Hits & Misses | Worst Person in the World, Utah Deportation & Hispanics in College 

Bad PR
nAs if gays launching an international boycott of our pretty, great, elevated state weren’t enough of a headache, Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, picked now to launch himself from our own little dirty secret to the international sneering face of the Beehive State. Buttars’ roundly ridiculed plan to force stores to say “Merry Christmas” landed him on national TV as MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World.” Now comes news that Blackwater mercenaries accused of murder in Iraq picked Utah as the spot to turn themselves in because this is the place where notorious hired gunmen are most likely to be acquitted. The Legislature is facing tough budget times, but a little extra state-promotion money wouldn’t be out of order.
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Heads in Sand
According to the latest census data, out this month, the Mexican and Latino population of Utah cities is booming. One in four West Valley City residents is brown today, compared to 18 percent in the 2000 Census. It’s a similar story in South Salt Lake and Ogden. In Salt Lake City, 18 percent told Census takers they were born in another country. None of this appears to concern Utah’s Legislature, which is poised to allow a massive anti-immigration law go into effect next year. Lawmakers decided over the summer against modifying the more draconian parts of the law. The bill aims to throw immigrants out of work, then have local police round up the brown-skinned and send them home. So that should take care of the problem.

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White Only Education
A new report on the nation’s higher education system found Utah has the country’s largest “participation gap” between white and Latino students: 45 percent of college-age whites have attended college compared to just 16 percent of Hispanics. The report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education found the Beehive State did above average in getting youngsters ready for college and getting whites through college. Utah likely fails minorities because of its woeful support for poor families who want to send kids to college, which is among the lowest in the country. For each dollar the federal government spends on financial aid for poor students, Utah kicks in a whopping 8 cents.

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