Japan has a slight lead over the United States in the Olympic medal count after the first couple of days of competition. Let’s 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.
*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website
*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
*How you can help in Colorado:
*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment.
► Last week, Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey made it clear that she was sick of unvaccinated Americans preventing the rest of the country from ending the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks…it’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”
As Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning, new restrictions may be just around the corner BECAUSE so many people are unvaccinated. From The Washington Post:
Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said Sunday that the United States is in an “unnecessary predicament” at this point in the pandemic.
“We’re going in the wrong direction,” Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The latest surge in infections is driven by the highly virulent delta variant, which continues to spread rapidly around the country. Although official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not changed, Fauci hinted that a return to indoor mask mandates for vaccinated people and booster shots may be necessary to once again curb the spread of the virus.
Doctors, nurses, and other health groups are now calling for vaccine mandates for all health care workers. New York City will require all city workers to either receive COVID-19 vaccinations or take weekly COVID-19 tests. But as The Washington Post reports in a separate story, Republican leaders around the country are actively working against public health guidelines:
GOP lawmakers are rallying around the cause of individual freedom to counter community-based disease mitigation methods, moves experts say leave the country ill-equipped to counter the resurgent coronavirus and a future, unknown outbreak.
In some states, anger at perceived overreach by health officials has prompted legislative attempts to limit their authority, including new state laws that prevent the closure of businesses or allow lawmakers to rescind mask mandates. Some state courts have reined in the emergency and regulatory powers governors have wielded against the virus. And in its recent rulings and analysis, the U.S. Supreme Court has signaled its willingness to limit disease mitigation in the name of religious freedom…
…At least 15 state legislatures have passed or are considering measures to limit the legal authority of public health agencies, according to the Network for Public Health Law, which partnered with the National Association of County and City Health Officials to document the legislative counterpunches. Lawmakers in at least 46 states have introduced hundreds of bills relating to legislative oversight of gubernatorial or executive actions during coronavirus or other emergencies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The answer, friends, is remarkably simple: Vax, That. Thang. Up.
► Denver Mayor Michael Hancock delivers his “State of the City” address today.
► Colorado Newsline reports on Friday’s meeting in Grand Junction with BLM officials and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland:
During her first official visit to Grand Junction, the nation’s first Native American secretary of the interior, Deb Haaland, wouldn’t say whether the Bureau of Land Management headquarters will remain in the city or return to Washington, D.C.
“It’s an open question, but needs to be known soon,” she said.
Haaland was joined on Friday by Gov. Jared Polis, Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, and Reps. Joe Neguse and Lauren Boebert, who represents the district that encompasses Grand Junction. The Colorado delegation hopes to persuade Haaland to keep the BLM headquarters in Grand Junction, where, in a controversial move, the Trump administration relocated the federal agency from Washington, D.C., in 2019…
…Haaland said she will consider the impact on BLM employees when making her decision whether to keep the headquarters on the Western Slope. Employees were significantly impacted the way the move was implemented, she said. And institutional knowledge was lost after nearly 300 BLM employees left their jobs rather than leave their homes in Washington to come to Colorado.
Colorado Public Radio has more on Haaland’s visit.
If you didn’t yet get a chance, take a moment to caption this photo of Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert flanked by other Colorado Members of Congress during a press conference in Grand Junction.
► As Colorado Public Radio reports, Lake Powell has reached its lowest water level IN RECORDED HISTORY:
Lake Powell, the second-largest reservoir in the U.S., has dropped to its lowest level on record. The water and power produced by the system supplies millions of people in the West.
On July 23, the reservoir’s level fell to 3,555.09 feet. The previous record low was set in April 2005.
A 20-year megadrought and hotter temperatures with climate change have contributed to shrinking water supplies in the Colorado River.
The Bureau of Reclamation had announced last week that it was likely this weekend that the reservoir would hit its lowest level since first being filled in the 1960s with water from the Colorado River.
The low water levels on Lake Powell are a big issue for Colorado because of a century-long water-sharing agreement.
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And Now, More Words…
► POLITICO looks at the week ahead in critical infrastructure talks.
► As The Colorado Sun reports, farmworkers in Colorado don’t seem to be all that impressed with new legislation meant to improve working conditions — though that is primarily because they don’t seem to know anything about the new laws.
► Grand Junction and Mesa County are among the lowest vaccinated parts of Colorado, and as The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports, it’s hurting local business:
There is little question in few people’s minds that the pandemic has had a lasting impact on the economy.
There are even fewer questions on the minds of local officials that Mesa County’s relatively lower vaccination rate is making it harder for the region’s economy to improve to pre-pandemic levels…
…“It’s a real imperative for the business community because having bad press, having Grand Junction in the national press, is not a good thing for business,” Gov. Jared Polis said. “You don’t want to be one of those standout counties in still having COVID when a lot of the rest of the country is passed that.”
While the governor said there was little point in trying to convince people who are dead-set against getting vaccinated, some of the local officials said it still might be worth trying, and may be the only real way to get the county’s vaccinations numbers up to herd-immunity levels.
► Tri-County Health Department, which covers Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties, says that 95% of COVID-19 hospitalizations are with NON-vaccinated Coloradans.
► Jennifer Brown has a story for The Colorado Sun about a big public art installation in Washington D.C. driven in part by a Colorado woman:
In September, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., will become a sea of white — one flag for each American who has died from the coronavirus.
President Joe Biden will see it from the Truman Balcony of the White House, and from a distance, it will seem like it snowed in the nation’s capital. Up close, visitors will see the names and personal messages on at least 610,000 individual flags — whether they are walking the pathways through the three-week art installation or viewing the digital version on their computer screens in a faraway state.
The pandemic memorial project — the largest participatory public art installation on the National Mall since the AIDS quilt in 1987 — will come together because of the efforts of three key people.
The artist from Maryland. The anthropologist at a university in D.C. The software engineer from Colorado.
► Governor Jared Polis continues to reject calls from Republicans to end expanded unemployment benefits in Colorado.
► School districts in Colorado are still trying to figure out what to do about vaccines and masks heading into the new school year. Aurora Public Schools announced last week that it is requiring teachers to be vaccinated but will not mandate that students wear masks in school (though masks WILL be required on school buses).
In COVID-related news, the State of Colorado is creating new safety requirements for workers at residential care centers and nursing homes.
► The Denver Post has more detail on the problem of terrible air quality in Colorado:
The gray haze blurring mountain views along Colorado’s Front Range day after day this summer signaled ozone pollution spiking to dangerous levels — up to 48% higher than the federal health limit — and some of the deadliest air in decades.
The average ozone pollution has been increasing over the past two years, according to state data reviewed by The Denver Post, cutting into improvements made since 1980…
…The backslide means the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency likely will downgrade Colorado’s air quality violator status later this year from “serious” to “severe.” That will bring tougher restrictions on industry and car travel, and Colorado officials told the Post gas will have to be re-blended into a cleaner-burning mix. The EPA estimates it will add a few cents per gallon to prices at gas pumps.
► CBS4 Denver reports on a coal fire at an Xcel Power Plant in Morgan County, Colorado that shut down the Xcel facility.
► Democrats are still loudly ringing the alarm about the threats to voter turnout in 2022 because of Republican restrictions on voting.
► The Associated Press reports on some pretty awful actions by some local Republicans in Michigan:
Elected officials in a conservative Michigan county who gave themselves bonuses of $65,000 with federal COVID-19 relief aid said they will return the money following days of criticism.
Shiawassee County commissioners acted after the prosecutor said the payments were illegal, The Argus-Press reported.
The Michigan Constitution bars additional compensation for elected officials “after services had already been rendered,” prosecutor Scott Koerner said Friday.
The commissioners, all Republicans, voted on July 15 to award themselves $65,000 as part of a plan to give $557,000 to 250 county employees as “hazard pay” for dealing with the pandemic.
The smallest amounts for recipients were $1,000 to $2,000. But County Board Chairman Jeremy Root got $25,000. Two more commissioners received $10,000 each, while four others received $5,000 each.
COVID-19 isn’t real! Give me money for COVID-19!
Say What, Now?
In case you hadn’t noticed, Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert reminds you that America has been destroyed:
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is trying to raise money by leaning in on conspiracy theories.
► Charlie Gerow is hoping to be the Republican nominee for Governor in Pennsylvania. He’ll first need to explain how he got involved in a fatal accident with a motorcycle rider that resulted in Gerow reportedly driving some distance down the highway with the motorcycle stuck in the grill of his car.
► The House of Representatives approved a measure last week — by wide margins — sponsored by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) that seeks to help Afghan interpreters who assisted U.S. forces in Afghanistan in obtaining visas to come to the United States; the Taliban has pledged to hunt down and kill interpreters who remain in that country.
Crow’s legislation passed the House by a vote of 407-16. Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was the ONLY member of Colorado’s delegation to vote “NO.”
► Nobody likes Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul:
I. Am. Crying pic.twitter.com/DoXxrLHX7o
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) July 23, 2021
► This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, we examine the alternate reality that Republicans are trying to establish ahead of the 2022 election cycle: