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Situational Analysis - February 6, 2021
Well hello, Monday! Over the weekend, we passed Ronald Reagan's 110th birthday and the 69th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth ascending to the throne. We lost Christopher Plummer, age 91 on Friday and George Shultz, age 100 and President Reagan's Secretary of State on Sunday. Sadly, we also lost 4 skiers in their 20's to a killer avalanche in Millcreek Canyon. RIP.
Oh, and Utah was trending across social media sites, but not in a good way as a school in North Ogden first allowed and then disallowed parents from opting their kids out of learning about Black History this month. Congressman Blake Moore weighed in, expressing his disappointment and saying that "it is crucial that we embrace our shared history."
If you only have time for one thing today: Watch this Toyota ad about Jessica Long, double amputee, winner of 23 Olympic medals and adoptee from Russia. All the feels.
25 days to the end of the 2021 Utah Legislature (3/5/21)
65 days until the end of the Cox/Henderson administration's first 100 days (04/14/2021)
81 days until the Biden/Harris administration's first 100 days are up (04/30/2021)
Today At Utah PolicyThe status of women in Utah politics
By Holly Richardson
The status of women in Utah politics: A 2021 update - Dr. Susan Madsen and other researchers with the Utah Women and Leadership Project first reported on the status of women in Utah politics in 2014, updated that report in 2017 and just released their latest iteration. In a nutshell, Utah still has lots of room for improvement. Utah is one of only 11 states that has no women in their federal delegation. With the election of Deidre Henderson as Lt. Governor, we have one woman serving in statewide office and she is only the second woman to ever serve as Lt. Governor.
Guest opinion: A house divided can not stand.
By Tony Graf
"A house divided cannot stand." Our house, the Republican Party, is divided and is falling apart.Jon Meacham, a Pulitzer Prizewinning historian, described the current condition of our party well even though he was speaking of the country. He said "[this] country is torn between conflicting visions of reality and identity."
Solving the teacher shortage when the world is on fire
By Envision Utah
Utah has been grappling with a teacher shortage for over a decade-but, as with almost everything else, the COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the problem.As K12 schools navigate coronavirus testing, hybrid teaching and learning, and the stress of a global health crisis, teachers are leaving the classroom in even greater numbers than they have in previous years. And with all this stress and uncertainty, it's likely that fewer and fewer college students will decide to pursue careers in education. At the same time, though, it has become even more critical that our classrooms are led by the best, brightest, and most adaptable people Utah has to offer.
- How Americans can address Christian nationalism in their congregations and communities - Pastors need to take a stand against violent, exclusionary beliefs, said the Rev. Dorhauer, who has endorsed the Baptist Joint Committee's Christians Against Christian Nationalism statement. "The starting point is always relational," said Jennifer Herdt.
- Will the next Uber or Airbnb want to launch in Utah, thanks to this new business 'sandbox'? - The so-called regulatory sandbox bill would create a pathway for innovators to get a temporary reprieve from standing state rules that could impede or prevent a new idea from getting a real-world tryout.
- 'I'm serving everyone': Rep. Burgess Owens opens up on his first month in office - Did Owens participate in the standing ovation for Greene after her remarks Wednesday night. He gave an emphatic "yes." "She made a very good case of why we give each other second chances. We are a party of second chances."
- James Redford's film just premiered at Sundance. But he didn't live to see it - The filmmaker and son of Sundance founder Robert Redford died of cancer in mid-October, when the documentary on "Joy Luck Club" author Amy Tan was in the final stages of editing.
- Utah lawmaker wants to let in-home child care providers take care of more kids - Rep. Susan Pulsipher is proposing a bill this session that would allow home child care providers to take care of up to six kids without a business license. Current law allows them to take care of no more than four at once.
- Utah privacy protection efforts finding broad early support but porn filtering hits a wall - again - For the second time in four months a proposal to compel makers of cellphones, tablets and computers to have porn filtering software installed and switched on for all sales in Utah wasn't able to breach the wall of legislative approval.
- Are minimum wage increases the answer to poverty in the pandemic recession? - Rep. Clare Collard thinks the minimum wage should be a livable wage. She said many of her constituents say they are working "two to three jobs" at minimum wage to just get by.
- Race relations are headed in a troubling direction, but there is a way to find healing - The once peaceful protests led by Rev. King have in a few short years been replaced by the raging fires of anger, distrust and violence, and social media has shown us the most dangerous thing we now do is talk to each other. Still, we have within our reach the power and ability to at least start a healing.
- Trump is no longer the GOP standard-bearer. It's past time to move on - Conservatives should look to the summer days of 2016 for guidance on how to view the president moving forward
Salt Lake Tribune
- Less than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases reported on Sunday (Salt Lake Tribune) - Although the state continues its downward trend in cases and hospitalizations, all but two counties are still experiencing a very high rate of transmission.
- New Utah bill: Government could not force you to get COVID-19 vaccine (KUTV) - Under the measure, the governor, the Legislature, courts, educators including school districts, cities, and counties could not require people to get coronavirus vaccines. The bill would not apply to private businesses, which conceivably could require vaccinations for employees.
- Oxford/AstraZeneca jab fails to prevent mild and moderate Covid from S African strain, study shows (Financial Times) - In both the human trials and tests on the blood of those vaccinated, the jab showed significantly reduced efficacy against the 501Y.V2 viral variant, which is dominant in South Africa.
- UK coronavirus strain is doubling in the U.S. every 10 days, study finds (CNBC) - The study bolstered modeling done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which predicted last month that the more contagious variant could be the dominant strain in the U.S. by March.
- Biden says it will be very difficult to achieve Covid herd immunity before summer's end (CNBC) - Biden's cautious remarks are in line with the warnings of scientists and public health officials as well as his past statements.
- UK official says annual vaccines probable (The Hill) - "We see very much probably an annual or a booster in the autumn and then an annual (vaccination), in the way we do with flu vaccinations where you look at what variant of virus is spreading around the world."
- 'COVID tongue' is the newest COVID-19 symptom (Deseret News) - Tongue discoloration, enlargement, strange mouth ulcers and other mouth issues. Nice.
- Should you eat inside a restaurant? Dr. Fauci reveals the key (Deseret News) - "If you do indoor dining, you do it in a spaced way where you don't have people sitting right next to each other." And, he said, you'll want to avoid being in places where you're breathing in other people's breath.
- This teen woke up from a coma without knowing about the coronavirus pandemic (Deseret News) - Joseph Flavill, a 19-year-old boy, went into a coma after he was hit by a car in March 2020, which was right before the first lockdown in England. "It's almost like he slept through the whole pandemic,"said his aunt, Sally Flavill-Smith.
- Biden won't deal with Xi or China like Trump did (Politico) - "The question is, I've said to him all along, that we need not have a conflict," he added, in explaining how he would relate to Xi differently than former President Donald Trump did. "But there's gonna be extreme competition.
- Democrats' big shift in Trump's second impeachment (Politico) - Senate Democrats aren't pressing hard to include witnesses in the upcoming trial. "This is based on a public crime," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
- GOP senator compares Trump impeachment proceedings to Soviet 'show trial' (The Hill) - Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy (R) knocked Democrats on Sunday over the speed at which the House voted to impeach former President Trump last month, comparing it to a "show trial," the likes of which he said would have been found in the Soviet Union.
- On cusp of impeachment trial, court documents point to how Trump's rhetoric fueled rioters who attacked Capitol (Washington Post) - The nine House impeachment managers leading Trump's prosecution made clear in an 80-page brief filed last week that they will argue that his role in inspiring the crowd to action began long before the 70-minute speech he gave that day.
- Yellen, Summers Spar About Overheating Risk in Stimulus Plan (Bloomberg) - Perhaps the most surprising economist to raise questions about the package is Summers, the Harvard University professor who's been a fixture in Democratic policy-making ranks for decades.
- White House says Biden doesn't have final word on refusing Trump intelligence briefings (New York Post) - Ex-presidents and other former senior officials customarily retain access to classified information.
- Impeachment Case Aims to Marshal Outrage of Capitol Attack Against Trump (New York Times) - Armed with lessons from the last impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump, prosecutors plan a shorter, video-heavy presentation to confront Republicans with the fury they felt around the Capitol riot.
- Maxine Waters tries walking back violent rhetoric against Trump (FOX News) - The California Democrat was asked whether she ever "glorified or encouraged" violence against Republicans in a Sunday interview with MSNBC's Ali Velshi.
- 'No comparison': Democrats firebrands rebuff GOP criticism, say Trump case different (Washington Times) - Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, said Sunday that if "incitement" is the new standard, then there should be a long line of Democrats waiting to be impeached after the Trump trial is over, starting with Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer.
- Senior Democrats to unveil $3,000-per-child benefit as Biden stimulus gains steam (Washington Post) - Under the proposal, the Internal Revenue Service would begin sending $250 per month to millions of families in July.
- So you're being held accountable? That's not 'cancel culture.' (Washington Post) - The First Amendment forbids the government - not Twitter or any other private entity - from shutting down speech except in the most dangerous cases. That doesn't mean that people are immune to other forms of accountability, though. That's not cancel culture. It's responsibility.
- Cheney: Trump 'does not have a role as a leader of our party going forward' (The Hill) - "Somebody who has provoked an attack on the United States Capitol to prevent the counting of electoral votes, which resulted in five people dying, who refused to stand up immediately when he was asked and stop the violence, that is a person who does not have a role as a leader of our party going forward."
Policy NewsRep. Blake Moore on the importance of Black History Month
Congressman Moore weighed in on the news over the weekend that a school in North Ogden was allowing parents to opt their children out of learning about Black History Month. "I share the disappointment and sadness at the news that some in the Ogden area community sought to opt out of Black History Month lessons and events. I am heartened that our local school reversed its decision under the guidance of strong leadership. While I have not reviewed the curriculum myself, I strongly believe we cannot learn American history without learning Black history," he said.
Sen. Lee statement on 'Vote-a-Rama' and passage of HSA Amendment
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) today commented on last night's Senate budget "vote-a-rama" session, during which three Lee amendments were voted on, including passage of his amendment expanding Americans' access to Health Savings Accounts."Last night was what the Senate should look like all the time," Sen. Lee said. "We debated and voted up-or-down on dozens of amendments offered by Senators from both parties."
Smith's Pharmacies in Utah to provide first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to seniors on Feb 11
Smith's Food & Drug, a division of The Kroger Co., announces that it has obtained a limited supply of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and will begin administering inoculations to senior citizens 70 years and older at selected Smith's Pharmacies starting on February 11, 2021. Initially the vaccinations will only be available to senior citizens 70 years and older, as part of Utah's COVID-19 vaccine distribution timeline. Smith's is following the CDC's phased distribution schedule for administering the COVID-19 vaccine and will strictly follow guidelines from the state/local health department on their vaccine distribution plan.
Rep. Moore releases statement on his subcommittee assignments
Today, Congressman Blake Moore issued the following statement on his assignments to the House Armed Services Subcommittees on Readiness and Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems for the 117th Congress.
Sen. Lee introduces Working Families Flexibility Act
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) today introduced the Working Families Flexibility Act, a bill that would give employees more flexibility on how to use their overtime benefits. Sen. Lee was joined by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), along with eleven of their colleagues.
On This Day In History
- 1587 - Mary, Queen of Scots, is beheaded for treason.
- 1725 - Peter the Great, emperor of Russia, dies.
- 1894 - Congress repeals the Enforcement Act which makes it easier for some states to disenfranchise Black voters.
- 1910 - The Boy Scouts are founded.
- 1915 - "The Birth of a Nation," opens, glorifying the KKK.
- 1943 - Americans secure Guadalcanal.
- 1944 - Harry S. McAlphin becomes the first Black journalist accredited to attend White House press conferences.
- 1968 - Actor Gary Coleman is born.
- 1968 - Officers kill 3 Black students protesting segregation of a bowling alley.
- 1986 - Oprah Winfrey becomes the first Black woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show.
- 1990 - Surfer Bethany Hamilton is born.
- 2002 - The U.S. Winter Olympics open in Salt Lake City.
"Courage doesn't mean you don't get afraid. Courage means you don't let fear stop you."
A COVID test nurse asked me if I'd had a sudden loss of taste. I said, no, I've dressed this way for quite a while.
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