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George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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On legislative watch: Two blows for liberty ...

Above: A good rock 'n' roll song about Harry Truman and a bottle. [Maybe you have to be from Missouri to appreciate it.]

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Harry Truman liked to refer to his occasional nip of bourbon as "Striking a blow for liberty."

Today's Salt Lake Tribune editorials deal with alcohol, and liberty.

- Liquor monopoly: Bill would fix management problems - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Liquor impairs the human capacity for rational thought. Strangely, however, this applies both to those who consume it and those who don’t. At least that’s been our experience with liquor regulation in Utah.

Despite that, the Legislature is considering a reasonable bill that would improve the accountability of the scandal-scarred Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The DABC has been tarred by a series of legislative audits that have alleged financial improprieties by the former director and poor oversight of small package stores that have lost the state money. And that’s only the top of the list. ...


- New spots on the liquor board? Sign me up - Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune

- A bold stand: Utah Senate stands for Constitution - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Members of the Utah Legislature like to decry actions of the federal government because they are actions of the federal government. But, in a resolution considered Tuesday by the Utah Senate, lawmakers have clearly found a federal act that very much deserves all the scorn our anti-Washington politicians can heap upon it.

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 passed Congress late last year and was signed into law by President Obama on New Year’s Eve. Hidden among its many pages of spending, weapons systems and rules for choosing names for new Navy ships are some particularly heinous provisions. ...

... By passing SCR11, the Senate would officially stand against the indefinite detention provisions of the bill and urge that Congress alter or abolish them. "Winning the war against terror," SCR11 correctly and courageously states, "cannot come at the great expense of mitigating basic, fundamental, constitutional rights." ...

- A bad agriculture bill - Deseret News Editorial

The Utah Legislature is close to following an ill-conceived national trend that would, in effect, shield the agriculture industry from whistle-blowers or others who might be aware of legitimate abuses — a special exemption that is not warranted. ... [We agree.]

- Merit system for teachers - Provo Daily Herald Editorial

Despite panicked opponents' fears of tying teacher pay to performance, Utah Senate Bill 67 seems a sensible, manageable attempt to improve public schools. ... [We beg to differ.]

Other legislatures need watching, too, of course. [Some of these will sound familiar]:

- Common sense should shoot it down - Arizona Republic Editorial

Safety should be a strong enough argument against a bill that would force state universities and colleges to allow guns on campus. ...

- Fiscal issues more urgent than social issues now - Spokane Spokesman-Review Editorial

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