Many nights, my wife and I escape to our front porch for wine, beer or cocktails and adult conversation. The topics can vary greatly, as any great conversation on a porch should do. Two topics tend to dominate, however. One is, not surprisingly, our amazing son. Another is our constantly-evolving and never-ending dreams. But, quite frankly, I don't care about the topics. I only care about those few spare moments in our incredibly busy lives when we can slip into peaceful respite with each other.
One of the things we seldom touch on is politics. It may come up, because we're both political junkies. But for that very reason, politics never seems very welcome on the front porch. At the dinner table, during BBQs, on long car rides? Absolutely. Just not on the porch.
My point? Happy anniversary to my wife. Eight years ago today, we were married (our honeymoon was in the Canadian Gulf Islands, pictured above). It was a tense time in America: 9/11 was still fresh in our minds, war in the Middle East was just beginning, the economy was taking its first nosedive of the decade and Bush was president. It's also a time period that the Democrats would like to remind people about as we enter 2010 elections, especially the Bush presidency. Basically, their message to voters as they try to keep control of Congress: Remember what it was like the last time the GOP ran the show.
However, it probably won't work, as Salon's Steve Kornacki (who I have worked with on a freelance basis) lays out in a nice, historical essay.
Now, for other news highlights, most of which will not be discussed on the porch tonight:
* My colleague, Jesse Fruhwirth, has been busy the past few days. Today, he has up a news story about Qwest bullying small providers like XMission. Yes, they own the toys (i.e. fiber optic lines), so they're not doing anything wrong. But still, as anyone who has ever dealt with them as a customer can attest, Qwest sucks. Jesse also has a blog post following his cover story about Utah's adoption laws that is pretty interesting.
* Another colleague, Eric S. Peterson, somehow works references to the Gulf oil spill, human genomes, YouTube cat videos and satellite weather images into his lead for our other news story this week, about data mining.%uFFFD
* Speaking of funny videos, Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle is now even confusing Fox News anchors.%uFFFD
* Interior Secretary Ken Salazar listens to Utahns complain. The most compelling thing to come out of this was Gov. Gary Herbert stating the obvious: "When all sides come to the table, we will come up with strong policies." Or, as Yoda would say, "Strong are policies with table of people, hmm." Or, maybe not.
* Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is popular with postal unions. So sayeth the Tribune folks today, or say sayeth Joe Pyrah at the oh-so-scrappy Daily Herald/Saugage Grinder blog a year ago. (Speaking of Pyrah, if you want another great daily news update, subscribe to his blog.)
* And ... more Pyrah. Ethics initiative folks are trying secure the needed signatures in Utah County. Progressive folks, here's a tip: If you need anything from Utah County, start early and pray hard.
* People are drinking more in the United States.
* Inspired by the civil discourse that happens every day on newspaper comment board, Salt Lake City has launched an online city hall.
* Now, a little self-promotion. Tomorrow morning on cityweekly.net, my cover story on Sam Granato will go live (it will also be in our print edition, hitting streets tomorrow and Thursday). This is the kind of story that attracted me to alternative media, and the kind of story I hope to continue to write. It is unlike anything a daily newspaper would print, and that's a good thing. Here is a sampling of what to expect:
By day's end, my search for sound bites about Granato has devolved into a jingoistic nightmare. Sunburned, I feel my head start to spin—in part because of my all-day buzz, but mostly because Granato as candidate for U.S. Senate seems more myth than reality.
* Finally, a song for my wife, complete with lo-fi video. (No, I didn't make the video, but I wish I did. It's just ... beautiful.)