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Situational Analysis - February 25, 2021
Happy Thursday and Happy Purim to those celebrating tonight and tomorrow. (Purim is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the actions of Queen Esther in saving her people.)
Yesterday on Utah's Capitol Hill, the proposal to ban transgender athletes, another to prevent the sale of DIY rape kits and one that would toughen Utah's laws on texting while driving didn't make it out of committee and a billboard bill died on the Senate floor, Meanwhile, a bill to expand security for public officials, one to make online impersonation illegal and one that would ban releasing mug shots until conviction were among the bills moving forward.
If you only have time for one thing today: Listen to this podcast by Boyd Matheson who interviewed social scientist Robert Putnam and Utahn Shaylyn Romney Garrett on their new book, The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again. Social capital is in decline, political divisions run deep, communities are crumbling, and the country appears to be more narcissistic and fragmented than ever before. What's the solution? We are. (If the podcast seems too long, even on double speed, you can read Boyd's most recent op-ed on the topic instead. Or in addition to.)
8 days to the end of the 2021 Utah Legislature (3/5/21)
48 days until the end of the Cox/Henderson administration's first 100 days (04/14/2021)
64 days until the Biden/Harris administration's first 100 days are up (04/30/2021)
Today At Utah PolicyTweets of the day: #utleg roundup and a new political party?
By Holly Richardson
No more English-only law (maybe), 16 and 17 year-olds voting, police use-of-force, Burgess Owens weighing in on Confucius Institutes and almost half of Trump voters would follow him to a new party (27% undecided.) Former RNC chair says buh-bye.
Looking at Utah's election reform bills
By Holly Richardson
Election reform billsHere's a quick roundup of 10 of Utah's election-related bills. Four bills are dead, six are still alive.
Curtis, House GOP colleagues investigate potential unemployment fraud
By Holly Richardson
Today, Representative John Curtis (R-UT), member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, led fellow House Republican colleagues in sending a letter to Acting Inspector General Larry D. Turner, top watchdog at the United States Department of Labor, to request an immediate investigation into claims of unemployment fraud disrupting safety net programs across the United States.
Salt Lake Tribune
- Musician Trisha Yearwood diagnosed with COVID-19, husband Garth Brooks confirms (Fox13) - Yearwood is experiencing symptoms, but is "doing okay."
- Moderna to begin trial of new COVID vaccine to address virus variant first found in South Africa (USA Today) Other leaders in the COVID-19 vaccine effort Pfizer-BioNTech, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca-Oxford University also have said they are working on new versions of their vaccines or boosters to increase their protection.
- New research shows California coronavirus variant is more transmissible (Washington Post) - A coronavirus variant detected in California this winter rapidly became dominant in the state over five months and now makes up more than half of the infections in 44 counties.
- 'If not us, then who?' (Washington Post) - These doctors and nurses battle covid all day. Then they go online and fight misinformation.
- California, With 50,000 Lost, Has More Deaths Than Any Other State (The New York Times) - Most of those deaths were recorded recently, during a frightening winter surge that followed a period of relatively low case counts.
- CDC Launches Web Tool To Help Americans Find COVID-19 Vaccines (NPR) - "The idea is to show where COVID-19 vaccine providers [are] that are open to the public - how to contact them, how to book an appointment, and try to show the daily inventory status so people are clear where there's vaccine and where there isn't,"
- Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine works well in big 'real world' test (Associated Press) - The vaccine was 92% effective at preventing severe disease after two shots and 62% after one. Its estimated effectiveness for preventing death was 72% two to three weeks after the first shot, a rate that may improve as immunity builds over time.
- Utah 'back on track' after vaccine shipments delayed, anticipating big boost in doses (Deseret News) - Next week's order is for around 32,000 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 27,000 first doses of the Moderna vaccine and 33,000 doses of the new J&J vaccine.
- Why you get symptoms from the 2nd COVID-19 vaccine dose (Deseret News) - "The second vaccine (dose) - think of it as having that hit to your immune system, and your immune system now recognizes the vaccine, so it does its job."
- Hundreds of kids held in Border Patrol station (Axios) - More than 700 children who crossed from Mexico into the United States without their parents were in Border Patrol custody as of Sunday.
- Team Biden taps Asian American groups to help save Tanden (Politico) - As Biden's choice for budget chief flounders in the Senate, the White House has rallied her allies in the South Asian community to her defense.
- Murkowski undecided on Tanden as nomination in limbo (The Hill) - Murkowski's decision on Tanden is viewed as crucial in the White House's uphill bid to salvage her nomination.
- Miscalculating Sinema and Manchin could end up costing Biden (CNN) - The outsized role the centrists will play in Biden's efforts in Congress have earned them both the attention -- and, in some instances, the private ire -- of White House officials.
- Biden Reopens Gateway For Green Cards, Work Visas Reversing Trump COVID-19 Freeze (NPR) - "It harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here," Biden said in a proclamation revoking the measure.
- Biden to nominate 3 to USPS Board of Governors (CNN) - The nominees are Ron Stroman, the former deputy postmaster general who resigned under the previous administration; Anton Hajjar, the former general counsel of American Postal Workers Union; and Amber McReynolds, CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute.
- Should Trump speak at CPAC? Liz Cheney says he shouldn't be part of the GOP's future; McCarthy says yes (USA Today)
- Illinois becomes first state to end cash bail as part of criminal justice reform law (NBC News) - "This legislation marks a substantial step toward dismantling the systemic racism that plagues our communities, our state and our nation ... ," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.
- Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House (The Hill) - Democrats now see the GOP as directly putting lawmaker lives on the line with dangerous rhetoric that feeds outlandish conspiracy theories. Many Democrats say it is untenable to work with those GOP lawmakers who voted to overturn the election results even after the deadly attack.
- Many of Biden's nominees of color run into turbulence in the Senate (Washington Post) - Activists say the concerns raised over Tanden are part of a broader pattern imperiling many of Biden's nominees of color, making their confirmation process rougher and meaner than in previous years and when compared with their White counterparts.
- A Recall for Newsom in California? Talk Grows as Governors Come Under Attack
- (The New York Times) - Fellow Democrats have defended Gov. Gavin Newsom, lavishly praising his handling of the pandemic. But conservatives say his shutdowns have been destructive.
- Candidate Biden Called Saudi Arabia a 'Pariah.' He Now Has to Deal With It. (The New York Times) - In a coming call with King Salman, the president plans to warn him that the United States will soon make public intelligence about the Saudi crown prince's role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
Policy NewsWebinar: More than a body: Building body image resilience
The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP), in conjunction with USU Extension, sponsors the virtual workshop, "More than a Body: Building Body Image Resilience."The free event is held Thursday, February 25, from 6 to 7:15 p.m., and registration is required.
Sen. Lee's breakdown of the Lee-Rubio child tax credit plan
Senator Lee said: "Government policy should recognize families' indispensable contributions to our nation's long-term health and prosperity. And families should not face a penalty if one parent chooses to stay home with his or kids."
Hatch Center launches new initiative on criminal justice reform, announces Christopher Bates as legal fellow
Today, the Hatch Center-the policy arm of the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation-announced that Christopher Bates has joined the organization as a Legal Fellow to spearhead its efforts on criminal justice reform and other matters. Previously, Bates served as a chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a senior official at the US Department of Justice. Bates, whose areas of expertise include antitrust, intellectual property, and criminal law, will publish a series of pieces on various legal issues as well as a comprehensive report in the 2021 Hatch Center Policy Review on the way forward for criminal justice reform.
Department of Commerce announces two new Division Directors
Executive Director Margaret Woolley Busse announced the appointment of two Division Directors for the Utah Department of Commerce: Leigh Veillette as the Director of the Division of Corporations and Commercial Code, and Jason Sterzer as Director of the Division of Securities.
Romney, Rubio, Grassley, Portman urge president to implement rule on Confucius Institutes
U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Rob Portman (R-OH) today urged the Biden Administration to implement the proposed rule requiring U.S. academic institutions disclose their relationships with Confucius Institutes, which are funded by the Chinese Communist Party. The letter reflects a similar effort in the House of Representatives.
On This Day In History
- 1570 - Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth I of England for heresy and persecution of English Catholics during her reign and absolves her subjects from allegiance to the crown.
- 1793 - First US cabinet meeting is held at George Washington's home.
- 1828 - John Quincy Adam's son, John Adams, marries his first cousin, Mary Catherine Hellen in a private ceremony at the White House.
- 1836 - Samuel Colt patents first multi-shot revolving-cylinder revolver, enabling the firearm to be fired multiple times without reloading.
- 1836 - Showman P. T. Barnum exhibits African American slave Joice Heth, claiming she was the 161 year-old nursemaid to George Washington. (She wasn't.)
- 1841 - French Impressionist Pierre Auguste Renoir is born.
- 1842 - Idawelly Lewis, lighthouse keeper, is born. Ida began rescuing people from the waters off the shores of Newport, Rhode Island when she was 12. She became the lighthouse keeper after her parents passed away and served for 32 years in that official capacity. She was called "the bravest woman in America" for her heroic rescues.
- 1862 - Legal Tender Act passed to help finance the Civil War.
- 1870 - First Black Congressman, Hiram Rhodes Revels, sworn in to the U.S. Senate.
- 1901 - US Steel Corporation is organized under J.P. Morgan, Sr.
- 1910 - Millicent Fenwick is born. As a member of the New Jersey General Assembly (1969-73), she earned the nickname "Outhouse Millie" for her fight for better working conditions for migrant workers (including portable toilets). She won seat in Congress in 1974 and served three terms, turning up in the comic strip "Doonesbury" as "Lucy Davenport," champion of gun control, campaign spending limits, and the ERA.
- 1928 - Bryce Canyon National Park is established.
- 1930 - George Lewis McCarthy's invention the Checkograph, banks made photographic records of checks before returning them to their customers. Kodak would later purchase McCarthy's patent and apply the product to other archival systems such as libraries and newspapers, beginning with the New York Times. And so began the era of microfilm.
- 1932 - Austrian immigrant Adolf Hitler gets German citizenship
- 1948 - Martin Luther King, Jr. ordained as a Baptist minister.
- 1964 - Young Muhammad Ali knocks out Sonny Liston for first world title.
- 1971 - President Nixon met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
- 1986 - Corazon Aquino becomes the first female president of the Philippines, while Marcos fled the country.
- 1991 - Adrienne Mitchell is killed in her military barracks in Saudi Arabia, becoming the first Black woman to die in combat in the Persian Gulf War.
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."
What do skis and the Earth have in common?
They both come with two poles!
What happens when a baby snowman has a temper tantrum?
He has a meltdown.
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