Bishop to meet with Trump transition team to discuss overturning monument decisions

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Nick Wagner, Deseret News
Rep. Rob Bishop speaks to supporters during the Utah GOP election party at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said he believes it’s possible for President-elect Donald Trump to unravel controversial monument designations under the Obama and Clinton administrations, including the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Bishop said he’s meeting Monday with members of Trump’s transition team to discuss issuing new executive orders to upend previous designations he calls “outrageous and controversial,” as well as overturning any action President Obama may take regarding the proposed Bears Ears national monument.

“The more outlandish, the larger, the more outrageous and the more problems the designations present themselves, the easier and more defensible it is,” Bishop said.

“If it was outrageous, it would increase the possibility it would be upheld,” he said.

No U.S. president has ever used an executive order to undo a presidential proclamation by a predecessor creating a national monument, but Bishop said the lack of precedent doesn’t forestall it from happening.

Steve Bloch, an attorney with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, said what Bishop is calling for is “beyond the pale.”

“It would be venturing into uncharted waters for Rep. Bishop to suggest the president should do something different here,” Bloch said.

Some U.S. presidents have altered boundaries of previous monument designations or diminished their footprint, which have also not been challenged, Bishop said, stressing that “the idea of rescinding it is not specifically stated, but it is not denied.”

Bishop said he believes monument designations that did not follow the intent of the Antiquities Act — by carving out land protections in the smallest footprint possible to provide safeguards for specific antiquities — are rightfully vulnerable to being overturned by an executive order from a new president.

“Because it was not well done, it would be easier to obtain,” he said, pointing to the surprise 1996 designation by then-President Bill Clinton of the 1.7 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The monument’s creation, made by President Clinton from a state away in Arizona, roiled Utah’s political leaders in a move that locked up one of the nation’s most abundant reserves of coal.

Earlier this summer, Garfield County leaders declared a state of emergency they said was brought on by punitive federal land policies that have ruined their economic livelihood.

The call for 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears monument in San Juan County has resurrected fears that President Barack Obama will follow Clinton’s lead and put a big chunk of land in Utah off-limits to activities such as mining, grazing or off-roading.

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The post-truth world of the Trump administration is scarier than you think

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Corey Lewandowski’s nonchalant defense of Trump’s falsehoods is chilling: “Sometimes . . . you’re going to say things, and sometimes you don’t have all the facts to back it up.” (Evan Vucci/AP)

By Margaret Sullivan Media Columnist December 2

You may think you are prepared for a post-truth world, in which political appeals to emotion count for more than statements of verifiable fact.

But now it’s time to cross another bridge — into a world without facts. Or, more precisely, where facts do not matter a whit.

On live radio Wednesday morning, Scottie Nell Hughes sounded breezy as she drove a stake into the heart of knowable reality:

“There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore, of facts,” she declared on “The Diane Rehm Show” on Wednesday.

Hughes, a frequent surrogate for President-elect Donald Trump and a paid commentator for CNN during the campaign, kept on defending that assertion at length, though not with much clarity of expression. Rehm had pressed her about Trump’s recent evidence-free assertion on Twitter that he, not Hillary Clinton, would have won the popular vote if millions of immigrants had not voted illegally.

What matters now, Hughes argued, is not whether his fraud claim is true. No, what matters is who believes it.

“Mr. Trump’s tweet, amongst a certain crowd, a large — a large part of the population, are truth. When he says that millions of people illegally voted, he has some — in his — amongst him and his supporters, and people believe they have facts to back that up. Those that do not like Mr. Trump, they say that those are lies, and there’s no facts to back it up.”

Yes, it’s a fact: I heard it live, as did Rehm, Politico’s Glenn Thrush, and the Atlantic’s James Fallows, who wrote about it, citing a recording of the show.

One might be tempted, though, to dismiss it as one woman’s opinion: Maybe Hughes, the political editor of RightAlerts.com, was just having a hallucinatory day.

But at a high-profile event the next evening, two other Trump surrogates echoed this sentiment. Ousted Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, speaking during an election post-mortem at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, blamed journalists for — yes — believing what his candidate said.

“You guys took everything that Donald Trump said so literally,” said Lewandowski, who was another ill-advised CNN hire. “The American people didn’t. They understood it. They understood that sometimes — when you have a conversation with people, whether it’s around the dinner table or at a bar — you’re going to say things, and sometimes you don’t have all the facts to back it up.”

Yes, Corey, but Trump is not a guy at a bar; he was the Republican nominee for president of the United States and will pretty soon be the leader of the free world, such as it is.

So, how should Trump’s statements during the campaign have been covered? Should reporters have added something like this in the second paragraph of every news story? “Trump probably didn’t mean that he would appoint a special prosecutor/build a wall/deport millions of immigrants. His statements are not meant to be taken literally but rather as broad suggestions of a feeling he was experiencing on a particular day.”

There was more from the Harvard event. When CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway about the same election-fraud claim discussed above — specifically, whether disseminating misinformation was “presidential” — it was clear that she and Hughes got the same memo.

“He’s the president-elect, so that’s presidential behavior,” Conway said, using mind-bending pseudo-logic, reminiscent of the Nixonian “When the president does it, that means that it’s not illegal.”

These surrogates’ disdain for facts should not be surprising, given Trump’s own casual relationship with verifiable truth.

It’s time to dust off your old copy of “1984 ” by George Orwell and recall this passage: “The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.”

And be vigilant.

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The Life-Changing Magic of Mushrooms A single dose will do you …

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The doom hung like an anvil over her head. In 2012, a few years after Carol Vincent was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, she was waiting to see whether her cancer would progress enough to require chemotherapy or radiation. The disease had already done a number on her, inflating lymph nodes on her chin, collar bones, and groin. She battled her symptoms while running her own marketing business. To top it all off, she was going through menopause.

“Life is just pointless stress, and then you die,” she thought. “All I’m doing is sitting here waiting for all this shit to happen.”

When one day at an intersection she mulled whether it would be so bad to get hit by a car, she realized her mental health was almost as depleted as her physical state.

That’s when her 27-year-old son sent her a link to an invitation from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, seeking cancer patients to sign up to take psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, to alleviate their anxiety and depression. “Start thinking about all the existential questions you want to ponder while your window is open to the universe!” her son wrote.

Vincent, who is 5 foot 1 and 61 years old, has never been a big drug user. She doesn’t like taking aspirin, and the one time she used cocaine in her 20s, she fainted. But she’s taken other risks—she was a sky-diver for 10 years—and she figured there was a chance the experience might “reboot” her. She signed up and, after being screened, flew down to Baltimore from her home in British Columbia.

The results of Vincent’s mushroom trip—and those of 79 other study subjects like her—are now being made public, and they’re very encouraging. A pair of randomized, blinded studies published Thursday in The Journal of Psychopharmacology provide the most robust evidence to date that a single dose of psilocybin can provide relief from the anxiety and gloom associated with cancer for at least six months.

Roughly 40 percent of people with cancer suffer from a mood disorder, which increases their risk of suicide and impairs treatment. Evidence they can be helped by antidepressants is weak. “People are facing their own mortality, their own demise,” said Roland Griffiths, a professor at the the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the lead author of one of the studies. “That’s a very special and quite poignant vulnerability that many people have in facing life-threatening illnesses.”

Two teams of researchers, one led by Griffiths and the other by psychiatrist Stephen Ross at the New York University Langone Medical Center, simultaneously ran the studies on participants who had life-threatening cancers as well as a psychiatric diagnosis of anxiety or depression.

For the treatment sessions, guides would bring the participants into a comfortable, living-room-like lab and equip them with an eye mask and headphones connected to a playlist of instrumental music. In New York, the guides held the participants’ hands and told them to state their intention for the day.

The guides at Johns Hopkins told Vincent, “If you see something scary, open up and walk right in,” she said. Then, they gave her a dose of psilocybin inside a gelatin capsule and stood back.

Vincent describes her six-hour trip as “spectacularly gorgeous” and “beyond words.” She saw a sea of green and purple shapes, then a deep-space emptiness with a monolithic presence, similar to the Borg Collective from Star Trek. At one point, a series of Egyptian ships and Russian dolls paraded before her. As she laughed and wept, something popped out at her from the mental kaleidoscope: A small, creamy-white, animated crab.

“It’s Cancer the crab,” she thought later, referring to the zodiac sign. “It could have been a big, horrifying monster crab that was about to tear me up and eat me. But it wasn’t, it was comic relief. There is still humor in life, there’s still beauty in life.”

In the Johns Hopkins study, half of the 51 participants were given a low dose of psilocybin as control, followed by a high dose five weeks later. (For the other half, the order of the doses was reversed.) The results were remarkable: Six months later, 78 percent of the participants were less depressed than they started, as rated by a clinician, and 83 percent were less anxious. Furthermore, 65 percent had almost fully recovered from depression, and 57 percent from their anxiety, after six months. By comparison, in past studies antidepressants have only helped about 40 percent of cancer patients, performing about as well as a placebo. At the six-month follow-up, two-thirds of the participants rated the experience as one of the top five most meaningful of their lives. They attributed their improvements to positive changes in their attitudes about their lives and their social relationships. Their quality of life improved, as did their feelings of “life meaning” and optimism—even though several of them would later die. “People will say, ‘I know I’m dying, I’m sad that I’m dying, but it’s okay,” Griffiths said. “Things are going to be alright.”

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Review: In ‘Two Trains Runnin’,’ the Convergence of Idealism, Brutality and Artistic Genius

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A scene from “Two Trains Runnin’,” Sam Pollard’s documentary built around an astonishing historical coincidence. On June 21, 1964, two lost giants of the Delta blues were located and three civil rights activists disappeared. Credit Avalon Films

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By A. O. SCOTT ~ DEC. 1, 2016 ~ NYT

“Two Trains Runnin’,” Sam Pollard’s compact, resonant documentary — part essay film, part road picture, part musical anthology — is built around an astonishing historical coincidence. On June 21, 1964, two lost giants of the Delta blues, Skip James and Son House, were found by separate crews of obsessed music fans after weeks of amateur sleuthing along the back roads of Mississippi. James and House had each made a handful of recordings in the ’30s and ’40s, and then faded into obscurity until the folk revival of the early ’60s piqued the interest of students and coffeehouse guitar pickers in the college towns of the North.

One car, captained by the guitarist John Fahey, set out from Berkeley, Calif., in search of Son House. Another left Cambridge, Mass., following a wisp of a clue about where Skip James might be. At the same time, other, larger groups of students were preparing to travel to Mississippi for reasons having little to do with music. They were part of Freedom Summer, a campaign organized mainly by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, to register black voters in the state. On June 21, three of those activists — James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman — disappeared near Philadelphia, Miss. They were killed by the Ku Klux Klan.

With deep historical knowledge and nimble storytelling techniques, Mr. Pollard explores how idealism, horrific brutality and artistic genius converged in a single historical moment. Interviews with survivors, eyewitnesses, scholars and musicians are complemented with archival material, animation (which is fast becoming a staple of modern documentary filmmaking) and the retrospective thoughts of critics, journalists and musicians. Some of these are a little distracting. It’s nice to hear Lucinda Williams, Gary Clark Jr. and others testify to (and demonstrate) the enduring influence of James and House, but it’s infinitely more valuable to hear the men themselves.

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A scene from “Two Trains Runnin’.” In it, interviews with survivors, eyewitnesses, scholars and musicians are complemented with archival material, animation and the retrospective thoughts of critics, journalists and musicians. Credit Avalon Films

In any case it never hurts to be reminded of the power of what the critic Albert Murray described as “that artful and sometimes seemingly magical combination of idiomatic incantation and percussion,” i.e. the blues. The juxtaposition of music and politics — the retelling of a familiar story from the civil rights era in a slightly new key — sheds light on both the music and the movement. The voice-over narration (read by the rapper and actor Common) braids apparently disparate threads into a single tale.

Its unifying theme is recognition. The push for voting rights, like other facets of the long struggle against legal and institutional white supremacy in the South, was predicated on the assertion of African-American humanity. The intensity of the resistance to the idea of black citizenship — the terror and violence that white authorities unleashed against it — shocked many whites and helped make civil rights a national cause. The simultaneous rediscovery of an African-American musical form that had suffered neglect and condescension had a similar effect, and artistic innovators like Skip James and Son House belatedly received the recognition (and at least some of the money) that had long been their due.

There is great warmth and generosity in the way “Two Trains Runnin’” acknowledges the role of white blues fans and civil rights workers, many of whom risked comfort and safety in the cause of black equality. But Mr. Pollard, an Academy Award-winning director, producer and editor whose filmography includes the PBS civil rights documentary “Eyes on the Prize” and many collaborations with Spike Lee, is not telling a feel-good story about injustices overcome and careers reborn.

The song that gives the film its title (one it shares with a play by August Wilson) characteristically mixes hope and fatalism in uncertain proportions. One train leaves at midnight, the other at the break of day. Like many blues lyrics, this one is open to endless interpretation, but in the context of this movie — the past it evokes and the moment at which it arrives — it sounds like both an affirmation and a warning. Human history may bend toward the light, but it also passes through long periods of darkness. Hard-won rights can be taken away. Progress can be rolled back. Long-forgotten songs can be remembered, but the opposite can also happen. This captivating movie, like the blues itself, is at once a recognition of those somber truths and a gesture of protest against them.

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During the summer of 1964 — when hundreds of students were assembling in Mississippi to join the Civil Rights movement — two groups of young men traveled to the state in search of a pair of legendary blues musicians. This film tells their story.“Two Trains Runnin’” is not rated. Running time: 1 hour 22 minutes. ~

On this day, Rosa Parks wouldn’t give up her bus seat

 

rosaparks400-460x300.jpgToday marks the 61st anniversary of Rosa Parks’ decision to sit down for her rights on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus, putting the effort to end segregation on a fast track.

Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955, after she refused to give up her seat on a crowded bus to a white passenger.

Contrary to some reports, Parks wasn’t physically tired and was able to leave her seat. She refused, on principle, to surrender her seat because of her race, which was the law in Montgomery at the time.

Parks was briefly jailed and paid a fine. But she was also a long-time member of the NAACP and highly respected in her community.

The NAACP realized it had the right person to work with, as it battled against the system of segregation in Montgomery. It also worked with another group of local leaders to stage a one-day boycott of passenger buses, when Parks went to court.

The group expanded to include other people, chose a name, the Montgomery Improvement Association, and planned an extended boycott.

But the MIA also needed a public spokesman with leadership qualities to make their fight into a wide-ranging cause.

Their pick was a little-known pastor who had recently arrived in Montgomery: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In her later years, Parks said 26-year-old King was picked because he was a newcomer to Montgomery and didn’t have any enemies in the community.

The combination of the MIA, King, Parks, and a united African-American community made the boycott a success. About 75 percent of the public transportation customers in Montgomery were black, and they remained united for more than a year, as the boycott crippled revenues for the bus line.

Parks lost her job and King’s home was attacked, but the movement kept the boycott in place for 381 days.

At the same time, the segregation fight was making its way to the Supreme Court.

On November 13, 1956, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Browder v. Gayle, and it agreed with a district court that segregation on buses operating within Alabama’s boundaries was illegal, because it deprived people of equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

The legal team that had pursued the case for the NAACP included Thurgood Marshall, a future Supreme Court justice. It had decided that Parks’ case would get tied up in the state court system and filed a separate suit on the behalf of four other women.

After the boycott ended, Parks moved to Virginia and to Michigan. She eventually worked in the office of Representative John Conyers until her retirement.

When she passed away at the age of 92 in 2005, Congress voted to have Parks honored by having her coffin at the Capitol Rotunda for a public viewing.

At the time, she was only the 30th person accorded that honor. She was the first woman to receive the honor, and her coffin sat on the catafalque built for the coffin of Abraham Lincoln.

San Juan Mountains Weather Forecast ~ Thursday, December 1 @ 10:10

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There is a short wave trough moving southeast from Idaho today that will mainly affect the northern and central Colorado mountains with light snow. By Friday morning the San Juans  could see very light snow flurries because of weak dynamics and little moisture in the system. Also this short wave dives south and east which favors Wolf Creek and not the other portions of our mountains.  This is definitely not a strong system like the last two storm we’ve had.

By early Saturday the San Juans could see between 3-6″ of new snow. The trough sags southeast of us into the Gulf of California and by the weekend dry northwest flow takes over….

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Early next week there is change coming with a decent looking Pacific NW trough entering western Colorado early Monday through Tuesday morning. Models are not in agreement but all three I watch show cold temperatures and storms in western Colorado through part of the week and weekend, but how far south they move is the big question. By Sunday I’ll bet several of the models merge in worldview.

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