What you can do to fight back this week (October 9)

Trump can’t repeal the Affordable Care Act. So he’s trying to destroy health reform piece by piece.

Last Friday, Trump issued a new rule that allows essentially any employer to refuse coverage for contraception if they have a “religious objection” to birth control. [1] This move will allow many more private employers to unjustly force their religious views on their employees. It’s the wrong decision for women and every American who values personal liberty like Trump claims he does.

Fortunately, attorneys general across the nation are not taking this threat to women’s health lying down. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has promised swift action in response to Trump’s directive on contraception. But he’ll need help.

Priority #1: call Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman right now at 720-508-6000, and urge her to fight back against Trump to defend contraceptive coverage.

Once that’s done, this upcoming week is loaded with great ways to take action in support of our shared progressive values:


CIRC Action Fund 6th Congressional District Candidate Forum

On October 9th, residents of Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District will have the opportunity to meet the candidates running to represent them and hear their positions on the issues that matter most to our community. The candidates will have a conversation about topics like how to balance the economy with the health and safety of our community, immigrant rights, education, renewable energy, recent votes in Congress, and how to strengthen democracy, followed by an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.

El 9 de Octubre los residentes del Sexto Distrito de Colorado tendran la oportunidad de conocer a los candidatos que se postulan para representarlos y escuchar sus opiniones sobre los asuntos mas importantes para nuestra comunidad. Los candidatos tendran una conversación sobre temas como balancear la economia con la salud y seguridad de nuestra comunidad, derechos de inmigrantes, educacion, energia renovable, votaciones recientes en el congreso y como fortalecer la democracia, seguido por una oportunidad para que la audiencia pueda hacer preguntas.

Where: Dry Dock Brewing Company, 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora
When: Monday, October 9 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Giving Light to Puerto Rico Fundraiser

Puerto Rico has been devastated by hurricane Maria and needs your help. We’ve brought together leaders of the Puerto Rican community in Denver as well as business owners to help raise money to purchase Solar Lanterns to donate to Puerto Rican homes as they restore electricity throughout the island. Restoring light in PR can take from 6 months to a year. We would love everyone to particpate on Oct 10th at Sloans Tap and Burger by coming in and having lunch or dinner. This will be Puerto Rican food prepared by our community in Denver. 100% of the sales go to the effort.

Where: Sloan’s Lake Tap and Burger, 1565 N.Raleigh St Unit 100, Denver
When: Tuesday, October 10 at 11:00am

Click here to RSVP.


Who Represents Us?

How can we achieve a more equitable society? What can we do in Colorado to make sure our representatives reflect the communities they come from? Join us as we review specific and actionable steps to effect change in Colorado in 2017, 2018, and beyond!

Where: 2600 Leyden St, Denver
When: Tuesday, October 10 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


House Speaker Crisanta Duran: Town Hall on CO’s Population Growth & Where We Go From Here

We want to hear from you! While growth has led to many benefits such as low unemployment and good jobs for Coloradans, we need to take on the challenges that come with this growth. Whether it is skyrocketing housing costs, dealing with the high cost of living, or being stuck on the highway for hours during rush hour, we can and must do more to address these issues.

Where: GALS Denver, 750 Galapago St, Denver
When: Tuesday, October 10 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Longmont ROAR: Stand with us in solidarity at City Council

The city is actively planning drill sites at Union Reservoir with Cub Creek drilling company. At the same time, drilling companies are filing paperwork to drill from Arapaho to Baseline along WCR1 and from Oxford to Quail along WCR1. Additional wells are planned along 287 up to Oxford Road. No full plans are available yet, but this number of wells will drastically increase our air pollution, area travel, and for those on the South and East edges of town, additional noise causing sleepless nights and smells of toxic chemicals that may harm your health.

Where: City of Longmont Civic Center, 350 Kimbark St, Longmont
When: Tuesday, October 10 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


National Disservice: How Student Loan Servicers Harm Coloradans

If you’re interested in the student debt crisis and its effects on you, your friends and family, and our state’s economy, join us on October 11th to find out what you personally can do to stop unfair practices hurting student borrowers. The Bell Policy Center, Young Invincibles, and New Era invite you to join us for a panel discussion on student loan servicing and important information about how YOU can get involved in protecting students in Colorado. Panelists will share unique insights on what’s happening with loan servicers at the federal level and how this impacts Coloradans. They will also discuss ways for you to get involved and fight back against predatory practices creating more student debt in Colorado.

Where: Coffee at The Point, 710 E 26th Ave, Denver
When: Wednesday, October 11 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Public hearing on Black Hills rates

The administrative judge reviewing Black Hills Energy’s request for electric rate adjustments will take testimony from Pueblo residents at a public hearing at the 4-H auditorium at the Colorado State Fairgrounds on Oct. 12.

Where: Colorado State Fair, 1001 Beulah Ave, Pueblo
When: Thursday, October 12 at 4:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


SDC Jamboree-Colorado Progressives Crowd Sourcing for Change

A small donor committee is a Colorado political entity that can accept a maximum of $50/year per person and enables small donors to crowd source their funds with other like minded people, to have a larger impact on political races. An SDC can contribute larger amounts to candidates than individuals or other types of political committees. The SDC Jamboree will give you a chance to meet each SDC, learn more about their work and the kind of candidates they support and of course, contribute!

Where: 999 Vallejo St, Denver
When: Friday, October 13 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Warm Cookies of the Revolution: Netflix and Chill (For Reel. With Strangers!)

On Friday, October the 13th, it’s the 1984 film RED DAWN, which is much scarier than a guy in a hockey mask: it’s what scares Americans the most—foreign invasion, commies, and high school! After, we’ll discuss the movie’s implications for today’s world and how watching a movie might be able to spur us to action.

Where: McNichols Building, 144 W Colfax Ave, Denver, Colorado 80202
When: Friday, October 13 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


One Colorado: 2017 Western Slope Ally Awards

The event will be a cocktail reception on what is sure to be a lovely fall evening and will culminate with an awards ceremony accompanied by a cash bar, and heavy stationed hors d’oeuvres. Thanks to U.S. Bank and Colorado Mesa University for their generous support and for making this night a reality!

Where: Colorado Mesa University, 1100 North Ave, Grand Junction
When: Friday, October 13 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Nationwide Solidarity March for Peace – Denver, Colorado

Nationwide Solidarity March for Peace will be a day for people to come together to share their love and compassion to call out the hatred and violence that is taking place in our society. This is a day for people of all political and religious affiliations, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, disabilities, ages and every other aspect of a human being.

Where: Confluence Park, 2200 15th St, Denver
When: Saturday, October 14 at 9:30am

Click here to RSVP.


One Colorado: Know Your Health, Know Your Rights Grand Junction

We know lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families face unique physical and mental health barriers. One Colorado is hosting an event in Grand Junction to dig deeper into the landscape of LGBTQ health in the state, provide tools for self-advocacy in healthcare settings, and talk with community members to learn more about local issues in accessing care.

Where: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley, 536 Ouray Ave, Grand Junction
When: Saturday, October 14 at 11:00am

Click here to RSVP.


39th Annual Tribute to Black Women Luncheon

Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA) is 40 years old and we will celebrate this year by honoring 4 women who have had a significant impact on our community!

Where: Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel, 3801 Quebec St, Denver
When: Saturday, October 14 at 11:30am

Click here to RSVP.


Unity Of All Nations

As people from all over the globe came to Standing Rock last year, to stand up for our rights to clean water, this group of community leaders and community members continue that fight today.

Where: Confluence Park, 2200 15TH St, Denver
When: Saturday, October 14 at 3:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA) Training

MoveOn Front Range and Indivisible Front Range Resistance are holding two trainings on Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA). The trainings will include information and history about nonviolence, de-escalation practices, protestor roles in NVDA, affinity groups, and role plays. An ACLU representative will alsp be on hand to deliver a segment on protestor rights and legal issues and answer questions.

Where: Louisville Alfalfa’s Community Room – 785 E South Boulder Rd, Louisville
When: Sunday, October 15 at 1:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Gender Identity Center of Colorado Fall Festival

Join us for fall fun at our annual Fall Festival! This family friendly FREE event will include vendor booths, refreshments, and a chance to connect to the community! Costumes are encouraged, but not required!

Where: Gender Identity Center of Colorado, 120 Bryant St., Denver
When: Sunday, October 15 at 1:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Thanks to everyone who has found this weekly roundup of upcoming events in Colorado useful! We’re grateful for your continued support and your persistence turning out all year to fight back against Trump and the far-right agenda. It is critically important. It is working. And in the end, we are going to prevail. In the meantime, we’re proud to fight with you every day.

ICYMI: 20-Week Abortion Ban Passes U.S. House

Let’s hear it for the boys.

It would be impossible to wrap up this frenetic week of political and other riveting news without mentioning this week’s vote by the GOP-controlled U.S. House to pass the so-called Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act–a measure that bans abortions after an arbitrary 20 weeks of gestation. As The Hill reports, the measure is moving to the U.S. Senate after passing the House with all four Colorado Republicans voting yes:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a 20-week abortion ban in the Senate on Thursday with the support of 45 GOP senators, two days after a similar bill passed the House.

The “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which faces long odds in the upper chamber, would make it illegal for any person to perform or attempt an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy with the possibility of five years in prison, fines or both…

The legislation is likely to face a tough sell in the Senate. A similar bill passed the House in 2015 but was blocked by Democratic senators.

With only a 52-seat majority, it would be unlikely Senate Republicans could gather the 60 votes needed to move the legislation to President Trump’s desk. Graham still said he’s “100 percent confident” Senate leadership would bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

Still from Rep. Mike Coffman’s 2014 ad using Planned Parenthood’s logo.

President Donald Trump has said repeatedly he would sign this bill if it made it to his desk, so it’s only the Senate requirement of 60 votes to pass most legislation keeping this bill from becoming the law of the land. Trump has also called many times for the Senate to do away with the 60-vote requirement, but an abortion ban bill is probably not the right vehicle for such a radical change, assuming Mitch McConnell ever works up the nerve to try. The bottom line is that the policy is not supported by authoritative science, no matter how many times supporters claim otherwise.

Nevertheless all four Colorado Republican House members voted for the bill, though only the two safe GOP seats issued statements about their vote. Rep. Ken Buck of Greeley was ebullient:

“Science shows us that unborn children not only experience pain but also may have a chance to survive if born at 20 weeks,” Congressman Ken Buck stated. “We have a responsibility to the unborn babies, our families, our communities, and humanity to end the injustice of late-term abortion.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn managed to get just about every canard into a single quote:

“Babies born at 20 weeks are one step closer to protection from abortion now that H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, passed in the House. I am pleased to vote “yes” on legislation that defends the most vulnerable people in our society. The United States is in the unfortunate company of only six other countries, including China and North Korea, in allowing elective abortion so late in a pregnancy. Science has proven that babies in the womb feel pain more acutely than even adults, and a bill that is estimated to save close to 3,000 lives a year is worth fighting for.”

As The Hill reported above, the legislation has 45 GOP cosponsors. Interestingly that list of cosponsors does not include the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado as of this writing! That won’t be good for Gardner’s flagging credibility with his Republican base, but it does show how Gardner’s repeated stumbles on the issue have forced him into a more muted position–this, after all, being a man who once bragged about having circulated petitions for Colorado’s failed “Personhood” amendments at his local church. So that will be another interesting angle on this to see resolved. Or in Cory’s case, see him dodge right up to the vote.

And no, it’s most likely not going to pass. But it’s going to come closer than ever to passing, with only a Senate rule already under threat keeping this abortion ban bill from becoming law. Therein lies an important lesson about the fragility of abortion rights in America today. And if it doesn’t instill a sense of urgency in supporters of abortion rights going into the 2018 elections, it’s tough to see what could.

Gardner Has Now Voted Nine Times to Strip Funds from Planned Parenthood

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

Beneath the drama of the Republicans’ failed efforts to kill Obamacare is the stack of votes amassed by U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) to strip federal funds from Planned Parenthood.

Four measures to repeal Obamacare this year would have also de-funded the women’s health organization, and Gardner voted for each one of them without objecting to the Planned Parenthood provision.

With the addition of this year’s votes, Gardner has now backed a total of nine measures to withdraw support from Planned Parenthood since 2010, when Gardner was first elected to Congress, as a U.S. Representative.

“Cory Gardner continuously underestimates the importance of Planned Parenthood,” said Sarah Taylor-Nanista, Director of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado in a statement. “Health Centers provide 70,000 Coloradans the care they need. A third of which are Medicaid patients. Coloradans need and want Planned Parenthood. It is time for Cory Gardner to really work on the health care needs of Coloradans and stop playing politics by going after the providers who care for them.”

Gardner’s votes against Planned Parenthood are noteworthy, in part because contraception and abortion played such a high profile role in Gardner’s 2014 election to the U.S. Senate over Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, who repeatedly spotlighted Gardner’s stance against all abortion, even for rape, as well as some forms of birth control.

During the 2014 election, Gardner responded by calling Udall “Mark Uterus” and by saying he, Gardner, supported easier access to birth-control pills. Gardner withdrew his support of a state personhood abortion ban, and Gardner misinformed the public that his support of federal abortion-ban legislation wasn’t support for an abortion ban.

Gardner also said abortion and contraception weren’t “top of mind for people” and therefore Udall was “trying to distract voters” by drawing attention to Gardner positions on women’s health issues.

In fact, Gardner has been crusading against abortion from the beginning of his political career, relying on backing from anti-abortion activists to win GOP primary battles and to propel him into office.

Gardner’s votes against Planned Parenthood, which is widely known to offer abortion services, are almost certainly linked to Gardner’s own longstanding opposition to abortion, even though by law the organization cannot use federal money for abortion but instead for cancer screenings, family planning, and basic healthcare needs of low-income people. Abortion accounts for a small part of Planned Parenthood’s total revenue.

Anti-abortion activists in Colorado target Planned Parenthood, with regular protests. Former GOP Colorado State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, of Colorado Springs, once said he was proud that a legislator in South Dakota compared Planned Parenthood to ISIS.

A 2015 shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs was denounced by most anti-abortion activists, but some equated the shooting deaths to abortions at Planned Parenthood. And a Republican lawmaker in Colorado commented on Facebook that Planned Parenthood executives were the “real culprits” for the attack.

Gardner’s nine votes to de-fund Planned Parenthood include two cast as a U.S. Representative, both in 2011: one resolution, naming Planned Parenthood Federation of America, here, and the Pence amendment targeting the organization, here.

Gardner’s seven anti-Planned Parenthood votes since he became a U.S. Senator include four Obamacare repeal measures, the “Skinny Repeal,” AHCA, BRCA, and the ORAA. He also voted against Planned Parenthood funding three times in 2015, here, here, and here.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), who, like Gardner, says he’s modified his no-abortion-even-for-rape stance of the past, has voted six times during his career in the U.S. House to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Gardner Talks Plenty, Answers Little in Telephone Townhall

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Why won’t Cory Gardner do in -person, live town halls? That’s easy –  if he did, he would have baffled crowds of people yelling, “What?” “Who?” “When?” and turning to each other, muttering, “What – what did he just say? It sounded great, but what does it mean?” He couldn’t handle the follow-up questions. At all. There are no “mute” or “delete” buttons for real people asking inconvenient questions in a live town hall.

I listened to Senator Gardner talk at his constituents for an hour during his tele-town hall on August 2, 2017. For the first time in all of the Gardner town halls I’ve sat through, he actually answered one of my questions.  (at 49:15 in the recording). Unfortunately, it was a question with lots of wiggle room – perfect for Gardner. On the other hand, plenty of people asked him very specific questions, and he didn’t answer those, either.

Here’s what I heard between 7:05 pm and 8:05 pm on Gardner’s telephone town hall. All questions and answers are paraphrased, unless I’m using quotation marks.

Photo: ADAPT protest, Cory Gardner’s Greeley office, July 27, 2017.

In his introduction, Gardner spewed the usual glibberish. He’s going to repair the damage of Obamacare, because so many Coloradans got their policies cancelled or had to pay fines, bla bla. He lied again about how many town halls he’s held, counting his one on one meetings with a health care CEO and stopping to get fruit for his kids at a roadside stand as “meeting with Coloradans”. Oh, and he had dinner at a ranch, and met with  Chamber of Commerce members.  Aren’t those town halls? Cory swears that counts as a town hall.

Still glibbering, Gardner talked about cybersecurity and his bill to make the “internet of things” more secure, which cook rightly pointed out is not-bad legislation.  He also talked about opening up more broadband “spectrum” in rural Colorado, and mentioned tax reform, coming to you in September!!

Then he began taking questions. Some had been submitted online, while most were live telephone callers.

(more…)

Good news! July 1-7, 2017

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This diary is about small victories, local heroes, sweet stories, random kindnesses, unexpected grace, cold justice served up on a hot plate. As always, your interpretation of what is “good news” is probably different than mine, and categories often overlap.

Attorneys General across the country (including Colorado’s Coffman)  are claiming that they will check Big Pharma’s pushing of opiods, “clear the swamp”, ensure fair voting, and protect transgender people. AGs be aware – people will check to see that you follow through on your promises.

Voting rights roundup

flag with I voted

Image by debaird on flikr

Fourth of July, Fireworks, and the Franchise – what could be more patriotic? Voting seems to be on everyone’s minds right now.

Alabama seeks to inform felons of restored voting rights in jail

Kentucky also ordered the voting rights of 284 felons to be restored.

Kris Kobach, Vice-Chair of Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity,  requested that all 50 states send him their voter information by July 14 so that the Commission can create a national voter registry to prevent what he claims is rampant voter fraud.

Unfortunately, rather than creating a process to make it easier for voters to register and vote, the Commission’s goal appears to be to selectively disenfranchise voters. The good news is that 45 states now have refused to provide part or all of the information requested. President Trump is not pleased, and has let us know this in his usual way.

Alison Lundergan Grimes, KY Secretary of State said that there is  “not enough bourbon in Kentucky” to make  Trump’s request seem sensible.

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann suggested that, “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from…”

Floridians are also petitioning to restore voting rights to felons.

Colorado’s Secretary of State Wayne Williams is trying to have it both ways  –  comply with Trump’s request, while still protecting the privacy of Colorado voters by supplying only publicly available information. Many voters are choosing to keep their data confidential by filing a form and paying $5 at the Secretary of State’s Office.

Voters seldom commit fraud in Colorado – but when they do, they are usually Republicans.

(more…)

Good News! June 23-30, 2017

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This diary is about small victories, local heroes, sweet stories, random kindnesses, unexpected grace, cold justice served up on a hot plate. As always, your interpretation of what is “good news” is probably different than mine.

This week, it’s all about healthcare and the resistance to the BCRA Wealthcare bill.  We’ve come too far to give up now. Keep our eyes on the prize:  A public healthcare system like every other industrialized country has.

Healthcare, the ACA, and the Senate Wealthcare bill

The Senate Democrats fought hard to keep the BCRA, aka Trump’s Wealthcare bill, from being voted on without hearings or public input. It was good to see some Senate backbone on display.

Hawaii’s Maisie Hirono led  filibustering on the Senate floor.

Our own Senator Bennet spoke at length,  outlining what’s at stake in this health care bill.

But – we don’t know what Cory Gardner really thinks about the Senate healthcare bill he supposedly helped to draft. Right now, he looks to be in the “Yes on BCRA” camp, because he pretends that insurance costs will go down with the Senate bill.  However, Cowardly Cory will not give his constituents the courtesy of in-person meetings or town halls to discuss his position. Even when said constituents try really, really hard.

To keep the heat on, keep contacting

Senator Bennet: Contact Us

Senator Gardner: Contact Cory*

More good news about healthcare in Colorado: we get to keep all of our insurance brokers next year, said Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar. No Colorado counties will be without an insurance provider, according to the Summit Daily News.

(more…)

Obamacare Replacement Legislation Aims to Block 30,000 in CO from Accessing Planned Parenthood Clinics

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) President Vicki Cowart announced figures last week that the Senate’s Obamacare-replacement bill would “block more than 30,000 women, men and young people in the Rocky Mountain region alone from accessing the trusted reproductive health care they rely on.”

“We will not stand by while politicians play these types of political games with the health care and livelihood of more than one third our patients,” said Cowart.

In a move long backed by anti-abortion groups, the Senate bill would cut federal funds that account for about 40 percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget.

“The expectations of the pro-life movement have been very clear: The health care bill must not indefinitely subsidize abortion and must redirect abortion giant Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding to community health centers,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, and Tony Perkins, president of the right-wing Family Research Council, said in a statement, quoted by the New York Times.

Beginning around the time the House passed its Obamacare replacement legislation in May, PPRM has enlisted 800 new Planned Parenthood activists, organized monthly events, and targeted U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner with letters and petitions demanding that he stop the GOP Obamacare-replacement bill.

The Planned Parenthood defunding effort may prove to unwind the Republican legislation, as GOP Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have strongly objected to it. If three GOP Senators vote against the health care bill, it would lose, as Senate Democrats unanimously oppose it.

Senate rules may block the defunding effort, according to PPRM and some political observers.

Good News! June 16-23, 2017

(Because Lord knows we can use some – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This was a hard week to write “Good News” for. Still, there was some.

Small victories, local heroes, sweet stories, random kindnesses, unexpected grace, cold justice served up on a hot plate…that’s what this diary is about. As always, your interpretation of what is “good news” is probably different than mine.

This week, it’s all about the heat, voters, immigrant rights, cannabis, and beer. Farmer’s markets. Buying local. No sports news, because the only sports I halfway understand are basketball and baseball. Anything else, I’m the one looking at you to see when to stand up and cheer.

Environmental / energy

It’s freaking hot in Colorado, especially on the western slope , down south, and in Denver, but the head of the EPA won’t say if climate change is a hoax, although his boss says it is.

Good news: It’s not as hot as Phoenix’s 119 degrees . Even AZ Sen. McCain thinks this global warming thing is the real deal.   Plastic mailboxes are melting in Arizona – it’s that hot.  (Photo from reddit, via Buzzfeed)

 

MacGregor Ranch is piloting a program to work closely with the NRCS to cut underbrush and mitigate wildfire risk, since it is so freaking hot in Colorado. Drought and wildfires are the two main hazards Colorado experiences from climate change. Here’s the video from the pilot project.

Virgin Mobile and several other big retailers are planning to conserve energy by running their trucking fleets more efficiently.

Coal India, the world’s largest coal mining company, will shut down 37 of its mines that are no longer economically viable. The lost energy will be replaced mainly with solar.

Clean energy jobs remain the fastest-growing employment sector in Colorado  – with 62,000 added last year.  65% of those jobs are in energy efficiency.   This all helps Colorado to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at 2.3%.    Rates for youth under 24 were at 6%, and for Hispanics at 5%, still lower than most other states.

There’s still some good fishing around Colorado. Get’em while there’s still water enough to fish in.

And you can drive to your fishing spot on roads you won’t have to pay an extra tax on, per the Colorado Business Coalition. Amendment 267 passed, funding $3 Billion for road repair and maintenance; however, $10 billion was needed. Where will that come from?

The “Dog Days” are  approaching. If you see poor Puddles panting in a hot car, you can break in to save the pet – but not legally,  in Colorado, until August.

(more…)

Will Gardner slip by reporters again on Planned Parenthood?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner built his political career in Colorado, and rallied grassroots Republican support, by opposing abortion, even for rape and incest. Part of that, of course, has meant that he’s opposed and vilified Planned Parenthood.

Now it appears that the Senate’s Obamacare-replacement legislation would remove federal funds for Planned Parenthood, just like the House version did.

And you’d expect Gardner to be fully on board with this.

After he voted to defund Planned Parenthood two years ago, Gardner said,

“We voted to take the money from Planned Parenthood and distribute it to the community health clinics around the state of Colorado,” Gardner told KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis in 2015.

He said the move would provide “more access” to men and women across the state, even though many low-income woman want to go to Planned Parenthood clinics for specific and understandable reasons, like privacy, trust, and convenience.

And even though no federal funds are used for abortions at Planned Parenthood, the organization provides abortions. In contrast, community health centers don’t offer abortion services that many woman obviously want available at their clinic of choice in the year 2017.

But Gardner apparently doesn’t think women care. When confronted with his extreme anti-choice positions during the 2014 election, Gardner responded by saying Democrat Mark Udall was trying to “distract voters” from the real issues.

Now Gardner should face the same question from reporters. Does he think women in Colorado care about Planned Parenthood? About the U.S. Senate’s and the Republican Party’s assault on abortion rights?

Gardner may try to say his opposition to Planned Parenthood isn’t about opposition to Planned Parenthood, just like he tried to say, during his last election campaign, that his support of abortion-ban legislation wasn’t support for an abortion ban.

Despite heroic efforts by journalists to untangle Gardner’s wordpile on his support for an abortion ban, packaged at the time as “personhood,” Gardner got away with it. He’s Colorado’s Senator.

Will he slip by again on Planned Parenthood?

Good news! Week of June 11- 17, 2017

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Small victories, local heroes, sweet stories, random kindnesses, unexpected grace, cold justice served up on a hot plate…that’s what this diary is about. As always, your interpretation of what is “good news” is probably different than mine. And that’s fine. Something I’m missing? Add it in the comments.

LGBT:

Massive Marches may move us, but the  biggest and gayest parade this year in Colorado will be Pridefest, this Sunday June 18. Civic Center Park will host the celebration all weekend. For your daily minimum requirement of fabulousness, go to Pridefest Denver. (Photo from 2016 Pridefest, Wikipedia Commons)

Pridefest Denver 2016 -from Wikipedia commons

LGBT hero: One of the Capitol Police agents wounded in the recent terrorist attack in DC was Crystal Griner, a married lesbian woman. Griner and her fellow officers, including David Bailey , rushed the shooter, taking him down and preventing a massacre.

(more…)

Rep. Doug Lamborn: “Abortion Is Not Health Care”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

As the Denver Post’s Jesse Paul reports, Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs wants to make extra-super sure that the Senate’s forthcoming Obamacare repeal legislation doesn’t make anything easier on women who need abortions:

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, has penned a letter signed by 70 members of the U.S. House asking GOP leadership in the Senate to ensure “our pro-life priorities” are included in any health care legislation they draft to replace the Affordable Care Act.

“While there have been differences of opinion on the best way to fix our nation’s health care system,” the letter dated Wednesday says, “the pro-life majority in the House of Representatives has reached consensus that any health care legislation must abide by the overarching principle that abortion is not health care, and that therefore, elective abortion, abortion providers, and health plans that include elective abortion should not be subsidized.”

The request was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, as well as the chairs of the Senate budget, health and finance committees. Colorado’s other House Republicans — U.S. Reps. Mike Coffman, Ken Buck and Scott Tipton — did not sign the letter.

Lamborn’s sweeping statement that “abortion is not health care” will come as news to the thousands of women in the United States every year who have medically necessary abortions, some of whose lives are saved via the procedure. And even in the case of abortions entirely for a woman’s personal reasons–how is that not “health care,” every bit as much as elective surgeries of all kinds and (yes) Viagra are “health care?” Perhaps vasectomies should be relegated to the back alley too?

Look, we get what Lamborn is trying to say here, but his choice of words betrays a fundamental ignorance about what he’s discussing. In Lamborn’s case that’s no accident, though it’s a useful window into the minds of dogmatic abortion rights opponents.

Minds that close in the presence of undesired context.

Good News! Week of June 3-June 10

(Get More…Gooder! – promoted by Colorado Pols)

This diary, which I hope to publish every Friday, will be all about small victories in the big battles: People doing the right thing for the right reasons. Stories of bravery, generosity, caring, and integrity. Where possible, I’ve connected this to Colorado politics and stories.

This is a selfish project for me – I need to see those small victories and uplifting stories just to keep going as an activist. Without them, it’s too easy to be overwhelmed by the flood of bad news and attacks on democracy and civil rights, and simply stop trying to keep politicians accountable.

There are many “good news” items I haven’t covered; more possible categories for good news are: Race, discrimination, justice, bizarre news, animals, marches, town halls, community organizing, “the resistance”. Where another organization such as ProgressNow Colorado reports on “How to fight back this week”, I’m not going to duplicate coverage. As always, add your own “good news” stories and commentary.

(more…)

University still won’t buy fetal tissue from companies “implicated” Planned Parenthood “investigation”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Doug Lamborn.

Two years ago, anti-abortion activists released undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing their program that provides fetal tissue, donated by women who have an abortion or miscarriage, for use in medical research.

In the wake of the release of the highly-edited videos, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) released documents showing that Colorado State University (CSU) had possibly obtained fetal tissue indirectly from Planned Parenthood, and the university suspended the purchase of such tissue from all suppliers “implicated in the Planned Parenthood investigation pending the outcome of the Congressional investigation.”

Now, about two years later, CSU’s policy is still in place, even though Congressional investigations of Planned Parenthood have stalled or ended and there’s been no proof of wrongdoing or lawbreaking by Planned Parenthood.

CSU’s suspension of purchases from certain fetal-tissue suppliers hasn’t been lifted because “there is no practical need to readdress it,” according CSU spokesman Mike Hooker.

Hooker says the university’s research with fetal tissue has continued “uninterrupted” since 2015, using ADM as its supplier.

(more…)

Yes, (Some) GOP Senators Did Something Objectively Good

Rep. Lois Landgraf (R) and Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D) celebrate passage of HB17-1186 in the House.

Colorado Capitol observers are still getting their collective heads around a fairly surprising development in the Republican-controlled Colorado Senate: House Bill 17-1186, a bill requiring insurers to cover dispensing 12 months worth of contraceptives to women with insurance coverage, has passed the chamber and is now awaiting Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature. Similar legislation died in committee in the Senate last year–but with bipartisan sponsorship this session, Colorado Senate GOP leadership not only let the bill go to the floor but celebrated its passage out of the Senate’s “kill committee” in a press release:

Republican Bill Guaranteeing Women’s Health Care Passes Committee

House Bill 17-1186 asks health insurers that are required under current law to provide contraception coverage to extend coverage to provide 12-month’s worth of oral contraceptives for a woman with a prescription…

Reducing barriers to health care for women, and improving access to contraception improves the overall health and well-being of Colorado,” said Coram. “Women’s health care needs require near-constant attention and lifelong commitments. In rural Colorado, the nearest pharmacy can be an hour away and frequent trips are not a reality many Coloradans can afford. Today, we helped improve access for those who need it most, and took a crucial step in decreasing the number of unwanted pregnancies, and the associated repercussions in Colorado.”

After this “Republican” bill passed Senate State Affairs, Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado sang its praises:

“This is an incredible step toward for women and families. It means fewer trips to the pharmacy for people with busy lives or who live in rural areas with longer travel times. It also will result in reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, with a longer reliable supply of birth control. It just gives more stability to women and gives families’ ability to plan their lives,” said Sarah Taylor-Nanista, Vice President of Public Affairs of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado.

The bill’s final vote in the Senate before heading to the Governor’s desk was 22-11–while certainly not a majority of the Republican Senate caucus, a much healthier margin than many expected. In large part this can be attributed to the work of Sen. Don Coram in the Senate, winning swingable votes on policy by explaining how supporting this measure would also be good politics.

For those of you looking for a “but,” or a last-minute twist that allows for a clean partisan vilification, in the case of House Bill 17-1186 there isn’t one. What happened here was an objectively good thing; reasonable bipartisan cooperation on an issue that hasn’t seen nearly enough bipartisanship. Republicans who supported it can feel good morally and politically, while Democrats achieved a long-sought policy victory for women.

American politics need more stories like this. Many more.

Huge Gardner Protest Makes For Yuge “#DefundPP” Day Backfire

Yesterday was supposed to have been a nationwide day of protest by pro-life conservatives, answering the weeks of massive demonstrations against the new Trump administration and GOP-controlled Congress’ agenda on that and many other issues with their own call to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding.

But as the Denver Post’s Danika Worthington reports, that’s not how it played out in the Mile High City:

In the morning, more than a hundred people gathered outside Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountain headquarters in east Denver to call for the government to defund the health care service.

They held signs that read “Planned Parenthood lies to you” and “Stop abortion now.” This was one of about 200 protests scheduled across the country.

Then later in the day, more than a thousand rallied outside Republican Sen. Cory Gardner’s Denver office to support funding Planned Parenthood [Pols emphasis] while holding their own variety of signs, including “Girls just want to have fun-ding” and “Nevertheless, she persisted” while chanting “My body, my choice” and “Not the church, not the state, women will decide their fate.”

The estimates we’ve heard for yesterday’s rally outside Sen. Cory Gardner’s office in downtown Denver are all in the thousands. The crowd once again filled downtown Denver’s Skyline Park from 17th to 18th Streets, with more waving signs from adjacent street corners. Attendees lined up to hand-write letters to Sen. Gardner to be delivered this week by protest organizers, noting their local address and unpaid protester status:

One of the high points of yesterday’s rally was state Sen. Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada, reading the satirical pseudo-children’s book See Joan Run to the delight of thousands of rallygoers:

Bob says, “There are too many Dicks in office.”

In the end, the anti-abortion rally outside Planned Parenthood wasn’t completely squelched by the much larger protest to save Planned Parenthood, as evidenced with the news headlines that virtually all talk about the “dueling protests.” But the underlying fact that at least ten times as many people turned out in favor of Planned Parenthood as turned out against the organization, and probably a much higher ratio, cannot be considered anything but another major defeat for the anti-abortion movement–in one of the nation’s most pro-choice states.

In Colorado, #DefundPP was more than a bust. It was a backfire.

The fact that the rally to save Planned Parenthood was held outside Sen. Gardner’s offices also illustrates the growing political threat these actions represent to Republican elected officials here and around the country. Whether Gardner likes it or not–and we suspect he doesn’t like it one bit–he has become the local vessel into which the public is pouring its anger over the GOP’s and Trump administration’s agenda. Gardner’s infamous flip-flops and evasions on the abortion issue in particular on the campaign trail in 2014 have not been forgotten, and stand today as huge liabilities he has made no effort to resolve.

These few short weeks of upheaval cannot tell us what 2020, which is Gardner’s and Trump’s next election, will look like. But if Cory Gardner continues to dismiss what is happening outside his office as the work of “paid protesters” and liberal donor usual suspects?

There is a scenario in which it goes very badly for him.