Keep your fingers crossed and your thoughts and prayers on south Texas this weekend. It’s time to 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…
► Hurricane Harvey is on track to make a devastating landfall in south Texas sometime this evening — the most powerful hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Meteorologists are already predicting rainfall totals that will be measured in feet rather than inches. As the Washington Post reports, Hurricane Harvey will be another big test for President Trump:
Storms like this can define presidencies. George W. Bush’s presidency never recovered after Hurricane Katrina 12 summers ago. George H.W. Bush’s 1992 reelection hopes were hurt by his botched response to Hurricane Andrew because it cemented the narrative that he was detached from domestic problems and unconcerned about acting swiftly to help regular people back home…
…Major damage will also draw public attention to severe budget cuts Trump has proposed.
Trump has pushed for a 6% cut for the National Weather Service and a 16% slash to the budget of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The latest estimates on the power of Hurricane Harvey are sounding pretty dire. From CNN:
The outer bands of Hurricane Harvey have begun swiping the Texas coast as 35 inches of rain and “catastrophic” storm-surge flooding is predicted following landfall late Friday or early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.
The combination of heavy rain, “life-threatening” storm surges, flooding and strong winds could leave wide swaths of South Texas “uninhabitable for weeks or months,” the National Weather Service in Houston said. Such daunting language hasn’t been seen by CNN’s experts since Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.
► Could Governor John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) run for Vice President in 2020 on a “unity ticket” with Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) as the lead dog?
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► We have found the most “Boulder liberal” of all the “Boulder liberals.” His name is Mark Williams, and he appears to be running for Congress in CD-2.
► President Trump is adding another Republican Senator to his list of people who are mean to him. As the Washington Post reports:
President Trump attacked another fellow Republican on Friday, taunting Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman last week publicly questioned the president’s stability and competence.
Trump said Friday morning on Twitter, “Strange statement by Bob Corker considering that he is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in ’18. Tennessee not happy!”
Trump’s relentless attacks on fellow Republicans are only making it more difficult for the GOP to hold onto its majority in 2018. As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN:
…it makes no sense to antagonize Corker, who has already said publicly he is undecided on whether to seek a third term. Why try to push him off the ledge by revealing private conversations if you know that a Corker retirement has even a 1% chance of complicating Republican efforts to maximize their gains in 2018?
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) hasn’t been on the receiving end of Trump’s Twitter wrath, but he wishes it would stop nonetheless.
► Congress still has another 10 days or so before it returns to work, and avoiding a government shutdown — if it is even possible given President Trump’s rhetoric — looks like it will take center stage through September.
► Things can get complicated in a hurry when top-ticket offices suddenly become open seats. If Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman runs for Governor instead of re-election, the ripple effect will be significant.
► Colorado municipalities are increasingly looking for ways to protect the health and safety of their communities from fracking and other oil and gas drilling operations. The O&G industry, meanwhile, is blaming local concern on out-of-state interests, because no local resident could be legitimately worried about their house blowing up or anything.
As David Sirota writes for the International Business Times, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has no problem carrying this water for the industry:
Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner — whose seat is considered a top 2020 pickup opportunity for Democrats — slammed the local efforts, asserting that the spate of municipalinitiatives are being pushed by well-funded “special interests” from the coasts.
“We know there are big threats on the horizon — we know that there are risks of overregulation, we know that there are risks of special interest groups that are trying to drive ballot initiatives and other regulations at the local level that will drive out common sense economies, and we have to make sure we are all aware of the dangers that that poses to the incredible jobs that we have been able to create,” Gardner told energy executives in Denver. “Ballot initiatives that would ban hydraulic fracturing — we have to make it very clear that that is not in the interest of Colorado. When it comes to policies that are trying to be enacted by interests — well-funded interests — from New York or Los Angeles in local municipalities, that we make it clear that this is what’s happening.”
Gardner — who has received more than $1.1 million worth of campaign cash from oil and gas donors — portrayed the industry’s fight against local regulations as a David-versus-Goliath battle during his appearance Thursday at the annual conference of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA). The industry group has helped direct more than $80 million worth of fossil fuel industry spending on Colorado politics in just the last four years, and it has successfully lobbied to block tougher state regulations of the industry. The group’s event came just as Thornton officials passed a measure to restrict drilling in residential neighborhoods; Ft. Morgan officials imposed a moratorium on injection wells and Erie officials approved a separate ordinance designed to reduce chemical odors that residents say have been wafting over the community from nearby oil and gas rigs.
Weep for the poor, money-less interests of the oil and gas industry.
► Colorado Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne — who is maybe probably certainly running for Governor in 2018 — is taking a weird angle on the race:
— John Frank (@ByJohnFrank) August 24, 2017
► These are troubled times in the war of the marijuana letters.
► White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has a plan for controlling the flow of information to President Trump. Good luck with that.
► Congressman Jared Polis (D-Boulderish) is hosting three town hall meetings across the district on Saturday.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Republican candidates for State Treasurer in Colorado are getting snippy with each other.
► Another White House communications staffer has had enough of this nonsense.
► President Trump may or may not actually understand the term “clean coal.”