Only if you buy the strawmen of politics in the US of there being two 'sides' with everyone neatly falling into place on a pathetic line.
The further you get away from the shithole that is the US federal government, the more this becomes apparent. The things each 'side' is supposed to support completely changes at the state levels and varies from state to state.
The best thing you can do is dispose of the notion of a single political spectrum and you will be a lot less shocked when you encounter something contrary to the propaganda designed to divide people.
South Florida in general is politically interesting, with a large amount of socially liberal yet fiscally conservative immigrants. Both parties are focused on economic development above all else.
The 2-dimensional Political Compass is a huge improvement, but still isn't perfect. Reality is more complex and would require an N-dimensional political matrix.
^-- the most intriguing take on the political compass I've ever seen, albeit one with its own biases and issues (I'd replace feudalism with 'early human or tribal societies'). The main point was that it expanded beyond a strictly US view and I found the additional concept lines useful (Democracy line, inequality line, market line). It still runs into the same trouble trying to compress everything down into two dimensions does. Ideologies can end up next to each other that aren't very similar, which the end of the blog post acknowledged.
KSL-TV (LDS-owned NBC station) has an AppleTV app, and watching the SLC local news is far more interesting than I thought it would be. And there’s far less needless murder and mayhem plus more “good” news than is available in my market.
The perfectionist streak is real. The manifestation in cosmetic surgery is somewhat odd considering it's not explicitly taught (and has even been explicitly been panned). My own theory is that it's a weird combo of taking ideals seriously, religiously magnified & concentrated conscientiousness, and finally, heavily emphasizing the importance of having a mate and tying status to it.
However, I'm not sure the most ready explanation for any outlying antidepressant is oppressive religious expectations, outside of either some extra zealous backgrounds or key demographics like gay/lesbian individuals who are presented with a dilemma by the church that usually can't be resolved living inside church direction.
Given the famous abstinence from most common forms of self-medication (alcohol, weed, and tobacco), and a bit of a bent for being directed by authority, seems to me a good chunk of the difference is likely to essentially be displaced system-approved substance use.
I could restate this positively as "highest rate of treated depression," so I'm wondering if it also has abnormally high rates of depression?
That said, I believe that there is other data showing there is other perscriptio
drug abuse more prevelance than usual. If that's from increased depression, or merely from being an easier "bad" coping mechanism that's easier to hide, I'm not sure.
There are a lot of judgemental (self righteous?) Mormons in Utah. There are a lot of nice ones as well, though I think you'll find the ratio of nice to judgemental higher in other states.
My take on it? Being mormon has become somewhat cultural in Utah. It's not nearly so much elsewhere.
I won't dispute this, but I will mention some interesting hypotheses that indicate rates of depression are highly correlated with altitude.
I see that commonly mentioned.
What is not concurrently mentioned is that Utah is 48th for drug abuse , 48th for excessive drinking and 50th for alcohol-related driving deaths , and 50th for tobacco use .
Depression sucks, but anti-depressants are far, far safer (if not cheaper) than self-medicating with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
Utahns love porn.
Also all the crap LGBT Mormon kids go through.
Council of Nicaea, 325 AD .
However, I'm sure if you asked an LGBTQ person of their experiences with Christianity, especially with the uniquely conservative U.S. evangelical variety, they would say that some of those qualities clearly fit the bill.
Edit: One could also argue that the Catholic Church and its system of cardinals electing the pope (and whose very presence is regarded as sacrosanct) would qualify as both absolute authority and leader-worship. Albeit, I know the pope's own cop out is that God is the absolute authority, but I digress before my interest in theology leads us all down a dull rabbit hole.
In the same way it's said that a language is "a dialect with an army", I'm claiming the difference between a cult and religion is the same.
> Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Love the person. The sin is still a sin, but love the person. It doesn't get any more simple than that.
But GP's definition lacked significant nuance.
Pedantry aside, Christians are still human and thus succumb to sin and as such are not as charitable as they should be.
What? Do you mean Catholics? There are non-Catholic Christian churches, but they are still Christians.
On the flip side, there is no such distinct leadership/requirements in most other Christian organizations. Pretty much anyone call self a Christian.
Maybe Catholics are similar to LDS but I'm not too familiar with them.
I went on a mission to Peru for 2 years. It was amazing, I have no regrets, but I wouldn't do it again. It was incredibly hard.
In contrast, I've started two modestly successful companies (one bootstrapped, one backed by $16M in VC money) and I'm working on starting my third. Startups are grueling, but not as grueling as a mission IMO. :)
I.e. at times that are minimally disruptive to careers, families, etc.
(Your point about relative comfort at this fact may remain true independent of this observation.)
Just because some member of the Church believes or says something doesn't make it doctrine.
This is a problem for most religions these days. Some random person says something is part of their religion, and everyone on the internet and the media believe it.
It's like whenever some Catholic priest in some backwater says something that is not in line with Catholic teaching, the news picks up on it as if it came out of the Pope's mouth. Then it gets repeated ad nauseam across the internet by people who don't know, or can't be bothered to find out, if it's true or not.
The LDS church has an interesting tiered conception of doctrine, wherein some things that have been taught by LDS prophets are not in fact official doctrine. People tend to ignore the "space doctrine" most of the time too.
Well, it's got pre-medieval, medieval, and post-medieval elements.
> There is definitely set dogma
Depending on who you believe (yes, there are actually doctrinal disputes over which doctrinal pronouncements are in fact dogmatic, though there are a handful of cases which are dogmatic and not in dispute as to that) there is between very little and extremely little definitively set dogma, though.
How doctrinaire the Church is a pastoral question that (in terms of the central authority at least) changes considerably over time and especially with changes in Popes. Because, for all the accumulated history, tradition, and specialized language the Holy See had accumulated, it's still essentially an absolute monarchy, and the approach of the institutions reflects the personality of the person at the head of all of them.
It's like trying to maintain a codebase for 1,700 years with only one major revision.
An aside, smog is really bad in Salt Lake due to its geography and that is probably one of the reasons they are taking this so seriously.
 read No Man Knows My History, for an historical perspective.
It's a shame. Real life is so much richer. In my real life I've often come across Mormon missionaries (in the past knocking at my door - not sure if they still do this?), and despite radical differences in view, have mostly had warm & engaging interactions.
There is nothing kind about their treatment of the LGBT population in general, and LGBT youth in particular.
And if they were really that good at taking care of each other, I don't think that Utah would rank 5th in the nation for adolescent suicides (children 15 - 19 years) with a per capita suicide rate more than double the national average.*
They really do like to put on a good face, but their actions and the data says something rather different.
As for the suicide rate, you are making very careless and dangerous assumptions. Yes, it’s higher than most other areas. The reason for why is still very much unknown, and could be attributed in part to a wide variety of factors, ranging anywhere from demographics to the high altitude. Assuming it’s high because Mormons are awful people is baseless and clearly an instance of someone who has looking to confirm their biases.
If you are going to bring data into the conversation you should try and be more empirically minded about it.
I am perfectly willing to accept that more rural areas tend to have higher suicide rates, and that is not necessarily going to be correlated with religion, but at the same time, 1/3 of the population lives in the SLC metro area, which should be a moderating influence on the state's suicide rate if this is the primary cause.
The only other statistic I know of regarding Utah that is an outlier over the US in general is the percentage of individuals who identify as Mormon. As such, a hypothesis that the higher adolescent suicide rate has something to do with religion is perfectly valid, although still only a hypothesis.
1) Whatever causes the higher overall rates in Utah (altitude and/or other variables) that interacts in a non-linear way with whatever is causing the national increase.
2) Whatever factor that is driving the national increase is more influential in Utah for whatever reason. (e.g. maybe social networks are more harmful to more-judgmental Mormon communities)
3) There is some recent change in Mormon culture that has driven a change in teen suicide rates.
4) Mormon culture has caused a change in suicide rates despite not changing.
Do you have any support that would make (3) or (4) sound more reasonable? Or do you have another hypothesis?
* Claimed it is from God
* If you are gay then you are declared apostate and excommunicated (the strongest punishment that can be applied by the church, with extreme social repercussions)
* If your parents are gay, you're not allowed to be baptized at age 8 like other children, even given parent permission. Instead you must wait until age 21 and submit a signed affidavit disavowing your parents' relationship
* If your parents are gay you cannot get a baby blessing
Along with this policy came a strong increase in the anti-gay rhetoric from the prophets and apostles at the bi-annual general conference that all members attend.
Try putting that data point on a chart that shows the suicide rate and the correlation gets eerie.
Given that LGBT is maybe 4-10% of the population of the population, it's not likely to be driving such a big spike in the total numbers. I'd be interested in a more careful breakdown if anyone has it.
Additionally, my interactions with Mormons suggests them (and pretty much everyone else) becoming more tolerant of LGBT, not less. However, that's anecdotes, not data.
The issue is that the uppermost echelon of church leadership is a lifetime calling, they aren't replaced until one of them dies. This leads to the prophets and apostles all being the _oldest_ members of the church, and usually the most regressive. Combine that with the fact that obedience to leadership is tantamount to even personal revelation, and you get lots of hate speech over the pulpit even while the members in the pews are actually rather tolerant.
Let me run the numbers here though - if we have 100,000 youth then in 2015 there were 11 (0.011%) that committed suicide. If 4% of them are gay, that is 4,000 gay youth, and if their suicide rate is 3x the average then we'd expect 0.033% or 1-2 LGBT youth suicides.
If that were the end of it, I'd agree with you that it can't explain the near doubling. But would we expect LGBT youth to commit suicide more often, less often, or the same in a community with the above "November policy" kind of standards? I'd wager that LGBT youth suicides in Utah account for closer to 30% of all youth suicides.
I agree it doesn't completely explain the rise, but it seems a significant enough factor to be including in discussion.
I would submit the following hypothesis:
As the nation moves in a direction where religion plays a smaller and smaller role culturally and legally, many follows of religion double down and attempt to prevent their children from moving in that direction. In places with a lower percentages of people who consider themselves religious - or at least very religious, this crackdown happens less, but when it does adolescents have other friends or family they can turn to for support. More insular communities - such as Mormons - do not offer the external support structure to young people, leaving them fewer options they see as viable.
So while this is not necessarily a problem only in the Mormon community, it certainly is exacerbating the problem.
Any proponent of this hypothesis will face quite the uphill battle explaining why suicide rates are growing nowhere near as fast in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, or Nevada.
> 2) Whatever factor that is driving the national increase is more influential in Utah for whatever reason. (e.g. maybe social networks are more harmful to more-judgmental Mormon communities)
Certainly possible. There are plenty of judgmental religious clusters in the US, but it's the state with all the Mormons that seems to be the outlier, which would need explanation.
> 3) There is some recent change in Mormon culture that has driven a change in teen suicide rates.
There certainly is a lot of recent changes in mormon culture as well as mormon teachings as of late, and ramping up quite dramatically for a good 20 years now. Before prop 8, there was almost no focus on homosexuality, now it is a regular topic. There have been some major policy changes, such as disallowing baptism of children of gay parents.
There has been a huge growth in focus on pornography and modesty over the last two decades. For example, you can find plenty of strapless and sleeveless dresses in the BYU homecoming archives, but none recently. You can read conference archives from 20 years ago and find few, if any, references to pornography or modesty...whereas every conference now will focus a large amount of time on the subjects.
> 4) Mormon culture has caused a change in suicide rates despite not changing.
It demonstrably has changed, so this one is out.
> Do you have any support that would make (3) or (4) sound more reasonable? Or do you have another hypothesis?
It's a combination of 2 and 3. For example, pornography is drastically more available now than 20 years ago, but that wouldn't be much of a problem if not coupled with the shame and judgment of mormon teachings combined with the drastic growth in focus on the subject. Same goes for everything related to sexuality: modesty and social media, homosexuality and the various legal/policy actions that the church has taken, etc. The combination of of social change, technological change, mormon shame/guilt/judgment, mormon obsession with perfection and social image, and recent mormon heel-digging behavior is precisely what I would think is the most plausible hypothesis.
I'd be interested to see gender breakdown to see if modesty is an issue. I find it implausible, but would love to see data showing me wrong. Especially because when I grew up Mormon (I'm now atheist), a bikini was pretty risque but now I see conservative Mormons wearing bikinis as often as not. A priori, I would also expect modesty to decrease, not increase suicide rates (especially among the overweight or otherwise less-attractive). I'm not rooting for sexual modesty. I think it's probably good for society, but I don't care for it.
Pornography is interesting. I don't know how much Mormons have focused on it, but I'd be fascinated to see if that was a factor.
I do not see it this way. Communities with shared values (republican or democratic), usually find it easier to agree on and build public services that they find useful. Getting efficient, inexpensive transport that does not cost too much to the state is pretty easy to justify.
By the same token, most Republicans know that they will eventually get old, likely sick and finally die; thus they are not opposed to public healthcare as long as it is efficient and does not overburden public finances. However, they think (with some justification given past national federal projects) that if the US Federal government designs such a system it will be an inefficient and super costly monster pandering to special interests. And they are dead set against it.
That's a pretty laughable statement. Tons of local government (town, city, state) projects are just as much (or more) over budget with massive special interest pandering as well. The Federal government is not unique in this aspect.
I think you described every government project to date.
The key property of this is that the costs are clear and must be paid directly by those who voted for a new functionality. LDS may be the glue that allows something similar at the city/state level in Utah.
It’s true that the state is empty, but it’s actually a better candidate for transit than one would think, because the Wasatch Front, where 2M people live, is small geographically.
And very lax emissions regulations and oil refineries in the middle of everything.
In Orem (Utah County) the city is building dedicated bus lanes in the center of University Parkway; my guess is that this is a precursor to Trax rails down the line (so to speak).
To add to the list, Texas is going to be the first state in the US to have a proper high-speed rail system, and it's actually going to be very affordable to build.
Instead, we should be aiming to build more BRT like the Orange Line in Los Angeles, which operates completely in dedicated lanes.
> Only half of the route is in exclusive lanes, which means the half the time buses will be fighting traffic.
Half dedicated is enormous. How much traffic is there to fight in Utah outside of SLC?
> Features like real-time electronic station signs, dedicated bus lanes and traffic signal priority will be added as construction continues.
The question is whether dedicated lanes for 100% of the route is a launch blocker. Remember that portions of the route are more rural and may not have any congestion to deal with.
One section of the route is wide enough, but iirc, the residents along this particular segment in Provo fought against the dedicated lane (and won, afaik).
Last I heard, the main segment that will not be dedicated in the end is a road used almost exclusively by students who now have free passes.
I don't remember why but I got the impression this last segment was a combination of nimby and challenges of retrofitting an area not meant for it.
My concern for this road isn't the lack of dedicated lane but it probably has the most dangerous behavior, things like impatint jaywalkers cutting into traffic and cars turning onto the road at bad times.
Sadly a new law passed that forbids the removal of roads in order to provide more dedicated bus lanes. As there is so little place it will be impossible in most places. However buses are sharing light rail space now as well which can be paved yet not allow regular traffic in it.
> In May 2014, Streetsblog L.A. began to receive tips that Silver Line BRT service along the 110 Freeway was experiencing some problems. So many drivers were taking the toll lanes to the point where the mix of buses, carpools and paying drivers resulted in congestion.
> In some cases, traffic in the express lanes was moving slower than the rest of the 10 Freeway. This congestion impacts all the busway users including buses, carpools, and toll-paying drivers.
Like, you can't fight the laws of economics. We don't have to like them, but can't we work within them rather than coming up with economically inefficient solutions which are bad for everyone?
the problem with any well designed road system is that the people who need it cannot guarantee their needs don't change. this is especially true where both parents work. where a residence might have had a good commute when bought changes in work location can upset the whole process.
This has never existed. I'm not even sure what you could be thinking off. The West Busway is an old rail-bed, but it only goes a short ways from the city and servers a couple of communities, after that the airport bus uses the highway.
I guess I’m having my first “senior moment.” I remember this quite vividly. I sure hope I’m not confusing it with another city.
I used to keep pretty good expense records back then, so I should have a record of the fare. If not, where do I go to collect my Crazy Old Man badge?
Then look at a bus with 60 people taking up 20 yards. One bus a minute.
Then look at a train 200 yards long with 1000 people every 3 minutes.
Which is more wasteful?
The dedicated bus lane we're talking about here appears to have one bus every 30 minutes (GP said it was a line out to the airport). So it's natural to look at a dedicated road lane that sees two vehicles an hour and think "what a waste, would it really hurt to let some cars drive here too?".
But nobody looks at a train track the same way since you're used to seeing train tracks without a bunch of traffic on them.
And yet an extra lane is cheaper to build & maintain. So it's understandable to look at the dedicated lane and think that it's inefficient, when in really it isn't.
The West Busway doesn't go to the airport and has buses serving the communities it runs through ever few minutes.
There's also the fact that in even moderately busy systems, the amount of fares collected is not insignificant. As an example, New York's MTA: http://interactive.nydailynews.com/project/mta-funding/
$6B out of $15B is quite a lot of money. Raising taxes to cover $6B in lost revenue would be quite the feat. And why wouldn't that $6B be better put towards housing, or hospitals, or schools, or even better public transport services? It's generally better to make services more useful, than to just make existing subpar service free.
> New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Cathy Calhoun said the bridge is set to get $13 million in repairs to enhance safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.
This is just one intersection and definitely not at the heart of the city. Jewel Avenue Q64 bus is probably symbolic of New York politics. It is frustrating to see no bus for half an hour and then see three buses come together at the same time. However, we can't have a train here even if we somehow we're able to create/take over the land we need.
A $13 million bridge repair sounds expensive. But to replace that bridge with a BRT line (as one example) has an initial upfront cost of ~$40 million, and has a higher per-day maintenance cost too. To replace that bridge with a real subway line (which is probably what NYC would need to best serve riders) could easily be $160 million or higher.
Roads are the cheapest way to provide public transportation. Not necessarily the best way, but always the cheapest way.
If riders are only paying about 1/8 of the total cost, where do you suppose the rest is coming from?
As of 2010, riders paid about 13% of the total cost of public transit operation. (Page 7, heading "Farebox Recovery Has Improved Since 2006")
I Lived in Orem, Utah for a long-time super interesting state. Everyone is super conservative, no doubt, but they are the nicest people I've ever met. They can be "accidentally" racist and bigoted but I attribute that for their ignorance as opposed to hate.
The church itself governs and operates like a socialist country. Every church member in the world pays 10% of their income to the church, and that money in turn goes towards financing all three Brigham Young Universities - one in Provo Utah, one in Hawaii, and one in Idaho. So a student could get a private-school education for only $2000-5000 a year. The money also goes towards construction projects to build new temples and new churches. It goes towards relief for families that are struggling financially.
The state also has some the best national parks in the countries, and probably the best slopes to ski on.
I think people mentioned this but there is a pretty significant tech presence there as well.
Some downsides, everyone is Mormon is not a lot of stuff is open on Sundays, and even if you're a devout atheist, you'll probably go to church a couple times, because everyone around you goes and you have nothing better to do. Very little diversity, racially, ethnically, politically, religiously, it's almost like living in Japan, where everyone is nice to you but you'll always be considered an outsider.
The people who raise that point the most, in my experience, are English teachers who don't speak Japanese, or have had some kind of privileged background. I wasn't part of either in North America; at this point, I would be hard pressed to point at too many things that are particularly different for me and my Japanese co-workers.
If you do speak Japanese and have the desire to be a part of the community, you can be part of non-political society. I know plenty of non-Japanese who can participate in everything (except for voting, which is admittedly a big thing).
Some people point to police harassment (and I have experienced it), but I have seen Japanese people pulled over to have their bags searched and their cycle registration checked. It's a different norm.
That's not to say it is a great thing to be active in Japanese society. Being part of the PTA is a pain in the rear. There is plenty of meaningless inefficiency in "group activities". Everyone takes the same days off and you need to book together time months in advance. But if you want to be in the in-circle, and want to be part of traditional celebrations, you can. (Especially in Tokyo)
On the other hand, as a non-Christian who worked for a company in Salt Lake City, I doubt I could be a part of society there in the same way that I am here. I really liked my co-workers in Provo, more than even my co-workers at some companies in Japan. They were interesting and fun to be around, even when we had different political beliefs.
However, I doubt I could ever be a close friend to any of them because they had beliefs I didn't share, and couldn't share.
It's not like Japan (or Tokyo at least); if you are decent enough at the language, you can slip into groups and be a normal member of society.
I live in Lehi. I'm 5min from work, 5min from epic mountain biking, 5min from incredible hiking, 10min from rock climbing in a canyon, 15min from fly fishing in the mountains, 30min from some of the best skiing in the world, 3.5 hours from zion's, moab, bryce, canyonlands.
There's plenty to complain about, but the outdoors here are hard to beat.
Some places have higher concentrations than others. Tonga for instance is roughly 60%. Even getting out to Idaho, Arizona or California (still higher than average mormon density areas), and you'll encounter a different culture.
Sort of a technicality, but that money doesn't come from the 10% tithe. It comes from what is called "fast offerings" that is a separate offering associated with a monthly fast.
I rode the bus route daily when they tried it in Chicago and it didn't speed things up much. One at a time, slowly, slowly, people climbed on board, paid their fare, couldn't move into the bus because it was crowded, and then the next person in line blocked the doors until someone moved enough for them to get on... five minutes, the bus was on its way through a fresh green traffic signal. Great.
(Continuing the rant, what about paying the fare off the bus? I've tried this in NYC, and every time I've used SBS, fare collectors have stopped the bus, slowly checked everyone's tickets with the bus stopped, and then gotten off. Waiting at a red light or two is nothing compared to that. I'm sure by the time you include the fare inspectors' salaries, some supervisors to fire them when they do the collection with the bus stopped, and recruiters for new fare inspectors... it's a mega money losing operation. But oh no, we could never make it free, only Communists would want free bus service!)
The issue with free is that free transit tends to create a negative spiral where some walkers and bikers will switch to transit because it's free, so services have to be improved to deal with the crowding, which makes transit more appealing to bikers and walkers, which increases overcrowding, and so on. None of the cities and towns that have free transit in the world are very big.
The issue with free is that free transit tends to create a
negative spiral where some walkers and bikers will switch
to transit because it's free, so services have to be
improved to deal with the crowding, which makes transit
more appealing to bikers and walkers
I'm not sure whether tearing up all the roads for 3+ years to have a bus that connects two places already connected by a new train is that awesome. Just make that stretch of Frontrunner free.
I love how mountains are visible from most places as well. Within a few hours I can be at the Grand Canyon or at Yellowston or in Denver or in Las Vegas.
I lived in Utah for a year for learning/work. I liked how clean Utah was and how good the quality of life was. Only trade-off was the Mormon vibe but that can be avoided if you are in SLC.
I plan to buy an SUV and drive all my stuff there, live a real simple life, work remotely, take as many adventures as my heart desires.
I still love SLC more though.
Not to mention that one of the residential BRT streets north of me has been under construction for more time than it took NASA to get to the moon in the '60s.
But it's cool that we get free service, I guess. BYU and UVU students get free UTA transportation (more than just BRT) with their ID cards.
Traffic is so bad, pretty much all the time, so it would have to help that as well.
But then there is the matter of money has to come from somewhere, although Utah has one of the richer state governments to begin with.
it really comes down to, a transit system cannot be everything for everyone so its best to make it good for a segment of the population. if we want to improve transit issues the primary method is to overhaul the power of zoning boards and reduce the ability of groups to sue to prevent housing to be built closer in if not inside cities.
one recent tactic has been for politically connected groups to sue and make ridiculous changing demands so that to the point it becomes unaffordable to build and force the developer to sell to the group connected to the politicians. then everyone loses. .