Opinion - Commentary - The Salt Lake Tribune http://www.sltrib.com/Opinion Stories from The Salt Lake Tribune &copy; 2014 The Associated Press, The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our privacy policy: http://www.sltrib.com/pages/privacy. en-us webmaster@sltrib.com (Webmaster) Washington Post Op-ed: End the forfeiture program we started http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58435585-82/forfeiture-enforcement-law-property.html.csp Last week, The Washington Post published a series of in-depth articles about the abuses spawned by the law enforcement practice known as civil asset forfeiture. As two people who were heavily involved in the creation of the asset forfeiture initiative at the Justice Department in the 1980s, we find it particularly painful to watch as the heavy hand of government goes amok. The program began with good intentions but now, having failed in both purpose and execution, it should be abolished. Asset f... Last week, The Washington Post published a series of in-depth articles about the abuses spawned by the law enforcement practice known as civil asset forfeiture. As two people who were heavily involved in the creation of the asset forfeiture initiative at the Justice Department in the 1980s, we find it particularly painful to watch as the heavy hand of government goes amok. The program began with good intentions but now, having failed in both purpose and execution, it should be abolished. Asset f... <img src="http://mngislctrib.112.2O7.net/b/ss/mngislctrib/1/H.17--NS/0?&pageName=RSS" height="1" width="1" border="0" alt=""/> 58435585@www.sltrib.com Sun, 21 Sep 2014 01:01:03 MDT Washington Post Op-ed: Meet the respectable JFK conspiracy theorists http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58435587-82/commission-conspiracy-warren-oswald.html.csp Describing someone as a “conspiracy theorist” is usually meant as an insult, suggesting tin-foil hats and babbling rants on late-night radio talk shows. But when it comes to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the list of important, seemingly credible public figures who count themselves as conspiracy theorists is long and impressive. Fifty years ago this coming week, the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the panel led by Chief Justice Earl Warr... Describing someone as a “conspiracy theorist” is usually meant as an insult, suggesting tin-foil hats and babbling rants on late-night radio talk shows. But when it comes to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the list of important, seemingly credible public figures who count themselves as conspiracy theorists is long and impressive. Fifty years ago this coming week, the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the panel led by Chief Justice Earl Warr... 58435587@www.sltrib.com Sun, 21 Sep 2014 01:01:03 MDT Bloomberg Op-ed: Air Force removes God from chain of command http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58435589-82/god-oath-oaths-phrase.html.csp Score one for the secular humanists. The U.S. Air Force announced this week that it is dropping the “So help me, God” coda to its oath of enlistment. The phrase will also no longer be mandatory in oaths administered when officers are commissioned. The catalyst for the change: a suit filed on behalf of an atheist airman who crossed out the words when he filed to re-enlist. But how, pray tell, did this shout-out to the Almighty find its way into civilian and military oaths of office in the first p... Score one for the secular humanists. The U.S. Air Force announced this week that it is dropping the “So help me, God” coda to its oath of enlistment. The phrase will also no longer be mandatory in oaths administered when officers are commissioned. The catalyst for the change: a suit filed on behalf of an atheist airman who crossed out the words when he filed to re-enlist. But how, pray tell, did this shout-out to the Almighty find its way into civilian and military oaths of office in the first p... 58435589@www.sltrib.com Sun, 21 Sep 2014 01:01:03 MDT Milbank: Why Washington is broken http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58435625-82/flake-washington-discovery-heinrich.html.csp WASHINGTON • Jeff Flake, the Arizona Republican senator who asked the Discovery Channel to film him and a Democratic colleague last month as they subsisted on an uninhabited Pacific island, came home with a sunburn, a 10-pound weight loss — and a desire to see Senate leaders put through the same ordeal. “To see Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell,” Flake said Thursday, “I will level that challenge right now. If they would spend six days and nights on an island, we could move legislation forward here.” ... WASHINGTON • Jeff Flake, the Arizona Republican senator who asked the Discovery Channel to film him and a Democratic colleague last month as they subsisted on an uninhabited Pacific island, came home with a sunburn, a 10-pound weight loss — and a desire to see Senate leaders put through the same ordeal. “To see Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell,” Flake said Thursday, “I will level that challenge right now. If they would spend six days and nights on an island, we could move legislation forward here.” ... 58435625@www.sltrib.com Sun, 21 Sep 2014 01:01:03 MDT Dionne: A wistful ‘no’ in Scotland http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58435663-82/macdonald-scotland-govan-vote.html.csp WASHINGTON • Scotland’s referendum on independence was decided by voters whose hearts said yes but whose heads said no. This is why the energy of the campaign in one of the most consequential democratic consultations in history was with the “Yes” side. Passion, imagination and hope are always more inspiring than reason, calculation and doubt. This kept the polls close leading into Thursday’s vote, but it’s also why the people of Scotland decided to remain part of the United Kingdom. I understood... WASHINGTON • Scotland’s referendum on independence was decided by voters whose hearts said yes but whose heads said no. This is why the energy of the campaign in one of the most consequential democratic consultations in history was with the “Yes” side. Passion, imagination and hope are always more inspiring than reason, calculation and doubt. This kept the polls close leading into Thursday’s vote, but it’s also why the people of Scotland decided to remain part of the United Kingdom. I understood... 58435663@www.sltrib.com Sat, 20 Sep 2014 09:17:01 MDT Rampell: Stop denying progress made in U.S. schools http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58435604-82/schools-education-public-college.html.csp WASHINGTON • Have America’s public schools gotten worse over the years? Americans seem to think so. Every time I write about why attending college is so crucial for moving up the income ladder — or, these days, for landing any job at all — I’m inundated with emails blaming the country’s K-12 system. Today’s workers have to go to college, readers argue, because our increasingly broken public schools have ceded responsibility for educating them. Data from the annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll, a ... WASHINGTON • Have America’s public schools gotten worse over the years? Americans seem to think so. Every time I write about why attending college is so crucial for moving up the income ladder — or, these days, for landing any job at all — I’m inundated with emails blaming the country’s K-12 system. Today’s workers have to go to college, readers argue, because our increasingly broken public schools have ceded responsibility for educating them. Data from the annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll, a ... 58435604@www.sltrib.com Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:57:01 MDT Carlson: Richard Clarke’s hair is on fire again http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58435564-82/clarke-says-state-bush.html.csp WASHINGTON • Remember Richard Clarke, the presidential counterterrorism adviser whose hair was on fire about al-Qaida long before the Sept. 11 attacks and whose warnings of a threat from hijacked planes were ignored by the administration of President George W. Bush? Well, his hair is about to burst into flames again. This time, it’s the threat from Islamic State that has him worried. “They’re well-organized,” he says. “They’re running cities and vast territory. We don’t know how much money they’... WASHINGTON • Remember Richard Clarke, the presidential counterterrorism adviser whose hair was on fire about al-Qaida long before the Sept. 11 attacks and whose warnings of a threat from hijacked planes were ignored by the administration of President George W. Bush? Well, his hair is about to burst into flames again. This time, it’s the threat from Islamic State that has him worried. “They’re well-organized,” he says. “They’re running cities and vast territory. We don’t know how much money they’... 58435564@www.sltrib.com Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:31:01 MDT The Best State: Montana, for the fairness of its tax system http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58433271-82/tax-taxes-income-sales.html.csp By Reid Wilson The Washington Post The federal government implemented an income tax in 1861 to pay for the Civil War. It levied a flat tax of 3 percent on all incomes above $800. A year later, Congress changed the system, creating the first progressive tax structure: The more money an individual made, the higher the percentage he or she paid in taxes. A century and a half later, Americans still think the progressive income tax is the fairest way for the government to raise revenue. When it com... By Reid Wilson The Washington Post The federal government implemented an income tax in 1861 to pay for the Civil War. It levied a flat tax of 3 percent on all incomes above $800. A year later, Congress changed the system, creating the first progressive tax structure: The more money an individual made, the higher the percentage he or she paid in taxes. A century and a half later, Americans still think the progressive income tax is the fairest way for the government to raise revenue. When it com... 58433271@www.sltrib.com Sat, 20 Sep 2014 01:01:04 MDT Washington Post: Economy improves, but not everyone is sharing http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58433284-82/wealth-fed-households-income.html.csp Amid other good news about the U.S. economy — a declining unemployment rate, lower child poverty — the Federal Reserve has just reported that the net worth of U.S. households rose $1.4 trillion, to $81.5 trillion, during the second quarter of 2014. This means that families’ assets, such as homes and stocks, have risen roughly $23 trillion in value since the depths of the “Great Recession” in 2009. Credit the market on Wall Street and recovering real estate prices, both partly attributable to the... Amid other good news about the U.S. economy — a declining unemployment rate, lower child poverty — the Federal Reserve has just reported that the net worth of U.S. households rose $1.4 trillion, to $81.5 trillion, during the second quarter of 2014. This means that families’ assets, such as homes and stocks, have risen roughly $23 trillion in value since the depths of the “Great Recession” in 2009. Credit the market on Wall Street and recovering real estate prices, both partly attributable to the... 58433284@www.sltrib.com Sat, 20 Sep 2014 01:01:04 MDT Rolly: Guns vs. breasts: Which wins in Utah? http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58424196-82/breastfeeding-public-women-http.html.csp One wonders what the reaction would have been had the teacher at Westbrook Elementary School, who inadvertently shot herself in the leg, accidentally exposed her breast instead. I bring up the question because of a recently released study on breastfeeding that shows women in the Mountain West believe in breastfeeding more than other regions in the U.S., but are most afraid to breastfeed in public. After the teacher shot herself in the leg, sustaining a superficial wound, the school’s principal s... One wonders what the reaction would have been had the teacher at Westbrook Elementary School, who inadvertently shot herself in the leg, accidentally exposed her breast instead. I bring up the question because of a recently released study on breastfeeding that shows women in the Mountain West believe in breastfeeding more than other regions in the U.S., but are most afraid to breastfeed in public. After the teacher shot herself in the leg, sustaining a superficial wound, the school’s principal s... 58424196@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:22:01 MDT Op-ed: Catholics could learn from Mormons’ eternal marriage http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58432791-82/marriage-catholic-catholics-marriages.html.csp When Pope Francis married 20 couples two weeks ago, it was the first time a pope had done so in over a decade. It’s too bad Francis seems to think half of all marriages aren’t valid. The pope said as much last year when he was asked on the papal plane about communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. His predecessor in Buenos Aires, Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, the pope remarked, “used to say that as far as he was concerned, half of all marriages are null. But why did he say this? Because pe... When Pope Francis married 20 couples two weeks ago, it was the first time a pope had done so in over a decade. It’s too bad Francis seems to think half of all marriages aren’t valid. The pope said as much last year when he was asked on the papal plane about communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. His predecessor in Buenos Aires, Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, the pope remarked, “used to say that as far as he was concerned, half of all marriages are null. But why did he say this? Because pe... 58432791@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:22:01 MDT Op-ed: To be innovation hub, Utah must embrace its Burning Man side http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58429513-82/valley-silicon-burning-innovation.html.csp A couple of weeks ago, a big chunk of Silicon Valley got a little closer to Utah, when close to 70,000 people descended on the northern Nevada desert for the annual Burning Man festival. Past attendees include Valley titans such as Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Tesla founder Elon Musk recently said attending Burning Man was critical to understanding what makes Silicon Valley tick. “If you haven’t been,” he said, “you just don’t get it.” What can a four-day ... A couple of weeks ago, a big chunk of Silicon Valley got a little closer to Utah, when close to 70,000 people descended on the northern Nevada desert for the annual Burning Man festival. Past attendees include Valley titans such as Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Tesla founder Elon Musk recently said attending Burning Man was critical to understanding what makes Silicon Valley tick. “If you haven’t been,” he said, “you just don’t get it.” What can a four-day ... 58429513@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:18:02 MDT Op-ed: Stand up to elites who undermine traditional marriage http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58429746-82/marriage-elites-stand-family.html.csp Why should we stand for the family, or for marriage, or for life or for any of the culturally-conservative issues? Living in California during the Proposition 8 debates, I had a front row seat watching the “elites” mangle the meaning of marriage. The judicial elites have handed down a disastrous series of federal court decisions, solidifying governmental commitment to the ideology of the sexual revolution. The entertainment elites seem to celebrate every family form except the natural family o... Why should we stand for the family, or for marriage, or for life or for any of the culturally-conservative issues? Living in California during the Proposition 8 debates, I had a front row seat watching the “elites” mangle the meaning of marriage. The judicial elites have handed down a disastrous series of federal court decisions, solidifying governmental commitment to the ideology of the sexual revolution. The entertainment elites seem to celebrate every family form except the natural family o... 58429746@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:18:02 MDT Pyle: Reality deniers need to accept it: Your way may not be my way http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58430821-82/com-acceptance-making-marriage.html.csp If you’ve read the 1969 book by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, “On Death and Dying” — or, a bit more likely, have seen Bob Fosse’s semi-autobiographical movie “All That Jazz” — you know about the five stages of death. • 1. Denial. Nothing’s wrong. I’m fine. Really. Nothing to see here. Move along. • 2. Anger. Hey! What the hell?!? • 3. Bargaining. Wait, wait. I promise. No more bacon double cheeseburgers. I’ll take up running. Whatever it takes. Talk to me here. • 4. Depression. Oh, man.... If you’ve read the 1969 book by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, “On Death and Dying” — or, a bit more likely, have seen Bob Fosse’s semi-autobiographical movie “All That Jazz” — you know about the five stages of death. • 1. Denial. Nothing’s wrong. I’m fine. Really. Nothing to see here. Move along. • 2. Anger. Hey! What the hell?!? • 3. Bargaining. Wait, wait. I promise. No more bacon double cheeseburgers. I’ll take up running. Whatever it takes. Talk to me here. • 4. Depression. Oh, man.... 58430821@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:18:02 MDT The Commentariat: A sampling of reader comments posted on sltrib.com http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58425765-82/sltrib-com-utah-commenting.html.csp “Please Jon, come home and run against Mike Lee!!!!!!!! Run on any ticket you wish but run.” — Gerald commenting on the Sept. 17 sltrib.com article, “Jon Huntsman won’t rule out 2016 run, but eyes sidelines for now” “The lefty Trib pushing the drinking culture again, as news no less. Jeez, Trib at least put this garbage in its own section and not the ‘Utah news’ stack. No wonder you’re bankrupt and about to cut staff for the 4th time. Most Utahns have no use for booze and we’re pretty to... “Please Jon, come home and run against Mike Lee!!!!!!!! Run on any ticket you wish but run.” — Gerald commenting on the Sept. 17 sltrib.com article, “Jon Huntsman won’t rule out 2016 run, but eyes sidelines for now” “The lefty Trib pushing the drinking culture again, as news no less. Jeez, Trib at least put this garbage in its own section and not the ‘Utah news’ stack. No wonder you’re bankrupt and about to cut staff for the 4th time. Most Utahns have no use for booze and we’re pretty to... 58425765@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:18:01 MDT Op-ed: Religion is yin to science’s yang http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58429451-82/science-clark-professor-religion.html.csp Last week, Gregory Clark, professor of bioengineering, wrote a fierce homage to his deceased friend, Victor Stenger, a “renowned physicist and best-selling atheist author.” After a spirited critique of the superior traits of inductive science, and the inferior traits of deductive religion, Clark concludes with Stenger’s defining hypothesis: not that God is dead, but that “God never existed at all.” This, followed by the loyal tag: “Fortunately for us, Victor Stenger did [exist].” I agree, with... Last week, Gregory Clark, professor of bioengineering, wrote a fierce homage to his deceased friend, Victor Stenger, a “renowned physicist and best-selling atheist author.” After a spirited critique of the superior traits of inductive science, and the inferior traits of deductive religion, Clark concludes with Stenger’s defining hypothesis: not that God is dead, but that “God never existed at all.” This, followed by the loyal tag: “Fortunately for us, Victor Stenger did [exist].” I agree, with... 58429451@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:18:01 MDT Op-ed: Restore NIH funding so it can save more Utahns’ lives http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58429473-82/nih-research-funding-utah.html.csp Did you know that between 1900 and 2000 the average life expectancy in the U.S. increased from 44 years to 77? Or that the five-year survival rate for childhood cancer patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia in 1960 was less than 10 percent and is now almost 90 percent? These advancements in medicine and child health are directly linked to research funded by the National Institutes of Health. As a pediatrician and researcher at the University of Utah, I can personally attest to the vital roles ... Did you know that between 1900 and 2000 the average life expectancy in the U.S. increased from 44 years to 77? Or that the five-year survival rate for childhood cancer patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia in 1960 was less than 10 percent and is now almost 90 percent? These advancements in medicine and child health are directly linked to research funded by the National Institutes of Health. As a pediatrician and researcher at the University of Utah, I can personally attest to the vital roles ... 58429473@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:18:01 MDT Op-ed: Don’t buy Blue Castle’s claims of progress in building nuke plant http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58429491-82/blue-castle-nuclear-utah.html.csp Utah has many annual traditions, such as rushing up the Cottonwood Canyons on powder days or reveling in the lights of Temple Square during the Christmas season. In the past couple years, we’re developing a new one: Guffawing when the company that wants to build the Green River nuclear reactors unveils a “big” development. Their periodic news releases are little more than an empty illusion, designed to create the appearance of momentum, even as Blue Castle Holdings’ southern Utah nuclear plans r... Utah has many annual traditions, such as rushing up the Cottonwood Canyons on powder days or reveling in the lights of Temple Square during the Christmas season. In the past couple years, we’re developing a new one: Guffawing when the company that wants to build the Green River nuclear reactors unveils a “big” development. Their periodic news releases are little more than an empty illusion, designed to create the appearance of momentum, even as Blue Castle Holdings’ southern Utah nuclear plans r... 58429491@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:18:01 MDT Bloomberg Op-ed: Scotland delivers a welcome lesson in democracy http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58433366-82/scotland-scots-britain-campaign.html.csp By Marc Champion Bloomberg News Scots discovered at 6:08 a.m. Friday that they won’t break up the United Kingdom to become an independent nation. In the Glasgow hotel where the much-maligned Better Together campaign gathered to watch the results, music began to pound, a union jack was unfurled and the party started — lasting just long enough for relieved and bleary-eyed campaigners to do a little dance. A “Yes” victory party would have been a lot more fun. Earlier in the night, I left the “The... By Marc Champion Bloomberg News Scots discovered at 6:08 a.m. Friday that they won’t break up the United Kingdom to become an independent nation. In the Glasgow hotel where the much-maligned Better Together campaign gathered to watch the results, music began to pound, a union jack was unfurled and the party started — lasting just long enough for relieved and bleary-eyed campaigners to do a little dance. A “Yes” victory party would have been a lot more fun. Earlier in the night, I left the “The... 58433366@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:08:01 MDT Washington Post Op-ed: Kissinger is not telling the truth about his past. Again. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58432142-82/kissinger-cambodia-american-drone.html.csp Henry Kissinger is back. With this new book, “World Order,” he attempts to explain the chaotic state of the world through the lens of history. But in the interviews he is giving to promote his book, he rewrites history and obfuscates facts - about U.S. war policy and his own bloody legacy - to make himself look good. He has done this before. Here are some of Kissinger’s biggest distortions. (1) On NPR’s Weekend Edition, Kissinger told host Scott Simon that the ISIS problem could be fixed by thwa... Henry Kissinger is back. With this new book, “World Order,” he attempts to explain the chaotic state of the world through the lens of history. But in the interviews he is giving to promote his book, he rewrites history and obfuscates facts - about U.S. war policy and his own bloody legacy - to make himself look good. He has done this before. Here are some of Kissinger’s biggest distortions. (1) On NPR’s Weekend Edition, Kissinger told host Scott Simon that the ISIS problem could be fixed by thwa... 58432142@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 06:38:01 MDT