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Fulton Files 

Fulton’s Quarter Column of World-Weary Wackiness

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Pope John Paul II, worried about Italy’s declining birth rates, tells the Italians to start producing more bambinos. Russian President Vladimir Putin tells a French journalist with nosy questions about Chechnya to go get circumcised. The meaty, mighty Atkins diet has found partial vindication. Richard Paul Evans’ latest yarn gets banned from Deseret Book for subtle references to adultery. Surely Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is next.

As we near the end of the second year of this still brand, spanking new century it’s clear that we’re still dancing two years forward and three years back. Where is progress? Is it hiding under the sofa, the bed, grandpa’s dentures? Or is it locked inside someone’s safe-deposit box?

Wackiness in all its forms is abundant enough when you scan world headlines. As Hayseed Stephens said, “The earth is dilating to nine and three-quarters. It’s birthin’ time!”

World be damned. (And rest assured it already is.) Wackiness is abundant enough when you scan the local headlines.

n To wit, West Valley City Council members pulled out all the stops and opened taxpayer purse strings wide when they granted former city manager John Patterson a $175,375 severance package. Not bad for a man who resigned after rumors of a relationship with a city employee of the opposite sex. Not bad at all. That, apparently, is the kind of largesse one commands after scoring deals like the E Center. Now Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, the man with an appetite for “hot turnover,” wonders if his office couldn’t make use of Patterson’s talents. Surely Patterson is no dummy. He knows that after a short stint with Salt Lake City he, like scores before him, will likely get canned. Then—you guessed it—he runs a chance at yet another severance package! Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be working stiffs in the private sector. The big, big money—not to mention oodles of paid holidays—is over in the public sector.

n Over in our file of cautionary tales for separation of church and state lurks the very suave, very articulate, current president of the Sutherland Institute, Paul Mero. Normally, our man Mero makes persuasive arguments for education reform. At a recent forum panel discussion on natural resources management, however, Mero whipped out the gauntlet of religion to imply that environmentalists are anti-Christian pagans who’ve never bothered to read the book of Genesis, which states that the world’s animals and resources were put here for our use. Well, that’s one interpretation. But only one. And that’s the problem with using religion as a political tool. What’s next, a Christian form of sharia? Funny, we thought the Sutherland Institute was supposed to be some sort of think tank.

n Never mind that Initiative 1 got the quiet death of fish in a barrel. Those who think democracy has run rampant in the form of voter initiatives—i.e., Envirocare and more than a few rural legislators—are out to seal our fate and get rid of the initiative process once and for all. Apparently these people won’t stop until Utahns start sprinkling radioactive waste over their breakfast cereal.

n Finally, the smart money said the LDS Church would wait after any victory or defeat at the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court to issue propaganda pieces concerning the Main Street Plaza. But no. Instead, we get church brochures decked in photographs of flowers and newly wedded couples. Or is it another issue of Utah Bride?

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