TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Polls, polls, polls. We’ve got lots of news about polls. First up: John Frank of the Denver Post takes a look at new numbers regarding the death penalty in Colorado:
Colorado voters appear split on whether the death penalty should remain in place, a new poll finds, a result that may indicate support for capital punishment is softening in the state…
…Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, asked voters last week whether the state should replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. The survey found 47.2 percent favor keeping the death penalty and 42.9 percent want to replace it — a difference that is essentially within the margin of error of 4.3 percentage points.
► Two new national polls (Washington Post-ABC News and New York Times-CBS News) show that Republican voters strongly prefer the likes of Donald Trump and Ben Carson in the race for the GOP Presidential nomination. This is not good news for establishment Republicans, as our friends at “The Fix” explain:
The GOP establishment is on the run — and there are few signs that its members have any sort of coherent strategy to deal with the massive uprising within its ranks…
…It’s not only that 53 percent of Republican voters (in the Post poll) or 50 percent of GOP voters (in the Times poll) say they are for either Trump or Carson. It’s how few Republican respondents in those same surveys say they are for the establishment choices. Jeb Bush, the man everyone assumed would be the race’s frontrunner, clocks in at eight percent in the Post poll and six (!) percent in the Times poll. Scott Walker, the guy who was supposed to challenge Bush for the top spot, takes two percent in both the Times and Post polls. TWO percent.
The trend line for those establishment picks is even more troubling. Back in March, Bush clocked in at 21 percent in the Post-ABC poll while Walker took 13 percent. Both men have collapsed as Trump and Carson have soared.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► The second federal government shutdown in three years is looming over the horizon (if your horizon is October), and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) is caught in the middle of debates over funding Planned Parenthood and finding money to finish the Aurora VA Hospital.
► Colorado Republicans, including Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), are resorting to traditional scare tactics on the topic of holding foreign combatants in a Colorado prison. The editorial board of the Denver Post is as fed-up with the fear mongering as you are.
► Refugees are fleeing Syria and neighboring areas as quickly as they can, and Colorado will likely end up hosting many of them.
► Legislation in California that would legalize so-called “assisted suicide” has Colorado lawmakers thinking about taking another shot at changing the law in our state during the next legislative session.
► Colorado pot shops expect to do a brisk business during tomorrow’s tax holiday on recreational marijuana. As the Vail Daily reports:
Marijuana enthusiasts can add one more holiday to their calendars. On Wednesday, recreational pot will be sold without state-added taxes.
Those taxes were approved by voters in 2013, a year after the state approved a constitutional amendment legalizing the possession and retail sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. Since revenue has exceeded projections in the ballot measure, refunds are being given in the form of a one-day price break.
Getting ready for the tax holiday is keeping local shops busy, since they expect more business — after all, pot will be discounted.
► A federal judge will allow the Trapper coal mine in Northwest Colorado to remain open during a months-long environmental impact review.
► Congressional Republicans are taking every opportunity to point fingers at the EPA and others over the Gold King mine spill in Silverton last month, but as you might expect, nobody is really doing anything that might actually help the situation.
► Congressional Republicans have a lot on their legislative plates this fall, but that hasn’t done much to weaken their fascination over the future of House Speaker John Boehner. As Politico reports:
Speaker John Boehner says he’s not worried about his political future, but the Ohio Republican’s fate has become an overwhelming obsession of House Republicans. His backers believe Boehner is being “blackmailed” by conservative hard-liners into supporting a government shutdown. His critics insist they just want their leader to do the right thing.
The latest flash point for Boehner is the controversy over federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Hard-line conservative Republicans want Boehner to do whatever it takes to shut off funding for the group, even if it means a shutdown. They’re vowing to vote against any spending bill that allows such funding to continue.
The warning to Boehner is obvious: The speaker can either do what they want on Planned Parenthood, or they’ll force a vote to replace him.
Yay for governing!
► Former Texas Governor Rick Perry finally dropped out of the 2016 Republican race for President over the weekend. One of his “mega donors” wants his money back. A Super PAC created to support Perry has about $13 million in the bank, and nobody seems to know what to do with all that cash.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Whenever the word “but” follows a phrase such as “I’m not racist,” that’s your cue to stop paying attention.
► Imagine the classic movie “Red Dawn” reimagined as a botanical thriller…yeah, we can’t do it either. Austin Briggs of Your Hub reports on the battle against the dreaded Russian olive tree:
For 17 years, Westminster has launched an offensive against the Russian olive tree — an invasive species that chokes out native cottonwoods and willows while sucking down roughly 75 gallons of water a day per tree — by using a volunteer network and other measures as required by the state of Colorado…
…“Some areas we’ve had a huge impact and have been able to eradicate them and keep them under control, but as far as the war goes, it’s never ending,” said city open space volunteer coordinator Patti Wright.
► The King and Queen of Spain are making their first official visit to Washington D.C. this week. In other news, Spain apparently still has a King and a Queen.
► A review of a tax cut plan proposed by former Florida Governor Jeb! Bush finds that 53% of the cuts would benefit…wait for it…the wealthiest 1% of Americans.
► Hey, look at that! Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is still running for President after all. Who knew?
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