Friday is “National Wear Teal Day” to promote awareness of ovarian cancer; can we skip the teal if we just tell a few people to be aware of the signs of ovarian cancer? It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is expected to publicly announce his support today for President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. As Mark Matthews reports for the Denver Post, Bennet is also announcing a new legislative plan to improve the Iran deal:
As part of his declaration, the Colorado lawmaker and former Democratic party leader also will unveil a new legislative plan that Bennet says will strengthen the deal while steering more money to Israel for its national defense…
…By coming forward now, Bennet still is able to register his support while avoiding the political fallout that comes with being the “deciding” vote, a label that was used to great effect in past elections to target Senate backers of the Affordable Care Act.
Which is why Bennet’s roll-out of a new legislative package that includes funding for Israeli security is also significant.
► State Sen. Tim Neville is “in it to win it” in the race for U.S. Senate, and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler is sounding less and less like a potential candidate.
► Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis seems a bit confused about the purpose of her continued refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses. From the Associated Press:
A defiant county clerk went to jail Thursday for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, but five of her deputies agreed to comply with the law, ending a two-month church-state standoff in Rowan County, Kentucky.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning said he had no choice but to jail Kim Davis for contempt after she insisted that her “conscience will not allow” her to follow federal court rulings on gay marriage…
…”Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense,” Bunning said. “I myself have genuinely held religious beliefs … but I took an oath.”
“Mrs. Davis took an oath,” he added. “Oaths mean things.”
Judge Bunning told Davis that she could go free as long as she promised not to interfere with issuing marriage licenses to all couples, but she chose to go to jail instead, according to her attorneys (her counsel also compared Davis to a “Jew living in Nazi Germany,” because, you know, somebody had to make the inevitable Nazi comparison).
To recap, Davis is now sitting in jail while Rowan County clerks are issuing same-sex marriage licenses, so her protest is accomplishing very little. Maybe she just likes the food in jail.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a report on their investigation into failures with the Aurora VA Hospital project, and the results don’t really highlight anything we didn’t already know. As the Denver Post reports:
An Army Corps of Engineers report concludes that the poor choice and use of an unfamiliar contracting method was the primary factor in busting the budget of a veterans hospital in Aurora by a billion dollars.
The Corps report was released Thursday as Sloan Gibson, deputy secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, made his 10th visit to the construction site and again expressed confidence that the hospital will be completed…
…But “the single biggest driver of cost and schedule delays is unquestionably the fundamental mismanagement of Integrated Design and Construction (IDC) methodology,” the Corps reported, which resulted in a breach of the construction contract and a shutdown last December.
For some reason, the report was dated “June 8th” but wasn’t released to the media until yesterday — which was not June. What did Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) have to say about the report and the visit from Gibson? The Post doesn’t mention Coffman, the Chairman of the Oversight Committee for the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee. Unless Congress approves an extension, funding for the Aurora VA Hospital runs out on Sept. 30.
► The Aurora Sentinel and Editor Dave Perry produced a couple of editorial gems this week. Here’s Perry making the case to rename both Mt. Evans and the Stapleton neighborhood because the names are connected with some pretty awful moments in Colorado history. And here’s the Sentinel editorial board calling out the Douglas County School Board’s voucher program for the scam that it is.
► Speaking (er, writing) of opinion pieces in the Aurora Sentinel, state Rep. Joe Salazar absolutely eviscerates Rep. Mike Coffman and Donald Trump for their similar positions on immigration policy. Here’s a snippet:
Unlike Trump, within the past few years Mike Coffman has been awkwardly running/stumbling away from this anti-immigrant legacy as fast as he can. In fact, he started learning Spanish – I know because he attempted to speak with me in Spanish during an event we both attended in 2013. But, despite his newfound bilingualism, the truth is that Coffman is alarmingly similar to Trump.
► Rep. Coffman is apparently worried enough about his 2016 re-election prospects that he’s willing to essentially sign over campaign and policy decisions to the NRCC in exchange for top-tier support.
► Colorado Springs Republican Robert Blaha says he will enter the race for U.S. Senate because he is not happy about Sen. Michael Bennet’s decision to support President Obama’s nuclear policy with Iran. Blaha tried unsuccessfully to defeat Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) in 2014, so there’s no reason to think he’ll fare much better in a statewide race. But, whatever.
► JEB! Bush might be having more success as a Republican Presidential candidate if he wasn’t so damn boring.
► Officials in Durango and La Plata County continue to discuss a potential Superfund designation to clean up old mining sites such as the Gold King Mine, which turned the Animas River orange after a spill in early August.
► Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Faye Griffin announced Thursday that a recall of three Jeffco School Board Members will indeed appear on the November ballot. As 9News reports, Griffin managed to take some time out from thinking about her next job in order to actually do her current job:
Throughout the recall campaign, concerns were expressed on both sides about when the election might take place. If a special election had to be called separate from the already scheduled coordinated election in November, the school district would have pay around $500,000 in election costs.
Thursday afternoon, Griffin set the recall election date as November 3, which is the same day as the coordinated election where two school board seats are already on the ballot. Now, these three recall elections will be included in the same mail Coordinated Election Ballot going out to voters.
► Colorado ranks 10th in the nation in a new study of per-capita solar power capacity.
► More numbers! Colorado’s economy grew 4.7 percent last year, more than double the U.S. average and good enough for the fifth-best statewide increase in the country.
► The City of Colorado Springs finally got around to assigning a judge to preside over an ethics charge against Colorado Springs City Council Member/Slumlord Helen Collins.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Famous rich person Donald Trump is now in a public spat with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, whom Trump called a “third-rate radio announcer.” There’s no truth to the rumor that Hewitt actually thought Trump was giving him a compliment.
► Congress will try to avoid the second government shutdown in three years when it reconvenes on Tuesday following the August recess. While Congressional Republicans will squawk loudly about fiscal conservatism, an analysis of their budget proposals concludes that their plans will actually increase deficits while doing little to eliminate waste or increase efficiencies.
► The Denver Broncos lost their final preseason game on Thursday, falling to the Arizona Cardinals 22-20 in Denver. The Broncos finish the preseason with a 3-1 record, which usually translates into…absolutely nothing of relevance once the regular season begins next week.
► Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!
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