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Short takes on the news

Published January 11, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Armed to the teeth • Freedom of religion includes the right to be a nonbeliever. Freedom of speech includes the right to remain silent. And the right to bear arms includes the right not to allow a gun of any kind in your home. Sadly, another Utah town is in the process of making it government policy that no domicile should be without a firearm. The city council in Spring City, home to some 1,000 souls in Sanpete County, is preparing a resolution that would encourage all residents to have a gun, ostensibly for self-defense, more accurately as a political statement that, no matter how many mass murders there are in American schools, the Second Amendment right to be armed is inviolate. Unlike a law passed 13 years ago in Virgin, the Spring City resolution would be a recommendation, not a requirement. And Virgin doesn't actually enforce its mandate. Still, the idea that any level of government would encourage everyone, willing or not, emotionally fit or no, to arm themselves is a concession to an image of an America ruled by a law of the jungle that does not befit a civilized society.

You want some fries with that? • The idea that a state's law should prohibit patrons in a restaurant from being served a nice glass of wine or a cocktail as they peruse the menu is silly. The idea that said state should expend its limited money and manpower trying to entrap wait staff into violating that law is absurd. Yet that's just what is happening in Utah. The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is sticking to a reading of state law that says diners in restaurants can't have a drink until after they have ordered their food. People who walk into restaurants want a meal. A law or policy that says they should not be allowed a part of that meal — a drink — while deciding on an entree, or even while waiting for their table, is just another goofy tourism killer that Utah does not need. Members of the 2013 Legislature should not even have to wait to be seated before they change this harebrained law.

Not biting the hand that bailed you out • It is a reflections of just how skewed much of the thinking on Wall Street is when we note with relief that some of its big-monied overlords this week decided not to do something very stupid. The board of AIG, the insurance giant saved from bankruptcy in 2008 by the federal government's bailout, decided Wednesday not to join a lawsuit brought against the United States its former CEO Maurice Greenberg. Greenberg is complaining that the terms of the deal, which did make the Treasury a profit of some $22.7 billion, were too harsh. Another reason why too-big-to-fail banks and other financial institutions need to be phased out.