We haven’t done one of these roundups in awhile, and we need to get back in the habit. 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.
► Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell returned to the U.S. Capitol this week to deliver brief remarks about his health. McConnell says he will finish his current term (which ends in 2026) and remain Minority Leader despite concerns about his functionality as a human being. McConnell has frozen in place twice in the last six weeks while speaking publicly in front of a microphone:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze for about 30 seconds while speaking with reporters after a speech in Covington, Kentucky. The incident is similar to an episode McConnell experienced at the US Capitol late last month. pic.twitter.com/24uqZEd14d
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) August 30, 2023
Brian Monahan, the attending physician of Congress, ruled out several potential causes for McConnell’s recent troubles — but notably didn’t mention what might be wrong other than to blame dehydration.
As NBC News reports, the 81-year-old McConnell’s health is making it more difficult for Republicans to attack President Biden over his age (80).
► In a related story, Americans seem to approve of the idea of a mental competency test for politicians, though how such a test might functionally operate is another question. From The Washington Post:
Americans overwhelmingly favor mental competency tests for politicians over 75 — and for the results to be made public — as well as imposing age limits on who can serve in the White House and Congress, according to a new poll that highlights deep misgivings about older leaders they nonetheless elect time and again.
In practice, that would mean acuity assessments for people like President Biden, 80, the oldest to get the job; former president Donald Trump, the runaway front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024, 77; and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.), 81…
…There are already age limits to serve as president or in Congress — but they’re a floor, not a ceiling. The poll found broad support for imposing an upper limit: 76 percent for the commander in chief, 73 percent for senators, 72 percent for representatives.
“When asked what the maximum age should be, the average ages given are 67 for president and 66 for senator and member of Congress (the median age given is 70 for all three positions). If an age limit of 66 were in effect, almost half of senators currently in office would be ineligible, given that the median age of Senators is presently about 65,” the poll authors wrote. [Pols emphasis]
► Another Republican has jumped in the race for Congress in CO-08 for the right to challenge incumbent Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo. State Representative Gabe Evans says he’s ready to move up after just one legislative session in his pocket. If recent history is any indication, Evans is in for a rough ride; no Republican state legislator in Colorado has been elected to higher office since 2010.
Weld County Commissioner Scott James was the first Republican to enter the race when he announced his bid for Congress in mid July.
► Check out the latest episode of the Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Juan Marcano, a candidate for Aurora Mayor who has some new information about incumbent Mayor Mike Coffman’s boneheaded “strong mayor” proposal:
Click below to keep learning things…
Check Out All This Other Stuff To Know…
► As The Washington Post reports, backing Donald Trump is still a better way to get elected in red districts than being a Trump critic:
Celeste Maloy, a former staffer for Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and supporter of former president Donald Trump, has narrowly won a Republican congressional primary that included a Trump critic, according to an Associated Press projection. Maloy will advance to a special general election to fill Stewart’s seat, and is favored to win in the heavily Republican district.
The AP projected Wednesday evening that Maloy will defeat former Utah state representative Becky Edwards and former state party chairman Bruce Hough. With about 82 percent of the votes counted from the Tuesday special primary, Maloy received 38.3 percent of the votes to Edwards’s 35.1 percent and Hough’s 26.6 percent…
…Edwards has been critical of Trump and admitted to voting for Democrat Joe Biden in 2020 — though in her campaign for the special primary said she has been “extremely disappointed” with the Biden administration and regretted her vote.
Well, maybe the better lesson is not to admit that you voted for a Democrat for President if you are running in a Republican Primary for anything.
► Republican Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy will say pretty much anything if he thinks it will help him win the GOP nomination in 2024 — including voicing support for allowing convicted felons to carry guns.
► Colorado Congressperson Lauren Boebert is trying to present herself as someone who fights hard for our nation’s veterans. Her record does not support her rhetoric:
@RepBoebert finally responded to CO veterans about her voting record. Sadly, what she told the crowd in Fruita needs a fact check.
RT to share the truth about Boebert voting more than 15x against veterans. pic.twitter.com/YEThrnu7Pa
— Rocky Mountain Values (@MountainValues) September 7, 2023
► Boebert is also trying to pretend that she is being proactive on other important issues, but she keeps getting caught in her own net. As Charles Ashby reports for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:
Boebert has sent a letter of her own to the Internal Revenue Service asking it not to tax refunds Coloradans receive as a result of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
That letter, sent on Tuesday, is nearly identical to a similar one that the rest of Colorado’s congressional delegation sent to the IRS asking the same thing.
At the time, Boebert was criticized for not also signing onto that first letter, sent Aug. 31, but that’s only because she was notified of the letter while traveling and only given an hour to respond, her office said.
► A lawsuit has been filed in Colorado in an effort to prevent Donald Trump from being on the 2024 Presidential ballot on account of his apparent violation of the 14th Amendment.
► Colorado Springs Republican Rep. Marc Snyder says he will run for State Senate in SD-12, where Bob Gardner is (finally) term limited from running again.
► As Kyle Clark explains for 9News, Douglas County Sheriff Darren Weekly is backing away from his prior support for an armed militia-type group called Able Shepherd that has suggested “backing up” Douglas County sheriff deputies:
► Former Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters will finally go to trial in her much-publicized election security case. Jury selection is set for February 9, 2024.
► As the Colorado Times Recorder explains, Colorado medical experts are growing increasingly concerned about a new COVID variant.
► Fraudulent unemployment insurance claims continue to muck up the process for people who have filed real unemployment insurance requests. From Denver7:
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) earlier this year increased its fraud detection measures to the highest possible level in response to a surge in unemployment fraud. This, however, has resulted in thousands of legitimate claims being affected and subjected to months of delays…
…A CDLE spokesperson told Denver7 Wednesday there are approximately 4,000 claims currently impacted by fraud holds. This is slightly lower than the 5,766 reported in July, but still constitutes a large number of people struggling to make ends meet.
Fraudulent unemployment insurance claims skyrocketed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
► The embattled Suncor refinery north of Denver is facing more fines for its polluting ways. As Michael Booth reports for The Colorado Sun:
The Environmental Protection Agency has once again fined Suncor’s Commerce City refinery over air pollution issues, this time demanding $161,000 for producing gasoline with too many pollutants, while also requiring Suncor buy $600,000 in clean lawn equipment for nine metro-Denver counties with excess ozone.
The settlement announced by the EPA says Suncor in 2021 produced 32 million gallons of gasoline with excess benzene, and in 2022 made 1 million gallons of summer gasoline with too-high Reid vapor pressure, which can lead to pollution from evaporation. The fine comes on the heels of the EPA in August fining Suncor more than $300,000 for alleged violations of toxic chemical regulations during a 2019 release from the Commerce City refinery.
Suncor has also been under heavy pressure from Colorado regulators over air pollution and water quality violations, while air and water quality permits are under review at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
► Colorado saw a significant jump in hate crimes in 2022.
► Rich Lowry of POLITICO tries to understand the MAGA shield that continues to protect Donald Trump as he cruises to the Republican Presidential nomination in 2024:
Criticizing Trump in the GOP is a little like going after the Pope at a meeting of the College of Cardinals or attacking the King of England during a parliamentary debate in the U.K. — he’s a leader and symbol that people feel personally vested in and protective of.
Running against him is akin to fighting with one arm behind your back, except if you throw a punch with your free hand, people are likely to blame you for being overly pugnacious and want that hand tied up, too.
► Vox.com looks at how Wisconsin Republicans are trying to prevent Democrats from ever winning anything in their state…which is one big reason why the GOP is so freaked out about losing control of the State Supreme Court in April.
► John Ingold of The Colorado Sun has more local evidence for the impacts of Climate Change.
► The New York Times examines a significant jump in legal abortions across the country.
Say What, Now?
Lauren Boebert is basically Robin Hood 🙄
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Karma, man:
In a brilliant moment of cosmic karma, a giant banner with the word “truth” fell on Vivek Ramaswamy during a speech at a campaign event today. https://t.co/PzulpozONq
— MeidasTouch (@MeidasTouch) September 6, 2023
► Some random dude from Colorado Springs says he is running for President. Of the United States.
As the Colorado Springs Independent reports, Dave Gardner lost a bid for a seat on the Colorado Springs City Council some years ago, so apparently he figures it makes sense now to go straight for the top electoral prize.
► The former leader of the Proud Boys militia group, Enrique Tarrio, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in inciting the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.
► Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville is having trouble coming up with new reasons to justify his months-long blockade of military promotions: