REAL BUSINESS BUZZ

  • “Spectrum Magic” reigns as Utah State takes down New Mexico
    by Matthew Harris on February 2, 2023 at 7:37 am

    Utah State guard Steven Ashworth (3) looks to pass the ball as New Mexico guard Jaelen House (10) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Logan, Utah. Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP There’s a special kind of crazy that happens when Utah State puts on the annual “Spectrum Magic” basketball game.“Crazy” could be defined as a shutting down a top-15 offense for an entire half of basketball, or it could mean a 6-foot-11 interior scorer taking a drive from the top of the key.On a late Wednesday night in Logan, it was all of the above.With nearly 9,000 fans clad in various shades of orange, yellow and tan—mimicking Dee Glen Smith Spectrum’s 53-year-old seats of the same colors—Utah State claimed the best win of its season in an 84-73 win over New Mexico. The Aggies handed the Lobos just their fourth loss of the season while moving to an impressive 11-1 in the Spectrum.“(It was a) tremendous crowd tonight,” Aggies coach Ryan Odom said. “Great to have our students packed like that for Spectrum (Magic)…that’s really special for our guys, special for our students, special for our university to have that type of atmosphere. Obviously, it’s one of the best in the country…We can’t do what we do or win at the level that we aspire to win at without them.”Utah State controlled the game nearly from the tip as they led the entire game outside of the 28 seconds prior to the Aggies’ first made basket—a 3 from junior guard Steven Ashworth. Outside of a 14-2 run that kept UNM in the game early on, Utah State outscored the Lobos 44-13 before halftime.In a game full of intriguing, the list of unexpected occurrences on Utah State’s side got longer as the game went on.First, in a game that featured the Lobos’ 15th-ranked scoring offense against Utah State’s 26th-ranked offense, the Aggies got disruptive in the second half, forcing eight turnovers, and held UNM to just 40% from the field in the first half en route to a commanding 46-27 halftime lead.Then, senior guard Sean Bairstow came up big for the Aggies tying his career-high with 20 points on 8-12 shooting from the field. The senior averages just 10.7 points per game.Grad forward Taylor Funk, one of the Aggies’ most reliable catch-and-shoot players from the arc, was 0-5 from the line but utilized some uncommon driving and midrange offense. New Mexico forward Morris Udeze (24) looks to shoot the ball as Utah State center Trevin Dorius (32) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP) 1 of 8 Utah State guard Steven Ashworth (3) looks to shoot the ball as New Mexico forward Morris Udeze (24) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP) 2 of 8 New Mexico guard Jamal Mashburn Jr. (5) takes a shot as Utah State forward Taylor Funk (23) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP) 3 of 8 Utah State guard RJ Eytle-Rock (5) and New Mexico forward Josiah Allick (53) fight for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP) 4 of 8 New Mexico guard Jaelen House (10) passes the ball as Utah State guard Sean Bairstow (2) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP) 5 of 8 Utah State guard Steven Ashworth, right, passes the ball as New Mexico guard Jaelen House (10) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP) 6 of 8 Utah State center Trevin Dorius (32) and New Mexico forward Josiah Allick scramble for a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP) 7 of 8 Utah State guard Steven Ashworth (3) shoots the ball as New Mexico guard Jamal Mashburn Jr. defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP) 8 of 8 To make things even more fun, senior Dan Akin finished with 16 points, including a rare occurrence of him driving from the top of the key to finish an and-one layup at a critical late-game juncture.“Dan certainly is very fast — he can get by his man when he wants to,” Odom said. “The key is him having the space to do that.”The Aggies forced contact against a Lobos team not accustomed to giving up many fouls. As a result, Utah State went to the line for a season-record-tying 31 free throw attempts and made a season-high 27 FTs. They went 16 of 20 from the stripe in the second half, a huge factor when the Lobos inevitably started making shots, outscoring USU 46-38 in the second half.USU entered the game fifth in the Mountain West. After having gone 0-3 in games against teams above them in the conference standings by a 16-point average margin of loss, getting ahead early, and staying ahead of the Lobos, was much-needed proof that the Aggies are indeed a contender in the MW. A point clearly missed by NCAA Tournament bracket predictions that have left the Aggies out for several weeks.“It means a lot,” Bairstow said of the win. “It shows that we belong like we have believed all season that we do. (It’s a) big statement win for us.”The Aggies improved to 18-5 overall with a 7-3 record in conference play. They’ll head to Fort Collins to take on Colorado State on Friday before returning home for another big time matchup with San Diego State on Feb. 8.

  • Analysis: The growth, development and adaptability of Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler
    by Sarah Todd on February 2, 2023 at 6:58 am

    Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) lays up a shot as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.Scott G Winterton, Deseret News On Thursday night the NBA will announce the All-Star team reserves.The Utah Jazz already got some good news this week when Walker Kessler was announced as one of the 11 NBA rookies chosen to take part in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend and they have high expectations for more good news on Thursday night regarding Lauri Markkanen.“First of all, none of us are hoping. We are all expecting Lauri to be an All-Star,” Jazz head coach Will Hardy said after the Jazz’s win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. “Whatever anybody thought of our players when trades were made, whatever anybody thought of our team before the season started, I would say a lot of those people were wrong. And Lauri being an All-Star would be a giant stamp on that.”The growth of Markkanen & Kessler As if right on cue, both Markkanen and Kessler were incredible on Wednesday night. Kessler punctuated his Rising Stars news with a 17-point, 13-rebound, 7-block performance and Markkanen had one more All-Star caliber performance ahead of the reserve announcement, finishing the night with 28 points, going 7-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-9 from 3-point range and hitting all 10 of his free throw attempts.Both players have expanded their games and grown so much over the last few months and it’s apparent in the way that opposing players are reacting to them. Players attack the rim less when Kessler is on the floor, Markkanen is seeing double-teams more than he has at any other time in his NBA career and both have to be even more physical on both sides of the ball.It’s not a secret anymore that Markkanen and Kessler are good players. The word is out. They’re at the top of scouting reports and for good reason. Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) passes around Toronto Raptors center Christian Koloko (35) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 1 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) blocks a shot by Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 2 of 27 Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton (2) goes under the hoop for a shot with Toronto Raptors center Christian Koloko (35) defending as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 3 of 27 Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa (5) beats Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) and Utah Jazz guard Malik Beasley (5) to the ball as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 4 of 27 Toronto Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. (33) takes the ball away from Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 5 of 27 Toronto Raptors forward Thaddeus Young (21) gets away with foul on Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 6 of 27 Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) blocks a shot by Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 7 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) lays up a shot as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 8 of 27 Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) dunks the ball as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 9 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) reacts as he tries to draw a foul on Toronto Raptors guard Malachi Flynn (22) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 10 of 27 Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton (2) battles Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) for the ball as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 11 of 27 Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) loses the ball to Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 12 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Jarred Vanderbilt (8) dunks ahead of Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 13 of 27 Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) battles Utah Jazz guard Malik Beasley (5) as he goes up for a shot as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 14 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Jarred Vanderbilt (8) tries to block a shot by Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 15 of 27 Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) works against Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 16 of 27 Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) fights to keep a hold of the ball with Toronto Raptors forward Thaddeus Young (21) and Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) defending as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 17 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) grabs a rebound over Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher (25) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 18 of 27 Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) punches the ball away from Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 19 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) isn’t able to control the ball as it bounces off him as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 20 of 27 Utah Jazz fans cheer after Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) was able to draw a 5th foul on Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 21 of 27 Utah Jazz Bear stands on a ladder with two signs during a timeout as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 22 of 27 Utah Jazz Head Coach Will Hardy claps and calls out instructions as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 23 of 27 Utah Jazz fans try to distract a Toronto Raptors free throw as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 24 of 27 Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa (5) dunks on Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 25 of 27 Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) goes up for a shot with Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa (5) defending as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 26 of 27 Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) pump fakes Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa (5) and Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 27 of 27 What is sometimes overlooked is how quickly both of these players have had to adapt to these changes. True breakout seasons are more rare than you might think. Usually players get better gradually and over time. But in the case of Kessler and Markkanen, they are having to change the way they play nearly every game because of increased attention from the opposition.The Raptors are a great example of this. They came into the game hoping to keep the ball out of Markkanen’s hands and force him into tough situations. They made him turn the ball over four times in the first half. But he didn’t back down from the challenge and once again found a way to use that defensive aggressiveness to his advantage.“We’ve seen the games where he makes seven, eight 3s, and those are nice, but you can’t rely on that,” Hardy said. “He has so much more to give and I love looking at a stat sheet where I see him get 10 free throws and shoots nine 3s. You’re seeing a good variety there.”With Kessler, teams are starting to realize that they can’t score at the rim as easily when he is the one protecting it. It certainly doesn’t stop them from trying early on in a game, almost as if they’re trying to catch him off guard — which is why Kessler had six blocks in the first quarter alone.But just because teams are starting to veer away from Kessler, doesn’t mean that he can’t impact a shot or alter things with his defense, and we saw that against the Raptors. Seven blocks is certainly impressive, but there were also probably 15 other times that Kessler altered a shot and he’s continually getting better about his spacing and timing and being able to impact things on a close-out rather than only at the rim.If anything, the other Jazz players need to start understanding the way that Kessler changes the game so that they can step in and make his life easier after good defensive plays.“When teams shoot over Walker, sometimes they alter their shots so much just to make sure he doesn’t block it,” Hardy said. “The other guys have to do a better job of blocking out the roller and getting those rebounds because with Walker it’s hard to do both. You can’t go contest every shot and get all the rebounds.”The Jazz have had a lot of things break their way when you look at the trades they made over the summer and the emergence of Markkanen and Kessler have been at the top of that list. But even more so, the willingness that they have to adapt and the speed at which they do it, has been one of the more impressive developments.Now we wait for the All-Star reserve announcement.

  • An atheist is invited to religious freedom summit and finds common cause with believers
    by Tad Walch on February 2, 2023 at 6:32 am

    U.S. Agency for International Development administrator Samantha Power speaks at IRF Summit 2023 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Power said religious freedom advocates must work with broader coalition partners and effectively tell stories of global religious persecution.Matailong Du/For the Deseret News WASHINGTON, D.C. — An atheist walked into an international religious freedom conference and picked up a microphone.No, really, American Atheists president Nick Fish showed up — invited — to IRF Summit 2023 on Wednesday, and showed that he actually wasn’t out of place. “Any nation that can take away your right to practice your religion can also force a religion onto me,” he said. “We’re all in this together. Every single person in this room, every group in this room, every denomination, every person on this stage, we’re in the shared struggle together, and it’s vital that we work to elevate FORB (freedom of religion or belief).”The second day of the third annual IRF summit again displayed a determinedly bipartisan, multi-faith effort that is creating the kind of strange friendships that lead to New York Times editorials and cause atheists and religionists alike to throw side-eye looks at who is participating.“We have to break down the walls within the broader rights-promoting community. I think that’s happening already by necessity, because the sense of persecution and the growing repression is forcing that,” said Samantha Power, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).Leaders who want to repress human rights like religious freedom are collaborating across the world, Power warned during Wednesday’s main summit session. Related Here’s who is saying it’s time to take religious freedom movement to a Super Bowl level “They’re learning from one another. They’re copying restrictions from one country, cutting-and-pasting them and putting them in another country,” she said. “We need to be as sophisticated as we can be in our toolkit in contesting these abuses, including by being in coalition with partners that we may not have cohabitated with in the past.”Power called for more stories about persecuted people, which is a passionate reason for existence for the IRF Summit and many of the 70 civil society partner groups that sponsor and attend the summit each year.For example, conference-goers rained applause on Ummad Farooq, an Ahmadi Muslim man who survived a bullet to the head from extremists in Pakistan, and Russian-born pastor Dmytro Bodyu, who first left his own country 30 years ago to practice his faith only to have to escape Russian forces again last year when they invaded Ukraine. Russian-born pastor Dmytro Bodyu, who fled Ukraine after being detained by Russian forces last year, speaks at IRF Summit 2023 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. He asked people to prayer for Ukraine.Matailong Du/For the Deseret News Later in the day, as if in response to Power’s call to action for new partners, Fish shared the story of a Nigerian humanist sentenced to 25 years in prison for expressing a lack of belief in the afterlife.Data shows support for religion One panelist in a main session argued that believers should not be shy when they call for religious freedom or for more reporting on the issue, despite media reports about decline in church attendance.“Maybe certain statistics say that fewer people show up in the pews, but we happen to know that people around the world are showing up in prayer, and in institutions and in communities that care about these issues,” said Aaron Sherinian, CEO of Radiant Foundation and senior vice president of global reach for Deseret Management Corp. (DMC). The Deseret News is part of DMC.Sherinian said fresh data continues to show that spirituality is important to Americans, Europeans and others around the world. Aaron Sherinian, CEO of Radiant Foundation and senior vice president of global reach for Deseret Management Corp., speaks during IRF Summit 2023 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Sherinian said readers are willing to read and pay for more religion content.Matailong Du/For the Deseret News “We need to remember that (religious freedom) is not a niche issue,” he said. “Sometimes when we approach the media, when we approach those who make a culture if you will … we approach these issues as if they’re niche, but 83% of the world’s population affiliates with a faith, so that’s not a niche issue. It’s a human issue.”Sherinian said believers should respond to Power’s call to action to share stories about the human consequences of religious persecution.He said a recent survey from HarrisX shows a market opportunity for media outlets.“More than half the people polled said they would favor a media outlet if it has more religion or faith-based content,” Sherinian said, and they also said they would be willing to pay more for it.“I think we, as those people who care about the issue, and you, people who advocate for it, we should start with that fact,” he said. Related The state of faith: Yes, organized religion is on the decline. But new research shows faith still plays a powerful, unifying role in American life Religious persecution and the media Sherinian and his co-panelist, an Italian journalist, suggested journalists and media outlets need to educate themselves about religion.Otherwise, said Marco Respinti, director-in-charge of the publication Bitter Winter, “journalists can become allies of persecution.”In an interview with the Deseret News, IRF Summit co-chair Sam Brownback cheered the editorial in Sunday’s New York Times titled “One of the strangest friendships in Washington,” about a conservative appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom by Mitch McConnell and a liberal appointed by Nancy Pelosi.“Wrong things bother her,” the former said. “And wrong things bother me.”“This last Sunday, they’ve got an article in The New York Times editorial about (religious freedom) being a bipartisan topic that progress can be made on,” Brownback said. “Thank you, Lord, because that’s … if the New York Times can start talking that way, then maybe others can look at this and open up their minds.”Brownback welcomes the media coverage. On Tuesday night, he and co-chair Katrina Lantos-Swett did a live television interview at midnight. IRF Summit 2023 co-chair Katrina Lantos-Swett speaks at the international religious freedom conference at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.Matailong Du/For the Deseret New “We’ve had more media here than we’ve ever had before,” Brownback said, “still not as much on the left as I’d like to see covering it with the seriousness of this time, because we’re talking about a lot of people that get imprisoned or killed or harassed or just have difficulty with their lives because they are a person of faith.“It just seems to me like that should appeal to the media, but it’s better than it’s been.”What is, and isn’t, religious freedom? One of the summit’s final panels considered what religious freedom is and what it is not, and it included Fish, the atheist leader.“It is clearly something that’s pluralistic and not just a particular brand of secularism,” said BYU law professor Cole Durham. “It’s something that leaves open a real framework for us to live together, and it’s one of the things that, in my view, is one of the great modern keys of how we live together in our differences in peaceful ways. It protects the nonbelievers. It protects the believers. It protects the minority religions. It protects threatened majorities, as well. We’re very fortunate to have that.”Fish nodded as Durham spoke.“I’m certainly not in favor, and I don’t think most atheists or humanists would favor an idea that there is no religion in public space,” he said. “Public spaces are shared public spaces.”Fish and the other three panelists didn’t agree on everything, but the conversation never became argumentative. IRF Summit 2023 panelists on the meaning of religious freedom pose for a photo at the international religious freedom conference at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. From left to right, American Atheists president Nick Fish; Nation’s Mosque President Imam Talib M. Shareef; Catholic University of America law professor Robert Destro; BYU law professor Cole Durham; and Zaytuna College President Hamza Yusuf.Tad Walch/Deseret News Hamza Yusuf, an American Islamic scholar and president of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, said many believers are faced with a transitional generation.“Those of us who are older have seen just such major shifts in our culture,” he said. “And one of the biggest shifts is this movement away from traditional religion as it’s understood. All of the traditional religions, I think, feel under siege right now.”Yusuf argued that some indeed are calling for religion’s withdrawal from public spaces and that there should be consideration for the potential fallout.“I think that one of the views in our civilization now is that somehow religion was the scaffolding by which we built our civilization, but those of us who actually still believe feel that it’s the foundation of the civilization, and we can’t simply just remove the scaffolding of religion and think anything’s going to be left.”Afterward, Durham said the discussion was helpful.“We concluded that people at this conference probably have a very strong sense of what freedom of religion is, but it’s helpful to think about some of the things it isn’t,” he said. “It isn’t a mask for bigotry. That’s what it’s often confused with in this country, but you have to be at a conference like this where you realize how many people really need this protection.“We have such a strong buffer of religious freedom, actually, in this country that our problems are fine-tuning of a wonderful model. But you can see in many other parts of the world, the situation is just horrendous. So it’s helpful to think about some of the things that (religious freedom) isn’t. I thought it very impressive that the atheist in the group took a very pluralist position which I would agree with in a lot of ways.”

  • When and where will Tyre Nichols’ funeral be?
    by Sarah Gambles on February 2, 2023 at 6:17 am

    A portrait of Tyre Nichols is displayed at a memorial service for him on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn. Nichols was killed during a traffic stop with Memphis Police on Jan. 7.Adrian Sainz, Associated Press Tyre Nichols was remembered by friends and family at a funeral service Wednesday. The Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a eulogy to honor Tyre Nichols, and Vice President Kamala Harris offered a brief, emotional speech. Nichols was beaten brutally by a group of police officers during a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee, on Jan. 7. He died three days later from the injuries. “So when we talk about public safety, let us understand what it means in its truest form: Tyre Nichols should have been safe,” Harris said. The funeral was held at the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, where Nichols’ sister, Keyana Dixon, said, “I see the world showing him love and fighting for his justice, but all I want is my baby brother back,” per the Wall Street Journal. Some noteworthy attendees at the service include Vice President Kamala Harris, Breonna Taylor’s mother and George Floyd’s brother.Taylor was killed by police in Kentucky in 2020, and Floyd was killed by police in Minnesota in 2020, so Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, and Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, attended the funeral to support Nichols’ family.RowVaughn Wells called for action and pressed lawmakers to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act because “there should be no other child that’s suffered” due to police violence or brutality, BBC reported. Related 2 more Memphis officers disciplined, 3 fire department employees fired after Tyre Nichols’ death Who was Tyre Nichols? Nichols had a 4-year-old son and was passionate about skateboarding, capturing sunsets on video and photographs when he had time off from his job at FedEx, saying on his photography website that doing so made him look “at the world in a more creative way.”On Jan. 7, Nichols was pulled over for allegedly “driving recklessly.” Tensions began to escalate, and Nichols attempted to flee, which is when the officers chased and caught him, beating him brutally. Video of the arrest and beating was released to the public on Friday and has been described as “horrific.” Related Protests take place in multiple U.S. cities after footage of police beating Tyre Nichols was released “My brother was the most peaceful person you ever met. He’s never lifted a finger to nobody. Never raised his voice to nobody,” said Nichols’ brother, Jamal Dupree, per CNN. “If my brother was here today and he had to say something, he would tell us to do this peacefully.”What did the Rev. Al Sharpton say about Tyre Nichols? The Rev. Sharpton delivered a press conference on Tuesday about Nichols and his death.“People from around the world watched the videotape of a man — unarmed, unprovoked — being beat to death by officers of the law,” the Rev. Sharpton said, per CNN.During the service, Sharpton pointed out that Memphis was the city where Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. “In the city that Dr King lost his life, not far away from that balcony, you beat a brother to death,” Sharpton said, per The Guardian. “… All (Nichols) wanted to do was get home.”Family members want justice for Nichols’ death, and want him to be remembered as an artist and a skateboarder who loved photography.“We get so zeroed in on how he died, we don’t get a chance to recognize that he lived before that moment,” the Rev. J. Lawrence Turner, pastor at the church where his funeral will be held, told The New York Times. On Friday, a video of Nichols skateboarding went viral on Twitter, with many sharing the video as a reminder of him “living his best life.” THIS is the only video of Tyre Nichols — a man who loved his kid, loved photographing sunsets, and loved skateboarding with all his heart — you should be watching today or ANY other day. pic.twitter.com/kGGqs87FFh— stef rubino (@ancillarytext) January 28, 2023 “My vision is to bring my viewers deep into what I am seeing through my eye and out through my lens,” Nichols once said, per The Washington Post.This story was updated with more details following Tyre Nichols’ funeral service. Related 5 former Memphis cops charged with murder in Tyre Nichols’ death

  • 3 keys to the Utah Jazz’s win over the Toronto Raptors
    by Sarah Todd on February 2, 2023 at 4:34 am

    Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton (2) pushes hard up court with the ball as Toronto Raptors guard Malachi Flynn (22) defends as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.Scott G Winterton, Deseret News The Utah Jazz beat the Toronto Raptors, 131-128, on Wednesday night at Vivint Arena, improving to 27-26 on the season. Once again the Jazz played a close game in the final minutes, but thanks to a terrific fourth quarter from Lauri Markkanen and Mike Conley, Utah was able to hang on and come away with the win. Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) passes around Toronto Raptors center Christian Koloko (35) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 1 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) blocks a shot by Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 2 of 27 Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton (2) goes under the hoop for a shot with Toronto Raptors center Christian Koloko (35) defending as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 3 of 27 Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa (5) beats Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) and Utah Jazz guard Malik Beasley (5) to the ball as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 4 of 27 Toronto Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. (33) takes the ball away from Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 5 of 27 Toronto Raptors forward Thaddeus Young (21) gets away with foul on Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 6 of 27 Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) blocks a shot by Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 7 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) lays up a shot as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 8 of 27 Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) dunks the ball as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 9 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) reacts as he tries to draw a foul on Toronto Raptors guard Malachi Flynn (22) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 10 of 27 Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton (2) battles Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) for the ball as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 11 of 27 Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) loses the ball to Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 12 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Jarred Vanderbilt (8) dunks ahead of Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 13 of 27 Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) battles Utah Jazz guard Malik Beasley (5) as he goes up for a shot as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 14 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Jarred Vanderbilt (8) tries to block a shot by Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 15 of 27 Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) works against Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 16 of 27 Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) fights to keep a hold of the ball with Toronto Raptors forward Thaddeus Young (21) and Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) defending as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 17 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) grabs a rebound over Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher (25) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 18 of 27 Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) punches the ball away from Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 19 of 27 Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) isn’t able to control the ball as it bounces off him as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 20 of 27 Utah Jazz fans cheer after Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) was able to draw a 5th foul on Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 21 of 27 Utah Jazz Bear stands on a ladder with two signs during a timeout as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 22 of 27 Utah Jazz Head Coach Will Hardy claps and calls out instructions as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 23 of 27 Utah Jazz fans try to distract a Toronto Raptors free throw as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 24 of 27 Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa (5) dunks on Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 25 of 27 Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) goes up for a shot with Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa (5) defending as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Utah won 131-128. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 26 of 27 Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) pump fakes Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa (5) and Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) as the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News 27 of 27 Here are three keys that contributed to the Jazz’s latest victory:Fred VanVleet had an incredibly efficient game and continued to make timely buckets through the fourth quarter, which forced the Jazz to dig in and fight to the very end. He finished with a game-high 34 points to go with 12 rebounds and 10 assists for a triple-double.Walker Kessler was on a triple-double watch early on, racking up six blocks in the first half and continued to alter shots and make an impact throughout the game. After being announced on Tuesday as a Rising Stars Challenge participant, Kessler did not slow down, finishing the night with 17 points, 14 rebounds, seven blocks, one assist and one steal.Markkanen and Conley combined for 12 points in fourth quarter, but were more importantly just smart with their plays and decisions. Though there were some tense moments and situations that could have turned a tad chaotic, Markkanen and Conley both maintained the pace and tenor of the game so that the Jazz never got too sped up or out of control. Instead, the Jazz seemed like they had cool heads and were confident down the stretch.