Well, it’s official. Most of Utah’s elected sheriffs have lost their collective mind. Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder remains silent—probably for fear of the crazies. Of course, it’s about guns. What they did was threaten the president of the United States, the FBI and just about everyone else. “As professional peace officers, if we understand nothing else, we understand this: Lawful violence must sometimes be employed to deter and stop criminal violence. … We are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of [the Second Amendment’s] traditional interpretation.” All this because of a suggested ban on assault weapons and a limit on ammunition magazines. They appear to have bought into the line that Obama is a tyrant, which is defined as a cruel and oppressive ruler—a description that could also be applied to them.
What is it about the president that makes businessmen mean and spiteful? The Affordable Care Act hasn’t even had a chance to work or not, and you get people like Whole Foods CEO John Mackey calling it fascism, and then parsing his words in the face of backlash. But in Utah, we get a Vernal man, George Burnett, charging the “three liberals” in town an extra dollar for smoothies at his aptly named I Love Drilling Smoothie & Juice Bar. Of course, this made it onto The Colbert Report, cementing Utah’s reputation as wildly intolerant and punitive. Cedar City businessman Terry Lee so liked Burnett’s attitude that he fired two workers because they supported Obama and what he calls “Obongocare.” Do we sense a bit of racism here?
While many states are squandering an important resource for public education, Utah appears to be practicing smart finances. A report from Utah State University found that neglect or mismanagement has caused the loss of three-fourths of the 134 million acres of school trust lands. Those lands were given to the states to provide money from oil and gas leasing, mineral royalties, timber sales and grazing fees. But, oops, some of the 20 states that hold trust lands are raiding the coffers. Not Utah—anymore. We still have 3.3 million of the 6 million acres granted. And the state keeps the mineral rights while it grows its trust fund, contributing up to $90 million to the school endowment. That may only mean about 0.7 percent of public-school funding, but every dollar counts.