The winners and the losers

Published: Saturday, March 2 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Loser: Every so often, the Utah Legislature clings to a nutty idea that taps into the deep conspiratorial waters of ill-informed minds. The most recent example is SJR11, a resolution that warns local planning departments not to let outside organizations influence what they do. Specifically, the resolution assumes the truth of a widely discredited notion that the United Nations is controlling local planning through something called "Agenda 21." In reality, Agenda 21 is a U.N. plan for how the world should be developed in the 21st century. It has a lot to do with "sustainable development" and environmental causes. It's non-binding. Nobody — no city, county or state — has to abide by any part of it. Until lawmakers made it an issue, many local officials had never heard of it. Now we're supposed to believe the U.N. is guiding local planning professionals and commissions? Parts of Agenda 21 are worthy of being rejected. But let's let communities debate them if and when they arise, not buy into black-helicopter conspiracy ghost stories. Unfortunately, the resolution passed the Senate, 22-4.

Winner: We like the way Gov. Gary Herbert talks about the so-called "constitutional carry" bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons in Utah without a permit. The bill is completely unnecessary in a state that supports Second Amendment rights. The governor believes Utah doesn't need any new gun laws, and he's right. Herbert's concerns give us hope that he will veto any unnecessary bill that reaches his desk.

Loser: University of Utah swim coach Greg Winslow was suspended this week after allegations surfaced that he had sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl in Arizona a few years ago. While the allegations have yet to be proven, this apparently isn't the first time complaints have been lodged against Winslow. The university was wise to act now, in the interest of its students, and await further action until the outcome of an investigation.

Loser: While the U. has suspended its swimming coach, Columbia University has yet to do anything about a physics professor, Emlyn Hughes, who stripped to his underwear at the beginning of a lecture on quantum mechanics. His point, he said, was to show students they would need to strip themselves of all the "garbage from your brain and start over again" in order to learn the subject. We're thinking the message may have been lost on students, who can be heard screaming and laughing in a video of the lecture. It's also probably lost on parents who yearn for days when moral dignity was incorporated on many campuses.

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