Leland shows leadership

By Jim Stanford on February 23, 2011

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Sen. Christensen

Last week, as the Wyoming Senate debated the second of two bills that would restrict the rights of gay citizens, constituents flooded Sen. Leland Christensen’s Facebook page with pleas for him to vote against the measure. The Alta Republican voted to advance the bill on first and second readings, but once amendments were finalized, Christensen voted against the legislation on final reading.

Today, he helped defeat a bill that would have set aside $500,000 for the state to fight implementation of federal health insurance reform. Earlier, he voted against a proposed constitutional amendment bucking federal mandates related to health care.

Deservedly, Christensen has received commendation from Teton County Democrats for doing the right thing on House Bill 74, which seeks to bar Wyoming from recognizing gay marriages or civil unions performed in other states. The bill passed the Senate by one vote, on a 16-14 margin, but the House did not concur with the Senate’s changes, casting its future in doubt.

“I didn’t think it created a space for respect,” Christensen said by phone from Cheyenne. He objected that civil unions were included.

Fair enough. So far, the senator’s record isn’t perfect — he had a chance to kill the first gay marriage bill, a constitutional amendment, in committee, yet chose to advance the bill to the floor — but he seems to be listening to his constituents back home and taking a pragmatic approach to divisive issues for which he has a distaste. That’s encouraging.

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Posted under Politics, Religion, Republican Party, Wyoming Legislature

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The Intolerance State

By Jim Stanford on February 10, 2011

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Republican lawmakers may drag the state's dubious civil rights record to a new low. They have spent inordinate time trying to restrict the rights of gay citizens, even though some of their colleagues are gay or have gay children.

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that seeks to enshrine in the Wyoming Constitution discrimination against gays.

The so-called “Defense of Marriage” bill would let voters decide whether to amend the Constitution to define marriage as only between a man and woman.

The bill, which already has passed the Senate, is one of two lawmakers have been working on that would restrict the rights of gay citizens. The second, which passed the House, would prohibit Wyoming from recognizing gay marriages and civil unions performed in other states.

At the same time they are trying to prevent gay people who love each other from getting married, Republican legislators pushed another bill, since failed, to force straight people who don’t love each other to stay married.

What are these lawmakers afraid of? That our state will be infected by some sort of “pestiferous freelove doctrine?”

That’s precisely what critics said in the late 19th century when Wyoming first granted women the right to vote, earning itself the nickname “Equality State.” Perhaps it’s time to do away with that phony moniker.

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Posted under Economy, Politics, Religion, Republican Party, Wyoming, Wyoming Legislature

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county giving restaurant The Bird

By Jim Stanford on January 21, 2011

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Let's hope burgers at The Bird have better taste than this poster.

First came an advertisement for a MLK Day party with the civil rights hero hawking cheeseburgers.

Now The Bird, the publicity-hungry burger joint located at the Pub Place south of town, seeks to host strippers for Super Bowl Sunday.

Ben Bombard was first to report that the restaurant, owned and operated by Gregg Lockwood, was hiring the services of Bare Necessities, the Idaho-based company that provides strippers to the Bull Moose Saloon in Alpine. Bombard noted the nuances in Wyoming law that prohibit “the exposure of ‘intimate parts,’ including genitalia and the ‘breast of any female person.’” As such, the strippers would wear G-strings and pasties over their nipples, he reported.

Today Cara Rank of the News&Guide follows with the response from a Teton County planner who says hosting strippers is not permitted under the current zoning regulations.

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Posted under Business, County Government, Entertainment, Food, Holidays, Politics, Sports

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Census: Jackson women spoiled rotten

By Jim Stanford on December 23, 2010

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Jackson Hole social scene: sizzling.

Another gem mined from the trove of Census data released last week: The Ratio.

Wyoming ranks third-worst in the nation with 127.4 unmarried men per 100 unmarried women ages 15 to 44, according to the American Community Survey. The Cowboy State trails only Alaska (134), not surprisingly, and Hawaii (128.3), surprisingly, and narrowly outpaces North Dakota (125) and Nevada (122.4).

It gets even more depressing, fellas. Among Wyoming counties, Teton County is third-worst with 154.2 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women, trailing Carbon County (the state prison isn’t much of a draw for the ladies, apparently) and the aptly named Johnson County.

In essence, the survey confirms what every dude who has spent apres-ski at the Mangy Moose knows all too well. The average Jackson Hole woman is probably texting 4.5 guys at this very moment.

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Posted under Economy, Humor, Wyoming

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getting pumped for the Masters

By Jim Stanford on April 8, 2010

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Hit me over the head with a 9-iron if I ever profess to be excited about golf.

But mash-up parodies of Zombie Earl Woods commercials? Fore!

(via Deadspin)

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Posted under Entertainment, Humor, Sports

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