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► Declaring the state to be at high risk of COVID-19 exposure, Gov. Jared Polis signed an Executive Order ensuring that every Colorado adult can receive a COVID-19 booster shot six months after their last dose. The Colorado Sun and Colorado Public Radio wonder why Polis is still resisting another mask mandate, though vaccine requirements for large indoor events could be just around the corner.
The New York Times, meanwhile, looks at the research and data about waning COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness:
As tens of millions who are eligible in the United States consider signing up for a Covid-19 booster shot, a growing body of early global research shows that the vaccines authorized in the United States remain highly protective against the disease’s worst outcomes over time, with some exceptions among older people and those with weakened immune systems.
But while the vaccines’ effectiveness against severe disease and hospitalization has mostly held steady, even through the summer surge of the highly transmissible Delta variant, a number of published studies show that their protection against infection, with or without symptoms, has fallen.
Public health experts say this decline does not mean that the vaccines are not working. [Pols emphasis]
► The Colorado Sun looks at how the big infrastructure deal in Congress will help speed up the process of increasing broadband internet access in Colorado:
Colorado’s efforts to end its rural digital divide could finally happen with the $1 trillion U.S. infrastructure bill, currently awaiting President Joe Biden’s signature.
At least $100 million for broadband infrastructure will end up in Colorado, but it could be much more, said Tony Neal-Graves, chief information officer and executive director of the Colorado Office of Information Technology.
“When we go through it and try to estimate how much money could potentially flow to the state of Colorado, directly or indirectly depending on the type of grant program it is, it could be north of a billion dollars,” Neal-Graves said.Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act this week. In it, $65 billion has been set aside to pay for the cost to extend broadband service to those who still don’t have it in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and U.S. territories.
President Biden, meanwhile, is promising that the infrastructure deal will start to ease a growing pressure on the economy.
► The Washington Post examines two figures defining the economy in the Biden administration: Inflation and job-creation numbers.
The Associated Press explains the inflation problem:
Much of it is the flipside of very good news. Slammed by COVID-19, the U.S. economy collapsed in the spring of 2020 as lockdowns took effect, businesses closed or cut hours and consumers stayed home as a health precaution. Employers slashed 22 million jobs. Economic output plunged at a record-shattering 31% annual rate in last year’s April-June quarter.
Everyone braced for more misery. Companies cut investment. Restocking was put off. And a brutal recession ensued.
Yet instead of sinking into a prolonged downturn, the economy staged an unexpectedly rousing recovery, fueled by massive government spending and a bevy of emergency moves by the Fed. By spring, the rollout of vaccines had emboldened consumers to return to restaurants, bars and shops.Suddenly, businesses had to scramble to meet demand. They couldn’t hire fast enough to plug job openings — a near record 10.4 million in August — or buy enough supplies to fill customer orders. As business roared back, ports and freight yards couldn’t handle the traffic. Global supply chains became snarled.
Costs rose. And companies found that they could pass along those higher costs in the form of higher prices to consumers, many of whom had managed to sock away a ton of savings during the pandemic.
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► David Byler of The Washington Post breaks down three reasons why many Republicans continue to believe that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. The magic ingredients are 1) tribal partisanship; 2) a persistent tendency toward conspiratorial thinking among many Americans; and 3) a sustained misinformation campaign by Trump and his allies.
► Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on the latest personnel changes in the office of the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder:
Sandra Brown, one of two election managers in Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ office, has been fired.
While the reasons for why have not fully been disclosed because it is an internal personnel matter restricted under open records laws, Brown has been on paid administrative leave for weeks now, in part, because she has been implicated in several criminal investigations into allegations that Peters and others were involved in violating state election security protocols.
That occurred starting in May when Brown, whose job title was elections manager-back office, allegedly was involved in efforts by Peters and others to expose as-yet unproven allegations of voter fraud.
Both Peters and her deputy, Belinda Knisley, who also is on paid administrative leave, have been temporarily barred by District Judge Valerie Robison from having any contact with elections workers.
For her part, Peters remains completely oblivious to the contradictions in her own commentary on the subject:
“This is very simple. I was elected by the people of Mesa County to ensure integrity of our elections,” Peters said in a press release.
► Governor Jared Polis appointed a new Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration. From a press release:
Governor Jared Polis appointed Anthony Gherardini as Executive Director, Department of Personnel & Administration. Most recently Mr. Gherardini has served as Deputy Director, Office of Behavioral Health, Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS)…
…Gherardini was a member of the Lakewood Police Department before joining the Colorado Department of Human Services as the director of safety and emergency management in 2014. He served in several capacities at the agency before working in the Office of the Governor as Director of Operations & Cabinet Affairs until he assumed his current role.
He served as a military police officer in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011. Gherardini is a former captain in the Army National Guard. He holds a master of public administration from the University of Colorado Denver and a bachelor’s in political science from Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
Gherardini replaces Kara Veitch, who was recently appointed as the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel.
In related news, The Colorado Sun reports on yet another Colorado man facing legal trouble for his involvement in the insurrection.
► Westword updates its “Boebert Watch” project, keeping tabs on Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle).
Elsewhere, Boebert seems to think that her job as a flame-throwing, do-nothing Member of Congress is somehow similar to being a veteran of the U.S. military:
Speaking to a room of veterans, Lauren Boebert compares her role as a congresswoman “fighting” for freedom to veterans who “have fought to keep us free.” pic.twitter.com/wIRLcyqrhM
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) November 11, 2021
► POLITICO reports on the comeuppance for one of the more notorious Trump-era scam PACs:
For the last five years or more, Matt Tunstall has used the name and likeness of Donald Trump and other politicians to ostensibly raise money for a network of political action committees. But he’s been accused of pocketing most of the money himself and on Wednesday, his so-called scam PAC operation finally caught up to him.
In an indictment unsealed on Wednesday, federal prosecutors charged Tunstall and Robert Reyes with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to lie to the Federal Election Committee. They allege that of the roughly $3.5 million raised by the PACs they ran during the 2016 election, “only approximately $19 were distributed to any candidate’s authorized campaign committee or to any political cause, while a total of more than $1.5 million was used to benefit” the PAC operators themselves.
Prosecutors also charged Tunstall with multiple counts of wire fraud and money laundering. The indictment charges a third associate and cousin of Tunstall, Kyle Davies, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to lie to the FEC and multiple counts of wire fraud.
That sound you hear is former Republican State Senator Ted Harvey chewing his fingernails.
► Texas abortion law? What Texas abortion law?
Republican gubernatorial candidate
Hiedi Heidi Ganahl is very silly indeed.
► The Denver Post has the latest on the legal wrangling over the 2019 “red flag” law in Colorado.
► Another 2022 Republican candidate in Colorado is voicing her support for Q-Anon beliefs. Mary Lynn “Dede” Wagner is running in HD-25, where she’ll have to first win a Republican Primary against incumbent Rep. Colin Larsen.
► Exposure to extreme heat has TRIPLED since 1983.
Say What, Now?
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Republican Members of Congress who voted in favor of the big infrastructure bill are now receiving death threats from constituents…thanks in part to the loud complaints of some Republican colleagues.
► Congressperson Ken Buck (R-Greeley) has it all figured out on immigration reform: Just build more wall.
► Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) is celebrating the passage of his first big piece of legislation: The RECHARGE Act.
► Colorado Republican candidates either believe the 2020 election was fraudulent or they are too afraid of the GOP base to admit the truth. Either way, refusing to answer perhaps the most important question of 2022 is disqualifying.
► If you’re not sure where your beliefs might place you on the current political spectrum, you can take this Pew Research Study for more insight into yourself.
► This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Erik Maulbetsch of The Colorado Times Recorder and try to understand the new trend of conspiracy-believing Colorado Republican candidates: