It would certainly be hard for things to Get More Dumber at this point, so let’s see if we can’t Get More Smarter. 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…
► So…that didn’t go well. President Trump held his first solo press conference as a resident of the White House, and it’s almost like he’s daring someone to declare that he is unfit for office. Put it this way: If you had to place a bet on whether or not Trump would make it through his first term in office, would you really put big money on “YES”?
► President Trump has a new nominee for Labor Secretary. Andrew Puzder withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday, on account of the fact that he had no chance of winning confirmation from the Senate. The new nominee is Alexander Acosta, dean of the Florida International University School of Law and a former member of the National Labor Relations Board.
Rep. Mike Coffman agrees with Republicanson the House Ethics Committee who don’t think President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn needs to be investigated for ethics violations following his ouster over interactions with Russian officials…
…Controversy still lingers over the White House’s handling of the brief tenure of Flynn, who continued to advise the president weeks after the Department of Justice warned the administration of Flynn’s conduct on the phone with Russia’s ambassador.
“I want to see that transcript to see if there are other conversations that he had is worthwhile finding out, but I also think it’s important to move on,” Coffman said. [Pols emphasis]
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► The most polluted zip code in these United States is apparently right here in Denver. From Denver7:
Using data from ATTOM Data Solutions, RealtyTrac found the 80216 zip code, which includes Elyria-Swansea, Globeville and part of the River North neighborhood, has the highest “environmental hazard risk” of more than 8,600 zips codes nationwide.
That risk assessment comes from four different environmental factors: Air quality, the number of pollution-generating facilities in the area, the number of Superfund cleanup sites and the number of brownfield sites, which are former industrial or commercial properties where redevelopment is difficult due to leftover pollution or contamination.
Combining those four factors, the 80126 zip code had the largest overall risk level by a pretty big margin.
► Congressional Republicans are giving serious thought to resurrecting “earmarks,” but it’s totally cool because they’re going to call it something different. From CNN:
House Republicans are re-opening their debate on earmarks, six years after they banned the practice that became the target of ire among conservatives and tea party groups.
Step one: Call them something else.
“For anyone to use the term earmarks, that would be at least a six-year-old term. The term that is used is congressionally-directed spending,” House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions said Tuesday.
Earmarks? No, don’t be silly. These are just, uh, happy happy joy joy super awesome spending suggestions!
► If you’re still on the fence about our earlier question about President Trump’s mental fitness, this might help make up your mind:
“They friends of yours?”: Trump asks black reporter to set up meeting with black caucus https://t.co/orWZIgt6Mz
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) February 16, 2017
► Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman reports on some words of wisdom from Jefferson County Republican Party Chair Don Ytterberg on his last official day in the office:
“We saw that in the Senate race in the unfortunate loss of our dear friend Laura Woods, who I have never, ever in the time I’ve served here seen a better candidate. [Pols emphasis] By September when we said, ‘What can we do for you, Laura?’ they said, ‘Our team has done so many things, we can’t figure out where to deploy more people or more dollars.’ They were doing it all. We went other directions, obviously, to try to support more candidates.”
Never a better candidate? For what — to run against?
► Approval ratings for Congress are on the rise. This is true, technically, but we’re still talking about 28%.
► The headquarters of the right-wing conspiracy are right here.
► Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is not making friends in Boulder.
► Good luck with that, Reince Preibus.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► An illegal immigrant in Denver is taking “sanctuary” in a local church. From the Denver Post:
Jeanette Vizguerra, who is in the country illegally, avoided a scheduled meeting with U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) officials and instead declared sanctuary at the First Unitarian Society of Denver.
Vizguerra’s declaration of sanctuary came after her “stay of removal expired” and she feared a scheduled meeting with ICE on Wednesday would have resulted in immediate detention and quick deportation.
► This new Congress looks a whole lot similar to the old Congress:
Congressional Republicans, who craved unified control of the government to secure their aggressive conservative agenda, have instead found themselves on a legislative elliptical trainer, gliding toward nowhere.
► Check out the latest episode of the “Get More Smarter Show” to learn more about the nomination of Colorado judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Watch it three times, in fact.