Situational awareness – August 9, 2018

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City.

I’m back from the West Coast where I had a chance to meet my long-lost brother my family didn’t tell me about until three years ago. It’s a testament to the power of commercially available DNA testing that I even found my older sibling who was given up for adoption shortly after his birth in 1966. As these services become more prevalent, more and more of the stories will filter into the mainstream.

Partisans are whipping up outrage over issues that aren’t very urgent. A GOP member of Congress was arrested for insider trading. The federal debt could swamp the entire U.S. economy.


  • 61 days until the last day to register to vote by mail (10/9/2018)
  • 68 days until mail-in ballots are sent to voters (10/16/2018)
  • 75 days until in-person early voting begins (10/23/2018)
  • 82 days until the last day to register to vote in person or by mail (10/30/2018)
  • 84 days until in-person early voting ends (11/2/2018)
  • 89 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 172 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 217 days until the final day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (3/14/2019)
  • 817 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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Tempest in a teapot

LaVarr Webb argues two of the political issues grabbing headlines right now, net neutrality and 3D printed guns, is just sound and fury signifying nothing –

Utah Thrives podcast

The latest edition of Utah Thrives looks at the tension between urban development and farming –

Cottonwood Mall

The Utah League of Cities and Towns weighs in on the controversy surrounding the old Cottonwood Mall site –


  • The Utah County jail will get $1 million from the Utah County Commission to pay for inmate medical costs [Daily Herald].
  • U.S. Senate rivals Mitt Romney and Jenny Wilson stake out differing positions on who or what is to blame for the massive wildfires in the west [Tribune].
  • During some small group meetings with constituents on Monday, Rep. Mia Love said she would be part of a delegation headed to China to learn about President Donald Trump’s trade policies toward that country [Deseret News].
  • Eric Eliason, the United Utah Party candidate in Utah’s 1st CD, has nearly $200,000 in his campaign account for his long-shot bid to unseat Republican Rob Bishop [Associated Press].
  • Salt Lake County Council Chair Aimee Winder-Newton says the county’s new policy giving preference to women or minority-owned businesses when awarding contracts may discriminate against white men [Tribune].
  • The state has released the remaining funding for the Road Home shelter after security changes prompted by a scathing state audit [Deseret News].
  • The state wants to buy the Road Home shelter when it closes, but an appraisal of the property may be more than the state can afford [Deseret NewsTribune].
  • The annual census of Utah’s homeless population found the number of homeless unchanged from the year before, but more are lacking some sort of shelter [Deseret News].
  • Citing rising costs, the Weber County School District is scrapping their recycling program –


  • New York Rep. Chris Collins, who was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential bid, was arrested for insider trading. Collins says he will not step down and will be on the ballot in November –
  • Tribune Media withdraws from the proposed $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group citing breach of contract –

  • President Trump’s legal team is attempting to narrow the scope of any interview of Trump by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to eliminate any questions about obstruction of justice –
  • Rudy Giuliani, attorney for President Donald Trump, says special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will not just fizzle out, it will “blow up” on Mueller –

  • President Trump’s team is torn over what role he should take promoting GOP candidates in November’s midterm election –

  • Scary! The Congressional Budget Office says the federal debt could be double the size of the entire U.S. economy in the next 30 years –

  • The U.S. is set to hit Russia with new sanctions after the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. with a Soviet era chemical weapon –

  • The White House is mulling a plan to revoke legal resident status for legal immigrants who accept government assistance available to them –

  • Former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault-Newman reportedly secretly recorded her conversations with President Donald Trump –

  • The number of families caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally last month was a record for July –

  • Sen. Rand Paul delivered a letter from President Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin –

  • Media outlets are boosting security for reporters as President Trump ramps up his anti-media rhetoric –
  • Rep. Devin Nunes can be heard on a recording of a closed-door GOP fundraiser saying Republicans need to maintain their majority in Congress to protect President Donald Trump –
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told North Korea to reduce its nuclear arsenal by 60 to 70 percent –
  • The White House is drafting an executive order authorizing President Trump to punish foreigners who interfere in U.S. elections –

  • Florida Sen. Bill Nelson says Russian hackers have penetrated some Florida registration systems –

  • Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter and two other wealthy friends of President Trump from his Mar-a-Lago club are pushing sweeping changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs –

  • Vice President Mike Pence will unveil detailed plans for establishing the proposed Space Force as the sixth branch of the military –
  • Saudi Arabia and Canada are engaged in a diplomatic feud over the arrest of a human rights activist in the Saudi kingdom –

  • New York City is halting new licenses for ride-hail services, capping the number of vehicles for a year. The bills passed by the City Council allows New York to set a minimum pay rate for drivers –


  • 1173 – Construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa begins; it will take two centuries to complete.
  • 1483 – The Sistine Chapel opens in the Vatican.
  • 1814 – Indian Wars: The Creek sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson, giving up huge parts of Alabama and Georgia.
  • 1854 – Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden.
  • 1892 – Thomas Edison receives a patent for a two-way telegraph.
  • 1936 – Jesse Owens wins his fourth gold medal at the Berlin Olympic Games.
  • 1944 – The United States Forest Service releases posters featuring Smokey Bear for the first time.
  • 1945 – Nagasaki is devastated when an atomic bomb is dropped by the United States. Thirty-five thousand are killed outright.
  • 1969 – The Manson Family commits the Tate murders.
  • 1974 – As a direct result of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon becomes the first President of the United States to resign from office. Vice President Gerald Ford becomes president.
  • 1995 – Rock legend and lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, died at age 53.
  • 2004 – Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing that killed 168 people.


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