Archive for category Jon Huntsman

Jon Huntsman Abandons Climate Science

Remember this? Then Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman urged Congress to cap greenhouse gas emissions.

Via TPM:

Jon Huntsman used to believe climate change is real. Now he’s not so sure…

…It’s worth noting at this point that Huntsman never really was all that liberal when it came to climate change. He accepted it as real, sure, but promised he’d never do anything about it because it would be too expensive.

Anyway, now he’s talking about the conspiracy theories that have been a mainstay of the climate change denier community for years and backing off his previous contention that climate science is real.

“[T]here is — there are questions about the validity of the science, evidenced by one university over in Scotland recently,” Huntsman said, referring to the East Anglia University [stolen e-mails]… “I think the onus is on the scientific community to provide more in the way of information, to help clarify the situation.”

Note that by implication Huntsman is questioning the existence of climate change, not merely the cause. By my reckoning, that leaves no remaining reality-based 2012 GOP presidential candidate. They are all climate denialists.

Previous One Utah post:
Romney Flips to Denial: ‘We Don’t Know What’s Causing Climate Change’ (October 28)


Only in America: Desperate Man Robs Bank For One Dollar In Order To Go To Jail To Get Health Coverage

From Think Progress:

James Richard Verone of North Carolina spent his whole life playing by the rules and staying out of trouble. Having worked as a delivery man for Coca Cola for 17 years, Verone was known as a hard worker and honest man.

Yet when he was laid off from Coca Cola three years ago, Verone was desperate to find work. He eventually found employment as a convenience clerk, yet he began to notice a protrusion in his chest. He developed arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, and soon the pain became too much for him to bear. He filed for disability, but he was denied any sort of coverage by the federal government.

So earlier this month, Verone drove to a local RBC Bank and told the teller he was robbing them for a dollar. He said he wanted to rob the bank in order to go to jail and get medical coverage

This is the country we are living in. Wall Street crashed our economy, and hardly anybody in Washington wants to help us. Health care “reform” was mainly profit protection for the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations. Today, former Utah Governor and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman (net worth = $74 million) said that America needs “leadership that knows we need more than hope.” But then he talked about budget cuts for Social Security and Medicare. The middle class has got to find an effective way to fight back, or we’re going to lose the class war.

Income inequality

Washington Post:

For years, statistics have depicted growing income disparity in the United States, and it has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression. In 2008, the last year for which data are available, for example, the top 0.1 percent of earners took in more than 10 percent of the personal income in the United States, including capital gains, and the top 1 percent took in more than 20 percent.

UPDATE: Senator Bernie Sanders: 5 million seniors face the threat of hunger

ThinkProgress compiled a list of six positions Huntsman has taken that would actually hurt our economy.

UPDATE: Apparently, $1 does not count as bank robbery in North Carolina. But Verone did get to go to jail and receive free medical care.

Related One Utah post:

The Gini Index

Read the rest of this entry »


The Madness of King Coal

Back when Utah had a governor who thought global warming existed, and who also though we might need to take significant steps regarding our air pollution, the state funded a study by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc, with the help of the Harvard School of Public Health.  It estimated, predictably, that each year over 2 billion dollars in health and water costs are wasted, and approximately 200 lives lost due to coal plant power production in Utah. Not to mention that other “externality” to coal power, global warming.

Wow!  Our state funded study showed us that that nasty air we see every winter is bad for us?  It’s time for us all to come out for energy efficiency and renewable energy power generation, right?  Say farewell to King Coal right Governor Herbert?

Of course not, this is Utah, and what happened next was also as predictable as it is sad.

According to a report at, the state “sidetracked (the study) and refused to vouch for it — after it ran into a wall of opposition from industry.”

The study figured $8 million per death, using long established statistical methods.

Clean energy advocate Arthur Morris was at a state meeting where industry representatives denounced the study.

“Kind of went crazy,” Morris said. “It was a little bit surprising to me that they were so incensed by valuing people too much.”

“Anything that would increase energy costs gets our attention,” said attorney Jim Holtkamp, air quality chairman for Utah Manufacturers.

Of course, no one seems to have quibbled with the 202 lives lost, just how much dollar value was placed upon them.  Which, makes some sense, I suppose, when all you really care about is the bottom line.

Supposedly “public meetings” were held when the study came out a few months ago.  Check out Rocky Mountain Power’s statement to KSL about their meeting:

We disagree with the study’s conclusions. Rocky Mountain Power participated in an initial review of the published study along with a broad group of Utah business stakeholders including the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, Utah Manufacturers Association, Utah Association of Energy Users, Utah Industrial Energy Consumers, Utah Mining Association, Deseret Power and others. Together, we identified enough concerns with the assumptions used in the study’s analysis to determine that its results should not be relied on.

-Jeff Hymas, Rocky Mountain Power

Funny, I wonder why clean air advocates and “the public”, never heard about any meeting, and somehow all of the business stakeholders managed to get the news…

It’s time to choose clean air over dirty air, and make the state pay attention to this study and do something about it.  The study not only shows the cost of the current path, but was designed to show the benefits of changing course.  It estimated the cost of substituting energy efficiency and renewables for 1/3 of the least efficient coal plants and found:

To achieve even more dramatic co-benefits, if approximately one-third of Utah’s most inefficient and polluting coal generators are replaced with a rigorous energy efficiency program and either gas or renewable energy, externalities amounting to $70 – $79 could
be realized for each MWh of coal retired or displaced.5

Did I say cost, sorry I meant savings, as that number “exceeds the cost of most electrical generation.”

If anyone out there would like to participate in getting this study publicized and forcing the state to do something about it, feel free to attend this Thursday’s 6pm meeting of the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE), at the University of Utah Orthopedic Hospitals’ 3rd floor conference room.  All who care about Utah air quality are welcome, whether health care providers or not.  I will summarize the meeting and action plan in a post after Thursday night.

I’m at work but can answer comments or questions about the meeting after 5 or tomorrow.

By the way, hello and thanks for having me, I’m a physician in Salt Lake, and I’d much prefer cleaner air!


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Mike Lee: Taxpayers Ought to Bail Out BP

Via Think Progress:

A week ago, U.S. Senate candidate Mike Lee sat down with the Salt Lake Tribune’s Robert Gehrke for a wide-ranging interview. When asked if taxpayers ought to pay the economic costs of the BP oil spill, Lee answered candidly.

SL TRIBUNE: Currently there’s a cap on liabilities that BP is expected to pay $75 million dollars. There’s legislation that Bill Nelson sponsored to increase that liability to $10 billion dollars. The oil companies say that will put them out of business. Is that something you would be supportive of, increasing that cap on liability for environmental damage?


SL TRIBUNE: Why is that?

LEE: This company is reliant, the entire industry, is reliant on the insurance its provided by law. Now had that cap not been in place, we would be facing a completely different question. But you have a set of settled expectations that you give to a business when it decides to make an investment in this. Our country benefits from this type of activity and allows us to produce more oil and allows more of our petro dollars to remain in the United States. We’ve relied on that, and to take that away I think would be a mistake.

SL TRIBUNE: Does that leave taxpayers on the hook for part of the damage?

LEE: Well yea probably does. And the government can look at that and say look, we put this damages cap in place, so we understood what that meant.

SL TRIBUNE: Isn’t that equivalent to a bailout?

LEE: I don’t think, well, I don’t think that’s equivalent to a bailout. I think that’s the government saying there’s some things its going to — if you look at the Outer Continental Shelf, something over which the United States has jurisdiction, and the United State wants to clean that up, then it’s free to do so. There’s nothing in that liability cap that requires the Federal government to do it. Well I’m not sure that necessarily means the taxpayers will end up paying the bill. It maybe the industry generally will just contribute to it. In fact I would expect other people involved in offshore drilling will have a part of the clean up because they would want to to show this can be done safely and when disasters do happen it can be cleaned up.

Mike Lee’s philosophy is what I call “Wall Street Socialism.” Corporations want to privatize their profits and socialize their losses (or simply dump negative externalities like oil spills on the public). Bumper-sticker version: “Taxpayer Bailouts for Billionaires.”

Vote for Sam Granato, or else this guy will be our new senator.

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Video: Obama nominates Huntsman for ambassador

“This ambassadorship is as important as any in the world.” I think Utahns who have criticized Huntsman for his moderate positions should be impressed and proud that our governor has the sensitivity and diplomacy skills needed for this post. Even though I did not vote for Huntsman, I do think he has been a good governor and he will represent our state well in this new role.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

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Guv Huntsman resigning for China ambassadorship.

NO SPECIAL SESSIONChannel 4 News (also heard on Channel 2) reports that Governor Jon Huntsman has been offered and will accept the ambassadorship to China. The announcement is to be made tomorrow from the White House.

The good guv has been under a lot of criticism lately for being a no-show at some important R Party events in Utah. This might explain why he has been occupied elsewhere. Now I’m thinking about the implications of being appointed to this slot by a Democratic president. Local Repubs will make the most of it for certain, but it may be a big asset to Huntsman if he decides to run for president in 2012, as he seems to be one of the only in his party who gets it, that the country has moved to the center — including Republican voters.

The question now is whether Lt. Governor Gary Herbert will serve out Huntsman’s term or if there will be a special election. As we recall when Governor Leavitt resigned to fill a Bush cabinet spot, the Lt. Gov can serve in an interim period, but it seems there isn’t an automatic transfer of power. Maybe some of our readers have more knowledge of this process.

Huntsman was scheduled to visit China with other governors later this month, but the trip was canceled because of the swine flu outbreak.

UPDATE 8:30 pm: The Salt Lake Tribune now has the story up. As does the DesNews. UPDATE: Now on KSL. I was feeling a little unsure of the sources earlier, but feel more confident now.

The Deseret News also offers a little more insight about succession and a special election.

The appointment of Huntsman would mean that Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert would take over as the state’s chief executive. A special election for the governor’s office would be held in 2010, under a new state constitutional amendment.

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Republican Party – a Super Minority

riprepublicansJust as the Democratic Party prepares to take a filibuster-proof Super Majority in the Senate, the Republican Party is endeavoring to maintain a solid Super Minority among voters.

A recent poll shows that only 21 percent of adults identify themselves as Republicans, while 35 percent identify themselves as Democrats and 38 percent as independent. Clearly to win elections, either party must hold a strong appeal for that large independent group. Right now, those people are pleased with Obama’s performance and are not very happy with Republicans (see said poll results). Read the rest of this entry »

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Sawed-Off Shotguns, Spineless Utah Republicans and The Golden Arches

Link: The driver , of a white Dodge Intrepid pulled into the drive-through at about 2 a.m. at McDonald’s at 210 W. 500 South in Salt Lake City and ordered food from the lunch and dinner menu, police said.

When a clerk told her the restaurant was serving only items from the breakfast menu, the woman drove to the second window, police said. Two men got out of the car, and one pulled a sawed-off shotgun out of the trunk, police said. He fired once or twice into the drive-though window before the two men and the woman left…

Jesus Assault RiflesUnfortunately, the new law making it perfectly legal to carry loaded guns in your car WITHOUT a concealed carry permit is not retroactive.

That’s right. Amid strong public opposition, the rural, religious, right-wing politicos that run the state have taken Utah closer to the territory of the Wild Wild West for which they yearn.

Link: The two bills make changes to current gun laws to allow loaded firearms to be carried in vehicles without the necessity of a concealed weapons permit, and require businesses to allow loaded firearms in vehicles parked on their property…

…all for which will only make it easier for pretty much anyone to steal a loaded gun without having to confront its owner. Yeaaaaah!!!

On the issue of allowing loaded firearms to be carried in vehicles without a concealed weapons permit, 60 percent of respondents were somewhat or strongly opposed, while 35 percent were somewhat or strongly in favor.

Ah, but the gun lobby is very very active at the Capitol and the spine of the average pioneer, well…absent.

Seemingly, Republican legislators are willing to take the sides of gun rights lobbyists against the rights of property owners,” Gunn said. “Legislators are saying that gun rights trump property rights.

But then what are Republicans if not hypocrites.

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Brooks on Jindal “A Disaster For The Republican Party

Blog pundits are comparing the Palin disaster with the Jindal choice. The incompetence of the current Republican party is astounding.

If they had a brain between them, they would be pushing Jon Huntsman Jr.


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