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Warp Speed WTF:
As The Washington Post reports:
When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the federal government would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses held in reserve for second shots, no such reserve existed, according to state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans. The Trump administration had already begun shipping out what was available beginning at the end of December, taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line.
Now, health officials across the country who had anticipated their extremely limited vaccine supply as much as doubling beginning next week are confronting the reality that their allocations will not immediately increase, dashing hopes of dramatically expanding access for millions of elderly people and those with high-risk medical conditions. Health officials in some cities and states were informed in recent days about the reality of the situation, while others are still in the dark…
…These officials were told that Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s initiative to speed the development of vaccines and therapeutics, stopped stockpiling second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the end of last year, instead taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line. The last shots held in reserve of Moderna’s supply, meanwhile, began shipping out over the weekend.
As The Washington Post reports in a separate story, expect more problems with the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine because Trump administration officials are literally REFUSING TO CONSULT with staff for President-elect Joe Biden.
Click here for more on the response to this news from Gov. Jared Polis.
Also worth noting: The global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 2 million.
► As The New York Times reports, Vice President Mike Pence is doing his best to pretend to be President since Donald Trump is no longer interested in the work:
Vice President Mike Pence telephoned Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Thursday to congratulate her and offer his belated assistance — filling a leadership role all but abdicated by President Trump, who is planning to fly out of the capital shortly before Joseph R. Biden Jr. is sworn in next week.
The Pence-Harris conversation, relayed by two officials briefed on the call, was described as gracious and pleasant. The discussion is the first time Mr. Pence and Ms. Harris have spoken since they debated each other last fall.
It also represents the only one-on-one interaction between the dueling 2020 presidential tickets: Mr. Trump has refused to call President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and has not even fully conceded defeat.
As for Trump, he plans to leave Washington D.C. the morning before Joe Biden’s inauguration because he has the emotional stability of a toddler.
► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) says that the U.S. Senate can “walk and chew gum at the same time” in response to questions about handling both President Trump’s impeachment and confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s top appointees.
► The Aurora Sentinel reports on how the Colorado legislature is wrapping up a brief return to the State Capitol before taking a recess until February 16.
► Federal prosecutors say that a number of terrorists who attacked the Capitol last week planned to “capture and assassinate” elected officials.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
As Promised, More Words…
► Earlier this week we mentioned the bizarre brain functions of freshman State Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Fremont County), who was in Washington D.C. during last week’s attack on the Capitol. As Saja Hindi reports for The Denver Post, Hanks has since gone AWOL:
A newly elected Colorado Republican lawmaker who attended the president’s Jan. 6 rally has been absent for the majority of the three-day legislative session that started Wednesday.
Rep. Ron Hanks, who is from Penrose, arrived at the state Capitol on Wednesday morning and was sworn in. He then left and did not participate in the remainder of that day’s session in person or remotely and was not in attendance Thursday or Friday.
Hanks has not returned multiple requests for comment by phone, email and text message. Although his campaign website is still up, his Facebook page has been removed. He was elected in November to the House District 60 seat, representing parts of Fremont, Custer, Chaffee and Park counties — all south and west of Colorado Springs.
House leaders excused Hanks, but it is unusual not to attend the first days of session as a new lawmaker, particularly since the first part of the 2021 session is only three days.
► Chris Cillizza of CNN wonders if Donald Trump will go down as the worst President in American history. Even without reading anything Cillizza wrote, we can confidently say: “Yes.”
► If you’ve been wondering about the fate of Cardboard Cory, this is for you:
Gentle readers: Today my handlers were honored to meet @SenatorHick & pass *me* on to him 🤗
Along with me goes the heartfelt messages from Coloradans who worked hard to flip this seat, which was a huge win for democracy, turns out. WE DID IT #copolitics #cosen @IndivisibleTeam pic.twitter.com/X6bnTfz5Go
— Cardboard Cory (@CardboardCoryCO) January 15, 2021
► As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, right-wing Republican activist Kristi Burton Brown is officially running to be the next Chairperson of the State Republican Party. KBB currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the State GOP.
► A bipartisan group in Congress wants to award the Congressional Gold Medal to
Officer Eugene Goodman, the Black Capitol Police Officer who was shown in a viral video luring insurrectionists away from the Senate chambers during last week’s attack on the Capitol.
► Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) talks to 9News about his role as one of nine House Impeachment Managers. Neguse will be joined in prosecuting Trump’s second impeachment by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver).
► The Colorado National Guard will send 200 troops to Washington D.C. to assist with security in advance of Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
► Frontier Airlines joined Delta Airlines in temporarily banning firearms in checked luggage for passengers traveling to Washington D.C.
► Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is warning potential protestors that the open-carry of firearms in Denver is illegal.
► As Colorado Public Radio reports, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is not exactly making Western Colorado residents proud. The Colorado Times Recorder, meanwhile, has more on another wacky theory from Q*Bert.
► The Colorado Times Recorder looks at how Colorado right-wing conspiracists helped ignite election fraud nonsense about Dominion Voting Systems.
► Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia has been given a leadership role with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
► Today is the last day (of 2021) to enroll for health insurance through the Colorado state exchange.
► Colorado Newsline examines the state’s new roadmap for combating greenhouse gas pollution.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is not interested in even pretending to take her job seriously. She seems to think that Congress is like a sequel to the movie “Mean Girls”:
If I allow a colleague to style my hair in the House Chambers can I ditch the mask and avoid the $500 fine?
I hear elected officials are exempt from mask mandates when they’re getting their hair done.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) January 15, 2021
► Speaking of Q*Bert, we’ll just leave this here:
Um, I’ve never said your name in public, @RepBoebert. Never. Not once. (If you’re going to be a gun nut, you probably shouldn’t go off half cocked.) I’ll tweet the transcript so you can see…but that might be like “a fact”, so might not help you. https://t.co/a0weTQvIp0
— Sean Patrick Maloney (@RepSeanMaloney) January 15, 2021
► President Trump is banning the words “Richard Nixon” in his final days in the White House. Trump bristles at comparisons to Nixon, though maybe he shouldn’t; Nixon looks like a saint compared to Trump.
► Vox.com digs deep into President-elect Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus plan.
► As Ryan Young writes for Fortune, it’s time to raise the cost of supporting wacko conspiracy theories.
► Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an exclusive interview with Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora), who takes us through a minute-by-minute account of the attack on the Capitol:
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