Alty News: The Worst Civil Liberties Violations of 2014; Reasons to be Hopeful in 2015 About Climate Change | Buzz Blog
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Alty News: The Worst Civil Liberties Violations of 2014; Reasons to be Hopeful in 2015 About Climate Change


An attorney says the U.S. Government missed a crucial chance to prevent the Islamic State in Syria from beheading American aid worker Peter Kassig.

Top of the Alty World

“Did the U.S. Abandon an American Hostage in Syria? Inside the Secret Bid to Free Peter Kassig “—Democracy Now!

Rolling Stone recaps some of the reasons to be optimistic about the United Nations' recently concluded summit on climate change.—Rolling Stone

In a less hopeful list, Slate recaps the 10 worst civil-liberties violations of 2014.—Slate

As water demand actually slows in Western states, utilities are re-thinking how they do business.—High Country News

Top of Alty Utah

A Utah legislator could stand to profit from legislation passed that would bolster a nonprofit organization set up in his wife's name.—Utah Political Capitol

A group of activists are reaching out to and advocating for undocumented LGBT Latinos in Utah.—Salt Lake City Weekly

Two gay men were assaulted in Salt Lake City as their assailants shouted anti-gay epithets at them, leading police to consider the attack as a possible hate crime.—Q Salt Lake

Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, may have changed the playbook in how he got elected as House Speaker.—Utah Policy


Salt Lake City Weekly founder John Saltas argues the Utah State Prison ought to remain where it is.

Really, the moving-the-prison idea just stinks. If construction costs are low, then modification costs at the current location would also be low. Just fix the damned thing. And while the prison may never win an architectural-design contest, no one can argue it hasn't been effective on at least two fronts: Can you name the last time anyone escaped from there? And, it marks the perfect merger between Utah's two greatest crime centers—the big, bad, city dwellers of Salt Lake County and points north, and the holier-than-thou white-collar criminals who ply their trade in Utah County. Both counties get a toss-up point for methamphetamine production and heroin use.Salt Lake City Weekly

The Long View

The Atlantic argues that the attitude we have of the military is what sets American troops up for failure in wars that cannot be won.

This reverent but disengaged attitude toward the military—we love the troops, but we’d rather not think about them—has become so familiar that we assume it is the American norm. But it is not. When Dwight D. Eisenhower, as a five-star general and the supreme commander, led what may have in fact been the finest fighting force in the history of the world, he did not describe it in that puffed-up way. On the eve of the D-Day invasion, he warned his troops, “Your task will not be an easy one,” because “your enemy is well-trained, well-equipped, and battle-hardened.” As president, Eisenhower’s most famous statement about the military was his warning in his farewell address of what could happen if its political influence grew unchecked.

At the end of World War II, nearly 10 percent of the entire U.S. population was on active military duty—which meant most able-bodied men of a certain age (plus the small number of women allowed to serve). Through the decade after World War II, when so many American families had at least one member in uniform, political and journalistic references were admiring but not awestruck. Most Americans were familiar enough with the military to respect it while being sharply aware of its shortcomings, as they were with the school system, their religion, and other important and fallible institutions.
The Atlantic