The Denver Broncos open their season late tonight; it may be Sept. 12 before the game finally concludes. 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…
► Officials are still assessing damage from Hurricane Irma, which hit South Florida on Sunday before moving up the western coast of Florida toward the Tampa Bay area. The storm left more than 6 million people without power across Florida, but the worst-case scenarios envisioned by weather forecasters last week seem largely to have been avoided.
► The Chair of the Colorado Republican Party is backing up comments made on the official Twitter accounts of the state party that were critical of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:
Citing articles critical of the SPLC “from across the political spectrum” and a letter written this week by prominent conservatives that calls the SPLC a “discredited, left-wing political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a ‘hate group’ label of its own invention,” State GOP Chair Jeff Hays told Colorado Politics he has no intention of apologizing.
“The notion that the Colorado Republican Party should apologize for joining this broad chorus of critics is ridiculous,” Hays said in a statement. “Our tweet was correct to suggest the SPLC is an unreliable source of information, and stories that cite it uncritically ought not to be trusted.”
If you are unfamiliar with the SPLC, you should know that they are one of the leading groups in the United States keeping track of “hate groups,” white supremacy, and other extremist organizations.
► Steve Bannon, the former top strategist for President Trump who was resigned-fired last month, had plenty to say in an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday. As CNN reports, Bannon pulled no punches in assessing Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey:
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon believes President Donald Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey was one of the worst mistakes in “modern political history.”
In a “60 Minutes” interview that was posted online Sunday night, Bannon was asked whether he considered Comey’s dismissal — which ignited a political firestorm and directly led to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including potential ties to Trump’s campaign — the biggest mistake in political history.
Bannon responded, “That would be probably — that probably would be too bombastic even for me, but maybe modern political history.”
Bannon is now back at Breitbart News, and it sounds like he is ready for an all-out war with the Republican Party.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► As Brian Eason reports for the Denver Post, one Colorado college is pushing back against the Gallagher Amendment:
In an unusual ballot measure that walks uncharted constitutional ground, the Colorado Mountain College plans to ask voters in six counties for blanket approval to offset any future property tax cuts triggered by the Gallagher Amendment.
CMC’s board of trustees late last month approved the referred measure, which would give the board permission to raise property taxes any time the state constitution requires a cut to residential property assessments.
The measure won’t erase the cut that Gallagher has already caused: an anticipated $2.78 million this fiscal year for the Glenwood Springs-based institution.
But if it’s successful, it could provide a model for government entities across the state that are grappling with how to address the ongoing tax cuts that Gallagher is projected to cause in coming years.
Combining TABOR with the Gallagher Amendment is the budget equivalent of dropping Mentos into a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke.
► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) continues to try to convince reporters that he is really, truly a friend of immigrants in the United States — despite the fact that it didn’t take much effort to get him to abandon his plans to push a “discharge petition” on legislation aimed at supporting people affected by President Trump’s decision to abandon DACA.
► John LaConte reports on a gathering of Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Edwards, Colorado, for Vail Daily:
Colorado Democrats got together Friday in one of the only gatherings in the state to feature all five of their candidates for governor.
While many recent issues made their way into the discourse, the Trump administration’s plans to end the Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, dominated much of the conversation. The DACA program seeks to protect immigrants brought here by their parents at a young age.
Congressman Jared Polis (D-Boulderish) also used the opportunity to speak out in favor of a “Medicare for All” healthcare reform effort:
“Medicare for all means a Medicare-like program which would be very similar to Medicare, which would be accessible for everybody as a basic level of insurance,” Polis said. “People understand Medicare, there’s a comfort level with it. I know a lot of 59 and 60 year olds who wish they had it now.”
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) held a town hall meeting at Colorado Mesa University on Friday.
► Survivors of sexual assaults on college campuses are wondering what’s next after Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced in a speech late last week that she wanted to scrap Title IX. As KDVR reports:
At the offices of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Devos speech has created concern.
“We received phone calls from survivors asking what will happen to their case,” Raana Simmons, the group’s policy director, said.
Simmons says the speech has left many people wondering what new guidelines will be issued.
“There may be room for improvement but it doesn’t mean dismantle the whole system,” Simmons said.
► Two Republican lawmakers who are cozy with the oil and gas industry are pushing back on some extremely-modest reforms for the industry being pushed by Gov. John Hickenlooper.
► Apparently, nobody told Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) that Republican efforts to dismantle Obamacare have essentially ended.
► It’s beginning to feel like former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is never going to go away.
► Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wags his finger at anyone who dares bring up “Climate Change” in the midst of catastrophic hurricanes. As the New York Times reports:
Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, says it is insensitive to discuss climate change in the midst of deadly storms.
Tomás Regalado, the Republican mayor of Miami whose citizens raced to evacuate before Hurricane Irma, says if not now, when?
“This is the time to talk about climate change. This is the time that the president and the E.P.A. and whoever makes decisions needs to talk about climate change,” Mr. Regalado told the Miami Herald. “If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is. This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come.”
For scientists, drawing links between warming global temperatures and the ferocity of hurricanes is about as controversial as talking about geology after an earthquake. But in Washington, where science is increasingly political, the fact that oceans and atmosphere are warming and that the heat is propelling storms into superstorms has become as sensitive as talking about gun control in the wake of a mass shooting.
“To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced,” Mr. Pruitt said to CNN in an interview ahead of Hurricane Irma, echoing similar sentiments he made when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas two weeks earlier. “To use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to this people in Florida,” he added.
Um…we’ve had two major hurricanes hit the United States in consecutive weeks. This seems like a good time to wonder what in the hell is going on with our climate.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is contemplating retirement rather than running for re-election in 2018. More bad news for Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who is the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and whose job it is to maintain a GOP majority in the Senate in 2018.
► The FBI is looking into potentially-illegal propaganda efforts via “Sputnik,” which is the name of news agency funded by the Russian government.
► You might want to take a nap when you get home from work if you’re planning on watching the season opener for the Denver Broncos. Tonight’s game is the second of a doubleheader on Monday Night Football; kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 pm (Mountain Time).