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Barberi: Barbs, Beefs & Bites


Holly is away this week and invited me to play in her corner of the City Weekly sandbox.

Where do I start? Having been off the air this past year has caused me to have an almost terminal case of mental constipation. I am already sick of the race for the White House, and it is still a year and a half away. The only good thing about this early start of the D.C. Derby is the reminder that we will be rid of the Bush/Cheney cabal. That is, of course, as long as Bush doesn’t find another way to punch a hole in the Constitution by claiming he can run for a third term because he technically didn’t win the first one, having been just an appointee of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Watching the recent Democrat debate on CNN, with all the YouTube questioning, I thought this would be a great way to hold the election. In its May 17 issue, City Weekly ran a story (“Idol in Chief”) about putting all the candidates on an American Idol format and letting them each present their platforms. Then have Simon Cowell, Paula Rehab and Randy “Dog” Jackson critique their performances. At the end of the show, lines could be opened for text voting. It would save millions of dollars, dump the Electoral College charade and get more people involved. This would let anyone have a say, legal citizen or not. Bush would support this system and just call it the “guest voter” program.

At the local level, we have a handcart full of candidates vying for Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson’s office. No matter who wins, things just won’t be as much fun. Love him or hate him, Rocky has been the best thing to happen to Utah since we put the final nail in the coffin of Prohibition. He has gotten the blood pumping in a state suffering from a terminal culture of obedience and groupthink. Who else would hold a rally calling for the impeachment of Bush/Cheney when the president stopped over for a brief visit?

The local powers that be can’t stand the fact that Rocky is mayor. Could Vice President Dick Cheney’s invitation to speak at BYU’s commencement exercises be an attempt at payback? There has always been a constant stream of letters in both dailies blasting Rocky for any number of things, but most seem to come from people who don’t live in Salt Lake City. While I don’t agree with everything the mayor says and does, you have to hand it to him for getting the Fox News (which is an oxymoron) gang’s undies in a bunch while driving talk-show douche bag Sean Hannity into a hissy fit and Bill O’Reilly into apoplexy.

Something I disagree with Rocky about is his support for the new law limiting protesting and demonstrating in front of private residences. I can see the arguments on both sides, and they both have a point. As a homeowner, I wouldn’t want a bunch of people who had an ax to grind against me parading up and down the sidewalk in front of my house. On the other hand, the way the law reads, it shoves demonstrators 100 feet down the block, annoying the crap out of totally innocent neighbors. Then there is the issue of the Governor’s Mansion, which is actually a state building, being off-limits to protesters, too. So much for redress of grievances. These are all examples of the law of unintended consequences.

If the law stands, there is a simple loophole demonstrators could exploit. Just start your demonstration in front of a house that is 100 feet away from your intended target, and the police will shoo you down the block, putting you in front of the house you wanted to demonstrate in front of in the first place. Now, what do you do?

Speaking of laws, if the Legislature doesn’t enact “Henry’s Law” next time around, making animal abuse a felony, I think legislators should all be made to wear Michael Vick’s jersey. This week’s “Vick” award goes to a 36-year-old Cedar Hills jerk who tried to poison a neighbor’s dog with a piece of chicken filled with ibuprofen. When confronted by the dog’s owner, things got physical and the dog’s owner was arrested on suspicion of assault. The way the laws are, the dog’s owner could be dealt with more harshly than the doggie drug pusher. That is not right. The next time you want to pull a “Vick,” just think of Zoey the Chihuahua from Masonville, Colo. Little Zoey saved a 1-year-old toddler from being struck by a rattlesnake, taking the bites and shielding the little boy. Zoey almost died for her heroic actions but pulled through. Illegal immigration supporters would claim that Zoey was doing work that American dogs won’t do. Now I know why Paris Hilton carries her Chihuahua in her purse.

Tom Barberi—The Voice of Reason—is a longtime Salt Lake City radio host who claims to be retired ... but, you never know. Send feedback to