I know all about stepping in the poop, because I have chickens, ducks, geese and, yes, wild turkeys. But the Utah Democratic Party really stepped in it by sending out a boneheaded mailer against Republican Reps. Mike Winder, Steve Eliason and Craig Hall because they “did nothing to stop” their caucus from voting to “raise our taxes.” Well, in reality, all three of them voted against the legislation in question.

It’s true they didn’t threaten to shoot someone or take family members hostage to get their fellow Republicans to oppose the tax reform bill (which actually cut taxes, overall). But, for criminy’s sake, THEY VOTED AGAINST IT! It’s not exactly fair to blame Winder, Eliason and Hall for votes taken by other Republicans

Even Democratic Rep. Angela Romero tweeted that she was disappointed that the Democrats “would stoop this low.” She said the Dem candidates in those districts “have been tainted by the idiot that thought this was a good idea.”

Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Gehrke tweeted that the mailer was “one of the stupidest hit pieces I’ve ever seen . . . an utter embarrassment.”

State GOP chair Derek Brown said it was “without doubt, the most disingenuous and deceptive campaign mailer that we’ve seen here in Utah in a very, very long time.” He said he may file a complaint with the lieutenant governor’s office.

Whoever did this is going to have to scrub hard to clean the stuff off their boots.

Friday change of pace: The turkey saga continues, and I’ve discovered we have at least one state legislator with a sense of humor. And his wife does, as well. Rep. Travis Seegmiller, R-St. George, sent me this gem in response to my whining about an invasion of wild turkeys. Here’s an excerpt:

Just wanted to say that I totally empathize with your Wild Turkey problem!  I've routinely got about 70 of them who terrorize our homestead, farm, paddock, lawns, etc. at varying times throughout the day.

Our 3 English or Old English Bulldogs (there's a distinction there) are still doing their darn best against the invasions, but these turkeys seem to have semi-domesticated themselves to the point where they'll eat pretty much whatever they want around our place.

But there are fringe benefits to have a wife with a Tony Award-winning voice:  one thing that the turkeys HAVE responded to is Opera singing.  We originally tried this tactic with the hundreds of Canadian geese that would swarm our seedlings --- dozens of acres of crops that were just barely poking their heads out of the ground ---- destroyed by hundreds of hungry geese in short order.  Well, my wife with the amazingly well-trained voice (she does, after all, have both a REAL Tony Award on her trophy shelf and also a REAL Grammy Award nomination medallion -- sort of dwarfs my little-league baseball trophy) took it upon herself to sprint into our 60-acre backyard at the time, swarmed with geese, and sing some very loud and intense operatic high notes to them.  This alone would clear the field of geese, as she ran with her muck boots around a muddy field's edges to blast the geese with sounds that apparently they hadn't heard before.  Who would've guessed??   And THAT technique worked better with the geese than even Grandpa's age-old "shoot a flare from a shotgun" approach.  😊 

The feat of singing an intense Operatic imbroglio doesn't work entirely as well with the turkeys----they don't tend to fly-away en masse like the geese ---- but it still works!

So what unique or unexpected methods might your family's own talents provide, for the Turkey fight?  When I married my elegant wife, a "City girl", and brought her home to the family farm, I never would've guessed that her classical voice training would provide Just What the Doctor Ordered when it came to clearing the field of unwanted LARGE birds!

Sincerely, Travis Seegmiller

Parting Shot. The Use of Political Power: We elect politicians to represent us in the use of power.

Government is different than every other institution because it is able to use force and coercion to accomplish its ends. It can take away my money, throw me in prison, and use force in myriad ways to impact my life.

Virtually every debate in Congress, in the Legislature, and in local governments is about the proper use of the awesome coercive power of government. We expect those we elect to judiciously wield this use of force. Here are some thoughts about the use of power:

-- “The sole advantage of power is that you can do more good.” (Baltasar Gracian)
-- “Power is the capacity to translate intention into reality and sustain it.” (Warren Bennis)
-- “Being powerful is like being a lady – if you have to tell people you are, you aren't.” (Lady Margaret Thatcher)
-- "The exercise of power requires an especially sharp and sensitive conscience." (Neal A. Maxwell)
-- "Really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not in them, but through them. Therefore, they are humble." (John Ruskin)

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