The truth behind the Benghazi attack. Utah plans high court appeal of same-sex marriage ruling. Effort could cost $2 million.
Happy Monday. The New York Times digs into the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and finds that neither the explanation by the Obama administration or congressional Republicans matches what really happened on the ground. In essence, it wasn't a well-planned hit or a spontaneous protest and one-time U.S. allies turned on America. [NYTimes]
-> House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa disagrees with the report's findings. [TPM]
Topping the news: Utah is planning an appeal to the Supreme Court to stay the federal courts' rulings on same-sex marriage but is looking to outside counsel to help make the pitch. [Trib] [Fox13] Pursuing the appeal could cost $2 million but Gov. Gary Herbert has not yet decided if he wants to spend that type of cash. [DNews]
-> Remember Rep. Douglas Stringfellow? Lee Davidson digs into an unpublished biography of the former Utah congressman that shows he talked himself into believing his own made-up war stories. [Trib]
-> Had former AG John Swallow not resigned it appeared he was headed for impeachment, several House members say after the revelations from investigators. [Trib]
-> Seven notable political figures died in 2013. A quick look at who they were. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @DRUDGE: "You know you're in trouble when more people purchased Beyoncé CD than signed up for Obamacare..."
From @Count2Baseball: "Is your favorite football team's season ending today? No worries, baseball's Spring Training games start in 59 days!"
Happy birthday: Today to MJK's better half, Natalie Kennedy. On New Years Day to League of Cities and Towns' Lincoln Shurtz. On Saturday to state Rep. Curtis Oda, former Gov. Norm Bangerter and the good ol' state of Utah (118 years young).
Happening today: Sean Reyes will be sworn in as attorney general at 2 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda. Also, join The Tribune's Jennifer Napier-Pearce and air quality experts for a TribTalk about the smog along the Wasatch Front. 12:15 p.m. at sltrib.com.
Programming note: Political Cornflakes will return to your inboxes and computer screens on Jan. 6. See you after the new year!
Opinion section: A lesbian woman says marriage equality is a start but it doesn't end discrimination against LGTB people. [Trib]
-> A pediatric professor says expanding Medicaid shouldn't be viewed as forced charity but a worthwhile community investment. [Trib]
-> A Cottonwood Heights optometrist says the LDS Church can change its views toward same-sex marriages as it did with its views on black members. [Trib]
-> Congressional candidate Bob Fuehr says the federal judiciary's ruling on gay marriage adds to the encroachment of the national government on local control. [Trib]
-> Meanwhile, a Salt Lake attorney says gay marriage opponents need to take a breath and realize that the legalization of same-sex couplings won't hurt heterosexual unions. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley offers his take on same-sex couple entering that sacred union. [Trib]
-> Some state lawmakers were shocked at the tactics employed by GOP strategist Jason Powers but shouldn't be, since many of them have employed Powers in the past. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly offers his 'Twas the Night Before Christmas parody centered on Utah politics. [Trib]
-> Rolly ponders whether Gayle Ruzicka is really responsible for Utah's same-sex marriages because of her steadfast support for Swallow and the disarray left in the AG's office. [Trib]
-> And Rolly takes on state Sen. Stuart Reid over his op-ed on the ruling on same-sex marriage and says Reid needs to understand judicial review. [Trib]
-> LaVarr Webb and Frank Pignanelli discuss Utah politicos new year's resolutions. [DNews]
-> Former Sen. Bob Bennett says President Barack Obama needs to own up to his administration's problems, fix them and earn back the trust of Americans. [DNews]
Week in review: While Utah is arguing that traditional marriage has been the standard since it became a state, the concept of marriage has changed over time, scholars say. [Trib]
-> Judge Robert Shelby's decision has put him in the crosshairs of Utah politics. [NYTimes]
-> Hill Air Force base will allow same-sex marriages, though no one has stepped forward to ask for one yet. [Trib]
-> State agencies, including the Tax Commission, are studying the impact of same-sex unions and how it might change how they handle the new marriages. [Trib]
-> Some parents of LGBT children are excited to see their offspring allowed to marry their partners in Utah. [Trib]
-> Utah Policy's political insiders offer their bets on what stories we'll see in the coming year. [UtahPolicy]
-> Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick talk about their No. 2 political story of the year: Rep. Jim Matheson announcing he won't seek an eighth term. [UtahPolicy]
-> A look back at The Tribune's photographers' best shots of the year. [Trib]
-> Gov. Gary Herbert outlines his air-quality plans that include cleaner school buses and grants to small businesses to make Utah's pollution less appalling. [Trib]
-> Park City Mayor Dana Williams was a rock star of a mayor in that he was in a rock band and also mayor at the same time. [Trib]
-> Rep. Larry Wiley wants to crack down on payday lenders, limiting the number of loans Utahns could take out and creating a database to ensure that companies aren't taking advantage of those in need. [Trib]
-> Speaking of, Rep. Brad Daw wants to go after the payday industry because of its involvement in the whole Swallow scandal. [Trib]
-> House investigators say that Swallow lied to City Weekly about a fundraiser tied to people who benefited from a change in their home mortgage. [CityWeekly]
-> Some 3,000 Utahns have lost their extended unemployment benefits because Congress refused to grant an extension. [DNews]
-> Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love looks back at her years leading the burgeoning city as she eyes the 4th Congressional District. [Herald]
Nationally: Everyone wants to cut government spending, right? But don't try to kill a $3 million talking squirrel campaign that helps nut farmers. [WaPost]
-> Sen. Ted Cruz has no regrets over the government shutdown and yes, he likes his coloring book. [ABCNews]
-> President Barack Obama is a fan of AMC's Breaking Bad but he hasn't finished it yet, so don't give the end away. [NYTimes]
-> The federal government may be mired in partisan gridlock but three-quarters of the states are run entirely by either Republicans or Democrats -- with both sides seeking separate visions of how government should work. [WaPost]
Where are they?
-- Thomas Burr