Bundyville: a bingeable new podcast that delves into the apocalyptic cult of Cliven Bundy

For many of us, the Cliven Bundy story started when a fringey rancher got a bunch of his militia pals to flex their white privilege by threatening to shoot federal law enforcement officers who'd demanded that Bundy stop stealing public land and grazing; then Bundy's loathsome offspring led a terrorist takeover of a wildlife refuge in Oregon. Read the rest

After the Boy Scouts opens up to trans kids, queer kids and girls, the Mormons severed their 105-year relationship to scouting

The Church of Latter Day Saints insists that its decision to end over a century of close association with the Boy Scouts has nothing to do with the organization's decision to admit girls, gay kids and trans kids -- the Mormon leaders say that its launching of a competing scouting organization based on the "spiritual, social, physical and intellectual goals outlined by the church" is merely a coincidence. Read the rest

Funeral potatoes are not as grim as they sound

Walmart has been advertising to my friend Terry in his Facebook feed. He showed me screenshots of the ads. They were all strange (octopus, anyone?) but the first one was particularly odd, one neither one of us had ever heard of before: funeral potatoes.

The name made me curious, of course. I needed to learn more.

The first thing I discovered is that they're are a Utah thing, usually served after Mormon funerals (hence the name).

But what are they exactly? Well, Food & Wine describes them as "one of the greatest American triumphs" and offers this description of their ingredients:

...the cheesy potato casserole is made with hash browns, cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup, lots of cheese, lots of butter, lots of sour cream and ... cornflakes

(Or crushed potato chips instead of cornflakes, I also learned.)

That's some serious comfort food. Good job, Utahns.

If you think you'd like to make some, there are no shortages of recipes on the internet for them. Of course, you could just buy a bag of them from Augason Farms. But, as one commenter points out, "No Amazon. Just no, no, no. These need to be homemade by church ladies and served in the church basement with a sliced ham, garden canned green beans, rolls, 7 layer pea salad, and an assortment of pies, cakes, and Jello salad with shredded carrots."

Good point, though the bagged version has a shelf-life of 18 months.

As far as this regional foods' history, Deseret News reports:

The true origin of funeral potatoes has been lost to time, but one can speculate about how the dish became such a Utah staple.

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Utah's paper of record calls for Orrin Hatch to step down: "his utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power"

In 2016, the deep-red, Mormon-dominated state of Utah had to choose between voting in favor of a rapist, or in favor of allowing women to control their own fertility, and they chose the rapist. Read the rest

Mormon official silences 12-year-old girl in church after she says she's gay

Savannah, a 12-year-old girl, is giving a speech at her Utah church but is interrupted when an official at the church cuts off her microphone and tells her to sit down. He apparently did not like the fact that she was saying that God loved all parts of her. Read the rest

Mormon church uses bogus copyright claims in attempt to censor Mormonleaks

Mormonleaks is a whistleblower site dedicated to revealing corruption and hypocrisy in the Church of Latter Day Saints; over four months, it has published many documents that did just that, but when it published a leaked Powerpoint revealing the Church's view on "the roots of apostasy, such as pornography, campaigns to ordain women, challenges to church history and general 'lack of righteousness,'" the Church turned to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and a bogus claim of copyright infringement to get the document taken down. Read the rest

How a billionaire GOP rainmaker tried (and failed) to rewrite history by suing Mother Jones

Frank VanderSloot is a major Republican donor -- he funneled more than $1M to the Romney campaign -- who is tapped to be one of the kingmakers in the party's leadership race. But the multi-level marketing nutritional supplement billionaire has a dark history he'd like to erase: his many, high-profile, vicious campaigns against gay people. Read the rest

Former mayor of SLC suing NSA for warrantless Olympic surveillance

Rocky Anderson is suing the agency for spying on him (and everyone else in Salt Lake City) during the 2002 Olympics -- he's added his name to a mass lawsuit against the NSA, FBI, George W. Bush, Michael Hayden, Dick Cheney and 50 "Does." Read the rest