Get More Smarter on Friday (September 29)

The next time you read this, it will be October. 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…

► Governor John Hickenlooper is blasting Republican lawmakers over their tantrum about a special session called by the Governor to fix an error in the “Hospital Provider Fee” legislation. As Brian Eason reports for the Denver Post:

In a fiery press briefing, an agitated Gov. John Hickenlooper took swipes at GOP leaders, saying Republican lawmakers had turned next week’s special session into a “political circus.”

Hickenlooper earlier this month took the extraordinary step of calling lawmakers back to Denver for their first special session in five years — a move he said was needed to fix a bill-drafting error that has cost special taxing districts such as the Regional Transportation District millions of dollars in marijuana revenue.

But Republicans, who control the state Senate, have balked at the need for a special session, saying there’s no emergency and the error can be fixed when lawmakers return to the Capitol in January.

Despite the GOP opposition, Hickenlooper on Friday pledged to press forward with the special session, announcing that the affected taxing districts have offered to pay for the $25,000-a-day session out of their pot sales taxes once the revenue stream is restored — a move apparently aimed at sidestepping one of the political arguments against it.

Republican lawmakers apparently had their feelings hurt because they say Hickenlooper didn’t do enough “outreach” with them before calling the special session. As we’ve written before in this space, this temper tantrum from Senate President Kevin Grantham and friends is a really bad look heading into a 2018 election cycle that already looks difficult for Republicans.

 

► Former Congressman Tom Tancredo is inching closer and closer toward running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2018. Tancredo revealed on Thursday that he met this week with former Trump advisor and current Breitbart boss Steve Bannon about entering the race. Bannon is leading a national effort to push back against establishment Republicans; his cause picked up a big win this week when Roy Moore won a Republican Primary for U.S. Senate in Alabama.

For more on Tancredo, check out this interview with Stan Bush at CBS4. Tancredo tells Bush that there is polling data showing him at the top of the Republican field for Governor.

 

► Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, superintendent of the Air Force Academy, deserves a standing ovation for his response to racist messages found at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School this week. As CNN reports:

When someone left racist slurs on the message boards of five black cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School, the academy’s superintendent didn’t even try to suppress his outrage.

In a video making the rounds on social media and posted to the Air Force Academy’s Facebook page, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria ordered his cadets to line up and pull out their phones.

“If you can’t treat someone from another gender, whether that’s a man or a woman, with dignity and respect, then you need to get out,” he said. “If you demean someone in any way, then you need to get out. And if you can’t treat someone from another race or different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out.”

“If you’re outraged by those words, then you’re in the right place. That kind of behavior has no place at the Prep School,” Silveria said…

…”It’s the power that we come from all walks of life, that we come from all parts of this country, that we come from all races, that we come from all backgrounds, gender, all make-up, all upbringing,” he said. “The power of that diversity comes together and makes us that much more powerful.”

Well done, sir. Well done.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

 

► The Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico is understandably upset at the characterization of relief efforts for a country battered by two consecutive hurricanes. As CNN reports:

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz reacted with shock and anger to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke on Friday, saying Puerto Rico’s recovery is “not a good news story.”

“This is a ‘people are dying’ story,” she said in disbelief.

Cruz was referencing Duke’s comments from Thursday, when the Trump administration official said she was satisfied with the government’s response to help Puerto Rico’s recover from Hurricane Maria.

“I know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane,” Duke said.

“Well maybe from where she’s standing it’s a good news story,” Yulín Cruz told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota after she was played the clip on “New Day.” “When you’re drinking from a creek, it’s not a good news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good news story. When you have to pull people down from buildings — I’m sorry, that really upsets me and frustrates me.”

 

► Can someone please explain how HHS Secretary Tom Price, a self-described “fiscal conservative,” hasn’t yet been fired by President Trump? Here’s Politico on Price’s penchant for private planes:

The White House approved the use of military aircraft for multi-national trips by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to Africa and Europe this spring, and to Asia in the summer, at a cost of more than $500,000 to taxpayers.

The overseas trips bring the total cost to taxpayers of Price’s travels to more than $1 million since May, according to a POLITICO review.

Price pledged on Thursday to reimburse the government for the cost of his own seat on his domestic trips using private aircraft — reportedly around $52,000 — but that would not include the cost of the military flights.

Price’s wife, Betty, accompanied him on the military flights, while other members of the secretary’s delegation flew commercially to Europe.

Kathleen Sebelius, who spent nearly six years as HHS Secretary under President Obama, flew exclusively on commercial airlines. Trump is said to be furious with Price over his tone-deaf travel choices.

 

► Speaking of inappropriate travel for government officials, EPA Chief Scott Pruitt could be next in line for a knuckle-rapping from President Trump.

 

► Release the hounds lobbyists! As Congressional Republicans and the White House promote their devoid-of-details tax plan, lobbyists are working diligently to preserve specific tax breaks for their clients.

 

The Grand Junction Sentinel takes a look at how Colorado’s Congressional delegation is reacting to the new Republican tax “reform” plan.

 

Invasive mussels!

 

 Dan Domenico, a former Colorado solicitor general, has been nominated by President Trump to a position on the U.S. District Court in Colorado. 

 

► State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) lost his first court battle in an ongoing dispute about whether he used his standing in the legislature to intimidate competitors in the field of fireplace manufacturing.

 

This is a really weird way to make a point about your disagreement with the education policies of the Trump administration and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

 

► Kudos to Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi for standing up for taxpayers in the face of political bullying from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

 

Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

► The White House is launching a probe into the use of private email accounts by multiple senior officials, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

 

As CNN reports, the Trump White House is a very strange place.

ICYMI

► When one picture is worth a thousand words votes: Don’t miss this social media post from Jefferson County School Board candidate Erica Shields.

 

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3 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Pseudonymous says:

    Food for thought.

    America Held Hostage

    So why then do conservatives control all three branches of government? More to the point, why do they control Congress and the presidency when Democrats got more votes? You might conclude that America is being held hostage by a minority group of conservative zealots. And you would be right.

    There is an old saw that politics is about numbers, and in a true democracy that would be the case. But ours is not a true democracy. Even after addressing the fact that nearly 90 million eligible voters do not vote, our system weights some votes more than others, and these weighted votes almost always work to the Republicans’ advantage, giving some 35 percent to 40 percent of the electorate a disproportionate share of power.

    And, a personal favorite quote (the metaphor is not original to the author):

    I am not even going to get into the Electoral College, which operates on the absurd principle that it is not how many runs you score, but how many innings you win.

    • Old Time Dem says:

      I'm not going to defend the EC, but the metaphor doesn't make sense on several levels. First, the election is held simultaneously, not sequentially. Second, even within the realm of baseball it doesn't make sense–the winner of the World Series isn't the team that scores the most runs. Third, it doesn't make sense broadly within the realm of sport–there is match play in golf, for example. 

  2. Pseudonymous says:

    Republican lawmakers apparently had their feelings hurt because they say Hickenlooper didn’t do enough “outreach” with them before calling the special session. As we’ve written before in this space, this temper tantrum from Senate President Kevin Grantham and friends is a really bad look heading into a 2018 election cycle that already looks difficult for Republicans.

    Well somebody (a) pussed out, (b) thinks he can be elected president, (c) both (a) and (b)…

    In a fiery Friday morning press briefing, an agitated Gov. John Hickenlooper took swipes at GOP leaders, saying Republican lawmakers had turned next week’s special session on marijuana taxes into a “political circus.”

    At the same time, Hickenlooper appeared to offer an olive branch on two fronts: He said that the entities losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a month because of the tax problem are offering to pay for the special session and opened the door to calling the session off if Republicans would publicly commit to addressing the tax issue by the end of January. [emphasis mine]

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