Utah has run out of licenses for restaurants to serve beer. The solution of the liquor commission: reduce the number of licenses for private clubs and taverns. Meanwhile, on the advice of a 9-year-old, a Provo grocery store is taking all beer from its shelves—a move soon to be mimicked throughout Utah, thanks to a recent liquor-commission vote to restrict sale of flavored malt beverages to state run liquor stores. The beverages that upset the commission have the same alcohol content as beer. In fact, they are beer—just flavored to taste like mixed drinks. But commissioners complain underage drinkers might not understand that the drinks—sold under liquor brand names, like Smirnoff, Jack Daniel’s and Bacardi—contain alcohol.
A tiny patch of blue sky on the pollution front can be seen over Salt Lake County, where mayors gathered as the Salt Lake County Council of Governments recently endorsed a plan for cleaning the air. To get anywhere, they will need help from the state Legislature, which unfortunately, appears still to have its collective head stuck in the clouds. State air-quality officials want $3 million for increased air monitoring and for preparation of a plan to meet new federal EPA pollution limits. Their proposal for a small hike in the gas tax was quashed by a summer meeting of lawmakers. That in the face of news that this summer brought twice as many bad ozone days as in recent years.
Joe Cannon knows things you don’t. He’d tell you, but he made a vow of secrecy to an elite group of conservative powerbrokers. Odd, considering Cannon is the editor of the Deseret Morning News and ostensibly in the business of uncovering the doings of the rich and powerful. Asked to speak at a recent Utah meeting of the Council for National Policy—alongside Vice President Dick Cheney and Mitt Romney—Cannon saw nothing wrong with agreeing to not breathe a word of what was said. News reporters were left to write things like, “loud applause could be heard from the ballroom.” News readers can sleep knowing their editor is pals with the right-wing conspiracy; he just won’t be telling you about it.