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Situational Analysis - February 26, 2021
We've made it to Friday and I owe you an apology. I missed a big milestone yesterday! Sean Astin turned 50! I mean, I don't know about you, but the thought that Samwise Gamgee is 50 is mind-boggling.
Breaking news this morning: Latter-day Saint Charities is donating $20 million to support COVAX, a global campaign to provide 2 billion COVID-19 vaccines to low and middle-income countries. It is the biggest private sector donation to the largest immunization campaign in history.
If you only have time for one thing today: Read this inspiring story about aerospace engineer Diana Trujillo who was a flight director on the landing of the Perserverance rover. Her dreams of reaching space and wanting to understand the universe came as a young person in Cali, Colombia. Her parents were divorcing and as 17-year-old, she decided to go to the United States, arriving with only $300 and not speaking any English. She worked housekeeping jobs to pay for her studies and later joined NASA in 2007. "I wanted my - especially the males of my own family - to recognize that women add value," she said, adding, "it came from wanting to prove to them that we matter."
7 days to the end of the 2021 Utah Legislature (3/5/21)
47 days until the end of the Cox/Henderson administration's first 100 days (04/14/2021)
63 days until the Biden/Harris administration's first 100 days are up (04/30/2021)
Today At Utah PolicyBill update, voter access, innovative teens and yikes!
By Holly Richardson
An update on some Utah bills, Navajo Nation voting access, smart kids and an oh-my-gosh story.
Tweets of the day: Friday fun
By Holly Richardson
Some pictures that will make you go hmm, or wow!
Commentary: In states vs. federal government, money makes the difference
By LaVarr Webb
News item: A group called Invest in America Action says Utah will lose $2.5 billion in federal aid if the Biden Administration's $2 trillion COVID relief package fails in the U.S. Senate.I believe (as I've written many times) that one of the nation's biggest problems is that the federal government has gotten too large, too expensive, and is attempting to do far more, in every aspect of society and life, than it is capable of doing effectively.
- From Reagan to Romney, a brief history of Republican thinking on the minimum wage - Economist Milton Friedman inspired a generation of conservatives resistant to government-set wages.
- Confessions of a gun enthusiast: Doing away with safety requirements could hurt women and children - The link between gun violence and domestic violence is undeniable.
- (Still) in this together - Despite a flood of hardships for families, some teens have found a silver lining a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
- Bill targets how police use info showing where you've been and what internet searches you make - HB251 would create some new law enforcement boundaries where none previously existed when it comes to the scope of location data searches.
- Massive $2.26B transportation proposal would be biggest in Utah's history - House Majority Leader Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, is sponsoring HB433, which would authorize the issuance of $1.4 billion in bonds for transportation and transit projects, plus nearly $823 million in one-time general fund revenues.
- Apple, Utah Jazz, Imagine Dragons rally to launch groundbreaking LGBTQ youth program - Tim Cook, Ryan Smith and Dan Reynolds pledge $4M to establish eight new Encircle homes in four states.
- The House has passed the Equality Act, but religious freedom concerns remain - The Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity-based protections to federal civil rights law.
- Salt Lake NAACP president: The name 'Dixie' is racist and must go - For well over 15 years, the NAACP has fought to remove confederate symbols from Dixie State University and to change its name. The opportunity for the state of Utah to support HB278, sponsored by Sen. Michael K. McKell, is now.
- Taylor Swift countersues Utah's Evermore Park for using songs without permission -
- Pleasant Grove theme park leveled similar allegations against Swift earlier this month.
Salt Lake Tribune
- BLM launches Survival Fund amid federal COVID-19 relief wait (AP) - The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is formally expanding a $3 million financial relief fund that it quietly launched earlier this month, to help people struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
- Utah expanding list of who can now get their COVID-19 vaccines, governor announces (Deseret News) - Utahns 16 and older with certain medical conditions can now be vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Pfizer director Dr. Scott Gottlieb explains how a third Covid shot may protect against variants (CNBC) - Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Thursday that Pfizer is researching two distinct methods to try providing vaccine protection against new coronavirus variants - a booster, or a new shot.
- Dozens got coronavirus from high-intensity workouts in gyms. The CDC warns that masks, better ventilation are a must. (Washington Post) - Fifty-five of 81 people who attended high-intensity classes at a facility between Aug. 24 and Sept. 1 would eventually test positive.
- New coronavirus variant in NYC has vaccine-evading mutation (LiveScience) - This latest coronavirus variant, dubbed B.1.526, first emerged in New York in November 2020, and it now accounts for about 25% of coronavirus genomes that were sequenced from New York in February.
- Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says (Axios) - COVID-19 survivors tend to have a roughly tenfold increase in protection against the virus, according to a government-funded study published Wednesday.
- Amid COVID pandemic, flu has disappeared in the US (New York Post) - Experts say that measures put in place to fend off the coronavirus - mask wearing, social distancing and virtual schooling - were a big factor in preventing a "twindemic" of flu and COVID-19.
- COVID-19 vaccines not believed to have impact on fertility, expert says (Yahoo! News) - The myth that COVID-19 vaccines may negatively impact fertility has been spread largely on social media.
- Study says you're less likely to catch COVID-19 if you wear these (BGR): Eyeglasses
- New study reveals new ways COVID-19 symptoms impact children (Deseret News) - There are major differences in the two ways children become severely ill from COVID-19. About half the patients had COVID-19 similar to adults. The other half had multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children or MIS-C.
- This new ad campaign will call for you to get the COVID-19 vaccine (Deseret News) - The ads will be featured on Pandora and Spotify, as well as other platforms.
- Traumatized and tired, nurses are quitting due to the pandemic (CNN) - "The mental-health impact this is going to have on nurses ... I don't think we've even scratched the surface of it yet."
- U.S. Airstrikes in Syria Target Iran-Backed Militias That Rocketed American Troops in Iraq (New York Times) - President Biden ordered retaliatory strikes against the militias whose attacks in Erbil this month killed one civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member.
- US carries out air strikes in Syria targeting Iranian backed militias (CNN) - Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the strikes took place "at President Biden's direction" and were authorized not just to respond to the recent attacks against American and coalition forces but also to deal with "ongoing threats to those personnel."
- McConnell says he'll 'absolutely' support Trump in 2024 if he's the GOP nominee (CNN) - The Kentucky Republican's comments come just weeks after he delivered a pointed rebuke of Trump on the Senate floor for fomenting the deadly US Capitol insurrection.
- Republican legislators around the country seek to strip governors and officials of emergency election powers (CNN) - As of this month, state legislators in 43 states had introduced 253 bills to restrict voting access, according to an updated tally by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.
- Acting Capitol Police chief tells lawmakers militia groups seek to 'blow up the Capitol,' targeting Biden speech (USA Today) - The continued threats made it "prudent" for the Capitol Police to maintain their increased level of security at the Capitol.
- Marjorie Taylor Greene faces backlash after attacking congresswoman with transgender daughter (USA Today) - Newman talked about the importance of the Equality Act for transgender individuals such as her daughter. Greene then posted a tweet denying her daughter's gender identity. "Your biological son does NOT belong in my daughters' bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams," Greene said.
- Senate Can't Vote On $15 Minimum Wage, Parliamentarian Rules (NPR) - The Senate parliamentarian ruled that a plan to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 does not fit the complicated rules that govern budget bills in the Senate.
- Cuomo's sexual harassment accusations prompt Time's Up to call for 'independent investigation' (Fox News) - Time's Up is an organization dedicated to combatting harassment, assault and discrimination of women in the workplace.
- At conservative gathering, there's just one litmus test: Loyalty to Trump (Los Angeles Times) - Throughout the weekend, loyalty tests will be everywhere - panels touting Trump's false claims of election fraud, speeches from Republican hopefuls who will compete to praise him, and a straw poll designed to show him as the favorite for the party's 2024 presidential nomination.
- A Judge Blocked Biden's Big Pause On Deportations, But ICE Says It Will Continue To Focus Only On Certain Immigrants (BuzzFeed News) - Despite the legal setback, ICE officers were told to remain focused on immigrants who pose national security or other public safety threats, along with people who arrived in the US after Nov. 1.
- 'Horrible': Witnesses recall massacre in Ethiopian holy city (AP) - Bodies with gunshot wounds lay in the streets for days in Ethiopia's holiest city. At night, residents listened in horror as hyenas fed on the corpses of people they knew. But they were forbidden from burying their dead by the invading Eritrean soldiers.
Policy NewsState Auditor releases analysis of NCAA athletics revenue subsidization for Utah's degree-granting public colleges and universities
The Office of the State Auditor (Office) today released its Analysis Report on NCAA Athletics Revenue Subsidization for Utah's Degree-Granting Public Colleges and Universities. This report covers fiscal years ended June 30, 2012 through June 30, 2020.
Rep. Owens delivered remarks in response to the Equality Act
Today, U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) delivered the following statement, as prepared for delivery, on the House Floor in opposition to the Equality Act."I rise today in opposition to the Equality Act. The issues discussed as part of the Equality Act are important amending the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation would be a historic step. Unfortunately, without explicit religious exemptions, many questions arise.
Percentage of Utah students taking and passing AP exams increases over 10 years
In 2020 a total of 14,271 Utah high school seniors took at least one Advanced Placement (AP) course at some point in their secondary education, up from 13,903 in 2019, according to data released by College Board. That means 37 percent of the graduating class took an AP course, up from 30.5 percent in 2010. And 25.3 percent of seniors or 9,756 students earned college credit by scoring 3 or better on the end-of-course exams, up from 20.7 percent in 2010, College Board noted. Nationally, 38.3 percent of students took an AP course with 24.4 percent earning college credit.
Rep. Stewart proposed plan to address national debt
Today, Congressman Chris Stewart (UT-02) introduced the Debt Control Through Budget Reconciliation Act of 2021. This legislation establishes annual debt-to-GDP targets that would gradually reduce the public debt over the next 30 years to approximately 50 percent of GDP (the average annual debt-to-GDP level over the past 30 years).
Sens. Lee, Moran and Braun introduce PROMISE Act to hold Big Tech accountable
Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) yesterday introduced the Promoting Responsibility Over Moderation In the Social Media Environment (PROMISE) Act, a bill designed to hold Big Tech companies accountable for their promises to not operate their social medial platforms with political bias. "The billionaires who own our nation's Big Tech companies have every right to be partisan political actors," Sen. Lee said. "They do not have the right to tell consumers that they will provide unbiased platforms, and then use those same platforms to discriminate against Americans with opposing religious, philosophical, or political viewpoints."
On This Day In History
- 1802 - Victor Hugo is born.
- 1829 - Levi Strauss is born.
- 1852 - John Kellog, of cereal fame, is born.
- 1859 - Louise DeKoven Bowen is born. She was a philanthropist, civic leader, social reformer and suffragist. For public administration aficionados, she was a key funder of and fundraiser for "Hull House," one of the nation's first settlement houses.
- 1869 - The 15th Amendment, guaranteeing the right for men to vote, is sent to the states for ratification.
- 1919 - Grand Canyon National Park is established.
- 1921 - Wilma Heide is born. An educator and women's studies pioneer, she served as president of National Organization for Women from 1971-72, and spearheaded gender discrimination charges against AT&T.
- 1929 - Grand Teton National Park is established.
- 1932 - Johnny Cash is born.
- 1935 - Hitler signs a secret decree authorizing the founding of the Reich Luftwaffe.
- 1944 - Sue Dauser, Director of the Navy Nurse Corps, became the first female Captain in the U.S. Navy.
- 1958 - Susan Helms is born. In 2001, she became the first military woman in space and performed the longest spacewalk with astronaut James Voss.
- 1962 - US Supreme court disallows race separation on public transportation
- 1965 - Jimmie Lee Jackson, civil rights activist, dies of injuries inflicted by officers in Marion, Alabama.
- 1970 - National Public Radio files articles of incorporation with the District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds. The organization's membership is comprised of independent, private, public U.S. radio stations.
- 1986 - Robert Pen Warren is named the nation's first Poet Laureate.
- 1993 - World Trade Center is bombed.
- 1995 - Selena Quintanilla, "Queen of Tejano Music," performs her last televised concert. She was murdered a few weeks later by the president of her fan club.
- 2012 - 17-year old Trayvon Martin is shot and killed while wearing a hoodie.
- 2020 - Ramona Hood becomes FedEx's first Black female president and CEO.
"It is our human right to develop and contribute our talents whatever our race, sex, religion, ancestry, age. Human rights are indivisible! The hand that rocks the cradle should also rock the boat. The pedestal is immobilizing and subtly insulting whether or not some women yet realize it."
Getting a job in the Arctic in the winter is great! Why?
When the days get short, you only have to work a 30 minute work week.
Q: Why do seals swim in salt water?
A: Because pepper water makes them sneeze!
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