The Deseret News at least doesn’t pretend to be a traditional newspaper. Finally, you have a real choice between the feel-good news of the D-News and the downer stuff from The Salt Lake Tribune. Friday’s front page: “Moab ranger says miracles saved him,” “Utahn puts faith into process of healing,” “Heber couple raising 3 Haitian orphans,” and on Monday: “Spiritual fitness test for the Army irks atheists.” Clark Gilbert, president and CEO of Deseret News Publishing Co., is aiming at Mormons and “values-based” readers—and not necessarily in Utah. Sixty percent of his online readers are from outside the state. There’s no telling how many people will keep biting the feel-good news and how it will be sustained partly by a cadre of volunteer Mormon writers, but at least you know what you’re getting—and why.
Utahns against the feds: Is there nothing the federal government does that’s right, er, correct? Certainly not when it comes to land. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wants to reassess all of the Bureau of Land Management’s public lands to see if they should be designated “wild.” Meanwhile, Kane County managed to land one in a fight over rural roads: The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals told environmental groups to take a hike over their challenge to Kane County’s RS2477 road claims, both a plus and a minus for ATV rights. Finally, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has decided to fight the feds to guarantee a secret ballot in union elections. And, oh, should we mention the movement against Affirmative Action, sidetracked in the last legislative session but looming in the wings for this one?
Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, has filed a resolution to prohibit the state school board from making changes to their policies unless allowed by statute. There are a couple of issues on the front burner here: first, the Salt Lake City School Board is passing a nondiscrimination policy for students and, secondly, the state board signing on to a federal core curriculum designed to beef up and make educational standards consistent. Buttars’ rationale? Schools should not be teaching critical thinking because it’s anti-absolute and, therefore, anti-God, and, of course, protecting LGBT kids from harassment goes against American and Christian ideals of, uh, “morality.” That is, morality as defined by Buttars, who now appallingly chairs the public-education appropriations committee.