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Situational Analysis - February 12, 2021
Happy Friday and welcome to a long weekend! The Utah legislature is taking Monday off for President's Day, so Utah Policy will as well. We will be back in your inboxes Tuesday morning.
As we head into Valentine's Day weekend, here's a bit of trivia for you. It was on February 14th that history says Saint Valentine was beheaded in Rome. His crime? Continuing to perform weddings after Claudius the Cruel, Emperor of Rome, outlawed marriages so more men would be willing to become fodder for his war machine. Also on Feb. 14, 1931, The original Dracula film starring Bela Lugosi is released. How romantic. (Hot tip: Your Valentine will probably be more impressed if you DON'T take him or her to watch death by blood sucking monsters. Although the Twilight movies might be ok....)
Also this weekend: Trump's defense lawyers will present their case to the Senate.
If you only have time for one thing today: Read and heed the warnings from the National Weather Service: Avalanche danger is high in the mountains. Both human-triggered and natural avalanches are likely "and can be up to 5 feet deep, several hundred feet wide and likely unsurvivable." Be safe out there.
21 days to the end of the 2021 Utah Legislature (3/5/21)
61 days until the end of the Cox/Henderson administration's first 100 days (04/14/2021)
77 days until the Biden/Harris administration's first 100 days are up (04/30/2021)
Today At Utah PolicyPope Francis on the state of the world, QANon's true believers and infrastructure attacks
By Holly Richardson
The world is seriously ill - Pope Francis spoke earlier this week in his annual address to the Holy See diplomatic corps about a world that is "seriously ill." "The pandemic shed light on the risks and consequences inherent in a way of life dominated by selfishness and a culture of waste, and it set before us a choice: either to continue on the road we have followed until now, or to set out on a new path," Francis said.
Commentary: Nation's top politicians experienced a violent riot; Will they learn a key lesson from it?
By LaVarr Webb
The tragic events of Jan. 6, when rioters invaded the U.S. Capitol, were poignantly captured in edited videos played by House impeachment prosecutors this week. The footage showing what happened was emotional and harrowing. The breaking glass, the smashed doors, the mob's running battles with Capitol police.Many of the nation's top politicians were terrified, cowering in their offices and other locations, fearful for their lives. Reporters covering the impeachment trial described the footage as "visceral," "shocking," "horrible," "dark," "haunting," "packing enormous emotional punch."
Tweets of the day: Friday fun
By Holly Richardson
This Friday, we mark the start of the Lunar New Year, see a VERY talented 6-year-old, have a couple of tweets about puppets - and a cat, a dance party, a VERY cool attic find, a Park City-ite shines in Finland and some serious generosity.
Salt Lake Tribune
- Provo hospital trying to give out 1,900 doses of COVID-19 vaccine by Friday The doses of the Pfizer vaccine won't go to waste, a Utah County Health department spokeswoman said.
- Mike Lee meets privately with Trump's lawyers, even though he acts as juror in impeachment trial - Sen. Lee, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, met with Trump's lawyers on Thursday afternoon after Democratic House managers rested their case.
- Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson forgot to register his truck for months. He wasn't alone. - Rep. Scott Chew, R-Jensen, distributed a photo that truly grabbed the attention of fellow lawmakers as he pushed for the state to restore its old practice of sending postcards to remind vehicle owners when their registration is due. It pictured a truck with expired stickers that is familiar to most House members - it belongs to House Speaker Brad Wilson.
- Alleged organizers of illegal Halloween party ask the public to help pay their fines - The two event companies are trying to raise $76,345 to cover their fees and "fight to protect the right to gather" during the pandemic.
- Controversial 'porn filter' bill squeaks past House committee by one vote - Proposal would require new mobile devices and tablets sold in Utah to have filters blocking adult content turned on by default.
- Digital archive will save memories of the doomed Utah Theater, but preservationists would rather save the playhouse itself - First-class repository at U. library will include virtual reality tours, but advocates lament loss of the real thing.
- The past and future of church-state partnerships - President Joe Biden has promised to heal a suffering country. To do so, he'll have to look to religious organizations for help.
- Is empathy the key to national security? Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster says yes - "Strategic empathy is not to be confused with sympathy. It is really viewing complex challenges, as well as opportunities, from the perspective of the other side - especially of rivals, adversaries, or enemies."
- What the author of a book on Mark Hofmann had to say about 'Murder Among the Mormons' - "It seemed like a very serious kind of filmmaking," said Rick Turley, who previously served as the assistant church historian, recorder and head of Church Public Affairs.
- Utah transgender athlete bill: A 'fair playing field' or discrimination and harmful? - After hearing emotional testimony of both LGBTQ advocates and cisgender female athletes, a Utah House panel recommended 6-4 a bill that would bar transgender athletes at public schools from participating in girls sports.
- Gov. Cox makes cameo in impeachment trial; Lee meets with Trump lawyers - House impeachment manager Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., showed a Jan. 11 clip of Cox on "Good Morning America," saying, "People have to be held accountable, and yes, that includes the president."
- How many Salt Lake high schoolers tested positive for COVID-19 before returning to school? The number may surprise you - Just four of 2,800 Salt Lake City School District high school students who underwent COVID-19 testing prior to the resumption of in-person learning this week tested positive, according to district officials.
- 'We're going to need you': Governor asks Utahns to volunteer help with COVID-19 vaccinations - Doctors and medical professionals are being sought to administer shots at mass vaccination sites expected to open next month as the state's allotment of vaccines from the federal government continues to climb, as well as Utahns who can provide traffic control, administrative assistance and other needs.
- Utah's bizarre connections to late pornographer Larry Flynt - Utah declared pornography a public health crisis in 2016, prompting the late Larry Flynt to send every member of the state Legislature a copy of his Hustler magazine.
- Is minimum wage the best way to lift the poor? - Americans can't really begin a serious discussion about the minimum wage without first recognizing that its 330 million people are scattered among different, sometimes widely varying markets.
- Facebook data center in Eagle Mountain announces expansion (Daily Herald) - 900,000 square feet with two new buildings.
- Sen. Romney's 'Family Security Act' proposal gives payments to parents (Fox 13) - "This is a family program that has anti-poverty benefits," said Sam Hammond, Director of Poverty and Welfare Policy at right-leaning think tank, Niskanen.
- More fixes coming to Utah's medical cannabis program (Fox 13) Senate Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, and Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, have introduced a bill that would allow more health care providers to recommend cannabis for up to 15 patients.
- 'Real threat' to Utah's Silicon Slopes, outgoing US attorney warns (KUTV) - Utah's Silicon Slopes are facing a major cyber threat from China, according to outgoing U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber.
- Tuberville says he informed Trump of Pence's evacuation before rioters reached Senate (Politico) - Sen. Tommy Tuberville revealed late Wednesday that he spoke to Donald Trump on Jan. 6, just as a violent mob closed in on the the Senate, and informed the then-president directly that Vice President Mike Pence had just been evacuated from the chamber.
- Three GOP senators meet with Trump's lawyers on eve of impeachment defense presentation (CNN) Mike Lee, Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz meet with Trump's legal team. Cruz said the meeting was an opportunity for "sharing our thoughts" about their legal strategy.
- Schumer leaves door open to 14th Amendment measure to bar Trump from office (Fox News) - Senator Kaine is talking about is a censure resolution that would also specifically include the elements of the 14th Amendment that lead to disqualification from future office.
- Opinion: If Republican senators acquit Trump, they will own the violence that follows (Washington Post) - It has been five years since Trump marveled at his own ability to incite. "I bring rage out," he told The Post's Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. "I always have." If Trumps runs again, his followers will still be raging.
- Max Burns: Trump impeachment trial video means GOP can't pretend the former president is innocent (NBC News) - Republicans are criticizing Democrats for playing politics with a trial they know will end in acquittal. But the proceedings' importance goes beyond the outcome.
- Rep. Stefanik demands prosecution of Cuomo, aides after bombshell report on COVID nursing home deaths (Fox News) - Stefanik's fiery statement followed a bombshell New York Post report alleging that a top Cuomo aide apologized to political damage Democrats suffered over the coronavirus' nursing home death toll by appearing to blame the delayed release of data, in part, on the Trump administration.
- Managers seek to make GOP think twice about Trump acquittal (The Hill) - The long and haunting narrative was designed to sway public opinion and the history books as much as the Senate jurors. No more than five or six Senate Republicans are expected to vote to convict the former president.
- Missouri newspaper hammers Hawley and Blunt (The Hill) - The St. Louis Post-Dispatch blasted GOP Missouri Sens. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley Thursday over their handling of former President Trump's impeachment trial, calling it an "embarrassment to the state."
- Mounting evidence suggests Trump knew of danger to Pence when he attacked him as lacking 'courage' amid Capitol siege (Washington Post) - Trump's decision to tweet that Pence lacked "courage" came 11 minutes after live coverage showed Pence being rushed off the floor and after Trump's conversation with Tuberville.
- Impeachment offers Republicans grace. They don't want it. (NY Times) - House managers are treating Trump's enablers as his victims.
Policy NewsRep. Stewart op-ed: How to turn down the heat on future presidential elections
Rep. Chris Stewart penned an op-ed for the St. George News on turning down the heat on presidential elections "Day-to-day life in this country should not drastically change every time we have an election. Restoring the proper balance between the branches would be like a pressure relief valve on our national discourse." Rep. Chris Stewart
Rep. Curtis: The left should not dominate the conversation on climate change
Congressman John Curtis penned a joint op-ed with UK Member of Parliament Alicia Kearns. The two members argue that Conservatives should be taking the lead in tackling the greatest environmental challenge of our time- with the opportunity to forge effective and durable climate policies in both of our countries, determine how those solutions can be scaled globally, and drown out the voices of extremism that threaten people's livelihoods and our economies.
Carvana bringing jobs to Tooele
The Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) is pleased to announce that Carvana plans to open an Inspection and Reconditioning Center in Tooele, planning to add nearly 200 new jobs in the state in the next seven years. "Carvana has changed the car-buying experience, especially during a worldwide pandemic," said Dan Hemmert, GOED's executive director. "This expansion will allow the company to serve the state and the Southwest region better as well as create almost 200 jobs. We wish Carvana the best success as they continue to grow."
Route to expand its Utah headquarters
The Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) is pleased to announce that Route App, Inc. will expand its Utah location, adding up to 3,353 new high-paying jobs in the state in the next 11 years. "This is a big win for Utah, and we couldn't be more excited for this expansion and the number of high-paying jobs that will be created over the next 11 years," said Dan Hemmert, GOED's executive director. "For a company that was founded in 2018, we are amazed at the growth and the opportunities Route will bring to Utahns."
Business community responds to executive order restricting energy leases
The Salt Lake Chamber has issued the following statement regarding the executive order placing a moratorium on new oil and gas development leases on federal lands:"The Biden Administration's recent action to impose an open ended moratorium on new federal oil and gas leasing will have negative consequences for Utah's economy. Now is not the time to stall job creation or energy production during a pandemic and the Chamber calls for a better, more deliberate and inclusive process to reach these decisions.
On This Day In History
- 1789 - Founding Father Ethan Allen dies of a stroke at age 52.
- 1793 - First Fugitive Slave law passed by Congress. This Act authorized local governments to seize and return escapees to their owners and imposed penalties on anyone who aided in their flight.
- 1809 - Abraham Lincoln is born. So is Charles Darwin.
- 1865 - Born a slave, Pastor Henry Highland Garnet became the first Black person to speak in the U.S. Capitol when he delivered a sermon on the abolition of slavery to the House of Representatives.
- 1870 - Utah's acting territorial governor signed the suffrage bill into law. Woot!
- 1884 - Alice Roosevelt Longworth, "Princess Alice," is born. When her father Theodore Roosevelt was asked why he could not discipline her, he explained that he do that or rule the country but he couldn't do both.
- 1909 - The NAACP is founded.
- 1912 - The last emperor of China abdicates.
- 1930 - In Tuskegee, Alabama, the Rosenwald Fund made grants to the Alabama State Board of Health to help meet the cost of a study of syphilis in Black men - and the women they infected - living in rural Georgia and Alabama. Over 400 men were allowed to carry the disease without medical treatment for nearly 40 years.
- 1938 - Judy Blume is born.
- 1948 - First Lt. Nancy C. Leftenant became the first Black nurse accepted in the regular Army Nursing Corps.
- 1956 - Arsenio Hall is born. He grew up to become the nation's first Black late-night talk show host.
- 1973 - The release of US POWs from Hanoi begins.
- 1999 - President Bill Clinton acquitted on both articles of impeachment.
- 2000 - Charles Schultz dies at age 77 from colon cancer.
- 2002 - Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic goes on trial for war crimes.
- 2007 - Gunman kills 5 people at Trolley Square
"There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law."
Of no use to one, yet absolute bliss to two. The small boy gets it for nothing. The baby's right, the lover's privilege, the hypocrite's mask. To the young girl, faith; to the married woman, hope; to the old maid, charity. What am I?
Happy Valentine's Day!
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