Get More Smarter on Tuesday (January 30)

The State of the Union is…”beautiful.” Or perhaps “fantastic,” or “amazing,” or “YUGELY good.” 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.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► You had better start working on how to explain the term “constitutional crisis” to your children. Monday’s surprise resignation by Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI, exposed a widening rift between the Trump administration and the Justice Department. Robert Mueller’s special investigation into potential Russian collusion with Trump’s 2016 campaign has the White House increasing its efforts to delegitimize American law enforcement efforts — and now House Republicans are going along with the plan.

 

► President Trump will deliver his first “State of the Union” address tonight, in which he is expected to focus on a cockamamie plan to update America’s infrastructure. Expectations for Trump’s speech are distressingly low, as The New Yorker explains:

In some respects, the bar has fallen even further: the question on many Americans’ minds today is not “What is the state of our union?” but “What is the state of the President’s mental health?” Neither the White House physician’s stamp of approval nor Trump’s own insistence that he is, in fact, “stable” has put the matter to rest. Publications such as Time are still throwing around terms like “cognitive impairment”; stat, a science-news outlet, has analyzed interviews of Trump, going back to the nineteen-eighties, and notes a “striking” deterioration in the “fluency, complexity, and vocabulary level” of his unscripted remarks. The upside of all this, for Trump, is that he is again set to outperform predictions by speaking, as he likely will on Tuesday night, in complete sentences.

So long as Trump doesn’t make degrading remarks about the spouse of a head of state of another country, or accidentally chew off his own tongue, Trump will likely receive lots of quiet applause. On the other hand, Trump supporters are worried that he won’t come across like a braggadocio asshat.

 

► To sort-of quote Frank Sinatra: When it was 2018, it was a very good year (for Democrats). All signs continue to point to a massive blue wave this November. Members of the Koch brothers’ network of conservative donors are growing increasingly concerned about losing control of their congressional majorities in 2018.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), continues to do everything in his power to lower his already abysmal 25% approval rating. On Monday, Gardner voted in favor of a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, and he’s now fending off criticism from the National Fraternal Order of Police on his chest-thumping defense of marijuana legalization.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

 

Peter Roper of the Pueblo Chieftain examines the agonizing wait for DREAMERs in Colorado:

Ana Agustin walked in the office at Catholic Charities on Monday, her brother’s immigration papers were in hand — rejected again for not having been submitted on time.

She was worried but the staff assured her. They had dealt with mail problems before for young people covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Agustin had once had her two-year renewal rejected, then renewed. But always being on uncertain ground seems to be life of a DACA immigrant, often called “Dreamers.”

 

► Denver Mayor Michael Hancock says the city will cooperate with Justice Department requests for information after being labeled an immigration “sanctuary” in a letter last week.

 

► The Summit Daily News previews Colorado’s upcoming experiment with allowing unaffiliated voters to participate in partisan primary elections:

Proponents of the measure argued that opening up primaries to independents could give a boost to more moderate candidates and wrest some control from the hardcore partisans who cast a disproportionate number of primary votes.

In practice, though, the change adds a big unknown to an already wild race, with implications all the way down the ballot and even for the coffers of county governments. The cost of including Summit County’s roughly 9,000 independents in primaries this year is expected to come in at roughly $20,000, according to the Summit County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

“What we’re all wondering is to what extent will unaffiliated voters take advantage of this change and participate, and that’s really and truly a wild card,” said County Commissioner Thomas Davidson, a Democrat. “Even when I talk to experts who do this for a living they say, ‘we don’t really know what’s going to happen.'”

Comparisons are hard to find. While many states have open primaries, none use mail-in ballots as extensively as Colorado, where voting for party nominees could add only a couple of minutes to a P.O. box trip. The question is whether the unprecedented convenience will matter.

 

The Catholic Church is opposing legislation in Colorado intended to change the guidelines for mandatory reporting requirements of child abuse.

 

► Another bill aimed at increasing local control for oil and gas extraction failed to advance in the Colorado legislature. Meanwhile, opposition to new oil and gas operations near residential neighborhoods is reaching a new level of consternation.

 

► Politico wonders if the annual “State of the Union” address has lost its importance.

 

This could be awkward.

 

► Three of America’s most-influential business leaders are joining forces in an attempt to get healthcare spending under control. From NBC News:

Amazon has joined forces with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase in a bid to slash health care costs for their 1.1 million employees — creating a possible “black swan” event that could disrupt the industry.

Together, the three partners will combine resources to create an independent company that will initially focus on “technology solutions” to provide “high-quality and transparent health care at a reasonable cost.”

“Amazon is well poised to enter, and disrupt, the health care industry as we know it,” Forrester Senior Analyst Kate McCarthy said in an email. “They have the scale and digital and customer experience capacity to bring efficiencies and improvements to the industry that are long overdue.”

Working out the business with their own employees first would be a a smart way to test out the product before opening it up to the general market, she said — and that could be a game changer.

In a statement announcing the new venture, Buffet said that escalating healthcare costs have become “a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.”

 

► Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has a new problem in the form of Clarence Moses-EL.

 

 

Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

The terrifying false alert about an incoming missile that scared the bejeezus out of Hawaiians earlier this month was sent by an emergency worker who misunderstood a message that was part of an unscheduled drill.

 

►First Lady Melania Trump, whose existence has been barely more than a rumor for the first year of the Trump Presidency, is expected to be in attendance at tonight’s “State of the Union” address.

 

ICYMI

► The poll that Republicans love to hate just keeps generating press.

 

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4 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    You mean Cynthia Coffman has a Schroedinger's problem.  She may or may not have a problem.

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