Maher’s Mormon motive? My question in The Salt Lake Tribune


Self-proclaimed secularist celebrity Bill Maher said that he would become Mormon if Mitt Romney became president. Why did he say that?

As I wrote in The Salt Lake Tribune:

“Bill Maher said that he would consider becoming Mormon if Mitt Romney was president. Convenient that he said that on the eve of performing in Mormon haven Utah. Get the crowd invested?

Rhett Wilkinson



Political burnings in Utah: check out what happened, live-tweet style

(Twitter: @rhettrites)

Would you like to know what happened at the

– Village Square Utah “Climate on Climate” “Living Room Conversation?”
– Utah climate change resolution in a House committee?
– Mental health rally at the Utah Capitol?
– Food tax press conference from Crossroads Urban Center?
– Utah’s Trailblazing Women event?
– Standing Rock eviction rally at the City & County building?
– HEAL Utah/Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment clean air meeting at Westminster College?
– Envision Utah public feedback forum at Thanksgiving Point?
– HEAL Utah annual board meeting?
– Salt Lake Oasis event in which folks heard Mormon Stories founder John Dehlin’s confessions?
– Committee hearings on Utah bills that arguably handcuff OBGYNs, would “ban the box” for convicts looking for work and remove weapons out of the hands of domestic abusers?
– Decriminalization of polygamy rally at Utah’s Capitol?
– U.S. Army general presentation for a Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy lecture?

All of this happened in roughly the past two weeks, and I live-tweeted at each!

I would share screenshots of my live tweets at these events, but WordPress isn’t letting me.

So, I invite you to check out @rhettrites on Twitter to learn what happened!

Thank you!


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I heard them on NPR. Then I realized: I’d interviewed all of them myself.

This guy, a top business executive in America, joined a U.S. senator and former CIA director as stakeholders I have interviewed in the past and now have enjoyed attention on National Public Radio or an affiliate. (Traeger Grills)

A whole lot has been written about Jeremy Andrus since the turn of the calendar year, what with his success leading Traeger Grills after building Skullcandy. (Read: for example, he was named the Utah Business CEO of the Year after being featured in Forbes.)

I’ll humbly say that I was one of the first to report on his leadership of the innovative grill company, when its global headquarters were established in one of the cities that I covered as a reporter for a Salt Lake City-based newspaper.

That was just the beginning in terms of folks I have interviewed who have recently rode the biggest airwaves.

Andrus was referenced last week in a story by the National Public Radio affiliate of Salt Lake. I also enjoyed hearing on NPR last week from Leon Panetta and Steve Daines. Panetta is the former is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Daines is a U.S. senator. It was awesome for me to realize that I had interviewed all three just more than a year apart in my journalism career.

I would share the Panetta and Daines stories, but they are archived only in print. But here’s the digital Andrus story:

Company led by former Skullcandy CEO moves global headquarters to Sugar House

By Rhett Wilkinson

Traeger Pellet Grills is about creativity. So is Sugar House.

But the commonality is merely one reason why the counter-culture city is a “great place” for the innovative grill company to relocate its global headquarters, a Treager executive said.

“Traeger is an outdoor cooking brand, and outdoor cooking, by nature, is about creativity and in particular, the outdoors,” Vice President of Marketing Sean Laughlin said. “We felt that Sugar House is a great place for us to be located based upon the diversity, the creativity, and the value placed in outdoor spaces that this neighborhood provides.”

The company made the move from Portland this week into a 28,000-square foot location in the 1215 Wilmington Building, where more than 100 employees will be based, according to a press release.

The decision-maker was Jeremy Andrus, Traeger CEO and former top man at Skullcandy.

“We’re thrilled to be relocating our company’s global headquarters from Oregon to the great state of Utah,” Andrus said. “We’re looking forward to building another great brand right here at home and to being a contributing member of the community. We’ve been hard at work building a new, unique office in Sugar House that will reflect the DNA of our brand and inspire our team and our customers alike. The design concept connects people to our product with elements of reclaimed wood from both of our homes – Oregon and now Utah – fire, steel, and sophisticated electronics.”