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Situational Analysis - February 16, 2021
It's a very snowy Mardi Gras Tuesday, which means it's also National Pancake Day. Shrove Tuesday, as it is called in the UK is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent and is the perfect opportunity to use up extra eggs and fat. Here in the US, IHOP has cancelled it's usual "free pancake day" because of COVID-19, but do not despair - you can get an IOU by signing up to be part of the MyHOP email club by March 31.
Over the weekend, the Senate wrapped up its impeachment trial of former President Trump and did not reach the two-thirds majority they needed to convict. The vote was 57-43, or 10 votes shy. Also, we passed the 151st anniversary of Utahn Seraph Young becoming the first woman to vote in an election, Susan B. Anthony's birthday in 1820 and YouTube's birthday in 2005.
If you only have time for one thing today: Read this story of Phillis Wheatley, shared this weekend by Lt. Governor Henderson. Wheatley was the first African American woman ever to be published. In 1775, she wrote and mailed a poem to General George Washington expressing support for him and American Independence. Washington wrote back to Wheatley to thank her for "the elegant lines" she wrote, and invited her to visit him in Cambridge at the headquarters of the Continental Army. He also made sure that her poem was printed in newspapers throughout the colonies. Despite being a slave owner himself, he "accepted Wheatley, a Black woman, and appreciated her talents." Her letter helped challenge Washington's views on slavery and by the end of his life, he lamented slavery as a "subject of regret" ultimately freed all of his slaves. I am sure that Ms. Wheatley would be immensely proud of the way Amanda Gorman is following in her footsteps.
17 days to the end of the 2021 Utah Legislature (3/5/21)
57 days until the end of the Cox/Henderson administration's first 100 days (04/14/2021)
73 days until the Biden/Harris administration's first 100 days are up (04/30/2021)
Today At Utah PolicyA round-up of COVID stories you might have missed
By Holly Richardson
Impeachment proceedings have dominated the news over the last week, but the world is still dealing with a pandemic. Here are some news stories you might have missed: Virus mutations in a live host, the toll of writing pandemic obituaries, the 'shadow pandemic' devastating Africa's girls, why the pandemic could be much more widespread than we realize and some magical thinking on how to treat it.
Tweets of the day: Impeachment acquittal
By Holly Richardson
News about Saturday's impeachment vote to acquit But first, a well-deserved honor
Commentary: Government won't shut down the 2nd Amendment -- but Big Tech could
By LaVarr Webb
A large and growing issue in America and, really, around the world, is the incredible power and wealth concentrated in a handful of tech companies that dominate nearly every aspect of life.Have these companies, including Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, grown so massive that they are monopolistic and too-powerful gatekeepers in the flow of news, information and commerce?
- Woman aims to help 'invisible population' of single moms weather the pandemic - Freedom for Resilient Women created by Utah law school grad when COVID-19 surged last spring.
- My search for a better chicken - People are more aware how their poultry is processed, and food industry now provides options that tout a more humane way to consume. But do those labels really deliver what they promise?
- Some Utah Republicans sign petition to censure Mitt Romney over vote to convict Trump - Utah GOP says it's not looking to the past or to be punitive, won't censure either Senator.
- With 3?4 of Salt Lake office workers working remotely, what will future workplaces look like? - Weber State University sociology professor Marjukka Ollilainen, whose expertise includes the sociology of work and organizations notes there are significant benefits to remote work and she believes more employers and employees will choose the flexibility of remote work to a much larger degree in the post-pandemic future.
- Does cleaning up, closing homeless camps do any good when new camps just pop up elsewhere? - The longtime practice has recently come under fire, spurring formation of new advocacy groups and prompting changes.
- Yes, there are insects you want to visit your outdoor living space - Rep. Ashlee Matthews, D-West Jordan, aims to establish a three-year pilot program in Utah that will boost pollinator awareness and provide financial incentives for property owners to plant pollinator-friendly foliage to encourage bees, butterflies and even pollinating beetles to hang around.
- Who more than party their country loved - Unchecked partisanship inevitably destabilizes a republic. Lincoln's example can steady the country
- Biden reestablishes White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships - The office has existed in various forms for the past 20 years
- Utah has dropped its gun permit law: Will it be status quo or the Wild West? - Without a concealed carry permit requirement, will gun owners still take training classes? What about the hundreds of permit revocations, denials?
Salt Lake Tribune
- Utah reports fewer than 500 new cases of COVID-19 (Salt Lake Tribune) - That is the first time that's happened since early September.
- All COVID-19 particles could fit in a Coke can. Here's what that means (Deseret News) - "It's astonishing to think that all the trouble, the disruption, the hardship and the loss of life that has resulted over the last year could constitute just a few mouthfuls of what would undoubtedly be the worst beverage in history."
- Study: COVID-19 symptoms can be discovered by wearable devices (Deseret News) - The study - called the Warrior Watch Study - found that wearable devices can detect heart rate variability, which can signal COVID-19 infection seven days before patients are officially diagnosed through a nasal swab. The wearable devices can identify other symptoms as well.
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Covid-19 controversy, explained (CNN) - Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is at the center of an escalating controversy over deaths in nursing homes, how they were counted and how they handled requests for that data.
- Blue Shield vows to dramatically speed up California vaccine distribution with new plan (Los Angeles Times) - Blue Shield of California will create an algorithm to determine where to allocate COVID-19 vaccines statewide with the goal of being able to administer 3 million shots a week by March 1.
- Florida official overseeing pandemic strategy resigns (The Hill) - Jared Moskowitz, the director of Florida's Division of Emergency Management, said that he will resign from his position, as he wants to spend more time with his family.
- Israel's vaccine rollout shows signs of success (CBS News) - Just over four months ago, Israel's COVID-19 outbreak was one of the worst on earth, and the country entered a strict lockdown. Then, the Israeli government struck a deal with Pfizer-BioNTech for enough doses to inoculate every Israeli adult by the end of March.
- COVID-19 cases are dropping in US, but not because of vaccinations (Yahoo! News) - They are attributing shrinking virus cases to Americans adhering to COVID-19 restrictions. They are reporting that mask-wearing, social distancing and travel reduction are the main contributing factors.
- WHO grants emergency use listing for Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine (Politico) - The WHO listing will apply to the share of the vaccine that will be distributed mainly to low- and middle-income countries. The producers will be the Serum Institute of India and AstraZeneca-SKBio of Korea.
- If double-masking is hurting your ears, try these tips to relieve the pain (Washington Post) - One favorite approache to relieving the ache is to wear a paper surgical mask with ear loops and layer a cloth mask that ties behind the head on top.
- U.K. reports high vaccine participation, but some hesitancy among nursing home staff, minorities (Washington Post) - Britain's fast-running coronavirus vaccination campaign appears to have hit its early target, offering a first dose to 15 million elderly people and health-care workers by Monday, as the government promised.
- Covid-19: Storm Forces Closure of Vaccination Sites Across U.S. (New York Times) - The winter storm stretching across much of the country is disrupting the distribution of coronavirus vaccines. Clinics have closed and shipments have been stalled as snow and ice grounded flights and made highways dangerously slick.
- Report: South Africa Asks Indian Maker Of AstraZeneca Vaccine To Take Back One Million Doses (Forbes) - Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has emerged as a key supplier of the AstraZeneca shot around the world.
- India's dramatic fall in virus cases leaves experts stumped (AP) - When the coronavirus pandemic took hold in India, there were fears it would sink the fragile health system of the world's second-most populous country. But infections began to plummet in September, and now the country is reporting about 11,000 new cases a day, compared to a peak of nearly 100,000, leaving experts perplexed.
- Pelosi Vows to Move Forward With Independent Inquiry Into Capitol Riot (New York Times) - Calls have grown among lawmakers for a 9/11 Commission-style panel to be established, which would most likely require legislation.
- David Perdue Files to Run Against Raphael Warnock for Georgia Senate Seat (New York Times) - Mr. Perdue, who lost a runoff election last month against Senator Jon Ossoff, is taking the first step in the Republican Party's effort to try to win back a Senate seat in 2022.
- Pelosi says there will be a 9/11 Commission-style panel to examine Jan. 6 Capitol riot (Washington Post) - "It is clear from [retired Army Gen. Russel Honor's] findings and from the impeachment trial that we must get to the truth of how this happened," she wrote.
- A GOP donor gave $2.5 million for a voter fraud investigation. Now he wants his money back. (Washington Post) - Eshelman has alleged in two lawsuits that True the Vote did not spend his $2 million gift and a subsequent $500,000 donation as it said it would. Eshelman also alleges that True the Vote directed much of his money to people or businesses connected to the group's president, Catherine Engelbrecht.
- Parler is back online, more than a month after tangle with Amazon knocked it offline (Washington Post) - Parler appeared to be using a Los Angeles-based cloud hosting company called SkySilk to return online.
- McConnell doesn't rule out getting involved in Republican primaries (The Hill) - McConnell said he is interested in "getting candidates who can actually win in November," adding "that may or may not involve trying to affect the outcome of the primaries."
- Reality check: Biden, Democrats buck bipartisanship with ambitious agenda (Washington Times) - "His biggest challenge is he has to get control of the virus," said Elaine C. Kamarck, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and longtime Democratic activist. "What happens with the virus is going to set the parameters for everything else."
- A bloody insurrection, a deadly pandemic: Historians weigh in on Trump's legacy after his acquittal (USA Today) - "It will always be remembered by how it ended," presidential historian Alvin Felzenberg said. "It will also be remembered for its divisiveness and his personal attacks and his lack of respect for political institutions."
- Support for Third U.S. Political Party at High Point (Gallup Poll) - 62% of U.S. adults say the "parties do such a poor job representing the American people that a third party is needed," an increase from 57% in September.
- Eric Metaxas Believes America Is Creeping Toward Nazi Germany (The Atlantic) - The pro-Trump radio host explains how he thinks about the Capitol siege and President Joe Biden's America.
- Some of his followers are being sought by the FBI. It's not stopping the leader of the Oath Keepers. (CNN) - The national leader of the extremist Oath Keepers group?is carrying on as before. He might even be emboldened.
- Biden and the Fed Leave 1970s Inflation Fears Behind (New York Times) - Administration and Fed officials argue that workers not getting enough stimulus help is a larger concern than potential spikes in consumer prices.
Policy NewsThe Utah GOP's statement on impeachment votes
The Utah Republican Party released the following statement on the impeachment votes from US Senators Lee and Romney:"Ronald Reagan famously reminded us that "within our tent, there will be many arguments and divisions over approach and method ... [but] unity of thought does not require unanimity of thought." The violence at the US Capitol on January 6 was horrific and inexcusable. Utah's United States Senators each experienced those events firsthand, and then relived them during the Democratic House Managers' relentless video-driven impeachment presentation. In the end, each of our senators voted differently.
Sen. Lee on impeachment vote
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah issued the following statement after the Senate's acquittal of former President Donald Trump."The House managers' burden in this trial was to prove first, that the Senate should exercise its impeachment jurisdiction in a case against a former president; and second, that he committed the high crime of inciting an insurrection. The House managers did not clear either hurdle.
Sen. Romney on impeachment vote
Senator Romney released the following:"After careful consideration of the respective counsels' arguments, I have concluded that President Trump is guilty of the charge made by the House of Representatives.
Rep. 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.
- Putin's Interest Piqued by Elon Musk's Clubhouse Chat Offer (The Daily Beast) - "Would you like join me [sic] for a conversation on Clubhouse?" Musk tweeted at the official Kremlin account on Feb. 13, after which he posted in Russian, "It would be a great honor to talk to you."
- Bitcoin hits a record high of nearly $50,000 as major firms flock to crypto (CNBC) - Bitcoin's price more than quadrupled in 2020 and is up more than 60% since the start of this year.
- Volkswagen is exploring flying vehicles in China (CNN) - Europe's largest automaker said in a statement on Tuesday that "vertical mobility" could be the next step after self-driving technology. China is the world's largest autos market and is also Volkswagen's single biggest customer.
- US oil rises above $60 as Texas gets pummeled with ice and snow (CNN) - Oil is back, thanks to a strange brew of vaccines, economic optimism and a wintry mix in the Deep South.
- This Blizzard Exposes The Perils Of Attempting To 'Electrify Everything' (Forbes) - Rather than make our networks and critical systems more resilient and less vulnerable to disruptions caused by extreme weather, bad actors, falling trees, or simple negligence, electrifying everything would concentrate our dependence on a single network, the electric grid, and in doing so make nearly every aspect of our society prone to catastrophic failure if - or rather, when - a widespread or extended blackout occurs.
On This Day In History
- 600 - Pope Gregory the Great decrees saying "God bless You" is the correct response to a sneeze.
- 1838 - Kentucky passes law permitting women to attend school under certain conditions. Way to be forward-thinking, Kentucky.
- 1840 - American Charles Wilkes discovers Shackleton Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
- 1870 - Leonora O'Reilly, is born. She was a labor organizer, founding member of the Woman's Trade Union League and helped found the NAACP.
- 1878 - Silver dollars made legal.
- 1883 - Ladies Home Journal begins publishing.
- 1905 - Louise Larson is born. She became the first Chinese American and first Asian American reporter in a mainstream daily paper (The Los Angeles Record) and also wrote for the San Francisco News, the Chicago Times and the LA Times magazine over her 51-year career.
- 1923 - Archeologist Howard Carter opens the tomb of King Tut. He had been searching since 1891.
- 1951 - New York City Council passes bill prohibiting racial discrimination in city-assisted housing developments.
- 1957 - LeVar Burton is born. An actor for all seasons, he played in Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation and as the host of Reading Rainbow.
- 1959 - Fidel Castro sworn in as prime minister of Cuba.
- 1968 - The first 9-1-1 call is placed.
- 1984 - Bill Johnson becomes the first American to win Olympic gold in downhill skiing.
"There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers."
~Susan B. Anthony
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