Although he likely won’t join the antiwar protests outside the federal building in Salt Lake City, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, took the politically brave leap of calling for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan during a Monday, Nov. 30, speech at the U’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. It’s a position that runs counter to Republican leadership in the U.S. House and the flag-waving conservatives who elected him last year. Chaffetz reasons that there is really no way to “win” in Afghanistan. Once again, Chaffetz is proving that he follows his own convictions, even if they are not politically expedient—although this may prove a prescient position. And, even if it’s not, Chaffetz can remain the Tea Party darling by reminding voters about his desert-camps-for-illegalimmigrants proposal.
Utahns, like many Americans, love a good line. People wait for hours to get into Black Friday sales, movie premieres, or to meet whichever American Idol David happens to be singing in a mall. And now, Utahns along the Wasatch Front can spend hours waiting for the Holy Grail of fast-food burgers: In-N-Out Burger, which opened yet another outlet, to ridiculous fanfare, on Dec. 1 in West Jordan. City officials put in traffic restrictions around the burger joint, hoping to alleviate back-ups that have extended more than a mile during previous openings in Orem and Draper. The good news? The reward for all of that waiting is a hamburger, which can be saved to eat while waiting in line on Dec. 9 at Costco to meet Sarah Palin.
Hoping to improve the safety for Salt Lake City’s bicycling community, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and the City Council have brought in a “bike czar.” Becka Roolf has previously been a consultant on pedestrian and bicyclist safety in Vermont, and she comes to the city to “provide focus” for the bicycle and pedestrian efforts, said spokeswoman Lisa Harrison-Smith. Until now, improvements such as adding dozens of new bike lanes were handled by “whoever had the time” in the city’s transportation department. Of course, the real measure for Roolf’s success will be if she can come up with an idea that is better than former Mayor Rocky Anderson’s orange flags.