Zephyr, Pot and the Pulpit, and You Be the Judge 

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Zephyr Dust-Up
What with Donald Trump and all the electronic inaccuracies on social media, some people think the First Amendment has gone too far. But wait. Don't confuse tweeters with real journalists, the kind who are in the field risking their reputations and their livelihoods. Now, what has happened in North Dakota is happening in Utah. The big issue involves Deia Schlosberg, Amy Goodman and Shailene Woodley who've been arrested while covering demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline. But closer to home is the lawsuit against the Canyon County Zephyr, Jim Stiles and four others. Moab's city manager, who has since been fired, accuses the Zephyr of "defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress," and "intentional interference with economic relationships" of Smelt/Tayo Inc., according to the Times-Independent. Long story short, the Zephyr is a small, now online, publication which since 1989 has been digging at the establishment whose deep pockets ease any attempt to stifle free speech.


Pot and the Pulpit
Marijuana is back in Utah news after a letter from the LDS Church to oppose pro-marijuana and pro-assisted-suicide ballot initiatives in Western states. Of course, Utah isn't looking to legalize recreational pot, but it is moving toward approving medical marijuana—a second attempt, according to Sen. Brian Shiozawa. "...the dangers of marijuana to public health and safety are well documented," the church letter says. That is less than true as there has been little research on the drug because of its classification. However, a University of Michigan study found that patients using medical marijuana for chronic pain reported a 64 percent reduction in their use of opioids. Shouldn't the Mormon Church be seeking a ban on opioids, which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calls an epidemic?


You Be the Judge
Hey thanks to The Salt Lake Tribune for pointing out the only judge whose retention is iffy in the upcoming election. The Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission has come up with its assessment of about 90 judges you're supposed to study before checking "yes" or "no" on your ballot. Well, the truth is that judges rarely get booted from the bench and typically score favorable percentages in the high 70s or low 80s, according to Ballotpedia. Only when there's some public outcry or in this case a bad rating will a judge lose out. There were several colleagues speaking in favor of the hapless aforementioned judge, but frankly most voters have no idea whether judges are worth retaining. Perhaps the idea of voting on them is what's worth scrapping.

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