The state's new pandemic-fighting regime should motivate all Utahns to take personal responsibility for staying healthy and slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Notably, the new guidelines don't shut the state down. Businesses can keep operating and children can continue to go to school.  The economy can continue its growth. The main focus is on mask-wearing and social distancing - which is where the emphasis should be.

The focus is also on social and family gatherings, which is where the spread is mostly occurring. In a Salt Lake Chamber board meeting Tuesday morning, business leaders noted that workplace and classroom spread is minimal, but employees and students are catching the virus at home and at social gatherings.

Businesses have implemented strict guidelines, with required mask-wearing and social distancing. The office, in many circumstances, is safer than being at home. Among family and friends, we're not being as careful as we should be, and we need to do a lot better.

There's no reason we can't take extra precautions over the next few weeks and get the pandemic under control.

SCOTUS confirmation hearings. Sen. Mike Lee is definitely in his element talking about arcane Supreme Court decisions, the roles of the three branches of government, textualism, originalism, the Federalist Papers, and "meritorious dispositive notion" - whatever that means.

He's obviously having fun at the confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, especially because Barrett is a terrific nominee and the Democrats aren't going to stop the confirmation.  Like most senators, Lee spent most of his half hour lecturing than questioning, and came up with a few zingers, like "Alexander Hamilton was freaking brilliant," and if the Democrats pack the Supreme Court it will end up like "the senate in Star Wars."

Lee seemed to run out of steam toward the end of his 30 minutes, but I learned a lot about the difference between will and judgement.

Stewart vs. Weston. In Utah's 2nd Congressional District, Democrat Kael Weston has run a good, feisty race. He is knowledgeable, articulate and is persuasive on the issues. That was obvious in a Salt Lake Chamber candidate forum Tuesday afternoon. Weston is formidable enough that incumbent Republican Chris Stewart is running paid advertising to boost his re-election chances.

Unfortunately for Weston, he's a Democrat in a very Republican district and he has little chance to win. Stewart is a solid, conservative Republican who is also smart, articulate and persuasive. He's done a lot of good work in Congress and has represented his district well. There's no compelling reason for voters to boot him out of office in favor of a Democrat.

Utahns are politically engaged. According to WalletHub, Utah is the nation's 6th most politically engaged state. The personal-finance website has released its report on 2020's Most & Least Politically Engaged States, as well as accompanying videos. WalletHub compared the 50 states across 11 key indicators of political engagement. Utah ranked No. 1 in civic education engagement and voter accessibility policies, and No. 2 in voting increases from 2012 to 2016.

Reader Response. Conn Carroll, communications director for Sen. Lee, wanted me to know that Lee wore his mask to the Monday's confirmation hearing, removing it only to speak. He then put the mask back on. I had noted that the news media made a big deal about Lee's return from COVID-19 quarantine and him being mask-free.

Political (and business) People. Congrats to some remarkable women. The Salt Lake Chamber has announced that Molly Mazzolini, partner and director of brand integration of Infinite Scale, will be honored as this year's ATHENA Leadership Award recipient. Pathfinder Award recipients include: Allyson Bell, Office of Senator Mike Lee; Silvia Castro, Suazo Business Center; Darla Gill, Merit Medical; Beth Holbrook, Utah Transit Authority; Abby Murtagh, Hilton Salt Lake City Center; and Heidi Ruster, American Red Cross.

A sustainable POM project. The Point project, which will develop the 700 state-owned acres at Point of the Mountain once the state prison is gone, is signaling it wants to be sustainable and reduce air pollution. The POM State Land Authority on Tuesday formally voted to join the Clean Air & Climate Change Compact. One of the concerns about big development projects, of course, is air quality. It will be interesting to see how The Point develops in a clean, sustainable way.

Parting Shot. I heard back from a number of people about dealing with my rampaging wild turkeys. Suggestions ranged from shooting them (legally), trapping them, chasing them away with bulldogs, and frightening them with loud operatic music.  All worth a try. But I think the turkeys are just gonna laugh at me.

If you have a comment, an item you think should be publicized, or just want to tell me I'm an idiot, shoot me a message at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..