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Utah legislators passed a bill two years ago demanding the federal government hand over millions of acres of public land to the state. With the deadline for that transfer looming, an economic report came out last week showing the plan could be financially viable—or it shows the land transfer is “half baked,” it depends which side you’re on. Thursday, we’re examining the arguments for and against Utah’s public lands campaign. Could it be a boon for the state or is it a reckless and unconstitutional pursuit?

Tuesday on RadioWest, we’re talking about the latest in the effort to reform the way political candidates are nominated in Utah. Lawmakers in the last legislative session passed a law that reduced the power of party delegates to select candidates. Opponents of the old system say that extremists in both parties have too much influence early on. Now, the state Republican Party is challenging that law and it’s setting up a struggle between the moderates and more conservative members of the party.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about religious freedom, and it seems to have intensified as gay marriages have become legal in many states. Sen Orrin Hatch calls judges “uniformly hostile to religion.” Pundits see Sen Ted Cruz building a presidential campaign on the idea that religious liberty has “never been in more peril.” But the researcher and activist Jay Michaelson says this is a political strategy to marshal allies in the ongoing culture wars. He’ll join us to dissect what he sees as a “covert campaign against civil rights.”

Monday, University of Utah President David Pershing joins us to continue our conversation about sexual assault on college campuses. We'll ask him how he's thinking about the issue as both leader of Utah's largest public university and as a father.  We'll then talk to journalist Robin Wilson and Westminster College's General Counsel Melissa Flores to discuss how it is that universities became responsible for handling assault cases and what new federal regulations mean for the way institutions protect their students.

Today on RadioWest we’re talking about the news which just broke this morning. The US Supreme Court has refused to hear Utah’s appeal of a federal court ruling that the state’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. The court in fact turned away all of the pending same sex marriage cases, 5 states in total. Legal observers say that what it means is that after some bureaucratic formalities are taken care of, these marriages will be able to proceed. So, today on the program we’re exploring just what this means.


On September 11, 2012, terrorists attacked a U.S. State Department compound and a CIA building in Benghazi, Libya. Those events have been the subject of immense scrutiny and hearsay, with some saying they lay the grounds for impeaching President Obama. In a new book, the writer Mitchell Zuckoff tells the story of a team of security contractors who fought to repel the attackers in Benghazi. He joins us Tuesday to tell the story of what happened during those 13 hours of mystery and controversy.

Murder City

Sep 15, 2014

Journalist Charles Bowden has spent some 15 years writing about Ciudad Juarez and in that time, he's witnessed what he describes as the collapse of a society. In 2009, there were 2,600 murders in Juarez - up from around 300 in 2007. Houses sit empty, jobs have disappeared and drug cartels hold the city in their grip. Bowden is in Salt Lake and Thursday, he joins Doug to talk about his new book Murder City.

Exodus

Sep 15, 2014

Some half million undocumented Mexicans come into the US every year. They come looking for work - and while the conditions of those jobs are frequently harsh - they managed to send $23 billion dollars to their families in 2006 alone. A new book by author Charles Bowden and photographer Julian Cardona looks at the lives of the border crossers - from the violent streets of Juarez and life threatening border crossings to their struggles in the United States. Bowden and Cardona join Doug in studio Thursday to talk about "Exodus."

 Doug Fabrizio talks to Western journalists on their return from the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina. He's joined in studio by NPR's rural affairs correspondent Howard Berkes, and Tucson author Charles Bowden who is writing for GQ magazine.

Image by <a href="http://bit.ly/14w74rv">Glenn Halog</a> via Flickr

Investigative journalist Radley Balko says that American police forces have become more like armies than keepers of the peace. He traces it back to the creation of SWAT teams in the 60s, which led to increased use of military tactics and weapons. These days, there are some 50,000 raids each year as part of "wars" declared on drugs and crime. Balko joins Doug to talk about how law enforcement has changed throughout history and what militarized police forces mean for citizens. (Rebroadcast)

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