A few decades ago, it was impossible to walk down Main Street Salt Lake City in winter without a thought for the miners. Coal-fueled heaters meant white shirts had changed to black by noon. In today’s gas-heated buildings, it’s easy to forget that much of the electricity we use, from building lights to computers, began as coal dug from somewhere deep underground—1,800 feet underground, in the case of the six trapped miners in Huntington. In the old days, Utah got its brave coal miners from Greece and China. Today, many tackling the still-dangerous job come from Mexico; others are lifelong Utah natives. We owe the miners more than passing thoughts of gratitude. When the current emergency is over, our thoughts should turn to their safety and prospects for citizenship.
Some can be old and still die too early. Such is the case of Jim Faust, a member of the LDS Church’s First Presidency, who died recently at 87. Faust was a leader of a worldwide church who at the same time was a man of the world—a respected lawyer and former state legislator—able to talk to and work with those outside the church walls. An advocate for justice frequently honored by civil-rights groups, Faust was an important balance in an organization that often found itself challenged on its tolerance of difference. To top it off, he was a lifelong Democrat, something hard to imagine in the coming Age of Romney. He will be missed.
We knew Karl Rove was smart. (They didn’t call him “Bush’s Brain” for nothing.) The Utah-educated Rove proved it once again by knowing when to jump a sinking ship, exiting his longtime role as Bush’s top adviser. That exit increases the chances Rove will get to test out the skills he honed on the Olympus High debate squad during testimony before congressional committees now examining mounting White House scandals. On the downside, Rove’s departure means that, at least until Romney is able to finagle his way into the White House, Utah is losing clout in D.C. Sure, we still have Mike Leavitt at Health and Human Services. And that guy who wrote the “torture memo” did go to BYU. But how will Bush survive without his brain? Never mind.