Morning must reads for Friday, September 22, 2017

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 265th day of the year. There are 100 days remaining in 2017.

The clock:

  • 25 days until ballots for the 2017 general election are mailed to voters (10/17/2017)
  • 46 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 122 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 167 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 410 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,138 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • Understand what happened this week and why in Utah politics. Watch our week-in-review video to get the skinny on all the political news from the past seven days [Utah Policy]. Here’s a podcast version in case you prefer that [Utah Policy].
  • Bob Bernick argues the Utah GOP’s fight against SB54 is one of the dumbest political moves in recent Utah history [Utah Policy].
  • On this week’s “Beg to Differ” podcast, Bryan Schott and Mike Winder speak with Stan Lockhart of National Popular Vote Utah about the effort to circumvent the Electoral College when we elect a president [Utah Policy].
  • The Salt Lake County GOP kicks former County Recorder Julie Dole from her leadership position inside the party and bans her from running for any elected offices under the banner of the Salt Lake County Republican Party for five years [Deseret News].
  • Ex-First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at a conference in Salt Lake City [Tribune].
  • An audit says Western Governors University should have to repay more than $700 in federal financial aid because some of its degree programs fall short of eligibility requirements for that support [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • BYU is allowing the sale of caffeinated sodas on campus for the first time in more than 50 years [Deseret News, Tribune, Washington Post].

National headlines:

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called out President Donald Trump, saying he would “tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire” in response to Trump’s threat to destroy North Korea. North Korea also threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean [Associated Press].
  • President Trump is ordering increased economic sanctions against North Korea. The sanctions are thought to be some of the toughest enacted by the United States in recent memory [New York Times].
  • Iran says they will strengthen their missile capabilities in a direct snub of President Donald Trump [Reuters].
  • Healthcare executives say the last-ditch Obamacare repeal bill the Senate is pushing to pass by Sept. 30 contains the “worst elements” of the previous efforts [Politico].
  • Drip…drip…drip…U.S. authorities placed former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort under electronic and physical surveillance after he left the campaign in 2016. The surveillance was part of a counterintelligence operation into Russian involvement in the election [Wall Street Journal].
  • Facebook agrees to turn over 3,000 ads purchased by the Russians during the 2016 election that were used to influence voters and help tip the election toward Donald Trump [New York Times].
  • Support for a White House-backed package of up to $1.5 billion in tax cuts over the next 10 years is growing as Republicans are starting to fall in line behind the plan [Washington Post].
  • The Trump administration is backing off of some hard-line stances on trade in order to woo Republicans on tax reform [CNBC].
  • HHS Secretary Tom Price used a private plane at taxpayer expense at least 24 times since late spring of this year [Politico].
  • Price decided to start using private aircraft after a flight delay made him miss a scheduled public appearance [Washington Post].
  • A growing number of White House aides are starting to head toward the exits even though President Trump has been in office for less than a year [Politico].

On this day in history:

  • 1692 – The last of those convicted of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials are hanged; the remainder of those convicted are all eventually released.
  • 1776 – Nathan Hale is hanged for spying during the American Revolution.
  • 1823 – Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith states he found the golden plates on this date after being directed by God through the Angel Moroni to the place they were buried.
  • 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing some 3 million slaves.
  • 1888 – The first issue of National Geographic Magazine is published.
  • 1975 – President Gerald Ford escaped a second assassination attempt in 17 days, this one by Sara Jane Moore who tried to shoot him as he walked from a San Francisco Hotel.
  • 1980 – Iraq invades Iran.