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The Utah state GOP convention last Saturday must have been a blast. In a state where Democrats can get lumped with rapists and child abusers (no, really!) and the true action involved Republican hair-splitting over who’s a conservative, you’ve got to pay attention.

Party chairman Joe Cannon, owner of now idled Geneva Steel, recoiled when a critic within the party called him on his support for “Republican principles.” Last year, Cannon requested government money in the form of a $10 million loan guarantee and put his support behind President Bush’s increased steel tariffs (no, really!) in hopes his steel company might float the bad times. Cannon, a purported “free trader,” called this criticism “mindless,” according to the Deseret Morning News.

Delegate Lynn Price recommended that the party banish all thought of closed primaries for the state GOP because—get this—closed primaries might lead LDS Church leaders to register as Democrats. We can’t have that, because then Utah voters might follow suit. This raises several questions. Are LDS voters sheep, or do they vote their conscience? Is the issue of open primaries driven by debate about the true and best form of a free democracy, or political control and endgames? Answer for yourself. The least that can be said about Price’s fear is that it bends the mind of anyone concerned about the interplay of church and state.

SUVs, aka “Earth Rapers,” have been the in-joke of preference for anyone with low-level disdain toward American consumer culture. Now, with the wholesale destruction of 20 Hummer H2s at a West Covina, Calif., car lot, the battle’s turned vandalistic. Spray-painting “Fat, Lazy Americans” on soon-to-be sold Hummers, the Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility. Estimated damage ran into $1 million, which gives you some idea of just how expensive these toys are. H2 models start at $48,400, while the original H1 Hummer starts at $105,160. And at 11 miles per gallon, you’ll be making lots of gas runs. Environmental vandals might want to watch their backs. The Hummer, after all, is the vehicle of choice for movie star and California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger. Helping unveil the new H2 in 2001, Arnie pitched his own marketing slogan: “Everyone can have a Hummer now,” he told The South Bend Tribune. What’s that cliché about the entertainment industry being out of touch with mainstream America? Most politicians are just as clueless. If California’s media were on top of their questions, they’d be less concerned about Arnie’s environmental platform in relation to his choice of car and ask more pointed questions about his support for past Austrian president—and former Nazi—Kurt Waldheim.

In the meantime, check the Web’s lone pro-SUV site at www.suvlove.com. “Anti-SUV’ers are teaching our children to be ashamed of success,” states proud Hummer-owner and site manager Stan Bishop of Atlanta, Ga.

The Iraq death-watch rises: 20 U.N. workers and Iraqis were killed last week, 17 were dead at Baghdad’s Jordanian Embassy, and troop fatalities mount. Remember the brave words of our Taunt in Chief: “My answer is, bring them on. We’ve got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.”

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