Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 8)

Get More SmarterIt really doesn’t matter if you’re ready for some football, because it’s happening anyway; the Denver Broncos kick off the NFL season tonight at home against the Carolina Panthers. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► NBC News and talking puppet Matt Lauer hosted a “Commander-in-Chief” forum on Wednesday evening that was widely panned by critics because of Lauer’s apparent unwillingness to ask difficult questions of Republican candidate Donald Trump. From CNN Money:

The “Today” show co-host was criticized for spending too much time on Clinton’s emails, lobbing softball questions to Trump, and neglecting to fact-check the Republican nominee when he falsely claimed to have opposed the Iraq War in 2002.

“This #NBCNewsForum feels like an embarrassment to journalism,” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote on Twitter.

“Lauer has done great interviews. But that’s one of the weakest, least incisive performances I’ve seen from a presidential forum moderator,” tweeted Will Saletan, a writer at Slate.

Lauer’s journalistic indifference didn’t prevent Trump from making a number of questionable statements, however. As the Washington Post reports:

Donald Trump defended his admiration for Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at a forum here Wednesday focused on national security issues, even suggesting that Putin is more worthy of his praise than President Obama.

“Certainly, in that system, he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader,” Trump said. “We have a divided country.”…

…He reaffirmed his view that having men and women serve alongside one another is the root of the military’s sexual-assault problem. He said recent intelligence briefings have convinced him that Clinton and other Obama administration officials did not heed the advice of experts. And he praised Putin, noting among other things the Russian president’s “82 percent approval rating.”

Trump’s comments are a problem for Republican candidates such as Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), who face new scrutiny over whether or not they agree with Trump on foreign policy issues specifically.

Trump also made some bizarre claims about his visit to Mexico last week.

 

Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson is confused by the word “Aleppo” (hint: it’s a big city in Syria).

 

► “This is the race of Coffman’s career.” That single quote is a pretty good summary of a CD-6 preview from Corey Hutchins of the Colorado Independent. Elsewhere, the Denver Post reports on Democrat Morgan Carroll’s first TV ad of the cycle.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Sen. Laura Woods Posts Discredited Anti-Vaxxer Nonsense

We were alerted to this Facebook post by GOP Sen. Laura Waters Woods of Arvada a short while ago today:

woodsautism2

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

As many of our readers know, Sen. Woods’ out-of-the-mainstream views on vaccines have surfaced a couple of times in her legislative career, most damagingly in 2015 when she joined Sen. Tim Neville to support the ill-fated “Parents Bill of Rights” legislation that would have made it even easier to opt school-age children out of vaccinations. Vaccines are just one of a number of issues that have Republicans very nervous about Woods as she campaigns for re-election in swing Senate District 19.

Safe to say, the story she just posted on Facebook isn’t going to help:

In December 2012, two landmark decisions were announced that confirmed Dr. Wakefield’s original concern that there is a link between the MMR vaccine, autism and stomach disorders. The news went mostly unreported, but independent outlets like The Liberty Beacon finally began publishing the groundbreaking news.

The website wrote last month, ‘In a recently published December 13, 2012 vaccine court ruling, hundreds of thousands of dollars were awarded to Ryan Mojabi, whose parents described how “MMR vaccinations” caused a “severe and debilitating injury to his brain, diagnosed as Autism Spectrum Disorder (‘ASD’).”’

The Liberty Beacon went on to describe the second court ruling that month, as well as similar previous verdicts writing, ‘Later the same month, the government suffered a second major defeat when young Emily Moller from Houston won compensation following vaccine-related brain injury that, once again, involved MMR and resulted in autism…’

The story Woods linked to, posted to an obscure website called “The Free Patriot” and dated August 16th of this year, is in fact a story from August of 2013 published on a right-wing website called “The Liberty Beacon.” The intent of the story appears to be to vindicate the discredited views of anti-vaccine researcher Andrew Wakefield. The wild claims in this story were themselves debunked years ago, as numerous publications have documented in the subsequent three years:

Andrew Wakefield has not been proven right.

There have been no landmark events to prove that Wakefield was right.

There was no government concession in US Vaccine Court. The Ryan Mojabi case was about encephalitis, not autism. So vaccines still don’t cause autism… except when Dr. Bob Sears states that they do, but they still don’t.

There was no groundbreaking scientific paper.

In fact, the latest study, “Vaccines are not associated with autism: An evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies,” again said that vaccines are not associated with autism.

Andrew Wakefield has not been proven right.

Vaccines still don’t cause autism.

And everyone still thinks that Wakefield’s article linking the MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent.

In short, Sen. Woods read a reposted three-year old story on what looks like a spammer content thief website that falsely attempts to vindicate the man who discredited himself by claiming vaccines cause autism. And then she posted it today like it’s new information.

Next time somebody tells you Colorado’s most vulnerable state senator isn’t off the deep end on the issue of Colorado’s pitiful vaccination rate for school-age kids against preventable diseases, you’ll know better.

With one Facebook post, Woods just did more to prove her detractors correct than anyone else could.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 30)

Get More SmarterS-I-E-M-I-A-N. It’s going to take some practice to spell that name correctly on the first try. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett Packard and a major Republican donor (not to mention a former GOP candidate for Governor in California), is in Colorado today to help raise money…for Democrat Hillary Clinton. From the Denver Post:

Whitman will meet with Colorado business leaders for breakfast at the Crawford Hotel to discuss Clinton’s jobs plan, which includes investing in technology companies and helping small businesses succeed.

“As a proud Republican, casting my vote for president has usually been a simple matter,” Whitman said in a statement. “Not this year. The reality we face is that Donald Trump is unfit to be president. And that is why more and more Republicans are doing what I did and supporting Hillary Clinton”…

Whitman ran unsuccessfully for governor of California in 2010 and was a finance co-chairwoman for Mitt Romney’s presidential run in 2012. Like Romney, she has been one of Trump’s chief critics within his own party, likening him to a fascist who lacks the temperament to be president.

 

► Two proposed ballot measures dealing with fracking have failed to qualify for the November ballot. Measures to set mandatory drilling setbacks and to allow for more local control in oil and gas drilling decisions did not meet the necessarily signature threshold to be included on the ballot.

Proponents of the fracking measures are still considering potential legal challenges, but it would appear that the number of statewide initiatives this year will remain at seven (along with two additional measures referred to the ballot by the state legislature).

 

► Make sure to check out the newest episode of The Get More Smarter Show, featuring an interview with Congressman Jared Polis (D-Boulderish).

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Donald Trump and the recalled Jeffco school board: you won’t believe this

In 2015, I was proud to join my Jefferson County neighbors as we reclaimed our school board from far-right radicals who took control two years before. We literally made #JeffcoSchoolBoardHistory. After watching the school board attack the teachers and schools that make Jeffco one of the best places to raise a family in America, by an overwhelming 65% margin, we ended the ability of Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams to play ideological games with Colorado’s finest public schools–recalling them and replacing them with a clean slate that restored dignity and community respect to the Jeffco school board.

Unfortunately, Ken Witt, president of the recalled board, isn’t finished trying to harm public education in Colorado just yet. Last week, Donald Trump announced that Witt is the Trump campaign’s state “education coalition co-chair.”

Sign our petition: tell Trump to dump Ken Witt right now.

If there was anyone left in Jefferson County undecided about Donald Trump, choosing Ken Witt as his education co-chair in Colorado should settle the question. Trump couldn’t pick a more divisive figure of his campaign for our state if he tried. Witt’s disastrous tenure as president of the Jefferson County school board was beset with allegations of bullying students, hostility to teachers, breaking promises to voters on spending tax dollars, and dubious “reviews” of history curriculum to ensure what’s taught in the classroom doesn’t offend conservatives.

Tell Donald Trump to cut ties with Ken Witt for the sake of every child in Colorado.

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 26)

Get More SmarterWe’re still waiting for the day when pigs fly, but now we can all say we were alive for the moment when pizza took flightIt’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took the gloves off in a speech in Reno on Thursday. As CNN reports:

The speech that Hillary Clinton delivered on Thursday was the one that many Democrats had been waiting for.

It was a blistering attack on Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric that left no gaffe or alleged dog-whistle unmentioned, framing him as a vessel for hate speech, a champion of conspiracy theories, and a representative of the far-right fringe of the Republican Party…

…There was little subtlety in Clinton’s speech. In a moment that drew gasps and jeers from the Reno audience, she read a series of recent headlines from the Breitbart website. Among them: “‘Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy” and “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.”

► The campaign for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump announced a bunch of new made-up “coalitions” in Colorado. This isn’t particularly strange on its own, but it gets weird when you consider whose name is included as a co-chair of the Colorado Education coalition for Trump: Former Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt.

 

► Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) referred to Trump as a “fraud” not long ago; now, Buck is endorsing Trump for President!

 

► Make sure to check out the newest episode of The Get More Smarter Show, featuring an interview with Congressman Jared Polis (D-Boulderish).

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 25)

Get More SmarterIt was darn near…chilly this morning. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence is apparently a big supporter of “Official English.” When he was a Member of Congress, Pence was a frequent co-sponsor of legislation designed to make English the “official” language of the federal government. Republican Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) has also regularly co-sponsored “Official English” legislation.

 

► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump will stop in Aspen today for a fundraiser hosted by prominent Colorado Republican Larry Mizel. Meanwhile, new polling from Pew Research suggests that the majority of Americans are not big fans of Trump’s immigration policies. From the Washington Post:

Large majorities of those surveyed said they believe that undocumented immigrants fill jobs U.S. citizens don’t want, are as honest and hardworking as U.S. citizens and are no more likely than U.S. citizens to commit serious crimes — sound rebukes of Trump’s rhetoric on immigration.

Even some of Trump’s own supporters reported positive views of undocumented immigrants on some issues. They expressed negative views of undocumented immigrants on other issues, including whether undocumented immigrants commit more violent crimes than U.S. citizens.

A majority of those surveyed also rejected one of Trump’s signature policies: building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump has vowed to get Mexico to pay for the wall, and the proposal has become such a big part of Trump’s presidential campaign that supporters chant “build the wall” at his rallies.

It’s no wonder that Trump is sorta kinda walking back some of his rhetoric on immigration reform.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Nancy Doty’s Backwards Worldview

(The graphic design follies continue – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Doty upside down EarthI’ve been trying to convince journalists to find out why state senate candidate Nancy Doty thinks Sarah Palin gave a “Spot on” speech in Denver, in which the former Alaska governor raved about Donald Trump. (Here’s a funny video to emphasize the point.)

From where I sit as a progressive, the world is pretty backwards if you think Palin is “spot on.”

And it turns out, judging from the recent Doty advertisement on your right, that’s exactly how Doty sees the Earth–transposed, ass backwards, if you will.

So, does the inverted worldview on Doty’s mailer have anything to do with her enthusiasm about Palin and Trump?

Or is Doty’s backwards Earth related to the ability of kids to “count on NANCY DOTY” for a “WORLD CLASS” education?

I doubt it, to be honest, but she’s yet to be questioned, so we don’t know. And if there’s one thing you learn as a journalist, it’s that you never know what someone will say until you ask them.

Doty’s Arapahoe County race against State Rep. Daniel Kagan is key, along with an Arvada state senate contest, in the GOP’s struggle to maintain their one-seat majority in the senate chamber and thereby block Democrats’ hopes of controlling state government next year.

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 23)

Get More SmarterOn this day in history…it turns out not much happened. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

Congressman Mike Coffman’s re-election campaign is mashing the panic button. On Monday, Coffman’s campaign started attacking Democratic opponent Morgan Carroll with bizarre claims that she is not a supporter of immigration reform; in 2013, in fact, Carroll was a co-sponsor of the ASSET bill in Colorado, also known as “Colorado’s DREAM Act.” Of course, it is Coffman who has been wishy-washy on immigration issues throughout his entire career, and Monday’s blatant attempt to confuse the issue was another indication of Coffman’s political worries this election cycle. 

Perhaps Team Coffman is lashing out in anger over the fact that former CD-6 Rep. Tom Tancredo — a man Coffman once called his political “hero” — is making a point to dump on Coffman whenever possible. On Monday, Tancredo clarified earlier statements that he might consider voting for Carroll (though he doesn’t actually live in CD-6 anymore) while making sure to rip Coffman again. “I don’t think there’s anything sincere about Mike Coffman,” said Tancredo in an interview with Jason Salzman.

 

► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is sorta-kinda taking a new approach to the issue of illegal immigration. As the Washington Post reports:

After spending a few days reflecting on his immigration stances and consulting with Hispanic supporters, Donald Trump on Monday detailed how he would deal with the millions of immigrants illegally living in the United States: Enforce laws that are already on the books and continue to do what President Obama is doing, although “perhaps with a lot more energy.”

This strategy marks a sudden change for the Republican nominee, who has presented himself as a politically incorrect outsider who is not afraid to take extreme measures to combat illegal immigration, such as deporting 11 million people or constructing a massive wall along the Southern border. For more than a year, Trump insisted that all illegal immigrants “have got to go” and that he would create a “deportation force” to carry out the task.

Trump struck a starkly different tone during an interview with Bill O’Reilly that aired on Fox News on Monday night. Trump said he would separate the country’s undocumented immigrants into two groups: The “bad ones” who would be kicked out of the country as soon as he takes office and “everybody else” who would go through the same process that the Obama Administration is currently using.

On Monday, Trump told O’Reilly that the first thing he would do as President would be to “get rid of all the bad [illegal immigrants.]” That sounds so easy! Why didn’t anyone think of that before?

 

► Trump is expected to attend a high-dollar fundraiser in Aspen on Thursday, but contrary to national media reports, Trump will not make a separate appearance in Colorado to deliver a big speech on his immigration reform proposals.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Morgan Carroll, Trade Groups Come Out Against Amendment 69

coloradocareFollowing up on the week’s blue-on-blue dustup over Amendment 69, the “ColoradoCare” initiative to set up single-payer health coverage in Colorado–after liberal groups and a large contingent of Democratic lawmakers came out against the measure this week at a press conference hosted by liberal activist group ProgressNow Colorado, the AFL-CIO affiliated Colorado Building and Construction Trades Council representing 30,000 skilled trade workers in the state is urging its members to vote no:

“The Colorado Building and Construction Trades Council stands in opposition of Amendment 69. While our organization has a long history of fighting for national healthcare reform and for better benefits for our members, Amendment 69 would actually increase, and in many cases double, the healthcare costs of our construction industry employees represented by this council. It would also impact our fellow union members who travel to Colorado to help us build our infrastructure in Colorado.”

“The drafters of amendment 69 made broad assumptions that failed to recognize the complexities of the Taft-Hartley healthcare trust funds utilized by our employers and unions to provide healthcare to our members. Healthcare reform requires a national focus and uniform application to work for our members and this industry. For these reasons, we will be in opposition to Amendment 69.”

Background
Our organization has three main concerns with Amendment 69:

• Our members would be forced to pay the Colorado Care payroll tax surcharge for at least 3 years while the fund to implement the program was established – all the while continuing to contribute to their existing healthcare plan. This would double our members costs for at least the first three years of the program.

• Amendment 69 would double the costs for our members with working spouses. Currently our healthcare benefits provide full family coverage for children and spouses allowing the spouse to often waive healthcare benefits when they choose to work. Amendment 69 would force the working spouses of our members to pay payroll tax surcharges for Colorado Care regardless of whether they were covered under the plan of their spouses.

• Finally, Amendment 69 would require union construction workers from other states who come to Colorado work to pay twice, for their existing healthcare plan at their home local union in another state AND the Colorado Care payroll tax surcharge for the wages they earn in Colorado. It is unclear whether or not the out-of-state workers would ever receive any benefits under Colorado Care. Colorado unions would still be required to reimburse out-of-state sister unions for the traveling employees healthcare benefits.

Every bit as significant comes word today that Democratic congressional candidate Morgan Carroll in CD-6 will oppose Amendment 69:

Carroll is just the latest high-profile Democrat to oppose Amendment 69, joining a long list of respected leaders from former Gov. Bill Ritter and Lt. Gov. Gail Schoettler to Gov. John Hickenlooper and much of the Democratic House caucus.

At this point, it should be evident that opposition to Amendment 69 is much stronger among liberal Democrats than anything that could be arranged by “corporate lobbyists” or other usual suspect blame receptacles. The policy objections raised by Democratic critics of the proposal, including the new problems voices by the trades council above, haven’t been acknowledged so much by Amendment 69’s proposed as dismissed out of hand. But along with objections raised by NARAL Pro Choice Colorado over access to abortion, these are legitimate concerns–not “misdirections” to be flip about.

And if it’s true that these weren’t adequately considered when Amendment 69 was drafted, well, that’s a big problem. The permanence of a constitutional amendment leaves no room for oversights of the kind these liberal interest groups allege. Unions and pro-choice advocates cannot be expected to go along with vague promises to address in the unspecified future problems they can see with their own eyes today.

When all of your allies are giving you the same bad news, it’s time to listen.

PROGRESS – WHEN?

(Sen. Irene Aguilar is a proponent of Amendment 69 – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Irene Aguilar (D).

Sen. Irene Aguilar (D).

In 2007 I had the privilege of serving on the Vulnerable Populations Task Force of Colorado’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Reform (Commission).  This is when I first learned that the United States is the only developed nation in the world that does not provide access to basic health care for its entire population; yet we spend twice as much as almost every other developed nation. The Commission’s analysis also showed that by enacting a single payer financing system Colorado could afford full access to health care for every resident and decrease spending by $1.6 billion dollars in its first year.

Having worked as a Primary Care Physician at Denver Health for 18 years and witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of the inability to afford basic health care on people’s lives, I was ecstatic to learn that there was a solution that was both socially just and fiscally conservative. I was certain that the Commission would recommend this plan.

Imagine my dismay when I was told by the chair of the House Committee on Health and Human Services:  “that’s all good and well Dr. Aguilar, but this will never happen in the United States.”

Fortunately, I turned that dismay into action. I determined to find a way to save lives (and money) and help Colorado become the first state in the nation to enact a single payer health care system.

The rest is history:

It is worth noting that the 2009 House Bill, 2011 Senate Bill and 2013 Senate Joint Resolution simply created a study group to analyze how Colorado might implement a universal health care system.

In 2015 a referendum was drafted but not introduced at the request of the Speaker of the House and her chief of staff.  When this happened, a group of activists working on universal health care took action and put Amendment 69, ColoradoCare, on the ballot. With volunteers from across the state over 156,000 signatures were collected and submitted in October 2015. ColoradoCare was approved for the ballot in November 2015.

(more…)

Laura Woods raffles off an AR15

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Sen. Laura Woods wants to be sure you’re clear:

—–

woodsar15

Desperate for attention and apparently cash starved, one brick shy of a full load Senator Laura Woods has decided to auction off every mass killer’s weapon of choice, an AR15 to fund her floundering campaign.

This is good news for Rachel Zenzinger, Woods’ sane opponent, in that these types of antics will not work in the Arvada/Wesminster senate district they are both seeking to represent.

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 19)

Get More SmarterThe Rio Olympics come to a close this weekend. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

The Get More Smarter Show is back today, featuring an extended interview with Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County). Watch the interview and find out if Rep. Perlmutter will be going to Mars (no, really).

 

► Paul Manafort has resigned as campaign chairman for Donald Trump’s Presidential bid, just two days after Trump made significant leadership changes at the top of his organization that appeared to leave Manafort on the bench. As Chris Cillizza writes for “The Fix,” Manafort’s departure confirms the obvious:

Campaigns never, ever like to admit they are making a change as a result of problems within their operation. It shows weakness, they theorize, and weakness is bad when you are trying to get someone elected president of the United States.

Which brings me to this week and the insistence by everyone affiliated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign that the addition of Breitbart News boss Stephen Bannon and the elevation of pollster KellyAnne Conway to the two top jobs within the organization was DEFINITELY not a shake-up.

Conway said Wednesday that calling it a shake-up was a misnomer. Rather, she said, this was an effort to “expand the senior team that allows us to meet the needs,” adding: “I think Paul Manafort as chairman and Rick Gates as deputy have done a phenomenal job building our campaign over last five or six months to put it in a competitive place going into the fall. So I look forward to continuing to work with both of them.”

Or not.

On the plus side, perhaps we have seen the last of Trump legal counsel Michael Cohen making a fool of himself answering questions on TV.

 

► Meanwhile, Trump expressed something similar to actual remorse in comments Thursday in Charlotte. Politico ponders the question of whether or not this signals an actual shift for Trump, or just an out-of-character blip on the radar:

The Republican nominee on Thursday night delivered one of his most surprising speeches yet, expressing “regret” if his past inflammatory rhetoric had caused personal pain. It was a stunning statement coming from a candidate who has said “to apologize for me is very difficult” and that his last sorry was “too many years ago to remember.”…

…But this isn’t the first time Trump has been reeled in only to return to his explosive ways. Following the firing of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and the elevation of Manafort in June, Trump delivered a scripted and targeted speech on the stakes of the election and the importance of defeating Clinton…

…The pivot didn’t stick, however, as Trump made a series of inflammatory statements after the convention that sent his poll numbers into free fall.

If you’re holding your breath…you should probably stop.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Senate Republicans Entice Donors with Horse (and John Elway)

We were forwarded this invitation to a fundraiser benefitting the state Senate Republicans, and we felt compelled to share it with our readers.

The headliner of the event is former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, who has long been a staunch Republican supporter. Elway’s name appears at the top of the invitation, just before the name Climax Molybdenum, which sounds like some sort of new-age porn star but is in fact a Colorado mining company.

But our favorite part of the invitation is the big mention at the bottom left: A special appearance by Thunder, the Broncos mascot. For a minimum contribution of $500, you can get up close and personal with a horse.

UpdatedElwayInvite

Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 18)

Get More SmarterBack to school, back to school; to show my dad, that I’m not a fool. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► According to polling results released Thursday by Quinnipiac University, Colorado’s U.S. Senate race is really starting to get away from Republicans. Incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) leads Republican Darryl Glenn 52-38 in a head-to-head matchup. These numbers are similar to those reported by NBC/Marist last week, in which Bennet was leading Glenn 53-38.

Quinnipiac has a strange history of polling in Colorado, however, and they added to their weird reputation in a press release announcing the poll numbers. Here’s a quote from Tim Malloy of Quinnipiac University: “There is still time for Darryl Glenn to summon enough support to win a Senate seat the GOP sorely needs.”

Um, no. There may not even be time for Glenn to get this race to within single digits.

On Wednesday, Quinnipiac released polling numbers in Colorado for the Presidential race, showing Hillary Clinton with a 10-point lead over Donald Trump.

 

► Speaking of Trump, his new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, says that her plan moving forward is to “let Trump be Trump.” In other words, Donald Trump has apparently given up on the idea of being elected President.

 

► The U.S. Justice Department announced on Thursday that it will no longer employ the use of private prisons, citing evidence that they are less safe and less effective than government-run prisons. From the Washington Post:

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”

“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Yates wrote.

The Justice Department’s inspector general last week released a critical reportconcluding that privately operated facilities incurred more safety and security incidents than those run by the federal Bureau of Prisons. The private facilities, for example, had higher rates of assaults — both by inmates on other inmates and by inmates on staff — and had eight times as many contraband cellphones confiscated each year on average, according to the report. Yates said there are 13 privately run facilities under the Bureau of Prisons purview.

There are several private prisons in Colorado that house criminals convicted of state or local crimes; it is unclear how this announcement might affect these facilities.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)