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Situational Analysis - April 20, 2021

It's Tuesday and the weather is supposed to be nice and it's National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day. What's not to like?

Also: I'm trying some new things with the newsletter formatting. Love it? Hate it? Meh? Let me know. 

News you need to know

  1. The big news everywhere, it seems, is that the jury is deliberating in the Derek Chauvin trial. The nation appears to be bracing for the worst as the National Guard has been deployed in Minneapolis and leaders everywhere are calling for calm.
  2. Officer Brian Sicknick died of two strokes after the Jan. 6th insurrection, the D.C. medical examiner ruled. The M.E. also noted "all that transpired played a role in his condition."
  3. Former vice-president Walter Mondale died Monday at age 93. He is credited with changing the office of the vice-president from one of "frustration and neglect" into one of "influence and power."
  4. A Texas gubernatorial poll shows actor Matthew McConaughey ahead of current Gov. Greg Abbott, 45% to 33%. He's said he would be a fool not to honestly consider running.
  5. There's a name for that sense of stagnation and emptiness you're feeling during the pandemic, the in-between space that's not depression and not flourishing. It's called languishing and it may be the dominant emotion of 2021.

Countdown

days until the United Utah Party Organizing Convention and the Utah County GOP convention (04/24/2021)
10 days until the Biden/Harris administration's first 100 days are up (04/30/2021)
11 days until the in-person Utah GOP Organizing Convention (05/01/2021)
144 days until half-way through the Cox/Henderson's administration's 500-day plan (09/11/2021)


Today At Utah Policy

images/Logos/SL-Chamber-Logo.pngUtah's economic recovery is taking shape
By SL Chamber
The Salt Lake Chamber's Roadmap to Recovery Coalition, in partnership with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, has updated the Economic Dashboard with current data for April, indicating where Utah sits in the overall recovery. Clear indicators show Utah climbing back from recession lows and heading into positive growth on several fronts. This comes at a time when The Wall Street Journal reports that Salt Lake City is the "hottest job market" in America.
images/Resized_Logos/Romney_Senate_logo.pngSens. Romney, Sinema introduce bill to reduce student loan debt, make college more affordable
By Holly Richardson
 U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced the Earn to Learn Act, legislation to reduce student loan debt and make college more affordable for students. The bipartisan bill establishes a college matched-savings program that helps qualifying low-income students, including adult learners, pay for tuition, books, fees, and other education-related expenses.
images/Resized_Capitol_Photos/Utah_State_Capitol_41.jpgLegislative leaders name redistricting committee members
By Holly Richardson
 The Utah Legislature has named the members of the redistricting committee entrusted with crafting boundaries for state Senate, House and congressional districts.

Utah Headlines

  • "It all felt so righteous back in 2001 and 2002. So purposeful. The nation had rallied behind the mission to bring our enemies to justice. You were going to find bin Laden and everyone else on the rogue's deck of cards and make them pay," Air Force colonel Matthew Komatsu writes. He and other veterans weigh in on the news that U.S. military forces are leaving Afghanistan. Deseret News
  • Facebook will be monitoring and limiting content on its platform which it determines "could lead to civil unrest or violence" in anticipation of the Derek Chauvin trial verdict, the social media giant said in a blog post Monday. "This includes identifying and removing calls to bring arms to areas in Minneapolis, which we have temporarily deemed to be a high-risk location," Facebook's vice president of content policy Monika Bickert said in the post. Deseret News
  • Safety nets for abused children were missing during the COVID-19 shutdown, Dr. Antoinette Laskey said at a news conference on Monday. The number of child abuse cases in Utah and the rest of the country typically stay stable year to year but in 2020, "all of a sudden, it seemed like the floor dropped out. We weren't having any cases coming into clinic" even though the hospitalization rate remained the same. Deseret News
  • Pamela Atkinson left poverty but she never left the poor. She's long advised governors and lawmakers, but she's happy to have tea in a makeshift cardboard room with a homeless friend. She moves easily between corporate boardrooms and riverside encampments - an egalitarian hugger who dispenses love without regarding one's station in life. Check out this profile piece by Lois Collins of the Deseret News.
  • Students in an eighth grade class in Provo were randomly assigned to be slaves and slave masters for a project about the Civil War. And when they finished, they were instructed to "reach their own conclusions regarding the issues." After backlash from parents, Centennial Middle School in Provo now says it will revise the project moving forward. Salt Lake Tribune
  • Sen. Mitt Romney believes President Joe Biden wants to compromise with Republicans on a big funding bill to revamp the nation's roads, rails, airports and much more. He was one of 10 bipartisan lawmakers who met with Biden on Monday. The Utah senator told the president one way to do so would be to drop tax increases to pay for it, replacing them with fees on the people who would benefit from the improvements. Salt Lake Tribune
  • Congress wants to bring back earmarks and somewhat surprisingly, the issue is splitting the Utah delegation. Both Senators say no way, no how, but Reps. Stewart and Moore say it's the role of Congress to control the purse strings. Stewart, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said, "As envisioned by the founders, Congress should decide where to spend taxpayer funds - not unelected bureaucrats." Salt Lake Tribune
  • Can they really do that? It appears they can. "They" are developers and they canceled contracts for 15 homebuyers in Sandy but don't worry. They told the homeowners they could re-sign a new contract as long as they pony up more money. Turns out there's a clause in their real estate contract that allows the seller to back out at any time. (Hint: always read the fine print.) KUTV
  • According to a new report from WalletHub, there are two Utah cities at the very bottom of the list for being the least diverse in the nation. The report looked at five major categories: socioeconomic, cultural, economic, household and religion and found Orem and Provo to be among the least diverse cities in America, ranking them 499th and 501st, respectively. ABC4
  • Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital has planted more than 1,800 pinwheels in honor of children who have died as a result of child abuse nationwide. Each pinwheel represents a child who died at the hands of caregivers. Experts are concerned that some children who were abused last year may not have been as likely to report the abuse because they were away from the safety net of in-person school attendance. Fox13
  • Amazon reps confirmed that the online retail giant will occupy a building taking shape in Marriott-Slaterville as the last stop for goods headed to Weber County-area customers. "The new facility will generate hundreds of full-time and part-time jobs and is slated to open early next year," said Anne Laughlin Carpita, an Amazon spokesperson. The building will be around 180,000 square feet. Standard Examiner
  • Utah state Rep. Walt Brooks says his journey to the Legislature was an accident, despite people saying he should run for the House. "My feeling was that politics is like a sewer," Brooks told St. George News. "You can't go in without coming out smelling like the sewer." Brooks said as much to local scoutmaster Abe Bundy, to which Bundy replied: "That's why we need good plumbers." St. George News

COVID Corner

  • More than a third of eligible Utahns are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as the number approaches 800,000. The total number of vaccines administered in Utah is just about 1.9 million. On Monday, 200 more cases were reported and two additional deaths. Salt Lake Tribune
  • Even as the U.S. and other countries press ahead with their COVID-19 vaccination programs, infections are increasing faster than ever globally. A record 5,363,616 new cases were reported in the week ending Saturday, nearly nine cases reported every second. The growth in cases is being pushed by a stunning spike in India, which is now reporting more than 1.5 million infections every week. Just a month ago, that figure was about 200,000. USA Today
  • The State Department on Monday urged Americans to reconsider any international travel they may have planned and said it would issue specific warnings not to visit roughly 80% of the world's countries due to risks from the coronavirus pandemic. AP
  • The U.S. government invested $800 million in plasma when the country was desperate for Covid-19 treatments. A year later, the program has fizzled. In those terrifying early months of the pandemic, the idea that antibody-rich plasma could save lives took on a life of its own before there was evidence that it worked. Now, there's evidence that it doesn't and it has quietly gone away. New York Times

National Headlines

  •  'It's almost like insanity': GOP base continues to lash out over Trump's defeat. There's no evidence of election fraud in Georgia. Even so, the party rank and file is fixated on it - even if it costs them in the midterms. Politico
  • Not going there. Five months after the presidential election, the Supreme Court said on Monday that it won't take up a case from several Republicans challenging changes to election rules in the battleground state of Pennsylvania. There were no noted dissents. CNN
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will introduce a censure resolution over Maxine Waters' 'get more confrontational' remarks. The action comes hours after Nancy Pelosi defended Waters, saying that she did not need to apologize for her comments. Politico
  • Chauvin judge warns Waters comments may overturn trial and Chauvin's defense attorney, Eric Nelson, said Monday that Waters' comments could have prejudiced members of the jury. Politico
  • Republicans race for distance from 'America First Caucus.' GOP leaders, anti-Trump centrists and vulnerable Republicans in battleground districts wasted little time in recent days denouncing the "America First Caucus," whose stated purpose in a platform document included the defense of America as a nation "strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions." The Hill
  • A Byrd bath might kill infrastructure plan. Republicans say President Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure package will have a tough time getting through the Senate intact because of several key provisions that will open the legislation up to parliamentary challenges under the arcane Byrd Rule. Sen. Lindsey Graham said he has been in discussions with his staff about how to use the Byrd Rule to block components of Biden's infrastructure plan if Democrats pursue the budget reconciliation process. The Hill
  • Trump 2024: "Are you running again in 2024? What are the odds?" Fox News Host Sean Hannity asked Trump during an hourlong interview from the former president's Mar-A-Lago golf club in Florida. "I got tremendous numbers. Nobody has ever gotten the numbers I got. No sitting president has come even close. There's more popularity now then there was the day before the election.... I am looking at it very seriously, beyond seriously." The Hill
  • The White House closes in on 'families plan' spending proposal centered on child care, pre-K, and paid leave.The American Families Plan, the second part of the administration's Build Back Better agenda, is expected to be unveiled ahead of President Biden's address to a joint session of Congress on April 28. Washington Post
  • Missouri House member Rick Roeber (R ) faces expulsion after an Ethics Committee probe finds he sexually and physically abused his children. In his testimony before the committee, Roeber denied the sexual and physical abuse, blamed his ex-wife for breaking up the family and was "combative, defensive, defiant, and at times angry" during his hearing. Washington Post

 

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Policy News

images/Resized_Logos/Cox_seal.pngGov. Cox urges a calm community response to Chauvin verdict
Gov. Spencer Cox has issued the following statement in anticipation of a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin:
images/Resized_Logos/Romney_Senate_logo.pngSen. Romney fights to keep ban on earmarks
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today joined his colleagues, led by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), in signing a letter pledging to oppose lifting the ban on earmarks.
images/Resized_Logos/Chris_Stewart_logo_white.pngDemocrats won't let Utah cut taxes as part of their 'COVID-19 relief'
Originally published in the Deseret NewsWith the signing of the Democrats' expansive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, they did something they were unable to achieve on Election Day: Control all 50 state legislatures. Putting those legislatures under the direct control of Congress violates the Supreme Court's anti-commandeering doctrine. But they did it anyway.
images/Resized_Logos/Mike_Lee_logo.pngApple responds to Lee and Buck, reversing Parler decision
Today, Apple sent a letter to Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) informing them of their decision to allow Parler's return to the iOS App Store. OnMarch 31st,Sen. Lee and Rep. Buck sent aletterto the CEOs of Google, Apple, and Amazon questioning actions their companies took against Parler in January of this year, including Apple's removal of Parler from its App Store.
images/Resized_Logos/MuleSoft_logo.pngTAB Bank creates open banking platform and streamlines lending processes with MuleSoft
MuleSoft, provider of the world's number one integration and API platform, today announced that TAB Bank is using MuleSoft to build its open banking strategy and grow an ecosystem of partners. TAB Bank is a modern, digital-only bank that specializes in serving small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which account for the majority of businesses in the United States.

Business Headlines

  • A global tipping point for reining in tech has arrived. Never before have so many countries moved with such vigor at the same time to limit the power of a single industry. The U.S. and Europe are focused on competition, misinformation and privacy. Russia and others are silencing protests. In China, it's a bit of both. New York Times
  • Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency started as a joke, now has a market value that can't be laughed at: more than $50 billion. On Tuesday, traders of Dogecoin were trying to push up the price to coincide with 4/20, or April 20, a date associated with smoking cannabis. On Twitter, the hashtags #DogeDay and #Doge420 were trending. New York Times
  • Burning a hole in their pockets. Consumers have $5.4 trillion in excess savings. That could unleash a global spending boom. The savings are on top of what they would have saved if the pandemic had not occurred and saving behavior had been the same as in 2019. CNN
  • Futures slip as focus shifts to earnings from tech-related firms. U.S. stock index futures dipped on Tuesday as investors turned to results from Netflix and other major technology-related companies this week to sustain the positive start to the earnings season. Reuters


On This Day In History

(From History.com)

  • 1895 - Mary Pukul is born. A descendant of native Hawaiian high priestesses, she researched and collected stories and oral histories, became a translator at the Bishop Museum, wrote songs and gave hula demonstrations in schools in the 1950s.
  • 1902 - Marie and Pierre Curie isolate radium.
  • 1937 - George Takei is born. He recently gave a shout-out to Governor Cox on Twitter, so that was fun.
  • 1999 - Teen gunmen kill 13 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
  • 2010 - An explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig kills 11 people and triggers the largest offshore oil spill in US history.
  • 2010 - Dorothy Height, American civil rights and women's rights activist (National Council of Negro Women), dies at 98. Her funeral is held in the National Cathedral.

Wise Words

"I want to be remembered as one who tried."

~Dorothy Height


Lighter Side

Lighter Side

"He's been going nonstop since 7 o'clock this morning. In 17 hours, he's taken maybe two breaths. At one point he claimed they had 75 million people watching. Even Trump was like, 'Oh, please, quit exaggerating.'"

- JIMMY KIMMEL on Mike Lindell's launch of his own social media platform, with a livestream set to last 48 hours.


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