Coorsurrection, Anyone?

As readers may be aware, since the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections, a substantial number of large corporate donors have announced they will no longer make campaign donations to Republican politicians who both voted to second-guess the results on January 6th and encouraged their supporters to come to Washington and participate in what became a riot.

Perhaps as a result, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, one of the most vocal dead-enders backing Donald Trump’s baseless assertions that the election was stolen to the end, had a difficult first quarter of fundraising–even after a last-minute revision upward only raising about $845,000, well short of her higher-profile freshman fireband colleagues Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Where MTG in particular managed to turn the revulsion of most well-adjusted people into a grassroots fringe fundraising goldmine, Boebert has failed to reap the same benefit–and that’s a problem since Boebert almost certainly faces a more competitive race in 2022.

With that said, looking through Boebert’s fundraising reports posted online this week, we find a spate of donations on January 10th–a mere four days after the January 6th insurrection–including plenty of recognizable local names among one big name:

And we see none other than Pete Coors, 2004 Republican U.S. Senate candidate and keeper of the Coors family honor…well, less so on that last point these days, but still very much reflecting on his corporate namesake with his political donations, wrote Boebert a $500 check on January 10th. MolsonCoors in keeping with its Coors family heritage does overwhelmingly give to Republican candidates as a corporation, and we haven’t seen that they’ve explicitly joined the donor boycott of Republicans in Congress content to break democracy when it didn’t go their way.

But by making this donation just a few days after the violence at the Capitol that Boebert whether she wants to admit it or not helped set the stage for, Pete Coors made his own statement about responsible political giving, and it comes across like a beer magnate driving drunk.

On the upside, you’ll get to vote about it with your next six pack.

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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…

 

(more…)

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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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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

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 14)

There are 254 shopping days until Christmas. 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 

 

More details are emerging on Tuesday’s big news that the United States will make a complete withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. From The New York Times:

President Biden, frustrated in his efforts to end America’s “Forever War” a decade ago, will announce on Wednesday a Sept. 11 deadline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan after 20 years, a move that immediately triggered similar action among the country’s NATO allies…

…In the hours leading up to Mr. Biden’s afternoon announcement at the White House, foreign and defense ministers met at NATO headquarters in Brussels to discuss “a safe, deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of our forces from Afghanistan,” as the American secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, told them on Wednesday.

The ministers, many of them attending the Wednesday meeting virtually, are expected to formally back the American withdrawal date in keeping with the alliance’s mantra “in together and out together.”

As The Denver Post reports, Members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation voiced agreement with the decision.

 

The Durango Herald editorial board endorses the “Colorado Option” health care bill, which was finally introduced in a State House committee on Friday. From the Herald:

Coloradans – and especially rural Southwest Coloradans – are in trouble when it comes to health care costs. Before the pandemic, about 11.2% of people in Southwest Colorado couldn’t afford medical insurance, compared to 6.5% for the entire state. Because workers who lost their jobs in 2020 likely also lost insurance, that 11.2% is certainly higher now.

According to the Colorado Health Access Survey, even those with medical insurance in Colorado report skipping doctor visits when ill, struggling to pay medical bills and being unable to pay for rent, utilities, food and other necessities at times because of medical bills…

Some aspects of the health care industry work very well, as evidenced during the pandemic. But that doesn’t change what we know to be true: We have to find solutions that make health care more accessible and affordable for all Coloradans.

HB 1232 likely is not perfect, but it’s a big step in the right direction – and a signal to the health care industry that the time has come for change. [Pols emphasis]

Click here for more on the arguments and policy details.

In related news, Colorado’s Connect for Health insurance marketplace is seeing a record number of signups.

 

The Denver Post reports on efforts to make it more difficult for perpetrators of domestic violence to gain access to a firearm:

Colorado law since 2013 has required most people who are charged with domestic violence to relinquish their guns, but prosecutors and court officials acknowledge it’s loosely enforced, sometimes not at all.

Lawmakers got their first look Tuesday at a bill, HB21-1255, that would strengthen compliance, which state analysts say affects thousands per year.

Already, Democrats who control the Colorado legislature have sent two gun bills to Gov. Jared Polis to sign, which he is expected to do soon. One requires secure storage of firearms and the other mandates that lost or stolen firearms be reported, both of which were in the works before the mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers last month.

Attorney General Phil Weiser told lawmakers during a hearing that they must pass this third piece of gun legislation, because domestic violence is a crisis in Colorado, citing a statistic that of the 70 domestic violence-related deaths in 2019, two-thirds were due to a gun.

Elsewhere in state legislative news:

The Colorado Sun is tracking the status of legislation dealing with the spending of stimulus funds.

The “long bill” — also known as the annual state budget bill — will be the major topic of discussion in the State House today.

Colorado Newsline discusses legislative efforts to improve long-standing maternal health disparities.

Legislation to reform Colorado’s felony murder sentencing is headed to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis, as is a bill to expand Colorado’s ability to import prescription drugs from other countries.

 

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

 

(more…)

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White House Gives Colorado C- Grade On Infrastructure

Photo by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Colorado Newsline’s Laura Olson reports:

In the next phase of President Joe Biden’s sales pitch for his $2 trillion infrastructure package, his administration is framing its argument around the mounting, unmet needs in states as it seeks to build public support for another massive spending bill. Democrats are also hitting back at criticisms from congressional Republicans that the mammoth package goes too far beyond the road-and-bridge projects typically associated with infrastructure.

The White House released a set of state-by-state breakdowns on Monday detailing the number of bridges in severe disrepair, increased commuting times due to lack of investment in transit, and growing costs related to ensuring that drinking water systems are safe and clean, as well as funding in the proposal intended to tackle those problems.

Democrats in addition contend that child care and care for older adults and those with disabilities are critical for supporting the country’s economy and overall well-being, along with access to high-speed internet.

How does Colorado score? Check out our state’s individual report and see–not great:

ROADS AND BRIDGES: In Colorado there are 481 bridges and over 3,600 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 9.3% in Colorado and on average, each driver pays $651 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nations’ transportation infrastructure and make it more resilient, including $115 billion repairing roads and bridges.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Coloradans who take public transportation spend an extra 74.6% of their time commuting and non-White households are 1.8 times more likely to commute via public transportation. 12% of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past useful life. The American Jobs Plan will modernize public transit with an $85 billion investment…

It should be noted in fairness that few states did well in this scoring of infrastructure needs, with most states either at a C or below or unranked entirely due to being well below the standard. As of now, the principal Republican objection to the American Jobs Act is that it’s an “infrastructure bill” that doesn’t spend enough on what Republicans are calling “traditional” infrastructure like roads and bridges. But in every respect, from broadband to clean water to child care, this bill is about the underpinnings of economic success in the modern era–and that broader definition of “infrastructure” is one Democrats hope and believe Americans will get behind. And make no mistake: the amount proposed for old-fashioned transportation infrastructure is historic all by itself.

In short, the American Jobs Act is a transformative investment that Coloradans will see everywhere. Colorado is doing our part with a new statewide transportation plan, and this bill is an opportunity to scale up from the bare minimum to meeting something closer to the state’s long-term need.

In 2021, potholes and creaky bridges are just the beginning.

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Biden Announces Complete Withdrawal From Afghanistan

UPDATE: Statement from Rep. Jason Crow of Aurora:

“My own service in Afghanistan made it abundantly clear to me that if there was a military solution to the war in Afghanistan, we would have found one years ago. I support the Biden Administration’s decision to finally bring our longest war to an end, but we must do so in a way that keeps our promises to our allies, protects the women and children of Afghanistan, and ensures a safer and more secure world.

“In the coming days and weeks, I look forward to engaging with the Administration to learn more about their plans for a safe and responsible withdrawal of troops, as required under federal law.”

—–

Big enough foreign policy news to merit a mention in this provincial space, as the Washington Post reports:

President Biden will withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan over the coming months, people familiar with the plans said, completing the military exit by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that first drew the United States into its longest war.

The decision, which Biden is expected to announce on Wednesday, will keep thousands of U.S. forces in the country beyond the May 1 exit deadline that the Trump administration negotiated last year with the Taliban, according to one person familiar with the matter, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity to describe plans that are not yet public…

“This is the immediate, practical reality that our policy review discovered,” the person familiar with the deliberations said. “If we break the May 1st deadline negotiated by the previous administration with no clear plan to exit, we will be back at war with the Taliban, and that was not something President Biden believed was in the national interest.”

“We’re going to zero troops by September.”

We’re waiting for a statement from Rep. Jason Crow, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who expressed hope in February that the Biden administration was moving to a swift and responsible end to the conflict:

“I look forward to working with the Biden Administration to responsibly end the war in Afghanistan. My service in Afghanistan showed me what makes the U.S military the strongest in the world, but also revealed the limitations of military power. If there was a military solution to the war in Afghanistan, we would have found one years ago. Our longest war must come to an end, but we must do so in a way that keeps our promises to our allies, protects vulnerable populations, including the women and children of Afghanistan, and ensures a safer and more secure world.”

Once considered the only justified military action after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in stark contrast to the misguided invasion of Iraq in 2003, the war in Afghanistan ground on for years after the death of Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan even as Afghanistan has faded in relative geopolitical importance. President Donald Trump had negotiated an arbitrary deadline to withdrawal, and hopefully the slightly longer period Biden plans to take to get the troops out in an organized fashion will not result in additional lives lost.

We’ll update with statements as they arrive, in the meantime less war is always a good thing.

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Just Stop Talking, Rep. Matt Soper

Last week, we wrote about the unhinged reaction on the part of a number of Western Slope Republicans, including up-and-coming wunderkind Rep. Matt Soper, to the results of city council elections in Grand Junction–in which a slate of GOP-endorsed candidates was soundly defeated by a bipartisan moderate coalition:

Rep. Matt Soper (R).

Given that Rep. Soper was himself elected to office via Dominion Voting Systems election hardware used by Delta and Mesa Counties, it’s completely natural that the press is going to want to follow up and find out if this is a serious complaint from Rep. Soper–or, you know, a “misstatement” made in a moment of exasperation. And as the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby dutifully inquires:

Even though the same voting systems were used to elect such Republicans as U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and state Rep. Matt Soper, some members of the GOP in Colorado are questioning the legitimacy of Tuesday’s Grand Junction City Council race…

That prompted Soper to post, “Were they using Dominion? This seems impossible!” and, “Cindy Paschal Ficklin we need to request a scan of every ballot and do a manual recount.”

Not long after being questioned about those posts by The Daily Sentinel, the posts were deleted.

That’s a relief–whether it be rage posting, drunk posting, or something in between (these are not mutually exclusive), mashing the delete button once your bad judgment has been brought to your attention by the press is generally a good idea.

But don’t do what Rep. Soper did next:

Still, Soper defended writing them. [Pols emphasis] “Many voters remain concerned about election integrity and whether the results are from a fair system,” Soper said. “Dominion was at the center of the 2020 election complaints, and if Dominion was used, it would be an opportunity to have an audit with the public observing. If the results are verified, it helps restore confidence.”

It would have been much, much better for Soper so simply have taken his lumps and walked away from this fight. If this is how Soper feels, wasn’t deleting his posts calling for a recount a mistake? Since we never heard any complaints from Soper about Dominion Voting Systems when their equipment tabulated Soper’s victory in 2020 with almost 75% of the vote, we are forced to conclude based on the available evidence that Rep. Soper only has a problem with Dominion when his favored candidates lose.

This is not news to the majority of Americans who still believe in democracy.

Soper just isn’t supposed to make it so pitifully obvious.

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Boebert Doubles Down On The Big Lie At Club 20

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R).

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s veteran political reporter Charles Ashby updates from the Club 20 2021 Spring Conference–a Western Slope civic organization that struggled for relevance in recent years as the region’s right-wing politics diverged from the mainstream and Club 20 followed suit. On Friday, Club 20 hosted freshman GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert for the discussion she declined during the 2020 campaign along with lots of other candidates on both sides.

Nonetheless this weekend’s conference was an opportunity for Boebert, who has been on a nonstop tear of high-energy bellicosity since taking office just a few days before an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that Boebert cheered on right up to the windows smashing in, to project a more competent image. If there’s any benefit to Boebert appearing at Club 20 it’s to make herself look, well, normal.

But as Club 20 discovered and our readers could have guessed, there’s no normalizing Lauren Boebert:

While she referred to Biden as president on several occasions during her address and a question-and-answer session afterwards, she didn’t respond to a question about whether Biden’s election was legitimate.

She did, however, defend her stance in January in challenging the Electoral College results in Congress that put Biden into office.

“There are certain states that went against their states’ constitutions,” she said. “It was not the states’ legislatures that were determining election laws. You had secretaries of state, attorneys general, rogue judges and many other elected officials and unelected bureaucrats changing election laws.”

With that, whatever Boebert had to say about any other issue, the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Grand Junction, oil and gas drilling, water policy–forget about it, because the national media will only care that Lauren Boebert just reaffirmed the “Big Lie” that the 2020 elections were somehow not legitimate. Three months after the violence at the U.S. Capitol that marked the effective end of Donald Trump’s deceitful campaign to undo his defeat, Lauren Boebert remains a true believer in the falsehood that sparked it.

If Club 20 wants to be known as a “safe space” for insurrectionists being spurned by even most of mainstream corporate America, that’s their choice–but it’s not going to help them attract mainstream candidates to their events in future election years. A clear statement from Club 20’s leadership that they don’t endorse Boebert’s insurrectionist election fiction is probably in order.

Scorpion and the frog, folks. Boebert simply doesn’t do normal, and attempts to pretend otherwise end badly.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (April 9)

Today is the 99th day of the year; 2021 starts to look really old tomorrow. 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 

 

As Bruce Finley reports for The Denver Post, Colorado officials are taking new steps to prepare for what they expect will be another bad wildfire season:

Facing a worsening wildfire predicament, Colorado leaders on Thursday braced for more big burns and declared they’re shifting state strategy and millions of taxpayer dollars toward early detection and aggressive rapid response to squelch flames before they spread.

More aerial assets including a $24 million helicopter, prepositioning of air tankers that haul water and fire-snuffing slurry, and increased teamwork among local, state and federal agencies have placed Colorado in what officials described as an unprecedented state of readiness.

“Colorado used to talk about a fire season. It is now a year-round phenomenon,” Gov. Jared Polis said after a meeting of federal and state authorities, referring to the impacts of climate change…

…The core “wildfire season” in the state has increased by 78 days since the 1970s, officials said, with fires breaking out even in freezing temperatures. And human population expansion into burn zones — Polis pointed to some 300,000 houses built in woods requiring “perimeter defense” against wildfire — increasingly constrains what land managers can do.

 
► The Public Option is in the House!

The public option bill had been delayed in attempt to find compromise with hospitals.

 

► As Colorado Public Radio reports, efforts to push an assault weapons ban in Colorado have stalled as key allies ponder a different approach:

Any major push to pass an assault-style weapon’s ban in Colorado is looking increasingly less likely, with the legislature’s highest-profile advocate for stricter gun laws saying now isn’t the time.

“It diverts all of the attention,” said Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial.

Instead, Sullivan wants to focus efforts on policies he believes would be more effective at preventing gun violence. Technology, he said, can circumvent bans on specific types of weapons…

…Democratic Gov. Jared Polis told CPR’s Colorado Matters that he is not focused on the type of firearm that was used in the massacre. Instead, Polis would like Colorado to strengthen universal background checks.

Elsewhere in state legislative news:

The Denver Post looks at how lawmakers plan to allocate funds from an unexpected budget surplus. As Marianne Goodland reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, the State Senate approved a proposed budget in a preliminary vote.

Lawmakers are advancing legislation to better fund mental health and substance abuse programs.

Denver7 reports on legislation to better protect children from domestic abuse.

A bill in the State Senate seeks to require more transparency from ski resorts on injuries suffered on the slopes

Alex Burness of The Denver Post reports on legislative efforts to deal with death threats toward lawmakers.

 

 

The Associated Press reports on President Biden’s Thursday announcement on actions his administration is taking to promote gun safety:

President Joe Biden put on a modest White House ceremony Thursday to announce a half-dozen executive actions to combat what he called an “epidemic and an international embarrassment” of gun violence in America.

But he said much more is needed. And while Biden had proposed the most ambitious gun-control agenda of any modern presidential candidate, his moves underscored his limited power to act alone on guns with difficult politics impeding legislative action on Capitol Hill.

Biden’s new steps include a move to crack down on “ghost guns,” homemade firearms that lack serial numbers used to trace them and are often purchased without a background check. He’s also moving to tighten regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces like the one used in Boulder, Colorado, in a shooting last month that left 10 dead.

As CBS4 Denver reports, Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) was with Biden at the White House for Thursday’s announcement.

 

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

 

(more…)

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: All-Stars and A-Holes

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, that guy we talked about last week (Danny Moore) who was the Chair of the Congressional Redistricting Commission…he got shelled; Colorado is getting some All-Stars because of our awesome non-racist voting systems; we have more reasons for another edition of “Legislating with Crayons“; there is yet another recall scam going after one of the most popular Governors in the country; and we check in again with “The Boebert Report.”

Also, we all got our shots! Well, the first of them, anyway.

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

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 8)

Happy birthday, Buddha! 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 

 

Roughly 1 in 4 Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but a similar percentage of people in the United States say that they will NOT get vaccinated, which could threaten the country’s ability to reach herd immunity this summer. COVID-19 hospitalizations are slowly increasing in Colorado, and officials in Jefferson County are moving back to “Level Yellow” because of rising cases. A government building in Elbert County was also recently closed because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Meanwhile, a wave of infections in the Upper Midwest and Northeastern U.S. has health officials concerned about a potential fourth surge of the pandemic. As The New York Times reports:

Michigan is in tough shape. New cases and hospitalizations there have more than doubled in the last two weeks, and the six metro areas in the United States with the greatest number of new cases relative to their population are all in Michigan.

Several other states in the Upper Midwest, including Minnesota and Illinois, have also reported significant increases in new cases and hospitalizations. And in the Northeast, New York and New Jersey have continued to see elevated case counts.

Illinois is seeing a spike in cases as well. The daily average for new cases there has jumped about 56 percent in the past two weeks, to about 2,832 a day. Hospitalizations have risen about 28 percent from two weeks ago. Wisconsin and North Dakota have also seen their average case counts jump 50 percent or more in the last two weeks.

While new cases, hospitalizations and deaths nationwide have declined from their peaks in January, new infections have increased after plateauing.

A rise in infections around the world is also worrying health officials. The French Open tennis tournament has been delayed as France deals with a new lockdown. In Brazil, COVID-19 deaths surpassed 4,000 in a single day for the first time this week; with a death toll of more than 337,000, Brazil trails only the United States (562,000+) in total COVID-related deaths. Cases are also rising dramatically in India, which is struggling to increase vaccination rates as infections climb.

 

All of the far-right candidates seeking seats on the Grand Junction City Council were defeated on Tuesday, a sign that the influence of Trumpism and Lauren Boebert might already be waning in conservative circles. Newly-elected Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown made an unsuccessful last-minute pitch on behalf of these candidates earlier this week.

Voters in Grand Junction also agreed to lift a 10-year moratorium on marijuana dispensaries.

 

President Biden is announcing new executive orders on gun safety, as The Washington Post reports:

In the White House Rose Garden, the president is expected to announce new rules on firearms that are assembled at home, which lack serial numbers and are harder to track, among other moves designed to make it harder for unqualified people to obtain dangerous weapons.

Biden also will announce David Chipman as his pick to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, although it is unclear how the nominee will fare in an evenly divided Senate. Chipman is a senior adviser to a gun control group founded by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was severely injured in a mass shooting in 2011.

As The Denver Post reports, Biden’s announcement includes a regulation on a weapon used in the Boulder King Soopers shootings:

A senior administration official with knowledge of the coming executive orders said Wednesday that by early June, the U.S. Justice Department “will issue a proposed rule to make clear that when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, that firearm is subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act.”

Colorado Newsline notes that the Biden administration will also distribute model “red flag” gun legislation for consideration by state legislatures (Colorado already has a “red flag” law).

 

As Denver7 reports, the “Long Bill” has been introduced.

The Colorado Joint Budget Committee has released its appropriations bill, also known as the long bill, earlier than normal this year. Committee members say this year’s budget is more focused on addressing funding inequities in the state.

Here’s more on the happenings at the state legislature:

Lawmakers are considering protections for pregnancies involving surrogates.

Colorado Newsline outlines some new stimulus bills being discussed at the State Capitol.

A new state agency devoted to early childhood education is under consideration.

Discussions are underway on a bill that would require more diversity on state panels.

Legislation that would provide free mental health treatment options for teenagers is moving along.

Colorado is one of 11 states looking to expand the importation of prescription drugs from other countries.

 

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

 

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Biden Closes “AR Pistol” Loophole After Boulder

President Joe Biden.

The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter previewed a series of executive orders from President Joe Biden announced a short while ago this morning in response to recent mass shootings including the killing of ten people at a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder last month:

President Joe Biden’s administration will announce Thursday that it will further regulate a gun accessory allegedly used in the March 22 mass shooting in Boulder.

A senior administration official with knowledge of the coming executive orders said Wednesday that by early June, the U.S. Justice Department “will issue a proposed rule to make clear that when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, that firearm is subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act.”

“As we know, the shooter in the Boulder tragedy last month used a pistol with an arm brace, which makes the firearm more stable and accurate,” added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In addition to this order to limit access to the specific configuration of AR-15 assault weapon used in the Boulder shooting, the Biden administration will also crack down on so-called “ghost guns,” guns fabricated at home using “finishing kits” and 3D printed parts to evade background checks. And in another nod to Colorado’s leadership on gun safety, the Department of Justice is being asked to draw up a “model” red-flag law to allow family members and law enforcement to temporarily take away guns from at-risk people like Colorado already has on the books.

In short, these are appropriate but limited actions that may nonetheless not satisfy the majority of the public in favor of stronger gun laws–but as NBC News reports they’re being characterized as just the beginning of a broader effort:

In a call with reporters Wednesday night, administration officials stressed that Thursday’s actions were just the first step and that Biden would still pursue legislative solutions to gun violence.

“This is an initial set of actions to make progress on President Biden’s gun violence reduction agenda,” one official said. “The administration will be pursuing legislative and executive actions at the same time. You will continue to hear the president call for Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence.”

As surely as we can predict another mass shooting tragedy, the debate over gun safety is far from over.

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Voter Suppression IS THE GOAL for Republicans

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is congratulated by Republicans after disenfranchising voters last month.

Losing the 2020 Presidential election has led many Republicans across the country to confront an uncomfortable truth: A majority of Americans just don’t like them.

For these Republicans, the solution to their electoral problem is not to find a better way to connect with voters or to adjust their policies or campaign strategies. Instead, their answer is to disenfranchise those pesky voters who refuse to support them. This is not hyperbole; Republicans have introduced more than 250 bills in at least 43 states that are blatant and obvious attempts to make it harder to vote. This devious strategy isn’t working in states like Colorado, but disenfranchisement has found smooth sailing in states such as Georgia.

Republicans have been defending these atrocities by hiding behind the suggestion that many Americans have lost confidence in our electoral process. Of course, the reason some Americans might say that they have lost confidence in elections is precisely BECAUSE Republicans keep telling them that they should no longer have confidence in our elections. This is The Big Lie that former President Trump initiated in his final months in office. Most of the GOP candidates for State Party Chair in Colorado campaigned primarily on this premise.

There was a time when Republicans used to dance around the topic of disenfranchisement with a “nudge nudge; wink wink” argument focused on trying to prevent the kind of widespread election fraud that already doesn’t happen. But in the months following the 2020 election, Republicans gradually stopped being quiet about the quiet part. In the last two weeks, two different columnists writing for the conservative National Review have directly posited that it would be preferable if America just stopped letting so many people vote altogether.

In a March 31 column laughably titled, “Not Everyone Should be Made to Vote,” Dan McLaughlin argues that it is wrong to encourage people to vote if they are not already interested in voting. You don’t need special glasses to read between the lines here.

This is a spade.

On Tuesday, Kevin D. Williamson took this theory a step further in a column titled, “Why Not Fewer Voters?” that is breathtaking in its horribleness:

There would be more voters if we made it easier to vote, and there would be more doctors if we didn’t require a license to practice medicine. The fact that we believe unqualified doctors to be a public menace but act as though unqualified voters were just stars in the splendid constellation of democracy indicates how little real esteem we actually have for the vote, in spite of our public pieties.

Right. We should have some sort of pre-voting exam before we hand someone a ballot. What could we call such a thing? Oh, let’s see…how about a “literacy test”?

The heart of Williamson’s position is more direct than what McLaughlin writes, but it’s the same argument: Only “good” voters should be allowed to vote because only “good” voters know what’s best for you.

If the question is the quality of policy outcomes, then both major camps have reasons to dread genuine majority rule. Conservatives ought to at the very least be mindful of the fact that if policy truly represented the preferences of the average American, then we would have fewer economic liberties and diminished Second Amendment rights; progressives should consider that if policy actually represented the preferences of the average American, then abortion rights would be limited and tax hikes would not fly, while we’d be spending more money on the Border Patrol and less on welfare as work requirements reduced the rolls.

What Williamson is saying here is really not that different from what many Republicans have been muttering since before Joe Biden was inaugurated as President: The only fair and just election is the one in which Republicans win. Period.

If you can’t beat ’em, cheat ’em!

If you have a problem with that…well, keep it to yourself. When big corporations such as Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines started speaking out against Georgia’s new voting restrictions, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell responded by threatening them to stay quiet. Or as Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan wrote on Twitter, “Get woke. Go broke.”

If certain Republicans are no longer going to pretend that they aren’t trying to suppress the vote in future elections, then the rest of us no longer need to pretend that we don’t see exactly what they are doing. It is at once horrifying and liberating to see all of the cards on the table.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 7)

Happy National Beer Day. Please celebrate 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 decision by Major League Baseball to move the 2021 All-Star Game to Denver — a reaction to draconian voting restrictions recently passed by the Georgia legislature — has been a major topic of discussion nationwide. On Tuesday, media outlets both local and national pushed back against odd Republican efforts to paint Colorado voting laws as more restrictive than those of Georgia. As The Denver Post reports:

Last week, Major League Baseball made it clear that voting rights were at the core of the decision to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia. But Tuesday’s official MLB release about the July 13 game moving to Denver did not discuss voting or get political in the least bit, with Commissioner Rob Manfred saying he appreciated the Colorado Rockies’, Denver’s and the state’s “flexibility and enthusiasm to deliver a first-class event for our game and the region.”

Gov. Jared Polis also ducked questions about Colorado’s election laws on Tuesday morning, but Denver Mayor Michael Hancock didn’t shy away from politics in an interview with The Denver Post. He said moving the game and all related festivities in Denver and at and Coors Field is a direct result of Colorado’s inclusive and accessible voting system that’s often referred to as the gold standard in the U.S.

“This is a cautionary tale for any state, any city who wants to restrict access to one’s rights to vote,” Hancock said. “For every action, there’s going to be a reaction.”

He added: “Even in a partisan environment we still make sure that nothing trumps full access to the ballot box. Voting is the heartbeat of democracy … You lean in and make it more inclusive. You don’t restrict.”

 

► Senate Bill 21-078, which requires Coloradans to do more in reporting lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement authorities, is on its way to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis after winning final approval in the State Senate. We have more on the legislation here.

 

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the ouster of Republican Danny Moore as the chair of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, including the apparent fact that many Colorado Republicans still believe — despite no evidence — that the 2020 election was fraudulent.

 

► As Colorado Public Radio reports, lawmakers are looking at a new discussion surrounding this year’s debate on the state budget:

Colorado lawmakers are about to begin the annual process of debating and finalizing the next state budget, and the difference from last year’s budget couldn’t be more extreme.

The state has billions of additional dollars to spend, in stark contrast to the previous year when the pandemic forced the state to cut more than $3 billion. The legislature’s bipartisan Joint Budget Committee introduced its agreed-upon spending plan to the full Senate this week, after working on it through months of negotiations and public hearings.

The budget totals almost $12 billion in discretionary spending, an increase of $1.2 billion, or 11 percent, over the current General Fund spending levels.

The Colorado Sun outlines eight things to know about the “long bill” in 2021.

 

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

 

(more…)

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All-Stars In Denver: The Huge Win Republicans Can’t Celebrate

UPDATE: Statement from Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold:

Colorado is recognized as the national gold standard for elections, and I’m thrilled with the decision to move the MLB All-Star Game to Coors Field in Denver.

The truth is Colorado’s election model works. We mail ballots to all voters, have early voting, and same day voter registration. Voters can participate easily in our elections, which are also the most secure in the nation. Election accessibility and security can go hand-in-hand.

We give voters ample time and options to participate in our elections. County clerks send ballots out more than three weeks ahead of Election Day. Drop boxes and voting centers open around the state soon thereafter. These various options give voters time to send their ballot back in the mail, drop it into a drop-box, or vote in-person.

And the proof is in our voter turnout, consistently amongst the top in the nation. We’ve got the most accessible and secure elections in the country, and are grateful that MLB is giving us the opportunity to showcase how elections can be!

—–

Coors Field.

We’re still getting our heads around the whirlwind events of the last four days, after Major League Baseball announced last Friday afternoon that the 2021 All-Star Game would relocate from the state of Georgia after that state’s passage of highly controversial vote suppression laws in response to statewide Democratic victories in the 2020 elections. Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado immediately swung into action following this announcement to sell Denver’s Coors Field as an alternate location for the economically lucrative event, and yesterday evening the news broke that the Midsummer Classic would be played in Colorado for the first time since 1998.

Like we said yesterday morning, Colorado has one of the most accessible and modern election systems in the country, and the result has been consistently high rates of voter participation ever since the new system was enacted in 2013. Colorado sends mail ballots to every active voter, allows same-day voter registration, and allows collection and drop-off of a limited number of completed ballots at drop boxes across the state.

Basically, we do everything Donald Trump claims “rigged the election” against him in 2020 as standard practice in Colorado. The problem is, well, there’s no problem–our years of experience has proven that these reforms actually do work. More voters vote, elections are accurate and secure, and Republicans even occasionally win in a state whose political trajectory has been moving Democratic for years. In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, as Trump was insisting that he rightfully won re-election, even Colorado Republican leaders like ex-chairman Rep. Ken Buck and GOP county clerks worked to debunk the nonsensical claims of Trump’s conspiracy theorists with respect to Colorado elections. And since Colorado relies on the very same Dominion Voting Systems hardware and other practices Trump had seized on to allege fraud, this means Colorado Republicans were, for anyone paying attention, effectively dismantling Trump’s falsehoods everywhere.

As Westword’s Michael Roberts reports, this important leadership role for Colorado in refuting nationwide false narratives about how elections work put our state in a position to prosper bigly at Georgia’s expense–while continuing to strike directly at the Big Lie:

The Georgia law is one of the most draconian in the country — opponents argue that it will disenfranchise people of color by adding new restrictions to mail-in ballots and voter registration — and the response has been just as drastic. In addition to MLB’s move, other major outfits are pulling big events from the state, particularly Atlanta.

But the loss of the All-Star Game particularly hurts. When Atlanta hosted this event in 2000, it got a $49 million economic boost, according to Baseball Almanac. This year’s game was estimated to bring another $100 million to the city…

Dominion Voting Systems, the Denver-based company that’s been the focus of most of those unfounded election-fraud rumors across the country, particularly Georgia, is headquartered only blocks from Coors Field (not that employees are working in that building these days). Moving the game here is a political home run for free and fair elections, as well as Denver’s economy.

It’s been suggested that the passage of draconian vote suppression laws in Georgia could backfire on Republicans in another way, by mobilizing their opponents to work that much harder. At the same time, moving the All-Star Game to Colorado forces Republicans to acknowledge our state’s success. The first response we’re seeing from Republican spin machines is not good, trying to advance an absurd narrative that Colorado’s election laws are somehow more strict than Georgia’s by comparing early voting days (15 vs 17)–and totally ignoring fundamental differences like all-mail ballots and same-day voter registration:

The reality is much more nuanced. When it comes to picking a state that makes voting accessible — and provably so — it’s very difficult to do much better than Colorado…Yes, Colorado has slightly fewer [in-person early voting days] than Georgia will have. But given how few people use that option and how accessible mail-in voting is, it’s incontrovertible that it’s easier to vote in Colorado.

The simple fact is this: Colorado’s success in increasing voter participation securely exposes vote suppression in other states for what it is. Colorado’s model election system is a major dilemma for Republicans bent on suppressing the vote in their own states. Bringing the All-Star Game here to highlight this reality, to celebrate our success in contrast to what’s happening in so many other states, is a political masterstroke that will resonate beyond Colorado’s four corners.

For some Colorado Republicans and plenty more elsewhere, however, it’s going to be an awkward few days.

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Comparing January 6th’s Lauren Boebert To Friday’s Boebert

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

Fox News’ Brittany De Lea reports that Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado is all over the deadly vehicular attack last Friday  on U.S. Capitol Police that left one officer as well as the mentally ill sole perpetrator dead–or more to the point, all over the blame game for the attack:

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., questioned whether the FBI and Department of Homeland Security were – or should have been – aware that the suspect who attacked Capitol Hill on Friday may have been a threat, or whether the agencies had been distracted by “woke training”…

The suspect, who has been identified as a 25-year-old man from Indiana named Noah Green, rammed a barricade at the Capitol on Friday in his car, killing Capitol Police officer William Evans and injuring a second officer. The suspect is said to have exited his vehicle with a knife and lunged at officers. The suspect, who was shot, also died on Friday.

It appeared to be a “lone wolf” attack, sources told Fox News, and the suspect identified himself as a follower of the Nation of Islam on Facebook.

To be as fair as possible, we’ll acknowledge that Rep. Boebert did offer condolences to the fallen Capitol Police officer before pivoting to whether the police were “too busy doing woke training” to (we guess) not die:

Friday’s fatal attack on a vehicle barrier near the U.S. Capitol comes after Boebert filmed a promotional video in March of herself walking the perimeter of the razor-wire fence erected around the building after the storming of the Capitol by pro-Donald Trump insurgents on January 6th. “Madam Speaker, tear down this wall,” said Boebert in that video, invoking Ronald Reagan in Berlin–and on March 24, the fence came down. Boebert wasn’t the reason the fence came down, though she would have gladly taken credit for it except perhaps for a brief period last Friday afternoon.

Given Boebert’s high-profile role in the post-election agitation that led directly to the riot on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol, both Boebert’s grandstanding for the Capitol fence to be removed before security considerations permitted it as well as Boebert’s intense focus on this one attacker over the hundreds who stormed the Capitol on Trump’s behalf go beyond hypocrisy into something closer to what psychologists call “gaslighting.” The goal is not so much to convince her critics, but to simply confound them in apoplectic rage over a pretense no one, not even Boebert herself, actually believes.

Although any reasonable person would have realized either on January 6th or immediately afterward that it was time to shut up get out of the spotlight until the dust settles, Boebert’s strategy is the opposite: a frontal assault of hypocrisy in the hope that the resulting wreckage will be unrecognizable.

Like Trump, folks. She learned this from Donald Trump. And on her smaller scale, Boebert is heading to the same end.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (April 5)

Happy Singmogil. Please celebrate 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 

 

Health experts continue to warn that we could be nearing another surge in the COVID-19 pandemic. As CNN explains:

The highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant has fueled an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in parts of Europe. And experts worry the US could be next if Americans don’t double down on safety measures until more people are vaccinated.

What’s worse, experts say, is that the variant is changing the pandemic’s playbook and could spell trouble for younger groups that haven’t yet been vaccinated.

As The Washington Post reports, an increase in infections is particularly worrisome in India:

India on Sunday reported more than 100,000 new cases of the coronavirus, a grim measure achieved by only the United States and briefly Brazil, and a sign that the infections in the nation of 1.3 billion could be spinning out of control.

India, which has one of the world’s largest vaccine-manufacturing capacities, is immunizing citizens at a rate of 2 million a day but has not made significant headway, with just 5 percent of the population having received a first dose. India is also slowing down its vaccine exports in the face of domestic demand, with potentially dire consequences for other countries.

Experts believe that changes in behavior, waning immunity from prior infections and the spread of new variants are all contributing to the dramatic rise in cases.

Here in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis extended a statewide mask order for another month at the request of local health officials.

On the subject of COVID-19 vaccinations, we still don’t know if Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation have received their vaccines.

 

The Denver Post reports on an influx of federal money coming to Colorado:

Over the next 13 months, nearly $2 billion will move from the federal treasury to the bank accounts of Colorado’s counties, cities and towns — a redistribution of tax dollars that experts and officials say is without parallel in modern American history.

“The sheer amount of money that is flowing is unprecedented,” said John Swartout, the executive director of Colorado Counties Inc., a membership association for city and county officials. “There’s been nothing like it.”

For Colorado’s local governments, the money represents an opportunity they have never had and may not get again soon. It’s a chance to fill holes in budgets and bridges, to address decades-long addictions and afflictions, to build up and better their towns.

The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion stimulus and COVID-19 relief package that passed Congress last month without a single Republican vote and was signed into law by President Joe Biden.

 

► Let’s get some updates on the State Legislature, which will begin to tackle “The Long Bill” (the state budget) this week…

Lawmakers are looking for ways to expand access to birth control via Medicaid.

Police accountability will be a hot topic in the next few weeks.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, some gun owners want lawmakers to know that they oppose an Assault Weapons Ban that doesn’t exist.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports on legislative efforts to address a shortage of child care options in Colorado.

The Colorado Sun reports on a proposal to pay school board members for their time.

Here’s more from The Denver Post on the plastic bag ban discussion.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Down Loser’s Memory Lane With Kristi Burton Brown

As noted by Ernest Luning at the Colorado Springs Gazette, what we assume was a relic from the 2020 elections still lurking in the Colorado Republican Party’s A/V department has taken a turn for the ironic:

For emphasis, this does not repeat not mean freshly defeated Sen. Cory Gardner is planning to run again against incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, and in addition to being a political suicide mission everyone can agree this would be an odd way to announce it. Gardner’s campaign logo came up mistakenly on the television located behind newly elected GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown in her inaugural video update to the party faithful because their 2020 content hadn’t been cleared off yet.

Unfortunately that does mean instead of a hopeful glimpse at the future, this inaugural update video turned into more of a sad look back at the Colorado GOP’s past. Gardner’s narrow election victory in 2014, after all, was the last significant statewide win for Republicans in Colorado up to the present day–contrasted against today’s Democratic majority of the state’s congressional delegation, both U.S. Senate seats, and every statewide office except for one CU Regent at-large seat held by Democrats.

With all of this in mind, it makes sense that when you make a mistake like this, the internet can be most unforgiving in response! Thus one mistaken image from a losing campaign flashed on screen becomes a grand tour: Great Moments in Republican History.

The moral of the story: if you don’t want to become a meme, don’t hand us the content on a plate.

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Nothing Succeeds Like Failure

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the Colorado Republican Party’s historically unsuccessful new leadership team; the election fraud truther on the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission; infrastructure week (for real this time); and another segment of “Legislating With Crayons,” in which Republicans unwittingly make the case for a new media literacy bill.

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

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Get More Smarter on April Fool’s Day (April 1)

This is the only day in 2021 where it will make sense that Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is in Congress. 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 

 

► President Biden on Wednesday revealed details on his massive infrastructure plan, further signaling a new era of ambitious action from the federal government.
“It is not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” said Biden in a speech outside Pittsburgh. “It is a once-in-a-generation investment in America.”

Via The New York Times (3/31/21)

 

CBS4 Denver takes a look at what Biden’s infrastructure plan could mean for Colorado.

 

► As POLITICO reports, Democrat Kerry Donovan, a State Senator from Vail, raised more than $614,000 in just 55 days for her campaign to take on Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) in 2022. This is a YUGE number and solidifies Donovan as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in CO-03. Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reports that Donovan’s fundraising total actually exceeds $700k.

But perhaps the most interesting note in that POLITICO story is from Illinois, where incumbent Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger raised $1.1 million DESPITE having voted to impeach former President Trump.

 

► Republican Danny Moore, the chairperson of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, is a lizard man from outer space. We don’t know if that’s true or not, but we’re following Moore’s logic that you can say anything you want so long as you couch it as an “opinion.”

 

► It’s a story that would otherwise be perfect for April Fool’s Day: A group of Republicans in Colorado is organizing yet another pointless effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis.

 

► It might be Spring Break for you, but not for the state legislature…

Lawmakers are preparing for the big annual budget battle. As The Denver Post reports, a 3% wage increase for state employees is among the suggestions being discussed.

Officials are debating a change to the state’s foster care system that would allow people to remain in foster care until the age of 21.

Republicans tried and failed to filibuster legislation focused on transgender rights, because that’s what they do.

Denver7 reports on efforts to limit the use of ketamine by first responders. The proposal is part of a broader package of law enforcement reforms expected in the legislature.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Let’s “Spark a Conversation” About Danny Moore

Danny Moore

This is Danny Moore. He is a Republican from Centennial, and the recently-elected Chairperson of the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Committee. 9News reported on Monday that Moore “is an election-rigging conspiracy theorist,” which is odd. Evan Wyloge of the Colorado Springs Gazette followed up with another story today in which Moore makes no apologies for saying ridiculous crap:

In the months following the 2020 election, Moore, one of the congressional redistricting commission’s four Republican members and now the commission’s chairman, published posts and comments questioning the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, calling it “the Democrat steal” and repeating the untrue assertion that President Joe Biden did not get more votes than former President Donald Trump.

Moore insists that he is not a conspiracy theorist; he just happens to be someone who regularly repeats conspiracy theories aloud. This is sort of like claiming that you are not a thief even though you spend a lot of time stealing things that don’t belong to you.

Danny Moore believes that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent. Danny Moore does not think that more than 80 million Americans really voted for Joe Biden in 2020. Danny Moore believes that the news media has been exaggerating the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic since the very beginning. You used to be able to read these comments on Moore’s Facebook page, but Moore apparently decided in the last day or two that he should make his page private.

Danny Moore believes that he can say anything he wants and lie with impunity by hiding behind the excuse that he is entitled to his own opinion. “I don’t know if those things are true or not, but in my circle we share these things between us and we debate these things,” he told the Gazette. Way to stand up for your convictions, Danny.

With that in mind, here is our opinion of some other things that we should debate about Danny Moore:

♦ Danny Moore does not believe that the earth is round; he thinks it is a square.

♦ Danny Moore became fabulously wealthy by selling used Q-tips to indigent people in Latin America.

♦ Danny Moore was once engaged to be married to a jar of pickles (Vlasic, reportedly).

♦ Danny Moore has an inside-out penis.

♦ Danny Moore eats live squirrels for breakfast twice a week.

Now, look, we don’t KNOW if these things are true or not. We’re just throwing it out there for discussion. If Danny Moore is not a lizard man from outer space, then he should prove it and put the matter to bed once and for all.

We should note that Moore is no stranger to Colorado politics. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Leadership Program of the Rockies, the right-wing training ground directed by well-known conservative names such as Bob Schaffer, Mark Hillman, and Alex Cranberg. University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl, the only remaining statewide Republican elected official in Colorado, is a former board member. It’s fair to say that Moore’s political “opinions” are probably pretty similar, which would be fine if Moore had the courage to defend those opinions instead of answering every question with a variation of, “who really knows?” 

If Moore does not even attempt to support his his own thoughts with factual arguments, then we should be concerned about whether he’ll pay any attention to truth on the redistricting commission. Is Census data just someone else’s opinion of population changes? Maybe Moore has a different “opinion” about how many people live in Denver.

Look, Danny Moore has every right to make an ass of himself on any number of topics. But the other members of the redistricting commission don’t have to let him make a fool out of them, too.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (March 31)

Today is the last day of the Q1 fundraising period for most elected officials and candidates. If you’ve opened your email in the last few days, you probably already knew this. 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 

 

What time is it? Infrastructure time!

As The New York Times reports:

President Biden will unveil an infrastructure plan on Wednesday whose $2 trillion price tag would translate into 20,000 miles of rebuilt roads, repairs to the 10 most economically important bridges in the country, the elimination of lead pipes and service lines from the nation’s water supplies and a long list of other projects intended to create millions of jobs in the short run and strengthen American competitiveness in the long run.

Biden administration officials said the proposal, which they detailed in a 25-page briefing paper and which Mr. Biden will discuss in an afternoon speech in Pittsburgh, would also accelerate the fight against climate change by hastening the shift to new, cleaner energy sources, and would help promote racial equity in the economy…

…the scale of the proposal underscores how fully Mr. Biden has embraced the opportunity to use federal spending to address longstanding social and economic challenges in a way not seen in half a century. Officials said that, if approved, the spending in the plan would end decades of stagnation in federal investment in research and infrastructure — and would return government investment in those areas, as a share of the economy, to its highest levels since the 1960s.

The Washington Post has more on how Biden’s proposal breaks down into specific buckets, from highways and road maintenance to boosting U.S. manufacturing and fixing problems with the electric grid and clean drinking water systems.

 

► To vaccinate, or to vacillate? As Colorado Newsline reports, many Members of Congress are still not vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus:

Members of Congress were among the first people in the U.S. to have access to the sought-after COVID-19 vaccine when the initial doses became available in December.

Three months later, a States Newsroom survey across 22 states — making up a large swath of Congress — found at least 155 members of the U.S. House and Senate have been vaccinated, based on a tally of responses from their offices and other public statements. Most, but not all, are Democrats, even as pollsters find greater hesitancy and even disinterest among Republicans in the broader U.S. adult population when it comes to the vaccine.

At least 14 legislators say they have not been vaccinated, either because they have been waiting to do so or because they don’t plan to at all. All but but one are Republicans. Dozens of others among the 237 surveyed declined to share their vaccination status.

Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) has been vaccinated (twice) and has publicly acknowledged as much. Yet many elected officials, most of them Republicans, have avoided vaccines despite the obvious risks:

With the average age for House members at 58 and senators averaging 64, many lawmakers also were at increased risk of severe complications or even death if they contracted the virus. (One member of Congress, Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas) died in February after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and Luke Letlow, who was elected to represent a Louisiana district in December, passed away from complications of the virus before he could be sworn in.)

As for Colorado’s Congressional delegation, all six Democrats have been fully vaccinated. On the Republican side, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) has said he will not get the vaccine. Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) said in December that she didn’t need to get the vaccine, though her office did not confirm one way or the other. Likewise, Colorado Newsline could not confirm if Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) had been vaccinated or planned on being vaccinated (Lamborn also tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2020).

Since we’re on the subject of COVID-19 and public officials…

 

► Republican Danny Moore, the chairperson of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, is a full-on believer that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent. Maybe he’s not the best person to be leading a redistricting commission. Evan Wyloge has more on this story for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman.

 

► It might be Spring Break for you, but not for the state legislature…

Governor Jared Polis does not agree with parts of a proposed bill that seeks to implement more specific markers for greenhouse gas emissions restrictions. The Colorado Sun has more on the discussion.

Colorado is poised to become the first state to offer public housing benefits to people regardless of their immigration status. Meanwhile, a bill to create an immigration legal defense fund is advancing in the State House.

Marianne Goodland reports on a legislation regarding actuarial review of health benefit mandates, which is a phrase we only partially understand.

Legislation is moving along that seeks to ensure that county commissioner districts are accurately redrawn every 10 years.

A bill ending the statute of limitations on lawsuits for child sex abusers has made it out of the legislature and is on the way to the desk of Gov. Polis.

The Colorado Springs Independent takes a look at several new and pending pieces of legislation.

State lawmakers have halted a proposal to build a fence around parts of the State Capitol.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Redistricting Chair is an Election Fraud Truther

Colorado’s new Independent Redistricting Commissions are made up of a mix of Democrats, Republicans, and Unaffiliated voters, which is what Colorado voters approved when they green-lighted Amendments Y&Z in 2018.

When the Congressional Redistricting Committee met for the first time earlier this month, Centennial Republican Danny Moore was elected by his fellow commissioners as Chair of the committee. But as 9News reports, Moore is an odd choice to be this group’s leader.

Why? Because Danny Moore thinks that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent. Check out this 9News story from Monday, in which anchor Kyle Clark says “Danny Moore is an election rigging conspiracy theorist”:

Take a look at this screenshot of one of Moore’s Facebook commentaries on the election (note the date as January 7):

Via 9News (3/29/21)

 

Moore responded to questions in an interview with 9News by relying on the ridiculous trope that he is “just trying to spark a conversation” by regularly claiming that the 2020 Presidential election was illegitimate. Before he was elected Chair of the committee, our understanding is that Moore did NOT indicate to his fellow commissioners that he believed the election to be fraudulent. That seems like a pretty relevant piece of information.

You could argue as to whether someone who believes the election was not legitimate should even BE on the redistricting commission, but it seems pretty obvious that this person should not be the group’s leader.

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Rep. Ron Hanks Doth Protest Much Too Much

Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

A total of five pieces of GOP-sponsored legislation intended to monkeywrench Colorado’s “gold standard” election system, credited with giving our state one of of the highest rates of voter participation in the country, went down in flames yesterday in the Colorado House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee–known colloquially under the Gold Dome as the “kill committee” being where the unfavored bills from the minority party go to die.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold summed up the mood of majority Democrats as they went through the parliamentary motions of killing these vote suppression bills yesterday afternoon:

Across the nation, we are seeing a tsunami of legislation to suppress voters and spread the big lie about the 2020 election. Although Colorado is considered the nation’s gold standard for elections, there have been bills introduced to undermine confidence and suppress the votes of Coloradans. I applaud the legislators who rejected these types of election-related bills today. We must keep Colorado’s nationally renowned elections safe, secure, and accessible, and ensure that all eligible voters can have their voices heard.

Of the five bills that died in yesterday’s committee hearing, two were very straightforward vote suppression efforts to redundantly require “proof of citizenship” to register and allow anyone to jam the process by requesting a recount. The other three were bills requesting various duplicative audits and new commissions to examine the supposed problem of election fraud in Colorado. But the state already performs comprehensive risk-limiting audits and other extensive measures to ensure the vote in Colorado is accessible and accurate, and as Republican county clerks across the state will happily tell you there is simply no evidence outside Donald Trump’s fever dreams of a problem requiring any such intervention.

Ands as Pat Poblete of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, that’s where things took a turn for the weird:

“Many of us on this committee believe the entire reason we’re talking about election fraud is because of a false narrative that was put out there by the 45th president of the United States,” [Rep. Chris Kennedy] said. “And we’re certainly entitled to all have different opinions about that but those kinds of narratives are the very things that shake the confidence in our election.”

Rep. Ron Hanks, R-Penrose, shot back that Kennedy’s comments were “inappropriate.”

“If we are supposed to be exchanging ideas here, labeling me a conspiracy theorist kind of sets me on my heels,” he said. [Pols emphasis] “Rules ought to matter, laws ought to matter and the feelings of the opposition ought to matter and there ought to be some conciliation from whoever the victor is and it’s hard to get that if one side is feeling slighted.”

The problem here is pretty simple: freshman GOP Rep. Ron Hanks is in fact a conspiracy theorist. After attending the January 6th Trump dead-ender rally that devolved into a riot at the U.S. Capitol, Hanks asserted that the rioters “weren’t Trump supporters.” A few days before President Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th, Hanks actually told supporters that there was still a chance “foreign intelligence” might swoop in at the last moment with proof the Trump won the election.

Like Bill Engvall says, Rep. Hanks, “here’s your sign.”

As we’ve said previously, introducing legislation to undermine Colorado’s election system in the demonstrable absence of any problem is ultimately very bad for the credibility of Republicans pushing those bills. It helps clarify, as has been seen in other states across the country where Republicans wield majority power, that the intent is not to resolve any issue other than Republicans losing elections. Likewise, Rep. Hanks is probably the worst possible choice in the entire Colorado legislature to defend Republicans over baseless conspiracy theorizing about the 2020 elections.

What’s happening in Colorado is so ridiculous, in fact, that it should be a much bigger story. Although these bills will not see the light of day in our state this year, their very existence–and the local Republican stooges pushing them–help expose the fraudulency of the whole effort nationwide.

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