Artistic Liberties 

Also: Liquor Laws, Clearing the Air

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Artistic Liberties
Take one look at the painting, and you’ll want to say again, “Oh, just get over it!” We’re talking about Jon McNaughton’s picture “One Nation Under Socialism” of President Obama grimacing—as you’ve never seen him grimace—and holding a flaming Constitution. Apparently, McNaughton can’t help but pander to a right-wing base of Thomas Kinkaid admirers. They’re buying up the prints at an alarming rate, to hang, uh, where? Next to their dining-room portrait of Jesus Christ? More likely, they’ll be tacked onto light poles and tree trunks and used for target practice. McNaughton says he just wants people to try to understand “and reach people on a deeper level”—as in the depth of ignorance.

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Enough Is Enough
While we can’t really understand how the LDS Church could have any more influence over Utah politics than in the past, maybe it’s OK to bring up the question—again—of liquor laws. We get that the church doesn’t exactly condone wine-and-cheese parties, but apparently the Hospitality Association has had it up to here. Limiting the number of social-club licenses and banning discounted drinks is akin to price-fixing and violates antitrust laws, they say. Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, sponsored a bill to study the overconsumption issue since it’s never been done here. The assumption is that the more clubs you have, the more people will jump in their cars and start driving drunk. Why does this remind us of abstinence-only sex education? Oh yeah, because Prohibition didn’t work, either.

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Clearing the Air
It’s not like we don’t already have air-quality problems and a polluted lake, to boot. Now, petroleum companies want to expand refineries in Salt Lake City and Woods Cross. Living near the refineries already means you’re sucking in particulates at a rate above Environmental Protection Agency standards. But this hasn’t stopped Chevron from expanding, and Tesoro and HollyFrontier from trying to. Oh, but imagine that these expansions will actually decrease the particulates—because of state-of-the-art technology. Residents aren’t buying it, and are tired of living under a petroleum haze. They’ve formed the Davis County Community Coalition to fight it, and have the backing of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, which is suing Kennecott Utah Copper over expansion plans. Not that anyone listens to doctors these days—it’s business that Utah worries about. But businesses like to breathe, too.

Twitter: @KathyBiele

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