Monday, June 25, 2018

Issues In the Wyoming Election. A Series. Issue No. 1 (e). What about those other industries?

The shaded stool of Wyoming's other economic sectors.

More economics?

Yep.  We still haven't covered it all.

But then the candidates haven't either, and that's the point.

In the June 24 issue of the Star Tribune there's an article over concerns in the tiny Carbon County town of Rock River about a lack of housing there that threatens to soon become a problem due to an economic boom.

Coal coming back to Carbon County, you might be thinking?

And indeed, the last time southern Carbon County had a boom that's what brought it about.  But that one skipped Rock River.  Rock River last was doing really well a long time ago, although it still did well enough at some point that a relatively new modern school was put in there since the 1970s.

What the anticipated boom in this case would be caused by is an expiration in Federal wind power subsidies which is causing companies that put in wind farms to rush to try to get theirs in, and qualify, before the subsidy expires, which it is likely to do.

Wind turbines have been used for power generation since houses were first wired with electricity.  Indeed, one of the missions of the Rural Electric Administration was to get farmers and ranchers off of windmills in their yards and on to the grid.  Granted, the grid was probably safer than the wind generators of the time, but, none the less.

Now, this isn't an article on wind power.  I've had others on that topic. Rather, this is an article on the topic of "the other" industries that candidates in the election will vaguely reference, but rarely specifically actually address.

It's odd.

In part this doesn't occur as, at least now in the GOP, you just can't say "well. . . oil and gas is doing fine and coal isn't going to get better, so we better look at . . . .".  The official mantra is that coal will recover and oil and gas wouldn't be boom and bust if only the Federal government would stay out of things.  That's naive.

And we know that its naive at that, but we don't want to say too much.  It's sort of based on the power of wishful thinking thesis, but nobody wants to really deal with the decline of coal.

Which is all the odder when we consider that Wyoming at one time had a lot of other extractive industries.  Wyoming was an iron producer, for example, and was well into the second half of the 20th Century.  And Wyoming was a major uranium producer.  All that is no longer the case, due to market forces. Uranium, I'm pretty convinced, will come back.  But you only have to go to Shirley Basin to see that its gone.  There's no town there, where once there was a mining town there.

But there are windmills there, that's for sure.

Wind mill installation has become a big deal in Wyoming. That doesn't mean you could plan an economic future on it, as installation is like petroleum exploration.  It isn't really steady.  It goes in, and then you have the infrastructure.  So, for places like Rock River and Medicine Bow, you have to deal with the boom in construction followed by a bust, but the infrastructure and the jobs associated with it, remain.  And they remain for a very, very, long time.

Now, this post isn't the "why aren't the candidates speaking about wind power" post, although so far they don't seem to be.  It's the "what are those other economic areas" they vaguely reference?

This is probably too broad of category to make a fair post about, frankly, but some attention does need to be given to it. There are a lot of economic activities in Wyoming and we've addressed a lot of them.  But not all by any means. When candidates speak of "improving the economy", what are they talking about.

Some candidates, to be fair, have made specific references to other areas.  Galeotos and Throne have both spoken about technology, although oddly Galeotos was sort of uncharacteristically hostile to the topic in one instances, assuming the Tribune is reporting that accurately, as Throne seemed to get to it first.  Having said that, Throne and Galeotos both have spoken about trying to harness the computerized technological advances of recent years to Wyoming's benefit, and they seem to have some concepts, vague though they may be, about how that would work.

Hageman seems outright hostile to any discussion that doesn't involve 100% application of Wyoming's traditional industries, by which she is pinning her hopes on the extractive industries.  That doesn't seem to show much vision at all, but she's not the only one who likely looks at the economy in that fashion.  If you are in a line of work, and most Wyomingites are not, which is somewhat insulated from booms and busts, that is in fact an attractive way to look at things. . . somewhat.  It has its own problems no matter what, but suffice it to say if you are a small business owner or a laborer, this view really has its problems.

Other candidates simply promise to fix the economy.  Foster Freiss, for example, notes that he's a successful businessman and he can be trusted to fix the economy. Well, being so successful that you can keep a home in Jackson and another in Arizona means something, but what it doesn't mean is that you know anything whatsoever about Wyoming's economy.

And a lot of things go into an economy.  You can't just "fix" them.  Economies are natural in a way (although the corporate capitalist model we have is not a "natural economy" in the pure sense).  That's a big aspect of the economy that the candidates haven't really addressed in a full on way, although some have topically.

As an economic unit, the state, the state has to play to its strengths and attempt to build some where they are lacking.  Some have noted that, and that's particularly noted by people who are strongly reliant on the extractive industries. But it is missing in regards to other things, such as agriculture, in the discussion.

Be that as  it may, there's been little (some, but not much) reference to our weaknesses. Those weaknesses are specifically what the ENDOW study looked at.

There's a lot about Wyoming that makes development of its economy outside of the existing areas its strong in tough.  We lack good transportation and we lack intra state air travel nearly entirely.  We have no passenger rail at all.  Travel during the winter season can be death defying. . . or in fact deadly.

It's also popular to note that we have no major urban areas, but in fact we do.

Wyoming does have a major regional city.  Or actually two such cities.

And those cities are Denver Colorado and Salt Lake City Utah.  Maybe more than that.

Now, that may sound like I'm missing something, but the opposite is true.

Wyoming does have its own culture within the regional culture.  But we have to acknowledge that it is still part of the Rocky Mountain Region and the Northern Plains. And that matters as, at the end of the day, while the states and provinces (did I say provinces, as in Canadian provinces, why yes I did) have their own cultures, their boundaries are not natural ones, for the most part, and therefore they do not have the geographic impact of natural boundaries.  The line separating Wyoming from Colorado, in other words, is not the Rhine River or the Atlas Mountains.  It's just a line.  That line is real in various ways, but you can cross it and never know.

Indeed, as an aside, when a student in Laramie I had a deer license in southern Wyoming and the only really good place I could find to hunt was so near Colorado in those pre GPS days that I constantly worried about crossing into Colorado.  I'm really good with a topographic map, but none the less I worried about it.  Oddly enough, I was hunting in an area where there was a very large stream, a proto river, present and instinctively you found yourself thinking that "across the river is Colorado".  Not so much.

Anyhow, we live in age of increasingly improved transportation and communications. And we live in an age in which economic consolidation has moved towards the cities.  It's been often noted by demographers that, over a long period of time, indeed a period of time exceeding a century, Americans have been leaving rural areas for cities, and leaving towns and small cities for big cities.

Whether this is good or bad is another matter.  Frankly, I feel its nearly universally a negative trend. But it being a negative trend doesn't mean it isn't a trend.  And in our region, that has meant that for much of Wyoming Denver Colorado is the regional hub. For far western Wyoming, that hub is Salt Lake City.  And that's the way it is.

That may be more fine with most Wyomingites than we care to admit (and I'll have more in that in an exciting conclusion to this series) but the truth of the matter is that our major hubs are regional. Denver and Salt Lake City.  If you expand out just a bit, the hubs also include Calgary, St. Paul, Minnesota and Houston Texas.

If you feel otherwise, consider the evidence.  I've worked with and for people in the oil industry who worked in Denver and had bosses in Calgary or Houston.  If you grew up in Wyoming and have an advanced degree, other than in medicine, veterinary medicine, dental medicine, law or accounting there's a really good chance that you moved to Denver, Salt Lake or St. Paul.  Shoot, a lot of Wyomingites end up moving to Denver or Salt Lake simply due to economic reasons, irrespective of their educations.  That includes individuals with nearly no education, and those with advanced degrees.  One friend of mine with an advanced degree grew up outside of Hanna, worked in the mines for awhile, before ended up with what will be a life long career in Denver.  Pretty typical.

And this is the way it is, and we're not changing it.

So, when we speak of those other areas, we have to accept the geographic and economic realities, including that we can't really change a lot of that.

So what are our plans, really?

The 2018 Wyoming Election. Volume Three


Volume Three, already?

Yes, and there's so much more to go.

Let's summarize where we're at. We only the opening day for filings, so some names are now showing up that weren't there before.

United States Senate

John Barrasso, Republican incumbent and odds on favorite.
John Holtz, Republican.  Holtz is a lawyer from Laramie.  He's a new entry to the field.  I don't know anything about him.

David Dodson, a Republican businessman located in Teton County who is running as an independent and who is very well funded.  He's giving away free caps and has been running a grumpy television campaign.

Gary Trauner, a Democratic businessman who must leap for glee every time he sees one of Dodson's ads.

United States House of Representatives

Liz Cheney. Republican incumbent who won due to a three way race taking out two strong Republican contenders and whose election has inspired a certain belief that loose connections with the state won't be held against a candidate.
Rod Miller, former rancher, wild looking dude, and resident of Buford Wyoming.

Travis Helm, immigration attorney running as a Democrat.
Mark Harvey, retired U.S. Department of Transportation employee from Cody running as a Democrat who came out for gun control and a national health care system as soon as he announced, thereby dooming his campaign from the onset.

Governor

Sam Galeotos, Republican businessman running a strong campaign.
Mark Gordon, Wyoming State Treasurer and, according to the pundits, the odds on favorite.  Republican.  He hasn't run a very impressive campaign so far.
Harriet Hageman, attorney at law and on the Wyoming Liberty Group libertarian end of things.  Republican.
Bill Dahlin, Republican, businessman whose campaign has been extremely quiet.
Foster Friess.  Wealthy Republican running an unexpected campaign and who may inject a lot of money in the campaign to the potential benefit of, mostly, Mary Throne, who could use the distraction that would create.
Taylor Haynes, retired physician and now a perennial candidate of the radical Tea Party variety.  Republican.

Mary Throne. Democratic lawyer from Sheridan who up until now has the Democratic field to herself.  The unfortunate entry of another Democrat means she'll have to campaign and this may mean that the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans will be in focus.
Kenneth R. Casner, Democrat from Carbon County and a new entry into the race.  His entry will end up hurting Democratic chances in the general election if he mounts a serious campaign.

Rex Rammell, veterinarian and also perennial candidate and even more radical Tea Party candidate running as a member of the Constitution Party.

Secretary of State

Edward Buchanan.  Republican incumbent, but only recently so.
Leland Christensen had been a candidate for this position but he's apparently dropped out in favor of running for Treasurer.

James W. Byrd.  Well known Democrat from Cheyenne whose mother was an even more well known and long serving Democrat from Cheyenne.

State Auditor

Kristi Racines.  Republican
Nathan Winters. Republican

Jeff Dockter.  Democrat.

State Treasurer

Curt Meier. Republican
Leland Christensen, Republican

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Jillian Balow.  Republican.

Much more to follow.

May 24, 2018

Yesterday, in checking Facebook, I hit upon a Mark Gordon Facebook ad which touts his support for the Second Amendment.

This is a worthless ad. We know that all the candidates who are serious are going to claim they're ardent supporters of the Second Amendment.

What I'd like to know is Mark Gordon's position on public lands.  So I emailed his campaign.  His campaign manager, the same manager Mead had formerly, emailed me that Mark would be emailing me right back.  If he does, I'll let you know what he has to say.  If he doesn't email back, I'll email him back and let you know that.  In emailing him, by the way, I just sent a flat email without hinting at what my opinion is.

That's going to be my approach this year.  I generally don't bother politicians much but starting last year I did a bit and this year I'm going to more so. When I see them, I'm going to ask them the things that matter to me and then flat out say whether or not I like their answer to their faces so they can more than get a bit of feedback.

I also emailed Sam Galeotos.  I haven't heard back from him either.

Those were the only two I emailed as amongst the serious candidates, those are the only two whose position I don't know or can't guess.

And speaking of a candidate whose position on this I now know for sure, there's Republican Rod Miller who is running in the GOP primary for Congress against Liz Cheney.  He's told us exactly what he thinks.

Miller Video on Public lands

Millers chances are really poor as he's running against an incumbent.  But on this he's hit the nail on the head for a lot of people.  Reading his website he probably fits the view of a lot of Wyomingites on a lot of things, but he's also in the category of candidate who is problematic for social issue voters, which is unfortunate.  He's implicitly in favor of the current status on abortion, for example, which drops him out of consideration for a lot of voters who would otherwise probably go for him but for that, or at least would consider doing so. And he's for the legalization of marijuana which is likely such a non issue in Wyoming that I don't know why a Congressional candidate would even state a position on it, given that it can only irritate those who are against that position.

May 24, 2018, part II

It turns out that Mark Gordon has in fact made a statement about public lands, to a sportsman's group that flat out asked him. Here's what he wrote back to them.


Not very impressive.

Basically a statement like this says as little as possible so as to hopefully not anger anyone.  It suggest there'd be a lot of problems (true) and that it would be unconstitutional under the Wyoming constitution (true) and expensive (true) but that doesn't mean he's against it.

He also takes the approach that maybe smaller parcels are okay and that transferring management is a good idea.  There's no real reason to believe that transferring management wouldn't be a burden to the state and expensive to users of public lands.  Indeed, the state is already more restrictive than the Federal government.

I'm not a single issue voter (indeed, I'll have a post on that) but I"m not impressed. This isn't what most Wyomingites want and this goes a long ways toward defining my views on Gordon.

Mary Throne, it turns out, has also been public in her views. She's flat out said that the public lands should be kept public.

I've noted it here before, but this may be one of the rare instances in which the Democrat can pull in the most votes.  Throne has worked as a lawyer in oil and gas matter so she's familiar with that aspect of the state's economy. And she's in favor of public lands.

So what about Galeotos? Turns out that he has made a statement as well, to a newspaper in Sweetwater County. What he had to say was:
Galeotos said it is not likely that Wyoming will seize federal lands, but that he believes local control is always better. He would like to come to an agreement with the federal government and find a model that would allow local control over Wyoming’s lands.
He said the issue of the state selling lands to private owners needs to be addressed because he does not want that.
That's not a great, for backers of public lands, but it's not as wishy washy as Gordon nor as scary either.  Not as good as Throne.

Not that this decides everything.  But depending where other chips fall, Gordon's views may very well push him off the table for sportsmen and real local ranchers, who need to use the public lands.

May 25, 2018

Sam Galeotos was in Casper yesterday.  While here in the state's second largest city (but one in which the population is declining), which has traditionally looked heavily towards the petroleum industry for its economy, Galeotos announced the assembly of his business advisory committee.

Galeotos deserves a lot of credit for taking a really distinct approach in this campaign.  Almost all of the GOP candidates have taken a highly traditional, for Wyoming, approach to Wyoming's boom and bust economy.  While politicians, particularly Republican politicians, like to speak of Wyoming's economy being a "three legged stool" (which I think to be a rather inaccurate analogy), its generally posed in such a way that one of those legs is an oak post, the extractive industries, while the rest are pine dolls.  I'm sure that Galeotos isn't an opponent of the mineral industries, but he's emphasizing high tech with which he has a lot of experience.

I have no idea on whether Galeotos' business ideas for the state's economy are correct or not.  I have my real doubts, quite frankly.  But nonetheless he deserves credit for not simply approach the real problem of Wyoming's cyclical economy with the suggestion that the entire solution is to aid the mineral industries. The mineral industries are so tied into a global economy that the concepts that are touted out about what helps or hurt that industry tend to be rather naive.  Suggestions, such as Hageman has made, that its all about regulation simply fail to acknowledge that the health of coal have a lot more to do about things like the Pacific coast phasing out coal generated power from their grid, or power plants in Texas switching to cheaper, more efficient, and less technologically temperamental natural gas or that the price of oil has more to do with events in Tehran and Baghdad than they do in Bad Water.

Speaking of businessmen, megabucks candidate Foster Friess has commenced advertising on television.  In his advertisements he's sporting a black cowboy hat.  It may be just me, but as a member of the demographic that actually wears such hats in a working role, and has a working cowboy hat that's covered with dried cow shit, I really take offense at such posing.  He notes he's a "conservative businessman".  Dressing like a cowboy isn't going to fool anyone that he came up here on the Texas Trail or something.

Galeotos, by the way, is noting that he's also a conservative businessman, which is no doubt correct.  He's emphasizing his other conservative credentials, such as that he is pro life.  Right now he really stands apart from the GOP crowd, however.  He's a Wyoming native whose family goes back a couple of generations in the state.  Unlike a lot of the multiple generation Wyoming candidates, however, his family have always been in business, having originally been Greek immigrants who came over and purchased the ice cream shop they worked in, which later became a tavern.  Galeotos has real business credentials.  He's pro Second Amendment like every other candidate, but he's not anti public lands like every other GOP candidate is or fears not being.  He may be a lot more like most Wyoming voters than any other Republican running.

May 27, 2018

The Tribune today had an article in which it summarized its interviews of the major Gubernatorial candidates positions on coal.  Throne, Hageman, Gordon and Galeotos were interviewed.

All the candidates are "pro coal", according to the Tribune, but none of them said the exact same thing. It was quite interesting for that reason.

Throne was unique in admitting that she believes that climate science indicates that human caused global warming is real.  I'll give her a lot of credit for this because I frankly think most, but not all, well educated people now concede that, although they may not concede the degree or what should be done.  Indeed, I'm pretty sure that Governor Mead believes in it but feels that political considerations in the state prevent him from saying that.  And my guess is that Gordon and Galeotos, and Dahlin, likewise agree that it's a real thing and a real concern.  Throne has the guts to admit her position which shows some real honesty, although it may cost her votes at the ballot box.

Indeed Throne flat out criticized the entire debate over whether global warming was real or not, within the state, by saying that the debate had wasted a lot of time that could have been used to benefit alternative sustainable uses for coal.  That's a really bold statement but one that deserves real credit for being made as it shows she's willing to take hits but to deliver them back on an issue that has gone the way she suggests it has in Wyoming.

Anyhow, Throne isn't anti coal, but feels that research needs to be done on what market coal can fulfill in a world increasingly hostile to the burning of it. She's for researching for new sustainable uses for coal in a world that's become hostile to it.

In stark contrast Hageman is quoted as saying that she doesn't believe in global warming and that its a political issue and not an environmental issue, taking the very type of position that Throne criticized.  Hageman is for supporting coal, but the paper didn't relate what that meant.

The problem with this view is that it really doesn't matter what the Governor of Wyoming thinks about the truth or not of global warming.  That debate has largely moved on and the market is killing the industry off slowly.  Simply denying the accuracy of the position is a little King Canute like.  Hageman's random comment about why doesn't the state do something along the lines of the advertising it does for tourism for coal probably wasn't serious (and would be a rather odd view given her libertarian economic views), but it shows how fixed her position is.

Before moving on, one thing also in the paper today is a letter by one female Cheyenne lawyer defending Hageman against the accusations by Cheyenne lawyer Larry Wolfe that characterized her as an amateur who should not be elected.  Things must be a little testy in the Laramie County Bar right now.  Anyhow, the letter seemed to me to be one of those examples of being careful who you get your help from as it boiled down to the argument that as she's a lawyer, she knows government stuff, an argument that doesn't really sit well with everyone.  Interestingly, the same argument, if it is convincing, applies to Throne as well except that her practice might arguably be at least as helpful for her role as Governor or would be no less advantageous, if it is, to that role.

Anyhow, noting Hageman's position above the most developed, as explained by the Tribune, was Gordon's.

Gordon is spending a lot of time it seems making nuanced statements which suggests that he has pretty developed opinions on a lot of things but he's afraid to say what they really are as he doesn't want to offend anyone.  Reading his statement to the Trib, if you read between the lines, what he's saying is that coal is going into the dumper and won't recover as it can't compete with natural gas and, no matter what Wyomingites believe about global warming, the views elsewhere are moving in one direction that that is contributing to an unarrestable decline in coal.  In those views, quite frankly, he's highly like to be right.

Gordon spends a lot of time emphasizing his occupation of ranching but he's also an East coast prep school and university educated businessman with a diverse background.  He's been around and likely knows a lot more on various topics than he's willing to admit to knowing, as if he did, it makes him look like an east coast intellectual and that would cut against him here.  In this area, however, that's leaking through a bit, and to his credit.  He's capable rather obviously of reading the tea leaves which it seems that a candidate like Hageman won't look at.  Gordon's arguing for looking at transportation systems for the transport of coal to expand Wyoming coal's market, but didn't say much to the Tribune beyond that.  That's probably a rational enough approach.

Galeotos was more "bullish", to use the Tribune's term, on coal's future and not surprisingly was looking to high tech to save coal as well as pushing the market.  He'd continue to back the state's extremely expensive research into clean coal. Given his tech background, that's not surprising.  He was also in favor of trying to boost the market while a perceived ally is in the White House.

May 31, 2018

Mark Gordon replied to my query about public lands by letter, which I give him credit for.

His letter was mostly the same letter as that one set out above with some additions.  So he doesn't really come to a real position in it.  He does note that he values public lands and notes how his wife's family depended upon them for recreation when she was growing up, but otherwise the content is much the same.

Well, that has to leave people who have strong views on keeping the public lands public a little uneasy.  Gordon is trying to split the middle and not really say much, as he clearly doesn't want to offend any one constituency.  That might be acting like a good politician, but it's not comforting for those who care about the issue.  I know its clarifying my views about his candidacy.

On other topics, the Tribune ran an article in which they'd asked all of the candidates, including the really extreme ones, what they thought of the recent proposals to allow towns and cities to levy more in the way of taxes directly.  It's a really interesting issue for a lot of reasons, one being that it gets to the topic of municipal home rule. The GOP has been huge in recent years about local control, so logic would have it that they'd be in favor of local control for taxation.

Not so much, according to the answers.

Or rather, no really clear position.

Gordon and Freiss were in favor of it.  They were the only ones.  Bizarrely, Rex Rammel, the Constitution Party candidate who wants to drive the Federal government out of the state on this and that in the name of state control, is opposed to it as he fears the local governments would raise taxes.  Maybe they would, but you'd think a guy whose political philosophy is based on the local would be all for local control.  Apparently not.

Bill  Dahlin was a qualified yes. He'd be in favor of it, but only if it went to the local voters.

Hageman flatly stated that she didn't think she could answer the question, finding it too abstract.  Galeotos and Throne both indicated they'd need to study the matter more.

I think the overall interesting nature of it is that it collides with what most candidates want to say about taxation. . .they're opposed, with what they also want to say about local control. . .they're in favor.  What if that local control means that the locals do something you don't want?

That could, I note, be extended out to a lot of things.  For people who like to imagine the state seizing control of public lands. . . what if Teton County argued it could manage the local public lands better than the state?  I'm not so sure a lot of the backers of the grab it movement would be really keen on that.

On really local news the local long time prosecutor has indicated he was retiring, which I already knew.  A deputy is running.  I'm not really going to comment on that and I don't even have an opinion on it.  What I noted in the prosecutor's announcement is that hes' saying that retiring will allow him to go into private practice and be more hands on with the law.

I don't know why lawyers feel compelled to say things like that, or worse yet to attempt the.  Our local DA endured some very severe heart problems in the last term and had a heart transplant.  Geez, man, relax in retirement.  The practice of law is a super stressful endeavor that flat out kills a lot of practitioners and drives over 25% of them into depression.  It is something that, frankly, at a certain age you ought to give up, not really get back into.

May 31, 2018, part II

I was downstairs and heard the answering machine pick up, to be followed by an extraordinarily long voice message.  Going up to check it, it was a very long Foster Freiss voice mail about being called for a "town meeting".

I know that telephonic town meetings are done by Rep. Cheney and Sen. Barrasso, at least.  I don't know how they really work.  I was tempted to call in, but did not.

This and the television ads he's running suggests to me that Freiss is serious about trying to take the Governorship.  I think he has no chance, but he's making a serious run at it.

June 2, 2018

Well the time to register as a candidate is past, and so the final list is in.  Not surprisingly, it includes quite a few people who have registered and whom we're not likely to hear much from again.

We don't need to go over every race, as most of the statewide races haven't changed.  The two with real changes are those for Congress.

These races are interesting, although the results are nearly foreordained.  The House race in particular shows the absolutely pathetic state of the Democratic Party in Wyoming.  It's so bad that the Democrats should be ashamed.

Let's start with the U.S. Senate.

The Candidates are, on the Republican side:

John Barrasso Casper.  He's the incumbent, and absent the discovery of something shocking, he'll be the winner in the primary.

Anthony L. Van Risseghem Cheyenne, WY.  This candidate is 33  years old and that's about all I could learn about him.  He stands virtually no chance.

Republican Charlie Hardy Cheyenne, WY.  Charlie Hardy is a symbol of what's wrong with American politics and society in general.   The perennial boomer candidate, now crowding 80, if he does't have it surrounded, is a former cleric who has run repeatedly as a Democrat on the social left side of the boomer scale.  He sounds like he's from 1978 and ought to knock it off.

He's now switched parties, which in his case is frankly absurd. The thesis is that whoever gets the nomination will be the Senator.  That's true, but Hardy is delusional if he thinks he's going to do well in the primary.  Van Risseghem and Holtz have a better chance, and they have no chance at all.

Republican Dave Dodson Cheyenne.  Dodson is now listed, by the Secretary of State, as being a Cheyenne candidate but he's a wealthy Colorado import to Jackson Hole.  I wasn't aware that he'd officially registered as a Republican as his plan had been to run an independent campaign all the way to the finish line.  He is running a grumpy television commercial campaign that so far has lacked much in the way of real content.  He, and his supporters, have been making the rounds to gun shows, which is interesting.

Republican John Holtz Laramie, WY.  Information on Holtz is that he's a former colonel in the Air Force and a retired lawyer who was a Wyoming circuit court judge.  I don't recall him as a judge at all, which doesn't mean he wasn't one.  Supposedly he was one of the youngest judges to have ever served on the Wyoming bench, having gone on in his early 30s, in which case you'd think I'd recall him, but I don't.  He's now 68 years old and retired, living in Laramie.  He's running as more conservative than Barrasso.

Republican Roque “ Rocky “ De La Fuente San Diego, CA.  This guy shouldn't even be a consideration.  He's an eccentric former candidate for the Presidency from the last election and now, thanks I suspect to Liz Cheney, a Virginian who succeeded on getting elected from Wyoming with thin connections to the state, he thinks Wyoming is open territory for out of staters.  It isn't.

The Democrats have one candidate.

Gary Trauner.  Trauner nearly unseated Barbara Cubin in her last run and has to be laughing when he sees the unexpected state of minor turmoil, mostly caused by Dodson money, in the GOP race.  It's almost a certainty that Trauner v. Barrasso will be the race in the Fall, but it might turn out to be more of a race than it otherwise would have been as Barrasso will actually have to contest at least Dodson in the primary.

United States House of Representatives:

Republicans

Liz Cheney Wilson, WY.  Cheney is the incumbent and is running for a second term.  She wasn't that popular of candidate when she won the first time, but it's highly likely that she'll get the nomination as Wyoming incumbents usually do.  Still, having said that, she's a weak candidate if a really strong one opposes her.

Blake E Stanley Cheyenne, WY.  I  don't know anything about him at all.

Republican Rod Miller WY.  Miller is running an eccentric campaign against Cheney.  Heavily bearded and a former rancher, he looks like a mountain man.

I suspect his views are too left of center, even as a Republican, to unseat Cheney, but they more force her to learn what locals actually feel.  Miller's views on public lands are distinct and reflect the views of the state's citizens.  Indeed, while I disagree with him on social issues, his views probably generally reflect those of most Wyomingites much better than Cheney's.  Maybe Cheney will be forced to listen as a result.

Democrats.

Neither of the Democrats has any real chance of unseating Cheney and they remain largely unknown. They are:

Greg Hunter Laramie, WY.  Hunter only moved to Wyoming in 2012 and has a prior candidate for office in Ohio.  Another example of the Cheney effect.   He'll not do well in the primary, I suspect.  He can't help but note in his campaign site that he's from Dayton.  Rightly or wrongly a lot of Wyomingites will have the "go back to Dayton view", and indeed, given his recent arrival, I'm not too certain that I don't have that view.  I work quite a bit on topics involving Dayton, oddly enough, and I'm not super impressed.

Travis Helm Laramie, WY   He's a fair left of center immigration lawyer who has no chance at all of success in the general election.

But who knows, with two candidates this weak, I suppose either could be the nominee.  Indeed, the fact that the Democrats have basically conceded this election by fielding these two extraordinarily poor candidates says a lot about the state of the Democratic Party in Wyoming.  It's bad.  Cheney's a weak candidate, and the Democrats haven't been able to step up to the plate with a good one.  Indeed, it's interesting to speculate what would occur here if Trauner, who isn't a weak candidate, had announced for the House.

This is also the reason that the Democratic Party is nearly dead here.  Why wold anyone register as a Democratic voter in Wyoming based on the two races noted above.  Trauner supporters are safe to to register as Republicans as he will be the Democratic challenger.  The two Democratic candidates for the House are stinking up the race here so much that it doesn't matter which one wins.  A rational Democrat, unless he's worried about the Gubernatorial race, would register as a Republican to vote against Cheney.

It's hard to believe that the Democrats once were able to field serious candidates for this office.  Now, they can't.

As noted above, the Democrats should be absolutely ashamed of this field.  A competent party, knowing what they were undergoing here, would have gone to a prominent member and impressed them to run even as a sacrificial lamb.  Somebody like Sullivan or Freudenthal should have been picked.  Instead, two blisteringly weak candidates will run instead which will solidify the Democratic Party's hopeless gadfly position and probably cause more of the few remaining Democrats in the state who aren't part of the hopelessly delusional far left to question why they register Democratic, and cross over into the GOP, making Wyoming even more of a one party state.

Heck, even Charlie Hardy, who has no chance of winning in the Senatorial race, can read those tea leaves well enough.  He's running as a Republican.

June 5, 2018

The Tribune reports that Mark Harvey, a retired WYDOT employee who was running for the Democratic ticket for the House, has dropped out.  Of course, we basically already reported that.

Harvey was running, albeit only very briefly, an eclectic campaign focused on health care and gun control, neither of which are popular topics in Wyoming and the latter of which would have been fatal to any campaign.

The race still features two candidates for the Democratic ticket, however, as also earlier noted here.  One of those candidates commented on this thread the other day.

The Tribune also confirms that Dodson is running as a Republican in his bid against Barrasso, which we also already noted.  He claims that he did this as Republicans feared that if he continued to run as an independent it would split the ticket in the Fall giving Trauner the seat.

He's taking some heat for this decision from some Republicans, although that doesn't quite make sense as there's some logic to his statements regarding Trauner, although that likely overestimates his own appeal.  He's also taking heat for having made some donations in the past to Democratic candidates, which he explained away as having been made in fairness and out of loyalty to his political science major daughter who apparently is a Democrat.  The donations tend, however, to focus attention to the fact that his connection to the state is recent and he's a Teton County resident, which is regarded by many in deep Wyoming as largely out of touch with the rest of the state.

The Tribune noted that some local Natrona County races are single ticket, with there being no declared opposition to the announced District Attorney and Sheriff's candidates meaning, absent something really surprising, that those candidates have their victories assured.  The Sheriff is running for reelection, of course, but in the DA's office the contestant is currently a deputy, with the current DA retiring as earlier noted.

June 6, 2018

There's some unwritten rule in Wyoming politics that some time during an election campaign, you must be seen with a horse.

The horse.  The ultimate arbiter of who is qualified to hold office in Wyoming.

So far during this election we've been reminded that Harriet Hageman is from a ranch family and that Mark Gordon owns a ranch.  Sam Galeotos (who so far seems to me to be the most impressive candidate) has been filmed with a horse.  I'm sure more horses are coming.

One place horses have arrived is television, as noted.  Mark Gordon's television advertisements so far have been remarkably content free.  It'd be almost impossible to tell what he believes in other than that, at the end of his ads, we're told he's going to protect the state against Washington D.C..  We're not really told what the threat is, so this presumably buys into the popular Wyoming thesis that the Republican controlled Federal government is picking on us.

Of course, this isn't how it is posed, but that would be the reality of it.  If we are to really buy off on that thesis, we have to accept that Republicans in the state are going to protect us from Republicans in Washington and most particularly form the most populist President since Andrew Jackson.

Hmmm. . . .

Anyhow, Gordon's ads have lots of ranch scenes so we know that he can  heard cattle and shoe horses.

Foster Friess now apparently wants us to know that he can do that too.

In a full page advertisement in the Casper Star Tribune Friess informs us that he "grew up herding cattle" on a family "ranch".

Friess is from Rice Lake, Wisconsin.  His website doesn't say anything about having worked a family ranch but it does mention that his mother dropped out of high school in order to work (actually it says "save") a family cotton farm in Texas and that his father dealt in cattle and horses.

By that measure, I should be Governor.  I deal in cattle and I'm pretty familiar with horses.  My mother also didn't complete high school (she did have an Associates Degree from Casper College, however) as she was taken out of school to work due to the Great Depression.  

Presumably, now that this has been published, Foster will drop out of the race in favor of me.

I'm being sarcastic, of course, but the point is that if you are going to claim to have worked a "ranch" you should be a little more specific.  There may be cattle farming in Wisconsin, indeed I am sure that there is, but ranching?  Hmmm.  Even if he was referring to Texas, Texas is enormously large and the cotton growing region in East Texas does produce lots and lots of cattle, but it's not ranching as we'd imagine it nor even as those in West Texas would imagine it.

This is all just grousing, of course. But none the less.

June 10, 2018

Somebody stumping for Harriet Hageman was in the neighborhood yesterday.  I missed their appearance as I was at a funeral.  They left a flyer.  Later in the day I saw a pickup truck licensed in Albany County with a big Hageman sign on the door near the edge of the subdivision, so presumably that was the stumper.

I have seen a lot of Hageman signs around, but none in my neighborhood.  I'm not sure what that means, but that's the fact.  Be that as it may, a lot of her signs are showing up around here and they're often associated with a couple of local candidates who have very similar signs.  I'm not sure if that's accidental or intentional.

Hageman's campaign flyer, which was left in my door, is pretty blunt.  It states:
Harriet fought the Environmental Protection Agency And Won
Harriet fought the United States Forest Service And Won
Harriet fought the United States Fish & Wildlife And Won
Harriet Represented Wyoming Against Other States And Won.
First of all, let me note that I'm very hesitant to associate a lawyer with a lawyer's clients.  I've known, for example, a couple of lawyers who primarily worked for oil companies, and did great jobs for those companies, but who were definitely left of center personally on environmental issues.  Lawyers are highly acclimated to separating their personal views from the work place roles in a way that few other professions take to such an extent.  Indeed, I was recently at an industry conference where a panelist closed with a fiery speech about the industry being under attack and the other panelist were clearly of the "what the heck?" view about its extent.

Anyhow, assuming her work reflects here views, which isn't a safe assumption about any good lawyer, and I'm sure she is that, this list is a bit disturbing.  I guess the point is the ongoing local Tea Party one that everything Federal is bad, but when did we start dissing the Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife?  Who were they being sued for and what was the cause?

This hate the Federal government theme, however, is really predominate this year.  The irony of it is that now that there's a populist Republican President in the White House, what that means, by extension, is that the GOP in the White House is a menace.  That's not what they're saying, but if we apply logic to it, that is what it would have to mean.  So after having been told in the last election that Donald Trump was going to be the friend of Wyoming in the White House, and with a Republican controlled House and Senate, how do these claims make any sense?  There's a logic disconnect with these views.

In regards to campaign propaganda, Foster Freiss keeps running the same full page ad in the Tribune every day.  He also promises to keep out the Federal government and get Wyoming's economy rolling, in the same sentence, which fully buys into the idea that the Federal government is keeping the economy down. The evidence for that is really thin.  We'll be looking at it soon.

June 11, 2018

The CST featured an article on Dodson today.  It was an interesting one.

The Tribune columnist all but characterized Dodson as a gadfly with unrealistic economic concepts.  Indeed, Dodson took the view, with the Trib's reporter, that all he had to do was to boost Wyoming like a salesman and that would change Wyoming's economy.  He concluded his article by flat out stating that Dodson didn't understand that economy, which based upon my reading of his article, assuming it was accurate, I'd have to agree with.

June 11, 2018, part two

Wyoming Public Media, it turns out, has interviewed several candidates:

Wyoming Public Media Interviews.

June 12, 2018

A couple of interesting things this morning.

First, Galeotos responded, through a spokesman, to a query from a sportsman's group about public lands and issued a response which shows a complete disconnect from the issue.  Here it is:


What on earth.

The state is far more restrictive on the public's use of the public lands than the Federal government is and sportsmen are well aware of that.  This puts Galeotos into the state control camp that public land users are fighting, but the way he poses this, as if this will be for multiple use, shows that he isn't in the group who use the public lands much himself.

At this point, as a result of this, that particular group has found ever single Republican unsatisfactory on this issue.  I suspect that an endorsement from at least one sportsmen and conservation group for Throne will be forthcoming.

Indeed, for most Wyomingites, Throne is now the only candidate who holds their views. The various Republicans are various shades of bad on this issue, from extremely bad to seems pretty bad.  If they loose on this issue, they deserve to.

Of course what we don't know yet is what Throne thinks on social issues, particularly abortion.  She's a lay minister in a Protestant church and if she comes across as more conservative than the Republicans on that issue, I frankly think she stands a good chance of winning the election.

Throne and Galeotos, as well as Hageman and Freiss also were at a Cheyenne meeting yesterday where they talked about technology.  It was, frankly, rather bizarre in a way.

Throne again seemed to have the best grasp of things, urging the state to support loans to business to support internet development.  Really oddly, Galeotos, who has seemingly been a backer of that sort of industry, countered that this wasn't needed and other sorts of technological businesses could come in and do just fine without the state's help.  Hageman, showing a real mid 20th Century view of the state's economy, took the position that technological jobs brought in a fraction of what oil and gas does, showing a blistering ignorance of the boom and bust nature of that sector and a blindness to the fact that the oil industry itself (I was a member of the Association of Petroleum Geologists for a long time) doesn't have that kind of view.  The point is to diversify the economy, not to freeze it in an oil based amber.  Freiss made some comment that was pro net about being able to sit on the deck of your farm and work in Singapore, which shows sort of a wacky charming belief about the lives of most people.  Be that as it may, that comment at least showed more of a grasp of things than the other Republicans demonstrated.

June 13, 1918

Following up a tad, the Tribune reported on an economic discussion in Cheyenne that happened apparently yesterday, although I'm frankly unsure if it isn't the one discussed immediately above.

Anyhow, Republicans Taylor, Hageman, Dahlin, Galeotos, Freiss and Democrat Throne were there.

Some of the positions discussed were surprising, in part because you don't expect them from the candidate in question and in part because they were unrealistic in the context of the candidates other positions.  Not much was said about Hageman, but as we know her focus is on the extractive industries.

It seems that Freiss' were too, as he noted that 70% of the state's income comes from minerals. This is true, but the fact of the matter is that Hageman and apparently Freiss both are treating this issue as those its static.  Wyoming has a boom and bust economy, they concede, but demand, prices and maybe technology just sort of remain frozen at a late 20th Century level somehow.

Dahlin, who up to now has been pretty quiet, wants to look at "organic growth industries" to move away from an economy so reliant on the energy sector.  The one he mentioned was industrial hemp, noting that there is quite a demand for it.

There is quite a demand for it, but the focus on it is a bit eccentric.  Of course, we've only started hearing from Dahlin so it'll be interesting to see where he goes.

Taylor said that he would reduce taxes and regulation on business and work on a robust vocational education.  The problem with all of that is that Wyoming's taxes are already in the basement and we don't regulate much really on the state level.  And a robust vocational education will require a robust funding of the same. . . which means some sort of functioning tax system.

Throne focused on technology, as I reported the other day.

Galeotos indicated he's identified six factors that are key to the economy and went on to state that we need workers, an education system creating workers and to be connected physically through air service and electronically through broadband.  It sounds like he had been reading the ENDOW  study before he spoke.  He apparently contradicted himself a bit from when he was in a debate the other day with Throne, regarding the internet, and now basically agrees with Throne on that.

Regarding Throne, she came out in favor of light rail to Colorado, conceptually.  She's the only one to do that so far.  That's discussed in an upcoming thread here.

Everyone was opposed to an income tax.

June 14, 2018

Interesting what you see travelling around the state.

In a run up to Cody and back today I saw no Hageman signs.  I've been seeing quite a few here in town, but none in Thermopolis or Cody.

Indeed, I saw very few signs up for the gubernatorial candidates at all, but a lot for various sheriff candidates.  The very few Gubanatorial signs I saw were for Gordon and Galeotos.

Cody was the first place I saw a Trump sign in the last Presidential election.  I don't know if that means anything, but if it does, Gordon will be the next governor.

The Wyoming Sportsmen for Public Lands ran Throne's words on her position on public lands.  It was as follows:


That puts Throne squarely in the Wyoming mainstream.  If this becomes an issue in this race, and amongst some it already is, Throne may be well positioned to draw a lot of voters who normally vote Republican.  As I'll have in an upcoming post, this gives a solid reason for Throne to pull to the right on social issues where there are a lot of single issue voters.

June 17, 2018

A lawsuit headed to the Supreme Court maintains that the requirement that insurance companies not consider preexisting conditions in health insurance, part of the Affordable Healthcare Act, is unconstitutional.  The Justice Department has filed a brief in support of that proposition.

All three Wyoming Congressional office holders have stated that they have the opposite view and therefore oppose the Justice Department's position.

It's interesting that this news broke on the same day that I posted an item on social issues and the Wyoming election, as this is a social issue.  More than that, however, its a primary example of how benefits extended to the public, no matter what the cost, rapidly become popular and then expectations.

The American health care system is nearly universally regarded as being in need of reform.  Everyone agrees with this in varying degrees.  But what has happened since the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act is a rapid example of extending a social benefit that solidifies into a right quickly.  I'm not venturing an opinion on that, but merely noting it.

After it was passed the GOP was drumbeating to repeal it, which was actually attempted a couple of times. They're not going to now, so it's clear that this heightened element of government involvement in health care will remain.

The requirement that preexisting conditions not be considered in insurance is hugely popular but basically unsound from an actuary position.  Anyone familiar with insurance knows this.  It's a big part of the reason that premiums keep climbing now and why health insurance as a benefit of employment is rapidly disappearing.  It is, quite simply, unsound.

If logic ruled in politics those who have been opposed to AHCA would be very much opposed to this provision.  But it's popular, and nobody wants to seem cruel.  So, basically, even Wyoming's Congressional representation, which always claimed to be against the AHCA, really isn't all that much anymore. And that didn't take very long.

June 18, 2018

The Wyoming Sports For Federal Lands published Foster Freiss reply to their question about where the candidates stand in regards to Federal Lands. That reply is here:

This makes Freiss the only Republican so far to come out for retained Federal ownership of the public domain, something that the majority of Wyomingites strongly support.

Like a lot of things Freiss states, its sort of oddly put which would suggest that he's not completely clued into the state he's trying to become Governor of.  The immediate reference to forest fires is a good point, but it's sort of odd in a state that's half prairie and which has, fwiw, a lot of wildland fires that aren't in the forests.  Indeed, I'd guess on an annual basis most of the wildland fires aren't forest fires, although forest fires tend to be the most serious of that sort of fire.

And the "greater access" comment is strange.  There's plenty of access already and indeed for members of the general public access on Federal land is superior to access to State land.  What Freiss seems to be really indicating is access for oil and gas companies, which is already actually pretty large.  And he somewhat endorses the "local control" idea that some who see this as a stepping stone to full control endorse, although I don't think that's his intent.

Having said all of that, the eclectic Freiss has the position, amongst the GOP candidates, which is closest to that held by the majority of Wyomingites.  Its interesting that a candidate that will undoubtedly be viewed by many Wyomingites as a rich carpetbagger is less beholden to a lockstep view that's making its way through the GOP than the other candidates have been so far.

Making a bit of a mockery of the item on social issues I just published, Freiss also is doing that, having come out in his full page advertisement in the Tribune over the weekend with a statement that he's opposed to partial birth abortion.  It's well known that Freiss is strong on life issues and its clear that, contrary to what I just stated, he's willing to make them an issue.

It's easy to consider Freiss a gadfly, and I frankly think that he in large part is running a Quixotic doomed campaign, but at least recently it's pretty clear that his ideas are conservative but they're not in lock step with the radical view that's infected the GOP in recent years.  He's clearly willing to spend vast sums to get his point across.  I doubt he'll win, but amongst public land single issue voters, right now he's actually the person most reflecting their view in the GOP (Throne best reflects their view overall).  On right to life issues, he's also now a clear contender, although we can suspect that other GOP candidates are close to his views and just haven't stated them as there's been no political advantage to doing so.  We'll likely soon know.

June 25, 1918

This thread has been mercifully silent for awhile, but we have some odds and ends to update it with now.

The first, and a bit of a shocker, is that George F. Will, in a piece that just hit the press, is urging voters to vote against the GOP this Fall.

Will, who virtually defines a certain type of patrician conservative Republican, has simply had enough of Trump and called members of Congress in the GOP his "poodles".  He feels their numbers need to be reduced, and now, to salvage the situation in more than one way.

Turning from the national to the local, the Tribune reports that Chuck Gray, Wyoming House District 57, has drawn two opponents in his race for reelection. 

Gray has been mentioned here before.  He's a very young member of the House who has a role with KVOC radio in Casper.  Gray is a graduate of the extremely prestigious Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and hails originally from South Dakota.  Frankly being a graduate from that school makes his location in Central Wyoming rather odd, but he managed to get elected in a race for an open seat when he ran in the GOP primary against now city councilman Ray Pacheco, branding him a bit of a career politician, oddly.

As a legislator, as related by the Tribune, he's met with limited success, although he did sponsor a significant bill regarding abortion early on. Since then he's become mostly noted for his extremely conservative positions and his opposition to nearly any kind of spending on fiscal grounds.  He's associated with GOP candidates like Harriet Hageman who are unreliable on public lands issues.

Against him in the GOP primary is former Casper Mayor Daniel Sandoval.  Sandoval lost his seat on the Casper City Council in a recent past election but has come out against Gray in the Republican primary as he regards Gray as an "ideologue" of  the type who "sabotage government from within."  Pretty bold statement but frankly the extreme right of the GOP in Wyoming in some instances comes pretty close to that definition (and at least one prominent former GOP legislator shared with me that he held that view) and Gray might deserve the epithet to some degree.  He's definitely on the extreme economic conservative, tea party, end of the spectrum.  It'll be interesting to see if the voters in House District 57 feel likewise and go for Sandoval.  Sandoval has a though race ahead of him as generally Wyomingites will not turn out an incumbent, but then Gray has not been in the legislature long and his opponent in his first race, Pacheco, was exposed to claims of being a liberal and a former Democrat.

Not all of the voters will in that district will feel that way, to be sure.  Gray was recently listed by one national organization as one of the most effective, or something to that effect, young legislators in the US.  Given that his bills have overall not met with success I'd question that, but then I often question "most" type listings of that type. Still, I see quite a few signs up here and there for Gray and not all in his district.

One thing the voters in House District 57 won't be doing is voting to put in office the Democrat, Jane Ifland.  Ifland virtually defines the views that have destroyed the Democratic Party in Wyoming.  I don't know her, or any of these individuals personally, and this isn't intended in any fashion to be a comment on her character (I don't know her at all) but Ifland is one of the local Democrats who is very left of center on social issues and can be reliably counted on to appear at any left wing gathering on anything in this area. That makes her well known in a way that Democrats here cannot afford to be.  She'll make for a much more energetic opponent for Gray, should Gray win in the primary, but there's no earthly way she can win in the general election and she presumably must know that.  Still, the Democrat in the last election who opposed Gray was anemic in her approach to the race and Ifland will do a better job of at least making her presence known.

Another race also featured in the Tribune today, that being House District 16 in Teton County.  That race is virtually the antithesis of the one in House District 57. The winner of that Democratic primary will almost assuredly go on to win in the general election, although the GOP isn't giving up.  That district is becoming, and already is, a rare Wyoming liberal district with a Democratic majority, showing the influence of migration to Teton County from outside of the state.  The candidates are Mike Gierau and Mike Yin. If Yin advances in the primary, he'll likely be the first Chinese American to win a legislative position in the Wyoming legislature, although as I've said on this blog before "firsts" of this type are hardly relevant to anything anymore.

The Republican is former Teton County Commissioner Barbara Allen, a moderate who is much like what most Wyoming Republicans used to look like.  Allen's positions actually match Yin's on a bunch of things that would cause her to be branded a liberal if she was a Democrat. But that's also true of Kate Mead who is challenging Geirau for a Teton County Senate seat.  That Senate District is solidly Democratic, making Gierau's victory probable.

All of these races combined make for an interesting picture.  Is Gray the young face of the Wyoming GOP or are candidates like Sandoval, Allen and Mead more reflective of where the GOP is headed?  Are Yin and Gierau the base of a slowly rising tide?

On another local race, the paper profiled, although only barely, the eight county commissioner candidates who are running for three positions on Saturday.  You could hardly tell what any of them thought from that article, but one interesting feature was the reappearance of Todd Murphy.

Murphy won a seat on the Casper City Council recently and then resigned soon thereafter.  His resignation was cited to personal reasons but it followed Murphy falling into controversy after supporting Gerald Gay in his statements that were taken, and indeed appeared, as having a rather old fashioned view of women in the workplace.  After that, the Tribune picked up some statements Murphy had on his Facebook page on some things and it made him appear rather poor.  I'm surprised to see him resurface.  I am seeing some of his signs around, however.

On signs, I've really been wondering how effective they are.  I know in my case, they aren't. 

We have a family policy of not putting political signs up.  As a group, we rarely decide we're for any candidate until just before the election as, after all, you don't really know what they're going to say.  But beyond that, just because I support something hardly means other people are going to.  We still get asked, however, and every once and awhile we will violate the policy, usually because we know somebody personally and can't really say no.

Nonetheless, I know that I'm more likely to find signs to be a bit disturbing rather than encouraging me to vote for anyone person.  That may be odd, but I'll bet that this is more common than people realize.  In one instance, there's a person I know of whose views I regard as so extreme that if he puts candidate signs out, and he always does, it causes me to basically reject those candidates.  I'm not kidding.  That individual has a host of signs up now and those people are pretty much on my "no go" list.  They mostly were already, but when the signs go up there, that pretty much confirms my view.  I'd guess that quite a few people have a similar reaction.  Be careful where you put your signs up, I guess.



The 2018 Wyoming Election. Volume Two
The 2018 Wyoming Election 

*A sort of vaguely related earlier thread on this topic is here.

When jail standards were different.


Shoshoni jail house, circa 1907.

Naturalization Ceremonies, Ft. Ethan Allen, Vermont. June 25, 1918.

Naturalization of aliens, June 25, 1918, 310th Cavalry, Fort Ethan Allen, Vt.

Blessing the Colors, 310th Cavalry.


Monday at the Bar: Lyman Bryson


"Lyman Bryson, born 1888, Nebraska. Educated Public Schools, Omaha, Nebraska. University of Michigan A.B. Degree 1910, A.M. Degree 1915. Studied Law at Columbia and Georgetown. Newspaper work on Omaha Bee, Omaha News, Detroit News, Detroit Times, Detroit Free Press. Taught Rhetoric, University of Michigan, 1915-1917. In American Red Cross Publicity since June 24, 1918. Contributor to various Magazines. Editorial Adviser to Thompson and Black, financial Accountants, 14 Wall St. New York, 1917"  March 31, 1919.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sunday Morning Scene: Churches of the West: Abandoned Church, Sinclair Wyoming

Churches of the West: Abandoned Church, Sinclair Wyoming:


Given the Spanish style of this abandoned, but apparently still maintained, church in Sinclair, my guess is that it was contemporaneous with the  construction of Parco, as the town was originally called.  All the principal buildings that were built in the early 20th Century along the refining town on the Lincoln highway, were built in that style


I'm not sure what denomination used this church, or even when it was last in use.  As noted, it's still receiving maintenance even though it is not serving as a church and is partially boarded up.  Oddly enough, the Baptist Church in Sinclair is using the giant Parco Hotel of the same vintage for its church.

It's Mid Summer!

Portrayal of a Midsummer's dance in Scandinavia.

June 21, you're thinking?

Nope, June 24. St. John The Baptist's Day on the Christian calendar. 

Midsummer's Eve is June 23.

And yes, they were big deals.

Big Christian deals, it should be noted, but they did have a tenancy in some places to get out of hand.  Indeed, Midsummer's Eve was made that as cleric's in England felt that people were letting the revelry get out of hand on the saint's day and it was an effort to put the festivities on another day.

Traditionally the day was celebrated with feasting and parties, but also religious observances.  The more Catholic the country, the more likely the religious significance of the day is likely to be retained, but even in Protestant countries the significance was often not lost and all through Northern Europe some observance of Midsummer tends to be retained.

French peasants celebrating St. John the Baptist's day.

Well what about Shakespeare's play?  Well, it's simply set on the day.

And "Midsummer", what's up with that?  Summer starts on June 21, right?

Well, not really. Most people don't figure summer that way anywhere.  In the US Memorial Day usually is regarded as kicking off summer.  In more agrarian times, summer was calculated to start about the time planting really got rolling,. and run to the harvest.  This was, mid summer.

And in a lot of ways, it still is.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Best post of the week of June 17, 2018

Best post of the week of June of June 17, 2018

Issues In The Wyoming Election. A Series. Issue(s) No. 2: The Social Issues.

The Arctic Summer

The Supreme Court tries a bit to mop up a dog's breakfast. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The 2018 Wyoming Election. Volume Three

Mid Week At Work: Professor Almon Harris Thompson with his horse "Old Ute." Utah. 1872.

Officers of the 34th Division, Camp Cody, N.M., June 23, 1918


A Hundred Years Ago: 1918 Poem About Bread and WWI


For today's poster, we not only have a poster, but a link to a poem.

1918 Poem About Bread and WWI

Something like that shows the extent ot which resources were really short.  Today, we don't worry about white flour being available, and if we use some other sort of flour, it's likely because we're convinced it has some health benefit, or perhaps we just like the other flours.


But clearly, in World War One, things were a bit different.  People were obviously used to refined white flour, and that's what they would have normally cooked with. There was a dedicated effort to have them use something else.



It's interesting in looking at this to realize that I have sort of an odd exposure to alternative grains as my mother (a horrible cook, as I've noted before) used some.  She'd routinely make oatmeal bread and rarely tried to make white bread.  When she did make white bread, it wasn't great, as it had the consistency of bricks.  Her oatmeal bread was better, which isn't to say that it was great by any means.   But I wonder how many people ate oatmeal bread at that time?  Not many, I'd guess.


All of her cooking, as she noted, she'd learned at home from her Franco Irish Canadian mother.  More Irish, than French.  She would note from time to time that she'd learned how to cook in the English fashion, which wasn't really any different in Ireland.  In recent years, as I understand it, there's been a bit of a reconnaissance in English cooking and the reputation it (and Irish) cooking had obtained has started to change.  At least in my case, however, that change in views will be difficult.

None the less, it did mean an exposure to different grains.  Oatmeal in bread, barley in stew, and lots of cornbread (which she did well, and which I've always liked. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Holscher's Hub: Echos of Parco. Sinclair Wyoming.

From our companion blog, Holscher's Hub: Echos of Parco. Sinclair Wyoming.:

This is linked over here as it fits in quite well with the theme of the blog.  Parco was a company town, as noted below, built by a refining company in 1924-25.  The luxury hotel  was built by the company on the then fairly new Lincoln Highway, and the town no doubt benefited as it was also a stop on the Union Pacific.  Only seven miles away from the larger and older town of Rawlins, the Interstate Highway bypasses it and its a remnant of its former self.



Not too many people stop at Sinclair who are just passing through.  But at one time that wasn't true.  And that's why the town has what was once a luxury hotel (now a Baptist church), a spacious park, really nice tennis courts, and the like.  Only the sign on the hotel remains, as well as a historical monument, to remind us that Sinclair is the town's second name.  It was originally Parco, a company town founded by the founder of what is now the Sinclair Refinery, the Producers & Refiners Corporation.