Webb’s Wrap: How’s Hatch . . . climate lab at The Point? . . . Is filibuster doomed?

Update: How’s Orrin Hatch doing? He’s not seen much in public, but his longtime associate Melanie Bowen says the 86-year-old Hatch doing very well. I had occasion to chat with Melanie the other day, and she said Hatch is active and busy, writing letters, making calls, writing opinion essays, and helping run the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation. Melanie worked with Hatch for most of his 42 years in the Senate, and is now community relations director for the Hatch Foundation.

“It’s quite remarkable,” said Melanie. “Orrin is always looking to the future, supporting common-sense policy solutions. He’s doing a lot of work and public service is in his DNA. The foundation is a great way to channel his desire to be involved.” Elaine Hatch, said Melanie, especially loves being in Utah after so many years in Washington. “She is the consummate mother and grandmother, and loves being close to family.”

Climate change lab at The Point? The massive state-sponsored development planned for the Point of the Mountain (current prison site), will house a wide variety of businesses, enterprises and housing options. One idea being explored, according to Natalie Gochnour, director of the Gardner Public Policy Institute at the University of Utah, is to place a climate change solutions laboratory at The Point. It could bring together a number of scientific and academic disciplines, along with private sector innovators, to work on climate change solutions. That would be cool (no pun intended.)

Good reads:


–Make the Senate great again. Everyone knows Congress is badly broken. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Ben Sasse has big ideas to improve how the Senate works. Some of his ideas are not practical, such as repealing the 17th Amendment, but at least he’s trying. Read his column HERE.

–Fire catastrophe . A confluence of bad circumstances have combined to produce the inferno destroying the west coast. While drought is certainly a big factor, poor forest management practices, especially a reluctance to allow prescribed burns, is also a major contributor, according to this in-depth story in ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power.

–Thoughtful essay on racism. Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, suggests in an essay in The Hill that real progress on racial justice will take more than superficial slogans and confessions.

–Is the Senate filibuster doomed? The latest Washington Update from the Hatch Center<file:///C:/Users/lavar/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/PSUJJE86/email.mht> has insightful information from Executive Director Matt Sandgren on a variety of issues (the election, taxes, trade, immigration, various election odds, etc. It features an nice piece looking at the Senate filibuster and why eliminating it would be a bad idea.

Reader response. Sarah Wright, who runs Utah Clean Energy, said she liked my little spoof about my solar clothes dryer. She said hers works really well, too. She added, “I thought you might enjoy this quiz from the NYT that shows just how much energy your solar clothes drier saves each time you use it.” Check it out.

Parting shot. Deeper debt to reduce consumer debt? A nice report from a WalletHub Credit Card Debt Study shows that U.S. consumers paid down $118 billion in credit card debt during the first half of 2020 – an all-time record. That’s great. But the report notes that this record credit card debt reduction has been driven, in part, by very generous unemployment benefits, part of the federal COVID-19 relief package. So, let’s get this straight: Consumers use federal money to reduce their personal debt, while the feds borrow at unfathomable levels to provide the money. I suppose federal debt is better than consumer debt, but who’s eventually gonna pay? Hint: It won’t be me. I’ll be long dead before the federal government gets around to worrying about its humongous debt. Good luck, grandkids.