How NOT to Oppose the Colorado Option

If the debate about a legislative health care reform plan called the “Colorado Option” comes down to a battle over messaging, then Democrats should feel pretty good about where they stand at the moment.

The arguments about House Bill 1232 began last Friday in the House Health & Insurance Committee. Discussions on a potential compromise deal with insurers, hospitals, and the health care industry have been ongoing, but it still appears that the “Colorado Option” has enough momentum and support to ultimately make it through the legislature at some point in the next month or two. The editorial board of The Durango Herald endorsed the “Colorado Option” earlier this week. Dave Perry of The Aurora Sentinel backed the legislation in an editorial published today.

We talked last week about the various arguments for and against the “Colorado Option,” coming to the general conclusion that supporters of the bill were in a much stronger position than the bill’s detractors. That analysis was strengthened by the silly attacks thrown at the legislation this week in a mail piece from the opposition group calling itself “Colorado’s Health Care Future.”

We’re not sure how widely the following mailer was distributed in Colorado, but it seems to have been largely targeted at “grasstops” opinion leaders. Regardless, the message would fail no matter the audience:

 

The two main arguments made in this mailer are as follows: 1) Hospitals in Colorado could lose money if the “Colorado Option” becomes law, and 2) A “similar” approach in Washington state led to an increase in health care premiums.

The first argument is so laughable that it’s easy to dismiss: That Colorado hospitals could face “$112 million in losses annually” if the “Colorado Option” becomes law. Colorado hospitals are literally THE MOST PROFITABLE IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, but even if you didn’t know this, why would the average person care if hospitals lost money? What was the backup argument? That pharmaceutical company executives might be forced to accept smaller annual bonuses?

The second argument requires a little more research to refute, but it doesn’t take long to get there. The mail piece claims that a “similar government-controlled approach” in Washington state ended up making health care premiums more expensive for consumers. But this plan, called “CascadeCare,” was only offered in 13 of Washington’s 39 counties, which would obviously significantly limit the risk pool that should make such plans cheaper for consumers. “CascadeCare” only included about one-third of the state; the “Colorado Option” would include the entire state. In other words, CascadeCare is similar to the “Colorado Option” like apples are similar to car batteries.

These two arguments were presumably selected by hospitals and the health care industry because somebody believed that they were among their strongest talking points. We’d love to know what got left on the cutting room floor.

We Have Had More Mass Shootings Than Days of the Year

On Thursday evening, eight people were killed in a mass shooting at a FedEx distribution facility in Indianapolis. Take a look at this graphic from CNN, which shows the location of 45 mass shootings (in which 4 or more people are wounded or killed) that have taken place since March 16th:

That’s 45 mass shootings in the past month ALONE. The United States has suffered through 147 mass shootings thus far in 2021. We haven’t had that many DAYS in 2021.

 

That’s right — we are AVERAGING more than one mass shooting per day in 2021. Forget, for a moment, about your opinion on the second amendment. Nobody could look at the graphics above and just shrug. This is weird.

Now, here’s the other strange thing about America’s mass shooting epidemic: Americans by and large WANT to see more gun safety measures approved by lawmakers. Check out these findings from a Quinnipiac University poll that was released on Thursday, April 15:

A majority of Americans (54 – 42 percent) support stricter gun laws in a Quinnipiac University national poll of adults released today. Democrats support stricter gun laws 91 – 8 percent. Republicans oppose these laws 74 – 22 percent, and independents oppose them 51 – 44 percent.

When you break down the numbers into specific policy proposals, the data remains clear:

♦ 89% of Americans support requiring background checks for all gun buyers;

♦ 74% of Americans support so-called “red flag” laws;

♦ 52% of Americans support a nationwide ban on assault weapons;

♦ 51% of Americans support a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines;

♦ 45% of Americans believe that gun violence in this country is a “crisis.”

The reason that Congress hasn’t taken action to address gun violence in this country is NOT because Americans don’t approve of these policy changes.

As we’ve noted before in this space, the only way to make real change on the issue of gun violence is to elect more people who are willing to make those changes.

Get More Smarter on Friday (April 16)

Happy World Voice Day. Please yell out responsibly. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The Indianapolis Star reports on yet another mass shooting in the United States, this one at a FedEx distribution site in Indianapolis:

Officers arrived to a “chaotic and active” crime scene, according to IMPD Deputy Chief of Investigations Craig McCartt.

Eight people, plus the suspected gunman, were found dead in and around the facility. It’s believed the shooter died by suicide shortly before police arrived.

McCartt said at a Friday morning news conference that the shooter arrived at the building and began “randomly” firing in the parking lot — with no confrontation or argument before the shooting started. He then went inside the building and continued shooting. Four people were found dead outside and four were found dead inside.

 

► Republican State Rep. Ron Hanks, the “Insurrectionist Man of Mystery,” continues to press his case as the biggest asshole in the Colorado legislature. Hanks attempted to give lawmakers a history lesson on Thursday and warmed up with a really tasteless joke. From 9News:

Hanks (R-Penrose) falsely alleged that the three-fifths compromise was not “impugning anybody’s humanity” while debating a civics education bill on the House floor Thursday.

“The three-fifths compromise, of course, was an effort by non-slave states … to try and reduce the amount of representation that the slave states had,” Hanks said. “It was not impugning anybody’s humanity.”

This comment was preceded by another where he referenced being mistakenly called up as Rep. Mike Lynch (R-Wellington).

“Being called Mr. Lynch might be a good thing for what I’m about to say … no, just kidding,” Hanks said.

Hanks’ ridiculous comments earned him national headlines.

 

Let’s check in on more state legislative news:

The House of Representatives approved the annual state budget bill despite a few mindless protests from Republican lawmakers.

A bill that would reduce sentencing requirements for felony murder convictions is on its way to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis. On Thursday, Gov. Polis signed into law a bill that allows victims of child sexual abuse more time to bring civil lawsuits against perpetrators.

Lawmakers are considering making significant changes to admission requirements for colleges and universities.

A new law will give formerly incarcerated people with firefighting experience more opportunities to return to the firefighting profession.

Legislation that would have required ski resorts to provide more transparency about injuries on the slopes died in committee.

Pueblo County is opposing a proposal to speed up the process of reducing harmful emissions in Colorado.

Dave Perry of The Aurora Sentinel voices support for the “Colorado Option” healthcare plan being debated in the state legislature.

 

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel confirms a story first reported here at Colorado Pols about former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese withdrawing her name from consideration as Mesa County Attorney…which probably has something to do with the fact that Pugliese wants to run for Secretary of State and now lives in Colorado Springs.

 

 Republican Qaucus leaders were the ONLY two Members of Congress to vote NO on a routine reauthorization of the nation’s bone marrow registry and umbilical cord blood used in bone marrow transplants. Republican Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene represented the “2” in the 415-2 vote in favor of H.R. 941.

 

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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415-2: The “Q-Some Twosome” Stand Alone

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives held votes on a variety of bills ahead of getting out of town for the weekend. Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim followed the action via Twitter yesterday: one fully expected party-line vote, others nearly unanimous, and a few others where Colorado Republican freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert was part of a much smaller minority bloc:

Reps. Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Lauren Boebert.

In particular, pretty much everyone in America is scratching their heads over Boebert’s vote against H.R. 941, the TRANSPLANT Act, a routine reauthorization of the nation’s bone marrow registry and umbilical cord blood. The only two members of the House who voted against this legislation were Reps. Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia–the first time these two controversial representatives have ever stood alone in opposition to any piece of legislation since being sworn into Congress.

So…what happened? Newsweek has the only explanation we’ve seen from either representative:

In a statement, Rep. Greene’s spokesman Nick Dyer said: “Nothing in this bill prevents the funding of aborted fetal tissue by taxpayers. It opens the door for the NIH to use this bill to research the remains of babies who were murdered in the womb.”

“This bill added hundreds of millions of dollars to the national debt, while not receiving a CBO score or going through the committee process,” Rep. Boebert added.

Funny how these objections were not a problem for the other anti-abortion fiscal hawk Republicans in the House who voted for the bill! Which would be, you know, all of them.

After that, it would be nice to hear an explanation from Boebert for being on the wrong side of a 413-8 vote to protect seniors from scams, or 406-10 to similarly protect Native Americans? It’s not like Boebert was just mindlessly mashing the “no” button last night, having cast a few “yes” votes for microloans and a couple other uncontroversial bills. Presumably there was some thought put into these votes, and Boebert’s constituents deserve an explanation as to what that thought was.

During his time in Congress, Rep. Tom Tancredo established a reputation for extremely controversial votes against overwhelmingly popular legislation, being for example one of only 11 members of the U.S. House to vote against relief funds following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The dopamine hit from the attention this kind of controversy brings is a powerful stimulant for those unable to distinguish from good and bad attention–but as Tancredo learned the hard way, all he was doing in the long run was buying himself a ticket to irrelevance. Voters quickly tire of this pointless contrarianism, especially when it’s about issues that matter to real people.

The devastating ads these votes just provided the content for will prove it someday, don’t worry.

Friday Open Thread

“I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy–but that could change.”

–Dan Quayle

Boebert Pushing Racist “White Replacement” Voter Conspiracy

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert’s anti-immigrant rhetoric has taken a dark turn as of late, nodding to a white supremacist theory that says people of color are replacing white populations and promoting the conspiracy that Democrats support immigration because it gives them an electoral advantage.

As the American Independent’s Oliver Willis reported, in an April 10 campaign video, Boebert falsely claimed that Democrats are in favor of open borders and used the votes of immigrants to “take over” California.

“The truth is, they want borders wide open,” Boebert says in the video. “It helped Democrats take over the entire state of California, and now we’re seeing in New York they are paying 15 grand to illegal immigrants. 15 grand because you came here illegally. You can’t make this stuff up. We have to take our country back.”

Boebert’s ad echoes the racist concept of the “great replacement,” a white supremacist theory that holds that people of color, particularly non-white immigrants, are replacing white people.

Recent tweets show Boebert continuing to nod to the theory and promoting the conspiracy that Vice President Kamala Harris, who is tasked with addressing migration from Central America and Mexico, is gathering “new voters.”

On April 13, Boebert tweeted, “Kamala’s border assignment is simple: Keep the new voters coming.”

Then, on April 14, Boebert shared a news story about Harris’ upcoming trip to Mexico and Guatemala, writing, “Why visit the border when you can just go straight to the source, huh? Will she also be loading up Air Force 2 with illegals to bring them in without the hassle of crossing the border?”

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Getting History Perfectly Backwards With Rep. Ron Hanks

UPDATE #2: Colorado Democrats blast Rep. Ron Hanks in a release:

Shenika Carter, Chair of the African Diaspora Initiative of the Colorado Democratic Party:

“To call the comments made by Mr. Hanks today disgusting and ignorant would be a gross understatement. For him to downplay the indisputable, historical fact that enslaved Black people were treated less a person’s worth both in law and in practice is offensive and beneath the dignity of our state legislature. Mr. Hanks needs to apologize immediately, and he needs to educate himself before he makes ignorant comments with such recklessness in the future.”

Halisi Vinson, Executive Director of the Colorado Democratic Party:

“I don’t know when Republicans thought it became appropriate to whitesplain the historical experience of Black people in our country, but it needs to stop. The fact that Representative Hanks thought it would be appropriate to make a ‘joke’ about lynching — especially at a time when we’re seeing a rise of racially motivated assaults on people of color across our country — is utterly despicable. The Colorado Republican Party, and Republican leadership in the State House, need to hold Representative Hanks accountable and immediately join us in condemning his disgusting comments. Condemning such blatantly racist rhetoric from our elected officials shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”

Morgan Carroll, Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party:

“From my time as a Colorado state representative to my time as Colorado Senate President, I can say these comments are inappropriate and just plain wrong. What I heard from Representative Hanks say on the floor of the State House this afternoon is an insult to the dignity of Coloradans and to the dignity of that chamber. He owes his colleagues, the people of Colorado, and all Black Americans a sincere apology for his ignorant and hurtful comments. Colorado Republicans should join us in immediately condemning these insulting comments and ‘jokes’ that Representative Hanks made today.”

—–

UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger with the icing on the proverbial cake:

Rep. Ron Hanks is, as they say, a real piece of…work.

—–

In a debate today in the Colorado House of Representatives over Senate Bill 21-067, a bipartisan bill to improve education in civics and government in Colorado schools, whack-right freshman GOP Rep. Ron Hanks of Penrose gave everyone present a potent reminder of why education in civics is so important.

As is so often the case, it was a lesson delivered…unintentionally:

HANKS: Going back to the founding, and going back to the The 3/5ths, and I heard the comments and I appreciate them, and I respect them, BUT the 3/5ths compromise of course was an effort by non-slave states to not, to try to reduce the amount of representation that the slave states had. It was not impugning anybody’s humanity, [Pols emphasis] it was an effort to, uh,

(inaudible comment from the gallery)

Well it’s important to say we had this conversation on one side, let’s talk about it on the other. Is this really racist to be talking about what the 3/5ths compromise was? I don’t think so and I think it’s important and it’s part of a civics lesson here. It was brought up, and it merits discussion. It was an effort by the north to try to keep the south from having too much representation and push slavery beyond, and ultimately it worked out. It took a war to do it. It took 600,000 American lives. It took a lot of treasure. That’s the kind of thing that ought to be taught.

We can, maybe this is a contentious issue, I didn’t think it was when I came up and said it but the hisses have proven me wrong…

Let’s start with the really basic stuff that Rep. Hanks should have learned, you know, in civics class. Hanks claims that the 3/5s compromise was “an effort by non-slave states to reduce the amount of representation that the slave states had.” This is factually backwards: the compromise was originally proposed by 1787 Constitutional Convention delegate Charles Pinckney of South Carolina. Opponents of slavery in the North did not want slave populations counted at all because it boosted the population of slaveholding states for representation purposes, but it was the South that demanded a compromise under threat of leaving the Union right then and there.

So yes, the 3/5 compromise most certainly “impugned” the “humanity” of those who were counted for less. It was not the idea of abolitionists, who didn’t want slaves counted because they didn’t want slaves to exist. The compromise was about appeasing slave states.

In short, Rep. Ron Hanks is wrong, way wrong, just like now ex-Rep. Lori Saine was outrageously wrong when she claimed that “whites and blacks alike were in nearly equal numbers lynched for the crime of being Republican” on MLK Day 2019. It’s not just the mistake, it’s what this mistake implies about their whole worldview. And when you’re this wrong about a point in history of such importance to race relations in America, literally while debating a bill about civics class…

Well, people are going to gasp in disbelief. That’s what happens.

Rose Pugliese for County Attorney, or SOS, or Whatever

FRIDAY UPDATE: Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel confirms what we first reported on Thursday: Rose Pugliese withdrew her name from consideration for the Mesa County Attorney position:

In a letter of withdrawal sent on Tuesday, Pugliese told Commissioners Janet Rowland, Cody Davis and Scott McInnis that she’s not yet done with politics. As a result, she is not ready to take a bureaucratic position where she isn’t supposed to be political.

“Thank you for the opportunity to interview with you as a finalist for the Mesa County Attorney position,” Pugliese wrote in a letter of withdrawal from consideration. “Upon much deliberation and prayer, I realized that at this point in my life, my passion lies in my political work, and I am not ready yet to put that work aside. The county attorney needs to possess political savvy without being political. Therefore, I withdraw my name from consideration.”

This would also seem to confirm our original point: That Pugliese is focused on running for Secretary of State in 2022.

—–

Rose Pugliese (current title pending)

As we had previously reported in this space, the endlessly-ambitious former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese is seeking the Republican nomination for Secretary of State in 2022. From what we hear, Pugliese recently moved to Colorado Springs in part to make it easier to seek statewide office by being geographically closer to the majority of voters and potential donors.

Unless Pugliese is about to become the new Mesa County Attorney in Grand Junction.

Stick with us, because this story is a bit messy…

Pugliese has long been mentioned as a potential “rising star” in the Republican Party. In September 2019, The Denver Post featured Pugliese along with failed SD-27 candidate Suzanne Staiert Taheri and State Sen. Kevin Priola as three Republicans who could “save the Colorado GOP from obscurity.”

Pugliese has positioned herself as a champion of right-wing issues like Climate Change denial and blind obedience to the oil and gas industry, and her extracurricular political activities have kept her name in the mix in GOP circles for other jobs (Pugliese finished her second term as Mesa County Commissioner in January). In 2020, Pugliese was one of the main organizers of a failed effort to overturn a Colorado law that seeks to award the state’s electoral votes to the Presidential candidate who wins the National Popular Vote.

Pugliese was rumored to be on the short list of potential running mates for 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton (former State Rep. Lang Sias was ultimately awarded that turd of a prize). In 2019, Pugliese registered a campaign committee to run for a state senate seat in SD-07…in 2022. Pugliese terminated that committee on February 22, 2021, which was probably a good idea since she no longer lived in the district; public records show that Pugliese purchased a home in Colorado Springs in October 2020, and on January 5, 2021, she officially changed her voter registration to that same address. This move was not a secret: She penned a thank you letter to Mesa County citizens that ran in The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel in December 2020 in which she noted her plans to relocate to Colorado Springs (the bio on her website also lists her as a resident of Colorado Springs).

Now, here’s where things get weird. On Sunday The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported that the Mesa County Board of Commissioners was struggling to defend its decision to announce Pugliese as THE SOLE FINALIST for the job of Mesa County Attorney, which [checks map] is nowhere near Colorado Springs. That decision came only after previous finalists apparently failed to impress someone, as the Sentinel explains:

On Feb. 15 the commissioners publicly announced that they had chosen Atencio and Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Lee Springer as the two finalists. Atencio has been with the county attorney’s office for a decade, while Springer has worked in the DA’s office for more than a dozen years.

Commissioners then formally interviewed Atencio and Springer in separate close-door sessions on March 16, but three days after that the application process was reopened, which was announced with little fanfare and no comments during a regular commissioners’ meeting.

The second round was intended to increase the applicant pool, resulting in six additional people applying, including Pugliese…

…The following Monday, Pugliese was named the sole finalist.

Pugliese acknowledged her role in this process in an interview with the Sentinelin which she noted again that she had already moved to Colorado Springs:

Pugliese told The Daily Sentinel that she didn’t apply during the first round primarily because she had recently moved to Colorado Springs with her two young children, and was starting a new job there in the law offices of Wegener, Scarborough & Lane, where she is of counsel along with Willett working on estate planning and business development for municipal and county outsourced work.

Headline from Grand Junction Daily Sentinel editorial (4/11/21)

It’s also worth noting that the law firm of Wegener, Scarborough, and Lane lists Pugliese as a staff attorney, which is a job she could not have held prior to January on account of the fact that she was still a Mesa County Commissioner. Anyway, Pugliese was supposed to have her final interview for the Mesa County Attorney job on Monday. But from what we hear, Pugliese instead withdrew her name as a candidate for the position.

Perhaps Pugliese’s name is out of the mix for County Attorney because of public criticism (on Sunday, the editorial board of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel blasted the decision to name Pugliese as the sole finalist). Maybe Pugliese finally realized that a daily commute from Colorado Springs to Grand Junction would be a nightmare. Or…it’s possible that Pugliese figures that this sort of dysfunction is exactly the sort of thing that would endear her to a GOP base that remains devoted to Donald Trump. Support Rose Pugliese for Secretary of State, or she’ll do something else!

Get More Smarter on Not Tax Day (April 15)

For most people, tax day this year is on May 17th. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The defense rested its case in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of murder in the May 2020 killing of George Floyd. As The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

Derek Chauvin said in court Thursday that he will not testify in his murder trial shortly before the defense said it has completed its case.

“I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege” to not risk making any self-incriminating statements in Hennepin County District Court, where the fired Minneapolis police officer is charged with killing George Floyd late last spring in Minneapolis…

…Chauvin’s declaration came during a series of questions from his attorney, Eric Nelson, and outside the presence of the jury.

Nelson and Chauvin were seated at the defense table as the defendant held a cordless microphone and had his voice heard for the first time on the record during the trial.

Closing arguments in the Chauvin trial could begin as soon as Monday.

 

► You don’t need us to tell you that red states and blue states are very different. But as The Associated Press reports, one significant difference is bad for your health:

With coronavirus shots now in the arms of nearly half of American adults, the parts of the U.S. that are excelling and those that are struggling with vaccinations are starting to look like the nation’s political map: deeply divided between red and blue states.

Out in front is New Hampshire, where 65% of the population age 18 and older has received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Following close behind are New Mexico, Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts at 55% or greater. All have a history of voting Democratic and supported President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, at the bottom are five states where fewer than 40% have rolled up their sleeves for a shot. Four of them — Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee — lean Republican and voted for Donald Trump last fall. The fifth is Georgia, which has a Republican governor and supported GOP presidential candidates for nearly three decades before narrowly backing Biden.

 

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners are not doctors, but they are pretending to know more about the COVID-19 pandemic than the so-called “experts.” That’s not good news for the rest of us, which is why others are speaking out.

 

Let’s check in on state legislative news:

The State House of Representatives gave preliminary approval to the new state budget proposal.

Fox 31 News reports on opposition to proposed legislation seeking to reduce Colorado’s jail population.

Colorado lawmakers are freezing tuition rates at community colleges.

The Associated Press reports on legislative efforts to improve maternal care for minority women.

Lawmakers are considering legislation to improve health benefits for legislative aides.

The State Senate approved legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to receive professional licenses in Colorado.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Douglas County Commish Laughs At 560,000 Dead Americans

Douglas County Board of COVIDiots.

Denver7’s Robert Garrison reports on the resolution passed this week by the all-GOP Douglas County Board of Commissioners, declaring with the combined weight of exactly zero medical or public health experience that “the pandemic is over”–and ordering DougCo to drop its defenses against COVID-19:

Declaring that “this pandemic is over,” the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a resolution to opt out of further Tri-County public health orders beginning Friday…

Commissioner Abe Laydon brought up the Hans Christian Anderson’s folktale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” as a way to describe how further health restrictions in Douglas County, in his view, doesn’t match up with current data.

“Based on the facts that we have before us today, I want to have the courage of that young child (in Anderson’s folktale), and for Douglas County to be first county in the state to say that this pandemic is over,” Laydon said. [Pols emphasis]

For those who don’t get the literary reference, first of all shame on you. But DougCo Commissioner Abe Laydon is referring to the moment in The Emperor’s New Clothes when a child blurts out the obvious fact that the emperor in question is naked. Because, like Layton and his fellow DougCo commissioners have been saying from the beginning, this whole COVID-19 thing is way overblown! These Republican elected officials, as our readers know, have callously disregarded the threat of COVID-19 from the first days of the pandemic following Donald Trump’s dismissive “it will just disappear” lead.

You have to know the reference to understand just how offensive it is in this context. Laydon is saying that the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed over 560,000 Americans and is not yet done, is political fiction like the emperor’s new clothes.

The truth is that by most estimates we are finally on the back side of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular the vaccination of a majority of the most vulnerable means that the threat of severe illness and death is in decline. But with the vaccination campaign racing against a variant-driven “fourth wave” of infections, it’s more important than ever to pay heed to the experts and keep up best practices to limit transmission of the virus until we’ve really, epidemiologically gotten to the end.

Last spring and summer, when the death toll from this pandemic was still hypothetical instead of the crushing reality it is today, Douglas County’s political grandstand against COVID-19 prevention measures, demonizing their own health department to the extent that public health workers were receiving death threats, was irresponsible. With 560,000 Americans dead, this cavalier attitude is nothing short of unconscionable.

How can anyone in public office be so flippant in the face of tragedy? Is this what DougCo stands for?

The GMS Podcast: Q*Bert Conquers the Spirit World

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast


 

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Bennet, Hickenlooper Back Paid Sick Leave Legislation

Sens. Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper.

Both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators have signed onto the “Health Families Act,” the latest version of federal legislation that seeks to require employers to provide paid sick leave for workers. From a press release:

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet joined 36 of their Senate colleagues to introduce the Healthy Families Act, paid sick days legislation to help keep workers, communities and our economy healthy. The bill is similar to a new Colorado state law expanding paid sick leave to all employees.

Today, one in four workers still do not have access to paid sick days. For these 32 million private sector workers—who are disproportionately women and people of color—getting sick or having to care for a sick loved one means having to choose between losing a paycheck or going into work sick and risking the health of their colleagues and their community. This inequity isn’t just bad for workers—it’s bad for our public health and our economy too, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Recent studies show that requiring employers to provide paid sick days reduces the spread of flu-like illnesses and reduces emergency room visits by 1.3 million annually, saving $1.1 billion a year. Another study showed that the emergency paid leave provision passed in 2020 helped slow the spread of COVID-19 by roughly 15,000 cases per day

…The Healthy Families Act would allow workers at businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to 56 hours, or seven days, of paid sick leave each year. This would allow workers to stay home when they are sick or to care for a sick family member—as well as to seek preventive medical care, or seek assistance related to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Businesses that already provide paid sick leave would not have to change their current policies, as long as they meet the minimum standards of the Healthy Families Act.

Congressional Democrats have tried for years to pass legislation requiring some sort of paid leave for workers, which has left states to do much of the heavy lifting on an issue that has become increasingly important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Colorado lawmakers passed legislation last year that requires all but the smallest businesses in the state to provide paid sick leave to employees. This week, New Mexico lawmakers became the 10th state to add some sort of paid family and sick leave requirements.

A national family leave program is still critically important for the rest of the country. Just this week, State Senators in Texas approved legislation that BANS cities and counties from requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees.

Boebert Draws Relatively Sane Republican Challenger

Noted in yesterday’s Unaffiliated newsletter from the Colorado Sun:

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Garfield County, now has a Republican primary challenger for 2022. Marina Zimmerman, a crane operator from southwest Colorado, filed paperwork with the FEC on Friday to officially launch her bid.

 

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

Marina Zimmerman, a 2008 graduate of Fort Lewis College in Durango, is as unknown to us as Rep. Lauren Boebert herself was before Boebert heckled Beto O’Rourke about guns at an Aurora, Colorado town hall in 2019. But a look at Zimmerman’s Twitter feed reveals she is not a fan of the far-right Class of 2020 Republican members of Congress including Boebert and fellow “Q-some Twosome” Marjorie Taylor Greene–and Zimmerman seems to agree that the “QAnon” conspiracy theory is harming the Republican Party.

And on the one issue Boebert has planted her flag on more than all the others combined, it looks like Marina Zimmerman is on the right message for a Republican primary:

And there you have it, folks–the first GOP challenger throwing her hat in the ring to take on Boebert in 2022. Of course, there are plenty of variables yet to be determined that will dictate the seriousness of Zimmerman’s campaign. As we’ve said many times as the popular anger over Boebert’s excesses has grown, the upcoming redistricting process will determine in large part who gets the decisive opportunity to take on Boebert. If the district is drawn at all competitive against a Democratic challenger, expect them to make an all-out effort. But if Boebert’s district is drawn with a significant Republican advantage, the task of replacing Boebert with competent representation for whoever ends up drawn into her district will fall to her own party.

In that event, it’s a good bet that higher profile Republicans will step up. In the meantime, as it did with Lauren Boebert beyond her wildest dreams, let fortune favor the bold.

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