Mighty Brazil was ousted from the World Cup today in a penalty kick shootout with Croatia. Now, 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.
► Questions continue to swirl about what law enforcement officials did NOT do that might have prevented the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs last month. As The Denver Post reports:
The 2021 criminal case against the Club Q shooting suspect that involved an alleged threat to become the “next mass killer” was dismissed by a judge after the suspect’s family members refused to participate in the court process, Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said Thursday.
Law enforcement officials seized two guns from Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, after that incident, including a 9 mm pistol that was a “ghost gun,” as well as an AR-15 rifle. But, Allen said, those guns were never returned to Aldrich, who now stands accused of carrying out a mass shooting with an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun.
Five people were killed and another 22 injured, 17 by gunfire, in the Nov. 19 attack at the LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs. Prosecutors this week charged Aldrich with more than 300 criminal counts, including first-degree murder and hate crimes.
The new revelations about Aldrich’s arrest last year on felony kidnapping and menacing charges came only after El Paso County District Court Judge Robin Chittum unsealed the case Thursday morning, citing a “profound” public interest in the 2021 arrest and prosecution that significantly outweighs Aldrich’s right to privacy.
Republican officials in Colorado Springs — including District Attorney Michael Allen, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder, and incoming Sheriff Joe Roybal — are all outspoken opponents of Colorado’s “red flag” laws that are intended to prevent exactly this sort of scenario. Elder is doing a lot of back pedaling these days.
► Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema seems hell-bent on making sure nobody likes her. From POLITICO:
Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is changing her party affiliation to independent, delivering a jolt to Democrats’ narrow majority and Washington along with it.
In a 45-minute interview, the first-term senator told POLITICO that she will not caucus with Republicans and suggested that she intends to vote the same way she has for four years in the Senate. “Nothing will change about my values or my behavior,” she said.
Provided that Sinema sticks to that vow, Democrats will still have a workable Senate majority in the next Congress, though it will not exactly be the neat and tidy 51 seats they assumed. They’re expected to also have the votes to control Senate committees. And Sinema’s move means Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — a pivotal swing vote in the 50-50 chamber the past two years — will hold onto some but not all of his outsized influence in the Democratic caucus.
Sinema would not address whether she will run for reelection in 2024, and informed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of her decision on Thursday.
Sinema began her career in public office as a member of the Green Party before winning elections to Congress and U.S. Senate as a Democrat. By this time next year, she’ll be calling herself a “Whig.”
► Colorado Public Radio reports on advancements toward passing a new National Defense Authorization Act:
The House took the first step Thursday to passing the National Defense Authorization Act, a defense policy bill Congress has approved every year for more than 60 years. The bill passed 350-80. It now heads to the Senate.
GOP Rep. Ken Buck was the lone Colorado vote against the bill. Reps. Lauren Boebert, Jason Crow, Diana DeGette, Doug Lamborn, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter all voted for it.
After the vote, Buck said he couldn’t support spending the amount of money the NDAA authorizes.
The bipartisan bill totals almost $858 billion for defense programs, which is $45 billion more than President Joe Biden sought. It includes a 4.6 percent pay raise for military personnel.
Ken freaking Buck, ladies and gentlemen!
► Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) and a discussion about the “Infinity War” within the Colorado Republican Party.
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Check Out All This Other Stuff To Know…
Two days after the city of Denver opened an emergency shelter to accommodate more than 100 migrants who arrived in the city from the country’s southern border, another 20 arrived on Thursday, city officials said.
And more may be coming in the days and weeks ahead, Evan Dreyer, deputy chief of staff to Mayor Michael Hancock said at a news conference on Thursday afternoon. With the city’s Emergency Operations Center activated to address the unfolding crisis, many are looking for people to blame.
But Dreyer said Thursday that roughly 300 migrants have arrived in Denver over the past two months and the sudden arrival of 90 people at the doors of the Denver Rescue Mission overnight Monday into Tuesday does not appear to be the outcome of an act of political theater.
“From what we’ve been able to gather, there was sort of an informal gathering, some on social media, among those folks themselves,” Dreyer said of the migrants, many from South and Central America including Venezuela. “This does not appear to be anything that was organized by another government entity to direct people specifically to Denver. Just want to make that clear … we do not think that that was the case. No evidence of that.”
► Former Republican gubernatorial candidate
Hiedi Heidi Ganahl continues to whine about her 20-point loss to incumbent Democrat Jared Polis in November. Ganahl talked to Mandy Connell at KOA radio to complain that Colorado media outlets refused to just cover only the things she wanted them to cover, never mentioning the fact that Ganahl herself went 9 months without accepting a single interview request that wasn’t from a known right-wing media outlet.
It’s kinda sad, really.
► Governor Jared Polis, meanwhile, has selected five co-chairs for his second inaugural event on Jan. 9, 2023. As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter:
This week, he named five co-chairs for the event: Aspen attorney Blanca O’Leary, his departing Chief of Staff Lisa Kaufmann, Bohemian Foundation board member Joe Zimlich, Edgemark Development founder Richard Sapkin and MDC Holdings executive chairman Larry A. Mizel, who also served on the governor’s 2019 inaugural committee.
A new nonprofit, Colorado for All 2023, was registered the day after Election Day. It will raise money to pay for the inaugural events.
► Shad Murib has confirmed that he will seek to become the next Chairperson of the Colorado Democratic Party. Longtime Chair Morgan Carroll announced this week that she is stepping down from the role she has held since 2017.
On the other side of the political aisle, State Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown remains undecided about running for another term, which is odd considering how well things went for her in 2022.
► Paul Waldman of The Washington Post tries to make sad Republicans feel less sad:
► Colorado Public Radio has more on how the “Respect for Marriage Act” was divided along party lines among Colorado’s Congressional delegation. Every Democrat in Colorado’s Congressional delegation voted in favor of the “Respect for Marriage Act” that codifies protections for same-sex and interracial marriage. Every Republican — Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn — voted ‘NO.’
► Colorado is getting a big chunk of change so that rural communities can access the Internet tubes. From Colorado Newsline:
Colorado is set to receive $170.8 million in federal funding to expand broadband infrastructure, a figure that will assist in bringing reliable internet access to about 18,000 locations in the state.
The funding, which will come from the American Rescue Plan Act’s Capital Projects Fund, will help Colorado inch closer to its ambitious goal to connect 99% of households to high-speed internet by 2027. The state estimates that the influx of money will connect about 15% of locations that are still without reliable internet access.
► Colorado’s Michael Bennet is among a group of Senators pushing for the USDA to do more to help farmers devastated by drought conditions.
► Congressman Jason Crow is speaking up in affirmation of America’s commitment to NATO in relation to its commitment in assisting Ukraine in its war against Russia.
► Try not to pull a muscle in surprise at this story from The Washington Post:
Some of the world’s major oil companies remain internally skeptical about the “energy transition” to a low-carbon economy, even as they publicly portray their firms as partners in the cause, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post that a House committee released Friday.
The documents are part of a trove obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform during a year-long investigation. They reveal oil company executives dismissing the potential for renewable energy to quickly replace fossil fuels, while working to secure a future for natural gas. They also detail industry efforts to secure government tax credits for carbon capture projects that might relieve them of the need to drastically alter their business models.
The documents — many of them copies of internal emails between oil company officials — describe ExxonMobil’s efforts in 2021 to persuade big industrial firms and oil giants to co-sponsor a mammoth carbon capture project in Texas. Elsewhere, in one email string, officials at Shell discuss whether BP, Shell and TotalEnergies — a French oil firm — increased their carbon footprints by selling Canadian oil sands interests to more eager investors.Big petroleum companies have come under fire for selling off oil sands properties to smaller businesses, effectively reshuffling the carbon dioxide liability.
In response to that criticism, one spokesperson said: “What exactly are we supposed to do instead of divesting … pour concrete over the oil sands and burn the deed to the land so no one can buy them?”
► Newly-elected Democratic State Rep. Junie Joseph says she plans to continue serving on the Boulder City Council once the legislature reconvenes in January. That seems like…a lot.
► Here’s an unusual lede from a story in The Denver Post:
The Denver District Attorney’s Office on Thursday dismissed a felony drug case against a rabbi charged with manufacturing psilocybin, citing the voter-approved Proposition 122, which legalized psychedelics, including psilocybin, for medicinal use.
At an arraignment hearing, a representative of the Denver District Attorney’s Office said the case was being dismissed against Ben Gorelick “in the interest of justice.” Carolyn Tyler, a spokesperson for the DA’s office, said the dismissal came about “in light of the voters’ decision” on Proposition 122.
► Insurrectionist Mark Lee Dickson appears to be the man behind a recent effort in Pueblo to create a municipal ban on abortion.
► Colorado regulators will not eliminate ratepayer-funded subsidies for new natural gas connections.
► Colorado will join several other states in investigating the proposed Kroger-Albertson’s grocery chain merger.
► As POLITICO reports, there continues to be much grumbling among Republicans about the role of former President Donald Trump in relation to the Republican National Committee.
► The Associated Press reports on a massive oil spill in Kansas.
Say What, Now?
Trial attorney and podcast host Craig Silverman points out the willful ignorance on display by right-wing radio host Dan Caplis:
For 2 straight days, Dan Caplis has ripped @GovofCO for hiding after Club Q massacre and not going fast to scene of crime.
@DanCaplis claimed Polis staying away for political reasons. And Denver Post allowing him to hide.
Gov was ill. No one hiding. pic.twitter.com/uXKB25MViK
— Craig Silverman (@craigscolorado) December 9, 2022
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Senator John Hickenlooper has a new baby.
Wait, what? As Colorado Public Radio reports:
Hickenlooper and his wife, Robin Pringle Hickenlooper, have a baby boy. Jack Hickenlooper was born Thursday via surrogate.
In a letter to friends, the family said the 10lb 15oz baby was “practically perfect.”
“It’s been a long journey. One that many parents understand. It took a combination of love, miracles, and determination. But here we are. Cuddling this amazing little baby boy,” the letter said.
“Everyone is happy and healthy,” a Hickenlooper spokesperson told CPR News.
The couple have been married since 2016. This is the first child for Robin, 44. Hickenlooper, 70, has a son, Teddy, 20, from a previous marriage with Denver author and journalist Helen Thorpe.
► Surprise! More Republican elected officials get caught in a massive fraud case:
Orem (Alabama) Mayor David Young, his real estate company Torch13 LLC and his son have been ordered by an Alabama judge to pay more than $1 million in a lawsuit over fraudulent business loans.
Young, who was elected mayor of Orem last year, and his son Shawn D. Young, are alleged to have persuaded an elderly Alabama man into loaning money that Shawn Young did not repay and used for gambling, according to a lawsuit filed in November 2021.
Following a trial in May, Alabama Circuit Court Judge Pat Ballard said both men were “extremely lacking in credibility” and “very evasive in their answers to even the simplest of questions,” and said both men even admitted that they had “deceived the court earlier that morning regarding their vaccination status,” according to the judge’s order requiring them to repay the loans and pay punitive damages.
► Florida State Representative Joe Harding, the author of the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law that bans instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade classes, has been indicted for allegedly stealing COVID relief funds.
As POLITICO explains:
A federal grand jury indicted Republican Florida state Rep. Joe Harding on six counts after authorities said he illegally obtained $150,000 in pandemic-related small business loans by allegedly using the names of two dormant companies.
The indictment, unsealed Wednesday night, alleges that between Dec. 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021, Harding used the dormant companies on applications for loans on the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications, including using false bank statements as supporting documentation.
The indictment accuses Harding of using two companies on loan applications: The Vak Shack, which according to its website, sells discounted vacuum sealer bags, and Harding Farms, a 46-acre horse and cattle far facility. Both companies had not been active in Florida from between May 2017 to December 2020.
At the time he filed applications seeking the loans, Harding, 35, created new bank accounts associated with the companies and filed paperwork with the Florida Department of State to reinstate both companies to make them appear as though they were operational, according to the indictment.
Harding told the SBA that The Vak Shack had $420,874 in revenue for the 12 months prior to Jan. 31, 2020, and four employees, while Harding Farms had $392,000 in revenue and two employees.
► Talk about leaving on a high note!