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Situational Analysis - January 28, 2021
We've made it to Thursday! It's National Lego Day. Did you know those little plastic bricks have been around since 1949 and in 2017, Brand Finance, a business consulting group, named them the world's most powerful brand, surpassing Google, Nike and Ferrari to claim the top spot? Now you do.
If you only have time for one thing: Boyd Matheson writes that the nation is in desperate need of grace right now. "Individually we are all a little broken. There are no perfect people. We are all in need of redemption from mistakes and offenses. Imperfect people, employees, bosses, spouses and friends need grace that is both human and divine. As a nation we are also and imperfect and broken. Restoring and strengthening the soul of America requires every citizen and all institutions of government to find grace and the step forward." He continues, "America needs a grace period - a chance to exhale and to forgive, a moment to remember what unites us and why we are united. Rather than condemning America as a nation irredeemable we each should take advantage of the grace period granted to us, today, to create a union more perfect and indivisible." Read the entire article here.
36 days to the end of the 2021 Utah Legislature (3/5/21)
76 days until the end of the Cox/Henderson administration's first 100 days (04/14/2021)
92 days until the Biden/Harris administration's first 100 days are up (04/30/2021)
Today At Utah PolicyTweets of the day: A round-up
By Holly Richardson
Today's round-up includes a Caldecott award winner, taking a stand, the "Problem Solver" caucus, Bernie and his memes, women and COVID losses, losing an icon and yes, Tokyo, - hold the Olympics.
Challenger disaster, COVID vaccine and pregnancy, missing our 'weak ties'
By Holly Richardson
Slipped the surly bonds of earth - Today marks the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger explosion that killed all 7 astronauts on board. It's a morning I still remember - I had finished working a night shift as a nurse in a local hospital and got a call I should turn on the TV just as I was going to bed. Instead of sleeping, I spent the morning watching news coverage of the disaster.
Utah teacher one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year
By Holly Richardson
Utah's 2021 Teacher of the Year John Arthur of Bluffdale, a sixth grade teacher at Meadowlark Elementary School, a Title I school in the Salt Lake City School District, has been named one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year.
Salt Lake Tribune
- America's unique religious response to the COVID-19 pandemic - Nearly 3 in 10 Americans say that their faith has increased amid the pandemic.
- Why this conservative thinker says we're back to 'normal politics' - Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will says that the new administration can turn down the heat on American politics.
- What I've Learned: Abby Huntsman - The daughter of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and granddaughter to billionaire businessman Jon Huntsman Sr., was a rising media star. But after getting a taste of her dream job at "The View" - with celebrities, bright lights and unending demands for her attention - Huntsman wanted out.
- It's time to Sundance! Here are 13 movies we're excited to watch - They include big-name documentaries, awards contenders, films that will really hit home during a pandemic and more.
- Could making unwed fathers help pay for pregnancy, delivery decrease abortions? Rep. Brammer says his bill is a pro-life bill.
- Utah gun advocate still fighting to overturn federal bump stock ban - Clark Aposhian sued the DOJ and the ATF in 2019, alleging the federal agencies violated the Constitution in prohibiting bump stocks. He maintains that only Congress should be able to ban the devices. His attorney argued the case in front of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday.
- Senator wants to keep 'killing machines' off Utah roads by returning to at least 1 safety check - According to statistics from the Utah Highway Patrol there have been 1,633 accidents caused by malfunctions of the car, including bad tires, worn brakes, nonworking headlights and insufficient windshield wipers, at least 734 people were injured in those accidents and 7 people died.
- Salt Lake County rolls out 'mobile health centers' to boost COVID-19 vaccine distribution - The vehicles are intended to bring COVID-19 vaccines to the homebound as well as underserved areas of the valley.
- Bill would fix gap that rewarded brothers convicted in officer's death for committing new crimes - Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City sponsored HB67 that would ensure that a youth who has been sentenced to detention for the maximum possible time - until age 21 - ultimately will remain in the state's custody for at least that long.
- IOC remains committed to already postponed Tokyo Olympics - "We are not speculating on whether the Games are taking place. We are working on how the Games are taking place."
- Biden wants to send more stimulus checks, but who will get them? - "Targeting the stimulus payments to lower-income households would both better support the households most in need and provide a large boost to the economy in the short-run," said Brown University economics professor John Friedman.
- Rep. Jimmy Gomez drafts resolution to oust Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress (Politico) - The measure is one of the starkest rebukes yet against the congresswoman, who has antagonized her peers by flouting coronavirus guidelines and has garnered national attention for engaging in the QAnon conspiracy theory. She has also denied the Parkland school shooting, and was filmed spreading racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic comments, prompting condemnation from the leadership of her own party.
- As Biden vows monumental action on climate change, a fight with the fossil fuel industry has only begun (Washington Post) - Industry executives expressed dismay at the scope, speed and direction in which Biden is heading, saying he is going much further than President Barack Obama ever did, while environmentalists said the danger that Earth faces is far more dire now than it appeared during Obama's tenure and requires an extraordinary response.
- Biden, Emphasizing Job Creation, Signs Sweeping Climate Actions (New York Times) - The array of directives - touching on international relations, drilling policy, employment and national security, among other things - elevate climate change across every level of the federal government.
- In Colorado, President Biden's energy leasing moratorium on public lands brings praise, lawsuit (Denver Post) - "We're facing serious destruction of our lands, waters, air and wildlife, which increases the risks of disease pandemics and climate change-induced disasters," said Gwen Lachelt, a former La Plata County commissioner and executive director of Western Leaders Network. Brad Handler, senior fellow for public policy at the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines, said he believes the near-term impact of the leasing moratorium will be much less than the industry says.
- Extremists Emboldened by Capitol Attack Pose Rising Threat, Homeland Security Says (New York Times) - The warning was a notable departure for a Department of Homeland Security accused of being reluctant during the Trump administration to publish intelligence reports or public warnings about the dangers posed by extremists and white supremacist groups.
- Undoing Trump's policies and other things Biden did his first week as president (USA Today) - Biden has signed over 30 executive orders. They focus on immigration reform, climate change, COVID-19, the economy, and promoting equity and diversity.
- 'Their inaction cost lives': U.S. Capitol Police union rebukes leadership (NBC News) - Some U.S. Capitol Police officers sustained brain injuries in the deadly riot on Jan. 6, one officer cracked two ribs and smashed two spinal discs, one will likely lose an eye, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake. The acting Capitol Police chief, Yogananda Pittman, told a House panel that the department had "failed to meet its own high standards, as well as yours."
- John Roberts' refusal to sit for Trump impeachment sparks constitutional concerns (New York Post) - Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has been vocal in his opposition to the second impeachment, used Roberts' planned absence from the trial as a point in favor of dropping the trial. "The Constitution says two things about impeachment - it is a tool to remove the officeholder, and it must be presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
- Biden immigration bill would make illegal immigrant farmworkers immediately eligible for green cards (Fox News) - A draft summary of the legislation obtained by Fox News says that agricultural workers would be able to adjust status after background checks and payment of applicable fees if they have worked 400 days or more in a five year period. It would include seasonal or temporary work.
- Republicans back away from confronting Trump and his loyalists after the Capitol insurrection, embracing them instead (Washington Post) - The nation's two most powerful elected Republicans have signaled that they are ready to look past questions of responsibility for the violent effort to overturn the result of the presidential election, an attempt that left a Capitol Police officer and four rioters dead, as they maneuver to avoid a divisive battle within the Republican Party and try to position it to reclaim power in 2022.
Policy NewsBank of America looking for SLC teens to sponsor
Bank of America is seeking driven and engaged local Salt Lake area teens to participate in its Student Leaders program this summer.
Gov. Cox disappointed in Biden's decision to pause oil and gas leases
In response to President Biden's executive order placing an indefinite moratorium on new leases for oil and gas development on federal lands, Gov. Spencer J. Cox issued the following statement:
Deseret Wellness, LLC, to open the Wasatch Back's only medical cannabis pharmacy
Today, Deseret Wellness LLC unveiled the Wasatch Back's only medical cannabis pharmacy. Located on Kearns Blvd. in the heart of Park City, this state-of-the-art and patient-focused facility is well positioned to take care of patient needs throughout Summit, Wasatch, and Morgan Counties. The pharmacy opens to the public in early February.
Help kickoff one month of driving smarter to help improve Utah's Air
Join the Salt Lake Chamber, UCAIR, and TravelWise on February 1st, as they kick off the 12th Annual Clear the Air Challenge. Issued by business, government, and community leaders, the Challenge is a month-long competition designed to encourage Utahns to reduce vehicle emissions by choosing alternatives to driving alone. This year, the goal is to eliminate 100,000 single-occupant trips to save 2 million miles.
Gov. Spencer Cox welcomes the transfer of vaccines from pharmacy partners, Biden announcement
Gov. Spencer Cox applauded a decision by two providers in the federal pharmacy partnership, CVS and Walgreens, to transfer extra doses the pharmacies have to other vaccine providers in Utah. The governor and his team have been working closely with Walgreens and CVS to transfer a portion of their allocated doses to other vaccine providers in the state. Today, the two pharmacies agreed to provide 28,275 doses to the Utah Department of Health for distribution throughout the state. The state received an initial shipment of 8,775 doses this week with the remaining 19,500 doses ordered this week and shipped to Utah next week.
On This Day In History
- 1225 - Saint Thomas Aquinas is born.
- 1813 - Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" is published.
- 1887 - Work begins on the Eiffel Tower.
- 1936 - Alan Alda is born.
- 1958 - The Lego company patents their design for their famous bricks.
- 1981 - Actor Elijah Wood is born.
- 1985 - Music stars gather to record "We are the World." It goes on to sell more than 7 million copies.
- 1986 - Space Shuttle Challenger explodes after liftoff.
When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We've braved the belly of the beast
We've learned that quiet isn't always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn't always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we've weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn't broken
but simply unfinished.
A bit dated but still funny:
Coming to a hard drive near you, the worst computer viruses yet:
AT&T Virus: Every three minutes it tells you what great service you're getting.
MCI Virus: Every three minutes it reminds you that you're paying too much for the AT&T virus.
Paul Revere Virus: Warns of impending hard disk attack-once if by LAN, twice if by C:>.
Politically Correct Virus: Never calls itself a "virus." Instead, it's an "electronic microorganism."
Government Spokesman Virus: Nothing works, but all your diagnostic software says everything is fine.
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