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Bad Form 

Also: Hold On to History, What Counts As People?

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Bad Form
There aren’t many like Rep. Pete King, R-New York, but he really did sum up the whole budget mess. In a Fox News interview, King said Republicans are on a “kamikaze crusade” led by a “suicide caucus.” Apparently, Utahns—in this super-red state—agree. A Dan Jones poll for the Deseret News and KSL showed that 56 percent didn’t think it was worth shutting down the government to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And 41 percent blamed the president and both parties equally. Meanwhile, the state’s unemployment claims are up 500 percent, what with all the federal employees being furloughed. And Sen. Mike Lee isn’t exactly riding the high wave of popularity; the same poll showed him with a 43 percent approval rate. If Utah’s a GOP barometer, then Republicans need to recalibrate their strategy.

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Hold On to History

It has been a long, hard haul for preservationists, who faced a legislative moratorium on the creation of historic districts thanks to a 2011 bill that effectively opened the neighborhood to teardowns—there have been 23 over the past decade; about five a year, according to the Utah Heritage Foundation. Now the moratorium has been lifted, and Salt Lake City’s Yalecrest area has started a nonprofit called K.E.E.P. Yalecrest to educate homeowners and help preserve homes on the National Register of Historical Places. On Saturday, Oct. 12, the group will host a walking tour highlighting 15 homes. Meanwhile, the first application for a Local Historic District has been filed in the area. Preservationists may still have their day.

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What Counts As People?

Don’t you love the way people throw around the First Amendment to get what they want? Freedom of speech and religion is one of the most basic rights in the Constitution, but the boundaries are always being tested. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court gave us the Citizens United ruling, which said corporations are people, too, when it comes to donating money in politics. The high court is revisiting that on the individual side—to open personal giving beyond the limit of $123,000 every two years. A confusing element comes in the religious-discrimination lawsuit of FLDS groups in Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah. Here, the court denied a protective order for religious information because “only people, not organizations such as cities, have First Amendment rights,” according to a Salt Lake Tribune story. Really? So which is it?

Twitter: @KathyBiele

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More by Katharine Biele

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    Vagina, masturbation, oral sex—expect to apologize if you use this kind of "vulgar" language in the presence of Utah legislators. The apology came from a woman testifying before the House Education Standing Committee, as they considered Rep. Brian King's Reproductive Health Education and Services Amendments.
    • Feb 15, 2017
  • Health care dialogue, general strike and more

    OK, this is getting serious. Anti-Trump activists are calling for a General Strike. You know the drill—buy nothing, protest everywhere and generally give the president the middle finger.
    • Feb 15, 2017
  • Housing & Population, Chaffetz Withdraws, Constitutional Convention

    What's wrong with this picture? "Housing shortage looms," screams the headline in the Deseret News. Housing sales and prices have reached historic highs, but the impact—oh, it could be bad.
    • Feb 8, 2017
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