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► More people have now died in the United States from coronavirus than in the 9/11 attacks. With numbers of infections and deaths on the rise in the U.S., Dana Milbank of The Washington Post asks a very simple question about President Trump:
How does a human being use the phrase “a very good job” in contemplation of the deaths of 100,000 to 200,000 souls?
Worldwide, the number of coronavirus infections has surpassed 800,000.
► President Trump can’t change history no matter how much he tries, as CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains:
What Trump is doing now is what he always does about everything: Attempting to rewrite history so that it looks like he was always the smartest guy in the room, the one person who saw this all coming from a mile away.
“I’ve always known this is a real — this is a pandemic,” he said on March 17. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
That statement is, of course, demonstrably untrue. But Trump doesn’t care. Because his political career has proven to him that if he simply repeats the history he wants to be true, plenty of people will follow his lead. He’ll blame Democrats or the media (or both) for twisting his words or making thing up. Remember that this is a man who said this out loud: “Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. … What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
But the truth still matters. And the truth is that Trump repeatedly downplayed the threat coronavirus posed to the country, providing Americans with false hope when they needed candor and transparency most of all.
► Doctors in Colorado are bracing for a surge of coronavirus patients as the outbreak moves inland from the East and West coasts of the United States. Meanwhile, as CNN reports, your odds of surviving the coronavirus outbreak are probably better if you live in a state with a Democratic governor.
► Governor Jared Polis reiterated on Monday that students in Colorado will likely finish out the school year without stepping foot back inside a classroom. From The Denver Post:
“It is very likely that you won’t be able to resume normal classroom activities this school year,” Polis said during a news conference updating the public on efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak. “The school year hasn’t been called off yet statewide; we’re always hopeful. But districts have been preparing for that. That’s the likelihood.”
Students from many of Colorado’s largest school districts “returned” from Spring Break this week with extensive remote/online learning plans.
► Colorado lawmakers expect to get a ruling this week from the State Supreme Court regarding whether or not they can legally extend the legislative session beyond the traditional early May deadline. From CBS4 Denver:
The state legislature reconvened Monday just long enough to go into recess again. Lawmakers adjourned two weeks ago due to concerns about COVID-19. In order to recess again, without calling lawmakers back into session, they purposefully met without a quorum, or a minimum of 33 representatives and 18 senators.
If they don’t have a quorum, they can adjourn for up to three days. Lawmakers are hoping to buy time until the State Supreme Court rules on whether the 120-day session is consecutive, meaning it ends May 6, or whether they can resume at a later date when its safer.
The big question waiting to be answered revolves around whether the 120-day session language in the state constitution refers to consecutive days or if it can be split up by a recess (in this case because of coronavirus).
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…
► The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) may soon advise all Americans to wear face coverings in public. The CDC does NOT plan to recommend that Americans wear medical masks; the guidance for face coverings would be intended more to help prevent someone who might be infected but asymptomatic from spreading COVID-19 unwittingly.
► NORAD and Northcom staff in Colorado Springs are moving to the mountain. From CBS4 Denver:
Some of the most critical US senior military commanders and nuclear and special operations forces are now operating under extraordinary protection measures to ensure that in the event of a sudden security crisis, including any potential nuclear mission, there will be enough healthy troops and leaders to carry out orders as the coronavirus pandemic grows…
…In Colorado Springs, at the headquarters of NORAD and the Northern Command, so-called distributed operations are now in place. NORAD monitors US airspace against threats and intrusions, including Russian military aircraft. Northern Command is coordinating the military assistance for the pandemic.
“We are isolating specific command personnel involved in critical mission areas, including homeland defense functions,” a US military official at the command told CNN. “To ensure we remain capable of defending the homeland despite the pandemic, our command and control watch teams here in the headquarters split into shifts.”
Some of the watch teams are now working from Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, a Cold War-era bunker inside a nearby mountain.
► The coronavirus may have killed democracy in Hungary, as The Washington Post reports:
On Monday, Hungary’s parliament passed a controversial bill that gave Prime Minister Victor Orban sweeping emergency powers for an indefinite period of time. Parliament is closed, future elections were called off, existing laws can be suspended and the prime minister is now entitled to rule by decree. Opposition lawmakers had tried to set a time limit on the legislation but failed. Orban’s commanding two-thirds parliamentary majority made his new powers a fait accompli…
… The emergency law also stipulates five-year prison sentences for Hungarians found to be spreading “false” information, as well as prison terms for those defying mandated quarantines. Critics argue that vital support for the country’s health-care system is still lacking, while Orban has given himself carte blanche to exercise even more domineering control.
“I don’t know of another democracy where the government has effectively asked for a free hand to do anything for however long,” Renata Uitz, director of the comparative constitutional law program at Central European University in Budapest, said to Bloomberg News.
► The Ft. Collins Coloradoan explains how COVID-19 testing is being prioritized in Colorado. In short, health care workers are first on the list, followed by patients in long-term care facilities.
► The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is guaranteeing free childcare for essential workers in Colorado through May 17.
► As 9News reports, many financially-strapped Coloradans are unsure how to proceed with rent checks coming due this week.
► Hobby Lobby considers itself essential.
► Ten Denver firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19.
► Here’s some good news from San Francisco: Health experts are seeing positive results on flattening the coronavirus infection curve after the city took early steps toward social distancing.
HERE IT IS: POLITICAL NEWS THAT IS (MOSTLY) NOT ABOUT CORONAVIRUS…
► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) won his first election for Congress in 2010 largely by railing against stimulus funding. As Justin Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, Gardner is now (naturally) a stimulus champion:
In early 2010, Cory Gardner sent an email to supporters that criticized his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, for supporting “the most expensive spending bill in the history of the United States,” an economic stimulus package that cost upward of $800 billion.
“The stimulus has failed. But anyone with common sense knew it would fail — you simply can’t spend your way out of a recession,” Gardner said then, a popular refrain from a popular Republican candidate who went on to win that November.
A decade later, with America’s economy careening toward recession, now-Sen. Gardner adamantly supported the most expensive spending bill in the history of the United States, a roughly $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package, last week.
Gardner says that this stimulus is different, because now you totally can spend your way out of a recession, or something. And also because he’s now running for re-election and will have to defend his own vote in favor of stimulus legislation.
► As The Washington Post reports, President Trump said the quiet part out loud regarding Republican voter suppression efforts.
The new rule, written by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation, would allow vehicles on American roads to emit nearly a billion tons more carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the cars than they would have under the Obama standards and hundreds of millions of tons more than will be emitted under standards being implemented in Europe and Asia.
Trump administration officials have raced to complete the auto rule by this spring, even as the White House is consumed with responding to the coronavirus crisis. President Trump is expected to extol the rule, which will stand as one of the most consequential regulatory rollbacks of his administration, as a needed salve for an economy crippled by the pandemic…
…The new rule, which is expected to be implemented by late spring, will roll back a 2012 rule that required automakers’ fleets to average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025. Instead, the fleets would have to average about 40 miles per gallon. To meet the new number, fuel economy standards would have to rise by about 1.5 percent a year, compared to the 5 percent annual increase required by the Obama rule. The industry has said it would increase fuel economy standards by about 2.4 percent a year without any regulation.
► About one-third of Colorado households have responded to the 2020 Census.
► This is a bad time for the economy in general — but particularly for people who make a living working on political campaigns.
► The Aurora City Council is preparing to argue about whether or not to say the word “God” when elected official take the oath of office.
► Closing coal-fired power plants in Colorado has led to a happy development: There is a lot more water available for everyone.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► President Trump is encouraging the MyPillow guy to run for public office.
► On Monday, Idaho’s Governor signed two anti-transgender bills into law.
► TABOR daddy Doug Bruce had a coronavirus picnic…and nobody came.
► The New York Times details how the United States lost a month of time that could have been spent preparing for the coronavirus.
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