The Souper Bowl Of Caring Is Full Of Tears

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You may have heard about the Utah elementary school that took lunch trays away from kids whose lunch accounts had negative balances, after a Salt Lake “nutrition manager” came in to investigate why so many accounts were in arrears.

This bean counter is now on leave, and the cafeteria manager and workers are being blamed for handling the directive badly. Yes, they let the kids build up the negative balances, so they could EAT THE SAME LUNCH as the other kids. And then they scrambled to apply what is reportedly district policy, because in Utah authority is generally not questioned, no matter how wrong-headed it may be. Apparently the system can’t identify account deficits until the tray of food is at the register, which is stupid.

That’s Uintah, my old grade school, in the news. I went there in the old building, which was condemned and rebuilt long ago because it had asbestos everywhere. Now it’s being condemned for the actions of asshats in authority.

Meanwhile, the Salt Lake Unified School District has some damage control to do, as this screenshot of their Facebook page has their upbeat “Souper Bowl of Caring” post immediately before their response to the Uintah “Cheese Sammich and Banana of Shame” incident.

Or was it the “No Souper Bowl of Uncaring For You, Hungry Child” incident?

If You Read The Salt Lake Tribune, You’ll Learn Words Like “Obongocare”

Many years ago, when I was young and still stuck living in Utah, one of my guilty pleasures was reading the “Letters to the Editor” and shaking my head in wonder and disgust at some of the attitudes expressed there.

Once upon a time, the minor impediment of having to write a letter, stamp and address an envelope, and mail one’s important opinions to the editorial page address prevented all but the most highly motivated crackpots from weighing in.

In the Internet age, the filters are off, the chocks are away. You can fly into the wild blue yonder to engage your perceived spiritual or political enemies instantly, as soon as you read an item that gets your bile up and puts blood in your eye.

I occasionally glance at the modern-day SL Trib comments sections, which usually consist of crackpots doing battle with a few sturdy, blue-dot liberals. Every now and then, a crackpot rises, like slowly souring cream, to the top of the “thumbs up/down” crock and comes to the attention of the Trib editors.

Here’s a fellow named Terry Lee of Cedar City, a town in Southern Utah that’s closer to the vacation-friendly national parks and the fleshpots of Vegas than it is to relatively “liberal” Salt Lake. He’s quite adamant that President Obama’s policies are bad for business and the country, and he has a not-all-that-uncommon way of expressing this opinion. The word he uses is new to me, but probably not new to anybody that keeps an eye on the crazy.

Sour grapes on steroids » There are poor losers, pathetically poor losers, and then there is Terry Lee of Cedar City. Lee is so vindictive over the re-election of President Barack Obama and the passage and court victory of Obamacare that he fired two employees because they are Obama supporters. And he seems not to care who knows about it. He posted in the comments section following a Tribune news story:

"We had to let two employees go to cover new Obongocare costs and increased taxes. Found two Obongo supporters and gave them the news yesterday. They wanted the idiot in the Whitehouse, they reap the benefits."

Aside from his poor spelling and scurrilous, racist references to the president, Lee’s rant is inaccurate. Obamacare requires only businesses with more than 50 employees to insure full-timers or face penalties. Sadly, what Lee did isn’t illegal, just disgusting.

via Short takes on the news | The Salt Lake Tribune

It’s a relief to see the Trib staffer call this Lee object out on its racist ignorance. That didn’t happen back in the old “letters to the editor” days, though I like to think that there were a few old-school lefties in the Trib newsroom who passed Skousen-inspired gems around for general mockery, before deciding which geniuses made the cut for that day’s publication. Nowadays the anti-Obama anti-healthcare conspiracy theorists take their cue from Skousen fan and TV grifter Glenn Beck, but there’s still a touch of that old-time Utah religion flavoring the crock of crackpot soup.

Oh The Immodesty! Utah Homecoming Hemline Flap

Toole (pronounced Two-Willuh) is a community west of Salt Lake in the western mountains south of the Great Salt Lake. A lot of the area economy is based on mining, and it’s probably a heavily Mormon-majority area, although there’s been a lot of development in the last few decades. I had some relatives by marriage out that way but didn’t visit long enough to get more than a fleeting impression of dry foothills and endless miles of salt desert along the highway around the southern end of the lake.

Just look at these immodest homecoming dance dresses! Um.

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Okay, anywhere else, those dresses would be cute, stylish, not showing too much young cleavage, and with hemlines of a rather conservative length. Compared to the butt-skimming minis I see at the movies or the mall, they look mature, tasteful, and appropriate. Only In Utah would they be considered “immodest.”

One mom quoted in the article delicately raises the issue of “religious impositions,” which in Utah means “I kind of resent the local church mentality but I don’t want to offend anybody.”

Stansbury Park • A Tooele County principal apologized to students Monday after educators turned away dozens of girls from their weekend homecoming dance, deeming their dresses too short. As many as half of those who arrived to the Stansbury High dance ended up not going in after their dates and friends were barred from entering, students said Monday. In many cases, those who were stopped had dresses ending one or two inches above their knees.

via Principal apologizes after homecoming dance hemline debacle | The Salt Lake Tribune

If You Want To Understand Mitt Romney, read Glenden Brown at OneUtah.org

Also cross posted at Daily Kos, Glenden Brown offers a perspective on Mitt Romney from behind the Zion Curtain.

In Mormon culture, hierarchical status confers respect.  Authority in Mormonism is rarely questioned.  Mormon authorities are bad at explaining why they’re doing what they’re doing because within Mormonism they have the ultimate conversation stopper – “God said so.”  I think Romney is genuinely confused when his public assurances aren’t simply accepted as fact.  Why should people want to see his taxes when he’s said there’s nothing illegal in them?  His odd, robotic public persona is the political version of the Mormon church leader who speaks in a near monotone the “church voice” which is designed to comfort by its very blandness.  The histrionics of the pulpit pounding evangelical are totally alien to the Mormon church.

Haglund’s thesis – that Mormon masculinity gets knocked out equilibrium by the larger culture – can be expanded.  It’s not just Mormon masculinity, it’s the Mormon personality in general.  Mitt Romney is an exemplary Mormon with all that implies.  The  contemporary public square has knocked Mitt out of his equilibrium and he’s wobbling.  The collapsing of boundaries between public and private, the refusal to casually accept his authority, the jostling of different groups, standards and rules all feel anarchic to a good Mormon who is accustomed to the order and tidiness of Mormon life.

Living most of my life in Utah and in the shadow of Mormon culture, I see Mitt’s troubles as a near perfect reflection of what happens when Mormons encounter the wider world.  They feel adrift, lost, unsure and they feel their sense of self wobble; and then return with relief to the orderly and organized world of Mormonism.  Mitt Romney is experiencing this dynamic on the national stage.  His missteps, mistakes, and organizational problems all reflect his personal disequilibrium.

via Mitt Romney: Wobbling From His Carefully Constructed Equilibrium | One Utah

Glenden Brown’s starting point was this essay by Kristine Haglund:

The performance of Mormon masculinity is a difficult balancing act, a tightrope walk between poles established by a brutish, hyper-masculine “natural man” and an effeminate gay man. It is perhaps unsurprising that Mormon patriarchs—as well as Mormon men running for high elected office—wobble from their carefully constructed equilibrium when buffeted by the cultural winds of feminism and the gay rights movement.

Her byline reads Kristine Haglund is the editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. She lives and goes to church in Belmont, MA. She’s a Mormon scholar and an intellectual; a difficult position to hold in the authority-unquestioning culture of Mormonism. So she knows a little something about high wire acts — but she also may know Mitt Romney from church (he was a bishop and then a stake president in Belmont) or she knows people who do. I think for insight Glenden is on the right track as far as parsing “the public vs. private Mitt Romney.”

However, his experience living “in the shadow” in Utah is a lot like mine, and one thing to consider is that Utah Mormon culture is quite different from… I guess you’d call it “outside-Utah Mormon culture.” It’s MUCH more insular, much more frustrating to the “not-Mormon” person who encounters it at school, in the neighborhood, at the store, at work in Utah. Mom used to get so irritated trying to shop at big Salt Lake retail stores, with NO sales people available; invariably she’d look all over for someone to help with a purchase or a question, and find a huddle of men at the back, deep in conversation. What anybody else would call a male “bull session,” like guys at the automotive score discussing sports or whatever, she’d call a “priesthood meeting.”

On the other hand, LDS friends of Mom’s that were Outside Mormons were much more like any other American family. They complained about Utah Mormon culture, too!

Mitt Romney is a rich big shot in a church that has the unquestioned power to look at your financial statement to determine your worthiness to enter their Holy of Holies. In fact, the church probably knows EXACTLY what’s in the last 20 years of Mitt’s tax returns. It’s funny how quiet the hierarchy has been about the tax return issue. Maybe Harry Reid has a friend “on the inside” who has no love for Romney.

If Huntsman had done better in the primaries, I don’t think I’d have as much of a problem. He went to my high school and some of my younger family members knew some of the family. By all accounts he seems to have been a pretty good governor, and he’s fairly moderate (and moderately fair). I’d have been a little weirded out, but not deeply uneasy and worried about some dumb apocalypse.

That Romney has a private vs. public persona, I think is accurate. I’ve known friends with just the same serious demeanor for church, with a goofy and utterly unserious face for “not-church.”

Anyway, his sense of Noblesse NOT Oblige (n’oblige?) probably comes just as much from being wealthy and privileged as it does from being the closest thing to an LDS prince or god-king on earth.

I highly doubt Romney was into “Church Ball” but he seemed to mix it up pretty well with his hair-cutting and teacher-trapping in school. I do agree that he’s completely baffled by the refusal of We the (Little) People to take him at his ever-shifting word.

One last thing – I spent some time Sunday watching some videos shot inside an LDS temple (not all at the Salt Lake Temple, but some of them. They were surprisingly boring and repetitive – the 1:20-long one with the endowment movie is eye-stingingly dull.

City Weekly Headline Re-Written To Remove Gender Term, URL Changed Later

Originally, the headline in Google Reader was: “News Blog: Tranny in lock-up complains of abuse.” It still shows that way in Reader and on Topix.net. Now it reads “Transsexual in Salt Lake County jail complains of abuse.” Apparently it was re-written at least twice to correct the headline and typos, but there’s still a few left – it’s a news blog, after all, not a front-page story.

There’s another story at City Weekly that extensively quotes a very proud performer named Princess Kennedy, who apparently went to my high school. She matter-of-factly self-refers as “tranny.” Maybe in the Utah GLBT community, the word has been taken back with pride, but I thought outsiders and the press using the word was still considered pejorative or threatening. It creeps me out to see it, but maybe reading Autumn Sandeen’s work at Pam’s House Blend has sensitized me too much? I’ll have to ask my Utah family and friends who know the local community better what the correct term is supposed to be, it just looks bad and wrong.

In any case, the original URL:
http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/blog-4808-tranny-in-lock-up-complains-of-abuse.html

has been replaced by a slightly more professionally edited one:
http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/blog-4808-transsexual-in-salt-lake-county-jail-complains-of-abuse.html

The story still messes up on the gender pronouns according to my understanding of how Pam’s House Blend’s contributors would write it up, but Davila-Escobedo (no first name given other than Monica) was interviewed in Spanish and apparently used the male pronouns.

A male-to-female transgender Hispanic claims he has been victimized by guards during his current incarceration in the Salt Lake County jail.

A recent diary at PHB starts out “Transgender woman arrested for being assaulted by cop.” Female identity and pronouns are used throughout. So this would appear to still need a re-write.

Davila-Escobedo, 32, has female breasts and male genitals. A discussion of who he is can be confusing. “I’m a man I know, but I have woman’s parts,” he says in Spanish. He has been incarcerated in the male wing of the jail since he was picked up last month on an outstanding warrant relating to a guilty plea for joyriding.

I met Davila-Escobedo while researching a cover story earlier this year called Kings of Queens. I knew him then as Monica. I interviewed him several times and he shed some light on the tough, demanding and often dangerous life of Hispanic transgender male-to-females who worked endless hours in salons to earn money for surgerical procedures.

“I want to be with men, it would be punishment to be with women,” he says, when asked if he wouldn’t prefer to be incarcerated with women. He uses a pencil for eyeliner, “because that’s who I am, I can’t be a man.”

Davila-Escobedo is undocumented and has already been deported once. He was in minimum security, while he waited for a defense attorney who failed three times to show up for his court dates. Davila-Escobedo says he has other transgender friends in jail, but they do not have breasts. His female body parts became an issue on Dec. 7, he alleges, when three or more guards sexually harassed him.

Naturally, aside from the gender issues, the commenters at City Weekly are totally focused on the ILLEGAL!! MEXICAN!! HERE ILLEGALLY! aspect and are revealed as hyper-patriotic Neanderthal-Americans, not an unusual political stance in Utah.

The likeliest outcome: Davila-Escobedo will be badly beaten in jail before being deported to almost certain prostitution or death in Mexico, but few in Utah will care very much because, ILLEGAL and TEH GAY. “Surgerical” procedures or not, it’s tough being gay AND Hispanic in Utah.

via Salt Lake City Blogs:News Blog-Transsexual in Salt Lake County jail complains of abuse

New Episcopal Bishop Of Utah Will Try To Solve The Notty Problem

I’ve met Bishop Scott at various meetings here in the Chicago area, and I think he’ll be a great “pastor to the pastors” and leader of the Utah Episcopalians.

Video of the consecration service will be at the Diocese of Utah website.

The first time the Rev. Scott Hayashi served Utah’s Episcopal Church, he was puzzled by some parishioners’ tendency to define themselves by what they weren’t:  Mormons. He even remembers pointing out the silliness in a sermon at Ogden’s Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, where he was rector from 1989 to 1998.

“I asked, ‘Does this mean if the LDS people are against gambling, we should be for it? If the LDS people have the Mormon diet and believe whole grains, moderation in eating and getting exercise is what you should do, that means we should eat all high-fat foods and not exercise?  If the LDS people are against smoking, that means we should all be smoking like chimneys? Does this make any sense?’ ”

The next bishop for Utah’s 5,200 Episcopalians now frames the question this way: “Shouldn’t we have an identity that is formed on the positive, as opposed to being against something?”

Hayashi, 56, will be consecrated as Utah’s 11th Episcopal bishop Saturday by the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop, the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, in a ceremony at The Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.

via Soon-to-be Episcopal bishop: Don’t let LDS Church define us | The Salt Lake Tribune.

I would add, “If the LDS people are non-drinkers,  does that mean we have to have alcohol at social events, and name local brews “Polgamy Porter” and complain about liquor-by-the-drink until the Legislature is forced to abolish it for the sake of the Olympics? Do we have to slurp coffee loudly in restaurants just to show all the Postum-drinking Peculiar People that we’re Not Like Them?”

Yeah, when I was younger and dumber I did a lot of beer-drinking and coffee-slurping whenever I was in Utah.  It stemmed from a compulsion to “stick it to THE charch” by visibly being a “sinner” instead of a “Saint.”

For a long time, this blog has had a category called “Notty Problems: Even Leaving Doesn’t Solve Them.”  It’s not often that I use that category any more; I thought I would be spending a lot more time working off some of my old issues, when I started blogging, that had to do with being a “NOT” from Utah.

When I lived there, I chafed under the overwhelming sense that I was alone in school amidst a huge throng of religious lemmings who all shared the same monolithic belief system, shunned outsiders like me, and occasionally turned on me in packs because they were unable to deal with the concept of “different.” Of course, I developed a bad attitude about it; because I was a non-Mormon who refused invitations to Primary (which was like Sunday school, but I think it was on a weekday) I was not to be trusted. I suppose for them it was hard to be friends with someone who was GOING TO HELL. Understandable, really. Fortunately, there were a few good friends who never treated me like that, but I bet I wasn’t an easy friend to have. Also, I was prickly and constantly on the defensive,  so even with other NOT-Mormon friends, there was some carryover.

As I got older and into high school, the feeling of being actively shunned changed. It seemed then that I was merely socially invisible, but if I dared to complain about the conditions of life in Utah as an unbeliever, I became visible for a moment. Then someone would always snap, “Well, if you don’t like it, you can just leave!”

This “like it or leave it” mentality was very common and being hit with it happened pretty frequently, because I complained A LOT about the status quo.

What? I was in high school. I couldn’t just leave. At least, not until it was time to go to college. And that couldn’t come a minute too soon. But I did end up “leaving” a lot of conversations and potential friends in high school. The lesson that I learned from that was “people don’t want to be your friend unless you’re just like them, so don’t bother or you’ll only get hurt.”

But when I did go off to college, what happened? I had a lot of friends, from many different backgrounds, especially during the first couple of years when dorm life forced me to get to know a lot of people at once.  Some of them are still dear friends and we remain in touch, mostly via Facebook these days.

When I first arrived at the University of Oregon 34 years ago, it was amazing to be in a place where most people were actually not interested AT ALL in religion, and who were not conservative, but liberal in their political views.

However, I was still forced to define myself in negative terms, as I often introduced myself as  “My name is Ginny, and I’m NOT Mormon!”  I had noticed an odd thing – people outside of Utah never asked what religion I was, as it seemed to be considered impolite or in bad taste. That is, UNLESS I was asked where I was from, and then religion was on the table. As in “Oh, are you Mormon?”

“NO. I am NOT MORMON.”

It didn’t matter that in college I was not attending church, although at the time I identified myself as a Congregationalist (“You know, like the Pilgrims, but not as conservative”).

It became a joke between friends, because I quickly gained the reputation for getting cranky if someone new asked me where I was from, and then if I was Mormon. Because NO, I am not one of those bullying assholes that tried to convert me as a kid, then told me I was going to hell because I refused to believe just like they did. And also because “no, I’m not like any of the few tolerant people I knew growing up who didn’t mind whether I went to their church or not.

My friend Kevin Swan had a special telephone shorthand; he would call now and then (even years later, long after leaving college) and start tapping out a little tune on the touchtone. The name of the tune was “You are a Mormon.” It went 3-2-1 11. And my response was to mash all the numbers at once so that it sounded like “CLASH! CLASH!” which of course meant F*** Y** and then of course, ha ha! we would carry on a more normal conversation. Except sometimes, just to get me riled up, he’d play the tune again and then I’d make the [expletive deleted] sound again. If he reads this post via Facebook, he knows where he can reach me, “CLASH! CLASH!”

So here I am, more than 3 decades after moving away from Utah, and I still have issues that for lack of a better term I’ve come to call “Notty Problems.” I still read the Salt Lake Tribune, taking note of quirky news stories that happen “Only in Utah.” As in high school, I read the letters to the editor in order to mock the Kolob-Aid drinkers and cheer for the independent thinkers, except now I do it online and get to use the handy “like” buttons. We have one or two LDS friends (one in Utah) and I refrain from bitching about “THE charch” because I care for them, but I really am very intolerant of official LDS leadership, as it comes from being treated with intolerance. It’s a failing;  I struggle with it. I only wish some leaders (Boyd K. Packer, I’m looking at you) would have a revelation about their own intolerance towards gay Mormons, and gay people in general.

The thought of Mitt Romney making a successful run for President horrifies me, because I know what and who he would bring along to the (Grand Old) Party. On the other hand, I like and admire Harry Reid (D-Hard Eight), because he’s an LDS Democrat, a feat only achieved by people who REALLY think for themselves.

I will probably never, ever be rid of this notty problem; I will always have a chip on my shoulder about a religion whose truest believers tormented and rejected me as a child and young adult.  I will try to take Bishop Scott’s advice to heart, though, and learn to define myself and my beliefs in positive terms, not negative ones.

Survey Links Gay Suicide To Religious Messages

Quote

So: not messages like “love your neighbor, love the sinner” but more like “hate yourself, hate your sin.”

Testing Express, an app for iPhone that is supposed to work n conjunction with the WooTumblog app.

UPDATE: Works! Still not the link-grabber bookmarklet Press This used to be before a recent “security” update, but it’s not difficult to set up a lightly edited post from the iPhone now. It’s not that easy to do links with the official WordPress app, and blockquote? Fageddaboudit, you have to go through hell just to get angle brackets.

All in all, a modified “w00t!”

Concerned Busybodies of Zion

…they claim to have infiltrated Utah undocumented aliens’ social networks. So don’t Tweet, poor downtrodden brown Utahns! Change your Facebook status to “In Hiding!” #fb #immigration

Honestly, when I first shared this story from the Trib, I didn’t realize it’d have such legs, but I’ve been hearing it on NPR, and seeing it everywhere in my feed. And I’m glad it’s getting wide coverage, because it’s a very troubling and disturbing story indeed.

Mystery group lists 1,300 in Utah it claims are undocumented immigrants | The Salt Lake Tribune

“We then spend the time and effort needed to gather information along with legal Mexican nationals who infiltrate their social networks and help us obtain the necessary information we need to add them to our list,” the letter explains.

The accuracy of the list is unclear. Some phone numbers were disconnected or answered by a different person.

A West Valley City woman said the contact information for her and her family is correct, but she became a permanent resident earlier this week. The Peruvian woman, whom The Tribune is not identifying, said she has been in Utah 14 years.

“I don’t even know who would send out a paper like that,” she said.

Compiling and distributing the list itself could be illegal. If the compilers took data from state or local databases not available to the public, they could be charged with a misdemeanor under state law, said Jeff Hunt, a Utah media attorney. If the group lied to obtain the data, that could be fraud.

Asked whether he was aware of similar efforts, Hunt said, “I’ve never heard of anything close.”

A note next to one Clearfield woman on the list said, “Baby due 4/4/10.”

She confirmed to The Tribune she has a baby, but she said she lives in the United States legally.

What’s troubling and disturbing to the Concerned Busybodies of Zion, which will turn out to be one passive-agressive gamma male paleo-conservative who can’t even get elected president of his local LDS stake, is that LAWBREAKERS ARE GOING UNPUNISHED.

Illegal aliens are here illegally, you see, and thus a crime is being committed every! moment! they! are! here!

What’s troubling and disturbing to me, and everyone else, is that some fussy passive-agressive dickwad with more access to confidential medical records than ought to be allowed has illegally passed along information that is probably covered under that law where your doctor’s office makes you sign a form attesting to the confidentiality of your records every year.

UPDATE: to clarify my poorly developed stream of unconsciousness here, I was wondering who the mystery group was, and how they might have easily gathered the confidential information. As it has turned out, the “mystery group” turned out to be two women, one an employee of a Utah state agency, and one who was a temp. So my guess was wrong – I had speculated that someone had gained access to a non-profit’s records, and the largest non-profit social service group I knew of that focused on the Latino community in Utah was Crossroads Community Center.

The comments threads on the Salt Lake Tribune’s followup stories have been rather hair-raising, to say the least. BECAUSE THE CRIMINALS THEY GO UNPUNISHED! Anyway, my guess that the group had collated the “brownlist” from Crossroads’ records was wrong, drat it. On the other hand, they are in much, much bigger trouble for accessing Utah state records from their place of employment.

The only way it would be relatively simple to gather the kind of data that’s in this list is via medical records at a public clinic, such as one connected somehow to a cultural center for Latinos (in Salt Lake, the big one would be Crossroads Urban Center, which has a very basic and frames-based website indeed. So I can’t link directly to their privacy policy, but here it is:

DONOR AND CLIENT INFORMATION PRIVACY POLICY

Information collected from donors and clients of Crossroads Urban Center is never made available to anyone outside the organization. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mails, and dates and amounts of any donations made or services rendered.
No information regarding visitors to the Crossroads Urban Center website is currently being collected by Crossroads.

You may review any information Crossroads may have on file regarding you, or request correction of such information, by contacting Jim Hokom(email) at Crossroads. Because no donor or client information is shared outside the organization, an opt out provision regarding the sharing of said information is deemed unnecessary. You may, however, contact Crossroads’ Executive Director, Glenn Bailey(email), to verify this policy at any time.
All information about donors and clients of Crossroads is secured internally at Crossroads. We are currently not making use of any outside servers or data management systems outside our immediate control.

That certainly seems like a very firm and reasonable privacy policy, so I’d be very surprised if some secret-agenty Concerned Busybody would actually BREAK THE LAW or DO SOMETHING AGAINST POLICY by passing along personal information to ICE (who isn’t all that interested in it, frankly) or to the Salt Lake Trib (who are probably happy with all the extra hits on their recently redesigned Internets tubes).

There may be some other group that offers medical care whose records might not be secure, but Crossroads is probably hurting for donations for their FOOD PANTRY THAT FEEDS CHILDREN THAT ARE COMMITTING THE CRIME OF BEING POOR AND BROWN and so forth, and you can doniate via something called Network for Good, or donate time, food, clothing, or something off their Wish List.

They do good work and they don’t discriminate: if you’re poor, but not a citizen, all that matters is that you are in need.

Amongst all the hoo-ha the national press is kicking up about this “illegal alien LIST OF SHAME AND PREGNIT WIMMIN” story is a very small detail that makes me feel proud, sad and exasperated at the same time. The Crossroads Urban Center is part of a group called CORC, or Coalition of Religious Communities. The member organizations are listed (in a desperately sad little table, can’t some kind web designer help them??):

Religious Communities Represented

in the CORC Coalition

American Baptist Baha’i (Orthodox)
Buddhist
Catholic
Christian (Disciples of Christ) Episcopal
Greek Orthodox Humanist
Independent Baptist Islamic Society of Utah
Jewish Lutheran
Metropolitan Community Church Presbyterian
Relgious Society of Friends (Quaker) Unitarian
Univeralist
United Church of Christ United Methodist
Affiliate:
Mormons for Equality & Social Justice (MESJ)

Yeah, that’s right – all the major mainline and world religions represented, including the Baha’is and Buddhists and Moslems AND JEWS, together! Except, the One True Religion (That Is The Only One That Matters And The Only One You Need To Accept And Know Is True And Vote Republican For Time And All Eternity) is represented by a piddly little affiliate listing, for something called “Mormons for Equality and Social Justice.” Wow, it must really be a challenge to be in that last group, but I wish them all the best. May God bless the work they do and send them lots of volunteers and donations in kind.

Anyway, whilst Googling around for fodder material, I ran across an interesting site that rang a few warning bells for me.

The Center for Immigration Studies

Sounds academic and scholarly, doesn’t it? But this is what popped up when I Googled “Salt Lake Latino center” because I couldn’t remember Crossroad’s name:

Salt Lake City Police Chief Protecting Illegal Aliens
By Ronald W. Mortensen, June 3, 2010

Not too long ago, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank was in Washington along with other big-city police chiefs. They met with Attorney General Eric Holder to complain about how the newly enacted Arizona law (SB 1070) would inevitably lead to racial profiling of illegal aliens and how unfair it was.

So, just how fair is Chief Burbank?

Chief Burbank, who denies that he sees things in terms of race, spends an inordinate amount of time and resources proving that Latinos do not commit crimes in excessively high numbers. However, the chief fails to distinguish between Latinos who are legally in the United States and the estimated 100,000 illegal aliens in Utah who are primarily Latinos. (Note: Police Chief Burbank is the one who specifically focuses on Latino crime and it was the authors of a study that he commissioned who said, “Salt Lake City’s immigrant population is predominantly Latino”).

In addition, Chief Burbank conveniently overlooks the fact that a senior Social Security Administration official estimates that about 75 percent of all illegal aliens have fraudulent Social Security numbers. This is a felony. So, unless 75 percent of the general population is committing major felonies, it would appear that illegal aliens do indeed commit crime at an inordinately high rate.

In addition, based on investigations by Utah Workforce Services and the Utah Attorney General’s office, it is estimated that at least 50,000 Utah kids under age 18 have their identities being used primarily by illegal aliens to get jobs.

Under Utah law the use of another person’s identifying data, including their Social Security number, either knowingly or unknowing. is identity fraud, a felony.

Oh dear!! Let me run upstairs to fetch the costume jewelry pearls Mom left me so I can clutch them (since they’re too small to fit around my rather beefy neck, I can wear them as a bracelet looped over my wrist).

Very interesting. Mr Mortensen is very deeply concerned about ALL THIS ILLEGAL ALIENISM GOING UNPUNISHED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT. He quotes from rather dubious “sources” and “studies.” He is EXTREMELY CONCERNED ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT BY BROWN LATINO PEOPLES!

HE IS ALSO CONCERNED ABOUT ILLEGAL ALIENS CRYING “SANCTUARY! SANCTUARY!” OUTSIDE THE CATHEDRAL OF THE MADELEINE (okay that’s a stretch but I had a very Charles Laughton moment just now).

HE IS VERY CONCERNED THAT SALT LAKE POLICE CHIEF CHRIS BURBANK IS NOT ENFORCING THE LAW AND IN FACT IS REFUSING TO BELIEVE MR MORTENSEN’S IMPORTANT STATISTICS ABOUT THE BROWN PEOPLES COMMITTING ALL THE IDENTITY THEFT SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD ILLEGAL ALIEN LAWBREAKING THAT UTAH IS SUFFERING FROM OH MY!

(SORRY..sorry, caps key got stuck. Is there a CAPS ON CAPS key? or should I bold the most shouty bits?)

So what I think, the Salt Lake Tribune should ask the Center for Immigration Studies to comment on the story… because they’re very concerned citizens indeed. They claim to have “former government officials” and “retired university professors” on their roster, so they’re just the folks who would be a great resource. Also, it appears that Mr Mortensen is Utah-based, since many of his blog topics on the CIS.org site have a Utah slant.

Yes, kind of wondering if there could be a connection. Interesting, no? Si!

Claudia Wright for US Congress, UT-02

Hope my Utah friends and family take an interest in politics this fall and VOTE; even in ultra-mega-infra-Red Utah, there are Democrats worth electin. One of them is NOT worth re-electing: Jim Matheson, Blue Dog incumbent from the second Congressional district was thrown into a primary because his opponent, progressive liberal Claudia Wright, galvanized yesterday’s Democratic convention delegates.

Howie Klein: Can Brigham Young’s Great Great Gay Progressive Granddaughter Oust A Blue Dog & Win A House Seat In Utah?

A hearty band of awesome Democrats there put their collective foot down and prevented anti-healthcare Blue Dog Jim Matheson from winning the party endorsement at yesterday’s convention in Salt Lake City. No more South Park jokes for me. Matheson is one of the most reactionary Democrats in Congress, consistently crossing the aisle to vote with the Republicans on key issues. Since Obama was elected, his ProgressivePunch score– a dismal 35.37– has been identical to those of two of the most unsavory of the Old South Blue Dogs, John Barrow (GA) and Mike Ross (AR). And, like Barrow and Ross, he left the Democratic Party to vote for the anti-choice Stupak Amendment and against healthcare reform. Now Utah Democrats are sick enough of the ten-year incumbent to say no…

…Sensing that retired school teacher Claudia Wright was making headway, Matheson put in a hysterical call begging Steny Hoyer to fly out to Salt Lake City to save him. Hoyer did fly out, and begged and cajoled delegates to vote for Matheson, but ultimately failed to secure the party endorsement for him. He came up 5% short of the 60% needed.
Bush won UT-02 both times with two-thirds of the votes, but in 2008 Obama held McCain to 57%. Perhaps even more important, moderate Republicans are repulsed by what they’ve seen their party turn into. This isn’t just a party of teabaggers; this is a full-on fascist party of crazed militia loons and separatists. If Wright wins the Democratic nomination, she can win the election– and Democrats are ready for a real Democrat.

On the issues, there’s no question who the real Democrat is. Wright supports Alan Grayson’s proposal of Medicare for all, supports women’s choice, plain and simple. She’s an environmentalist; he voted against the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, promoting clean energy and limiting emissions of greenhouse gases, and he voted against HR2454 (cap and trade). Claudia is a strong advocate of a humane and comprehensive immigration policy; Matheson is all about building a high border fence. Claudia supports public funding for campaigns, and Matheson is another sleazy conservative, taking immense sums of money from the industries and corporations he’s supposed to be overseeing. And of course, he’s a vicious homophobe who voted for a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality. Claudia believes people should have the right to marry whomever they want to.

True-Blue Believers in God, Guns and Postum to the North, Caffeinated Non-Violent Pinko Heathens to the South

…that’s how politics in Utah works when both major parties book their conventions into the same complex on the same date.

Rolly: Guns and coffee don’t mix – Salt Lake Tribune

The Republicans secured their Salt Palace space some time ago and will hold their convention on the complex’s north side. The Democrats were having a difficult time finding a suitable place for what they were willing to pay, then settled on the Salt Palace’s south section after a group canceled its reservation for that day.

So between the two parties — the Democrats have around 2,700 delegates, and plan for a total attendance of about 5,000, while the Republicans have 3,000 delegates and could get as many as 7,000 attendees — there will be about 12,000 folks at the Salt Palace with huge trust issues between them.

The good news is that most of the guns likely will be on the Republican side of the Salt Palace while most of the coffee will be on the Democratic side — and there shouldn’t be too much mixing of the two.

I’m pretty sure none of my family members still living in Utah are involved in local politics, but if they were, most of them would be on the south side of the complex, arguing anti-war, pro-health care planks over a nice mocha java with the other East Bench Liberals. One or two might be inclined to stroll over to the north side, but the only cousin that’s what I’d call “gun friendly” is probably too centrist in his politics to feel comfortable at a conservative Republican shindig; he’s a public radio listener, for God’s sake!

The joke in the title depends on the underlying religious divide in Utah; it’s pretty much a given that conservative Republicans are generally of the “majority faith” (with a generous admixture of evangelicals from the northern half of the state). Therefore, anybody that’s a “not” tends to be a non-believer, a non-Christian, or from one ‘a them ebil social justice churches, and also tends to vote Democratic when given the opportunity. It’s a way of letting everybody know your “not-ness.”

With all that caffeine, you’d think Utah Democrats would get a lot more done, and a lot more of their people elected, but outside of the Salt Lake Valley, the overwhelming majority of people look on caffeine and liberalism as practically Satanic.