Bench Press for a Cause | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Bench Press for a Cause 

Also: They're Both Good, Ticket Talk

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Bench Press for a Cause
Interstate 15 commuters may have noticed a recent billboard ad for a gym membership that purports to help save child slaves. Exercising now has a moral component, it seems, since proceeds from the for-profit gym, which opened in September 2015, go to Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), a nonprofit that parachutes into foreign countries to rescue child sex slaves. Ex-Homeland Security agent and Mormon Tim Ballard founded OUR, which came under fire in an article on ForeignPolicy.com highlighting concerns that emerged when Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes took part in an undercover OUR op in Columbia in 2014—namely, that rescued children are typically turned over to the local government, which may not have the resources or the will to care for them. OUR's slick packaging, adrenaline-fueled rescue stories, and now this gym, speak to the good intentions of this group but also to the significance of fundraising, while the long-term impact of its activities on human-trafficking remains, at best, unclear. (Stephen Dark)

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They're Both Good
Resisting the temptation to endorse Salt Lake City mayoral candidate Jackie Biskupski on her sexual orientation alone, Equality Utah announced its endorsement of not only Biskupski, who is gay, but also her opponent, incumbent Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, who is heterosexual. Equality Utah said it would be a "disservice" not to recognize Becker's efforts over the past eight years to make the capital city a more equal place for the LGBT community. But Biskupski's record of speaking up for the gay community during her days in the Legislature merits their endorsement, too. (Colby Frazier)

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Ticket Talk
When Pope Francis addresses a joint session of Congress Sept. 24, Washington, D.C., will be the place to be. Such throngs are expected that transportation officials in D.C. and Arlington County will close off streets and bridges. Space is so limited, even members of Congress only get a plus-one Golden Ticket (in addition to a number of lesser lawn tickets, which allow spectators to be in the vicinity of the Capitol, but guarantee no line-of-sight glimpse of His Holiness). Not all are so thrilled about the papal visitation, however: Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., is boycotting the visit because the Pope recognizes the existence of climate change. And Utah's delegation doesn't seem so thrilled about it, either—although Rep. Chris Stewart did give away lawn tickets on his official House website, there's been nary a peep about which constituents/cronies, if any, were gifted with Golden Tickets here. (Brandon Burt)

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