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The Monumental Dispute 

Right to Bare Arms & Saving Lives and Money

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The Monumental Dispute
Parsing through the Bear Ears controversy is not unlike figuring out the Mideast crisis. This became clear in the comprehensive yet confusing coverage of the issue in the Deseret News. First, you need to know that the monument hasn't always been Bears Ears. It used to have a Navajo name, which was something else, apparently. Anyway, the controversy isn't just Big Government vs. The Little Guy. It's tribe vs. tribe, Navajo vs. Navajo and, of course, conservationists vs. some other people. Some of those others are Rep. Mike Noel (R-Utah) and members of the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion, the Sutherland Institute and Republican Congressman Rob Bishop. But they say they're conservationists, too. Making Bears Ears a national monument will put it on the map for those pesky tourists, they say. You really need a cast of characters to understand Utah Diné Bikéyah, its board chairman Willie Grayeyes, Round River Conservation Studies, Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, Friends of Cedar Mesa and so many more.

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Right to Bare Arms
Local school board membership is not for the faint of heart. If it's not the issue of transgender bathrooms, then it's how to equalize dress codes for both genders. "Salt Lake City has a new dress code intended to be gender-neutral and non-shaming," wrote Salt Lake board member Katherine Kennedy on her Facebook page. "Many thanks to Assistant Principal Pam Pederson and others for making this happen." Most dress codes that focus on girls purport to spare the student body some distraction. High schools in Bingham, Wasatch and Stansbury have all protested the stereotype. Teens tend to balk at this overt sexism, saying they're not objects to be ogled at. "No more girls forced into oversized T-shirts," said board member Heather Bennett. Then again, this is Utah, where even Michelle Obama's bare arms caused collective gasps.

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Saving Lives and Money
The good news is that University Hospital is cutting out wasteful and unnecessary medical tests. This means money gets saved—maybe $10 million a year—and ostensibly the patients benefit. But how? Patient costs could go down—despite the nation's complex capitalistic healthcare system—as the U uses a data tool to come up with cost savings. But a Salt Lake Tribune story says only 10 percent of the U's doctors are using this tool now. That's because they still want discretion and worry about being compared with one another. The tool might help with choosing medications, too. And all this might become mandatory at some point. The bad news is that it won't matter much to indigent patients still awaiting the teeny piece of Medicaid expansion that Utah's proposing.

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