Measles Vaccinations, Open Government, Teenage Suicide 

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Measles, Schmeasles
kids of the Holladay family who brought the measles back from Poland are posting online about how “lame” it is to be kept at home just because they aren’t immunized. The anti-vaccination movement has taken off among Utah “free-willers” and people around the nation who still believe that vaccinations cause autism. That notion was debunked when it was found that the man who published the “evidence” had manipulated it and made other ethical breaches. But scientific reasoning doesn’t stop those who don’t want to follow rules. Take seat belts. Pat Jones of Dan Jones & Associates recently interviewed a focus group of people who don’t wear seat belts. Why? Because they felt restricted, were good drivers and didn’t like the government telling them what to do. They probably don’t pay taxes, either.

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Voters Like Access to Info
A BYU poll by the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy found that 78 percent of Utah voters think “the public’s right to access information about government business” outweighs legislators’ right to privacy. Stunningly, those same people pretty much kicked the arguments in the dirt. Only 6 percent thought the administrative cost of records searches was a problem, and a measly 2 percent thought legislators’ right to privacy was a big deal. Meanwhile, the GRAMA Working Group continues to labor under paranoia and misperceptions of legislative responsibility. Yet The Salt Lake Tribune contends the group “moved closer … to focusing on what revisions may be needed to balance access, privacy, transparency and government efficiency.” No agenda and polarized debate—this is focus?

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Reason for Teen Despair
A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that teenage suicide is more likely to happen in politically conservative areas with few Democrats. Utah may not want to hear that, but it may be a reason the state remains one of the highest in the nation for teen suicides. The Pediatrics article focused mostly on gay teens, who experienced intolerance and lack of support from their communities. These are not conservative values, but somehow the idea of tolerance has become associated with liberal (socialistic?) thinking in the United States. Is it true conservatives are intolerant of people not exactly like them? And if that’s true, isn’t a monolithic society actually a socialistic idea? This article gives us all an opportunity to think it through. 

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Katharine Biele

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