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Jonas Jerebko returned to Utah to face his former squad and capped a 16-point Warriors comeback with a last-second tip-in to give his new team a win.
www.espn.com – NBA
Utah beats California 30-24, becomes last undefeated Pac-12 team
ESPN.com – TOP
Utah hungry for more than being college football's flavor of the month
ESPN.com – TOP
Oregon still trying to figure out how Utah pulled off that trick punt return
ESPN.com – TOP
Utah steamrolls Oregon in Pac-12 opener
ESPN.com – TOP
A minor league baseball team in Utah cancelled its planned “Caucasian Heritage Night” after it spawned the expected backlash, protest and controversy. MLB’s Los Angeles Angels affiliate the Orem Owlz is the team earning this month’s award for profound insensitivity, and stupidity.
Reports the Salt Lake City Tribune:
“Caucasian Heritage Night” in Orem came and went in the span of a couple of hours Friday, apparently taking the director of communications for Orem Owlz with it.
The Owlz, a Pioneer League affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, had scheduled Caucasian Heritage Night for Aug. 10 as part of the season’s promotions. But on Friday, after news outlets took interest and Caucasian Heritage Night was trending nationally on Twitter, the rookie-league team canceled the event.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, the team said the promotion was intended to be a lighthearted event.
“Minor League Baseball and the Orem Owlz is about baseball, togetherness and family fun for all fans of all races, religions and orientations. Our goal in this promotion, like any of our promotions, is to have fun and make fun of everyday normalcies,” the Owlz said. “Our night was to include Wonder Bread on burgers with mayonnaise, clips from shows like ‘Friends’ and ‘Seinfeld’ and trying to solve the vertical leaping challenge.”
Sounds like pure struggle.
The team issued statement also says, “We understand, in light of recent tragic events, that our intentions have been misconstrued. For that, we sincerely apologize.”
So if the tragedy in Charleston didn’t happen, does that mean the event would have gone on as planned? And if you’re wondering, “What’s the big deal?” You’re part of the problem because “white privilege.”
As Deadspin points out, Utah is 85% white, so there’s that.
Photo: Orem Owlz
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While less deadly than texting drivers, texting walkers are now getting their own public intervention. Utah Valley University unveiled a “texting lane” June 7 with the hopes of calling the attention of phone-absorbed students.
As students head to the new Student Life and Wellness Center at the Orem, Utah, institution, they will be diverted into one of three lanes, labeled “walk,” “run” and -– in keeping with the times -– “text.” The lanes themselves make up a track that imitates the athletic facilities within the complex.
The school’s creative director, Matt Bambrough, designed the graphic mostly to draw students’ attention.
“This design was intended to be visual first and functional second,” Bambrough told The Huffington Post. “In our research, the most successful environmental graphics… match that formula.”
“This graphic is obviously more aesthetic than functional,” he said in a press release, adding, “we’ve noticed that most texters aren’t actually following the posted lanes.”
The reality is that texting while walking can have legitimate harmful effects. Each year thousands of pedestrians end up in the emergency room due to walking and texting injuries -– a number that increased fivefold between 2005 and 2010, as cell-phone usage surged. More than half of all cell phone owners have experienced “distracted walking” — bumping into something or someone — according to a recent Pew Study.
Despite the dangers of looking down, Bambrough insists that the lane better serves the purpose of making students look up.
“This was certainly done in a way that was meant to be fun and not to be a directive of the university,” Bambrough explained. “We have 18- to 24-year-olds walking on campus glued to their smartphones, it’s the nature of the world we live in.”
Check out photos of the “texting lane” at Utah Valley University:
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Today I bring you a Robots Read News episode engineered to get a healthy number of “favorites” on Twitter but relatively few retweets. The hypothesis is that people enjoy dark humor but they are cautious about associating with it, and wisely so.
If your corporate firewall is blocking this, see it on Twitter at this link.
Remember Mormons and Prop 8? Many mormons were among the big players and funders who rejected same-sex marriage. The Republican-controlled Utah legislature voted to protect housing and employment rights for LGBT people, as long as religious people are free to discriminate without sanction. Utah Governor Gary Herbert says he plans to sign it.
The head of Equality Utah was “ecstatic,” according to the Salt Lake City Tribune, and called it a compromise. But are his eyes wide shut?
The Washington Blade reported in January that conservatives mobilized state-level campaigns across the country to use religious freedom to re-implement discrimination against LGBTQ people. States like Oklahoma, Michigan, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming are all somewhere along the journey toward freeing religious people to discriminate at will.
I am deeply concerned. In the name of progress and compromise, we may be setting ourselves up to be pawns in a global strategy of placing religious rights over all other constitutional and civil liberties.
Civil rights bills with sweeping exemptions for anyone with religious beliefs are not laws — they are stepping stones. In Utah, this legislation was not just about Mormons and LGBT people. When the Republican Governor says “this is a model for the whole country,” we had better ask why.
The plans for broadening this impact are clear from Republican Utah Senator Stuart Adams, who said, “If Utah can do this, in my opinion, it can be done anywhere else in the nation.”
Conservatives are framing religious liberty as the main argument against LGBT marriage equality, against abortion — and even against a secular government. They want to impose their religious beliefs in civic space and in the market and are exactly the type of people Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he and the other founders of this country prioritized freedom of religion.
Religious freedom emerged from a time when loyalty to kings and queens were indistinguishable from being faithful to a church. Archbishops whispered in the ears of rulers. Suffice it to say, we really don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past. By the 1700’s, Jefferson and others would not allow the conflation of church and state.
Today, there are swaths of conservatives who want to claim the United States as a “Christian Country.” Many people — both secular and religious — are wary as contingents of Mormon, Catholic, and Evangelical conservatives form temporary alliances to resist civil rights for LGBT people and reproductive justice for women. Be assured that if any one of these groups ever consolidated enough political, religious, and economic power to enforce their brand of religion, the wars between these groups would begin in short order and bleed into every aspect of our country.
Fortunately, so far, we have maintained a balance between freedom of religion and freedom from the imposition of religion. That balance tipped in favor of faith groups in the ’90s when many religions came together when government control of religion became too stringent and religions of many persuasions were feeling the pinch. In 1993, this coalition was able to pass The Religious Freedom and Restoration Act to establish a strongly articulated restriction on government interference in religion. The state was then required to show a “compelling reason” to limit religious expression.
Today, religions are asking for waivers from obeying laws that support equality and civil rights, not because they can demonstrate any harm to themselves, but because they believe their religion supersedes the Constitution.
If there was ever a compelling reason for the state to limit religious exemptions and public performance of “sincerely held religious beliefs,” it is equality before the law. Review after review in the courts of our nation have determined that same-gender couples and their families are harmed by not applying the laws equally to all who want to be married and want to protect their families — regardless of the gender of the couple.
We need new criteria today — religions must show a compelling reason NOT to follow a law. They must show that they cannot possibly accommodate the core tenets of their faith and follow laws that are constitutional. Sincerely-held beliefs can be wrong — even in light of core tenets of a person’s faith, let alone constitutional laws. Equality before the law does not infringe on any core religious belief in any religion. All religions teach that others should be treated with kindness and respect.
As a Christian and the head of Metropolitan Community Churches — founded when no church in the United States would welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer Christians — I believe we must keep our eyes open. We must speak and act, before it is too late.
Too many people want to be judgmental, take away our rights, harm our families, and say God made them do it. This has to stop. Religious liberty is not an excuse to discriminate.
Gay Voices – The Huffington Post
Where would this country be if Peter Cottontail got cottonmouth?
Matt Fairbanks, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s “marijuana eradication” team in Utah, testified to a state Senate panel last week, and said rabbits could get addicted to pot, lose their natural instincts and sit around getting high all the time should a bill pass that would allow medical marijuana edibles in the state.
Fairbanks testified in opposition to the bill, and spent some of his testimony splitting hares, according to The Washington Post. He claimed that illegal pot farms could have bad environmental consequences, and said he saw rabbits addicted to weed at illegal grow sites.
“I deal in facts. I deal in science,” Fairbanks said at the hearing (48-minute mark).
“One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone,” he added.
Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham wrote that illegal pot grows can indeed harm the environment, but noted that those consequences aren’t unique to weed.
Now, regarding rabbits. Some wild animals apparently do develop a taste for bud (and, yes, best to keep it away from your pets). But I don’t know that the occasional high rabbit constitutes grounds for keeping marijuana prohibition in place, any more than drunk squirrels are an argument for outlawing alcohol. And let’s not even get started on the nationwide epidemic of catnip abuse.
Fairbanks’ “marijuana eradication” colleagues were reportedly in the news lately when they mistook okra for marijuana in Georgia and brought in the big guns.
Comedy – The Huffington Post
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A childhood friend of a Utah doctor charged with killing his ex-wife testified Wednesday that John Brickman Wall blamed the woman for ruining his life.
Klaus Fiebig said he spoke to his old friend several months before her death, and the pediatrician seemed centered around his hate for ex-wife Uta von Schwedler. “At the end he said something peculiar: ‘Would it be bad if Uta wasn’t here anymore?’ ” Fiebig said. “She didn’t plan to move away.”
Von Schwedler, a 49-year-old cancer researcher, was found dead in a bathtub full of cold water in September 2011. A medical examiner found that she drowned, but she also had a fatal dose of anti-anxiety medication in her system. He stopped short of ruling her death a homicide or a suicide.
After her death, Fiebig spoke with Wall again following a memorial service. Wall had shaved his head in mourning, but he was still fixated on how much he hated her, Fiebig said.
The day she was found, Wall came into work with a bloodied eyeball and scratches on his face, his former office manager testified Wednesday.
Wall said he’d slept outside on his porch, and his dog got spooked and stepped on him, Kathi Newman said. “I remember looking and thinking that just seemed strange to me,” she said.
Von Schwedler’s death was initially treated as a suicide, but her family and friends pushed for more investigation. Wall was arrested more than a year after her death.
Prosecutors allege the 51-year-old Wall killed his ex-wife during a bitter custody battle. Defense attorneys counter that she could have killed herself. His trial began last week and is expected to last a month.
Fiebig said Wednesday that he introduced the couple, who wed in Malibu in 1990 and moved to Salt Lake City a few years later. The relationship went downhill after the move, with fights that grew increasingly ugly on both sides.
“They didn’t stop where it hurt,” he said. Von Schwedler eventually started another relationship before their divorce, he said.
After the 2006 split, Wall became increasingly difficult at work, his former medical assistant testified Wednesday. “He just slowly became disconnected,” Christina Gardner-Smith said.
Wall was very well liked when she first started working for him, she said. She went through a divorce around the same time, and the two used to joke about hiring a hit man to take care of their respective ex-spouses.
But later, he started lashing out at her if something went wrong. Gardner-Smith stopped working for him about three years later.
“I just couldn’t do it anymore,” she said.
Divorce – The Huffington Post
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A former Salt Lake City police officer who was put on leave and later resigned after he objected to riding in the motorcycle brigade at the front of last year’s gay pride parade is speaking out against what he believes was a violation of his religious liberties.
Eric Moutsos, 33, said Wednesday that he was unfairly branded a bigot despite simply asking to swap roles and work a different part of the parade in June 2014. Moutsos, a Mormon, said he felt uncomfortable doing what he considered celebratory circles with other motorcycles leading the parade because of his religious views. But he said he never refused to work the parade. “It looks like we and I are in support of this parade,” Moutsos said he told superiors about being in the motor brigade. “I said I would feel the same way if this was an abortion parade. I would feel the same way if it was a marijuana parade.”
In an interview with The Associated Press, Moutsos said he’s coming out with his story now to be a voice in a national debate about how to safeguard religious beliefs while protecting LGBT rights.
Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank said he stands behind his decision to put Moutsos on leave, saying he will not tolerate officers allowing personal biases to interfere with their work.
“It has nothing to do with religious freedom, that has to do with the hatred of those individuals and what the parade stands for, which is about unity and coming together,” Burbanks said. “How can I then send that officer out to a family fight that involves a gay couple or a lesbian walking down the street?”
Moutsos said he felt compelled to come forward with his story after months of silence after he listened to leaders with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announce a campaign last month calling for new laws that protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination while also protecting people who assert their religious beliefs.
Moutsos issued a six-page statement through his attorney Monday that didn’t have his name. But he decided to reveal his identity in an interview he gave to the Deseret News and KSL-TV that came out Tuesday night.
“It is unquestionably my duty as a police officer to protect everyone’s right to hold a parade or other event, but is it also my duty to celebrate everyone’s parade?” Moutsos wrote in the statement.
Several state legislatures, including Utah, are considering anti-LGBT discrimination laws alongside measures to safeguard religious liberties. Moutsos hasn’t been invited to talk to lawmakers, but he said he would testify if asked.
“We can 100-percent disagree and still 100-percent love,” Moutsos said. “I hate that we’re labeled in this way that is so divisive.”
Moutsos’ life changed dramatically in the days leading up to last summer’s gay pride parade. He had been talking with his bosses about resolving his objections while still helping out during the parade when he was informed that he was being put on leave for discrimination — a move that shocked him.
The story became public after police issued a news release saying an unnamed officer had been put on leave for refusing the gay pride parade assignment. The department said it does not tolerate bias and bigotry, and it does not allow personal beliefs to enter into whether an officer will accept an assignment.
Burbank said it is inappropriate for Moutsos to come out now with his story. Moutsos forfeited his right to defend himself during a police internal investigation when he resigned before they ever talked with him, Burbank said.
Moutsos, a married father of four, said he has gay friends and family and has no problem with 95 percent of their life choices. He said he is offended by the notion that he would treat gays and lesbians differently as an officer.
Moutsos has since found work with another police agency in the state. But he said the last six months were difficult and depressing for him and his family.
His attorney, Bret Rawson, said they have not made a decision about a possible lawsuit over the handling of the situation.
Moutsos acknowledged that he could have been more diplomatic in his conversations with superiors. But he doesn’t regret asserting his beliefs.
“I used to be quite the hellion back in my day, and I found what I believe is God kind of later in my life,” Moutsos said. “Now, I have such a strong, deep faith in Him . . . He and I love people, but I do not advocate certain things in people’s lives. In this parade, there were messages that I don’t advocate.”
Gay Voices – The Huffington Post