No, it wasn’t just a Utah thing that kept a controversial Doonesbury strip from the comic pages. You know the abortion debate—emotional, out of control and nationwide. Of course, that’s what made the March 15 Doonesbury so compelling. But apparently, it took newspapers around the country by surprise, throwing them into defense mode, or worse. The Des Moines Register, for instance, didn’t run it at all, but came back and published the entire strip later on its Opinion pages. That’s also where it was in The Salt Lake Tribune, thanks to quick thinking and creativity by cartoonist Pat Bagley. Too bad the editorial department didn’t think of it first, but good on the paper for giving Bagley free rein. This is not a new issue for Doonesbury, and you have to wonder why someone hasn’t figured out what to do with this topical strip yet.
You have to hand it to Mike Lee, the U.S. senator whose constitutional principles make him about as flexible as a petrified tree. To pound home a point, Lee doesn’t budge. It’s like he’s telling the world, “Do you get it now? How about now?” Well, he’s no big fan of the president, and this conservative loathing of all things liberal may be fueling Lee’s intransigence. And speaking of fuel, he also blames high gas prices on Obama. Lee got his suit pants in a bunch when Obama made some judicial appointments during a congressional recess. How dare the president? Lee managed to ignore Obama’s clear constitutional precedent, and maintain that advice and consent of the Senate was necessary. How academic is this when one senator can bring the system to a virtual halt, and not even a Republican-approved judicial nominee can make it through?
Here we go again. Utah, with its wealth of federal lands and open spaces, is just too enticing for energy development at any cost. The Utah Legislature wants to take those lands from the feds so they can—you know—manage them better. By manage, we mean sell off or lease. Yes, that would mean more money for the state, and it’s something Sen. Orrin Hatch says he wants to accomplish in his “last term.” That is, if he wins re-election. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Land Management is trying to prove the Legislature wrong by giving the go-ahead to a natural-gas project totaling 200,000 acres in the Uintah Basin. That could make way for 1,300 new wells. Environmental groups, predictably, say there goes the wilderness and its air quality, but the EPA has also said go for it. Hatch should be proud.