Get More Smarter on Friday (October 6)

Enjoy your weekend — snow is coming on Monday. It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is making it easier for companies to deny contraception coverage to female employees on “religious” grounds. As the Washington Post reports:

The Trump administration issued a rule Friday that sharply limits the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate, a move that could mean many American women would no longer have access to birth control free of charge.

The new regulation, issued by the Health and Human Services Department, allows a much broader group of employers and insurers to exempt themselves from covering contraceptives such as birth control pills on religious or moral grounds. The decision, anticipated from the Trump administration for months, is the latest twist in a seesawing legal and ideological fight that has surrounded this aspect of the 2010 health-care law nearly from the start.

Several religious groups, which battled the Obama administration for years over the controversial requirement, welcomed the action.

Women’s rights organizations and some medical professionals portrayed it as a blow to women’s health, warning that it could lead to a higher number of unintended pregnancies.

This is the part where we remind you that elections matter.


► Is the United States about to start a new military conflict? Tune in next week…

From CNN:

While taking photos alongside military leaders and their spouses before a dinner at the White House, President Donald Trump made an ambiguous statement, citing “the calm before the storm.”

“You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the calm before the storm,” Trump said at the photo op Thursday night, following a meeting with his top military commanders.
When reporters present asked what he meant, Trump replied: “It could be, the calm, the calm before the storm.”

As Chris Cillizza elaborates for CNNPresident Trump continues to act as though this is all just one big reality TV show.


► A group trying to change the redistricting/reapportionment process in Colorado is losing some of its key supporters, as the Colorado Independent reports:

Two former Democratic politicians, former Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and ex-lawmaker Abel Tapia, have pulled their names as supporters of a campaign that seeks to change the way Colorado draws its political boundaries.

The campaign, called Fair Districts Colorado, comes as multiple other states look to reform legislative and congressional redistricting and reapportionment and as the U.S. Supreme Court hears a case about whether partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution

In Colorado, the movement is trying to get three measures on the Nov. 2018 statewide ballot to create a new, more independent commission that would draw legislative and congressional district lines, among other changes.

Garcia told The Colorado Independent it became clear to him that the Fair Districts campaign and its efforts are “more controversial and potentially partisan” than he realized.


► The U.S. House passed a 2018 budget resolution on Thursday, the first step in advancing a nonsensical Republican tax reform plan.


Get even more smarter after the jump…



► You can count Republican State Rep. Dan Thurlow among the Colorado lawmakers who are dismayed that GOP leaders in the State Senate torpedoed two attempts at fixing an unintended legislative error earlier this week. Here’s what Thurlow has to say in a constituent newsletter titled “Colorado Senate Sacrifices Common Sense on the altar of Tabor”:

The Legislature was called into special session to fix a mistake that was made in SB17-267.  SB267 passed in the final days of the regular session this year and unintentionally included language that took away the ability of certain special districts to collect voter approved sales tax on retail marijuana. A simple fix, HB17s-1001 would have restored that ability. The bill passed the House on a vote of 37-25. I voted for it. It died immediately on arrival in the Senate. Three Senators on the Transportation Committee killed the bill without it ever reaching the Senate floor for a debate or a vote…

..To me the issue was simple. The mistake, and nobody denies that it was a mistake, should be fixed as quickly as possible. But somehow it became a Tabor debate. The logic of the opponents was that since the taxing ability had been eliminated, the special districts would have to go back to the voters and get permission to reinstate the tax. Let me say that again. Voters had already approved a tax. The legislature mistakenly deleted the ability of the districts to collect the tax. Thus, the districts would have to have another election to reinstate the tax. The RTD head testified that the last election had cost them approximately $1million.

Tabor and the court decisions that have been handed down in the 25 years since it was passed can be complicated. And indeed, we had hours of debate on the court cases and their meaning. But at its core I think Tabor means voters want the ability to vote on tax rate increases. But I bet most of the voters don’t want to vote again after the legislature messes things up. I think you would rather have us just fix it. I apologize that we did not get that done. [Pols emphasis]

This week’s special legislative session did not have to end in such an unproductive manner. Had Senate Republican leaders allowed the legislation to make it onto the Senate floor, it would have passed.


► The House of Representatives passed a 20-week abortion ban on Thursday.


► Speaking of abortion and politics, Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Tim Murphy resigned from Congress in the wake of an abortion-related scandal. It sounds like Murphy is quite the asshole.


► Congress may soon consider legislation banning so-called “bump stocks” that essentially convert semi-automatic weapons into automatic rifles. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) supports the idea of a ban, while Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is taking his traditional nothingburger approach. Gardner is one of the largest beneficiaries of campaign cash from gun groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA).


► On Wednesday, Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) announced that he would hold a town hall meeting in Pueblo on Friday morning. On Thursday afternoon, Gardner cancelled that town hall meeting.


► Doug Benevento, a controversial figure in Colorado Republican politics, has been appointed as Region 8 Director for the Environmental Protection Agency. Benevento was elected to the Douglas County School Board in 2009, where he gained notoriety for (unsuccessfully) attempting to institute a voucher system in the school district.


► The high-altitude eastern boreal toad will not get endangered species protection.


► Colorado Ethics Watch will close down at the end of the year because of financial concerns.


► The National Rifle Association (NRA) blames Hollywood for gun violence.


► Vice President Mike Pence will visit Denver on Oct. 26 for a fundraiser reception sponsored by the Colorado Republican Party. Tickets start at $275.




Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 


► It’s not Donald Trump’s fault that he is a terrible President — it’s your fault.


President Trump is getting engaged in the Virginia Governor’s race, and he’s making sure to do it in the most disgusting way he can manage


Can we please stop with the canard that undocumented immigrants are taking jobs from American citizens?



► Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, a former Judge in Colorado, is making a royal ass of himself on the bench.


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19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Diogenesdemar says:

    Damn Hollywood and all their John Wayne / Charlton Heston shoot-‘em-up westerns and war movies !!!

    You Hollywood maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

  2. Canines says:

    New York Times:

    Corporations Have Rights. Why Shouldn’t Rivers?

    DENVER — Does a river — or a plant, or a forest — have rights?

    This is the essential question in what attorneys are calling a first-of-its-kind federal lawsuit, in which a Denver lawyer and a far-left environmental group are asking a judge to recognize the Colorado River as a person.

    If successful, it could upend environmental law, possibly allowing the redwood forests, the Rocky Mountains or the deserts of Nevada to sue individuals, corporations and governments over resource pollution or depletion. Future lawsuits in its mold might seek to block pipelines, golf courses or housing developments and force everyone from agriculture executives to mayors to rethink how they treat the environment.

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      There was actually a U.S. Supreme Court case in the early 70's where an environmental organization tried to argue that trees had standing in court. William Douglas was the only justice who receptive to the argument.

      Perhaps if rivers and forests would incorporate, they stand on firmer soil.

      • Canines says:

        That's mentioned in the article:

        “But Justice William Douglas had read Stone’s article,” Ms. Freeman wrote, “and in his famous dissent, he embraced the view advocated by Stone: that natural objects should be recognized as legal parties, which could be represented by humans, who could sue on their behalf.”

        That view has never attracted support in the court. But it has had some success abroad.

        In Ecuador, the constitution now declares that nature “has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.” In New Zealand, officials declared in March that a river used by the Maori tribe of Whanganui in the North Island to be a legal person that can sue if it is harmed. A court in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand has called the Ganges and its main tributary, the Yamuna, to be living human entities.


      • mamajama55 says:

        We need the Lorax

        to speak for the trees.

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