For almost a decade, Utahns complained about the Census Bureau’s refusal to count LDS missionaries. This year, the bureau finally offered an answer by developing an online survey for the estimated 6 million Americans on foreign soil, which also includes students studying abroad and aide workers. Yet, when they tried to test it on a sample of 520,000 people, including LDS missionaries, barely 1 percent responded. Thus, the bureau has decided against counting Americans outside of the country, except for those working for the government. Considering that census numbers determine things like House seats and federal funding distributions, the reduced numbers have very tangible impacts. It is disheartening that, while civic anger has not waned, civic participation seems to be steadily in decline.
Town Hall cowardice
People are mad, especially about health care, and they are very loudly letting their congressional representatives know it. Their ruckus has turned the normally staid August town-hall meetings into cage fights, especially for Democrats. At least, that’s what is happening in states where their representatives and senators have an ounce of bravery. In Utah, angry constituents will have to shout into a telephone because their Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson and both Republican senators have decided against the traditional meetings. While the antics of protesters at the town-hall meetings probably deserve their own miss, it is more disappointing to see elected officials scared of stepping in the fray that is democracy.
A buzzworthy trend
Thanks to multiple tasty offerings from Utah breweries, the state’s beer drinkers are having a great August. Because of recent changes to state law that allow breweries to sell their own heavy beer at reasonable prices, instead of through the DABC monopoly, Utah brewers are proving their abilities beyond 3.2 beer. Now, if only they could also sell those beers from taps in their brewpubs, the beer drinking life in Utah may be almost close to perfect.