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► We’re just a few weeks into the 2020-21 school year, and the coronavirus pandemic is overruling well-made plans for safe student instruction. Three days before the nation’s largest school district was set to bring kids back to class, New York Mayor Bill deBlasio — for the second time — delayed in-person classroom instruction.
Here in Colorado, administrators are trying to get a handle on significant outbreaks at universities and colleges. Jefferson Junior/Senior High School in Jefferson County is moving to online instruction after three students tested positive for COVID-19. Half of the students at Cherry Creek High School in Denver are now doing remote learning after an outbreak believed to be related to a weekend party. New data from the State of Colorado shows infection rates trending upward in Colorado.
► Two new television ads from Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) are being picked apart by fact-checkers and generally not holding up well. The fact that KDVR calls Gardner’s anti-Hickenlooper ad “Gardner’s Maserati Ad” proves exactly what we were saying about the spot when we first saw it last week.
► The Federal Reserve says a quick economic recovery won’t happen unless Congress acts on another stimulus bill. On Wednesday, President Trump endorsed a bigger stimulus package than what Senate Republicans have discussed.
► A new poll shows the race in CO-3 between Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush and Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert to be a neck-and-neck battle:
For the second time, a Democratic poll in #CO03 shows a statistical tie in the congressional and presidential races.
Mitsch Bush (D): 43
Boebert (R): 42
Don’t know: 10
There has not been an objective public poll of CO-03. #copolitics
— Justin Wingerter (@JustinWingerter) September 17, 2020
► As The Washington Post reports…just read it for yourself:
Hours before law enforcement forcibly cleared protesters from Lafayette Square in early June amid protests over the police killing of George Floyd, federal officials began to stockpile ammunition and seek devices that could emit deafening sounds and make anyone within range feel like their skin is on fire, according to an Army National Guard major who was there.
D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam D. DeMarco told lawmakers that defense officials were searching for crowd control technology deemed too unpredictable to use in war zones and had authorized the transfer of about 7,000 rounds of ammunition to the D.C. Armory as protests against police use of force and racial injustice roiled Washington.
In sworn testimony, shared this week with The Washington Post, DeMarco provided his account as part of an ongoing investigation into law enforcement and military officers’ use of force against D.C. protesters…
…But DeMarco’s account contradicts the administration’s claims that protesters were violent, tear gas was never used and demonstrators were given ample warning to disperse — a legal requirement before police move to clear a crowd. His testimony also offers a glimpse into the equipment and weaponry federal forces had — and others that they sought — during the early days of protests that have continued for more than 100 days in the nation’s capital.
There’s a decent chance someone actually uttered the phrase, “Bring me the heat ray.” This year is so weird.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
Now Only Partially Coronavirus-Related…
► It’s good to be the king, as The Washington Post reports:
► Some folks in Weld County, Colorado are trying to figure out a way to get gobbled up by Wyoming. The logic is not strong with this one.
► Attorney General William Barr is the boss, and don’t you forget it! Via The Washington Post:
Attorney General Bill Barr lashed out against federal prosecutors during a speech on Wednesday night that made a full-throated case for his absolute right to wade into politically charged cases.
“When something goes wrong at the Department of Justice, the buck stops at the top,” he said. “And because I am ultimately accountable for every decision the department makes, I have an obligation to ensure we make the correct ones. … Anything less is an abdication.”…
…Against this backdrop, Barr compared prosecutors to preschoolers. [Pols emphasis] “Name one successful organization where the lowest-level employees’ decisions are deemed sacrosanct. There aren’t any,” Barr said during a Constitution Day event hosted by the conservative Hillsdale College. “Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it’s no way to run a federal agency.”
Seems like a cool guy.
► As Colorado Newsline reports, the CORE Act in Colorado is closer to becoming law, despite persistent opposition from Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). Meanwhile, League of Conservation Victory Fund is out with a new ad blasting Gardner for pretending to be a big defender of public lands:
► Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Denver) is calling for an investigation into a whistleblower report about forced hysterectomies at ICE detention facilities.
► Colorado Public Radio explains everything you need to know about mail voting in Colorado.
► POLITICO examines the Department of Health and Human Services with Trump appointee Michael Caputo directing communications efforts:
After it became clear in mid-April that his administration’s response to Covid-19 was threatening his reelection, President Donald Trump considered a leadership shake-up within a health department whose rivalries and battles with the White House had hampered efforts to contain the virus.
Instead, Trump made a different move: He personally intervened to place his campaign aide Michael Caputo — a confidant of disgraced operative Roger Stone who had himself come under scrutiny for his ties to top Russian officials — as assistant Health and Human Services secretary for public affairs. Trump — not HHS Secretary Alex Azar — approached Caputo about the job, and Caputo has repeatedly emphasized that he works for the president, health officials told POLITICO.
Trump’s calculation seemed clear: If he couldn’t easily move aside the health professionals who led the agencies, he could dramatically alter what the public learned about their work on the coronavirus.
► The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel does some bothsiderism on the issue of a national popular vote.
► Karma, baby.
► Vox.com looks at the policing reforms agreed to by the City of Louisville in a settlement over the death of Breonna Taylor.
► High school football in Colorado moves closer to a potential return this fall.
► Colorado’s unemployment insurance system is being overwhelmed by people seeking extended benefits.
Sen. Cory Gardner, who faces a tough reelection bid in Colorado, was spotted on the phone four times between Tuesday and Wednesday as he entered and exited the Senate through a back staircase, declining to answer questions.
A spokeswoman ignored questions. https://t.co/GJhqkeyJsN
— James Hohmann (@jameshohmann) September 17, 2020
► Workers at the JBS meat processing plant in Greeley are incensed that JBS received a pittance of a fine after numerous COVID-19 infections — including several deaths.
► The Atlantic reports on an experiment in Wisconsin designed to change the opinion of pro-Trump voters on how The Big Orange Guy handles the economy.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► The Republican nominee for Senate in Delaware is a QAnon believer. As The Washington Post reports:
Lauren Witzke, a Republican activist who won the party’s nomination Tuesday to challenge Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), said she had shared the QAnon slogan on Twitter and worn a shirt with one of the conspiracy theory movement’s logos because she was honoring a friend who was a “close follower of Q” — and because of her concerns about child sex trafficking.
“From what I understand about QAnon, they’re just people who want pedophiles to be held accountable, and to stop sex trafficking of young children,” Witzke said in an interview Wednesday. “And I think that’s something we can all agree on.”
QAnon adherents believe Trump is battling a cabal of “deep state” saboteurs who worship Satan and traffic children for sex. The FBI has identified the movement as a potential domestic terrorist threat.
► You should probably not do this to yourself.
► Ronald Brownstein of The Atlantic tries to explain why Republicans still refuse to admit that Climate Change is a real thing.
► Welfare for me, but not for thee, says Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert.
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