Pinot or Poison? | News | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Pinot or Poison? 

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Sen. Orrin Hatch has gone subterranean after his Sept. 11 appearances on practically every national TV news broadcast, where he spilled the beans on CIA intercepts of communication between members of what is believed to be the terrorist network headed up by Osama bin Laden.

The federal Departments of Defense and State—not to mention the president’s top aides—were aghast that Orrin would blab about intelligence on the very day of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in the nation’s capital. Hatch subsequently was criticized in every quarter … well, make that every quarter but one.

Not without his defenders at the LDS church-owned Deseret News, Utah’s senior senator was the recent recipient of accolades from Lee Davidson, the afternoon paper’s Washington D.C. correspondent. Davidson also writes occasional op-ed pieces for the D-News, and in one dated Sept. 19 he seemed to praise Hatch for the intelligence breach. “Hatch’s comments helped cement bin Laden as a top suspect in the eyes of the public,” he wrote.

And other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

Speaking of embarrassing and insidious behavior, Northwest Airlines booted three Arab-Americans from Utah off a recent flight home because other passengers en route from Minneapolis to Salt Lake City didn’t like the way they looked.

According to press reports, some passengers on the plane complained to Northwest officials that unless the Arab-Americans were thrown off, they wouldn’t fly. The three men were questioned by police and were allowed to return to Salt Lake City—on Delta, not Northwest.

This, no doubt, is just the beginning of tough times for Arab-Americans and others who look like they might have Middle Eastern ancestry.

Since we’re on the subject of airlines, we might as well report some good news: American Airlines and TWA announced recently that they will cease serving meals on all domestic flights by Nov. 1. Officials from the airlines said the move was a cost-cutting measure in the wake of the terrorist strikes and subsequent fall-off in air travel.

As everyone who doesn’t travel first class knows by now, airline food sucks. Now, if Delta would just follow suit and stop serving horrible food, airline travel would indeed be safer.

• Of course, that isn’t to say the airlines won’t be offering beverages to its passengers, including those of the alcoholic type. That probably doesn’t sit too well with the LDS church, which said last week that it isn’t pleased with a federal appeals court ruling that protects freedom of speech—including the advertising of alcohol.

Jerry Fenn, past chairman of the Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, now represents the LDS church (what a coincidence) and made this statement at a recent DABC hearing: “Utah should maintain its laws and enforcement to minimize alcohol abuse.” The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals had earlier ruled that Utah’s law restricting advertising of wine and hard liquor was “irrational.”

One person’s Pinot is another’s poison, or so it would appear.

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More by Christopher Smart

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