Massive Denver Women’s March Stuns Organizers, Media

UPDATE: Scratch that earlier estimate of 100,000 and double it:

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We’re seeing reports of over 100,000 people attending today’s Women’s March in downtown Denver, a protest against newly sworn-in President Donald Trump. If that’s true, they’ve tripled the estimate given before the event of 36,000–and put this march in the history books as one of the biggest public events in Denver except maybe a Super Bowl victory parade or Pope John Paul II’s visit to Denver in 1993. Here are some photos culled from the Twitters that give some sense of the enormous scale of this event:

We’re told that cellular service in the area of the protest is overloaded, but we’ll update with more photos and coverage as they come in. After the march, dozens of women are set to speak in Civic Center Park including House Speaker Crisanta Duran. As our readers know, Trump did not win the state of Colorado–and in this massive protest you can both see why he did not, as well what the coming years of backlash against his presidency are going to look like.

And it’s going to make the “Tea Party” look like a child’s tantrum.

Large Protest in Downtown Denver Marks Inauguration Day

The big protest against President Donald Trump’s inauguration here in Denver is still scheduled for tomorrow morning in Civic Center Park, but as FOX 31’s Chuck Hickey reports, a more spontaneous demonstration today broke out before Trump took the oath of office this morning:

Protesters converged on the State Capitol and took the streets of downtown Denver on Friday morning to denounce the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.

Several people were on the west steps at the Capitol. An 8 a.m. protest by DisruptDJ20 and a 9 a.m. protest by another group merged, along with students who walked out of East High School and marched down East Colfax Avenue.

One group said it planned to try to block traffic during rush hour, while another is calling for peaceful chanting and marching, saying they don’t want agitators.

That event shows close to 2,000 people attending with 5,000 interested.

Denver Post:

Hundreds of protesters — led by a front line of young, racially diverse and mostly female people — wound through downtown Denver Friday morning, carrying cash-leaking effigies of President Donald Trump and waving signs mourning the loss of civility, ethics and compassion and calling out threats to civil rights…

Most protesters marched peacefully, waving their signs and chanting. A few tried — unsuccessfully — to incite violence. No arrests or injuries were reported, said Doug Schepman, a Denver police spokesman.

It’s a good sign for tomorrow’s events that today’s less-organized protests remained peaceful. Organizers of the Women’s March are forecasting some 36,000 attendees based on social media signups–a number that could go higher if the weather holds. As of now, it’s set to be brisk but only partly cloudy in Denver tomorrow.

Watch this space for updates as warranted throughout the weekend.

Donald Trump is Officially the 45th President of the United States

President Donald Trump speaks at his Inauguration Ceremony.

Well, this is really happening. As the Washington Post reports:

Donald John Trump was sworn in Friday as the 45th president of the United States, taking office on a day that has featured smaller crowds and more subdued ceremony than previous inaugurations — but still ushers in a transformative shift in the country’s leadership.

Trump, 70, was administered the oath by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. His wife Melania Trump stood at his side. The oath was given using two Bibles — one from President Lincoln’s inauguration, and another that Trump’s mother gave him in 1955.

Trump began his inaugural address by proclaiming that with his victory, “the United States of America is your country.” With now former president Obama and three previous presidents watching from behind him, Trump seemed to condemn them as unfaithful to the popular will, saying that his inauguration signaled that “the people” would rule the country again.

And off we go…

Trump Makes Final Cabinet Choice Hours Before Inauguration

President Donald Trump has finally nominated someone for every cabinet position.

At this time yesterday, soon-to-be-President Donald Trump had selected someone for all but one top-level cabinet post. As the Huffington Post reports, Trump made his final big “You’re Hired” announcement Thursday evening:

President-elect Donald Trump named Sonny Perdue, the former Republican governor of Georgia who famously prayed for rain during a 2007 drought, to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday

“Sonny Perdue is going to accomplish great things as Secretary of Agriculture,” Trump said in a statement. “From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.”

Perdue’s nomination comes less than 48 hours before Trump’s inauguration ceremony and completes the president-elect’s proposed Cabinet, which does not include a Hispanic member. Reports of the nomination circulated Wednesday night…

…Perdue, 70, is well known for leading a prayer service at the state Capitol in Georgia in hopes of bringing an end to a 2007 drought.

Colorado Latin@ Lawmakers Tell Trump To Leave DACA Kids Alone

Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran.

A release from Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran a short while ago asks President-elect Donald Trump for some compassion for undocumented students in the United States through no fault of their own:

Speaker Crisanta Duran, Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman and the seven other members of the Latino Democratic Caucus issued a letter this morning to President-elect Donald Trump asking that he declare Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients will be allowed to remain in the U.S. under his administration.

“We are simply asking that the president-elect put an end to the fear and uncertainty of the 742,000 men, women and children, and the millions of our fellow Americans that know them as our friends, neighbors, family members and coworkers,” stated Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, the first Latina Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives. “We are talking about keeping families—children and mothers and fathers—together. This is their home and they are a part of us.”

“Hard-working Coloradans, from the Front Range to the San Luis Valley, have made so many positive contributions to the communities they grew up in. Yet, now they live in fear of being torn apart from their families. The President-elect must send a message that the American dream is open to them, and commit to keeping DACA in place,” said Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver.

In Colorado, undocumented students who have graduated from our state’s high schools are able to attend state colleges and universities at essentially in-state rates–a privilege undocumented students don’t enjoy everywhere. The program is a rough equivalent to the federal DREAM Act, which stalled in the Republican-controlled Congress and is now a non-starter under Trump. Colorado’s ASSET law eliminates a formidable barrier to these kids maximizing their contribution to the American economy.

Which is of course all they want to do. It’s worth noting that children who registered under the DACA program did so in good faith, under the promise that they would be spared from deportation and given work authorizations. Unfortunately for DACA registrees, they are now the best-documented undocumented residents of the United States. Which means if Trump decides to throw them out now, they’ll be much easier to find than most undocumented immigrants. In that event, those trying hardest to play by the rules would pay the highest price.

About the only thing we can say confidently is that whatever happens won’t be long now. We hope it’s an outcome that all Americans can be proud of.

GOP Shower Stall Showboating Backfires

Rapper Birdman’s golden toilet.

The Denver Post’s Jennifer Brown reports on a Colorado budget line-item raising hackles among Republican lawmakers:

A request for $235,109 to make nine bathrooms at a state mental-health hospital suicide-proof is prompting outrage from Republican lawmakers who suggest it is evidence of wasteful government spending.

The reaction to the proposal in the context of a $28 billion budget illustrates the intensity of the spending battles expected in the 2017 session as Colorado lawmakers negotiate a deal to find more money for big-ticket priorities, such as a potential $500 million bond to improve roads and transit…

“Are you using the same contractor that the feds and military does that costs us a million (dollars) a toilet?” asked Sen. Jerry Sonneberg, R-Sterling. “You simply do the math, it’s $20,000 a shower. Couldn’t you remodel a whole bathroom for that?”

Sonnenberg later took to Twitter to say of the request: “You can’t make this stuff up.” He included a photo of the budget request document and wrote “NO” at the top.

As the Post reports, this budget request stems from a suicide attempt last year at the Pueblo state mental hospital. That attempt identified a need to change the design of showers at the facility to make it harder to tie off a noose. Of course we’re not talking about your home bathroom, which would likely cost less than $20,000 to remodel. These are bathrooms in a secure facility, designed to be tamperproof and to protect mentally ill Coloradans from self-harm. The changes would continue existing suicide-proofing that has already occurred at other state facilities.

Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, suggested the price tag is too much and remains unconvinced it is necessary, even as he acknowledges that preventing suicide “is a great thing.” [Pols emphasis]

We haven’t heard yet if this request was approved today by the Capital Development Committee, but we’ve heard that Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg’s public disparagement of this line-item is making at least some fellow Republicans politically uneasy. The amount may sound excessive at first glance, but in the proper context it’s not really unreasonable at all.

And suicide prevention is just not something we would advise grandstanding against.

Of Course Rick Perry Doesn’t Know Squat About Energy Secretary

Rick Perry, our next Secretary of Energy (whatever that means).

As revealed yesterday in a stunning piece in the New York Times, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry — Donald Trump’s choice for Energy Secretary — doesn’t really have any idea what his potential new job actually entails:

When President-elect Donald J. Trump offered Rick Perry the job of energy secretary five weeks ago, Mr. Perry gladly accepted, believing he was taking on a role as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry that he had long championed in his home state.

In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor, discovered that he would be no such thing — that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal…

…Mr. Perry, who once called for the elimination of the Energy Department, will begin the confirmation process Thursday with a hearing before the Senate Energy Committee. If approved by the Senate, he will take over from a secretary, Ernest J. Moniz, who was chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology physics department and directed the linear accelerator at M.I.T.’s Laboratory for Nuclear Science. Before Mr. Moniz, the job belonged to Steven Chu, a physicist who won a Nobel Prize.

And…now we have Rick Perry. Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine sums up Perry and the Department of Energy with a simple Tweet:

Gardner Disses Obama Hard One Last Time

As caught on camera by The Hill yesterday, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is snarling mad at outgoing President Barack Obama over the commutation of whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s sentence as the clock ticks down toward Donald Trump’s inauguration:

REPORTER: And what about the Manning commutation?

GARDNER: The, I’m sorry?

REPORTER: The Chelsea Manning commutation.

GARDNER: Uh, look. The last actions Barack Obama has made is to stab Israel in the back with passage of the U.S. resolution, now he’s stabbed the American people in the back by pardoning a traitor. [Pols emphasis]

It could have been worse, we suppose. We’ll refrain from speculating how lest we give Gardner any ideas.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (January 19)

It’s your last night in the White House, so you know what that means…who is picking up the keg? It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Congressional Republicans continue to push ahead in trying to repeal (and possibly replace, maybe) Obamacare despite the fact that public opinion polls regularly show rising support for the Affordable Care Act. As the Washington Post reports, this has led to a political strategy whereby GOP elected officials go out of their way to avoid talking about the issue to other people:

After Sen. Thom Tillis said he would be talking to constituents live on Facebook Wednesday, more than 200 people submitted questions — many of them pointed queries about his views on health care.

While Tillis’s office had advertised a 30-minute event, the senator ultimately appeared on camera for 11 minutes, answering eight questions read to him by a staff member…

…Tillis did not acknowledge any of the follow-up questions that popped up in the comments alongside his video, including requests for more details on the GOP replacement plan. But he did avoid the sort of viral spectacle that many of his fellow lawmakers have encountered over the past week as the debate over repealing the Affordable Care Act got underway in Washington…

…Seven years after unruly Democratic town halls helped stoke public outrage over the Affordable Care Act, Republicans now appear keen to avoid the kind of dust-ups capable of racking up millions of views on YouTube and ending up in a 2018 campaign commercial. Only a handful of GOP lawmakers have held or are planning to host in-person town hall meetings open to all comers — the sort of large-scale events that helped feed the original Obamacare backlash in the summer of 2009.

There is definitely a very good plan somewhere, so don’t you worry about that. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) wouldn’t lie to you, now would he? Jason Salzman calls on Colorado media outlets to be specific in their questions for Republicans about actual replacement specifics.

 

► Congressman Tom PriceDonald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services, took a heavy grilling on Capitol Hill on Wednesday in his first batch of Senate confirmation hearings — with a good deal of discussion focused on Obamacare and the mythical Republican “replacement plan.” Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) sounded fed up with this vacant talk of a replacement plan and absolutely went off on Price.

 

► If you are planning on attending the “Women’s March” in Denver on Saturday, the Denver Post has some suggestions for navigating the event. More than 40,000 people are expected to descend on Civic Center Park on Saturday morning.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

A Colorado county Republican chair apparently deletes controversial Facebook meme

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

drake-castration-meme-1-2017Richard Drake, the chair of the Saguache County, Colorado, Republican Party, has apparently removed an meme from his Facebook page depicting a castration device with the statement, “Make’em think twice before entering the ladies room. Share if you know what these are used for.”

Drake’s decision to delete the meme came after the Colorado Times Recorder first reported that he’d shared the image on his Facebook page.

LGBTQ rights advocates, including One Colorado, spoke out aganst the meme, pointing out that one in ten transgender people reported being physically accosted last year, and about half say they were verbally harassed.

Last year, Delta County, Colorado, Chair Linda Sorenson resigned in the wake of an uproar over a meme she shared on her Facebook page. The meme compared Obama to a chimpanzee.

A call today to the number listed for Drake on the Saguache County GOP website was not returned. Neither were previous calls and an email to Drake, who was elected to his position by fellow Republicans in Saguache County.

Thursday Open Thread

“We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”

–Martin Luther King, Jr.

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