Talks go to the wire on fiscal cliff. Romney tops year in review. Huntsman says GOP lacks soul.
Happy Monday, and happy New Years Eve. Republicans and Democrats are still at odds over how to avoid the fiscal cliff taxes that will kick in tomorrow and spending cuts that could throw America back into a recession. But there has been some progress. The House and Senate are both in session today and the question is, can they hammer out an 11-th hour deal or they going to punt it to next year? [WaPost]
-> Meanwhile, ex-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman calls the Republican Party a "holding company that's devoid of a soul." [Telegraph]
Topping the news: Guns kill more people in Utah than cars, according to data the Trib's Nate Carlisle dug up. Suicides are driving up the gun deaths, he reports. [Trib]
-> The so-called Mormon Moment may translate into a Mormon Century, a scholar says. [DenverPost]
-> What's Mitt Romney's next step? Academics? A Super PAC? Or fade away into private life? He isn't saying so far. [NJ]
Today's news: Sen. Mike Lee says President Barack Obama is playing "political games" with the country over the fiscal cliff issue. [DNews]
-> From Mitt Romney to marching Mormons, this year has been one for the history books for Utahns. A year in review of the top Beehive State stories. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly notes an instance of mail theft that really turned someone's life upside down. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @pourmecoffee: "Attention countries we are trying to convert to democracy: Please, look away for a while. Thank you."
Happy birthday: Belatedly, to the Trib's social media guru, Kim McDaniel, who celebrated Sunday. And tomorrow to the League of Cities and Towns' Lincoln Shurtz.
Programming note: We're taking New Years Day off, but will return to your inboxes and computer screens on Wednesday.
Opinion section: Pat Bagley offers his take on trying to keep 2012 from escaping into the coming year. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly goes after Rep. Jason Chaffetz, saying he could have been a real go-getting for changing Washington but has ended up an obstructionist. [Trib]
-> Steven Gunn argues that the 2nd Amendment allows restrictions on firearms, and Americans want some limitations on assault rifles. [Trib]
-> Steve Warren suggests that the Utah Legislature should allow a non-Mormon to give the prayer on the opening day of the session. [Trib]
-> Tribune editor Nancy Conway says the news media is changing, whether you want it to or not. [Trib]
-> LaVarr Webb and Frank Pignanelli offer their awards for the best and worst of politics in 2012. [DNews]
-> SL Co. Mayor Peter Corroon says the Newtown massacre is a call to action on finally doing something about gun control. [Trib]
-> Former Sen. Bob Bennett offers his predictions for the coming year. [DNews]
In other news: Fox 13's Ben Winslow takes a look back at AG Mark Shurtleff's dozen years in office. [Fox13]
-> AEI scholar Norm Ornstein says 2020 may be the best year for Huntsman to run for president. [DNews]
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-- Thomas Burr
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