Welcome, Springtime! Please settle in as we 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…
► Senate hearings to approve Denver Judge Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court Justice began on Monday. As the Washington Post reports:
Monday brings their newest opportunity since the confirmation hearings of Trump’s Cabinet to take a stand against a young administration that has horrified liberal Americans with efforts to strip away provisions of the Affordable Care Act, impose an entry ban on some immigrants and deeply cut federal agencies.
The left also remains angry about a Supreme Court seat that has been vacant since Scalia died 13 months ago because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) decided to block a hearing for President Barack Obama’s selection for the seat, Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit…
…Gorsuch “is a bit of a puzzle,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an interview last week. “We’re going to try to put those pieces together so that the puzzle is complete and we have an understanding of what kind of a fifth vote will be going on the court.”
As per Senate tradition, Gorsuch was introduced this morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee by home-state Senators Michael Bennet (D-Denver) and Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). The Denver Post has more on the key role that Sen. Bennet will play in the Gorsuch confirmation hearings.
► The FBI confirmed today that it is investigating allegations that Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. elections in order to help Donald Trump make it into the White House. As the New York Times reports, FBI Director James Comey is also making it clear that there is absolutely no evidence to support Trump’s claims that his campaign was “wiretapped” under order from President Obama:
Mr. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee, “We have no information to support” President Trump’s assertion on Twitter that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.
“We have no information to support those tweets,” Mr. Comey said, repeating moments later, “All I can tell you is that we have no information that supports them.”
The N.S.A. chief, Admiral Rogers, weighed in as well, saying that he had no knowledge of anyone asking the British or any other ally to wiretap Mr. Trump. That seemed to refute another claim made by the White House.
“I’ve seen nothing on the N.S.A. side that we engaged in such activity, nor that anyone engaged in such activity,” Admiral Rogers said.
► Colorado’s economy is doing very well…which means state lawmakers are going to have to make difficult budget cuts. Yay, TABOR!
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute
for Manufactured Angst won’t be happy to hear that Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast debuted this weekend as one of the top 10 biggest movies in U.S. history. Last week, the Centennial Institute was urging followers to boycott the movie because of the possibility that a minor character might be homosexual in a movie about a woman falling in love with a water buffalo.
The Centennial Institute was apparently busy doing other things this weekend. Per John Frank of the Denver Post:
— John Frank (@ByJohnFrank) March 20, 2017
Cancer researchers and advocacy groups are denouncing President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, warning that its 19 percent cut for the National Institutes of Health could cripple or kill former vice president Joe Biden’s cancer “moonshot” initiative and other important biomedical efforts.
“Forget about the moonshot. What about everything on the ground?” said George Demetri, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “Fundamentally, this is so extreme that all I can think is that it’s pushing two orders of magnitude off the grid so that when people come back to less extreme positions it looks normal.”
Among people who work in the life sciences, Demetri said, “there is a stunned speechlessness.” [Pols emphasis]
The budget blueprint released Thursday did not include specific numbers for individual NIH institutes, such as the National Cancer Institute. Still, the proposed cuts represent a sharp turnaround from the Obama administration as well as congressional supporters, who pressed for more NIH funding in recent years. The Obama White House in particular pushed the moonshot initiative to try to accelerate progress against the disease.
► Politicians on all sides of the political aisle are vowing to stand up for Colorado’s legal marijuana industry amid growing concern that Attorney General Jeff Sessions could use federal laws to crack down on weed.
► Denver Health Medical Center could face crippling budget cuts if Trumpcare is enacted into law. House Republicans may vote on the proposed new healthcare legislation as soon as Thursday of this week.
► As Politico reports, House Speaker Paul Ryan could be putting his job on the line in an effort to get Trumpcare through his caucus.
► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) says a lot of things about healthcare reform — none of them consistent.
► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) conducted a two-day series of town hall meetings in southern and western Colorado over the weekend. Meanwhile, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) spent the weekend in Ohio.
► John Aguilar of the Denver Post considers the fate of construction defects reform legislation at the State Capitol.
► Construction defects reform just gets more and more complicated every day.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► At least President Trump doesn’t make regular weekend trips to Colorado. Palm Beach, Florida residents are getting tired of dealing with Trump’s regular visits to his Mar-a-Lago resort.
► Your NCAA Tournament bracket may be busted, but you’ve got plenty of company. The last known “perfect” bracket of 2017 went bust on Sunday.
► That dog is not a wolf, says the family.