Props and Disses

By on August 20, 2014

Signs of the end times


Jackson Hole, Wyoming – We’re living in the last age here in Wyoming. Of that, there can be no doubt. Referencing Biblical passages, the case can be made quite convincingly that the end is near.

Let’s start with “Earthquakes in diverse places,” referenced in the New Testament. Hell’s a poppin’ in Yellowstone. Earthquake swarms have become a common occurrence within the past decade. And you can’t get more diverse than the wacky geothermal features and abundant wildlife found in America’s first national park. Throw in the oozing Budge Butte and the prophecy is, well, ground-shaking.

What about pestilence, plague and famine? I offer CWD/brucellosis, drones and the severely limited restaurant choices for Westbankers. Does feeding elk pellets in an artificial zoo-like setting so tourists can sleigh ride through the “cafeteria” cause unnatural crowding and promotion of the spread of diseases like CWD and brucellosis?

Drones are a plague, plain and simple. Do we really need them to deliver orders from or drop bombs on Kurds? They are a cowardly and sloppy way to make war. We certainly don’t need them hovering over our ascent of the Middle Grand. And don’t think for a minute we don’t live in the reality of extreme famine. Ever try to get breakfast at Nora’s on a Sunday morning? Osteria and Teton Pines book out weeks ahead in summer’s peak and a romantic dinner at Couloir requires a chalk bag and carabiners.

Mark of the Beast? The hand stamp at the Cowboy Bar. False prophets? The engineer that signed off on Walgreens. The anti-Christ? Fintan Ryan. Wars and rumors of wars? Pick a current lawsuit, any lawsuit.

And finally, I leave you with this damning piece of evidence. Closing our Bibles, let’s invoke, instead, age-old adages like “when pigs fly” or “hell freezes over.” Teton Valley News is reporting Victor will soon be installing its first stoplight (the second in all of Teton County, Idaho) with $1.4 million in federal grant money. That’s going to be one helluva stoplight. Pack the Subaru. It’s the end of the world as we know it.

McDonald for mayor


Stephen McDonald has not drunk the Kool-Aid. Of the sample of mayoral candidates, the bootfitter maverick is probably the biggest long shot to slip his foot into the glass slipper this November. But his campaign, or more specifically, his lack of one, is admirable.

Firstly, McDonald avoids platitudes. That’s refreshing. If I hear one more candidate for office say he or she is for sustainability I’m going to barf. It’s like saying you are pro-equality or against overspending. Duh, you’re for sustainability. Who isn’t? As economist Donald Boudreax puts it in his recent Pittsburgh Tribune-Review piece, ask yourself whether the opposite statement is true in order to ferret out platitude-speak. Would a viable candidate say he is opposed to sustainability, against equality or for out-of-control spending?

Secondly, McDonald is the only candidate for mayor (or any office) who hasn’t mired himself in the housing crisis. Housing the valley’s workforce is the catchphrase of the day but it certainly isn’t anything new. Unless a candidate owns a 40-acre plot in town and has a building permit for the world’s biggest apartment complex already through the arduous planning process, he or she will be fairly powerless to make the classifieds section look any better in the next two to four years.

“People have been here six months and they’re jumping up and down about finding a place to live,” McDonald told an audience at the League of Women Voters forum recently. “Sorry, maybe those guys didn’t do their homework. Jackson is a hard place to live and always has been.”

McDonald also has blasted Sara Flitner, in particular, for the size of her war chest – some 34 grand. “I believe big money steals freedom from the little guy,” he says. McDonald has promised not to raise money for his campaign. We love the “No bullcrap” signs. McDonald’s only stumble is railing against the police force. He comes off sounding like every other 20-something who gets pulled over for a taillight out and immediately blames “The Man” when they are cited for possession.

Look Ma (Bell), no hands


We’ve already “dissed” the ban on cell phones while driving in town, but we still don’t like it. Yes, we know statistics show it’s a lot safer to drive without talking on your phone. It’s also a lot safer to drive without eating, smoking, or disciplining naughty kids in the backseat. Heck, if you really want to be safe, throw your car keys in the pond and lock yourself in the bathroom. Wait, statistics show you’re more likely to be injured in your bathroom than any other place in the house.

Conversations, in general, are what cause distraction – hands-free or not. Banning talking on cell phones encourages texting. Answering a call while driving and fumbling to attach an earpiece to oneself is far more dangerous than plastering the phone to your head and absorbing a slow brain cancer. This seems like an ordinance lobbied for by BlueAnt.

About Jake Nichols

Jake is a work in progress.


  1. Good Cop

    August 21, 2014 at 7:24 am

    The idea that the concerns expressed about local law enforcement are all about 20-somethings being busted for pot after being pulled over for a bad taillight is a wild stretch of your imagination, Jake.

    Sometimes it’s good to make criminals of every 20-something. Who wouldn’t want that? Wasn’t that Gingery’s focus while in Cheyenne? Didn’t the PC say that pot users weren’t a priority of his department – at least the out-of-sight casual end users? I think users and dealers need to be shot on sight. They fuel the drug violence and the criminal networks that plague the World even if they aren’t directly connected but I recognize that criminalizing every Tom, Dick, and Mary is expensive, often counter-productive, and none will agree with my idea to kill them all.

    The issues involving area law enforcement (federal, state, county, local) are worthy of discussion and cover many areas of interest to all. The local prosecuting attorney’s office is also a concern to many (recent flare ups between cops and Steve come to mind along with many other issues). The concerns expressed about law enforcement are valid even if they weren’t presented in a very convincing manner.

    In the past, being pulled over for a bad taillight was an act of service by local law enforcement. In this community it feels more like a fishing trip or strip search. Just an excuse to pull someone over? A case of profiling too? Revenue padding for local municipalities? Nonetheless, the issues about our over-policed town & county extend beyond such regular annoyances.

    Be it about the lack of professionalism (not all sour interactions get published), the duplication of services with the PD & SO, the money spent on salaries and the 2 departments as a whole, the failure to create a dispatch environment that is attractive to would-be hires (and current staff), the outdated (and currently underutilized) jail, the unequal treatment of law breakers, the constitutional failures (abortion protesters, etc), the overreaching arm of police (tazing drivers with out-of-state tags), the amount of time and money wasted on totally asinine requests for services that people should be addressing in other ways and often on their own, the excessive harassment of visitors for minor traffic infractions – with law enforcement often creating a greater traffic hazard in the process, the attack on personal privacy that’s mostly unseen by the public, the department BS (cops have plenty to bitch about, too), efforts to militarize the department with training and gear, etc, etc…

    Jake may like the status quo but many of us think it needs to be repaired.

  2. Mayorals stand where

    August 21, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    RE: the ban on cell phones.

    According to the Feds own data, the greatest distractions are OUTSIDE of the car and the cause of the greatest number of accidents due to distracted drivers.

    As has been pointed out before, while cell phone use exploded over the last decade or so – including texting and internet access – the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths on American highways went down. At the same time, entertainment systems in cars got more elaborate and GPS systems took off.

    The Police Department & the electeds presented no evidence that cell phone users in Jackson have led to an increase in accidents, injuries and deaths in Jackson that would justify the ban.

  3. 835471

    August 22, 2014 at 12:46 am

    Sure, every body knows its worse to drive after a few Michelob’s. But so is driving when your putting on your mascara, or driving while you’re moyel gives your schmekel a bris, or even while your rummaging with your free hand for the Holy Diver tape under the shit gathered between the driver’s chair and the back seat. You know what they say about statistics? Not very flattering stuff.

    But its better to drink your beers in the car than walking around and drinking, or even worse drinking on your bicycle. Because statistically you’re way more likely to get killed by drivers while you’re on foot or on a bike, than while you’re in a car. Wait, when you’re drunk, you’re statistically less likely to get hurt if you crash, which is another reason its safer.

    Banning drunk driving will only increase the number of people surfing the drudgereport on their Androids while driving, because driving is hella boring otherwise. This seems like the kind of crap my mom used to rag on me about before I moved into my friends house.

  4. Sam

    August 22, 2014 at 5:55 am

    Lucky for your mother.

  5. 22

    August 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

    The ban on drive texting was put in place awhile ago and it hasn’t done anything to curb the behavior. The irresponsible, self-centered idiots still roll through stop signs staring at their phones. I don’t know how many times just last week I was trying to guess what a driver was going to do when I realized they glaring at dull illumination in their crotch. If nothing else it means that the next motorist to plow through a group of children can’t use the I was legally texting defense and can’t be held responsible for my actions line. Your right though, all forms of driving are harzardous not only to the drive. Pedestrians, cyclists, animal both domesticated and wild suffer greatly at the hands of motorists. Thankfully, the number of vehicle miles driven population adjusted is on a steep decline. The current generation of legal agers are shunning at an unprecedented rate. The first step to making the roads a safer place is to ban driving. Since police officers rarely enforce laws regarding motorists this wouldn’t immediately change behavior, but in the event of a car crash the motorist who uses deadly force can be held accountable for their actions. As a taxpayer who funds the roadways, this law would take the blood of the innocent off my hands and put it on the offending motorist. Another law that would help roadway safety is a ban on all car horns. They are currently used to bully safe motorists into driving recklessly. They also create a tremendous distraction to all road users.

  6. jake

    August 22, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Holy Diver. Love that.

  7. Juicy

    August 26, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    The overall number of miles driven by all drivers fell during the recession but the total miles driven by the country as a whole is still up over 15 years ago. See graph here:

  8. Juicy

    August 26, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Funny that cell phones are used all day long by drivers to call dispatch and complain about poor drivers.

  9. Sam

    August 26, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    You must be talking about the Town’s statistics.

    “”Mayor Mark Barron touted the benefit of an optional 1 percent sales tax used to pay for capital projects at an election forum last week, saying 55 percent is paid by tourists.

    When asked by the moderator, WyoFile reporter Angus Thuermer, where he got that statistic from, Barron replied, “I don’t know Angus, I make it all up.”

    Nothing about driving is safe. If your driving is an above-normal danger to others then the cops should pull you over. If you’re driving in a normal manner, then there’s no reason for the cops to pull you over for using a cell phone. Cops use cell phones while driving. It’s not like they have magical powers that make them safer than you. Some people can drive, eat, play with the radio, yell at the kids, and talk on a cell phone and still drive better than most adults not using a cell phone.

    People dismiss stats when they have no statistical evidence to back up their own position.

  10. Sam

    August 26, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Google cars will replace the driver. The best thing that could happen in Jackson would be to ban all tourists. That WOULD make it safer.

  11. anonyholic II

    August 26, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    “…tazing drivers with out-of-state tags…” Really? Exclusively, and for that reason? Why hasn’t the NaG or jake pointed this out? And I’m not talking about the WHP’s known targeting of out-of-staters.

    “…excessive harassment of visitors for minor traffic infractions…”??? Since when? You go into town, you take your life into your hands negotiating the streets among rubber-necking tourists. It doesn’t help that lanes in town are confusing, and important directional signs (no left turn; truck route signs) are too small to be noticed. But trust me, NO ONE, local or visitor, gets nailed for minor traffic infractions in this valley. All lights are green except for the red ‘suggestion’ light. Stop signs are just pretty red fixtures at the corner. Motorcyclists are free to make their own lane between vehicles and go to the front of the line when traffic is backed up. Bicyclists are free to be in the bike lane, out of the bike lane, ride on the sidewalks, in the crosswalks, not stop for anything and yell at drivers who dare to share the road as they zig-zag along their merry way. All of these things I have seen take place in front of an SO or PD unit and nary a move on their part to pursue. You make some very good points up there (overlapping coverage, prosecutor/SO friction, dispatch hell) but don’t tell us that outside of blatant speeding (WHP) and suspected DUI/PI stops (all agencies) anyone is harassed on the valley roads. Basic traffic enforcement around here is DEAD.

  12. BukkSh$T

    August 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    The number one cause of accidents in the valley is poor road conditions. If the Town really gave a rats a$$ about safety or human life, it would do a better job clearing the roads of snow and ice. It would fix the mess at Broadway & Cache with the misaligned roads. It would decrease the number of distractions for motorists – excessive signage about stuff unrelated to driving. It would not mix bikes & cars near Town Square. ETC ETC

  13. Pink

    August 29, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Yes, all sorts of crazy stuff goes ‘unnoticed’. You’re right. Much of it should go unnoticed.

    In many states, bike riders, by law, have the right to treat stop signs as yield signs. That’s how it should be. I think Idaho is one of those states. It’s called common sense. Not that many of Jackson’s bike riders have any – that’s open to debate.

    Take a listen to the dispatch one day. The cops are busy with all sorts of stupid stuff and traffic stops are their number one activity. I’ve seen them chase down drivers for going the wrong way at Broadway & Cache. I’ve seen ’em chase down drivers who didn’t wait their turn at an intersection even though the driver improved the flow of traffic by going with his cross traffic. I’ve seen them stop cell phone users who weren’t driving poorly. I’ve seen ’em stop bike riders. I’d bet that we have more law enforcement employees in the valley than LA on a per capita basis.

    You remember Fred Meek was stopped because he had a car with out of state tags while living in JH. The cops repeatedly tried to taze him during the traffic stop. His case from a previous stop for the same issue hadn’t made it through the judicial system. There was no reason to harass Mr. Meek a second time while his case was being reviewed (he lost). Cops as tax collectors with tazers is never a good PR move. And the JPD changed their policies after that incident which never should have happened. There’s a general attitude among law enforcement that doesn’t go away even if the policy does.

    As for excessive harassment, again you haven’t been paying attention. Go back and read ‘Letters to the Editor’ (or one of the soap box columns) in the JHN&G in the last month or so. You’ll find one great example but all you need to do is look at all the flashing takedown lights around the valley. Even the abortion protestors were targeted when they were stopped for a trailer without tags. They didn’t need them in their home state, apparently, but it sure looked like a way to keep the pressure on them to leave. Cops as enforcers didn’t work out so well for the Town – they paid out big bucks to settle with the protestors.

  14. 22

    August 29, 2014 at 8:09 am

    You missed the population adjusted part, that’s okay I have trouble reading sometimes too.

  15. 22

    August 29, 2014 at 8:10 am

    So you are saying we should keep cars off town square…I like it.

  16. 22

    August 29, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Bicyclists are free to be in the bike lane, out of the bike lane, in the crosswalks, yell at drivers (quiet wispers aren’t going to cut it), and zig zag if they feel the need. Not stopping for stop signs and riding on the sidewalk aren’t legal but if done with the right amount of caution do not cause you to ‘take your life in your hands’. If you want to make the roads safer and more spacious for others ride a bike. If you want to have an auto industry manufactured false sense of self importance go drive a car through downtown.

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