The Salt Lake Tribune
San Vigilio di Marebbe, Italy • Diaper bags and baby backpacks are in just as much demand as skis, boots and poles on the U.S. Alpine team this season.
So is a good night's sleep.
Four members of the men's squad — two skiers and two coaches — welcomed newborns into their families in the offseason. Add in Andrew Weibrecht's daughter, Adalina, who was born two years ago, and it often makes the team hotel resemble a day care center.
"The team life is shifting gears," said Steven Nyman, the captain of the downhill squad.
Nyman's girlfriend, Charlotte Moats, gave birth to the couple's first daughter, Nell, in June. Also that month, Ted Ligety's wife, Mia, had a son named Jax.
Giacomo, the third child of head coach Sasha Rearick, and Trudi Anne, the daughter of tech coach Forest Carey, were also born recently.
All four babies were born within about a month.
"It was funny last winter, all of the ladies were on tour and none of them were partying," Rearick said. "Nobody kind of knew and then near the end of the season everybody knew."
Now, it's like team parenting.
"That makes it easier actually in a sense that everyone is going through the same thing and you can share the stories and talk about how each other's babies are sleeping and all that stuff," Ligety said.
The biggest challenge for skiers bringing their families along to World Cup races in Europe is keeping them fresh amid all of the crying and midnight feedings.
"It's tough," Rearick said. "You do your work, you do your job and you come home when you want to support your wife, you want to take care of your child, but it's also the time where you have to really rest.
"In order to compete with the best you have to be super fresh in the mind and physically fit, and sleepness nights or even just a few hours in the afternoon where you would just lay low, it's easy to get distracted," the coach added.
At races, separate rooms are recommended for athletes and their families. Family members also will not be able to stay with the team during the Pyeongchang Olympics.
But the advantages of taking family members on the road far outweigh the disadvantages — especially for a team that competes so far from home for most of the season.
Nyman's daughter played a significant role during his recovery from left knee surgery entering this season.
"It's been awesome. Just watching her grow, watching her learn, being there with me. Helping me kind of throttle back down after I train," Nyman said. "I probably would have overtrained and pushed too much and wouldn't have been as far ahead now with my knee. So she's been a good regulator for me."
Not that there haven't been complications.
Like when Nyman's girlfriend and 6-month-old daughter had a connection canceled in Amsterdam following a trans-Atlantic flight and had to take a train to Munich instead.
"The travel was an extra 10 hours, which was too much," Nyman said. "But the kid actually stayed awake, which helped adapt with the time change."
At races, mothers observe the competition from the finish area with their babies in backpacks clothed in thick snowsuits — with plenty of equipment in tow.
"Just having a bag full of any-scenarios tools," Nyman said. "Got to be prepared and think ahead."
Hospitality tents can quickly turn into changing stations.
"Three wins deserves a screaming baby in the VIP tent," Nyman said in Val Gardena.
The Americans are not the only downhillers with babies or children.
Erik Guay of Canada, who won gold in super-G and silver in downhill at last season's world championships, has four daughters.
Peter Fill of Italy, the World Cup downhill champion the last two seasons, has boys named Leon and Noah.
"Since my boys were born I've skied faster," Fill said. "I'm not sure why but it has helped me a lot."
If you ask the public, 20,000 open acres in Salt Lake and Utah counties to be developed over the next 30 years should have:
• better roads and better public transportation;
• more compact, varied development and less suburban sprawl;
• recreation and open space beyond what is now planned;
• water-wise landscaping to save water and up to 30 percent electric cars to save the air;
• interconnected and vibrant urban areas with a range of entertainment options — not a regional sports complex or arena.
To anchor it all, they want a 700-acre “urban-style” retail and office center with nearby residences, along with a world-class university or research center presence on the site of the current state prison in Draper that will focus and supercharge economic growth.
And they want all of it even with a potential public investment of roughly $12 billion.
The commission created to draw up plans for the Point of the Mountain area between Sandy and Saratoga Springs, and Herriman to Lehi, agrees with the public.
The commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to endorse a development outline that includes all of those components and forward that blueprint to the governor, Legislature and local communities for further action, including funding the next stage of work on the proposal: identifying funding possibilities and planning for possible implementation.
A state lawmaker who is co-chairman of the commission said he was working on a bill to fund that next stage and a second bill that would create an independent authority to oversee how the former prison site is developed.
“It is my first priority,” said Rep. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara. “I think it’s going to work its way through and will be passed during the session.”
The plan endorsed Tuesday is a hybrid of five options announced in November.
Since then, the commission has gathered public input via workshops, an online survey and other public presentations. The public’s preferred plan is more or less a combination of the two most expensive scenarios — but also the two that are expected to attract the most jobs and generate the most tax and other revenue.
“We’ve made a very tangible recommendation of this as the strategy moving forward that will be best, not just what the public’s told us they want — we had to optimize what the public told us for the best economic outcome for the state,” Chris Conabee, the commission’s other co-chairman, said after the vote.
Among specific transportation proposals are a new north-south main road from Bangerter Highway in Draper to 2100 North in Lehi that will relieve traffic bottlenecks through the area on I-15, as well as new east-west roadways and bridges. Plans also call for extending and expanding TRAX and FrontRunner rail service and bus service to the area. As envisioned under that proposal, nearly seven out of 10 households in the area could be within half a mile of transit and FrontRunner daily ridership could quadruple.
At the heart of the plan is the mixed-use proposal for the state-owned prison property. A plan devised by design and planning firm HOK envisions a pedestrian-friendly development divided into districts for residences, offices, retail, a research facility, and light industry.
“The prison site is the crown jewel of what happens in that region,” said Robert Grow, CEO of Envision Utah, which developed the plans for the commission. He said the independent authority to oversee how the property is developed would coordinate among the eight cities, two counties and various transportation agencies that overlap the larger 20,000-acre project area.
Manila, Philippines • The Philippines’ most active volcano spewed fountains of lava and massive ash plumes overnight and Tuesday morning after authorities warned a violent eruption may be imminent.
Lava fountains reached up to 700 meters (2,300 feet) above Mount Mayon’s crater and ash plumes rose up to 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) during the night and before daybreak, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. An explosive eruption Monday was the most powerful since the volcano started acting up more than a week ago.
Disaster officials in Albay province, where Mayon lies, say more than 30,000 people are staying in evacuation centers.
Officials raised Mayon’s alert level to four on a scale of five, meaning a violent eruption is possible within hours or days. The danger zone expanded to 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the crater, affecting thousands more residents.
The eruptions have shrouded nearby villages in darkness and sent lava, rocks and debris cascading down Mayon’s slopes toward the no-entry danger zone. There have no reports of deaths and injuries. Airplanes have been ordered to stay away from the crater and ash-laden winds and several flights have been canceled.
Volcanic ash fell in about a dozen towns in coconut-growing Albay province and nearby Camarines Sur province, with visibility being heavily obscured in a few towns because of the thick gray ash fall, Jukes Nunez, an Albay provincial disaster response officer, said by telephone.
“It was like night time at noon, there was zero visibility in some areas because the ash fall was so thick,” Nunez said.
More than 30,000 ash masks and about 5,000 sacks of rice, along with medicine, water and other supplies, were being sent to evacuation centers, Office of Civil Defense regional director Claudio Yucot said.
Mayon lies about 340 kilometers (210 miles) southeast of Manila. With its near-perfect cone, it is popular with climbers and tourists but has erupted about 50 times in the last 500 years, sometimes violently.
In 2013, an ash eruption killed five climbers who had ventured near the summit despite warnings. Its most destructive eruption, in 1814, killed more than 1,200 people and buried the town of Cagsawa in volcanic mud. The belfry of Cagsawa’s stone church still juts from the ground in an eerie reminder of Mayon’s fury.
The Philippines lies in the “Ring of Fire,” a line of seismic faults surrounding the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common.
In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the northern Philippines exploded in one of the biggest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century, killing about 800 people.
Atlanta • It never was a good game from the Utah Jazz, but 33 minutes in, it was salvageable. Despite an epic struggle to score all night, the Jazz were within a point of the last-place team in the East and avoiding embarrassment.
But when it felt as though Utah couldn’t fall much further, things took a nosedive.
From that 61-60 point, the Atlanta Hawks (14-32) finished with an avalanche of scoring while the Jazz (19-28) looked limp, lifeless and out of answers.
There have been nights when Utah has scored fewer points, and nights when it has shot worse. But before Monday night, there wasn’t a loss worse than the 104-90 defeat to they took in a mostly empty Philips Arena.
The Jazz themselves were forced to acknowledge that they lost their edge late in the game.
“There were times where we kind of looked like we didn’t want to play, myself included,” rookie guard Donovan Mitchell said. “That’s not us. That’s not our identity. I think we just gotta come out with more life and more energy. I think if we play like we played here, there will be a lot of nights like this”
The game was defined by poor evenings from Utah’s stars. Mitchell had his worst game in months, scoring 13 points on 13 shots, and turning over the ball six times without an assist. Fresh off two good offensive games, Rudy Gobert struggled on offense with six points and just 2-for-6 shooting.
It was telling that the best scoring night came from Alec Burks, who had 17 points while the starters were just 37.5 percent from the field.
But even those problems might’ve been overcome if not for the back-breaking third quarter.
Down by a point at halftime, the Jazz kept pace with the energized Hawks for nine more minutes before Atlanta broke things open with its bench.
It started with a corner 3-pointer from Dewayne Dedmon, then Marco Belinelli hit a floater. Then the bottom came out of the Jazz defense.
Over the next six minutes, the Hawks torched Utah by scoring on 12 of 14 possessions, during which the Jazz managed only one basket. Subs at the fourth quarter break and early on failed to stop the onslaught, as the Hawks sliced their way to the basket and hit outside shots.
All told, it was a 25-3 run, and the Jazz slackened and surrendered.
“I don’t think there’s excuses the way that we broke down defensively,” coach Quin Snyder said. “It continued through substitutions. Collectively we weren’t good. I didn’t think we had a very strong resolve or will.”
There were a few eye-catching stats, including season lows in both 3-pointers made (four) and attempted (15) — the Jazz average twice as many heaves from deep.
But Atlanta’s length forced Utah’s perimeter players to drive inside and try to make plays with mixed results, and Mitchell acknowledged he struggled against the Hawks’ pick-and-roll defense.
All of this, Snyder said, should’ve been countered with more effort on defense. And for most of three quarters, the Jazz had that. They held Atlanta to just 42 points at half, with Gobert looking in fine form with 10 rebounds. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer called it “a long night in the mud.”
But that sharpness on defense dulled. And the Hawks, who have won five of their last seven home games, seemed to gain momentum thanks much in part to the speed of Dennis Schroder, who had 20 points. The Hawks also didn’t have the same outside shooting woes as the Jazz, and finished 12 for 26 from deep.
Utah already had one of the worst road records in the NBA, and the loss dropped them to 5-19 away from Vivint Smart Home Arena with two games remaining on their trip. They also failed to win back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 4, and may have spoiled their best opportunity to do so for a while.
When asked if the Jazz had underestimated the Hawks, Gobert offered grim perspective.
“We don’t underestimate anyone,” he said. “We’re not even in the playoffs right now.”
Washington • President Donald Trump on Monday approved tariffs on imported solar-energy components and large washing machines in a bid to help U.S. manufacturers.
The president’s decision followed recommendations for tariffs by the U.S. International Trade Commission.
“The president’s action makes clear again that the Trump administration will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses in this regard,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement announcing the decision.
Most imported solar modules will face an immediate tariff of 30 percent, with the rate declining before phasing out after four years.
For large residential washing machines, tariffs will start at up to 50 percent and phase out after three years.
The U.S. solar industry was split over the trade barriers.
The tariffs were sought last year by Suniva Inc., which filed for bankruptcy protection in April, and the U.S. subsidiary of Germany’s SolarWorld.
They said that a nearly 500 percent increase in imported solar panels over five years led to a ruinous price collapse. Nearly 30 U.S. solar-manufacturing facilities had closed in the past five years, they said, as China plotted to flood the global market with cheap products to weaken U.S. manufacturing.
Suniva spokesman Mark Paustenbach called tariffs “a step forward for this high-tech solar-manufacturing industry we pioneered right here in America.”
However, solar installers and manufacturers of other equipment used to run solar-power systems opposed tariffs, which they said will raise their prices and hurt demand for the renewable energy.
The Solar Energy Industries Association, which represents installation companies, said billions of dollars of solar investment will be delayed or canceled, leading to the loss of 23,000 jobs this year.
Mark Bortman, founder of Exact Solar in Philadelphia, said the prospect of tariffs — since the trade commission recommended them in October — had already caused him to delay hiring and expansion plans.
“Solar is really just starting to take off because it is truly a win-win-win situation” for consumers, workers and the environment, he said. “Tariffs would really be shooting ourselves in the foot.”
The case for tariffs on washing machines was pushed by Benton Harbor, Michigan-based Whirlpool Corp. The company’s chairman, Jeff Fettig, said tariffs on imported machines would create new manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee.
“This is a victory for American workers and consumers alike,” Fettig said. “By enforcing our existing trade laws, President Trump has ensured American workers will compete on a level playing field with their foreign counterparts.”
But Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said Republicans need to understand that tariffs are a tax on consumers.
“Moms and dads shopping on a budget for a new washing machine will pay for this — not big companies,” Sasse said in a statement.
Suniva, SolarWorld and Whirlpool were helped by a 1974 trade law that lets companies seek trade protection if they can show damage from a rise in imports.
Up to certain levels, imports of solar cells will be exempt from the tariff, while the first 1.2 million imported large washing machines will get a lower tariff, peaking at 20 percent.
Congress has no authority to change or veto Trump’s decision. Countries affected by the decision can appeal to the World Trade Organization.
Utah Chief Justice Matthew Durrant applauded joint efforts between the courts and lawmakers Monday during the annual State of the Judiciary address, saying the work between the branches of government has helped bring significant reform to the state’s judicial system.
Most notable, Durrant said, were the state’s efforts to address homelessness. He alluded to Operation Rio Grande — an effort which focused on cleaning up crime in the area around the homeless shelter in downtown Salt Lake City, and getting aid to the homeless.
He said the courts contributed to those efforts by forming a new drug court for those who were arrested in the first phase of the crackdown.
The drug court has been successful, he said, with 95 participants in the program working to stay sober and crime-free.
“We are deeply appreciative of the funds you have allocated for criminal justice-related treatment,” Durrant told lawmakers. “They have made a real difference.”
The chief justice encouraged legislators to consider expanding Medicaid in order to access more funding for criminal justice related treatment.
“There is simply no better investment that can be made to improve public safety than an investment in treatment,” Durrant said.
Durrant also touched on other areas where legislators have helped bring reform, including last year’s efforts to improve the state’s juvenile justice system. A bill passed last year brought sweeping changes in how youth are treated in the system, with the goal of keeping low-risk youth offenders in their homes instead of detention centers.
And changes have been made in the civil courts as well, Durrant said, including the creation of the Licensed Paralegal Practitioner (LPP) Program. The program created a new legal profession, in which an LPP has more training and responsibilities than a normal paralegal, but is not quite a lawyer. This provides a more affordable option to Utahns who are trying to navigate the court system as they file for divorce, settle debts or resolve eviction issues.
But there is one hot-button reform effort that remains unsolved: Whether judges should use a new screening process that would give them more information about a defendant’s history — including past arrests, convictions and past instances of skipping court — in determining bail amounts. It’s “remarkable,” Durrant said, that this information is not already given to judges in making critical pre-trial decisions.
The new screening process was expected to begin in November, but court officials opted to delay the process after lawmakers expressed concern that the courts were making changes without their input.
“You have raised important questions about these changes,” Durrant said Monday, “and we have met with many of you to address them. We are hopeful that your concerns have been allayed, and we look forward to implementing this important reform.”
Court officials said Monday that no implementation date has been set.
Legislators in September passed a motion asking that the courts postpone the changes until they could be considered by lawmakers during the 2018 session. In addition, legislative leaders wrote a letter to Durrant last fall noting that in other states where similar reform was made, lawmakers had authorized the changes.
Durrant wrote in an October response letter that the courts would pause the measure to provide more information to lawmakers, whom he said he believed had been fed “misinformation” from bail bond industry representatives, including that the new protocol will cause jails to become a revolving door for criminals.
Provo • BYU fans who have longed to see the Cougars play North Carolina State in football for the first time will finally get their wish.
But they’ll have to be patient.
BYU and NC State have agreed to a home-and-home football series for the 2024 and 2030 seasons. The Cougars will travel to Raleigh, N.C., to take on the Wolfpack on Nov. 9, 2024 and NC State will travel to Provo to play the Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Aug. 29, 2030.
“I really like this home-and-home series with NC State,” said BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe. “The game in Raleigh provides a unique late-season travel opportunity for our football program, and it’s great to bring another ACC opponent to Provo.”
North Carolina State has won 11 ACC championships and has been to 31 bowl games. The Wolfpack defeated Arizona State 52-31 in the Sun Bowl last season.
BYU will also play Hawaii and Georgia Southern in 2024. In 2030, BYU is already scheduled to play another ACC foe, Virginia Tech.
Cougars land three-star East High linebacker
Viliami Tausinga, a linebacker from Salt Lake City’s East High School, committed to BYU coaches on Sunday and will sign a letter of intent with the Cougars next month.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Tausinga is a three-star prospect according to the 247sports.com website and also had offers from UNLV, Utah State, Wyoming and others.
Tausinga will likely serve an LDS Church mission before enrolling.
Several accept preferred walk-on spots
BYU coaches have been offering preferred walk-on spots to several prospects in the past few weeks, and some are starting to accept those invitations.
East High’s Jaylon Vickers, a 5-10, 180-pound defensive back, said Saturday that he will play for BYU. Skyridge defensive back Alex Palmer, Lehi receiver Kade Palmer and Mountain Crest running back Beau Robinson have also accepted preferred walk-on offers.
One of the breakout stars of the 2014 Olympics won’t be in South Korea to defend his throne.
Park City’s Joss Christensen, who won gold in the men’s ski slopestyle event at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, was left off the U.S. Olympic squad bound for Pyeongchang Olympics, which begin in two weeks. The 26-year-old suffered a torn ACL in May during a ski run in Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
While the innovative high-flying skier eventually returned to the snow this winter, Christensen wasn’t able to land on any podiums in an Olympic qualifying event. Without Christensen, the U.S. freeskiers will have Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper, who finished with silver and bronze, respectively, at the 2014 Olympics alongside Christensen.
McRae Williams, who grew up skiing alongside Christensen on the hills in Park City, made his first Olympic team as a discretionary choice. Williams is currently the reigning slopestyle world champion. He barely missed out on the 2014 Olympic team, which served as motivation during the last cycle.
“Not making the Olympic team back in 2014 was absolutely devastating,” Williams said in a release Monday. “Thinking of having to wait four years to try again and wondering if I’d even still be at the top of my game was hard. To get that redemption now is beyond a dream come true.”
Devin Logan, one of several Westminster College students named to the U.S. Olympic team Monday, won the silver medal in women’s slopestyle at the 2014 Olympics.
Logan also qualified for ski halfpipe, where she’ll compete alongside teammate and 2014 gold medalist Maddie Bowman, also a Westminster student. David Wise headlines the men’s ski halfpipe team. The Reno, Nev., native won gold in Sochi.
The U.S. Olympic aerials and moguls team were also announced Monday evening.
The top medal threats include two-time Olympian Ashley Caldwell and Mac Bohonnon, who returns to his second straight Olympics. Park City’s Madison Olsen, 22, qualified for her first-ever Olympics in women’s aerials.
Jaelin Kauf, the No. 1-ranked women’s mogul skiers, enters as an Olympic medal favorite after a dominant World Cup season. Kauf, who relocated to Park City three years ago, won two World Cup golds. She leads a strong women’s moguls team, including Morgan Schild and Keaton McCargo.
2018 U.S. freeski & freestyle Olympic teams
Slopestyle • Caroline Claire, Devin Logan, Darian Stevens, Maggie Voisin, Nick Goepper, Alex Hall, Gus Kenworthy, McRae Williams
Halfpipe • Maddie Bowman, Annalisa Drew, Devin Logan, Brita Sigourney, Aaron Blunck, Alex Ferreira, David Wise, Torin Yater-Wallace
Aerials • Ashley Caldwell, Kiley McKinnon, Madison Olsen, Mac Bohonnon, Jonathon Lillis, Eric Loughran
Moguls • Tess Johnson, Jaelin Kauf, Keaton McCargo, Morgan Schild, Casey Andringa, Emerson Smith, Troy Murphy, Brad Wilson
New York • Polo Ralph Lauren unveiled Team USA’s Olympic parade uniforms Monday and social media haters can leave the ugly sweater jokes back in Sochi.
Roundly mocked in 2014 for a chaotic, patchwork cardigan sweater, the brand went classic red, white and blue this time around for the opening ceremony and white for the closing parade of athletes in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Both have a cozy bit of technology built in to keep athletes extra warm.
Athletes will be treated to stretchy skinny jeans and a far less busily designed sweater for opening, with a stretch knit pant — think structured sweat pant — for closing. The jeans have moto-inspired seaming. Accessories include a navy wool ski hat and USA-themed navy bandanna. On the athletes’ feet will be brown suede mountaineering boots with red laces for the outdoor opening.
And then there are the gloves. They’re more Ralph than Ralph himself, a Western style in suede with fringe in rawhide brown and decorated in hand-beaded Olympic rings and an American flag. They’re lined in white and fit over the wrists. Warm, yes. Yee haw! Lasso not included.
David Lauren, the youngest son of the brand’s namesake and the company’s chief innovation officer, was proud of the technology for the tri-colored parkas in mostly navy blue and the bombers for the end of the Winter Games.
In a process developed exclusively for the brand, the heating system is made of electronic printed conductive inks in silver and black in the shape of an America flag and bonded to the interior backs of the jackets, he said. Athletes can control basic settings using their cellphones for up to five hours of heat on high and up to 11 hours on low, fully charged.
A limited number were released for sale to fans and were selling quickly, Lauren said. All garments are American made.
The brand has been the official outfitter of the U.S. Olympic Committee and Team USA since 2008. The uniforms will also be worn by the Paralympic Games teams.
“Every season we learn from the athletes,” Lauren said. “We work very closely with them, where we find out what makes them comfortable as they’re walking out on this amazing stage in front of the entire world.”
The story Lauren is trying to tell this time around is a celebration of the past, he said, “so we have gloves inspired by the frontier movement, we have jeans that celebrate another era of American entrepreneurship and jackets that heat up, which show that America is continuing to evolve.”
The jacket technology displays the temperature inside the garment to help the athletes decide on settings.
The company was looking to display a boldness in the looks this year. It was about comfort, however, as opposed to playing into the tumultuous politics of the last year.
And what does Lauren say to critics who have poked fun in the past?
“We’re very proud to work with Team USA,” he said. “This year we’re excited to say that most of the outfits have already sold out.”
Enthusiasts can buy pieces online and in a handful of Ralph Lauren stores around the country, including a customizable ski hat, Lauren said. A portion of proceeds will be donated to athletes’ training.
The uniforms were modeled in a Polo Ralph Lauren store in downtown Manhattan by sister-brother, Lauren-sponsored ice dancing team Maia and Alex Shibutani.
“The jacket is going to be perfect for the cold weather,” Alex said. “We love the jacket especially.”
Maia was impressed by the stretch in the jeans.
“I’m going to be wearing these all the time, definitely.”
And those gloves?
“There’s some nice detailing,” Alex offered. “There’s ‘Polo’ right there on the side.”
New York • Neil Diamond is retiring from touring after he says he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Days shy of his 77th birthday, the rock legend is canceling his tour dates in Australia and New Zealand for March. He was on his 50th anniversary tour.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer offered his “sincerest apologies” to those who planned to go to his shows and says he plans to still write, record and work on other projects “for a long time to come.”
Diamond’s numerous hits include “Sweet Caroline,” ″America,” ″Love on the Rocks” and “Hello Again.”
Diamond turns 77 on Wednesday and will get the lifetime achievement award at Sunday’s Grammy awards.
James Anderson’s new mystery novel, “Lullaby Road,” invites readers to ride along on a central Utah highway with Ben Jones, a half-Jewish, half-American Indian truck driver who was adopted and raised by a Mormon couple.
The stark landscape of Utah’s high desert and the story’s themes — considering issues of immigration and child trafficking — are unusual ground for a mystery novel.
Early reviews have praised Anderson’s writing, noting the main character’s “dolefully observant and engagingly self-deprecating voice” (Kirkus Reviews), as well as the lasting impression of the “arresting desert vistas and distinctive characters” (Publishers Weekly).
In addition to the marketing firepower of his New York publisher, Crown, Anderson, 65, is borrowing a storytelling trick from multimedia-focused younger readers to help his novel find a wide audience.
On Thursday, he will screen a short film, shot in the southern Utah ghost town of Cisco, at his 7 p.m. book launch at The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City.
The 5-minute film conveys the intriguing noir mood of the novel rather than just teasing its fictional plot. It features actor Cosme SkyWalker Duarte as Ben Jones, leading Amber Cruz, as Manita, and other children through a desert landscape dotted with the haunting images of dirty white tennis shoes abandoned on trees and trails.
The beautiful cinematography is a far cry from the kind of formulaic trailers that marketers have released to promote mostly nonfiction books. “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing,” Anderson jokes, quoting a 4 a.m. on-set comment from Joe Boran, the director of photography.
Anderson credits his talented friends in creating the short and says director Kent Youngblood plans to enter a slightly longer version in film festivals. The film is scored with original music by composer Michael DeLalla, as well as a Leonard Cohen song performed by Grammy Award winner Terrance Simien.
“It was a lot of people who really loved the story and really wanted to do something artistic,” Anderson says.
The writer, who splits his time between Oregon and Colorado, says he’s always asked why he has set two novels in Utah’s high desert.
“It inspires my imagination, but it also fits with my characters, all of whom are grappling with very human, but very spiritual issues, about themselves and about others and about the land,” he says. “And somehow that just all happens in Utah in a way that I can’t feel anywhere else.”
Park City • Rock star Dan Reynolds was once a Mormon missionary, and in a documentary that premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, he declares a new mission: to urge leaders of his faith to stop shaming their LGBT members.
“A determined Mormon is a scary thing, I can tell you that, because they don’t stop,” Reynolds, singer for the band Imagine Dragons, declares in “Believer,” a documentary that received a standing ovation from some 500 Sundance attendees at its first screening late Saturday night.
The movie will receive a broader audience this summer, director Don Argott told the audience after the film. “Believer” was picked up before the festival by HBO Documentary Films, with plans for a theatrical release this summer and a debut on HBO after that.
There’s another audience Reynolds hopes will watch the movie: the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I hope that [LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson] and the apostles take the time to watch this documentary, to see the faces, to hear the voices, to hear the stories, of these Mormon youth,” Reynolds told The Tribune earlier Saturday. Reynolds added that he would like to talk about “how to have real change. Because speaking in platitudes of love will not create that change.”
Reynolds said he “is trying to stay really optimistic right now” about last week’s selection of Nelson as president of the LDS Church and Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring as his counselors. The film includes harsh rhetoric about LGBT people, including LDS General Conference talks by Nelson in 1995 and Oaks from last October. (The movie was completed before the death of President Thomas S. Monson on Jan. 2 and will likely be updated before general release.)
Reynolds’ friend Tyler Glenn, lead singer of the band Neon Trees, is less hopeful.
“It’s a setback,” Glenn told The Tribune on Saturday. “I want everyone to feel safe, and that’s a very unsafe choice.”
Glenn, who grew up Mormon but is now inactive, came out as gay in 2014. He appears prominently in the movie, as Neon Trees played before Imagine Dragons at the LoveLoud Festival.
Reynolds told the Sundance audience that he spoke to a couple of LDS apostles after he staged the LoveLoud Festival, a benefit concert in Orem last August designed to bring together Mormons and the LGBT community. Much of “Believer” focuses on the organization of the festival, the first of what he vows will be an annual event.
“They said, ‘You know what? We do have a problem with our youth,’” Reynolds said of his meeting. He said his reply was “if you’re telling them their innate sense of love, which is unchangeable, is wrong, you’re going to have this problem.”
Reynolds told The Tribune that he hopes to continue a dialogue with LDS leaders, “to move forward and progress towards an actual healthy place for our LGBT youth. Because where it stands right now, it’s not.”
The film, directed by Argott, outlines policies over what the LDS Church calls “same-sex attraction,” including encouraging LGBT people to marry members of the opposite sex (a stance the faith has since officially abandoned) or to abstain from sex altogether.
Advocates point to the November 2015 edict — labeling same-sex Mormon couples “apostates” and forbidding their children from baptism and other religious rites until they become adults — as particularly divisive and harmful.
“As long as those policies are still intact,” Reynolds said, “our LGBT youth still have high percentages of depression, anxiety and suicide.”
Last week, Gov. Gary Herbert formed a state task force to examine the rising number of Utah teens taking their own lives. One possible cause often cited is the fear of being ostracized because of their sexual orientation.
There’s another audience Reynolds said he would like to reach with “Believer”: students at LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University. He told the Sundance audience that he was set to attend the school until he was expelled after admitting to having sex with his girlfriend, violating the school’s Honor Code.
During Saturday night’s Q&A, he joked, “I’m still technically a student at BYU. … I would like to show my student film.”
House Speaker Greg Hughes opened the 2018 Legislature on Monday by declaring war on opiate drugmakers for doing little to prevent addiction — and by urging part-time legislators to seek more power against the full-time governor.
“This is a call to arms,” Hughes, who has said this will be his final year in office, told colleagues.
The Draper Republican said he became upset with the manufacturers of opiates when he opened an office in the Rio Grande area of Salt Lake City this year to oversee work there to clean up crime in the neighborhood around the state’s largest homeless shelter, and saw the horrors of addiction.
“It was news to me,” he said, “ … that you could stay well within the prescription of your doctor given you to manage pain, and you could find yourself physically addicted.”
He said Big Pharma, however, markets opiates by saying they are rarely addictive, improve function of patients, have few side effects and are safe for long-term use.
“We know better,” Hughes said. “ I think we have paid a terrible price.”
A year ago, Hughes opened the session by declaring homelessness a statewide “crisis” and calling for an all-out attack on organized drug traffickers, especially those targeting homeless people.
This year the House speaker said several bills are coming that will seek to hold drugmakers more accountable for helping to create what he says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls “a national health crisis,” and allow more civil lawsuits.
He has for several months been on a campaign urging Utah counties to sue Big Pharma, with the two biggest announcing plans to do so.
“We need to go after those big pharmaceutical companies,” he said. “I want the crush of liability to be felt across this country to the point where it doesn’t make business sense anymore” to argue opiates are rarely addictive. “We need practices to change.”
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said he is on the same page as Hughes. Reyes said he is part of a 41-state coalition of attorneys general that is now investigating the opiate industry and negotiating compensation for states and its residents. He said Utah is preparing to pursue its own lawsuit if that multistate effort proves unsuccessful.
“Manufacturers have pushed for decades drugs that they knew … were highly addictive,” Reyes said, “and used a number of different devices to hide that information from doctors and from the communities at large that were desperate for pain relief.”
He added that Utah hopes not only to gain a settlement to help with state and local programs — as states once received from the tobacco industry — but also seeks money to distribute to victims to help them and their families. Reyes said the attorneys general also will seek injunctions to stop inappropriate practices.
Balance of power
Also Monday, Hughes suggested another, perhaps smaller, battle to give Utah’s part-time legislators more power against the full-time governor and his administration.
It grows out of frustration when Gov. Gary Herbert last year refused to call the Legislature into special session to enact rules for a special congressional election to fill a vacancy when former Rep. Jason Chaffetz resigned. Herbert designed rules himself and proceeded — despite protests from lawmakers.
Hughes warned that unless the Legislature acts to safeguard its powers, “this part-time Legislature” could soon be considered “a part-time branch of government.” Bills are under consideration that could allow the Legislature to call itself into special session in some circumstances.
“We can lose our power” to impact government, Hughes warned. “We have to stay vigilant…. You are going to see some bills this session that will address our separation of powers.”
Hughes did praise the Herbert administration for generally working in concert with the Legislature to address such things as homelessness, improving education and more.
Hughes said several tough issues are coming this year. One in which he also urged action is reforming the scandal-tainted Utah Transit Authority, where he was once chairman of its board.
He said proposals to replace its current part-time board with a full-time, three-member commission would give better oversight and help restore public trust in UTA. He said that is important as lawmakers consider this year also allowing state highway money to be used for transit.
Lawmakers have opened more than 1,200 bill files to draft legislation — and more than 300 measures have been numbered and publicly released, ready for quick introduction Monday.
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser said legislators would focus during the session on education, roads and taxes.
The Sandy Republican made clear he views recently approved federal tax reform as an opportunity for state tax changes, specifically income taxes.
Lawmakers who will lead the way on taxes have circled around possibly cutting the number of tax breaks for various industries, collecting sales tax from more online retailers and, perhaps, lowering the income tax rate below 5 percent.
“An opportunity we have for tax reform [is] income tax reform,” Niederhauser said. “Broadening the base and lowering the rate.”
The senator also said he’s recently noticed the state’s roads and highways are becoming congested, and the Legislature will focus both on how Utah will fund and manage roads in the future.
“This [congestion] is after several billion dollars of investment over the last couple of decades,” Niederhauser said. “This is a huge issue for us.”
Niederhauser, who has sponsored a bill that could lead to more toll roads and has specifically talked about charging for using the road up Little Cottonwood Canyon, said the state’s general fund is paying $600 million for transportation.
He said lawmakers would look at the “funding and governance” of Utah’s transportation systems, a possible reference to the ongoing debate over whether lawmakers will shake up the governance of UTA.
2018 Legislature facts and stats
Three new lawmakers, appointed to fill vacancies, are beginning their first general session.
They are Sen. Brian Zehnder, R-Holladay, replacing Brian Shiozawa, who resigned to become regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Rep. Adam Robertson, R-Provo, replacing Dean Sanpei, who moved to Colorado; and Rep. Cheryl Acton, R-West Jordan, replacing Adam Gardiner, who was appointed as the new Salt Lake County recorder.
Republicans continue to hold commanding majorities: 62-13 in the House and 24-5 in the Senate. The last time Democrats controlled the Utah Senate was 1977, and they last held a House majority in 1965 — 53 years ago.
Besides Republicans, men and Mormons also hold large majorities in the Legislature.
Nine of every 10 legislators are Mormon. Men outnumber women by an 83-21 majority.
The part-time legislators come from all walks of life.
That includes 18 attorneys, the most common profession among them. Interestingly, Rep. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, is both an attorney and a doctor.
Sixteen members are business owners or run businesses. Another 15 are current or retired educators.
Members who work in the health care industry include five doctors, two dentists, one hospital administrator and one pharmacist.
Real estate-related industries also have several members: five current or former Realtors (including Niederhauser), four homebuilders or developers (including House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville) and one title insurance professional.
Five lawmakers are ranchers; two are farmers.
Some unique professions among legislators include art dealer (Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City); a Highway Patrol lieutenant (Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry); and a low-voltage technician (Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City).
Park City • First, there were billboards, urging people to “demand the impossible.”
Now, a new brand of vegetarian hamburger is going after the taste buds of Sundance Film Festival attendees by giving them something a billboard can’t: free samples.
“It’s a lot better than I expected,” said Julia Heath, a first-time Sundance visitor from Sacramento, Calif., who tried one of the new Impossible Burgers. Noting that it’s “more seasoned” than a beef burger, she added, “you can tell they’re really trying to make it taste good.”
Impossible Foods, which makes the new burger, set up a food truck at the Lyft Driver Hub, on Kearns Boulevard near Bonanza Drive in Park City. They started serving free sliders — with lettuce, tomato and special sauce — over the weekend, and will be back Friday and Saturday, Jan. 26 and 27, from noon to midnight.
Heath, a former film student who works at a music venue in Sacramento, said she once went vegetarian for about a year and a half. “Honestly, one day, I really wanted a burger,” she said when asked why she quit. “I used to hate veggie burgers. They usually taste like not-meat.”
The company boasts that its burgers are being served in 400 restaurants around the United States. The billboards — like the one prominently displayed at State Street and 600 South in Salt Lake City — directs customers to a website that urges them to ask their favorite restaurants to put it on their menus.
At the moment, there’s thought to be only one Utah restaurant serving the Impossible Burger — Peekaboo Canyon Wood Fired Kitchen in Kanab.
Dave Morris, who owns Piper Down in Salt Lake City and the Ice Haus in Murray, would like to serve it, and has told his suppliers to get him the Impossible Burger as soon as they can.
“There’s no supply chain right now,” Morris said. “It’s a waste to advertise something you can’t supply. I think it’s a good product, but I don’t know because I can’t see it, taste it or touch it.”
Morris currently serves the Beyond Burger brand of veggie burger at his restaurants. That brand, which can be found at some supermarkets, simulates the “bleed” of beef by using beet juice.
The Impossible Burger boasts a plant-based version of heme, a compound derived from hemoglobin, to give it a beeflike taste.
Ice Haus has Vegan Friday events and Saturday steak nights, and Morris said the vegan products outsell the steaks.
“I’m actually the vegan junk-food king of Utah,” he declared with a laugh.
Student journalists at Herriman High School are pushing back against what they view as censorship after an article on a teacher’s firing over alleged misconduct was scrubbed from the school newspaper’s website.
The students on Monday launched their own website, the Herriman Telegram, to host the article and other coverage. Students also launched an online petition, asking that student editors of the school’s Herriman Telegraph have their ability to publish and edit content restored.
“We want to actually do our job as a publication and write stories that people care about,” said Max Gordon, editor in chief of the school newspaper. “We can’t do that with the Telegraph when anything even slightly controversial is censored.”
Sandra Riesgraf, spokeswoman for Jordan School District, say the changes at issue to the school newspaper’s website were made to ensure that the students’ journalistic work is accurate, appropriate and informative.
“We are the publisher of that newspaper and because of that we have to watch out for students,” Riesgraf said. “I think they know, legally, that there’s got to be some oversight of that newspaper.”
Gordon said he and fellow student journalist Conor Spahr published their article about a teacher’s firing on Thursday to the original Telegraph website, which is owned by the school.
The article, which can now be found on the new Telegram website, relied on interviews with students and school administrators, claiming to have confirmed that the male teacher’s employment had been terminated amid allegations of exchanging inappropriate text messages with a female student.
“The most clear word we ever got was ‘inappropriate’,” Gordon said of the alleged content of the text messages.
On Friday, the morning after publication, Gordon said he and other student newspaper editors noticed that the Telegraph website had been shut down and related social media accounts frozen.
When the site was restored Monday, the article about the teacher’s firing was no longer visible and the newspaper’s student staff had been stripped of their administrative privileges over the website’s content and accounts, Gordon said.
“We can’t change anything,” he said. “Now it’s completely run by the administration.”
Riesgraf confirmed that the teacher who was the subject of the article no longer works at the school as of November. But she declined to comment on whether he had quit or had been fired, citing privacy laws related to personnel issues.
Unified Police Lt. Brian Lohrke said an investigation is ongoing into the teacher’s alleged text messages. The student’s parents contacted police in September, Lohrke said, about the communication that allegedly occurred during the 2016-2017 school year, when the student was a minor.
“We’re doing an investigation to see if any criminal behavior has occurred,” Lohrke said. “My understanding is [the teacher] opted not to talk to our investigators. That’s his right to do so.”
In their article for the school newspaper, Gordon and Spahr included documents obtained through public records requests from Jordan School District and Providence Hall, a charter school where the teacher previously worked. The Providence Hall documents showed the teacher’s employment at that school ended in the middle of an academic year, as it did at Herriman High.
No cause for his termination at Providence Hall is included in the documents obtained by Gordon and Spahr. But a code of conduct form included in the teacher’s exit papers inexplicably included highlighted portions related to one-on-one meetings with minor students and the need for more than one adult to be present during extra-curricular activities.
Providence Hall administrators did not respond to request for comment and attempts by The Salt Lake Tribune to reach the former teacher on Monday were unsuccessful.
Gordon said he expects to keep his position as editor in chief of the Herriman Telegraph, as the bulk of the newspaper’s content is unlikely to be deemed objectionable by the school.
“We’d keep the Telegram under operation to write some of the articles the administration wouldn't let us post,” he said.
Riesgraf said the students are free to create and operate their own website, but that any issues of libel or defamation would fall solely on their shoulders.
“They’re responsible for their content,” she said.
The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protections are limited for high school journalists, compared to their college and professional counterparts. In 1988, the Supreme Court ruled in the case Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier that high school administrators have the legal ability to restrict the content of school-sponsored publications that are not formally established as forums for student expression.
Jean Reid Norman, campus liaison and board member for the Utah Headliners chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, said the actions by Jordan School District are unfortunate, but appear to be legal.
“The Hazelwood decision in the Supreme Court pretty much stripped high school student journalists of their First Amendment rights,” she said.
The story in question was removed from the Telegraph website before she had a chance to review its content, Reid Norman said. But she added that she would hire Gordon “in a heartbeat” at The Signpost, Weber State University’s student paper, where Reid Norman serves as a faculty advisor.
“My guess is that given the documents they had, that they did a pretty straight-up job on it,” Reid Norman said. “I won’t be able to know because the administration won’t even let the public decide if it was good journalism.”
Utah Rep. Karianne Lisonbee says she was shocked by mention of an abortion statistic in Iceland: close to 100 percent of women whose fetuses test positive for Down syndrome terminate their pregnancies.
That revelation apparently spurred Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, to announce Monday she was sponsoring legislation to bar Utah doctors from performing abortions when the procedure is sought due to a Down syndrome diagnosis.
“They must be protected,” Lisonbee said of children with the genetic disorder, during a news conference at the Utah Capitol, adding such abortions are a “terrible form of discrimination” and could lead down a path to eugenics.
Critics argue that such legislation — which has become law in several other U.S. states — is more about restricting abortion access overall, not protecting children with Down syndrome.
Lisonbee’s House Bill 205 — called the Down syndrome Nondiscrimination Abortion Act — would also require physicians to take additional steps of conducting an in-person consultation with pregnant women who have had a positive test; providing them with information about Down syndrome advocacy groups; and referring them to a specialist who “is knowledgeable about providing medical care to a child with Down syndrome.”
Down syndrome occurs when a fetus has the genetic flaw of an extra, 21st chromosome, causing intellectual disabilities and other physical problems in development after birth.
HB205 would make performing an abortion due to a Down syndrome diagnosis of the fetus a class A misdemeanor, though the pregnant women seeking the abortion would not be prosecuted. The bill’s language also does not describe specifics of how such a law would be enforced, and Lisonbee did not directly answer questions on that aspect of her proposal during Monday’s news conference.
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, the bill’s Senate sponsor, noted that Utah is a “pro-life state,” and conservative legislators would “do all we can to protect the most precious, most vulnerable among us.”
The issue of Down syndrome and pregnancy drew national attention over the summer after the airing of a CBS News report that included the statistic from Iceland. Lisonbee said Monday she was also alarmed by related trends, including that an estimated 67 percent of U.S. pregnancies involving Down syndrome are terminated.
Abortion legislation similar to Lisonbee’s bill has passed in Ohio, North Dakota, Indiana and Louisiana. A federal judge has blocked Indiana’s version, and Louisiana’s law is facing legal challenges.
Karrie Galloway, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said in a statement that HB205 is solely about “restricting access to abortion, not protecting those with Down syndrome.”
“The decision to terminate a pregnancy is a deeply personal and sometimes complex decision that must be left to a woman, in consultation with her family, her faith, and her health care provider,” Galloway said. “Many parents find that having a child with Down syndrome is the right decision for them, but this does not mean that their experience should lead to a law that forces other families into the same situation.”
West Valley City resident Amber Merkley has a 3-year-old son, Finn, with Down syndrome. Merkley said she was devastated to learn of her son’s diagnosis before he was born, in part because she didn’t fully understand the disorder and wasn’t provided sufficient information.
“We were afraid of all the unknowns,” she said — including how her older children would react.
Merkley, who backs Lisonbee’s bill because it would protect people like her son, was offered an option to terminate her pregnancy, she said Monday, but instead decided to learn more about Down syndrome. And she’s glad she did.
Today, Merkley said, Finn has a “beautiful smile,” a “big heart,” and gives out generous hugs and kisses. He’s different, the mother said, “just like everybody else.”
Salt Lake could host a future Winter Olympics for less than it cost to put on the 2002 games here, according to the first budget estimate completed by the Salt Lake Olympic Exploratory Committee.
While the Salt Lake Olympic Committee’s final bill in 2002 totaled $1.389 billion, officials estimate the cost to do it again would be about $1.29 billion.
Those early numbers, unveiled Monday during the group’s monthly meeting, have officials here optimistic that the committee will vote next month to take the next step toward becoming an official bid candidate for either the 2026 or 2030 Olympics.
“I think once they digest this and understand it, the momentum will be very positive,” said co-chairman Fraser Bullock, a former SLOC leader. “… Every indication we have right now is positive.”
Since the exploratory committee’s formation in October, officials have lauded Utah’s Olympic tradition, the quality of its competition venues, and its advantages over its top U.S. competitors, Denver and Reno/Tahoe. But until Monday, committee members had provided few hard numbers pertaining to the actual cost of a future bid.
“They’re better than I thought they were going to be,” Bullock said of the initial budget estimates.
Fifteen years ago, Salt Lake had more than $1.38 billion in expenses. But because the venues used in 2002 have been maintained (a state audit recommended about $40 million in upgrades over the next decade) and other savings on labor and operations, officials believe another Olympic games here would cost less. The exploratory committee’s estimate of $1.29 billion for a future Games adjusts for 2018 inflation and includes $60 million in contingency funds.
The budget numbers exclude federal security and transportation costs.
In 2002, the Salt Lake Olympic Committee brought in more than $1.5 billion in revenue. Budget analysts believe a future Olympics would bring in over $1 billion through broadcast, ticketing, merchandise and other “high-confidence revenues.” That would leave a $292-million gap that would have to be made up with Utah sponsorships and donations.
“We think it’s an achievable number, given our history,” Bullock said.
The committee is expected to finish its final report by the end of this month, with a vote to move ahead in the process expected next month. At that point, an official candidature committee would be formed with support from Salt Lake City and Utah leaders. The U.S. Olympic Committee then has until the end of March to submit a bid city for the International Olympic Committee’s next round of selections.
“When you look at the cost savings and the amount of revenue we’d have to raise and how we stack up against other potential bid cities, I think everybody here in the room loves the trend lines,” said committee co-chair Jeff Robbins said, the president and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission.
Officials in Colorado and Nevada have both expressed interest in potentially hosting the Winter Olympics, though both Denver and Reno/Tahoe would have to overcome financial obstacles to win a bid.
“I think they’re way behind,” Bullock said. “They’re way behind us because we have so much more knowledge. I think they haven’t done a detailed understanding of the economics yet. I think they’re in that aspirational phase.”
The USOC has said it is open to submitting a bid for either the 2026 or 2030 Olympics. But because a ’26 bid would put them in competition for sponsorship dollars with both the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Utah leaders have their hopes set on 2030.
An exploratory committee studying a potential Salt Lake City bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics estimates the city could pull it off without losing money.
Fraser Bullock, co-chairman of the committee, said the budget estimate presented at a meeting Monday is another indication that Salt Lake City is set up nicely to host another Olympics.
The committee made up of elected officials, business leaders and people who worked on the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City will take a formal vote next month on whether to move forward with the bid.
The committee estimates it would cost $1.29 billion to host, with about $1.35 billion in revenues that would ensure no losses. The committee says those figures are current dollars and would go up with inflation, but that the revenue surplus would hold.
Washington • President Donald Trump signed a bill reopening the government late Monday, ending a 69-hour display of partisan dysfunction after Democrats reluctantly voted to temporarily pay for resumed operations. They relented in return for Republican assurances that the Senate will soon take up the plight of young immigrant “dreamers” and other contentious issues.
The vote set the stage for hundreds of thousands of federal workers to return on Tuesday, cutting short what could have become a messy and costly impasse. The House approved the measure shortly thereafter, and President Donald Trump later signed it behind closed doors at the White House.
But by relenting, the Democrats prompted a backlash from immigration activists and liberal base supporters who wanted them to fight longer and harder for legislation to protect from deportation the 700,000 or so younger immigrants who were brought to the country as children and now are here illegally.
Democrats climbed onboard after two days of negotiations that ended with new assurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Senate would consider immigration proposals in the coming weeks. But there were deep divides in the Democratic caucus over strategy, as red-state lawmakers fighting for their survival broke with progressives looking to satisfy liberals’ and immigrants’ demands.
Under the agreement, Democrats provided enough votes to pass the stopgap spending measure keeping the government open until Feb. 8. In return, McConnell agreed to resume negotiations over the future of the dreamers, border security, military spending and other budget debates. If those talks don’t yield a deal in the next three weeks, the Republican promised to allow the Senate to debate an immigration proposal — even if it’s one crafted by a bipartisan group and does not have the backing of the leadership and the White House, lawmakers said. McConnell had previously said he would bring a deal to a vote only if President Donald Trump supported it.
Sixty votes were needed to end the Democrats’ filibuster, and the party’s senators provided 33 of the 81 the measure got. Eighteen senators, including members of both parties, were opposed. Hours later the Senate passed the final bill by the same 81-18 vote, sending it to the House, which quickly voted its approval and sent the measure on to President Donald Trump.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders predicted that operations would return to normal by Tuesday morning.
The plan is far from what many activists and Democrats hoped when they decided to use the budget deadline as leverage. It doesn’t tie the immigration vote to another piece of legislation, a tactic often used to build momentum. It also doesn’t address support for an immigration plan in the House, where opposition to extending the protections for the dreamers is far stronger.
The short-term spending measure means both sides may wind up in a shutdown stalemate again in three weeks.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer lent his backing to the agreement during a speech on the chamber’s floor. “Now there is a real pathway to get a bill on the floor and through the Senate,” he said of legislation to halt any deportation efforts aimed at the younger immigrants.
The White House downplayed McConnell’s commitment, and said Democrats caved under pressure. “They blinked,” principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah told CNN. In a statement, Trump said he’s open to immigration deal only if it is “good for our country.”
Immigration activists and other groups harshly criticized the deal reached by the Democratic leadership.
Cristina Jimenez, executive director of United We Dream, said the members of the group are “outraged.” She added that senators who voted Monday in favor of the deal “are not resisting Trump, they are enablers.”
Other groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union expressed disappointment and shared similar criticism.
A block of liberal Democrats — some of them 2020 presidential hopefuls — stuck to their opposition. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Dianne Feinstein of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey voted no, as did Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Feinstein said she wasn’t persuaded by McConnell’s assurances and did not know how a proposal to protect the more than 700,000 younger immigrants would fare in the House.
Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana voted no on the procedural motion to re-open the government — the only no vote among 10 incumbent Democrats facing re-election this year in states won by Trump in 2016. Tester said in a statement that the 17-day budget did not include any funding for community health centers that are important to his rural state, nor did the deal include additional resources for border security.
The short-term funding measure includes a six-year reauthorization of the children’s health insurance program, which provides coverage for millions of young people in families with modest incomes. It also includes $31 billion in tax cuts, including a delay in implementing a tax on medical devices.
The votes came as most government offices cut back drastically or even closed on Monday, as the major effects of the shutdown were first being felt with the beginning of the workweek.
Republicans have appeared increasingly confident that Democrats would bear the brunt of criticism for the shutdown. The White House and GOP leaders said they would not negotiate with Democrats on immigration until the government was reopened, and White House officials boasted that Trump didn’t reach out to any Democratic lawmakers during the shutdown.
In fact, Trump, who regularly disrupted negotiations in recent weeks, had been a relatively subdued player in the weekend debate. On Monday, he accused Democrats of prioritizing services and security for noncitizens over U.S. citizens. “Not good,” his first tweet said. In a second tweet, he said, “Democrats have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don’t want to do it but are powerless!”
Trump’s first tweet appeared to undercut comments by his legislative affairs director, Marc Short, who told CNN that the immigrants in question are law-abiding and “productive to our society.” Short said the administration wants to “find a pathway for them” to stay in the U.S.
Although the Democrats initially dug in on a demand for an immigration deal, they had shifted to blaming the shutdown on the incompetence of Republicans and Trump. The Democrats seemed sensitive to being seen by voters as willing to tie up government operations to protect immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
In an impassioned closed-door meeting, Schumer told his members that McConnell’s pledge was the best deal they were going to get.
On the Senate floor, No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas said that for shutting down the government, the Democrats “got nothing.” He added that even though McConnell promised to take up the immigration bill by February, “he was going to do that anyway.”
While lawmakers feuded, signs of the shutdown were evident at national parks and in some federal agencies. Social Security and most other safety-net programs were unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions continued, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay.
Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Kevin Freking, Luis Alonso Lugo, Catherine Lucey, Matthew Daly and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.
Tourists on a commercial snowmobile broke park rules by driving too close to Yellowstone National Park’s iconic Old Faithful geyser Sunday, park officials confirmed, at a time when most staff was furloughed during the partial government shutdown.
In an interview Monday, park superintendent Dan Wenk said that one of the concession operators that is authorized to conduct snowmobile tours through Yellowstone — and was allowed to continue doing so even as most park employees stopped work this weekend — violated park rules.
“His guide told two of his clients that they could drive around the visitor center and into an area where the snowmobiles are prohibited,” Wenk said, adding that staffers spotted the activity on the park’s webcam and issued a citation to the guide, who now faces a mandatory court appearance.
In light of the incident, Wenk said, park officials were holding a conference call Monday with all concession operators to remind them, “All laws, regulations and policies are still being enforced at Yellowstone National Park.”
He said the geyser and its immediate surroundings did not appear to have been damaged. Some unauthorized, non-commercially operated snowmobiles also tried to enter the park over the past few days, Wenk said, but “we’ve been able to turn those around.”
Yellowstone is not the only national park to have experienced illegal activities since Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke directed his deputies to make public lands as accessible as possible during the partial shutdown.
At Pennsylvania’s Gettysburg National Military Park, a family with metal detectors and a drone — both of which are prohibited — entered the park over the weekend. Rangers intercepted them and used it as “an educational opportunity” said NPS spokesman Jeremy Barnum in a phone interview, and let them go without a citation. They did not damage the park’s resources, Barnum added,
And Shane Farnor, an online advocacy manager for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), said in an interview that during a weekend visit to California’s Joshua Tree National Park, he saw dogs roaming without leashes, which isn’t allowed, and running on trails where they’re not allowed.
Speaking to reporters Monday, Zinke said he wanted to preserve access even if there was reduced staffing for a period of time.
“The public lands are for the public,” he said. “They’re not for special interests.”
Trump officials have been particularly focused on keeping the federal government’s most visible operations, such as national parks, running during the budget impasse. Office of Management and Budget General Counsel Mark Paoletta sent an email Saturday evening, obtained by The Washington Post, to deputy secretaries and general counsels across the government suggesting that they use carry-over funds “to minimize the shutdown’s disruption.”
“If your agency expects that one of its public-facing programs or services will experience a significant disruption due to the lapse in appropriations,” Paoletta wrote, “please consult your Office of General Counsel (OGC) to consider carefully the legal necessity of ceasing key services and to evaluate alternatives, consistent with the law, that will minimize the impact of this unfortunate situation.”
But some conservationists said that the shutdown, which could end soon now that senators have reached a bipartisan compromise to reopen the government, highlighted the risks associated with the Trump administration’s strategy.
“Looting and damaging recreational use were at the top of our concerns when you don’t have park rangers and staff on the ground,” said Kristen Brengel, NPCA’s vice president of government affairs. “So it’s really disappointing that it actually happened, but it also says why we need staff there.”
While critics questioned whether leaving public lands understaffed made them temporarily vulnerable, at least someone had stepped in to look for asteroids that could potentially collide with the Earth.
The staff of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, which is responsible for monitoring asteroids and comets that could collide with Earth, was also furloughed starting Saturday.
But before leaving the office, planetary defense staff made arrangements with nongovernment researchers to ensure there were no gaps in coverage. If an inbound space rock imperiled our planet while Congress bickered over budgets, someone would have caught it. Hopefully.
Atlanta • It’s roughly 850 miles from Waco, Texas, to Atlanta, which is a day’s drive if you are committed, or a short flight. That’s how far Taurean Prince’s path from college to the NBA led, after being drafted out of Baylor by the Atlanta Hawks.
For Royce O’Neale, his college teammate and roommate, it was a much longer route — one that led overseas before turning around back toward Utah. But on Monday night, their paths crossed again in Philips Arena. Prince met O’Neale in warmups before the game to congratulate him.
“When you’ve got a guy who can do a lot of things good, you’ll eventually find your way into the NBA,” Prince said. “He does a lot of things that a lot of guys aren’t willing to do.”
That’s how O’Neale scrapped his way onto the Jazz roster and into the rotation: He’s been an efficient offensive player, a better-than-average rebounder at guard and a defensive pest. Prince said he’s always been that, it just took him two years to get noticed.
The duo spent two years together at Baylor, the last of which they spent together in an apartment. O’Neale said they got along because they were both relatively clean, but they did have occasional discord — usually while playing the video game NBA 2K.
“I’m the better 2K player,” O’Neale said. “He tries. I’ll give him Call of Duty and Madden, but I’m better at 2K.”
While they still may bicker over video games, seeing each other on the floor was a nice moment for both. Prince has doubled his points, rebounding and assists since he was the 12th overall pick in 2016. O’Neale made his first four shots of the game — not bad for an undrafted free agent who played two years abroad.
“We haven’t seen each other since summer, so it’s good,” O’Neale said. “Him being on a team with how well he’s doing, I just congratulated him.”
Favors visits family
From his days at South Atlanta High to his years at Georgia Tech, Derrick Favors has deep roots in Georgia. But don’t expect to see him spending too much time visiting old spots when he comes back on trips with the Jazz.
The most important stop for Favors is to visit with his twin daughters, who live in the area.
“I see family — that’s most of all the time I have,” he said. “If I have time afterwards, I’ll see some friends.”
If he does have time, he said one of his favorite stops is the Southern comfort food staple Waffle House. If he could have his druthers, he’d order a waffle, sausage and grits. But that’s not always his choice, given his diet restrictions.
“In the season I can’t eat the way I want to,” he said.
Atlanta is also a home of sorts for Joe Johnson, who played seven years for the Hawks, including six All-Star seasons. Johnson spent a significant amount of time pregame greeting Atlanta staff and arena personnel.
Rodney Hood didn’t play for the second straight game on Monday night, missing the start with a lower left leg contusion.
Las Vegas • Hundreds of animals including horses, chickens, pigeons and turtles have been seized from a Las Vegas home after officials found the animals living in what were described as deplorable conditions.
Animal control officers on Sunday went to the home after neighbors said a horse was loose, Lt. Grant Rogers said. They put it in a trailer and found the rest of the animals at the owner’s home, Rogers said.
Authorities removed 13 horses, 150 roosters and hens, 400 pigeons, four turtles and two guinea pigs. A criminal investigation was underway but no suspects were identified and Las Vegas police on Monday declined to provide more information about the case.
Conditions at the home included filthy animal stalls and horses with unkempt hooves, said Nevada Voters for Animals member Gina Greisen, who went to the scene.
“It’s just sad, it’s really sad to see,” she said.
Las Vegas police in 2016 seized more than 500 hens and roosters when they broke up what they called an illegal rooster-fighting ring. Two men were arrested.
City police in December rescued 164 Pomeranian dogs crammed into a rental truck. They were dirty, matted and covered in their own feces, authorities said.
The United Kingdom may be leaving the European Union, but it is still open for business — maybe even more than before.
That’s the message Michael Howells, the British government’s new consul general in Los Angeles, is emphasizing to Utah business people on his first visit to the Beehive State since being appointed to the diplomatic post four months ago.
He will speak at noon Tuesday at a diplomatic luncheon organized by World Trade Center Utah, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Salt Lake Chamber.
“If you sell into the British market, Brexit will not mean much to you,” Howells said Monday, referring to the nickname for Britain’s voter-driven withdrawal from the European Union economic system. “The market will still be there when we leave the EU. We’ll still be buying cars, wine, electronics and so on.”
If anything, he added, Brexit will open opportunities for more Utah companies to do business with their British counterparts as the UK distances itself from its European neighbors and seeks to establish or expand relations with other parts of the world.
Solid connections already exist. The United Kingdom is Utah’s top export destination. For the third quarter of 2017, Utah sent $716 million worth of goods to Britain, more than twice as much as went to the state’s second leading export recipient — Canada, at $300 million.
Most of that involved metals extracted from the Bingham Canyon mine by British-based Rio Tinto Corp., but there were significant export sums in other fields as well. Britain was the fourth largest recipient of exports from Utah’s life-sciences companies in that quarter, trailing only Canada, China and Mexico.
“For all intents and purposes trade with the UK is fairly easy, almost seamless,” said Franz Kolb, GOED’s director of diplomacy and protocol, citing the ease of a common language and similar national cultures.
“What I like about the relationship is it’s a matter of ‘you buy from us and we buy from you.’ They’re good trading partners,” Kolb said. “It’s not a one-way trade relationship.”
For instance, Howells’ Utah trip coincided with the opening of the Sundance Film Festival, in large part because a dozen independent movies produced with British government financial assistance are being shown there this year. He is using their screenings to tout the British film industry’s experience with all aspects of that business, from set design and costume manufacturing to writing, directing and editing.
Howells also is interested in getting to know more about Utah companies, such as ATK, that are involved in space exploration. The British government is eager to develop the capacity to launch small satellites, he added, noting “you have amazing companies that have been doing that research for years.”
Utah firms involved in solar-power research also could find customers in the UK, which is pursuing technology that doesn’t require a lot of direct sun exposure, a beneficial feature in often-cloudy Britain.
“The fundamental strengths of the British economy won’t change with Brexit,” Howell said. “We have a very predictable legal and regulatory environment, we follow the rule of law, we promote innovation and have research capacity, and are in a time zone important for doing business with both Asia and North America.”
GOED’s Kolb also is interested in enhancing connections with the British that involve the aerospace, defense and tourism industries.
As the Republican Party prepared to shut the government down over an extreme anti-immigrant agenda, Trump loyalists went on national television to defend a president who cursed whole nations in a meeting about immigration.
Sen. Lindsey Graham may have been the most forthcoming in his CNN appearance last week. When asked why he could not confirm Trump’s use of the term “s---hole” to describe African countries, he replied: “Because I want to make sure that I can keep talking to the president.”
Americans must learn to see clearly what leaders of African nations have articulated in their response to the U.S. president cursing them and their people. The profanity is not the problem. The real issue is the systemic racism that a prophetic reading of the Bible must always challenge. Policy rooted in white supremacy and attacks on the poor is a curse against the great majority of people created in God’s image. It does not matter how politely it is executed and defended, this cursing must be opposed by public witness.
The Bible is clear that cursing is the act of using political and economic power to hurt poor people and immigrant children. “The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor,” the Psalmist sings in the Bible’s righteous resistance song. “He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord. … His mouth is full of cursing.”
Theologically, there is a difference between profanity and cursing. To curse is to pronounce harm and back it up with power. When a president writes off whole nations as “s---holes,” he is not simply using salty language. He is advocating harsh immigration policy that would use the most powerful government in the world to enforce discrimination and inequality.
Political leaders who accommodate Trump’s vulgar extremism are, biblically speaking, cursing and not blessing this nation.
According to the biblical standard of moral politics, they curse every time they demonize nonwhite people and nations. They curse when they attack immigrant communities with scapegoating, extreme enforcement and Muslim bans. They curse when they pass tax policy that robs the working poor to line the pockets of the greedy. They curse every time they take health care from the sick, and every time they repeat racist lies about “voter fraud” to justify voter suppression. You cannot condemn the hate and vulgarity of this presidency while at the same time championing its policy. The violence of the policy is and will be implemented by a dispassionate bureaucracy.
As a pastor who tries to remain faithful to a prophetic moral vision, I must shout aloud that the spiritual sickness and moral bankruptcy we are witnessing in Congress and the White House are a damnable shame. In the truest sense, this hypocrisy must be cursed. If the preachers are not willing to curse what is evil, who will?
Even still, the Bible’s curses teach us to trust the judgment of God. “You have seen,” the Psalmist cries to God, “for you observe trouble and grief, to repay it by your hand.”
God will judge America for its sins against helpless children who were pitted against young immigrants in an attempt by Republicans to cast a false choice between poor white people’s interests and those of people of color.
Meanwhile, the greatest response to the political cursing of our president and his party is to build a movement that blesses, liberates, and brings truth, love and justice to the world.
This is what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. did until the last day of his life — organizing the black, white, Native and brown people of America who had been cursed by generations of policy violence to join in a Poor People’s Campaign to demand a “moral revolution of values” in America. This is the work that is still needed now: to bless this nation and our world with the vision of a beloved community, united across our historic lines of division, in a movement that reflects the single garment of destiny that is our true identity and our greatest political hope.
William J. Barber II is pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., and president of Repairers of the Breach. Together with Liz Theoharis, he co-leads the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.
Washington — Everybody seems to know what President Trump wants except President Trump.
He was foolish enough to believe he wanted a deal that would allow 700,000 undocumented immigrants brought here as children to stay. An arrogant 32-year-old White House aide, Stephen Miller, had to set the president straight: No, Trump learned, apparently he does not seek a fair and compassionate agreement on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after all.
Trump thought he wanted a “big, beautiful wall” along the southern border, with Mexico paying the cost. Chief of staff John Kelly had to explain to members of Congress that Trump never really meant a wall per se, but rather something more like a sketchy, intermittent fence. In a tweet attempting to reign in Kelly, Trump nonetheless asked U.S. taxpayers to ante up $20 billion to build it.
The president still believes he wants Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to invoke the “nuclear option” and change the rules to allow legislation to pass with just 51 votes. Aides and allies have tried mightily to point out that McConnell doesn’t have 51 GOP votes he can rely on — which means that going nuclear would only force Republicans to stop blaming their own dysfunction on the Democrats.
Trump, bless his cold little cinder of a heart, remains under the impression that he calls the shots on administration policy. Is he so engrossed in what he obviously views as his most urgent task — watching hours and hours of cable news — that he doesn’t see how he has become marginalized? Is he so dense that he doesn’t realize he’s not being served by friends and supporters, but rather being used?
Those are rhetorical questions. Trump has always wanted to preside, not actually lead; and whenever he strays into the weeds of policy, he gets hopelessly lost.
It must have been humiliating for the president to make a DACA deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and then be countermanded by a callow subordinate. Trump has repeatedly pledged to extend legal status for the “Dreamers” affected by DACA, at one point calling them “these incredible kids.” But now his aides won’t let him fulfill that promise.
Whatever Trump thinks his views on DACA might be at a given moment, actual administration policy is being guided by Miller, Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with help from lawmakers such as Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. — hard-liners who want tough new restrictions on legal as well as illegal immigration.
There is no reason to question or minimize Trump’s fundamental bigotry — he opened his presidential campaign by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and this month ranted against newcomers from “s---hole countries” in Africa. But everything is personal with him, and he seems to waver when he thinks of the actual individuals involved. He appears to seek a solution that allows him to continue to use the immigration issue for purposes of demagoguery, but that does not ruin the life of, say, a young woman who was brought here illegally as an infant and went on to graduate from college with honors.
Words and elections have consequences, however. Trump’s rhetoric implies a race-based, religion-based immigration policy that prioritizes white Christians over people of color and Muslims. Whenever Trump wanders from that path, the hard-liners are quick to guide him back on course.
The deal struck by the Senate Monday to end the brief weekend-long government shutdown did nothing, really, to resolve the DACA issue. The government remains open until Feb. 8 — yes, the richest, most powerful nation in the world is functioning on a week-to-week basis. McConnell agreed that if there is no DACA deal by that date, he will allow a free and open debate on immigration.
The stage is thus set for a repeat performance: Facing a deadline when the government must be funded or shutter its doors, Congress will struggle to find a way to let the dreamers stay — a position held by 87 percent of Americans, according to a recent CBS News poll — while also shifting immigration policy toward “merit,” which has become code for “white people and maybe a few Asians, instead of black people and brown people.”
The irony is that coalitions of Democrats and moderate Republicans in both chambers would probably pass stand-alone legislation giving legal status to the Dreamers, if McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan would allow such a vote.
Would Trump sign that bill into law? Nobody really knows — least of all the president himself. He’ll have to wait for Miller, Kelly, Sessions and Cotton to give him his marching orders.
Eugene Robinson’s email address is [email protected]
Leonia, N.J. • A small town near the world’s busiest bridge is putting up the “keep out” sign for motorists seeking a shortcut to it, the latest example of the effects navigation apps are having on communities located near major chokepoints.
As a response to apps like Waze and Apple Maps that reroute some of the tens of thousands of vehicles headed to the George Washington Bridge each morning, Leonia on Monday started barring the use of side streets to non-residents during the morning and evening commutes. Violators could face $200 fines.
Local officials and police have said the decision isn’t a hasty one and they’ve done extensive studies of traffic patterns.
Police Chief Thomas Rowe said studies have shown more than 2,000 vehicles often pass through town from just one of the three exits off Interstate 95. The town has about 9,200 residents and a police force of 18.
The three exits off a major highway and the proximity to the bridge, which connects Fort Lee, New Jersey, and New York City, put the town “in a unique situation here,” Rowe said. “We are a small town in a very busy area with a very small police force.”
Other towns have taken similar steps. Fremont, California, north of San Jose, implemented turn restrictions during commuting hours, and several towns in the Boston area have redirected traffic or are seeking permission to do so.
Maria Favale, who has lived in Leonia for nearly 30 years, said she tried to get to her church one morning through the congested downtown and nearly gave up.
Standing outside the borough hall Monday, she noticed a marked difference: fewer cars.
“I don’t know if it’s because it’s the first day and people are worried about tickets, but it’s been great,” Favale said.
More than 140,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day, most during commuting hours, and when there is an accident, lane closure or other problem, it has a ripple effect. On one such day in 2014, a woman in Leonia was struck and dragged by a school bus and later died.
Leonia is about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from the George Washington Bridge, where aides to Republican then-Gov. Chris Christie were accused of deliberately closing access lanes and causing traffic jams in 2013 to spite the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing him. Christie denied any knowledge of the scheme, but three people close to him either pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial.
Leonia’s traffic problems have been exacerbated in the last several years as navigation apps have exploded in popularity. The apps are programmed to send motorists to faster routes, not necessarily with regard for where those routes go, Rowe said.
“Sometimes I think they need to do a better job of seeing whether a road is suitable for cut-through traffic,” he said.
That said, Rowe said Waze has been “extremely helpful and extremely cooperative” and has changed its app to reflect the road closures.
A Waze spokeswoman didn’t return a message seeking comment Monday.
Rowe said his officers initially will give motorists warnings but eventually will begin writing tickets.
Some critics have questioned the legality of the street restrictions but are waiting to see how the plan shakes out. Rowe said the town has done its homework and a U.S. Supreme Court decision in a Virginia case involving parking restrictions appears to support Leonia’s stance.
Steve Carrellas, New Jersey representative of the National Motorists Association, an advocacy group, disagreed.
“They may be able to do something, but not as extreme as they’re doing,” he said.
Leonia’s plan has struck a chord around the world: Rowe and Mayor Judah Zeigler have fielded interview requests from France and Canada and from the major television networks.
Road crews have been putting “Do Not Enter” signs on about 60 side streets in town. Residents are exempted from the restrictions if they display yellow tags hanging from their rearview mirrors.
Rowe said if his officers never write one ticket, he’d be happy.
“Hopefully it will change people’s driving behavior,” he said. “That’s the goal here.”
To no one’s surprise, a recent poll found that most Utahns support some kind of legal status for “Dreamers” – immigrants who enjoyed legal status via the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. In Utah, that’s more than 10,500 Dreamers over the past five years who know no other home.
The DACA program deferred deportation of persons who were brought to the United States as children under the age of 16, who met other requirements. In September, President Trump announced he would rescind the executively ordered DACA program in a move to spur Congress into legislating a solution. Trump granted a six-month delay to the program’s termination. Only 24 percent of DACA recipients will be able to renew their permits before the program is shuttered. The remaining 76 percent of DACA permits could expire on their current date of expiration, which could be as soon as March 6, 2018.
The latest Salt Lake Tribune/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows that 69 percent of registered voters in Utah want a legislative fix for the uncertain status Dreamers now face. An October poll showed that number at 72 percent.
Jason Perry, executive director of the Hinckley Institute, said, “In Utah, the best approach is to support these Dreamers. From conservative Republicans to Democrats, they want protection for the Dreamers.”
Most Americans agree with Utahns. According to a CBS News poll, 87 percent of Americans favor allowing DACA recipients to stay.
So why, then, did the federal government shut down over an issue most Americans agree on? Democrats claimed they would not support a funding bill that did not address a DACA fix. Republicans promised they would propose legislation in a separate bill. Stalemate.
If Congress cannot agree on an issue that most of its constituents agree on, there is not much hope for cooperation on issues where they actually differ.
The real kicker is that just a few weeks ago a federal district court judge in California entered a preliminary injunction against Trump’s executive order rescinding DACA. The federal government has asked the Supreme Court to review the district court’s decision, but did not seek to stay the injunction while the case is pending. The federal government is therefore under court order to keep reviewing DACA requests. Thus, in effect, DACA protections remain in place.
So why did Republicans and Democrats in Congress feel the issue was urgent enough to shut down the federal government over? There is no good answer.
Both parties quickly realized they lose support when the government shuts down. Hopefully both parties will also get the message that they will lose support if they don’t legislate DACA. And soon.
The Utes don’t have a “guy.” They have a roster, and they’ve got to count on contributions from different players on a night-to-night basis.
This past week’s sweep of the Washington schools only reinforced the sentiments that members of the Utah basketball program expressed during the preseason. When the questions came about replacing the production of key losses such as Kyle Kuzma, the common refrain from Utah players involved some variation of phrases such as collective effort, doing it as a group, everybody chipping in and everybody doing their part.
At the time, it seemed easy to interpret those comments as meaning the Utes (12-7, 4-4) simply didn’t know where they were going to get the points, rebounds, leadership or fill any other potential voids. With road games against No. 21 Arizona State (15-4, 3-4) as well as No. 11 Arizona (16-4, 6-1) on the horizon this week, it’s clear this Utes squad only functions at a high level when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Senior Tyler Rawson said being 4-4 in Pac-12 Conference play is a good spot for the Utes. pic.twitter.com/PbQL5VaSaq— Lynn Worthy (@LWorthySports) January 22, 2018
“The whole thing is keeping guys engaged,” Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said after Sunday’s win over Washington State. “It’s going to take a variety of different guys. We had foul trouble tonight with the bigs. That’s the definition of a team. I like our guys. We haven’t got anybody that’s pouting. When your time comes, jump in there and get after it.”
Senior guard Justin Bibbins, who came into Sunday night having averaged a team-high 17.7 points per game during Pac-12 Conference play, dished out a season-high 12 assists on Sunday night. Two of the team’s top three scorers, David Collette and Donnie Tillman, were saddled with foul trouble and combined for nine points, however, four Utes still scored 13 points or more apiece.
Tyler Rawson’s game-high 22 points marked just his second 20-point game of the season, while Gabe Bealer’s 15-point effort surpassed his scoring total from his previous six games combined. Sedrick Barefield added 14 points just days after being held to two points in 27 minutes against Washington.
UTAH AT ARIZONA STATE
When • Thursday, 7:30 p.m. MST
TV • Pac-12 Network
“We never had a defined scorer on this team, a go-to guy,” Bibbins said. “I got hot a couple games, but when everyone is going and everyone is flowing in a groove, that’s when we’re at our best. We’re happy we’re getting back to that basketball. [It’s] good momentum for next week.”
Scoring isn’t the only place the Utes benefited from having an abundance of helping hands this past week. Krystkowiak pointed to a lack of energy and effort coming out of the team’s disappointing Los Angeles road trip. Two areas those shortcomings showed up were defense and rebounding.
The Utes played perhaps their best conference game of the season from a defense and rebounding perspective in their 70-62 win over Washington. They held the visitors to 38.5 percent shooting, won the rebounding battle 44-38 and forced their way to the free throw line for 30 attempts.
Utes senior David Collette said effort was a big part of the difference in the team's play on Thursday night. pic.twitter.com/hgfpsU9Kux— Lynn Worthy (@LWorthySports) January 19, 2018
Each of the nine Utes who stepped on the court against Washington scored at least two points, and seven players grabbed at least one rebound. Sophomore 7-footer Jayce Johnson pulled down eight rebounds in 17 minutes off of the bench, while redshirt freshman forward Chris Seeley added five boards and a couple of adrenaline-pumping dunks.
“It’s awesome,” Collette said following Thursday’s game. “They come in and they play hard and scrap and get rebounds, do everything they’re supposed to. It helps us out a bunch when you’ve got guys who can come in off the bench and still produce.”
The Utes were also better equipped to get a myriad of contributions this week because they’ve got more healthy bodies than in recent weeks. Tillman, Seeley, Collette, Bealer and Johnson have each missed games since the middle of December due to various illnesses or injuries.
“It helps to have a full roster and being able to throw everything we’ve got at the teams we go against,” Rawson said.
Throwing it all at their opponents appears the Utes’ best option this season.
By now we are all familiar with the Russian disinformation campaigns, designed to undermine democracy and sow distrust, which are present in many Western countries. The many uses of Russian corruption — the companies deployed for the political ends of the state, the banks and oligarchs who sponsor foreign politicians — are well known, too. But they aren’t the whole story. For an underfunded ex- superpower trying to regain influence on the cheap, money and trolls only go so far.
Equally cheap, and in some places equally plentiful, is the supply of young men fascinated by guns, camouflage, judo and paramilitary games played in forests. In the United States and Britain, paintball and airsoft games — involving realistic “weapons” that fire harmless plastic pellets or paint — are played at children’s birthday parties or advertised as team-building activities for business groups. But these groups sometimes attract a more specific, more military-minded clientele. On Europe’s eastern edge, they have also attracted some interest from Russia.
Russia has shown a more than neighborly interest, for example, in Russian-speaking airsoft players, as well as members of martial arts and shooting clubs, in Latvia and Estonia, two countries with large Russian-speaking minorities. Russian trainers with military connections - even special forces connections — have joined some clubs in those countries as trainers, teaching what one observer described as “small unit tactics.” “Fight clubs” which teach “systema,” a form of “practical” Russian martial arts — self-defense but also “choking” techniques and other forms of hand-to-hand combat — openly advertise in Tallinn, Estonia. Latvian authorities were so spooked by the possible intelligence links of Russians who had arrived in the country to judge an airsoft competition that in December, they deported them - and described the planned event as “military tactical trainings.”
The phenomenon is not limited to the Baltic states. In October 2016, a 76-year-old Hungarian neo-Nazi allegedly shot and killed a Hungarian police officer. In the aftermath, it emerged that his small paramilitary group also had Russian links. His group had trained with Russian diplomats and possibly Russian military intelligence, as well. There are more than 60 systema clubs in Germany; many of them openly use the insignia of Russian military or domestic intelligence. A German branch of the Night Wolves, a Russian patriotic biker group, has opened.
Of course, these are tiny groups in otherwise peaceful countries. Far more serious were the reports last week of Russian-trained mercenaries who have allegedly established a paramilitary unit in Bosnia, in order to back a Serb separatist leader. The news originally appeared in a local paper, but it was confirmed by the Bosnian government. One Bosnian former energy minister interpreted the incident in stark geopolitical terms. He bluntly told the Guardian that “this is part of a larger change in the international order”:The Russians “have decided to use their leverage in the Balkans” to restart the Bosnian conflict.
Does it matter? It might be possible to dismiss these cases as isolated and unimportant if it weren’t for the fact that Russia does have a history of using paramilitary groups, along with disinformation, corruption and other tactics, to destabilize its neighbors. The occupation of Crimea was carried out with “little green men” — Russian soldiers wearing unmarked uniforms. But the local men who suddenly became “separatists” in eastern Ukraine emerged out of a murkier, paramilitary milieu. And there are older examples: The sudden appearance of armed local thugs who previously trained in the Soviet Union was part of what made possible the Sovietization of Central Europe as long ago as 1945.
It also matters because the tactics that Russians test and refine in Ukraine or Moldova are often then tried farther West. I note for the record — this aspect of the story hasn’t received nearly as much attention as it deserves — that one of the channels the Russian government apparently used to attempt to contact the Trump campaign involved ties to the National Rifle Association. In December, the New York Times reported that an NRA activist named Paul Erickson wrote to a Trump campaign adviser in May 2016, explained he had been “cultivating a back-channel to President [Vladimir] Putin’s Kremlin” and offered to broker a meeting with a Russian official at the NRA’s national convention in Louisville. According to the Times, Erickson has made a couple of trips to Russia, has links to a Russian gun-rights group and has incorporated a company with a Russian partner — the kind of behavior that, in Latvia, would immediately raise questions. Ominously, according to a McClatchy report Thursday, the FBI is already investigating whether Russian operatives might have surreptitiously funded the Trump campaign, using the NRA.
If this were 2015, we might laugh it off. But in 2016, the Kremlin ran an audacious, Ukrainian-style disinformation campaign in the United States and paid almost no price for it. In 2018 — or 2028 — maybe the Kremlin will start experimenting with Ukrainian-style tactics of a more violent kind.
Anne Applebaum writes a weekly foreign affairs column for The Washington Post.
Knowing about the Utah ties of Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski and anticipating his future role in the Cougars’ program, I made sure to watch him throw the football as his team prepared to play at Rice-Eccles Stadium last November.
So the news of Hilinski’s death last week stunned me. My mind immediately turned to a critical issue: Who would become WSU’s starting QB next season?
That’s disturbing. And I know it.
My own reaction to learning of Hilinski’s suicide made me spend several days wondering how I ever could have become so calloused, so dismissive of a person’s life that all I could think about was who would replace him on the football field.
Wow. I should have responded so differently, because I’m well aware of mental health issues that have affected college athletes in Utah, including football players Tanner Mangum, Alex Whittingham and Matt Gay. They have told their stories in The Tribune in recent months in an effort to help others. I empathized with their struggles and promised to view athletes more humanly.
So why didn’t I feel more pain when Hilinski died?
I’ll give myself some credit for recognizing that I should have been hurting much more for his parents and two brothers, including a former Weber State quarterback and a California high school QB who holds scholarship offers from Utah and other schools. That degree of self-awareness is healthy, I guess. And there’s so much to be learned from Hilinski’s life, including the way it ended.
I loved the tale The Spokesman-Review told in September, how Kelly Hilinski was working at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden the night when his younger brother replaced Logan’s Luke Falk vs. Boise State. Tyler Hilinski led the Cougars’ rally from 21 points down in the fourth quarter of a 47-44, triple-overtime victory. Between the arrivals of the emergency room patients he admitted, Kelly would hustle into an adjacent office and watch the streaming video of Tyler’s exploits.
Two months later, Falk was the star of WSU’s 33-25 win at Utah in a home-state appearance that highlighted his senior season, as Hilinski watched. Falk missed the Cougars’ Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State, due to injury. Hilinski played fairly well in that defeat, three weeks before he died.
The vigil held on the WSU campus Friday involved no speeches, only hugs, tears and written tributes. Falk came from southern California, where he’s preparing for an NFL career. Lehi’s Cammon Cooper already is in Pullman after graduating early from high school, beginning a process he hopes will make him the Cougar QB someday.
While I worry about the proper balance between honoring a person yet not glorifying suicide, knowing how Hilinski died is important. Suicide has become a crisis in Utah. Gov. Gary Hebert’s newly formed task force has vital work to do.
This is serious stuff. Remember what Whittingham wrote last summer, prior to his senior season as a Ute special-teams player, regarding how depression once affected him: “There were times I would have rather been dead than to continue what I was feeling. It’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”
Or what BYU basketball player Nick Emery blogged last week: “The past couple of years I have suffered from deep depression and anxiety. It even got so bad that I was suicidal and wanted to give up on life.”
Those words are even more sobering, in the current context. Who knows what may have happened to those guys, if not for their seeking counseling.
I’m also mindful of former Stanford football player Justin Reid’s advice, in the wake of Hilinski’s death: “Student-athletes and athletes in general are more than just your entertainment. We’re people who go through anxiety, depression, and difficulties just like everybody else. Please remember that ...”
This tragedy, and all of the ways I’ve processed it, will have an impact on me. Writing these words has been healthy. I’ve arrived at a point, finally, where I don’t really care who is Washington State’s quarterback Sept. 29, when Utah visits Pullman, Wash. I can only hope you got there sooner than I did.
WASHINGTON - Congress voted late Monday to reopen the government after a three-day shutdown, sending President Donald Trump a short-term spending bill that passed after Senate Republican leaders pledged to act on immigration policy next month.
The House joined the Senate in passing the bill to fund the government through Feb. 8, reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program and roll back several health-care taxes. It passed 81-18 in the Senate and 266-150 in the House.
“I’m glad we can finally get back to work here,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said after the vote. He called the shutdown a “manufactured crisis” characterized by “damaging partisan theatrics.”
The breakthrough came Monday after Senate Democrats bowed to pressure to reopen the government, joining Republicans in backing an immigration and spending compromise that was quickly denounced by liberals and immigration activists.
Roughly 60 hours after government funding lapsed, a bipartisan group of negotiators in the Senate prevailed with leadership and trading Democratic support for reopening the government for a commitment by Republicans to hold a vote resolving the status of young undocumented immigrants by mid-February.
Trump welcomed Democrats’ decision to relent and said the administration would “work toward solving the problem of very unfair illegal immigration.”
“I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses,” he added in a statement.
But the resolution of the three-day stalemate exposed a growing rift between two groups of Democratic senators: those facing tough reelection campaigns in states Trump won, and those courting liberal voters ahead of possible 2020 presidential bids.
Channeling rage from immigration activists, the possible 2020 candidates were highly critical of their leaders’ willingness to trust that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will allow an immigration vote after Feb. 8 if senators cannot strike a deal before then.
“I believe it’s been a false choice that’s been presented” between keeping the government open and resolving the DACA issue, said Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who voted no. “I believe we can do both.”
A majority of Democrats had forced the shutdown with demands for a vote on legislation to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, known as “dreamers,” from deportation after Trump canceled the program. The final bill did not include these protections, nor any specific guarantee of a vote.
Other possible White House contenders who voted against the bill included Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Democratic and independent senators who relented in the standoff said they did not necessarily trust McConnell, but had faith that the bipartisan negotiators, including Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., would force him to abide by his commitments.
“Frankly, our trust is more with our colleagues, that they will hold him accountable,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who is up for reelection this year in a state Trump won.
“A commitment this public, with this much fanfare - that’s kind of hard to back away from just three weeks from now,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who sided with Democrats on Friday in the vote that produced the shutdown.
Collins, Flake and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., helped broker the agreement, with Flake and Graham shuttling between huddles with McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., for much of the weekend. During bipartisan meetings in Collins’s office, senators had to use a “talking stick” to avoid unproductive crosstalk. They eventually switched to a basketball, according to Manchin, because it was easier to toss back and forth.
McConnell had said Sunday night and Monday morning that it was his “intention” to take up legislation addressing DACA, border security and other issues if Democrats agreed to fund the government until Feb. 8.
“This immigration debate will have a level playing field at the outset and an amendment process that is fair to all sides,” he said Monday.
The effects of the shutdown over the weekend were relatively muted: halting trash pickup on National Park Service property, canceling military reservists’ drill plans, switching off some government employees’ cellphones.
But the shutdown’s continuing into Monday meant that hundreds of thousands of workers stayed home and key federal agencies were affected. Federal contractors will see payments delayed, and the Internal Revenue Service will slow its preparations for the coming tax season.
Senators did not extract a promise from McConnell that would pave the way for an immigration bill’s passage through the House or its approval by Trump.
Still, some Democratic senators said the deal created the conditions for success.
“You have to be optimistic that we are trusting each other and trusting the process we are putting in place and that over the next 17 days, we will get to a bill that can get a commanding vote in the Senate, not just barely pass,” Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Del., said.
This, combined with legislation to address a bevy of other issues — long-term spending levels, disaster relief and funding for opioid treatment and community health centers — “would create unstoppable pressure on the House,” he said.
Advocates for “dreamers” were less convinced.
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill., blasted his Democratic colleagues in the Senate for shortchanging Latino voters, an increasingly critical voting bloc for the party.
“If the Republicans said we are ending same-sex marriage, but we promise Democrats a vote later; or we approve of oil drilling in every national park, but you’ll have a vote later - do you think the Democrats would say yes? This shows me that when it comes to immigrants, Latinos and their families, Democrats are still not willing to go to the mat to allow people in my community to live in our country legally,” said Gutierrez, one of Capitol Hill’s most vocal advocates for “dreamers,” in a statement.
A top liberal political strategist on immigration issues spoke for many of those in an uproar after the vote.
“We’re p----- off. We’re not naive to the politics. But give me a f-----g break. They do something heroic Friday night they climb down Monday morning,” the strategist said.
Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said he hoped to be “celebrating” with DACA recipients after a possible victory in three weeks.
“To all the ‘dreamers’ watching today: Don’t give up,” he said on the Senate floor. “I know your lives are hanging in the balance.”
The vote to end debate on the spending bill came together quickly after Collins and several other senators said they wanted a firmer, more detailed commitment from McConnell.
“It would be helpful if the language were a little bit stronger because the level of tension is so high,” Collins told reporters outside her office.
A Republican aide involved in the talks said that McConnell and his team were considering putting their plan in document form with more detail as a way of convincing some Democrats to support the short-term bill.
Ahead of the vote to end debate, Schumer warned McConnell to keep his word.
“I expect the majority leader to fulfill his commitment to the Senate, to me and to the bipartisan group, and abide by this agreement. If he does not ... he will have breached the trust of not only the Democratic senators, but members of his own party as well,” Schumer said.
Still, the relief among senators upon reaching a deal was palpable. As the voting began, Schumer shouted from his seated position. “Lindsey! Thank you, my friend,” he said as Graham approached and shook his hand. “We wouldn’t be here without you.”
With the negotiations focused on the Senate, Trump remained on the sidelines for much of the weekend, using Twitter to interject his opinions.
Democrats are acting at the behest of their “far left base” in advocating for “dreamers,” he argued Monday morning.
“The Democrats are turning down services and security for citizens in favor of services and security for noncitizens. Not good!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Aboard the papal plane • Pope Francis apologized for insisting that victims of pedophile priests show “proof” to be believed, saying he realized it was a “slap in the face” to victims that he never intended.
But he doubled down on defending a Chilean bishop accused by victims of covering up for the country’s most notorious pedophile priest, and he repeated that anyone who makes such accusations without providing evidence is guilty of slander.
Francis issued the partial mea culpa in an airborne news conference late Sunday as he returned home from Chile and Peru, where the clergy abuse scandal and his own comments plunged the Chilean church into renewed crisis and revived questions about whether Francis “gets it” about abuse.
Francis insisted that to date no one had provided him with evidence that Bishop Juan Barros was complicit in keeping quiet about the perversions of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, the charismatic Chilean priest who was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for molesting and fondling minors in his Santiago parish.
Flying home from the most contested trip of his papacy, Francis said Barros would remain bishop of Osorno, Chile, as long as there’s no evidence implicating him in the cover-up.
“I can’t condemn him because I don’t have evidence,” Francis said. “But I’m also convinced that he’s innocent.”
Karadima was removed from ministry and sentenced by the Vatican in 2011 to a lifetime of penance and prayer based on the testimony of his victims, who said they were all molested by him in the swank parish he headed in the El Bosque area of Santiago. A Chilean judge also found the victims to be credible, saying that while she had to drop criminal charges against Karadima because too much time had passed, proof of his crimes wasn’t lacking.
Three of the victims testified before Chilean prosecutors and others have also said publicly for years that Barros, one of Karadima’s proteges, witnessed the abuse and did nothing to stop it.
Barros denies the accusations.
“The best thing is for those who believe this to bring the evidence forward,” Francis said. “In this moment I don’t think it’s this way, because I don’t have it, but I have an open heart to receive them.”
Juan Carlos Cruz, the most vocal of the accusers against Karadima and Barros who testified in court about the cover-up, responded with a statement to The Associated Press: “If he wanted evidence, why didn’t he reach out to us when we were willing to reaffirm the testimony that not only us, but so many witnesses, have been providing for more than 15 years?”
Francis, though, repeated again that anyone who makes an accusation without providing evidence is guilty of slander.
“Someone who accuses insistently without evidence, this is calumny,” he said. “If I say ‘you stole something, you stole something,’ I’m slandering you because I don’t have evidence.”
He acknowledged that he misspoke when he said he needed to see “proof” to believe the accusations, saying it was a legal term that he didn’t intend. He corrected himself and used the term “evidence” instead, which he said could include testimony.
“Here I have to apologize because the word ‘proof’ hurt them. It hurt a lot of abused people,” he said. “I know how much they suffer. And to hear that the pope told them to their face that they need to bring a letter with proof? It’s a slap in the face.”
The Barros scandal dominated Francis’ Jan. 15-21 trip to Chile and Peru, and led to a remarkable church-state public rebuke of the pope.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Francis’ top adviser on abuse, issued a public criticism saying Francis’ words were a “source of great pain for survivors” and that such expressions had the effect of making them feel abandoned and left to “discredited exile.” The Chilean government spokeswoman, Paula Narvaez, said there was an “ethical imperative to respect victims of sexual abuse, believe them and support them.”
Francis insisted that he did respect victims and apologized for his “unhappy” choice of words when he was asked by a Chilean reporter Jan. 18 about his 2015 decision to appoint Barros to Osorno over the objections of Chilean bishops.
Francis replied: “The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I’ll speak. There is not one shred of proof against him. It’s all calumny. Is that clear?”
The comments sparked an outcry among Chileans and roiled abuse survivors and their advocates.
The spokesman for a group of Osorno Catholics opposed to Barros, Juan Carlos Claret, said the pope still didn’t get it.
“It’s incredible that the pope doesn’t understand that the problem wasn’t the word ‘proof’ or ‘evidence,’ which is the same thing, but that he accused victims of slander — victims who were found to be right by both Vatican and Chilean justice,” he told the AP.
He noted Cruz had formally testified in 2010 that Barros was present during the abuse.
At the news conference, Francis also explained a letter reported last week by the AP that showed the Vatican was prepared to ask Barros and two other Karadima-trained bishops to resign and take a year sabbatical in 2014 to try to contain the fallout from the scandal surrounding the priest. Francis admitted that he put a stop to the plan, saying that if he accepted the resignations without evidence or “moral certainty” that Barros had done anything wrong, “I would be committing a crime of bad judgment.”
Francis said Barros actually did offer to resign — twice — but that he rejected it.
“I said, ‘No, this isn’t how we roll,’” adding that sending Barros and the other bishops on sabbatical would have been seen as an admission of guilt.
The 2015 appointment outraged Chileans and badly divided the Osorno diocese, where hundreds of lay Catholics and many priests have refused to accept Barros.
Marie Collins, who resigned in frustration from Francis’ sex abuse advisory commission last year, in part over the Barros affair, said she couldn’t bring herself to comment.
“Why comment? It’s a pointless waste of effort,” tweeted Collins, who has become a leading critic of Francis’ abuse record, especially his decision to allow the commission to lapse last month.
Francis said Sunday a new membership roster had been put to him earlier this month and was being reviewed. He denied that the lapse of the committee showed it wasn’t a priority for him.
Francis was also asked about the sex scandal in neighboring Peru regarding the lay movement Sodalitium Christianae Vitae. He revealed that its founder, Luis Figari, is appealing his Vatican sentence on charges of physical, sexual and psychological abuse, and economic mismanagement. The Vatican high court is expected to hand down its sentence in two months, he said.
“What I know is that the thing is unfavorable to the founder,” Francis said.
Associated Press writer Eva Vergara in Santiago, Chile, contributed to this report.
This Pat Bagley cartoon appears in The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.
You can check out the past 10 Bagley editorial cartoons below.
Party of personal responsibility
Government shutdown showdown
Diversity Not for the Birds
Trump and the religious right
It’s a hard knock life
The Never Ending Story
Trump trolls America
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Seattle • No cashiers, no registers and no cash — this is how Amazon sees the future of store shopping.
The online retailer opened its Amazon Go concept to the public Monday in Seattle, which lets shoppers take milk, potato chips or ready-to-eat salads off its shelves and just walk out. Amazon’s technology charges customers after they leave.
“It’s such a weird experience, because you feel like you’re stealing when you go out the door,” said Lisa Doyle, who visited the shop Monday.
Amazon employees have been testing the store, at the bottom floor of the company’s Seattle headquarters, for about a year. Amazon.com Inc. said it uses computer vision, machine learning algorithms and sensors to figure out what people are grabbing off its store shelves.
The store is yet another sign that Amazon is serious about expanding its physical presence. It has opened more than a dozen bookstores, taken over space in some Kohl’s department stores and bought Whole Foods last year, giving it 470 grocery stores.
But Amazon Go is unlike its other stores. Shoppers enter by scanning the Amazon Go smartphone app at a turnstile, opening plastic doors. When an item is pulled of a shelf, it’s added to that shopper’s virtual cart. If the item is placed back on the shelf, it is removed from the virtual cart.
Not everyone can shop at the store: People must have a smartphone and a debit or credit card they can link to be charged. Amazon said families can shop together with just one phone scanning everyone in. Anything they grab from the shelf will also be added to the tab of the person who signed them in. But don’t help out strangers: Amazon warns that grabbing an item from the shelf for someone else means you’ll be charged for it.
There’s little sign of the technology visible to customers, except for black boxes, cameras and a few tiny flashing green lights in the darkened, open ceiling above.
One shopper, Paul Fan, tested the technology by turning off his phone and taking items and putting them in incorrect spots. The app was still able to tally up his items correctly.
“It’s really smart,” he said.
At 1,800 square feet, Amazon Go resembles a convenience store, except for a kitchen visible from the street where sandwiches and ready-to-cook meal kits are prepared. A small section features products from the Whole Foods 365 brand. There’s no hot coffee or hot food, but microwaves are available for customers who want to warm something up. Beer and wine is in a cornered-off section where a staffer checks ID before anyone enters.
The store has other employees, too, who make food, stock shelves and help customers. On Monday, workers were on hand to help shoppers find and download the Amazon Go app and guide them through the exit.
The company had announced the Amazon Go store in December 2016 and said it would open by early 2017, but it delayed the debut while it worked on the technology and company employees tested it out. By lunchtime on day one, Amazon’s no-lines hope was thwarted, at least outside the store: There were at least 50 people waiting to enter, in a line that stretched around the corner.
Peter Gray, who said he typically shops online and avoids physical stores, stopped by Amazon Go on Monday morning after seeing it on Twitter.
“Just being able to walk out and not interact with anyone was amazing,” he said.
The Pac-12 named Utes senior guard Justin Bibbins its men’s basketball player of the week on Monday afternoon. He’s the program’s first weekly conference honoree since Jakob Poeltl in February 2016.
Bibbins, a 5-foot-8 graduate transfer who began his college career at Long Beach State, became the first Utah player this season to record back-to-back double-doubles this past week in wins over Washington and Washington State. He averaged 16.5 points, 8.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds while he shot 50 percent from the field.
The native of Carson, Calif., scored 20 points, made 4-of-9 3-pointers, pulled down 10 rebounds and handed out five assists in a 70-62 win over the Huskies on Thursday. He became the shortest major conference player with 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists according to STATS LLC.
Utes senior guard Justin Bibbins said the floor just opened up pic.twitter.com/YGM45DjzSf— Lynn Worthy (@LWorthySports) January 22, 2018
Bibbins recorded a double-double on Sunday night with 13 points and a season-high 12 assists in an 82-69 win against the Cougars. That made him the first Utah player since Brandon Taylor to register 10 assists or more in a game. Taylor dished out 10 assists against USC in February 2016.
Through 19 games, Bibbins leads the team in scoring (14.2 ppg), assists (5.1 per game) and 3-point shooting (46.4 percent). He has shot 49.7 percent from the field.
Since the start of conference play, he has averaged 17.1 points per game (sixth-best in Pac-12) and ranks among leaders in assists (third, 5.9 per game), free throw shooting (fifth, 89.3 percent), 3-pointers made (first, 3.5 per game), 3-point field goal shooting (sixth, 46.7 percent) and assist-turnover ratio (third, 2.9-1).
Family and friends of Amanda Rose Garcia wept openly in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court Monday as Justin Cade VanCleave, 20, was sentenced for her brutal slaying.
Judge Vernice Trease sentenced VanCleave to 15 years to life for the May 23, 2016, first-degree felony murder of the 33-year-old woman, who was strangled and stabbed more than 40 times.
The judge said VanCleave will not get credit for the past 608 days that he has been incarcerated at the Salt Lake County Jail.
VanCleave had lived near 7200 West and 3000 South in West Valley City with Garcia, her boyfriend — who is Justin VanCleave’s older brother — two other brothers and their mother.
VanCleave and Garcia where the only ones at home when he killed her in the bathroom with a kitchen knife, according to courtroom testimony.
“This case stands out because of the extreme brutality,” said prosecutor Langdon Fisher. “It was an extreme and lengthy assault.”
During Monday’s sentencing hearing, Pamela Jones, a close friend of Garcia’s, told VanCleave he was a “monster” who should be locked away for life.
“It’s hard for us to face the brutal way Amanda was taken. The hurt and pain will never go away,” Jones said. “Her three children will never again hear their mother say how much she loves them.”
VanCleave had joked about killing Garcia for more than a year before her body was found in the family’s backyard shed, according to testimony by acquaintances during a 2016 evidence hearing.
Witnesses at the hearing said VanCleave offered inconsistent and unclear motives for the attack.
A friend testified that VanCleave told him he killed her because Garcia was “talking bad about his mom and his brother,”
But VanCleave initially told police that Garcia was getting ready to shower when an argument broke out and she advanced on him with a knife, cutting his pinky finger, a police detective testified.
On Monday, weeping uncontrollably, Garcia’s mother, Jolene Winters, told the judge she can’t sleep or close her eyes without the horror of her daughter’s murder flooding into her mind.
“I pray before I go to sleep that I can hear her voice and tell her one last time I love her,” Winters said. “The pain is always there. Nothing will ever take away the anguish and the loss we feel.”
Before sentencing, defense attorney Heidi Buchi told the judge that VanCleave was on methamphetamines and hadn’t slept for five days and was not thinking clearly when he killed his brother’s girlfriend.
Buchi also explained that VanCleave had been mistreated by his father, who had introduced him to alcohol at age of 5.
“I am not a monster,” VanCleave told the court. “What I did was wrong. I do deserve punishment. But I deserve to be with my friends and family one day.”
Charged with first-degree felony murder and second-degree felony obstructing justice, VanCleave pleaded guilty to the the murder count in August, and the obstructing charge was dismissed.
Milwaukee • The Milwaukee Bucks have fired coach Jason Kidd following a midseason slide that left the playoff hopeful in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Assistant coach Joe Prunty was serving as head coach for Monday night’s game against Phoenix.
It was a surprising end to Kidd’s three-plus season tenure in Milwaukee, when the Bucks made the playoffs twice. Giannis Antetokounmpo turned into an All-Star under his watch. The Bucks were considered an emerging force in the East at the start of the season.
But the Bucks have lost four of five going into Monday and had been prone to defensive lapses especially on the perimeter.
General manager Jon Horst says “a fresh approach and a change in leadership are needed to continue elevating our talented team towards the next level.”
President Donald Trump will be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. Inevitably, attention will focus on whether the president projects a commitment to internationalist values or reiterates his truculent nationalism in the name of making America “great again.” Attention will also focus on the durability of the current economic and market upswing that has buoyed the spirits of businesses and investors around the world.
While Trump will probably try to take credit for all the economic good news, it is unlikely that he deserves it. He is president of the United States, not the world. And the economic surprises in the rest of the world have been more favorable than those in America. The scale of upward revisions of growth forecasts for 2017 and 2018 has been higher in Europe, Japan, China and emerging markets broadly than for the United States. Many other stock markets have outperformed those here. If Trump’s pro-business policies were driving the global economy, one would expect an increase in net capital flows into the United States, and so a stronger dollar. In fact, the dollar has weakened significantly in the past year, despite more Federal Reserve tightening than was anticipated at the beginning of 2017.
In the late 1990s and again in 2006, I remarked that “the main thing we have to fear is lack of fear itself.” Today there is an undercurrent of geopolitical concern not present at those times. Yet, there are important similarities between the situations then and now, as households and businesses come to fear missing out on good things more than getting caught up in irrational exuberance. Complacency about the economy can be a self-denying prophecy when it leads to excessive valuations, lending and spending. We are surely closer to such a point than we were a year ago. Sooner or later, another downturn will come, perhaps because central banks overreact to what they perceive as inflationary threats, perhaps because elevated financial markets converge to more normal levels, or perhaps because of some geopolitical shock.
If and when recession comes, the world will have much less room than usual to maneuver. From a narrow economic perspective, there will be much less room than the usual 500 basis points of space to bring down interest rates. There will also be much less space for fiscal expansions than there was when countries were less indebted. At the political level, the kind of agreement forged in London in 2009 between the G20 group of most developed countries to keep markets open, support international institutions and cooperate to stimulate their economies seems much more difficult to achieve today. And there is the real risk in many countries that recession would reinforce tendencies toward authoritarian nationalist politics.
If the short-run concern of those gathered in Davos will be how the world will deal with the next recession, the long-run one has to be declining appeal of democratic global values. In countries as diverse as the United States, Britain, Turkey, Russia, Israel and China, it appears that the governmental platform that commands the most popular support is rooted in nativism, nationalism and negativism. Populist nationalism eventually produces bad economic results, leading to more pressures for anti-establishment leadership and extreme policies. It is far from obvious what re-equilibrates the system.
It is hard to predict whether the president will seek to reassure or provoke his audience in Davos. The president’s speech will most probably be compared withPresident Xi Jinping of China’s rousing defense of globalism at Davos last year. Trump will be further challenged by the suspicion that his rhetoric cannot be relied on to be consistent from speech to speech, let alone to be consistent with subsequent action.
What should he say? It depends crucially on what he believes, and that is far from clear. The world can accept a message that the United States wants a fairer allocation of the burden of upholding the global system, that after a period of weak economic performance America needs to concentrate more efforts at home, and that it will be guided by its economic and security interests, not the promotion of abstract values.
But such a message needs to be accompanied by clear signals that the United States will strive to be a reliable and predictable partner, that it understands its interest in strong effective global institutions and that it recognizes that even self-interested nations can benefit from thoughtful diplomacy. If this combination of messages comes out of Davos, a nervous world may become a bit less nervous, which would be a very good thing for those gathered in Davos — and everyone else as well.
Summers is a professor at and past president of Harvard University. He was treasury secretary from 1999 to 2001 and an economic adviser to President Barack Obama from 2009 through 2010.
Dallas • A 15-year-old student in Texas was injured in a shooting in her high school cafeteria Monday morning and a 16-year-old boy, also a student at the school, was taken into custody, sheriff’s officials said.
The girl was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas following the shooting in the small town of Italy, some 45 miles (70 kilometers) south of Dallas, said Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald of the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office. The shooting happened at about 7:50 a.m. in the Italy High School cafeteria.
“In a small town, the school district is the center of what goes on for our kids and this morning’s tragedy hits the heart of this community,” said Lee Joffre, superintendent of the Italy Independent School District, which has about 600 students.
Joffre said that on a typical morning, there would be about 45 to 55 students in the cafeteria.
Ellis County Sheriff Chuck Edge said the suspect “engaged the victim” and fired several shots from a semi-automatic .380 handgun before being confronted by a school district staffer and fleeing. Edge did not say at the Monday afternoon news conference how many times the victim was shot. Officials have said that they don’t know the relationship between the victim and shooter.
Edge said that after the suspect fled the cafeteria, he was arrested by law enforcement on school grounds. Edge said the handgun was recovered at the scene and is in evidence.
Edge said he did not yet know what charges the suspect might face. He also said he was currently not aware of a motive in the shooting and did not know where the suspect acquired the firearm.
Edge referred questions on the girl’s condition to the hospital, and Parkland spokeswoman April Foran said she could give no information.
When asked whether the suspect had any previous disciplinary issues at the school, Joffre said the district cannot release such information.
Joffre said school will be in session Tuesday and grief counselors will be on campus.
Italy, which promotes itself as “The Biggest Little Town In Texas,” has about 2,000 residents and is located just off Interstate 35 between Dallas and Waco.
A fight millions of years in the making between Allosaurus and Utahraptor has been avoided.
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, says he’s been persuaded to rewrite SB43 and stop pushing to have Utahraptor replace Allosaurus as the state fossil. Instead, the bill now would add Utahraptor as the new official state dinosaur.
“Both will have their moments of fame,” he said. Bramble originally had been convinced by a 10-year-old dinosaur fanatic, Kenyon Roberts, that Utahraptor was more worthy of the state designation, so he introduced the bill.
But after initial publicity, Bramble said, “I was contacted by a few paleontologists. They gave me the history of both the Allosaurus and Utahraptor and suggested we keep the Allosaurus as the state fossil and establish a state dinosaur. They made a compelling case for both.”
Among those who have made that argument is Utah State Paleontologist James Kirkland — discoverer of Utahraptor. “The main reason I am the state paleontologist is that I discovered Utahraptor. Utahraptor has been very, very good to me…. I am the world authority on Utahraptor,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune earlier.
He said that discovery was made about 1990 near Arches National Park. He, Robert Gaston and Donald Burge described the dinosaur and named it in 1993 — not long after the original “Jurassic Park” film was released that year. That turned into a godsend for the movie.
Filmmakers had doubled the size of Velociraptors, leading to complaints from dinosaur lovers. “About the same time, we announced our animal,” which was twice as large as any known raptor, Kirkland said.
“And the press said, ‘Steven Spielberg’s giant raptors are vindicated.’ So it made the No. 7 science story of the year in Time magazine, and the cover of Discovery magazine,” he said. “It was pretty exciting stuff.”
However, Kirkland argues there are plenty of reasons also to honor Allosaurus.
“The first state paleontologist, Jim Madsen, was the world’s authority on Allosaurus,” Kirkland said, and “it was largely through his work that Allosaurus became the state fossil” in 1988 — a few years before Utahraptor was discovered.
He adds that the Cleveland-Lloyd quarry in Utah provided more than 50 Allosaurus specimens, from 3-foot-long juveniles to 35-foot-long adults. The high number of specimens there made Allosaurus the best understood large carnivorous dinosaur.
While 43 states have a state dinosaur and/or fossil, Utah is the only one to honor Allosaurus, and none has selected Utahraptor.
Utah has 27 official state symbols.
Among them are the state bird (sea gull), flower (sego lily), cooking pot (Dutch oven), insect (honeybee), rock (coal), tree (quaking aspen), winter sports (skiing and snowboarding), firearm (Browning M1911 pistol), vegetable (Spanish sweet onion) and historic vegetable (sugar beet).
When something isn’t working, changes often need to be made. But there is something to be said for patience too, which is why Utah gymnastics coach Megan Marsden isn’t panicking about her balance beam lineup just yet.
The Utes are ranked just 14th on the event with a 48.992 average, but Marsden feels she might have the right lineup after Friday’s 49.2 effort in the 197.45-196.3 win over Oregon State.
There were some mistakes with Maddy Stover scoring 9.725 in her first role as the leadoff gymnast and freshman Alexia Burch earning 9.7 in her first routine as a Ute.
But Marsden liked enough of what she saw to probably stick with the lineup Friday, when the third-ranked Utes travel to No. 21 Arizona.
UTAH AT ARIZONA
When • Friday, 6 p.m.
TV • Pac-12 Network
“It wasn’t perfect, but there was enough good that happened,” she said.“It was Maddy’s first experience this year and she will get more and more comfortable so I think that is a good fit for her. Lexi had a couple of mistakes, but it was a reasonable start for a freshman in anew experience.”
The Utes are considering using Stover as the leadoff for two reasons.As a senior she has the experience and Shannon McNatt, who competed in the leadoff role the last two meets, is slowed by some plantarfasciitis.
“She isn’t healthy enough to be in there and working confidently,”Marsden said.“We’d like to rest her now in case we need to use her in the middle of the season.”
The right score
It isn’t often a 9.875 gets booed, but that is exactly what happened when MyKayla Skinner was awarded that score on Friday.The Utah sophomore received a 9.95 from one judge and a 9.8 from the other. The discrepancy was caused by her mistake in the middle pass when she lost momentum, then finished her tumbling series out of an almost standing position.
According to Marsden, the break in rhythm can lead to a .1 to .3 deduction.
“It was a major mistake,” she said. “Many athletes would have had to stop entirely but she managed to pull it out.”
By the numbers
Two-time defending national champion Oklahoma holds the top spot with a 197.538 average followed by LSU (197.283), Utah(197.142), UCLA (196.917) and Florida (196.45). Brigham Young is No. 22 with a 195.35 average.
The Utes are second on the vault (49.408), tied with Michigan for fourth on the uneven bars (49.308), 14th on the balance beam (48.992)and first on the floor (49.458).
Skinner is second in the all-around (39.633) and MaKenna Merrell-Giles is eighth (39.508). Skinner is second on the vault (9.925)and second on the bars (9.942). Merrill-Giles is third on the floor(9.933).
Around the state
The Utah State Aggies, who are coming off a 195.45 win over SanJose State (194.275) and Sacramento State (193.275), travel to Denver on Saturday. Brigham Young, which defeated Southern Utah 195.75-194.475, hosts Air Force Friday at 7 p.m. The Thunderbirds, who are still looking for their first win of the season, travel to Boise State on Friday.
1. Oklahoma • 197.538
2. LSU • 197.283
3. Utah • 197.142
4. UCLA • 196.917
5. Florida • 196.45
6. Kentucky •196.325
7. Alabama • 196.308
8. Michigan • 196.242
9. Boise St. • 196.038
10. Arkansas • 196.008
22. BYU • 195.35
Utes freshman Tori Williams earned Pac-12 Conference women’s basketball freshman of the week honors on Monday. Williams helped the Utes to road wins over No. 22 Arizona State as well as Arizona this past week.
Williams, a 5-foot-9 guard from Boise, Idaho, averaged 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists last week. She committed only one turnover and didn’t miss a free throw in Utah’s second conference road sweep of the season.
Williams scored 10 points on 2-of-5 shooting (2-of-4 on 3-pointers), hauled in five rebounds and dished out three assists in a 58-56 win at Arizona State. She followed that performance with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting against Arizona.
The Utes enter this week with a 14-5 record (5-3 Pac-12), and Williams has averaged 9.1 points per game. Her 37 made 3-pointers lead Pac-12 freshmen.
Washington • Senate Democrats bowed to pressure to reopen the government Monday, joining Republicans in backing an immigration and spending compromise that was quickly denounced by liberals and immigration activists.
Roughly 60 hours after the federal government first shut down, a bipartisan group of negotiators in the Senate prevailed with leadership, trading Democratic support for reopening the government for a commitment by Republicans to hold a vote resolving the status of young undocumented immigrants by mid-February.
The Senate voted 81-18 to end a filibuster of a spending bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8 and reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years. The upper chamber was expected to pass the measure Monday afternoon, then send it to the House for quick approval.
The government can reopen once President Donald Trump signs the funding into law.
The resolution of the three-day shutdown exposed a growing rift between two groups of Democratic senators: those facing tough reelection campaigns in states Trump won, and those courting progressive voters ahead of possible 2020 presidential bids.
Channeling rage from immigration activists, the possible 2020 candidates were highly critical of their leaders’ willingness to trust that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will allow an immigration vote after Feb. 8 if senators cannot strike a deal before then.
“I believe it’s been a false choice that’s been presented” between keeping the government open and resolving the DACA issue, said Sen. Kamala D. Harris, D-Calif., who voted no. “I believe we can do both.”
A majority of Democrats had forced the shutdown with demands for a vote on legislation to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients from deportation after Trump canceled the program. The final agreement did not include these protections, nor any specific guarantee of a vote.
Other possible White House contenders who voted against the bill included Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Democratic and independent senators who relented in the standoff said they did not necessarily trust McConnell, but had faith that the bipartisan negotiators, including Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., would force him to abide by his commitments.
“I think frankly our trust is more with our colleagues, that they will hold him accountable,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who is up for reelection this year in a state Trump won.
“If there’s any silver lining to this dark cloud, it is this is the first time I’ve seen such a large group in the middle come together,” she said.
McConnell had said Sunday night and Monday morning that it was his “intention” to take up legislation addressing DACA, border security and other issues if Democrats agreed to fund the government until Feb. 8.
“This immigration debate will have a level playing field at the outset and an amendment process that is fair to all sides,” he said Monday.
The vote to end debate on the spending bill came together quickly after Collins and several other senators said they wanted a firmer, more detailed commitment from McConnell.
“It would be helpful if the language were a little bit stronger because the level of tension is so high,” Collins told reporters outside her office.
A Republican aide involved in the talks said that McConnell and his team were considering putting their plan in document form with more detail as a way of convincing some Democrats to support the short-term bill.
Ahead of the vote to end debate, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., warned McConnell to keep his word.
“I expect the majority leader to fulfill his commitment to the Senate, to me and to the bipartisan group, and abide by this agreement. If he does not . . . he will have breached the trust of not only the Democratic senators, but members of his own party as well,” Schumer said.
As the impasse continued through the weekend, it was unclear whether the public would blame the Democrats or the Republicans, who control the White House and Congress.
With the negotiations focused on the Senate, Trump used Twitter to interject his opinion. Democrats are acting at the behest of their “far left base” in advocating for “dreamers,” he argued Monday morning.
“The Democrats are turning down services and security for citizens in favor of services and security for noncitizens. Not good!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The effects of the shutdown over the weekend were relatively limited: halting trash pickup on National Park Service property, canceling military reservists’ drill plans, switching off some government employees’ cellphones.
But the shutdown’s continuing into Monday meant that hundreds of thousands of workers stayed home and key federal agencies were affected. Federal contractors will see payments delayed, and the Internal Revenue Service will slow its preparations for the coming tax season.
The U.S. has had four partial shutdowns of the federal government in the last 25 years. Each time, we debate who’s responsible: which party is the formal cause of it, which is being less reasonable in budget negotiations. Maybe it’s time instead to debate doing away with the possibility of shutdowns.
There’s no law of nature that requires the federal government to run at partial capacity when Congress and the president can’t agree on a budget bill. Long ago Congress could have passed, and a president could have signed, a law stipulating how the government would operate in case of such a disagreement.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has treid for years to enact such a law. During the last shutdown, in 2013, he got a floor vote on an amendment for an “automatic continuing resolution.” If no appropriations bill were signed into law, the affected programs would keep running at their existing spending levels for the next 120 days. If no bill had passed by then, spending would be cut by 1 percent. Another 1 percent cut would be made every 90 days after that.
The amendment was defeated on a nearly party-line vote, with Portman’s fellow Republicans supportive and the Democrats opposed. Senator Barbara Mikulski, the Maryland Democrat who at the time ran the Appropriations Committee, made two main arguments against the idea.
The real solution to shutdowns, according to the former senator, was not to change the budget rules but to agree on time to appropriations bills. She added that Portman’s idea was not just unnecessary but dangerous. It would be “draconian” to let those 1 percent cuts compound.
The first argument does not make sense on its own: The amendment concerned what should happen in case of a failure to agree on time. But it makes more sense in light of the second argument. Put the two together, and you can see how the amendment would shift fiscal politics in a Republican direction. If it were in place, the most conservative Republicans would have an incentive to keep appropriations bills from passing on time so that they could see the automatic cuts happen.
That’s an argument for tweaking Portman’s idea. Congress could set a different default rule for what happens when there’s no agreement on budget bills. Maybe it’s one that keeps spending flat, or keeps it growing at the average pace of the previous few years.
The point would be to avoid shutdowns. The threat of shutdowns has not proven an effective way to force timely political agreements over the budget. Shutdowns aren’t even effective in getting Congress to enact reforms — be they the abolition of Obamacare that Republicans sought in 2013 or the amnesty for illegal immigrants brought here as minors that Democrats want now.
Shutdowns serve no good purpose. So let’s finish the current round of fighting and then resolve to get rid of them.
Ponnuru is a Bloomberg View columnist. He is a senior editor at National Review, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and contributor to CBS News.
Police are still searching for a man who fled Saturday morning after allegedly firing at an officer and shooting a man whose Riverton home he’d just broken into.
As they searched for the man — later identified as 33-year-old Justin Gary Llewelyn — officers asked those residing in Herriman and Riverton, between Mountain View Corridor and Rose Crest Road and Blackride Reservoir and 13400 South to stay inside. Later in the afternoon, they downsized the search area to homes between Lewiston Peak Drive and Elk Horn Peak Drive and Shaggy Peak Drive and West 14175 South.
Police lifted the shelter in place order about 4:45 p.m.
Police first came into contact with Llewelyn at 6 a.m. at the Monarch Meadows Apartments complex at 13469 Dragonfly Lane in Riverton, UPD spokesman Lt. Brian Lohrke said.
Lohrke said a sergeant in the area saw Llewelyn, who appeared suspicious, and got out to talk to him. Llewelyn fled on foot, and the officer chased after him, calling the situation into dispatch.
Another officer was pulling into the complex as Llewelyn was running by, prompting Llewelyn to shoot at the officer, Lohrke said. The officer returned fire, but it is unclear whether Llewelyn was hit. The officer was not.
Llewelyn then broke into a nearby home. When the homeowner came downstairs to investigate, Llewelyn allegedly shot him, Lohrke said. The homeowner’s condition was upgraded from serious to good about 1:30 p.m.
After the shooting, police believe Llewelyn then stole the homeowner’s Nissan Murano SUV, which he crashed near Blackridge Reservoir, Lohrke said. Police were told that a gun belonging to the homeowner may have been inside the vehicle when it was taken, Lohrke said.
Llewelyn is a white male with facial hair. He was wearing dark clothing. UPD released a photo of him just before 4 p.m. Saturday, asking he turn himself in.
Suspect is described as a white male with facial hair wearing dark clothing. If residents see anything suspicious in this area please call police immediately. Again lock all doors and stay inside your home. We will update when the shelter in place has been lifted.— Unified Police Dept (@UPDSL) January 20, 2018
Residents are asked to keep their doors locked and call police if they see anything suspicious. Anyone in the area with surveillance equipment is asked review the footage back to 6 a.m. for anything suspicious.
Tips can be directed to UPD at 801-743-7000. UPD has asked that area residents do not post on social media about where they are seeing officers, as it could tip off the suspect.
Lohrke said UPD is continuing to search for Llewelyn, but Salt Lake City Police Department has taken over the investigation, due to the officer-involved shooting.
Lohrke said officers have chased down reports of suspicious persons, but nothing has panned out. A report of shots fired in the Herriman area came over the scanner earlier in the morning, but Lohrke said it ended up being someone hunting geese.
During his decade in the governing First Presidency, LDS apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf emerged as Mormonism’s de facto goodwill ambassador to the world.
Now, he officially will lead the Utah-based faith’s global outreach as head of its missionary activities, according to a news release Monday.
Those proselytizing efforts include more than 70,000 full-time missionaries serving in more than 420 missions.
Besides that new duty, the popular German will be the LDS Church’s primary contact in Europe and oversee the Correlation Executive Council, which reviews and approves all of the faith’s materials.
In his debut news conference last week as Mormonism’s 17th president, Russell M. Nelson said that Uchtdorf, who was released from the First Presidency and returned to his place in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “has already received major assignments for which he is uniquely qualified.”
Point person for Europe, which is still grappling with a refugee crisis, certainly fits that bill.
The 77-year-old Uchtdorf, an apostle since 2004 whose family converted to the LDS Church while living in Germany, was a refugee twice — once while leaving Czechoslovakia, where he was born, and again when fleeing then-East Germany to West Germany.
Two days after an “armed and extremely dangerous” man exchanged fire with Unified police and shot a resident of Herriman, he remains at large.
Shortly before 6 a.m. Saturday, an officer encountered Justin Gary Llewelyn, 33, prowling cars, a news release from UPD says. Llewelyn fled on foot, but encountered another officer.
Llewelyn shot at the officer’s vehicle and then exchanged fire with the officer, the release said. At one point, Llewelyn allegedly broke into a home to steal a car. When the homeowner confronted him, Llewelyn shot him twice, the release said.
The victim was taken to the hospital and is recovering in good condition, police said Monday.
After the shooting, police believe Llewelyn then stole the homeowner’s Nissan Murano SUV, which he crashed near Blackridge Reservoir, according to Lt. Brian Lohrke.
Officers issued a shelter-in-place order for residents in the Herriman neighborhood, near 14175 South and 5200 West, that lasted until Saturday evening.
Residents were asked to keep their doors locked and call police if they see anything suspicious. Anyone in the area with surveillance equipment is asked review the footage for anything suspicious.
In the months prior to this incident, police say, Llewelyn had been living with a family member near the Riverton-Herriman border. His criminal history includes assault-, theft-, weapons- and drug-related charges.
Llewelyn is described a white man with facial hair. At the time of the incident, he was wearing dark clothing. UPD released a photo of him just before 4 p.m. Saturday, asking he turn himself in.
Booking photos from the Salt Lake County Jail show Llewelyn sporting a variety of hair and facial hairstyles over the last 15 years.
Llewelyn is considered “armed and extremely dangerous,” police said, noting that he has fired at officers on at least two occasions.
Anyone who encounters Llewelyn is warned to use “extreme caution.” Anyone with information on Llewelyn’s whereabouts is asked to call Unified police at 801-743-7000 or Salt Lake City police at 801-799-3000 “immediately.“
Though Utah’s big game hunts don’t occur until the fall, hunters need to start planning ahead now if they hope to get a permit.
Applications for the fall big game seasons will be accepted by the Division of Wildlife Resources starting Thursday. Hunters have until 11 p.m. on March 1 to be included in the draw.
Applications will be accepted for every big game hunt except the general-season bull elk. Those permits will go on sale on a first-come, first-served basis starting July 17.
Lansing, Mich. • Three key leaders at USA Gymnastics resigned Monday as more women and girls told a judge about being sexually assaulted at the hands of a sports doctor who spent years with Olympic gymnasts and other female athletes.
The resignations of chairman Paul Parilla, vice chairman Jay Binder and treasurer Bitsy Kelley were announced in Indianapolis while a judge in Lansing, Michigan, heard a fifth day of statements from women and girls who said they were molested by Larry Nassar.
“We support their decisions to resign at this time,” said Kerry Perry, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, which is the national governing body for gymnastics. “We believe this step will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization.”
The board positions are volunteer and unpaid, but the resignations add to the months of turmoil. Steve Penny quit as president last March after critics said USA Gymnastics failed to protect gymnasts from abusive coaches and Nassar.
The group last week said it was ending its long relationship with the Karolyi Ranch, the Huntsville, Texas, home of former national team coordinator Martha Karolyi and her husband, Bela. Some Olympians said they were assaulted there by Nassar.
Meanwhile, in Michigan, Nassar’s sentencing hearing continued Monday, raising the number of girls and women who have spoken to nearly 100 since last week.
“I want to you know that your face and the face of all of the sister survivor warriors — the whole army of you — I’ve heard your words,” Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said after a woman spoke in her Michigan courtroom. “Your sister survivors and you are going through incomprehensible lengths, emotions and soul-searching to put your words together, to publicly stop (the) defendant, to publicly stop predators, to make people listen.”
Nassar, 54, has admitted molesting athletes during medical treatment when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. He has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography crimes.
Under a plea deal, he faces a minimum prison sentence of 25 to 40 years in the molestation case. The maximum term could be much higher.
“Larry, how many of us are there? Do you even know?” asked Clasina Syrboby, as she fought back tears while speaking for more than 20 minutes Monday. “You preyed on me, on us. You saw a way to take advantage of your position — the almighty and trusted gymnastics doctor. Shame on you Larry. Shame on you.
She and other victims also continued their criticism of Michigan State, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee for not doing enough to stop Nassar when initial complaints were made.
Ogden • Krystopher Cleary accepted responsibility for causing the devastating injuries that killed his newborn son when he pleaded guilty to murder in December.
But for 2-week-old Kyson Cleary’s mother and her family, it feels as if Cleary has not truly taken the blame for the boy’s 2015 death. He’s never disclosed what actually happened that December day — how the boy ended up with a swollen brain, tears in his brain tissue, a broken collar bone and injured eyes.
“I hope someday that I can forgive you, Kristopher,” the child’s mother, Madison Wilson, said Monday during Cleary’s sentencing hearing. “But that day is not today or any time soon. … Maybe someday you will actually own up to what you have done.”
On Monday, Wilson and her family were no closer to getting answers. Given the chance to speak before he was sentenced to prison, Cleary offered nothing more than a short apology.
“I apologize for everything that has happened,” the 22-year-old man said. “It has had a big impact on my life, knowing my son is dead.”
Second District Judge Joseph Bean sentenced Cleary to a 15-year-to-life sentence — the only sentence available under the law. A parole board will ultimately decide how much time Cleary spends in prison.
Before handing down the sentence, Bean said that he, too, felt it was “disturbing” that Cleary had not taken full responsibility for his son’s death.
“He was born very innocently and all he wanted was love and tenderness in life,” the judge said, “and he didn’t get that.”
A Primary Children’s Hospital doctor testified in 2016 that Kyson suffered “devastatingly severe” head injuries caused by a caretaker. The child died four days after he was brought to the hospital in the early morning hours of Dec. 16, 2015.
Prosecutors believed Cleary caused the child’s death, because he was the only person with his son when the injuries occured.
Wilson said Monday that she still has flashbacks from that day, of seeing her son blue and lying on the floor. She remembers the fire trucks waiting outside, the EMTs that took him away. And after three days in the hospital, she had to make the choice to take him off of life support.
“I had to make the hardest decision of my life,” she said. “I had to choose what was best. I watched my first child struggle to breathe for hours.”
After the child died, Cleary told investigators that the baby had been crying and he and his wife “had tried everything they could think of” to get him to quit, according to charging documents.
While changing Kyson’s diaper, Cleary said he heard the boy’s clavicle bone “pop” before the child went stiff and stopped breathing. The father had no other explanation for the child’s severe injuries.
Atlanta • For once, scoring is not the issue.
The Jazz (19-27) have had three straight games of 115 points or more — two of them wins — while playing the Kings, the Knicks and the injured Clippers. With a date Monday against the last-place Atlanta Hawks (No. 26 in defensive rating), the points could come pouring out again.
But what coach Quin Snyder would like to see is a return to the defensive principles the Jazz have become known for: They’ve also allowed an average of 112 points in those three games, which is way above their norm.
“If we play well, a back-to-back streak — it’s a step,” Snyder said. “I’d like to see us play better on defense like he we did against Sacramento.”
Adding to the issues is that Rodney Hood will miss a second straight game with a lower left leg contusion, as trade rumors around him swirl at warp speed. His absence likely means the Jazz will return to the lineup with Joe Ingles as a starter, and Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors as the starting forwards.
JAZZ AT HAWKS
When • Monday, 5:30 p.m. MST
TV • ATTSN
Utah has not had the luxury of a concrete starting rotation, especially recently. Between Thabo Sefolosha’s season-ending injury, Gobert’s return and Hood’s most recent injury, inconsistency has been the norm. Snyder called the rotation “a work in progress” on Monday morning, but said he’s seen promising stints from Royce O’Neale and more recently Alec Burks off the bench. He’s also been happy with the offense efficiency of Gobert, who has shot 13 for 19 since coming back.
But that defense: Shifts in the rotation sometimes means shifts in how defense is played. Favors has played more at power forward, which changes his assignments. And Utah plays differently when Gobert is out versus when he’s in.
The prospect of stringing together some wins is intoxicating for a team that’s only 4.5 games behind the Clippers to reach the top eight of the West.
Said guard Ricky Rubio: “It’s been tough to get in a rhythm, but we can’t have any excuse. We’ve got to win games.”
When President Donald Trump stops talking about a “bill of love” for “dreamers” and instead claims that Democrats want to open the floodgates of illegal immigration, and when his party puts out a grotesque ad accusing Democrats of complicity in murders committed by illegal immigrants, we should not be surprised.
The Post notes, “Trump has repeatedly sought to paint immigrants as dangerous, talking about transnational gangs, such as MS-13, and implementing a travel ban on travelers from some countries in the Middle East and Africa over what he said were concerns about terrorism.” That is contrary to reality, but facts do not impede the anti-immigration crowd.
Unfortunately, antagonism toward immigrants and a preference for white Europeans over brown and black people remain the default setting for Trump and increasingly for his party. We need not revisit Trump’s long history of racism, but it’s time to acknowledge that many Republicans view his appeals to white grievance as a positive feature. It’s behind their obsession with “Telling it like it is” — code for expressing base prejudices. The rejection of Hispanics as real Americans has become a given among state-TV hosts like Tucker Carlson.
Trump now and then will lean toward a deal for the dreamers or sound sympathetic toward legal immigrants for a moment, only to be snatched back into xenophobic mode by the anti-immigration vanguard in the House and Senate and by advisers like Chief of Staff John Kelly and senior adviser Stephen Miller, enthusiasts of such measures as the Muslim ban and the attack on local law enforcement that do not enable indiscriminate deportation. When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., takes to the floor to claim Democrats care more about illegal immigrants than sick kids or the military, you see how vital the race/immigrant card has become to the GOP’s unity.
In many ways, antagonism toward immigrants is the glue that binds Trump to his followers and Republicans to one another. The Post reports:
“Conservative activists have also been cheered by the dramatic shift in Republican focus, which has followed the White House’s embrace of nativist language that casts the standoff as a choice between government funding for “lawful citizens” and the “reckless demands” of “unlawful immigrants.” . . .
“But Trump proved in the 2016 election that immigration unified the GOP much more effectively than did its traditional focus on reducing entitlement spending, free trade and low deficits. Among the GOP base, the populist issues of trade and immigration are now far more animating than even abortion or taxes.”
This is not simply one issue of many. Robust legal immigration is a mainstay of dynamic capitalism; it demonstrates fidelity to the Founders’ vision that the country be defined not by race or ethnicity (blood and soil) but by adherence to the ideals of the republic. So much for that. In the current version of Republicanism, the Founders’ ideal is replaced by commitment to white, Christian nationalism (keep Muslims out, protect evangelical Christians’ right to refuse service to gays) and opposition to markets (government run-protectionism). That vision is frightening and antithetical to the experience of many Americans, but it is one onto which working-class whites in sufficiently large numbers latched, thereby lifting Trump to victory. What many viewed as implicit in Republicans’ messaging and issue choices (the so-called Southern strategy) is now open and unabashed.
Instead of standing athwart history screaming “Stop!” as conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr. urged, the GOP now stands athwart demographic reality screaming “Stop!” Frankly, I never understood why a movement would take pride in rejecting modernism (rather than shaping it, conserving what is good and discarding what is not), but on top of that, stopping a huge demographic shift - the largest, most diverse generation in history (millennials) supplanting aging baby boomers - seems futile and irrational.
The retreat into ethno-nationalism is no small matter but rather goes to the very definition of America and the core questions the Civil War, the civil rights movement and every wave of anti-immigration sentiment have presented: Who is an American? Does America need immigrants to prosper and to renew its creed in each generation? Trump and this iteration of the Republican party have made aversion to diversity such a vital principle, it cannot be considered trivial. This is how Republicans have chosen to define themselves these days - and why many of us can no longer call themselves Republicans.
Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.
Lukasz Niec was 5 years old when his parents brought him and his sister to the United States from Poland. With two suitcases in tow, his parents — both doctors — left behind a country on the verge of social turmoil. It was 1979, about two years before the country's authoritarian communist government declared martial law.
Niec received a temporary green card and, in 1989, became a lawful permanent resident. He grew up in Michigan, went to medical school, became a doctor, and raised a daughter and stepdaughter.
Niec, now 43, never fathomed that his legal status in the United States would become an issue. With a renewed green card, and nearly 40 years in the country, his Polish nationality was an afterthought for Niec, his sister told The Washington Post. He doesn't even speak Polish.
But on Tuesday morning, immigration authorities arrested Niec at his home, just after he had sent his 12-year-old stepdaughter off to school. Niec, a physician specializing in internal medicine at Bronson Healthcare Group in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has been detained in a county jail ever since, awaiting a bond hearing and possible deportation.
"It's shocking," said his sister Iwona Niec Villaire, a corporate lawyer. "No one can really understand what happened here."
According to his "notice to appear" from the Department of Homeland Security, Niec's detention stems from two misdemeanor convictions from 26 years ago. In January 1992, Niec was convicted of malicious destruction of property under $100. In April of that year, he was convicted of receiving and concealing stolen property over $100 and a financial transaction device.
Because Niec was convicted of two crimes involving "moral turpitude," stemming from two separate incidents, he is subject to removal, immigration authorities wrote in the notice to appear, citing the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Both of the offenses took place when he was a teenager. He associated himself "with some bad people" his sister said. The first of the incidents involved an altercation with a driver after a car crash, Niec's sister said. He was one of multiple teenagers in the car at the time.
The second of those convictions was eventually expunged from his criminal record, his sister said, as part of a guilty plea through Michigan's Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, a program intended to help young offenders avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction. But even though the crime was scrubbed off his public record, it can still be used against him for removal from the country, his sister said.
ICE has not responded to requests for information from The Washington Post and declined to comment to WOOD-TV. Since Thursday, a spokesman for the ICE Detroit Field Office has not responded to requests for information from MLive, except to say he was looking into the case.
According to Kalamazoo County court records cited by MLive, Niec also pleaded guilty in 2008 to operating impaired by liquor. After he completed probation, the conviction was set aside, the plea withdrawn and the case dismissed. He was also charged with domestic violence in 2013 and a jury found him not guilty after a trial, MLive reported.
Niec's record has multiple blemishes. But his wife insists that he is not a risk to the public. When he renewed his permanent green card a few years ago, he was given a "false sense of security," that it would be enough, she said.
Over the decades, tens of thousands of legal residents have been deported for relatively minor offenses. But under previous administrations, immigration authorities have often let low-level offenders off the hook, prioritizing the deportations of violent criminals. A memo from the Obama administration in 2011 directed immigration officials to look at a number of factors, such as familial relationships with U.S. citizens, criminal history, education and contributions to the community, in deciding whether arrests and prosecution are warranted, as The Post's Kristine Phillips reported.
But the Trump administration has issued sweeping new guidelines expanding the range of immigrants that count as high priority for deportation, including low-level offenders, and those with no criminal record — regardless of how long they have lived in the country. Now, immigrants feel the threat of deportation more than ever, advocates say, whether they are residing here legally or not.
Villaire, the doctor's sister, said she previously felt as though green-card holders were "like anybody else." She was a green-card holder until she successfully applied for citizenship during law school, she said.
"You couldn't vote, but that was really the only difference," she said. "That's not the case anymore. . . . Having that status is no longer enough."
Lucasz Niec had been considering applying for citizenship, particularly after his July 2016 marriage to his current wife, Rachelle Burkart-Niec, who is an American citizen, she told The Post. But with both of their demanding schedules, they had not gotten around to it yet, she said.
Lucasz Niec has been a doctor for more than a decade. He treats patients at three different Bronson hospitals, and is responsible for scheduling all physicians in his group, covering about five hospitals in the area, his wife said. He was picked up by immigration officials on his first day off after working a week straight, including several double shifts.
His wife was working her shift as a charge nurse at a Bronson hospital Tuesday morning when she received the phone call from her husband, saying he had been arrested by immigration officers. She was so taken aback that she thought he was pulling a prank on her, she said.
Now, after nearly a week in jail, Lucasz Niec has yet to see a judge, and his family says he has received no information from immigration authorities since the day of his arrest.
"He is needed in the hospital," his wife said. Hospitals in the area are packed full, she said, in part because of the widespread influenza. The Kalamazoo area has seen an increase in flu cases in recent weeks, in numbers well above the four-year average, according to the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department.
A number of his hospital colleagues have written letters to an immigration judge, rallying support for Niec, MLive reported.
"The consensus about his character is overwhelming with no single complaint I have ever heard from anyone over 10 years," Kwsai Al-Rahhal, M.D. wrote, according to MLive. "He is loving, caring and respectful."
Another colleague, Dr. Jose Angelo L. De Leon, wrote about how Niec often stepped up to take on extra hours due to staff shortages.
"I cannot say enough about his work ethic and his service to our community," De Leon wrote.
Villaire said she is hiring a lawyer for her brother, and is hoping Michigan's governor considers pardoning his misdemeanor offenses. She is also seeking other avenues by digging through her family's archives.
For example, Villaire knows her mother became a naturalized citizen, but she is not sure when. If she was granted citizenship before Lucasz Niec turned 18, he may already be a citizen by default, Villaire said. But both their mother and father are now deceased, and some crucial documents are missing in the archives they left behind with their children.
Deporting Lucasz Niec would mean sending him to a country and culture completely foreign to him, his sister said. He has been back to Poland once, as a teenager, she said. He has maintained no relationships with family or friends there and has never felt much of a connection to his Polish heritage, his sister said, adding that her brother is "as American as anyone gets."
"He can't be deported," his wife said. "He can't speak Polish. He wouldn't know where to go. He would be lost."
Philadelphia • Philadelphia police say few arrests have been made amid celebrations following the Eagles’ NFC championship game victory.
The arrests came as thousands of fans took to the streets following the Eagles’ 38-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night. The Eagles advanced to their first Super Bowl since 2005, against the AFC champion New England Patriots.
After Sunday’s game, huge crowds gathered in neighborhoods around the city. Police reported two arrests for disorderly conduct and one for assault on police. They also reported three arrests for counterfeit ticket sales.
Earlier in the day, workers who jokingly called themselves the “Crisco Cops” greased light poles to prevent fans from climbing them.
Washington • For Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is the face of the government shutdown. For immigration advocates, he’s their best hope.
Perhaps the most powerful Democrat in Washington, Schumer has so far succeeded in keeping his party unified in a bid to use the government funding fight to push for protections for some 700,000 young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. But he has little margin for error in this first major test of his muscle and maneuvering as leader. The pragmatist is balancing the demands of a liberal base eager for a fight with President Donald Trump and the political realities of red-state senators anxious about their re-election prospects this fall.
Some of those senators met with Schumer Sunday morning and urged a compromise to end the shutdown.
“The question is, how do we get out of here in a way that reflects what the majority of the body wants to do,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who is among the Democrats on the ballot in November. She added: “It is critically important that we get this done today.”
Yet the weekend closed without a deal, meaning thousands of federal employees will wake up Monday either being told to stay home or work without pay. The Senate scheduled a vote Monday to advance a bill that would extend government funding through Feb. 8. In a bid to win over a few holdouts, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also pledged to take up legislation on immigration and other top Democratic priorities if they weren’t already addressed by the time that spending bill would expire.
It’s unclear whether McConnell’s pledge will be enough to sway the handful of Democrats he needs to pass a spending bill. Democratic aides said that while Schumer, who spent the weekend calling members on his flip phone, appears to be holding the party together for now, some senators were eagerly searching for a way out of the shutdown.
Despite controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, Republicans have pinned the blame for the shutdown squarely on Schumer, accusing him of being captive to liberals and advocacy groups who oppose any spending package that doesn’t result in a solution for the young immigrants. The White House and GOP officials have branded the funding gap the “Schumer Shutdown,” spreading the phrase as a hashtag on social media.
Immigration advocates are hoping Schumer will see that as badge of honor, but there is anxiety about his resolve.
“He went to the mats,” said Frank Sharry, the executive director of the immigration advocacy group America’s Voice. “He had the backbone to lead his caucus into a high-stakes, high risk battle. It thrilled progressives. But if the shutdown ends because Democrats blink first, the era of good feeling quickly will be replaced by anger and disappointment.”
Schumer isn’t the most natural fit for the role of champion of the left.
The energetic, four-term senator is viewed as more of a pragmatist than an ideologue. He has long faced skepticism from some liberals, thanks, in part, to his Wall Street ties. He frustrated many Democrats with his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal championed by President Barack Obama.
In 2013, Schumer was part of a bipartisan group of senators who worked on a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s fractured immigration laws. The package, which would have created a pathway to citizenship for millions of people in the U.S. illegally, was narrowly approved in the Senate but never taken up by the House
Just last month, immigration advocates, including members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, were furious with Schumer and Democratic leaders for not forcing a fight over the young immigrants. Democratic aides said that despite the pressure from some of his party’s most energized forces, Schumer knew his caucus would not hold together at that point. Indeed, 18 Democratic senators ultimately voted for a short-term spending bill that kicked both the budget battle and the immigration fight into the new year.
The dynamic shifted in January. Democrats began the year hopeful that Trump, who has expressed sympathy for the young immigrants, would be willing to make a big deal. When those plans collapsed, Schumer found more enthusiasm even among moderate Democrat senators to withhold support for a spending bill that didn’t address immigration, even if it meant forcing a shutdown.
He was helped along, according to multiple Democratic aides, by revelations that Trump had told lawmakers during a private meeting that he wanted less immigration from “shithole” countries in Africa and more from places like Norway.
Schumer experienced a sea change after the remarks, according to one aide, who like other Democrats and Trump advisers, insisted on anonymity in order to describe private deliberations.
Still, Schumer entertained one last opportunity to make a deal with Trump on Friday, when the president summoned him to the White House for a cheeseburger lunch. The two New Yorkers have a long history with each other and both have entertained the idea that they could be negotiating partners, though they’ve so far had little success.
Schumer arrived at the White House with the outlines of a deal he believed his caucus would support. One Democratic aide said the agreement included “significant appropriations” for spending on Trump’s proposed border wall. The White House has since disputed that characterization, with Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney saying Sunday that what Schumer offered Trump was “authorization for funding, not an appropriation” — meaning no guarantee of money.
Schumer started spreading word of a possible agreement to his members. But within hours, White House chief of staff John Kelly called Schumer to say that the deal he’d discussed with the president was too liberal for the White House to accept.
As of Sunday night, it was the last discussion Schumer has had with the White House.
White House officials say Trump feels burned by Schumer after the immigration negotiations and they don’t view him as an honest broker. Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the senator’s “memory is hazy” and his recollection of Friday’s meeting is “false.”
AP writers Andrew Taylor, Catherine Lucey, Alan Fram and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.
Washington • Donald Trump, the presidential candidate, would not like the way Trump, the president, is crowing about today's unemployment rate. He'd be calling the whole thing a "hoax."
Trump raised a red flag about declining jobless numbers during his campaign, so as to deny President Barack Obama any credit. Trump noted that the jobless rate masks the true employment picture by leaving out the millions who have given up looking for work.
But Trump is seeing red no more. The same stats he assailed in 2015 and 2016 now are his proof of "fantastic," ''terrific" economic progress, for which he wants the credit.
That disconnect is part of why Trump's statements about the economy this past week, some accurate on their face, fall short of the whole truth.
On top of that, Trump made the far-fetched claim that the economy is better than it has ever been. And in a week consumed with the dustup over the government shutdown, Trump's doctor stepped forward with a testament to the president's health that other physicians found to be too rosy.
A look at some recent remarks away from the din of the budget battle:
TRUMP: "Black unemployment is the best it's ever been in recorded history. It's been fantastic. And it's the best number we've had with respect to black unemployment. We've never seen anything even close." — remarks from Oval Office on Tuesday.
THE FACTS: Yes, the black unemployment rate of 6.8 percent is the lowest on record. No, it's not far and away superior to any time in the past. In 2000, it was within one point of today's record for six months, and as low 7 percent.
As Trump was quick to note as a candidate, the unemployment rate only measures people without jobs who are searching for work. Like other demographic groups, fewer African-Americans are working or looking for work than in the past. Just 62.1 percent of blacks are employed or seeking a job, down from a peak of 66.4 percent in 1999.
The black unemployment rate would be much higher if the rate of black labor force participation was near its levels before the Great Recession.
During the campaign, Trump claimed that real unemployment then was a soaring 42 percent. It's not quite clear, but he could have been referring to the percentage of the U.S. population without jobs — a figure that includes retirees, stay-at-home parents and students. At the time, he considered the official jobless rate a "phony set of numbers ... one of the biggest hoaxes in modern politics."
TRUMP: "We're making incredible progress. The women's unemployment rate hit the lowest level that it's been in 17 years. Well, that's something. And women in the workforce reached a record high. ... That's really terrific, and especially since it's on my watch." — at women's event Tuesday.
THE FACTS: Again — yes, but. The 4 percent jobless rate for women is at a 17-year low, just as it is for the overall population. But the labor force participation rate by women is lower today than in 2000. The proportion of women in the workforce is not at a record high.
TRUMP: "Our country is doing very well. Economically, we've never had anything like it." — from Oval Office on Tuesday.
THE FACTS: Never say never. The U.S. economy had better employment stats during the 2000 tech boom, just for one example. It's enjoyed stock market surges before. It's had blazing, double-digit annual growth, a far cry from the 3.2 percent achieved during the second and third quarters of 2017. That was the best six-month pace since 2014 — hardly the best ever.
The economy added about 170,000 new jobs a month during Trump's first year. That was slightly below the average of 185,000 in Obama's last year.
DR. RONNY JACKSON, White House physician, on his examination of Trump: "I think he'll remain fit for duty for the remainder of this term and even for the remainder of another term if he's elected. ... His cardiac health is excellent." — White House briefing Tuesday.
THE FACTS: Physicians not connected with the White House have widely questioned that prediction of seven more years of healthy living and that conclusion about his heart. Cardiac functioning was indeed normal in the tests, according to the readings that were released. But Trump is borderline obese and largely sedentary, with a "bad" cholesterol reading above the norm despite taking medication for it. He'll be 72 in June. It's doubtful that most men that age with similar histories and findings would get such a glowing report from their doctors.
Trump has some things in his favor: "incredible genes, I just assume," said his doctor, and no history of tobacco or alcohol use.
But "by virtue of his age and his gender and the fact he has high cholesterol and that he is in the overweight-borderline obese category, he is at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Ranit Mishori, a primary care physician and professor of family medicine at Georgetown University. "The physician was saying, yes he's in excellent health — but yes he does have risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Which is why the comment he will remain healthy for the remainder of his term makes little sense to me. How you can make that kind of assessment from a one-point-in-time examination? Just from those four factors he is at a higher risk."
Trump's LDL, the bad cholesterol, registered at 143, a number his doctor wants below 120.
Jackson also said Trump has nonclinical coronary atherosclerosis, commonly known as hardening of the arteries from plaque, which is a combination of calcium and cholesterol.
That's common in people over 65 and can be a silent contributor to coronary heart disease. Jackson's conclusion was based on a coronary calcium score of 133, which Mishori called "a little bit concerning" because it could show mild coronary artery disease, although how to interpret these scores isn't clear-cut. Jackson said he consulted a variety of cardiologists about that calcium score and the consensus was reassuring.
TRUMP: "Americans are more and more pro-life. You see that all the time. In fact, only 12 percent of Americans support abortion on demand at any time." — remarks Friday to opponents of abortion rights.
THE FACTS: Neither side of the abortion debate is scoring breakaway support in public opinion research. Gallup said in conjunction with its poll in June: "The dispersion of abortion views today, with the largest segment of Americans favoring the middle position, is broadly similar to what Gallup has found in four decades of measurement." In short, half said abortion should be "legal only under certain circumstances," identical to a year earlier, while 29 percent said it should be legal in all circumstances. The smallest proportion, 18 percent, said it should always be illegal.
Americans' positions on abortion are sufficiently nuanced that both sides of the debate can find polling that supports their point of view. Polling responses on abortion are also highly sensitive to how the questions are asked.
But in the main, the public is not clamoring for abortion to be banned or to be allowed in all cases.
Trump's claim that only 12 percent support abortion "on demand" may come from a Marist poll sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, which opposes abortion rights. In that poll, 12 percent said abortion should be "available to a woman any time during her entire pregnancy."
Most polls have found that a distinct minority, though more than 12 percent, think the procedure should be legal in all cases. The percentage was 25 percent in an AP-NORC poll, 21 percent in a Quinnipiac poll, both done in December.
Associated Press writers Lauran Neergaard, Emily Swanson and Cal Woodward contributed to this report.
It’s barf season. The flu is making the rounds, striking down the young and old, the smart and stupid. Worse, it’s incapacitating essential people like women.
Yes, I said “women.” I singled them out specifically because of their gender.
The stereotype is necessary. There is no creature on earth more wretched than a man with the flu and no woman to sympathize with him, even if she’s only pretending.
With apologies to gay men, I’m including you in this blatantly gender-specific statement. You did, after all, have mothers. Remember how she took care of you when you were sick as a kid?
Well, I don’t care how loving your current partner is, he nevertheless remains hobbled by a Y chromosome, which is a form of kryptonite when it comes to healing and comforting the sick.
From my earliest memories, I only wanted Mom when I got sick. I didn’t want my father bringing me anything, especially not pills or syrups I would have to swallow.
The Old Man could have offered me anything to take the pills — flamethrower, dynamite or even my own bear — and it wouldn’t have mattered. I just wanted Mom.
Scientists know what I’m talking about. Women have highly curative powers. They don’t even have to do anything. Just stand by a guy’s bed when he’s sick, and he’ll immediately start to feel better.
Maybe that is why the sickest I’ve ever been was in South America while sharing an apartment with three other Mormon elders.
It came on me in the middle of the night. I threw up on the floor and a fever kicked in. By morning, I had a temperature of 103 and couldn’t even stand.
Nevertheless, the work had to go on. Elder Prescott got dressed and arranged to work with a local companion.
Him • “I’m out of here. Don’t die.”
Me • “Tell my family that my last thoughts were … of bourbon.”
By noon I was hallucinating. I still remember having a conversation with Charlie Felt, my maternal grandfather who had been dead nearly 10 years. There was an alligator under my bed, and my slippers kept morphing into vampire rats.
At some point, I lapsed into unconsciousness. I woke to a ring of unsympathetic faces peering down at me with revulsion.
Elder Prescott • “He smells dead.
Elder Mertz • “Poke him. See if he moves.”
Elder Corkhead • “Not me. If Heavenly Father wants him to get better, he will.”
In the end, they put me in a cab and gave the driver an enormous tip to dump me out at the mission home.
See what I mean? If a woman had been there, I would have started getting better immediately. She would have patted my head, said “there, there” and brought me soup.
Proof of this is that I got married six months after I got home. Before we were married even a year, my wife had nursed me through a total of 150 stitches, two major colds, a broken leg, pneumonia and a raccoon bite. I don’t count the explosion because she was in Canada visiting family when that happened.
Right now, I’m comforted by the fact that my wife will be with me if I get the flu. She’ll make me take medicine, stay in bed and in general nurse me back to health.
I have no idea what will happen if she gets sick. I hope my daughters can tell me what to do.
Park City • It took a documentary about her illustrious life to leave Ruth Bader Ginsburg, author of eloquent Supreme Court opinions, speechless.
“I knew it was going to be good, but I haven’t got words for how marvelous it was,” Ginsburg told a Park City audience Sunday evening, after the premiere of “RBG,” a CNN Films-produced documentary about her, at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
Ginsburg received standing ovations from the Sundance audience, but she turned her compliments to directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen, whose work she had seen before. Ginsburg praised their resourcefulness. “Some of the photographs I had not seen,” she said. “I don’t know where you found them.”
She called Park City “a wonderful town. It’s part out of a fairy tale, and part looks like Switzerland. I wish I hadn’t given away my skis.”
She was also impressed with meeting Robert Redford, the Sundance Institute’s founder. “He’s just as good looking [in person],” she said.
Redford claimed the honor of introducing Ginsburg at a Sunday afternoon event, a wide-ranging onstage interview with NPR justice reporter Nina Totenberg, at the cozy Park City Elks Lodge.
In the Elks Lodge interview, Ginsburg told the standing-room-only audience that there’s nothing new about sexual harassment.
“Every woman of my vintage knows about sexual harassment, though we didn’t have a name for it,” she said.
Ginsburg told of one instance when she was a student at Cornell. Ahead of a big exam, her chemistry professor offered to give her a practice exam.
“The next day, the test is the practice exam, and I knew exactly what he wanted in return,” Ginsburg said. “I went to his office and said, ‘How dare you?’ And that was the end of that.”
On the other hand, there was the law professor at Columbia University who got her her first position as a law clerk. The professor recommended Ginsburg to one judge, who was a Columbia alumnus and always hired Columbia students, but the judge was hesitant to hire a woman with a 4-year-old child. The professor offered to line up a male student if Ginsburg didn’t work out.
“That was the carrot,” Ginsburg said. “The stick was, [the professor told the judge], ‘If you don’t give her a chance, I will never recommend another Columbia student for you.’”
When Totenberg asked Ginsburg about the #MeToo movement of women calling attention to powerful men engaging in sexual misconduct, she said, “It’s about time. So far, it’s been great.”
When Totenberg asked if she’s concerned about a backlash to the #MeToo movement, Ginsburg replied, “When I see women appearing everywhere in numbers, I worry less about a backlash.”
Before her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993, Ginsburg built a reputation of fighting for women’s rights in a series of court cases. She argued six major cases before the Supreme Court and won five of them.
The Cinema Cafe event drew VIPs to the Elks Lodge, including Redford. Some fans stood in the freezing cold on Main Street for three hours waiting for the few available seats.
Totenberg steered clear of questions about current politics — knowing Ginsburg would refuse to answer them anyway — and instead asked about the justice’s other interests. Among the tidbits the Sundance audience learned:
• The first movie she really loved was “Gone With the Wind,” though “I don’t know if I would love it if I saw it today.” More recently, she really enjoyed the drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and the romance “Call Me By Your Name.” About the latter film, she added, “I have to find out where in Italy they filmed it.”
• She loves opera but never explored becoming a singer “because I’m a monotone. But in my dreams, I’m on stage at the Metropolitan Opera, and I’m about to sing ‘Tosca.’ Then I remember, I’m a monotone.”
• Supreme Court justices are allowed to decorate their chambers with art borrowed from the National Gallery. “My colleagues’ tastes run in two directions,” she said. “One is portraits — portraits of long-dead men. The other is outdoor scenes.” Ginsburg prefers modern art, from the National Gallery and the Museum for American Art.
• She enjoys Kate McKinnon’s satiric portrayal of her on “Saturday Night Live,” though she had never seen McKinnon’s sketches until the makers of “RBG” showed them to her. “I would like to say ‘Gins-burned,’” she said.
• When she was a student at Cornell, there were four men to every female student. “It was the ideal school for parents of daughters. Because if you couldn’t get your man at Cornell, you were hopeless,” she said. It was there she met Marty Ginsburg, her husband for 53 years until his death. Marty was the one man at Cornell who appreciated her brain. “No guy, up until then, was the least bit interested in what I thought,” she said. “He made me feel that I was better than I thought I was.”
• Ginsburg, who turns 85 in March, has hired a full staff of clerks through the 2020 term, an indication that she’s not looking to retire anytime soon. “As long as I can do this job full steam, I will be here,” she said.
One of America’s most intimidating novels is now one of its most compelling operas.
Utah Opera is presenting the first major reimagining of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s ambitious 2010 opera “Moby-Dick.” The Utah company, pooling creative and financial resources with a handful of others, has built all-new costumes and sets to fit smaller stages — and more modest budgets — all over the world. A full house of opera fans (including Heggie and Scheer) got their first look at this stunning new production at the Capitol Theatre Saturday night.
Erhard Rom’s abstract set design, Jessica Jahn’s exhaustively researched costumes and Kristine McIntyre’s authoritative stage direction pull the audience into the action. McIntyre has made exceptionally intelligent use of the space, onstage and off, and wisely brought in choreographer Daniel Charon and four dancers to assist in the work of the ship. This might be the best use anyone has ever made of the Utah Opera Chorus, expertly prepared by new chorus master Michaella Calzaretta. The men not only sang powerfully but also threw themselves into the choreography’s rigorous physical demands.
The most demanding role, of course, is that of Captain Ahab, obsessed with revenge on the legendary whale that severed his leg. Not only is the music challenging, but tenor Roger Honeywell must sing it with one leg tied behind his back all night. Honeywell’s fierce performance brought Ahab to terrifying life.
Baritone David Adam Moore portrayed first mate Starbuck, the only crew member who challenges Ahab’s mission. His strong singing and perceptive acting made the men’s complicated friendship all the more interesting.
Bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana brought charisma and resonant vocals to the role of the harpooner Queequeg, while tenor Joshua Dennis navigated his deceptively tricky music with skill in the opera’s most relatable role (the novice sailor who, unlike in Herman Melville’s novel, doesn’t ask us to call him Ishmael until the very end — in a moment of operatic genius). Other standouts included soprano Jasmine Habersham as the lively cabin boy Pip, tenor Joseph Gaines and baritone Craig Irvin as sailors Flask and Stubb, and bass-baritone Jesús Vicente Murillo as the captain of a passing ship.
Capping this operatic triumph was the Utah Symphony’s vivid performance of Heggie’s rich score, conducted by Joseph Mechavich.
Sing me Ishmael
Utah Opera presents Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s operatic adaptation of “Moby-Dick.” The opera is sung in English, but there will be Supertitles.
When • Reviewed Saturday, Jan. 20; plays Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Jan. 22, 24 and 26, at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Jan. 28
Where • Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $15-$100; utahopera.org
In a nutshell • A sea captain leads a voyage of revenge against an enormous white whale.
Running time • 3 hours, including intermission
Learn more • Utah Opera principal coach Carol Anderson will offer lectures an hour before curtain and artistic director Christopher McBeth will moderate Q&A sessions after each performance, all in the Capitol Room on the theater’s west side. The company also has posted educational materials at utahopera.org/onlinelearning.
Josh Kanter couldn’t help laughing when he heard the numbers, not because they are funny but because they’re so lopsided.
Special interests provided 92 percent of all the campaign donations that members of the 2018 Utah Legislature raised last year.
Only 3 percent came from individuals who live in the member’s district, a Salt Lake Tribune analysis of disclosure forms shows. This is a pattern seen over several years.
“It is certainly disheartening to me that so much comes from special interests,” said Kanter, chairman of the left-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah, which backs campaign-finance reform.
As the Legislature convenes Monday, the statistics again raise questions about how much influence industry, political action committees and wealthy donors wield compared to regular Utahns.
Kanter isn’t cynical enough to argue that donations purchase votes, but “I certainly think donations buy access,” he said.
“Donations create access, and access creates a communications channel — and therefore that’s the perspective that they [lawmakers] are hearing,” he said.
Steve Erickson is a lobbyist for groups that don’t make political donations, such as the Crossroads Urban Center for the poor and the Utah Audubon Council. He says that indeed makes access to policymakers more difficult “because money is the mother’s milk of politics,” and more easily opens doors for groups that do give.
“It’s a little more difficult but it can be done, and generally most legislators are open to us to hear our concerns,” he said. “It just means we have to be a little noisier.”
Adam Brown, a political science professor at Brigham Young University, agrees that donations help bring access.
Most big donors tend to give to large numbers of lawmakers across party lines, he said, with a little extra to those who sit on relevant committees or who are in leadership positions.
“When you see giving across parties, it supports the claim they are not necessarily buying a vote,” Brown said. “If they [donors] are getting anything for it, it appears to be a chance to make their pitch.”
He added, “I don’t know how many of your readers will believe it, but research backs claims that it’s not swaying [lawmakers’] vote.”
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, believes that.
While he says politicians depend on and appreciate donations, “at the end of the day, the legislators are going to be listening to their constituents because they are the ones who vote, the ones who put us into office.”
He added, “It’s been my experience that legislators answer their emails and return phone calls from their constituents and are very keyed into their concerns and interests. Most of how they vote is based on that.”
However, Niederhauser had a somewhat different take on the influence of contributors in 2016 when he warned of teachers’ unions trying to take over the Utah state school board with big donations.
Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, also said big donors get no extra favors, and most lawmakers listen to all sides on debates.
“I don’t think any of my fellow colleague could be called on the carpet for being in the pocket of special interests,” he said.
Davis, though, was himself criticized two years ago when he co-sponsored a resolution praising Azerbaijan for its commitment to religious freedom — contrary to the charges of human rights groups — after he took a trip there funded through a nonprofit tied to the government’s oil company.
The Tribune analysis of campaign disclosure forms show legislators received contributions totaling a combined $1.2 million in 2017, a non-election year.
Of that, just over $1.1 million, or 92 percent, came from special or out-of-state interests such as corporations, executives, lobbyists, PACs, and party arms and politicians (who usually raise their money initially from other special interests).
In short, Utah’s 104 legislators raised an average of $11,518 last year, and $10,629 came from out-of-state or special interests.
About $33,000 of the total raised, or 3 percent, came from individuals living in the district of members receiving money (an average of $317 for each lawmaker). Regular Utah voters donated about another $59,000 outside their home districts to state lawmakers who were not their own.
Legislators who raised the most were: Sen. Ann Millner, R-Ogden, $86,900; Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, $73,042; Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo, $62,750; House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, $49,578; and House Majority Assistant Whip John Knotwell, R-Herriman, $45,190.
The largest donors in the state include: EnergySolutions, $67,700; the Utah Association of Realtors, $55,250; Comcast, $35,500; the Utah County Legislative PAC, $30,500; Orbital ATK, $28,650; SelectHealth, $24,019; Reagan Outdoor Advertising, $23,900; Altria (a tobacco company), $23,000; Utah Workers Compensation Fund, $22,400; and Maverik, $22,000.
Dave Robison, chairman of the Utah Association of Realtors’ PAC, described how his group chooses whom to support.
“We focus on honest and ethical policymakers who also support homeownership, affordable housing, small businesses and free enterprise,” he said. Robison noted it gives to people of any party who support such goals.
He added that campaigns may be expensive. “We hope that good people won’t be prevented from running for office,” with the help of its donations.
Of note, at least five lawmakers are current or former Realtors or real estate brokers, including Niederhauser. Gov. Gary Herbert is also a former Realtor.
By industry and interest group, the largest donors in 2017 were: health care, $173,420; waste treatment, $88,150; finance, $79,846; telecommunications, $76,950; real estate, $74,350; lobbying firms, $46,394; energy $43,350; education groups, $41,305; and construction firms, $29,350.
Tobacco and beer interests were also significant donors — $26,000 and $15,425, respectively — even though nine of every 10 Utah lawmakers are Mormons, whose religion preaches abstinence.
Legislators spent a combined $1.05 million in 2017, even though it was not an election year for most (but three newly appointed members did wage small campaigns among party delegates to fill vacant seats).
The spending ranged from putting money in their own pocket by repaying campaign loans to traveling, donating to local groups and buying gifts.
Several lawmakers repaid personal loans that they had previously given to their campaigns. That included $10,000 each to Sen. Dan Hemmert and Rep. Keven Stratton, both R-Orem: $4,438 to Niederhauser; $2,500 to Rep. Kelly Miles, R-South Ogden; $2,436 to Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross; and $1,024 to Rep. Doug Sagers, R-Tooele.
Lawmakers spent at least $215,000 combined on travel — often to conferences or trade missions (including trips to Cuba), but also for trips around their districts and the state.
They donated at least another $87,000 to charitable groups. Those ranged from high school bands to Boy Scout troops, community celebrations, arts groups and church groups. Of course, that can build goodwill with local voters.
Sen. Gregg Buxton, R-Roy, paid $1,785 to the Weber County Junior Livestock Show for “purchase of a hog donated to the Utah Food Bank.”
They spent a combined $4,600 on candy to throw to spectators at parades.
Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, reported spending $1,000 for a tuxedo and travel costs to Washington, D.C., for Trump’s inauguration and meetings with the congressional delegation.
Buxton and Rep. Christine Watkins, R-Price, spent $100 each to buy National Rifle Association memberships.
Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, R-Vernal, who announced recently he is not seeking re-election, spent $2,000 for tickets on the Heber Valley Railroad in December for a “campaign meeting and kickoff and thank you for past efforts.”
Rep. Timothy Hawkes, R-Centerville, reported spending $89 on sporting goods for an “informal legislative get-together.” Also, he reported spending $15 on a new cellphone case “to replace the lame one that failed.”
Political power is a tricky thing, difficult to define but easy to spot when it is exercised. It can be rooted in holding a high political office, having the ability to shape the debates, influencing those in positions of authority — or all of the above.
The Salt Lake Tribune, in consultation with a small group of politically connected Utahns, has cobbled together a snapshot of who wields that power in the state — the people who, love ’em or hate ’em, exercise the most influence on our day-to-day lives. Most of them you’ve probably heard of, some of them work behind the scenes.
Here is a look at those power players and some others to keep an eye on:
No. 25: Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski
Salt Lake City mayor can be a tricky job as Biskupski tries to keep a progressive city at peace in a conservative state. She gets love from national media and rates her tenure so far as an “A-,” but others are less kind. The coming year will be a test for the mayor, to see if she can cajole the City Council into adopting her vision before heading into her 2019 re-election campaign.
No. 24: Former Gov. Mike Leavitt
Leavitt — the former Utah governor, Environmental Protection Agency administrator and Health and Human Services secretary — picks his fights these days, but still carries the gravitas earned in a quarter century in politics. He is, once again, a key player in the Count My Vote ballot initiative aimed at letting voters decide party nominees in primaries and runs a health care consulting company.
No. 23: Utah mega-donor Scott Keller
A high-rolling investment manager, Keller plays host to presidential candidates and politicos and is one of the state’s largest political donors year in and year out. In 2016, his company gave more than $300,000 to federal races alone. Keller is close to Mitt Romney and will be important in his anticipated Senate run in Utah. The curious thing is that Keller generally doesn’t use his connections, but there’s no question he has them.
No. 22: Salt Lake Chamber President Lane Beattie
If not for his imminent retirement, Beattie would rank higher on the list. For 15 years, Beattie has been president of the Salt Lake Chamber and the Downtown Alliance, advocating for the city’s business community on issues from tax policy to air quality to liquor laws to transit infrastructure in both Utah and D.C. Beattie, a former state Senate president, will stay on the job at the chamber until his replacement is chosen later this year.
No. 21: RSL Owner Dell Loy Hansen
A hard-driving real estate developer who owns Real Salt Lake and a chain of radio stations, Hansen is also a big-time political donor who isn’t shy about using his influence. Years ago he swung a big tax break from Salt Lake County without anyone really noticing, and more recently made a play to develop a soccer facility near the state Fairpark.
No. 20: U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart
He’s not flashy or particularly well-known, but Stewart has certainly not rocked the boat, either. He has drawn on his experience as an Air Force pilot to take an active role in defense issues and was rumored to be in the running to be secretary of the Air Force. He has landed a spot on the committee that sets the budget for public lands. As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, he has consistently downplayed any ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.
No. 19: Attorney General Sean Reyes
Since taking office in 2013, Reyes has been most associated with efforts to combat human trafficking. But he also manages an office with more than 200 attorneys representing the state. He has joined in efforts to protect Utah egg farmers and to attempt to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable for the spread of dangerous opioids — although he was recently criticized by House Speaker Greg Hughes for not being more aggressive on the opioid issue. Reyes was considered for the chairmanship of the Federal Trade Commission, but didn’t get the job.
No. 18: Real estate mogul Kem Gardner
Gardner once ran for governor as a Democrat, but it’s his ties to Republican politicos — especially Mitt Romney — that give him leverage on political issues. Gardner is a wealthy real estate developer, who has given generously to various political campaigns on both sides of the aisle. Perhaps more than anything, his profile has been enhanced recently by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, which has become ground zero for policy debate and research in the state.
No. 17: Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox
Traditionally, the position of lieutenant governor doesn’t bring a lot of clout, but Herbert has trusted the pride of Fairview with a broad portfolio. Cox is now the governor’s point person on homelessness, leading a rural jobs initiative, a liaison to the Legislature and last week was chosen to head a task force on teen suicide. Cox’s outspoken social media presence and across-the-aisle popularity also make him a formidable contender for the governor’s seat in 2020.
No. 16: House Majority Leader Brad Wilson
In eight years in the House, Wilson has built a reputation as a deal-maker in the Legislature and risen quickly through the ranks, first assuming the position of budget vice chairman and last year being chosen as majority leader without opposition. He also led the prison relocation commission and sponsored liquor legislation last year that got rid of the “Zion Curtain” in restaurants. With Hughes announcing his departure after this year, Wilson is a favorite to become the next speaker.
No. 15: U.S. Rep. Mia Love
After a convincing win in the 2016 election, Love has elevated her profile, speaking out against sexual harassment in Congress and, on occasion, criticizing President Donald Trump. Most recently, she blasted the president’s comments aimed at immigrants from Haiti (her parents’ native country) and others. She enjoys a good relationship with House Speaker Paul Ryan, is a reliable Republican vote and has supported the Trump administration’s agenda 97 percent of the time.
No. 14: Senate Majority Whip Stuart Adams
There are few in Utah’s Capitol who have had their hands in more issues than Adams, from transportation funding to the state’s LGBTQ anti-discrimination law to incentives for a California coal port to tax policy. Adams is the consummate deal-maker and now is favored to be the next Senate president after Wayne Niederhauser steps down.
No. 13: Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams
The highest-ranking Democrat on the list, McAdams is the executive of the state’s second largest jurisdiction (behind the state). During his tenure, the county has seen brisk job growth, provided services to help address homelessness and expanded its early childhood education. He’s done it while building good relationships with Republican leaders in the state. Now he’s taking on Love in a bid for Utah’s 4th Congressional District seat.
No. 12: Senate President Wayne Niederhauser
On paper, Niederhauser would be ranked higher, but (to his credit) his style in the Senate has largely been to let the body work through issues instead of taking a heavy-handed approach. At day’s end, he still ends up with tremendous sway on the big issues. A tax policy wonk, expect him to get into the weeds during upcoming tax reform discussions in what he has said will be his final year in office.
No. 11: Kingmaker Jon Huntsman Sr.
The billionaire philanthropist with one of the state’s most recognizable names, Huntsman Sr. has been a politically involved kingmaker for decades. The father of the former governor and current ambassador to Russia continues to use the family wealth and access. And you still don’t cross him, as his run-in with University of Utah President David Pershing showed last year. Oh, and by the way, his son, Paul, owns The Salt Lake Tribune.
No. 10: Sportsmen’s advocate Don Peay
Founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Peay has special pull in Trump world. He has hunted with Donald Trump Jr., was the head of the Trump campaign in Utah and has the ear of the White House and Interior Department when it comes to public lands issues. He holds sway with Utah politicians on a host of issues.
No. 9: U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop
As chairman of the House Resources Committee, Bishop has used his position to influence Utah’s public lands debates. He also is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he has advanced the interests of Hill Air Force Base in his district. The problem for Bishop and the other representatives on the list, is that Congress can’t manage to pass any legislation.
No. 7 & 8: Scott Anderson and Gail Miller
Anderson, the president of Zions Bank, and Miller, a prominent businesswoman and the wealthiest person in the state, have used their financial resources to reshape the city and, potentially, the political climate. They are main backers of the Count My Vote initiative to change how party nominees are chosen and a ballot initiative to raise taxes to fund Utah schools. Both have the ear of political leaders and have been active in the community, as well.
No. 6: LDS Church lobbyist Marty Stephens
When The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks, Utah politicians listen, and Stephens is the church’s messenger on Capitol Hill. Stephens, a former three-term House speaker, took over the job as the faith’s lobbyist last year. The church, itself, is without question the most influential force in the state and has, through the years, waded into issues such as immigration, liquor laws, religious freedom, same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization and more, sometimes publicly, oftentimes behind the scenes. Ninety percent of the Utah Legislature, the entire congressional delegation and all of the state’s constitutional officers are members of the predominant faith, as are about 60 percent of Utahns. The church will pick its battles, and when it does, it will prevail.
No. 5: Sen. Mike Lee
Since his election in 2010, Lee has worked with Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to advance their libertarian brand of conservatism, towing the Republican line on issues like religious freedom and eliminating Obamacare, and sparring with the party over issues such as government surveillance and executive power. With Sen. Orrin Hatch’s looming retirement, Lee is primed to take an even more prominent role.
No. 4: Mitt
The man so popular in Utah we don’t even have to use his full name. His prominence on the national stage has enabled Romney to operate in a different political realm than other Utahns. When he speaks, national media pay attention, and he has used that platform to assail Trump’s most outlandish statements and policies, making him the de facto voice of the traditional Republican establishment. Local politicos seek his endorsement, but for the most part he has not dirtied his hands with Utah issues. That should change, as he is expected to announce his candidacy to replace Hatch in the Senate — a race he is a heavy favorite to win. The office could put Romney directly in the national spotlight and enhance his influence nationally.
No. 3: Gov. Gary Herbert
This week, Herbert became the longest-serving governor in the United States. He took office in the depths of the recession and has seen a stretch of economic growth, low unemployment and general prosperity. His style remains that of a manager, shaping policy with a light touch, building consensus and generally letting the Legislature drive the agenda. It has worked well. He won re-election handily in 2016 and enjoys a sky-high approval rating in his final term in office.
No. 2: House Speaker Greg Hughes
Over the past several years, Hughes has shown his ability to use his office and the bully pulpit to shape the agenda at the state level. Most notably, last year he forced action to crack down on crime around the homeless shelter in downtown Salt Lake City, but he has had a direct impact on every major legislative issue in Utah’s Capitol. Hughes also has close ties to Trump World, particularly the president’s son Trump Jr. In this, his last year in the Legislature, Hughes has promised to tackle an aggressive range of issues.
No. 1: The senior senator, Orrin Hatch
Sure, he’s a lame duck, but over more than four decades Hatch has accrued the kind of power rarely seen in this state. He is third in the line of succession for the presidency, heads the Senate Finance Committee and has tentacles spread all across Washington and Utah. He enjoys a chummy relationship with Trump, evidenced by the president’s shoutout to Hatch in December when he shrunk two Utah national monuments and praised the senator’s work on a tax package. This time next year, Hatch will be retired. Until then, he is, hands down, Utah’s most powerful political figure.
Here are a few more movers and shakers on the political scene who didn’t quite make the list, but are still forces to be reckoned with:
State School Superintendent Sydnee Dickson • Education consumes the lion’s share of the state budget and is a top priority for Utahns, and Dickson is the top education official in the state.
Former U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz • Chaffetz up and quit, but remains relevant as a Fox News commentator and is popular with conservative Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund • This likable senator still calls many of the shots when it comes to what bills make it to the Senate floor.
U.S. Rep. John Curtis • The newest member of Utah’s delegation still has to pay his dues, but should be able to hold the 3rd District seat as long as he wants it.
Fred Lampropoulos • The founder and CEO of Merit Medical is a generous and well-connected donor to political campaigns.
Sen. Curt Bramble • A bulldog on the Hill, Bramble has been one of the body’s most prolific legislators.
Greg Hartley • Chief of staff to House Speaker Greg Hughes has a mind-meld with his boss. People call them “The Gregs.”
Justin Harding • Chief of staff to Gov. Gary Herbert, he’s got a range of experience, is well-liked and puts out fires across state government.
Heidi Matthews • There is strength in numbers and Matthews, president of the Utah Education Association, leads a group with 18,000 educators.
The first thing Todd Parker acknowledges is that his proposal is a bit unusual. The second is that, regardless, he’s certain it can be done.
“Big ideas are worth approaching,” he says with a smile.
His, though, might just be the biggest environmental project in the United States: building a city in the middle of Utah Lake.
Parker, an IT consultant and Provo native, has drafted the plan over the past decade. Last month, he submitted a 239-page initial report to the Utah Department of Natural Resources. And maybe by 2060 or later, he envisions a half million people living in the new community.
Done right, Parker’s proposal could rehabilitate the long-polluted waterway. Done wrong, the whimsical plan could be agony, spending billions of dollars on a foundation that slowly sinks.
Ben Holcomb, an environmental scientist with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, offered a blunt analysis. “It’s not going to be a silver bullet.”
Utah Lake is the largest body of freshwater in the state. But in recent years it has been plagued by toxic algal blooms spreading across the surface.
It’s a problem that was aggravated by man.
From the 1890s through the 1950s, cities surrounding the lake dumped raw sewage into the water. A steel mill began discharging heavy metals there, too, and contamination from nearby farms seeped downstream (and continues to today).
Because the lake is so shallow — and loses roughly half the water it contains to evaporation each summer — those sediments are easily stirred up by heavy winds. Microscopic algae and bacteria then feed on the minerals and produce massive slicks, like the 2016 bloom on Utah Lake that sickened more than 100 swimmers.
Millions of dollars have been spent over the past eight years trying to repair the damage by reintroducing native fish, removing invasive plants and carp and studying the sources of wastewater runoff. Some of the fixes have worked, Holcomb said, but “it will be multiple, multiple decades” before the issue is entirely resolved.
Parker grew up in Springville not far from Utah Lake.
His family would pack up the car and head to Lincoln Beach about three or four times a month. Parker would swim out as far as he could, roast marshmallows on the beach with his brother Ben, fish with his dad.
Just a couple miles north from where they camped and water-skied sits a small island, the only one on the lake. More visible when the water is low, Bird Island is home, mostly, to seagulls.
It was created by an underwater spring pushing up dirt from the bottom of the lake — a process Parker intends to somewhat mimic to form a city on the water. His plan would involve dredging the lakebed (to remove the buildup that causes algal blooms) and using that sand, mixed with gravel and rock, to make a handful of inhabitable islands.
That would require moving about one billion cubic yards of sediment in several phases over five to eight years.
“We did a lot of modeling over the years to really prove that this would work,” Parker said, noting that his team used software created at Brigham Young University, where he graduated.
The islands would be shaped like seagulls and arches — with the largest one the outline of Delicate Arch — to supposedly cut down on wind disruption. About 10,000 acres would be used for development, including businesses and houses, and another 10,000 for recreation and green space.
Overall, there would be roughly 31 square miles of new land from the islands, which is slightly smaller than Provo. The entire lakebed is about 150 square miles, about the size of Salt Lake City.
Restoration and recovery
Above all, Parker suggests, the proposal is about restoring the “broken ecosystem” around Utah Lake. He has plans to filter and treat the water, create miles of new trails and shoreline, replant native grasses, reintroduce Bonneville cutthroat trout and curb stormwater runoff and erosion.
“It’s actually a dying lake,” the project manager said. “It can’t be recovered without our intervention.”
But it comes at a massive cost.
Parker estimates the Utah Lake Restoration Project, the brainchild of his brother Ben Parker, will come in at $6.4 billion, including $2.2 billion for the dredging alone. There’s also $565 million for a fish hatchery and species recovery, $550 million for more studies and research, and $900 million for wetlands restoration. And those might be modest estimates.
His team has met with private investors who Parker believes can cover the upfront costs. And once the islands are developed, they can recoup the money. That could be 40 or more years out, though.
Certainly, there are skeptics.
Ben Holcomb, who specializes in harmful algal blooms at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, says the plan seems “a bit stretched for truth.”
He’s got a laundry list of questions: How would the arch-shaped islands control wind when there are mountains west of Utah Lake that already don’t shield the water from large gusts? How much deeper would the lake be after dredging? How would that effect its natural processes? How stable would the islands be?
“Until it’s proven otherwise,” he said, “they’re just making hypotheses.”
Since the lakebed belongs to the state, the plan will be reviewed first by the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
But Parker’s newly-formed company, Lake Restorations Solutions, Inc., will also need to get federal permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, complete an environmental impact study, seek approval from the state Legislature and local governments in Utah County, conduct public input sessions and coordinate with the Utah Department of Transportation, which would oversee the two proposed commuter causeways across the lake. (When a group suggested building a bridge over Utah Lake about three years ago residents were in uproar.)
“It’s a very ambitious plan,” said Jason Curry, spokesman for the Division of Forestry. “We’ve never received anything on this scale before.”
Two or three employees from the division will mark up the proposal with questions and requests for more information “through the lens of what’s in the best interest of Utah.” They’ll return it to Parker and the process will continue with other divisions under the Department of Natural Resources.
Eric Ellis, executive director of the Utah Lake Commission, a group formed by the Legislature in 2009 to study the body of water, acknowledges there are “a phenomenal number of hurdles.” But he’s excited by the proposal. “I think it could be a model to lakes across the country,” he said.
A similar project has been done already along the coast of Dubai, which sits on the Persian Gulf. Using the same process of dredging, engineers created an archipelago of islands where people live (though NASA suggested in 2011 that they are slowly sinking). Robert Scott, the lead design manager for that project, is now the chief design director on the Utah Lake proposal.
Parker has heard most of the criticisms before.
He’s been drafting the plan for 12 years, starting on New Year’s Day in 2006. And so he smiles, points to his research and repeats his counter argument: “It’s a big idea, but big ideas are worth approaching.”
Park City • A massive snowstorm and snarled traffic couldn’t shut down the Respect Rally — not with Jane Fonda, Gloria Allred and others firing up the crowd.
“Everything is at stake,” Fonda told about 1,000 people who gathered in City Park on Saturday. “We’ve got to give it all we’ve got. Time is up!”
Fonda urged the crowd to get involved in grass-roots activism to end Republican majorities in Congress and to install progressive leadership at the local level.
Fonda, 80, tied the current #MeToo movement of women standing up to men’s sexual misconduct to her long-standing advocacy of women’s rights. “When we are equal, we are not abused,” she said.
Allred, the celebrity attorney who has represented women who accused such men as Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump of sexual misconduct, spurred the crowd to recite a chant of “resist, insist, persist, elect.”
“We will not be silenced,” Allred said. “We have reached the breaking point. We have reached the tipping point.”
Allred also had a message for Utah legislators: “We need a hearing for the ERA in Utah,” she said, arguing that 36 states have already passed the Equal Rights Amendment, and only two more are needed to ratify it.
Saturday’s rally was organized to emulate the Women’s March on Park City, which drew 8,000 people last year to protest Trump’s inauguration, as part of a national network of marches that brought out millions of protesters.
The Park City rally was just one of many across the country Saturday to protest Trump’s policies and show support of the #MeToo movement. A similar march in Ogden drew about 200 people.
The Respect Rally coincided with the Sundance Film Festival and drew an array of artists and performers connected to festival films.
People onstage and in the crowd showed support for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the environment and the free press.
Opposition to Trump inspired the sign-makers in the crowd Saturday. Messages included “Get off the greens and lead,” “Free Melania” and “I [heart] Mueller” (referring to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is running an investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia).
Others took a more playful attitude. One woman revved up the crowd by holding up an album cover from one of Fonda’s ’80s workout regimens.
Actor Tessa Thompson, one of the stars of “Thor: Ragnarok” and the first speaker Saturday, recalled last year’s protests against “a person in power who was primed in every which way to abuse it.” Thompson noted that the protests brought together people of different ethnic and gender groups, supporting different causes, but represented “the one vital commonality between us all: Our humanity.”
Rapper and actor Common told the crowd about a day when he had a thought: “What would it be like if women took over the world?” He then reeled off a couple of verses of a song he wrote based on that notion.
Common also extolled the #MeToo movement and the Time’s Up campaign defending women in all walks of life. “This movement is at its core a practice of a love greater than us,” Common said. “This love fuels movements.”
Other speakers included actors Nick Offerman and Maria Bello, writer Lena Waithe, documentary filmmaker Bonni Cohen (who co-directed “An Inconvenient Sequel,” which premiered at Sundance last year), Lakota activist Sage Trudell and Princess Firyan of Jordan. There were music and performances from actor/singer Anthony Ramos, poet Sarah Kaye, a Ute Indian drum circle, and the California band Side Deal, made up of members of Train, Sugar Ray and Pawn Shop Kings.
Utah politicians also joined the rally. U.S. Senate candidate Jenny Wilson told stories about Martha Hughes Cannon, the Utah senator who was the first woman elected to a state legislature. And Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski mocked the notion that defying Trump would get her city in trouble.
“It takes more than a tweet to scare this lesbian mayor,” Biskupski said.
Washington • A political fight over whether to allow a group of young undocumented immigrants, known as “Dreamers,” to stay in the country legally has led to a budget stalemate and the first government shutdown in four years.
A new poll shows Utahns of all political stripes back such a fix. The survey by The Salt Lake Tribune and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics shows 69 percent of registered voters favor letting these young people stay. Some 26 percent opposed any protection for these immigrants.
The same poll shows that President Donald Trump’s job approval, meanwhile, remains about the same as Utah polls have shown in the past year, with 49 percent giving the president bad marks and 48 percent saying he’s doing well, the new survey shows. Only 20 percent say they strongly approve of Trump’s performance.
Republicans approve of Trump’s performance, while Democrats and independents strongly disapprove.
There’s no such clear partisan divide on the question of supporting legal protection for young immigrants who would be at risk of deportation without an extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
“In Utah, the best approach is to support these Dreamers. From conservative Republicans to Democrats, they want protection for the Dreamers,” said Jason Perry, executive director of the Hinckley Institute. “To get the support of Utahns, Donald Trump is going to have to take some action. This is a unifying issue for Utahns, not a dividing one.”
National polls have shown a large majority of Americans favor some protection for the young immigrants who had no control over moving to the United States. A CBS News poll last week showed 87 percent of Americans say Dreamers should be allowed to stay if they meet certain requirements, like working or going to school.
In Utah, 61 percent of Republicans are on board with such a program, along with 87 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of unaffiliated voters. Members of Utah’s all Republican congressional delegation, such as Rep. Mia Love and Sen. Orrin Hatch, have expressed support for some legal status for immigrants who have taken advantage of DACA, as has Trump, though Republicans have not rallied around one proposal yet.
And while Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House, congressional leaders couldn’t muster enough votes to pass a new funding bill by Friday night, sending the government into its first closure since 2013. The House passed a budget bill but the Senate, where Republicans hold a 51-49 seat majority, failed to do the same.
Most Democrats opposed the bill because it didn’t include an extension for DACA, which Trump had ended last year while saying it was up to Congress to find a solution. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, voted against the budget bill because he doesn’t favor short-term extensions.
The Tribune-Hinckley Institute poll was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates last week while Congress was still negotiating a plan to pass a budget. A previous Tribune-Hinckley poll, conducted in October, found that 72 percent of respondents thought DACA recipients should be allowed to stay in the United States.
Trump, who visited Utah in December where he met with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and dramatically shrunk the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, remains a polarizing figure in the state with Republicans largely supporting him (70 percent) and Democrats opposed (93 percent). Some 63 percent of unaffiliated voters also give Trump bad marks.
In deeply red Utah, other Republican presidents have fared far better.
“Donald Trump is maintaining his base but he’s not going up,” Perry said, noting Trump garnered about the same overall support in an October poll and similar Republican support.
Nationally, Trump’s numbers have remained in the mid-to-upper 30s.
Longtime Utah pollster Dan Jones, who conducted the survey, said Trump has held onto GOP support here especially because of his December visit, where he heaped praise on Hatch and took action on the monuments.
“Coming out here really impressed Republicans and what he tried to do for Senator Hatch and how cordial he was to the LDS leaders over at the Welfare Square,” Jones said. “But he doesn’t run as high as he does in Idaho and Wyoming.”
After years of study, three Utah coal mines are poised to expand into new federally leased lands that promise to keep them humming for another decade, securing hundreds of treasured mining jobs in rural communities.
But with U.S. markets for this coal are far from certain, mine operators are seeking chances to export it across the Pacific Ocean.
To that end, Utah officials have tried to help fund two major ventures: building a 43-mile rail line connecting the state’s biggest mine with a coal load-out in Levan and putting $53 million toward construction of a rail-to-ship export terminal in Oakland.
That city has banned the coal shipments leading to a legal fight in a federal court in San Francisco. Hanging in the balance could be the economic destiny of Utah’s coal-centric Carbon, Sevier and Emery counties.
After hearing three days of testimony last week, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria will soon decide to either affirm or invalidate Oakland’s coal ban that thwarted a major Utah coal producer’s hopes of shipping 5 to 10 million tons to Asian countries.
A subsidiary of Bowie Resource Partners, which operates Utah’s Dugout, Sufco and Skyline mines, holds an option to lease the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal, or OBOT, under development on a 34-acre city-owned property on the San Francisco Bay’s east shore.
Dust in the air?
The judge completed the hearings Friday and will rule in the coming weeks. At trial, OBOT developer Phil Tagami’s lawyers — whose sizable legal bills Bowie is covering — highlighted what they say are glaring flaws in a coal risk assessment the city used to justify its ban.
Tagami contends the city breached agreements that vested him with a right to develop the terminal at the former Oakland Army Base.
In Chhabria’s courtroom, dueling expert witnesses that gave opposite views about the health and safety impacts of handling coal. The city’s witnesses testified that the coal-loading terminal could subject West Oakland, already a distressed part of town that bears a heavy legacy of industrial pollution, to unacceptable levels of coal dust.
A decision in favor of Tagami could clear the way for a large share of Utah’s exported coal to burn in Asian power plants and steel factories. But it could also set a dangerous precedent, according to anti-coal activists.
“Every municipality is impacted if we lose,” Lora Jo Foo of the group No Coal in Oakland told Berkeley-based KPFA-FM. “It means every city in the country won’t be able to pass an ordinance regulating fossil fuel infrastructure, even if it’s to protect its local residents.”
Carbon County Commission chairman Jae Potter and the Utah governor’s Office of Energy Development (OED) declined to discuss Utah’s interests in the case until it is resolved. But last year the OED issued a report titled “Advancing Utah Coal” that emphasized the need for export capability.
“The possibility exists for Utah’s coal industry to partner with rapidly-growing economies that are in need of low-cost, reliable energy,” the report said. “Because of its high-energy, low-sulfur qualities, the majority of Utah’s coal is expected to have a competitive advantage within the global export space, particularly since many countries are working to address environmental considerations associated with power production.”
A needed lift
Utah coal production has waned, slipping to 13 million tons last year, less than half of its 1996 peak. The industry is losing customers as coal-fired plants in Utah and neighboring states shut down or switch to natural gas.
In 2001, Utah producers shipped 15.9 million tons of coal to 21 states, according to the OED report. But by 2015, those shipments had dropped to 2.1 million tons to five states. Without export markets, Utah’s coal industry may never recover.
Yet proposed marine terminals like the one in Oakland have run into stiff local opposition and none has won approval in recent years. Bowie ships some Utah coal out of shallow-draft ports at the Bay Area cities of Richmond and Stockton.
According to the OED report, Japan is a promising destination as it reduces its use of nuclear in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima meltdown. It is developing 45 coal-fired power plants and has overtaken China as world’s leading coal importer at 152 million tons.
Bowie is now securing final approvals to expand its Sufco and Skyline mines, which account for about two-thirds of the Utah’s production, or about 9 million tons. The company holds federal leases that it hopes to begin mining this year.
As a rule of thumb, every 12,000 tons of production supports one mine job depending on the size and efficiency of the mine. Skyline, for example, supports a $39 million payroll and $134 million in federal royalties, half of which go to Utah.
Five miles southwest of Scofield, the 320-employee mine is getting into the 2,700-acre Flat Canyon tract, which would extend the underground mine’s life by nine to 12 years, cranking out three to 4.5 million tons per year, or 42 million tons total.
Several miles farther south on the Wasatch Plateau, the Bureau of Land Management has wrapped up an environmental analysis of the Greens Hollow tract, which Bowie has leased to keep the Sufco mine churning. That 6,175-acre patch will yield 56 million tons, adding 10 years of life to Utah’s oldest mine.
A third Utah mine looking to expand is the Coal Hollow Mine, operated by Alton Coal Development Co. whose current production is dwarfed by the Bowie mines. A final decision is expected on the company’s application to lease 3,000 federal acres adjacent to its existing surface mine.
Documents indicate that Alton company also hopes to expand its modest production, selling coal overseas by shipping it through West Coast marine terminals from a rail load-out west of Cedar City.
Poll: Half of Americans question Trump’s mental stability. The Utah Legislature opens session today. Federal government remains shutdown.
Happy Monday. A new poll shows that nearly half of Americans have questions about President Donald Trump’s mental stability. Forty-eight percent of voters think Trump is mentally stable, versus the 47 percent of voters who think he is not. [Politico]
Topping the news: The 2018 Utah Legislature gavels into session today. With a slew of bills on the table, state lawmakers are looking to specifically undercut two ballot initiatives -- one that would raise taxes for education and another that would fully expand Medicaid for the poor. [Trib] [ABC4]
-> A survey by The Salt Lake Tribune and University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics showed that majorities of Utah Republicans and Utah Democrats support protections for young immigrants, known as “Dreamers,” who are affected by Trump’s DACA decision. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @byrdinator: “This isn’t even a joke. An hour and a half ago I heard a Democratic senator who shall remain unnamed tell a colleague he was going to take a nap. ‘I have nothing else to do,’ he said. Relatable.”
-> From @bydinator: “you’d think people would start to get dizzy with all the spinning that’s happening on Capitol Hill right now”
-> From @nataliewsj: “’Isn’t this fun?’ Orrin Hatch asks reporters with a smile as he walked into the Senate Chamber.”
-> From @aedwardslevy: “if a deal is not reached, every person within the boundaries of the district of columbia must immediately freeze in place, kind of like the mannequin challenge”
-> From @aedwardslevy: “how about a law that every day they don’t pass a spending bill every senator has to eat a tide pod call it a poison pill amendment”
Happy belated birthday: To James Seaman and former state Rep. Patrick Painter.
In other news: Mitt Romney made a second public appearance in a week at a Salt Lake City tech conference Friday, though he did not announce a Senate run during his speech. Romney is expected to run for Sen. Orrin Hatch’s open seat. [Trib] [DNews] [KUTV] [KSL]
-> U.S. Supreme Court Associate jJustice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke to a Park City audience Sunday about sexual harassment, movies, and “Saturday Night Live.” Ginsburg came to Park City for the Sundance Film Festival premiere of “RBG,” a documentary about her life. [Trib] [DNews]
-> In the midst of the government shutdown, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams called out Rep. Mia Love Friday for not doing enough to negotiate, though Love is supporting a bill to continue funding CHIP -- which was blocked by Senate Democrats holding out for a move on DACA. [Trib]
-> Multiple celebrities and performers spoke at the Respect Rally in Park City on Saturday, which drew about 1,000 people and focused on the #MeToo movement, President Donald Trump’s policies, and women’s rights. The Respect Rally took place as a part of the national Women’s March. [Trib] [Fox13]
-> Multiple bills will address the legalization of medical marijuana in the Utah Legislature in the upcoming session. But a ballot initiative could leave the decision making up to voters in November. [DNews]
-> Grantsville Mayor Brent Marshall has been accused of using physical and verbal aggression and intimidation to further his own agenda. Marshall said he has never intentionally belittled anyone. [Trib]
-> Three Utah mines are set to expand, securing hundreds of jobs -- but the plan to expand involves exporting coal through Oakland, Calif., which has a coal ban. A federal judge will soon decide to invalidate or uphold the ban. [Trib]
-> A developer has a plan to rehabilitate algae-polluted Utah Lake by building a city in the middle of it. [Trib]
-> A fashion exhibit at SLCC is aiming to show how clothing can be a force for social and political change. The exhibit runs through Feb. 1. [Trib]
-> A group of The Salt Lake Tribune’s political reporters and columnists discuss the possibility of Utah Democratic gains in the November 2018 election. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley shows the Republican Party, the “Party of Personal Responsibility,” blaming Democrats for the shutdown. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly tells the story of a mannequin that doubles as a law enforcement officer and reminds drivers in Wayne County to avoid speeding. [Trib]
-> Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb survey the top issues for Utah lawmakers for this legislative session, look at what Mitt Romney has to offer the state and review the local effects of Trump’s “s---thole” comment. [DNews]
Nationally: The federal government officially shut down early Saturday after Senate Democrats voted against a spending deal. [NYTimes]
-> The Senate failed to reach a deal Sunday, meaning the government shutdown will continue today. A vote on a temporary spending bill is scheduled for 10 a.m. Mountain Time. [NYTimes]
-> The government shutdown is affecting the preparation for the Jan. 30 State of the Union address. [Politico]
-> Carl Higbie, chief of external affairs for the Corporation for National and Community Service, resigned Thursday after apologizing for making racist, Islamaphobic and homophobic comments. [NYTimes]
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-- Thomas Burr and Madalyn Gunnell
San Antonio • Victor Oladipo scored 19 points and the Indiana Pacers defeated San Antonio 94-86 on Sunday night, snapping the Spurs' 14-game home winning streak.
Darren Collison added 15 points for Indiana, which snapped a three-game losing streak in San Antonio.
The Spurs lost at home for the third time this season and the first since Nov. 10 against Milwaukee.
Pau Gasol had 14 points to lead San Antonio.
With Manu Ginobili, Rudy Gay and Kawhi Leonard out with injuries, the Spurs opted to bring Tony Parker off the bench for just the 14th time in 1,165 career games.
Parker responded with 12 points and five assists, but LaMarcus Aldridge struggled without the veteran point guard, scoring a season-low 10 points.
MAGIC 103, CELTICS 95 • In Boston, Elfrid Payton had 22 points and Orlando won for just the third time in 20 games, overcoming Kyrie Irving's 40 points.
Orlando snapped a 14-game losing streak at Boston. The Magic had lost 10 in a row on the road overall since early December.
Irving sat out Boston's previous game to rest a sore left shoulder. Despite his efforts, the Celtics dropped their season-worst third straight home game.
Evan Fournier added 19 and Aaron Gordon had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic.
LAKERS 127, KNICKS 107 • In Los Angeles, Jordan Clarkson had 29 points and 10 assists, Julius Randle added 27 points and 12 rebounds, and Los Angeles got its sixth win in eight games.
Kyle Kuzma added 15 points for the Lakers (17-29), who continued their midseason surge of solid play. Rookie point guard Alex Caruso set career highs with nine points and eight assists, making the most of extensive playing time in the absence of injured Lonzo Ball.
Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Michael Beasley scored 17 points apiece for the Knicks, who have lost 12 of 16. New York slipped to 2-2 on its seven-game trip.
The Knicks couldn't keep up down the stretch with the Lakers, whose up-tempo offense flowed throughout their highest-scoring game in two weeks.
NETS 101, PISTONS 100 • In Detroit, Spencer Dinwiddie's jumper with 0.9 seconds left lifted Brooklyn over Detroit, the Pistons' fifth straight loss.
After a basket by Andre Drummond put the Pistons ahead with 4.7 seconds left, Dinwiddie took the inbounds pass, drove to 14 feet and drained a jumper against his former teammates.
Caris LeVert split a pair of free throws with 13.7 seconds left, giving the Nets a 99-98 edge.
Langston Galloway misplayed the ensuing inbounds pass, but was able to knock the ball to Drummond. Detroit's center nearly traveled in a rare drive from outside the 3-point arc, and flipped in a go-ahead shot.
Dinwiddie finished with 22 points. Tobias Harris led the Pistons with 20.
When given one of the most important facts of the season, Utah Jazz rookie shooting guard Donovan Mitchell gave a long pause. And then his eyes got wide. And then, he stammered, seemingly in disbelief.
The Jazz haven’t won consecutive games since Dec. 4, when they defeated the Washington Wizards 116-69 at Vivint Smart Home Arena. That’s almost two months without a winning streak. That’s almost two months without any positive momentum in a season that’s been frustrating on multiple fronts.
But as he’s done on the floor all season, Mitchell collected himself before letting go of a slight chuckle. He digested the fact, and then, almost instantly, he was able to let it go.
“The way to turn that around is to not look at stats like that,” Mitchell said. “And then, as a team, we just have to stay positive. We can’t look at any team lightly. We have to take things day-by-day. If we can do that, then we have a chance to be in great shape.”
Of course, there are mitigating factors for Utah’s prolonged struggles. Much has been made of the schedule, which has been one of the most difficult in the league. And Rudy Gobert’s injury struggles have surely contributed.
But the Jazz simply haven’t played well in this stretch, something that’s been well documented. They hope they’ve turned a corner after Saturday’s 125-113 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Utah registered one of its best offensive performances of the season against Los Angeles.
It’s consistency that it craves, however.
“We have to keep doing what we did against the Clippers,” Jazz forward Derrick Favors said. “I think we’ve played a lot better in the last few games, so we just have to find a way to get that consistency.”
Monday night’s matchup in Atlanta against the Hawks represents Utah’s best chance to date of winning consecutive games. Atlanta’s 13-32 on the season, and just 9-13 on its home floor.
At the same time, the Hawks haven’t been pushovers in recent weeks. They’ve won two of their last three games, and the wins are over the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans. They’ve also beaten the Denver Nuggets on the road of late.
So, if the Jazz are to start their first winning streak since before Christmas, they know they are going to have to earn it.
An obvious impact
Gobert, when he returned from his first injury in December, didn’t look like himself. He wasn’t as explosive as normal. He wasn’t finishing at the basket like normal, and he seemed a bit off.
That hasn’t been the case in his latest return. On Friday night in limited minutes, Gobert scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds against the New York Knicks. On Saturday night, he scored 16 points, while grabbing seven rebounds and blocking three shots.
His conditioning seems normal, which could be the product of the Jazz putting him through fullcourt one-on-one drills before his return. He seems confident in the leg he injured as well.
“I feel good, so I’m happy about that,” Gobert said. “We just have to keep getting better and keep the right mindset. We want to be able to play with force.”
Will he be back?
Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood is listed as questionable for Monday night’s matchup against the Hawks. He sat out of the win against the Clippers with a lower leg contusion, with Joe Ingles scoring a season-high 21 points to make up for his absence.
If Hood does play, Jazz coach Quin Snyder will have to make a decision on putting him in the starting lineup. Hood scored 18 points as a starter against the Knicks. Ingles was the starter on Saturday.
Alec Burks came off the bench Saturday to score 15 points. It was his best scoring game since dropping 20 points against the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 9. Burks has been out of Snyder’s rotation of late. He hadn’t played regular rotation minutes since a 103-102 loss against the Miami Heat on Jan. 7.
Utah Jazz at Atlanta Hawks
When • Monday, 5:30 p.m. MST
Where • Phillips Arena, Atlanta
TV • AT&T SportsNet
Radio • 97.5 FM; 1280 AM
Records • Utah 19-27; Atlanta 13-32
About the Jazz • Shooting guard Rodney Hood is questionable with a lower leg contusion. … This will be the first of a three-game trip for the Jazz, who face the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors the remainder of the week. … Rudy Gobert is averaging 19.5 points and 10.2 rebounds since his return from injury. … The Jazz are 2-2 in their last four games. … Utah guard Alec Burks scored in double-figures Saturday for the first time since a loss to the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 27.
About the Hawks • Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli were a combined 0 for 12 from 3-point range in a loss to the Chicago Bulls. … Hawks guard Kent Bazemore hit the game-winning shot in a victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. … Atlanta is the home town of Jazz forward Derrick Favors. … Hawks forward John Collins is averaging 10.7 points and 6.9rebounds per game and is a rookie-of-the year candidate. … Atlanta’s last three wins have been over playoff contenders
Both Justin Bibbins and Tyler Rawson admitted being slightly apprehensive in the moment, but they were able to make their confessions with smiles on their faces in the aftermath of a win.
Bibbins’ high-arching alley-oop pass sailed into the hands of a leaping Rawson as if the two seniors were in the middle of a science-fiction-inspired mind meld. Rawson finished with a loud dunk and put an emphatic exclamation point on the Utes’ performance.
That play came with 3:01 remaining, but it gave the Utes an 18-point lead and just as well could have served as the final buzzer. The Utes cruised in those final minutes to an 82-69 win over Washington State, their second win of the week in the Jon M. Huntsman Center as they climbed back .500 in Pac-12 Conference play.
“I actually just watched it,” Bibbins said. “During the game I thought I threw it too high. I didn’t think he had that bounce in him, but I’m happy he finished it and it wasn’t my turnover.”
Rawson scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including 6-of-7 on 3-pointers, while Bibbins added 13 points and a season-high 12 assists as he recorded his second consecutive double-double. Senior forward Gabe Bealer scored 15 points off the bench and knocked down a trio of 3-pointers, while junior guard Sedrick Barefield scored 14 points and dished out three assists.
Rawson quipped of Bibbins’ alley-oop pass, “I thought it was high too [laughing]. Never doubt yourself, I guess.”
The Utes (12-7, 4-4), having snapped a four-game losing streak with Thursday’s win over Washington, led for 38 minutes and 38 seconds of the game. They extended their win streak against the Cougars (9-10, 1-6) to eight straight, and 16 in a row in Salt Lake City.
The 13-point margin of victory also marked the largest this season for the Utes since the start of conference play. It comes just as the Utes get ready to start seeing conference opponents for the second time around with games at Arizona State and Arizona this coming week.
The Utes made 13 of 31 3-pointers with Rawson leading the way. When asked about the quality of his team’s perimeter opportunities, Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said he’d spoken to the team prior to the game about a sermon he’d heard in church that morning that equated the connectivity of sequoia trees to individuals needing to be connected to their community.
“It’s not the individual depth or height of those trees that’s important,” Krystkowiak said. “What keeps sequoias going is that they’re all inter-wound underground and connected. I thought that was kind of a good message to hit our team with. We may not have NBA guys, and we might not be 300 feet tall, but you can get a lot done if you’re kind of tied into each other.”
Krystkowiak said he challenged the team to get 22 assists, which it did. Rawson’s inability to miss early helped pad the assist total. He made his first six 3-pointers before he finally misfired.
The Utes shot 51.6 percent from the field and committed just three turnovers in the first half. Twenty-two of their 42 first-half points came from the bench as they took a 42-32 edge into halftime. They pushed their lead to 15 points, 59-44, on back-to-back Rawson 3-pointers with 14:15 remaining in the second half, and their lead didn’t shrink below nine points the rest of the game.
“We had a tough first part of conference, that’s for sure,” Rawson said. “We went up against some really good teams, and we found out where we were. We’re looking forward to Arizona. We’re excited to go up against them again. We’ve already played against them so we have a feel, and we can make improvements from last game.”
Philadelphia • With one quarter remaining, Eagles players on the field and sideline already were dancing.
A bit later, after their stunning and resounding 38-17 rout of the Minnesota Vikings earned them the NFC championship, they listened as nearly 70,000 made the Linc shake with “Fly Eagles Fly.”
Hey Philly, you’re in the Super Bowl.
“It was electric. The fans are awesome,” All-Pro tackle Lane Johnson said.
“We’re going there to prove we belong,” added Brandon Graham of the meeting with the AFC champion Patriots in two weeks.
And maybe it’s time for everyone to put aside Carson Wentz’s injury. Nick Foles might be good enough to win the Eagles their first NFL title since 1960.
Foles was on fire Sunday night against the stingiest scoring defense in the NFL. Next up after their most-lopsided playoff victory: the Eagles’ first Super Bowl appearance since 2005, against the team that beat them then.
Foles replaced the injured Wentz in Game 13 and finished off a rise from last place last season to first in the NFC East. There were plenty of doubters entering the playoffs, but the former starter in Philadelphia (15-3) under another regime has been brilliant.
“I just think you’ve got to keep going at it,” Foles said. “And we all believe in each other. I’m blessed to have amazing teammates, amazing coaches. Everyone here that’s a part of the Philadelphia Eagles organization is first class.”
Foles’ best work might have come against Minnesota (14-4) and its vaunted defense that was torn apart in every manner. Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, showing poise, escapability and moxie in going 26 for 33.
“I’m so happy for Nick and the offense,” said coach Doug Pederson, “and for Nick, everything he’s been through and battled, he stayed the course and we all believed in him.”
Foles was helped greatly by the Eagles’ domination on defense and a spectacular weaving 50-yard interception return TD by Patrick Robinson. Philadelphia ruined the Vikings’ hopes of being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium.
Instead, the Eagles will seek their first Super Bowl crown in Minnesota on Feb. 4; their last championship came in 1960.
“I’m so proud of our players,” team owner Jeffrey Lurie said. “The resilience this group of men has is unequaled.”
OVER AT HALFTIME: Minnesota made it look easy at the outset, driving 75 yards on nine plays, each of which gained yardage. The payoff was a 25-yard throw from Case Keenum to Kyle Rudolph well behind linebacker Najee Goode as Philadelphia’s defense looked confused on the play.
That didn’t happen again for Philly.
Defensive end Chris Long had a huge hand in Robinson’s 50-yard interception return. Long burst in from the left side and got his arm on Keenum to disrupt the throw for Adam Thielen. The ball went directly to Robinson, who sped down the left side, then made a sharp cut to the right and got a superb block from Ronald Darby to reach the end zone.
Inspired, Philly’s D forced a three-and-out, the Foles led the Eagles on a 12-play, 75-yard masterpiece of a drive. LeGarrette Blount showed all his power and escapability on an 11-yard surge up the middle for a 14-7 lead.
Turnovers, something Minnesota rarely committed with an NFC-low 14 during the season, hurt again and not only ended a solid drive, but set up more Philly points. On third down from the Eagles 15, Keenum was blindsided by rookie Derek Barnett, and the ball bounced directly to Long.
It was only the second strip-sack the Vikings have been victimized by all season.
A blown coverage — another rarity for Minnesota — on third-and-10 allowed Alshon Jeffery to get wide open for a 53-yard TD, and Philadelphia tacked on Jake Elliott’s 38-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at halftime.
“Credit to Philadelphia, they got after us pretty good tonight and we didn’t do enough good things,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
“I’m still proud of my football team with the way they worked all year. The way they went about their business. The way they competed all year and tonight we didn’t get it done.”
BACK TO THE BIG GAME: Long won the Super Bowl last year with the Patriots, as did Blount. Now they return on the other side.
QUICK DRIVE: Philadelphia got the ball with 29 seconds remaining in the first half at its 20. Foles hit passes of 11 yards to Jay Ajayi, 36 to Zach Ertz and 13 to Ajayi before Elliott’s field goal to end the half.
THIRD DOWNS: Minnesota was the league’s best team defending third downs and was third in converting them. Yet Philadelphia went 10 for 14.
Jeffery caught TD passes of 53 and 5 yards and had five receptions for 85 yards. Ertz was free seemingly all night and finished with eight catches for 93 yards. Torrey Smith had a 41-yard TD catch against double coverage in the third period.
Keenum finished 28 of 48 for 271 yards, with two picks, a lost fumble and the TD throw to Rudolph. The Vikings’ previously staunch defense yielded 456 yards.
Philadelphia can look forward to facing New England in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4. The Patriots are a 5- to 6-point favorite.
Minnesota returns home to watch two other teams play at its stadium for the Lombardi Trophy.
“We would’ve loved to play in the Super Bowl if it was in China,” Zimmer said.
Utah guard Justin Bibbins was convinced the pass that would produce his 12th assist of Sunday’s game sailed way too high.
So did the basketball’s intended receiver, but the play worked beautifully. “Never doubt yourself, I guess,” said Ute forward Tyler Rawson, whose catch and dunk punctuated an 82-69 win over Washington State at the Huntsman Center and gave himself a play to remember.
“Definitely,” Rawson said, “my highlight of the season, so far.”
That’s saying something, on a night when Rawson made his first six 3-point attempts. This coaching stuff actually works sometimes. Larry Krystkowiak repeatedly designed plays for Rawson, and the 6-foot-10 player from American Fork High School and Salt Lake Community College kept hitting shots.
“You’re a heck of a lot better coach when the guys make ’em,” Krystkowiak said.
Made baskets also help point guards look good. Bibbins finished with 12 assists, the first double-figures game for a Utah player in nearly two years, and four of those came via Rawson’s 3-pointers.
And that explains how the Utes thrived amid the foul trouble of inside players David Collette and Donnie Tillman, who combined for nine points. The fill-in production came from some unlikely sources, judging by recent results. Gabe Bealer scored 15 points after totaling 16 in Utah’s previous seven Pac-12 games. Sedrick Barefield came off the bench with 14 points, after making one field goal in the last three games.
Rawson finished with 22 points, his career high for a conference game, after scoring six, five and seven in the previous three contests. He never had hit more than four 3-pointers in a Division I game until Sunday, when his six shots came in the game’s first 26 minutes.
Barefield’s move out of the starting lineup apparently worked in his favor — and Rawson’s too. Krystkowiak liked the matchup of Rawson as an outside shooter against the Cougars, and he kept going to him. Who knows what may have happened if Rawson had missed his first couple of shots, considering he was hitting only 30 percent of his 3-point attempts in Pac-12 play.
The fact is, he started hot and stayed that way. As Rawson walked across the court after the game, take-out food in hand, to greet family members, teammates kiddingly announced, “Make way for the superstar!”
Imagine how they would have treated Rawson if he had not air-balled his seventh 3-point try. “I got a little too excited on that one,” he said, smiling in the interview room.
Even that offensive sequence turned out well for him, as he turned Collette’s rebound into a twisting jumper in the lane. Then came his dunk of Bibbins’ pass, basically ending a night when the Utes could feel good about themselves.
Temporarily, anyway. That’s how this league works. With this sweep of the Washington schools, the Utes have played their way back to 4-4 and a three-way tie for fifth in the Pac-12. They’ve spent other Mondays of this month in first and 10th places, and now they’re right in the middle with three opponents looming on the road: Arizona State, Arizona and Colorado.
The Utes will have to do something extraordinary to make the NCAA Tournament, the line of success or failure for any program’s season. Along the way, though, this Pac-12 competition will be fun.
The encouraging development is Utah’s healthy, during a season when Rawson’s availability for practice every day has made Krystkowiak label him a “warrior.” He’s also a good passer, rebounder and defender, the kind of all-around player that has made Utah’s program function in this decade.
Rawson posted 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in a December loss at BYU. He may have produced a triple double in Provo if his teammates had made more shots. Bibbins knows how that works. His assist total kept climbing Sunday, thanks largely to Rawson’s success, and the Utes outshot a team that lives by 3-pointers by going 13 of 31 themselves. As Krystkowiak said, “Those 3s add up fast.”
Lima, Peru • Pope Francis wrapped up his visit to Peru on Sunday by denouncing the plague of corruption sweeping through Latin America. But controversy over his accusations that Chilean sex abuse victims slandered a bishop continued to cast a shadow over what has become the most contested and violent trip of his papacy.
A day after his top adviser on sex abuse publicly rebuked him for his Chile remarks, Francis was reminded that the Vatican has faced years of criticism for its inaction over a similar sex abuse scandal in Peru.
“Francis, here there IS proof,” read a banner hanging from a Lima building along his motorcade route Sunday.
The message was a reference to Francis’ Jan. 18 comments in Iquique, Chile, that there was not “one shred of proof” that a protege of Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest, the Rev. Fernando Karadima, knew of Karadima’s abuse and did nothing to stop it.
Karadima’s victims have accused the bishop, Juan Barros, of complicity in the cover-up. Barros has denied the accusations, and Francis backed him by saying the victims’ claims were “all calumny.”
His comments sparked such an outcry that both the Chilean government and his own top adviser on abuse stepped in to publicly rebuke him — an extraordinary correction of a pope from both church and state. The criticisms were all the more remarkable given that they came on the Argentina-born pontiff’s home turf in Latin America.
Francis tried to move beyond the scandal Sunday, joking with cloistered nuns that they were taking advantage of his visit to finally get out and get a breath of fresh air. And he denounced a corruption scandal in Latin America that has even implicated his Peruvian host, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
In a meeting with bishops, Francis said the bribery scandal centered on Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht was “just a small anecdote” of the corruption and graft that has thrown much of Latin American politics into a state of crisis.
“If we fall into the hands of people who only understand the language of corruption, we’re toast,” the Argentine pope said in unscripted remarks.
It was the second time Francis addressed corruption during his visit to Peru, where Kuczynski narrowly escaped impeachment over his ties to Odebrecht in December. The company has admitted to paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to politicians throughout the region in exchange for lucrative public works contracts.
Francis was greeted by cheering crowds at nearly every stop of his Peruvian trip. But the cloud of the church’s sex abuse scandal trailed him.
Francis’ remarks that he would only believe victims with “proof” were problematic because they were already deemed so credible by the Vatican that it sentenced Karadima to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” in 2011 based on their testimony. A Chilean judge also found the victims to be credible, saying that while she had to drop charges against Karadima because too much time had passed, proof of his crimes wasn’t lacking.
Those same victims accused Barros of witnessing the abuse and standing by.
It is extremely rare for a cardinal to publicly criticize a pope, but Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston and head of Francis’ own committee of experts on the issue, said Saturday that Francis’ remarks were “a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse.” He said such expressions of disbelief made abuse survivors feel abandoned and left in “discredited exile.”
It is also rare for a government to criticize a visiting pope. But after the remarks, Chilean government spokeswoman Paula Narvaez said there was an “ethical imperative to respect victims of sexual abuse, believe them and support them.”
The issue also had resonance in Peru. Last week the Vatican took over a Peru-based Roman Catholic lay movement, Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, more than six years after first learning of sexual, physical and psychological abuse committed by its founder.
An independent investigation commissioned by the movement found that founder Luis Figari sodomized his recruits, forced them to fondle him and one another, liked to watch them “experience pain, discomfort and fear” and humiliated them in front of others. Figari’s victims have criticized the Vatican for its years of inaction and for eventually sanctioning him with what they considered a “golden exile” — retirement in Italy at a retreat house, albeit separated from the community he founded.
The banner hanging from the building along Francis’ motorcade route referred to evidence against Figari and featured a photo of him. Peruvian prosecutors recently announced they wanted to arrest him.
It was not clear if Francis would refer to the Sodalitium scandal on his final day in Peru, which was to feature a Mass at an airfield expected to draw hundreds of thousands. In contrast, Francis’ send-off from Chile drew only 50,000 people, a fraction of the number expected.
“Hopefully early tomorrow, myself and all of Peru will get a chance to see him up close,” said Nicolas Astete, one of more than 3,000 people who gathered Saturday night outside the Apostolic Nunciature in Lima, hoping for a glimpse of the pope before he retired for the evening.
“Come here!” the crowds cried as Francis made his way to the papal embassy.
During his seven-day trip in Chile and Peru, Francis personally apologized to survivors of priests who sexually abused them, traveled deep into the Amazon to meet with indigenous leaders, decried the scourges of corruption and violence against women in Latin America and urged the Chilean government and radical factions of the Mapuche indigenous group to peacefully resolve one of the region’s longest-running disputes.
But the pope also attracted unprecedented rejection: At least a dozen churches across Chile were set aflame, and riot police shot tear gas at and arrested protesters in Santiago.
Associated Press video journalist Cesar Barreto contributed to this report.
Zion National Park • Like most school teachers, Beth Cottrell is naturally curious.
So the retired Columbus, Ohio, instructor was more than a little disappointed that the federal government shutdown resulted in the closure of the Zion National Park visitor center and furlough of its interpretive staff.
“You don’t get the educational information from the ranger,” she said Sunday while exploring Zion with husband, Jim, and their two sons on a long-planned western vacation. “I would have asked the ranger how it was formed.”
Utah’s most popular park seemed quieter than normal Sunday — the second day of the federal shutdown. That’s probably more because late January is one of the slowest times of the year and road construction in nearby Springdale often brings traffic to a halt.
Unlike the 2013 shutdown, many national parks remain open. That was obvious Sunday at Zion as visitors snapped photos, hiked popular trails and visited the Zion Lodge, which remained open and provided the only flush toilets available in the park.
But they are unable to camp and will find resource centers and restrooms closed. No trash pickup or fees will be collected. No backcountry or wilderness permits will be available.
Social media and websites are not being maintained by the National Park Service. The five Utah national park websites simply had a brief notice saying the shutdown had affected visitor services. In the meantime, the Utah Office of Tourism said it will act as a clearinghouse for updated information about the parks during the shutdown at http://www.visitutah.com/shutdown.
Mark Butterworth of Melbourne, Australia, came to the southwest to visit such parks as Zion and the Grand Canyon.
“It worked to our benefit,” he said, holding a camera and tripod in the Zion Lodge parking lot. “We are not paying entrance fees. Other than the toilet aspect, nothing has been impacted. …We have been fortunate that way.”
The park radio station that visitors can tune into as they enter Zion National Park said search-and-rescue operations would be severely delayed, warning visitors who might become stranded or need aid that response times could be slow.
But the park wasn’t completely unstaffed.
Park service employees were stationed at either end of the Zion tunnel during the day to allow large vehicles, such as a bus, to pass through. And two ranger vehicles could be seen doing patrols. One Zion National Park law enforcement officer declined to comment as he picked up his lunch in Springdale near the entrance to Zion.
Business owners in Springdale on the west side of the park said construction — most of the town’s main road is torn up with only one lane of traffic — probably had more of an effect on sales than the shutdown.
Yelena Sokolovskaya of Worthington Gallery said the National Park Service had sent local businesses an email detailing what was and was not open during the shutdown.
“I don’t think the shutdown has hurt much,” she said. “You can still access the park for free. January is the slowest time.”
Cynthia Martinez at the Majestic View Lodge offered similar sentiments.
She said guests were asking whether they could hike. Though business was slow, Martinez said there had been no cancellations due to the shutdown.
While most of Utah’s state parks remain open, visitors going to a federal park, wildlife refuge, or Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Forest Service facility may find them closed, not staffed and most services curtailed. Calling ahead is difficult because no one is staffing the phones and most websites are not being updated.
Even if campgrounds remain open, as is the case in some BLM areas, the restrooms will be locked in most cases and no water or trash pickup will be provided.
Law enforcement will continue at most federal facilities.
The bottom line is that visitor services will be severely curtailed during the shutdown. If trash builds up or resources begin to be damaged, some could be closed with little, if any, notice.
So travelers should expect the unexpected.
National parks: What’s open, what isn’t
• The National Park Service will not operate parks during the shutdown — no visitor services will be provided. The NPS will not issue permits, conduct interpretive or educational programs, collect trash, operate or provide restrooms, maintain roads or walkways (including plowing and ice melting), or provide visitor information. Park roads, lookouts, trails and open-air memorials will generally remain accessible to visitors.
• As a general rule, if a facility or area is locked or secured during nonbusiness hours (buildings, gated parking lots, etc.) it should be locked or secured for the duration of the shutdown.
• If visitor access becomes a safety, health or resource protection issue (weather, road conditions, resource damage, garbage buildup to the extent that it endangers human health or wildlife, etc.), the area must be closed. Parks may not bring on additional staff to accommodate visitor access.
• The NPS will cease providing services for NPS-operated campgrounds, including maintenance, janitorial, bathrooms, showers, check-in/check-out and reservations. Visitors in campgrounds will not be asked to leave but should be advised that no services will be available. In addition, visitors holding campground reservations for a later date will be advised that the NPS is not operating campgrounds, including providing check-in/check-out services during a shutdown. There is no guarantee their reserved campsite will be ready and available should they arrive during a government shutdown.
• Park websites and social media will not be maintained. Parks will not provide regular road or trail condition updates. As a part of their shutdown activities, park staff will post signs notifying visitors that no visitor services, maintenance or other management activities will be conducted, and emergency and rescue services will be limited.
• At the superintendent’s discretion, parks may close grounds/areas with sensitive natural, cultural, historic, or archaeological resources vulnerable to destruction, looting, or other damage that cannot be adequately protected by the excepted law enforcement staff that remain on duty to conduct essential activities.
• At the superintendent’s discretion and with approval of the regional director or director, parks may enter into arrangements with local governments, cooperating associations, and/or other third parties for donation of specified visitor services. The NPS will not reimburse third parties (through payments, franchise fee relief or any other consideration) who provide such visitor services. If NPS staff conducts the work using funds from a third party, funds must be transferred and deposited before the NPS may continue or resume providing visitor services. The Washington office will provide template agreements. Agreements should not be established for a period of less than three days. Because a shutdown of park operations may take up to two days, parks should begin shutdown when the balance in the donation account falls below a two-day balance.
• In general, enforcement actions should be reactive rather than proactive. Parks should not take measures to keep visitors out of an area unless access presents a serious and imminent threat to human life, safety or health, or a serious and imminent threat to the condition of a sensitive natural or cultural resource.
• Access to leased concessionaire facilities is permitted.
• Visitors on outfitter or guided trips that have already commenced at the start of the shutdown will be allowed to complete their trip.
Source: Department of Interior
TV chef and lifestyle guru Sandra Lee came to the Sundance Film Festival four years ago to support a friend whose documentary about the Vietnam War was making its debut.
The star of Food Network’s “Semi-Homemade Cooking” will return in 2018, this time for “RX Early Detection: A Cancer Journey With Sandra Lee.”
“I never thought for two seconds I’d be back with a film of my own,” said Lee during a recent telephone interview. Nor could she have imagined that she would be the main character in the 38-minute film covering her 2015 battle with breast cancer, which included a double mastectomy followed by an infection and other complications.
In the film, part of the Documentary Shorts Program 2, Emmy-award winning news and entertainment producer Cathy Chermol Schrijver follows Lee from operating room through recovery.
Not surprisingly, it shows the usually perfectly groomed Lee at her worst — no lipstick, tangled hair, emotional and losing weight. But it also offers tender moments with family, including her sister, Kimber, and Lee’s longtime boyfriend, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Lee, Cuomo and other members of the family will be in Utah for the Sunday premiere at the Sundance Resort and subsequent screenings in Park City and Salt Lake City.
Before their visit, Lee talked about why she decided to film her cancer journey, who should see the film and the importance of early detection. (Her comments have been edited for space.)
Whose idea was it to film your cancer surgery and recovery?
I had created this production company and hired Cathy to run it. Her first day on the job, I had to tell her I had been diagnosed with cancer. She said, “We’re going to film the whole thing and own it.” She filmed the whole thing using one of those tiny hand-held cameras. So many things happened on that journey, we were stunned at the volume of material we had accumulated.
Is there a moment in the film that stands out for you?
The American Cancer Society had just changed its recommendations saying most women can have mammograms every other year. This is ridiculous. I was 48 when I had that mammogram. They detected my cancer early but found it in several different places and it was growing quickly. What If I had waited two years?
Do you have a family history of breast cancer?
No. We didn’t have it in our family, we had other cancers. That’s why I was shocked. But now I know why God gave it to me and why I was able to catch it so early. He gave me a job to do.
What was that?
To be an advocate. Get checked. Get screened. You need to be in control of your health. Early detection is the thing that will save your life.
You’ve been on television for years. How was this project different than filming a cooking show?
Normally when I’m in front of the camera, I’m edited. My hair and makeup are done and I’m Sandra Lee as opposed to Sandy. This film is about who I usually am. It shows the different lives I have. People will see me on my knees and see me cry. It’s about the relationship between a man and woman; the relationship with a sister; the relationship with yourself and your body and one of the most intimate parts of your body. It’s a very painful journey. It shows what it will take to be cancer free, even with early detection. The good news is you will live.
Did you change your diet after your diagnosis?
I already had a great diet. But one thing I used to do was eat a lot of red meat. Now I’m more aware of the antibiotics, pesticides and hormones that go into my food. I’m much more thoughtful about the quality of food I eat. I eat a lot of leafy greens and I pay more attention to where I get plant-based foods. I have a filtration system for water. A lot of diseases are part of your family chain, but it’s our environment, too, and a combination of things we don’t even know.
Who do you hope sees the film?
It’s a film for everyone, men and women. It gives a beautiful perspective about the support system around you and how to be that for someone. There’s nothing fancy about the film. It’s just what happened. But I’m proud of it and believe that it can change and save lives. That’s what I care about.
RX Early Detection: A Cancer Journey with Sandra Lee
Director and screenwriter Cathy Chermol Schrijver follows Food Network star Sandra Lee through her breast cancer surgery and recovery. The 39-minute film screens with Documentary Shorts Program 2.
Sunday, Jan. 21, 3 p.m. • Sundance Resort, Provo
Monday, Jan 22, 9 p.m • Temple, Park City
Wednesday, Jan 24, 4 p.m. • Redstone 2, Park City
Thursday, Jan 25, 3 p.m. • Broadway 6, Salt Lake City
Saturday, Jan 27, 8:30 a.m. • Holiday 1, Park City
Every new administration promises to trim the influence of unknown, disconnected bureaucrats and open the federal decision-making process up to more voices from more places.
Unless, of course, those in the administration decide that more voices from more places just get in the way of policies they are determined to implement. In which case, those voices get ignored, disrespected and -- in the case of the National Park System Advisory Board -- basically stonewalled out of existence.
A body created by Congress 83 years ago, the 12-member board is -- or was -- made up of a scatter of people from different parts of the country representing both politics and academia. Its job was to study, research, gather opinions and expertise and make recommendations to the National Park Service and its parent agency, the Interior Department, on best practices for taking care of America’s Best Idea.
But last week, after waiting nearly a year for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to notice them, nine of the 12 board members resigned in protest. Among them was Margaret Wheatley, a Provo resident who has a doctorate from Harvard in Organizational Behavior and Change -- a skill set that any Cabinet secretary truly interested in reform might find useful.
But Wheatley, along with former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles and seven others, very publicly gave up those spots when it became clear that Zinke was not interested in hearing their advice. Wheatley explained her reason in a commentary published in Sunday’s Salt Lake Tribune.
Those who resigned also included Wyoming resident Gretchen Long, a Harvard business graduate with a long record of both business experience and conservation activism.
The parks board managed to hang on longer than all 17 members of a similar body -- the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities -- who quit back in August. In a resignation letter where the first letter of each paragraph spelled out the word “RESIST.”
Those who walked out were unanimous in their view that Zinke and the National Park Service have their own agenda, one that apparently includes opening up more public land to mining and drilling and having little respect for the millions of people who love the parks, and have no intention of slowing down to discuss any of that.
This is exactly the opposite of what President Trump promised when, in his recent visit to Utah, to protect public lands, “ through a truly representative process, one that listens to the local communities that knows the land the best and that cherishes the land the most.”
What has become clear, though, is that the administration’s idea of those who cherish the land most are those most eager to dig it up. No other voices need be heard.
Washington • The FBI did not retain text messages exchanged by two senior officials involved in the probes of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for a five-month period ending the day a special counsel was appointed to investigate possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to a new congressional letter.
The letter from Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray indicates the Justice Department has turned over to lawmakers a new batch of texts from senior FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. The messages have not been made public.
As The Washington Post reported in December, Strzok was removed from the Trump probe after internal investigators discovered he and Page, who were romantically involved , exchanged anti-Trump, pro-Clinton texts during investigations of both presidential candidates. Later that month, the Justice Department provided Congress with hundreds of pages of messages. Republicans said the texts revealed political bias at the bureau's highest levels.
Johnson's weekend letter said his committee received 384 pages of new Strzok-Page texts late Friday. The lawmaker is asking the FBI to explain in more detail why it "did not preserve text messages between Ms. Page and Mr. Strzok between approximately December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.''
May 17 is a key date in the Russia probe: It's the day Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tapped Robert Mueller III as a special counsel to take over the investigation.
An FBI spokesman declined to comment.
Much occurred during the months the Strzok-Page texts were not retained. Then-FBI Director James Comey met repeatedly with President Donald Trump, the Russia probe intensified and began to focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn and, in early May, Trump fired Comey.
The FBI previously informed the Justice Department that "many FBI-provided Samsung 5 mobile devices did not capture or store text messages due to misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI's collection capabilities," as a Justice Department official told lawmakes in an earlier letter. As a result, it says, "data that should have been automatically collected and retained for long-term storage and retrieval was not collected.''
Strzok's and Page's conduct are the subject of an investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general. Strzok was removed from Mueller's team in July when Mueller was notified of the texts. Page left the team two weeks earlier for what officials have said were unrelated reasons.
Lawyers for the two did not immediately respond to requests for comment Sunday.
Johnson's letter quotes from a handful of the newly revealed text messages, including one from July 1, 2016, in which Page expresses disdain for then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, who had just announced she would accept the charging recommendations of career officials in the probe of Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Lynch made that decision after she came under fire for meeting with former president Bill Clinton on the tarmac of an airport in Phoenix.
"Yeah, it's a real profile in courag(e), since she knows no charges will be brought,'' Page texted to Strzok.
By that point, multiple news outlets had reported that charges were not likely to be filed in the Clinton case. Days later, Clinton was formally interviewed by the FBI, and Comey announced in a news conference on July 5, 2016, that he would not be recommending any criminal charges in the case.
The new texts also indicate that Strzok and Page occasionally emailed each other using private accounts, rather than government ones, according to the letter, though one of those texts suggests that may have been unintentional.
While Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak lamented his team playing its fourth consecutive Sunday game, Washington State sophomore forward Jeff Pollard didn’t mind the extra day back in his home state and visiting with family and friends.
A member of two state championship teams at Bountiful High, Pollard played alongside current Utah State guard Sam Merrill and BYU guard Zac Seljaas (Merrill was there for one of the two state title runs). Pollard averaged 16.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game as a senior.
Washington State’s recruiting efforts started shortly after coach Ernie Kent took over as the program’s new coach. Kent, who’d previously been at Oregon, is now in his fourth season.
“Just the experience of the coaching staff,” Pollard said of the attraction to Washington State. “When they told me what their plan was and how they were going to rebuild the program, I jumped on board and was like I definitely want to be a part of that. They all have a record of being able to rebuild programs.”
Pollard initially signed with Washington State as a senior, but did a “gap year” at Impact Academy in Las Vegas, Nev., which he described as a chance to take a redshirt year without actually using a redshirt. He said that year helped him adjust to be away from home and develop physically.
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Pollard has played in 15 games off the bench and averaged 5.6 points and 2.6 rebounds.
“I kind of have been around the program, even though I’m just a sophomore, for three and a half years,” Pollard said. “So I feel like I’ve gotten used to being in the situation I’m in. I’ve really gotten used to the role that I have on the team now. I just feel comfortable, and I feel like I’m in a good place.”
Van Dyke in lineup
Van Dyke in lineup
Junior guard and Salt Lake City resident Parker Van Dyke started for the second time this season on Sunday. Van Dyke’s only other start came against Northwestern State on Dec. 20. Van Dyke played 20 minutes in that win at home and dished out a season-high six assists.
Van Dyke came into the game averaging 3.3 points per game and shooting 25 percent from the floor while averaging 14.6 minutes per game.
Barefield heats up
Junior guard Sedrick Barefield had scored just six points in the team’s previous three games, including a scoreless effort at USC. Barefield came off the bench Sunday to score seven first-half points.
A woman who was buried by an avalanche Sunday while on a run at Snowbasin Resort in Weber County was rescued and taken to a hospital by helicopter.
The avalanche occurred at 3:10 p.m. in the No Name area, which is in the resort, according to a Snowbasin news release.
Ski Patrol members and people who were nearby dug the skier out of the snow, the release says, and the woman was transported to the hospital in stable condition.
A second skier, who was partially buried, got down the mountain on his own and was taken by ground ambulance to a hospital with moderate injuries, Capt. Oliver Cummings of the Weber Fire District said.
An asteroid larger than any skyscraper yet built is hurtling toward Earth, the Daily Mail informs. If it hits on Feb. 4, the paper continues, scientists predict a decade of cold and darkness, and skies choked with soot, and misery across the planet.
Between these paragraphs, the Mail inserts occasional reminders that asteroid 2002 AJ129 will not hit Earth, according to NASA. In fact it is predicted to get no closer than 2.6 million miles from Earth, despite NASA's scary-sounding classification of the rock as "potentially hazardous" — a term which the Mail has paired with horrific illustrations of an asteroid careening straight into the planet.
The Sun is on the story too: "FAST AND DANGEROUS?" Meanwhile, the Daily Star has mocked up a depiction of the asteroid bearing down on Hyde Park. If you loaded up Google on Sunday morning and clicked "News," you'd be greeted by a picture of AJ129 boiling away an ocean, beside the headline, "Doomsday?"
No wonder that on Friday, a concerned citizen sent NASA a link to a report that the asteroid was on a collision course to kill us all, and asked why the agency wasn't talking about it.
"Because it's a lie," NASA tweeted.
Not even a novel lie. AJ129 is one of hundreds of asteroids of a certain size that have flown or will fly within 4.65 million miles of Earth, and are therefore classified by NASA as "potentially hazardous."
None of them are predicted to hit us.
When AJ129 passes closest to Earth next month, NASA has explained, it will still be 10 times farther from us than the moon. And while the headlines are comparing it to the world's tallest building, it could be as big as two-thirds of a mile across, or as small as about 500 yards.
In any event, it won't matter much to us because it won't hit us.
"We have been tracking this asteroid for over 14 years and know its orbit very accurately," NASA manager Paul Chodas wrote for the agency. "Asteroid 2002 AJ129 has no chance — zero — of colliding with Earth on Feb. 4 or any time over the next 100 years."
So why are the tabloids freaking out about the asteroid? Because they do it all the time.
A few weeks before AJ129 made headlines, the Daily Mail was warning about a truck-sized asteroid "set to make a 'close' approach with Earth in HOURS." It passed by harmlessly.
In December, the paper was worried about 2012 DA14. Last summer it was asteroid NY65, which the Mail wrote "could potentially wipe out life as we know it." It didn't.
Google "potentially hazardous" asteroids, and you get nearly 30,000 results from the Daily Mail alone. Maybe that's because more than 2,000 objects that fit the classification are predicted to swing past Earth in the future, according to NASA's asteroid database. Forget about Feb. 4. There will be one on Monday.
Which isn't to say asteroids are no concern. As The Washington Post has previously written, a relatively small one slammed into Siberia in 1908 with the force of 1,000 atomic bombs. There have been true close calls within the past decade. Even a tiny meteor that burned up in our atmosphere sent an alarming meteoroid arcing across the Michigan sky a few days ago. And if a big asteroid did hit the planet, we really would all probably die.
That very small but very scary possibility is why NASA tracks so many space rocks, and gives one that are predicted to pass within a few moonshots the "potentially hazardous" terminology that births so many headlines.
The agency carried out a simulation with FEMA in 2016 about what could be done if a large asteroid really was found to be on a collision course with Earth. It was a grim exercise, involving the mass evacuation of Los Angeles "while also addressing how to refute rumors and false information that could emerge in the years leading up to the hypothetical impact."
Fortunately, no such asteroid is known to exist.
Unfortunately, NASA's still bogged down with managing rumors.
Washington • As the federal government hurtled toward a shutdown this last week, lawmakers played a now-familiar parlor game: What on Earth does President Trump want?
On Wednesday, the White House issued an official statement saying it supported a 30-day spending bill to avert a shutdown that included a six-year extension of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.
But Thursday dawned to see Trump declaring the opposite. “CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!” he exclaimed on Twitter.
There was so much head-scratching at the Capitol, they had to bring in a Zamboni to clear all the dandruff.
As The Washington Post reported, Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the chamber’s No. 3 Republican, said he was “at a loss.”
And Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) gave voice to the grievance of many: “We don’t have a reliable partner at the White House to negotiate with.”
Perhaps that’s because the president is always negotiating with himself.
Exactly a week earlier, Trump had thrown the Capitol into similar chaos when he tweeted out criticism of a surveillance bill his administration supported. Later the same day, he rejected, in colorful fashion, a bipartisan immigration compromise he had said just two days earlier he would embrace. And this last week, on the same day lawmakers puzzled over the president’s actual position on the spending bill (the White House eventually returned to its original stance), Trump was contradicting his own chief of staff, John F. Kelly, who said Trump had “changed his attitude” and “evolved” on the nature of a border wall.
Trump replied that the wall “has never changed or evolved.”
The New Testament warns: “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” Trump isn’t playing an uncertain trumpet so much as he is randomly switching between a vuvuzela and a slide whistle.
The president’s mixed messages, more than anything, are what brought the government to the brink of a shutdown. The issues involved — protections for the “dreamer” immigrants, the CHIP program and higher military spending — generally enjoy a broad bipartisan consensus.
A plaintive Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, essentially threw up his hands over immigration talks this last week: “I’m looking for something that President Trump supports, and he’s not yet indicated what measure he’s willing to sign. As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I will be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels.”
His statement was a gentler way of expressing the quote attributed to (and contested by) former deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh in Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” that working with Trump “was like trying to figure out what a child wants.”
The president began the immigration negotiations by telling lawmakers he would sign whatever compromise they worked out, as long as it had a border-security component and a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, component for the dreamers.
“My positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with,” Trump said, two days before rejecting such a bipartisan compromise.
If McConnell and Kelly have it rough, imagine the poor White House waiter taking Trump’s order:
“And what will you be having, sir?”
“My order is going to be what the people at this table come up with.”
“Well, sir, she’s having the steak — ”
“I’ll have that.”
” — and he’s having the fish.”
“I’ll have that.”
“Er, which one, sir?”
And pity the steward attempting to screen a film for the first family at the White House theater:
Ivanka Trump: “I want to see ‘The Greatest Showman.‘”
The president: “I agree.”
Melania Trump: “Ooh, could we watch ‘Paddington 2’?”
The president: “Perfect.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Peter Nicholas and Rebecca Ballhaus this last week offered a “How-To Guide” for winning over a president for whom “no case is ever settled.” When Trump wanted to veto a bill containing sanctions against Russia, aides told him a veto override would make him look weak. He relented. When he was determined to crack down on trade, aides warned that such actions could hurt stock prices. He backed off. Aides have also employed stalling, “hoping he’ll forget what he wanted done and move on to something else.”
My favorite is Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s technique: “He says, ‘Your instincts are absolutely correct,’ and then gets him [Trump] to do the exact opposite of what his instincts say.”
Maybe that’s why the president often seems to be wearing the same red tie. If he had to choose, he might not leave his bedroom all day.
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.
Troy, Mich. • Episodes of congressional disarray feed an ideologically loaded narrative that government is hopelessly incompetent and can never be counted on to do much that is useful.
Even if President Trump and the Republicans ultimately come to bear the burden for Washington’s disarray, episodes of this sort bolster the standard conservative view of government as a lumbering beast whose “meddling” only fouls things up. The private sector is cast as virtuously efficient and best left alone.
The power of this anti-government bias is enhanced by our failure to revisit government’s successes. We don’t often call out those who wrongly predict that activist politicians and bureaucrats will bring on nothing but catastrophe.
This is why conservatives would rather lock up the government rescue of General Motors and Chrysler under President Obama in a memory hole. In the end, taxpayers invested some $80 billion in the rescue and recouped all but approximately $10 billion of that. And that figure does not take into account the taxes paid by workers who might otherwise have been unemployed.
Remember that when this was debated, critics insisted that the federal government could not possibly understand a complicated business and that it would turn the auto companies into some kind of patronage dumping ground.
If the bailout happened, Mitt Romney famously wrote, “you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.” Rush Limbaugh accused Obama of trying to “take over” the American auto companies in order to turn them into “another industry doing his bidding.” Former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said the bailout would amount to throwing good money after bad. “Just giving them $25 billion doesn’t change anything,” he said in November 2008, citing the estimated upfront cost at the time of saving the companies. “It just puts off for six months or so the day of reckoning.”
In fact, in the most capitalist of terms, the initiative worked spectacularly well. Auto sales rose for seven straight years starting in 2010, before finally taking a small dip in 2017. On May 29, 2009, GM stock cratered to 75 cents a share — yes, 75 cents. The restructured company went public again in 2010 at $33 a share, and it was trading at around $43 a share last Friday. Fiat Chrysler, the merged company that came out of the government-led restructuring, debuted on the New York Stock Exchange at $9 a share in October 2014 and is now trading in the range of $24 a share.
Although Obama organized the details of the rescue and took the heat for it, former President George W. Bush deserves some credit here. While he was initially reluctant to do so, Bush responded to Obama’s desire to keep the future of the companies open. He eventually fronted GM and Chrysler some $25 billion from the funds set aside for the bank bailouts after the economic implosion.
Bush said in December 2008, “If we were to allow the free market to take its course now, it would almost certainly lead to disorderly bankruptcy.” For such a staunch capitalist, it was a candid — one might say courageous — admission that the market, operating on its own, would create chaos.
And this bedlam would have taken a severe human and social toll, since the job losses from that “disorderly bankruptcy” would have hit not only the auto companies themselves but also their suppliers and other enterprises, large and small, that served them.
Instead, Michigan, along with other parts of the region, has staged an impressive comeback. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate peaked at 14.9 percent in June 2009, fell to 5.1 percent by December 2016, and has continued to drop, to 4.6 percent last November. In Detroit itself, unemployment declined from 28.4 percent in June 2009 to 7.8 percent in November 2017.
Wages, it should be said, have not fully recovered from the Great Recession. The real median household income in Michigan stood at $57,910 in 2006, sank through 2010, when it hit $50,943, and was at $57,091 in 2016. So there’s still work to do. But imagine what the trends would look like if government had made the irreversible choice of letting GM and Chrysler go under.
The price of our collective amnesia about the moments when public action kept capitalism from flying off the rails is very high. Once a crisis is over, extreme forms of deregulation return to fashion and our political discourse falls lazily back into cheap government bashing. That Trump and Congress sometimes make this easy is no excuse for forgetting why government is there.
E.J. Dionne’s email address is [email protected] Twitter: @EJDionne.
Provo • Still basking in the euphoria of an important win over San Diego at the Marriott Center on Saturday night, BYU basketball coach Dave Rose took a deep breath and let out a big sigh.
Toward the end of his postgame news conference, Rose had been asked about the prospects of playing West Coast Conference-leading Saint Mary’s again, this time on the Gaels’ own floor at the stuffy sweat box known as McKeon Pavilion.
“My thoughts right now are that we need to have a good week of practice,” Rose said. “We battled them pretty good [in Provo on Dec. 30], but there are lots of things we can do better so we can execute over there and make a game of it.”
Saint Mary’s (8-0, 19-2) downed BYU 74-64 in overtime after Zac Seljaas’ 3-point attempt missed at the end of regulation. The Gaels are coming off a huge 74-71 win at No. 13 Gonzaga on Thursday and a 72-69 squeaker at surprising Pacific on Saturday and are sure to crack the national rankings again when they are released on Monday.
The Cougars are on a four-game winning streak since losing that 67-66 heartbreaker to Pacific when Seljaas’ last shot was ruled a split-second late, and have tied their best eight-game league record (6-2) in their seven years in the WCC. This is their best overall record (17-4) through 21 games since they were 20-1 in Jimmer Fredette’s senior season (2010-11).
BYU has now played every team in the WCC once, except Gonzaga. That the Cougars will play the Gaels twice before seeing the Zags isn’t lost on Rose.
“It has happened before,” he said. “We have been through this before. … and it is like that in quite a few leagues. I mean, television is probably the reason for most of that.”
A win might vault the Cougars back on the NCAA Tournament bubble. They are up to No. 50 in the Ken Pomeroy ratings and No. 55 in Jeff Sagarin’s ratings. However, their NCAA RPI is at 70.
They’ve still got a long ways to go, obviously, but have received a boost lately from guard TJ Haws, who was sensational while scoring 24 points in the 74-58 win over the Toreros on a night when big guns Elijah Bryant and Yoeli Childs struggled a bit.
Haws is shooting 59 percent (19 of 32) from the floor and 56 percent (10 of 18) from 3-point range in his last three games, for a 16.3 average. He is also averaging 4.3 assists per game in that stretch.
“Teej always spends time at it, but the last couple of weeks he has made a real conscious effort to come in a little bit earlier and stay a little bit longer,” Rose said. “The thing is that he has been doing this his whole life. Very seldom does a guy lose it and it never comes back. It is going to come back. It is just a matter of confidence.”
Haws was certainly confident — drilling long-range 3-pointers and making a couple of nifty passes. He made 10 field goals and also had four steals, both career highs.
“If I miss one, I try not to let that affect me,” Haws said. “I feel like I had been doing that a little bit earlier in the season.”
Versatile sixth man Dalton Nixon didn’t play against Saint Mary’s a month ago, but should see some time Thursday. He was on a pitch count Saturday and logged just seven minutes, his first action since early December. Still, he had two rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot.
“He has a real physical presence to him, with a lot of skill,” Rose said. “He really understands our defensive system. He is a really good screener on offense. You have to guard him on the perimeter because he has a nice shot. That will really give us [depth]. Everybody can be more aggressive when you bring one more guy on that can really help us.”
BYU at Saint Mary’s, 9 p.m. MST
Former Utah starting cornerback Casey Hughes has found a new home, and it will be in the Big Ten Conference.
Hughes, who announced last week that he would seek a graduate transfer for his final season of eligibility, posted via Twitter on Sunday afternoon that he’ll play for the University of Michigan.
“It’s a blessing to say that I’ll be finishing my last collegiate season at the University of Michigan,” Hughes posted with a picture of him wearing a Wolverines jersey. “I want to thank the entire Michigan coaching staff for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to join their program.”
It’s a blessing to say that I’ll be finishing my last collegiate season at the University of Michigan. I want to thank the entire Michigan coaching staff for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to join their program. COMMITTED! 〽️ #GoBlue pic.twitter.com/c5MAb683T3— Hughdini (@CaseyLive24) January 21, 2018
Hughes, a redshirt junior who started 11 games this past season, played mostly on special teams until earning a starting spot this past season. He finished the season with two forced fumbles (both against Arizona), 35 tackles and one pass breakup.
Hughes did not play against Washington due to injury and had to leave the regular-season finale against Colorado after trying to play through injury. He did not play in the Utes’ Heart of Dallas Bowl win against West Virginia.
Hughes, a resident of North Las Vegas, Nev., figured to be pushed for the starting job this coming season by returners Julian Blackmon and Jaylon Johnson. Last week, the Utes signed Vonte Davis, a junior college transfer from Blinn College.
Davis earned second-team National Junior College All-American honors, and he’ll transfer in as a sophomore with three remaining years of eligibility.
Blackmon, a sophomore from Layton, earned second-team All Pac-12 honors and was named MVP of the Heart of Dallas Bowl. He intercepted four passes this season, including two in the bowl game.
Johnson, a four-star recruit and one of the top cornerbacks in the country coming out of high school last year, played in 12 games (two starts) before suffering an injury that required surgery before the final game of the regular season. Johnson tied for the team lead with six pass breakups and was second with seven passes defended.
Michigan started a pair of sophomores at the cornerback positions most of last season in Lavert Hill and David Long.
Foxborough, Mass. • Give ‘em a hand: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are heading back to the Super Bowl.
Brady shook off a hand injury and threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola with 2:48 remaining , rallying the Patriots to a 24-20 comeback victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC championship Sunday.
Brady, wearing a black bandage on his right hand after cutting it during practice earlier in the week, showed no signs of being hampered.
And, with the game — and the season — possibly on the line, the Patriots star came up big again.
“I’ve had a lot worse,” Brady said. “I didn’t know that on Wednesday. It was a crazy injury. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday was a little scary. Then I started getting some confidence and today we did just enough to win.”
Brady finished 26 of 38 for 290 yards and two touchdowns to Amendola for the Patriots (15-3), who’ll play the winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia in Minneapolis on Feb. 4.
It’s the eighth Super Bowl appearance for Brady and coach Bill Belichick, who have won five times — including last year’s 34-28 overtime rally against the Atlanta Falcons.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Brady said. “It’s pretty amazing. Just to be on a team that wins these kinds of games, it’s just a great accomplishment. I’m just so proud of everyone on our team, we made so many great plays. Defense played so great when they needed to. Just an amazing game.”
Blake Bortles and the Jaguars (12-7) led 20-10 early in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold against the defending champions. The NFL’s second-ranked defense kept Brady and the Patriots at bay for most of the game, but also lost linebacker Myles Jack and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus on consecutive plays on New England’s winning drive.
Jacksonville — looking to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history — had one more shot, but Bortles’ throw on fourth-and-15 to Dede Westbrook was knocked away by Stephon Gilmore.
The Patriots then ran out the clock, with Dion Lewis’ 18-yard scamper with 90 seconds remaining sealing the victory. And they played most of the game without tight end Rob Gronkowski, who left the game late in the first half and didn’t return.
Brady’s hand was the most-scrutinized body part in Boston since the quarterback’s ankle before the 2008 Super Bowl, and Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s right ankle tendon — the bloody sock — in the 2004 playoffs.
Brady was listed as questionable after he hurt his right hand during practice earlier in the week. He was limited Wednesday, sat out Thursday and was limited again Friday because of the injury.
That caused some panic among the Patriots faithful.
Turns out, it was nothing to fret about.
Brady warmed up without a glove on his hand, and he came out throwing. He completed his first six passes — including a 20-yarder to Amendola on fourth-and-1 from the Jaguars 30 — for 57 yards to march the Patriots down the field. The drive stalled when Brady was sacked by Dante Fowler Jr., and New England settled for Stephen Gostkowski’s 31-yard field goal.
A wide-open Marcedes Lewis gave the Jaguars a 7-3 lead 45 seconds into the second quarter with a 4-yard touchdown catch from Bortles, who was 5 for 5 for 66 yards on an impressive and efficient seven-play, 76-yard drive.
Leonard Fournette gave Jacksonville a 14-3 lead midway through the second quarter with a 4-yard TD run, hushing the crowd at Gillette Stadium.
The Jaguars made some big mistakes that hurt them just before halftime. Bortles completed a 12-yard pass to Lewis on third-and-7 from the Patriots 44, but Jacksonville was called for delay of game — after New England called a timeout.
That wiped out a first down, and Bortles was sacked by Adam Butler on the next play to force a punt. Jacksonville was called for six penalties that cost the Jaguars 98 yards, while New England had just one 10-yard call against it.
With just over two minutes left before halftime, New England’s offense took over and the fans chanted “Braa-dy! Braa-dy!”
And their quarterback delivered — with some help from the Jaguars on two long penalties.
On first-and-10 from the Patriots 40, Brady threw a long pass for Gronkowski, who was injured when he got popped by Barry Church just as the ball was arriving. Church was called for unnecessary roughness, putting the ball at Jacksonville’s 45.
A.J. Bouye was called for pass interference on the next play on an incomplete throw for Brandin Cooks. The 32-yard penalty put the ball at the Jaguars 13. After a 12-yard catch by Cooks, James White ran it in from the 1 to make it 14-10 with 55 seconds left.
Josh Lambo gave Jacksonville a 17-10 lead 4:37 into the third quarter with a 54-yard field goal. He added a 43-yarder 8 seconds into the fourth quarter to make it a 10-point game.
But Brady & Co. were just getting started.
After Jacksonville went three-and-out following Jack’s fumble recovery of Lewis, Brady and the Patriots offense came out with a sense of urgency on their next possession.
They marched 85 yards on eight plays to cut it to a three-point deficit on Amendola’s 9-yard TD catch with 8:44 left. Amendola had a 21-yard catch on third-and-18 from the Patriots 25 early in the drive.
“Big play in the game,” Brady said. “Ended up being a huge drive for us.”
FEW FLAGS: The Patriots’ one penalty against the Jaguars is the fewest called on one team in a playoff game since the 2011 AFC championship game — when the Patriots were called for just one in a win over Baltimore.
TALE OF TWO HALVES: Brady’s passer rating during the first three quarters: 87.5. New England’s quarterback in the fourth quarter: 136.3.
SOLID JAGUARS: Bortles finished 23 of 36 for 293 yards and a touchdown in his first AFC title game. Fournette had 76 yards rushing on 24 carries.
More AP NFL: https://pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP—NFL
The Utah women’s basketball team defeated Arizona 80-56 on Sunday in Tucson to complete its second road sweep of the Pac-12 season.
Megan Huff led the Utes (14-5, 5-3 Pac-12) with 17 points and nine rebounds, Tori Williams scored 15 points while going 5 for 10 from the floor, and Daneesha Provo added 12 points and seven rebounds.
Utah shot 52 percent from the floor (26-50) and 44 percent from 3-point range, holding Arizona to just 33 percent shooting overall, also outrebounding the Wildcats 40-20.
“We got a win on the road, which is great and we shot the ball 52 percent,” Utah coach Lynne Roberts said. “I thought Daneesha had a tough game at ASU, didn’t do much in the first half and then had a huge third quarter, which really opened it up for us. Tori and Huff really opened up the first half too. We were balanced.”
Utah won 58-56 at Arizona State on Friday night, and also swept a trip to Washington earlier this month.
Marlee Kyles led Arizona (5-14, 1-7) with 15 points off the bench.
Moscow • The latest attempt at Russian-American rapprochement came in the guise of a shirtless U.S. ambassador.
Wearing black swimming trunks, U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman on Sunday plunged into the icy waters of the Istra River outside Moscow, as Russian journalists’ cameras rolled. The former Utah governor was trying out an Orthodox tradition for the Epiphany holiday, commemorating the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. His frigid dip had a geopolitical air to it: Huntsman was following Russian President Vladimir Putin, who did his own shirtless Epiphany photo op on Friday.
“This allows us to better get to know Russia’s great culture from the inside,” Huntsman told a Russian television reporter afterward, according to the TV translation of his remarks. Huntsman, the reporter added, “is confident that this cold tradition can help move Russian-American relations in a warm direction.”
Thus the United States got a moment of good press at a time when the looming congressional sanctions seem set to drive U.S.-Russian relations to new lows. A photograph of the shirtless Huntsman emerging from the river led the website of the popular tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda. TV channel 360 said the ambassador showed “Russian courage and English gallantry.”
Huntsman’s courage did not, however, seem to make much of an impression on one of the Kremlin’s main propagandists, television host Dmitry Kiselyov. His weekly show Sunday night featured a segment slamming The Washington Post for “fake news” on Russia’s role in the U.S. election; another on an unkept U.S. promise not to expand NATO to the east; and a third claiming American athletes were getting away with doping. U.S. diplomacy, Kiselyov told viewers, is “dishonest — even treacherous.”
Editor’s note: Ambassador Jon Huntsman is a brother of Paul Huntsman, the owner and publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune.
Miami • The number of legal immigrants from Latin American nations who access public health services and enroll in federally subsidized insurance plans has dipped substantially since President Donald Trump took office, many of them fearing their information could be used to identify and deport relatives living in the U.S. illegally, according to health advocates across the country.
Trump based his campaign on promises to stop illegal immigration and deport any immigrants in the country illegally, but many legal residents and U.S. citizens are losing their health care as a result, advocates say.
After Trump became president a year ago, “every single day families canceled” their Medicaid plans and “people really didn’t access any of our programs,” said Daniel Bouton, a director at the Community Council, a Dallas nonprofit that specializes in health care enrollment for low-income families.
The trend stabilized a bit as the year went on, but it remains clear that the increasingly polarized immigration debate is having a chilling effect on Hispanic participation in health care programs, particularly during the enrollment season that ended in December.
Bouton’s organization has helped a 52-year-old housekeeper from Mexico, a legal resident, sign up for federally subsidized health insurance for two years. But now she’s going without, fearing immigration officials will use her enrollment to track down her husband, who is in the country illegally. She’s also considering not re-enrolling their children, 15 and 18, in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, even though they were born in the U.S.
“We’re afraid of maybe getting sick or getting into an accident, but the fear of my husband being deported is bigger,” the woman, who declined to give their names for fear her husband could be deported, said through a translator in a telephone interview.
Hispanic immigrants are not only declining to sign up for health care under programs that began or expanded under Barack Obama’s presidency -- they’re also not seeking treatment when they’re sick, Bouton and others say.
“One social worker said she had a client who was forgoing chemotherapy because she had a child that was not here legally,” said Oscar Gomez, CEO of Health Outreach Partner, a national training and advocacy organization.
My Health LA provides primary care services in Los Angeles County to low-income residents and those who lack the documents to make them eligible for publicly funded health care coverage programs, such as state Medicaid. According to its annual report, 189,410 participants enrolled in the program during Fiscal Year 2017, but 44,252, or about 23 percent, later dis-enrolled. It’s not clear how many of those who dropped out are Hispanic; the report did not describe ethnicity.
Enticing Hispanics to take advantage of subsidized health care has been a struggle that began long before Trump’s presidency.
Hispanics are more than three times as likely to go without health insurance as are their white counterparts, according to a 2015 study by Pew Research Center. Whites represented 63 percent, or 3.8 million, of those who signed up for Affordable Care Act plans last year compared to 15 percent, or just under a million, Hispanics, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The reasons vary, but some have always feared deportation, regardless of who is in office.
Recent events have not helped. Despite initial signs of a compromise agreement, Trump now isn’t supporting a deal to support young people who identified themselves to the federal government so that they could qualify for protections against deportation despite being brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
Last fall, Border Patrol agents followed a 10-year-old immigrant with cerebral palsy to a Texas hospital and took her into custody after the surgery. She had been brought to the U.S. from Mexico when she was a toddler.
And in Okeechobee, a small rural city about an hour and a half north of Miami that is home to many immigrant farm workers, green-and-white-striped immigration vehicles were spotted driving around town and parking in conspicuous places last spring and summer. After a few immigrants were picked up and deported, health advocates said patients canceled their appointments, waiting until immigration officials left to reschedule them.
In Washington state and Florida, health workers report that immigrant patients start the enrollment process, but drop out once they are required to turn in proof of income, Social Security and other personal information. The annual report from My Health LA noted that it denied 28 percent more applicants in Fiscal 2017 than it had the year before, mostly due to incomplete applications.
In a survey of four Health Outreach Partner locations in California and the Pacific Northwest, social workers said some of their patients asked to be removed from the centers’ records for fear that the information could be used to aid deportation hearings.
The dilemma has forced social workers at Health Outreach Partner to broaden their job descriptions, Gomez said. Now, in addition to signing people up for health insurance or helping them access medical treatments, they are fielding questions about immigration issues and drawing up contingency plans for when a family member is deported.
“That planning is seen as more helpful and immediate to their patients than their medical needs right now,” he said.
Just to let you know, I really, really, really miss Garrison Keillor’s pleasing commentaries in your paper. He was a bright spot in my reading experience. No one else who contributes to the opinion section can hold a candle to his wit and wisdom and calming influence in these trying times.
If he has been black-listed for real or imagined inappropriate behavior toward women, how do you justify printing every bit of effluent that spews from the mouth of our molester-in-chief?
Also, instead of several boring commentators on political subjects, how about adding Maureen Dowd to the roster? That would be a good thing.
Carol J. Conners, West Valley City
Utah technically has 104 legislators — 29 senators and 75 House members. But those elected officials are looking over their shoulders at ballot initiatives that may convert the state’s 1.5 million registered voters into the real lawmakers controlling this year’s agenda.
As the 2018 Legislature convenes Monday, leaders acknowledge they want to undercut two ballot initiatives: one that seeks to raise taxes for education by $715 million annually, and one to expand Medicaid fully for the poor.
They hope steps that would not go as far as the initiatives would will satisfy voters.
“I hope they see it and say, ‘Some good things are happening here,’” and that will dissuade them from passing the initiatives, said House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper.
But House Democratic leader Brian King, who supports the ballot drives, says they result from legislators doing too little for too long.
“You have these initiatives crop up because people get so frustrated that the Legislature is not responding to their desires,” the Salt Lake City Democrat said. That’s important for us to take to heart at the Legislature” and may finally prod real action.
A raft of other topics high on this year’s agenda including fights over Utah’s new toughest-in-the-nation drunken driving law, tax reform, homelessness, air quality and restructuring the scandal-tainted Utah Transit Authority.
The session may also be spiced by a number of other debates: outlawing hand-held cellphone use while driving, cutting back on the number of days fireworks are allowed, maybe blocking state-paid health care for children of legal immigrants and even a bill to make the Utahraptor the official state dinosaur (and leave the Allosaurus as the state fossil).
Legislative leaders and Gov. Gary Herbert all say, as they do just about every year, that improving education is the state’s top priority. And extra pressure for that comes from the Our Schools Now initiative that would raise taxes for education by $715 million per year.
Herbert contends such a tax hike would hurt Utah’s economy, and essentially kill the golden goose of low taxes that attracts new industry, creates jobs and fuels what has been one of the nation’s strongest economies.
So Herbert and GOP leaders are planning to cobble together more education money through a mixture of state tax changes, use of a possible windfall from recent federal tax bill and taking advantage of extra revenue the state projects it will receive in next year’s budget.
With all that, “We can get close” to matching what the initiative would produce, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said last week.
For example, the state estimates it will receive $382 million more in the coming year than previously expected in ongoing tax revenue. Herbert proposes to use 72 percent, or about $275 million, of that for education. Legislative leaders support using much of it for schools, but warn current laws may mandate spending a lot of it elsewhere.
Herbert has been pushing to remove earmarks that funnel some taxes for specific purposes, such as highways, to give policymakers greater discretion to fund other priorities, including schools. He also is angling to eliminate scores of tax exemptions for various industries that have accumulated through the decades.
Cox, last week, also called for taxing more online sales. Some large online retailers such as Amazon recently voluntarily agreed to collect such tax in Utah, “but much more could be done,” Cox said.
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser seeks another interesting tax reform: forcing highway users to cover more of the state’s transportation costs so the $600 million now coming annually from the state general fund to subsidize highways could be transferred to schools. Hughes endorses the idea.
Niederhauser, R-Sandy, supports increasing the gasoline tax as one method to do that. Also, he notes that electric and alternative-fuel vehicles now escape the gas tax entirely, and he backs proposals to raise their registration fees or charge a per-mile-traveled tax on them.
At the same time, Niederhauser has introduced a bill to make collection of electronic tolls easier. He said that could lead to a toll road in Little Cottonwood Canyon and maybe elsewhere.
Leaders are also looking at the recent federal tax bill as a way to funnel money to schools.
State income taxes are based on federal definitions. If the state makes no changes to its system, some estimate the federal reforms might generate an additional $75 million to $150 million, although most caution the state still is unsure of the amount.
“I think there is a windfall. We just don’t know how much yet,” Niederhauser said. It “will now allow [state] tax reform to move forward in some degree.
King, the House Democratic leader who says not enough has been done for education, agrees that legislative action on these fronts “would make it easier for the Legislature to go back to the people to say, ’Look don’t write us off so quickly … we are serious that when we get extra money, that [education] is where we are going to put it.”
GOP lawmakers are talking about some expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state program to provide health care for the poor, even though Republicans for years have voted down all but tiny expansions for the most vulnerable populations — such as homeless adults.
One reason is the initiative that calls for fully expanding Medicaid, which would cover up to 120,000 more Utahns who earn 138 percent of poverty level or less. Another reason is the Trump administration has signaled willingness to provide waivers for a less-than-full expansion that Utah lawmakers have long sought.
Hughes said the House had previously rejected expansion of Medicaid largely because it would need to be open-ended to cover anyone who qualified, making it hard to determine how much it would cost annually.
Also, House members wanted to offer Medicaid only for those at 100 percent of the poverty level, and the Obama administration wanted expansion for those up to 138 percent of that level. The Affordable Care Act offers subsidized insurance to those between 100 percent and 138 percent of poverty already, said Hughes.
Senate Democratic leader Gene Davis of Salt Lake City said he will introduce a bill to seek full Medicaid expansion, not a watered-down version. He doubts it will pass, but says it will draw attention to what the initiative could do if lawmakers don’t act.
Groups are gathering signatures for several other initiatives — such as allowing medical marijuana, using an independent commission to draw political boundaries to reduce gerrymandering and cementing into law a signature-gathering route to the primary ballot.
“My guess is we will have bills that will address them,” or at least some of them, Niederhauser said. Lawmakers prefer dealing with them rather than through initiatives, he added, “because it’s easier in the future to deal with any changes we need to make.”
An exception may be medical marijuana. He said lawmakers feel strongly that drugs “ought to be distributed through a pharmacy,” and “we’re concerned the federal government now is going to potentially enforce their law [banning marijuana] instead of overlooking it.”
However, Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, and Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, a pharmacist, have introduced HB195, a bill to create a “right to try” cannabis-based treatment for terminally ill patients.
Hughes, the House speaker, said continued support of Operation Rio Grande — cleaning up crime in the area around the homeless shelter in downtown Salt Lake City, and getting aid to the homeless — will be a continuing focus.
He said its current $67 million budget will likely need to be boosted by a few million dollars.
“We will have some additional requests that will come from additional jurisdictions” for help as the homeless and some problems with crime have dispersed from the Rio Grande area. That will include some help with law enforcement, and some for facilities elsewhere.
Hughes wants to guard against a bandwagon effect in which groups may try to gain money for loosely related projects by arguing they are needed for Operation Rio Grande.
Davis, the Senate Democratic leader, said, “Have we cured homelessness? No. Have we put frustration into drug dealers? Yes. They are still selling, but they are frustrated. We are helping people.”
Last year, legislators passed a law that will lower the blood-alcohol level to be considered drunk while driving from 0.08 to 0.05. It goes into effect on Dec. 30 and when it does, Utah will have the toughest DUI law in the nation. Groups have pushed for a repeal, saying it will hurt Utah tourism or possibly allow police to arrest some who have as little as one drink.
“There will be some minor tweaks to that, but it looks like that will be here to stay,” predicts Niederhauser. Hughes, who had opposed the bill for unintended consequences, isn’t so sure. “I can’t predict its fate.”
Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, sponsor of the new law, introduced HB98 to make a minor change. His original bill banned “novice drivers” from having even a drop of alcohol before driving, which would affect older adults who obtain licenses later in life or immigrants who obtain licenses here. He wants to remove that provision.
Just last week, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine called for all states to adopt a 0.05 level.
Still King, the House Democratic leader, said he expects to see bills to delay or repeal the law, or perhaps offer different penalties for driving at 0.05 or 0.08.
Legislative leaders expect debate and possible action on restructuring the Utah Transit Authority.
A legislative task force has recommended replacing its current board and CEO with a three-member commission appointed by the governor, similar to the State Tax Commission.
Hughes, a former UTA chairman, said the proposed change would install full-time commissioners who would “really have their eyes on what’s going on there, and be a little bit more directly accountable.”
He said that could restore enough trust that voters in Salt Lake and Utah counties may reconsider their 2015 defeat of Proposition 1 to raise sales taxes for transit and local roads. “We need to make sure that everyone is a good partner and can go to the public and win their confidence,” Hughes said. “We hope that change will help that.”
King also seems to be on board for a change at UTA.
“For 10 to 15 years, we’ve heard about scandals, self-dealing, compensation that is really quite high,” King said. “The facts suggest that something is wrong. I want to see something done there because UTA’s image suffers.”
The legislative task force also recommended a change to allow state highway funds to be shared with transit. Leaders say restructuring UTA would need to happen first to win support for that — but that highway funds going to some transit could help reduce congestion and pollution.
Pollution always is a big issue early in legislative sessions when inversions hang in the Salt Lake Valley. The governor is proposing more money for better monitoring and research, which Democratic leader King praises.
“It sounds like a ‘nothingburger,’ but it really isn’t,” he said. “If we can get more money to study more effectively where the clean air problems exist and which neighborhoods they affect disproportionately, we can do a better job of directing solutions.”
He notes a few bills are coming, including possibly requiring emissions testing for diesel vehicles in Utah County and one to increase penalties for “rolling coal” vehicles that intentionally emit dark emissions.
Among proposals that have sparked early interest is HB64 by Rep. Carol Moss, D-Holladay, that seeks to fully outlaw using hand-held electronic devices while driving, but would permit using hands-free technology.
She notes that University of Utah studies have said cellphone use while driving is as dangerous as drunken driving. The expected debate on tougher drunken-driving laws might improve chances to finally pass the talking-while-driving ban, Moss said.
After fireworks-ignited blazes last year destroyed some homes, Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, is introducing HB38 to make it easier for cities to ban or control them — and cut back the number of days fireworks are allowed statewide.
Fireworks now can legally be set off for seven days around Independence and Pioneer days. The bill would cut that back to July 2 to July 5 and July 22 to July 25. It would also continue to allow fireworks around New Year’s Day.
Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, created controversy with SB48 to require new legal immigrants to wait five years before they could receive Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage. It would strip coverage from about 475 immigrant children.
Christensen says he is proposing the measure to promote self-reliance and combat creeping socialism. Critics said it is a mean-spirited attack on immigrants, mostly Latinos.
And a literally big fight may have been avoided between whether the Utahraptor should replace Allosaurus as the state fossil. Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, has rewritten SB43 to keep Allosaurus the official state fossil, but add Utahraptor as the official dinosaur to allow honoring both.
Taylorsville • From black gowns at the Golden Globes to pink, pointy-eared “pussyhats” at women’s marches, it may seem like clothing is the newest way to make a social statement.
Fashion as a form of protest has — for centuries — been in vogue, says Melissa Clark, an instructor at Salt Lake Community College’s Fashion Institute.
Hoping to get students to understand apparel’s role in history and politics, Clark curated “Dressed to Protest: Fashion for Social and Political Unrest.”
It features student-made dresses, hats, T-shirts and jewelry that show how everyday garments can bring attention to injustice and spark a cultural transformation.
“I really wanted the students to see how clothing is a force for social change,” Clark said, “and how it can be used to make a statement.”
The pieces can be seen through Feb. 2 at the Markosian Library on SLCC’s Main campus in Taylorsville and its South City Campus, in Salt Lake City.
A closing night reception and discussion are planned Feb. 1 from 6 to 8 p.m.
While there are written explanations for each piece in the exhibit, no words are necessary for some of the bold fashion pieces. Consider “War on Pollution,” featuring a black dress and a gas mask; or “Gun Violence,” a white dress with threads of dangling red beads, created to resemble wounds dripping blood.
Clark, who put out the call for exhibit pieces shortly after the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October, said the piece is “striking because of its simplicity.”
Megan Ulch tackled Utah’s prescription drug epidemic. Her dress, which resembles a pill bottle, takes a stab at the massive pharmaceutical industry and the devastating side effects of opioids. The mannequin sports two colorfully beaded bracelets that look like pills.
“I never thought I’d make something like this,” Ulch said, adding it was rewarding to use fabric and her imagination to bring attention to such an important topic.
Several students used their projects to look back at how fashion helped change women’s history.
Crystal Anderson paid homage to actress Marlene Dietrich, who scandalously broke with tradition by dressing as a man and kissing a woman in the 1930s movie “Morocco.”
Roxanne Lyon celebrated the women of the 1920s — including her grandmother — who replaced their tight-fitting corsets, pantaloons and long dresses for shorter “flapper” dresses that showed bare arms, knees and necklines.
Fascinated with the history of the Mexican Revolution, Claudia Montserrat Brunet, recognized the female solders, called soldaderas, who fought in the bloody struggle. Her red, white and black dress is highlighted with a belt filled with bullets.
“It recognized the women who fought, but also is a reminder to the dreamers in the U.S. who are fighting for change now,” she said, referring to the proposed ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — or DACA, which protects those who where brought to America illegally as children.
“I hope it reaches people who might not know,” she said, “and expand their awareness.”
While clothing can be used to spark change, those in power have used dress restrictions as a form of repression and punishment.
During the rebellion between Scotland and England in 1746, the king of England banned all items of Highland dress, especially the kilt, said SLCC fashion instructor Cherylene Sandusky Rosenvall.
Not surprisingly, many proud Scots wore the kilts anyway.
When the ban was lifted some 35 years later, the kilt became a unifying garment worn by not only the Scottish, but also the entire British Isles, she said.
A century ago, as Prohibition and the temperance movement swept the country, several states, including Utah, proposed — or passed — laws requiring modest dress for women, specifically targeting length of skirts (nothing above the ankle) and high heels.
The Utah proposal reportedly called for a fine between $25 and $500 and possible jail time for women who wore heels higher than 1.5 inches. Records are unclear as to whether the bill actually passed, though.
It’s still a sensitive and politically polarizing time, said Mojdeh Sakaki, director for SLCC’s fashion and interior design programs.
If fashion can spark conversation on important topics, especially among a new generation, the easier it will be to talk about what divides us, she said. “The more educated we become, the better decision we will make and the more tolerant and understanding we will be.”
The History of Powerful Clothing
The “Dressed to Protest: Fashion for Social and Political Unrest” shows how clothes can spark social change.
When • Through Friday, Feb. 2
Where • Salt Lake Community College Markosian Library, 4600 S. Redwood Road, Taylorsville; and SLCC South City Campus Library, 1575 S. State, Salt Lake City, during regular library hours.
Cost • Free
Closing reception • Thursday, Feb. 1, 6-8 p.m. at the Markosian Library.
Washington • In 1790, the finest mind in the First Congress, and of his generation, addressed in the House of Representatives the immigration issue: “It is no doubt very desirable that we should hold out as many inducements as possible for the worthy part of mankind to come and settle amongst us.”
Perhaps today’s 115th Congress will resume the Sisyphean task of continuing one of America’s oldest debates, in which James Madison was an early participant: By what criteria should we decide who is worthy to come amongst us?
The antecedents of the pronouns “we” and “us” include the almost 80 million who are either immigrants — not excluding the more than 11 million undocumented ones — or their children. They might be amused to learn that in the only full-length book Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Notes on the State of Virginia,” he worried that too many immigrants might be coming from Europe with monarchical principles “imbibed in their early youth,” ideas that might turn America into “a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass.”
A century later, Theodore Roosevelt, who detested “milk-and-water cosmopolitanism,” saw virtue emerging from struggles between the “Anglo-Saxon” race and what Roosevelt’s friend and soulmate Rudyard Kipling called “lesser breeds without the law.” TR, who worried that the United States was becoming a “polyglot boarding house,” supported America’s first significant legislation restricting immigration, passed to exclude Chinese, because he thought Chinese laborers would depress American wages, and because he believed they would be “ruinous to the white race.”
In 1902, in the final volume of professor Woodrow Wilson’s widely-read book “A History of the American People,” he contrasted “the sturdy stocks of the north of Europe” — e.g., Norwegians — with southern and eastern Europeans who had “neither skill nor energy nor any initiative of quick intelligence.” U.S. Army data gathered during World War I mobilization demonstrated, according to a Princeton psychologist, “the intellectual superiority of our Nordic group over the Mediterranean, Alpine and Negro groups.” Richard T. Ely, a leading progressive economist, spent most of his academic career at the University of Wisconsin, but first taught at Johns Hopkins, where one of his students was Woodrow Wilson. Ely celebrated the Army data for enabling the nation to inventory its human stock just as it does its livestock. In 1924, Congress legislated severe immigration restrictions, which excluded immigrants from an “Asiatic Barred Zone.”
For more on this unsavory subject, read “Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics and American Economics in the Progressive Era,” by Princeton economist Thomas C. Leonard. And “One Nation Undecided” by Peter H. Schuck, professor emeritus at Yale Law School, who writes: “In what may be the cruelest single action in our immigration history, Congress defeated a bill in 1939 to rescue 20,000 children from Nazi Germany despite American families’ eagerness to sponsor them -- on the ground that the children would exceed Germany’s quota!”
The next phase of America’s immigration debate, like the previous one, will generate the most heat about border security and whether those who are here illegally should stay. The heat will be disproportionate.
The border was irrelevant to the 42 percent of illegal immigrants who entered the U.S., mostly at airports, with valid visas that they then overstayed. Spending on border security quadrupled in the 1990s, then tripled in the next decade. Now that net immigration of Mexicans has been negative for ten years, Americans eager to build a wall should not build it on the 1,984-mile U.S.-Mexico border but on the 541-mile Mexico-Guatemala border.
Fifty-eight percent of the more than 11 million — down from 12.2 million in 2007 — who are here illegally have been here at least 10 years; 31 percent are homeowners; 33 percent have children who, having been born here, are citizens. The nation would recoil from the police measures that would be necessary to extract these people from the communities into the fabric of which their lives are woven. They are not going home; they are home.
After 9/11, attitudes about immigration became entangled with policies about terrorism. So, as The Economist noted, “a mass murder committed by mostly Saudi terrorists resulted in an almost limitless amount of money being made available for the deportation of Mexican house-painters.” This month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided 98 7-Eleven stores in 17 states, making 21 arrests, approximately one for every 4.5 stores. Rome was not built in a day and it would be unreasonable to expect the government to guarantee, in one fell swoop, that only American citizens will hold jobs dispensing Slurpees and Big Gulps.
George Will’s email address is [email protected]
A 9-year-old student in New Mexico gave fellow students gummies — only to realize later they were not ordinary candies.
The candies had apparently been laced with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical responsible for how marijuana affects the brain, and were being used by the student's parents as medical marijuana. Kristi Del Curto, dean of elementary students at Albuquerque School of Excellence, told the Albuquerque Journal the fifth-grader brought the box of gummies she found at home and shared with friends at the school cafeteria one morning.
"She thought she was sharing candy, and if you saw the picture on the box, it did look like candy," Del Curto told the paper.
The student later felt dizzy during class and was sent to the school nurse. After school officials determined the fifth-grader had eaten THC-laced gummies, students were asked over the school's public address system who else had the candies, the paper reported. Del Curto said five other students had gummies. Some did not seem to have been affected, and some others were "giggly," she said. The student who brought the candies felt ill after eating five.
One student told KRQE News 13 she immediately realized they were not ordinary candies after she ate one and started feeling dizzy. Paramedics were later called to check on the students.
School officials informed parents of the incident, which happened a little more than a week ago, according to the school's Facebook page.
"We would like to remind all students and parents to be cautious about food/drink sharing ... and we would like our community to be alert with drugs and any edibles that may or could be in different formats," the school wrote. "We kindly ask our parents and community members not to talk explicitly about drugs/medicine when students are present."
Twenty-nine states or territories, including the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. New Mexico became the 12th state to allow medical cannabis in 2007.
Eight states and D.C. have legalized recreational use of marijuana, but New Mexico is not one of them.
Edibles, or food products laced with cannabis extract, have become a popular way to sell marijuana, and many are sold online, though interstate transport is illegal. In Colorado, for example, edibles accounted for 45 percent of all cannabis sales, according to a paper published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Edibles come in different forms, such as candies, gummies, chocolates, baked goods and beverages. They are largely considered a safer way to consume marijuana because they do not pose the harmful risks of smoking, though little research is available on how effective edibles are compared with other methods of ingestion. Edible products also account for majority of hospital visits, likely because users who do not realize the delayed effects consume higher-than-recommended amounts, the paper says.
Del Curto told local media the gummies came in a box labeled "Incredibles." The company's website says it sells different flavors of THC gummy candies. Recreational ones contain 100 milligrams of THC while medicinal ones have 300 milligrams.
Joshua Tree National Park, Calif. • Jay Brown and Michelle Tukel picked a surreal weekend to visit sprawling Joshua Tree National Park. They arrived from Detroit to find the Southern California desert covered with a morning dusting of snow, and it was — briefly — colder than Michigan.
Stranger yet, the popular park was open but eerily devoid of staff.
Interested in learning about the trailheads, Brown, 61, found the doors to the visitor center locked. Brown approached a man wearing a beige uniform, thinking he was a park ranger, but the man turned out to be a Boy Scout supervisor who also was looking for information.
“I’m a little worried,” said Brown, the chief financial officer of an automotive manufacturing company. “I don’t want to go in and get lost in this freezing cold with nothing but my shoelaces. But apparently that’s what we’re going to do.”
He and his wife were among multitudes of Americans who visited the nation’s parks and monuments Saturday and confronted one of the confusing realities of the government shutdown — certainly the one that affected the public most on Day 1. Some national parks, like Utah’s Mighty Five, were open, but unsupervised. Several iconic parks and monuments were closed, including the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, presidential homes and other historical and cultural sites primarily made up of buildings that can be locked. Even some bathrooms were chained shut.
As with the chaotic hours before the shutdown, when even the nation’s federal agencies weren’t sure how to close or what to tell employees, the Trump administration’s decision to keep the national parks largely open presented people with confounding choices. The move, part of an effort to reduce the public-facing impact of a shutdown, left many asking themselves if they should enter the parks and risk their lives without the support of park rangers. And it left others upset that their plans to experience American treasures were thwarted.
“Good thing I didn’t have my heart set on seeing the Statue of Liberty,” said Catherine Crichlow, 29, of Cincinnati, a web developer who was visiting New York for the first time. Boat tours still operated around Liberty Island, but visitors had to admire Lady Liberty from a distance.
The National Parks Conservation Association estimated that about a third of the 417 national park sites in the United States were completely closed Saturday. Other national parks remained semi-open.
At Utah’s Zion National Park, an automated recording said visitors could access the park but not its restaurants, bathrooms, gift shops and information centers. But a news release from Xanterra Parks & Resorts — which operates lodges and concessions in Zion and other national parks — said its lodges, restaurants, gift shops, concessions and services are open for business as usual.
Utah’s four other national parks did not update their phone greetings or include information on their websites, but hotel staff in nearby towns said the same conditions applied.
The Zion message warned that anyone planning to visit the serviceless parks this weekend should be prepared to be self-sufficient.
The lack of services extends to medical and rescue response. According to the Zion recording, getting rescued in case of an emergency is not a certainty, and if it happens, it could take much longer than normal.
Dinosaur and Hovenweep national monuments in Utah and Colorado posted brief statements saying they would not update websites and social media due to the shutdown.
Backcountry permits also are on hold pending the reopening of the federal government.
During a Federal government shutdown, we do not monitor or update social media. Some areas within Dinosaur National Monument are accessible, however access may change without notice, and there are no NPS-provided services.— Dinosaur Nat'l Mon't (@DinosaurNPS) January 20, 2018
“Keeping parks open with virtually no staff is a risky situation, and the guidance park staff is being given is vague at best,” said Theresa Pierno, the National Parks Conservation Association’s president. “There is no substitute for National Park Service staff and their expertise, and it is not wise to put the public or our park resources at risk by allowing for half-measures to keep them open.”
The contradiction of an open park with no supervision left some Joshua Tree campers bewildered.
Paul Norconk woke up looking forward to taking his family to an educational ranger talk about roadrunners. Emerging from his camper on the scrublands dotted with the gnarled desert trees for which the park is known, he learned about the government shutdown that had arrived while the family was asleep.
“I guess we won’t be doing that,” said Norconk, a 59-year-old landscape architect.
Norconk, a Democrat who lives two hours from Joshua Tree in Monrovia, California, said he doesn’t blame his party’s representatives in Congress for refusing to give in on seeking protections for young undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children — known as “dreamers” — one of the barriers to a budget agreement.
“I’d like to see something get resolved equitably for people who come over and just want to make a living,” he said. “They deserve something better than deportation.”
Others in the park said they see more eye to eye with President Donald Trump and the GOP, and don’t blame them for the shutdown, either.
“I’ll vote for whomever is going to tamper with the Bill of Rights the least,” said Ron Curl, a 47-year-old construction supervisor who was with a Boy Scout troop from Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Matthew Warner, an 18-year-old Eagle Scout with the troop, said that he, too, supports Trump and wasn’t worried about the park being unstaffed, given his proven survival skills.
“We’re usually on our own, so it’s nothing to worry about,” he said. “It’s preferred, probably.”
After two days of winter storms in Yellowstone, sun and blue sky peeked through the clouds Saturday as temperatures hovered at about 14 degrees. The trees were covered in snow on a pristine landscape.
At the North Entrance gate, near Gardiner, Montana, a sign explained the government shutdown. Visitors could enter the wilds of the park at their own risk. No passes or cash were needed.
George Nell, a maintenance ranger for the North District, shoveled the walks at the Mammoth campground bathroom. All visitor centers at the park were closed, and no flag was flying at the campground.
Nell said that the Park Service had gone back and forth about who would be deemed essential personnel during the shutdown, and the last he heard, visitor safety was essential.
“It is all about safety,” Nell said. “We can’t have people slipping on these sidewalks, or tripping over snowbanks.”
Ken Sinay, 64, owner of Yellowstone Safaris, drove by a car that had just run off the icy road in Lamar Valley. He said that the situation at the park was unusual in the first hours after the shutdown. His guests were “having a great time” experiencing Yellowstone, he said, “but there is a lot of talk about politics.”
Open parks helped some small-business owners who rely on tourism to fuel their income. Photography guide Michael Schertz, 57, from the Mount Rainier area of Washington state, said he was serving eight clients this week. He said it was a major risk to have a photography tour scheduled. He had been closely monitoring the votes before the shutdown, as a park closure would have cost him between $10,000 and $15,000.
“We were concerned because we were bringing in folks that had never been here before,” Schertz said. “We would have had to refund their money.”
Schertz said that he falls somewhere between being politically independent and Republican, and he does not blame the president for the shutdown. He was upset, however, at the House and Senate because he said he felt that they were not doing their jobs.
“They are so far removed from having to make a living, and they are not working for us and about doing what is right,” Schertz said. “It is just a power struggle, and we are caught in the middle.”
Down the road in picturesque Round Prairie, where the snow nuzzles the underbellies of the large bison bulls that call the area home, photography tour guide Jared Lloyd, 36, was tracking a bull moose on Soda Butte Creek.
One of Lloyd’s clients, Beth Goetzman, 56, of Houston, said that she was not happy with Washington politics.
“I think it is asinine,” she said. “I think those kids in Washington should play nice in the sandbox and get along.”
At Joshua Tree, Claudia Lowd was on the tail end of a road trip from Maine to California with her son, a musician who hopes to study music at the University of Southern California. His arsenal of guitars prevented them from flying.
Lowd was at the locked visitor center Saturday morning, an empty plastic jug in hand, wanting to ask someone where she could get a water refill.
“I blame them both,” said Lowd — an independent — of the Republicans and Democrats in Washington. “This is not our first time at the rodeo. They keep doing this.”
Tribune writer Aubrey Wieber contributed to this report.
Dixon reported from Yellowstone National Park and Crandall reported from New York. Mark Berman and Juliet Eilperin in Washington contributed to this report.
Washington • President Donald Trump’s budget director is holding out hope that feuding Democrats and Republicans in Congress can reach a short-term spending agreement before the start of the workweek Monday, but he worries that the government shutdown could last for several more days if progress remains elusive.
Democratic lawmakers challenged the president to get more involved and to accept bipartisan compromise as a way out of a federal shutdown that entered its second day Sunday amid finger-pointing from both parties as to who bears primary responsibility.
“I really do believe that at heart here there was an interest by some folks in the Democratic Party to deny the president sort of the victory lap of the anniversary of his inauguration, the chance to talk about the success of the tax bill, the success of the economy and jobs,” budget director Mick Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“And I think if they get over that, there’s a chance this thing gets done before 9 o’clock on Monday morning when folks come to work,” he said.
Democratic lawmakers counter that the president hurt negotiations by initially expressing support for a compromise and then abruptly turning it away.
“How can you negotiate with the president under those circumstances where he agrees face-to-face to move forward with a certain path and then within two hours calls back and pulls the plug?” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on ABC’s “This Week.”
Four Republicans opposed the House-passed plan. The measure gained 50 votes to proceed to 49 against, but 60 were needed to break a Democratic filibuster. One of the senators who voted against it, Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky, said he is opposed to short-term fiscal bills and called the blame game “ridiculous on both sides.”
“It’s gamesmanship and it’s partisanship,” Paul said.
Paul said the answer to solving the brinksmanship is to guarantee Democrats in writing that they’ll get their debate on immigration issues.
Durbin said bipartisan conversations are taking place and lawmakers from both sides are “in good faith trying to find common ground and put this behind us.”
“But at the end of the day, the president has to step up and lead in this situation,” Durbin said.
Lawmakers are participating in rare weekend proceedings in both the House and Senate, where lawmakers were eager to show voters they were actively working for a solution — or at least actively making their case why the other party was at fault. The scene highlighted the political stakes for both parties in an election-year shutdown whose consequences are far from clear.
Democrats refused to provide the votes needed to reopen the government until they strike a deal with Trump protecting young immigrants from deportation, providing disaster relief and boosting spending for opioid treatment and other domestic programs.
The shutdown began Saturday on the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration. As lawmakers bickered in the Capitol, protesters marched outside in a reprise of the women’s march from a year ago. The president remained out of sight and canceled plans to travel to his resort in Florida for the weekend. He did tweet, making light of the timing by saying Democrats “wanted to give me a nice present” to mark the start of his second year in office.
This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present. #DemocratShutdown— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018
And he resumed his social media commentary early Sunday, tweeting that it was “Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked.” He suggested that if the stalemate drags on, majority Republicans should consider changing Senate rules to do away with the 60-vote threshold to advance legislation and “vote on real, long term budget.”
“We have to acknowledge our respect for the minority, and that is what the Senate tries to do in its composition and in its procedure,” Durbin responded.
Trump earlier had worked the phones, staying in touch with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., while White House legislative affairs director Marc Short and the budget chief, Mulvaney, met at the Capitol with House Republicans. GOP lawmakers voiced support for the White House stance of not negotiating while the government was shuttered.
Tempers were short and theatrics high on Saturday at the Capitol.
Republicans blamed the breakdown on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Democrats increasingly focused their messaging on criticizing Trump, whose popularity is dismal. Democrats were using his zigzagging stance in immigration talks — first encouraging deals, then rejecting them — to underscore his first, chaotic year in office.
“Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O,” Schumer said.
Short compared Democrats’ actions to “a 2-year-old temper tantrum.”
Republicans seemed content to hope additional Democrats will break as pressure builds and the impact of the shutdown becomes clearer. GOP lawmakers argued that Democrats were blocking extra Pentagon money by keeping government closed and thwarting a long-term budget deal.
But pressure on Republicans could mount when the new business week begins and the impact becomes more apparent to the public.
The Statue of Liberty and Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell were closed, but visitors had access to other sites such as Yellowstone. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke tweeted a photo of him talking to students at the World War II Memorial in Washington, blocks from the White House.
Social Security and most other safety-net programs were unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions continued, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay.
Mulvaney said that if the shutdown continues into Monday, there were be three categories of federal employees affected: those who will continue to come to work, another group that will come to work for about four hours “to help shut things down” and those who will not come to work at all.
“But most Americans won’t see a difference,” Mulvaney said.
Democrats have been seeking a deal to protect so-called Dreamers. About 700,000 of them have been shielded against deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which Trump halted last year. He’s given lawmakers until early March to pass legislation restoring the protections, but he’s demanded added money for his proposed border wall with Mexico as a price.
Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Zeke Miller, Andrew Taylor, Matthew Daly, Richard Lardner and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.
Colorado Springs, Colo. • Jim Johannson, the general manager of the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team, has died on the eve of the Pyeongchang Games. He was 53.
Johannson passed away in his sleep Sunday morning, according to USA Hockey. Executive director Pat Kelleher said the organization is “beyond shocked and profoundly saddened” by the loss of the Rochester, Minnesota native.
“As accomplished as Jim was in hockey, he was the absolute best, most humble, kind and caring person you could ever hope to meet,” Kelleher said in a release. “His impact on our sport and more importantly the people and players in our sport have been immeasurable. Our condolences go out to his entire family, but especially to his loving wife Abby and their young daughter Ellie.”
Johannson’s role in selecting this year’s Olympic team was his most high-profile job in a career spent in hockey. He also played for the U.S. in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics.
The United States faces Slovenia in its Pyeongchang opener on Feb. 14.
“We lost a true friend in Jim Johannson today,” said U.S. coach and 1988 teammate Tony Granato said. “He was so compassionate and as loyal a friend as you could have. He was the ultimate teammate.”
Johannson began working for USA Hockey in 2000 after spending five years as the general manager of the Twin Cities Vulcans in the United States Hockey League. He was promoted to assistant executive director of hockey operations in 2007, overseeing the organization’s efforts in fielding teams for international competition.
He played college hockey at Wisconsin and helped the Badgers win the NCAA championship as a freshman. He was selected by Hartford in the seventh round of the 1982 draft, but never played in the NHL.
“When we heard of JJ’s passing, we are reminded of what an enjoyable person he was to be around, and also what he meant to USA Hockey and hockey worldwide,” Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, who have a strong connection to USA Hockey, said in a release.
“We should all strive to do our jobs and treat people as JJ did. Jim Johannson, you have moved on, but you will not be forgotten. We will miss you.”
Sabres coach Phil Housley, whom Johannson picked to lead the U.S. at the 2015 world juniors and won gold, said the longtime USA Hockey executive was one of the best leaders and “grew our game to new heights.”
Pasadena, Calif. • There’s a lot of public hand-wringing going on at YouTube right now about Logan Paul — there’s even a new policy that thousands of hours of its most popular content will be reviewed by humans before it’s posted — but it’s all a farce.
YouTube is still not doing much to prevent inappropriate material from being posted on its site. And the changes are because parent company Google fears advertiser pullouts, not to protect underage viewers.
YouTube is in the business of making money, and if that meant that people like Paul did idiotic things like post videos of suicide victims hanging from trees, then … oh, well.
On Dec. 31, Paul uploaded a video to his YouTube channel showing a man who had hanged himself in Japan. It was seen by millions of viewers and received hundreds of thousands of “likes” before — facing online backlash — Paul removed it and apologized.
He insisted he wasn’t mocking the victim, but Paul joked, laughed and wore a goofy hat while standing next to him. And, remember, this wasn’t live — Paul edited that into the video he posted.
YouTube didn’t review that video before it was posted. It didn’t review any videos. The new policy is only for Google Preferred videos, and only to allay the fears of advertisers. YouTube won’t say what percentage of its videos will be reviewed, but it will be a tiny fraction — hundreds of hours of video are uploaded every minute, and no company has the staff to review that much footage.
But the Paul incident tells us how the thinking works at YouTube. The company eventually issued a statement that the video with the suicide victim violated its policies. It took the company another 10 days to issue a longer statement that promised it will take steps “to ensure a video like this is never circulated again.”
Clearly, reviewing a tiny percentage of videos will not ensure any such thing.
And, meeting with TV critics, YouTube’s chief business officer, Robert Kyncl, offered an explanation that sounded a lot like — boys will be boys.
“We work with lots of YouTube stars ... and some of them are very young and sometimes get themselves in hot water,” Kyncl said.
Logan Paul is not a child. He’s 22. He’s an adult who doesn’t know it’s inappropriate to post a video of a suicide victim hanging from a tree.
It’s not like Paul has a spotless record. He’s posted videos that feature dangerous stunts, and sexist and homophobic content. But he makes money for himself and for YouTube.
Kyncl was in full damage-control mode, but some of his statements were utter nonsense. “I’m not sure that there’s that much difference between YouTube or a TV network,” he said.
That’s ludicrous. TV networks can and do make mistakes, but they review everything before they put it on the air.
With the exception of Google Preferred content, YouTube relies on “community guidelines,” which means the “community” applies pressure AFTER a video is posted.
“The future is in making sure that our community guidelines are the ones that protect the community, whether it’s creators, advertisers or users, and those can evolve with the sentiment of the world,” Kyncl said vaguely.
And he went out of his way to defend Paul for his “unfortunate missteps. He’s expressed remorse very quickly and is learning from the experience.”
YouTube removed Paul’s videos from Google Preferred linuep; all of its projects with him are “on hold.” But they haven’t cut ties with him.
“Actions should speak louder than words, and Logan has the opportunity to prove that,” Kyncl said.
Actions do speak louder than words. And YouTube’s actions tell us that they’re just waiting for this storm to blow over before reinstating Paul. And, with the new policy for Google Preferred content, that looks like a slam dunk.
“We’ll see in the future,” Kyncl said. “We don’t know. I couldn’t really answer that. Everything is evolving so fast.”
Suspending Paul is just a PR ploy. So is everything Kyncl said. So is the new policy.
Look, YouTube is what it is. It’s not going to change. But it shouldn’t pretend it’s a safe place. It’s never has been. It never will be.
It’s up to parents to police what their kids watch. You’ve got to do that job yourself, because YouTube is not going to do it for you.
Once again, of all the letters to the editor, there has not been one letter or comment from anybody from the conservative side. Every day you print 100 percent letters against President Trump or the Republican Party. It seems to anyone with just the slightest bit of curiosity that there would have been at least one letter to you giving their side of any particular issue.
You have printed yourself into a corner as being a member of the Democratic Party, thus losing any respect for being the supposed independent voice of Utah.
Bart Jacobs, South Jordan
And here we are, one year later.
If you are groping for markers by which to measure how profoundly we have been changed since Inauguration Day, here’s one you might want to consider:
In January of 1998, reports surfaced of a sexual affair between President Bill Clinton and a 24-year-old White House intern. It would mushroom into the biggest story of the year.
In January of 2018, reports surfaced of an alleged payoff by lawyers for the present president to silence a porn star from talking about their alleged sexual affair. It wasn’t even the biggest story of the day.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more visceral illustration of how our sensibilities have been bludgeoned into submission in the last year. Surprises no longer surprise. Shocks no longer shock. We have bumped up against the limits of human bandwidth, and find ourselves unable to take it all in.
One simply cannot keep up with, much less respond with proper outrage to, all of this guy’s scandals, bungles, blame-shifting, name-calling and missteps, his sundry acts of mendacity, misanthropy, perversity and idiocy. It’s like trying to fill a teacup from Niagara Falls. It’s like trying to read the internet.
One year later, we’ve seen a procession of feuds that would impress a Hatfield, a McCoy or a ’90s rapper, running beefs with Mitch Connell, Elizabeth Warren, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, Jeff Sessions, Dick Durbin, Colin Kaepernick, James Comey, Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, CNN, The New York Times and reality, to name just a few.
One year later, the man who promised to “work so hard” for the American people is setting new standards for presidential laziness, a short workday, hours of television and endless golf.
One year later, the man who vowed to bring in “the best people” has hired and fired the sorry likes of Michael Flynn, Sean Spicer, Steve Bannon, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Reince Priebus and Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci.
One year later, the man who bragged of having “the best words” has pundits parsing the difference between “s---house” and “s---hole” as descriptors of Africa, El Salvador and Haiti, home, collectively, to about 17 percent of humanity.
One year later, the man who asked African Americans “what the hell” they had to lose by voting for him, is praised by tiki-torch-wielding white supremacists — “very fine people,” he says — and his name is chanted as a racist taunt by white mobs.
One year later, we live in a state of perpetual nuclear standoff, a Cuban Missile Crisis that never ends.
But hey, at least the stock market is doing well. Of course, it did well under President Obama, too, but nobody seems to remember that.
Not that a bull market mitigates — or even addresses — the sense of ongoing upheaval, of constant chaos, that have become our new American norm. This guy is flat-out exhausting.
Give him this much, though. He has banished apathy, made fools of those people who once declared with pontifical certitude that we should “blow up” the system and said voting didn’t matter because there was no difference between the parties. More, he’s galvanized a powerful resistance that has claimed upset victories from Alabama to Wisconsin and left Gumby-spined Republicans looking over their shoulders. That resistance might even save this country, assuming the guy leaves us anything to save.
If that sounds bleak, well, that’s where we stand. Indeed, one year later, both our despair and our hope are encompassed in the same five syllables.
One down. Three to go.
Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail at [email protected]
Sometimes, rather unexpectedly, my wife, Elenor, and I talk about having another kiddo. It’s weird, because I never thought we’d have one, let alone a brood. I don’t know if it’s hormones or conditioning or what, but something makes us wonder every now and again about putting another proverbial bun in the oven.
But there’s always so much to consider. Which of us would carry this babe? Could our hearts possibly love another as much as we love Harvey? Do we trust the world will be safe enough to continue bringing humans into it?
The thing that pushes me to consider it, though, is my own experience, growing up with a big sister.
From day one, I had an interpreter, a buddy, a protector, a confidant. When we were young, my sister, Joey, taught me all the stuff from cursive to cursing, and how to brave a thunderstorm. She showed me how to shave my legs without making the tub look like it should be in a slasher movie. She taught me fortitude, manners and grace.
She’s loved me through depression and dysfunction. Through bad decisions and bad haircuts. And disappointment and failure. But even at my loneliest, because of my sister, I have never been alone. And, even now that we’re less young, she teaches me all the stuff. How to parent. How to plan. How to play.
In my sister, I have everything from a (responsible) drinking buddy to a life coach. And someone who shares my history (herstory?).
It was with Joey that I ran a successful women’s apparel line at age 7, when we decided not to each have our own rooms, but instead have one room where we slept and the other where we conducted our fashion business. It was with her that I danced to Paula Abdul’s “Cold Hearted Snake” for the Wasatch Elementary School 1991 talent show. It was with her that I’d get into a sleeping bag and charge down the stairs in a pile of squeals and giggles.
She’s the person I called when I realized I was gay (and, not as I had previously worried, dead inside or broken!) and crushing on a girl. She’s who stood by me when I said my vows. She (along with her most spectacular husband) is the one who would parent our babe(s) should Elenor and I too soon depart this world.
My experience of sisterhood has fundamentally changed the way I view the world.
I am who I am because of her.
And yet, I know some extraordinary siblingless kids who are happy, healthy, socialized, thriving humans. It makes me think of the opening credits of Disney Pixar’s “The Boss Baby” when the unknowingly soon-to-be-big-brother revels in his family’s current dynamic.
“Interesting fact,” he says. “Did you know the triangle is the strongest shape found in nature?”
I feel that so much — a sense of perfection and wholeness about our three-person family. And I take great solace in knowing that Mr. Harvey has two adoring cousins nearby (thanks again, Joey) to provide companionship and shared youth.
So, who knows if Elenor and I will have another Gomberglet. But, if we do, I hope Harvey and baby-to-be-named-later (Joey may be on the shortlist) take care of each other for a lifetime.
Marina Gomberg’s lifestyle columns appear on sltrib.com. She is a communications professional and lives in Salt Lake City with her wife, Elenor Gomberg, and their son, Harvey. You can reach Marina at [email protected]
I’ll confess to a certain amount of disappointment in the reorganization of the Mormon First Presidency last week. It was not what I was hoping for.
I was hoping for some invigorating youthful faces (including some of color) in President Russell M. Nelson’s choice of counselors. Instead, he dropped the only alternative we had from Utah-based Mormonism — Elder Dieter Friedrich Uchtdorf.
As you might surmise from his name, Uchtdorf is not from these parts. And before you say, “yeah, we know, he’s German,” he’s technically Czechoslovakian. Or at least that’s where he was born.
My friends’ opinions on the new presidency range from those completely supportive of “Heavenly Father’s will” to “what the #$%%@ just happened?” all the way over to “I can’t bring myself to care.”
Now that the deal is done, my disappointment is fading. I’m right back where I was before the change: finding ways to entertain myself in church when it gets boring. Which happens a lot.
Please don’t try to tell me that you’ve never been bored sitting in church. You’re either a liar or some freak of nature.
Some people endure boredom well. I’m not one of them. In fact, I don’t endure it at all. So it’s on me to find ways to keep my spirits up while at the same time not ruining the worship experience for everyone around me.
Sometimes I read. Currently, I’m in the middle of “The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot,” by Bart D. Ehrman, professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It’s good. Look it up.
Sometimes I listen to music (with earbuds, of course) as a way of perking myself up spiritually — blues mainly, but also some Celtic stuff.
I try not to listen to music too much because I’m old and hard of hearing. I worry that I’ll have to crank the volume to the point that it interferes with those sitting nearby.
Besides, my absolute favorite method of church boredom alleviation is what I call “shark chumming.”
I’m not the only one who has a hard time paying attention in sacrament meeting. Children — and there are a lot of those in a Mormon ward — also get restless. They scream and scuffle and throw things.
What I do is stick a wrapped Starburst candy onto my forehead and pretend it isn’t there. It usually takes about 30 seconds before some 3-year-old slips away from his family to come and stand in front of me, staring up at my hairline.
He knows something’s not right, but would it be dangerous for him to point it out? Invariably, hope overcomes hesitancy. He points a drool-covered finger and I lean down.
The Starburst is plucked off my forehead. Then the sharks start to school, finding some reason to wander past where Brother Kirby is handing out anti-boredom meds.
I’ve been shark chumming in church for years. It could be argued that this is inappropriate and detracts from the spirit of the meeting. Not that it would make me stop.
In reality, it’s just my attempt to influence the church. Years from now, long after you and I are dead, it’s possible that one of these snot monsters will be called into the church’s upper echelons.
Old, wrinkled and somewhat dim by then, an apostle or prophet will sit and ponder the effects of the gospel, wondering why it is that church hymns always cause him (or her) to salivate.