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Short takes on the news

Published January 26, 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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Women at arms • Not all women are up to the physical and emotional strain of being a combat soldier. But not all men are, either. It takes a special level of grit, guts and determination. And, finally, the Pentagon has recognized that individual abilities, not gender bias, should be the factor that determines which people should be assigned to the most dangerous — and most career-building — assignments. The end of the ban on females serving in specific combat-oriented roles also recognizes that, in this century of asymmetrical warfare, fought with high-tech gear and without defined front lines, any woman who serves in any portion of the armed forces is already at risk. The least we can do is recognize that fact and make it official policy that they should all be ready to shoot back.

Women in office • Any move that makes our representative democracy more, well, representative of the public as a whole is a good thing. That's why Real Women Run, a coalition of Utah organizations devoted to recruiting more women to run for office, threw a networking meeting Thursday for women who might be interested in seeking public office. It included advice from the leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties and information about the different ways women can serve their community. In Utah, 16.3 percent of the Legislature is female, and none of the statewide offices is held by a woman. That ranks above only seven other states and is far below what the figure should be when half the population is female. More information is available at http://www.realwomenrun.org.

New sheriff on the Street • For the first time in its 79-year history, the federal agency that is supposed to police Wall Street's dealings will be headed by someone whose background is in prosecuting malfeasance. President Obama Thursday nominated Mary Jo White, a former U.S. attorney for Manhattan, as the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The message this sends is that the administration recognizes that the last economic crash, the one that so many communities, businesses and households are still struggling to emerge from, was not a random or cyclical occurrence. It was caused by human beings making insanely risky bets with other people's money, often deceiving their own customers about what they were doing with all that money. A prosecutor's eye at the SEC is not just welcome, it is necessary.