The Get More Smarter Podcast: Guns, Globes, and Vaccines

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, the United States is the best at mass shootings; there is a giant ice globe sitting on the lawn outside of the State Capitol; opponents of the “Colorado Option” have run out of arguments; State Rep. Ron Hanks has trouble with history; and we check back on two popular segments: “What the Buck?” and “The Boebert Report.”

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Pfaff Resigns From City Council in Bonkers Facebook Rant

Jim Pfaff broadcast his bizarre Facebook rant from…wherever this is.

From time to time in this space we’ve discussed the, uh, antics of Republican Jim Pfaff, the former Chief of Staff for Colorado House Republicans under former House Minority Leader Patrick Neville who was known mostly for threatening fellow Republicans. When last we mentioned Pfaff in November 2020, he had just sent out a strange press release in an attempt to generate news out of the fact that he had “resigned” from his position at the state legislature.

As Michael Karlik reported this week for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Pfaff recently announced another resignation in a typically odd manner:

The former chief of staff to the Colorado House Republicans, who served on the Woodland Park council for just a year amid questions about his residency, resigned his office last week in a Facebook video that included personal attacks and threats against those he deemed “scoundrels.”

Jim Pfaff, who won a council seat in the Teller County community of fewer than 8,000 residents in April 2020, was the subject of an announced recall effort that called into question his legal qualifications to serve in elected office…

…In a video posted on April 16, Pfaff announced his resignation, saying he was “really busy” with helping to start a company, such that “I don’t have the time anymore.”

However, Pfaff then dragged some of the Woodland Park residents who had been outspoken critics of his tumultuous tenure on council.

You can watch Pfaff’s entire 12 minute diatribe on Facebook that looks like it was shot in Buffalo Bill’s basement (the other Buffalo Bill). Pfaff rants and raves about several local political figures (most of whom he labels “scoundrels”), calling them out by name before proceeding to list his grievances with each individual. The following excerpt, which appears around the 10 minute mark, is a good nutshell example of what you’ll find on the rest of the video:

PFAFF: The announcement is that I have submitted my resignation from the council. I have a massive effort that I am undertaking with my company and my partners. I’m working around the state and around the country, but mostly here in the state, so I can locate a manufacturing and software engineering plant to support the efforts of the company that I am helping to found. And we’re right there — we’re really busy with this, and to be candid, I don’t have the time anymore. I just have to keep focused on what is my future. And I think that’s best for me and Myra.

And by the way, Michael Dalton, I don’t give a flip if you came to every meeting if I were still staying here. You do not intimidate or concern me. You’re frankly one of the worst things that’s happening in this town right now, and you should be ashamed of yourself. And no, you do not follow God. You don’t. You’re not even a born again believer. So don’t even fake people out about that. You’re a false prophet, and I am not intimidated by you and I don’t give a — I’ve never given a flip about what you said. I’m saying this because it’s the best for my family.

Uh…yeah.

Pfaff never mentions the name of his business venture, though he does go on at length about how he is talking to “economic development folks around the state” and that Woodland Park would have been a prime location for his “manufacturing and software engineering plant” if only the town weren’t so full of scoundrels.

Posting extended Facebook rants was a regular occurrence during Pfaff’s time on the Woodland Park City Council, which seemed to be mostly about arguing at other people. In that regard, Pfaff is a good example of the sort of problems that plague that Colorado Republican Party in general: Short periods of intense, petulant screaming that eventually leads to someone taking their ball and going home.

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Why Does Ted Cruz Hate The Free Market?

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

CBS4 Denver’s Ryan Mayer updates on continuing Republican rage over Major League Baseball’s decision to relocate the 2021 All-Star Game from Georgia to Colorado in the wake of Georgia’s passage of controversial vote suppression laws this year. None other than Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, one of America’s most deeply ridiculous people, was all sound and fury on Fox News Wednesday:

Major League Baseball moved this year’s All-Star Game to the home of the Colorado Rockies, Coors Field, following the passage of new voting laws in Georgia in late March. The decision from MLB was met with backlash from Republicans including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who declined to throw out the first pitch at the Rangers home opener because of what he called a “false narrative” from the league. One of the senators from Abbott’s state, Sen. Ted Cruz, aired his displeasure with the move on Fox News on Wednesday…

“We saw Delta Air Lines do this and give in Atlanta in a way that was shameful. We saw Coca Cola do it. We saw, I think most disturbingly, Major League Baseball, yank the All-Star game out of Atlanta and move it to Denver. I have to say it really does illustrate how absurd and unconnected to substance these moves are,” Cruz said. “Atlanta is 51% African American, they moved it to Denver, a city that is 9% African American, because they’re such woke social justice warriors that they’re going to take $100 million out of the pockets of the African American small businesses and workers in Atlanta. It makes no sense. It’s dangerous and I do think there is a strong backlash that is building.”

Of course the issue was never the relative racial composition of these two cities, but the disparity between the ease of voting in the state of Georgia vs. Colorado, especially after passage of this latest legislation in Georgia serving no purpose other than to reduce voter participation. Colorado by contrast has some of the highest rates of voter participation in America, with an election system considered the nationwide gold standard for being easy to vote and hard to cheat. Everything else is a diversion from the issue Ted Cruz doesn’t want to acknowledge, which is that Joe Biden won the state of Georgia–and Cruz’s Big Lie of a stolen election almost broke the country a few short months ago.

And for the record, thanks to CBS4 for the in-line fact check, Cruz is wrong about the one point he’s making too:

Truist Park, the home of the Braves and original host to this year’s game, is located in Cobb County about 14 miles outside of downtown Atlanta. In the most recent census data, Cobb County was found to be 62.4 White and 28.8 percent Black. [Pols emphasis]

So, there’s that. But in a larger sense, what we have here is an unresolvable conflict between the reality that most of us acknowledge and the “alternative facts” universe of Donald Trump’s Republican Party. Corporate interests like Major League Baseball have no obligation or even incentive to ignore the major injustice of suppressing the vote in Georgia in order to prop up Trump’s Big Lie. Their obligation is to the reality-based community that is both a majority of the public and the larger part of the American economy.

It’s the free market at work–and just like the elections, Republicans like Ted Cruz only respect it when they win.

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Crow, Neguse, Perlmutter Tell Schumer To Ditch Filibuster

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Michael Bennet.

Colorado Public Radio’s D.C. correspondent Caitlyn Kim reports, 100 House Democrats sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pleading for Senate Democrats to take action on ending the legislative filibuster–the logjam now threatening the bulk of the ambitious agenda passed by the House and awaiting their fate in the Senate:

“My constituents do not care about arcane Senate rules or procedures,” said Democratic Rep. Jason Crow of Aurora. “What they care about is ending gun violence. What they care about is providing quality affordable health care to their children. What they care about is the climate crisis.”

Crow admitted he’s not an expected champion for ending the filibuster, given the purple congressional district that he represents, but the second term lawmaker said he has had enough of seeing “bill after bill after bill” pass the Democratic-controlled House, only to die in the Senate…

Colorado Reps. Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter also signed onto the letter. Neguse highlighted bills around voting rights and gun safety that the House passed, but went nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate last session and look to be stalled this year because the Democratic-controlled Senate cannot get past that 60-vote barrier.

“Our constituents are tired of excuses. They are tired of inaction. They expect the Senate to do its job,” Neguse said. “It’s time for the Senate to get it together and take action and start legislating for the benefit of the American people.”

In the U.S. Senate, of course, the so-far intractable opposition of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to eliminating the legislative filibuster is a problem for which no solution has yet emerged. Among Colorado’s two Democratic Senators, Michael Bennet is by far the most vocal proponent of changing the rules to get legislation passed, citing his decade of experience in the Senate watching good bills die on the vine.

The situation will come to a head, and Senate Democrats who are standing in the way of the Democratic agenda arriving on President Joe Biden’s desk will have to make a choice. That choice will have a major impact–materially, and also politically on Democratic performance in the 2022 midterms.

Local Democrats should be thankful for Bennet, encouraging John Hickenlooper to do the right thing when the time comes, and reciting the Alcoholics Anomymous serenity prayer for the Joe Manchins they cannot change.

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More Insurrectionist Man Of Mystery: From Loren To Ron Hanks

UPDATE: As usual, our intrepid readers were already on the case. We’ll pay closer attention next time!

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Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

One of the wackier new additions to the Colorado Republican House Minority, as our readers have been getting acquainted with for some months now, is Rep. Ron Hanks representing Park, Chaffee, Fremont, and Custer Counties in Colorado House District 60. Hanks earned his nickname “Insurrectionist Man of Mystery” after he appeared at the Colorado Capitol to be sworn in in January, then disappeared complaining of “laryngitis” as the General Assembly adjourned to stay safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. Hanks had just returned from Washington, D.C., where he had participated in the January 6th protests–though not, he claims, the riot-y bits.

Back in Colorado, Hanks was telling his followers right up until Joe Biden’s inauguration that some kind of zany force majeure might still intervene to expose the horrible truth that would among other things make Donald Trump President again. That of course did not happen, and when the legislature got back to work Hanks complained bitterly about being labeled a “conspiracy theorist” during debate over stillborn GOP vote suppression bills.

And then, of course, Hanks proceeded to whitesplain history from the slave era during a debate over civics education, and a new star was born! Following in the footsteps of illustrious “House Crazy” predecessors like Reps. Lori Saine and Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, he’s just the latest Colorado Republican legislator to make national news for all the wrong reasons.

a.k.a. Loren L. Hanks.

But as Marianne Goodland at the Colorado Springs Gazette informs us, there is indeed more to the “insurrectionist man of mystery” than meets the eye. Starting with the fact that “Ron” is not Rep. Hanks’ real name:

When Penrose Republican Rep. Ron Hanks ran for Congress in California in 2010, his answers to a survey on abortion, guns, gays and unions might be a surprise to his constituents and maybe even to some of his fellow members in the House caucus…

Hanks (who ran under his birth name, Loren) ran for Congress in District 1, located in Northern California. He lost to a six-term Democratic incumbent, Mike Thompson, in a four-way race, garnering 31% of the vote to Thompson’s 63% of the vote.

That’s right, folks! Ten years ago, a more youthful gentleman (it was ten years ago, after all) named Loren Hanks ran for Congress to represent the northwest corner of California and lost convincingly. What’s more, Loren Hanks, running in a liberal Democratic district, seems to have been a substantially less rock-ribbed conservative–even offering support to marriage equality, gays serving in the military, and allowing non-government workers to organize unions. Sometime between 2010 and 2020, Loren Hanks transplanted himself to Colorado and became Ron Hanks. And due to an apparent lack of homegrown Republicans in Colorado House District 60, where you’d think they would send a “California carpetbagger” packing, Ron Hanks now has the title he tried to win in 2010–just on a smaller scale.

It may seem unusual for a washed-up Republican candidate to surface in Colorado in search of a second start, but there is precedent for it in the form of former GOP Sen. Dave Balmer of Centennial. Balmer had previously run for Congress in North Carolina after serving in that state’s legislature, withdrawing from that race under dubious circumstances before moving to Colorado and winning a seat in our state house. In due course, as longtime readers know, Balmer’s checkered past came back to haunt him.

Well, since nobody in the Colorado Republican Party vets their candidates, it’s time to crowdsource what Ron Loren Hanks has been doing for the past decade! It’s not always the case, but sometimes when people move to another state and go by a different name there’s a fascinating story behind the makeover.

Rep. Hanks is one of those people who just, as the kids say, radiates a creepy vibe. And the more scrutiny he gets, the more that creepy vibe looks justified.

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Who Will Speak for the Racists? Republicans Will!

Forget the trees…who will speak for the racists?

One of the ongoing themes of the 2021 legislative session and the post-2020 Republican Party has been the complete disarray among the GOP — even moreso than normal — which has included a complete abdication of any sort of attempt toward establishing or maintaining basic political and social responsibilities.

As Alex Burness and Saja Hindi of The Denver Post report today in a cringeworthy story, Colorado Republicans keep moving forward with the idea that racism and hate speech is just another point of view.

A familiar feeling of hurt and exhaustion sank in for Black lawmakers last week when state GOP Rep. Ron Hanks made a joke about lynching on the Colorado House floor before launching into a defense of the three-fifths compromise of 1787, which counted Black slaves in the U.S. as less than whole people.

Hanks, who is from rural Penrose, was mistaken for GOP Rep. Mike Lynch last Thursday during debate over a civics education bill.

“Being called Mr. Lynch might be a good thing for what I’m about to say. No, just kidding,” Hanks said, then described the three-fifths compromise as “not impugning anybody’s humanity” but rather being a product of political negotiation. After being hissed at by Democrats, Hanks said he was surprised anyone could see his comments as controversial.

We covered Hanks’ most recent disgusting comments in this space — you can watch the video yourself. As Burness and Hindi report for the Post, the nine members of the legislature’s Black Democratic Legislative Caucus are justifiably sick of this crap.

Republicans in the legislature acting openly racist (or just blowing dog whistles really loud) is nothing new, sadly. But what has been different in 2021 is the degree to which GOP leaders have just stopped pretending that they can or should do better.

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean has repeatedly proven that he has no real idea what he is doing with his leadership role. It’s not clear that the right-wing loonies in the GOP caucus would pay attention to McKean even if he did have a clue, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that McKean isn’t even trying to do the right thing. Check out what he told the Post in response to questions about this story:

The Loveland Republican told The Post he welcomes and encourages all perspectives. The lectern of the House, he said in a statement, “is the exact place where we can have uncomfortable discussions, about policy, about views and about the path forward in Colorado.” [Pols emphasis]

Seriously? Racism, sexism, homophobia…McKean “welcomes and encourages all perspectives.” This really isn’t all that different than former President Trump saying that there are “fine people on both sides” in the wake of a violent conflict in Charlottesville, VA initiated by white supremacist groups.

McKean’s statement that he “welcomes and encourages all perspectives” is a common excuse employed by Colorado Republicans. Danny Moore was recently ousted as the Chair of the Colorado Congressional Redistricting Commission because he is an election fraud truther…but he dismissed criticism by claiming that he is just “trying to start a conversation.” When pushed further, Moore claimed (with absolutely no evidence) that he was being targeted because he is a “black conservative.” Responsibility? Nope. Victimhood! You bet!

McKean is bowing to the snowflake sensitivities of his more openly-racist colleagues by not clearly establishing his opposition — and that of his caucus in general — to hate speech. This allows folks like State Rep. Richard Holtorf to shrug off their own statements with an all-too-familiar excuse:

“I in college had a friend who was an African American and he was a homosexual, and we were good buddies,” Holtorf added.

Oh, well, then by all means…

And then there’s this dodge from Rep. Hanks:

“State Rep. Ron Hanks declined to be interviewed about his lynching joke and remarks about the three-fifths compromise, adding, “I’ll respond in my own articles and just let them (Black lawmakers) have their fun.” [Pols emphasis]

Via POLITICO (3/4/21)

The simple truth here is that Republicans are doing more than tolerating hate speech — they’re basically embracing it. As this lede from a March story in POLITICO illustrates:

The House GOP’s No. 3 leader recently urged Republicans to make clear they’re not the party of white supremacy. Two days later, one of their members spoke at a conference organized by a known white nationalist.

If Republicans don’t want to be associated with white supremacists and hate speech, then they are free to be clear about distancing themselves from these viewpoints. But they’re not, and it isn’t from a lack of opportunity.

That’s not just our “opinion,” either.

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Get More Smarter on Earth Day (April 22)

Happy Earth Day, Earth. 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.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Colorado, as Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post:

The seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases continued trending down Wednesday, while the percentage of tests coming back positive remained high, indicating the state isn’t detecting some infections.

The state health department reported 722 active outbreaks as of Wednesday. An outbreak is at least two coronavirus cases linked to the same location or event, and isn’t considered over until four weeks have passed with no new cases.

The settings with the biggest increases compared to last week were K-12 schools, with 18 more outbreaks; nursing homes, 13; manufacturing facilities and warehouses, seven; offices and restaurants, six each; and assisted living facilities, five.

Meanwhile, as The Washington Post reports, we may be reaching a tipping point in the battle to get more Americans vaccinated:

About 3 million people are getting shots every day, down from a high of about 3.3 million last week. That rate is still sufficient for vaccinating a large portion of the U.S. adult population by the summertime, when many hope life will return to normal.

But there’s been a 9-percent decrease in the average number of daily shots administered over the past week..

…Some health experts are expressing concerns the declines will continue, reflecting the substantial pool of Americans who are skeptical of the vaccine and either don’t want to get it right away or don’t want it at all.

Get those shots, people! Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of three locations without a prior appointment:

♦ Ball Arena in Denver, 9am to 7pm, Monday through Friday.
♦ The Ranch in Loveland, 10am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday.
♦ Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.

Remember, friends: Employers are REQUIRED to provide paid leave for employees who need time off work to get vaccinated.

 

India set a new daily record for COVID-19 infections, reporting nearly 315,000 new cases in a 24-hour period.

 

As The Washington Post reports, President Biden is pushing the United States toward a more ambitious goal of reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions:

Via The Washington Post (4/22/21)

President Biden on Thursday will commit the United States to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions as much as 52 percent by the end of this decade, a pledge that would require fast and far-reaching changes to American life, from how people power their homes to the cars they drive.

The highly anticipated announcement roughly doubles a target set by President Barack Obama in 2015 as part of the Paris climate accord, by vowing the nation will reduce its emissions between 50 and 52 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. Biden plans to formalize the goal in a submission to the United Nations, the White House said.

The move comes as Biden convenes 40 world leaders for an Earth Day summit aimed at fueling similar ambition around the globe.

Biden is pushing climate change goals that the United States can meet with our without help from Congress.

 

Let’s check in on the state legislature:

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced legislation that would add “gender expression” and “gender identity” to the list of those protected by the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

As Evan Wyloge reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, lawmakers are working on finding solutions to Colorado’s redistricting problems, which stem from the fact that the 2020 U.S. Census won’t be completed on time.

A Senate committee moved along SB-200, this session’s big climate change-related bill.

Lawmakers are advancing updates to police reform legislation passed last Spring.

Former inmates in Colorado correctional facilities will now be issued a State ID upon their release that lawmakers hope will cut down on recidivism cases.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on an usual move by House Speaker Alec Garnett to add Republican Rep. Marc Catlin as Vice-Chair of the House Agriculture, Livestock, and Water Committee.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Home To Roost: The Boulder Shooter’s High Capacity Magazine

UPDATE #2: For emphasis, remember this NBC News story from 2013:

“I’m telling you right now: I will not obey this law,” declared Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, of the bill limiting magazine sizes. “I will willfully and purposefully and civilly disobey this law.” [Pols emphasis]

There’s no claiming innocence today, folks. There were deliberate choices.

—–

UPDATE: Boulder DA Michael Dougherty says the Boulder shooter had ten high capacity magazines. It’s still unknown as of this writing where the shooter bought them, but high capacity magazines are widely available in Colorado despite the 2013 ban (see below).

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2013 advertisement for Magpul’s “Boulder Airlift” giveaway of high capacity magazines in protest of Colorado’s then-new mag limit law.

Colorado Public Radio’s Allison Sherry reports on dozens of new charges filed against the 22 year old Arvada resident suspected of carrying out the mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers in March that killed ten people including a responding Boulder police officer:

Boulder prosecutors have added 44 additional criminal charges against the man accused of killing 10 people in a Boulder grocery store — including 20 attempted murder charges for other victims who were in the parking lot and inside the store and several charges alleging the gunman had an illegally sized ammunition magazine…

An additional 19 people were named as victims in the new charges — including 11 responding police officers and sheriff’s deputies who engaged in a firefight with the gunman inside the store.

Prosecutors also added 10 additional charges alleging the gunman possessed an illegally large gun magazine, and used it in the fatal shootings. In Colorado, it is a crime to own or use magazines that hold more than 15 rounds — anything larger than that is considered a “large-capacity” magazine, which was banned by state lawmakers.

The Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul answers the question you may now be asking–if high capacity magazines are illegal in Colorado, how did the Boulder shooter get one?

The alleged gunman was already facing 10 first-degree murder counts in connection with the shooting. Authorities say he used a high-powered AR-556 pistol that he had purchased legally.

Colorado lawmakers in 2013 banned gun magazines that hold more than 15 rounds in the wake of the Aurora theater shooting. They are still readily available, however, at Colorado gun stores. [Pols emphasis]

As 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger discovered in an in-depth November 2019 report on the issue and we’ve discussed at length in this space, high capacity gun magazines are commonly available in Colorado gun stores despite the 2013 ban on the sale of magazines with a capacity greater than fifteen rounds. As Zelinger discovered by visiting gun shops across the state, high capacity magazines are sold one of two ways: as a “repair kit” containing all the parts to a high capacity magazine that snaps together in seconds, or the gun store simply does not fear prosecution by their local elected sheriff and openly sells ready-to-use high capacity magazines in straight-up middle finger defiance of the statewide ban.

The 2013 15-round magazine limit was by far the most contentious of the gun safety bills passed that year, but it was passed based on very recent and painful experience from the 2012 Aurora theater shooting and the school shooting that December in Newtown, Connecticut–in which high-capacity magazines and AR-15 semiautomatic weapons gave the shooters the ability to kill far more people without having to pause. In Aurora, the shooter fired over sixty shots from his drum-equipped rifle into the theater audience before it mercifully jammed. At Newtown, a pause variously attributed to reloading or the weapon jamming allowed numerous children to escape.

On March 22, a single shooter using an “AR pistol” weapon ideal for killing people in close quarters like shopping aisles killed ten people in Boulder, some of them shot numerous times. And now we know the shooter’s weapon had a high capacity magazine that somebody sold him in either evasion or defiance of Colorado law.

We’ve applauded Colorado’s continuing leadership on gun safety legislation since 2013’s hard-won landmark reforms, including the 2019 “red flag” law and this year’s common-sense legislation to require guns be safely stored and reported when lost or stolen. But if we’re just going to let gun stores ignore a law on the books that could have saved lives in Boulder, and for that matter in Aurora in 2012…what kind of message does that send? “Enforce the laws on the books,” after all, is one of the most common rallying cries of the gun lobby.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Close the “parts kit” loophole, enhance the penalties, use state resources to prosecute gun dealers if the sheriffs refuse to do their jobs. This outrageous noncompliance with existing law is a direct threat to the credibility of any new gun laws and must be addressed. It’s ridiculous to suggest that we’re powerless as a society to make this small reduction in the ability for one deranged person to inflict disproportionate carnage.

And in the meantime, stop calling the gun lobby “law-abiding.” On this issue, they’re anything but.

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Democrats Cross The “T” In LGBT+ Discrimination Law

A press release from Colorado Senate Democrats this afternoon announces the passage of new legislation to ensure that gender identity is as protected from discrimination under state law as the spirit of Colorado’s progressive LGBT+ anti-discrimination laws has intended from the beginning:

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation sponsored by Senator Dominick Moreno that seeks to update existing law to ensure that Coloradans are protected against discrimination.

Current Colorado statute protects individuals from discrimination based on a variety of factors including: race, gender, age, and religion. HB21-1108 would update the law to include protections related to an individual’s “gender expression” and “gender identity.” The bill would also revise the current definition of “sexual orientation” to be more comprehensive and inclusive.

“As hate crimes continue to rise, we need to implement policies that safeguard our LGBTQIA+ community and protect them from discrimination,” said Senator Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City. “With this bill, we are saying loud and clear that LGBTQIA+ folks are welcome in Colorado and deserve the same protections under the law as other marginalized groups. We have the ability to create a safer, more inclusive Colorado with the passage of this critical bill, moving us a step closer toward a more welcome society where everyone feels safe to be who they are.”

With respect to the growing problem of discrimination and violence against LGBT Coloradans, the unfortunate trend requiring ongoing vigilance is clear:

According to the FBI’s 2019 Hate Crime Report in Colorado, attacks against an individual’s sexual orientation have increased 49% from last year and now account for the second-largest number of bias-motivated attacks in the state. In addition, crimes targeting an individual’s gender identity have consistently risen since 2017 and increased 40% last year.

Since the passage of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) 15 years ago, it has become apparent that an individual’s gender identity or gender expression can have a negative impact on their lived experiences in the same manner as other factors that are currently covered under the state’s anti-discrimination protections. This bill would ensure that gender identity and gender expression are included in the state’s anti-discrimination statute, paving the way for a more just and inclusive society for those in the LGBT+ community.

It’s another moment to note that while LGBT+ rights have been upheld and expanded in Colorado over the past fifteen years of mostly-solid Democratic political dominance, in many states the protections Coloradans take for granted are nonexistent–which is why the Equality Act being debated at the federal level to create federal protections in line with Colorado’s law is so important. Colorado’s progressive approach to this issue also makes Rep. Lauren Boebert’s virulent tirades against trans people from her platform in Congress even more objectionable. In quantifiable terms, Boebert doesn’t speak for Colorado.

That’s the reality we hope more people outside our state hear.

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Lauren Boebert’s Endless Hypocrisy Is In Your Face

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

As the Phil Anschutz-owned Washington Examiner reported yesterday afternoon:

The House Ethics Committee must launch a preliminary investigation into House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters after a House GOP lawmaker filed a complaint with the panel.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican and a freshman, on Tuesday released a copy of her complaint against Waters that charged her with violating House ethics rules following comments the California Democrat made to protesters in the streets of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, near Minneapolis.

“I write to request that the House Committee on Ethics open an investigation into Representative Maxine Waters for her incitement of the violent riots in Brooklyn Center, her unethical use of her office to unconstitutionally pressure an independent judiciary, and her pattern of similar behavior that is unbecoming of a Member of Congress and discredits the House of Representatives,” Boebert wrote to the bipartisan panel of 10 House lawmakers.

The panel will have to review Boebert’s complaint, but it may not result in an investigation.

First, the context the Examiner unsurprisingly omitted: Rep. Lauren Boebert is facing an ethics inquiry of her own for her role in inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Boebert’s huge volume of social media posts second-guessing the results of the 2020 presidential elections and calling for supporters to converge on Washington, D.C. that day–not to mention Boebert’s Tweets about the location of Speaker Nancy Pelosi after rioters had breached the Capitol–invite exactly the same allegations that Boebert is making against Rep. Maxine Waters.

With the maximum guilty verdict delivered in the George Floyd murder trial yesterday, the unrest that was feared in the event of a lesser verdict or acquittal did not materialize. The verdict in that case substantially vindicates the last year of protest over race relations in America, and validates the anger expressed by Black leaders like Rep. Waters. When you compare the very real struggle for racial justice in America with the violence Boebert encouraged in response to Donald Trump losing the 2020 elections, the extreme moral disparity between the two makes the comparison nothing short of outrageously offensive.

And yet here we are. Boebert’s whole strategy for answering for her own misdeeds is apparently to take what she is accused of, cross her name off the allegation, and put in Maxine Waters’ name as if there is even a tiny shred of moral equivalence between the two. Yesterday’s verdict just underscores the folly of this.

It’s not just shameless. It’s too shameless. It challenges even 2021’s outrage fatigue.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 21)

Today is 4-21-21, which is probably an astrological sign of the apocalypse, or something. 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.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
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Derek Chauvin is led out of Minneapolis courtroom in handcuffs after Tuesday’s verdict.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all three counts related to his role in the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. The Denver Post has the reaction from Colorado leaders on Tuesday afternoon:

Authorities at midday cleared the parking lot that rings the Colorado Capitol and increased police presence around the building, but almost no one was outside the Capitol hours after the verdict was announced. Inside, members of Colorado’s Black Democratic Legislative Caucus held a news conference expressing their gratitude in the news.

“We felt the weight of our ancestors, we felt the collective sigh of relief,” said caucus chair Rep. Leslie Herod, a Denver Democrat. “And we felt a moment of solidarity in the work.”

Colorado’s Congressional Democrats are calling for more work on police reform in the aftermath of the Chauvin verdict.

Elsewhere, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a new Justice Department investigation into the practices and culture of the Minneapolis Police Department.

 

Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of three locations without a prior appointment:

♦ Ball Arena in Denver, 9am to 7pm, Monday through Friday.
♦ The Ranch in Loveland, 10am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday.
♦ Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.

Remember, friends: Employers are REQUIRED to provide paid leave for employees who need time off work to get vaccinated. Despite the incentives for receiving the vaccine, which include NOT DYING FROM COVID-19, the state estimates that 10% of the population will still refuse to get vaccinated.

 

Colorado Public Radio looks at a climate change battle in the state legislature:

A landmark climate bill passed a Senate committee Tuesday, but hours of testimony revealed a wide split among Colorado Democrats over the state’s climate strategy. Polis has sought a business-friendly path that’s heavy on incentives and voluntary agreements. Democratic State Sen. Faith Winter, a bill sponsor representing Westminster, praised those efforts but said the state needs enforceable regulations as a backstop.

“What we’re doing is relying on a lot of good will, a lot of press releases, that are not legally enforceable,” Winter said.

Winter said the latest legislation, SB21-200, is necessary to hold Colorado to its climate action goals — a greenhouse gas reduction plan Polis signed in 2019. Those targets commit the state to reduce its contribution to climate change 26 percent by 2025, 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050. Each target is measured against Colorado’s 2005 emission levels.

Governor Jared Polis is not on board with SB21-200, preferring instead to promote less-specific measurements of success in reducing emissions.

Here’s more news on the state legislature…

Legislation is on its way to the desk of Gov. Polis that would require Colorado businesses to allow customers to pay with cash.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg says new gun safety legislation could be introduced in the legislature as soon as this week.

Lawmakers are considering new police accountability measures.

The Colorado Sun reports on proposed legislation that would allow school districts and other government agencies to continue to name just one “sole finalist” for top jobs.

CBS4 Denver has more on legislation to increase access to mental health services for teenagers.

The Denver Post has more on the discussion surrounding efforts to restrict the potency of legal marijuana.

The Colorado Springs Independent summarizes some new and pending legislation.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Wednesday Open Thread

“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”

–Reinhold Niebuhr

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Derek Chauvin Found Guilty on All Charges

UPDATE #3: President Biden spoke to the nation this evening following the verdict. From The New York Times:

President Biden praised a guilty verdict in the murder trial of the former police officer Derek Chauvin, but called it a “too rare” step to deliver “basic accountability” for Black Americans who have been killed during interactions with the police.

“It was a murder in full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see,” Mr. Biden said of the death of George Floyd, who died after Mr. Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than minutes, and whose death ignited nationwide protests. “For so many, it feels like it took all of that for the judicial system to deliver just basic accountability.”

Mr. Biden delivered his remarks hours after taking the unusual step of weighing in on the trial’s outcome before the jury had come back with a decision, and telling reporters that he had was “praying” for the “right verdict.”

“This can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America,” Mr. Biden said in a nationwide address.

—–

UPDATE #2:

—–

UPDATE: From The Washington Post:

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd last Memorial Day.

The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin announced its verdicts Tuesday afternoon, deliberating for less than a full day.

Sentencing for Chauvin will take place in approximately 8 weeks. Chauvin’s bail was revoked and he was taken into custody following the decision.

Via The Washington Post

—–

As The Washington Post reports:

The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin reached a verdict Tuesday afternoon, on its second day of deliberating the case of the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd. The verdict is expected to be announced between 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time.

Deliberations concluded after the prosecution and defense teams presented nearly six hours of closing arguments that focused on vastly different views about the circumstances that led to Floyd’s death in May outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis.

We’ll update this space once the verdict has been announced. President Biden is also expected to address the nation at some point later today.

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Congrats Colorado! 100 Million Jobs On The Way!

That’s apparently what Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa thinks the state of Georgia is set to lose after Major League Baseball relocated the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver’s Coors Field earlier this month:

Which sounds downright calamitous until you remember that Georgia has a population just north of 10.6 million, meaning it would be physically impossible for Georgia to “lose 100 million jobs” unless every man, woman and child in the state was working, you know, ten jobs. In that case it seems like we’d be doing them a favor.

As for Colorado, population 5.75 million? No summer vacation for you, obviously! You’ll be taking on dozens of jobs apiece in addition to what you’re doing now. Those peanuts and Cracker Jack aren’t going to hawk themselves.

We couldn’t make the jokes if a United States Senator hadn’t said it, folks.

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Ken Buck Jubilates Prematurely

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

CBS4 Denver reports that Rep. Ken Buck is ebullient over a recent agreement between Apple and the Colorado-connected developers of the “free speech” social media platform Parler to allow the app once again in the App Store, after being removed in the immediate aftermath of the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol:

Colorado Congressman Ken Buck applauded a decision to reinstate the Parler App in Apple’s app store. Buck and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent a letter to Apple in March “demanding answers about why Apple removed Parler from the App Store.”

In the letter to Buck and Lee, Apple says it reached out to Parler developers to discuss their violations of Apple’s guidelines on Jan. 8.

“The volume and types of prohibited content available in the Parler app further indicated that Parler also was out of compliance with Guideline 1.2 since their moderation practices were clearly inadequate to protect users from this harmful and dangerous content,” Apple stated in the letter.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: Law enforcement officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Over subsequent weeks, as CNN reports, Parler has reportedly made changes to satisfy Apple’s requirements that their privately-owned commercial systems not be used for such dangerous purposes as coordinating and managing an assault on the U.S. Capitol:

The letter — addressed to Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Ken Buck and obtained by CNN — explained that since the app was removed from Apple’s platform in January for violations of its policies, Parler “has proposed updates to its app and the app’s content moderation practices.”

…Apple declined to comment. In a statement Monday evening, Parler said it planned to relaunch on Apple’s app store the week of April 26. The Apple version of Parler will block some posts that are permitted on Parler more generally, but those posts will remain accessible on Parler for Android and on the web, Parler said.

Curiously, Rep. Buck completely omits any mention of changes made by Parler to satisfy Apple’s requirements, simply suggesting that his letter to Apple on Parler’s behalf led to Apple dropping its objections to Parler on their service. Far from it–Apple, a corporate interest more concerned about liability than politics, is requiring that the Parler app on its platform block content that may still be available on the Parler network through other devices.

“Apple’s decision to reinstate Parler on the App Store is a huge win for free speech,” Buck said. “I am proud of the work that Senator Lee and I were able to accomplish here. It’s time for Amazon and Google to follow Apple’s lead and stop the censorship of Parler.”

Wherever you land in the debate over free speech versus corporate subsidy of speech, which are two separate issues that become much harder to sort out in today’s digital age of mass social media communications, the fact is that Buck is dead wrong to call this a “win for free speech” in the laissez faire manner he suggests. Parler is making a major concession to Apple to prevent Parler from putting Apple in the position of subsidizing violence.

What this is is a win for responsible speech and responsible corporate citizenship, albeit limited to Apple’s corporate domain. Once you know the full facts, it’s basically the opposite of what Buck thinks he is celebrating.

But at least we can all celebrate together.

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Polis Signs Two Major Gun Safety Bills Into Law

Gov. Polis signs House Bill 21-1106, safe storage of firearms.

As the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reports:

Gov. Jared Polis on Monday signed two bills tightening gun regulations in Colorado into law — the first new firearm restrictions enacted in the state since the red flag bill became law in 2019.

The legislation was introduced before the deadly attack on a Boulder King Soopers in March, though the shootings brought greater urgency to the measures, which are mainly focused on reducing gun-related suicides.

Colorado House Democrats led by Rep. Tom Sullivan celebrate in a release this afternoon:

“There’s no single gun safety policy that can put an end to the epidemic of gun violence in America, but by taking commonsense steps like the two laws signed today, we can start to make a dent and save some lives,” said Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial. “Reporting a missing firearm is a simple measure that will stop firearms from ending up in the wrong hands and give law enforcement more tools to find these weapons before they end up in crime scenes.”

“Coloradans are tired of seeing gun violence rip families apart and take precious lives away from us far too soon,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “Our bill to require that missing firearms be reported to police is a simple and commonsense request that will hopefully prevent senseless tragedies like the one that took Isabella Joy Thallas’ life. I’m immensely proud that we were able to honor her memory by naming this law after her today.”

“Asking all gun owners in Colorado to safely store their firearms the way the majority of responsible gun owners already do is a small measure that can save countless lives,”said Representative Kyle Mullica, D-Northglenn. “A simple and affordable lock on a firearm could prevent the type of tragedies and injuries that befall Colorado families every day.”

We wrote earlier this month about the passage of Senate Bill 21-078, the “Isabella Joy Thallas Act” named after a victim of gun violence in Denver killed with an assault weapon stolen from a Denver police officer. Back in March we covered the ten-hour marathon debate in the Colorado House over House Bill 21-1106, which requires gun owners in households with either children or prohibited persons use either a gun lock or store them in a gun safe.

In both cases, these bills passed the Colorado General Assembly without a single Republican vote. That’s the norm of course for gun laws in modern American politics, but it’s worth noting in this case since these are some of the easiest to justify proposals to reduce the harm from gun violence out there today–in theory much less controversial than the 2019 “red flag” law, not to mention the 2013 gun safety bills that resulted in political backlash for Democrats.

With the public overwhelmingly in favor of gun control going well beyond safe storage and reporting of lost and stolen guns, this was a missed opportunity for Republicans to show reason that might have afforded them cover in more contentious battles down the road. For Gov. Polis and majority Colorado Democrats, it’s yet another win on an issue for which wins, at least at the federal level, are in dishearteningly short supply.

If you want more wins like this, it starts with giving our leaders in Colorado the credit they deserve.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (April 19)

‘Tis a mighty blustery day outside, and it’s going to get blusterier: Denver could set a new record low temperature today in advance of a snowstorm that is forecasted to drop 8-14 inches of snow in the Metro Area. 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.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
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*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

All adults in the United States are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. At least half of the adult population in this country have already received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Despite rising cases of COVID-19, many Colorado counties eased pandemic-related restrictions on Friday.

 

Governor Jared Polis will officially sign two gun safety bills today — one dealing with safe storage of firearms and the other about mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms. The Colorado Sun has more background on the legislation.

Now, let’s get you caught up on more legislative news. Thursday is Earth Day, which makes this week a great time to use the social media hashtags #CoClimateWeek and #ClimateJusticeNow. It also means this could be your best chance to see a giant ice globe in person:

Saja Hindi of The Denver Post looks at the week(s) ahead in the fight over a “Colorado Option” healthcare proposal. Last week we outlined how opponents of the legislation are doing a pretty terrible job of arguing their case.

Lawmakers are considering setting aside a significant amount of money in the state budget to help law enforcement purchase more body cameras.

CBS4 Denver looks at legislation that could restrict public access to arrest records.

Fox 31 Denver discusses a bill that would provide free mental health services to Colorado children.

Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman previews the legislative week ahead.

 

Closing arguments are being made today in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of several crimes in connection with the May 2020 death of George Floyd. Is is expected that the case will be in the hands of a jury by the end of the day. Minneapolis is bracing for news of a verdict.

 

CNN reports on a violent weekend across the United States:

Americans awoke Friday to news of yet another mass shooting, this time at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, where eight people were killed late Thursday.

By the end of the weekend, at least nine more people had died from gun violence in back-to-back shootings across the country — in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio, Nebraska and Louisiana. At least 10 more were wounded.

Since March 16, when eight people were killed and one wounded in shootings at three Atlanta-area spas, at least 50 mass shootings have been reported in the United States. CNN defines a mass shooting as a shooting with four or more casualties — dead or wounded — excluding the shooter.

Some of the shootings this weekend fell short of that definition. But together, they underscored the fact the United States faces not just the Covid-19 pandemic, but a gun violence epidemic, as well.

Call it what you will. Just don’t call it normal.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Coorsurrection, Anyone?

As readers may be aware, since the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections, a substantial number of large corporate donors have announced they will no longer make campaign donations to Republican politicians who both voted to second-guess the results on January 6th and encouraged their supporters to come to Washington and participate in what became a riot.

Perhaps as a result, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, one of the most vocal dead-enders backing Donald Trump’s baseless assertions that the election was stolen to the end, had a difficult first quarter of fundraising–even after a last-minute revision upward only raising about $845,000, well short of her higher-profile freshman fireband colleagues Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Where MTG in particular managed to turn the revulsion of most well-adjusted people into a grassroots fringe fundraising goldmine, Boebert has failed to reap the same benefit–and that’s a problem since Boebert almost certainly faces a more competitive race in 2022.

With that said, looking through Boebert’s fundraising reports posted online this week, we find a spate of donations on January 10th–a mere four days after the January 6th insurrection–including plenty of recognizable local names among one big name:

And we see none other than Pete Coors, 2004 Republican U.S. Senate candidate and keeper of the Coors family honor…well, less so on that last point these days, but still very much reflecting on his corporate namesake with his political donations, wrote Boebert a $500 check on January 10th. MolsonCoors in keeping with its Coors family heritage does overwhelmingly give to Republican candidates as a corporation, and we haven’t seen that they’ve explicitly joined the donor boycott of Republicans in Congress content to break democracy when it didn’t go their way.

But by making this donation just a few days after the violence at the Capitol that Boebert whether she wants to admit it or not helped set the stage for, Pete Coors made his own statement about responsible political giving, and it comes across like a beer magnate driving drunk.

On the upside, you’ll get to vote about it with your next six pack.

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How NOT to Oppose the Colorado Option

If the debate about a legislative health care reform plan called the “Colorado Option” comes down to a battle over messaging, then Democrats should feel pretty good about where they stand at the moment.

The arguments about House Bill 1232 began last Friday in the House Health & Insurance Committee. Discussions on a potential compromise deal with insurers, hospitals, and the health care industry have been ongoing, but it still appears that the “Colorado Option” has enough momentum and support to ultimately make it through the legislature at some point in the next month or two. The editorial board of The Durango Herald endorsed the “Colorado Option” earlier this week. Dave Perry of The Aurora Sentinel backed the legislation in an editorial published today.

We talked last week about the various arguments for and against the “Colorado Option,” coming to the general conclusion that supporters of the bill were in a much stronger position than the bill’s detractors. That analysis was strengthened by the silly attacks thrown at the legislation this week in a mail piece from the opposition group calling itself “Colorado’s Health Care Future.”

We’re not sure how widely the following mailer was distributed in Colorado, but it seems to have been largely targeted at “grasstops” opinion leaders. Regardless, the message would fail no matter the audience:

 

The two main arguments made in this mailer are as follows: 1) Hospitals in Colorado could lose money if the “Colorado Option” becomes law, and 2) A “similar” approach in Washington state led to an increase in health care premiums.

The first argument is so laughable that it’s easy to dismiss: That Colorado hospitals could face “$112 million in losses annually” if the “Colorado Option” becomes law. Colorado hospitals are literally THE MOST PROFITABLE IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, but even if you didn’t know this, why would the average person care if hospitals lost money? What was the backup argument? That pharmaceutical company executives might be forced to accept smaller annual bonuses?

The second argument requires a little more research to refute, but it doesn’t take long to get there. The mail piece claims that a “similar government-controlled approach” in Washington state ended up making health care premiums more expensive for consumers. But this plan, called “CascadeCare,” was only offered in 13 of Washington’s 39 counties, which would obviously significantly limit the risk pool that should make such plans cheaper for consumers. “CascadeCare” only included about one-third of the state; the “Colorado Option” would include the entire state. In other words, CascadeCare is similar to the “Colorado Option” like apples are similar to car batteries.

These two arguments were presumably selected by hospitals and the health care industry because somebody believed that they were among their strongest talking points. We’d love to know what got left on the cutting room floor.

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We Have Had More Mass Shootings Than Days of the Year

On Thursday evening, eight people were killed in a mass shooting at a FedEx distribution facility in Indianapolis. Take a look at this graphic from CNN, which shows the location of 45 mass shootings (in which 4 or more people are wounded or killed) that have taken place since March 16th:

That’s 45 mass shootings in the past month ALONE. The United States has suffered through 147 mass shootings thus far in 2021. We haven’t had that many DAYS in 2021.

 

That’s right — we are AVERAGING more than one mass shooting per day in 2021. Forget, for a moment, about your opinion on the second amendment. Nobody could look at the graphics above and just shrug. This is weird.

Now, here’s the other strange thing about America’s mass shooting epidemic: Americans by and large WANT to see more gun safety measures approved by lawmakers. Check out these findings from a Quinnipiac University poll that was released on Thursday, April 15:

A majority of Americans (54 – 42 percent) support stricter gun laws in a Quinnipiac University national poll of adults released today. Democrats support stricter gun laws 91 – 8 percent. Republicans oppose these laws 74 – 22 percent, and independents oppose them 51 – 44 percent.

When you break down the numbers into specific policy proposals, the data remains clear:

♦ 89% of Americans support requiring background checks for all gun buyers;

♦ 74% of Americans support so-called “red flag” laws;

♦ 52% of Americans support a nationwide ban on assault weapons;

♦ 51% of Americans support a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines;

♦ 45% of Americans believe that gun violence in this country is a “crisis.”

The reason that Congress hasn’t taken action to address gun violence in this country is NOT because Americans don’t approve of these policy changes.

As we’ve noted before in this space, the only way to make real change on the issue of gun violence is to elect more people who are willing to make those changes.

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