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Rep. Jason Chaffetz has made it no secret he wants to head the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and seems to be earning his stripes with GOP leadership by criticizing everything President Barack Obama does.

Perhaps, though, the Utah Republican's zeal as a leading partisan hit man has gotten out of control.

Chaffetz came across as a bit of a fool last week, when he appeared on Fox News (where else?) to bash Obama yet again. This time, he criticized the president's appointment of Ron Klain as the Ebola response coordinator and wondered about the need for such a position.

"Why not have the surgeon general head this up?" Chaffetz asked. "I think that's a very legitimate question. At least you have somebody who has a medical background who's been confirmed by the United States Senate. It begs the question, what does the surgeon general do? Why aren't we empowering that person?"

There's just one problem with that. There is no permanent surgeon general.


Because Senate Republicans, joined by conservative Democrats, blocked Obama's nomination last year of Vivek Murthy. It turns out the National Rifle Association opposes Murthy because he backs some gun-control measures, including a ban on assault rifles.

Rear Adm. Boris Lushniak is filling in as acting surgeon general.

The Huffington Post called out Chaffetz on his apparent ignorance of the issue, and others have joined the chorus.

So if Chaffetz is really concerned about the proper administration of attacking the Ebola threat and having the surgeon general lead the way, he ought to be criticizing the NRA and Senate Republicans for the absence of a permanent surgeon general.

Like that's going to happen.

Hypocrisy at its worst • It's interesting that Chaffetz and others on the right are in a tizzy over Obama's Ebola response when you consider their hero, former President Ronald Reagan, largely ignored the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s that claimed thousands of lives. That, apparently, was OK with these folks.

Call a cop? • Some who attended last week's work session of the Salt Lake City Council have joked that the two hours spent discussing how police officers use force would have been a good time to rob a bank in Salt Lake City.

Nearly all the members of the public crammed into the meeting room at City Hall were uniformed city police officers.

A rough count estimated about 60 cops on hand while council members grilled Chief Chris Burbank about recent incidents of police shootings. Most of them laughed out loud when one council member asked the chief whether police try to verify if someone is armed before they shoot.

The number represents about 14 percent of the police force.

Burbank says he doesn't know how many of those in attendance were on duty at the time, but he insists there was no deficiency in the number of officers assigned to patrol the city during that shift.

Most employees in the Police Department are not patrol officers, he says, noting that besides those off duty, many of those in attendance were detectives, SWAT team members and other nonpatrol officers.

Forgive and forget • Ed Rhodes and his wife and daughter were riding their three motorcycles near Roy's Interstate 15 exit Oct. 16 when a Utah Highway Patrol car changed lanes without signaling and came within 3 feet of his daughter's front tire, he says. The trooper then switched lanes again and cut off another car, nearly causing a collision.

Rhodes got the license number and began a series of calls during the next few days in an attempt to lodge a complaint and bring attention to the trooper's reckless driving.

When he finally got a return call, the trooper's Ogden supervisor asked Rhodes: "Have you ever made a mistake?"

Rhodes responded that had he made a similar mistake in front of that trooper, he likely would have been pulled over and ticketed.

So the next time you get snagged for a traffic violation, just say to the officer as you hand him your driver license and registration: "Have you ever made a mistake?"

See how far that gets you.