Get More Smarter on Monday (July 19)

Today is the 200th day of 2021. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

With the Delta variant of COVID-19 continuing to surge and the same anti-vax lines being drawn around the country, there is a new push to restrict vaccine disinformation online. As The Washington Post explains:

In the latest salvo of the social media wars, a coalition of liberal individuals and groups has written to Facebook and Twitter urging them to ban 12 people who, one study found, spread the bulk of disinformation about coronavirus vaccines.

“People are quite literally dying because disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccine, and public health leaders is spreading,” they wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The Daily 202 obtained an advance copy of the letter…

…Among the better-known signatories were UltraViolet, the Center for Countering Digital Hate, Alianza for Progress, GLAAD, Media Matters for America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Women’s March.

Oh, and on the subject of vaccination levels differing by political affiliation, here’s another depressing chart that reiterates what we’ve been seeing for months:

 

As Megan Schrader opines for The Denver Post, Republicans such as Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert are doing Coloradans a disservice by continuing to stoke anti-vaxxer paranoia.

On the subject of Boebert and inaccurate information, her crusade to validate “The Big Lie” in Arizona has been swiftly debunked.

 

Colorado Democrats are pushing Congress to act on immigration reform, as Colorado Public Radio reports:

This push comes as some Senate Democrats are considering whether to try to include immigration reform in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package they’re currently drafting. The idea being floated would include funding for a pathway to legal status for certain groups, like DREAMers or immigrants with temporary protected status.

“I have always been a strong believer that we are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. That is why we must build an immigration system that is humane and orderly and rooted in justice and enforceability,” Gov. Jared Polis wrote. “To ensure that, I urge you to act now on comprehensive immigration reform including a pathway to earn citizenship through the reconciliation process.”

On Friday, a federal judge in Texas ruled that former President Barack Obama acted beyond his authority in setting up DACA, the program that protects eligible young undocumented immigrants from deportation, and ordered the government to stop approving new applications. The case is expected to be appealed, but the ruling adds new urgency to the question of whether the Senate will move forward with something.

Even before the ruling, Polis wasn’t the only one seeing an opportunity at this moment. The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (or CIRC) also supports this push.

 

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Grifters Gonna Grift: Lauren Boebert’s Slush Fund

Bling Bling

Here’s an interesting note in a Colorado Sun story about fundraising numbers from Q2 involving Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle):

Boebert also made four payments through her campaign account to Venmo totaling $6,650, each one described as a “personal expense of Lauren Boebert billed to campaign account in error.” The campaign made two payments on May 3 for $2,000 and $1,325, and two payments in the same amounts on June 3. All four state the “expense has been reimbursed,” but her report doesn’t list the reimbursements.

Need a little extra walking around money? Just Venmo campaign donations straight into your pocket!

We’re long past the point where we might suggest that this activity is “suspicious.” As we first noted back in December 2020, Boebert appears to use her official campaign account as her own personal checking account, inventing implausible reimbursement amounts so that she can pay off non-campaign related debts (over a period of just 9 months last year, Boebert claimed to have driven enough miles to have traveled one and a half times around the Earth).

Siphoning money from your campaign account into your own pockets is not legal, of course, but Boebert is no doubt counting on the fact that it’s a hard transgression to prove (though it does happen from time to time, as former California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter can attest).

The more immediate repercussions for this sort of shameless grifting can come at the ballot box, though in this case the type of supporters that Boebert attracts are probably more apt to be amused by how she lines her own pockets with donations from others.

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 16)

It’s gonna be another sunny, but very hot, weekend. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

The editorial board of The Washington Post marvels (and not in a good way) at renewed efforts from right-wing voices to attack COVID-19 vaccinations:

By slowing the uptake of lifesaving vaccines, anti-vaccination voices give the delta variant time and space to claim new victims. This is a threat to everyone because it will prolong the pandemic. Infections are on the rise in the United States. A stark scenario is unfolding in southwestern Missouri, where hospitals are beginning to surpass the level of covid-19 patients seen in December 2020. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that new cases in St. Louis County had skyrocketed 63 percent in the past two weeks. Missouri is among several states with vaccination rates well below the national average.

Across the country, those getting sick and being hospitalized are almost exclusively the unvaccinated. For Fox News and conservative politicians to be frightening people about vaccines with words like “creepy,” “scandal” and the conspiratorial “let’s talk, comrade” is not mere pandering. It can be fatal.

Here in Colorado, we’ve noted the continued problem with low vaccination rates in Mesa County. Heath officials in Larimer County, meanwhile, are sounding the alarm about rising COVID-19 cases in Northern Colorado.

Please, people: Just get your vaccines.

 

Fox 31 Denver reports on the continuation of a troubling trend for Colorado Republicans:

There are now about 22,000 fewer registered Republicans in Colorado in July, than there were on January 1, 2021. During that same time, Democrats lost about 100 voters. Meanwhile, unaffiliated voter registrations increased by about 85,000.

Republicans have lost about 40,000 registered voters in Colorado since 2016. But yeah, stick with Trumpism!

 

We say it a lot here, but it’s always worth repeating: Elections matter. Local areas with Democratic Members of Congress in Colorado are getting a lot of federal money to assist with transportation and other community programs. If your Congressperson is a Republican…not so much.

 

This has been a good week for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver). The child tax credit policy that he has long championed is now being instituted, and on Thursday, Bennet’s re-election campaign reported raising $1.7 million in Q2, increasing its cash-on-hand numbers to $2.3 million.

Colorado Newsline has more on the rollout of the child tax credit.

 

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What Does Blue Do For You?

Back in May, we wrote in this space about reporting from The Colorado Sun related to how Members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation were going about trying to secure federal funding for important local infrastructure and community projects in the wake of relaxed rules on “earmarks” in the new Congress.

Colorado Republicans in the House of Representatives have insisted that they will NOT participate in “member designated projects” or “community project funding requests” as part of some sort of narrow-minded protest against the earmark process in general. In March, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) even penned an Op-Ed for Newsweek in which he stated that “earmarks go hand-in-hand with corruption.”

Perhaps realizing that not supporting local projects is a bad look, Buck has since “Buckpedaled” on his opposition to earmarks with mealy-mouthed language about how he “supports” efforts by the City of Greeley to obtain funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Greeley Regional Interchange Project. Of course, Buck could have just made the funding request himself, but that would have conflicted with his efforts to pretend that he is ethically superior to other Members of Congress.

The point here is that while Colorado Republicans are shaking their fists at some mythical “Earmark Goblin,” Democrats in the House of Representatives are doing a LOT of work to move along important infrastructure and community projects in their home districts.

 

Perlmutter

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County), for example, helped to push through federal funding that will assist in making roadway and bike lane improvements on Federal Parkway; removing and replacing the I-70 Eastbound and Westbound bridges over 32nd Avenue; widening State Highway 72 (Indiana Street); and improvements to Wadsworth Blvd. and Colfax Ave. If you live in Arvada, Golden, Wheat Ridge, or Lakewood, you know how significant these improvements will be for your daily commute. Perlmutter also secured funding for 10 community projects (CPF) in CO-07, including body cameras for the Thornton Police Department; improvements to Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport; multimodal improvements to State Highway 93; and renovations for a new pediatric health clinic in Commerce City.

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Denver) promoted infrastructure projects that will revitalize the 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver and replace miles of decades-old light-rail track, switches, and concrete flatwork throughout Denver’s light-rail system. DeGette’s CPF requests includes money to help the City of Denver convert an old hotel into lodging for homeless residents; the creation of more affordable housing in Montbello; and assistance for Urban Peak in building a homeless shelter for children.

Crow

Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) secured money to improve the Interchange at I-25 and Belleview; the intersection at Easter and Havana in Centennial; and the expansion of Gun Club Road in Aurora. His CPF requests include expanding services to domestic violence victims in Adams County; renovating the Village Exchange Center Facility;  funding for at-risk intervention and mentoring projects; and money for the Aurora Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center.

Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) helped push through funding for improvements to the Frisco Transit Center; State Highway 119; State Highway 52; State Highway 14; US 36; and the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel on I-70 that a good number of Coloradans will travel through at least once this year. His CPF requests include funding for domestic violence services in Adams County; support for a mechanical engineering partnership between Colorado State University and Adams State University; emergency operations in Gilpin County; wildfire risk reduction throughout CO-02; and a rural outreach partnership program run by the University of Colorado.

By comparison, Republican Members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation made sure that local communities in their districts RECEIVED ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Lauren Boebert have brought $0 federal dollars back to their districts and local communities in 2021.

 

Guess who loses when Reps. Ken Buck, Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle), and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) refuse to participate in the process of procuring federal funding for local and community projects? The people who live in their district, that’s who.

(In Lamborn’s case, we’re not including any money that was spent on allowing his adult son to live in a storage room in the basement of the U.S. Capitol).

And who benefits from this refusal? Nobody, really, other than a couple of conservative grouches who work for anti-spending think tanks somewhere. Certainly nobody in Colorado is gaining anything from the inaction of these three Republicans. The constituents of CO-03, CO-04, and CO-05 should just be glad that Colorado has two Democratic U.S. Senators who are endeavoring to help fund other projects around the state.

If you want your elected officials to Tweet and gripe about social issues while ignoring their responsibilities to constituents, then you’re probably thrilled with Buck, Boebert, and Lamborn.

For everyone else, we’ll say it again: Elections matter.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 14)

It was fun while it lasted; now we can go back to not having professional baseball in Colorado. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

 President Biden used a speech on Tuesday to make the case that Republicans are attempting an all-out assault on voting rights in this country. As The Washington Post explains:

President Biden on Tuesday delivered his most forceful condemnation yet of the wave of voting restrictions proposed in Republican-led states nationwide — efforts the president argued are the biggest threat to American democracy since the Civil War.

Biden’s speech was an attempt to inject new life into flagging efforts to pass federal legislation addressing the issue. But while he intensified his explanation of the stakes, his speech did not include a call for the Senate to change the filibuster, which is seen by advocates as the best, and perhaps only, way to usher in the kinds of changes Biden is seeking.

At the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, in a room filled with images of Benjamin Franklin and quotes from Daniel Webster and Theodore Roosevelt, Biden compared the new laws to voter suppression by the KKK and to the Jim Crow laws that disenfranchised nearly all voters who were not White or male. He railed against laws that restrict access — calling them “raw and sustained election subversion” — and said that the 2022 midterm elections could highlight the damaging impacts of the new laws.

But as The Washington Post reports in a separate story, many progressives aren’t particularly pleased with the fact that Biden left out a very key point in his speech:

“On voting rights, President Joe Biden is failing to meet the moment,” said Adam Jentleson, who worked for former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and now heads the Battle Born Collective, a progressive group.

The problem isn’t how Biden describes the threat he perceives from Republican efforts to roll back electoral practices they blame for their 2020 White House loss, partly by empowering their partisans to oversee and overrule the results.

It’s that he hasn’t sided with the left in calling for an end, or a significant change, to the parliamentary tactic thwarting Democratic legislation in the 50-50 Senate — the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to get bills to passage.

These are legitimate criticisms. The Senate can move forward with passing a big voting rights package that has already made it through the House of Representatives, but it probably can’t happen unless the filibuster or the 60-vote threshold is changed.

 

As The Denver Post reports, a whole bunch of restaurants in Colorado got big money from COVID relief funds:

This spring and summer, 1,762 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries and caterers in Colorado received a combined $480 million in grants from the federal government — money that doesn’t need to be repaid and can be spent on a wide array of business expenses.

Four Colorado businesses received $10 million each, the largest amount possible: Mission Yogurt, based in Westminster; The Kitchen American Bistros in Boulder, which has four restaurants and is owned by Elon Musk’s brother; Breckenridge-Wynkoop breweries in the Denver metro; and Illegal Pete’s, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Small Business Administration under the Freedom of Information Act.

Among the 75 largest beneficiaries in the state – which received a combined $191 million – 74 are along the Front Range (the other is in Aspen). In Denver, 423 companies received $183 million. In Boulder, 97 took in $47 million. In Colorado Springs, 139 businesses received $33 million.

 

As CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains, the final days of the Trump Presidency were even worse than you thought:

This is, in sum, a man deeply unfit for the presidency. (That is not a partisan statement. It is a statement of fact based on the clear portrait we have of how Trump behaved while in the most powerful office in the country.) A man who, by his inability to understand the sanctity of the office he held, threatened to destroy that sanctity for those who would follow him into the White House. And a man who was, without any question, an active danger for every single American – whether they supported or opposed him.

 

Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissioners heard from constituents at a public hearing in Arvada on Tuesday…and much of what they heard was not positive toward the initial new maps presented last month.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 13)

Don’t believe the rumors you might have heard: The Home Run Derby actually did come to an end. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

The New York Times reports on the first child tax credit payments going out this week, a big victory for Democrats — including longtime champion Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver):

With all but the most affluent families eligible to receive up to $300 a month per child, the United States will join many other rich countries that provide a guaranteed income for children, a goal that has long animated progressives. Experts estimate the payments will cut child poverty by nearly half, an achievement with no precedent…

…While the government has increased many aid programs during the coronavirus pandemic, supporters say the payments from an expanded Child Tax Credit, at a one-year cost of about $105 billion, are unique in their potential to stabilize both poor and middle-class families.

“It’s the most transformative policy coming out of Washington since the days of F.D.R.,” said Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey. “America is dramatically behind its industrial peers in investing in our children. We have some of the highest child poverty rates, but even families that are not poor are struggling, as the cost of raising children goes higher and higher.”

Among America’s 74 million children, nearly nine in 10 will qualify for the new monthly payments — up to $250 a child, or $300 for those under six — which are scheduled to start on Thursday. Those payments, most of which will be sent to bank accounts through direct deposit, will total half of the year’s subsidy, with the rest to come as a tax refund next year.

Colorado Newsline has more on how the program will work. Democrats are trying to make the child tax credit a permanent policy.

 

At least you don’t live in Mesa County…unless you do, in which case, that sucks and we are very sorry.

 

 Voting rights are still a top issue as the Major League Baseball All-Star Game kicks off on Tuesday night. The Denver Post has more on an unusually-political meaningless baseball game.

 

Texas Republicans are once again trying to restrict voting rights, which has forced Democratic lawmakers to flee the state in a last-ditch effort to preserve election integrity.

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Therapy is Cheaper Than Polling

This week on Episode #80 — yes, 80! — of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Andrew Baumann of Global Strategy Group to get the inside scoop on new polling data showing really good things for Democrats in Colorado.

Later, we note the 6 month anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection; we discuss our first look at potential new legislative and congressional redistricting maps; and an old jingle makes a brief return.

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

Trump: Insurrectionists Were Great People

Following the deadly protests in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017, then-President Trump infamously said that “there are very fine people on both sides” in reference to a violent confrontation spurred by white supremacists who were angry about the potential removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. Trump was roundly condemned for those comments by Democrats and Republicans alike; hell, even former Sen. Cory Gardner found a conscience and spoke out against Trump’s statement (which was basically the last time Gardner publicly criticized Trump).

On Sunday, Trump took what was probably the inevitable next step in his journey toward normalizing white supremacy and insurrection. As POLITICO reports:

Former President Donald Trump on Sunday widely praised those who attended the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the insurrection at the Capitol, repeatedly using the word “love” to describe the tone of the event…

…Speaking on “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo” on the Fox News Channel, he also said the rally participants were patriots, that some of them were unjustly arrested and jailed, and that a woman who was shot and killed by law enforcement during the insurrection was a great hero.

The remarks reflected recent efforts by Trump and his supporters to cast themselves as the aggrieved parties from the Jan. 6 riot, which left five people dead and others injured — and, for a brief time, halted the wheels of democracy as President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College was being confirmed by Congress.

Here’s exactly what Trump said to Fox News talking muppet Maria Bartiromo on Sunday:

You had over a million people there. They were there for one reason, the rigged election. They felt the election was rigged. That’s why they were there. And they were peaceful people. These were great people.

The crowd was unbelievable. And I mentioned the word love. The love — the love in the air, I have never seen anything like it.

And that’s why they went to Washington…

…And they’re tremendous, in many cases, tremendous people, tremendous people.

Capitol Police officers bar the door to the House Chambers on Jan. 6 to keep out the “love.”

As Philip Bump writes for The Washington Post, the rubicon has been crossed:

It was obvious on Jan. 6 that Trump was sympathetic to the rioters, as he made clear in his public comments on that day. Both because he was quickly muted by social media companies and, apparently, during a period of political temperature-taking, he largely didn’t wave away the rioters’ actions in the months that followed the violence. But he’s slowly been moving back to his original position, the one he reportedly articulated to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in a mid-riot call that day: that the rioters simply loved their country…

…So now the Capitol rioters are tremendous, blue-collar folks battling an unfair system. They were simply in Washington to have their voices heard on the false belief that Trump and allies, including Bartiromo, fostered. They were the allies of law enforcement, not a mob that was seen on video attacking and abusing Capitol Police officers.

Trump’s comments on Sunday are more than just his typical airing of grievances and conspiracy theories. With this one interview, Trump has officially and unequivocally placed himself — and all those who continue to follow him, including Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert — 100% ON THE SIDE OF THE INSURRECTIONISTS WHO BROKE INTO THE CAPITOL.

Trump isn’t even bothering with the “both sides are great” bullshit anymore. If you forced your way into the Capitol in hopes of kidnapping Nancy Pelosi, killing Mike Pence, and/or overthrowing the Electoral College on Jan. 6, then you are Trump’s kind of person. None of this should come as much of a surprise to anyone with a functioning brain, but it’s still jarring to see the former President of the United States of America completely embrace an insurrection.

To what extend it was ever possible, politicians can no longer stand with Trump and condemn the Jan. 6 insurrection. The line is clear.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 8)

It’s really hot today. It’s going to be really hot tomorrow, too. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Western Colorado is very dry and in significant danger of suffering serious wildfires. As Colorado Public Radio reports, the federal government is trying to help:

There’s a confluence of events happening in the West this summer: extreme heat, extreme drought and the possibility of another record-breaking wildfire season, all driven by a long-term drying trend worsened by climate change. It’s so serious that President Joe Biden convened a meeting last week with Western governors to talk about wildfire preparedness and response.

“This is an area that has been under-resourced. But that’s going to change, if we have anything to do with it,” Biden said. “We can’t cut corners when it comes to managing our wildfires or supporting our firefighters.”

Members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation have their own ideas for how to deal with the twin problems of drought and wildfires.

[Cattle rancher Mark] Roeber says he’s talked to Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, as well as his local representative, Republican Lauren Boebert, about the need for financial assistance for the ag industry, in particular flexibility in some existing programs, as well as better water efficiency policies and water infrastructure — from storage to piping.

Western Slope leaders probably shouldn’t count on much help from Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, who remains more interested in scoring political points than policy victories:

Boebert backs increasing water storage capacity, something she hit on during a recent hearing.

“I support efforts to streamline cumbersome and bureaucratic policies in order to allow the construction of new water storage projects,” she said.

Boebert sits on a water subcommittee in the House, but when it held a public hearing on the subject, she did not ask any drought-related questions. Instead, she focused on potential conflicts of interest by Elizabeth Klein, the Interior official testifying at the hearing.

As CPR notes, supporting more water storage isn’t an idea that’s going to do much to help with severe drought conditions NOW.

 

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is worried enough about a potential Republican Primary opponent that he’s gone full “election truther.” Buck is spinning a strange tale about Google somehow manipulating search engine results to allow Democrat Joe Biden to defeat Republican Donald Trump, or something like that. This doesn’t make a lot of sense, but then, that isn’t the point, is it?

 

The Denver Post reports on a law signed by Gov. Jared Polis — inspired by the death of Elijah McClain in Aurora — that restricts the use of ketamine by first responders.

 

New data again shows the importance of receiving both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to protect against rising strains of the “Delta Variant.” The “Delta Variant” is overwhelming medical response teams in unvaccinated areas such as Southwest Missouri. As POLITICO reports, the “Delta Variant” is probably much more widespread than federal officials can even estimate.

In related news, a Colorado mother of four is the final winner of a $1 million lottery for receiving her COVID-19 vaccination.

 

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Republican Congressman Calls Out Boebert on Insurrection

Boebert’s infamous Jan. 6 Tweet

Today is July 6, which marks six months since the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Last week, The New York Times published an exhaustive video review of the events of Jan. 6 that should be required viewing for every American. On Monday, The New York Times published an interview with Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger in which the four-term Republican called out Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert for her role that day. Kinzinger says that he wants to know what Members of Congress knew about the insurrection prior to the events of Jan. 6, which leads to this question and answer:

Do you suspect that some members of Congress were aware of what was going to happen that day and supported it?

I won’t name names, but yes, I do have that suspicion. I will say, if you just looked at Twitter — the whole reason I brought my gun and kept my staff home and told my wife to stay in the apartment was looking at Twitter. I saw the threats. When Lauren Boebert — I will call her out by name — tweeted “Today is 1776,” I don’t know what that meant other than this is the time for revolution. [Pols emphasis] Maybe it was a dumb tweet that she didn’t mean. Fine. I’ll give her that credit for now. But if you have members of Congress who were involved in nurturing an insurrection, heck yeah, we need to know.

Boebert’s “Today is 1776” Tweet was viewed by critics as an open call for revolution. As the editorial board of The Denver Post wrote on January 14:

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s words and actions before, during and after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol were dangerous.

We can say with certainty that her words on Twitter, in interviews and on the floor of the U.S. House supported the lie that the U.S. election was fraudulent and that Democrats were stealing the election from President Donald Trump. Without those lies, we believe there would not have been an insurrection, and U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick would still be alive.

Boebert has since defended her messaging referencing 1776, claiming in a response to a proposed House Ethics complaint that “It is an expression of my pride for America’s Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, and the establishment and endurance of this great country.” Judging by the comments made by Rep. Kinzinger, this is not an explanation that has been widely accepted.

Boebert has also continued to claim that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. At a Trump rally last week, she even made that clear from her place in the audience:

Last month, Boebert was one of only 21 Republicans in the House of Representatives — and the only member of Colorado’s delegation — to vote AGAINST awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to U.S. Capitol Police Officers. Her explanation of that vote was as vapid as most of her comments on the subject.

Cheney, Pelosi Call McCarthy’s Bluff on Jan. 6 Committee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Weeks after Republicans in both the House and Senate killed efforts to create a bipartisan committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressed ahead with forming an investigative committee anyway.

As The Washington Post reports:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) will chair the select committee that will probe the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will serve as a member.

Cheney has been outspoken in her criticism of former president Donald Trump and was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him for “incitement of insurrection.

The House on Wednesday approved legislation establishing the 13-member committee, with all but two Republicans — Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — opposing the measure.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy this week warned Republicans not to accept a position on Pelosi’s Jan. 6 committee, threatening to strip Members of all current committee assignments if they accepted an invitation. Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, for one, was not impressed with McCarthy’s threats:

Via POLITICO (7/1/21)

Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney was equally unimpressed and has accepted Pelosi’s invitation to join the investigating committee. Cheney issued this statement, as reported by POLITICO:

“What happened on January 6th can never happen again. Those who are responsible for the attack need to be held accountable and this select committee will fulfill that responsibility in a professional, expeditious, and non-partisan manner.”

Prior to McCarthy’s warning, Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) had suggested that she would be interested in serving on the Jan. 6 committee. Pelosi apparently took that idea about as seriously as anything else Boebert says.

A Tale Of Two Headlines: When Somebody Is BSing You

The release over the past week of preliminary draft redistricting maps for Colorado’s congressional, state legislative, and state senate districts ahead of a summer of hearings by the state’s new independent redistricting commissions has produced a huge volume of speculation of…varying quality, which we in this space have tried hard to avoid, recognizing as the commission’s staff took pains to remind anxious politicos that these are mere starting points for the discussion that will produce the actual maps we’ll live and die by in Colorado politics for the next decade. Colorado’s oft-second-guessed attempt to de-politicize the redistricting process in 2018 with the passage of Amendments Y & Z will now face its ultimate test, and rather than stepping on the established process we’re watching to see how it unfolds.

While enforcing this temporary neutrality, however, we are allowed to take note when local mainstream media outlets commit to analysis of these preliminary maps. This is especially true when, as is the case between the Denver Post and Denver Gazette’s headlines on the new state legislative maps today, somebody must by definition be wrong:

As you can see, the Denver Post’s analysis concludes that the preliminary redistricting map “keeps Statehouse Dems in control,” while the Gazette claims the exact same preliminary proposed map “spell bad news for House Dems!” It’s not often that two pieces of hard news analysis come to such diametrically opposite conclusions about the same subject matter, but here’s an example of exactly that. There are lots of ways to evaluate this conflict, taking into account for example the perceived biases of the two outlets, in which the Gazette is by the House GOP Minority’s own estimate the more “GOP friendly” of the two.

For ourselves, we’re stopping at the word “preliminary” and that’s where we still advise all of you to hold up too. There’s just no reason to get worked up about maps that are not intended to be final, and it’s the hearings and commission work ahead that will make all the difference–making knee-jerk speculation over these preliminary drafts not only needless but actually harmful to the process.

While the commission does its work, our best advice is don’t believe the hype either way. Instead, get involved in the process–and when the time comes to put your desired spin on the final map, you’ll know what to say.

And with that, we’ll let our readers fight this one out.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 30)

Peace out, June. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

We’re not done with the coronavirus just yet, friends. As The Washington Post reports:

Los Angeles County public health authorities are urging unvaccinated and vaccinated people alike to don masks again inside restaurants, stores and other public indoor spaces because of the growing threat posed by the more contagious delta variant of the novel coronavirus.

The high-profile move by the county of 10 million marks an abrupt shift in tone after states and localities have dropped most mask mandates and social distancing requirements in recent weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in mid-May rescinded almost all masking recommendations for fully vaccinated people.

But the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health cited a growing share of new cases linked to the delta variant, which was first detected during India’s catastrophic surge of infections and has upended reopening plans across the globe, in “strongly recommending” a return to masking. Los Angeles dropped its mask mandate for vaccinated people with the rest of California on June 15, with limited exceptions for public transportation, hospitals and schools.

Here in Colorado, 35 counties are still below a vaccination rate of 50%. Axios looks at how Colorado is adjusting its vaccination rollout.

 

As Colorado Newsline reports, President Biden will announce new resources for fighting Western wildfires:

President Joe Biden will announce measures to expand the federal government’s wildfire response and mitigation efforts and increase pay for wildland firefighters during a meeting with Western governors and Cabinet officials on Wednesday, a senior administration official said.

Fueled by climate change, extreme heat and drought across much of the West have led to a highly active start to the 2021 wildfire season, with more than 1 million acres already burned across 12 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. In Arizona, the Telegraph Fire has burned more than 193,000 acres since igniting on June 4, while officials in northern California on Tuesday issued evacuation orders amid the rapid growth of several fires in the Mount Shasta area.

Biden will meet virtually on Wednesday with governors from Western states, who are gathering for the annual meeting of the bipartisan Western Governors’ Association, based in Denver. He is expected to announce a series of actions aimed at expanding the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s wildfire response capabilities, as well as “critical new investments” in federal grant programs that help communities mitigate fire risks, a senior administration official said in a call with reporters Tuesday.

 

Multiple news outlets are reporting that the Trump organization will be charged with tax-related crimes as soon as this week. From The Huffington Post:

News of the looming criminal charges, reported by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, come after prosecutors reportedly gave former President Donald Trump’s attorneys until this past Monday to convince them not to file the charges over the company’s financial dealings.

It has been previously reported that the investigation relates to non-monetary corporate perks and gifts awarded to the company’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. The WSJ and The Associated Press reported he is also expected to be charged.

 

Nonpartisan staff from Colorado’s Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission released a PRELIMINARY set of maps for redrawing State House and Senate districts. Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on the map release, including this very important quote:

The proposed maps are only preliminary and are certain to change.

“These will never be approved by anyone,” Jessika Shipley, the legislative redistricting commission’s staff director, told commissioners. “They are merely a baseline starting point for conversations across the state.”

 

The New York Times published an exhaustive look into the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (June 28)

Happy Tau Day, which is like “Pi Day,” but different. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Oh, look: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to derail an infrastructure bill because…um…well…as POLITICO reports:

Mitch McConnell is pressuring President Joe Biden and congressional Democratic leaders to further weaken the link between a bipartisan infrastructure deal and a bigger liberal-leaning spending bill, warning Monday that Biden’s party wants to “hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process.”

The Senate GOP leader called on Biden to request that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi decouple passage of the bipartisan bill from a second, Democrats-only effort set to raise corporate taxes while spending on education, child care and fighting climate change. Biden on Saturday reversed a vow to not sign the bipartisan bill until he also has the separate, more progressive bill in hand.

McConnell’s gambit raises fresh doubts about whether the Senate minority leader will ultimately support the package negotiated by five of his rank-and-file members.

Performative obstruction. This is the Republican brand. There is no broader goal — just getting in the way of anything supported by Congressional Democrats.

 

The Associated Press reports on the passage of new methane rules as part of legislation sponsored by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver):

Congressional Democrats have approved a measure reinstating rules aimed at limiting climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas drilling, a rare effort by Democrats to use the legislative branch to overturn a regulatory rollback under President Donald Trump.

The House gave final legislative approval Friday to a resolution that would undo a Trump-era environmental rule that relaxed requirements of a 2016 Obama administration rule targeting methane emissions from leaks and flares in oil and gas wells.

The resolution was approved, 229-191, and now goes to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it. Twelve Republicans joined 217 Democrats to support the measure.

Democrats and environmentalists called the methane rule one of the Trump administration’s most egregious actions to deregulate U.S. businesses and said its removal would help launch a broader effort by the Biden administration and Congress to tackle climate change. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, packing a stronger punch in the short term than carbon dioxide.

 

Nonpartisan staff from Colorado’s Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission will release a first look at potential new maps for state house and senate districts on Tuesday — a day later than planned. These maps were originally slated for release today.

 

As CNN explains, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially ruled in favor of a transgender student who just wanted to use the bathroom:

The Supreme Court on Monday left in place a decision that allowed a transgender student to use the bathroom that corresponded to his gender identity, a victory for the LGBTQ community that has been fearful the high court would take up the case and reverse a lower court opinion.

The case concerns the scope of Title IX that prohibits schools from discriminating “on the basis of sex.” It began when Gavin Grimm, a transgender male who was then a high-school student, challenged the local school board’s decision to require him to use either a unisex restroom or a restroom that corresponds to the sex, female, he was assigned at birth.

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Libertarians (ft. Jon Murray of The Denver Post)

This week on Episode #79 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Jon Murray of The Denver Post about his profile of the Libertarian Party and its roots in Colorado.

Later on, we talk about the one person on the Republican bench in 2022; we do some prognosticating on the statewide races this cycle; and we introduce a new segment called “Stuff We Tweeted.”

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

Get More Smarter on Friday (June 25)

That went fast — today is the last Friday of June. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

The search for survivors of a building collapse in Miami, Florida continues, with 159 people still unaccounted for. Among the missing is Cassandra Stratton, wife of longtime Colorado Democratic political consultant Michael Stratton.

Meanwhile, authorities continue to investigate the reasons behind the collapse of the condo building. As USA Today reports, it may very well be an issue related to a changing climate:

A Florida high-rise that collapsed early Thursday was determined to be on unstable land a year ago, according to a researcher at Florida International University.

The building, which was constructed in 1981, has been sinking at an alarming rate since the 1990s, according to a study in 2020 by Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment.

When Wdowinski saw the news that the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside collapsed, he instantly remembered it from the study, he said.

“I looked at it this morning and said, ‘Oh my god.’ We did detect that,” he said.

Meanwhile, owners of units in the building have already filed a lawsuit against the Champlain Towers South condo complex association.

 

As The New York Times reports, the U.S. Justice Department is suing the State of Georgia over a new voting law:

“The rights of all eligible citizens to vote are the central pillars of our democracy,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a news conference at the Justice Department. “They are the rights from which all other rights ultimately flow.”

The lawsuit is among the highest-profile enforcement actions to be brought under the Voting Rights Act since the Supreme Court in 2013 gutted a key provision that allowed the Justice Department to stop states from passing laws viewed as facilitating voter discrimination.

The lawsuit shows that the Justice Department under the Biden administration intends to use the remaining tools it had to aggressively fight state actions that it sees as potentially disenfranchising minority voters. Mr. Garland vowed earlier this month that the department would deploy all of its available law enforcement options to combat voter discrimination.

The lawsuit comes days after congressional Republicans blocked the most ambitious federal voting rights legislation in a generation, dealing a blow to Democrats’ efforts to preserve voting rights. President Biden and Democratic leaders pledged to continue working to steer federal voting rights legislation into law.

 

Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commissions will be touring the state in July and August to elicit feedback on potential new maps for 2022. The first look at a potential Congressional redistricting map came out this week, with an initial version of the legislative redistricting version due out on Monday.

Here’s what you need to know about the PRELIMINARY first map released this week. Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on a first map that appears to be very favorable for Republicans.

 

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s request for a new trial in the killing of George Floyd was rejected by a judge. Chauvin is expected to be sentenced for his crimes today.

 

Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting the U.S.-Mexico border today. Republicans have long complained that Harris didn’t visit the border sooner so that she could…look at stuff, or something.

 

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“Communities of DISinterest” Rule in First Congressional Map

Via “Axios” (6/24/21)

On Wednesday, the nonpartisan staff of the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission released its first look at a potential new map for 2022. Colorado Pols readers had a lot to say about the new proposed map (click here for a better browsing version), and with good reason.

After spending more time looking at the new map and the associated data, we thought it might be helpful to publish a short Q&A in which we provide both the questions and the answers. Let’s get to it…

 

Q: This map seems like it might cause a lot of chaos for Congressional races, amirite?

A: Well, sort of. But before we go any further, you must understand that this is a PRELIMINARY map drawn by the nonpartisan staff of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission. Every redistricting process eventually has to start somewhere, and that’s what we have here — a start. The final map approved for the 2022 election cycle will look different than this; the question is more about HOW different it will be.

This initial map has not been endorsed or rejected by the Redistricting Commission, members of which will travel around the state in July and August to hear comments and concerns about various options for re-drawing the districts. If members of the public, especially ones waking up to see Golden/Lakewood and Douglas County in the same district (see below) have a chance to weigh in on some of these proposals, it’s hard to imagine how this map doesn’t change.

 

Q: At first glance, which political party comes out ahead in this map?

A: Oh, the Republicans, and it’s not even close. As Kyle Clark explained Wednesday evening on 9News (“Next with Kyle Clark”):

“The preliminary map for eight congressional districts in Colorado is a dream for Republicans.”

This map would essentially create four seats that lean toward Democrats and four seats that lean toward Republicans even in the most neutral electoral climate.

 

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First Look at Congressional Redistricting Map in Colorado

The nonpartisan staff of the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission released its first look at a potential new map for 2022. A press conference was scheduled for 4:00 today to provide more information.

In the meantime, have fun examining this VERY PRELIMINARY MAP that almost certainly won’t look anything like the final version. For example, the whole “community of interest” thing is a little tough to explain in some of these areas.

 

Of Course Cory Gardner is Now a Lobbyist

Old Gardner: ‘Boo, lobbyists!’
New Gardner: ‘Yay, I’m a lobbyist!’

We’ll say this for former one-term Senator Cory Gardner: He’s nothing if not predictable.

As The Hill newspaper reports, the Yuma Republican has a new job that nobody everybody could have seen coming:

Former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) will join the board of Michael Best Strategies, the lobbying firm announced Wednesday…

…Michael Best Strategies is run by Reince Priebus, who served as former President Trump’s White House chief of staff and as Republican National Committee chairman. The firm has expanded this year, naming former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) to its board of advisers in March…

…“Cory is an efficient communicator and leader and has an extraordinary track record of success in an array of policy and legislative matters,” Priebus said in a statement. “As another tenured former government representative joins our board, Cory’s addition will greatly benefit Michael Best Strategies as we continue to deepen our leadership and advisory positions with former lawmakers.”

But…but…wasn’t Senator Gardner a staunch supporter of efforts to PROHIBIT Members of Congress from moving straight from Congress into lobbying?

Well, yes. On more than once occasion, in fact.

Here’s what Gardner said on re-introducing the Close the Revolving Door Act in October 2019:

“By blocking Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists following their time in office, this legislation will bring the transparency and accountability to elected officials that Coloradans expect and deserve.”

Blah, blah, blahbity blah.

Gardner didn’t just become a complete bullshit artist after losing his re-election bid to Democrat John Hickenlooper by 9 points in 2020. Gardner was always full of craptransparently so, in fact — and it’s a big reason why he fared so poorly with Colorado voters in the years following his 2014 election to the Senate.

There’s nothing more Cory Gardner than moving straight into lobbying after years of decrying the fact that so many former Members of Congress were becoming lobbyists.

As a Member of Congress, very little of what Gardner said turned out to actually matter. May his new career be just as pointless.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 23)

Today is the Grand Duke’s Official Birthday in Luxembourg, so send him a Starbucks gift card or something. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

As The Washington Post reports, Senate Republicans have killed a massive voting rights bill proposed by Congressional Democrats:

Senate Republicans banded together Tuesday to block a sweeping Democratic bill that would revamp the architecture of American democracy, dealing a grave blow to efforts to federally override dozens of GOP-passed state voting laws.

The test vote, which would have cleared the way to start debate on voting legislation, failed 50-50 on straight party lines — 10 votes short of the supermajority needed to advance legislation in the Senate.

It came after a succession of Democrats delivered warnings about what they said was the dire state of American democracy, accusing former president Donald Trump of undermining the country’s democratic system by challenging the results of the 2020 election in a campaign that prompted his supporters in numerous state legislatures to pass laws rolling back ballot access.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had long ago promised to torpedo S.1 (the “For the People Act“), so Tuesday’s actions weren’t a huge surprise…but a disappointment to many nevertheless.

 

Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commissions will be touring the state in July and August to elicit feedback on potential new maps for 2022. Things will get a LOT more interesting on the redistricting front this afternoon, when nonpartisan staffers will introduce the first look at a potential new map of Colorado’s Congressional districts.

Click here for more on the redistricting commissions.

 

The El Paso County Republican Party announced that Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene will be the featured speaker at its big annual fundraising dinner in August. Yes, really.

 

As Colorado Newsline reports, President Biden will soon meet with Western Governors to talk wildfires — which are already exploding in Colorado — and he’s taking up the cause of firefighters as well:

Biden said Tuesday that he will host a meeting next week of Western governors, Cabinet members and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials “to prepare for heat, drought and wildfires in the West.”

Biden at a White House FEMA briefing also sharply criticized the low salaries paid to federal wildland firefighters.

“There’s an old expression: God made man. Then he made a few firefighters. They have a higher incidence of severe injuries than police officers do. They are incredibly, incredibly brave at what they do…. And I just realized — I didn’t realize this, I admit — that federal firefighters get paid 13 dollars an hour,” Biden said.

“That’s gonna end in my administration,” he said, banging the table for emphasis, according to a pool report. “That’s a ridiculously low salary to pay federal firefighters.”

Meanwhile, 9News is tracking the status of various wildfires in Colorado. The smoke from some of these fires is now visible (and smellable) in the Denver Metro Area.

 

 Governor Jared Polis will sign 14 different pieces of legislation into law at various stops in Colorado today.

 

 An Indiana woman will today become the first person to be sentenced for taking part in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

 

 

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El Paso County GOP’s Worst Case Scenario Lincoln Day Dinner

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports that the El Paso County Republican Party, controlled by a hard-right faction of local party activists led by controversial party chair Vickie Tonkins and backed up by the literal muscle of the FEC United/United American Defense Force militia group, has invited to Colorado the one member of Congress who could be considered an even greater embarrassment than Colorado’s Rep. Lauren Boebert:

The El Paso County Republican Party has booked U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia Republican who was stripped of her committee assignments earlier this year, to deliver the keynote speech at the party’s annual Lincoln Day dinner.

Props to Luning for a two-paragraph summary of just how crazy Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene really is, which should be required to follow every press mention of Greene’s name:

Greene, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, has sparked a near-constant stream of outrage since her election last year and in February was removed from her committee posts in an overwhelmingly party-line vote after social media posts calling for the execution of Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, came to light.

She’s also declared that the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., was a “false flag” operation meant to scare Americans into supporting gun control, and in 2018 suggested that a devastating California wild fire was started by space lasers controlled by a powerful Jewish family.

MTG’s most recent offense of comparing mask mandates to the experience of Jews during the Holocaust resulted in an extremely rare apology, but that came only after Republican House leadership and Jewish groups across the country spoke out in condemnation of MTG’s remarks. There’s little evidence that her apology was taken seriously, and having lost her committee assignments in a bipartisan vote after unsuccessfully trying to sort-of atone for her past misdeeds in February, MTG’s only job now is to delay and disrupt and demagogue from the sidelines.

Obviously, it’s a sign of how far to the fringe the El Paso County GOP has lurched in recent years to see them reward the very worst behavior from any Republican elected official in 2021 with their keynote address. You don’t do this by accident. The message is unmistakable. The only question now is whether the Colorado Republican political establishment, which includes influential Jewish Republican donors like Larry Mizel, will tolerate the slap in the face this represents.

If they do, a new bottom will then be sounded.

Hickenlooper Unleashes His Inner Democrat

Another recent jam from Sen. Hickenlooper

The headline here is intentionally snarky.

You might remember about a year ago at this time, then-Senate candidate John Hickenlooper was getting gouged by Democratic Primary challenger Andrew Romanoff and friends for Hick’s purported lack of commitment to Democratic policies. Nevermind, of course, that Hickenlooper campaigned on a progressive agenda centered around building partnerships and helping everyone do better in our economic system.

Since Hickenlooper entered office as Colorado’s junior U.S. Senator in January, the former Governor has been doing basically what he said he would do — which (again) was to be a Democratic Senator. The latest example of this comes via press release from Hickenlooper’s Senate office:

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Maggie Hassan today introduced legislation to guarantee collective bargaining rights for firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. [Pols emphasis] The Firefighters and EMS Employer-Employee Cooperation Act recognizes the right of emergency services providers to join a union as well as bargain for fair working conditions, hours, and wages.

Many states, including Colorado and New Hampshire, already have local collective bargaining protections for emergency personnel, but federal law does not protect these essential workers. In 16 states, public safety employees cannot collectively bargain for safe working conditions. In five states, they are unable to unionize altogether.

“Firefighters and emergency personnel look out for our safety every day, and it’s time for the federal government to look out for theirs,” said Hickenlooper, Chair of the HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. “This bill guarantees their right to negotiate for healthy working conditions and a living wage.”

There he goes again: Fracken-collective-bargaining-looper.

We didn’t intentionally write this to sound like a “told you so” argument, but it kinda ended up there in the end.

Get More Smarter on Monday (June 21)

Happy Summer Solstice; 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

As John Ingold writes for The Colorado Sun, the Delta coronavirus variant is exploding in Colorado…which is bad news for anyone who is still unvaccinated against COVID-19:

The Delta variant, which is believed to have originated in India and is also known as the B.1.617.2 variant, was first identified in Colorado in late April. By the first week of this month — a period of about six weeks — it had grown to account for an estimated 40% of all new infections in Colorado.

For comparison, it took eight weeks for the Alpha variant — also known as the B.1.1.7 or United Kingdom variant — to reach 40% of the state’s total cases. As of early June, that variant made up an estimated 48% of total cases in Colorado, but its share is falling as Delta’s rises.

Nationwide, the Delta variant is believed to account for about 10% of new cases.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said the Delta variant is believed to be about 50% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which itself was 50% more transmissible than the original form of the virus.

Fully-vaccinated people don’t have to worry much about contracting the new variant.

Meanwhile, Westword looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging in Mesa County, Colorado, thanks primarily to a stubborn reluctance from many to get vaccinated.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of student athletes in the debate over whether athletes should be compensated for the revenue they help generate for their respective universities.

 

New polling data from Colorado-based conservative pollster Magellan Strategies shows that 60% of Coloradans approve of the way that Gov. Jared Polis has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. The Colorado Sun has more on the Magellan poll, and so does Colorado Pols.

 

According to an account published in a new book, former President Trump suggested moving Americans infected with COVID-19 TO GUANTANAMO BAY in Cuba. From The Washington Post:

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, as White House officials debated whether to bring infected Americans home for care, President Donald Trump suggested his own plan for where to send them, eager to suppress the numbers on U.S. soil.

“Don’t we have an island that we own?” the president reportedly asked those assembled in the Situation Room in February 2020, before the U.S. outbreak would explode. “What about Guantánamo?”

“We import goods,” Trump specified, lecturing his staff. “We are not going to import a virus.”

Aides were stunned, and when Trump brought it up a second time, they quickly scuttled the idea, worried about a backlash over quarantining American tourists on the same Caribbean base where the United States holds terrorism suspects.

Read those paragraphs one more time.

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (June 15)

Happy Global Wind 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

New information is emerging showing the depths to which former President Trump and his minions sank in their efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. As The Washington Post explains:

President Donald Trump’s staff began sending emails to Jeffrey Rosen, the No. 2 at the Justice Department, asking him to embrace Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election at least 10 days before Rosen assumed the role of acting attorney general, according to new emails disclosed by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in advance of a hearing to probe the causes of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

On the same day as the electoral college met to certify the election results — which was also the day Trump announced that William P. Barr would be stepping down as attorney general — his assistant sent Rosen an email with a list of complaints concerning the way the election had been carried out in Antrim County, Mich.

The file included a forensic analysis of the Dominion Voting Systems machines the county employed, alleging they were “intentionally and purposefully” calibrated to create fraudulent results, and “talking points” that could be used to counter any arguments “against us.”…

…The claims were false.

The email — one of several previously undisclosed records released by the Oversight Committee Tuesday morning — sheds light on the type of pressure Trump was putting on the Justice Department to take up his crusade against Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.

The good news here is that DOJ official seem to have responded to Trump’s demands with the appropriate level of dismissal:

 

As The New York Times reports, the Biden administration is putting together plans for combatting domestic extremism:

The Biden administration is aiming to bolster information sharing with technology companies, potentially expand hiring of intelligence analysts and improve screening of government employees for ties to domestic terrorism as part of a much-anticipated plan expected to be released on Tuesday detailing how the federal government should combat extremism.

President Biden ordered the review of how federal agencies addressed domestic extremism soon after coming into office, part of an effort to more aggressively acknowledge a national security threat that has grown since the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

The 32-page plan synthesizes steps that have been recommended by national security officials — including bolstering relationships with social media companies and improving information sharing among law enforcement agencies — into one blueprint on how to more effectively identify extremists in the country after years of heightened focus on foreign terrorists.

 

Things are getting weird(er) in Grand Junction, as COVIDiots come out to yell at the Mesa County Commissioners.

 

Governor Jared Polis is holding bill signing ceremonies in Northern Colorado today, with stops in Longmont, Greeley, and Ft. Collins on the schedule.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

(more…)

Save the Filibuster…So Republicans Can Kill it First!

Senate Minority “Leader” Mitch McConnell

For anyone who still believes that good-faith bipartisanship remains possible in the U.S. Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would like to assure you otherwise.

As The Hill reports:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled Monday that Republicans, if they win back control of the upper chamber, wouldn’t advance a Supreme Court nominee if a vacancy occurred in 2024, the year of the next presidential election.

“I think it’s highly unlikely — in fact, no, I don’t think either party, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election,” McConnell told radio host Hugh Hewitt.

McConnell was asked if a GOP-controlled Senate would take the same tack in 2024 that it did in 2016, when they refused to give Merrick Garland, former President Obama’s final Supreme Court pick, a hearing or a vote on his nomination to fill the vacancy created by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia…

…McConnell declined to say what Republicans would do if a justice stepped down in mid-2023 and Republican controlled the Senate.

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens,” McConnell said, asked by Hewitt if the nominee would get a fair shot.

Via POLITICO (6/14/21)

This is the same Mitch McConnell who said earlier in May that he was “100 percent focused” on stopping the administration of President Joe Biden — regardless of the policies presented by the White House. McConnell is saying unequivocally now that he would prevent the advancement of a Supreme Court nominee by President Biden, just as he prevented the advancement of Merrick Garland in 2016 and rammed through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett — the kind of nomination that was supposedly done “too close” to an election.

As Sahil Kapur of NBC News points out:

It is ludicrous for Democratic Senators such as Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona to continue to protect “institutions” of the Senate — such as the filibuster — when there is absolutely no question that Senate Republicans don’t give a rat’s ass about tradition or fair play or hypocrisy or anything else. If Democrats don’t push for changes to the filibuster or the 60-vote rule in the Senate, it’s only matter of time before Republicans do it themselves.

Mitch McConnell would probably even tell you as much if you asked.