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Parallel Universe

Ah, the silly season, when the crocus are in bloom and the legislature is in session, don’t you miss it? Down in Salt Lake City, the Tribune reports that, “Utah, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert on Saturday authorized the use of eminent domain to take some of the U.S. government’s most valuable parcels.” They want to assert state sovereignty by recovering some coal seams that are tied up in National Parks and Monuments and some oil and gas leases that were scrapped around national parks. But, of course that’s Utah, the state described by Chip Ward as:

Glennbeckistan, where white, patriarchal, religiously zealous, Tea Party-type patriots hold a super-majority in both houses of the legislature, sit in the governor’s mansion, and control most local governments. It’s a place so out of sync with the rest of the nation that states’ rights and even secession are always on the agenda. It’s a place where gun-ownership trumps all other rights, climate change is considered an insidious socialist conspiracy, and a miscarriage can be investigated as a potential crime. Welcome to Utah.

Down south, the legislature passes crazy bills like, keeping national health care reform out of Utah unless they say it’s okay, making miscarriage a crime, calling on the EPA to halt enforcement of carbon regulation until they see “a full and independent investigation of climate change science” and to kill any and all wolves on sight, even though Utah doesn’t have any wolves. Just to show they’re serious, lawmakers slashed education funding by $10 million and set aside $3 million to defend the new law, even though Utah already spends less per student than any other state in the Union. Yes, these are the crazy people who also banned all federal regulation on guns manufactured and sold in Utah, to woo gun makers to the state. Aren’t you glad that we live in such an enlightened state with competent legislators who would never… Oops!

What’s this on the Montana Secretary of State website?

Ballot Issue #6
Subject: Invoke state sovereignty over public lands.
Sponsor: Patty Lovaas (
Ran as Republican against Max Baucus in 2008, defeated in primary)
Type: Constitutional initiative by amendment

Oh crap! I also forgot this from last session: “In a bill passed by the Legislature earlier this month, the state is asserting that guns manufactured in Montana and sold in Montana to people who intend to keep their weapons in Montana are exempt from federal gun registration, background check and dealer-licensing rules because no state lines are crossed.” And of course there is the ever-present anti-abortion constitutional amendment, represented this year by CI-102 to define the beginning of life as a gleam in your eye.

Okay, I give up. Senator Byrd was right. Welcome to Northern Glennbeckistan.

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