Morning Must Reads for Thursday, December 15, 2015

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 350th day of the year. There are 16 days remaining in 2016.

College tuition costs have skyrocketed in Utah over the past two decades. U.S. intelligence says they’re convinced Vladimir Putin had a personal role in the hacking of the 2016 presidential election. Electors are getting pressure to dump Donald Trump.

The clock:

  • Four days until the Electoral College meets to cast their votes for president and vice president (12/19/2016)
  • 36 days until Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President (1/20/2017)
  • 39 days until the first day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (1/23/2017)
  • 84 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 327 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 691 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)

Ten talking points for Thursday:

  1. Expensive education. College tuition costs in Utah have risen 214% over the past two decades [Utah Policy].
  2. Countdown continues. The purchase of the Salt Lake Tribune by Paul Huntsman is our #9 Utah political news story from 2016 [Utah Policy].
  3. Earth shattering, if true. U.S. intelligence officials say they have a “high level of confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the Russian plan to interfere with the 2016 presidential election [NBC News]. The White House suggests Donald Trump may have known Russia was trying to influence the election in his favor [Politico]. Meanwhile, the opinion of Putin among Republicans has skyrocketed since 2014 [Huffington Post].
  4. Boring but important. The Federal Reserve announced they would nudge interest rates up a quarter percent [Wall Street Journal].
  5. Rumors flying. Members of Utah’s congressional delegation address rumors that President Obama will declare a Bears Ears monument, possibly on Dec. 23 [Deseret News].
  6. Hypocrisy much? Michael Flynn, Donald Trump‘s national security advisor, “inappropriately shared” classified information with foreign military officers in Afghanistan. Flynn was an outspoken critic of Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server while secretary of state [Washington Post].
  7. Electoral follies. Utah’s presidential electors say they are getting more pressure to not vote for Donald Trump on Monday [Tribune, Deseret News]. A number of celebrities are joining the chorus calling for electors to dump Trump [Huffington Post]. Don’t expect that pressure to pay off. Republican electors say they’re not in the mood to launch an insurrection against Trump [Associated Press].
  8. A big no-no. Sen. Orrin Hatch releases a report criticizing the IRS for spending extravagantly on employee travel [The Hill].
  9. The Hill weighs in. Utah lawmakers say they plan to hold hearings on a proposed income tax hike for public schools [Tribune].
  10. Sabre rattling. China warns Donald Trump to not abandon the “One China” policy when it comes to Taiwan [World Post]. Military analysts say China is installing weapons on artificial islands in a disputed area in the South China Sea [Wall Street Journal].

On this day in history:

  • 1791 – The Bill of Rights took effect.
  • 1938 – Ground was broken for the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  • 2003 – The late Sen. Strom Thurmond’s family acknowledged Essie Mae Washington-Williams’ claim that she was Thurmond’s illegitimate mixed-race daughter.