This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
THUMB DOWN: Innocent ears • It's just irresistible. Republicans in the Utah Legislature can't help themselves when it comes to promoting energy development in Utah. Rep. Jack Draxler, R-North Ogden, has convinced his colleagues in the House that Utah schoolchildren are learning too much about energy conservation and recycling and not enough about the benefits of drilling for gas and oil. We're not sure why they see this as a scale that must be balanced. Somehow, they seem to fear, children will be persuaded that if conservation and recycling are good then energy development is bad. Draxler's bill would allocate all-too-scarce dollars so that teachers can explain that Americans should continue to rely on and subsidize fossil fuels. If balance is needed, we'd like to also see an explanation of how burning carbon fuels and drilling for them are contributing to the air that's so bad these same children can't go outside at recess.
THUMB UP: Refusing to be shot • The Utah County Health Department reasonably wants to eliminate a waiver that allows department employees to opt out of getting vaccinated against flu and childhood diseases simply because they are philosophically opposed to shots. We agree with Director Joseph K. Miner on this. He wants to change the rule so future job applicants must be vaccinated unless there is a religious or medical reason for refusing. Those employees must, instead, wear surgical masks when they work with people susceptible to infection. Health department workers refusing to be vaccinated for any other reason would be comparable to people applying for work as journalists who are philosophically opposed to the First Amendment freedom of the press. If they don't agree with the department's consistent message that vaccinations are important for everyone, they should work somewhere else.
THUMB DOWN: Tale of 2 EOCs • The Utah Division of Homeland Security doesn't want to share space with Salt Lake City in the city's new Emergency Operations Center being built with a $125 million voter-approved bond. Instead, the state will build its own center in a bunker beneath the southwest wing of the Capitol, which was retrofitted to withstand earthquakes. The state will get $2.1 million from the feds for the project. The funds, set aside for emergency preparedness in Tooele, will become available once the chemical-weapons stockpile finally is destroyed some time this year. We can't help but wonder if the legislators who so oppose federal "interference" might feel uncomfortable being kept safe by federal dollars.