There’s Stupid, Then There’s Sen. Ray Scott (R)

As the Colorado Independent’s Alex Burness reports, while everyone with a college education in Grand Junction (and plenty of students too) hangs their heads in shame:

Climate change has led to “massive improvements” and “the planet is a thing that heals itself,” state Sen. Ray Scott argued Thursday morning.

Scott, a Republican from Grand Junction, was speaking against Senate Bill 96, which would require the state to collect greenhouse gas emissions data from oil and gas wells, coal mines and other sources of planet-warming gases. Reports on emissions would be released annually, which supporters hope would help guide climate change policy.

“I will argue that climate change is occurring, but in the reverse order,” Scott told his colleagues on the Senate floor. “Anybody in this room and I can have a discussion about what was our climate like 100 years ago or 80 years ago or 50 years ago or 20 years ago. We have made massive improvements in our climate. Massive improvements.”

The clip above summarizes Sen. Scott’s singularly idiotic floor speech against Senate Bill 19-096 this morning, which can be most charitably described as a low-information conflation of particulate and other visible forms of air pollution with greenhouse gas emissions responsible for human-caused climate change. Legislation like the Clean Air Act, which Republicans of course vociferously oppose, has indeed led to a reduction in many dangerous forms of air pollution including a lot of the stuff one can see.

But of course we’re talking about the climate, not the “brown cloud”–and unless you’re stoked about the desertification of the Front Range and millions of climate refugees fleeing to high ground like Colorado from flooded coastal cities across the globe, it’s really, really hard to argue that we’re looking at anything you’d call a “massive improvement.”

Don’t spend too much time trying to figure his meaning out. All that matters is Sen. Scott doesn’t have a clue.

GOP CU Prez Finalist Blows Basic Diversity Question

Former Rep. Mark Kennedy (R).

As the Denver Post’s Elizabeth Hernandez reports, an interview at Colorado Public Radio with the controversial sole finalist to be the next President of the University of Colorado, former GOP Rep. Mark Kennedy, took a turn for the embarrassing when he flubbed a basic and essential question about the role of affirmative action in university admissions:

Host Ryan Warner referenced the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights requiring Texas Tech University’s medical school to stop considering race in admissions. Warner asked Kennedy what his thoughts were, in general, on affirmative action in Colorado college admissions.

Kennedy stumbled.

“I have not wrestled with that at a university yet, in that restrictions have not been as — let me go back,” Kennedy told Warner. “Can I just not answer that question?” [Pols emphasis]

No, as the sole finalist for President of the state’s flagship public university, you have to answer that question.

So Mark Kennedy did. And it was not a good answer:

Kennedy told Warner the question caught him off guard and followed up with: “I think however we do admissions, it has to be done in a way to recognize that diversity provides a benefit to all and there are many ways of doing that.”

While it’s true that diversity among student bodies is beneficial to everyone, affirmative action is most certainly and foremost meant to benefit the minority groups who have been historically underrepresented in higher education. To inartfully dance around this central fact, especially after trying to avoid the question entirely, is problematic to say the least–you might call it the college admissions equivalent of “all lives matter.”

Kennedy later told the Post that the reason for these troubling answers to a very straightforward question were the result of him worrying about being late to his next appointment, and “clarified” that affirmative action should result in neither “undue benefit or undue penalty.” Unfortunately that clarification doesn’t clarify much of anything–and honestly sounds more like a swipe against what affirmative action is, you know, all about.

Fair to say that if you’re one of the CU students protesting your new “sole finalist,” your concerns were not allayed.

Denver Mayoral Candidate Jamie Giellis Didn’t Vote LAST YEAR

What, me vote?

It is, oddly, not unusual to see a story about a candidate for elected office who has apparently not bothered to regularly vote in prior elections. Just last year, a Republican candidate for Governor of Oklahoma struggled to explain why he himself hadn’t voted in a single Gubernatorial election since at least 1999.

As John Ensslin reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Denver Mayoral candidate Jamie Giellis hasn’t been particularly interested in her civic duty in years past:

Giellis, a candidate for Denver mayor, has not voted in 10 of the 22 municipal elections that have occurred since she moved to the city in 2006, according to a Colorado Politics review of city election records.

Giellis, a former president of the River North Arts District, voted in 12 elections during that time but missed three runoff elections, three coordinated elections, two general elections, one municipal election and one primary election, according to her voting history.

By contrast, three others considered to be in the first tier of mayoral candidates have voted in all but a handful of elections during that same period.

“It’s my bad for not doing that.”

     —  Denver Mayoral candidate Jamie Giellis on failing to vote in nearly half of Denver’s elections

Missing an election here or there is not unusual, but it’s a little weird for a candidate to barely manage to cast a ballot in half of all previous elections. Incredibly, Giellis apparently didn’t even vote in the 2018 Primary Election in Colorado, even as she was considering her own bid for elected office (Giellis formally launched her campaign in November 2018). Giellis thinks that she did vote last June, but she eventually admits to Ensslin that, well, she’s not actually sure about that:

“The 2018 primary election is concerning to me,” she wrote. “During that time my husband and I were traveling for our wedding and living with my parents as we finished a home renovation, but in the midst of that chaos I recall casting a ballot that appears to have not been received. It was my job to ensure my vote was counted, and I failed at that.” [Pols emphasis]

During a Mayoral candidate forum moderated by 9News reporters Marshall Zelinger and Kyle Clark on Wednesday, Giellis got another chance to explain her spotty voting record. She failed. Miserably.

ZELINGER: Since 2011, when Mr. Hancock was elected, voter records show that you have only voted in half of the elections. I know you lived out of the country for some of that time, but if you want to lead the City of Denver, why didn’t you care enough to vote absentee?

GIELLIS: I think it’s a great question, and, you know, I was traveling abroad, in Singapore and the U.K., for most of that time, a big chunk of that time. And it’s a big task to vote while you’re abroad. And it’s my bad for not doing that…

…I didn’t realize that there was a litmus test for being willing to step up and take a leadership role in the city. [Pols emphasis]

Denver voters are receiving their mail ballots for the municipal election this week. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise if many of them don’t bother to vote for Giellis.

Mueller Report Open Thread #1

UPDATE #4: Rep. Diana DeGette’s statement is much more to the point:

“The report released today paints a very different picture than what the president and attorney general had hoped the American people would see. And it’s now more important than ever that Congress be granted access to the full unredacted report immediately.”


UPDATE #3: Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) might be the world’s fastest reader. From the Denver Post:

“I voted for the release of the Mueller report because I value transparency in government and all of my constituents should be able to read the document, firsthand,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, on Twitter. “Now it’s been released and it’s very clear – absolutely no collusion.”

Lamborn’s conclusions came 45 minutes after release of the 448-page report. [Pols emphasis] The report states that investigators did not search for collusion, but rather coordination, between Trump’s former campaign and the Russian government as the latter interfered in the 2016 presidential election.


UPDATE #2: This deserves its own post.


UPDATE: A key portion of the report appears to acknowledge that President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice, but was prevented from doing so by subordinates who refused to break the law:

That’s pretty far from “exonerating.”


Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Attorney General William Barr

The 400-page Mueller Report will be revealed today (in a redacted form) for the first time. This morning, President Trump’s personal attorney Attorney General William Barr held a press conference to discuss the report’s release but also to preemptively defend his client the President.

We don’t yet know what the Mueller Report says, and it will take awhile for everything to be read and digested by news outlets, but here’s Aaron Blake of the Washington Post after Barr’s press conference this morning:

When Attorney General William P. Barr announced he was going to hold a news conference before the release of the Mueller report Thursday, there was instant pushback. How can the media ask questions about a report it hasn’t seen? Would this just be a whole bunch of pre-spin from a man already accused of being too friendly to the president who appointed him?

Barr’s performance did nothing to argue against those allegations.

In a lengthy opening statement, Barr found just about every way possible to say that there was no coordination, cooperation or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. He also said Trump was right about “no collusion,” expanding the Mueller report’s clearing of Trump to a more nebulous term with little legal significance.

But perhaps more importantly, on obstruction of justice, he seemed to go to bat for Trump personally, offering a sympathetic take on the president’s state of mind and cooperation. [Pols emphasis]

There will no doubt be much more to discuss on this topic as the day progresses.

Thursday Open Thread

“Someone who smiles too much with you can sometime frown too much with you at your back.”

–Michael Bassey Johnson

Congrats, GOP! You’re The Anti-Vaxxer Party Again

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: GOP Rep. Mark Baisley explains the GOP’s party-line opposition to House Bill 19-1312 in a lengthy post today–and it’s a worst-case scenario, invoking the most discredited of misinformation about vaccines:

The stated goal of the bill is to reduce the occurrence of childhood diseases. Colorado averages approximately 90% current vaccinations for children under 3 years of age. But recent epidemics such as autism have arisen and parents are understandably suspicious of vaccines as the cause. [Pols emphasis] Citizens should not be coerced by the State to permit pharmaceutical injections into their children. Nor should they be shamed by their own government for their choice.

Furthermore, Colorado citizens entrust billions of their hard-earned dollars every year to their government to provide K12 education. This bill threatens to withhold delivering that service to children whose parents do not cooperate with their government’s controlling ambitions.

I stand in strong opposition to HB19-1312.

In today’s Republican Party, pseudoscience has triumphed. Who can argue otherwise?



As the Denver Post’s Anna Staver reported in the wee hours, and then hopefully she went to bed:

A bill to make it harder for parents to get a vaccination exemption for their children passed out of a Colorado House committee on a 7-4 vote at about 4 a.m. Tuesday morning — nearly 14 hours after the hearing started.

It was the longest committee of the 2019 legislative session so far with hundred of parents bouncing and walking their children up and down the Capitol halls late into the night…

“This is about keeping Colorado’s kids safe. We need to be proactive, not reactive. We are in the midst of public health crisis and we can’t wait for a tragedy to occur,” Rep. Mullica, D-Northglenn, said in a statement released early Tuesday morning after the bill passed. “Experts believe this option will help improve Colorado’s dismal and dangerous immunization rates.”

Owing to the hefty Democratic majority in the Colorado House of Representatives, it should be noted that the 7-4 vote in favor of House Bill 19-1312 was in fact a party-line vote. All the Republicans on the House Health and Insurance Committee voted against the bill, which is itself a compromise from earlier proposed legislation that would have eliminated the personal-choice exemption for immunization of children headed to Colorado public schools. As we discussed previously, that proposal was considered too coercive by Gov. Jared Polis, leading to this compromise measure that should still help improve Colorado’s embarrassingly low child immunization rate.

The issue of childhood vaccinations, more to the point the highly prevalent misinformation suggesting a range of negative health effects from vaccinating children that has no scientific basis, doesn’t always divide cleanly along partisan lines. One of the areas of the state with a low rate of vaccinations is “progressive” Boulder County. Over the last few years, however, the “freedom” to not have children vaccinated has been championed almost exclusively in Colorado by Republican lawmakers on the fringy side of the caucus. Two now-defeated Republican Senators in particular, Laura Woods and Tim Neville, unapologetically championed both the pseudoscience behind anti-vaxxer ideology and conspiracy theories about children being “rounded up and vaccinated” without their parent’s consent.

In case you were wondering who was going to take up the anti-vaxxer cause now that Woods and Tim Neville are history, direct your attention to all the Republicans on the House Health and Insurance Committee.

Congratulations, Colorado Republicans, for taking ownership of this fringe issue. Again.

Elizabeth Warren In Aurora: Not Too Shabby

As the Aurora Sentinel’s Kara Mason reports, a big show of support yesterday evening for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in a part of the state and Denver metro area that showcased its shift from red to blue in last year’s elections:

[Warren] took to the stage at The Hangar at the Stanley Marketplace for an organizing event with one specific ask in mind: that her supporters engage with other people, especially people across political divisions, before the Colorado primary to learn what Americans have in common…

Colorado Democrats favored Bernie Sanders over Hilary Clinton in 2016 and former President Barack Obama over Hilary Clinton in 2012 — a clue that candidates like Sanders and Warren may fair better in metro Denver this cycle, too. The 2018 election also serves as a recent reminder that Arapahoe County is more blue than it once was, with the election of Congressman Jason Crow and the defeat of the Republican clerk and sheriff.

Sen. Warren’s support among the progressive base Democratic voters who decide primaries in our state is at this early point in the cycle much stronger than her popularity with the general electorate, which is attributable at least in part to the Hillary Clinton-style demonization campaign that has been pre-emptively mounted against Warren for a years in anticipation of her long-expected presidential run. We do believe that Warren has both the backstory and the present-day credibility to overcome the challenge of being pre-savaged by conservative media, and is short-list competitive in the 2020 Democratic primary as the polling indicates.

But for today, it’s enough to note–that’s a really good crowd shot! Kudos to Warren’s advance team on showing people how it’s done. The yardstick we’ll be judging future presidential whistle stops by has been upped thusly.

Your Source for Trump-Infused Criticism of the Colo Republican Party

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

What’s your best underworld source for unfiltered Trump-infused criticism of Colorado’s Republican Party?

A radio show with an innocent name, the “Chuck and Julie Show,” but a pair of Republican hosts, Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden, who routinely throw fellow Republicans off the cliff as buzzards call the program to find out where to feed later.

Day after day, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on KNUS-710 AM, the show dedicates big blocks of time to dissecting Republican failures in Colorado, naming names and letting no one off the hook.

Fat cat Republican consultants. Cory Gardner. Developers. State Republican Party leaders. Chamber of Commerce. Mike Coffman. Phil Anschutz. Oil Companies. No one is off the radar.

The show welcomes all stripes of underworld guests who throw grenades, some more rumor- than fact-based, at fellow Colorado Republicans, especially those who dare to challenge Trump or his policies. Bonniwell, who’s the publisher of the Cherry Creek Chronicle, once called Gardner a “total [whore] for the Chamber of Commerce,” a “Mitch McConnell stooge.

This little snippet from Friday is a good example.


Recall Polis Campaign Goes Psycho Over Sol Pais

UPDATE: Moderator of the Recall Polis Facebook group sounds the all clear:

It would appear that the faithful remain unconvinced.


The news is breaking from multiple local outlets that an 18-year-old woman from Florida who was allegedly “obsessed” with the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton and made credible threats of violence against area schools is dead, having been found at Echo Lake near Mt. Evans this morning:

The FBI Denver office confirmed the agency had responded to the base of Mt. Evans Wednesday morning and, in a tweet just before 11 a.m., said there was no longer a threat to the community.

According to Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers, Pais’s body was found at 10:50 a.m. about a half-mile from Echo Lake Park, located near the Mount Evans Scenic Byway about 45 miles west of Denver.

The drama over threats made by Sol Pais and the resulting lock-out of hundreds of area public schools yesterday and again today has riveted media and dominated local social media discussion for the last 24 hours. And over at the closed Facebook group page for the conspiracy theory-positive Recall Polis campaign, there’s a clear consensus emerging that this is what’s known among the InfoWars crowd as a “false flag” operation:

Now, Jennifer McCreary may think she’s a “crazy woman” to think this could have been a trick to distract the voters of Colorado from the Polis recall campaign–and to be brutally honest, lots of our readers will agree. But you know who doesn’t think this is “crazy?”

Pastor Steven Grant and hundreds of fellow Recall Polis members, that’s who!


CO Lawmaker Says It’s Hypocritical for Pro-Choice Dems to Worry About Immigrants Who Miscarry in ICE Custody

(Stay classy! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

State Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs)

State Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) criticized presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) on social media last week after she expressed concern for pregnant women who have miscarried while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), questioning whether she has the “moral authority” to do so given her pro-choice stance.

“Detaining pregnant women is dangerous,” Harris said on Twitter last week. “As many as 28 women have miscarried in ICE custody over the past two years. I’ve called on this Administration to end this practice now.”

Hill took to Facebook with his response, asking, “How can you have any moral authority decrying an accidental miscarriage when you support voluntary miscarriage (aka abortion) up to the point of birth?

He went on to say, “It seems the only logical difference is the desire of the mother. Does this change the moral logic?

It’s worth noting that Hill’s characterization of abortion “up to the point of birth” is misleading, part of a wider effort by conservatives to stoke outrage and spread misinformation about abortions that take place later in pregnancy…


Hundreds of Schools Closed as Manhunt Continues



A total of 20 or 30 armed officers including a SWAT team and a Clear Creek County snowcat were near the Echo Lake Campground in the Arapaho National Forest and in the midst of an extensive search operation Wednesday morning. The search was centered at the base of Mount Evans. Late Wednesday morning authorities said Pais is dead. It’s not clear how she died.

A woman who was hiking in the area in the morning told CBS4 she was told to leave the area because “a naked woman matching the description with a gun was spotted in the area running through the woods.”


As the Denver Post reports:

Districts across the Denver metro area ordered their schools closed Wednesday as the FBI and local police continue a “massive manhunt” for an 18-year-old Florida woman they say is “infatuated with Columbine” and who purchased a shotgun shortly after arriving in Colorado this week.

Most major Denver-area school districts — and others across the Front Range — have canceled classes Wednesday, including Denver Public Schools, Douglas County School District, Aurora Public Schools and Jeffco Public Schools, home to Columbine High School, which was on lockout on Tuesday along with more than 20 other schools in that district over “credible threats.”

Superintendents from school districts across the Denver-metro area gathered for a call Tuesday night and collectively determined that the safest course of action would be to close schools on Wednesday.

Even school districts as far away from Columbine as those in Weld and Larimer counties have been closed Wednesday as a precaution.

Law enforcement officials are looking for 18-year-old Sol Pais, who was last seen in the foothills of Jefferson County on Monday evening. Call ‘911’ immediately if you spot the woman in the photos above.

Let’s Go, Nuggets!

The Denver Nuggets take on the San Antonio Spurs tonight in the second game of their first round playoff series. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is throwing down:

San Antonio is known for its beer? Who knew?