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State of the Debate
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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Western Editorial Sampler: Free speech edition ...

Above: Hitch shouts ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater.

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Editorials on free speech: Good, bad and ugly ...

A victory for free speech — Ogden Standard-Examiner Editorial

Even though supporters are reluctant to admit they had it wrong in the first place, it’s a victory for free speech that Brigham City’s council has repealed an offensive ordinance that limited protest areas to certain blocks around the new LDS Church temple there. ...

Prosecuting obscenity should be a priority — Deseret News Editorial

Obscenity convictions have been rare over the past 20 years. Beginning in the early 1990s, the Justice Department began to de-emphasize prosecution of adult pornography under obscenity laws, and that trend has been steady through the Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama administrations.

Now, the Republican Party has included a platform plank that calls for obscenity prosecution once again, and people who understand the scourge pornography presents in modern society are hopeful a Mitt Romney presidency would carry out those wishes. ...

White supremacists: Boise is better than this, and can prove it — Idaho Statesman Editorial

Boiseans know very little about Hammerfest 2012 — just enough to be outraged.

Fronted by the white supremacist group Hammerskin Nation, the music "festival" is supposed to take place somewhere in or around Boise on Saturday.

The group bills this concert as a 25th anniversary celebration. And since a quarter century of racial intolerance is obviously not something to be very proud of, the group is revealing nothing about the location — hiding in the underground where cowardice and hatred thrive. ...

... If you want to speak out against what the Hammerskins stand for, by all means do so. Talk to your friends and family, especially those who live outside the Valley. Tell the Valley’s side of the story via social media. (It’s only fair, after all, since the Hammerskins like to use social media to publicize their hatefests.)

And then stay away. ...

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