaign has been well managed, fun, a little silly, and doing the basics that need done to succeed. That impresses me – there’s no last minute scramble to manage the details, no sudden realization that something major has been forgotten, at no point did Ralph Becker or his campaign take their support for granted. Ralph cares what the people in Salt Lake City want, he’s worked to find out. He’s paid attention to the details and he’s cast a broad, intelligent and progressive vision for the city.

That’s the kind of mayor I want.

Vote Becker tomorrow.

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Army to Triple Germ War Tests 75 Miles From Salt Lake City

Biological Weapons Research and Development Pose Risks Worldwide
Article by Steve EricksonDugway Proving Ground, Utah

At a remote, secretive desert base 75 miles west of Salt Lake City, the Army plans to renovate an historic cold war laboratory to expand dramatically its biological warfare testing.

The US Army proposes to completely rehab the drab Baker Laboratory, a centerpiece of the Dugway Proving Ground (DPG) since 1952. The lab is listed on the National Historic Register not for its architecture but for its role in testing germ war agents both in sealed chambers and in the field. DPG itself has been the nation’s premier biological and chemical warfare testing facility since the end of World War II.

Gearing up Dugway’s bio-warfare testing activities is part and parcel of the Bush Administration’s massive post 9-11 build up of the military and bio-defense business, including the proliferation of new BSL-4 and BSL-3 labs across the country. Billions of dollars have been spent in the past five years in bio-defense research, much of it at the nation’s premier research universities. This build up of bio-defense capacity has gone largely unnoticed by the public and mainstream press, except on the east and west coasts, where proposed new labs in Boston and at the Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons lab have generated controversy and strong opposition.

The renovated Baker lab will contain “as many as eleven Bio Safety Level-3 laboratories and fourteen Biological Safety Level-2 laboratories,” according to the recently released Environmental Assessment. This will approximately triple Dugway’s current BSL-3 lab capacity and double its BSL-2 capabilities to meet increased demand from the Defense Department and its contractors for testing detection and protective equipment against some of the world’s deadliest pathogens.

Safety levels of labs are defined by their engineered precautions. A BSL-2 lab can handle viruses and bacteria common in the environment. BSL-3 labs are equipped and permitted to work with the deadly and traditional bio-weapons pathogens for which there are either vaccines or cures, such as anthrax. BSL-4 labs are the Cadillac—they can test the most deadly pathogens for which there is no prevention, no cure. Think Ebola, Marburg.

The crown jewel of the refurbished lab at Dugway would be the Whole System Live Agent Test chamber (WSLAT). It would be capable of testing large equipment like nuclear, biological and chemical agent detection vehicles against relatively huge quantities of aerosolized live agent, presenting possibly increased risks to lab personnel and the environment beyond those previously assessed by DPG for small chamber live agent testing.

Concerns about this facility are heightened by its large capacity, industrial strength chamber, coupled with the recent solicitations by DPG for two 1,500-liter fermenters and for 1,500 liters of Anthrax sterne var. Since the Army denied Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by the Citizens Education Project, a local grassroots organization leading the opposition to Dugway’s expansion, it is not known whether new fermenters and large quantities of this non-pathenogenic form of anthrax were ever delivered to Dugway. Dugway did admit in 2002 that it has been secretly producing quantities of germ agents like the deadlier strains of anthrax after two decades of denying live agent production.

History and Context of Bioweapons

As Edward Hammond of the Sunshine Project points out, biological weapons are nearly as old as war. In Roman times, wells were poisoned. Two hundred years ago in North America, the British Army attacked Native Americans by using smallpox-infected blankets. In World War II, the Japanese Army used bioweapons on a large scale in China. This list continues, and current technological advances increase the risk drastically.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said in 2005 that bioterrorism is “the greatest existential threat we have in the world today” and called for a biodefense research and development effort that “even dwarfs the Manhattan Project.” Others see the risk posed by governments and militaries engaged in biological weapons “defense” as at least as dangerous. The boundary between offensive biological warfare or terrorist programs and biological defense can be quite murky.

To address the threat of offensive bioweapons, in 1972 countries agreed to the the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), which bans the development or production of biological agents for non-peaceful purposes. Recently, US military officials have called for a renegotiation of the BTWC to enable the development of gas-guzzling bacteria to curtail an enemy’s mobility (by eating up their gasoline or attacking drug-producing plants).

Moreover, verification of the BTWC is especially difficult because bioweapons research is beset with the problem of dual-use technology. Nearly all the know-how and equipment necessary for an offensive biological warfare program has applicability to civilian medical or biological research. A very thin line separates offense and defense bioweapons research. Also biodefense research can be problematic as in many cases defensive work generates an offensive capability.

History of Dugway Read the rest of this entry »

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Gay Pride Parade – Salt Lake City, Utah

Lots more pictures here.

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Today was the Salt Lake City Gay Pride Parade. It was huge, and it was fun.

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Gay Senator Spanks Utah Legislature

This is a re-post from last year in honor of the repeat of last year.

Utah got her first openly gay State Senator several years ago in a mid-term procedure in which delegates-only voted for a young lawyer named Scott McCoy. On that day, something changed in Utah.

But it has not unfortunately dissuaded our state legislature from exploring ways to prevent our children from understanding that homosexuality is not a sin, and not choice.Chris Buttars, West Jordan, Utah

Last week, history was made when the sponsoring senator and a friend made a full frontal assault on homosexuality which elicited one of the most powerful, elegant responses in defense of homosexuality that certainly the Utah State Senate has ever heard or that I have ever heard.

Gay and Lesbian people are going to live in the state of Utah.
We’re gonna be in the high schools.
And we’re gonna have families.
And we’re gonna be raising them here.

And I would simply ask
that you allow us to do that
and leave us alone.

I have edited several audio versions of Scott’s Speech for your convenience:

Includes 1-minute preview of Buttars’ & friend testimony –7.5 minutes .mp3
Includes all following testimony – 20 minutes .mp3

By popular demand un-edited testimony preceeding Scott’s speech –16 minutes.mp3
The entire session 22 minutes.mp3

Senator Gene Davis Speech 2 minutes .mp3 .mpg
Gene Davis also gave a wonderful speech.

It disturbs me deeply, that we would throw stones – at our fellow men and women at such a time. This is important. The messages that we send from here, create attitudes that go into the populous. And we should be about healing. Not dividing.

Brent GoodfellowSenator Brent Goodfellow Spoke about how many years ago, Senator Reed Smoot was not seated for a year because of discrimination against Mormons.

Senator Fife also spoke about how Utah had already been down this road 12 years ago.

Several republican Senators spoke as well in defense of their votes, some with reluctance others without. This bill passed. The Governor has said he will not sign it.

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Gay Senator Spanks Utah Legislature

This is a re-post from last year in honor of the repeat of last year.

Utah got her first openly gay State Senator several years ago in a mid-term procedure in which delegates-only voted for a young lawyer named Scott McCoy. On that day, something changed in Utah.

But it has not unfortunately dissuaded our state legislature from exploring ways to prevent our children from understanding that homosexuality is not a sin, and not choice.Chris Buttars, West Jordan, Utah

Last week, history was made when the sponsoring senator and a friend made a full frontal assault on homosexuality which elicited one of the most powerful, elegant responses in defense of homosexuality that certainly the Utah State Senate has ever heard or that I have ever heard.

Gay and Lesbian people are going to live in the state of Utah.
We’re gonna be in the high schools.
And we’re gonna have families.
And we’re gonna be raising them here.

And I would simply ask
that you allow us to do that
and leave us alone.

I have edited several audio versions of Scott’s Speech for your convenience:

Includes 1-minute preview of Buttars’ & friend testimony –7.5 minutes .mp3
Includes all following testimony – 20 minutes .mp3

By popular demand un-edited testimony preceding Scott’s speech –16 minutes.mp3
The entire session 22 minutes.mp3

Senator Gene Davis Speech 2 minutes .mp3 .mpg
Gene Davis also gave a wonderful speech.

It disturbs me deeply, that we would throw stones at our fellow men and women at such a time. This is important. The messages that we send from here, create attitudes that go into the populous. And we should be about healing. Not dividing.

Brent GoodfellowSenator Brent Goodfellow Spoke about how many years ago, Senator Reed Smoot was not seated for a year because of discrimination against Mormons.

Senator Fife also spoke about how Utah had already been down this road 12 years ago.

Several republican Senators spoke as well in defense of their votes, some with reluctance others without. This bill passed. The Governor has said he will not sign it.

16 Comments

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