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Orrin Takes on Drug War



It could be a whole new ballgame for Orrin Hatch, that great Utahn who ran for president and U.S. Senate at the same time. In the jargon, that’s what we call multi-tasking.

’Course everyone knows ol’ Orrin is pretty good at multi-tasking, what with his hit-song writing and his presence in the political arena—not the least of which is the U.S. Senate, where he holds court (no pun intended) as chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

But Orrin’s a lot more than a double threat—Utah’s senior senator has also stepped out into the national scene on such moral issues as flag burning, the rights of the unborn, pornography and illegal drugs (except, of course, those substances imbibed by Olympic athletes that make them compete better).

But now Orrin is busting loose, starring in a big movie. Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, which opened Christmas Day, gave our boy his debut on the silver screen. Who needs to pine for an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court when you can go Hollywood?

Some frowny faces are asking Orrin why he rails against R-rated movies and drugs and then takes a role in a movie filled with naked bodies and dope? “I’m glad I did it,” Orrin told the Deseret News recently. “They told my staff the movie would be about how drugs destroy families, and I thought it would be worthwhile.”

Totally solid, dude. Did they also tell you the movie is about the so-called War on Drugs and how it is a complete and dismal $19 billion-a-year failure? The War on Drugs turns people into criminals, devastates poor neighborhoods and even kills innocent people. And, of course, it hasn’t reduced drug trafficking or drug use at all. Maybe that’s why Orrin took the role. Sure.

Speaking of righteous indignation, Mike Leavitt, our governor, wants to know who is getting rich from the high price of electricity these days. At a Western governor’s conference in Colorado, Leavitt said there is potential wrongdoing in electricity price gouging, and he and his governor buddies want answers.

Coupled with a 28.5 percent proposed rate hike from Questar natural gas, consumers could be hit hard in Utah, too. ’Course Leavitt didn’t mention that his father sits on the board of Questar and has made a bundle since his son—our governor—allowed legislation to become law eliminating the state Committee of Consumer Services that looks out for rate payers. Just a small oversight.

Who said Hatch and Leavitt don’t have much in common these days?

And finally, this: One of our readers, a Layton hotel clerk, called to say that a delivery driver for the Newspaper Agency Corporation stops by regularly to throw away a stack of City Weekly papers because they’re stacked on top of Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News and USA Today newspaper machines. To our nice friends at NAC, we have a little warning: Watch it!