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HITS & MISSES

B Y T E D M C DO N O U G H

Nuclear Testing
Congress has put up money for cancer testing of residents in an area of southeastern Utah that provided uranium for the United States’ first atomic bombs. The money comes after a federal study found rates of some cancers in Monticello at twice the expected rate. The culprit is thought to be dust from uranium milling. The amount of money so far put up isn’t enough to begin treating a single victim, and some area residents are campaigning for inclusion in a compensation program run by the U.S. Energy Department for former atomic weapons workers. Hopefully, this first small recognition of the continued aftereffect of bomb making in Utah will be a forerunner to help this state’s many unrecognized victims of nuclear testing fallout.

Men at Work
The price of a loaf of bread on Main Street is skyrocketing. Filling a gas tank is impossible. But there is no recession in Congress—at least not for Utah’s Republican House representatives Chris Cannon and Rob Bishop. Without the votes of either man, the House recently passed a bill giving unemployed Americans—including about 13,000 in Utah—an additional three months of benefits in recognition of the country’s economic slump. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, joined the majority favoring the extension. But the payout—checks worth about $300—was too big for recession-denying Cannon and Bishop. In January, Congress, over the objections of Matheson, gave itself a $4,000 per-person raise. The new salary level— $170,000—should help take the sting off rising prices.

Socked Monkey
Would-be sellers of a doo-dah faced stuffed “sock monkey” presented as a caricature of presidential candidate Barack Obama are out of luck. The toy manufacturer that the West Jordan monkey creators had found to mass-produce their minstrel-show nightmare has backed out.

In a statement, the owner of made-to-order toy manufacturer Binkley Toys wrote that his staff had not initially recognized the racist overtones of presenting a black man as a monkey when orders were placed from the West Jordan headquarters of The Sock Obama, but following protests, the company would refuse to make the doll. Racism remains so ingrained in the United States that this was bound to happen. But did a toy like this have to get its start in Utah?

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