We’ve added a new “Coronavirus” section to our news roundup to keep that news quarantined. 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 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.
BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW…
► Both Democrats and Republicans have been pleading with President Trump to declare a national emergency regarding the Coronavirus outbreak. Today he finally relented, as NBC News reports:
President Donald Trump plans to declare a national emergency Friday to allow more direct relief to Americans affected by the coronavirus, two administration officials told NBC News.
The move could help open up tens of billions of dollars to help fight the rapidly spreading pandemic.
Trump is scheduled to hold a news conference at 3:00 pm EST.
► Health experts are begging the Trump administration to stop blaming China for Coronavirus. As Politico explains:
The Trump team’s escalating drumbeat against China is worrying some public health experts, who say the attempts to blame Beijing for the coronavirus outbreak could harm efforts to combat the spreading contagion, while winning praise from others.
And it’s come amid conspiracy theories and counteraccusations from Chinese officials, some of whom are alleging the virus’s true origins lie outside China, in what U.S. officials say is a malicious effort to shift blame.
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has accused China of covering up the health crisis. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has repeatedly labeled the illness the “Wuhan coronavirus” — a reference to the Chinese city that is the epicenter of the disease.
► Thank God there are still some officials in the federal government willing to tell the truth. As The Washington Post reports:
With the country desperate for answers and leadership, all Trump can do is spread his magical lying and chaos pixie dust everywhere, all to fog over his own naked-emperor inability to supply either amid a public emergency happening in the immediate here and now.
Into this vacuum stepped Dr. Fauci on “Morning Joe,” to try to create an impression of calm leadership where there isn’t any…
…Officials like Dr. Fauci are in an admittedly difficult spot. As he himself has also acknowledged, telling the country the truth while keeping the principal happy is a difficult balancing act.
This particular principal — that is, Trump — has turned that balancing act into a monumentally more difficult task, one akin to tightrope-walking in a hurricane. And we have no idea how bad the consequences could get.
► The Denver Post updates state-level efforts to deal with the outbreak. House Majority Leader Alec Garnett discusses how the legislature is preparing for Coronavirus in the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast.
► The Trump administration is partnering with private businesses to implement drive-thru Coronavirus testing. Colorado was ahead of the curve on this; here’s the latest on COVID-19 testing at the Lowry facility in Denver.
If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…
SERIOUSLY, THERE WILL BE NON-CORONAVIRUS NEWS MOMENTARILY…
► If you’re wondering why President Trump has not yet been tested for COVID-19, you’re not alone. From Chris Cillizza at CNN:
Trump is a 73-year-old man who we KNOW has been exposed to the virus. People who have coronavirus can be asymptomatic for days or even weeks — and by continuing to carry on your normal daily life, you run the risk of infecting lots and lots of people if you do, in fact, have the virus…
…Leaders should know that. Leaders need to model the behavior — even if it is uncomfortable — that they need from the public. Leaders need to be the best of us.
At the moment, Trump is not doing that. He’s doing the opposite. [Pols emphasis] Given his documented exposure, it is absolutely reckless for him to continue his current, normal behavior without getting tested. On a daily basis, he is meeting with high-level officials across the government without knowing whether he is infecting them.
► President Trump cannot stop lying about the spread of Coronavirus and the response from the federal government.
MSNBC and Rachel Maddow demonstrate Trump’s Coronavirus bullshit:
► You know what could be a real life-saver during the Coronavirus outbreak? The Affordable Care Act that Republicans keep trying to dismantle.
► Reason #783 why Republicans are in the minority in the state legislature:
As #coleg prepares to suspend session amid a pandemic that will cause mass layoffs and immiseration for working Coloradans who lack paid leave, Senate Republicans are… taunting the sponsor of the paid-leave bill they and their business lobby overlords bitterly opposed https://t.co/8sbsxZmupn
— Chase Woodruff (@dcwoodruff) March 13, 2020
► As Governor Jared Polis said today (confirmed by basic math), there are likely thousands of Coloradans with Coronavirus who have not yet been tested.
► The Coronavirus outbreak is causing significant disruptions for grassroots efforts on political campaigns in Colorado.
► Colorado lawmakers are trying to figure out how to conclude the caucus/assembly process for political parties while also discouraging in-person meetups. It also appears to be a question of “when” and not “if” legislative leaders will call for a recess of the current session.
► First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner is doing a lot of Coronavirus research through Facebook.
HERE IT IS: POLITICAL NEWS THAT IS NOT ABOUT CORONAVIRUS…
► As The Denver Post reports, the Colorado Option made it over hurdle #1:
The proposal to create a hybrid public insurance option in Colorado forged ahead Wednesday night on a 7-4 party-line vote after nearly seven hours of fierce debate from opponents and impassioned pleas from supporters. The fate of the bill now rests in the hands of moderate lawmakers who want sponsors to make more inroads with opponents.
House Bill 1349 has been one of the most contentious pieces of legislation of this year’s session, even before the bill’s official introduction last week.
The bill would create another option for the 8% of Coloradans who purchase health insurance on the individual market. Lawmakers say the bill is intended to create competition, particularly in rural counties that may have only one option for health insurance on the individual market, and to lower costs of health care. It sets reimbursement rates to hospitals for people on the plan. But it also requires participation from insurers and penalizes hospitals that refuse to participate in the plan.
Opponents — largely hospitals and other health industry executives — say the bill creates unintended consequences and unfairly targets hospitals. But supporters say the bill is a first step at tackling the rising costs for consumers as Colorado hospitals rank among the highest in the country in profits.
► Former House Speaker Frank McNulty is — and has been — among the least-ethical people you’ll encounter in politics. It is odd, then, that he heads an organization leading a nonsense bunch of complaints that former Gov. John Hickenlooper will be defending against this month.
► Speaking of Hickenlooper, his U.S. Senate campaign announced endorsements from State Senator Jeff Bridges (D-Arapahoe County) and State Representative Dylan Roberts (Eagle County).
► President Trump was supposed to be in Colorado today for a fundraiser benefitting the re-election campaign of Sen. Cory Gardner. That got cancelled because of Coronavirus, but then Trump started riffing about Gardner coming to the White House instead. This didn’t work out well at all.
Erik Maulbetsch of The Colorado Times-Recorder found Gardner at Denver International Airport on Thursday evening but couldn’t convince him to answer any questions.
► The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce is pushing hard to kill off any hope of a family leave bill this legislative session.
► A Colorado oil and gas board is imposing an $18.25 million fine for the home explosion in Firestone in 2017 that killed two people.
► The Washington Post looks at the 11 people most likely to be tapped as Joe Biden’s running mate. Spoiler alert: None of them are white dudes.
► One of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ most important surrogates, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has reportedly been declining to campaign for Sanders recently.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► In some ways, many members of the Trump administration agree with the rest of us: President Trump’s Oval Office speech this week was a terrible idea.
► Now, close your eyes and Get More Smarter with only your ears: