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Paul Rolly: On Sundance, Sutherland Institute shows selective outrage
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

You have to wonder if the conservative Sutherland Institute's recent diatribe against the Sundance Film Festival for showing "inappropriate" movies is disingenuous at best, or, as conservative Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, said on Facebook, just a fundraising tactic.

The Sutherland Institute, like the Eagle Forum, has been Utah's self-appointed moral watchdog for years. The institute recently questioned state appropriations to the festival, which brings in tens of millions of dollars a year to Utah's economy. Its main complaint was the nature of the films, which the institute described as too suggestive.

But that same Sutherland Institute seems more tolerant when advancing a cause against public school districts, a favorite target.

Last spring, the institute posted a story on its YouTube page that questioned the Jordan and Granite school districts' commitment to students with learning disabilities and other problems. It quoted a source who identified certain students as qualifying for special programs that the school districts allegedly ignored.

The districts objected to the story, claiming the reporter, who no longer is with Sutherland, didn't bother to get their side or talk to education experts who administer those programs and say the allegations are baseless.

It also was revealed that a source in the story had tagged on his YouTube account favorite sites that he could access automatically.

The favorites included titles like "Hot Jailbait Dance," Girls Make Out" and "Lesbian Kiss."

When that was pointed out to the Sutherland Institute, the story was removed from its site. But it was reinstated once those sites were removed from the source's YouTube account.

Sutherland spokesman Dave Buer told me at the time the story was removed to correct some technical problems. As far as the questionable sites are concerned, he told me that did not change the story's premise that the children in the school districts were not being adequately served.

The story remains on the Sutherland Institute's site.

Funny guy • During the Chamber of Commerce' "Economic Outlook 2013" breakfast at the Salt Lake Hilton on Thursday, Gov. Gary Herbert was in the middle of his speech when a Hilton employee walked on the stage and placed a chair next to the podium, presumably for the governor to sit down if he wanted.

The movement seemed to interrupt Herbert's chain of thought, so he paused for a moment. Then he looked at the chair and said: "Is that President Obama?"

Patrick Henry lives • If nothing else, President Barack Obama's efforts on gun control have reenergized former legislator and failed Republican congressional candidate Carl Wimmer, who has seized the opportunity to play cowboy again.

You will recall that when Wimmer was in the Legislature, he and four other right-wing members of the Utah House dubbed themselves the "Fab Five," established the Patrick Henry Caucus and were featured in a video that seemed to depict them as some kind of superheroes.

Then, after Wimmer lost his bid for Congress in the GOP convention to Mia Love, and didn't get the political job he thought he had with the Nevada Republican Party, he took a low profile, hiring on as a resource cop with Gunnison High School.

But now, thanks to Obama, the old "give me liberty or give me death" spirit is back.

Wimmer has been posting eagerly on Facebook about how he ain't giving up his guns.

One post: "Heston and I are getting ready to clean about eight guns … many that will be illegal if goofball Diane Feinstein has her way."

Another: "Mr. Obama, if your administration passes further federal gun restrictions on law abiding citizens, I WILL NOT enforce them. My allegiance is to the Constitution and to the free people of this state and nation." (I can just envision some barricaded standoff at Gunnison High School).

Also on the page next to the rants were advertisements for a gun exchange and assault rifle give-aways.

When Ellen Brady posted a comment on his page pointing out an inconsistency between his saber-rattling postings and the Bible verse he posted on his profile, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me," he told her to get off his Facebook page.

"You are not my Facebook friend and you are not protected by the 1st Amendment on someone's personal Facebook page, so quit posting. I do not know you, and I have no interest in hearing from you," he wrote.

So the guy who wanted to be in Congress, and who had a fairly good following, never wants to hear from anyone who disagrees with him.

Looks like we dodged that bullet (pun intended).

prolly@sltrib.com

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