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► The refusal of Senate Republicans to even debate a new election integrity bill SHOULD be the last straw for Democrats such as Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. As Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent write for The Washington Post:
On Wednesday, all 50 Republicans in the Senate — including supposed moderates such as Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — voted to filibuster the Freedom to Vote Act. That’s a stripped-down version of sweeping voting rights legislation Democrats have advocated.
If Manchin (or anyone else) needed more proof that Republicans will never partner with Democrats to secure voting rights and democracy, this was it.The Freedom to Vote Act was, for all intents and purposes, Manchin’s own bill. He demanded the changes that made it less ambitious than the For the People Act championed by progressives.
It was redesigned to his specifications. So instead of requiring nonpartisan redistricting commissions, it allows states to determine the mode of redistricting while establishing standards of fairness that would be enforced by courts. It also creates national standards for early voting and mail voting, but also allows voter ID requirements, albeit with some protections.
No Republican voted for this.
Waldman and Sargent note that two prominent voices are growing louder about the need to reform the filibuster: Angus King of Maine and Jon Tester of Montana. Says King:
“I’ve concluded that democracy itself is more important than any Senate rule.”
President Biden is also signaling that he would be open to changing Senate filibuster rules in order to pass voting rights legislation.
► Colorado Republican candidates continue to struggle to come up with a decent answer about the “Big Lie.” Many of the top statewide candidates seem to have coalesced around the shaky narrative that Joe Biden is the President and that the election was not fraudulent in Colorado…but maybe it was everywhere else.
The latest attempt by a statewide Republican candidate to answer this question came from Senate hopeful Gino Campana; check out the transcript of this BRUTAL back-and-forth with right-wing radio host Peter Boyles. The interview contains a line that could go down in infamy: “Don’t 9News me!”
► Hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Colorado are trending in the wrong direction compared to the rest of the country, as Colorado Newsline explains:
There are 1,130 people in the hospital with COVID-19 as of Oct. 21, Gov. Jared Polis said during a news briefing Thursday, and 893 of those cases, or about 80%, are unvaccinated individuals.
“This is a very stark reminder to anyone who thought this pandemic was over and that they could slip by without getting vaccinated,” Polis said. “This is a wake up call. If you haven’t been vaccinated, you’re facing a grave threat.”Polis said that crisis standards of care are “ready to be implemented if needed, potentially tweaked or improved.” Idaho and New Mexico both recently implemented crisis standards of care.
Hospitalizations are increasing among all age groups, but more rapidly in older populations. State epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy said during the briefing that could be due to waning immunity in older people who got a vaccine earlier this year.
As Denver7 reports, 93% of Colorado ICU beds are currently in use. Governor Jared Polis says Colorado may need to ask for help from the National Guard if these trends continue.
► And now, some good COVID-19 news: Boosters for everyone! As The Washington Post reports:
Tens of millions of Americans can sign up to get Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters beginning Friday after the nation’s top public health official endorsed recommendations from expert advisers that the shots are safe and effective at bolstering protection against the coronavirus.
The green light from Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, means that eligible Americans at risk of severe disease can choose any of the three boosters now authorized in the United States regardless of their original shot.
“The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe — as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given,” Walensky said in a statement Thursday night, several hours after receiving unanimous recommendations from the expert panel, called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. “And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating delta variant.”
Get moving, folks. Boost that thang up!
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