Happy World Pneumonia Day; please celebrate responsibly. Now, 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today about whether or not President Trump can legally end the Obama-era DACA program. From The New York Times:
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority on Tuesday appeared ready to side with the Trump administration in its efforts to shut down a program protecting about 700,000 young immigrants known as “Dreamers.”
The court’s liberal justices probed the administration’s justifications for ending the program, expressing skepticism about its rationales for doing so. But other justices indicated that they would not second-guess the administration’s reasoning and, in any event, considered its explanations sufficient.
Still, there was agreement among the justices that the young people who signed up for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, were sympathetic and that they and their families, schools and employers had relied on it in good faith.
The arguments in the case, one of the most important of the term, addressed presidential power over immigration, a signature issue for President Trump and a divisive one, especially as it has played out in the debate over DACA, a program that has broad, bipartisan support.
Coloradans who back DREAMERs are rallying in Washington D.C. today, as CBS4 Denver reports. Closer to home, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is leading a DACA rally on the campus of Metro State University.
► Colorado gun shops are using a loophole in state law to continue selling equipment that is supposed to be banned. As Marshall Zelinger reports for 9News:
A state law banning the sale and transfer of large-capacity gun magazines has not stopped the sale and transfer of magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
An undercover investigation by 9Wants to Know found examples of gun stores in Colorado either ignoring the law altogether or finding a loophole to get around the law…
…Our undercover investigation found gun stores selling these “parts kits” in Arapahoe, Douglas, El Paso and Larimer counties. The kits are large-capacity magazines sold in pieces, ready to be assembled after they are purchased.
“This is a 30-round mag; we have to sell it as parts,” said the employee at Iron Horse Armory. “That’s one of Colorado’s retarded laws.”
The hearings alone are a historic moment; only three presidents have been subject to an impeachment inquiry before. And though the probe was launched by Speaker Nancy Pelosi in September, this is the week when it all becomes real…
…Democrats plan to hold two weeks of hearings in the House Intelligence Committee and will later hold hearings in the Judiciary Committee, which will draft any articles of impeachment.
Three key witnesses will testify before the committee this week. On Wednesday, William Taylor and George Kent are expected to appear; on Friday, it’s Marie Yovanovitch.
As the Colorado Independent notes, two Colorado Congressmen — Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) — will play an important role in upcoming impeachment hearings.
► Axios got hold of the plan Congressional Republicans have put together for defending President Trump against impeachment. If you were hoping the GOP had prepared a bold new strategy…you’re going to be disappointed. The big problem of this approach, as Greg Sargent writes for The Washington Post, is that President Trump himself keeps kicking sand into the gears.
► Check out this week’s episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast for more post-election analysis and other political jabberings:
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► If you spent a million dollars on a thesaurus, it might look like this.
► Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) has signed onto legislation intended to outlaw “telemedicine” prescriptions for abortions. There is a non-zero chance that Lamborn thinks “telemedicine” is a way to get an abortion over the phone.
► Ruh-roh, Republicans: Democrats may actually know what they’re doing on this impeachment thing.
► Just take a moment to contemplate the ridiculousness of this headline:
As The New York Times explains:
The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking.
A new draft of the Environmental Protection Agency proposal, titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would require that scientists disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the agency could consider an academic study’s conclusions. E.P.A. officials called the plan a step toward transparency and said the disclosure of raw data would allow conclusions to be verified independently…
…The measure would make it more difficult to enact new clean air and water rules because many studies detailing the links between pollution and disease rely on personal health information gathered under confidentiality agreements. And, unlike a version of the proposal that surfaced in early 2018, this one could apply retroactively to public health regulations already in place.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is the CHAIR of the Senate Subcommittee on
(Not) Science, Oceans, Fisheries, and Weather.
► The Associated Press reports on a different shady Ukraine deal, this one involving someone who has played a major role in Colorado politics:
Two political supporters of U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry secured a potentially lucrative oil and gas exploration deal from the Ukrainian government soon after Perry proposed one of the men as an adviser to the country’s new president.
Perry’s efforts to influence Ukraine’s energy policy came earlier this year, just as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s new government was seeking military aid from the United States to defend against Russian aggression and allies of President Donald Trump were ramping up efforts to get the Ukrainians to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Ukraine awarded the contract to Perry’s supporters little more than a month after the U.S. energy secretary attended Zelenskiy’s May inauguration. In a meeting during that trip, Perry handed the new president a list of people he recommended as energy advisers. One of the four names was his longtime political backer Michael Bleyzer.
A week later, Bleyzer and his partner Alex Cranberg submitted a bid to drill for oil and gas at a sprawling government-controlled site called Varvynska. They offered millions of dollars less to the Ukrainian government than their only competitor for the drilling rights, according to internal Ukrainian government documents obtained by The Associated Press. But their newly created joint venture, Ukrainian Energy, was awarded the 50-year contract because a government-appointed commission determined they had greater technical expertise and stronger financial backing, the documents show.
Alex Cranberg is a major Republican donors who played key roles in several GOP campaigns in Colorado in the last 20 years.
► Former South Carolina Governor and noted Appalachian hiker Mark Sanford is suspending his campaign for the Republican nomination for President.
► Republican Steve House, who is running for Congress in CO-6 against incumbent Democratic Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora), announced some endorsements from some guys who like the military, or something.
► It’s almost time for the 2020 election cycle, which means politicians are busy collecting meaningless awards.
► Governor Jared Polis helped to break ground in Denver at the future site of the Colorado Fallen Heroes Memorial.
► Colorado is slightly more diverse! That probably won’t make for a good bumper sticker.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Impeachment? Why, Tucker Carlson has never heard of such a word!
► There is no law that compels Internet memes to make logical sense.
► Silly ethics complaints against former Gov. John Hickenlooper are turning out to be quite the nothingburger.