Wednesday Open Thread

“Tact is the ability to step on a man’s toes without messing up the shine on his shoes.”

–Harry S. Truman

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23 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    Folks had asked what the state House might do to combat Republican obstructionism.  Perhaps things like this…

    Death penalty repeal clears first House committee

    The most heated House debate over the death penalty repeal will be on Thursday, when the full House is expected to take up SB100. Republicans have already complained that House Democratic leadership scheduled debate for the same day that President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold an election rally in Colorado Springs. A lengthy debate would mean some lawmakers might not be able to make that event.

    • kwtreekwtree says:

      They can’t have it both ways – either the bills get read at length, or they don’t, because it’s a waste of time. I think missing out on a chance to lick The Mango Monarch’s boots or other body parts is a small price to pay for legislative consistency and bipartisanship. 😉

    • spaceman65 says:

      Oh no!  So unfair to public officials to expect them to fulfill their public duties.  I've had to miss big events, too, in order to do my day job. 

  2. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    Trump’s efforts to build a new Maginot Line across fragile landscapes, private property, etc. will now help boost his other key concern — there just isn’t enough corruption in government.

    The Trump administration said Tuesday it is waiving federal contracting laws to speed construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, moving the president closer to fulfilling a signature campaign promise in an election year but sparking criticism about potential for fraud, waste and abuse.

    The Department of Homeland Security said waiving procurement regulations will allow 177 miles of wall to be built more quickly in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The 10 waived laws include a requirement for open competition and giving losing bidders a chance to protest decisions.

    Charles Tiefer, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law who specializes in government contracts, said the government “can just pick the contractor you want and you just ram it through. … The sky’s the limit on what they bill.”

    Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, said waiving a law for contractors to provide the government with certified cost data — such as how much they pay for labor or parts — could lead to grossly inflated prices.

    “It’s equivalent to buying a car without seeing a sticker price,” Amey said. “This could be a recipe for shoddy work and paying a much higher price than they should.”

    Gee, I wonder if a couple of dudes started a company, wrote the Trump campaign a donation, then called up DHS with a copy of the check as proof of loyalty, could get a $400 million dollar contract to throw up a few miles of shoddy steel fencing?  Nah — that’d never happen.

    ‘Contracting laws for border wall waived by Homeland Security’ at http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODN/DenverPost/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TDP/2020/02/19&entity=Ar02602&sk=712B1873&mode=text

  3. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    Joe Biden's campaign wakes from its stupor long enough to ask Bloomberg, "Yo, Mike, what's all this about you and Barack being buds? Nah."

  4. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    "Never Bloomberg" and "Never Sanders" movements are forming over at Daily Kos — sign up for your favorite approach to destruction at your leisure.

    My favorite fantasy from the morning's reading are those who are convinced Bloomberg and Sanders will be the delegate leaders, but neither will have enough to win a nomination on the first or second ballot.  So the DN Convention will naturally be sensible and decide that Candidate X,  who is not Sanders and not Bloomberg, will be the perfect compromise candidate.

    • MADCO says:

      Two party politics has had a good run.
      Its never really made a lot of sense to me – but as a way to build and hold power it worked

      In this example – just say both have 35-40%. And neither is the nominee.
      70% of the party has no voice? That's gonna hurt.

      I heard David Axlerod speaking about it recently and he said what I had thought in 16- it could do split the R party. But mostly the Rs went along and continue to defend Trump.
      I guess the lesson here is if the D nominee is Hillary, with Jill Stein as VP, the choice is enthusiastically support that ticket – or get in the street with 4MORE!

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        Papa George summed it up so verrrry long ago:

        Moreover, he makes the case that "the alternate domination" of one party over another and coinciding efforts to exact revenge upon their opponents have led to horrible atrocities, and "is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism." From Washington's perspective and judgment, political parties eventually and "gradually incline the minds of men to seek security… in the absolute power of an individual",[1] leading to despotism. He acknowledges the fact that parties are sometimes beneficial in promoting liberty in monarchies, but he argues that political parties must be restrained in a popularly elected government because of their tendency to distract the government from their duties, create unfounded jealousies among groups and regions, raise false alarms among the people, promote riots and insurrection, and provide foreign nations and interests access to the government where they can impose their will upon the country.

  5. RepealAndReplace says:

    My read of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez be off……

    She may not be the naive tavern server I had pegged her for.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/18/politics/sanders-ocasio-cortez-compromise-medicare-for-all/index.html

    She understands that with some compromises, you can get much – or most – of what you want.

    Maybe she can enlighten Bernie.

    • MADCO says:

      "We compromise deeply and we end up getting a public option," she said…"

      Sounds feel-good doable in the House.
       

    • harrydobyharrydoby says:

      Interesting new Yale study regarding the financial analysis of Medicare for All

      Yale Study Says Medicare for All Would Save U.S. $450 Billion, Prevent Nearly 70,000 Deaths a Year

      Taking into account both the costs of coverage expansion and the savings that would be achieved through the Medicare for All Act, we calculate that a single-payer, universal health-care system is likely to lead to a 13% savings in national health-care expenditure, equivalent to more than US$450 billion annually (based on the value of the US$ in 2017). The entire system could be funded with less financial outlay than is incurred by employers and households paying for health-care premiums combined with existing government allocations. This shift to single-payer health care would provide the greatest relief to lower-income households. Furthermore, we estimate that ensuring health-care access for all Americans would save more than 68 000 lives and 1·73 million life-years every year compared with the status quo.

      The results they found is that overall spending would decrease 13% after all the cost shifting and reduction in administrative costs (most — probably not all — private insurance goes belly up).  A multi-year transition would be necessary.  They even provide a modeling tool that anyone can use to compare various solutions.

  6. CaninesCanines says:

    From another guy with the middle initial "S." — Hunter S. Thompson — a quote that still resonates:

    The real power in America is held by a fast-emerging new Oligarchy of pimps and preachers who see no need for Democracy or fairness or even trees, except maybe the ones in their own yards, and they don’t mind admitting it. They worship money and power and death. Their ideal solution to all the nation’s problems would be another 100 Year War.

    – Memo from the Sports Desk, Kingdom of Fear 2003

     

  7. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    One aimed straight at the Bowman

    SB-168

    For purposes of the severance tax on coal, beginning July 1, 2021, section 4 eliminates the quarterly exemption on the first 300,000 tons of coal and the credit for coal produced from underground mines and for the production of lignitic coal. Prior to June 30, 2026, the additional severance tax that results from these changes will be credited to the sustainable energy policy fund, and thereafter it is allocated like other severance tax revenue (section 5).

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      Fantastic news!  I was on a call just this morning with Yuma and Phillips County farmers who want to install a solar project to offset their irrigation costs. This idea is far too large for solar gardens and they're getting pushback from their rural electric – but it shows that the idea of solar and wind are mainstream topics even amongst the most conservative of Coloradans, deep in the heart of coal-fired power territory.  

      • ajb says:

        Don't those farmers know that the sun may not rise tomorrow? How are they going to water their field then?

        • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

          That’s effectively what the coal boys have been saying for years! 

          • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

            Meanwhile in Texas:

            Solar, wind and batteries expected to outpace new gas-powered generation in Texas

            Texas is increasingly moving away from power generated by natural gas, the backbone of the state's electricity system and which supplies about half of the state's generating capacity.

            Solar power is emerging as the state's fastest growing electricity source, according to the state grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Solar developers are expected to install about 68 gigawatts of solar power capacity, representing 61 percent of the power projects expected to come on the grid between now and 2023. One gigawatt provides enough power for about 700,000 homes.

            Wind developers are expected to add 30 gigawatts of power or 27 percent of total new capacity in the next three years, according to ERCOT. Battery storage developers are on the books to generate 8 gigawatts or 7 percent of new capacity.

  8. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Some good news out of the agriculture sector today:

    Nearly two dozen major farm groups announce a coalition today to ensure the views of U.S. agriculture are represented during climate change debate

    “We want to be at the table to make sure farmers’ story is told,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said.

    Farmers for a Sustainable Future includes AFBF, National Farmers Union, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and a host of commodity groups. 

    Carbon markets can play a role in improving sustainability, Duvall said. “We think there’s opportunities there to provide incentives for farmers to participate,” he said. The principles document says FSF supports “market-based solutions, led by farmers and ranchers, that improve rural communities while recognizing the diversity of agricultural practices, climates, challenges, and resources needs.”

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