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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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(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Mark Shurtleff, seen in 2012, said Thursday that a DOJ investigation into his actions as attorney general has been dropped, and no charges will be filed.
Opinion Page Sampler: Politicians under the microscope ...

Shurtleff’s sad exit: A.G. becomes what he once opposed — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial ... In 2009, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff was laying plans to oust a Washington insider who, arguably, was far too cozy with America’s big banks. Today, he is one. ... Once party to a lawsuit that was pushing Bank of America and its subsidiaries to obey the consumer protections found in Utah law, Shurtleff the other day did a huge favor for that same giant bank, agreeing to a settlement that could let BofA off the hook for much of its alleged wrongdoing in Utah. Shurtleff abandoned the 2010 Senate race for legitimate family reasons, watching as [Sen. Bob] Bennett lost his quest for re-nomination in a contest that eventually elected Republican Sen. Mike Lee. Shurtleff declined to seek re-election as attorney general, and his term ends Monday. He will then join the international law firm Troutman Sanders LLP, which boasts Bank of America as one of its most prestigious clients. ...

Worst Congress ever? — Gail Collins | The New York Times, via Salt Lake Tribune ... The Center for Responsive Politics counts 373 former House and Senate members who are currently working as lobbyists. That includes former Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, who announced that he would be filing his official papers on Thursday, the exact moment the legal two-year revolving door ban expires. Bennett had complained bitterly about the cooling-off period being a restraint of his constitutional rights, which left him forced to eke out a living as a consultant for the BennettGroup and a member of a high-profile Washington law firm. ...

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What Crapo needs to say to all Idahoans — Idaho Statesman Editorial When Mike Crapo appears in court today on a drunken-driving charge, what will Idahoans hear from their senior senator? Based on what we’ve heard so far, we don’t expect excuses and alibis.

Coffman as case study — Curtis Hubbard | The Denver Post ... Given the folly of the last two years, we might as well dub the 113th Congress as the "insanity Congress," seeing as how voters have returned the same cast of characters with the expectation of a different result. (And yes, I’m aware that this paper’s endorsements followed that pattern.)...

California’s new congress members aren’t quite a breath of fresh air — Los Angeles Daily News Editorial

Bar set pretty low for 113th Congress — Tulsa World Editorial

Goodbye and good riddance, 112th Congress — Ezra Klein | Washington Post

My last day in Congress — Gary Ackerman | The New York Times, via Minnesota Star-Tribune| ... Two months shy of 30 years in the House, I leave a chamber in which we challenge one another’s legitimacy, not one another’s ideas. ... What has changed is the disappearance of the spirit of cooperation and shared sacrifice that, only three decades ago, could bring political opponents together. I came at a time of great hope and leave at a time when finding a middle path has become a much greater challenge. ...

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